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Thread: Why was the Lords of Thunder port so poor?

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
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    Default Why was the Lords of Thunder port so poor?

    Was it rushed or something? They really dropped the ball making the sound effects sounding staticy and drowning out the great music. I guess the shopkeeper talking is cool though.

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    Road Rasher
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    I prefer sega cd over turbo cd. Soundtrack is much better imo.

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    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RvR View Post
    Was it rushed or something? They really dropped the ball making the sound effects sounding staticy and drowning out the great music. I guess the shopkeeper talking is cool though.
    The game was designed around the strengths and weaknesses of the PC Engine. The developer (said to be Westone) did put extra parallax in the Sega-CD version, so it wasn't rushed. This might have led to some of the dynamic tile parallax to remain. The game was already pushing more in many scenes than what causes slowdown in other higher quality shooters. Tossing in more crystals on screen combined with dynamic tiling probably didn't help.

    The chip sound level is adjustable when using a model 1 Genesis/Mega Drive, which was likely the setup the game was tested on. Other Sega-CD games also benefit from adjusted the chip sound volume.

    I'd like to think that the visual assets could have been ported better, but even PC Engine games without an overall high number of unique colors still tend to spread them out across the superfluous number of subpalettes. A Genesis game like this with multiple player sprites, each with a unique weapon set, has to commit a palette to them. This leaves 3 palettes remaining to recreate enemies and backgrounds which were made without subpalette constraints in mind.

    You could make a game just like Lords of Thunder from the ground up for Genesis and make it look much nicer, but ports like this will always result in compromises.
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert RvR's Avatar
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    ^Great breakdown, interesting stuff. I wonder if we ever really saw the true potential of the Sega CD to make a shoot em up.

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    Wildside Expert vexatious's Avatar
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    I disagree. It seems fine overall and even the soundtrack has a nice remix which remains authentic. I think the overall results are very authentic, even without extension RAM cart and somewhat low quality audio samples. Lots of hardware might've been bypassed but at least the game wasn't destroyed, and the quality is very similar to PCE CD or even better.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    Quote Originally Posted by vexatious View Post
    and the quality is very similar to PCE CD or even better.
    It's definitely not better.

    Issues I have with the SegaCD version:

    - First and foremost.. the sound FX sound like ass. They're extremely annoying. The explosions and sword swipe have the FM pseudo white-noise that just sounds terrible. There's no reason to use it here, especially consider the Ricoh sound chip. Some other sound fx are annoying as well.

    - Not a fan of the remix soundtrack. It sounds muffled. People complain that the PCE version is treble-y.. what, do you not have an EQ? I guess people just run stuff straight to their headphones or TV. Sorry, but it's not superior.

    - Graphics. Lots of dithering. Fine if you're running composite (who still does that?? composite on the Genesis is just so muddy looking), but it's very noticeable. And generic enemies just shown as blue/yellow? Maybe if you haven't played the PCECD one very much, it's not as noticeable.. but it stands out to me. It's not like this game pushed the PCE's color limit or anything, but has nice looking visuals as a treat. Seeing dithering and/or removed colors hurts it.

    - Minor gripes: Some slowdown here and there. Missing water transparency effect (it's part of the "story" of the stage). But mostly the sword slash. They nurf'd the game and made the sword slash over-powerful. This changes the gameplay quite a bit, and you have to hear the annoying sound effect for it.

    The pros of a few added parallax are a nice little touch (and they are little), but do nothing to detract from the issue listed above. If you haven't put much time, or at all, on the PCE one.. then maybe you won't notice it. But I've tried many years to like this port and just can't find a reason to keep going back to it (even when I forced myself to). I've heard the argument that the SegaCD version is easier than the PCECD one, but if that's an honest argument to you.. then re-evaluate your skills. The PCECD is definitely beatable on normal with just a little practice (this, coming from someone who's only around average at shmups). I think TF3 and TF4 are harder games than the PCECD version of LOT.

    Anyway, if someone patched the game for the sound effect issues and fixed some of the coloring/dithering then this port would be awesome. Until then, my opinion is closer to the OP.
    Last edited by turboxray; 03-17-2020 at 11:27 AM.

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    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    If you use a model 1 Genesis, you can connect a male to male 3.5mm audio cable from the stereo out on the Gen to the stereo in on the SCD. That way, you can use the volume slider to adjust the level of the sound effects. The music is handled by the SCD and the SFX by the Gen. Pretty much a necessity to get this game to sound good. The music soundtrack is actually really good in my opinion, upbeat, rocking and really suits the gameplay. But yeah, the SFX are not good.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    Quote Originally Posted by profholt82 View Post
    If you use a model 1 Genesis, you can connect a male to male 3.5mm audio cable from the stereo out on the Gen to the stereo in on the SCD. That way, you can use the volume slider to adjust the level of the sound effects. The music is handled by the SCD and the SFX by the Gen. Pretty much a necessity to get this game to sound good. The music soundtrack is actually really good in my opinion, upbeat, rocking and really suits the gameplay. But yeah, the SFX are not good.
    Yeah! That's actually a great feature on model 1 setup. For Duo's and PCE CD units, you have to mod the system for that kind of control.. but it's actually dumb because "PSG" has a master volume that they could have easily added to any CD game as a setting. :/

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    Wildside Expert vexatious's Avatar
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    @ turboxray
    You're probably right, but it's not that bad and if that's true about the difficulty then I would probably recommend a hack to increase it, but either way the game remains good on the core CD hardware.

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