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MrPopo
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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.
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Markies
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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)

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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.
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MrPopo
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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.
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PartridgeSenpai
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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.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:58 am

First 50
1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)
34. Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (Switch)
35. Aggelos (Switch)
36. Quell+ (iOS)
37. The White Door (iOS)
38. Grizzland (Switch)
39. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Switch)
40. Silent Hill (PS1)
41. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio (Switch)
42. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
43. Stories Untold (Switch)
44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)
45. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
46. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior (Switch)
47. Duck Souls+ (Switch)
48. Daggerhood (Switch)
49. Gravity Duck (Switch)
50. Biolab Wars (Switch)

51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)
52. Mega Man & Bass: Challenger from the Future (Wonderswan)
53. Double Dragon (Game Gear)
54. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
55. SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters Clash (NGPC)


Most of you played Hyrule Warriors long ago. It a a musou game with Legend of Zelda characters and fan-service. (Pulling the moon from Majora’s Mask down to the battlefield at one point was an unexpected delight.). It’s a lot of fun, and co-op on the Wii U version is incredible. (Each player gets a full screen!) It’s one of those games where I feel like I only scratched the surface regarding the game’s content, and I think you could spend hundreds of hours unlocking everything. The gameplay’s not that deep, though, and I’m perfectly satisfied with just the main campaign. Accordingly, and while I’ll be picking up the sequel in November, I don’t see myself spending much More time with this game.

SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters Clash Is an amazing game for a “loser” handheld I played for this month’s TR. I loved it, and I wrote a lot about it in the TR thread. I will probably play this one some more, but without the ability to take on human opponents or trade cards, my time with it is probably limited too.
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fastbilly1
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by fastbilly1 Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:33 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote: but without the ability to take on human opponents or trade cards, my time with it is probably limited too.


Sadly that is the downfall of that amazing title. And sadly the DS version is very different.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:41 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)

62. Crash Team Racing (PS1)

I'm a fan of kart racers. Heck, one of the possible themes for the TR I'm running this month was nearly "kart racers" before it became "crossover games" X3. After all the mainline Crash games on PS1, I figured I may as well pick up CTR (known as Crash Bandicoot Racing here in Japan) as well since it was also just a couple bucks. I beat the main story mode in about 3 or so hours, and then went and did a bunch of time trials and a few medal missions over the course of another 3 or 4 hours.

The story of the game is fairly simple. An alien named Nitros Oxide comes to Earth and claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy. If no one can beat him in a race, then he'll enslave everyone on the planet and take over. In response, a bunch of the cast of the Crash games build their own karts, (in some cases) learn how to drive, and gear up to see who among them is the fastest so they can challenge Nitros. It's a silly, not terribly present story, but it does make the game's overall construction more like Diddy Kong Racing than Mario Kart 64, as it has races against boss characters much like DKR does.

As a racer, it's a pretty darn fun one. Mechanically, it's a well-put together racer, and very thankfully also has dual-shock support (as one would hope a PS1 game in 1999 would do). The most notable positive change from something like Mario Kart 64 is how you do boosting. Jumping at the top of a ledge will give you a boost upon landing, but the way grind-boosting is done has also changed from prior kart racers. Instead of just grinding for a while and then getting a speed boost, you wait until the bar in the lower right goes from green to red (or watch for the smoke coming out of your kart to go from white to black, like I did) and then press the other shoulder button to activate the boost. You can even do this trick up to 3 times per grind! It adds a lot of active thinking to racing beyond just grinding whenever you can and taking corners as well as you can, and I really liked it.

The biggest negative thing in the game's mechanics I would say are the way it handles powerups. Now, for the most part, the powerups in the game are fine copies/modifications on the things Mario Kart brought to the table previously. Potions don't just slow you down like a banana peel would, they also make it so you can't use items for a while. TNT boxes don't just slow you down like a fake box would in Mario Kart, they hop on you for a while and if you hop enough yourself, you'll be able to get it off of you and not get slowed down. What I think the game really stumbles on is how you can collect Wumpa Fruit as you race. Get 10, and your powerups get even stronger. TNT boxes now become nitro crates that explode on contact. Potions now not only make it so you can't lose items, but also slow you down significantly. They seem to kinda miss the point of powerups as an equalizing force in these kinds of games, and overly reward people already doing well in a way that I find drags down the whole experience. It's far from a game breaker, but it's not a mechanic I have any love for.

