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Golden Era Game of the Week 10/21/06: Pandora's Palace

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:57 pm
by Weehawk
Golden Era Game of the Week

See introduction here

The Game: Pandora's Palace

romname: pandoras

(click to see current MARP scores)

Reward: $25 (usd)

Deadline for submission to MARP: October 27, 2006 2359 hours GMT

Further Bounty: none

I don't remember this one, but it looked like a good game for our platform enthusiasts.

Random prize: One player submitting in excess of 100,000 points, selected randomly from those who do, will receive a copy of Tron #1, a comic book produced by Disney and SLG Publishing:

(Click for larger image)

Video about it:

Use WolfMAME .106

On Deck game: Space Odyssey

The Grapes, The Frog, The Dragon, The Skull and The Ledge

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:10 pm
by RTM
Hello fellow gamers:

One cool trick in this game is not really a "trick" but rather a helpful hint. When you destroy a non-green enemy, you can get up to 1500 points. Three in a row will cause a bird to come out to drop some more grapes which can really help in a pinch.

This aspect carries over to another stage as well. Destroy 2 in a row in one stage, then take out another 1500 right away in the next stage, and the bird will come out.

The board with the springs bouncing up and down...a hidden frog will be awarded worth 5000 points depending on how you jump from the middle-right spring onto the upper central spring down below.

The board with all the platforms moving in circles, there is a hidden dragon worth 10K which is awarded depending on certain extreme leaps. This varies depending on which stage you are in. For some stages it involves a right-to-left jump, in others the reverse.

Last but not least is the green skull. It is worth 5K if you can destroy it before the music runs out. It also comes out at approx the 6000-6100 timer mark so time when you get the fruits depending on what stage you are in.

The game will get progressively harder. There is a small extension on certain ledges of one brick in width at the early part of the game. In time these are removed maximum a few key jumps that much more challenging.

Just hit's fun re-visiting this title after a 2+ year layoff !!


Re: The Grapes, The Frog, The Dragon, The Skull and The Ledg

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:50 pm
by Weehawk
RTM wrote:One cool trick...
Thanks for the info Robert. Do you remember all that stuff or do you make written notes?

More information available in this thread from January 2003 on the TG forum:

This was from Memory

Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:10 pm
by RTM
Hi Weehawk:

I played enough of this title to write those few tidbits from memory.

Practicing today, I reached a high of stage 14. Stage 12 is when things start to pick up pace, and stage 14 is the first tough stage due to the timing of the fireball's first appearance. Stage 18 is where it starts to get really nasty.

Jon knows all the tricks including fireball manipulation which is the key to success in this title. I still have yet to master that.

I just remembered another necesary tidbit. Do not get caught on top of an enemy coming up a column. It will knock you upwards to the next highest platform above.

Up to 263K thus far...a long way to go !!


Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:58 am
by Phil Lamat
John , you didn't talk about dipswitches.
Mame default is diff=normal, I see RTM used diff=easy for his 1st place on Marp : is it TG settings ? why the hell TG settings would be diff=easy ?

And are inputs with diff=easy receivable for Marp submissions, as diff=easy is easier than default ?

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:05 am
by Weehawk
Phil Lamat wrote:John , you didn't talk about dipswitches.
It wasn't necessary.
In, Weehawk wrote:For GEGOTW purposes however, we will use MAME default settings unless otherwise indicated.
Phil Lamat wrote:Mame default is diff=normal, I see RTM used diff=easy for his 1st place on Marp : is it TG settings ?
Phil Lamat wrote:why the hell TG settings would be diff=easy ?
That would be a question for the TG forum, I suppose.
Phil Lamat wrote:And are inputs with diff=easy receivable for Marp submissions, as diff=easy is easier than default ?
Yes, as they are TG settings.
In, Weehawk wrote:MARP rules state:

h) Recording submissions must be recorded with that particular ROMset's defaults or TG (Twin Galaxies) settings. A recording set at easier or different settings is subject to deletion, especially if it is higher than others at more difficult settings. Recording on TG settings, which are the official arcade game settings, is preferred, and will gain your scores further notice from your fellow players.

I've pointed out previously that this rule needs to be flushed down the toilet and rewritten from scratch. Confusing the issue by attaching MARP's acceptable settings to whatever TG accepts was a BAD, BAD idea from the start. Any further discussion on that matter needs to move to the Regulation forum.

For GEGOTW we will use MAME default settings unless otherwise indicated in MARP special rules for the game, or by announcement from myself.
Rule 2h that I quoted there is now Rule 2j, but reads the same.

And again, any further discussion of MARP Regulation policy will be moved to the Regulation Play forum.

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:46 am
by Phil Lamat
Yes, I remember that at the exact I clicked on submit for previous post.
Sorry for the time you've lost to answer.

Concerning TG "diff"=easy setting, maybe RTM can answer there if he knows something, just curious.

I agree with you, rule need to be rewritten, with something like "default or TG if TG settings are harder than default". Maybe it deserves a debate on regulation ...

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:59 am
by Weehawk
Phil Lamat wrote:Yes, I remember that at the exact I clicked on submit for previous post.
Sorry for the time you've lost to answer.
It's worth repeating. There's always new people coming in that haven't read all that previous stuff.
Phil Lamat wrote:I agree with you, rule need to be rewritten, with something like "default or TG if TG settings are harder than default". Maybe it deserves a debate on regulation ...
LOL...where were you the two years I was screaming about this? I've given up. Good luck. Maybe they'll listen to you.

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:07 pm
by Phil Lamat
Weehawk wrote:where were you the two years I was screaming about this?
In real life with my twins, and I've probably missed more other discussions in the past two years (probably the hardest of my life, no need to explain to those who already have children in diaper age)

TG for PP

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:00 pm
by RTM
Hello everyone:

TG actually has two (2) settings for this title...marathon and tournament.

As I am only one of two (2) players with TG scores for this title, and as the other player as a matter of personal challenge did in fact play at even harder settings than what is designated for both variations, I have no problem with MARP and TG dumping my personal score of 363K at "marathon" settings for this particular title so that I can start from scratch and revamp TG marathon settings to "Normal".

I can still get within 50-60K of that score at "normal" settings anyway so have no qualms about that. Let me know if this is a route you wish to take.

Thansk !!


Now I Remember

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:53 pm
by RTM

This was the discussion that took place years back with former TG MAME referee Mark Longridge.

TG occassionally makes strategic decisions to accept a lower-than-"Normal" setting for some titles, such as the Universal titles "Mr Do's Wild Ride" and also "Pandora's Palace". The logic was as follows.

When a title at normal settings precludes the average player from advancing more than several stages into a title without finite conclusion, TG evaluates whether the need to play at "Normal" best serves the gamer.

In the case of "Mr Do's Wild Ride", the average gamer cannot pass stage 6, and most "experts" at the title seldom pass stage 12 consistently, which is one and two loops respectively.

In the case of "Pandora's Palace", I argued with Mark successfully that the title will start to become difficult at "Easy" settings at stage 14, and at stage 9/10 at "Normal" settings.

We evaluated the need to establish tournament settings based on a player's proven ability to marathon the title at even hard settings, but that was a single player. In the past when a single player is so skilled as to marathon a title that most other players cannot, that does nfot necessarily warrant creation of "TGTS" (it took a second player to warrant TGTS for "Joust 2", and to date we have not adopted TGTS for "Champion Baseball" simply due to the fact that Gus Pappas, and only Gus Pappas, can marathon this title)

In the case of PP, however, we felt that TGTS was warranted and created ramped up settings following the standard of a notch above the normal difficulty and 5 allotted lives. TG Fact - Jon Dworkin's 800K+ at TGTS was in fact performed at Very Difficult settings and just 4 lives.

In PP, the harder setting has the same effect as it does in "Rush'n Attack" and "Green Beret"...the harder setting means more enemies streaming out and more opportunities for points. Under normal circumstances that is a boon to a gamer. When I initially submitted to Mark Longridge a score of approx 165K on "Green Beret" playing at easier settings and was told that I should be at "Medium", my score jumped by nearly 100K. Players of this title can attest to that impact.

In PP, I explained to Mark, and I believe I also had an opinion from former TG senior referee Ron Corcoran, that since in this title "Normal" settings generally resulted only in scaling back an average player's performance by approx 5-6 stages, allowing an average game to conclude between stages 9-12 as opposed to 14-18 due to ramped up fireball appearances, we would not be best serving the average gamer in this case using the previous "Mr Do's Wild Ride" ruling as precedent.

The goal of TG is to preserve competitiveness as well as enjoyment. Forcing the average gamer to contest at a setting which will diminish their performance range by nearly a third did not seem to be a good strategic decision as TG makes ruling calls on a title-by-title basis, so Mark agreed in this case which is why marathon settings were initially reduced to "Easy".

While I still have no objections to removing my earlier score as I am one of just two TG MAME competitors at the moment, I wanted the MARP community to understand the logic behind a former TG decision.

Sometimes we do the reverse as in the case of "Digger". For that title, TG settings were increased from the default substantially.

-> Usually in cases where there are just two (2) initial settings of "Easy" and "Hard", if the default is "Easy" then this is what we go with unless there is compelling reason not to.

-> In the cases where there are three settings including a "Normal" or "Medium", we tend to go with the "Normal" or "Medium" especially if this is the default. We still evaluate the competetiveness of this setting, and if the default is "Easy" and the game allows for significant progression and challenge even at "Normal" to the average gamer, then we adopt "Normal" or "Medium". On occassion we may adopt the hardest of the three settings if the title is deemed potentially or definitively marathonable.

-> In the cases with four (4) settings, then this requires even more discussion. The default is not necessarily "Normal" or "Medium", and there is am internal decision made as to whether to adopt that or an "Easy" setting. There are some cases made for adopting a harder setting when a title is deemed potentially or definitively marathonable.

-> For titles with more than four (4) settings, decisions are still made on a case by case basis, and fortunately, most titles in this situation are potentially or definitively marathonable. The issue then becomes which setting is right for both marathon and TGTS. As is the case with most TGTS decisions, the number of "lives" is typically set to a maximum five (5) except in rare circumstances such as "Smash TV" which is maximum difficulty, starting lives of 3, and extras can be earned along the way, or in the other direction such as "Juno First" which is one (1) single life at maximum difficulty.

Unique situations often require a unique series of decisions, as was in the case of "Time Pilot" at TGTS (maximum difficulty, maximum points for extra ship intervals, hunting allowed) and "Millipede" (maximum for all difficulty settings, 5 lives only).

In the case of PP, determining TGTS was a no-brainer, especially as we had a champion interested in establishing settings based on his personal working knowledge of the title. TGTS is not meant to make a challenge so hard that no one can do it, so we agreed to stop at the 4rd highest difficulty setting of "Difficult", and the standard 5 lives. We decided to keep the extra life intervals constant at 20K/60K as there did not seem much of a point in increasing that, just as we would not need to increase a title such as "Gyruss" to 80K per ship being that (A) top players would reach that anyway and (B) game ends after 5 ships anyway.

That left the marathon decision. While we were comfortable with TGTS, the issue was whether to make marathon "Easy" or "Medium", and that decision was largely based on the game's mechanics at the two difficulty speeds plus the previous "Mr Do's Wild Ride" decision. TG tries it's best to make all decisions with consistency using precedent as guideline, and that is why for PP we made it "Easy".

By the same token "Super Missile Attack" was played at the easier setting. It didn't make much sense to play this at normal considering the average player never reached the 8X stage let alone higher. I equate this logic to an archery competition, increasing the target distance from 150M to 200M. It's already hard as heck at 150M...why make it harder, as who is really benefitting from this ? Certainly not the competitor. When a title is made to be too hard, true challenge, creativity and enjoyment is sometimes diminished or removed. That's why "Robotron" TGTS is not at difficulty 10.

I hope that clears up the logic behind the decision. I await the MARP community opinion on what you think works best, then.


Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:26 pm
by The TJT
Nothing stops players submitting at TG settings after the gegotw. For the diff=easy -argument, Robert's reasoning sounds reasonably reasonable.

Up to 319K

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:26 pm
by RTM
Hi Weehawk:

I just hit 319K on "Normal"...still would be a top MARP score if you believe the settings should be changed. I'll save the INP just in case. Let me know. Thansk !!


PS - it's at 101 so would not even count for the GEGOTW, I think

Getting Closer !!

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:15 am
by RTM
Hello fellow gamers:

Up to 346,920 now at "Normal" difficulty. Same stumbling block stages...14 and then 18. Also realized that at "Normal", stage 16 has a nasty trap at the very beginning just like stage 18 on "Easy". A fire is immediately to the right of you as you start. So if you absent-mindedly start with the joystick or direction key pointed right, you will hit that fire and lose a life, just like I did !!

I had the extra lives up to a maximum of 7 and then they went pretty fast after I totally botched the very last bonus stage. Rats !! Would have had (probably) close to a personal best, but only made a pitiful 1800 that stage. Ah, well.

I'm starting to remember some of the other do's and don'ts for this title, including how to best handle the three blast furnaces at the bottom of the dragon-bonus stage, whatever you wish to call it.

Also, I remembered a great tactic in the bonus will have no choice but to employ it for the "Perfect" bonus later on. Jon showed me this one. You sometimes need to kill the enemy by close proximity jumps up so you kick it and then potentially get another on the way down. Once the enemies start zooming you do not have enough time to stand there and jump on them one by one anyway.

I hope I can get to 400K on this title...that's been a personal goal of mine for some time now, and Weehawk's tourney is a great way to pick up a challenge from 3 years past.

I remember the first time I saw Jon crack 500K at Fascination arcade. He was breezing through the stages...I think he reached stage 23 or so, maybe as high as 26-28. It's been so long I can't exactly be sure, but I remember the score well. He really ramped up his own personal best back then, and it wasn't until 2003 that he took his own skillset into the stratosphere with, well, his score dwarfs my own.

If I can crack 363K at "Normal" then I will post to the MARP and MAME sites as it would be a record in any event. However, be advised that the harder settings make point-acquisition easier up front, just as it does with "Green Beret". Score won't be able to qualify for GEGOTW, but I'm happy to be part of the action this week.


Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:45 am
by Weehawk
Sunday's bonus points to Tekkaman.