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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sun May 03, 2020 12:38 am

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)
21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)
22. Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)

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23. Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN)

This is a title I wasn't aware of when it was originally released, but I had seen some gameplay footage and positive reviews a few years ago, and became intrigued. I finally saw a CIB copy in really good condition available through an IG claim sale in March, and figured I'd give it a shot. I'm glad I played through this game, as I really enjoyed it.

The graphics look great for an early Genesis title, and are more on the cartoony side, which I think is a nice touch for an action/adventure style of game, especially at the time of it's release. Most of the backdrops in the game are pretty colorful and bright, and the music is mostly uptempo and brings a cheerful tone to the game. I thought the setting for the final dungeon and the design of the last boss was a bit of an odd choice, considering the fantasy theme throughout most of it, but that didn't take anything away from the game, just a nitpick of mine. Similar to o.pwuaioc's observation in the previous post, this title ended up in a totally different setting, which seemed out of place.

The gameplay holds up well and the controls are responsive. As a newcomer to the series, I was a bit surprised by how close you have to be to an enemy to attack it with your sword, but I got used to it after a while. The pause menu to equip and select items and set them to a hotkey button worked well and was easy to navigate. I like how the game has some item and equipment management but not so much that it gets cumbersome. The various companions that can tag along through the dungeons is a cool touch too. It was fun to see the attacks and abilities of the creatures that follow you around. Also, all the hidden items and paths that you can access after having the ability to shrink was fun to explore.

I found the game's difficulty to be just right, even easy at times. However, I did get stuck in the desert and pyramid area. I knew where I needed to go throughout the desert, pyramid, and the road to Begonia, and I had about nine heart pieces up to that point. But even with that many heart pieces and the best equipment, I had a tough time surviving all the way through to the next save point. I put the game down for a few weeks after a bunch of unsuccessful attempts but after picking it back up last night, I was able to get past this point and the rest of the game was not nearly as difficult until the final dungeon and boss.

Overall, I found this to be a really fun title and I'm glad I put in the time to complete it, I recommend it for fans of action adventure games and RPGs. I'd like to play both Monster World IV on the Genesis, and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap on the Master System. I'm not certain I'll be able to get to them this year, but they're definitely on my radar.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun May 03, 2020 12:45 am

o.pwuaioc wrote:No idea why every game has to end up with aliens in space. Medieval fantasy like Final Fantasy II? You're on the moon. World War II fighter? You're fighting aliens in space. Duck Tales? Moon again.

It's a proud tradition that goes all the way back to Ultima. In order to travel back in time to stop the evil wizard Mondain you need to become a space ace by fighting TIE Fighters. Once you've done so you tell the princess of your achievement and she gives you the keys to the time machine.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sun May 03, 2020 12:56 am

@Note: Congrats on beating Contra 3, it really is an amazing game, and once you get the hang of it, it is not as intimidating as it initially seems.

Classic Contra is one of those series that I revisit yearly and pretty much all of them except hard corps are ingrained in my muscle memory.

Also PSA for everyone:

If you love wonderboy, as every one on this board seems to, you all absolutely need to play aggelos, it is a modern day wonder boy inspired game and is absolutely amazing. I don't think most people have heard of it but definitely worth checking out.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Sun May 03, 2020 7:40 pm

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

1. Pikmin 2 (GCN)
2. Banjo-Tooie (N64)
3. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)
4. Super Baseball Simulator 1,000 (SNES)
5. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)
6. Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection (PS2)
***7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)***
***8. Cruis'N USA (N64)***

9. Arc The Lad Collection (PS1)

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I beat Arc The Lad Collection on the Sony Playstation this afternoon!

When I first go my Playstation 2, I created a list of RPGs & SRPGs that I wanted to play for the PS1 & PS2. The first couple of years of owning the system, I slowly made my way through them while picking up other genres along the way. Eventually, I had hit off all of the games I wanted to play and I was moving on towards other genres. Imagine my surprise when I found out about another SRPG that I missed. Over at Racketboy, they have the best Retro Game Forums and I found out about the Arc The Lad Collection. After some further research, I realized this was a series of games that I overlooked. While walking around a game convention, I found a near flawless copy and I decided to jump into this massive undertaking. After a few months of playing, I finally finished all of the games in the collection.

