Beyond Agathos and Kakos, Let's Play The Adventures of Rad Gravity!
Greetings Space Cadets! It's time for The Adventures of Rad Gravity!
The Adventures of Rad Gravity, or just 'Rad Gravity' because typing 'The Adventures of' every time I mention the title of the game will get tedious as heck, is a game released on the Nintendo Entertainment System by Activision in 1990. I played this quite a bit as a kid, in fact I think my copy of it is still buried somewhere in my closet back at my folk's place, though I think I only ever finished it legitimately once. The endgame is, well, I'll get to that when I get to that.
And that Title music, wow. Uh, the soundtrack isn't one of this game's strong suits, just FYI.
But first, let's press start! I like how Rad's gun points at whichever option you pick. The game has a password system which we won't be using because emulator.
Actually, before we start our adventure how about some context for the story? Because there is some! Context, I mean. Where a lot of NES games had a brief story section at the beginning of their instruction booklets (oh how many times I read the one for SMB1 when I first got my NES) Rad Gravity kicks it up a notch and has a brief comic outlining the story! How rad is that?
...look if you don't like the 'rad' jokes you're in the wrong LP, there's probably going to be a lot of them. Anyway, prologue comic!
Here we're introduced to Kakos, who seems like a totally swell computer eyeball and will be our co-pilot and navigator for the game. He's a good guy. Anyway, 'Quark' is the name of the planet where our hero, Rad Gravity, hails. They colonized nine worlds in three systems (will we visit all nine? We just might!) but over the centuries gradually forgot the united planets.
So the 'Compuminds' are basically the Space Internet (y'know, until U-DO comes along and replaces them) which connected all the worlds together. They allowed for communication and coordinated space travel. Seems like something important you would want to keep running smoothly.
But, evil is everywhere, even in our own backyard!
Hee hee, 'zorch', sounds like something Pinky would exclaim.
Anyway, Agathos was a Quarkian (I prefer 'Quarkerite' myself) who decided to take up Space Wizardry and with a magic wand and a bottle of nondescript radioactive... stuff, mutated into a giant brain. As you would.
I would think that would not be a very useful metamorphosis to have, what with how ridiculously fragile and defenseless you would be, but I guess Agathos made it work. Maybe it was all the Cosmic Madness, I bet that helped.
Anyway, because Agathos is evil he turned off the Space Internet so all the planets became isolated and they couldn't visit each other or share their Space Memes. Buhahahaha indeed.
And because Kakos is good he has a plan to stop Agathos, who is evil, and with his help Rad Gravity will reactivate the Compuminds and let people back on Space Twitter once more.
So Colonel Spaceman tells us that we have to find all the locations for the Compuminds because no one thought to write them down on a piece of paper or anything. See, this is why I don't trust saving on the Cloud.
Thus Kakos, who is good, will be installed on Rad's ship so they can go thwart Agathos, who is evil, and bring unity back to the United Federation of Planets or whatever. IF, that is, Rad will agree to it.
Well, we wouldn't have much of a game if he didn't now would we?
Anyway let's move this along... with previews!
Wow this Space Adventure is going to be so rad. That's hardly all the areas we will encounter, and they won't even be in that order! If there is one thing Rad Gravity has, at least, it's variety.
Ok, enough set-up, what happens when you press start?
(Continued next post)
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:09 PM.
Hello computer eyeball!
"We only know a teleport location for Planet Cyberia. Computers there have more teleport locations. Disable the security system and go to every computer. We need those teleport locations to continue our quest."
So Kakos gives us the summary of what the comic just got finished telling us. Go to Cyberia and get the Space GPS Coordinates for more worlds. Ok, got it!
Hyperspace is very red. I guess Rad's ship hasn't been upgraded enough to hit plaid.
Level select! Of sorts, we only have one location now, the highlighted marker on the planet. If we select the other one we'll just go back out into space, but since we don't know the location of anywhere else we'll just have to come back to Cyberia. Presumable they do have the coordinates for Quark, since they just came from there and all, but Rad's not about to go back home without completing his mission. Also they never actually put Quark in the game, so. Yeah.
Every time Rad heads down to the surface he walks to the left through a black portal that kind of voips into existance. Low budget transporter technology, it's the NES you see.
Kakos' comment about using the Communicator refers to one of the items in your sub menu (currently the only other item in your sub menu besides your default weapon). If you select it you beam back to the ship and get to start over again with full life. Since the game has unlimited lives and losing all your energy will just send you back to your ship anyway it's not really useful as any kind of energy recovery. You'll mostly be using your Communicator to return to your ship after completing an area.
Also that is one wicked Bruce Campbell chin Rad is sporting there. Yes I know Grumpcade made that joke in their playthrough but so has literally every other person that has played Rad Gravity ever. Even little Spoony, and I didn't even know who Bruce Campbell was back then! It's true!
Anyway, teleporting down...
Welcome to Cyberia! It's kind of a mishmash of every sci-fi cyberpunk city ever. First thing to note, you start this first stage on the right side of the screen and not the left. It's an odd choice for sure and is disorienting at first. What's especially weird is that this isn't particularly common in Rad Gravity. Nearly every other stage in the game start you on the right side of the screen, like Nintendo God intended. Nintended. I'm not sure why they decided to have the first stage of the game play against type so much if it's not a common occurance throughout the game, but they dids what they dids.
Second thing is the music. You'll hear this music a lot while playing Rad Gravity, and at the very least it is very upbeat. It's hard to explain, but the music has an almost... messy quality to it? But it's hard to listen to the bit from 22 seconds to 32 seconds and not be charmed by the frankly cheerful adventurous medley they're trying to squeeze out of the NES. I dunno, it's flawed, but I always liked this theme.
Rad has the usual moveset of 8-bit platformers. He can duck, he can jump, and he can attack. His starting weapon is this Not-a-Lightsaber Lightsaber that he can use to attack enemies short range. It will get outclassed VERY quickly, but for now it's all we have.
His head also takes up nearly half of his entire sprite, but I guess it was the only way to fit in his mighty chin and fabulous pompador. Speaking of...
One of my favorite touches is how his hair bounces when he walks. It's the little things.
Anyway, where was I? Oh right, the actual game. Here Rad quickly dispatches the two enemies we see on the first screen (the grooving cyborg and the old man swinging a pair of chains around, I guess?) Another thing that becomes apparent very quickly is the manner defeated enemies are removed from the screen. In Super Mario Bros they flip upside down and fall off the screen, in Mega Man they vanish within a small explosion sprite effect, in River City Ransom they flicker and disappear after shouting something like BARF.
In Rad Gravity they explode into sprite fragments.
There's a non-zero chance that most of the effort into coding the game went into this. But at least it's a cool effect.
So just to the left of the starting area is another grooving cyborg guarding a door. We're taken to an interior section and, wow, yeah, another thing that will become apparent about Rad Gravity is that more than a few areas are just a mess of tiles. It doesn't really look bad, per say, it's clear they're going for some kind of run down patchwork aesthetic for Cyberia, but it can make it hard to tell what's what at a glance. For the record, the brownish blocks are solid, the blue tiles are semi-solid (for the most part) and the green tiles are background.
Rad explodes more grooving cyborg residents of Cyberia into little sprite pieces because he is a Space Hero.
Outside he's ambushed by another one almost immediately, here's a look at Rad's damage frame. He's normally flashing random colors whenever he's hit, I just so happened to grab a screenshot that landed on his normal color scheme.
Eventually when you play Rad Gravity you need to play the 'what is and is not a platform' game. Many things are semi-solid platforms that otherwise look like background tiles, especially in Cyberia. The blue tiles are semi-solid, but the brown ones are too, but not the brown ones with a brick pattern.
Another quirk about this game, if you jump and hold Down while falling you'll pass through any semi-solid platforms. There's one part later in Cyberia where not knowing that can mess you up, so hopefully you figure it out!
A little further ahead, after exploding some more goons, we come across... um... flying cyborg Hagrid? Is he the one that took Agathos to Space Hogwarts?
This enemy is a little annoying, as it likes to fly just out of reach until it decides to fly right into Rad, or shoot at him. But he still explodes into sprite pieces like everything else.
A large door takes us to a small side-room, where there is a yellow bar sitting in the far right corner. Is that a Space Twinkie?
