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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:29 am

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC

Overload is a spiritual successor to Descent, done by the two founders of Parallax Software, the company that made Descent. So going in I knew I was in good hands. And I was not disappointed. Overload hits all the great parts of Descent while updating it with modern technology and some improved design sensibilities. This is the Descent 3 we should have gotten.

The premise of the game is that the colonies spread through the moons of Saturn have suddenly started transmitting distress signals. You are sent in to investigate and find that their mining robots have gone insane and started killing everyone. You're going to need to take them out by overloading the reactors of each base and then escaping before you get caught in the explosion. You also are going to want to rescue people in cryotubes so they aren't caught in the explosion either. As you go through you'll pick up audio logs from people involved in the incidents and slowly unravel the deeper reason behind the killer robots.

Now, let's talk about how the game iterates on Descent's design. The first thing is that they did a major pass on all the weapons. Like Descent 1 the weapons are all fairly distinct from each other, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Five of the primary weapons use energy, while three of them use a shared ammo resource (with different ones using it at different rates). You'll want to find the ones that feel best for your playstyle. But there's more; as you go through the game you'll find unlock points which can be used in between missions to upgrade your weaponry and ship stats. The first upgrade is a general "do this better", while the second upgrade (which needs super upgrade points) for your weapons give you a choice between two options. One of them tends to be a "do this even better", while the other will make a change to how the weapon feels. For example, the basic pulsar (the laser from Descent) can either have upgraded damage and rate of fire, or can go to a four shot which doubles the damage (though it slightly reduces fire rate).

The next thing you'll find is how they approached the level design. The game eases you into the twisting and turning levels; while you never just have straight corridors, the early levels tend to stay on a basic plane with a bit of multi level stuff, and it's not until the later levels that you do a lot more vertical movement. This helps ease people into things, but the later levels are just as interesting as the old games. Another thing the game does is make fantastic use of lighting. All lighting is dynamic, which makes the tunnels dark and claustrophobic. There are two general types of terrain; base and tunnels. The base ones are blocky and look manufactured; they have an abundance of lights. The tunnels are naturalistic looking, that look like they were bored out by machines. They have more twists and turns, but they tend to only have a handful of maintenance lights. Fortunately, you can see enemies by their glowing engines and eyes, and you have flares. The whole thing is very atmospheric. And the map is just as good as the original two games; it comes up instantly and doesn't try to map all the textures like the Descent 3 map does, so you can focus on the walls rather than getting lost in the terrain elements.

And the last thing worth mentioning is the game's three boss fights aren't bullshit. They have a lot more health than a regular robot, and a lot more firepower, but it isn't a bunch of high damage homing weapons and they don't arbitrarily cloak and teleport around. While this can make them fairly easy if you have a good amount of ordinance it still requires you to keep moving so you don't take a full broadside. It feels like it rewards you for having gotten decent at flying your ship, whereas Descent 1 and 2 assumed you were a master and balanced accordingly.

Overload is a must play for fans of Descent.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:13 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)

I've only played a handful of walking sims. It's not that I don't think they're interesting, but one issue I tend to find is that they're quite limited in what they can do, so justifying that I spend a certain amount of money on them for what generally entails one or two playthroughs with little variation means that I just don't find the experience worth the cost. There have been certain instances where experiences have been particularly interesting and rewarding, and I admit that in those instances, I've had a wonderful time. Don't besmirch the genre, for when it works, it can hit with an emotional weight that most games never muster.

The Stanley Parable doesn't have this problem, because The Stanley Parable wants you to follow the story...and then break the story, explore it for its twists and turns, see how we can split it off. How does the narrator react when we do X? How about Y? Because The Stanley Parable is about choice, sometimes giving you more choices than you realize, and sometimes claiming you have choice when in fact the only options are to do something or simply stand there and not play.

Here's the deal: you are Stanley. You are stuck in a boring job. One day, everyone vanishes, and you find yourself with a narrator as you set off to find out whatever you can about your office...or not. You could simply not leave your office. That is an option. You could listen to the narrator; that too is an option. You could buck the narrator and do your own thing. You could explore and find "bugs" that the game intentionally left in place or quirky secrets. You could hang out in a broom closet. Every now and again, the game will throw a curveball at you too, something small like a visual change, papers scattered on the floor, or something like a hall layout being radically different.

All to come back to your choices largely coming down to YES, NO, or DON'T PLAY, though I admit that is sometimes not really an option either.

Hell, The Stanley Parable does a better job with handling choice and destiny in a limited video game world than BioShock ever did. It also offers up a narrator who may love you, or hate you, or be amazed by you, or saddened by you depending on your choices.