In Arc the Lad Collection, you have Arc the Lad I, II & III. Arc I is basically a prologue that leads into Arc II. Arc III continues the story from Arc II with a different graphics engine. The graphics in Arc II though are absolutely stunning. The game is in 2D and the sprite work is just beautiful. Arc III changed into a somewhat 3D look and it lost some of the unique aesthetic. What carries throughout all of the games is the fantastic battle system. They are all SRPG's with an emphasis more on the RPG aspect. The battles are fast and quick with most of them being over in a few minutes. There is not a ton of complexity like you would find in the Disgaea series, so it's that perfect blend of lightweight but still enough to make you think. Also, I like all of the games tie into each other via the story. All of the characters from Arc I show up in Arc II as playable characters. Also, the characters from Arc II make cameos in Arc III as well. It's all one big world and the games happen sequentially, so it's a nice touch to bring the characters back.

Overall, I really enjoyed Arc the Lad Collection. My biggest complaint would be that everything takes way too long. Some of the dialogue in Arc II & Arc III go on forever. The humor isn't funny when you have to hear it several times. Also, the leveling curve in Arc II is rather steep, so expect some grinding especially for the final boss which takes hours to beat. Besides those, it was fun to go through a series of SRPG's that I had forgotten. If you love the genre, these should not be missed!
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dsheinem Mon May 04, 2020 1:14 am

Games Beaten 2020
Mortal Kombat 11 - PS4
The Force Unleashed II - 360
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom - Wii
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - 360
Super Fantasy Zone - Genesis
Fable Heroes - 360
Castlevania Bloodlines - Genesis
My Friend Pedro - X1
Super Fantasy Zone - Genesis
Darius - Genesis
Ape Out - PC
Doom Eternal - PS4
Dead or Alive 6 - PS4
Plague, Inc. - PC
Space Harrier II - Genesis *new*
Space Harrier - Arcade *new*
G.I. Joe - Arcade *new*
Chaos Control - - PC *new*
Super Off Road - SNES *new*

Total: 19


Previously:
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

I’ve been playing some shorter games in between time with some longer ones I keep plugging away at (e.g. FF7 Remake...). Here’s short blurbs on each:

Space Harrier II - I played this on my Genesis mini and found that I enjoyed it much more than I had in every previous attempt to play. This game has the possibility of being a bit zen-inducing when you are flowing with controls of the game, the soundtrack, trippy visuals, and the enemy patterns. I enjoyed this enough to want to try out some other rail shooters for a bit, and I can see dipping into them a bit more this month...

Space Harrier - Playing Space Harrier II was also a nice reminder to get my MAME machine up and running on the basement TV, and so the first game I spent time with was the original Space Harrier. This one is still special all these years later - it has aged well. The bit where you are riding on the furry beast on the bonus stages is still some of Sega’s finest arcade work.

G.I. Joe - How did I grow up a huge fan of the show and the toys, get super into retro gaming later on, and still never know this game existed until last week? It is a fantastic rail shooter with great sprite work, well designed joystick controls, well animated scenes, a plot that runs through the well known locations of the show, and really a great representation of what I always enjoyed about the series and the game genre.

Chaos Control - this early polygonal rail shooter from Infrogames seems like a precursor to stuff like Virtua Cop and LA Machine Guns or some such, but with a joystick. It is an impressive game for what it is and shows a lot of creativity in how to implement design ideas in 3D. If I can figure out how to get the sequel running, I hope to play it too...

Super Off Road - I have only played this against other people before and enjoyed it. So, I figured I would do the campaign. I played this for an hour or so and easily kept winning every race, easily upgraded my vehicle to max stats, and saw all of the tracks a couple of times...and then found out that there is no end to the loop. So, since I “looped” the game multiple times, I am putting it on the list. I thought this was super easy and the game seems like a poor man’s version of something like RC Pro Am. I guess the campaign has its fans?
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Tue May 05, 2020 10:09 am

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)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
SNK Gals' Fighter (Switch)

May[b]

[b]King of Fighters 97: Global Match (PS4)


I'm a little burnt out on longer games still so I've been doing a lot of Capcom and SNK fighters. I must be feeling nostalgic or something; I am clearly stuck in the late 90s.

