Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 10978
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:25 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:
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)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)
47. Valis II (TurboGrafx CD)
48. The Song of Saya (Steam)

49. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
50. Otocky (Famicom Disk System)
51. Raging Loop (Switch)
52. Arcade Archives: Contra (Switch eShop)

Image
I always thought this game's title was rather goofy. With a literal proclamation of New in the title, it has now aged over a decade. It's doubly humorous, as this installment made no real attempt to "reinvent" the Mario formula. Rather, it's a throwback to the old days. See, after the SNES era, Mario and Luigi spent quite a bit of time in the land of 3D. Sure, there were those Game Boy Color and Advance titles, but all of those were redundant but welcome ports of the classics, not originals. New Super Mario Bros. represents Nintendo's attempt at crafting an old school platformer for a piece of hardware that could certainly handle 3D. It's a love letter to the longtime fans, and in many ways feels like a successor to Super Mario World (Yoshi's Island, if you recall, "did its own thing").

New Super Mario Bros. is certainly structured like your classic 2D Mario. A mercifully brief opening cutscene reveals that Princess Peach has been (wait for it) kidnapped by what the instruction booklet calls an "unknown assailant" (it's Bowser Jr., who first appeared in Super Mario Sunshine). With Peach whisked away, it's up to Mario to save her by trekking through eight worlds, each consisting of a series of levels. You've got your standard stages, hidden stages, warp cannons, Toad Houses, Ghost Houses (too few!), and castles. While exploring the world map, Mario can be tossed back to any previous world by using the stylus on the bottom screen menu. So, it's pretty easy to hop around amongst previously-cleared areas, which is incredibly useful for those types who want to beat the game and then search for hidden exits.

This is a Nintendo platformer and a Mario game. The controls are the best in the business. The control scheme remains typical: A or B are used for jumping, while X or Y can be held to dash. This can be modified for those who want the NES-style B-dash A-jump control scheme, though that feels clunky here on the DS. Jumping and running are spot-on and the game "flows" as beautifully as any other 2D Mario. Traditional items like the mushrooms, fire flowers, and starmen are back, though there are plenty of new additions as well. A wall jump allows Mario to, ya know, jump from wall to wall. It's integrated into the stage design nicely, and can occasionally be used to save Mario from death via bottomless pit. The ground pound (press down while jumping) will smash brown brick blocks and can even free items from ? blocks (humorously, if Mario ground pounds a ? block containing a vine it will send it downwards and thus render it useless). The blue shell power-up allows Mario to move around like a kicked Koopa shell. It's an interesting concept, albeit a little difficult to keep under control. And then there are the new mushrooms. The HUGE marauding Mario pictured on the game's box gained his status through acquisition of the mega mushroom, which inflates the plumber to a massive size until a gauge ticks down to zero. In this state Mario can plow through all obstacles: enemies, pipes, blocks, and so on. The mini mushroom has the opposite effect, shrinking Mario down to baby size and granting him giant floaty jumps and access to tiny pipes. In the vein of Mario World, a "back-up" power-up can be stored. This can be accessed by tapping the icon on the bottom screen: hitting it with the stylus whilst in the middle of action isn't practical, so prepare for a thumbprint. Unfortunately, the game contains no "flying" power-up and features not a single appearance from Yoshi. It's a bit of a bummer, but the stages are designed accordingly. There's little vertical scrolling and of course no bush-berries.

The stages are designed well. There's a ton of variety spread across the eight worlds, which all adhere to a specific theme: grasslands, deserts, water, forests, ice and snow (the best!), mountains, sky, and then the dark domain of Bowser. The game is full of "gimmicks" whether it be giant tilting mushrooms, underwater bumpers, vanishing staircases, dinosaur rides, rope swings, or bent pipe launchers. All elements are cohesive and finely-tuned and the game is a joy to play. Be on the lookout for star coins. Three are contained within each stage, and they're used to unlock Toad Houses and alternate paths on the world map. Early coins are easy enough to collect, while others may require certain power-ups or will be stashed in hard-to-reach places.
Image
Graphically, the game has a simple but satisfactory look. The 2D backgrounds are well-drawn, if perhaps a bit too flat and "clean" looking. Sprites themselves are 3D polygons, which surprisingly mesh well with the scenery. The animation is great and full of subtle little touches, like Mario's slowly swinging white gloves. Musically, this one's alright. The tunes are catchy enough, though they don't hold a candle to the great Koji Kondo tracks of old. The highlight here is the default outdoor stage theme; the enemies even bounce along to the "bah bah" vocal riff! It's amazing.

It should be noted that there is some additional content outside the main game. A "versus" mode pits Mario and Luigi against each other as they each try to collect the greatest number of stair coins. The "minigames" feel like tech demos designed to show off the DS technology and stylus controls. They're pretty corny, honestly, and can safely be skipped, for the most part. The one with the rolling snowballs and giant penguins is a touch amusing.

The game's biggest issue: it's too easy. Like, comically easy. Power-ups seem to be encountered every few seconds. Toad Houses dump out extra lives by the dozen, and 1-ups are additionally unearthed in a great many stages. Mario even gains a life from hitting the top of the flagpole! Stages feel as if they're designed to be beaten into submission on the first attempt, rather than challenges to be overcome and conquered. Warps allow huge stretches of the game to be outright ignored. And bosses put up no fight whatsoever; just bop each one a few times and it's lights out. Now, easy games aren't inherently bad. Kirby's Adventure is easy and one of the best platformers ever. The issue here is that New Super Mario Bros., while technically and aesthetically quite competent, doesn't quite have the pizzazz or memorable moments of a good Kirby game. It makes the game feel "mindless" -- something that one can just casually float through without putting in much effort or thought. As such, New Super Mario Bros. ends up "forgettable" in its own way. I've beaten it several times and still can't "organize" the events of the game in my own head. It all shakes out like a mishmash of Mario gameplay without any solid firm recollection of specific events and moments. Truthfully, there is some challenge, but it's all contained within the optional content, and even that is only slightly more difficult than the cluster of mandatory stages. Anyone familiar with platformers in the slightest will roll through this one without breaking a sweat.

With all that said, the game's still pretty great. It's undeniably well-crafted and expertly programmed. It's debatably even a good place to start for a series newcomer. But it's not one of the all-time Mario greats. It's a game you bring along while travelling or play here and there while riding the bus. And you know what? There's really nothing wrong with that. I do miss Yoshi though.

ImageImage
Otocky is a 1987 Famicom Disk System rhythm-based horizontally-scrolling shmup featuring a procedurally generated soundtrack. Yeah, it's pretty fair to say that there isn't much else out there like this, then or now. The game comes courtesy of Sedic and ASCII. It was designed by Toshio Iwai, the musician/developer behind Electroplankton, and was "endorsed by" Natsuki Ozawa. That's the cute Japanese gal on the cover. Anyone buying a complete retail copy back in the day got a poster of her as well. Nice.

The hero of the game appears to be some sort of cutesy sentient spaceship, not unlike the protagonist of TwinBee. The goal is to complete eleven stages by collecting all the musical notes contained within, and to defeat all eleven bosses. Sounds formulaic so far, but the gameplay is completely out there. The "ship" can fire in eight directions, somewhat similar to a run and gun. The projectile is an "orb" that can be used to vanquish enemies, demolish scenery, and collect notes (it isn't enough to simply touch them with the ship). A specific number of notes must be collected before a boss presents itself. A steady percussion beat (120 bpm) plays in the background, though the bulk of the game's music is created by the player. Each orb fired will play a certain note, depending on direction. This generated music is quantized, so it lines up with the beat perfectly eliminating any inherent imprecision.

