Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
User avatar
Gunstar Green
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4961
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:12 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Gunstar Green Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:51 pm

1. Link's Awakening (Switch Remake)
2. Super Mario Maker 2
3. Super Mario Odyssey
4. New Super Mario Bros. U DELUXE
5. Daemon X Machina
6. Turrican
7. Turrican 2: The Final Fight
8. SUPERHOT
9. Untitled Geese Game
10. Mega Turrican
11. Super Turrican (SNES)

Super Turrican SNES (Turrican Flashback Collection on Switch)

Super Turrican for SNES, not to be confused with Super Turrican for the NES, is the final game on the Turrican Flashback Collection. It actually released before Mega Turrican, but after its Amiga counterpart Turrican 3 due to a difficulty in finding publishers for the Genesis/Mega Drive. It's sort of a “greatest hits” version of the Turrican series, borrowing elements, levels and bosses from each though leaning heavily into Mega Turrican near the end and even straight-up using assets from that game.

The lightning gun is back, though now it's a “freeze beam” and doesn't actually damage enemies. It's still invaluable since your other weapons still can't shoot up, some of the levels are sprawling again, and its use is necessary to get past a lot of parts without taking damage. I don't really like it and wish they had just put in the normal 360 degree weapon if they were going to put you in levels that facilitated the need to shoot up, but at least it's something. The bounce gun now operates like its Turrican 2 counterpart again as well. Everything else feels a bit similar to Mega Turrican though without the grappling hook. Without the floatier jumping of the Amiga games you end up kind of missing it. The platforming here doesn't always feel great and at times it requires very pixel perfect jumps especially in the late game.

Things start off fairly strong with the above ground levels being reminiscent of the first two games only now with flashy SNES graphics quality. The music is also great naturally, using mostly compositions from Mega Turrican (Maybe entirely?) but with the ability to use the sampling abilities of the SNES. The title screen even proudly proclaims that the game is in Dolby Surround. Factor 5 clearly knew a lot of people would be here for the music. While the levels that stick close to their classic counterparts are good fun, the ones that are more original like the lava level or the ice level are even more video-gamey and straight forward than anything found in Mega Turrican. That's not to say they aren't any fun, but they are kind of bland. This time around they also throw a lot of other environmental mechanics at you like using the wind to jump or giving you very slippery ice physics which are more a recipe for frustration than fun.

Since the trilogy had been wrapped up this game's story is even thinner than Mega Turrican's. The Machine is back somehow and my gosh is he doing bad things so you better go and stop him. Just like Turrican 2 you never actually get to fight The Machine, who I forgot to mention is a Galactus, from Marvel Comics, cosplayer. In fact the final boss in the game is the very easy to beat xenomorph level boss, and yes the xenomorph level is back but it's a lot more manageable than Mega Turrican's thanks mostly to the freeze beam and having a more straight-forward layout. It does include the annoying auto-scrolling alien train sequence from Mega Turrican as well and I think it's even worse here with very unforgiving jumps. It's a pretty anti-climactic ending. The game doesn't even play music over the end credits. Just an image of The Machine disappearing and total, unnerving silence.

Truthfully this game was unfinished. Late in development they had to move to a smaller cartridge to save money on production and one of the planned levels and a few other bits and bobs were cut. The “Director's Cut” version of the game that was released with the Super Analogue Nt is this larger version of the game and it doesn't seem like we missed out on all that much, though by virtue of being an unreleased prototype it's also unpolished and unfinished itself.

When it's at its best Super Turrican takes the best of Turrican and builds off of it with the flare of SNES graphics and sound. When it's at its worst it's full of either lazy level design or uninspired new elements that I'd rather not even be there. It's still Turrican and it's still decent but of the four games in this collection it's easily the most forgettable and skippable since its best bits are retreads and what isn't is mediocre. That said I do think many console gamers will find themselves more at home with this game than with the Amiga titles since like Mega Turrican it's more mechanically similar to other console platformers of the time with knockback and i-frames. This game will certainly jive with more people than Turrican 1 for instance, though I found the platforming here even more frustrating at times. While personally I consider this the weakest of the bunch, I think there are plenty of people who will put it up there with Turrican 2 and Mega Turrican especially if it's the one they're the most familiar.

It was interesting to play Mega Turrican and Super Turrican with a new context. I feel like my appreciation for Mega Turrican increased with my understanding of where it fits in as a finale, however Super Turrican felt a lot weaker to me than it used to. It tries to bridge the gap between Mega Turrican and the Amiga titles but doesn't really do either style of game as well and what ideas it has that aren't derivative just aren't that fun or memorable.

Recommended for series completionists but everyone else can give it a pass. The exception would be people who just don't like how the Amiga games play and want a more console-friendly version of what the old Turricans offered. If none of that silly context matters do you and you just want a fun action game for your SNES you can do far worse than this one.
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
 
Posts: 23472
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:15 am

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
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16

Bomberman '93 is the second of the Bomberman games on the Turbografx and the first one to not have an awful US cover. The main thing it adds to the formula is the introduction of stage gimmicks; various things in the levels beyond enemies and destructible blocks like teleporters and conveyors.

For those who have never played a Bomberman game before, the setup is that you get a series of levels which have a grid of indestructible walls, and then a bunch of destructible blocks and enemies. You need to defeat all the enemies and uncover the teleporter out of the level; it doesn't turn on if any enemies are around. You initially can only lay a single bomb that explodes one block out, but you can get a series of powerups to improve that. The increase in explosion length, bombs dropped, and changes to move speed are permanent, while all other powerups are lost when you die. And the difference between having remote detonation and not is night and day. The other powerups are useful too, but being able to trigger bombs on demand (and not have them go off on a timer) dramatically reduces the difficulty. Especially with enemies that can travel over destructible blocks; those are exercises in timing/bomb spamming that gets made much simpler when you can just let them walk into your perfectly timed trap.

The game is divided into seven worlds of eight stages; the first seven stages are regular levels, then the last is a boss fight. Each boss has a fairly straightforward pattern, but they tend to have secondary effects as you damage them, usually in the form of them spamming enemies that infinitely respawn. Which is the primary difficulty of the boss fights; managing the adds.

It's a solid enough title, but the sink or swim nature of the powerups is annoying. Especially since you can't save/get a password until you've lost all your lives, and thus won't have a powerup.
Image
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
Gunstar Green
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 4961
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:12 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Gunstar Green Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:54 pm

1. Link's Awakening (Switch Remake)
2. Super Mario Maker 2
3. Super Mario Odyssey
4. New Super Mario Bros. U DELUXE
5. Daemon X Machina
6. Turrican
7. Turrican 2: The Final Fight
8. SUPERHOT
9. Untitled Geese Game
10. Mega Turrican
11. Super Turrican (SNES)
12. Haven
13. Gunlord X


Haven

Haven is an interesting game. It's sort of a basic RPG and sort of a visual novel. It's meant to be a co-op title for couples to enjoy though the co-op mechanics feel a bit half-baked and I think it might be more fun to some people to play on your own. On the other hand experiencing the story together and exploring the game world in what reminded me a bit of games like No Man's Sky or Journey felt more significant with someone else along for the ride.