In short, The Stanley Parable is a video game. I spent money on it. It was worth it.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:30 pm

Great review, Ack. I’ve never played a walking simulator before. Which ones have you enjoyed?
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:45 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Great review, Ack. I’ve never played a walking simulator before. Which ones have you enjoyed?

Dear Esther was the first one I ever tried, and it left me with an appreciation for what these can be and how you can choose to interpret their stories. I would suggest that one, preferably the Landmark Edition version for the commentary. Dear Esther is generally considered the starting point for the walking sim genre, and the devs share their thoughts on how it shaped things as well as the design choices they made.

I enjoyed Thirty Flights of Loving when I played it years ago, but I had also enjoyed it's predecessor, Gravity Bone. There are others that I have yet to try, such as Gone Home and Firewatch, which interest me.
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retrosportsgamer
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by retrosportsgamer Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:40 pm

I'll second Dear Esther: Landmark Edition. I finished that game a couple years back and wrote about it in the games beaten thread.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:58 pm

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) [3x]
5. Beyond Oasis (Sega Genesis Mini)
6. Super Double Dragon (Super Nintendo)
7. Shenmue II (Sega Dreamcast)
8. Shining Force 2 (Sega Genesis)
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (Super Nintendo)
10. ActRaiser (Super Nintendo)
11. OutRun (Sega Genesis)
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (Sega Genesis)

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13. Captain Commando (Super Nintendo)

I felt like playing some beat 'em ups again the past few nights, as I've been playing mostly platformers the past month. I was going through some SNES titles and I finally tried Captain Commando. This is a game that I wasn't aware of back when it was originally released, and I had never played it or seen it in the arcade when I was young. I heard good things about it years ago, and I'm glad I finally gave it a shot, as it lived up to expectations.

The controls are a little stiff, but overall they seem pretty similar to Final Fight, so if you're familiar with that, then you should be at home here. I like the variety in this game, as the levels are all totally varied, the characters you can choose from are weird as hell, and you face a lot of strange enemies too. Capcom did a good job of mixing things up, staying away from the genre's cliches or repetitiveness, and throwing in some bizarre elements. The characters also have a nice amount of moves to utilize, with a variety of combos, throws, dash attacks, and jump attacks. You're also able to find ranged weapons throughout, but I found it odd that some of the weapons you find do less damage than your regular attacks. IMO, the music is only mediocre, and not as good as some other games in the genre, but it's not terrible or offensive.

Overall, this was a really fun playthrough, and I'd definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a different beat 'em up. I'd like to sit down and play it in co-op with a friend, as it'd be even better that way.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:21 pm

1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)

Kamiko is a $5 action adventure game from the creator of Fairune that delightfully embraces its brevity. The gameplay is similar to Gauntlet, and the entire game consists of only four levels, each about the size of a small dungeon in The Legend of Zelda. As in Fairune and Fairune 2, the distinctive sprite work is top notch, and the game controls wonderfully. As I mentioned earlier, though, it’s a really short experience, and it took me only 75 minutes to get through the entire game. The game features three distinct playable characters, one with a sword, one with a bow, and one with a boomerang, and upon completing the game, I immediately started it back up to see if I could get a better time. I did, shaving almost a full 30 minutes off my time on my second playthrough. I immediately started it back up again, playing through with the third character, and I was able to complete my third run through the game in 29 minutes 20 seconds. I’ve enjoyed all of this developer’s games, and while Kamiko isn’t quite as good as Fairune 2, I still really enjoyed it. It’s a short , but extremely high quality, experience that more than justifies its cost. Recommended,
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:09 am

Distance from the Earth to the Sun in centimeters IQ review.

I actually haven't beaten Kamiko, even though it was the first Switch game of any kind I purchased. Had no idea it was that short!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:27 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)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
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Platformers are one of my favorite genres. I'm a pretty forgiving guy. Just give me something that's functional and somewhat entertaining and I'll be happy. Unfortunately for me (and the rest of the gaming world) Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is neither functional nor entertaining. It is, however, frustrating, obtuse, annoying, and yes, quite bad.

What is an "Alex Kidd" anyway? Debuting in 1986, Alex was Sega's ill-fated attempt at crafting a "mascot" before Sonic hit the scene. Alex resembles a bully from a stereotypical 80s flick: fat, freckled, perpetually smirking. Oh wait -- that's just how he's displayed via the horrendous American box art. In the actual game he's still equally terrifying: some sort of creepy elf with mutated sideburns. Sega had a lot of faith in the character, apparently. Believe it or not, Enchanted Castle is actually the fifth(!) Alex Kidd installment, following a cluster of arcade and Master System games. Sega leapt backwards to the Master System again for the sixth and final installment, and then Alex was mercifully laid to rest in 1990.

