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Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« on: 04:01, 12 January 12 »
Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
12 January 2012, 2:39 am

 

Recorrido completo por el Ninja Spirit para Amstrad CPC Activision (1990) Activision nos trajo en 1990 esta conversión del popular arcade de 1988 Ninja Spirit o Saigo no Nindou, como se conoce en tierras niponas. Comparándola con la versión arcade, los escenarios están bastante logrados, falta algún enemigo, y se echa un poco de menos que todas las armas son bastante útiles excepto el kusarigama (un kama con una cadena de la cual cuelga una bola pesada), el cual parecía uno de los mayores atractivos de la recreativa porque puedes barrer 360º, pero aquí es demasiado lenta a diferencia del original y que prácticamente la he usado para hacer coreografías a final de fase. Jugar con la espada es muy entretenido, pero a efectos prácticos será ir con más lentitud, y veremos que una vez tengamos la mejora de Shurikens y de las Bombas de Bambú, esta versión se convierte prácticamente en un paseo. También como diferencia encontramos que podremos tener sólo una sombra o ninja fantasma para asistirnos y que copie nuestros movimientos, cuando en el arcade podíamos llevar dos. La banda sonora está bastante bien, aunque no tiene la misma variedad que en la recreativa. En resumen, es una buena conversión, y sin duda entretendrá y dará esa dosis de
From: Metr81 Views: 8 1 ratings
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« Last Edit: 10:59, 16 January 12 by Gryzor »
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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #1 on: 19:27, 12 January 12 »
This game is a perfect example to show that wonderfull GFX does not necessarily make a good game. Actually a pity to waste the GFX for such a bad and slow engine. Worth being considered as candidate for a remake  8)
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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #2 on: 20:35, 12 January 12 »
I don't find the graphics that good.

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #3 on: 22:55, 12 January 12 »
I don't find the graphics that good.

Well, maybe you would like them a bit more if the game would be more smooth and fluent.
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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #4 on: 23:01, 12 January 12 »
Possibly

Offline Metr

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #5 on: 23:24, 12 January 12 »
Usually the games loses a few frames with the videos, it's not a good scrolling but playing it doesnt seems as horrible.
Anyways the game is so slow and weapons like the kama with chain lose its potential. You can stick with inproved shurikens and bombs and the game becomes a piece of cake.
It's a pity because the original game seems way better and fast.

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #6 on: 00:00, 13 January 12 »
Well, that company in particular provided a couple of quick CPC conversions. One can't even blame the coder, maybe that poor guy had only two weeks time for a CPC version. Shame on the companies!
 
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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #7 on: 15:47, 13 January 12 »
I aggrree...(?)

This game show some fine graphics, well, sadly not for every levels...

Some levels are a bit to straight graphic ports, so not really suitable for the CPC palette, but for other levels, this is awesome.

Sadly, I loved the Arcade game, the CPC one is sluggish.

This kind of game may be quite difficult to get right on a CPC...
lots of sprites, effects, multidirectionnal shoots and sprites that can be turned in most directions (left/right, but also up/down mirror effect).

Oh, and horizontal scrolling... :'(

Would need to run on a 6512PLUS... as usual. :D


I suspect many arcade ports from the era to actually scroodge peoples...
They tried to get proper graphics, despite a bad gameplay.
So the young snots we were would see the pictures in magazines...

and tell "Wow this must me amazing, it looks like the arcade"... so we bought, but the Game doesn't play like the arcade most of time.



Ninja Spirit :
I liked the Arcade a lot, sweet graphics, for a platform shooter...

Some mix between BlackTiger and, Shinoby but in classic horizontal shooters .


Perhaps a problem with the CPC version is that they managed to get the graphics quite right (not on every levels), but sadly screwed up the palette so we miss the dark atmosphere for a flashy colourfull one.

well, the first level is completely abject... others look good.

And also perhaps they tried to get the sprite slightly too big, proportionnaly to the reduced screensize...

As usual, a big "useless" HUD... Well, not too big for once... but quite useless on the sides...


Also perhaps an actual Mode0 Speccy port...

Let's compare.

Speccy :

http://youtu.be/BpjlPY8qyKA

Clearly the same engine as on CPC, but in masked monocolour...
As often, they use the "White aura" trick so the sprites are supposed to be a bit more visible over the backgrounds, the shame is that they should actually have used a "Black aura"...
(Aura or Halo ?)

Ok let's be clear : even the speccy version is not quite fast... faster and better (gameplaywise) than Amstrad, yet not that fast.
Masked and numerous "big" sprites... over an horizontal scrolling, with a music running all along..


The result on CPC could only be catastrophic.
Perhaps having an option to remove the in-game music (but keep the sound effects) would ease the poor Z80 for the CPC version.

CPC :

http://youtu.be/HEgsHNsBUOw

As usual... run the same stuff as the speccy (yet with a bit more), but slowlier... because in full colours.
Because actually less RAM (Speccy must be Speccy128 version because of sounds) and more RAM used for graphics (backgrounds... masked speccy sprites are as heavy as Amstrad's, but backgrounds use twice less RAM for Datas...