I played Haven with my partner and the game allows both players to have pretty much full control over the game, meaning you basically have to decide who's in control while the other player takes on more of a supporting role with the exception of the turn based combat which fully requires you to work together to properly time your attacks and keep each other safe. The combat is never very stressful or complicated though different enemy types require different tactics to destroy. Haven is a game that tells you right up front that it's a casual, laid back adventure that just wants you to experience it.

The somewhat underwhelming gameplay and its occasionally undercooked mechanics are buoyed by the game's compelling story about two lovers fleeing to a mysterious, uninhabited world to avoid a society that won't allow them to be together. I can't talk too much about the story here because I don't want to spoil anything but overall I really enjoyed the day to day slice of life adventures of these two characters. They do a good job of portraying a realistic and relatable relationship that is loving and committed and you really end up liking these two and wanting to see them thrive and survive. I should note that while there's no outright sex scenes in the game they don't shy away from sexual content which is why it's probably best played with a romantic partner if you're going to play it co-op.

If you're looking for a low-impact visual novel-esque game with very light RPG elements and relaxing exploration then Haven makes for a decent chill-out experience. I'm not entirely sure I can recommend the co-op unless you're fine with switching who gets to be in control once in a while or you have a partner who's not particularly great at games and is happy to take a more minor role.

Gunlord X

My Turrican marathon brings me to the game I've been wanting to play for a long time, Gunlord X, the updated re-release of the original homebrew Neo Geo and Dreamcast game, Gunlord. The original game was a clear passion project by René and Timm Hellwig of the German NG:Dev.Team (now simply known as NGDEV), inspired heavily by the, also German, Turrican series. While they initially planned only to release games for older consoles most people seemed to agree that Gunlord was too good to be left as an obscure homebrew title and needed to be brought to the masses. After years of trying and a failed attempt at indiegogo to port the game to PC they finally managed to bring the game to the Switch and PS4 in 2019.

Gunlord X is not just a mere port however. With new bosses, better game balance, a whole new level that pays homage to the original Turrican's jetpack stages, polished graphics, widescreen support and the ability to continue on the level where you left off the game is much improved over the original release (though that game's exclusive “arcade mode” still lends it some worth).

There is a story but it's just a simple excuse plot that only exists in the intro and ending. You are Gordian Gaiden, the titular Gunlord, and you receive a distress signal from your wife Vanessa Gaiden, the hero of the developer's first game, Last Hope. The universe is under attack by the fantasy themed stand-in for The Machine called The Master. You set out to save your wife and free the universe. The intro of the original Gunlord had more violence but here it's been been removed probably to get that “E for Everyone” rating.

To say this game is Turrican 4 in everything but name would be accurate. All of the series staples are here right down to the fantastic Huelsbeck inspired music by Rafael Dyll. Everything that makes Turrican great is present and improved upon and most things that make Turrican annoying are absent or downplayed. The standard armaments are accounted for and even more powerful than before. The wheel and laser whip are finally relatively balanced with a power bar that slowly refills or can be refilled with item drops which is something Turrican never quite figured out. Your health bar is limited to 3 hits and health pickups only heal one hit at a time instead of fully restore your bar, though the enemy placement and your firepower balances out this weakness. You also have knock-back and invincibility frames thankfully. While the game mostly emulates Turrican 2 and worships at its altar, it doesn't ignore the positive changes of the console Turricans and even has a few levels inspired by them. It also includes Turrican 2 inspired shmup levels which are excellent in their own right as shooters are what NGDEV is best known for outside of Gunlord.

The gameplay is smooth, satisfying and explosive. All of Turrican's exploration for lives and energy is here aided by the search for big gems alongside the usual small ones. Collecting all of the big gems in a level in one go will net you a permanent extra continue on your save file making it extremely worthwhile to hunt these down especially if you're not very good at these kind of games as it gives you more lives to brute force your way through the levels and bosses. I ended up not needing many continues but I still searched out the gems anyway because I had so much fun doing it. Some of the levels are enormous, dwarfing the already huge Turrican 2 levels though much like the best designed Turrican levels I never felt overwhelmed or found myself feeling lost. There is of course some tricky platforming in spots, especially if you're hunting big gems, but all of it feels fair and nothing made me want to tear my hair out.

There are plenty of large and memorable looking bosses. Not every one is a hit or particularly challenging but several put up a good fight and offer satisfying patterns. The final boss is a chaotic bullet-hell but still well designed enough that I felt it was fair and that I could definitely beat it especially with the continues I had piled up. The game features 11 levels though it's kind of misleading as two of those are brief shmup stages and two others are pretty short, linear affairs with one of them being an auto scrolling stage. These shorter stages do give you a way to easily get their big gems for continues however and the other large stages are meaty enough as it is. Overall it's bigger than the average Turrican game, but still a short experience if you run through as quickly as you can. Despite this I'm happy that NGDEV still had some consideration for handheld gamers and didn't make it an experience you have to beat in one sitting.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the absolutely stellar pixel art. This game has a beautiful fantasy/sci-fi fusion aesthetic with dense and consistent pixel art that will have you stop to just take in what's on your screen every so often. Thankfully unlike Turrican there's no time limit here so you can gawk at the scenery and explore to your heart's content.

If it's not clear by now I love this game, I love it even more now that I know just how much it took the Turrican formula and ran with it as far is it could go, turning both the action and design dials up to 11 and breaking off the knob. It also takes a Dreamcast game I already enjoyed and improves upon it, making it easier to get into and more fun to play. While I'm not sure it's a game for everyone, for $10 on the eShop it's a game action platforming fans should really give a shot especially if they've always been curious about Turrican but find those games a bit too old and rough around the edges to get into. Gunlord X is 100% the best Turrican game ever made, even if it's not named Turrican.
User avatar
alienjesus
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 8551
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:10 pm
Location: London, UK.

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by alienjesus Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:10 pm

AJ's Games Beaten 2021:
1. Machinarium Switch eShop
2. Pikuniku Switch eShop
3. Sonic Generations XBox 360
4. Neutopia Wii VC
5. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown PS4 *NEW*
6. Coca-Cola Kid Game Gear *NEW*
7. Gunstar Heroes Game Gear *NEW*
8. The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie SNES *NEW*
9. Sonic Mania Plus Switch *NEW*
10. Mickey No Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken SFC *NEW*


Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Image

I’ve always kind of enjoyed dogfighting planes in games, but I’ve never played many games in the genre. So when Ace Combat 7 came out in PS4 I was interested. Fast forward a few years, and now I have a PSVR, and at that point this game became a must play. I finally picked it up and gave it a go, and I had an interesting time – even though the experience was perhaps not what I thought it might be.

The game features a plot set in a fictional work, and it can be a little hard to follow as the cutscenes between missions follow different characters to the actual pilot you play as in missions. A lot of it doesn’t come together until near the end, but to be honest the story isn’t that great, and a lot of the characters are pretty horrible. I thought several times ‘are we the bad guys’, because it seemed very much like the opposing army had higher morals and standards than ours, although thing changed as the game went on.

