Showing posts with label Arcade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arcade. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Space Invaders (Arcade Original) on the Sony PlayStation 2/ PSTwo / PS2

Almost everyone must have a PS2 knocking around somewhere in a cupboard or atic, maybe even a soft or hard modded one?

And almost everyone likes a good blat on an old arcade classic once in a while right?

So why not go grab it and get old skooling!

But first... Lets ask the question:

Question Can I play arcade original Space Invaders on my Sony PS2?

Answer Of course you bloody can! And in so many variants!

Taking into account that you can play Arcade Original Space Invaders on the PS1 (See Post Here), and that the PS2 is almost 100 % compatible with PS1 games, you can already blat away at the invading hoards without checking out what PS2 offerings there are out there.

That would make a bit of a boring post though, so lets take a look at what PS2 Space Invader options there are.

This post will cover: Commercial releases, Commercial Compilation Releases, Unlockables and Homebrew.



Commercial Release - Space Invaders Anniversary

I love Space Invaders so I should be really happy with this release, but I'm not. I will try and explain why in the shortest possible narative.

The PS1 had three commercial releases of Space Invaders in the NTSC-J regions:
Space Invaders (Not the same as the PAL and NTSC-U release of the same name. In Japan that was called Space Invaders X)
Space Invaders 2000
Simple 1500 Series - The Invaders

Each release contained the same 4 core variants of Space Invaders:

Monochrome tabletop
Colour Cellophane tabletop
Color tabletop
Upright (The one with the moon style backdrop)

Each release also added an additional game to the list of playable Space Invaderness:

Space Invaders had a two player "VS Mode"
Space Invaders 2000 had VS mode and Timed Attack Mode
Simple 1500 The Invaders had VS Mode, Timed Attack Mode and 3D Space Invaders

So, what are we given on PS2 Space Invaders Anniversary?

The SAME four variants of the original Space Invaders... and another bloody Space Invaders 3D!

There is also a VS Mode... but at least its a different VS Mode than was included on the PS1 releases, and I guess to be fair the 3D mode has been reskinned to look different but is essentially still the same game.

As for original content, we have Space Invaders Part II (tabletop and Upright) and Space Invaders Doubles, a variant of Space Invaders colour but as a two player co-op game. Its not exactly piles of joy..

I know that I'm being a bit negative about this title, but Taito just could have done so much better with the content. Space Invaders II, Return Of The Invaders, Super Space Invaders 91 aka The Majestic 12, Space Invaders DX, Space Invaders 95.. Where are they all?

To make matters worse, most of the list of missing items above then rocked up on Taito Legends / Taito Memories a couple of years later.

As I mentioned earlier, Space Invaders 3D in Simple 1500 Series The Invaders is different graphically to Space Invaders 3D in the PS2 Anniversary collection, but why do I hear Alan Partridge saying "They Rebadged it you fool!".

3D Space Invaders on the PS1
3D Space Invaders on the PS2

Yes, it is arcade original Space Invaders on the PS2, but its also such a missed opportunity.

However..I do love this special edition NTSC-J release of Space Invaders Anniversary, complete with a mini table top arcade machine controller.



Compilation - Taito Legends I and II, Taito Memories Gekan and Jokan, Taito Memories 2 Gekan and Joukan.

Taito Legends I and II (72 games total) released in the PAL and NTSC-U regions, Taito Memories 1 and 2, Jokan and Gekan (100 Games Total) released in NTSC-J regions, and as It's Taito, some Space Invaders variants made their way into these collections.

Taito Legends

Space Invaders
Space Invaders Part II aka Space Invaders Deluxe
Return Of The Invaders

Taito Legends II

Super Space Invaders '91 aka Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV
Space Invaders DX
Space Invaders '95

Taito Memories Jokan

Space Invaders Colour
Majestic Twelve: The Space Invaders Part IV aka Super Space Invaders '91
Space Invaders DX

Taito Memories Gekan

Space Invaders
Space Invaders Part II
Space Invaders '95

Taito Memories 2 Jokan

Return of the Invaders



Unlockable - Space Invaders Invasion Day (PAL) (NTSC-U) aka Space Raiders (NTSC-J)

An imaginitive Space Invaders remake, although the game itself doesn't quite live up to the overdone graphical introduction and cut scenes, but guess what?! Space Invaders arcade original is unlockable by Holding L1+R1 and pressing X + O on the "Press START Button" screen.

The "Press START Button" will flash faster, then the screen will fade, and then... Arcade original Space Invaders Colour begins!



Homebrew - PS2 MAME

PS2 MAME will allow you to play a whole host of 8-bit Arcade Classics, including all of the 8-bit variants of Space Invaders.

It will struggle with more advanced variants though e.g. Super Space Invaders '91, Space Invaders '95 etc.

For further information on PS2 MAME, have a read of the post HERE!



And so..

