, look at this screenshot:
You can see 4 rectangles:
1) blue around boy
2) blue around Spikey Tiger
3) yellow at Spikey Tiger's feet
4) white around shuriken, obscured by the enemy
The blue rectangles are melee-vulnerable collision boxes. Yellow is ranged-vulnerable. Projectile attacks currently are white; I haven't picked a color for them yet. As you can see, the white and yellow rectangles aren't intersecting, so the ranged attack doesn't hit despite the projectile visibly flying straight through his body.
Here's a shot of the javelin coming up short:
Unlike Spikey Tiger, Great Viper and Vampire are completely immune to projectiles because they're on a different layer than the heroes.
, the menus use background mode 5, which some emulators don't emulate correctly. So my guess is whichever retroarch core you had selected was failing. Just a guess though.
Items\Unique_Equipment (On by default) limits you to 1 of any specific piece of equipment. The only time in the game where you could find yourself with no equipment for a slot for a given character is right at the beginning if you completely skip buying variety in the shops you encounter. Otherwise, throughout the game there will always be plenty of equipment to go around, but unlike vanilla, nothing will be useless (i.e. since in vanilla, when a shop sells two different chest armors, you just buy two or three copies of the stronger one, leaving the slightly lower defense item a pointless waste of space, which is boring and dumb).
Regarding the Mana Beast, feel free to keep brainstorming. I haven't gotten to reviewing him yet.