I played through Street Fighter Alpha 2 through the Street Fighter Anniversary collection. I haven't actually spent much time with SFA2's arcade original. I've played a lot of the SNES version and Alpha 2 Gold back before I parted with my Saturn collection. Alpha 2 is a really nice game and fixes a lot of the problems I had with the original Alpha such as static backgrounds and sparse character animations. I think I still prefer the console iterations though - Alpha 2 is still a minimalistic game. It lacks to the character and impact that Super Street Fighter 2 had. It does not feel as much of step backwards that Street Fighter Alpha did. Without all the extra characters that Gold and the console upgrades came with, SFA2 is something to play as a novelty.

SNK Gals' Fighter is also a novelty! Neo Geo Pocket Color games on my Switch? Yes, please. I am over the moon for how well this game is emulated. Multi-player is intact, you have variable zoom to size the screeen however you want. They even included multiple filters and overlays that match most of the common NGPC shell types. Also SNK Gals' Fighter is still just a fun game. SNK's fighting engine translates to two buttoms and positional context so well. The amount of self-aware charm and fan-service in the game is a relic of a bygone era. Oh, and playing it with a full HORI arcade stick? That's worth some giggles.

King of Fighters '97: Global Match is a fun time. I know that '98 is the universally preferred iteration of KoF but I like 97's narrative and the cast feels very complete. I played through the game with several teams, including the Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and Hero teams. KoF 97 does a great job of using a 'tournament' format as a framing device for a story about an ancient evil coming back - transition screens between matches include little details like the number of fans in attendance, and the number goes higher and higher as you proceed through all the matches that are part of the KoF tournament. At the end when the 'big bad' is revealed, the backgrounds for the stages are amazing and dynamic. Each team has a plausible path to being the ones to beat the 'big bad' but there are plenty of 'secret team' endings that reward replays. It's currently on sale on PSN for $4 with cross-buy for the Vita and I recommend it a lot.
The PSTV is amazing.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed May 06, 2020 1:46 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
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4

Like Persona 3 and 4 before it, Persona 5 got an updated version. Think of it like the Pokémon Emerald to the base game's Ruby. And like before the updates consist of some new characters and a bunch of quality of life updates. P5R also includes a new post-game segment over the course of about a month of in-game time that takes one last look at the nature of the game's supernatural and gives a pretty relatable antagonist (compared to the main game's "I am the embodiment of humans sucking and blah blah blah" (which, in fairness, the other two Persona games also did).

I'm going to focus on what was changed. The first thing you'll notice is that there are two new confidants; you'll encounter the first one when you're still in the railroaded beginning of the game, while the second is introduced after finishing the first dungeon. These confidants are woven in to the story pretty well, and one of them will become a party member in the post-game content. This leads to a reshuffling of the personas as well as a bunch of new added ones to fill out the compendium.

The next thing is that there are a bunch of new activities available. You can hang out in a jazz club with a party member to buff their stats or teach them a support skill, you can play billiards with the team to boost the effects of a technical hit (using a certain element when enemies have a certain status effect), or play darts to buff a teammate's baton pass ability so it does even more damage and can restore their health and SP. Oh, that's another thing; baton pass is now inherent, and you don't have to level your confidants to get it. Speaking of, a few of the confidants have had their benefits reshuffled.

Another thing that has been changed up is the dungeons have all had their layouts tweaked. You have a new grappling hook which can be used in certain places to get up high; this adds some verticality and adds to that feeling of you being sneaky thieves moving through enemy territory. The other part of the layout tweak (besides just generally being a bit cleaner) is they've inserted three rooms where you can get the will seed of the palace master. Getting one restores 10% of the party SP, and getting all three causes them to turn into a special accessory. You will have to fight a hard enemy to get the third one, though.

Similarly, Mementos has been slightly modified. There is a new NPC who sells some nice items as well as letting you increase your experience, money, or item gain in Mementos by collecting items that are hanging around on the tracks. This gives you more reason to go in besides experience grinding (which can fall off rapidly) and the requests.

Aside from the post game it doesn't sound like a lot, but it all adds up to a smoother feeling experience. Another thing that happened was most of the times when you had to go straight to bed after story stuff you now can do stuff in the café, like reading, studying, or playing video games. Overall you just have more time, so a max confidants run has never been easier.

If you played through P5 before and have 110 hours free then I'd recommend snagging Royal. If you never played it but are a fan of the general Persona or SMT formula then P5R is the current pinnacle of it.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Wed May 06, 2020 11:21 am

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)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
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Babies have a pretty decent life. They're clothed, fed, adored, and have their every whim catered to. Not Upa though. This baby lives in a magical kingdom where a goat demon has captured all the (other) babies and adults alike. It's up to Upa to save them. Thankfully he's no ordinary infant -- he's the BIO MIRACLE. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa is an 8-bit platformer by Konami. It has one of the strangest release histories among retro games. The original Famicom Disk System variant (this one being reviewed) hit the scene in 1988. Five years later, there was a Famicom cartridge release. The Famicom disk to cart pipeline isn't totally unheard of, but was typically reserved for mega-hits like Zelda and Konami's own Castlevania. The cart version of Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa is extraordinary rare and expensive -- in fact, if you already own a vanilla Famicom console it's actually cheaper to buy a disk copy of the game and the Disk System peripheral itself versus ponying up the cash for a cart. Lastly, there was an unexpected Virtual Console (rest in peace) version that even made its way to the West. Strangely, it's based on the FDS original; the load times remain intact though the disk-flipping has naturally been scrubbed out. I've read reports about bootleg copies of the game released way back in the 90s (even in America) under the title Baby Mario but I haven't seen this myself.

Speaking of Mario, Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa is structured in a similar fashion. The game progresses in a linear fashion, with seven worlds each consisting of three smaller stages. It's a relative compact experience, designed to be played in a single hour-long sitting. Controls are of the expected B-attack/A-jump variety, but this baby has some tricks up his onesie sleeves. First: the jumping. Baby Upa jumps exactly like... well, how a baby might jump if a baby could jump. Short on height with some impressive horizontal distance. As such, Upa can clear jumps when low ceilings and overhangs are present, jumps that would present issues for the likes of Mario, Sonic, Simon Belmont, Mega Man, or Michael Jackson. Upa attacks with a rattle, but there are no insta-kills in baby land. The rattle instead inflates enemies; by default they begin to drift up and away in a diagonal direction. Such floaters can thus be repurposed as platforms, though they will "pop" after a few seconds. Inflated enemies can also be used as weapons: a bump to a floater will send it sailing in given direction, clearing out all hapless foes in its path. But beware: bumped floaters will ricochet and can damage Upa himself. Upa does have a lifebar, which can be lengthened via the collection of power-ups, though it will reset after a stage is completed. There are additional health refills (milk, of course) and an invincibility power-up which allows Upa to spontaneously walk and mow down anything in the path of his toddling baby feet.
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This is a Konami game, so no expense was spared in terms of presentation. The stage backgrounds are quite lovely. Keeping with the babyish theme, there's plenty of "soft" muted colors: light pinks and blues and so forth. The seven worlds lack the types of cohesive "themes" seen in games like Super Mario Bros. 3, though there are some recurring designs. There are giant cakes to dig through, and sticky ice pops that slow Upa's progress. Air levels and ice levels, and large mazes of computer circuitry (very reminiscent of Esper Dream, those parts). The underwater stages, where Upa dons an adorable swimmer's mask, are especially well-designed. There's a persistent current to move things along, and enemies move accordingly. The music is relatively entertaining. The "stage 1-1" song, which is recurring, feels like an attempt to create a "signature" Mario-esque earworm, and it totally works. This is one of those games where the extra FDS sound channel makes a drastic difference. That aforementioned stage 1-1 tune is downright castrated on the Famicom cart, lacking the needed bass boost.