As for the resulting soundtrack, it's quite good! To avoid excessive sound repetition, the game includes a series of "A" power-ups that change the instrument that plays when an orb is emitted. There's plenty of variety here: an organ (by default), piano, electric piano, clavier, violin, viola, mokkin xylophone, brass, oboe, clarinet, guitar, accordion, steel drums, even chirping bird sounds and various "noises." There are additional power-ups as well, including a "record" item that "plays back" previous shots, a "B" item that grants the player a powerful multi-directional shot (which can harm enemies but can't pick up notes), and items that slow, hasten, and stop the speed of both gameplay and background music. Graphically, Otocky is pretty utilitarian. Sprites are rather muddy and pixelated, and plain black backgrounds are very common. There are some nice pastel colors used in certain stage backdrops, and the penultimate stage is played across a massive keyboard. A few stages are unfortunately quite ugly, especially those that make heavy use of gray.
ImageImage
This all sounds swell in theory. In practice, there are issues abound. The controls are inherently clunky. Eight-directional fire simply does not mesh well with a scrolling shmup. Firing feels "off" too, as the ship freezes for a brief moment with every shot. Additionally, an orb simply cannot be fired unless the A button is pressed in tandem with a direction. This means that even if you want to shoot in the "default" direction (forward, to the right side of the screen) A and right must be pushed simultaneously. Collecting notes is difficult given how quickly the screen scrolls, and many notes are housed inside "boxes" or behind walls. Such barriers need to be destroyed first, so grabbing these notes requires two shots. A given stage will loop endlessly until the note meter fills up, with collected notes replaced by enemies. This is includes notes that were hidden in environments. This creates an irritating memorization game that clashes with the fast-paced action. Later stages feel like they barely contain enough notes, and will send the player looping around continuously hunting for that last one. And the final stage is downright infuriating, as all elements are initially invisible until struck by fire. It's awful.

There's also a severe three-pronged penalty for getting hit by an enemy. First, a chunk of health from the (invisible!) lifebar is deducted. Second, a small portion of collected notes vaporizes. Third, the orb projectile gets smaller! Geez, think that's enough of a punishment?! There are no "lives" and a Game Over is granted upon death, but there are unlimited continues. It's strange to see how many obscure old Famicom games contained three Zelda-like save slots; this is one of them so the game needn't be finished in one sitting. Bosses are giant malicious musical notes (well, the final boss is a clef). They slowly bob around the screen, occasionally dumping a group of enemies from their "holes." Said holes must be fired upon, repeatedly, to destroy the evil notes. These battles are long-winded though not especially challenging. Each boss is noticeably easier than the stage that precedes it.

Completing the game unlocks some extra modes. BGM Mode allows one to cruise around within any stage, unencumbered by enemies, with the ability to switch music instruments and special attacks on the fly. Music Maker mode is similar, but also grants the player an additional method to compose their own music. Four measures are granted, with eight eighth (heh) notes allowed per measure. There are four "voices" available, plus percussion, and sixteen sound fonts. Now, this type of stuff...... this stuff is fun! Otocky works so much better as an 8-bit musical composition tool than an experimental shmup.

Undeniably innovative, Otocky feels "ahead of its time" in ways that are both positive and negative. As a rather rare FDS exclusive with no later ports or digital releases, it remains difficult to recommend. In any event, this one's more fun to play around with than it is to play through.

Image
Raging Loop is a visual novel that was originally released in Japan in 2015 under the title Rei-Jin-G-Lu-P (get it?). Initially exclusive to mobile devices, four years later it arrived in North America via Switch, PlayStation 4, and Steam ports. If you're fortunate enough to own the "Day One Edition" (as I am, on Switch) do not look at the art book until the game has been completed!! You have been warned. Raging Loop was published by PQube (on Switch, that is), written by someone who calls himself Amphibian, and was developed by... Kemco. Yes, that Kemco, of Ghost Lion and SNES Lagoon and one-thousand identical mobile RPGs fame. They're back, baby.

The basic scenario of Raging Loop is heavily inspired by the visual novel legend Higurashi, and is the tale of an outsider arriving at a creepy Japanese hamlet that is somehow exempt from the typical laws of linear time passage. The protagonist is one Haruaki Fusaishi, a graduate student and VN geriatric at the age of twenty-four. Upon leaving Tokyo after a particularly nasty break-up, the young man crashes his motorcycle in a remote mountainous region of Japan. He's rescued by Chiemi Serizawa, a cute and spunky tomboy and possible love interest, who leads him to the remote settlement of Yasumizu, which she inhabits. Haruaki quickly becomes acquainted with the village residents and a few other outsiders. But then, a foreboding mist rolls in and "the feast" begins...
Image
Raging Loop is essentially a story-heavy adaptation of the party game know as "Werewolf" -- if you're wholly unfamiliar with such things don't worry, as it's fully explained contextually in the game (and in this paragraph!). See, during these "mist" seasons, which occur sporadically across decades, a small group of villagers transform into werewolves each night and slay one sleeping human. The following day, a council is assembled where villagers vote to ascertain the identity of one possible wolf; this individual is subsequently hanged. It's in the humans' best interest to rid themselves of the wolves quickly. And the wolves wish to sow confusion and infighting, pitting human against human, until only wolves remain. Much like the party game, there are some additional "rules" as well, with an unseen village deity acting as moderator. Only one suspected wolf is allowed to be hanged per day. Likewise, the wolves are only permitted to slaughter one human each evening. No "rampages" on either side are permitted. Humans are required to shelter indoors at night and the mist prevents folks from fleeing. Anyone violating the rules is destroyed by the deity in a process known as "corruption." To add further complexity, some other roles lifted straight from the party game are assigned to the non-wolf humans. For instance, the crow is able to identify if one sacrificed individual was a wolf after all, or an innocent human being.

This makes for some great, strategic choice-based gameplay. It's fascinating to see all the countering viewpoints and arguments made at each council, and certain astute players will be able to solve specific mysteries ahead of the protagonist and the game itself. The character roster is fantastic. Haruaki isn't your typical visual novel doofus. He's shrewd and calculating, but also empathetic enough to root for the village's best possible outcome. The "Werewolf" game is heavily complicated by the fact that all villagers have ulterior motives. The elders, for instance, respect the ritual to the point of being self-sacrificial. Blood relatives will try to save each other. Romances are torn apart, and some particularly cold-blooded villagers use the councils as an opportunity to vanquish old rivals. A senile old man and a semi-verbal toddler are allowed to cast votes, much to the chagrin of more lucid individuals. There's plenty of lying, finger-pointing, attempts at cheating, and, of course, inevitable bloodshed. Juxtaposed against the carnage of the feasts, the villagers still have to live their normal day-to-day lives: eating in the mess hall together, socializing with friends, and so on. It makes for a very unnerving experience, where any possible acquaintance could be friend or foe, protector or harbinger of death.