(No, no I will never be done with the Space THING jokes, don't even ask)
Actually it grants us an extra life bar! Have I talked about the life bar yet? I don't think I've talked about the life bar yet. Those green bars at the top of the screen is Rad's life, before now we just had one but now we have two. The green color of each bar gets dimmer and dimmer as Rad takes damage, but it's sometimes hard to tell when he's about to run out or not. There have been times when it looked like his energy was totally depleted but he still took an extra hit before dying.
Anyway, we just effectively doubled our life with that pickup, though the game isn't generous enough to refill you to full when you grab one of these.
Back outside we continue our journey leftward and--- waaaaiiiit a minute. Not so fast.
Do you see it? Do you guys see it? Come on, it's RIGHT THERE, staring you in the face.
If the previous screenshot wasn't any indication, there's items to collect in Rad Gravity. Some of them are necessary to beat the game, but some are optional (as optional as extra health in a game that loves to throw around damage can be, anyway). And, of course, like any good platformer with optional items to find some of em are hidden. Of those hidden items, most are hidden fairly reasonably, but there are a small handful of hidden items that are hidden perhaps TOO well. One of these super-hidden items can be accessed from here.
Do you see it?
How about now?
Yup, that inconspicuous black square on the top of the screen was the bottom half of a door. Inside is a rather long and empty orange chamber with a health upgrade at the end.
I wonder how few players of the game found it back in the day. I know I didn't know it existed prior to the internet.
As we come upon the end of this outdoor section we see a large building guarded by almost-as-large robots. These guys take a lot of hits to beat and deal a lot of damage themselves so they're not worth fighting with a rinky-dink little Lightsaber. It's not even a saber, really. Lightbutterknife? Did Rad get that from the set of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie?
Heading inside we're ambushed by another giant robot immediately if you don't jump out of the way of its projectile. See it there? Three small lines of pixels right next to the door? They get kind of hard to see against some backgrounds later on, thankfully you can safely duck under them.
This is a fairly small room, but it's mostly inhabited by these damage-soaking giant robots, and one cyborg-Hagrid which I neglected to get a pic of, so be prepared to mash B a lot.
It's hard to tell in the last image, but Rad was on the same platform as the exploded robot, but whenever you take damage in this game you get knocked back a bit. Not only that, you also get knocked DOWN as if you were four Light Warriors unprepared to face Garland. If you take damage you'll fall down through semi-solid platforms while in your damage frame, so keep that in mind, it can really screw you up in places.
At the end of this room is what looks like a large doorway, but pressing Up does nothing. Instead, standing within it causes this white field to fall around Rad, which I think is supposed to be a teleport effect.
Geez, they went to all that effort there, but Rad's ship's transporter is just 'here's a black rectangle that appears'?
Anyway, new area!
(Continued next post)
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:10 PM.
Oh thank God, let's pop back to the ship for a break.
We just got a set of teleport coordinates, which is why we're here in Cyberia. But those coordinates are just for that specific location, which allows you to teleport back there any time you return to the ship instead of starting over at the beginning.
You'd think this is something the game would do more often with how it sets it up right in the first stage, but no. From here on out the majority of planets only have the one teleport location on them and you have to clear them all in one shot. Seems like a missed opportunity to me.
We get a refill on our energy when we beam back down, at least. Just to our right from there, ignoring the lower path for now, is a new sort of enemy that falls downward from the top of the screen and fires at Rad once it's on the same level as him. There's also a tiny room with a giant robot and a gun.
Rad is missing part of his head there because there's two enemy sprites an item and Rad's own sprite all on roughly the same horizontal level and this IS the NES, after all.
Gun get! And with that we'll never use our LightLetterOpener again. It has roughly the same damage output as our old weapon, but you can attack from a distance now. Rad has the same attack animation as before, but they never drew a gun onto his sprite while using this weapon, so it just looks like he's shooting bullets out of his hands.
Heading back to the start of this screen we take the lower path this time. Those columns with the up-down arrows are basically elevators, we move up and down if we press up or down while standing within them. They're useful to throw off those enemies that fall from the top of the screen and shoot at Rad, since if you move up out of their line of sight right when they stop to fire they will instead give up and fly away.
That white teleporter-looking thing is indeed a teleporter. I'm not sure why they put one there when they could have just not put a wall there. Maybe it's load-bearing?
Just further ahead is another Space Elevator, and we want to take the upper path.
These giant robots show off another interesting quirk about this game, some enemy projectiles can damage other enemies. Like the projectiles fired by these robots. From here on out the rest of Cyberia has you facing a tone of these giant robots, and they're always respawning come out of the, I don't know, giant robot closets in the background. But it's pretty easy to get into a good groove and always stay ahead of them, letting the most recent enemy that spawned behind you fire a projectile which you can lead into the next enemy ahead. You can't always do it, but it's pretty clear the area is set up to let the player take advantage of that, and it only takes one enemy projectile to destroy one of these jerks as opposed to too dang many of your own shots.
Oh yeah and this is why you wanted to take the upper route, there's no jumping up to the upper level from the middle level. If you fall down that one-tile gap you got to run back and do the whole thing over.
Taking the teleporter at the end of the upper hall brings you to the one on the middle hall you passed on the way. Hope you're ready for more robot jerks!
While these guys do a fair bit of contact damage, it's important to realize that they don't damage you until they're fully materialized on screen when they spawn in from the doors in the background. If they're just appearing, but still darkened, you can run right through em. Beats the hell out of actually fighting them, anyway.
At the end of this section are two teleporters. We want to take the top one.
If we took the bottom one we'd just have to go back and take the right one.
Also this section recycles the 'stay on the top level and don't fall down' gimmick from the previous section.
Except this time there are more pits to fall through, and there are giant robots in the middle section as well making it extra punishing to screw up. So don't screw up.
This part goes on maybe a few screens too long.
Near the end of the section the game hands over a free life power-up. Sweet! It's the early game so I guess they want to make sure you easily find a few.
Walking in front of those computers gives you a series of messages.
"You must be a technician. Step into the teleporter. I will teleport you inside the computer so you can affect repairs. Be sure not to touch the data bits because they control the security system."
Looks like some goof confused Rad for a Computer Technician. How lucky for us! Now we'll get to disable the security system. ....Huh, how do you 'teleport' inside a computer? I mean, unless the computer is MASSIVE.
Nope! We're in the Matrix! Via teleporting. Also while in cyberspace Rad is orange and black. Don't question it, it's just how computers work.
Anyway, remember back earlier when I mentioned there was an area in Cyberia where not knowing you can jump down through semi-solid platforms would mess you up? Here it is. See, all of those square tiles in the background aren't background tiles, they're all semi-solid platforms. This means you can basically stand at any level of the screen moving forward, but if you don't know how to jump down then the only way to actually move downward would be to take damage. Boy it sure would suck to be a kid playing this game for the first time without reading the instruction booklet.
Anyway, even though you could walk through this area on any level it's still better to hang around the bottom of the screen, it just makes it easier to time when to run by those electric barriers.
A little further ahead we come across a bug. It's not even a glitch in the system it's a literal bug inside cyberspace.
And a bit further ahead we come across even more of them, and some... viruses? Maybe? There's a whole bunch of inert sprites hanging around, unactivated versions of the smaller bug-like enemies we just encountered, and virii, well, activate them. Corrupting the computer bits I suppose.
You're better off running by them, really. Each virus takes a number of hits to destroy and they're only vulnerable in their bulbous head area and they move super unpredictably. Once you run by them you don't have to deal with them again since they won't really follow you and there's only those two to contend with.
Actually that's another thing you'll notice about this game. There are a lot of enemies that appear in just one or two sections of a given stage and never appear again. There will certainly be a variety of enemy types, though this also means you'll have to learn on the fly.
Anyway, after bypassing the viruseses Rad comes across a weird crystal... thing guarded by an electric barrier.
The crystals here continuously fall downward, and you need to shoot them. The barriers also block your shots so you need to time it well. Orrrrr you can just hammer the B button until one of your shots slips through, really that's all.
There's three of them, and once you destroy the third one the electric barriers disappear. The ones in the real world do too. Hooray, security system disabled! There's even a convenient teleporter at the end of the area. To teleport out of the computer. As you would.
