Gegege no Kitarou: Gyakushuu! Youma Daikessen on PS1/PSX is one of the most beautiful 2D games ever made.
It is an adaptation from Shigeru Mizuki's famous manga.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the very last game released on PSX, so it got next to no press and stayed in Japan.
Even today, it is pretty much unknown.
There is a Saturn version, bu I couldn't find an iso/bin that would work in retroarch, so I couldn't compare.
It is beautiful, has a unique macabre atmosphere, huge bosses, great voice actors doing all the dialogues, impressive music both traditional Japanese while very bold, and run 'n' gun platformer style, think a bit of megaman and Contra.
And yes, Kitaro has two different sets of sprites when facing left and right.
Sadly, some aspects of the gameplay make it a pain to play.
If these were to be addressed, this could be an excellent and very original platformer.
Namely the problems and some solutions may be :
- Kitaro's projectiles are way too weak, enemies come continuously and you can hardly kill them all before they come to contact, even though you keep mashing the button.
> buff the strenght of Kitaro's projectiles and add an autofire.
- Kitaro has two main types of attacks mapped on the same button : 1) shooting his hair, 2) shooting a sandal. If you keep the button pressed he moves freely and stops shooting hair to charge the sandal attack, megaman style.
The sandal attack is a homing attack that goes after every enemy and most projectiles on screen, but Kitaro can't move anymore while waiting for his sandal to come back. This is a real pain.
> change the button mapping and add an autofire to the hair attack
> Let Kitaro move while the sandal is away and map the sandal charge to a shoulder button
- Kitaro's jump is terrible. If you jump forward and let go of the controller he keeps gliding down forward. There are some cool platforming moments that are a bit tedious because of this and because you get through some platforms since the jumps are so tight.
> fix his jump controls, and maybe increase it a bit. Also, a solution could be to add a double jump to Kitaro, using his crouching animation as a link, like Oro is Street Fighter III 3rd Strike :https://youtu.be/YOpH54eMg8c?t=220
- Kitaro has a repelling move but the animation is too slow, so it is a bit hard to time, thus making it useless.
> make this animation faster
- Kitaro has a few other special attacks that all depend on the sandal charge, it's very tedious and keeps you from fighting if you want to use it.
> remap these attacks (they both use some shoulder button)
- there is an overworld to select your stage like in Super Mario world.
Once you've beaten a stage, you have to beat it again to go through, and the revisits don't add anything.
- after a while Kitaro can choose some yokai friends with special abilities and summon them in game.
Sounds cool but they are not that useful.
> no idea what to do there...
- Kitaro's mobility could be improved reusing his falling down animations to let him slide under projectiles, megaman style.
- you can shoot in many different directions, but Kitaro can't shoot in diagonals without moving.
> again some different button mapping could allow him to stay in the same spot to aim.
I think that's about it.
Also, the game could be translated
Hope somebody takes interest in this game as it is worth testing.
Improvements could go further and make it a great game if levels were to be edited/extended to take advantage of an increased mobility.