As a choice-based visual novel, there are various "pop-up" menus where the player must pick one of two (or several) options to proceed. This leads to branching pathways and plenty of bad outcomes for Haruaki. But there's a catch: upon dying Haruaki will mysteriously resurrect, memories intact, on that fateful day he decided to take the bike out. Thus, the objective is to lead Haruaki to an eventual, favorable outcome. There are three main big "loops" -- each dedicated to a "feast" and each ending with a credits scroll. There are also a plethora of drive-by bad endings. The bad endings are pretty hilarious. Many are outright "trollish" and lifted right from old Western adventure games: there are literal spike traps and plenty of "oops I shouldn't have done/touched that!" moments.
Image
Structurally, Raging Loop is absolutely brilliant in its implementation of a chronological flowchart, which allows the player to jump back to any previously-visited scene. The means the entirety of the game can easily be played with a single save file, and the fast-forward function is rarely, if ever, a necessity. There are even hints provided upon death, whereupon a cigarette-smoking sheep (seriously) appears to explicitly tell Haruaki where and when he went wrong (these hints can be skipped if the player wants to self-investigate). "Keys" are obtained periodically, mostly when dying, which represent accrued knowledge. Basically, "keys" are data that Haruaki learns in the present that could be usefully applied in a past situation. As keys are collected, additional pathways on the flowchart are unlocked, and the game continues to unfold to its ultimate conclusion. Don't worry -- keeping track of the keys is easy. There's an inventory menu, and the flowchart spells out both where keys are found and where to use them.

Most seem to agree on the most "controversial" aspect of the game: the ending. While the majority of Raging Loop is a taut thrill ride, things really go off the rails during those final hours. Here the game gets heavy on exposition (and dishes out plenty of the dreaded "info dumping"). The game grants elaborate long-winded backstories to characters who were arguably developed enough already. A bunch of "stuff" happens that's just utterly absurd and unbelievable, even within the context of a werewolf fantasy horror story. It doesn't ruin the experience, far from it, but it's all really, really weird and the tale ends with a fizzle rather than a bang. With that said, those who can't get enough of this plot are in luck, as there's a bunch of additional content. Such content is presented in two forms. First, there are five post-game chapters delving deeper into the lives of specific characters. Second, there's a "Revelation Mode" which essentially a New Game+. Here the player restarts the entire story, but with additional "behind the scenes" content (things that happened outside of Haruaki's viewpoint). All told, it may take upwards of fifty hours to trek through everything, though most player/readers will be content with the main journey.
Image
In terms of aesthetics, Raging Loop is quite stunning. The character art is excellent, as are all the mysterious creepy backdrops. The event CGs are just incredible and manifest quickly, almost akin to jump scares. It should be noted that Haruaki engages in quite a bit of introspective thinking, whilst staring at a blank wall or otherwise mundane backdrop. It's a little different, to say the least, but doesn't occur often enough to get irritating. Surprisingly, there's very little actual gore in the game. Corpses of specific characters are never displayed, as death is represented by generic images of blood and silhouetted body parts. The soundtrack consists of slow ominous tunes. They're quite contextual, almost to the point of being Pavlovian. Like, once that "Feast Strategies" tune hits you know it's time for slaughter. Kudos to the translator(s?), too. Raging Loop is incredibly text-heavy and dives deep into Japanese religion and myths. There are even characters that speak in a weird feudal dialect. It's a miracle that this ended up in English, and the prose flows beautifully. There are a couple of weird moments of breaking the fourth wall, like in the intro when one of the characters informs the player about how much of the game can be legally streamed online. One wonders how this type of thing will age.

All told, Raging Loop is one of the more interesting visual novels released in recent memory. I'm inclined to rate this one the same way I did Chaos;Child -- with an 8/10, which is meant to be taken quite literally, as 80% of the story is exemplary while the other 20% wavers a bit or is outright questionable. In any event, this is a smooth read, and the ingenious flowchart system makes this one of those rare VNs that's suited for both epic binge sessions and quick little "bus ride" plays. One of Kemco's best!

Image
Arcade ports. Anyone (well, anyone my age) has been burned by some terrible ones. It's a pain felt by those who purchased Mr. Do's Castle for the Atari 2600. Or Double Dragon for the 7800. And so on. But there are of course some mediocre ports as well, and some good ones. And some so great they overshadow the source material. Contra being the stereotypical example.

Contra on the NES is most certainly the strongest example of a "run and gun" ever conceived, and possibly the best "action" game of any kind, period. Growing up, I had no idea that Contra originated in the arcade, and I still have yet to see a cabinet in person. My first exposure to the arcade game came via official emulation in the form of the Konami Classics Vol. 2 compilation on Xbox 360 (note that the sequel to Contra is part of "Volume 1" -- of course it is). However, the squishy 360 d-pad made it difficult to play; it fares much better on the Switch.

Allow me to be succinct, as this is a game "everyone" has played, plus I've already reviewed the superior NES port. Contra is an action-platformer (or a "run and gun" due to the persistent shooting) where one or two muscled men are tasked with destroying a hostile group of aliens (plus their human and robotic lackeys). Controls are generally smooth, as the protagonist(s) can jump, fire in eight directions, duck, and even fire while ducking. The jumping gets a little janky at times: due to the screen resolution and positioning of platforms it's possible to jump off-screen, and when this happens the gun becomes disabled. It's most common in the first stage, and it initially led me to believe that it was outright impossible to shoot while jumping! Oh, and the jumping animation is also quite ugly. Weapon upgrades are available, with the "spread gun" being the undisputed best of the bunch.
Image
Compared to the NES game, arcade Contra is very short. Arguably too short. The final three environments are mushed together into one stage, and some iconic NES bosses (like the spaceship and the, uh, big guy who throws things) can be skipped altogether. Despite the length (or lack thereof) there's a wide variety to gameplay. In addition to the traditional horizontally-scrolling segments, there's a vertically-scrolling waterfall stage where the screen bottom represents a bottomless death pit, and two "3D" treks through mechanical bases. The 3D bases have time limits that at first glance appear to be rather strict, though the stages themselves are actually quite tiny. The player is allowed to navigate the hallways of the bases (as opposed to being automatically shifted from one battle screen to the next) and there's even a map display. It's arguably all superfluous, but fun nonetheless.

Aesthetically, this one's much weaker than the NES variant. The musical compositions are quite good, but have a "techno" vibe here, which doesn't suit the game as well as the grittier noises emitted by Nintendo's sound chip. The graphics are decent enough, but have a sterile and washed-out "clean" look, as opposed to the NES where sprites and environments are sharply-drawn and well-defined.

I actually find arcade Contra to be more difficult that the "impossible" NES version. Some of this is general unfamiliarity, surely, but there are additional factors as well. Special weapons are uncommon, and victory over specific bosses feels wholly dependent on spread gun acquisition. Is it possible to defeat to the final boss with just a pea shooter? Yes, but expect to die several times in the process. There are one-hit deaths, of course, and a small number of lives and continues. Yes, continues are limited by default, though this can be changed in the options menu.

All told, this is a pretty sweet slice of retro arcade action. As I may have hinted at two or three or eight-hundred times, it just isn't quite on the same level as the NES game. Still a worthy playthrough, regardless. Just don't expect that Konami Code to work.


Awesome reviews, Bone. Be sure to check out New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii sometime too. Both are solid. (NSMB2 is, basically, an over-the-top, orgiastic celebration of coins in Mario Bros. games. They’re such a weird thing to celebrate, and a lot of people didn’t like it, but I found it strangely titillating. NSMB Wii is just a really solid platformer.) I’ve read that NSMB U is the best in the series, but I haven’t played it yet.
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
 
Posts: 23074
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:12 am

First 50:
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
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC

Homeworld is an RTS set in space; the primary gimmick is that there is fully 3D movement. This is accomplished in one of two ways. The first is if you right click on an object in your view that is above or below the ecliptic your units will automatically move on the necessary vector. The other is if you are selecting to move to an area instead of doing the order it instead draws a circle; you can hold shift while moving the mouse to move up or down compared to the ecliptic your units are currently on, and then when you're happy with the final location (maybe you did some panning to get it just right) you click again to confirm the order.