We're taken back to the previous area, prior to our jacking into the Matrix, but we're on the bottom now. But as the terminal here points out all the security system is off, so no more pesky electric barriers.
From here it's literally just a victory lap back to the left as we run through the previously blocked region to access some computers for coordinates.
Like this one, it points us to Turvia! And no, you don't need to remember these numbers for anything, they're just there for flavor I guess.
We also get coordinates for 'Volcania', 'Sauria', and a Stargate. The Stargate is important since it connects regions of space, so even though I know the coordinates for some of those planets I can't actually access the region of space they're in without a submap.
Anyway, we're done in Cyberia. The last computer mentions something potentially ominous about an illegal ship being towed, but whatever. It probably doesn't concern us at all. Let's beam back to the ship and...
Next time: GARBAGE DAY.
This is awesome! That comic is awesome! I never knew this game was awesome!? I feel like a whole new world is opening up before me!!
Oh man, Wee Octo had this game and loved it, despite how inscrutable its spritework was.
Point in fact, Wee Octo kept it until he evolved into Adult Octo!
Still never beat it though. The games kind of an ass to you.
The planets have been separated by an evil space wizard brain.
Are you a rad enough dude to save the planets?
Wow, how did I never hear of this game before now?
Seriously though, it's a bit surprising how much loving attention to detail goes into so much and then the background tiles are... you know... like that.
Hey everyone, let's play some more Rad Gravity! Where did we leave off again?
"Rad they have taken me away. They say they are going to convert me into an evil robot. Find me and pick me up then teleport back here before they convert me."
Oh right. Balls.
Looks like our quest to reactivate the Compuminds will have to wait for juuuuust a little bit while we go save Kakos from a junkyard.
This is the first screen upon teleporting down to Effluvia, the trash planet. It's kind of unintentionally hilarious. First that's Rad's ship up in the left corner, first time we've seen it in-game. Though I didn't show it, Rad exited the ship the way he always does, via black rectangle teleporter. He probably could have just walked out of a door or something but the only animation they bothered to make for Rad exiting his ship is via teleporter so they just went with that (note this will come up again later).
But even funnier is Rad exclaiming 'Hey come back with my computer' while clearly facing away from the thieves. That's probably the direction the teleporter faced him when he re-materialized so I guess Rad just decided to blurt that out as soon as he got there, whether or not the actual thieves would be in his direct line of sight. I'm just cracking up at the image of him accusing a pile of trash of stealing Kakos while the real thieves sneak away behind his back.
Oh yes, and if you didn't notice, that's the same BGM track as Cyberia. I wasn't kidding when I said you'd hear that track a lot throughout the game. In fact, between that and the Title Screen BGM we've already covered about half of all the music in the whole game. Yeah.
Way back when I first played this as a Little Spoony, I thought that Effluvia was the same Trash Planet that Captain N went to in that one issue of the valiant comic series. It was the only video game I had played at that point that had a literal planet full of garbage in it, so it's no surprise I tried to make the connection. I was so disappointed that Rad Gravity didn't make a cameo in that issue.
Anyway enough of all that for now, we got a Computer Eyeball to save! For the moment the thieves will never actually run away off screen, they'll always run right to the screen's edge and wait there until the screen starts to scroll forward again. So if Rad doesn't move, they won't move. Unfortunately I can't actually rescue Kakos like this either.
Shooting them does nothing either. Maybe Rad is intentionally missing them for fear of hitting Kakos?
Eventually they both climb into an, uh, Ice Cream truck, and take off. How.... random?
There's some conveyor belts up ahead and they can give Rad enough of a speed boost to keep up with the Ice Cream truck, but it's ultimately fruitless. Eventually they will outrun you. You don't even need to catch them like this either, so it's strange the game gives you the means to keep pace with them for a little bit before they get away.
Once the Ice Cream truck has sped away we finally come across some actual enemies in this stage. And it's the ONLY enemy in Effluvia, really. That green mess of pixels is... well I'm not sure what, exactly. The comic panel for Effluvia depicted a bat-like monster so that's probably what it is. But it doesn't really LOOK like a bat. Honestly, when I was a kid I thought it was a flying garbage bag monster, since some garbage bags are green and it makes thematic sense. But to hedge my bets I'll just call it a Garbage Bat.
Aaaaaaaand whoops! I got so focused on trying to keep the Garbage Bat away from me I fell directly into the.... lava? Burning slag? Hard to say, but it's insta-death either way.
One thing to know about Rad Gravity, there are no bottomless pits. If there's an opening on the bottom of the screen then it will always take you somewhere. There are plenty of other things that can kill you instantly, such as here. If you see some kind of fluid-like substance filling a pit, even harmless water, then it will kill you instantly, so beware.
Once Rad is in his death animation you can still bring up the sub menu and teleport out. It's functionally the same thing since both dying and teleporting out brings you right back to the ship, but you don't get the password screen from teleporting.
Fortunately I slipped up fairly early in the stage so it's no trouble to get back to where I was.
Anyway, back to the Garbage Bat. It flutters around you and doesn't do direct contact damage. You also can't damage it with your blaster or knife. If it gets the chance, though, it will latch onto Rad's head and start draining his life, much like a Metroid. Rad doesn't have bombs at his disposal to shake them off, nor an ice beam to keep them at bay.
So what's a Space Cadet to do? Well what would YOU do if a horrible space monstrosity was latched onto your head, sucking the very life essence from you? Me? I would bash my head into the nearest blunt object to shake it off, and damn the concussion. That's exactly what you need to do, as well. If a Garbage Bat latches onto you, the only way to get it off is to jump up into a solid platform, which crushes it. Kind of a unique way to deal with an enemy, I gotta admit!
Another thing about Effluvia, which might go unnoticed if you aren't paying attention, is that Rad jumps higher here. About one tile higher than he did on Cyberia. Makes sense when you think about it, different planets would have different gravities. But much like starting on the right side of the screen or planets having multiple teleport locations, it's an interesting idea the game doesn't really expand on. For the most part the stages will have gravities similar to Cyberia or Effluvia, so if you're thinking of stages with challenges built around being barely able to jump at all or crazy screen-high super jumps, well, sorry!
So just a bit further ahead we come across a conveyor belt that's just a bit too high for us to clear, even with our super Effluvia jump. There's a contraption underneath it which damages us if we try to walk through it, but it's nothing a handy blaster can't fix. Turns out the contraption is an engine, and destroying it not only allows us to pass through it harmlessly, it also stops the conveyor belts attached to it.
This will be important later.
Some more Garbage Bats torment us as we move forward. If one of them attaches to Rad while he's in the middle of jumping over the burning slag then there's a good chance the knockback will throw him right into it, so watch out.
In the next screen an eagle-eyed player would identify a new health bar just lying in the middle of some fire. Yeah, you have to take some damage to get this one. Kind of dick move, game. You still come away with a bit more life, though, as the fire does not-quite-a-full-bar of damage. At least it's out in the open.
We can jump off the bubbles that emerge from the slag, which is a totally normal phenomenon don't worry about it, and ride them up. They will eventually pop if Rad stays on them too long, though, so you have to keep hopping on them. They also pop when they reach the top of the screen and tend not to respawn immediately so don't expect to safely land on a new bubble if you fall from there.
Following that first bubble are some one-tile jumps surrounded by instant death that would make any player nervous. Thankfully Rad has pretty tight controls. Not Mega Man tight, but still reliable.
Oh yeah, I didn't show off Rad's idle animation yet did I? There it is.
It's like he gets super impatient with the player, but is too polite to actually SAY anything, so he just waits, twiddling his thumbs, hoping the player will notice.
After a slightly too long conveyor belt we come across more bubbles. You knew multiple bubble jumps were happening.
I should also note that Rad weighs a bubble down while he's standing on it, even hopping on it will cause one to rise slower than the others so keep that in mind as you make your way across.
And getting hit by a Garbage Bat up there is just the worst since the only solid surface to hit your head on is below you, so you need to jump down, kill it, then ride another bubble back up.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:10 PM.
Wee-Octo assumed that the Garbage Bats were ghosts.
Why everyone in the galaxy was chucking corpses into the garbage planet is anybodies guess.