The game has 16 different tracks to go through its story mode with, as well as a handful of battle mode tracks (which also have associated use in the story mode) as well as time trials and versus modes of course. The story mode also has a big world map to drive around to the different tracks in, just like Diddy Kong Racing has. The time trails are kinda weird, as it's not just racing fast through the courses (at least in the adventure mode). There are boxes with numbers on them littering the course, and hitting that box will freeze the countdown clock for that many seconds, meaning you're not just racing through the tracks quickly, but quickly and precisely (though the game does have normal time trials and "ghosts" to compete against as well).

It's a neat take on time trials to give the story mode a bit more to do, and the battle courses have similar "collect all the things within the time limit" aspects to their inclusion in the single-player mode as well. There are also medal challenges in the story mode's normal tracks, which involve not only winning the race, but also going to shortcuts and out of the way parts of the track to collect big 'C', 'B', and 'R' letters (the title acronym), which adds another element of challenge to races you've probably gotten pretty good at by now.

The only really negative part of the story mode is the boss races, something that CTR takes from DKR and fails to really make any more fun than they already aren't in that game. The concept of the boss tracks is that they serve as gates between the differently themed areas in the world map, and there are five of them in total (and if you do a BUNCH of the extra content, you can even unlock most of those guys as playable characters if you're keen to). They're one-on-one racers on a track from that area, but they're not against big animals like they are in DKR. They're against boss characters from Crash who race like normal racers. The bosses have really strong rubber banding and also infinitely spawn powerups behind them whenever they're ahead of you. However, the prize boxes on these levels also very frequently give you triple packs of rockets (this game's red shell), so a lot of these races comes down to not very fun one-v-ones trying to dodge powerups and then rocketing them close enough to the finish line that they won't have time to rubber band ahead of you. These are easily the worst parts of the game, and it's just a small mercy that they're not super hard due to all the rockets.

As far as changes between the English and Japanese versions of the game, there really aren't many. Those that are here are cosmetic and mostly found immediately, namely the change to the title (now it's CBR instead of CTR), the new title screen, and the new title screen music (as all the other PS1 Crash games have in Japan). Other than that it's clumsily integrated rumble support and a few very minor cosmetic changes, like all the trophy girls having their eye colors changed to brown.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. It's not my new favorite kart racer or anything, but it's a damn good racing game, and certainly one of the best to ever try and steal Mario Kart's thunder from this era. The mistakes it takes and innovates on from other racing games of the time are unfortunate, but they're minor enough that they don't come close to ruining the entire experience. The positives to this game easily outweigh the negatives, and this is a game I can easily recommend to anyone who likes racers (even over the remake, because this one isn't bogged down with crappy, post-launch micro-transactions).
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:07 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
65. F-Zero - SNES

F-Zero was one of the two launch games for the Super Nintendo (the other being Super Mario World), and it mostly exists to showcase the Mode 7 graphics of the system. And it does so by providing a fast racer that would spawn a moderately successful franchise that unfortunately has stagnated as Nintendo finds it hard to innovate with it (which keeps them from making new games). But it's still a fun racer, though it does have a fair amount of jank to it.

The early nature of its release really shows in many aspects. You only have four racers to choose from and the game models all the other generic racers in an abstract fashion. This includes the primary obstacles once you're in first; the racers you are "lapping". But you can tell this is obviously bullshit as they first start to show up on the second lap about ten feet from the starting line. These are simply spawned so that you always have to deal with a moving obstacle in front of you. Meanwhile, the rubber banding is real; it seems that the game will keep track of the current racers in order (based on when you pass them) and will always keep them a certain distance behind you. Then when you mess up they can get in front of you, which includes generic ones if you fall to fifth (or if they had been added to the race order previously).

The game features fifteen tracks spread over three cups, though many of the tracks are iterations of previous ones; you'll see things like a jog added to what was once a straight line, or something similar. Weirdly, most of the tracks in the first cup are unique, while you won't see another unique track until the last one in the last cup. The tracks are all flat, so the primary obstacles are sharp turns and slow down rough terrain. Some tracks might include additional things like jump pads (sometimes required to progress, sometimes just for minor speed boosts), speed boosts, mines, and magnetic attractors. Every track has a pit area which regains your health, though this isn't as smooth as later games; it takes time for a little healing dealy to move over your ship and only then does it heal. This also means that you heal based on time spent, not distance traveled, so going fast means yuou heal less.

The four racers are placed along the acceleration vs top speed axis, though they also have it that as your weight increases your grip on the track increases. This means the fastest vehicle also corners the best. This plus the specific acceleration curves means there are two vehicles worth using. The Fire Stingray is the one to use in general; you go the fastest and turn the best. But on the last cup some of the tracks are nasty enough that if you aren't good at getting all the turns right while dodging other racers you want to use the Blue Falcon, which has enough acceleration that if you're hitting walls anyway you recover better. And in that situation you're never hitting top speed anyway.

The game has three (with a fourth unlockable) difficulties, where the only apparent difference is in the top speeds of your opponents. This affects your ability to catch up when behind and how much slack you have when making mistakes. Nintendo would get better at difficulty levels with Mario Kart, where they increase the speed of everyone across the board, requiring you to have to relearn when to turn on each course in addition to your opponents effectively racing tighter.

F-Zero is a short but fun racing game, and while it shows its status as a tech demo there's a solid enough game there. But the series really takes off mechanically with future games. There's just not quite enough here for a ton of replayability unless you really enjoy driving down times.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:48 am

The First 50:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

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

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

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

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

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

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

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)
52. Castlevania (Switch)(Platformer)
53. Akumajō Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)

54. Akumajō Dracula [Castlevania IV](Switch)(Platformer)
55. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC)(RPG)
56. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Switch)(Platformer)

57. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Switch)(Platformer)
58. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PC)(RPG)

59. The Darkness II (PC)(FPS)
60. MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC)(FPS)
61. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - SNK Version (NGPC)(Card Game)

62. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)(RPG)
63. STRAFE (PC)(FPS)
64. Shadow Warrior [2013] (PC)(FPS)
65. Shanghai Mini (NGPC)(Puzzle)



The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

I have been playing Morrowind off and on since its release in 2002. That's nearly 20 years of exploring Vvardenfell, searching its ruins, fighting its foes, and plunging its depths. I have gone on to complete both expansions, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, and checked out the new areas that they added to a fascinating and unusual world. Yet somehow in all this time I never actually beat the main plot.

How is this possible? Well, that's the beauty of Morrowind; you can just wander off in any direction at any time and find new things to explore and discover. After a while, I would simply get bored of the main plot and go do something else. And then something else after that. And something else after that. Until eventually the main plot was simply forgotten as I was now busy running three guilds, a major House, an assassins organization, so on and so forth. Morrowind was my first real taste of an open world done right, but it offered up so much content, it could become easy to drown in. Yet it always left me wanting more.

Well, finally, in 2020, after nearly two decades, I decided to bet the main plot...and I still ended up wandering off long enough to take over the Fighter's Guild before coming back, but I did it. I finally beat Morrowind. It feels extremely bittersweet, as this is a game I have loved for so long and now can put away, yet wandering its hills, islands, and wastelands was a strong comfort. But it's also hard not to notice the flaws too.

While this was a great moment in moving from the norms of earlier WRPGs and their tabletop influence into enabling me to explore a world fully, there are some things that are just archaic and frustrating. Hidden dice rolls are perhaps the most noticeable; Morrowind uses them for calculating whether you hit, so even though you swung your sword through an enemy, if the roll didn't count up, you didn't connect. You can't actually see the rolls, and its partially based on RNG, so even with high stats, expect moments where you'll swing over and over again at a basic rat and miss, but your next four hits on a much tougher opponent will all connect. You also have rudimentary means of interacting with people and merchants as well as doing things like lockpicking, which would be replaced by minigames in later entries to try and keep things interesting.

There are also problems with monster generation, primarily known as the Cliff Racer issue, where the most annoying enemy in the game is the most common, will follow you forever, and at times will seem to come at you in near-infinite numbers. At this point, many folks mod Cliff Racers out of the game entirely, and playing the base game without any changes to them, man, I forgot how annoying they are.

Now some of these problems have been improved or fixed with mods, but the combat system's woes haven't really been repaired outside of attempts to add numbers to the formula to register hits. Modders are still working with Morrowind, so if you want new content, there is plenty. Unfortunately, it creates issues with stability, and even today, Morrowind is prone to crashing, as well as other bugs such as falling through floors in the major city Vivec. Still, since when was an Elder Scrolls game not plagued by bugs?

Sadly, Morrowind saw the end of Spears as a weapon class and the stupid powerful Levitation spells, which has made the series considerably less vertical. The next Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, lacks some of the fascinating dungeon design that could be incorporated as a result.

I still love Morrowind, despite its flaws. Perhaps one day I will return yet again to wander it, but with so many other games to play, it is time to set this aside, possibly for good. Farewell, Dunmer of Vvardenfell, from your dear Neravar.


