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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:09 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)

Unlike their contemporaries (such as Konami), Capcom was never a big supporter of Nintendo's Famicom Disk System. Releasing a grand total of three games for the peripheral, two were arcade ports that later showed up on the NES in North America. Capcom's final FDS release was an exclusive: an adventure game known as Samurai Sword which never left Japan and was later fan-translated in 2003.

The protagonist of Samurai Sword is a young man, named by the player. He's soon joined by a white mage known as Saria. Their mission: to defeat the dark mage Soron (not to be confused with Sauron). Soron is a bad dude, he's destroying everyone and everything, and so on. Gameplay is fairly self-explanatory and completely menu based (no "point and click" elements). Aside from the standard actions, the player can call on Saria to cast one of her spells, which can cast light upon dark areas, damage monsters, and so forth. The game lacks an open world, but progresses in a series of discrete chapters, each sporting a new setting. Saving to disk can be done between chapters, and nowhere else. You might think that this compact structure would render the game easier than its peers. You would be wrong.

Aesthetically, there's a lot to like here. This is A-list developer Capcom, after all. The four environments - woods, a desert, a futuristic city, and Soron's palace - are all pleasant to gaze upon. Character sprites are excellent as well, as are the facial portraits of the hero and Saria that display during dialogue sequences. I do wish the main action window were larger, however. It's criminally small, making the game perpetually awash in blackness. And there is a persistent soundtrack. Clocking in at about sixteen minutes, it boasts the type of solid tunes you'd expect from Capcom. The "city" music is especially memorable, reminiscent of one of the better retro JRPG town themes.
Unfortunately, Samurai Sword is somehow even more obtuse than most Japanese adventure games of the era. Navigation is strange. You can move in the standard cardinal directions, but then commands like "forward" and "back" are thrown into the mix, making each area difficult to map. The game is also very fond of "warping" the player at pivotal moments, and at least two areas can trap the hero along endless looping "lost woods" pathways. Analyzing found objects is also clunkier than it needs to be. There are both "look" and "check" commands, for some reason, and while some items are picked up automatically others need to be "taken" by the player. And of course there's the classic troll move: forcing one to repeat the same action multiple times until the desired result emerges. Some of the puzzles are admittedly humorous (there's one section where elves will only let the party pass after they've all imbibed some booze), while others verge on the infuriating (there's a guard at the city gates who won't let the hero pass, nor will he respond to commands... eventually he gets bored and simply walks away).

Capcom attempted to spice things up by adding combat to the game. Each area contains at least one type of "boss" creature. The hero and Saria are unable to defeat these fiends when they first encounter them. Instead, they must spend time exploring their surroundings looking for a new weapon or some sort of enhancement for one already in their inventory. Even when powered-up, combat is a tedious affair. The "fight" command would seem sufficient, but it often fails, forcing the player to "use" a weapon instead, or even to "look" at one which may cause it to become "enchanted" or whatever. Saria is blessed with some offensive magic, but she drinks too much (seriously) and oftentimes finds herself "paralyzed" as a result. The most entertaining (arguably the only entertaining) battle in the game is against the wyvern that guards Soron's palace. He can't be defeated, so the hero must opt instead to knock over the knight that rides the wyvern, appropriating the reptilian beast for his own use. Epic.

So, while Samurai Sword looks and sounds nice, it's far too cumbersome to recommend in earnest. It feels like a quick and dirty attempt to get into that burgeoning adventure game market, and not a wholly successful one. The existence of Ace Attorney is enough for Capcom to redeem themselves though, I suppose.

Well, I sure was bamboozled by this one! I guess that's what I get for not doing research. See, I had heard that High School! Kimengumi was a fan-translated "adventure game" for the Mark III (Japanese Master System), so I assumed it was something along the lines of Portopia and proceeded to purchase a copy. Turns out the game is actually: 1) yet another member of the nebulous "action-adventure" genre, and 2) bad.

High School! Kimengumi is a licensed game, based on a 1980s manga and anime series of the same name. "Kimengumi" here refers to a club of various high school misfit boys. However, the game's protagonist is a young lady. The character, Kawa Yui, has her, uh, skirt ruffled by one of the boys in the opening cutscene. She subsequently declares revenge. Unable to match their brute strength, Kawa Yui must rely on a series of tools to trap the hoodlums. I think she's letting them off easy.

