Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon (CPHD) is a brand-new Action/RPG game developed for SNK’s Neo Geo console which came out in 1990. It might look like a straight-forward arcade game, but under the surface is a persistent world with a rich and varied set of rules.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Negative (63 reviews) - 36% of the 63 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 11, 2014

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About This Game

Senseï is the undisputed chieftain. His followers are well versed in every extortion, infiltration and martial art. Pony and Biki are his best students, his pride and joy. The duo knows the secret chakra technique like the back of their hand (or hoof in Pony's case). Together they rule the city and its surroundings. Although everyone respects and fears them they are hunted by law enforcement agencies.

They are Ninjas.

Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon (CPHD) is a brand-new Action/RPG game developed for SNK’s Neo Geo console which came out in 1990.

It might look like a straight-forward arcade game, but under the surface is a persistent world with a rich and varied set of rules. In CPHD “Run’N Gun” mechanics from the likes Shock Troopers or Ninja commando are combined with playful “RPG” ones from games like Zelda or Secret of Mana.

You'll need to explore every level to find the resources necessary for your progress: coins, health bonuses, resurrection potions, special Ninja techniques, etc. Treasure chests are hidden everywhere. You’ll have to find them to afford equipment upgrades from the ninja shops. In addition Pony and Biki gain experience points by defeating enemies, becoming more powerful over time. Be careful though: you’ll have to use your resources wisely. Health is limited so if you don't equip yourself at the armory you're in for a hard time. Money is limited too however: you'll need to choose these investments carefully!

Make new friends: a local multiplayer co-op mode lets a second player drop in at any time. It’s even more fun, even more frantic and even more strategic!

Lose old friends: there are the same numbers of resources no matter how many players there are; will you share or will you hog everything?

Have a good adventure!

Why create a game for Neo Geo?

Several reasons pushed us to develop for this console. The Neo-Geo is a legend amongst consoles, and is the one we dreamed of throughout our childhood and teenage years. For this reason, when we decided to bring our main character “Ninja Pony” to life, we wanted his early adventures to take place in the Neo-Geo universe. Thus we are offering our beloved Pony this welcoming present: to be born into the world of this “Rolls Royce” of consoles. Having our character emerge on cartridge is a way of enshrining him in the Pantheon of video game heroes, alongside Sonic and Mario. It's a way of going back in time! It also made sense with regards to the character's back-story. Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon relates the teenage years of Ninja Pony. This parallels the advent of the Neo-Geo in the history of video games: this console personifies gaming's teenage years.

Last but not least there were technical challenges we were eager to overcome. We realized that there were very few traces of the tools and documentation required to develop games on Neo-Geo. What's more this arcane knowledge was gradually disappearing!
We had to become archaeologists, investigating, looking for clues, piecing together how these games were developed. We created our own software and hardware pipe-lines, started working directly in pixel art again, etc. We were able to leverage our experience working on “modern” video games in returning to blow the dust off these old techniques. It was an exciting job, a true act of video game craftsmanship!

Why bring the game to PC?

When we announced the Neo Geo version many expressed regret at not being able to play the game. Since our main ambition at Le Cortex is to offer original play experiences to as many people as possible we wanted to avoid restricting the release to Neo-Geo connoisseurs and collectors. So we decided to port the game to the gamers' platform of today: the PC. And in case you were wondering this is indeed a full native port, not the Neo-Geo ROM being run via an emulator!

About Le Cortex

Le Cortex is an independent French Studio located in Paris. We design, write and develop games which aim to offer brand new play experiences.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/7/8
    • Processor: 2.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better
    • Storage: 600 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows XP/7/8
    • Processor: Processor:Core i5/i7 or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better
    • Storage: 600 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mostly Negative (63 reviews)
Recently Posted
Plezmo
1.1 hrs
Posted: March 22
Boring color coded combat. Asinine humor. Lame level design. Poor show.