The gameplay is less dogfight-y then I hoped perhaps, which is probably inevitable when focused on modern aerial combat – supersonic jets and homing missles don’t really lend themselves to close quarter combat, so there’s much more wide sweeping and long range lock-ons than I hoped. That said, I still had a great time with the combat when it was at it’s best, and the games use of a mostly grounded setting with a few batshit crazy sci-fi elements like giant flying air carriers was fun.

Image

The game suffers from a bad difficulty curve though, and I was swearing like a sailor for a lot of the early game – the missions from about mission 5-10 are brutal, but luckily the game eases up as you go. Some of the worst moments include escort missions with hidden SAM sites, a horrible mission where you have a dogfight in a canyon and randomly get struck by lightning throwing you into a cliffside, and an early mission with a ludicrous point requirement that just isn’t very plausible with early aircraft. Thankfully the last third of the game is almost all made up of the best stuff – but it was rough getting to that point at times.

VR mode is a fun distraction that really feels like something special, although you need a fairly sturdy stomach for it as you rarely spend much time with your eyes level to the horizon. There’s only 3 missions in VR which is a shame, as I’d really have liked more, but the ones that are here are a blast to play.

Overall I enjoyed Ace Combat 7, it looks great, has a great soundtrack and the missions at their best are awesome. However, some rough missions and some repetition with missile dodging do weigh it down and stop it being a must play. That said, I enjoyed my time with it overall and it’s worth giving a shot.

Image



Coca-Cola Kid

Image

Coca-Cola Kid is a Japanese exclusive platformer for the Sega Game Gear starring a mascot character for Coca-Cola in Japan in the 90s. ‘Cokey’ as the fan translation I played calls him, is a very radical dude, with a backwards cap and a love of skateboarding, and he goes on a quest to save his teacher who has been drugged and abducted (which is obviously played innocently in the game but made me a bit uncomfortable with modern day perspective).

Cokey has a variety of moves he can use – he can jump and hang on ledges to pull himself up, he has a kick attack which defeats enemies and smashes obstacles, and can charge up a dash which smashes through obstacles too, as well as being an attack. This attack is trigger by pressing down and jump, which betrays the game’s origins – it’s built on the Sonic Triple Trouble engine, and the physics feels very sonic-like with the momentum build up.

Image

Cokey can find coins in levels which can be traded at end of stage for more lives or continues, or for a coke disc – a frisbee which serves as a projectile weapon but is lost when taking a hit. This means it normally doesn’t last long as Cokey moves fast and the view is pretty narrow due to the hardware.

The game takes place through a variety of modern environments, included central park, a factory and a disco. Each world contains 3 levels, which are generally fun but sometimes can have unfortunate difficulty spikes – particular the 2nd and final worlds.

At the end of the game, Cokey rescues his teacher who then hugs him causing him to pass out due to being pressed between her boobs – this is a very Japanese title. It’s also a decent but honestly not too special game for the system – whilst it looks and sounds good, the level design is a bit basic and the inconsistent difficulty can be frustrating. It’s worth a play, but not worth the money it goes for in general. Luckily, I got a decent price on it thanks to help from my racketbuddy, pidge. Thanks dude!

Image



Gunstar Heroes

Image

Here’s another game I got with help from Pidge, and a bit of a treasure for the system – fitting considering it’s a port of a Treasure game. Yep, this is an 8-bit version of Treasures seminal masterpiece for the Mega Drive, ported by the masters at M2 before they were known for that kind of thing, and honestly, it’s super impressive considering how the original taxed the far superior Mega Drive hardware.

The porting doesn’t come without cuts though. One of the playable characters is gone, with fixed or free shot mode being an option instead of a character selection. There’s also a few missing stages – whilst Pink, Green and Orange’s stage selection are available at the start, Black’s dice maze is not here. Some may be happy about that but I’m sad as it’s one of the more unique levels. That said, it’s understandable as I’m sure some of the boss stages are really pushing the 16 bit system technically. The 6th stage, set in space is gone too, although a new stage is in it’s place where you pilot one of the walkers from stage 5 through the space station shooting enemies, culminating in the same boss as the space stage in the original.

Image

Stage that did make it have some changes too. Whereas Pink’s stage is basically the same, Orange’s opening section has changed to jumping up platforms instead of chasing his airship taking off, and Green’s stage now has you on a propellor pack flying instead of the minecart that can flip between floor and ceiling. Seven Force is here with only 5 forms too (Tail Force and Eagle Force are missing) and Urchin force now takes place in the horizontal layout as opposed to the vertical arena of the original. The 5th stage is here but is much shorter now, which is probably good as it was too long in the original really. Finally, the final level is missing the rematch with Black as he’s not in the game. Still, it’s impressive how much content did make it intact.

The game isn’t perfect though. I found some weapons notably weaker here, such as the homing + laser which homed in too slowly to be useful now. I also felt like enemies took much longer to kill in this one which meant I took a lot more hits – at first I assumed this was due to them having too much health, but in retrospect I think it’s more that their health hadn’t been adjusted to account for the guns having a lower rate of fire. I found enemies tended to outprioritise actions such as throwing in this version too, which made some boss fights, such as the ninja guys and particularly both fights with Orange very tough – I had to replay the levels he was in a lot, especially the final boss rush.

Whilst Gunstar Heroes for Game Gear is undoubtedly very impressive, the truth is that it’s more of a unique curio rather than something I’d really recommend. The difficulty spikes around certain bosses are rough, and you really feel like the Game Gear is struggling with how the game can occasionally feel unresponsive. If you’re a big fan, it’s worth a go to see the unlikely port, but otherwise it’s not really worth the money.

Image



The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie

Image

I played original Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse a year or two ago on SNES and had a decent enough time, and for this month’s Together Retro I decided to pick up the sequel and see how it had improved. To be honest, the answer is not much, although that’s not to say either game is bad.

The game stars Mickey & Minnie, who are late meeting their friends at a local circus. When they get there, their friends have disappeared and goons have overrun the circus. Mickey & Minnie go to save the day through 6 levels – this time with 2 player co-op as an option, although I played it single player.

Image

The main gimmick of the series is costumes you can change between to progress. Mickey and Minnie can jump on enemies to stun them, and throw them to attack in their default outfits, but throughout the adventure they can obtain new outfits to give new powers. The cleaner outfit gives them a hoover to suck up enemies and move blocks with, the safari outfit lets them climb walls and swing on hooks, and the cowboy outfit gives them a popgun to shoot with, but also makes movement tricker as they hop along on a hobbyhorse. The outfits here are a little dull to be honest, as they’re mechanically similar to the original game – the cowboy is functionally similar to the magician from the first as an offensive costume, the safari suit is virtually identical to the first games Mountaineer, and whilst the cleaning outfit is different to the fireman from the first, it is the least useful and least interesting outfit.

The game looks and sounds nice enough, and the levels offer a few creative ideas – however, there’s a real by the numbers feel to both entries in the series I’ve played, and it really doesn’t feel like Capcom have brought their A-game. It’s a generic platformer with Mickey branding on top, and it’s easy and short too at only 6 stages. It isn’t really worth the money I paid for it (it’s not a cheap game here), that’s for sure, but if you can find it for a reasonable price there’s definitely titles less worthy of your time – this is a solid, inoffensive, but rather bland game.