As far as the story of Enchanted Castle goes, Alex travels to a distant planet to search for his father, King Thor, who's apparently been kidnapped by some evil monster. As such, Alex must traverse through eleven stages, the final one being the "enchanted castle" itself. The game's first impressions are pleasant enough. Graphics are clean and colorful, though not especially detailed, and the music is pleasant and chipper. Stage one is actually one of the game's two "town" stages, filled to the brim with money and items, and designed to acclimate players to the mechanics. And then, gameplay is initiated...
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The controls are are nothing short of mutilated, completely unsuitable for any video game, let alone one bearing Sega's name. Enchanted Castle commits all three cardinal sins: Alex moves like he's continuously sliding on ice, jumps are floaty and weightless, and hit detection is beyond heinous. There are two attacks available: punching and kicking. Punching is done from a standstill or ducking, whereupon Alex's fist turns gigantic and bashes hapless enemies. Well, this is how it would work if the programming was competent. Instead, punches only seem to connect a fraction of the time, and pixel-perfect precision is all but required. Kicking is an absolute joke. This move is initiated by releasing the jump button while in midair. Alex's sprite is barely modified to indicate the presence of a kick and it lands even less frequently than the punch. It's useless from a practical standpoint too. Most enemies are not airborne, and those on the ground should be punched instead, or, better yet, outright avoided. Oh yeah, Alex can only take one hit before croaking (obviously).

Mercifully, there are some items to assist Alex on his trek to the castle. And, surprisingly, there's even an inventory screen so one can stock up goods, choosing which to equip at a given time. The most notable item is perhaps the power bracelet, which allows Alex to emit fiery projectiles while punching and kicking. Other items include a cape that grants temporary invincibility, a pogo stick for making higher jumps, a "pedicopter" that allows for air travel, and more. These tools are invaluable; I was not able to complete the game without making liberal use of the pogo stick and cape, and I'm not sure if an item-free run is even within the realm of possibility.
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Now, the big issue involves the acquisition of said items. First, Alex needs money. This is dropped by slain enemies and found in bags scattered around each stage. In addition to using money for item acquisition, it's also needed to "buy" continues in the face of an inevitable Game Over. Money bags exist in a great surplus, so those ones the developers stuck into weird out-of-reach places can be safely skipped. To obtain an item Alex must enter a storefront, whereupon he's confronted by a "boss" type of enemy. Besting these foes requires not skill or dexterity, but blind luck, as the game eschews the traditional boss skirmishes in favor of a game of rock paper scissors. Seriously. There's no depth to this, no strategy. Choose correctly and you win an item. Choose wrongly and you lose both money and a life. It's a mind-meltingly stupid state of affairs. Yes, technically there is a "token" item that reveals what hand motion a boss is contemplating, but obtaining this often requires one first conquer a boss that possesses said token, so... In addition to the bosses found in these "stores" the game also showcases a smattering of unique end-stage bosses, but all are battled in this same fashion, including the final boss. Dreadful.

What makes the game an especially large bummer is that most of the levels (at least the first nine) are honestly pretty cool. There are pyramids, mountains, lakes, forests -- all of which are nicely crafted. There's plenty of block-smashing and interacting with the environment, and for a few fleeting moments Enchanted Castle almost feels like a decent Mario title. The enemy sprites are endearing as well, most notably the pre-Sonic hedgehogs and the masked Splatterhouse dudes. Things do turn sour toward the journey's end. Stage ten is a crappy shmup segment, and the enchanted castle itself is an overly lengthy mess of rooms with some janky Kid Kool vertical scrolling.

Thanks to compilation appearances, Alex continues to weasel his way into various gaming consoles, even to this very day. No matter the platform, my advice remains the same: ignore this one. It's the type of game that makes me happy I grew up with a Super Nintendo.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:35 pm

January
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

February
Megaman X (Switch)
Nekketsu Highschool Dodgeball Club (Switch)
Super Dodgeball (Switch)

March

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (SNK Pro Stick)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

April

Batman The Telltale Series (Switch)

Batman The Telltale Series was recently updated with a new 'Shadows' mode - which is really just an overpriced DLC that just puts the majority of the game in gray scale. Like - this is 'horse armor' levels of bullshit paid DLC. But, I am a huge fan of the series, I really want a third season, and I was drinking when I bought it.

I still think that this version of Batman is on par with the Arkham series version for in terms of being a quality depiction of the character. I like that it is a Batman that is still early in his career. I like that 'super criminals' have not yet really appeared yet, making this story a compelling challenge for the characters. I really like that no matter which way you choose to go about this tale, there is no way for Batman/Bruce Wayne to get out without having to pay a price to save Gotham.

This game remains a fun little romp and a great way to decompress after a huge game like XBC2.
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