The game's top-down, with an interface that's reminiscent of Exidy's Venture (a reference surely everyone will understand). There's a main "map" of the school's interior, with a series of labeled classrooms that can be entered. Most classrooms are nearly identical in appearance, though there are some unique environments like the headmaster's office, music room, library, and so on. Upon entering a room, Kawa Yui must avoid physical contact with the Kimengumi and raid desks looking for tools. The most important item is the rope, which is needed to tie up, and then dispose of, each Kimengumi member. However, before they can be shackled, each boy must be "distracted" by some other object or event. So, for instance, one boy begins daydreaming when presented with a love letter. Another becomes hypnotized by Kawa Yui's piano skills. Yet another can't resist the allure of baseball. When five boys are captured, the game is completed successfully. Surprisingly, there are plenty of items and rooms that need not be obtained or visited (and some items simply grant points), and the game's ending is altered slightly based on this completion rate.
Graphics are a mixed bag. The sprite work is quite impressive. There are some massive and well-animated sprites displayed during the cutscenes. And the Kimengumi themselves all look unique, displaying a wide array of facial expressions. Kawa Yui herself is quite adorable (or should I say... kawaii). However, the stage graphics are questionable, give off a copy-paste vibe, and feature some rather gaudy color choices. The "map" is especially hard to look at. There's but a small selection of music (and only one track extends beyond a single minute) but it's all catchy enough.

Gameplay is what truly suffers. Deducing what to do, and when, is extremely difficult. The rope, the first and most essential item, is extraordinary well-hidden. Once obtained, capturing the Kimengumi requires almost pixel-perfect precision. In other words, Kawa Yui must be lined up directly with - almost touching - one her foes, before the rope can be properly activated. And there's no room for error: touching a Kimengumi leads to an instantaneous Game Over: no lives, no continues. Searching the desks for items is also a colossal pain as the swarming Kimengumi don't move in accordance with any real predictable pattern. Also, some desks contain frogs. Wanna guess what happens when Kawa Yui touches one?

Even the menu system is a fail. Said menu is used to utilize items, speak to other characters, and so forth. The Master System controller has two action buttons, so assigning one to "confirm" and one to "cancel" is the most obvious control scheme. Instead, one button is used to open the menu and confirm all choices; there is no cancelling. As for the other button: it's used to open doors and desks (which should have been done automatically) and use "equipped" items. Overall, High School! Kimengumi is just sloppy and undercooked. I'm actually somewhat surprised Sega didn't release this in America -- they could have easily scrubbed out all the Japanese references and they certainly had no issue with dumping bad games upon us. In any event, I'd rather have detention than play this again.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:01 pm should self-publish a book of you FDS reviews. I’m serious about this. They’re awesome. Do much good information.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:13 pm

8) Thanks, think someone beat me to the punch though. ... B075NW6QML
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PretentiousHipster Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:14 pm

Hardcore gaming 101 is fantastic. I made a huge list of games to play and review and the sites that I looked at the most was that and the collection chamber.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pierrot Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:17 pm

Games Beaten List:
  1. Momodora: Reverie under the Moonlight (PC)
  2. Metro Exodus (PC)
  3. Tetris Effect (PC)
  4. Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut (PC)
  5. Xanadu (Saturn)
DLC - Shenmue III: Battle Rally (PC)

I've had this tacit mission over the past several year to actually complete Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu, which was partly fueled by a desire to play through all of the games in the Dragon Slayer "series" (i.e. the Falcom games by Kiya Yoshio: Dragon Slayer; Xanadu; Romancia; Dra-slay Family (Legacy of the Wizard); Sorcerian; Legend of Heroes I; Lord Monarch; Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu). I completely gave up on Romancia, long ago, but last night I was able to add a pretty impressive feather to my cap in the form of finishing Xanadu for the Sega Saturn's Falcom Classics Collection, on Original mode. I also decided to make it even harder on myself by refusing to reference the internet for assistance. In that form, it was one of the most tasking games I've ever played. I'm wondering when I should expect to receive my certificate of completion.