The backstory of Homeworld is weirdly detailed compared to the actual in-game story, which is about as basic as they come. Your people discover a buried ship, realize you aren't from the planet, reverse engineer the hyperdrive. Now we're on the first mission, where you are taking it for a spin. Upon returning to your planet you find it has been burned by an evil empire. You take the remaining colonists and embark on the long journey across the galaxy to your original homeworld. There's some minor events that happen, but for the most part it's dealing with just random crap that happens on a long journey, and then the last several missions are busting through the empire's blockade. By contrast, the backstory goes fairly detailed into what life was like on the planet before you start your journey. There's a variety of characterizations of factions that imply there might be some interesting tension. Nope, once on the journey everyone is a faceless blob that does exactly what is needed. It feels like they went "well, we paid for these writers, might as well have them do something."

But how about the gameplay? The game is very slow paced compared to your average RTS, which is appropriate given the setting. You harvest resources from space rocks or from the chunks of destroyed capital ships. You can also reclaim any of your units for most of their cost, so you have a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to fleet building. This is important because you have some very hard supply limits to deal with. You couldn't just build a fleet of the biggest ship even if you didn't have to worry about counters.

The ships are divided into four classes. The first is the fighters; these are bombers and things to destroy bombers and things to destroy the things that destroy bombers. The bombers have the advantage of high damage and moving fast enough to evade the guns of large ships. The second is corvettes. These are the most versatile, as there is something for every niche. If you need more coverage against fighters you have an option. If you want to prey upon enemy harvesters you have something. If you want to pressure enemy anti-capital frigates you've got something. If you want to steal enemy ships you're in luck. Aside from the stealing ones you probably want to decide on the composition of the rest of your fleet first. The third class is the frigate; these have enough health that they can serve as a screening element and have enough firepower that you can't ignore them. They come in a handful of flavors depending on how you want to focus them; anti capital, anti fighter, or all rounder. Or you can mix and match. Finally, you have the capital ships, which are your biggest and heaviest ships. Lots of armor and big guns, and they are the most supply constrained. You are constrained not only on total numbers but also number of each individual type. These will form the core of your fleet, with all the other elements supporting them.

In terms of management you have your standard array of control group options and your standard move, attack, guard, attack move. The game lets you assign a disposition (aggressive, defensive, passive) which affects how they act when you aren't giving them explicit orders, and you can also toggle between aggressive, neutral, or evasive power settings, which affect how ships fly and the damage/speed balance (evasive is more speed, less damage, and reversed for aggressive). Additionally, the game lets you automatically put ships into a formation. There are two kinds of formations; homogenous formations and fleet formations. The former put your ships into a single shape and are best for a group of single units (to maximize the benefits). Fleet formations instead organize your group into layers based on the formation; fighter screen puts your lighter elements at the front and the heaviest at the back, while capital phalanx reverses that. The most useful ends up being frigate line, which puts the frigates in front of the heavy stuff and intermixes the light stuff. This puts your frigates in the role of being a meatshield for the more valuable capital ships and lets you focus the more dangerous enemy units more quickly.

The game has two weaknesses. The first is an overall unevenness in the mission progression. One mission will have you taking out an enemy fleet while the next is a simple "destroy incoming asteroids" where you're never in any real threat unless you walk away from the keyboard. There's also a particular late game mission where you have no real threat other than a neigh-invulnerable enemy unit which randomly steals your capital ships and turns them against you, but you can turn them right back. It's more annoying than hard. The second weakness is fundamental to the game's design; there is no terrain. This leads most of the missions to be fairly straightforward from an objective perspective; there will be one enemy concentration that must be eliminated. There are a bare handful that have more than one enemy group and only one of them (the last one) actively sends those groups against you in any real strength. So for the most part the tactic is to make a big hammer and send it at the enemy. Traditional RTSs tend to use terrain to force you to split your attention and build chokepoints, but when you have a wide open sphere to operate in you really lose that option; the best you can do is force a player to have one force staying home and one force going out to play.

Still, it's a solid title that provides a different bit of gameplay and definitely fulfills that "command a battle fleet" fantasy. One cool thing is that everything is progressive; the fleet you finish one mission with is the fleet you take to the next mission. You also get to choose when to end the mission after fulfilling all objectives, so you're free to harvest some resources and top off the fleet. Definitely take advantage of this.
Image
Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
Markies
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1023
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:29 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:56 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)
10. Halo 2 (XBOX)
11. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean (GCN)
12. DuckTales 2 (NES)
13. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
14. Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
***15. Skies of Arcadia (SDC)***
16. Dragon Quest V (SNES)
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom (PS1)
***18. Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (GEN)***
19. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (XBOX)
20. Disney's Aladdin (SNES)

21. Flatout 2 (PS2)

Image

I beat Flatout 2 on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!

I discovered the Flatout series through my local Pinball Arcade. Somebody had modded a sit down racing unit and had put in several racing games on it to play. Since I used to go up there every two weeks, I decided to play through many of the games. One of the games I discovered was Flatout 2. It was an intensely addictive destructive racing game that was incredibly fun to play. Wanting to try it out for myself, I first bought the prequel. The game had some flaws, but it was still fun to race around in. After finding the sequel and wanting a break for my many RPG's that I have played this year, I decided it was time for some mindless racing fun.

At the beginning, I got exactly what I wanted out of Flatout 2. I got my car and then I just started winning cups all over the place. Debris was flying everywhere. I was hitting cars left and right as I watched them crash all over the place. Enemy cars were hitting each other and also crashing out when they would take the turns to fast or to sharp. I loved watching the driver fly out the window when you would hit them hard enough. I was getting into some of the tracks of the soundtrack, though some of the songs were from bands I would never like. But, I was really enjoying myself for the first 75% of the game. It was exactly what I wanted and needed at the moment.

And then I reached the final races in the last few cups. In the first Flatout, the game had no rubber band effect. So, each race was decided in the first 30 seconds when the giant crash happened. You were either ahead of it and then won, or you were behind it and you reset. In Flatout 2, the rubber band is very real at the end of the game. Suddenly, every driver is gunning for you and ramming you while other racers are flying by you like you are driving a go-kart. In the end, you are fighting against your car, the track, other racers and the debris on the road just to stay in these narrow lanes. Thankfully, you only need to get in the top 3 to move on.

Overall, though it was frustrating at times, I still really enjoyed my time with Flatout 2. It was exactly the action packed racing experience that I needed at the moment. I enjoyed the beginning much more, but there were enough crashes and fun to be had. If you enjoy arcade racing full of destruction, Flatout 2 is one of the better games in the genre!
Image
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2577
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:36 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)

59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)

I first learned about this game during the unveiling of the Game Gear Micro a few months back, and then I was happy to discover that it's also on the 3DS eShop's Virtual Console. This month's Together Retro was a good enough excuse to finally use the credit I had sitting in my account to pick it up and play through it. I ended up being very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it, and I'm very happy with the sort of weird train of events that led to me learning about it and eventually playing it XD . It took me 7.5 hours to beat the game on the 3DS.