That wraps up Space Invaders on the PS2. Plenty of options for the moral, immoral and amoral gamer.

Have I missed one? Probably.. Let me know and I will add it to the post.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

My TOP 10 Horizontal SHMUPS on the Sony PlayStation / PSOne / PS1 / PSX

Being an absolute fanboy of all Sony PS1 shmuppiness, and playing more Sony PS1 / PS2 shmups than anything else, I have a full list of absolute favourites, both horizontal and vertical.

This is my absolute favourite Horizontal shmups on the PS1. I guess that they are not everyones favourites, however its a subjective list, and hopefully there's something here that you didn't know existed and will go on to try and enjoy.

I'm not going to bang on about how great each one is, but I will give a small amount of info and provide a link to where you can "Read All About It".

And I'm not a mad fan of 3D shmups / 3D remakes. I like the flat sprite shooters.. But a couple of Polygon style shooters have made the top 10.

and so in no particular order..



1. KYUIN aka Vacuum Kids (NTSC-J)

An absolute cute-em-up with kid riding on a magic flying shooting vacuum that still stuff sucks up pretty well too.



2. Harmful Park (NTSC-J)

Another excellent cute-em-up set in a theme park with tons of varied enemies, power ups, multiple methods of gatting the bad guys and an all round superb presentation.



3. Cotton (Original and 100%)


Cotton Original aka Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams (NTSC-J)


Cotton 100% aka Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% (NTSC-J)

Yet another cute-em-up. Witch on broomstick gatting everything she sees, and a few half dressed hot pixie women. Whats not to like?



4. Parodius (Series)


Parodius (PAL) aka Parodius Deluxe Pack (NTSC-J)

A Compilation pack of Parodius - From Myth to Laughter and Parodius - Fantastic Journey.


Sexy Parodius (NTSC-J)


Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius - Forever With Me (NTSC-J)

And the cute-em-up's keep coming. Parodius - Combination of "Parody" and "Gradius". Better than Gradicup I guess (Gradius and cute-em-up). Plays like Gradius but better/surreal bizarre graphics.



5. Gradius Deluxe Pack (NTSC-J)

Enought Cute-em-ups! Some real gatting of nasty aliens intent on making balloon animals out of your intestines! Tip top shmups all the way through.. except when you die and ALL of your power-ups are wiped out.
Contains Gradius and Gradius II.



6. Salamander Deluxe Pack

Another selection of absolute arcade classic H-Shmups. The Salamander series is a spin-off from Gradius, but has its own style and charm.
Contains Salamander, Salamander 2 and Lifeforce.



7. Scramble (Konami Arcade Classics (NTSC-U) aka Konami 80s Arcade Gallery (NTSC-J)

It's the Granddaddy of horizontal shmups. Loads of aliens, rockets, meteors, falling fuel levels, caves, passages.. What more could you want.. And in a psychodelic colour scheme!



8. In The Hunt (PAL) (NTSC-U)

OK, so space is now safe, lets take it under water. Describes as a cross between R-Type and Metal Slug, this graphically pleasing blaster looks amazing and plays so smoothly. Try at your peril (as it will eat up hours of your life!).



9. Thunderforce V - Perfect System (NTSC-U) (NTSC-J)

Well technically it does have some 3D, but also some sprites.. OK its 3D and its pretty good.
For a 3D Shmup, its pretty darn good.



10. G Darius (PAL) (NTSC-U) (NTSC-J)

Another 3Der.. and yup its pretty decent! For some reason I love G Darius, but not so much on Darius Gaiden.. Bizarre. Maybe I should give Gaiden another go.



Some Honourable mentions for those that didn't make the Top Ten:

Sunday, 22 November 2020

PS2 Mame - Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator for the PlayStation 2 / PS2 / PSTwo

OK, so its not exactly MAME.. oh wait.. It is MAME, and for the PS2!

PS2 owners are already rich and spoilt for choice when it comes to commercially released arcade game collections and arcade game conversions across both the PS1 and PS2 platforms, but almost every PS2 owner must have a few arcade games in mind that haven't commercially shown their face on the PS2.. could PS2 MAME be the solution to "Fill in the gaps"?

Well... as always, there are limitations. Dont expect to be grabbing your lightgun and firing up House of the Dead just yet.

There are three important things to take into consideration before you start tinkering with PS2 MAME:

  • The PS2 is an old console with limited processor power, graphics grunt and memory size.
  • PS2 MAME is based around an old release of MAME. Version 0.37b16 aka Version 0.52.
  • PS2 MAME is a technical demo. A proof of concept for want of a better word.

With this in mind, I decided to carry out two tests:

  • Test 1 - Make up a list of old 8 bit arcade classics that aren't already available commercially for the PS2 (or PS1), and try them out on PS2 MAME.
  • Test 2 - Make a list of increasingly complex arcade games, and determine at what point PS2 MAME's performance starts to become affected.