Finally, after trying to out run a few more pesky Garbage Bats, we come across the abandoned Ice Cream truck. You can enter this building from either the top or the bottom, both entrances will take you inside, however you absolutely want to be on the upper level. Because we're not going inside the building just yet, we're going over it.
Yeah, in the last image there Rad has jumped over the entryway and is walking to the right on top of the screen.
Hey, here's another one of those items that's hid maybe a little TOO well. At least that one energy bar in Cyberia had half a doorway visible, here you just have to know to jump on top of the screen.
This highlights an interesting way Rad Gravity works. Walking offscreen will always take you SOMEWHERE. So most areas where the programmers don't want you accessing the edge of the screen have blocks along the entire edge, but even in these cases if you could theoretically get over those blocks then you would be taken somewhere, probably to one of the other exits in the room. The TAS for this game abuses this to some extent, but for normal play this basically means any time you're able to exit the screen by jumping on top of some blocks you should try it, there's at least one more item hidden in this fashion.
Anyway, this new room has an energy bar, which seems precarious to get but isn't really. Just hit left as soon as you fall off the conveyor belt and Rad will reliably land on top of it. Everything pauses for a moment when you collect a new item as the score tallies up so you're not even in danger of overshooting and running off the left side into the slag.
We're not just here for the energy bar, though, at the end of the room is the Super Sword. It's like his starting weapon but more powerful. Not any longer though, so we won't be using it because it's a melee weapon and melee weapons in Rad Gravity are dumb.
Anyway we exit this screen the same way we got into it, by jumping over the wall on the right side. This takes us right inside the building where we would have entered had we just ran inside earlier. We find what appears to be incinerators burning up some trash.
Actually they're turning the trash into Garbage Bats.
This makes even less sense in the context of Effluvia's comic panel from my first post, it clearly depicted a bat-like creature. Unless the Effluvians figured out some way to turn trash into organic life.
Whatever. Kakos is just up ahead.
The two thieves place him on the conveyor belt and take off. And here's where it's important to remember that one engine we destroyed earlier in the level. You can't pick Kakos up until the conveyor belt is stopped and it moves along at a fairly brisk pace so you have to destroy it quickly. Here I am cutting it a bit too close because I was trying to get the proper screenshots.
What happens if you completely fail here?
You have to contend with Evil Robot Kakos. And by 'contend with' I mean 'teleport out of the stage and try again' because Evil Robot Kakos is invincible and does craptons of damage. Thankfully teleporting out resets the stage.
Little Spoony had so much trouble here at first because I completely failed to notice the engine there, so I kept fruitlessly trying to pick Kakos up, even trying to teleport out while Rad's sprite was in contact with Kakos's to no avail. Eventually I smartened up.
Anyway if you don't play like a butt you destroy the engine then pick Kakos up and teleport out. Rad's animation for holding an item is not an animation at all, said item just rests on top of his head. I guess his pompadour is keeping Kakos balanced.
And with that, we're done with Effluvia.
I mean, REALLY done. We can't go back. You see, you need teleport coordinates to actually visit a planet in Rad Gravity. You'd think these coordinates are directions to the planet itself, but no, the coordinates are for the teleport location. We never got coordinates for Effluvia in Cyberia, so now that we're off the planet with Kakos we can't go back.
"But wait, how did Rad get there in the first place since he clearly teleported off of his ship at the start of the level" you ask? Beats me! It's implied that the only reason Rad could explore Effluvia at all is because his ship was literally towed there so I guess he was just using the teleporter to go directly outside. I guess his ship doesn't have a door? I'm nitpicking, I know, but it kind of irks me that you can't get back to Effluvia because he doesn't have coordinates to teleport down to, despite just being there. Thankfully there's only two energy bars to miss and the Super Sword no one uses ever, but still, if you miss any of those items (and I guarantee you that most players miss the latter two) then too bad!
Anyway, here's the star map for this region of space. Effluvia is highlighted, Cyberia is the little blue planet, the Stargate out of here to a new region is the swirly thing, and it's a bit hard to see but the little green dot close to the sun is Volcania, another planet we got coordinates for on Cyberia.
The planet's surface is full of craters, as you might expect from one called 'Volcania'. Let's see what it's like there--
Yeah uh, you're not meant to be here yet. Everything does a full three bars of damage, at least, meaning you get destroyed in one or two hits. The last screenshot there is kind of crummy, but Rad was trying to jump over a little fire-gremlin creature which instead jumped up into him and put a quick end to his Volcania adventure.
Even if you played like a total pro (or save scummed) to the end you'll eventually come across an obstacle you can't bypass without an item you get later on. So we won't be spending any more time in Volcania.
So let's take that Stargate to the next region. Looks like traveling through a Stargate causes Rad's ship to hit the 'red and pink' speed threshold.
The new planets here are Sauria, Turvia, and Vernia. Wait, Vernia? We have coordinates for the first two, but we didn't get anything for that planet on Cyberia.
And much like Effluvia, since we don't have coordinates for the surface we can't go to Vernia yet.
That's where I'll call it for now. It was a shorter update, but I decided to handle this LP doing one planet per update. Some will be shorter, some will be longer.
So next time we will visit either Turvia or Sauria! As for which one it is, well, you'll see. I'll leave you with a hint.
Next Time: Duhn daah duhn daah! Duhn-duhn daah duhn daah-daah-daah!
In looking over these screenshots from Effluvia again, I saw something odd that I never noticed before.
Take a look at Evil Robot Kakos.
How about now? Yeah, that's the back of Rad's head in the middle of the Kakos sprite. That's a heck of an oversight. I'm not sure if this is an emulation glitch, as I don't have an actual NES with me to test the cart but considering that this is a sprite you only see once, and only if you fail, it's possible something got borked with it near the end of development and no one noticed it.
Who knows what Evil Robot Kakos was meant to look like. Here's my estimate
But even this is just a guess.
Welcome back to Let's Play Rad Gravity! Where we last left off we had actual choices on where to go. Turvia is where we need to go to actually advance, but Sauria has a useful item that we'll want to pick up, so we're heading there first.
I suppose this is what a pre-historic planet looks like? Let's go!
Rad appears in mid-air, landing safely on a... branch? Tree platform? They're kind of hard to see in the image since they blend in a bit too well, but this tree here has two semi-solid platforms to stand on.
Rad's jump height here is about what it was on Effluvia, by the by.
Anyway, there's a friendly little docile baby dinosaur right below us, let's jump down and pet it!
Bad idea, bad idea!
So yeah, the babby.... Triceratops? I think? Whatever it is, it comes bounding after Rad as soon as he gets close enough and it does a whole three bars of damage like the enemies on Volcania. Unlike Volcania, though, this isn't an indication that you shouldn't be here, just that you shouldn't mess with these enemies in particular. The other enemies on Sauria are far more reasonable.
And yeah, I died twice to this thing, one to get a screenshot of it, and another because I dun goofed on the return trip. It's vicious!
It CAN be killed, though, I mean, if you don't mind being a baby dinosaur murderer. Takes like ten shots from your Blaster, but with how fast it moves you really gotta be quick and nimble to hit it enough times while jumping out of its way. It's not really worth it and, as I mentioned above, these enemies are made to be avoided, not defeated.
Just ahead of the deadly baby dinosaur is a tar pit. I mentioned in the last update that Rad Gravity doesn't have bottomless pits, and any pits that are meant to kill you will be filled with something. So since we're on a prehistoric planet these tar pits make thematic sense.
It doesn't come into play right here, but the platform Rad lands on is semi-solid. There are no enemies that can hurt him right there but if there were he would fall through the platform upon taking damage and die in the tar.
We also get a look at Sauria's other main enemy type, the fire ants. These are annoying buggers that you have to crouch and shoot, and they continuously respawn from holes in the ceiling. Much of the level is designed in such a way that you have to keep an eye out to make sure one isn't about to land on your head.
We also have situations like this where Rad is in danger of falling through semi-solid platforms. Thankfully he's in no danger of falling into the tar if he falls from the upper platform in this image, he will have recovered from his damage frames by the time he lands on the lower platform. If a fire ant hits him on said lower platform, though, into the tar he goes. So don't linger around down there.
Here you have to jump down through a semi-solid platform, this might be a good place to teach it to the player, but we already had to do that back in Cyberia.