At its core, this is basically just another Nazo Puyo game, which were a series on the Game Gear and Master System that are preset puzzle versions of Puyo Puyo. Stages have requirements, and you have only so many pieces to meet that requirement (things like "get a 5 chain" or "match 4 colors at once" or "erase all red puyos"). There are more than 100 levels in the game, but you only need to complete 100 to complete your adventure, as there is a "pass" feature on each stage you can choose from the pause screen if you're just so stumped you wanna move on (although I believe it does cost you a life). There is also (usually) a hint on the pause screen that'll give you a kick in the right direction if you need it. One level I saw had a "hint" that was just "This is a trial. There is no hint.", and one or two levels had hints that just didn't help me nearly enough to actually beat the level, but I'm pretty proud of myself for actually managing to beat the whole thing without looking up any puzzle solutions~.

The game does use a password system to return you to the last opponent you beat when you run out of lives, but I wanted to keep retrying puzzles, so I used save states at the start of each puzzle to effectively give me infinite lives. Life mechanics don't usually add that much to the experience of a game, in my opinion, and in a puzzle game that is even more so the case as far as I'm concerned.

The thing that differentiates this game (and its Master System counterpart) from the other Nazo Puyo games is its presentation. It's not just a notebook you flip through to get to puzzles. It's a sort of adventure game where you play as the protagonist of the Madou Monogatari series, Aruru, as she is on a quest to go to town and get ingredients for her curry for dinner. That's it. The "Ruu" in the title is a Japanese approximation of the word "roux", which is also used to refer to curry mix. Despite the fact that Satan (the big bad of the Madou Monogatari games) himself tries to get in your way to steal your food at one point, the only stakes here are Aruru getting to make the dinner she wants X3. You go through different market squares and then a long path home, talking to different NPCs to either let you pass through or to give you the ingredients they have. They'll only oblige if you beat 5 of their Nazo Puyo puzzles, though, and 20 NPCs makes for 100 puzzles you'll need to get through. The writing is lighthearted and silly, and Aruru's interactions with the NPCs, albeit always brief, are cute asides from the puzzles.

The presentation on the whole is very good, and it looked and sounded great on my New 2DS XL's big screen. There aren't a ton of music tracks, but those that are there are pretty darn good, especially the one that plays during the "boss" fights of the last two NPCs you "battle". The graphics are also very pretty, and the character designs are nice, as the Puyo Puyo games always do.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a really great little puzzle game! It doesn't require any knowledge of Japanese to play aside from knowing the hints, but you'll need to look up/trial and error to figure out the level objectives, I suppose. It gave me the same kind of "I FINALLY did it!" rush a game like Baba is You has in the past, and if that's what you're looking for on your Game Gear/emulation box, then this is a great game to look into~.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2577
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:27 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)

60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)

This is a game I'd heard about ages ago, but had never thought of playing until recently. I picked it up for cheap the other day, and today seemed like a good a day as any to play through it. Despite the wonky controls, I was very happy with the time I spent with Jumping Flash, and it was a fun 1.5-ish hours of my time going through the Japanese version of this iconic early PS1 title.

The evil Baron Aloha is attacking the planet, and it's up to the robot Robbit to stop him! It's a fairly short adventure through just 18 levels, some of which are just boss fights, but what's here is good. You're either killing a boss, or you're hunting through a level for 4 carrot-shaped rocket pods to unlock the exit to the next stage. After beating a boss, you get a cute cutscene of the little squid-creature controlling it going to a little Japanese-style dive bar to complain to its buddies how it just got its butt kicked X3. The game's design is very lighthearted and silly, which serves it well. The overall presentation is really nice on the whole as well. There isn't a ton of music in the game, but there are a lot of really great tracks that I'll definitely be adding to my MP3 player before long. The visual design is also very abstract and cartoonish to fit with the low-polygon necessity of a 1995 PS1 game.

The game's controls are fairly clunky, but they're very serviceable (and at times exceedingly clever) given this is a 3D platformer with no analog sticks coming out before the revelation that was Super Mario 64. You control Robbit in a first-person view, with up and down on the D-pad moving you forward and back, and right and left turning you the respective direction. Robbit can also double-jump, and upon doing your second jump, you automatically look down to get a view of your shadow so you'll know just where you're going to land. This is a really clever take on 3D platforming, and it really makes the whole game flow really well. The only real problem I encountered with the platforming is that left and right on the D-pad don't have entirely consistent functions. Sometimes they'll turn you in the mid-air of a double jump, and sometimes they'll simply turn you. It has something to do with your height of where you are in the jump, but it's still annoyingly inconsistent in a pinch.

Robbit also comes equipped with lasers (I like to imagine they fire out of his eyes <3 ) as well as special weapons he can launch if he finds special weapons tokens. The combat is fine, and the bosses are good fun, especially as you can also Goomba-stomp enemies by jumping on them to hurt them (this is a really fun thing to try to rush down bosses with). That said, it's a little awkward that you need to hold L1 to stop in your tracks to look around if you wanna aim anywhere other than directly ahead of you (or directly below you, if you're post-double jump), and given that R1, R2, and R3 aren't used at ALL in the default control scheme, the lack of a button you can hold to strafe is kinda difficult to forgive, even if the game is more than easy enough to complete without it. Honestly, your jump-stomps are so good and Robbit can take so much damage that you're better off using your guns as a last resort if you even need to fight at all in the normal levels.

Verdict: Recommended. It's not gonna set the world on fire, and it's a bit short, but Jumping Flash is still a really solid game despite how far 3D platforming has come since its release. It's certainly not worth paying an arm and a leg for, but if you can find it for a couple of bucks like I did, it's well worth spending an afternoon with.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
alienjesus
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 8364
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:10 pm
Location: London, UK.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:22 am

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
18. Dragon Warrior IV NES
19. Super Tennis SNES
20. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Switch eShop
21. Pilotwings Switch eShop
22. Castlevania: The Adventure Switch eShop
23. Streets of Rage Game Gear
24. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix Switch eShop
25. Ninja Gaiden Game Gear
26. Psychic World Game Gear
27. The G.G. Shinobi II: The Silent Fury Game Gear
28. Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble Game Gear
29. Fire Emblem: Seisen No Keifu SFC *NEW*

Fire Emblem: Seisen No Keifu

Image

This review has been a long time coming. I first started playing this game last year, for the summer games challenge 2019. I made it through the first 3 levels (out of 12) but not any further than that. This year, I picked it up again for the 2020 summer games challenge, and I eventually worked my way through the final 9 worlds. It took some time – this game took me 72 hours to beat all told, and that won’t include numerous restarts to earlier saves when I accidentally let someone die either.

Fire Emblem: Seisen No Keifu, also known as ‘Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War’ and just ‘Fire Emblem 4’ is often regarded by long time fans as one of the best in the series. People praise the story and the scale of the maps and the campaign in general, and lament that some of the unique mechanics of this entry were abandoned and never came back later. From my perspective, there’s certainly a lot to love, but I also think this is somewhat of a flawed masterpiece. I guess we should start by diving into the mechanics.

Image

Fire Emblem 4 plays like a typical Fire Emblem game in many ways, with you moving your units around a tile based map fighting enemies. Characters have stats which determine their damage, chance of hitting and dodging, chance to critical hit or avoid one, etc. When a character attacks, the opponent will make a counter attack, and once you’ve move all your units the turn is over (you can also end turn manually). After that, enemies will have a chance to move and attack too, so positioning for enemy phase is crucial – particularly as once a character runs out of HP, they’re dead forever, meaning you have to continue without them, or, more commonly, reset the game and start from an earlier point to try again without losing anyone.

