Simply disappointed

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By janghang

Expert (93)

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30-06-2011, 13:04

I agree that it was bad port, but we have to accept MSX's limit first. When I played it, I was really happy to play Rastan Saga on my msx machine regardless of its quality.

By Akiguchi

Hero (542)

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30-06-2011, 16:33

At least it's a way better than c64 conversion! Smile

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (4156)

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30-06-2011, 17:36

Excuse me, but IMHO some of you are being way too critical. I've seen much worse MSX ports.
It's an old game, released within 2 years after the launch of the MSX2 platform itself.
Sure we could do better now. Just take a look at the older MSX1 Konami titles and compare those to MSXdev entries.

two sprites per enemies would have been doable and would have given a way better look to the whole game
Often enough, there are 3 enemies on the same X row, of which at least one fires projectiles non-stop.
It would have flickered like crazy. I don't think most MSX programmers, even professional ones, knew how to optimize HW sprite handling back in 1988 as we know how to do more than 20 years later.

The enemy are ALL monocromatic and worse they haven't used the ability to colour on a per scan line basis.
With all due respect, but no they aren't

img850.imageshack.us/img850/3742/rastan2color3.png img849.imageshack.us/img849/4064/rastan2color4.png

and yes, they could have done that but I don't think they knew about it. Coulda shoulda woulda.
I'm pretty sure that even the player sprites don't use logical OR overlap to create the multicolored character but are simply composed of 2 blocks of 3 sprites piled upon eachother (not counting the weapon).
Meaning: 3 + 1 sprites / horizontal row for the player alone.
So, that leaves 4 sprites for 3 enemies and 1 projectile, which is exactly what you see in the game.

By the way, the boss creatures and traps (spikes) aren't monochromatic either, but the same goes for the other multicolored examples:
no scanlines, no logical overlap. They just didn't know.
Even in 2011, we're still unveiling new secrets of the MSX VDP and finding out how to do something the most effective way.
So what do you think they knew back then? They couldn't go to the internet and ask, hi guys, how can I avoid sprite flicker?

Yes, I know, Aleste is from 1988 too and makes more advanced use of HW sprites.

"Hey Fujishima, let's tell huge ass company Taito how they can make nice MSX2 sprites just like we do!"
"Wow, that's a great idea, Nitani! Sure, they may be one of our biggest competitors, but we are really nice guys, aren't we!"
"Yes we are! Allright, first, give me a moment to finish this letter to Konami which explains how the Zanac A.I. is done..."

;)

Plus the choice of sprite colors is orrible.
I agree that they could have varied more with that.

Anyway, I always enjoyed MSX Rastan Saga, but indeed, it's relatively easy.
Regardless of that and the fact it doesn't use the MSX2 VDP like we can now, I was very happy to play it on my MSX, as janghang states.

On top of that, you can make the game harder for yourself easily by simply, how about, not using the continue option, as you can choose not to do with Aleste. :)

By Paulbrk

Hero (611)

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30-06-2011, 20:43

at least 1 or 2 enemies can be software sprites, it is not too slow, msx2 can do well.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (4156)

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30-06-2011, 21:07

at least 1 or 2 enemies can be software sprites, it is not too slow, msx2 can do well.
Totally agreed! None-scrolling (horizontally) allows that, easily.
And they can be huge too, as this game demonstrates, which does employ vertical scrolling.

Actually, I've written in NestorBASIC a game engine for MSX2 which has player, 4 enemies & numbers of damage rising, ALL of them SW sprites and it goes fast enough.

By PingPong

Prophet (2592)

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30-06-2011, 21:08

for me is only a matter of sloppy implementation. the rotating sprites algorithm was well know, of previous hw, like coleco, atari. even the sms or nes knows about sprite ring management to avoid flicker. And effectively, SMS version sometime flicker a bit, meaning that they have implemented those workaround.

as said by paulbrk. msx2 can do better.
they only were to lazy to to a bit more.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (4156)

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30-06-2011, 21:15

Are you sure they knew about the similarities between the MSX2 and SMS graphic possibilities?

About 'laziness', other Taito MSX2 games from the same period show the same 'shortcomings' as far as I can see.
Which would, for example explain how Scramble Formation is a total flickerfest and why Heaven has so little going on every screen.
I think none of them uses overlap; scanlines not sure, Scramble Formation may.

So, if my assumptions are true, then Taito's MSX2 development team was either quite unknowing or generally very lazy. :)

By Huey

Prophet (2479)

Huey's picture

01-07-2011, 08:43

Me thinks; "PingPong and paulbrk should team up and make a game Wink"

Shame on Taito for doing it for the money!

By PingPong

Prophet (2592)

PingPong's picture

01-07-2011, 13:58

Are you sure they knew about the similarities between the MSX2 and SMS graphic possibilities?

Come on... In the early days all system have a lot of common. MSX VDP & SMS VDP have common roots in TMS9918. The latter is were those tricky methods were learned.

If they do not know anything about msx2 system, there were no sense to try to write a game like rastan saga.
Instead, the way they've designed the game proved they know the limits of vdp, and take the sloppy/easy approach.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (4156)

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01-07-2011, 14:09

Well, it does make sense: indeed it's designed so that there will be exactly 8 sprites used on a horizontal line, never more.

But if they would have used 2 sprites / enemy using overlap, they couldn't have had 3 enemies + 1 of them firing projectiles on the screen without absolutely horrible flicker, right?
For instance, usually, you wouldn't see too much enemies on screen with Contra, since it would look like shit.

Somehow I got the impression that they thought sprite handling to be similar to MSX1 too much.
But yes, maybe you're right and they didn't even want to try and make it look better.
They could at least have used scanlines, since they knew about that, seeing as Scramble Formation probably does, too.

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