Enemies are appropriately cute: little penguins, toy airplanes, elephants tossing rice, and a number of other critters. There's a recurring boss -- the "Birdo" of this particular game. Here it's a pig that shoots smaller foes out its mouth. The pig can't be damaged with the rattle directly; like Birdo's eggs the tiny regurgitated creatures must be tossed back in the pig's face. There's a manner of additional bosses too, a fire-breathing snake for instance, and all must be battled in a similar fashion.
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The game's most apparent flaw is a massive difficulty spike. It's not even gradual. In fact, it's sudden enough to be pinpointed: stage 4-2. This stage pulls a Metal Storm and flips everything upside down. Not only is it incredibly disorientating, but the stage isn't structured properly to support such a new play mode. Thankfully, Upa's gravity returns to normal come 4-3, but the developer's various "pranks" continue. Enemies that appear out of nowhere, platforms that drop instantly. Stage 7-1 is an absolute failure of design: a long, spike-laden vertical drop. Success is predicated on making a series of "leaps of faith" successfully. Most of the game's later bosses are terrible too. The battles are waged on a series of tiny platforms, making the smack/ricochet technique extraordinarily difficult to pull off successfully. Humorously, the final boss is probably the easiest one encountered in the game's final thirty minutes, as he's challenged within a wide open arena with ample space for maneuvering. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa does offer up infinite continues, though continuing jets Upa back to the start of a given world (not stage).

Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa reminds me of another obscure Japanese platformer by Konami: Yume Penguin Monogatari. Both boast some creative elements, but feature persistent "gimmicks" that are enough to put off many a gamer. In Yume Penguin Monogatari it's the obesity-related health meter. In Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa it's the rattle attack and perplexing composition of some of the later stages. This is an okay game, and it probably amused many who stumbled upon it on the Virtual Console (rest in peace), but there's no real reason to mourn its lack of an official NES release. There were certainly better platformers that managed to cross the Pacific.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Thu May 07, 2020 10:09 pm

@Bone: I remember when I was a kid and my mom took my brother and I to rent our weekly game and boom: Super Mario bros 4: Baby Mario was right there. Super excited being the big Mario fan that I was and 10 year old me couldnt wait to try it, needless to say it was underwhelming. I have not thought about that game or even considered its existence until your review and I may need to play it now that I know the name of it, just for nostalgias sake.

Games Beaten:

65. Dino Strike (wii)
66. Dragons Lair 2 (wii)


65. Dino strike is a simple light gun shooter that has you stranded on an island where dinosaurs still exist. You get shipwrecked there and have to survive long enough to make it back to your rescue boat.

There are 6 levels filled with velociraptors, pteradactals, and some big spiky dino to shoot. Control is responsive as these games are on wii, wiimote points and shoots, there is a reload button and the d-pad switches between your 4 weapons (pistol, shotgun, machine gun, and grenade launcher) You start the game with a health bar that allows you to take 4-5 hits and 2 continues, but there is plenty of health scattered about levels as well as generous amounts of extra continues. The first time (and the only time) I died was on the 4th level and I had 25 continues accumulated at that point. The generous amount of health and continues make completing the game a breeze.

Despite that, Dino strike is a simple, fun light gun shooter, it is not as epic as many of the wii's best light gun shooters but it is fun and if you enjoy the dinosaur asthetic you could do much worse.

66. Dragons Lair 2

This is a game you either love or you hate, you either love the animation, the story, and the idea of controlling a cartoon, or you absolutely hate the fact that the game is essentially one big quick time event that completely lacks checkpoints after the first level and requires a bit of trial and error along with fast reflexes and a bit of memorization.

For me, Dragons Lair 2 is one of my all time favorite games, and hands down my favorite of the "cartoon laserdisc" games that were somewhat prevelant around the early 90's. I definitely think my love for this game is grounded completely in nostalgia more so than I am its solid game design.

Fact is this game was out when I was a kid who went to the arcades weekly, I was very good at it, so good that random people would approach me and give me quarters to watch me play. I have played this game so many times that I have the dialogue completely memorized, like an old song, I have not played the game in over a year, but as I played through it I found myself subconsciously reciting the lines to every level and just found myself smiling throughout the whole thing. This is a game that just makes me feel good and even though it is not the best game mechanically, I just absolutely love it.

