RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Nov 6th 2016 at 01:00:00 PM by (Addicted)
Posted under Toaplan, PC Engine, Shooter, Horror Story

[img width=600 height=568]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/cisco678/RF/napr2_zpsj1cmnphp.jpg[/img]

Toaplan was one of the most prolific developers of shoot em ups during the golden age. They endeared themselves to gamers by releasing titles such as Tiger-Heli, Twin Cobra, Hellfire, Truxton, and the infamous Zero Wing. Released in the arcades in 1989, Horror Story also known as Demon's World internationally is an auto-scrolling horizontal shooter where the player armed with what looks like a copy of a proton pack busts ghosts and other demons. Today we will be looking at the PC Engine port of Horror Story to determine if this game is an under appreciated gem or if it should stay buried.

The PC Engine port was done in 1993 by NEC themselves and they did an excellent job. The ability to do two player simultaneous play is a rarity of arcade conversions and they managed to keep it. The game contains seven varied levels each with their own theme and boss. It's not like anyone would see all six levels though as the game is brutally hard. One hit with anything will kill you and even with memorization of the levels, it's still easy to die. You can grab a shield that affords an extra hit, but those are few and far between. The game seems to know how hard it is as the bosses will leave if you take too long to beat them. At least players can take solace in the fact that you respawn right where you died and keep whatever weapon you had when you died.

[img width=700 height=525]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/cisco678/RF/hstory2_zps59dtdocd.jpg[/img]
Two player simultaneous play is a rarity in arcade to home conversion

The controls are standard two button arcade fare. The first button fires the gun, and the bullets for the gun will vary depending upon which power up (bomb, laser, etc .) the player has. The second button provides an alternate means to dispatch enemies with a single press allowing a short jump. A double press of the button combined with left or right movement allows a double jump for those hard to reach places. Those who have played Ghouls N Ghosts will be instantly familiar with the jump mechanic. Players will have to master the controls quickly as the second stage requires players to double jump to reach the balloons to travel from island to island.

[img width=700 height=525]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/cisco678/hstory3_zpsvms1xwp6.jpg[/img]
Mastery of the double jump is needed to reach the balloons

The graphics are colorful and well animated. There is a wide variety of enemies and few palette swaps, although there is a specific enemy in level three that looks a little too similar to a certain species from planet SR388. The stages themselves are varied with each stage taking a particular theme. The Wild West stage stands out above the rest with it's ghosts in cowboy hats and an undead cowboy boss that shoots his gun and scorpions at the player. The boss characters, such as the Chinese Dragon, are the highlight with their large and detailed sprites.

[img width=700 height=525]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/cisco678/RF/hstory4_zpsuto6yg2r.jpg[/img]
Yes that is a dragon shooting dragons

The music is standard fare. Each track works for the particular stage, but none of it is memorable. The sound effects work well and each gun has a distinct sound. If this game was put in the middle of a busy arcade, it would be hard pressed to attract any players based on sound alone.

[img width=700 height=525]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/cisco678/RF/hstory5_zpsmwzcyzvf.jpg[/img]
The laser has a distinct sound that is one of the best in the game

Horror Story is an exercise is frustration from start to end with one hit kills and death traps at every turn. It can be fun, but it's going to take a lot of practice. It will be very difficult to track down a copy as even most PC Engine collector's aren't aware that it exists. If you are looking for something unique on the PC Engine and can find it cheap, give it a try. You just might like it.

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This is a new one to me. The graphics look nice, so maybe I'll have to at least play it through some means at some point.
Always love the NEC artwork, and the game looks like fun. I really need to get a PCE.
@Duke: It's very frustrating and even if you know what to do can be hard to pull it off. I would still recommend you try through those "some means". If anyone really wants to try it check out the arcade version on MAME.

@Shadow: If you're interested I know a guy.

I found out that my local library has a media room with a capture card. I'm hoping I can grab some better screenshots for future reviews with my SCART to HDMI converter.
Nice write-up!  This didn't come to North America, did it?  I also need to get a PCE and/or PCE Duo at some point.

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