Image



Sonic Mania Plus

Image

I played Sonic Mania a few years back, and at the time I was a big fan of the game, declaring it the new best game in the series (even if it’s hard to trump Sonic 2 as my favourite due to nostalgia). It really captured the magic of the original games whilst offering a whole host of new ideas too. I loved the remixed versions of classic stages for each 2nd act as well.

Sonic Mania Plus is the original game plus the DLC that came out later, and I finally sat down and played through it. The DLC offers some new blue sphere stages and a few other bonuses, but the main and most obvious addition are 2 new playable characters – Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. Both have interesting play styles which make them feel distinct from the main 3 of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.

Mighty is perhaps the less interesting of the two – like most of the cast he doesn’t get to use shield powers like Sonic does, but otherwise he plays similarly to the blue blur, with a few small changes. First, pressing jump again in midair causes mighty to slam to the ground instantly, and Mightys armoured shell also renders him impervious to some hazards such as certain enemies and spikes. It’s a little fuzzy which ones he is immune to and which hurt him though, I found.

Image

Ray also can’t use shield skills, but lives up to his flying squirrel lineage – pressing jump in midair starts him gliding, which controls somewhat similarly to marios cape in Mario world – by tilting back and forward you can steer his guide upwards for height or downwards to gain speed, and it’s very effective – it allows you to get to higher ledges and to soar over whole sections of level, feeling a bit overpowered at times.

The other new things of note, and how I played the game this time, is encore mode. Encore mode starts you with 2 characters – Sonic and your choice of Mighty and Ray, and lets you switch between then by pressing X when stopped still. 100 rings no longer grant an extra life, but there’s a larger amount of extra life monitors around. Grabbing one, or rescuing a character in a pinball bonus stage, adds another character to the lives counter at the bottom of the screen, until you have all 5 characters. Once one of your playable characters die, the next character at the bottom replaces them, requiring you to rescue the character who died again. This is a fun mode, as switching between all the characters regularly switches up how you play, although I had a few frustrating moments where I’d lose multiple characters in a row to crushing hazards as the new character spawned in right next to the same obstacle.

Overall, Sonic Mania is still great, and the new content in the DLC is great. If you’re a fan of the game, it’s definitely worth picking up, and if you’re a sonic fan in general then this is a must-play – a real masterpiece.

Image



Mickey No Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken

Image

This is the second game I played for this month’s Together Retro, and I wrote more about it there (link here: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=53429&start=30 ). The general summary though is that this is a much more interesting game than Capcom’s offerings, although it features some flaws with tough bosses and difficulty spikes throughout, and far too many leaps of faith in the later stages.

Image

However, it also has some interesting mechanics which it makes creative use of in its level design, some lovely music and a decent amount of content. It’s not a perfect game, but it is a fun time overall and I would recommend giving it a go. It’s a Super Famicom exclusive but it doesn’t go for too much, and it’s definitely worth a go at that price.

Image
Image
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2837
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:22 am

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
* indicates a repeat

1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *

13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *

After playing through so many Paper Mario games a couple years ago, I'd been meaning to play through the others again, and the fun I had with Origami King pushed me to finally get to replaying the Wii and GameCube games. I couldn't find the GameCube one, so first up was the Wii game. While I have beaten this before, it was only once like 10+ years ago and it's not nearly as well engrained in my memory as the N64 and GameCube entries are. I remembered it not being my favorite, but liking the story all right. Where I'm at now that I've finished it is mostly just glad that I only paid 300 yen for this ^^;. It took me around 22 hours to play through the Japanese version of the game. While I didn't really rush through it, I definitely didn't go for 100%-ing the game.

Super Paper Mario starts with Mario & Luigi sitting at their living room table, as Luigi bittersweetly complains about how boring and peaceful everything is. Suddenly, a Toad rushes up announcing that Peach's Castle has been attacked, and the Bros. immediately rush over to Bowser's Castle to stop him! However, upon arriving, they're surprised to see that Bowser is at home simply preparing to make a move on Peach's Castle, and he's just as surprised as the Bros. are that she's been attacked. They're suddenly attacked by the evil Count Bleck (who is Count Noire in Japanese) who attacks Mario and spirits away Bowser, Peach, and Luigi. By having Peach marry Bowser, Bleck plans to use the power of chaotic love that spawns from it to destroy the universe and remake it in his own image. Mario awakens in Flipside (Hazama Town, in Japanese), where he meets Merlin and a Fairian named Tippi (who is simply "Anna" in Japanese). Mario then needs to go to a series of different worlds to collect the eight Pure Hearts to counteract the power of the chaotic love and defeat Count Bleck to save the universe!

Compared to the other Paper Mario games (certainly the ones that came before it), even the basic plot summary is quite a lot to process, and that sets the tone for the rest of the game's writing. While there are funny and charming moments here and there, the massive bulk of the game is spent going from world to world engaging in neverending seas of uninteresting dialogue through one-note characters you almost never meet again, or through one-note characters you meet all the time who just never stop talking. Gone are the companions of previous games and in its place is Mario's companion Tippi, but she isn't much of a character until about 2/3rds through the game. While Peach, Bowser, and Luigi do eventually join up with Mario, they don't have a ton of commentary on the narrative either, and while the game's narrative does try to end strong, there just isn't enough buildup to actually make it feel all that significant.

It feels like the seriously legwork of the interesting bits of the story are all held at the end, and the only things up to that point that really relate to it is foreshadowing too vague to really feel all that impactful even on a second playthrough. Between six main protagonists and six main antagonists (and those are conservative descriptions), the game is packed with too many characters with too little interesting to say, and the whole experience drags like heck because of it. The game has TONS of exposition that I just could not care about, and it really feels like a game whose main narrative thrust relies on you already caring about it without actually doing the work to give you reasons to care.

The gameplay is very experimental and unique, but a lot of elements don't really flow together very well, and they end up exacerbating other problems the game has as a result. Super Paper Mario abandons the turn-based RPG style of the earlier games for an action RPG style that is also reminiscent of old Super Mario games. Rather than the chapter system of the old games, this game has stages with concrete beginnings and ends. There's sometimes an adventure game-like process to getting there, but generally it's just getting from the start to the end to get to the next bit. You walk around on a 2D plane and jump and hammer on enemies to deal damage (and characters like Bowser can breathe fire as well). There's a lot of platforming, with Peach having a parasol for hovering and Luigi having a spring jump to get up to really high places (which doubles as an attack). But the main draw is that Mario's special power is turning the world 3D to get up and around obstacles that the normal 2D perspective hides. In addition to that, in order to replace the companions whose narrative functions have been (fairly poorly) passed onto Tippi, their mechanical functions have been passed onto little fairies you find, who have purposes ranging from just a simple bomb to a hovering platform you can speed around on.

