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    Jan 31st, 2007 at 16:47:25     -    Gradius (NES)

    The hitbox for your ship seems pretty big. I think it might be the whole box that encloses the ship sprite, not just the visible pixels.

    Double is terrible and I don't know why someone would take it. You're limited to two shots on the screen at once, and firing them both at once means you can't fire again until one hits. It seems like a sidegrade, not an upgrade.

    The volcano thing near the end of the first level is stupid. I tried a few times to survive in other places, but the only place I can live is the upper left corner. And I only learned that from watching the guy play it during the lecture.

    It seems like the enemies shoot more as a function of how powered up the player is. I'm not sure how much I like this choice, since the game also gets more difficult with time, no matter how powered up the player is. I'm going to try making the difficulty dynamic in my game, based on how well the player is doing.

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    Jan 31st, 2007 at 16:47:15     -    Gradius (NES)

    I never played the first two Gradius games much. The first one I really got into was Gradius 3 for SNES. I can remember liking shooters before that game... specifically River Raid on the Atari 400. Anyway, Gradius 1 feels a lot like Gradius 3, but without nearly as much customization.

    Like a lot of NES games, this one is tough. The challenge of the first level feels like it starts at medium and never lets off. It took me about 3 or 4 credits before I could clear the first level without being hit.

    I feel like the laser upgrade is neccessary to have a fighting chance against the enemies, simply because your shots move so much faster. But most of the time the only sound you hear is your own shooting, and the laser sound is just annoying. I think for my game I'm going to make the shot noises almost silent. Ikaruga is like that, and just about every game could stand to be more like Ikaruga.

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    Jan 19th, 2007 at 16:52:52     -    Kirby's Adventure (NES)

    The eatable powers in this game were also quite surprising, both in their quantity and quality. There's quite a wide selection of abilities: projectiles, hand held weapons, area effects. Many of them are good enough that you are reluctant to give them up for another ability. All of them are good enough that you could beat the whole game with any one. Furthermore, you could also beat the game (or at least all the enemies) with none of them, because Kirby's innate eating and spitting power is quite strong as well.

    That brings me to another good point about the level design. Many of them have branching paths, secret doors that you need a certain ability to reach, or shortcuts. And yet you can also just go for the obvious path and beat the level that way. Also I like that not every level is going from left to right, the direction changes up enough to keep it interesting.

    Getting extra lives in this game is very easy, and it's not too challenging to stay alive. You can win an extra life after every level, you can win them from minigames, and of course there are 1UPs to be found within levels. I would have made extra lives less common, or maybe added a Hard mode.

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    Jan 19th, 2007 at 16:52:41     -    Kirby's Adventure (NES)

    I remember getting this game when it came out, back in the day. It was one of the last NES games to be released. I hadn't played it in quite a while because Kirby Superstar for the SNES has the same sort of gameplay as Kirby's Adventure, but better, and plus a lot of other game types. And it has two player co-op mode... such a good game that it pretty much eclipsed my memories of Kirby's Adventure. Adventure is still pretty good however, and it was amazing at the time it came out, amazing for how it put the NES to use. It's also the game that established Kirby's power stealing gimmick - he didn't have it in his first game on the old white brick gameboy.

    It's easy to say this game is 'a platformer.' And yet this game has some qualities that are uncommon (or at least were uncommon when it came out) to the genre. For starters, Kirby can fly, for as long as you like, but it's slower than running. So, bottomless pits are only a challenge to jump if you are trying to move quickly.

    Another uncommon aspect is the option to revisit any previous level. This is important because some levels have secrets which can only be found with an power from a different level. There are other doors for optional minigames and 'Museums' where there powers free for the taking. Traditionally in a platformer, once you finish This Level, you go to The Next Level, with little or no choice about replaying previous levels.

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