I took down another one of my NES white whales: Blaster Master.
For the most part, the game is not as difficult as it’s reputation suggests. Since enemies don’t respawn until you leave an area, and health drops are quite common, it’s pretty easy to survive exploring as long as you’re cautious.
Most of my difficulty (read: deaths) came from the bosses. They’re all terrible damage sponges with really fiddly hitboxes. The only one I liked was area 3’s (and maybe the final boss). The one’s the pause glitch worked on were tolerable (because I didn’t have to fight them).
Wall 2 is an amazingly terrible upgrade. Wall 1 was a perfectly fine upgrade – just drive straight into a wall and you’ll drive up it – nice, simple, intuitive. Wall 2 let’s you continue driving up the wall and straight along the ceiling – sounds fine. Unfortunately, it also makes it so you automatically start driving down any ledge you drive over, which fundamentally changes how you approach every single platform in the game. If you want to jump off the ledge of any platform, you’ll have to jump significantly earlier.
Naturally, Area 8 has multiple rooms worth of platforms where if you mistime a jump just a hair too late your tank will gladly dunk itself face-first into a bed of spikes – and sometimes if you try compensating by jumping early you’ll mistime it and bonk into a ceiling and hit the spikes regardless. And to top it off there’s a room where you have to manage both of those concerns while also trying not to be hugged to death by a dozen or so demonic caterpillars (aka the worst room in the game).
so yeah, Area 8 is where I decided it just wasn’t worth respecting the game’s limited lives/continues and started using savestates to circumvent that (instead of just using them to circumvent the lack of saves/passwords). (Game needs an extend meter at the very least, imho.)
I kinda like how every non-required dungeon exists to farm for resources (gun level, hover energy, subweapons), and the decision of whether or not to bother traversing a dungeon is a little risk-reward assessment. It’s kind of cool, but also kind of tedious. For better or for worse, Inti Creates’ remake loses both of those feelings by having nearly every dungeon dispense a permanent upgrade, so I guess you could say it’s missing some sort of je ne sais quoi from the original (except I know what it is so you can’t).
tl;dr the remake is better, even though they never got around to releasing Uncle Fester as a DLC character