All of this sounds good (albeit a little complicated) on paper, but the devil is in the details. The 2D nature of all of the level design makes them feel very same-y and unmemorable, as you don't even have turn-based battles to make you stay in a location longer to help get any kind of bearings to it. You're just getting from the start to the end. The 3D parts of them aren't much more interesting, as they're generally just barren rectangles, and you can only stay in 3D mode for so long before having to let the dimension-flipping power recharge, so that isn't really a viable method of exploration even if the 3D environments were interesting in the first place. The more adventure game-like stages are more memorable, but the puzzles in them range from annoying to blatant time wasting and backtracking. You're also constantly bringing up the quick menu to switch between characters and companion fairies, which breaks the flow of the already mediocre and flat platforming. Add in some fairly rough signposting, and you have a game with not just a boring story, but boring gameplay too. This is one of the only action games I can remember that I've nearly fallen asleep playing, and that in itself should say enough for just how good the actual gameplay is.

The presentation of the game is pretty good, but still one of the weaker entries in the series. The graphics are colorful and bright, and the boss and character designs are also good. You don't spend all that much time with any of them, so the designs aren't super memorable, but what's there is fine. The music is also just an overall "fine" in quality. It may also have to do with just how much of the game is you just flying through levels, but none of the music really stood out to me as particularly memorable or good beyond just well suiting the atmosphere of the place you were in. None of it is bad, per se, but it's all definitely below most of the rest of the series for me.

Verdict: Not Recommended. This really isn't a bad game, but with the experience I had with it, I simply cannot recommend it in good conscience. It's an interesting stepping stone from the turn-based RPG Paper Mario games to the turn-based action/adventure games they'd become, but aside from that it's mostly a pile of uncomplimentary experiments and gimmicks of both storytelling and game design. I think it's ultimately totally subjective, of course, but if I had to pick between the trudging, snail's pace design of this compared to the near total lack of a narrative in Sticker Star, I'd choose Sticker Star every time. At least that game has some pretty good music Xp
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
Note
128-bit
 
Posts: 689
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:44 pm

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)
3. Streets of Rage (GEN)
4. Time Crisis: Project Titan (PS1)
5. Rayman Origins (360)
6. Borderlands (360)

Image

7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*

I originally finished Streets of Rage 4 on the Switch last year with my partner, playing it as a couch co-op game and we really enjoyed it. It ended up being one of my favorite games of 2020 and I wrote an in-depth review at that time. I think the developers did a great job modernizing the series while retaining what made the series great in the 90's.

I was lucky this week as my partner decided to leave her Switch at my place for a few days, so I had a chance to check out some of the online capabilities of the console. This time around I played the game with a childhood friend using the online multiplayer feature. He recently purchased SOR4 and hadn't unlocked any of the extra characters, so I thought it'd be fun to go through the game and start to unlock the characters he was missing.

The online co-op works great and the few times we noticed lag it was pretty minimal and only lasted a short amount of time, maybe a few minutes at most. We were both impressed with how well the game played in online co-op mode. It's also great that the save slot feature works with online co-op games, as my friend's wifi dropped at one point but we were able to continue where we left off.

I'm looking forward to more online sessions of SOR4 and it's got me interested in checking out the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle on the Switch, as that title also supports online gameplay. Definitely check this one out if you haven't already!
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 10883
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:08 pm

Marurun vs Games 2021 edition!
  1. Trials of Mana (Switch)
  2. Outer Worlds (Switch)
  3. Code of Princess: EX (Switch)
Code of Princess EX - Switch

Code of Princess wants you to see it as the one true successor to Guardian Heroes, and it has some of the bona fides to make the ask. Tetsuhiko Kikuchi and Masaki Ukyo are two of the masterminds behind Code of Princess, and both were instrumental to Guardian Heroes before eventually leaving Treasure. In the end, however, it is merely a successor and is missing the magic to be the one true successor, despite the lack of convincing competitors.

Code of Princess is a plane-based brawler in which your characters fight and use magical abilities to battle their way through different scenarios. Combos are plentiful, and the only way you really know you're using magic instead of just pounding on enemies (other than the special effects that accompany some magic attacks) is that magic uses up MP. Otherwise, magic is activated the same way attacks are, though basic special moves. Yes, the reason this is a plane-based brawler and not a free-roaming one is that you use special moves to perform various attacks. In this way the game is very much like Treasure's Guardian Heroes. There are also various characters you unlock throughout the game with different movesets and specialties. Combat is ferocious and combo-heavy, and you're just as likely to accidentally hurt yourself as the enemy. Code of Princess preserves the infections nature of fire and electricity. If you catch an enemy on fire and then bump into them, you, too, may catch on fire. GH and CoP both may see a melee quickly degenerate into enemy and hero alike catching aflame. Characters also gain levels, and you can grind out experience, although in CoP you do that by playing bonus challenges and replaying levels instead of juggling defeated enemies.

What makes Code of Princess very much unlike Guardian Heroes is myriad. But let's start with the visuals: the art style is more polished. GH had an art style that looked loose and messy and worked well despite itself. CoP polishes things up, at least in portraits. In the game itself, characters are rendered with polygon models which have oddly jagged edges and are often lacking in fine detail. This was understandable on the original 3DS, but on the Switch it feels odd, like some filtering should have been applied at least. CoP also lacks the branching story paths of GH. The game is one large linear experience. Even the very end of the game, where you are given a choice, you can just replay the ending and pick the other choice to see it. Code of Princess also simplifies the special moves to perform attacks and spells, but the result is a lot of movements that are similar enough that I, at least, was constantly accidentally pulling off moves or the wrong move. Code of Princess additionally introduces items which modify stats and add special abilities. I will go into those in more detail later. Another odd choice CoP makes is to put a timer on encounters, and if you don't complete the objectives by the time the timer depletes you fail.

The biggest split Code of Princess makes with Guardian Heroes is trying to make the frenetic combat more technical while also keeping it insane. In Guardian Heroes a melee could get a bit out of hand, with you surrounded and under pressure, blocking like a madman and nailed by attacks and spells from all sides. But at least you always had the Undead Hero to try and pull you out. In Code of Princess you have no autonomous savior, and the enemies are more trollish than ever. They will hang back and repeatedly lob slow projectiles at you to ensure that when the attacking hordes leave an opening, taking it will result in you on fire or electrocuted. CoP introduces a lock-on attack. Hit an enemy with that attack and they will be locked-on. Your attacks against that enemy do more damage and you can see their life bar in real-time (enemy health is hidden when not locked-on). Projectiles will home in on locked-on enemies. CoP also adds a burst ability. You have 3 bursts you can do (alterable by items) in battle, and when you go into burst mode all your attacks do more damage (stacks with lock-on) and seem to have higher priority. Bursts may also have special effects (granted by characters and items). Burst runs until your magic meter is expended, at which point your MP refills, so using a burst doesn't deny you the ability to cast spells afterwards, though using spells in burst does seem to shorten your burst duration.

The lock-on and burst abilities have some interesting consequences for the game. For one, it means standard spells and attacks end up being ineffective against many enemies. Locking-on is pretty much required for a fight to not drag out into a slog that runs you out of time. Even with lock-on, the timer incentivizes getting into a thick melee instead of trying to lure enemies away one at a time. Many later enemies are meat tanks that take forever to take out, and if you lure them one at a time the timer just runs out while you peg away monotonously. If you get them in a group you risk being thoroughly piled-on, but if you succeed you at least pick away at everyone a little while using the lock-on to take out the biggest threat. Burst can speed things up, but if there's a boss waiting for you at the end of a gauntlet, using up your bursts can be quite fatal, so you're always having to decide if you can spare your big offensive weapon. Bosses often have overwhelming offensive capabilities, and you must strike fast to land a lock-on and then burst to make sure your attacks will have a chance at penetrating their own barrage. That and trying to take down a boss without the lock-on + burst damage multiplier is a recipe for frustration. Running out of bursts while the boss still lives can often result if you being shut-out completely, despite the boss having only a sliver of remaining health.

