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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:22 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:1. Horace (Switch)
2. Ghostrunner (Switch)

Ghostrunner is a brutally difficult first-person action platformer. In it, you play as a cyborg ninja in a neon-lit cyberpunk hellscape, and it is totally f***ing awesome.

The platforming is stupendous, like mash-up of classic 2D action-platformers (e.g., Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Ninja) modern first-person action-adventure games (e.g., Metroid Prime, Mirror’s Edge, SUPERHOT). The game also moves ridiculously fast, and despite its extreme challenge, is only occasionally frustrating.

Moreover, the combat is immensely satisfying. A typical fight plays out like: (1) wall run; (2) jump on top of drone; (3) stab drone; (4) steer crashing drone into enemy; (5) jump off drone before it explodes; (6) dash behind shielded gunner; (7) stab gunner in back; (8) slide under blast from laser array; dash toward laser array; (9) cut laser array in half; (10) deflect attack from enemy ninja, stunning it; (11) decapitate ninja; (12) get shot by random gunner you hadn’t noticed before; (13) try again. All of this takes about 12 exhilarating seconds, and since the game lets you approach battle anyway you want, victory is as much about strategy as it is about execution and reflexes.

The soundtrack is pretty much non-stop EDM bangers, which fit the action perfectly, and the game looks great. (The Switch port, which I played, obviously takes a bit of a hit from other versions, but it is still stunning.) For what it’s worth, the game also has a compelling, if somewhat predictable, narrative, and the voice acting is relatively solid throughout the game.

The game isn’t flawless. Despite you cyborg ninja’s extreme agility, he can’t climb at all, meaning you will often find yourself on a ledge or pipe near an easily climbable wall, but nonetheless unable to reach your destination. Your only choice in those circumstances is to throw yourself in a bit and start over. The game’s extreme difficulty make it frustrating at times, and it’s attempts at puzzles all fall flat. Finally, the Switch port really can’t handle a few segments, and at two points, the frame rate dips really impacted the gameplay. (Restarting the game helped in one section toward the end where it got really bad.)

Still, the rest of the game is so great, I forgive its flaws. I’m anxiously awaiting a sequel, and I sincerely hope the game gets a physical release in North America. It would be a “day 1” purchase for me. Ghostrunner is a very early Game of the Year contender for me, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.


Only 13 steps to kill an enemy? Sounds too easy for me.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:37 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis

Vectorman 2 is a very late Genesis game that follows up the first one. Unfortunately, it's very clear that this was a rush job; the level design is a mixture of interesting and "clearly someone was just slapping something together to meet a deadline" and you can see the overall quality drop as the game goes on. This sticks out the most in the set of five levels that go rollerblade, digging through blocks, rollerblade, digging through blocks, rollerblade.

The game's story is even more threadbare than the first. Apparently there's insects and you gotta shoot them all? The game ditches the levels with different perspectives and just sticks with platformers. It introduces a handful of transforms for Vectorman; you can turn into a rhino, a tornado, and a tank in certain levels. None of them are particularly exciting, and the first two have such short timers on them that you just get to use them to plow through a handful of enemies.

Everything in the game has way too much health on the default difficulty, so I recommend turning it down to actually make things reasonably fun. The game is also slightly too zoomed in, a problem we remember from Metroid II on the Game Boy. Enemies are active from off screen and you have to do a lot of blind jumps. You also get juggled pretty massively from hits and the game is inconsistent with your mercy invulnerability, so you can get killed pretty easily in spots if you take a hit at the wrong time.

Overall, it's a mediocre follow up to the first game (which wasn't super great in the first place). I'd say pass if you're not a completionist.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Jan 30, 2021 4:10 pm

MrPopo wrote:The game is also slightly too zoomed in, a problem we remember from Metroid II on the Game Boy. Enemies are active from off screen and you have to do a lot of blind jumps.


A game I was playing this afternoon, Superfrog, has the same issue. (Do not play Superfrog.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by pook99 Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:45 am

Great reviews everyone, been having fun reading them in my very limited spare time!

@prfsnl_gamer: nice review of ghostrunner, I just ordered the physical version and should be getting it within the month, definitely a game I want to check out.

Very Long Incoming Post

Been a rough couple of weeks, having a newborn is amazing, having COVID was terrible, having a newborn at the same time as COVID was not fun, but luckily my wife and I recovered and the baby never got sick so all is well. I am reasonably sure that I am not going to play anything but Switch this year, with a newborn here the switch is the perfect system, when the baby is sleeping I lay down next her crib and play my switch until she wakes up. The convenience and portability, combined with the fact that you can rest mode any switch game at any time to resume later makes it the perfect system for a new dad, I just can't imagine being tied to a TV and at the mercy of save points anytime in the near future.

Games Beaten 2021:

1) Immortals Pheonix rising
2) Kunai
3) Monkey Barrels
4) Langrisser 1 remake
5) NSR: no straight roads
6) Monster boy and the cursed kingdom (all on switch)

1) Immortals Pheonix rising:

Immortals can best be described as Breath of the wild meets assasin creed in a greek mythology setting. This is the first breath of the wild clone I have played and if you enjoy breath of the wild, you will likely enjoy this game.

The similarities here are many, you have a stamina bar which can be used to climb anything, you have wings that can be used to glide off of any surface, there are shrines scattered everywhere which are a mixture of puzzle, combat, and platforming challenges, and are used to find various upgrades, even the graphics have a similar vibe to breath of the wild.

Thats not to say that there are not differences. The combat here is more fast paced, you have 2 melee weapons, a sword that is fast, weak, and fills your stamina bar when you use it, and an axe, which is slow and strong, and fills the enemies stun bar as you use it more. In addition to melee weapons you have a bow and arrow, and a variety of godly powers that you can use such as dashing, throwing objects, and a few more. You also have the ability to parry and dodge attacks, which if done at the right time, give you extra damage opportunities. This results in combat that is a lot more fast paced and more akin to a traditional action game like god of war, the combat is fun, but it definitely leans on the easy side as you power up more and by the end of the game you can end most encounters pretty quickly with wild axe swings and a few well timed dodges.

This game also has far more narrarative than breath of the wild. There is constant commentary by Zeus and Prometheus(the games narrarators), and unlike Link, your hero is not a silent protaganist. Every encounter leads to some kind of dialogue, which is always well voice acted, and often times extremely amusing. There were several parts of the game which I laughed out loud at, and the game does a great job of using the tons of greek mythology that exists and giving it an interesting twist. Your basic goal of the game is to rescue 4 gods (athena, aphrodite, ares, and hapheastos) and do a variety of quests for them which help unlock their full powers.

The world layout is much more populated and has a clear sense of direction than BOTW. Taking inspiration from assasins creed, there are 4 zones, one for each god. Each zone has a giant statue of that god, climbing the statue and hitting a button clears the fog off the map allowing you to see a full map of that zone. At any time you can enter first person mode and look around with a cursor, when the cursor blinks you can hit a button to mark whatever it is you are looking at on your map. The maps here are absolutely chock full of stuff and if you look, you can barely move a few feet without running into something. There are several different types of chests (one to upgrade weapons, one for armor, and one for arrows/bag size), vaults (ie shrines) with challenges filled with chests as well as lightning, used to power up stamina, and chunks of ambrosia, used to upgrade health. In addition to the absolute tons of upgrade material laying around, the main objectives are clearly marked so any time you want to progress the story it is very easy to set a way point and do that.

One cool thing about the upgrade system is that different currencies unlock different upgrades, so for example, if you just want to upgrade armor, you know exactly what kind of chest you should look for and could just ignore everything else. This becomes handy later in the game when you have upgraded certain things to their max and want to just look to upgrade whatever it is you are lagging in. Having said that, the thing you will be lagging in will absolutely be armor as the purple gems used to upgrade armor are far more rare than any other type of currency in the game.


I spent a good 20 + hours just wandering around, completing shrines, exploring the world, and upgrading my character. The world here is a ton of fun to explore, because it is so densely populated and items are so easy to mark on the map it becomes very addicting just going for that one more chest/shrine/ambrosia before moving on, there were dozens of times when I was set to start a mission and there was an upgrade so close I just had to grab one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. It definitely pays serious homage to breath of the wild, but I do not see that as a bad thing. Many of my favorite games are clones of games (ex: blazing chrome, bloodstained curse of the moon, freedom planet), and this game does a fantastic job of taking the breath of the wild formula, adding in more action, more personality, and doing just enough to set it apart as its own thing. Definitely recommended for fans of the genre.

2) Kunai

Kunai is a metroidvania whose main gimmick is the main characters usage of kunai, twin grappling hooks that can be thrown in either direction, and used to either climb surfaces or swing across large gaps.

Asthetically, the game has a cool visual style, its hard to describe in terms of bits, but the color palette reminds me of something you might see on the game boy color but with more colors and a cleaner visual style. The game takes place in a post apocalyptic world and all the characters are robots with TV's as heads. I actually really enjoy this gimmick as it gives off a cool cheesy 80's vibe. Your character is also a robot with a TV on for a head and, unlike the blank TV's, of most of the characters you run into, your character is always showing various facial expressions depending on what you are doing.

Like all metroidvanias the game starts out simple enough. At the start of the game you have a sword, used for melee attacks and that can also reflect bullets with well timed strikes, and a jump. Very early on you get a pair of kunai which are very intuitive and easy to use. Pressing the L button throws out a kunai diagonally up left, the R button throws it diagonally up right. The kunai can stick to most surfaces and make movement in this game extremely fun. You can stick it to a wall and run up walls, use them to triangle jump, and cross large chasms. The mechanic is very user friendly and gives this game a unique feel over other metroidvanias.

As the game progresses you get a variety of new abilities that open up new areas(as one would expect from this genre), Most of the abilities have dual purposes, for example you get a pair of uzis which can be used as a range attack, but can also be shot downward when jumping to create a hover mechanic. The ninja star is used to stun enemies, open doors, and activate electrical equipment, of course you also unlock a double jump (can anyone name a metroidvania without a double jump?) among other things.

Gameplay in this game is very fast, your character is a robot ninja, and definitely feels the part. Your standard run speed is fast, you can dash, breeze through environments with your kunai, and combat is typically quick and to the point, slash enemies, dodge attacks, and you gain some health for each defeated enemy. I think good movement is such a key part of a successful metroidvania because you spend so much time exploring and backtracking, if movement is slow and boring it brings down the whole experience, which thankfully is not the case here.

Kunai gets a lot of things right, there are some challenging set pieces, platforming segments, and bosses, but none of it is so hard that you get frustrated, you will die, but not excessively, and never feels cheap. Exploration is present, there is some backtracking, but you never feel lost, you always are given a general sense of where to go and the world is not so big that you spend too long going from place to place.

Kunai is a very solid metroidvania with great movemment, a cool visual style, and does a great job of nailing the fundamentals. It is a unique game and definitely worht a playthrough for fans of the genre.

3) Monkey Barrels

Do you have any games that you associate with a really good memory? Games that maybe are not that great, but because of the cirumstances surrounding when you are playing that game, you remember it extremely fondly? I have a few and the latest addition to the list is Monkey Barrels.

Monkey Barrels is a fairly average twin stick shooter, you play as one of 2 monkeys, trying to rescue your monkey friend who has been kidnapped. To that end you go through 5 worlds, with a 3-5 levels a piece, fight a boss at the end, repeat. The levels themeselves do the job, you walk from point a to b, in an overhead environment, with weird blocky graphics, fighting hordes of samey enemies, with a variety of weapons, almost all of which are complete trash. To break up the monotony there are some schmup levels and tank based levels thrown in, both of which are a lot of fun, and a boss at the end of each world that generally have a bullet hell feel to them.

The game does not do anything remarkable and is pretty much the defintion of your average game, but it is the game that I was playing when my daughter was born, in the hospital when she was sleeping I was sitting next to her playing Monkey barrels, and I was fighting the extremely frustrating last boss with her sleeping and snorting next to me. Because of this, Monkey Barrels will always hold a special place in my heart and a few years down the line when I forget how average the gameplay was, I will look back art this game with extreme fondness because I will always relate it to the birth of my beautiful daughter.

4) Langrisser 1 remake

For those of you who don't know Langrisser was a pretty big strategy series in Japan, it came out in the 16 bit era and easily rivaled greats of the genre like shining force and fire emblem. Here in the states we only got one Langrisser game, the first game in the series, released on the Sega Genesis as Warsong

Warsong is an extremely special game to me. It is the first SRPG I ever played. My dad gave me a game catalog and told me I could order a game, having nothing to go on other than the box art, Warsong jumped off the page, with a picture of a cool swordsman riding a horse. When it arrived in the mail I tore open the package and slammed it into my genesis having no idea what I was about to play.

When I turned it on I was instantly hooked, the scale of the battles were epic, watching the soldiers clash was amazing, and the first time I saw a commander blow away a whole unit of troops I was awestruck. I had never played or seen anything like warsong before and I played and beat this game dozens of times as a kid. To this day Warsong is still among my all time favorite games and when I sold all of my genesis games in 2000, I kept warsong, even though I don't have a genesis to play it on.

Needless to say the remake had a lot to live up to, and I believe that this is one of the best remakes I have ever played. I think making a remake is hard, you want to stay true to the source material so you do not upset fans, but you also want to update the game enough so it doesn't feel like you are just replaying the same game that you already played, and Langrisser walks that line perfectly.

Everything is instantly familiar, the maps, characters, story, is somewhat how I remember it, but at the same time everything is tweaked. The maps have a different layout, the enemy placements are different, and while the objectives remain the same, it is tweaked enough that I felt like I was playing a new game. Every level tugged at my nostalgia strings extremely hard while also offering me surprises along the way. The graphics are updated and have a really nice animated feel, there are now cutscenes that 12 year old me would have loved and did a great job of bringing the characters of my youth to life, and the soundtrack was the same but not. I heard remnants of all the songs that are still stuck in my head 30 years later but remixed to make them even catchier.

In addition to doing a fantastic job on all the asthetics the gameplay is also updated here. The battles have a familiar feel, but are more epic in scale, characters can level up(like in the original game) and change class (also like in the original game), but it is more complex, there are more upgrades, new classes, new spells, and a class tree that even lets you bounce around and play with different classes as you go. There is also a shop which now lets you buy and equip various items(the original just had prefixed items), and loot stashes sprinkled throughout the battlefield. In addition to all of this, the story has been upgraded, like in the orignal, there are 20 chapters, but now there are multiple branching paths with multiple endings. At any time you can replay chapters to unlock the new paths and story elements.

I could not have asked for more from this game. I went in with extremely high expectations, and it met and exceeded all of them. My only gripe(and this is a personal one) is that the game uses the japanese character names instead of the American translation,(example, there is a character named Tiberion in the US version, Taylor in the Japanese), it is a small gripe but I would have loved to relive this game with the character names that I grew up with. If you played Warsong and loved it, you should definitely pick this up, but even if you have not, this is still a great strategy RPG well worth your time.

5) NSR: No straight roads

NSR is an odd 3d platformer/boss battle game where you play as a rock band, in a dystopian world where the only music allowed is EDM and a huge corporation runs the city.

The game starts out with you and your bandmate auditioning in an American Idol sort of contest, the judges shun you for playing rock music, and smear you all over the news. Naturally, you then go out on a quest for revenge and pimp smack all the judges, who also run the evil corporation, and take them down one by one. The story is silly, the voice acting is great, the dialogue is goofy, and it all works well within this bizzaro world the game has created. It is a fun and lighthearted tale with lots of quirk, and it was enjoyable to watch it all unfold.

The basic gameplay loop consists of you exploring an overworld for collectables that you can use to purchase upgrades for your characters, then entering the boss level which starts out with several sections that mix combat and 3d platforming. After you go through these you fight an epic boss battle, and repeat. The levels themselves are psychadelic, lots of bright popping colors, catchy EDM soundtrack, and enemies that attack with the rythm of the background music, they are typically pretty short but fun to play through. The boss battles are the absolute star of the show here. Every boss is huge, with multiple phases of attack, multiple forms, and intense music. Figuring out their patterns is really fun and the combination of the crazy visuals and the awesome soundtrack really keep your heart pumping.

Combat in this game is pretty simple. You have an attack and a dodge, you can unlock combos, special moves, and you can switch between 2 characters with their own life bars. The combat itself does not offer much depth, but it doesn't really need to. The game design is really focused around large boss battles and simple combat and platforming. The difficulty here is not too high, but the curve is nice and the last 2 boss fights were definitely challenging.

NSR is an definitely an odd game but a fun one. It is not the best game I have ever played but it is very unique, with gameplay that is engaging enough to recommend a playthrough.

6) Monster boy and the cursed kingdom

Im not really sure why this game is not called wonder boy and the cursed kingdom. I think there was some legal trouble somewhere along the way but make no mistake, this is wonder boy 5, it takes place in the same universe as wonder boy, references the old games, and even has characters from wonder boy 4 that play a decent part in the story.

Like the dragons trap(or dragons curse if you prefer the OG name), you start out as a blue haired hero with little more than a sword and shield. Your uncle has gone crazy and is has turned everyone to animals(anthromorphic animals that all still speak) and you set out on a quest to figure out why your good hearted uncle went off his rocker. When you meet your uncle you try and talk some sense into him and he turns you into a pig. You then learn of 5 magical orbs that could break the curse and restore everyone back to their human form and set off on a quest to gather the orbs, save the kingdom, and rescue your uncle from whatever madness has befallen him. The story here is light, simple, and does a good job of moving the narrative along while not getting in the way of the gameplay.

Graphics in this game are bright and colorful, the style is reminiscent of the dragons trap, but since this is not a remake of an old game there is no option to switch to 8 bit graphics. That is fine with me, this game has a great visual style and the environments and enemies all have a very unique feel to them. The music here is really catchy also. It has been awhile since a game has got its soundtrack stuck in my head but when I would turn the game off to feed my daughter I would hum the tunes to her while she was eating her bottle.

Gameplay is what you would expect, large metroidvanis style world with easy fast travel spots, tons of gear to find, tons of upgrades hidden everywhere, large boss battles, and clever puzzles and level design. Like the dragons trap, gameplay here is centered around turning into different animals to do various tasks. You start as a pig, who can sniff out secrets, eat truffles to upgrade magic, and cast various magic spells. As the game progresses you unlock the ability to turn into a snake, lion, frog, dragon, and back to human. Each form has their own abilities and once you get a new form you can switch back and forth between them at any time. There is a nice mix of platforming, puzzle, and combat challenges in this game. The developers did a remarkable job of making each form different and a lot of fun to play, as well as crafting environments tailored to their unique abilities. The difficulty of the combat/platforming is on the lower side(there are some challlenging parts but this is not a frustrating game by any means), and the puzzles are mostly really well done. I did have to look up a walkthrough a few times and every time, except for one, I kicked myself for missing something obvious.

Monster boy is a fantastic edition to the wonderboy series and is a must play for fans. Even if you have never experienced a wonder boy game, fans of adventure/metroidvania platformers should absolutely check this game out.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:07 pm

Seems like a pretty active month, I've enjoyed reading the reviews.

Pook, I'm glad the Langrisser remake lived up to your expectations. Warsong's a game I've wanted to pick up for the Genesis, I played a bit through emulation and enjoyed it, even though I wasn't great at the game. I'd like to give it another shot and get better at it.


Games Beaten 2021:

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)

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3. Streets of Rage (GEN)

When I was younger, I was introduced to the Streets of Rage series through the second game, and spent the most time with that title. It was a game I got as a gift from my father, and ended up becoming one of my favorite games ever. Later on, I had access to the first game through the 6-Pak cartridge, but usually I would end up playing Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi, or Super Hang-On when I fired it up. In preparation for Streets of Rage 4 though, I wanted to play through the earlier games and I started to play the first title a lot again.

The graphics are impressive for the time. I think the developers did a great job with the look of the levels and backgrounds, but the character sprites were the one element that could've used some work. However, as we'll see this area was vastly improved in the sequel. No secrets here, but the music is outstanding and some of the themes make a return in the sequels. Yuzo Koshiro definitely brought an energy with the soundtrack that gives the game a great atmosphere. The cover art is also amazing, and the illustrators did a great job. At this time, a lot of gamers were purchasing titles based on the cover art alone, and this game definitely stood out on store shelves.

The gameplay and controls are really tight and responsive. The characters each have different combos, however there's no variety between the speed and strength of the characters which also ends up being addressed in later games of the series. I always had mixed feelings about the cop car special too, it was cool to have a screen clearing move on hand but I think the special move approach of the later games was better as well. I've had instances where I accidentally used it, and then I was totally screwed later in the level when I needed it. The inclusion of co-op was also a big deal and a plus, since at this time we were still getting beat 'em ups ported to consoles that were only one player, which is a let down for this genre. Also, the difficulty of this game is a bit higher than the first IMO, and it's not as friendly to casual gamers.

This is still a great playthrough for fans of the genre. For anyone that's curious about the origins of the Streets of Rage series, it's worth going back and revisiting the first game. I recommend it, especially with a friend in co-op.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:43 pm

Games Beaten 2021:

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)
3. Streets of Rage (GEN)

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4. Time Crisis: Project Titan (PS1)

As mentioned in earlier reviews, I'm a big fan of lightgun games and I've been looking to grab some more titles that are compatible with the Namco Guncon on PS1. The Guncon is a great lightgun, extremely accurate, and feels comfortable in hand. I'm also a fan of the Time Crisis series but managed to miss out on this spin-off title Project Titan for the PS1 which was a home exclusive. It was released late in the console's life and I wasn't aware of it when it originally came out.

The graphics in this game are definitely an improvement over the original's, with the levels, enemy sprites, and cut scenes all looking a bit sharper. The developers definitely had more experience working with the console and it shows, as Project Titan came out four years after the home port of the original Time Crisis. The music is also a stand out, as the compositions add a dramatic effect to the gameplay.

One major difference in this title is the multi-hiding system, which allows the player to move from place to place in the level while still in cover -- this feature only appears in certain sections of the game, but it's necessary to utilize it to move forward. Also, the combo counter is a nice addition -- it keeps track of consecutive shots hit and made me approach the game a bit differently than the original. The difficulty also seems to be ramped up, there is a few pretty tough sequences and bosses in this title and it took me a good amount of tries to finally complete the game.

I definitely recommend Project Titan to lightgun fans, as it's another action packed game that is worth your attention. There's a limited amount of titles compatible with the Namco Guncon, so it's worth tracking this one down.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ziggy587 Mon Feb 01, 2021 12:24 am

I don't beat a lot of new games each year. Much, much less than the rest of yous. And the ones I do beat, I usually forget to post about it. But this one I'm sort of proud of...

1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) (all Chaos Emeralds)

I've beaten this game before, but I only ever got the bad ending because I ignore the Chaos Emeralds. When I was younger, I just didn't care to try and get the Emeralds because I kind of hated the special stages. That and maintaining 50+ rings to the end of the level was a chore. In more recent years, I made a few attempts trying to get all of the emeralds, but found some of the special stages too frustrating.

Well, I just played through the game for the first time in a while on a legit Genesis on a CRT. This might be the first time I actually attempted to get all of the Chaos Emeralds while playing on a CRT. Maybe it was that, or something else, but I found it easy to get them. I was able to get all of them on my first try. Not one failed attempt. What the hell? My only suspicion is that other attempts had been on something that might have had input delay, and these levels are already pretty funky to control. Or I got better at them, or I just got really lucky. Either way, I'm glad I was finally able to do it !

2. Castle of Illusion (Genesis)

It seemed like the best starting point for this month's TR being that it's the most popular/well known Mickey game. I've played the first level a bunch of times, but it never really sucked me in. To be perfectly honest, it's a little on the boring side for me. Don't get me wrong, it's a really solid platformer, and I do like it, I just don't love it. I can see how awesome it would have been in 1990, and I get how much nostalgia some people must have for it. But if you're playing it for today for the first time, compared to other platformers, it's a little bland. I still like it though, and I'm glad I finally beat it!
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My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:30 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC

Back when the Gamecube was current I played Sunshine at a friend's house and decided not to get it myself. There was just something a bit off about it. Then later when I had a job and started filling out the collection I decided to pick it up, and finally got around to playing it. And I gotta say, I wish I'd stuck with my first impression. Sunshine is a major misstep for 3D Mario games that basically screws up everything Mario 64 did well and doesn't really give anything in return.

The story is that when you go on an island vacation you get jailed because an evil Shadow Mario is using a magic paintbrush to draw graffiti. And sometimes the graffiti can attack people. You get a magic water backpack and need to clean it up. Midway through Shadow Mario is revealed to be Bowser Jr. and kidnaps Peach because he thinks she's his mom (and she seems to seriously consider it a possibility, which reveals a very dark side of the Mushroom Kingdom). Go rescue Peach, finish your vacation. But it's Mario, who came for the story? The one good thing here is that Bowser is voiced, and his voice is hilariously bad.

Gameplay-wise you experience seven levels like the paintings in Mario 64, except now they're all locations on the island. So instead of the wide variety of locales you get a variety of "things appropriate for a tropical island", which makes the environments much more samey. This is exacerbated by how they execute the stages of each level. Like Mario 64 you revisit a level multiple times to collect each Shine. But unlike Mario 64 you can't do them out of order. You always have to do the first one, then the second one, etc. The stage undergoes a minor transformation each time, which is why you can't do them out of order. The seventh Shine is always a race to catch Shadow Mario; doing all seven of these unlocks the final stage to go fight Bowser. As a result Shines are actually worthless (outside of the fact you need 25 to visit all the stages due to events that need triggering, and you have to get more than those to get to the seventh Shine of every level anyway). So the bare minimum you need is 50; one from the intro and 49 from the seven stages. The other 70 are complete busywork. And the fact that you have to do them in order means if one particular Shine sucks (I'm looking at you Secret in the Village Underground) you can't just do another to get your required number.

Another thing to mention regarding the stages is that the stages are build like a Super Mario 64 stage, with several places to go. But since you can only get one particular Shine for a given entryway you find that about half the level is useless for a given Shine. This gets corrected in Mario Galaxy; there you have a similar "you must take this path", but because of the planetoid based layout they just shuttle you to each new section for the theme and the fact they all start from the same planetoid is just window dressing.

The game also has a handful of Shines which are collected by doing a level where your water pack is stolen. These involve much more abstract geometry and are focus on platforming rather than figuring out how to climb more natural geometry or solve a puzzle. And these are where the final weakness of the game is demonstrated; Mario handles like ass. He has this weird combination of very quickly reacting to an input and then having a fuckton of momentum afterwards. The most obvious way this manifests is how you'll end up doing the sideflip all the time when you don't want to (and careen into something dangerous). From a dead stop if you move the control stick in a direction the game assumes you're trying to do the sideflip jump that's supposed to be from rapidly changing direction. And if you're looking at a wall and decide you need that height you'll find first you move away from the wall (and it thinks you set up a sideflip away from the wall), then when you turn back to the wall it won't trigger the sideflip because there was a bunch of cooldown from the previous motion. Basically, once you trigger something you're committed to that think for a second or two. Combine that with losing several moves in favor of replacements from the backpack (and consequently not having them at all when it's taken) and you have the least maneuverable Mario of any 3D game.

Overall I disliked Sunshine. It starts from them making a Gamecube Mario 64 and then they decided to find a way to make every feature of Mario 64 worse. I can't call it an objectively bad game, but there's no way in hell I would ever try and 100% it; it's just not fun enough to ever try that. I'd personally recommend you do any of the other 3D Marios before picking this one up, because you can do better than this.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Gunstar Green Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:11 pm

New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe

What is there really to say about New Super Mario Bros. at this point? I know a lot of people like to poop on this series for lack of innovation, and perhaps deservedly so, but it's hard to blame Nintendo with how well it always sells and I personally enjoy my time with these games. They offer extremely solid and basic platforming with some more challenging requirements to 100% them. I've particularly got some nostalgia for the first installment on DS which at the time lived up to the "New" moniker by being the first new 2D Mario since 6 Golden Coins on the Game Boy.

So what's new here? Not much really. Baby Yoshis, four different characters with the new one being Toadette and her extremely controversial crown power-up. What NSMB U does deliver is a high level of polish and presentation. The level design is arguably at its best in the series and the gigantic world map is very charming. The difficulty never reaches frustrating heights in the main campaign, even with all the Star Coins (though a few of them are hidden a bit more obscurely than I would have liked). The Superstar Road bonus stages however are a Mario Maker-esque challenge that was satisfying to complete.

I don't feel like I need to recommend or not-recommend this one. It's NSMB. You know what you're getting into by now. You either want more of the same or you don't. I would say if you're going to pick up only one of these titles, this would probably be the one to go for.

Daemon X Machina

I've been looking forward to trying this one for a while, as it's been over an entire console generation since the last Armored Core game and several clones have tried to step into its shoes to mixed results. Daemon X Machina has a more legitimate claim to the throne however, with developers responsible for early-era AC games being involved and even the legendary Shoji Kawamori behind its mecha designs.

I've heard the game described as "Anime Armored Core" and that's fairly accurate though doesn't paint a complete picture. The plot of the game is similar to that of the old AC games. The world is screwed and corrupt corporations are messing with each other while trying to rebuild it. Unlike those games it chooses to focus on the lives and personalities of the mercenaries that you'll be working with and fighting against and for a while it's not that interesting as the game has an extremely slow start both gameplay-wise and storywise.

Eventually it starts humming along though and both come together. Just like in Armored Core you customize your mech to your liking, and in very similar ways, though it's in the much simpler vein of the early games and not the extremely complex later ones. Most things about this game lead it to being more approachable than Armored Core both in its challenge and in having a mostly less ambiguous plot. You don't ever even really have to use the game's item development and store and just focus on looting equipment on the battlefield as it will usually be better than what you can build anyway. This also gives you some incentive to replay non-story missions instead of just doing so to grind for money. You can also upgrade your character themselves in a transhuman-ish way, basically becoming a full-robot by the end of it. It reminds me of the Human+ project of Armored Core but it's a developed part of the game and not just a cheat to help you when you're doing badly. This is what you're going to spend most of your in-game cash on. Oddly enough this doesn't play into the narrative at all and it doesn't seem to have any impact on how the game plays out.

Gameplay isn't a straight copy from Armored Core either. I would describe it as somewhere between Armored Core and Zone of the Enders, leaning more in the fast and arcadey direction of Zone of the Enders though I didn't find the lock-on missiles that useful compared to some of the other options. Things do get repetitive at times but the game does try to shake things up with its mission variety and giant bosses which are pretty fun to tackle. The story is a bit ridiculous and cliche-ridden, but I didn't hate it or anything. Also unlike Armored Core you can actually eject from your robot, or just leave it at any time if you feel like it, though don't expect to survive very well on foot. It's a neat feature with extremely niche uses (and if anyone is going to play this game then make damn sure you spec into the repair ability for the final boss).

The game did wear out its welcome by the end. The last few missions are a bit of a slog with fight after fight against tanky versions of enemies you've been fighting the entire game, though the journey to get there was a fun and action-filled explosion fest with cool, stylized graphics. The missions themselves are pretty short though there is a lot of them. It makes it an excellent Switch portable mode game as you can boot it up, beat a mission in a few minutes and put it away. The worst part was probably the final boss itself which is a massive difficulty spike right at the finish line that very nearly sours the whole experience, though it did feel good to put him down.

I cautiously recommend this one. While it's more approachable than the Armored Core titles for average players I feel like it still only has a niche appeal for mecha genre fans.

Turrican (Amiga version on Turrican Flashback for Switch)

Turrican is a franchise I have mostly have no real nostalgia for as its most famous for being on microcomputers that were far more popular and prevalent in the European market. Outside of the console titles and the spiritual indie love-letter Gunlord, I had no real experience with with the true core of Turrican. For some reason or another, perhaps my like of attachment to the Commodore Amiga, I never really got around to emulating it.

That said I always admired it from afar ever since I first learned about it on some random forum around the time that Metroid Fusion released. People usually describe it as Metroid meeting Contra but I never felt like that gave it enough credit. Turrican is very much its own unique-feeling thing that not much else out there has copied.

The third game in the series, Mega Turrican, has grown into one of my favorite games on the Genesis, but while it has some semi-open levels it's a much a more traditional side-scrolling action game. My only experience with the original title was the various awful console ports handled by Code Monkeys which make an already difficult game much more difficult and fail to nail important things like the exceptional soundtrack. Thankfully now that I have access to the Amiga titles on the newly released Turrican Flashback I can play the original games in their ideal form.

At its heart Turrican is a run, jump and shoot platformer but the levels are vast and open instead of straight left to right affairs. You have various special attacks you can collect and the limited ability to roll into a ball to get into tight spaces like Samus Aran of Metroid fame, but it's a much more chaotic ability as it never stops moving and you have little control over it. I've found it to be most useful as a panic button for dodging boss attacks. You have two different weapons you can collect, a powerful forward firing laser and a weaker spread shot. Both can only fire forward because like Mega Man, the Turrican guy doesn't like to aim up or down... at least not with his standard weapons. To help with that handicap you also have a lightning gun you can only use while standing still and it can be fired in a 360 degree loop. Remembering to use this weapon effectively is really the key to success in this game as it can clear out hard to hit enemies in inconvenient places and cheese some of the bosses into oblivion. It's also useful for discovering the many game's secrets as it's replete with Mario-style hidden blocks.

One of the mechanics this game is most famous for, or perhaps most infamous for, is the way it handles its health. There is no knockback or invincibility frames like in many Japanese and American games of the time meaning you can very easily get yourself one-hit killed as if you were playing Contra. While I absolutely hated this while attempting to play the Code Monkeys' Genesis version, the health bar is a bit more generous here and enemies don't move quite as fast though they still often unfairly pop onto the screen and kill you before you know what hit you.

The level design is both fantastic and atrocious. Fantastic in the sense that there's so many paths to explore, most leading you to goodies like extra lives which might seem lame but it always feel rewarding to find because you're always in desperate need of those extra lives because this game isn't pulling any punches.

It's atrocious in that if often has some pretty ridiculous platforming demands. It's not quite as bad with modern control schemes afforded by the Switch and PS4 but having played the Genesis port which uses up to jump like on the Amiga I know that many of these segments had to be a nightmare. It's sometimes hard to tell what you can stand on and what you can't at times or what will hurt you and what won't. There are even some walls I had no idea were just in the background in the final level which held me up a bit. The vast levels also mean that there are times where you'll have to make a leaps of of faith that that can often result in your death. At least in Metroid games the level design doesn't incorporate instant-death pits in areas where leaps of faith have to be made. The Flashback collection incorporates a rewind feature like many of these modern emulation collections do and I didn't want to abuse it but I set the rule that if I died from a leap of faith that I would make use of the feature to save myself some time.

These gripes are manageable throughout most of the game since it's generous at rewarding you for your exploration, although having a timer like a Mario game is kind of asinine in a game that encourages you to explore. I ended up timing out because of this more than once. Where it starts to become unmanageable is in the game's penultimate world, World 4, which was three grueling levels that most certainly did not often reward you for exploring. Instead these levels tend to punish you for getting lost with wasted time, lost lives and nothing to show for it. The game's excellent soundtrack up to this point (which I must stress is an absolute, toe-tapping masterpiece by Chris Huelsbeck) is replaced with creepy ambient sounds and the difficulty is cranked all the way up.

It's not all bad because it's this part of the game with its vast, atmospheric alien caverns, ambient sounds and a larger focus on platforming instead of shooting where I felt the most like I was playing Metroid, only an insane hyper-difficult version. While the maze was a challenge to navigate, it wasn't really that cryptic and only needed a little trial and error to conquer. The worst part was often needing to backtrack to get back to where you were after missing a difficult platform jump and falling down a few layers of haphazardly placed platforms.

The final levels are almost a formality compared to World 4's challenge. It even pumps you up with extra lives as if to say, "sorry for all of that", though it does make you feel powerful for the finale and the adrenaline pumping music returns to emphasize this as well.

To summarize, Turrican is a janky game that hasn't aged entirely gracefully with uneven difficulty and level design from an era when many western developers on home computers didn't really know what the hell they were doing compared to their Japanese counterparts. Despite all of that it's still an extremely fun game with clever mechanics, satisfying weapons, wonderfully atmospheric art, sound design and perhaps one of the best soundtracks of its era, one that was even revered by the all time great composer, Yuzo Koshiro who said it was unlike any video game music he had ever heard at the time. Despite its warts it remains a unique and entertaining title that deserves its classic status and I absolutely recommend trying it, especially with the modern conveniences that the Flashback collection offers to cut down on frustration.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:38 am

Games Beaten in 2021 - 13
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18
11. Muv-Luv photonflowers* - Steam - January 22
12. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ (Steam) - Steam - January 27


February (1 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies (Switch) - Switch - February 1


13. Gun Gun Pixies (Switch) - Switch - February 1

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If you've ever wondered what Earth Defense Force would be like if it were clunky, stupid, and horny, then I have good news; I've found the answer. Gun Gun Pixies is a third person shooter where you play as a couple of tiny alien soldiers sent to Earth to study interpersonal relationships among Earthlings in a dorm setting so you can figure out how to save your home planet's society from collapsing under the weight of its own narcissistic introversion. It's a dumb story full of cute anime girls and far more upskirts than is necessary. In that aspect, it's your typical Idea Factory/Compile Heart game. What's not so typical is the egregious lack of quality control. Compile Heart games are usually mid-tier in terms of quality. This is solidly below that.

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Visually, the game looks fine. You can tell that it was originally a Vita game that got bumped to Switch, but it looks totally fine. It runs decently well, too. You'll notice parts where the frame rate dips and other parts where it suddenly feels way smoother than before, but all in all, it stays acceptably near 30 fps. The problem is the controls. They're horrendous. The jumping feels horribly imprecise, and while that doesn't matter in most third person shooters, there's an infuriating amount of platforming that you need to do. They'd be no big deal if the jumping controls were even decent, but they're downright awful. The camera controls are just as bad, too. At the default sensitivity, they're jerky as hell, but if you lower it enough so that they're not frustratingly jerky, they suddenly start to feel like they're submerged in glue. There's no middle ground. Way overly sensitive, or not nearly sensitive enough. This game may not require Sniper Elite levels of precision, but you need to be able to hit specifics parts of your targets' bodies, so it requires enough precision that these controls make the game a lot more challenging than it would normally be.

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The other glaring problem here is even less forgivable than the controls and jumping. Those are just bad technical design and coding. The more unforgiveable flaw in my opinion is the translation. It's as if literally no one proofread the translation a single time before shipping the game. It's not just translation errors although there were a few sentences so awkward that they couldn't possibly be anything but a translation error. No, the game's dialogue is RIDDLED with typos. Simple careless typos that any random person off the street would likely catch if they proofread it. The fact that this made it into the game and remains in the game nearly four full years after release is just astounding to me and shows utter negligence on the part of the allegedly existent QA team. Things like "one the topic of" instead of "on the topic of," "fan faction" instead of "fan fiction," "put you to the rest" instead of "put you to the test," "partnet" instead of "partner," and "I don't they'd suit me" instead of "I don't think they'd suit me;" and those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. You'd think having Neptune, my goddess, and Noire, my Neptunia waifu, make cameos in chapter 4 would redeem the game in my eyes, but not even they can redeem this disaster of a game. If they weren't here, my rating would be even lower.

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The game is also just needlessly horny. I mean, it's an ecchi bishojo game, so that's to be expected to a certain extent, but that's basically all the game is; the rest was built around that concept so the game could have an excuse to exist. At least Senran Kagura games have fun gameplay and at least halfway decent stories; Gun Gun Pixies has neither. I'm an ecchi lord of the highest caliber, and even I was like "Dude, why is this game so damn horny?" It honestly went from fun to kind of creepy about a third of the way through. I've certainly played worse games, and I don't regret having this on my shelf, but I'd be hard pressed to recommend this to anyone except ecchi lords who are even more of a degenerate than I am because this was just too much. It's funny at first, but it plays like a Dane Cook stand-up show; after a while, you realize it just does the same things other games do except worse.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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