This particular version of Xanadu is essentially a console port of Revival Xanadu, which was itself an enhanced port of Xanadu to the PC-98. So while the Saturn version has more ostensibly appealing graphics, it loses the absolutely awesome FM BGM added for floors 2 through 10 from Revival Xanadu, and for some reason the final battle against the King Dragon is almost completely different from any other version. It's potentially even harder, actually. Most of the changes between the original Xanadu and Revival Xanadu seem to be superficial, and that's mostly the case between Revival Xanadu and the Original Mode of Xanadu on the Saturn, as well. There's also a Saturn mode for the Saturn version, which offers maps for each floor in the menu screen, and allows you to call for assistance from god, if you get stuck in a trap, among other things. For all intents and purposes, the Original mode of Xanadu on the Saturn is a faithful reproduction of the PC Xanadu experience (aside from the final boss) on consoles.

So I could talk about all of the things I went through while playing Xanadu, but I won't. It's pretty well chronicled in the pages of the Racketboy forums already. I'm willing to bet that if you searched "Xanadu" on the forums, 80% of the results would be posts from me. The main thing with Xanadu is that very few people today are going to want to play it. It's not really a game that allows the player to just be a spectator on some ride, merely controlling the action. Xanadu asks (demands, really) that the player be clever, and learn, based on very subtle signals. There's no dialogue in the game, no npcs other than shopkeepers. Xanadu only allows you your whits to guide you, and it will punish you severely for lack of preparation and foresight. Some might assume this suggests some idea of 'archaic' game design, like a Zelda II, but make no mistake, there's a real difference between the misguided clues, and awkward design of a Zelda II, and the expert puzzle craft of a Xanadu. It's probably down to the difference between a developer who counts clock cycles in his head while programming, and someone who probably should have listened to his professors who told him he was destined to be a jewelry designer.

If you want to cut your teeth on old ass JRPGs, that basically established the rules for everyone else, going forward, well, I'd honestly point in the direction of the original Dragon Slayer, first and foremost, but Xanadu is worth a shot. I respect the hell out of it for its historical impact on Japanese games (Dragon Slayer and Xanadu essentially established the fundamental gameplay of most of Nintendo's flagships on the NES, outside of Mario), as the best selling PC game ever, in Japan. I enjoy Dragon Slayer a lot more, though. What I found from going back to Xanadu after playing through Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu on the PCE-CD was that the latter really is functionally a sequel to the original Xanadu. It adds a lot of the Legend of Heroes JRPG-ness to the overall package, but most of the mechanical elements are exactly like Xanadu, and the final chapter is just this huge tower that's beautifully reminiscent of Kiya's first two games in his series (honestly it's the best part of the game, and I wish the whole thing were just multiple chapters of towers like it). So that's my recommendation to the majority of people: Play Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu on the PC Engine.

So, now I just have Sorcerian, and Lord Monarch to worry about (never gonna happen with Romancia, aka the most ridiculous kids game ever). Sorcerian is kind of a tough one to get around playing the original PC version of, since it has so many expansions, and every console version adds and removes various scenarios. I have the Mega Drive version, and the Dreamcast version, though.

Also, as a final thought, I just really wish I had been able to listen to this version of the King Dragon boss fight BGM while playing it on the Saturn, but it might have been too epic, then.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Nemoide Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:35 am

I'm going to try to actually start posting in this thread!

I have a bit of catching up but here's what I've beaten for the year:

1) Super Meat Boy (XBLA) - for January's Together Retro! This game was SERIOUSLY HARD, but overall a satisfying experience. It's a pure distillation of the platformer genre focused on making the player master the game's mechanics. Aside from moving with the d-pad or analog stick, your only controls are for running or jumping, much like the original Super Mario Bros. There are some unlockable characters who behave a little differently, but the core of the game is very simple. But it is HARD and has PLENTY of bonus levels and secrets to unlock for folks wanting more. The fact that there are people who 100% this game boggles my mind. I did some of the "Dark World" levels and warp zones, but don't want to dedicate myself to this game as I'd have to to 100% it. I liked it, but I'll never play it again and I'm okay with that.

2) McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure (Genesis) - one of Treasure's first game, released close to Gunstar Heroes! After playing Dynamite Headdy in a Together Retro last year, I finally saw the light to how great Treasure could be. McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure isn't quite as deep a gameplay experience, and is definitely too easy (the manual suggests playing on "beginner" at first, but I breezed through "normal" difficulty without any problems). But this is definitely a little gem that has a TON of creativity for a platformer. The fact that I have some deep nostalgia for those old McDonald's characters gave me a deep desire for this game and I'm glad that it's ALSO a lot of fun!