As I told, some better ink choice could give better visual results, and sprites ported more from the C64 version could have been a bit better too.

C64 :

http://youtu.be/94XZnZEavYo

The sprites are Hard, so is the scrolling.
So graphics lack a lot in colour department, but the grey palette suit well and it is smooth and fast.
I won't put the NEC PCengine version, because we would cry too hard.

While sprites look smaller, this may be due to the "320x200" (160x200 actually) dimensionned screen compaired to the "256x192" (128x192) one on CPC and Speccy...


If you reduce the screensize, you sadly have to reduce the sprites size so the game keep the proportions, and this also ease the animation.

I think they struggled a lot to get this game fill the 64K only for the CPC464... must be full of compressed datas... ouch.

And sprites must also be re-oriented in a heavy CPU process.




ok here are  a few pictures to compare.

CPC/speccy version have far bigger sprites
Despite those being in Software...

and those are put on a smaller playfield, so we clearly loose the proper proportion for such kind of shooter, and those large sprites are still a lot more pixels to manipulate for the Z80, while smaller but well colored sprites (like re-masterised C64 ones...) would have been less messy and easier to animate, of course the bosses should stay the same...

also a fast mockup with repaletted graphics...(first level)

Needless to say, the greenwalls should be completely redone to, this is just a scrambled mass of pixels in a wrong colour...lol.


which is wrong too.

While speccy need to get a scrambled dither to get a proper feeling with its monocolour, the CPC version simply look messy and this is a lot of useless tiles difficult to compress too...
Also the the sprites sharing too much colours with the background, this can be even more "messier" for some levels...


The first Level clearly have one ink badly set... this background grey is just a sign of a hastily released product with no proper final verification, this good old "Work in progress but yet released" feeling, like RickDangerous2 with its Green problem...
« Last Edit: 18:52, 13 January 12 by MacDeath »

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #8 on: 17:48, 13 January 12 »
The palette is badly used and don't even use all the possible colour .

It feels too much RGB... basic and flashy Red, Green and blues prominently over-used...

And the palette seem to be the same for the whole game, which is again an Artistic lack.
The same problems as with good old RickDangerous IMO.

On the other hand, as the tiles/sprites are easy to find, this may be easily patched so a new tileset (which would keep the same setting) and a better palette could be added over the existing ones.

This would not get the game faster, but it would look even cooler.

having this ninja not well differenciated from the background is actually the main flaw with this game... it even alter the gameplay more than the game being abit sluggish.

At first sight, the graphics are not compressed (well, not all I guess) but the "rotations" must be done in software...

Having it in 128K would enable to double the sprite-sets so you have "pre calculated" left and right verison of the sprites... (and even to have enemies not looking exactly like your own ninja too.)

This thing is an usual CPU (h)eater.

And like I said, were some of the main sprites a bit (byte ?) smaller, this would make for a huge gain in both RAM and CPU.
The main sprite should be 24x24 equivalent instead of 32x32 (actually 12x24 instead of 16x32... as we are in mode0 of course) with this, you gain 7x (4x8) character/tile surface on every(/most/a lot of) sprites to display or animate... a loose the feeling of a too narrow playfield.

16x32 = 16 tiles per frame.
12x24 = 9 tiles per frame.

With the help of the 15 available colours with no attributes it may be possible to still get a decent looking sprite set and the CPU would have to process almost half stuff (for the main player sprite, and same sized opponents).

But this of course would be a heavier patch... :D

The same with the "green walls" being simpler... gain in visual and in CPU/RAM...
just look at the C64 version to catch my words.


But I wouldn't say the engine is bad.
It's just that it would need some proper CPC friendly modifications as it is a bit overcharged in graphic Datas to handle.


Does the game multiload between each levels or does it simply load once and for all ?
Ok, multiloading between each levels.

Sadly the bosses seem to be all even sluggier and would even need their own sub-micro level with a proper reload... I guess...


As usual, a PLUS version could use some Hardsprites for the explosion effects, this would again ease both the CPU and RAM as those would be stored into the ASIC and would be displayed with few effort for the CPU.

And the Extra Palette capability, and perhaps some DMA wouldn't hurt either... ;)


concerning the original Arcade game.

It is the IREM M72 HARDWARE.

http://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=738&gid=593#593

its resolution is 256*384 or 384*256 (vertical or horizontal setting).

The same machine as for R-Type. ;)




To keep the proper ratio between the screensize and the sprites, we clearly need to get those sprites smaller.

as the 384x256 is turned into a 256x192 equivalent (even smaller actually because of the frame we get on SpecCPCy...)

192/256 = 0,75...
this is 3/4 the size.