Would have been much better if you only had melee attacks and the ability to block.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Vimaire
15.5 hrs
Posted: March 6
Great arcade feelings

---
(How can people write a review when they played less than 1 hour ?)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Enkazadas, Lord Of The Isles
0.2 hrs
Posted: February 8
Not a big fan of this, honestly, it doesn't seem to do anything well, because whenever something feels good like the fighting, it gets detracted from by something bad (like forced arena segments that almost always kill you or massively reduce your health)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Bennis Dörk
0.2 hrs
Posted: December 31, 2015
This is a great game made for people!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Comrade Question
1.2 hrs
Posted: October 23, 2015
When this game was first released onto steam I wanted to give it a shot. The art looked alright and the crude humor seemed entertaining. Sadly I haven't even been able to get past the second level. The combat is baffling. While there's nothing wrong with color coded attacks making them go at a snail's pace doesn't help. More often than not you'll try attacking a red enemy just to have a blue enemy shamble in frony of them in the ages it takes your projectile to reach them. The enemies also are damage sponges yet you die in just a few hits which is no fun, especially when it's paired with a lack of a dependable checkpoint system. Maybe they were trying to give it a classic type of difficulty but it just doesn't work with how the game plays. I wish I would've waited before buying this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
edups
0.3 hrs
Posted: August 25, 2015
I got the highest score some how in the campaign which has never happend to me before, I would assume the main audience would be horny male office workers who need some thing with low requirements to run on a terrible laptop or office pc and small enough to run on an already full of porn hard drive. Still a fun game when your bored of main stream stuff and not horny though.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hālì Bōtè Pì
0.3 hrs
Posted: July 29, 2015
So bad. I like the idea of a specific weapon to kill but bad implementation with cramped corridors that force you to take damage, especially when you are forced in a fight when 7 of them are there. And since they are mixed there you are forced to melee and take damage or accidentally hurt yourself using the wrong color. Game definitely needs either more health drops instead of time or slower enemy actions cause this is ridiculous.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
++rama++
1.3 hrs
Posted: July 15, 2015
Doesnt even work with any gamepad and tech support cant fix it. Only supports keyboard. S***.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TiffanyAK
0.5 hrs
Posted: May 12, 2015
I played it for as long as I could stand it, but now I am deleting it, and won't be looking back. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. The color-coded enemies, each requiring a different attack to kill from a distance without shooting yourself instead, is actually a fairly clever game element, and I for one am a fan of the old-school graphics (and playing style, in part) and attempt at old-school style difficulty. The problem is, the approach used quickly became annoying. The controls are clunky and slow, when compared to what one generally expects, and this is actually the main contributing factor to the sense of difficulty, rather than actual enemy development and such. Combine this with the fact that it has the extremely old-style "must face the enemy in order to shoot them" thing going on, and the primary cause of difficulty in the game is by far the bad controls. The enemies themselves are actually largely easy to kill, even in large numbers, assuming you can make your person face the right direction and shoot with any suitable level of speed, both at the same time, while avoiding shooting yourself. The result is very slow and boring gameplay, with your enemies moving and firing pretty much as slowly as you do. Some reviews indicate that the bosses are really good, but I was already far too bored to continue on to that point. It just wasn't worth it.

Basically, if you're looking for the really old-style gaming from the late 80s or very early 90s, and are ready to deal with slow and clunky controls as well as somewhat poor game design in order to get as much of it as possible, then you might be okay with this. But if you're anything like me, and like even your retro-style gaming to be fairly well-designed and with decent control mechanisms, you'll want to stay clear. There are also a lot of good and honest reviews here from people who played far longer than me, if you have any doubts as to if the word of someone who only played for half an hour is sufficient.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
D4Dementia
0.2 hrs
Posted: March 23, 2015
Fantastic retro game. Gives an arcade experience while appealing to the adult side of those of us who grew up playing these games.

If you want a whimsical skip down memory lane with a fresh game, this is for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
118 of 144 people (82%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 16, 2014
Well, the bosses were fun. And it was kind of funny.

Let me start by pointing out that the gameplay is shamefully shallow. You have pretty much one attack and will spend most of the game kiting (the melee mechanic is useless, and will get you killed). The color coded-enemies are a nice gimmick, but not enough to make you have to think about which button to mash.

You have to mash the button, by the way, you can't hold it down. It made my hand hurt.