Anyway, see that one-tile semi-solid platform just to the left of the baby dinosaur? That's exactly where we DON'T want to go. Instead we want to jump over that little crevice and walk through the one-tile semi-solid platform in the upper right part of the screen, because if Rad falls down there he can't jump high enough to get out, so he'll have to contend with the baby dinosaur and there's no way that ends without Rad taking damage.
So of course I fall down there.
There is a way to get out of that tight spot without the dinosaur taking three bars of your life away, and that's to wait on top of the semi-solid platform for a fire ant to fall on you, then quickly run through the dinosaur while in your damage frames. Damage boosting for the win!
But of course there's another one right after this one.
Only way to handle this guy is to jump over him and then jump again immediately. The baby dinosaurs are far more forgiving with their proximity when Rad is behind them, but he can't get nearly as close when he's in front of them. I didn't get it in an image, but the dinosaur does bound after Rad as soon as I landed in front of it but I jumped again out of its way and it happened to land right where it started.
Here we have to make our way back to the left a bit across the leafy platforms. Wow, they ARE hard to see, huh?
See them now? Really the biggest challenge here is making sure you know what you're landing on.
Across the larger tar pit we find some smaller tar pits, and what looks like smoke rising?
Yeah it's smoke. Flaming rocks start falling from the sky here, so I guess this tar pit must be volcanic? ...are volcanic tar pits a thing? I guess they are on Sauria.
The falling rocks don't do much damage, but the bigger threat is being knocked into the tar. They fall in a predictable pattern, though, so it's not like this is anything like that one bit in Crystal Man's stage. You know the one.
New section! We enter a maze-like area formed of blocks, that inexplicably has these gates with top-shaped keys we have to find and toss into them to open them. Did the dinosaurs craft these, or are they naturally-occurring on Sauria? Your guess is as good as mine!
As always, Rad's non-animation for picking up an item never fails to make me chuckle. Balancing that thing on his head on the pointy end has got to be uncomfortable.
Anyway tossing the Dreidel of Opening into the slot not only causes the gate to open, but the base to disappear as well. And yeah, there's quite a few of em in this section.
Rad can't reach the key from down here though, he has to go back a screen or so and approach it from above. A good a time as any to teach the player that they can walk on top of the screen.
And no, you can't bypass the first gate by doing this since you still need to have access to the lower corridor to advance forward. Rad can't run, duck, and slide through one-tile openings, he's a Space Cadet not a plumber.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:11 PM.
Upon opening Gate #2 we immediately see two more keys. It's not a particularly tricky situation, though, it just means we have to contend with a fire ant with like two tiles of space.
If you're quick enough and time it right you can get down there and shoot it before it has a chance to run into you.
More of the same? More of the same.
Actually here's a good place to explain exactly how the movement of the fire ants work. They home in on Rad's position, but only sometimes. They'll only factor in Rad's position relative to theirs when they hit the edge of the platform. If they reach the edge of a platform and Rad is behind them they'll turn around instead of falling off. But if they reach the edge of a platform and Rad is in front of them (in general, he doesn't need to be on the same vertical level) then they'll walk off of it. So as Rad was approaching this one fire ant from the right it was basically stuck on that one tile, it kept walking around on it frantically. It wasn't until Rad walked to the left of it that it finally walked off.
The movement patterns of these things might almost seem random to a new player at first, until they pick up on this.
Anyway, just in case you forgot it from earlier, here's another place where you have to jump over the top of the screen to advance. There's another gate here too, but getting the key into it is a bit trickier this time.
You basically have to basketball it, jumping from the top ledge and tossing it in. Hopefully it'll be nothing but proverbial net and you can move on, but if it lands on the block up top you'll need to climb back up and shoot it with your gun, which will inch it along the ground until it finally falls in.
This gate looks fairly simple, but we encounter another one just past it which serves no other purpose than to block off an energy bar. Hmm.
Opening the first gate is a simple matter, but there has been no sign of a second key thus far...
This one is kind of classic Nintendo, and I don't think it's too bad. Yes, the key is hidden above the screen, completely invisible. But there's only so many places it could be in this section and if you trust the game to provide a key for this lock somewhere then you should find it eventually.
We get the energy bar and find the last gate of the area. It's not even possible to take this last key and go back to use it to open the way to the energy bar, once you jump down to this area you can't get back up.
Anyway this one requires a bit more effort since you'll need to use your gun to push the key into the gate, there's no getting around it this time.
We finally leave the maze-like corridors back to an open area, and what do you know another killer baby dinosaur.
Hey, want to know what is possibly the one useful place in the game to use the Super Sword we picked up on Effluvia? Right here. The baby dinosaur can't jump up a block to get at Rad, but if Rad crouches and shoots the bullets will harmlessly pass over the dino's head. But if he ducks and stabs with the Super Sword it will hit it, so you can safely kill this baby dino without worrying about taking a chunk of damage.
Of course you could do this with the starting weapon too, but it would take slightly longer. Good job, Super Sword. You earned your keep.
Just ahead is a strange, long, green structure with an odd spiny surface and that's a fucking dinosaur isn't it?
Yeah it's a dinosaur alright. Finally! Sauria lives up to its promise!
This dino-sized-dino only attacks Rad by stomping its noticeably smaller front foot around some tight jumps around a tar pit. If the foot lands on you it will either kill you, or punt you into the tar, which kills you.
But much like the falling rocks from earlier in the stage the timing is fairly forgiving as long as you don't flub the actual jumps.
You might be thinking that we'll encounter more of these giant dinos, or perhaps climb up to fight its giant head, but no. That's about all for Sauria...
The stage immediately ends after the giant dino encounter and we find the reason we came here, besides fighting dinosaurs, the Saurian Crystals.
They're basically grenades. Rad lobs them forward and they explode after a moment. The damage is decent, but they're hard to aim properly and you're better off using your gun. You'll eventually need them for certain areas, though.
However, despite the fact that the Saurian Crystals are kind of required, you can easily play the game without going to Sauria. The TAS skips it entirely. How's that, you might ask? Well, I'll get to it when I get to it.
For now, though, back to the ship and onward to more Space Adventure! This was another short update, perhaps I could have posted Effluvia and Sauria together, but I already decided to do one planet per update and that's what I'm doing! The next planet should have more meat to it. Onward, Computer Eyeball!
Bonus Musings: I think another reason I liked this game so much as a kid was because it sort of reminded me of Flight of the Navigator, a movie from my childhood which also featured a spaceship with a Computer Eyeball. Sadly, Kakos will never say 'Compliance', nor sing the Rice-a-Roni jingle in a Pee-Wee Herman voice. More's the pity.
Those baby Dino's are so dang puny compared to the Big Dino. They can't be the same species, yet no other Dino's are seen.
Hey Space Cadets! Welcome back to Let's Play Rad Gravity!
Last time we had a fun time running around Jurassic World (well, a jurassic world) and we picked up basically what amounts to some Crystal Grenades. We won't be using them today.
Today's destination is Turvia, and it is probably the one stage in this game everyone remembers. Why?
Everything be upside-down!
It's basically Gravity Man's gimmick a whole two years before Mega Man 5 came out. Well, kind of Gravity Man's gimmick, there's no constantly flipping back and forth between normal and reverse gravity here. But it was still a surprise that left an impression to the young minds that played it way back when it first came out.
Another odd sight in this stage, flying fish. If the intro comic is to believe they're actually sharks, which is honestly kind of terrifying. If you thought the idea of Land Sharks was scary, imagine if they could swim through the air at you?
Anyway, we'll just continue on to the right and
Balls. Let me try that again.
...Ok. So we're not getting through here. Seriously, while the other Sky Sharks we saw a few screens back patrolled left and right in the sky, this particular Sky Shark remains stationary right until we try to jump over the pit of deadly water at which point it dives downward and knocks us in. There's no way around it.
So instead, let's hop on top of the trees and head to the left for now. The patrolling Sky Sharks will also dive downward at you, but only sometimes. Their behavior is more unpredictable, but fortunately while you're on the treetops (...treebottoms?) you can jump up (..down?) and shoot them down (...up?).
This level is gonna be confusing.
We come across a pit with a bubble rising out of it which we can jump on, if you remember the bubbles from Effluvia. We ignore the pit and keep heading left. Another, erm, 'enemy' in this stage are these blocks which shake violently up (..down? Oh whatever) from the ground. Their movement is super erratic and, yes, they do damage but they can also be destroyed.
