Ep. 290 - Treasure Ranking, with Christa Lee


@“Jaffe”#p118569 My mom called to complain that I’m not in this one enough

Sounds like someone should have purchased young Alex Jaffe more Treasure games then!


@“exodus”#p118573 (they didn’t actually, but… I wonder how spanish speakers look at that name)

i have an inside joke with myself where i call them yo la tengo project.

this forum is the only place where i can make that joke and maybe it will make sense to a couple of people


@“gsk”#p118572 the cancelled Tom & Jerry game that was essentially Rakugaki 2

The what now?

@“KidFenris”#p118580 oops, I meant Tiny Toons:


@“gsk”#p118589 Oh yeah. Defenders of the Universe is an interesting little game, and the version that got leaked years ago seems close to final. Too bad it got swallowed up by whatever the hell was going on with Conspiracy Entertainment in 2003, when the American release of Buster‘s Bad Dream disappeared. That one didn’t resurface until copies popped up on eBay in 2005, and of course Defenders vanished completely.

haven't finished the ep yet but ikaruga is like if you had super mario bros but the way to beat it was to replicate a sub-5-minute tool-assisted speedrun. technically you have around 4 or 5 seconds of wiggle room to experiment with but other than that you better hit those chains and move your guy to the right spot every time

(I do kinda love the structure of what is it, stage 4? where the entire level is you blowing up all the fortifications around this satellite looking floating fortress then zoom in to the center and destroy its power core, the level is the boss and it's cool to watch someone else play or tas it)

it's also the only treasure game I've played I think? I'd had the name "treasure" hyped up for a while and when that gamecube version came out hoo boy I was psyched on it and went hard trying to learn the patterns of it all and unlocking then playing the slow mo practice versions then realizing, oh shit, I don't really have a ton room to actually PLAY the game, I just have to memorize all the little micro-gestures they programmed in there


@“phylaxis”#p118594 I’d had the name “treasure” hyped up for a while and when that gamecube version came out hoo boy I was psyched on it

This phenomenon is discussed later in the episode!

@"穴"#p118576 yo la tengo is pretty famous so I think you've got a good shot of several people knowing!

@“gsk”#p118589 I wondered about that!! This makes more sense

@“exodus”#p118603 I'd just been playing this, hence the slipup


@“exodus”#p118507 I know this is all in a pretty straightforward 4/4 time but this does a lot of wild stuff with syncopation and changing it up that makes it feel way more complex than it really is and it‘s super weird in a way I’m very into

@“gsk”#p118615 tom and jerry powerstone! had no idea.

very good outro music psychout, @espercontrol

Wow, I‘m gonna feast on this – just now getting into the ranking, but I’m cackling at everyone‘s descriptions of Dynamite Headdy, because I feel exactly every word being said, but I don’t think I‘ve ever been in a position to have a conversation about Dynamite Headdy with a single human. I’m also soothed by the Alien Soldier discourse, because I kinda figured more people in this community were somehow capable of playing it; I, too, love everything about it except for the general inability to play it, and have only ever made it to the level 10 boss ~with ~rewinds

If there were one game I could pick to have its own Steel Battalion/Densha de Go/Taiko no Tatsujin style controller that's completely bespoke to that game, it might be Alien Soldier

(also Christa Lee's a great guest, and while I didn't want to bump a whole thread, I love that ya'll had Kat Bailey on a few episodes back, too -- I even mentioned her in that "potential guests" thread way back. Both really good fits)

so, i haven‘t really messed with a gaming podcast since…the jeremy parish days of retronauts? but being a fan of tim, brandon & some of y’all, i'd been meaning to for a while, and this was the one that got me on board. i have an hour left or so, but:

  • -

    oh man the talk about how some of their games are just basically concepts without a lot wrapped around them (this came up several times, with rangeki showtime for one) has me looking forward to the stretch panic talk, haha

  • -

    damn ya'll are harsh on ikaruga! some fair points made

  • -

    for all the talk about working designs' localization, it's the gameplay changes that hit way harder. you can't convince me the PSX port of silhouette mirage didn't have a lot of the fun stripped right out of it, ughhhh

  • -

    y'all are also harsh on guardian heroes! one thing that doesn't get knocked as much as it should with that one is the ridiculous way of having to game it to get some of the "negative karma" endings, shit was wackier than trying to sort the real ending of way of the samurai without a guide

  • -

    i guess i didn't miss too much not really giving light crusader a fair shot after all these years? also it's interesting hearing alien soldier discussed in less praising ways than circles like this tend to do

  • -

    i love tim referencing ursula le guin, as well as frying pigs

  • -

    so is ore no ryori (sp?) the one where you're cooking and then chasing dine & dash clowns outside with a knife or am i thinking of another PSX game

  • -

    okay now i wanna watch dude beat radiant silvergun, is there a link for that

  • -

    the action button review of bangai-o spirits (wish i'd have grabbed that one when it was cheap!) had me ready for tim's hype here, something something frothing demand

  • -

    i am 100% for the working designs episode yes

  • y'all are great, gonna finish the ep tomorrow

    also i‘m sure it’s come up plenty, but what exactly is meant by a game being “virtuosic”?