Now, I've been writing more broadly about Code of Princess, but I played Code of Princess EX on Switch. This is slightly different from the regular 3DS and Windows Code of Princess. In CoP original you get stat points to allot when going up a level. In EX those points are allotted automatically. In Code of Princess characters have a speed stat. In EX they have Resist (magic defense) instead. Basically, on the 3DS you can take a slow character and transform them into a faster character, just like in Guardian Heroes. On Switch your slow character is always a slow character. This can make some characters completely non-viable for some battles. No matter how much you enjoy playing a specific character, you simply may not be able to use them for a particular battle unless you get a lucky opening and can keep all the enemies on lock-down. Despite the frustration at the removal of the speed stat, there are still ways to customize characters. Items have stat bonuses, and throughout the game you can find and buy new items which not only modify stats up and down but also provide special abilities, like bonus damage against armored enemies or bosses, or resistance to fire or electrical damage, or even extra bursts or burst abilities. This is a really cool addition, in part because you can alter your stats and enhance your abilities to match the demands of a fight. If only you could alter character speed… And on that topic, unlike Guardian Heroes not all characters can run. Some characters just have a little dash or hop, so advancing can be a painful slog as you slowly hop up the battlefield instead of breaking out into a run. In fact, even the really fast characters often feel slow in some of their movement, and slow characters, especially, can have trouble performing such simple actions as turning to face the opposite direction. Two of my favorite characters are slower characters, but I can’t play many of the later levels with them because as soon as the pressure’s on I’m basically locked in place and stuck facing the wrong direction. Any attempt to turn around results in me slowly dropping my guard and getting crushed.


Code of Princess EX has moments of joy, where combat feels great and you’re in control of the battlefield, managing threats and locking down the space around you. But those moments are overwhelmed by battles where you are shut out by the wrong character or equipment selection, or where you didn’t take the one opening granted you and now the enemy masses or boss RNG is basically closing you down, or by having to play a specific way to deal with an onslaught of annoying, not merely difficult, enemies that seem designed to troll the player. The one constant shining light in the whole experience is a fantastic and genuinely funny localization. Character interactions are at times quite hilarious, and it was almost disappointing to have to slog through so many annoying battles to get to them.

Hesitantly recommended to the right kind of player.
Dope Pope on a Rope
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
User avatar
BoneSnapDeez
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 19897
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 1:08 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:26 pm

1. Richard Scarry's Huckle and Lowly's Busiest Day Ever (Pico)
2. Countermeasure (Atari 5200)
3. Alex Kidd: High-Tech World (Sega Master System)
4. Kirby's Dream Land 2 (Game Boy)
5. Night Stalker (Intellivision)
6. Space Battle (Intellivision)
7. Utopia (Intellivision)
8. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Intellivision)
9. Kirby Super Star (SNES)
10. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)
11. Kirby Slide (e-Reader)

ImageImage
Kirby's Dream Land 3 was one of those oddball SNES games released in 1997, alongside the likes of Lost Vikings 2 and Harvest Moon. Despite its status as a first-party Nintendo title, Kirby 3 slipped into relative obscurity, as many gamers of the era had moved on to the Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, or perhaps, if we're being charitable, the Sega Saturn. Kirby 3 never even saw a PAL cartridge release, though it eventually hit the Virtual Console in all regions.

Many consider this one a disappointment when stacked up against its immediate predecessor, Kirby Super Star (aka Kirby's Fun Pak), which was fast-paced, stylish, packed with content, and indeed extremely super and quite fun. But Kirby's Dream Land 3 was never really intended to be a sequel to that game -- rather, it's a follow-up to the Game Boy's Kirby's Dream Land 2, which was characterized by its meaty levels, leisurely pacing, and animal compatriots. In terms of story, the villain Dark Matter is back (again), he's possessed King Dedede (again), and is up to all sorts of no good. Kirby sets off to find his animal pals and to cleanse the world of evil; he's not an interplanetary traveler this time around but instead rotates around the five points of a star (the five "game worlds") before leaping into the center for the final confrontation.

What's immediately striking about Kirby's Dream Land 3 is the visuals. They're akin to Yoshi's Island -- not because the game literally resembles Yoshi's Island but because the aesthetics are extremely atypical for the SNES. Kirby 3 looks like a storybook illustrated with crayon: there's a pleasant scribbled "fuzz" to the graphics coupled with a relaxed color palette. It all just oozes whimsy and is rather befitting for a game of this type. There are a few occasions where the developers went a touch overboard with the dithering and foreground elements, slightly obscuring a player's view of the action, but those moments are blessedly rare. Sprites are appropriately cutesy and well-animated, and, perhaps as a nod to the Game Boy entries, Kirby is back to being off-white as opposed to a bright pink. The soundtrack is decent enough for what it is. In typical Kirby fashion, it's comprised of new tunes alongside some recycled classics. Some of older tracks are inserted into weird spots. For instance, "Gourmet Race" is a riveting upbeat song literally designed for the "racing" stages of Kirby Super Star: here it's inserted into a traditional stage filled with sand, one that's designed to be anything but fast.
ImageImage
Controls are slightly more complex than those of Kirby's Dream Land 2, while more simplistic than those of Super Star. Kirby can do the typical inhale & spit star attack, jump, fly, dash, and slide, but there is no more L/R blocking. Stages are lengthy and generally comprised of several distinct segments: sections that vertically or horizontally scroll, frantic auto-scrolling "crusher" stretches, windy and watery challenges, and so forth. Each world consists of six individual stages (so, thirty total with no warps or skips possible) and a standalone boss battle. Bosses can be tough (for Kirby standards) and usually have at least two forms. For instance, the classic Whispy Woods apple tree will eventually become enraged, charging towards Kirby while using its roots as legs. Though the game is plenty long it feels oddly incomplete: Kirby's adventures traditionally conclude in outer space, against a trippy backdrop of stars, comets, and foreboding darkness. But in Kirby 3 the platforming staple "ice world" is literally the last to be traversed. No great final dungeon or frantic trek across the cosmos. It's just a bit strange.

In any event, Kirby's travels are hampered by the fact that he moves slowly. So slowly. The man has never been on the slim side, but here Kirby lurches around like a tub of lard. Walking is slow, flying is slow, the animals are slow, and the stages (which are already designed to be big) seem to stretch on for eternity. The problem is ameliorated a bit by dashing, but that's inherently clunky on its own, as dashing requires a double-tap of a directional key and Kirby loses momentum easily. Far too often the game feels as if it's awkwardly and actively inhibiting the player, and Kirby 3 can feel downright exhausting to play through.