PS2 MAME - The Preparation

1. Download PS2 MAME. I found a number of different places that PS2 MAME could be downloaded from. The best download I found was "OPL Ready PS2 MAME", which containd detailed instructions and a pre made .iso file ready to add games to. I also found out that PS2 MAME doesn't have a browser, and will only launch games from the ROMS directory of the PS2 MAME ISO / CD. Max. number of Romsets per CD - 30.
This totally scuppered my plans to copy the whole MAME 0.37b16 romset to a USB stick and launch from there!

2. Download a complete MAME romset for MAME 0.37b16 aka MAME 0.52. I couldn't find a complete 0.37b16 romset available for download. After giving up searching, I found a .dat for MAME 0.37b16 and complete romsets for MAME 0.36 and MAME 0.72. I used CLRMAMEPro and the .dat file to the rebuild a complete unmerged 0.37b16 romset (Unmerged as I thought that this was the safest bet for getting games running). I ended up being around 30 individual roms short of a complete romset, and those 30 odd roms belonged to completely obscure games that I had never heard of, so at this point I decided that I had obtained enough romsets for the test.

3. Download a complete set of Samples for MAME 0.37b16. This was somewhat easier than acquiring the romsets as there are numerous MAME websites dedicated to MAME sample sets so I had the complete collection downloaded in no time.
This turned out to be a waste of time...

4. I used UltraISO to add a selection of old 8 bit arcade game roms and samples to the provided PS2 MAME .iso file, maximum of 30 games per CD. All of the romsets must be individually zipped. The authors notes mentioned using unzipped roms to reduce slowdown in games however all unzipped romsets that I have tried haven't worked. The zipped romset filenames must conform to old skool DOS. Name and extension in upper case, Name max. length 8 characters plus extension e.g. COMMANDO.ZIP. I also made a "gamelist.txt" file listing all of the games I had added minus the file extension in the order that they appear in the ROMs directory. Note: I have found that PS2 MAME doesn't support samples, so no need to bother with a "SAMPLES" directory. Two ISO's prepped for test 1 and test 2.

5. I copied my ISO files to the CD directory of a USB stick pre-formatted to run with OPL (Open PS2 Loader) and then used OPL to launch the ISOs. Note - By default, PS2 MAME is in NTSC format causing some of the game screen to be lost off of the bottom of the TV screen. Use OPL GSM to force PS2 MAME to run in PAL mode, and you will get a complete screen.



PS2 MAME - Test 1

I ended up struggling a bit with the list of games for test 1 as at least half of the list I initially selected were already available on the PS1 or PS2, however I did end up with a list of 18 games to try.

From the games that I tried, I ended up with the following conclusions:

  • All of the vector based games that I tried didn't work. Just a mess of graphics on the screen.
  • All of the 8 bit games that required samples played ok graphically, but played in silence.
  • All of the other 8 bit games that I tried played well, although some had slightly distorted sound.

Details for Test 1:

  • Amidar - Works
  • Berzerk - Works, no sound (Sound Sample game)
  • Donkey Kong - Works
  • Donkey Kong Jr - Works
  • Donkey Kong 3 - Works
  • Frogger - Works (Yes there is a PS1 Frogger, but its a 2.5D remake)
  • Gorf - Works
  • Jr Pac-Man - Works
  • Mr DO! - Works
  • Qbert - Works (Yes there is a PS1 Qbert game with a "Retro" mode but no official port/emulation).
  • River Patrol - Works
  • Star Wars - Not Working (Vector Game)
  • Star Castle - Not Working (Vector Game)
  • Super Earth Invasion - Works
  • Time Pilot '84 - Works
  • Tron - Works
  • Uniwars - Works
  • Zaxxon - Works, No Sound (Sound Sample Game)

Not too shabby! I though I'd be lucky if 1 or 2 games worked, so whilst enthusiasm was high, I continued onto test 2.



PS2 MAME - Test 2

From the games that I tried, it was clear that once you go 16 bit there is varying levels of slowdown, although functionally and graphically a lot of them play correctly.

Details for Test 2:

  • Afterburner - Not Working
  • Outrun - Works very slowly
  • Shinobi - Works, noticably slower
  • Super Space Invaders '91 - Works, noticably slower
  • Space Harrier - Works slowly but screen tiles are mixed up some
  • Alien Syndrome - Works, noticably slower
  • Gauntlet - Works, noticably slower
  • The Simpsons - Not Working
  • Commando - Working
  • Ikari Warriors - Works, noticably slower


PS2 MAME test - Conclusions

If you want to play some old skool 8 bit arcade games on your PS2 (and you're not too worried about the sound on all of them being 100% perfect) then PS2 MAME is well worth your time and effort, but as a rule of thumb, any zipped romset larger than around 150 kB is not going to play at full speed, if it plays at all.