STRAFE

STRAFE got a lot of hype when it first popped up on the scene with a ridiculous and fantastic promo video in the middle of this decade. It promised randomized levels, constant violence, and solid throwback gameplay to the best of the 1990s. On release...well, it petered out. Given time, however, it has since booted many of the bugs, implemented better level designs, and added more content. It still isn't quite the '90s FPS I want it to be, but it brings me the copious amounts of blood and violence, so I can forgive it and see it as its own game, not just a wannabe of a glorious and idealized past.

Here's the plot: you're on a space ship. It crashes. Explore and kill anything that gets in your way. Actually, it reminds me a lot of Unreal in this regard. It never says, it just does, so the plot must be inferred as you are busy blasting off limbs and turning enemies into paste. In that regard, it mostly excels, as enemies can often be blasted apart, torn limb from limb, and otherwise demolished into pixelated smears of red blood. There is even a strategic element to this, as some enemies bleed acid, yet red blood can cover it up, so I know just where to kill my enemies to help myself out.

Unfortunately, your weapon choices are limited to an assault rifle, shotgun, and railgun at the start, each with an alternate fire. Yet these weapons commit a cardinal sin in throwback design: they require reloading. Worse yet, they work based on Tactical FPS design, so while you can hold 99 magazines, if you empty half of one and reload, you just threw away the other half of that magazine. Them's good bullets you could have been using. While this forced reloading can make for a frantic pause in the shooing while you're trying to dodge monsters, it does stop you from keeping your guns blazing constantly in the way you could in something like Doom or Quake.

Still, there are other elements mixed in which make for a fascinating experience. For one, there are numerous secrets to find, which often contain minigames inspired by or parodying important titles in FPS and gaming history. For instance, you can find a Wolfenstein parody in the first couple of levels. The second set of levels includes a jump map which will require all of your skills at maneuvering, Quake-style: bunny hopping, strafe jumping, rocket jumping, plasma jumping...you name it, its there to use, and in some cases you'll even have to swap between different styles midway through a maneuver. Also, there's a parody SNES with a parody version of Enter the Gungeon and a joke on a Walking Sim that reveals you're playing a famous FPS leading man. Not to mention numerous other secrets and references. It's obvious the devs had a love for the genre that cannot be denied.

You also have other additions, such as alternate game styles found in a faux DOS input system, a tutorial, an "Easy Mode" toggle for the weak, a New Game + for the strong, and an options menu that reminds me of those green card catalog systems from public libraries circa the late 1980s.

Yeah, I liked STRAFE. I liked it a lot, especially uncovering the weird and wonderful things it contains. I'm glad I missed the early release woes and waited, but I had a blast once I snagged it.


Shadow Warrior [2013]

Look, I loathe the original Shadow Warrior. The level designs don't work for me, the weapons feel wildly inconsistent and don't fit the theme or even borderline unusable, and the game is laced with more casual racism than I care to recall regarding different groups of peoples from different East Asian countries. Duke Nukem 3D works as a parody of action films, and Blood works as a parody of horror films, but Shadow Warrior fell flat to me as a parody of martial arts movies.

However, the 2013 revamp of the series is great. It's not perfect, but it takes the next generation of the three major build engine games and blows them away. Let's face it, Blood II sucked, and the less said about Duke Nukem Forever, the better. Shadow Warrior is now king of this mountain, and it does it by paying homage to the martial arts movies that inspired it while also making hero Lo Wang (shame about that name though) into an interesting character and not just another Asian stereotype. This guy's a Chinese immigrant who collects comic books and works as a hitter for the leader of a Japanese megacorp, and he grows and develops over the course of the story in subtle ways, even as he cracks wise against his enemies and sometimes screws up his lines. In fact, he's more endearing when he does screw them up, because it makes him seem that much more relatable. He's not cool all the time, but he's cool often enough.

The game starts with Wang being sent to purchase a sword for his boss, Orochi Zilla (another terrible name from the first game). Of course, things go south, demons show up, and you are joined by a ghostly creature known as an Ancient that loves movies and can't remember why he's been booted out of his dimension. You then learn that the sword you're seeking is just one piece of three swords, so to help out your new buddy Hoji and try to stop this demonic invasion, you go on your epic journey of blowing shit up and providing bullet and sword injections into the faceholes of every enemy you meet.