In the next screen we enter what looks like a ruined town. I think. It's sometimes hard to tell with Rad Gravity's background tiles. But we come across a door at the end of the ruins.
In an interesting touch, pressing up here causes Rad to duck, which I guess makes sense when you think about it. This means you have to press down to enter the door and now I'm just getting flashbacks to that SuperMan NES game. Moving on.
Mayor TopHat lays out the situation. Some dastardly fiend has stolen Turvia's Gravitational Device and we need to get it back. In an advance payment, the Mayor gives us a gun that can shoot straight up.
I'm.. I'm pretty sure you don't need a special gun to do that. What, do they not teach Space Cadets how to raise their arm up at a 90 degree angle and pull a trigger? I suppose not. I guess this special gun has a second barrel pointing upwards.
Oh well. We get the gun and Rad can now indeed shoot straight up. You can probably figure out where we'll need this.
On our way back I flub a jump and fall into the bubble-pit. And as fun as a bubble-pit sounds it's pretty fatal as we fall through two screens and land in a pool of deadly, deadly water. We'll be coming back this way later from the other direction, but falling down (..up? Oh you get the idea) through this shaft is fatal since the bubble platforms won't spawn in time and Rad can't land in the little alcoves on the side (the first because there's not enough time, and the second because there's an enemy sprite in the way, the dripping slime, we'll deal with those later)
So we return to the asshole Sky Shark and shoot it out of the sky as it dives at us. Now we can safely drop down THIS hole.
This takes us to some blocky catacombs. We have more of those orange blocks shaking loose from the ground. Now that we know that the gravity in Turvia is all wonky thanks to some shenanigans involving a Gravitational Device I guess we can assume these blocks are a side-effect of this awful gravity. I guess we could call it, Bad Gravity.
Also on this screen is another slime pile. These hang from the ceiling (well, the 'ceiling'... you know what, you know what I mean by now) and generate little slime puddles which scoot along the ground. The slime generator does damage if you collide with it, but the slime puddles do not as long as they don't land on you. They do damage to Rad while they're falling, but not while they're scooting across the ground.
And finally this screen also has... another kind of enemy. I'll be honest, I have no idea what these things are. They just move up and down, pausing at random intervals. I can't make any sense out of what they're supposed to be looking at their sprite. I guess they're just some random goofy-looking alien creature.
Anyway, we climb up this bit here to the right to advance. These jumps are trickier than they should be thanks to the inverted screen. It's not like the left and right controls are reversed or anything, but the jumps still give me more trouble than they would otherwise.
In this next section we want to stick along the bottom of the screen. If we fall up to the top we'll just have to make our way back to the left and start over.
And here's the secret property of those slime enemies, while they're scooting along the ground they'll carry Rad with them when he's standing on top of them. If Rad ducks then they can drag him through one-tile passageways he otherwise can't fit through.
They are still kind of jerks though since after Rad falls they'll almost immediately land on top of him and do damage. You can move out of the way fast enough, but it's tricky.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:11 PM.
Dead end? Nah, we have to jump down this pit. Up this pit... down... up... up down... Sheesh, what I wouldn't give for this gimmick to go away for a bit.
Oh. Ok then.
I can't even begin to get into how this doesn't make sense. Despite the fact that we went deeper underground and emerged into blue skies, the gravity here is normal. We're kind of stuck, though, since we need to get back up into the cave to reach the other side of that long pit. The house here has a convenient spring on the top (for... reasons?) which we could use, but Rad can't jump high enough on his own. Jump height here is similar to Cyberia.
Maybe the person in this hut has some answers for us.
"Please help me get that dog back. If you need a boat kneel by the lake."
So many answers.
..no wait, the other thing. Questions. More questions. What?
Ok so I guess we're herding cows now. Or rather, we need to somehow convince a dog that ran away to get back to its job herding cows. And to do this we'll probably need to cross a lake? And... and a boat will come if we kneel by it?
Also is it me or is there something... off about that old lady's sprite? It's like she came from another game entirely, it's weird.
So as we head over to the left we pass the dog, which didn't run very far it seems, and the cow. The dog may be right there but it's not interested in doing its job. We're able to stand on the cow, and we're supposed to do that to reach the roof of the hut, but the cow won't walk anywhere near the hut on its own.
So we immediately come upon the lake, and sure enough as soon as we kneel next to it a boat appears. ...though it looks more like a jet ski?
...... So, a monochrome NPC tells us to 'kneel by a lake' and doing so makes a boat appear which takes us to a graveyard. Rad Gravity, are you making a Castlevania II reference? I feel like you might be making a Castlevania II reference.
Whatever, free energy bar!
There's also a cartoon dog bone, and if you know anything about cartoon dogs it's that they'll do anything for a cartoon dog bone.
So Rad, uh, 'carries' the bone over to the dog and gives it to the dog via throwing it at its face.
Once again, Rad's not-animation for carrying things cracks me up, but this case in particular because it reminds me of that one episode of Two Stupid Dogs.
You know the one.
Anyway the dog starts herding the cow again (though it looks more like it's leading it in a parade here, the cow just obediently follows the dog once it starts barking at it) and it very slowly walks back to the hut. Nowhere else is Rad's idle animation more appropriate.
Anyway the cow gives us the extra height we need to reach the spring and using that we can jump back up into the caves, conveniently landing on the other side of the chasm.
Whatever you do, do not fall back in because the game won't remember what you just did and you'll need to get the bone and ride the cow all over again.
Hey I remember this! We're on the other side of the bubble pit from earlier.
I'm not sure how the geography works out here, but bubble pit was way to the left on the surface and we've just moved farther to the right. Is Turvia just a really tiny planet? Maybe that's why they need a Gravitational Device to keep everything stable.
Anyway we're supposed to ride a bubble up, but only every third bubble is stable. The other two will pop before reaching the top of the screen, and if Rad is riding one of those then he plummets down into the water. This game is cheeky in a way only an NES game can be.
Anyway, in this new area we can finally jump into the little opening on the right that we missed by falling from above. There's more slime here, and those inscrutable enemy sprites from earlier, but they're orange now. And also a new sort of enemy that's even HARDER to discern, they're little blue things that move up and down rapidly. Rad can't destroy them which his weapons so he just has to avoid them for now.
Falling down the hole here takes you to a new room, except it's not a new room it's just the far side of this same room. Again, Turvia's geography works in mysterious ways. However we don't want to be over here, this room only exists to make life hard for you since the only way out is to let a slime drag you through the one-tile passageway in the upper left and that just leads you to a gauntlet of little blue things that are almost impossible to avoid. You don't want to fall down here.
So we avoid that hole (and, incidentally, the smaller home will also take you to that same room, avoid that one too) and we eventually spy something in little nook on the top of the screen. IF you have good eyes, anyway, this is kind of easy to miss (and even easier if you're playing this on an old CRT TV back in the day, I got lost for awhile here because I didn't spot it). Rad is standing next to it in the last image, see it? Looks kind of like a U?
Yeah it's a cartoon magnet, which Rad carries on his head like everything else.
Funny thing about it, though, is that when Rad throws it down it spits out one of those little blue enemies, which gets re-absorbed by the magnet when it collides with it again. The magnet can also be used to absorb any other blue things, letting you clear them out of your way.
So I guess, the little blue things are the sheer power of magnetism? Ok. Sure.
Just ahead is a large chamber with a whole bunch of magnetic energy. This is where we would emerge if we fell down the hole earlier, by the way. We really don't want to do that since trying to get through all that deadly magnetism without a magnet to help us is foolhardy, and it's not like it would save us any time.
Anyway, in the center of the chamber is the Gravitational Device. Throwing the magnet under it causes some of the magnetism to hit the device, and it drags it back down where we can pick it up.
With the device safely in hand (or, on head) we can make our way back out. Though the question still remains, who stole the device in the first place? The only other NPC we came across here was the monochrome old lady, so I guess it was her? Considering her area was the only part of the stage right-side up I suppose that makes sense! Old ladies, man, can't trust em.
After we ride a bubble back out we're almost home free!
By 'bring the device up here' he means 'throw it at me'. Can do!
And that initiates a screen transition which sets everything right. Hooray!
