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Thread: Konami and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Genesis Konami and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

    Sega Lord X does it again in yet another top upload. This time he explores the excellent work that video game giants Konami did in supporting Sega's 16-bit console. Konami were easily one of the best 3rd party developers for the Mega Drive/Genesis and, alongside producing many other classics, gave me one of my favourite games of all time, Rocket Knight Adventures. Enjoy!


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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Aleste's Avatar
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    I'm on the fence as Konami's input to the Megadrive, to be honest...

    The first fact is that Konami was quite happy with the Famicom and SFC, and reluctantly jumps aboard quite late, of course driven by the Megadrive success in the USA. By doing so, it leaves behind some of its truly great franchises of the era, Gradius, Salamander, Parodius. And that's a first big put off.

    The two or three best titles have achieved cult status in retrospective (RKA, Bloodlines, Hard Corps), but I guess the real "money" behind the deal was the TMNT franchise, and maybe the Warner animations (not sure how lucrative those proved to be). That's license stuff, and no, I won't be dragged in an endless TIT/HH debate...

    In the end of things, Konami single-handledy rivalled the EA behemoth on soccer, but couldn't bother to convert their ISS pro on Megadrive by themselves...

    So yeah... A big respect for Nobuya Nakazato, Michiru Yamane and other individuals that worked on these gems, but not so much for the corporate side of the company which I think you can feel, they weren't committed to the Megadrive that much.
    Last edited by Aleste; 05-16-2020 at 09:38 PM.

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    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    This is a funny post because the discussion in the Sega Lord X Capcom thread quickly turned into 'Konami neglected the Mega Drive' :P
    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 Aleste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Tiger View Post
    This is a funny post because the discussion in the Sega Lord X Capcom thread quickly turned into 'Konami neglected the Mega Drive' :P
    Don't you feel it so, in a way? Although one should also consider, that Capcom on-hands input on the MD was even smaller (but, due to SF2SCE and 6Bpad much more impactful).

    Sometimes I wonder, what if Sega had chosen to reprogram four Konami coin-ops instead of Strider, GnG, Ookami and Forgotten Worlds?

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleste View Post
    I'm on the fence as Konami's input to the Megadrive, to be honest...

    The first fact is that Konami was quite happy with the Famicom and SFC, and reluctantly jumps aboard quite late, of course driven by the Megadrive success in the USA. By doing so, it leaves behind some of its truly great franchises of the era, Gradius, Salamander, Parodius. And that's a first big put off.

    The two or three best titles have achieved cult status in retrospective (RKA, Bloodlines, Hard Corps), but I guess the real "money" behind the deal was the TMNT franchise, and maybe the Warner animations (not sure how lucrative those proved to be). That's license stuff, and no, I won't be dragged in an endless TIT/HH debate...

    In the end of things, Konami single-handledy rivalled the EA behemoth on soccer, but couldn't bother to convert their ISS pro on Megadrive by themselves...

    So yeah... A big respect for Nobuya Nakazato, Michiru Yamane and other individuals that worked on these gems, but not so much for the corporate side of the company which I think you can feel, they weren't committed to the Megadrive that much.
    I'm sure you're right that it was purely a business decision by Konami, based on the Mega Drive selling so well in Europe and America, that prompted them to get involved with Sega. Hence why they were relatively late to the game in terms of the console's lifespan. That doesn't take away from the fact that they consistently produced high quality titles for the Mega Drive and, in some cases, some of the best games of that generation.

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    Road Rasher Loggo's Avatar
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    It's a shame that we never got a Gradius game.

    At the very least, we should have gotten a port of Nemesis 90 Kai.

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    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleste View Post
    I'm on the fence as Konami's input to the Megadrive, to be honest...

    The first fact is that Konami was quite happy with the Famicom and SFC, and reluctantly jumps aboard quite late, of course driven by the Megadrive success in the USA. By doing so, it leaves behind some of its truly great franchises of the era, Gradius, Salamander, Parodius. And that's a first big put off.

    The two or three best titles have achieved cult status in retrospective (RKA, Bloodlines, Hard Corps), but I guess the real "money" behind the deal was the TMNT franchise, and maybe the Warner animations (not sure how lucrative those proved to be). That's license stuff, and no, I won't be dragged in an endless TIT/HH debate...