Fire Emblem 4 mixes up the standard formula in many ways though, some of which are now staples of the series, and some of which are decidedly not. As examples of mechanics which have stuck around or come back in later entries, there’s the weapon triangle, introduced here, which adds a layer of strategy to fights by making you choose your weapon carefully. Swords beat Axes beat Lances beat Swords, and fighting a weapon you beat gives you improved hit rate and dodge rate vs the opponent (but not damage boosts, unlike later games). Skills have been added which allow characters special bonuses, some passive (items are half price in shop) and some active and chance based (skill% chance to attack 5 times instead of 1). Fire Emblem 4 also adds the first dancer in the series, a very powerful class that allows other units to move again in a turn. It’s especially good here as it works on 4 units at once. There are other new mechanics which I’ll discuss which I think are interesting, but which I am glad didn’t become series staples.

Image

First off is the map design. If you’ve played later entries in the series and don’t know this one well, you might be surprised how long it took me to beat only 12 chapters – after all, most games in the franchise have between 20 and 40. However, each of the 12 maps here functions almost like 3-6 maps from another entry in the series. They contain multiple castles and you’ll normally have one as a target before moving to the next after capturing it. Rather frustatingly only your main lord can seize a castle so he always has to be in the attacking party. Events will often happen in a map introducing new enemies, reinforcements or recruitable units midway through a chapter. Luckily, this game offers permanent mid-chapter saves (as opposed to temporary saves which disappear when you resume) so you don’t need to restart a 6 hour chapter if you lose a unit to the last boss.

The main issue I have with map design is the scale tends to slow things down – many turns will involve you making your army trudge across vast expanses of ground to the next castle with nothing interesting happening on the way. The map design is also pretty bad too – if multiple castles were open at once it would encourage some fun separation of the team and strategizing on who is best to go where, but normally there’s only one objective at once. The game also all to often likes putting the first objective up one route of a long split path and the 2nd up the next, forcing lots of tedious backtracking – especially in the 1st half of the game.

Image

One interesting thing about this game compared to other games in the series is that you aren’t encouraged to use a few party members from a much bigger pool. Every character you recruit can (and for the most part, probably should) be deployed on every map, meaning you often have 20+ units to use as opposed to later games 8-12 or so per typical map. This is quite fun at first, as it takes away some of the tough decisions about who is interesting to you, but it does end up slowing the game down quite a lot later on, as moving so many units can take a lot of time – especially in some of the desert chapters where they are restricted to moving only 1-2 tiles a turn. It also means that the imbalance in units feels really pronounced.

Fire Emblem has always been (and still very much is) a series where units were not balanced very evenly. Some classes are much better than others due to weapon versatility, extra movement, and inate effects – but never has it felt so pronounced as here. Due to the huge size of the maps, mounted units (who move 3-4 spaces further than foot soldiers) are strictly better for almost everything. Often they have finished the job before foot soldiers can arrive to help. It also means that to raise units evenly means playing slowly to allow foot units time to catch up. Also problematic is the distribution of skills, particularly the skill pursuit. In most FE games, faster units can attack twice in a combat round (they attack first, enemy second, them third) if they significantly speedier than the opponent. In this game, that is only possible with the pursuit skill. This is such a valuable and necessary skill to be consistent that units without it are practically worthless unless they have incredible bonuses to make up for it. Poor old Arden, one of your first units, is undoubtedly the worst unit in the game as he has no pursuit, low speed so he gets double by enemies with pursuit, and has only 5 movement so can’t keep up with the rest of the army.

Image

Another reason for the character balance issues is the choice of weapons. Whilst this game introduces the weapon triangle, the weapons are still not created equally. Swords are generally weaker than lances by a point or two, and lances weaker than axes by another point or 2. On the other hand, swords weigh only 1-3 weight, lances normally 10 or so and axes are often 15-20! Every point of weight reduces your speed by one and speed is used to determine dodge rate and hit rate, with the ultimate issue being that even though lances beat swords for example, swords users normally manage to dodge attacks pretty well, always hit back, and if they have pursuit, are basically guaranteed to hit twice. Because of this, swords are nearly always preferred. Axe users are particularly screwed because they also have low accuracy, and seeing hit rates below 20% on sword users is standard practice. Some units in the game also get unique exclusive weapons which turn them into powerhouses. These legendary weapons give massive stat buffs (think +10 speed, + 20 skill on a unit with about 15 of each to begin) and have huge attack power (30, when most weapons have about 10). Unfortunately, whilst you get 3 different legendary swords, the only legendary axe in the game is enemy exclusive, meaning your axes users still fall behind overall.

Another unique mechanic of the game is that all units have their own separate stash of money, and this cant be traded between units unless they are married (or if one is a thief). This means weapon repairs and buying new equipment is reliant on the individual units finances, rather than the party as a whole. This is interesting, and is made more significant by the fact that units cant trade items or weapons in this game – only sell them for 50% value to a pawnbroker, to be bought by another unit at full cost. Units can earn money by saving villages in the map (more money the quicker you save them), by fighting opponents if they’re a thief (thieves take enemies money if they hit them) or by winning at the arena. The arena is very different in this game, a set of 7 preset fights per chapter which all recruits face. You cant die in the arena, but because foes are set, it can be problematic for some units – fighting a swordmaster as an axe wielder and winning requires crazy amounts of luck. The arena is an interesting mechanic, and is abusable by reloading and trying to send in different units to move the RNG on a bit, but it can also be tedious. I’d estimate I spent about 33% of the game fighting battles in the arena.

Image

One last mechanic I want to talk about, and probably the most significant and spoilery (stop reading here if you don’t want to spoil a 25 year old Japan-only SRPG) is the generation system. See, the first 6 chapters all take place with your main lord Sigurd and his buddies, but the latter 6 all feature his son Seliph as the main character, and most of the units you can recruit that generation are children of the 1st generation characters. There’s a lot of variance here because the stats and abilities of the children are determined by who their parents are (kids are determined by their mother buts stats and abilities can be passed from dad too) and so who you pair up makes an impact. Any mothers who are unpaired or die in generation 1 will result in weaker alternative units being provided, but you definitely want the kids because they are so superior. The second generation of the game is actually much more fun I think then the first – with the way kids stats are determined they’re generally much stronger than their parents and you’ll end up with a more capable and well-rounded party – plus the map design is less back-tracky, theres less dead time between objectives and it’s all around more fun. It does mean that the game ends up with this bizarre lopsided difficulty though – the games hardest chapters are probably around chapter 3, which is only 25% into the game.

Overall though, there is a reason I called this a flawed masterpiece. I think considering the time it was made, and the quality of not just the series but the entire genre leading up to this, FE4 is a landmark title that tries and succeeds in a lot of things. Unfortunately, I believe it also tries and fails in many respects too. The game has an impressive story that feels very mature and political for a game of it’s age and system in the early 90s, and the artwork and animation of battles is stunning. It has issues with difficulty spikes but is overall fairly well balanced throughout. The main issue for me is that it struggles to make a good case for the scale of it’s maps, as they cause unit imbalance, issues with design (big groups of enemies rush all at once, then the map involves lots of tedious healing and walking to the next destination before more appear) and boring grouped up gameplay. However, most of the issues I have with it come in retrospect, having played Fire Emblem games which I feel improve upon and build upon it’s good aspect. I feel most of what has been left behind by the series after FE4 was not really worth being sad about, but it does mean that the game stands out as being quite unique in the series now. I wouldn’t recommend it as anyone’s first Fire Emblem game, and it’s not my favourite one either, but Genealogy of the Holy War is well worth a look.