3) Sub-Terrania (Genesis) - WOW, now this is an underrated gem in the Genesis library! While Genesis games have been rising higher and higher in price, this one has stayed very inexpensive and a lot of reviews online are all over the place. I'd describe the gameplay as being like Astroids meets Lunar Lander, only with complex underground stages to clear. Your ship rotates in 360-degrees, and you need to thrust carefully, constantly fighting the pull of gravity. You need to destroy enemies, rescue miners, and collect ship upgrades. The learning curve is STEEP. I remember renting this game once as a kid and playing it at a friend's house: I instantly died and never really went back to it. But if you're patient and willing to approach this game with an attitude that's open to trial and error and that you definitely won't beat it on the first try, it's a really good game!
I played on easy and looked up what to do on YouTube, but even so the game offers a pretty fair challenge. You need to internalize the mechanics of the game and learn each stage in order to survive. It's KIND OF a shmup, but so different from the rest of the genre that it's really a game that needs to be played to be understood. It won't appeal to everyone, but I feel like it's a really great Genesis title!

4) OutRunners (Genesis) - What if OutRun was 2-player? That's the question this game sets off to answer! Playing this single-player is a little awkward since the display is split-screen the entire time, even for the 1-player-only "original" mode. It has different cars and a wider variety of courses than OutRun, but if I'm playing by myself I think I'd rather just stick with the original. But it *DOES* feel like an OutRun game and that's a good thing! I'll try playing it with my girlfriend sometime before I can *really* decide how much I like it. I found single player unsatisfying, but that's clearly not what this game is about.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by emwearz Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:31 pm

My son was born in October and as I am sure many parents find, spare time for gaming has become harder to come by. While small 10 or 15 minute sessions of Destiny 2 or or a mobile game are doable, sitting down for multiple hour sessions of an RPG are awhile away for me at the moment.

Total for 2020: 3

January - 3

3. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch
I wont lie, I struggled to get through Link's Awakening. I was not the biggest fan of the game as a kid, I always found it really cryptic and got lost on many playthroughs when I was younger. The graphic style of the remake really geled with it, the plastic look was cutesy enough to be intresting but detailed and varied enough to not get boring. The gameplay is that classic 2D Zelda style so many of us love and the dungeons are heaps of fun, but the fact that I still struggle at times about where to go next or what I am meant to be doing, despite the games inbuilt hint systems, etc, still bumbed me out and bit and really took a lot of the steam out of the sails of this game for me. I hate using walkthroughs, but if I did not consult one, literally for where I was meant to go next at times, I would not have finished this one. The fetch / swapping quest can jump up its own ass. Still one of my least favorite in the series, it just looks a lot better while being that.

2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Not a Hero DLC) - Xbox One
This DLC pretty much just turns RE7 into a full blown FPS, I still love the puzzle aspects that the series is known for but it is much more action orentated that the main game,
but for a free piece of DLC is does nicely to reintroduce the audience to Chris.

1. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - Xbox One
I really enjoyed RE7, while the series has never been anything I overtly loved, I enjoyed 5 and 6 quite a lot. 7 started out as one of the scariest in the series and then faded into an enjoyable puzzle adventure FPS with a horror theme. If you played this game and it got your heart rate going to the point you did not want to play it anymore, just know the game dramatically decreases in scare-factor with each hour you get further into it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:29 am

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2020!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Pikmin 2 (GCN)
2. Banjo-Tooie (N64)

3. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)


I beat Contra: Hard Corps on the Sega Genesis this evening!

Contra is a series that I have very fond memories playing. The original Contra is so engrossed into my DNA that I know that games backwards and forwards. However, besides the original, I never really beat them. I just played them until I got too frustrated. Even the original, I would only beat with the Konami Code. But, I once I discovered the Backloggery, that all began to change. I remember beating the original Contra with no code as being one of my first major Backloggery achievements. Since then, I have been slowly going through the series. And so, I finally reached the end and it was time for me to put an end to the 8 & 16bit Contra games.

Contra: Hard Corps is the only Contra game on the Genesis and it is a sort of sequel to Contra III on the Super Nintendo. The biggest change would be that you can play as 4 different characters, each with their four unique weapons. It takes a little while to find your favorite, but once you do, you feel in tune with them and that you can take on the world. I like the different characters as it adds a strong sense of replayability. Also, the game has multiple endings, so that even adds another layer to the game. The game is also extremely fast paced as you jump from boss fight to boss fight in the matter of seconds, which is a hallmark of Treasure games.