Shadow Warrior pays homage to the weapons of the previous game, while dropping the worst elements, such as the shotgun-chaingun in favor of an ugly multibarrel shotgun that can be upgraded even further. In fact, everything is upgradable, including your sword skills, your guns, powers, and even standard stats like enemy drops, speed and stamina, health, etc. You acquire money to purchase gun mods, you earn karma through combat to learn new techniques and skills, and you seek magic crystals which are then converted into tattoos to give you powers and upgrade said powers. The array of possibilities lets you build how you wish, and on an initial run, you won't get everything, though you will get most. That's ok, you can do a New Game + and keep going for more with your upgraded gear later if you so choose.

Of course, there are still problems. The first is that the devs just couldn't shed everything from the original, so you are still stuck with a guy named Lo Wang, a bad dick joke that never goes away. The second is that the game likes its bottomless insta-kill pits, but it sometimes puts them in weird places where it looks like you can jump down. I died something like 14 times in my playthrough, and nearly all of them were due to things like this. "Hey, let me drop down to go grab something" DEAD. "Hey, there's a shallow lane that looks like it goes right under that bridge. Maybe it's a secret" DEAD. It's mostly an annoyance, but in a game that gets a lot right, the annoyances do stand out.

Still, it is fun to hack a bunch of demons limb from limb, then turn around and unload with a pair of upgraded uzis into a bigger demon that's charging at you, so you can then take its head and use it as a weapon against a horde of flying demons that just swooped in from above. Oh yeah.


Shanghai Mini

The NGPC had a variety of puzzle games, slot machine games, and even the likes of a Picross knock off. It also has a Mahjong Solitaire game, so of course I picked it up. What surprised me was just how much content I would be getting.

Shanghai Mini is Mahjongg Solitaire in a variety of ways. The first is a traditional set of designs that you go through. There is no time limit, and you match your tiles and continue through. Get stuck? You can go back multiple moves, or you could simply restart. While the tiles aren't always easy to see on the small screen, this is my favorite part of the game; it's relaxing, it's entertaining, and it's fun to work through the designs.

The second is a "tournament" mode that has a plot, in which a guy in Bruce Lee's yellow jumpsuit from the unfinished Game of Death climbs a pagoda of Mahjongg Solitaire masters. Yeah, more Game of Death. However, these puzzles have time limits, you can't go back, and the designs are more intricate. In fact, they're annoyingly intricate, and there appears to be only one specific method you have to use to get through the design. While there is a password system to let you get to specific stages, you'll probably end up brute forcing many of these puzzles until you find the highly specific manner in which it wants you to resolve said puzzle. As a result, it just isn't fun when compared to what I want out of the game. I would much rather go back and play through the various designs of the original mode again.

The third mode is multiplayer. Yep, there is a competitive way to approach Mahjong Solitaire, either against the computer (represented by a robot) or another human player on their own NGPC. The object is to race against the other person to resolve your puzzle the fastest. To make things more interesting, there are special tiles you can use as well which impact the other player, such as causing their controls to reverse, flipping their tiles over for a few seconds, or even restoring the last four tiles they just got rid of so they have to backtrack. While the AI doesn't have much of an issue tackling this, it can throw a person off their game fast. Also, if you don't like these special abilities, you can turn them off both individually or as a whole to suit what you want. It's a level of customization that I greatly appreciate in what should by all rights be a very simple game.

I wanted Shanghai Mini from the moment I learned about it on the NGPC, and I have happily returned to it several times when I go on my NGPC kicks. Even though there are parts which don't work as well, there is enough variety to offer fans different ways to play depending on what they want, and I respect even those modes that I do not care for. I'm glad I bought this.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:50 am

Great reviews, Ack. The pace at which you finish these games never ceases to astound me.

.....

First 50
1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)
34. Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (Switch)
35. Aggelos (Switch)
36. Quell+ (iOS)
37. The White Door (iOS)
38. Grizzland (Switch)
39. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Switch)
40. Silent Hill (PS1)
41. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio (Switch)
42. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
43. Stories Untold (Switch)
44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)
45. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
46. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior (Switch)
47. Duck Souls+ (Switch)
48. Daggerhood (Switch)
49. Gravity Duck (Switch)
50. Biolab Wars (Switch)

51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)
52. Mega Man & Bass: Challenger from the Future (Wonderswan)
53. Double Dragon (Game Gear)
54. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
55. SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters Clash (NGPC)
56. SUPERHOT (Switch)

Hi [FRIEND_NAME_HERE], you have to check out this game. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years.
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