Image
Image
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
 
Posts: 23074
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:50 pm

First 50:
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
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC

So as it turns out Homeworld 1 Remastered uses the Homeworld 2 engine; when I went back to do the Homeworld 1 tutorial to knock out the last achievement I found that it had a MUCH clunkier interface. So I guess I'll start off by saying that Homeworld 2's primary improvement is to the interface. Rather than everything needing to be done with hotkeys and your view always being pegged to a ship you can now pan around and use right click as your "do the thing" context sensitive option, like other RTS's.

Beyond the interface Homeworld 2 is very much a minor iteration on the first game. It's basically the difference between Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2; the latter is easier to control but the general dynamics haven't changed and you still have for the most part cosmetically different sides. Though, like Warcraft 2, the differences are a bit more pronounced. In this case it's due to one side being a bit more focused than the other. So while both will have an anti-fighter corvette, one side's can handle non-fighter targets better than the other. It isn't enough to make a major difference, but it is there.

The story of Homeworld 2 is more grandiose than the first one. While the first one was a simple "long road home" story, this one is your more traditional "there's a major threat to everyone and you need to stop them from fulfilling their plan that relies on some sort of keystone." This does make the missions much mroe focused; no "oh, you ran into an asteroid field" missions here. And, more impressively, the missions are both harder and more interesting than Homeworld 1's. Many of them have you being attacked from multiple sides, or needing to defend friendlies. You now get defensive platforms that can be deployed once and take up their own supply, so you'll want to take advantage of those to keep your mothership safe while you accomplish mission objectives. And overall you need to be ready to shift what you're doing. No longer is it simply "build a deathball and send it at the enemy fleet". You'll need to change up your fleet composition regularly depending on what you face and you'll need to do a lot of split action.

Overall it's the right sort of sequel; building on what came before and smoothing out all the rough edges. It also has a ship with a giant wave motion gun that you get to control, so that's delightful as well.
Image
Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
Markies
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1023
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:29 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:54 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)
10. Halo 2 (XBOX)
11. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean (GCN)
12. DuckTales 2 (NES)
13. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
14. Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
***15. Skies of Arcadia (SDC)***
16. Dragon Quest V (SNES)
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom (PS1)
***18. Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (GEN)***
19. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (XBOX)
20. Disney's Aladdin (SNES)
21. Flatout 2 (PS2)

22. Mr. Driller (SDC)

Image

I beat Mr. Driller on the Sega Dreamcast this afternoon!

Mr. Driller was a game I knew about, but I had never actually played it before. I remember watching a review of the GBA sequel and it always struck me as an incredibly interesting game. One night, I was browsing through the arcade MAME machine at my Pinball place when I saw they had the arcade version of the original Mr. Driller. I must have played that game for an hour straight and continuously for over a month. I was completely hooked and I was ecstatic there was a console version. I purchased the game as it has the honor of being the first game I ever ordered at my new house. With my Random and Chosen Dreamcast game being removed earlier in the year, I wanted to beat at least one Dreamcast game this year and I figured Mr. Driller would be a safe bet.

It was. Mr. Driller is an action puzzle game where you are drilling down through colored boxes to get to the bottom. You constantly need to collect air pellets to breathe, colored blocks latch onto other same colored box and will disappear when they reach four or higher. The constant loosing of your air is the ticking timer in the game as you constantly feel the pressure of the clock. However, if you go to fast, you screw up and have a higher chance of block falling on your head and squishing you. So, you have to go slow to collect the air pellets as well, but if you go too slow, you'll eventually die. It's an amazing balance of twitchy arcade action with a feeling of brain teasing puzzle goodness that make the game so wonderful to play. It's a perfect example of a game that just begs to be played one more time. With runs lasting all of 7 minutes, I cannot tell you how many times I just did it one more time. With cute visuals and presentation along with a touch of that Katamari Damacy music weirdness, the game has its own identity and begs you to keep coming back for more.

Overall, I really enjoyed my weekend of Mr. Driller. For the expert mode, the final few stages can be quite mean and you have to stockpile guys to beat the game, but it wasn't too tough that caused me to quit the game. It was just hard enough to make you feel like you need a few more tries to beat the game. The game is a one trick pony, so I wouldn't spend too much on it, but that one trick is a great feeling. If you love fast puzzle action and that addictive arcade feeling mixed with some general cuteness, Mr. Driller is an excellent choice.
Image
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
 
Posts: 23074
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:34 pm

First 50:
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
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC
64. Offworld Trading Company - PC

Offworld Trading Company is an interesting hex-based RTS. Unlike most RTS's you don't actually control any units. Instead, you engage in city building to build up your commercial capabilities and leverage your money to eventually buy out your opponents and be the last corporation standing. The game requires you to pay attention to its dynamic economy and shift your priorities on the fly; there are no 5-10 minute build orders here. The best you can do is have a plan for your first set of buildings (and even that might be map dependent).

So the basics of how this game works are as follows. The map has a series of resource nodes on it; these can be mined to produce raw materials. These raw materials can be sold or used to produce more advanced products (e.g. silicon is mined and is used in the production of electronics). There are also power generators which can be placed anywhere but have varying effectiveness depending on the location (wind and solar, so closer to the sun or areas of high wind are ideal). Buying and selling commodities on the market affects their price; buying increases the price, selling decreases the price. In addition to player demand (you need resources to build structures or as inputs to a structure's production) there is a neutral colony that will grow over time and provide their own demand on the market.

Now, one important thing to keep in mind is that all the land on the map starts off owned by the colony; at each HQ level you get a certain number of claims that let you gain ownership over a tile. These claims are very tightly controlled by the game; in certain circumstances you can get an additional one but for the most part you should count on only having what you get from your HQ. This means that you need to be very cognizant of how your territory is being used. You cannot (again, except under a certain circumstance) reassign a claim after it's been taken, so if you find you chose a tile in a bad position you're stuck with it. This fixed number of claims plus the dynamic supply and demand forces the player to pay attention to their profitability and potentially demolish and recreate structures that are no longer producing. Fortunately, the game gives you the tools you need to do this easily; when you wan to build a structure it gives you the projected profit (or loss) it will generate over time, and an existing structure can be moused over to see the same. And under the default settings buildings will automatically turn themselves off if they stop being profitable (which is defined as cost of inputs vs sale price of outputs) and you'll get an icon indicating as such so you can quickly react if you're paying attention.

Beyond the basics of cash in and outflow you have the concept of debt and your shares. Debt is the more apparent one; the fixed costs of running your colony will add debt if you aren't providing them yourself. This is defined as power, water, food, and oxygen (though the first level of HQ doesn't require the latter three). All other costs (raw materials you aren't producing) instead come out of your cash reserves, so if those drop to zero you'll see production halt. Excess power is automatically sold back on the grid and will go first to paying down your debt before being realized as cash, though the other three resources are sold as a commodity (and thus go to your cash when you sell). There is no limit to the debt you can accrue, but it has consequences. The first is that every day when it ticks over you will generate interest on the debt, with the interest amount based on your bond rating (which is essentially calculate based on a ratio of your debt to your assets). So the deeper you get into debt the more interest you accrue as the rates go up, so you can spiral if you're not careful. The second is that you cannot use the black market if you're at the lowest rating (more on that later). Finally, your debt aversely affects your share price. And this comes to how the game is won or lost.

As mentioned, the goal is to buy out the competition. You do this by purchasing a controlling stake (60%) in them. Every player's company has 10,000 shares of stock purchased in lots of 1000. If you are bought out you are out of the game and your assets start to generate revenue for the controlling player (though only a fraction of what they would generate natively so it isn't just an immediate I win snowball). There are two ways to protect against this. The first is to make sure you own 50% of your own stock; if you own 50% of your own stock then a player has to buy out all five of your shares in one fell swoop after they have achieved 50% of stake in your company. Additionally, if there are no free shares then it costs 3x the price to buy someone else's share out from them. So the other half of protecting yourself is to keep your share price high (as the higher it is the more it costs people to buy you out). Your share price is positively affected by your assets and cash reserves, which includes your shares of other companies. It is negatively affected by your debt, which is another reason to keep your debt under control. Like real life, debt is a tool to be managed carefully.