The special abilities are back, in a "limited capacity" similar to that of Kirby's Dream Land 2. Abilities are gained by inhaling and swallowing specific enemies that possess them and abilities can be lost if Kirby takes a heavy hit. There are eight powers total, ranging from burning (which transforms Kirby into a fiery battering ram), cutter (a boomerang attack with a decent range), needle (an immobilizing defensive move), and more. Once again, there are certain blocks (typically orientated in front of goodies or secret paths) that can only be destroyed by a Kirby wielding a given power, but Kirby 3 drops all ambiguities. For instance, a block that can be crushed by Kirby's rock power literally has a picture of a rock on it, a vast improvement over the "uhhh... so does cutter destroy the light blue blocks or light brown blocks??" methodology of Kirby 2. As the (rideable) animal squad is brought back into focus for this installment, Kirby can not summon his massive host of AI buddies. There is one such pal however: Gooey. Gooey is literally a piece of goo, ostensibly a piece of Dark Matter, who possesses his own health bar. Kirby can summon Gooey at any time by pressing A, which will in turn cost Kirby one complete unit of health. To regain health and ditch Gooey, Kirby may choose to inhale him(!!). There's a funny little exploit here, as the game allows Gooey to be summoned even if Kirby lacks the requisite HP (instead no health is deducted) -- Kirby can then chomp on Gooey to instantly regain health; it's a useful move if Kirby is close to death. Unfortunately, Gooey has a tendency to be a nuisance, inhaling and tossing enemies that possess decent abilities, destroying specific block arrangements that lead to secret areas, and just generally getting in the way. On the plus side, Gooey is useful for taking out environmental hazards (such as icicles) and participates in the simple "bonus round" that concludes each stage, where a well-placed jump nets an item. Generally speaking, it's best to use Gooey selectively and sparingly.
ImageImage
On to the animals. These friends can be found in all stages, typically in rooms that house two or three, giving Kirby a choice (though a rejected animal will truly display the most pitiful facial expression!). The classic trio is back. Rick the hamster is useful in grounded stages, is impervious to ice, and can jump up walls. Coo the owl possesses swift flying abilities that greatly exceed Kirby's. And Kine the fish is a skilled swimmer and can face the heaviest of currents. Brand new animals include Nago the cat (an agile triple-jumper), Chuchu the octopus (who can swallow enemies underwater and cling to ceilings), and Pitch the (non-owl) bird who flies in a "jumping" motion and makes interesting use of Kirby's copy abilities. In fact, all of Kirby's abilities become altered based on who he's riding: with the burning ability in tow Rick can spout forth flames from his mouth, the Pitch/cutter combo sees Kirby himself tossed as a giant projectile -- all told, once the ability/animal combinations are tallied up there are no less than fifty-six possible attacks!

It's all quite spectacular, and discovering newfound capabilities is one of the highlights of the whole Kirby 3 experience. But there's a definitive downside: large amounts of uselessness and redundancy is to be found among the ability roster, animals, and ability/animal combos. As for the abilities themselves, powers like clean and parasol are short-range, clunky, and altogether quite bad. The new animals, while adorable, feel excessive: Nago isn't that different (or better) than Rick, Pitch feels like a clumsier Coo, and Chuchu is often more cumbersome than plain ol' Kirby. Certain ability/animal combos are additionally lacking, either they're worse than the vanilla ability or worse than the powered-down animal (or both). Many players will find themselves ditching abilities and animals shortly after acquisition, as they often feel unsuited for current terrain and enemy combatants.

But wait -- there is a "point" to all this "stuff" packed into the game. Kirby's Dream Land 3 is filled with secrets: every level has one (in the form of a heart star) and all are required to face off against the "true" final boss and receive the "true" ending. The way these secrets have been integrated into the game is both fascinating and infuriating. Heart stars aren't simply "hidden" in each stage -- far from it, to gain each star Kirby must finish a stage after completing a very specific task. Stars are personally handed off by a rotating cast of characters, including Samus Aran and the professor from Gyromite!
ImageImage
There's a very intriguing level of consistency regarding the acquisition of these stars. So, for instance, to gain a star in "stage 1" (all five stage 1's that is!) Kirby must interact with plants in a certain way. Maybe he has to fly over them without crushing them, or sweep dust off them, or something else altogether. Every "stage 2" contains an NPC (a cute animal or creature) that needs to be cheered up or reunited with family. Stage 3's contain very challenging minigames: complete one with no misses to gain the heart star. Stage 4 heart stars require Kirby rescue an animal friend from a miniboss, while stage 5's demand Kirby reach the end of a stage with a certain animal in tow. Success in stage 6's is predicated on collection of items or completion of block patterns. The game provides light hints in regards to what must be done. A chime will sound when it's time to "do something" and another type of chime sounds if Kirby is successful. Also, the NPC at the end of each stage is an additional indicator: to gain a heart star from Samus, for instance, Kirby must vanquish some Metroid aliens! That said, housing a secret in every stage begins to make the game feel like a collectathon, and even with the hint system some of the heart star requirements are excessively vague, tedious, and altogether unwieldy. If this were all a simple matter of game completion percentage that'd be one thing, but hiding a final boss/ending behind all of this clutter is a mega bummer.

In addition to the main game, there are some extras for the true Kirby fanatics in the form of a boss rush and minigame rush. There's also a sound test, which is always a charming addition. This is a tough game to rate. It's a lush gorgeous experience and is fundamentally (mostly) "good" -- but it also houses some rather frustrating elements and the slow pacing is just devastating. It's probably best played in small lackadaisical chunks, with little regard to the hidden content. In conclusion, this is likely the "worst" of the classic entries of one of the strongest platforming series ever. It's a whimsical little attempt, but there's a reason HAL never experimented with this gameplay style ever again.


Image
This is one of those cases where the "circumstances" surrounding a game are way more interesting than the game itself. Kirby Slide was released for Nintendo's e-Reader in 2003. Now what the heck is an e-Reader? For the unacquainted, here's a brief explanation. The e-Reader utilizes its own proprietary media and has its own library of content, but the device itself is not a true console but a peripheral somewhat analogous to the likes of the Famicom Disk System or Sega CD. However, in this case, the required "base console" is a handheld, the Game Boy Advance. The e-Reader device plugs into the GBA cartridge slot and cards are slid through it to load content. Said cards are of the typical trading card size with printed "barcodes" used for the scanning. Note the use of the word "content" and not "games" -- this is because many e-Reader releases weren't games at all but were of the "DLC" variety. For instance, Nintendo developed packs of cards that allowed owners of the GBA port of Super Mario Bros. 3 (the one gruesomely retitled Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3) to access some additional bonus levels. And the full-fledged games were of the simplistic variety, mostly consisting of ports of Nintendo's "black label" NES releases (Golf, Ice Climber, and so on). With a small library of available releases and a relatively fragile media (cards can be damaged easily) it's no surprise that the e-Reader quickly slipped into oblivion.