The sprite on the arcade are approximately close to a 32x32 or 32x40...size.

so yep, getting this into 24x24 would be quite enough, hell even a "24x32" size may be a slight gain.

because as it is, the "AmstradZ80" versions have many sprites almost sized as the Arcade... :o



Seriously, what were they thinking ?


ok, let's cry a bit more...


http://youtu.be/qekvX9HYiL0

Anyway, the AmstradZ80 versions are still quite faithfull to the Arcade original actually. I put again the Metr's video so we can compare on the same screen...  8)


http://youtu.be/HEgsHNsBUOw
« Last Edit: 19:49, 13 January 12 by MacDeath »

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #9 on: 19:32, 13 January 12 »
MacDeath: You're awesome! One could use your posts for a chapter of a book :)
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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #10 on: 20:12, 13 January 12 »
Thank you, and thank you for the Megaflash too... ;)


It is to notice that the game could have looked quite decent in mode1...
We would have got the straightly ported speccy graphics but in 4 coloured Backgrounds and 3 coloured Sprites, actually way to get it awesome looking with a "ancient and grim" feeling...

Yet the game would remain as sluggish as it is on CPC... but perhaps even better looking.
I should mock this up...

This would look a bit like the Shadow of the beast speccyport actually. ;D

talking about it.

SpiderSoft.

According to CPCpower, they did the port, along Shadow of the Beast, Indianna Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Timescanner.

From those production I would say they did quite decent Z80  jobs... despite always being Speccyports on CPC anyway.
2 being mode0 and 2 being mode1...

Time scanner wasn't that bad, and those 4 games were actually decent Speccy games I guess.

Also they had the decency to actually do some proper Graphic re-code for the CPC (no fully monocolor games or Backgrounds as would do shiTiertex... the ones who butchered BlackTiger and also Strider...)


It almost looks like the game was first ported into speccy and then re-done from this on the CPC (in order to fit the exact same tile set) which can only explain why some part are so messy (especially at first level).


Seriously, they were Britons ?

Do they, british 8bit Graphic artists and coders from the era (1981-1992) always worked exclusively on Spectrum ?

If this was the case I got bad news for you... it not not the best method...

But this explain why they couldn't into the CPc palette...



According to the ZX spectrum longplay, even on speccy the game have a few slowdowns... yet it is still well handled by the machine (but quite on the limit) so when it comes to the CPC, clearly something is too heavy.

Tey re-used too much material.
As I told, getting the main ninja sprites smaller...

A minor change on the code actually...
the engine itself would even not actually change...
just re-assign a few addresses and modify a few graphic designs I guess... perhap correct the collision boxes too...
And get a "switch music off" option.

It could clearly suffice to get the thing working properly and even get the game closer to the arcade.
« Last Edit: 21:20, 13 January 12 by MacDeath »

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #11 on: 23:39, 13 January 12 »
Cant wait to play a game with macdeath's graphics!

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Re: Metr's vids - Ninja Spirit Amstrad cpc HD
« Reply #12 on: 23:48, 13 January 12 »
eerf lol... not sure the mod would be as simple as that anyway. :laugh:

As usual I would need someone to rip me properly the graphics, so they can be modified and then put into the game again, also get those palette changes too...

Wouldn't be that much difficult than the Rick Dangerous PLUS version, but the game wouldn't be more fast with this method.

if the Sprite management were to be betterly understood, then we could try to get those sprites reduced in size...

Gtting the engine to use 2 sprites sets (oriented differently) on a 128K version would even be more awesome but even more difficult to achieve I guess...




Do you know if we can get the names of the guys working at Spidersoft in 1990 ?
 Perhaps if we can ask them, and get the speccy source code...


Anyway as you can see, finding the graphics seems not too difficult.

I used the two mag cracked version, which claim to be one which re-load at each levels.

Are there other versions who doesn't ? are they for 128K computer or simply a lack from the Hacker ?


Anyway, getting a patch for the background tiles and palette should be easy for a good hacker, I guess it could be sweet.

Not that it would get the game faster, but this would be a first start and the repaletted/regraphed version would look better and this alone could get the game a little bit more fun to play.


As usual, to get the game faster, it would need a more complete hack and analyzis, with uncertain results too.


priority would be to get hands on the sprites management routines, and the tiles/sprites addresses managements, so we can get those sprites in 12x24 instead of 16x32.

Also perhaps shut off the music (I know the music is a good aspect of this game).

This alone could really free a lot of ressources.

Extra Bonus score would be achieved if the routines used to re-orient the sprite could be understood...
Because this must be quite CPU intensive and just to simply do it with some extra RAM (pre-calculated) may be a good idea if possible.



Concerning the speccy version, I suspect it to be more like a 48K version, who would use the 128K only to get more levels uploaded, and the extra sounds/music...
Do someone know if the game runs on a 48K machine Speccy ?

Obviously it runs on 48K mahine so th whole game is tuned down to match the 64K, this explain why on many levels the ennemies are just re-use of the player's sprite, which is quite a bad aspect of this game.


Perhaps another detail :

Most sprites can have a shadow form, which is simply the same sprite in "1bpp"... black and transparency only.

Does anyone know how do they perform this ?
If it simply display the sprite with "what is no transparency is black" effect this could also be actually some CPU waster at some point.
« Last Edit: 18:54, 15 January 12 by MacDeath »