    Fantastic episode. As a Mischief Makers apologist I was expecting it to get blasted but it has some cool stuff in it. The main, multi-stage bosses are super fun, and whilst not “hard” do some interesting stuff with grabbing, pulling and shaking. Point taken about being put in a level without knowing what to do but I do recall most have some sort of prompt in the opening areas. Those athletics levels are the absolute worst though!

    I was hyped for the Bangai-O talk though. As a Super Nintendo kid rather than a Mega Drive one reading previews and reviews of the N64 game was when I hopped on board the Treasure hype train and it only took me 20+ years to get my own copy at too much money.

    Bangai-O Spirits is arguably my favourite Treasure game though. Tim made excellent points as to why it's so good but the level editor was a masterful inclusion (and presumably an attempt to get customers to finish making the game!) and I remember hounding people to buy that game so we could hoot and howl at the dumb stuff we'd made but only one guy did, and I ended up buying a copy for another guy and didn't get as much as mileage as Tim did. Missile Fury HD is great too, and it's such a shame that it's stuck on 360. Fantastic series, and I desperately hope that some divine intervention happens so that we could get a hot PC game.

    I wouldn't necessarily say that this was a Treasure-like game but since Cave was brought up I wanted to bring up Nin2-Jump which is a goofy little Cave platformer also stuck on 360 that does feel like it could be a slower paced Treasure game in a different universe.

    @“IrishNinja”#p118635 basically, overly good at everything it attempts.

    Besides Metal Storm for the NES and Alien Soldier, what other games are there that are inexplicably about walking on the ceiling? What is the best ceiling walking game?

    Also, I feel like Alien Soldier isn‘t as impossible as everyone says it is. It’s certainly difficult, but it‘s very playable – even generous in some ways. There’s just a very specific way you‘re supposed to play it:


    First a quick overview of your weapons (there is a bunch of nuance and special cases beyond this that would take too long to explain and which I still don’t fully understand):

    The important thing to realize is that the weapons you should use for the stages and bosses are different. For stages you typically want to use Buster Force (shoots in a straight line) or Homing Force (homes) because they are long range, do decent damage, and have lots of ammo. You can decide which one you want to use based on whether or not you like aiming. For bosses you want to use Flame Force (short range) or Lancer Force (super thin) because they do massive damage (you can kill bosses very quickly) but have minuscule amounts of ammo.


    As Tim observed, the two weapons you typically use for bosses run out of ammo after, like, three seconds – so don‘t spam the fire button! Only shoot when you know you’ll hit! Ammo conservation is everything. Getting weapon pickups that match your currently equipped weapon increase your ammo, so that‘s the core of the game’s progression (along with health upgrade pick-ups), BUT: weapon load-out is critically important, and since having full health is also important (see below) it‘s often better to skip a weapon pick-up that’s in a precarious position rather than risk grabbing the wrong weapon or getting hit. Note that if you shoot a pick-up it will automatically change to your currently equipped weapon, so you don't need to wait for it to cycle toward the weapon you want.


    You have two very important but not obvious attacks:

    1. If you teleport (down + C) at full health you generate a bunch of flames that do massive damage to everything you touch. For example if you do this on the first millipede boss it‘s health bar will instantly go down to a sliver and then you can take it out in one or two hits. You take an extremely small amount of damage, which isn’t that big a deal, but it means you can often only do this once per boss fight, since it can be hard or even impossible to regenerate health during boss fights.
    2. Counter Force (Double tap B) turns some enemy bullets into health pickups and bounces other things (like bombs) off.


    So putting it all together a very clear strategy emerges: During the stages do everything you can to maximize your health so that you can do your fire teleport on the bosses. Because of your counter force, this isn‘t super difficult, since you have essentially infinite health pickups. Enemies also give out lots of health, so the key is to just traverse through the stage thoughtfully. There are some enemies you have to deal with in certain ways (or just teleport around), but there’s almost always a trick.


    Finally, remember to set the difficulty to Super Easy! (Not that it actually makes much of a difference, but you might as well do it unless you can already beat the game).

    This knowledge alone is nowhere near enough to beat the game (I still haven't beaten it), but I think actually understanding how the game works might make it at least sort of playable for those who say it's impossible or only for freaks. You're probably capable of at least making some progress -- and once you're playing it the way it wants you to, the game experience becomes something that resembles, say, Dark Souls where you're trying to understand how each boss behaves, dodging their attacks, and carefully deciding when you're going to strike (though to be clear, this game moves way faster than Dark Souls -- eventually a lot of that thinking and strategizing has to become subconscious).

    I'd love to hear more hot tips and strategies from any of the Alien Soldier masters on this forum.

    @“saddleblasters”#p118674 unfortunately knowing all this isn‘t enough if you literally can’t operate the game to an efficient degree, which is true of me and I think one of the key challenges. The mental gymnastics aren‘t around strategies but around inputs (and I suppose remembering which weapon is which). It takes a lot to get good at it and outside the practice zone nothing encourages or allows you to get good at it. That’s my big problem!!

    Also you cart on the ceiling in gunstar heroes of course, and there's... vvvvvv was it? I feel like lots of indie games go for this