There's also some elements that are really just lazy. Semi-random enemy spawn instead of custom-built levels. Enemies deal damage to you as soon as their animation starts, instead of having hit detection, which looks and feels really cheap.

The rpg elements are VERY poorly implemented. You get xp and level up, but that isn't meaningful because the game is linear and you can't grind. At least, I don't think you're supposed to be able to?

None of that is the real reason I couldn't bear to finish the game. Enemy spawns are based on movement, or something, which you have to do to kite your enemies. So occasionally you'll just get cluster♥♥♥♥ed out of nowhere and wind up with a ton of enemies on the screen, and you with NO crowd control ability.

What happens next is gimmick number 2, which locks you in one screen whenever there's a bunch of enemies around, and only lets you out when you've killed them all. This will often happen when a wall or a pit or something is taking up most of the screen, making you pretty much doomed.

It's not even stable. If a bunch of enemies spawn behind a wall (trust me they will) they'll glitch into it and become unkillable. You'll have to restart the level.

Man, the bosses were GOOD. Like they came from a different, better game. But they really phoned it in for the rest of the game, and that's where you'll spend most of your time. Give this one a pass, please.
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65 of 99 people (66%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 14, 2014
Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon is a bare bones Neo Geo port. I didn't notice any upscaling option for the graphics, so Neo Geo quality is what you get. Keyboard controls are customizable, however, and there is an option for coop on the same keyboard.

Gameplay consists of color-coordinated top-down brawling that borders on the insanity of a bullet-hell shooter. You must chose whether to play as Pony or Biki (AKA boobs), and after the barest of tutorials (you can walk right past it) you are thrown into the game. You can throw blue shurikens and red ones, and will encounter red, blue, and purple enemies. Red shurikens kill red enemies, blue kills blue, and purple is immune. However, all enemies can be killed at close range with kicks. Any shurikens thrown at the wrong color will come flying back at you, so coordinating in the chaos is paramount. There are additional powers, coins, and watches to collect, and a constant timer at the top of the screen adds pressure that isn't really needed but dosen't really detract either.

My only gameplay issues (I actually find it fairly easy to ignore some of the worst "humor") stem from how easy it is to dodge INTO a group of enemies instead of AWAY FROM, and the extremely low frequincy of health pickups.

So far, CPHD is very intense and very fun. Recommended for classic-game nuts who don't mind odd humor (or French developers).

To the best of my knowledge, CPHD has nothing to do with My Little Pony, for those concerned.

Gameplay:
http://youtu.be/BnCdE0olwEE
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39 of 60 people (65%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 16, 2014
Okay, I was going to write a long review on this, but I think I can fit this in a short review:
  • This game is clunky due to your firing rate being slow, the movement being slow, the lack of a strifing option and the enemies being bullet sponges
  • Good luck trying to level up: It took me until mid second stage to even reach lvl 2. You'll probably be too poor to buy any upgrades by then either
  • The framerate's clunky, the game's juvenile and the animations are quite cringeworthy.
  • Level design: It's easy to get lost, and the indicator arrows don't help. Not to mention they're quite dull
  • The polarity system in this game (red shots and blue shots) is unnecessary and so is the arena mechanic (which is made worse due to the clunkiness)

I tried to stomach the game and beat it, but it's just bad. Levels are tedious, gameplay's slow, and the RPG mechanics are tedious. The game looks bad as well. If there's anything good, I'd say the much is pretty decent for ambience. But that doesn't save the game. This game is about ninjas? Well leave it in the shadows and go play a good game released on the Neo Geo... like Shock Troopers, or Metal Slug.

Verdict: Do not buy. It's horrible in too many ways.
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19 of 28 people (68%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
8.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
Some people might have some trouble with the game's difficulty , but since it's supposed to mimic old school games, this is to be expected - I'd even say that it's a requirement for a "retro" game to be a little on the hard side ;)
If you stick with it though it's really worth the effort: the game really comes into its own after the first couple of levels which are actually some of the hardest! Even so the game's surreal sense of humour is worth playing for in itself, and the pacing is good for the mid- to late-game with some really interesting encounters to deal with as new elements are introduced.