    In the end of things, Konami single-handledy rivalled the EA behemoth on soccer, but couldn't bother to convert their ISS pro on Megadrive by themselves...

    So yeah... A big respect for Nobuya Nakazato, Michiru Yamane and other individuals that worked on these gems, but not so much for the corporate side of the company which I think you can feel, they weren't committed to the Megadrive that much.
    Perhaps early on, as it's a shame that they didn't start putting out games until 92, but damn if those 15 or so games that Konami put out on the MD don't include some of the best on the console. Seriously.

    Sure, there are obviously some developers and publishers for the MD that were far more prolific, but Konami's hit to dud ratio on the console is freaking incredible. And they showed a lot more commitment to the MD than their chief competitor Capcom. Putting out dedicated console exclusives of their premiere franchises like Castlevania and Contra shows that Konami cared about developing for the console.

    To be on the fence about their contribution to the MD library is ridiculous in my opinion. I mean, how many classics does a publisher need to put out before they're accepted as worthy?

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    Hero of Algol
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    I think both Rocket Knight Adventures and Contra: Hard Corps are some of the very best games on the system.
    Other Konami titles on the system didn't have as much care (or simply money) behind them but they're still good for the most part.

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Yeah Rocket Knight Adventures is a 16-bit masterpiece. The animation, the use of colour, the absolutely breathtaking soundtrack...it's all there. Hell, if the only game Konami ever made for the Mega Drive was RKA I'd still be singing their praises, I love it that much.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    I think both Rocket Knight Adventures and Contra: Hard Corps are some of the very best games on the system.
    Other Konami titles on the system didn't have as much care (or simply money) behind them but they're still good for the most part.
    Fun fact: Nobuya Nakazato, who directed/designed Rocket Knight Adventures and Contra Hard Corps, started at Konami right around the same time as Masato Maegawa (founder of Treasure). They were both assigned to the Nintendo division and worked together on their first three games: Castlevania: The Adventure (GB), RollerGames (NES), and Laser Invasion (NES). After that, Maegawa worked as director on his own game, Bucky O'Hare (NES), while Nakazato led the Contra III team.

    Shortly after that, Maegawa left Konami and took with him most of the newer staff that he had worked on projects together with - except, noticeably, for Nakazato. However, Yaida and Suganami, both new staff who worked on Contra III, did go with Maegawa.

    For Nakazato, that meant that almost every developer he had worked with suddenly left to go to Treasure. While the new Treasure team was developing Gunstar Heroes, Nakazato found himself in the enviable position of being in charge of an original action game at Konami - Rocket Knight Adventures.

    I've always been curious about why Nakazato decided to stay (assuming Maegawa invited him), and what we might have gotten if he had gone to Treasure.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Aleste's Avatar
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    RKA is a great game. I feel that both sequels diminish its greatness to such an extent as to quickly lose interest in the characters and world imagined. It's a shame.

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    It's somewhat hard to put into words why RKA is so special while the sequels aren't (even if they're good games).

    The best way I've found to explain it is that RKA feels like a Saturday morning cartoon in game form. Not the same as a game with a cartoon aesthetic or a game about a saturday morning cartoon, but a game that is designed to evoke a similar sort of feel to a cartoon.

    First, the game is not a platformer, it's an action game that demands platforming as part of its combat. It's closer to Shinobi 3 than it is to Sonic. A lot of people prefer the sequels because they have better movement options, but they can do that because they are platformers, RKA is not that.

    The game's art style is much more unique, and it is also much better animated, than its sequels, both of which go for a more Sonic-y ripoff style. The game is chock full of little animations, amusing events/cutscenes like the pig in a box, the chickens, etc.

    There is clear story to the game. I don't mean simply having a plot but how it is present. Did you notice the castle on fire in the background of the first stage, with the monster on it and an airship floating above? Yeah . Seeing axel with the princess in the airship afterwards, the ship captain getting progressively more injured the more you fight him, etc. No stupid nonsensical music stage here.

    No other game gives you an experience quite like RKA, that's why it is the best. Even if you prefer the gameplay of the sequels, RKA is by far the more memorable game.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert Aleste's Avatar
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    You say it's hard to put into words but I'd say that a mighty fine attempt.

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