This kind of game is not for everyone, I think younger gamers would not be into these kinds of games, but if you are around my age you probably have some kind of nostalgia for these kinds of games because they were pretty revolutionary for their time, and dragons lair is hands down the best of its kind, even if it is from an outdated genre.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Fri May 08, 2020 2:41 pm

Games beaten 2020:

1. Ys: The Oath in Felghana PSN Vita
2. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch
3. Super Mario Party Switch
4. Moss PSVR
5. Paper Mario: Colour Splash Wii U
6. The Firemen SNES
7. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SFC
8. Kuukiyomi: Consider It! Switch eShop
9. Valkyria Chronicles Switch eShop
10. Illusion of Time SNES
11. Trials of Mana Switch
12. Undertale Vita
13. Rastan SMS
14. Rainbow Islands SMS
15. River City Girls Switch
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch
17. Streets of Rage 4 Switch eShop *NEW*
18. Dragon Warrior IV NES *NEW*


Streets of Rage 4

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I’m a massive fan of the Streets of Rage games – all 3 of the titles on Mega Drive were childhood favourites of mine, but especially Streets of Rage 2. It’s a game I can go back to again and again and not get bored. So I was pretty excited when Streets of Rage 4 was announced, especially due to the involvement of LizardCube, who did an excellent remake of Wonder Boy III not too long ago.

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When the day finally arrived, I jumped in, and what can I say – I had a blast. There’s no doubts that this is a proper follow up to the old-school titles, and it really felt great to have the chance to play through a new game in the series. Me and my wife both jumped in and played through it together, swapping characters until we finally stuck with Cherry and Adam.

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The characters here all feel unique and fun to use, although I will say that some seem more fun then others. I lean towards Adam and Cherry because they have better movement options (Cherry can run and Adam can do a short dash) which is more my style – I mainly played as Skate back in the day. I found Floyd, Axel and Blaze a lot harder to use due to their limited movement options – it’s a shame they dialled that back from Streets of Rage 3 where everyone could run and roll. I found that some of the approach options from before were worse too. Max and Blaze in SOR2 had good approach moves in the form of their slide and flip attack respectively, but Blaze’s flip is way shorter range now (it’s bad, and she feels much worse overall) and Floyd hasn’t got anything like Max’s slide to help him cover ground.

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There are 12 stages in the game, which is a pretty good amount, and it feels a bit longer than the 8 stages of the classic games. The stages definitely vary in length – the first stage is pretty long for example, but a later stage on top of a train is over in a flash. The game mixes things up nicely with some memorable locations, including an art gallery, the top of a train and a biker bar. There are some level hazards in some stages, but I can’t lie – unlike prior streets of rage games where the factory or elevator levels were some of my favourites, I found them more frustrating here – some of the stage hazards feel a bit gimmicky (like the poison water puddles in the sewer) and it feels harder to capitalise on the pits in levels where they are as many characters seem to have less throw options than earlier games and combos often send enemies right over pits to safety on the other side.

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There’s a good variety of enemies here, and most of them are a lot of fun to bash through. The bosses are generally pretty cool too, and there’s some fun throwbacks and surprises amongst them. This is where my biggest frustration with the game comes in though – there’s a few too many enemies with cheap attacks for my tastes, especially if you play as the slower characters – Donovans uppercut comes out very quickly and has a big range and high damage, and he uses it even when you’re grounded now for example. The kicking guys are a pain too, and the Molotov throwing enemies in later levels suck.

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More frustrating still, for me, is that many enemies now have invincibility on some of their attacks, meaning that you can be punished if you have bad timing. This changes the feeling of the game as you progress and not for the better – sections with many enemies with invulnerability periods can be some of the worst parts of the experience, and I’d rather they just let me punch them to prevent attacks rather than having to tediously dodge them and wait for my opportunity. It’s not a game breaker by any means, and as I get more familiar with the game I’m sure it’ll become easier to deal with, but it went against 25 years of Streets of Rage instincts for me and I didn’t love it.