Well worth giving a try :)
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18 of 27 people (67%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
Played around 2-3 hours of Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon. I'm a fan of the old-skool graphics and really like the art style. If you like old arcade style games or owned a Neo Geo back in the days you will definately like this.
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14 of 20 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2014
It’s nothing innovative but that’s fine. Yeah it’s challenging and I won’t lie, dying and having to start from the beginning was rage inducing, but back in the day that’s what games did. If you’re looking for something tongue-in-cheek, nice pixel graphs and a game that doesn’t hold your hand, play Crouching Pony.
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33 of 58 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 14, 2014
- works with Xbox wireless controller
- fun beat em up
- awesome art and cutscenes
- Ninja Power
- many powerups
- self-immolation
- hypnotizing boobs

2 different standard attacks. (hit an enemy of opposing color the star is reflected back. close proxy does a kick on either button)
X = blue ninja stars
A = red ninja stars

if lost follow the arrow above your head.
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15 of 25 people (60%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
It's like old school games, hard but fun.
This game worth your money when it's on sale or in bundle.
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8 of 12 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 12, 2015
I played it for as long as I could stand it, but now I am deleting it, and won't be looking back. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. The color-coded enemies, each requiring a different attack to kill from a distance without shooting yourself instead, is actually a fairly clever game element, and I for one am a fan of the old-school graphics (and playing style, in part) and attempt at old-school style difficulty. The problem is, the approach used quickly became annoying. The controls are clunky and slow, when compared to what one generally expects, and this is actually the main contributing factor to the sense of difficulty, rather than actual enemy development and such. Combine this with the fact that it has the extremely old-style "must face the enemy in order to shoot them" thing going on, and the primary cause of difficulty in the game is by far the bad controls. The enemies themselves are actually largely easy to kill, even in large numbers, assuming you can make your person face the right direction and shoot with any suitable level of speed, both at the same time, while avoiding shooting yourself. The result is very slow and boring gameplay, with your enemies moving and firing pretty much as slowly as you do. Some reviews indicate that the bosses are really good, but I was already far too bored to continue on to that point. It just wasn't worth it.

Basically, if you're looking for the really old-style gaming from the late 80s or very early 90s, and are ready to deal with slow and clunky controls as well as somewhat poor game design in order to get as much of it as possible, then you might be okay with this. But if you're anything like me, and like even your retro-style gaming to be fairly well-designed and with decent control mechanisms, you'll want to stay clear. There are also a lot of good and honest reviews here from people who played far longer than me, if you have any doubts as to if the word of someone who only played for half an hour is sufficient.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 3, 2015
So some people have been saying they like this game coz it's a port of the Neo Geo game and if you want old skool Neo Geo then you might like it. I don't know much about them so I'll go off their word, but here's why I don't like it.

My biggest gripe is you can't strafe, you can only shoot forward so you have to be facing the enemy. This is fine with one or two enemies, but when several attack you at once, some shooting multiple bullets/arrows, you can't run and gun. You have to run and dodge and wait wait for a brief moment to turn and get off one shot, two if you're lucky. Then repeat until each enemy is dead and hope you don't take too much damage in the meantime. So common encounters of low level enemies become frustrating, especialy as most are bullet sponges taking about 6 shots each.

The controls are slow and lumbering. It feels like even moving out of the way of an arrow is harder than it should be. The combat doesn't feel satisfying at all and I only played level 1 but it was so boring! You just shoot slow moving shurikens against slow moving enemies and the kick is mostly useless unless you can finish an enemy in one go coz any more and you -will- take damage.

The difficulty feels hard not because the game is hard but because the controls are bad. I'm a fan of bullet hell shooters and the like so I don't mind extreme difficulty etc but with this I feel my skill is restricted the slow controls so I can't enjoy the game as I do with others. Just on the first level I felt I had to put much more effort in to get through than it needed. Again this might be coz it's from the Neo Geo and you're used to that or want that and that's fine. But with some extra work it could have been a much more enjoyable game.

TL;DR - it's funny, got lots of pervy stuff, slow/dated controls make it frustrating and boring to play, is a Neo Geo port, can't srafe
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