We also get some sweet, sweet teleport coordinates! And an added bonus, the never-seen villagers left us a gift by the old well.
Which, I guess was that pit of water the Sky Shark kept knocking us into?
Not only is everything right-side up now, but the plant life is green again! Strangely, the Sky Sharks are grounded.
So, what really happened here? Did the Sky Sharks evolve to flop around on the ground and only just so happened to benefit from the crazy gravity? Or, considering that a Gravitational Device is needed to keep everything right-side up, maybe the crazy gravity is in fact Turvia's natural state. Maybe the old lady didn't steal the Gravitational Device for her own benefit, but to save the local wildlife?
Hey, it's a NES game, you can interpret this nonsense however you want.
Shooting the grounded Sky Sharks causes them to fly upwards so who knows what's what.
Anyway, I didn't get a pic of it but the item left by the 'old well' was a new set of armor for Rad. Now he's has the extra defense provided by the mighty power of pink!
Well with that done we'll just leave Turvia and.... oh wait! I'm such a goof! I forgot one of the items at the end there! Silly me. Well I'll just teleport back down and
Y'see, none of the stages in Rad Gravity have any sort of persistent state, they never remember anything you do there. This is probably why the game never lets you return to Effluvia, since if you return there the stage would immediately start with Rad chasing after the Kakos-thieves again. Most of the other stages of the game, this isn't an issue since the game is a pretty standard right-to-left (or left-to-right) platformer that doesn't need to worry about altered states in the stages. Turvia, though, is a pretty big exception.
So I need to replay the stage to get the item I missed. brb
One funny thing I only noticed while doing this playthrough, the bone shares the same palette as Rad, so now it has a shade of pink instead of a shade of red. Neat! (the unstable block NPCs also share rad's palette but I forgot to get a pic of them)
Ok here we are, everything is set right again. Now, remember back in my first update when I was talking about how it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between semi-solid tiles and tiles that are just background? Here it comes into play again.
The tiles what are squares, but not squares with brick patterns, are semi-solid and Rad can stand on them. In that last image only the tile Rad is standing on is semi-solid, if he tried to walk to the left he'd fall off as soon as he stepped off that tile.
Yeah, it's weird, but you eventually get a 'feel' for it, I guess?
Anyway jumping over the wall gets you a hidden energy bar. Woohoo!
And with that, we head off to the only planet left we haven't explored. Except Volcania, technically, but we're still not going back there even with our new armor. We still couldn't make any progress.
So, Turvia, it's probably one of the most interesting levels in the game, and for good reason. I sometimes wonder if the inverted gravity mechanic was one of the first things the programmers of the game created and built the rest of the game as a result. The fact that it's the last panel of the intro comic, despite showing up much earlier in the game than some of the others, lends a bit of significance too. And it's a neat mechanic! I know it wowed me as a kid, at least until other games came along and did it better.
Still, it's a good stage! If a bit obtuse at times.
I didn't know about this game until Grumpcade covered it, and this is an even better exposure to it. Fairly advanced for the NES, but looks like it has its fair share of cheap or obtuse moments. I appreciate you doing this, Spoony! Look forward to more!
This LP is so cool, and now I really wanna track this game down (OK, more like emulate it sometime). Maybe I can find a FC version, if one exists... this was kind of the dark age for global/international games coming to Japan, actually.
As far as I know (ie: I checked Wikipedia) Rad Gravity only had a release in North America, Europe, and Australia. No release in Japan.
Welcome back to Let's Play Rad Gravity! Last time we visited Upside Down Planet which, y'know, thinking about it why would the world have looked upside down even if the gravity was messed up? On a spherical planet wouldn't the perspective be relative anyway?
Turvia, man, it's an enigma.
But we're not on Turvia anymore, it's time for Vernia!
Yes, same BGM. You might be getting sick of hearing it by now but that's just how the game is. As for the odds of hearing a new track in this update: you just might!
Anyway as soon as you beam down to Vernia you're greeted by this little gargoyle creature that seems to shovel rocks up from the ground and hurls them at you repeatedly. They jump around kind-of randomly, they always seem to favor moving towards Rad, but sometimes they'll jump in a stationary position. They're just erratic enough to be a pain.
Another thing you'll notice in the first image is that Rad is once again facing a wall. In fact every stage thus far has had Rad facing to the left when the stage begins, even though Cyberia has been the only stage beginning with a right-to-left section. I never noticed it when I was a kid, and I'll have to see how all the rest of the planets start off, but it seems like Rad is hard-coded to be facing left when a stage starts. Maybe the programmers really did intend for right-to-left segments to be far more common?
Anyway the Gargoyles take approximately Too Many bullets to take down, but they'll go down more quickly to the Saurian Crystals. Somewhere between 2-4 crystals, usually. The number is a variable due to how the damage from the Crystals is calculated, which is something I'm still not super clear on. It seems that colliding with the Crystal itself will do some damage, and the explosion left by the Crystal will do another bit of damage, and yet even more if the enemy sprite lingers in the explosion long enough to be hit again, but actually scoring a full hit with the Crystals is easier said than done. But even with the varying nature of the Crystals they're still the better option against the Gargoyles than the gun.
So of course I use the gun to kill this first one anyway because the dope jumped right above Rad, which put him exactly in the right place for Rad to use his recently learned ability of 'pointing a gun upward'.
Anyway we continue onward and
*Tweet Tweet Tweet*
IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US
Ok, so, the stage may have opened with the Gargoyle enemy, but they're not the most memorable foe in this stage by far. No. Just a few steps away from the first screen we hear an audible tweeting sound, quite ear-piercing for what the NES is able to do, and then we're immediately assaulted by a dive-bombing needle-nosed aerial predator.
Welcome to Vernia. Planet of the Asshole Birds.
You will always hear these birds coming right before they appear and they'll always be making a bee-line right for Rad, so you'll eventually develop an almost Pavlovian response to the sound of the 8-bit chirp they make. They're fast, their accuracy is perfect, they're deadly, remorseless,
And that face.
...Percy, is that you?
...Um. Anyway. Moving on. We come across some water and a funky looking water craft and
*Tweet Tweet Tweet*
Ok, so, we get on the boat and it takes us across the deadly, deadly water while we're attacked by more of birds and
I'm sorry. I can't. I just can't do this any more. The Birds of Vernia are just too much. I'm stopping the LP here. Time to end it all and dive into the water!
But that turned out to be less deadly than you would otherwise think from this game. That's right, jumping into the water right below the ringed planet in the background takes you to a secret room with an energy bar, this is yet another one of those 'maybe hidden a little TOO well' items.
Also the tiles in the floor spell out 'SGQ'. I'm not really sure why, it's not even the last time you'll see random letters spelled out in the background in this game.
Anyway, the secret room and mysterious letters in the wall have rejuvenated me, let's continue onward! Exiting the secret room dumps you right on the other side of the body of water and
*Tweet Tweet Tweet*
I think you can dodge this ambush by jumping up at just the right moment, but you're probably going to take a hit here. These birds are easier to deal with coming in front the left while riding the boat, but from the exit point of the secret room? Nearly impossible to avoid.
We come across a brown structure, and a dead end, so inside we go! We have some refuge from the birds for the time being, but on the other hand we basically entered the Gargoyle nest.
...Gargoyles have nests, right?
It's mostly tight quarters, and dealing with the enemies in here requires a bit of thought. The Saurian Crystals are still the best method to deal with the Gargoyles, but you have to account for your weapon trajectory. If a Crystal hits a wall or a solid block it will explode, so part of the method to get through here as unscathed as possible requires figuring out where to stand to throw your Crystals.
To the game's credit here, most of stage design in this first room is made to accommodate the Saurian Crystals and the enemies are placed in such a way that, assuming Rad doesn't get too close and force them to jump around and move from their initial spot, there is somewhere you can stand to throw a Crystal just so it arcs over or under some blocks and hit their mark.
The Crystals will also explode if they hit an enemy's projectile, so you also have to account for that when throwing them. The Gargoyles flick rocks around at a consistent, and rapid, pace, but it's not tough to get the timing right.
Unfortunately many of the sweet spots to launch your Crystals also just so happen to be where the Gargoyle's rocks will be since they follow similar arcs. Better be light on your feet!