Rounding out things are the extra tools you have for getting ahead. You can research patents which are sort of like Wonders from Civilization; only one instance of any given patent can exist per game, so getting an important one first is vital. You can upgrade the efficiency of any particular class of buildings (e.g. all steel mills), though you runt he risk of having that investment lost if the demand for that product falls too far. And you can instead ship your commodities off world for more than you can on the local markets, though the building that enables this because a magnet for enemy aggression due to the sheer financial advantage. And that brings us to the black market; a randomized series of buffs and debuffs that can be used on yourself or your opponents at the cost of cold, hard cash. Every time you use it there is a cooldown on all the abilities, and any time anyone uses a particular one its cost goes up. So ignoring it for too long will not only make it cost far too much to be worth it, you physically won't be able to use it as much as someone who jumps on early.

Aside from these basics there are several different factions you can start off as. These provide you with various benefits that will affect your general playstyle. For example, the robotic faction doesn't use water, food, or oxygen, but instead uses power for its "life support", so they are more power hungry. The scavenger faction uses carbon instead of steel in constructing their buildings, which is an advantage on some maps and a disadvantage on others. You'll want to find a faction that plays well to your sensibilities, because the differences matter enough that you will be tripped up going from one to the next.

Finally, the game does have a single player mode, but it's not terribly deep. You engage in a series of time-limited skirmishes with long-term rewards. You start off with only some of the total technologies available to you and multiple missions to choose from. These will have different parameters such as bonuses or penalties to certain production or demand. There will also be a reward you get from coming in first at the end of the skirmish's seven day time limit. After picking your mission you get to spend your war chest funds on purchasing technologies and other advantages (e.g. a free windmill on map start). Your performance during the skirmish will affect how much money you get in your war chest, so it is imperative you do well. While you aren't knocked out for losing, you WILL get knocked out for having the lowest share price at the end of the map. The skirmish on the last week is when you finally get to buy out your opponents, so there is no time limit there. Unfortunately, this mode ends up being a bit too luck dependent at times; not only with map layouts but with which technologies are available for purchase and for awards. Sometimes you can be in a situation where you don't have the necessary tools to succeed at no fault of your own.

Overall it's quite a unique game that flexes a different sort of muscle from your standard RTS. It's too bad there isn't a real story mode that could see you working for one faction, getting backstabbed when a higher-placed exec needs a fall guy and joining the competition for some sweet corporate revenge.
Image
Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2577
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:49 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)
60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)

61. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)

After beating the Japanese version of Crash 1 on stream last week, this week I beat the Japanese version of Crash 2 on stream~. It took a little longer, at more like a little over 4 hours, but that extra time was moslty due to messing around trying to get full completion on levels as I went through them. I then spent another 4-5 hours getting 100% in the game. It was an experience I won't soon forget, but also one I'll probably not soon repeat. At any rate, it was an entertaining use of a Sunday XD

Crash 2 picks up almost literally where Crash 1 leaves us: with Cortex's little flying bike having JUST been blown up by Crash and him plummeting towards the ground. In an underground cave he comes across a crystal (localized to Japanese as "power stones), and hatches a plot most evil(?). The plot then jumps forward a year as Cortex is working with N. Jin in an orbiting space station that is being powered by the crystal. Cortex needs the other 25 power crystals out there in order to power his Cortex Vortex and "save the world." But with none of his henchmen on the planet anymore, he kidnaps Crash's sister to manipulate him into helping him. Of course, all is not as it seems, and Cortex actually is going to take over the world with his machine, not save it, and you need to defeat him. However, upon his defeat, the orbiting Cortex Vortex stays in tact, and you need to collect all 42 diamonds (100%-ing the game) in order to see it finally destroyed.

The story is campy, silly set dressing for a platformer game, and it's good fun. The returning characters and new characters have a lot of personality to them despite many only having a few (if any) lines of dialogue (such as my personal favorite, Pola the baby polar bear <3), and the character design is on-point as usual for the series. Aside from the more obvious addition of this game going to being fully voice-acted where the original was just text, it also has some extra cutscenes and voice lines that weren't in the original. Most of this surrounds Crash's sister Coco, who in the English version has her transmissions to Crash as mostly garbled noise, but in the Japanese version has totally understandable sentences and even one entirely new bit of expository dialogue near the end. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it's worth mentioning that it's there. Aside from that and the continued use of Aku Aku as a tutorial-giving machine upon pickup, the changes to the game compared to the English versions are very slight and come down to small technicalities around presentation or bug fixes. Crash 2 in Japanese is nearly identical mechanically to its English-language counterparts compared to how radically different Crash 1 is in Japanese.

Mechanically, you're going through 25 stages (and a few hidden stages) and 5 boss fights to defeat Cortex in a very similar way to the first game but with some major improvements. Crash moves far more fluidly, and you can even use a dual-shock controller to get even a little more control than that. I found myself swapping between the D-pad and analog stick when things called for more/less precision, but it's a really nice feature to have. Crash himself controls a bit better than the first game, and the level design is on the whole more solid and far more fair, despite the crystal collecting feeling a little bit like a tacked-on mechanic more than something meaningful (you'll need to replay the stage if you miss it). Speaking of fair, the game also has a hub area between stages instead of a Donkey Kong Country-style world map, and this area lets you save and load your game WHENEVER. After the first game limited save points exclusively to the end of bonus levels, this is an absolute god-send of a mechanical change. The changes aren't that numerous on paper, but the kinder level design (although not much less steep difficulty curve, frankly) and new save system add up to make this game a far more fun time than the first for just playing through it casually.

Going for 100% completion is also far more easy than the first game, mostly because in the first game if you died ONE TIME in a stage, you needed to redo the whole thing or you wouldn't be able to get all of the boxes needed to get the diamond on that stage. In this game, you maintain boxes between deaths if you hit a checkpoint, which makes going for everything far easier. However, going for 100% completion is still a proper miserable time at many points. Like the first game, this game really pushes what it could possibly expect the player to do to get 100% completion, and that includes but isn't limited to: finding invisible warp points to hidden stages, learning a level in the dark because you run out of enough light to break all the boxes in time, backtracking towards the camera in a forward-directed level to go down a different fork in the road to get more boxes you missed, and more! The game feels very vindictively designed for anyone wanting to go towards 100% completion.

After I announced that I'd beaten the game this way in the Slack chat, MrPopo asked me if it had been worth it, and I can safely say now as I did then, I don't think it was XP. Crash 2 is best enjoyed just playing it normally, and I'd only recommend going for 100% if you REALLY love the game and have nothing else you could possibly be doing XD

Verdict: Recommended. I'm not sure I can quite give it a highly recommended, since overall I don't feel like I liked this game THAT much better than the first game, but it's still a really significant improvement. Certainly compared to the English version, Crash 2 will likely be a far more enjoyable time than the first game, but it still hits a lot of the same awkward pitfalls the first game does in regards to awkwardness of the camera, the 3D-ish environments, and the controls from time to time. It's a fine time if you can pick it up for cheap-ish, but it will probably be best enjoyed by those who already like challenging platformers.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
Return to General Gaming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests