October 25, 2007

Last Blade Blues

(much to the horror of Setsuna, Hibiki started to sprout wings)

I downloaded a MAME Emulator from the office the other day. For those who don’t know what MAME is, then the feeling is quite mutual because I don’t know what it is either. All I know is that it can simulate Arcade games like those coin-operated ones at the mall. And along with the emulator, I also downloaded 2 arcade games, or ROMs as they call it in the emulator trade. And one of these was the Last Blade 2: Bakumatsu Roman.

One of the reasons why I decided to download the emulator was that I wanted to try Last Blade for myself. Neil, my cousin and undeclared sensei on all things manly, once told me how great a game Last Blade is. And coming from a man who would rather spend the day reading Nietzsche than play video games, his recommendation was something to consider. And when I researched the game on Wikipedia, I was impressed with the artwork as well as the complexity of the unit sprites. So when I managed to stumble upon a website that offered a Last Blade game emulator, I decided to grab the opportunity and downloaded it.

And so far I’ve been getting ass kicked by it for almost two consecutive days.

Okay, so I did play a bit with it (and managed to actually enjoy a second or so of the game), but most of the time I was either being slashed at, pummeled, sucker-punched or having my face hammered at the ground. Last Blade 2: Bakumatsu Roman is by far one of the hardest and most unforgiving fighting games that I have ever played. The enemy AI is brutal and uses all of the skills at twice my speed. Sure, my old Compaq keyboard is not exactly the best gaming peripheral out there, but c’mon! How the heck can you land a hit on someone when you’re literally moving like you’ve got hot potatoes in your pants? And blocking is almost non-existent when the wily bastards lands one on the jaw. If were not for the fact that I spent two month’s of my savings on our PC, I might have thrown it out my window out to sheer frustration.

But as soon as my head cooled off (and right after my blood receded back to its normal temperature), I realized that the game was that hard because of the fact that it is an arcade game. Arcade games (with the exception of the Street Fighter vs. Marvel vs. Capcom vs. Care Bears franchise) are designed to be difficult. After all, how are they going to rack up on the money if you’ve beaten the game at a single sitting? Arcade games were meant to give its customers a thrashing, and have them spend tokens one after another with the illusion that they just might somehow beat it and place their name at the high scores. Neil must have played a console version of Last-Blade, which is usually watered-down and has a more merciful difficulty setting. Either that or he’s got the hand articulation of Spiderman on crack.

It took me another day before I decided to end the madness and stop playing Last Blade altogether. Arcade game or not, it is a game not worthy enough to test my anger management capabilities. So until I discover how to lower the difficulty level of the ROM, or they introduce a new character that has a fully automatic AK-47 as a weapon, the game is in the back shelf of my PC. But should any of you would like to be interested in getting a crack at it and want a copy, feel free to contact me. I’m always willing to share the love, or in this case, the frustration.

1 comment:

Colin said...

ok, so two years too late, but there should be way to configure a "test" button in MAME. On an Arcade Cabinet it is a small button that opens the game configuration menu. In this menu you can define how many coins=1 credit, the time limit for rounds, and most importantly, the Difficulty. Last Blade is brutaly hard on default difficulty, turn it down to 1 and you'll enjoy yourself much more.

If you still have it around, or feel like downloading it again, you might enjoy it more this time around.