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Visually, the game is stunning, as you can see by watching any trailer or looking at any screenshots. The stages are atmospheric, varied and colourful, whilst still keeping that dingy grimy feel of the series. The music is obviously a big part of Streets of Rage overall, and I won’t lie – I don’t think it’s as good here as the first 2 titles. That said, I have enjoyed it, and part of it might be that I’m less familiar with the tunes currently.

Overall, I’ve had a blast with Streets of Rage 4. I’ve heard many people say it’s the best in the series, and I can see why. I will say that I don’t quite agree with that – some of the furstrations here regarding character movement, annoying stage hazards and enemy invincibility on attacks don’t sit so well with me and hold it back from that top spot. Streets of Rage 2 is still the best in my eyes, but this is sitting pretty at second place – and that’s a pretty great achievement in itself. If you love the series like me, do yourself a favour and pick this up.




Dragon Warrior IV

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Warrior 4 is the second game in the main Dragon Quest series I have played, after the original. I wasn’t a big fan of that one – I found that you’d normally found everything you needed to quite early, at which point you had nothing but a very, very tedious grind (it took me 8+ hours) to do to be able to challenge the final boss.

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The Dragon Quest series is the most generic RPG of generic RPGs in terms of it’s core gameplay. A party of heroes quests around the world to find magic artifacts and uses them to defeat a great evil, via the medium of turn based battles. Dragon Quest 4 does try to mix things up with it’s story structure though, and that’s where it’s subtitle comes in – Chapters of the Chosen.

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You see, this time round you don’t begin the game as the hero – rather, the game is split into 5 chapters. The first 4 of these follow the adventures of various characters who will later come together to form your heroes party in the final chapter. The first follows the Knight Ragnar, on a quest to rescue missing children. The second follows the princess Alena, and her attendants, the chancellor Cristo and the Wizard Brey, as they run away from the castle. The third follows the merchant Taloon, who leaves on a journey to trade and earn enough money to run his own shop, and the final quest follows the sisters Nara the fortune teller and Mara the dancer as they try to avenge their murdered father.

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The chapter system is interesting storywise, as it allows for more understanding and development of your party than you might otherwise get, particularly from an NES RPG. It’s a shame they all feel a bit sidelined when they rejoin in chapter 5, but it’s still beyond the normal amount of character development for most 8-bit titles. However, mechanically most are fairly mundane. Chapter 1, 2 and 4 generally just feel like they could be a subsection of any other Dragon Quest RPG, although I did enjoy Taloon’s quest – the buying and selling of items, high drop rate and hiring of mercenaries to fill your party managed to make the experience feel unique enough to stand out.

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Once you get to chapter 5, it’s back to the classic Dragon Quest though. Chapter 5 is at least as long as the other 4 put together, if not longer, and it’s the ‘true’ story of Dragon Quest 4. You adventure as the hero on a quest to prevent the resurrection of the evil dark lord. One unique, if not necessarily always welcome mechanic, is that your party members in this chapter are all AI controlled. This makes them still feel like unique individuals, but it does mean that they can sometimes be as dumb as bricks. In all honesty, the AI isn’t too bad overall. The main downsides are that they tend to heal later than you might otherwise like, and that characters with attack spells don’t always make the best options – expect your chancellor to cast instant death on every boss despite the fact they’re all immune to it.

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Overall, I liked the game well enough. It’s a big step up from where the series began, despite being on the same console. The story, characters and towns are all a lot more memorable. Graphically it feels like it struggles a bit, and there’s many instances of colour clash where red character sprites overlap with red floor tiles and it looks a bit gross. It’s also a bit less grindy than the original, but only a bit. I played this on my Retron 5 and let me just say that the fast forward function was a godsend. I’m not sure I’d have the patience these days to handle the grinding sections otherwise.

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This is a decent game if you like this sort of thing though, and worth a play. I understand the US version is super pricy though – I own it on Famicom myself, but I patched the US ROM onto it with the retron.
Last edited by alienjesus on Sun May 10, 2020 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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