And Treasure is all over this game with bosses everywhere, different ways to shoot your guns and all sorts of variety. Unfortunately, it really doesn't feel like a Contra game. I miss the run and gun levels and mowing down countless enemies. With switching weapon shots, different guns and sliding all over the place, the controls can sometimes get in the way. And when the game is based around split second timing, that can be a major pain. Also, man is this game hard. I know all Contra games are hard, but Hard Corps seems to take it a step too far. It's hard to find bosses weak points and once you are down to your regular gun, it is almost to stay alive.

Overall, I had a very mixed time with Contra: Hard Corps. Unfortunately, it probably is my least favorite Contra game, but it is still good overall. I liked the characters and the weapons, but I just wish they went back to the old formula. If you prefer a parade of bosses in your Contra game, then this one is an easy recommend. Still, it is worth playing if you enjoy high action games!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:05 am

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC

Defender of the Empire is the first of two expansions to the original TIE Fighter. TIE Fighter left off with you having repelled the traitorous Grand Admiral Zaarin's attempt to capture the Emperor, and Defender of the Empire picks up with the campaign to bring him to justice. Your overall commander is Admiral Thrawn and you spend most of the expansion flying the TIE Defender. And it's a good thing, as the enemy has a lot Defenders and Advanced TIEs of their own. Fortunately, late in the campaign you also get access to the Missile Boat, the single most overpowered starship ever created.

Like the tail end of the original campaign, things are much closer to the X-Wing style of missions, where you are a much more important part of the battle. They do this because you have shields and don't need a ton of NPC pilots to draw fire away from you like when you were in the unshielded craft. This also allows them to ramp up the difficulty by forcing you to juggle taking out ships that are trying to take out a mission target while other ships are trying to take you down. Normally this isn't too bad, but when they have missiles then your life is going to suck. Many of the missions end up being a puzzle; you need to know what to focus on when, and sometimes you need to anticipate enemies jumping in. One trick you can employ sometimes is to disable enemy ships with your ion cannon; many triggers of new ships are based on you destroying existing ships, so disabling them will keep the trigger from happening.

My one complaint is that a handful of missions have some either scripting issues or just poorly balanced timelines that don't like it when you cut off enemy waves from spawning by disabling craft. You'll notice that a friendly ship is in the process of going to hyperspace, but it takes ten to twenty minutes for it to fire off. My assumption is that it has a very slow charge rate that goes up when you kill enemy craft, but it ends up mostly punishing you for trying to keep things manageable.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:53 am

1. Streets of Rage 2 (Sega Genesis Mini)
2. The Ninja Warriors (Super Nintendo) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (Super Nintendo)
4. Golden Axe (Sega Genesis Mini) [2x]
5. Beyond Oasis (Sega Genesis Mini)


6. Super Double Dragon (Super Nintendo)

Earlier in the week I wanted to continue testing out the new SNES controllers I purchased (an 8bitdo SNES30 and a late SNS-005 model, with the engraved Nintendo logo), so I went for this beat 'em up which I hadn't played in a long time. I have an emotional connection to this game, as when I was a kid, my dad took me to a Software Etc. to pick out a game for my birthday, and I chose this.

This game has a bit of a slower pace than other beat 'em ups on the console, so it might not be for everyone, but I do enjoy the gameplay, and I think the blocking mechanic is a unique touch in the game to help differentiate it, and I find it fun to try to anticipate the enemy attacks with the maneuver. I also like the addition of the charge meter, as the spin kick can help knock down a swarm of enemies and reset a tough situation.

Another aspect of this game I appreciate, that I don't think is talked about much is the soundtrack. I really like the music for this game, especially the tunes for missions 4 and 5. Those particular songs are pretty nostalgic to me, and bring back good memories of playing this game co-op with a childhood friend.

I do have a few issues with this game though. There are not enough enemy types throughout, you fight the same few characters over and over. Also, one of the enemies is a palette swap of the main character, which comes off as lazy. The US version of the game also lacks an options menu to adjust the difficulty, amount of lives, control scheme, or a music and sound effects test.

Overall, I do recommend checking this game out as it's one of my favorite beat 'em ups on the system, but go in expecting a title that's not as polished as it should've been upon release.
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