Also that jump in the last image is harder than it seems due to Rad's wonky momentum and how inconsistently he decelerates when his head brushes against the ceiling. Must be the hair products he uses for that pompadour.
Here Rad has to duck when throwing his Crystals around, since if he were to throw them while standing their arc would take them right into the ceiling but they just barely get through otherwise.
Dunno if I mentioned this already in the LP or not, but enemies respawn as soon as you scroll off-screen, so you'll have to deal with that Gargoyle twice. Fortunately on the second trip you can easily shoot it through the hole from safety. There's really no way to use Crystals on the Gargoyle on top either, due to how narrow the corridor is, so the gun gets some more use.
Oh hey an energy bar, I'll just hold left and.... nnnnnnnnope.
Alright, so this item. When I was a youngin' I always had to return to Vernia with another item you get later on to get this energy bar, because I could not figure out how to land in the little alcove and you only get one shot at it. If you miss you have to restart the level, so it didn't exactly encourage repeated attempts.
There IS a way to get it on your first trip, though.
Just hold the jump button as well as left while falling. Rad will pick up momentum much faster while the jump button is held. Since this alcove is right below a screen transition that you can just fall into, I never actually had the jump button held during my attempts in my younger years, and I never realized that holding it down made that much of a difference to Rad's momentum.
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:11 PM.
So grab the energy bar, and exit the room either via the pit on the right or in the middle.
Be careful if you fall down the middle, though, the same rules as above apply. If you're not holding the jump button on the next screen you won't be able to maneuver Rad into landing on the block, he'll land straight in the water.
And hey! This water actually looks dangerous! I mean, it has a current, at least!
This section has Rad jumping across treacherous platforms all while Gargoyles pelt him with rocks from the safety of their perches. You can reach their level to dispatch some of them, but others remain of out reach.
They can still be killed, though, since the explosion of the Saurian Crystals is large enough that it can hit a Gargoyle from the underside of its platform. (Not shown: A Gargoyle taking damage from an explosion on the underside of its platform. Whoops)
At the end of this section are some blocks that are seriously hard to see. Rad is standing on some in the last two images. Can you tell? This was damn hard to see on the oldschool TVs back in the day, it was almost a leap of faith. I'm not sure if this is intentional or some kind of oversight.
But whatever, there's a big hot air balloon at the end! Just like Vernia's comic panel from the intro! Are we heading up into the sky?
Yes. Eventually. But first, a detour! Before the balloon carries Rad offscreen I jump up and walk along the top back to the right.
Rad is totally hidden by the HUD, and you can still take damage from the rocks the Gargoyles throw since most of them arc high enough so you have to guess if Rad is about to be hit and jump at the right time.
You also have to estimate where he is in relation to those two holes in the ceiling and jump over them. Tricky, but not terribly hard. If you walk all the way to the right on the top and go off-screen...
You're rewarded with the Power Crystals, an upgraded version of the Saurian Crystals. Same basic item, but packs a bit more of a punch.
THIS is why the TAS skips Sauria entirely. The Saurian Crystals were useful up till now, sure, but they haven't been required yet, and a replacement can be picked up on this stage along the way.
L'il Spoony Trivia: I had no idea these were here way back when, but I did get my hands on an advanced Rad Gravity password, somehow or another (probably from Nintendo Power), which was at the endgame and, of course, had these instead of the Saurian Crystals in Rad's sub-menu and it blew my mind. I searched the game top to bottom but I never found them and it drove me crazy. It wasn't until the advent of the interbutts that I finally learned where they were poked away.
However, leaving the room with the Power Crystals dumps you back at the start of the previous chamber so you have to venture across it a second time. Argleblargle.
Get back to the balloon, and you go up, and up, and up....
And up and up and up and up and
*Tweet Tweet Tweet*
SCREEEEEEEEEEW YOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU BIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRDS
Yes, the PercyBirds popped my balloon and dropped me. If Rad falls anywhere in this upper section of the stage he'll fall through one empty screen before appearing above the body of water we sailed across earlier, with nowhere safe to land.
Let's do that again.
Hop off the balloon fast enough and you're fine.
Welcome to the upper atmosphere of Vernia, I guess? This area has a lot of floating castles in the background adorned with gears and propellers. I give it props for the overall visual design (something about steampunk flying castles just gets to me I guess) but it loses a few points for clarity since items that are in the background share the same colors as blocks in the foreground.
The pile 'o gears is solid, but the floating platforms are background.
Rad is assaulted by birds all through this area, there's never any rest from them. And if at any point you retreat from a bird and run backwards you'll just spawn another bird that you passed earlier and it's just never ending. The only option is to forge ahead.
There's a rather large pit following a large piece of machinery.
Falling into the pit is death, but Rad doesn't have the oomph in his jump to make it across. So what's the solution?
Those X-blocks. They're semi-solid, so Rad can climb up them and jump from the highest one. You lose another few points on clarity, game.
A nice touch here, the clouds in the background are sprites and gradually move to the left. Just to really drive home the point that these floating platforms are far in the background. Had this been a SNES game it would have been far easier to illustrate this with parallax scrolling and a greater color palette.
More gears. More pits. More birds. And, finally, a structure.
This castle has two doors leading inside. The pit right beyond it leads to more watery death, so inside we go! I pick the door on the..... left.
Derp. They both lead to the same room. Not sure what the point of that was, but oh well!
So! You guys! Are you ready for what's beyond this antechamber?
Cause here it comes----!
Holy crap it's a different BGM!
Oh. And, uh, the game's first boss.
Still. New BGM though. I'll just sit here and let the 20 second loop wash over me. I mean, yeah it's short, but I actually kind of like this track. I think it's very effective in what it does, and what it does is very clearly give you the impression 'Hey you're about to fight a cheesy looking robot from a 1960s sci-fi flick'. Since (nearly) all the bosses in the game are robots the music is even more appropriate. And though it's short, it's suitable for a boss theme. I mean, it's not like the game will ever go and make THIS the BGM of a whole entire stage or anything! Ha ha ha!
ha ha ha
So, the first boss. Here we are five planets in and we finally have our first actual challenge. They make quite an impression when they first appear, a large part in thanks to the sudden change in BGM. The pair of robots march in unison across the platform, occasionally firing black projectiles in a sine-wave.
L'il Spoony always referred to these guys as 'The Dancing Robots' because, well,
Anyway, here's the thing. The Dancing Robots are impervious to all your weapons. The most you can do is push them back a bit, but they take no damage.
Meanwhile, despite being impervious and unstoppable war machines, they seem to be powered by the wind-up gear in their backs. Every so often one of them will stop, and the other will wind it back up, and they'll continue on their grim march.
And you can't use Rad's gun to push one away from the other since even while partially slouched the robot closest to Rad will completely block his shots.
So what's a Space Cadet to do? Well, it's kind of obvious if you think about it.
Rad's gun fires in a straight line, but the Saurian/Power Crystal arcs right over the robot's head. Throw it in front of the robot as its marching forward and the explosion will push it back.
So just wait for one to wind down, play keep away via exploding crystal, and eventually the second one winds down too and they both collapse.
I really like this boss, since it's an unexpected puzzle. It's not a terribly difficult puzzle, but I always thought it was super neat, rewarded observation, and was a clever way to make use of Rad's abilities.
Turvia might be the stage everyone remembers from this game, but Vernia is the one I remember the most. Even with the asshole PercyBirds.
But anyway, with the robots dispatched it's time to re-activate the first Compumind! This is one of three.
Right. Agathos. We might have gotten a teensy bit distracted from our main quest up till now. But, the Compumind is kind enough to award us with the coordinates of a new Stargate! Now we can enter a new region of space!
We may have gotten a bit sidetracked with Garbage Planet and the Dinosaurs and the completely bonkers gravity of Turvia, but now that we re-activated our first Compumind we can move full steam ahead. Nothing's gonna stop Rad and Kakos on their Space Quest now!
NEXT TIME: Physics don't work that way!
Last edited by SpoonyBardOL; 08-03-2016 at 01:08 PM.
Next update will be a few extra days since I haven't had time to play the next part due to FFV4JF funtimes.
Also I may or may not be trying to pad the postcount a tad so that the next update starts after Post #30 so it starts on the next page, by the default settings anyway.
|let's play , nes , rad gravity , space puns|