One of the strangest releases available was that of Kirby Slide. This isn't a hidden gem of a Kirby game, nor is it Kirby DLC. Rather, it falls into a third category: Kirby Slide was a promotional piece, briefly available at Toys 'R' Us and slipped into very specific issues of Nintendo Power and Tips & Tricks magazines. As the card was released to hype up the FoxBox television line-up, the printed artwork is a complete mess. In addition to a small picture of Kirby the card also displays images of Sonic, Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and some characters from the Shaman King anime. (There was indeed a Kirby television show that ran until 2006.)

So, the card itself was designed to be an advertisement more than a true game (the text on it claims that it merely "contains" a game). In any event, is Kirby Slide any fun to play? Not especially. It consist of a single "sliding" puzzle. There's a 3x3 grid containing a scrambled picture of Kirby, with one piece missing. The eight available pieces must be strategically slid around, into wherever the missing piece "hole" is available, until the image of Kirby becomes coherent, whereupon the game will insert the ninth and final piece. The resulting image is that of a tough-looking Kirby, ready to inhale, with his name scrawled above his head. The graphics and controls are just fine, sound effects are charming, and the music is a single stock piece followed by a victory jingle. The puzzle itself isn't full-screen, but contained within a square box surrounded by a very Kirby-ish starry sky. And yes, this type of thing can be played on the television via the Game Boy Player.

Sliding puzzles like this aren't especially fun in the first place, though those who do enjoy them will be disappointed to find there's but one available. The whole experience fizzles within a matter of minutes. All told, this is one of the worst Kirby releases, though it's hard to find fault as it was never intended to be a "game" in the first place. In its day, it was an advertisement. Today, it's a collector's piece. Becoming scarcer and more valuable in the years since its inception, Kirby Slide is recommended only to the most hardcore Kirby devotees.
User avatar
ElkinFencer10
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 8054
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:34 pm
Location: Henderson, North Carolina

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:45 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 15
* 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 - January 27


February (3 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 2*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13


14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 2*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13

Not writing a review for Trails of Cold Steel since I already reviewed it years ago on Vita, but...

Image

This was a bit of an impulse buy for me from Play-Asia years ago. I honestly wasn't sure if I was ever actually going to play it - I usually like my 2D girls with a more distinctly unrealistic anime look - but on my second day of being stuck in a house with no electricity and my Vita among my only gaming devices left with a charged battery, my options for entertainment were becoming limited. I saw that this was a pretty short game and looked pretty easy to Platinum, so I figured that was the pick-me-up that my spirits needed as I froze in the aftermath of an ice storm.

Image

The premise of the game is, frankly, pretty stupid; you're a university aged guy who's trying to find love. The way you find out about girls is by stealing their panties. Seriously. This is your window into their souls and personalities for you to determine your credibility. You set yourself up as a "jack of all trades" kind of handyman and get into their homes to fix their internet or fix their VCR at which point you find way to steal their panties without getting caught. The game is played a point and click (mis)adventure separated into four levels. There are over a dozen endings for the first three levels (one of which is the "true" ending for each) along with like half a dozen panties to steal for each and five endings for the last level. Honestly, none of it is all that fulfilling.

Image

The games visuals are done in a very nice hand drawn artstyle that's very reminiscent of more realistic looking 90s anime, so it fits the setting well. The background music is nice, too, although the voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. The game's biggest problems, though, are that it's too short - it took me probably four or five hours to get every trophy - and that it's just not that interesting. That's absolutely a personal preference thing; I'm sure degenerates who are really fond of early 90s anime will adore the style, but I'm much more of a 2000s blue hair magical girl anime kind of degenerate, so this just didn't resonate with me the way the artstyle in Sunrider or Criminal Girls did.

Image

So that's basically it. You go through four girls' homes (two of whom are sisters and live together, so three homes), navigate dialogue choices, creep through to steal their panties, get a bunch of different endings, and that's it. That's the whole game. It lacks the character depth of a visual novel like My Girlfriend is a Mermaid, it lacks the story and world depth of a visual novel like Muv-Luv, it lacks the puzzle depth of a game like Ace Attorney, and it lacks the length of a game like Sakura Wars. It's solidly and perhaps painfully okay. It's certainly a fun little collection piece of have on your shelf for the sheer horny absurdity, but the game honestly isn't all that compelling. I wouldn't bother unless this is specifically your thing.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

Image
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
 
Posts: 23472
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:19 am

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
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC

Cannon Fodder is a deceptive gave; it starts off cute and fun and then once you're about a third in and invested the game decides to crank up the difficulty. But once you get past the midpoint the difficulty goes down again, with an odd mission here and there which suck but nothing approaching what was in that middle section. And that's before you deal with the issues of the DOS port.

The game is best described as a puzzle game with an RTS interface. You start every mission with a squad of one to six dudes, who will move to areas you left click and rapidly shoot at areas you right click; this allows you to be moving in one direction and fire all around you. The camera has very limited scroll (basically a quarter screen nudge in one direction) and should the scenario demand it you can split your troops into up to three teams; when not directly controlled by you a team will fire at anyone who comes into range.

The puzzle elements come in handling the various dangers your way. Aside from enemy troops you have enemy vehicles and turrets, as well as stage hazards (punji sticks, mines, holes in bridges). While some of these can be handled with fast reflexes others require you to get smart. A rocket enemy on the other side of the wall? Lob a grenade. Turret covering an entrance? Split the squad, have one of them move in range but behind a wall to draw its fire and then move the other squad past it to wherever you need. Additionally, many missions have a effective timer of "if you don't get into this vehicle ASAP an enemy who is barreling in at you will kill you. There are 24 missions which can have 1-6 phases (you can only save between missions) giving you a total of 72 maps to complete.

The game is not without its share of issues. The primary issue is how RNG heavy it is; a perfect example is mission 14 phase 1. It's quite simple; you walk along a canyon edge, shoot a rocket guy across the way, then take the bridge down (avoiding holes) and getting in a helicopter to destroy your objectives. Once you're in the helicopter the mission is effectively over. However, you'll fail the mission two times out of three because the entrance to the bridge is guarded by enemy turrets right at their max range. Depending on how the RNG is feeling you may or may not be targeted by them, and you may or may not be hit. In fact, many maps require a "rush past this hazard you can't take out yet" where you're praying that the game's scatter doesn't take you out (shots are always targeted where you are, so if everyone landed straight they would always fall behind you). And the less said about the handful of missions where you need to remove a blocker from an NPC so it can wander home according to a shit tier path the better.

One final problem is with the game's DOS port. The IBM Compatible platform has a smaller screen size than the original Amiga and the port job merely cropped the window. However, enemy acquisition/engagement range was NOT reduced. This leads to some maps being neigh impossible due to them originally requiring you to to hit a target at the very edge of your range, and that range is reduced now. Fortunately, there is an open source port of the engine which you can load your DOS data into and then adjust the screen dimensions to be the same as the Amiga, which makes those missions reasonably completable, though you still will lose a lot of people.

Overall the game is a mixed bag. The flaws can be very flawed at times, but when the game is behaving it's a fun alternate approach to your typical RTS interface. And the latter third of the game ends up being a bit more in terms of gimmick levels of you figuring out the path to the vehicle you need to rampage through the rest, which is a lot more fun than the middle levels which require a lot of high reflex "get every enemy in the split second as you round corners or you're screwed".
Image
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
Return to General Gaming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests