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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:41 pm

Games Beaten 2021:

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)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*
8. King of Dragons (SNES)
9. Wild Guns (SNES)

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10. Star Fox (SNES)

This is another SNES title I played at friends' places when I was young and enjoyed at the time, but I never owned the cartridge. A few years later, I did get Star Fox 64 upon release and became a huge fan of that game. It might be my favorite game on the N64, and I usually go back to it once a year. Anyway, while I still had access to my partner's Switch, I decided to go back and play the SNES game using the Switch's online service. I'm a big fan of on rail shooters, so I was looking forward to revisiting this game.

The graphics in Star Fox didn't age so well, but I remember finding them impressive at the time. My main issue with the graphics though, is that sometimes I found it difficult to decipher what shapes were supposed to be enemies and which were the allies that accompany you on each mission. I was going ahead and firing at everything my way, but the dialogue would let me know if I accidentally shot at an ally ship. Regarding the soundtrack, I do think the OST adds to the atmosphere of the game, as there's some dark atmospheric music in certain areas, and more upbeat energetic tunes in other levels that go along with the action.

I found Star Fox to be a bit more difficult than the N64 predecessor. I think one of the reasons the game is more difficult is the lack of a lock-on ability. Also, as I mentioned before, due to the graphics, it was sometimes tough for me to decipher what objects on screen were enemies -- but after one or two tries, I was usually able to get the hang of it. The viewpoint in this game also switches up between levels, with some levels the player has a third person view, and others the player has a first person view. I preferred the third person perspective, but the first person levels look and play fine. I finished the game using the easier pathway, but I'd like to try it again by choosing the medium and hard pathways, to check out the other levels I missed.

Although I prefer the N64 release, I still think this game is very much worth playing today. It's a very fun on rail shooter, which there aren't that many of on the SNES, and it's a great example of what the SNES could do. Now that I've finished this game, I'd like to also check out Star Fox 2. Check this game out if you haven't already!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:01 am

1. Horace (Switch)
2. Ghostrunner (Switch)
3. Mickey’s Adventure in Numberland (NES)
4. Mickey’s Safari in Letterland (NES)
5. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross (3DS)
7. World of Illusion starring Mickey & Donald (Genesis)
8. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
9. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
10. Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
11. Portal 2 [co-op] (PS3)

Although I still haven’t played Portal 2’s single-player campaign, my son and I nonetheless had a really good time working our way through Portal 2’s co-op campaign together In it, you play as two robots, AJAX and P-Body, and you use portal guns to solve a series of first-person platforming challenges. Like the first game, the puzzles are all very well-designed, and the co-op campaign really requires you to think creatively. The game is also very funny, and we’re both still chuckling over some of the jokes nearly a week after beating the game. Playing through the co-op campaign with my son (who learned how to navigate a virtual 3D space by playing Goat Simulator) was a pretty great bonding experience, and we’re both looking forward to playing through the co-op DLC (“Peer Review”) in the near future.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:55 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
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES

Contra III is your prototypical SNES upgrade to an NES game; bigger graphics, more action, and additional features. In this case you have the ability to equip two different weapons and you can collect screen clearing bombs like a shmup. There's also a gimmicky jump spin fire thing that exists for you to look cool while waiting for a transition.

The game is six stages long with a mix of gameplay types. The first, third, and sixth levels are your standard Contra run and gun. Lots of pew pew, multiple bosses, and some environmental hazards. The fourth stage is a jetbike autoscroller stage; it ends up being harder to dodge everything and the stage boss is a total asshole. The second and fifth stages are the requisite early SNES Mode 7 levels, which are also the requisite alternate perspective Contra levels. They are top-down stages where you rotate with L and R and need to take out several key enemies, followed by the boss. These stages are basically gimmes; the stages have little threat and the bosses are straightforward and don't have much ability to hit you.

The double weapon mechanic is a godsend. You can either carry two different weapons for different purposes (e.g. mook vs. boss weapon) or double up so you aren't set back by a death (and you can increase your fire rate by mashing the switch weapon button while firing). You lose your currently equipped weapon when dying, setting you back to the basic machine gun (which is another instance of this being an SNES upgrade; no pea shooter for you). That's another reason not to do the stupid jumping twirly move; both weapons are considered to be equipped so you lose both.

The game is overall more fast paced than the original Contra, and features a lot more bosses. You pretty much always want to be on the move, as otherwise you can get overwhelmed by enemy spawns from behind you; firing back tends to interrupt your rhythm and get you killed by stuff coming from the front. You'll need to learn boss patterns so you don't get killed, but fortunately even the basic machine gun is solid enough to work for bosses. It's a great example of an SNES upgrade to an NES classic.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:08 am

Games Beaten 2021:

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)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*
8. King of Dragons (SNES)
9. Wild Guns (SNES)
10. Star Fox (SNES)

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11. Guardian Heroes (SS) [2x]*

I'm a huge fan of beat 'em ups and Treasure, but I missed out on Guardian Heroes when it originally came out, as I didn't own a Saturn until around 2007 and my friends that had one did not own this game. When I first had a chance to try the game on Xbox Live Arcade on the 360 years ago, I jumped on the opportunity and purchased it through digital download, which is super rare occurrence on my end, as I've only purchased a handful of games digitally. I really enjoyed the title and recently had the opportunity to get the Saturn version and was excited to revisit it.

Treasure did a great job with the graphics in Guardian Heroes. I'm glad they ended up sticking to their guns and going with 2D, as the character and enemy sprites, and the backgrounds look great IMO. It's awesome to see the large sprites of some of the bigger bosses. The Saturn is a 2D workhorse and it's pretty impressive to see the system handle most of the battles, which are pure chaos, due to the amount of enemies in most scenes. I've ran into slowdown in some rare instances, but it doesn't come up very often. The soundtrack has a good variety of tunes, everything from upbeat and happier sounding tunes, laidback jazzy tracks, and some dark but energetic tunes. Sometimes the happier sounding tracks sounded a little out of place to me, but overall I do like the songs and got used to them being in the backdrop of a chaotic battle. In that regard, it reminds me of the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 soundtrack a bit.

Regarding the gameplay, Treasure included a good amount of moves for the five playable characters in the game. Each character has their own playing style too, with different specialties and a unique move set. This game is very different than a traditional beat em up, with the controls resembling more of a fighting game and set on a 2D plane, with no ability to move up and down throughout the level as most games in the genre. To make up for this, the player can move through three separate planes, similar to a Fatal Fury game. Guardian Heroes throws a ton of enemies at you at once, and the battles get hectic with the amount of enemies and the combo system, in which the player has a chance to mix up their arsenal of moves and the ability to juggle enemies. There is also an experience point and leveling system in which the player has the chance to customize their character throughout the playthrough. Guardian Heroes also contains branching paths, with a total of 30 stages, however you will only see a selection of the stages depending on the decisions made by the player, which gives the game good replay value. Along with the branching paths, there is also a variety of final boss scenarios and a few hidden areas and items.

I like to play as Han as he was the first character I tried when I first gave the game a go, so for these two playthroughs I chose Han as I have his moves memorized. The first time I played through the game on Easy and the second time I played through on Normal, which enabled me to unlock an additional character and a few more characters for the versus mode. I'm interested in trying to play through the game again as Randy and Ginjirou as they both seem fun. Also, I like the fact that the Undead Warrior accompanies you throughout the game, so even if you're playing alone, you have a partner with you.

Can't say I have much criticism for this title, but it'd be cool if you could save a character even after a playthrough and continue to build up their experience and continue to use them numerous times. Also, the cutscene and dialogue segments can be a bit long with no option to skip them, so this game probably wouldn't be your first choice if you have a time limitation on your gaming session.

Even though Guardian Heroes plays very different than the usual game in the beat 'em up genre, I think Treasure did a great job changing things up while still keeping things fun. I highly recommend this one if you haven't played it already!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:05 am

Nicole is best girl.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:18 am

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Nicole is best girl.


QFT

And Randy is best boy.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:27 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)
12. Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
13. Love Hina Advance: Shukufuku no Kane wa Harukana (Game Boy Advance)

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Super Mario Maker was quite the revelation. Both a game design tool and endless series of platforming challenges rolled into one package, it housed infinite opportunities for one to craft, tinker, explore, and conquer. Unfortunately, it was released for a "failed" platform, the Wii U, and is fast approaching a state of irrelevance. Enter Super Mario Maker 2, released four years later for the Nintendo Switch. This is no mere port of the Wii U game -- in fact, it serves as both a sequel as well as a suitable replacement. By the time anyone is likely to read this review the original Super Mario Maker will have been stripped of its online capabilities, thus making part two the only viable option.

Like its predecessor, Super Mario Maker 2 features a title screen presenting two discrete options: Make and Play.

Make

Mario Maker 2 showcases the return of a successful method for stage creation and configuration: each stage (or "course" to use the series terminology) begins as a blank grid whereupon the player can place elements including terrain, enemies, blocks, items, warp pipes, exits, and more. Such elements can be dragged, dropped, duplicated, and deleted accordingly. This time, there's no tedious mandatory tutorial or doling out of options. Instead, the player is thrust headlong into things, with what is arguably an overwhelming set of options presented from the get-go. But yes, there is still a tutorial available for anyone who needs it, presented by a very helpful young woman... and a pigeon.

In regards to what can be done -- a lot, quite a lot, and listing everything is surely beyond the scope of this review. Essentially anything that was possible in the original Mario Maker is possible here as well, along with much, much more. The overall "style" of a course can adhere to several classic themes including Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. Yes, Super Mario Bros. 2 (both variants) has been neglected yet again and rightfully so: the inclusion of a Lost Levels theme would be redundant as it was mostly comprised of the same elements that made up the original Mario. Meanwhile, Doki Doki Panic featured design predicated on too much "weird" stuff: nontraditional nonlinear stages and lots of alternating scrolling. In any event, specific elements are sometimes tied to specific themes. For instance, our pal Yoshi can only exist in the world of 16-bit (any beyond). If Yoshi is placed into a stage that's build on the Super Mario World theme, and then the theme is swapped to Super Mario Bros. or Super Mario Bros. 3, Yoshi will instead transform into a Goomba wearing a shoe (I mean.... obviously). This "rule" is far from consistent however, as there are scores of anachronisms. Wanna make an 8-bit Mario stage featuring Twomps, Dry Bones, Bowser's children, and an airship setting? Go right ahead!
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A special mention is needed for the fifth and final theme, that of Super Mario 3D World. This is a standalone theme, which means that its elements are nontransferable. In other words, if one creates a course based on the Mario World theme it can't simply be given a face lift and "switched" to 3D World with its elements intact; attempting to do so will scrap the level. The same is true for the "opposite" maneuver. This may seem disappointing but it's wholly necessary as 3D World boasts its own series of unique physics, environments, and accompanying items (like the Cat Mario power-up). Experimentation with the 3D World style is certainly encouraged, as it's one of the most interesting areas to explore and is ripe for designs that literally weren't available on the Wii U.

Speaking of "new stuff" -- there's tons! Virtually everything that felt "missing" from the Wii U game is here. First and foremost, one can create vertically scrolling sub-areas. These were critical to the design of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World (with their respective pipe mazes and cavernous descents) and having them available as a design element is a godsend. So too are the slopes, allowing Mario to slip and slide and crush hordes of Goombas in his wake. There are more stage backgrounds at the player's disposal, including those much-loved snow areas. Yoshi exists in multiple forms, on/off switches can trigger the presence (or absence) of blocks, swinging claws can be used to toss Mario, twisters can propel him, there are conveyor belts, seesaws, upside down p-switches..... Virtually any Mario stage imaginable can be crafted. There are some additional perks as well: "clear conditions" can be set for extra challenge, locking the exit of a stage until the player manages to traverse it without taking damage, or without jumping(!), or requiring the player first pick up a posse of lost Toads. Finally, there's the addition of a World Maker to go along with the Course Maker. World Maker is just that: a tool to craft overworlds of varying styles and shapes, each to be littered with courses and bonus games. In my review of the original Mario Maker I stated that the game's biggest "challenge" had nothing to do with stages created by others -- instead, the most difficult thing was to create a stage that is finely tuned, memorable, and begs to be replayed. Mario Maker 2 ups the ante, offering players the opportunity to create what is essentially a full-fledged Mario game consisting of eight sequential worlds. Good luck.

In terms of opportunities in regards to the level-crafting, Super Mario Maker 2 is objectively better than its predecessor. However, the interface is worse. See, the original game was perfectly suited for the Wii U with its stylus controls and dual-screen set-up. On the Switch, the interface has been modified slightly to accommodate one screen and no stylus (though one can theoretically be used) and things get a little messy. The controls are difficult to explain and moving around course elements is predicated on the use of the d-pad and/or thumbstick and/or finger pokes. It all works out just fine, eventually, but it all feels a bit cumbersome, and matters certainly aren't helped by the smaller screen size coupled with the presence of additional icons. Overall, there's more to do in Mario Maker 2, but the process is invariably longer and slower. Call it a trade off. As expected, completed stages can be saved to something called the Coursebot, played at one's leisure, and such stages can additionally be uploaded to cyberspace.

Play

Much like the Wii U game, Super Mario Maker 2 offers one the option to play some offline courses (crafted by Nintendo) or to head online for a smorgasbord of user-generated content. Now, the offline levels in the original Mario Maker were pretty fun but decidedly gimmicky ("hey what if we made a stage that can be beaten in ten seconds and only contains giant ghosts as enemies plus.... I dunno, spikes?"). Mario Maker 2 contains something more robust, a so-called Story Mode, and it's phenomenal. The levels are excellent: they aren't designed to simply "show off" what can be done in the Make mode, but feature, well, just some extremely brilliant design. Seriously, if "Story Mode" was merely its own standalone Mario game it would likely be one of my favorites. The story itself is integrated into some humorous overworld interactions. Mario, apparently, needs to build a castle. Well, he needs to pay for it, as the Toads are the actual workers. This, of course, requires coins. Each stage completed nets a flat number of coins at the end (200, for instance), and any additional coins collected along the way are also added to the tally. Toadette collects the cash and the castle goes up in pieces. Note that not every Story Mode course actually needs to be completed: as soon as the castle is built the credits roll and the Story Mode is effectively beaten. However, players may continue (I played every stage), and even after the castle is finished Toadette still demands money so she can create some quirky 8-bit sculptures. Inexperienced players who have difficulty beating these courses can elect to have Luigi tackle them. Luigi clears stages automatically, but doesn't collect those "along the way" coins.
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As far as playing online stages goes, one thing must immediately be addressed. While the first Mario Maker allowed one to simply, ya know, "go online", the sequel requires a subscription to a service. This service is Nintendo Switch Online and, yes, it costs money. There are a great many perks to Nintendo Switch Online well beyond Mario Maker 2, and a great many players were likely signed up well before playing the game in question, but this will prove to be an issue for young kids or anyone who figured they wouldn't have to pony up cash beyond that initial game purchase. As of this writing, courses are being added by the minute, and are sorted in various columns: Hot, Popular, New. Players who upload can "tag" their courses based on specific attributes, which is extraordinarily useful, as is the ability to perform a detailed search. Completing a course allows one to rate it (and yes there's a negative rating though it's not viewable to all), and best times and clear rates are recorded. Courses can be downloaded but not edited, so stages cannot be "stolen" and then tweaked and reuploaded. Those who indulged in the World Maker can indeed upload their entire worlds, and there are additionally some competitive speedrun challenges, and more.

As expected, the quality of uploaded courses varies drastically and one will typically have to dig to find users that consistently upload the good stuff. During the Wii U era many players were fond of uploading "troll levels" -- nigh impossible stages predicated on performing a massive sequence of perfectly-times jumps. Nowadays, the hot trend seems to be that of (I dunno what else to call them) "casino levels" -- large bombastic flashy environments full of coins, power-ups, automated movement, crazy imagery and audio, and no semblance of challenge whatsoever. Composed of a unending sequence of courses good, bad, and downright unexpected, the Course World is always there to kill an hour or two.
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To recap, Super Mario Maker 2 is certainly more elaborate than its immediate predecessor, with so many additional opportunities to craft and experience. Most will consider this the better of the two games, through the clumsy interface and hit to the wallet need to be considered. All told, Mario Maker 2 is an absolute blast, whether one chooses to painstakingly render a fully-realized game world, or to play with others located halfway across the globe. Just make sure you catch this installment before it too becomes replaced.

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For me, this is something of a nostalgia trip. Love Hina Advance: Shukufuku no Kane wa Harukana, released in 2001 and fan-translated into English in 2003, is a licensed title based on source material created by one Ken Akamatsu. I enjoyed the manga and anime (which all ran from 1998 to 2002) quite a bit in my youth, not simply because it was humorous but because of its relative distinctiveness. See, Love Hina wasn't an action or science fiction title, but a realistic (speaking very loosely here) slice of life romantic comedy. The story centers around a young man named Keitaro Urashima, who is steadfastly determined to attend the prestigious Tokyo University, with hopes of reuniting with a girl he made a pact with many years prior. Unfortunately for Keitaro, he remembers little about the girl in question and his academic performance is shaky, to say the least. After failing the Tokyo U entrance exams multiple times he's cast out of his family home, only to quickly receive an offer from his grandmother -- an offer to manage an old inn that's since been converted into a dormitory for young women. And so the hijinks begin. The girls are all strange and silly and boisterous in their own unique ways, and each builds a special relationship with Keitaro. Of special note is the female lead, Naru Narusegawa, who's as determined as she is aggressive. While the manga is significantly better than the anime (the latter is poorly paced and the plot doesn't resolve until the final OVA wraps up), both are entertaining and oddly bittersweet. But they're far from perfect. Too much of the comedy is predicated on the repetition of some very specific gags: namely Keitaro accidentally glimpsing one of the ladies in a state of undress, and then receiving punishment in the form of physical abuse. This kind of thing happens constantly, and yes, it gets old. And then there's Naru, who's intended to be a classic "tsundere" of sorts -- except instead of being 50% sweet and 50% sour she's vicious a good 80% of the time. But this is all supposed to be forgiven during her fleeting moments of pleasantness because.... she's cute?

On to the game itself. Love Hina Advance is seventh of eight video game adaptions. All of these are visual novels, and all were released in Japan between the years 2000 and 2003. A little excessive, no? To be more specific, Love Hina Advance is a dating sim VN. While Naru was the canonical love interest in the manga and anime, Keitaro also spent quality time with the inn's other female residents. Here, these moments have been repackaged into dates. This is a route-based VN, featuring plenty of choices, and ultimately a path that will lead to one singular date, at the expense of the others, and a subsequent ending. There are nine possible endings total: seven dedicated to the ladies and two bad endings. In one bad ending, Keitaro's aunt Haruka gazes on as a rejected (from both school and ladies) Keitaro mopes off into the distance. In the other bad end, Keitaro's pals mock him for his failures.
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Most of the player's time is spend reading (ahhh how I love reading video games). The story is basically a highly truncated version of that presented in the anime, with Keitaro still attempting to get into Tokyo U (now with Naru!) while also navigating the waters of young love. The graphics are also lifted from the television series and adapted to the GBA. Like many classic dating sims there are several "meters" displayed to indicate progress. Each girl has a heart meter which is used to gauge her affections towards Keitaro. A given meter is present onscreen during any scene featuring a particular young lady, and the start button can be pushed at any time to monitor the values of all meters. Keitaro additionally has an HP bar. Hit points are added when he "heals" -- either by eating or resting in the bath -- and are deducted when he receives a beating (in one of the game's funniest scenes the Sarah McDougal character gives Keitaro an apple, which replenishes HP, and then immediately punches him, which depletes HP). Choices, which occur frequently and boast many options, are timed so quick thinking is required. If the timer hits zero the game selects a choice for the player, which is often an unsatisfactory one. A good choice will result in affection gained from a particular girl, while a bad one will typically lead to affection and/or HP lost.

Sadly, these mechanics aren't integrated into the narrative with any great success. The HP bar seems pointless, as it's near impossible to actually reach zero HP, even if you try your hardest to steer Keitaro in a bad direction. This is due to the constant unavoidable moments of healing. Also, the choices and related heart meters are utterly pointless for most of the game, as 75% of the way in Keitaro simply chooses who he wishes to go on a date with, regardless of his conduct thus far. It's only once a date has been initiated that the "hearts" matter -- have a successful date and receive a good ending, fail and witness one of the two bad ones. In other words, the nuance present in most dating sims is nowhere to be found here. Just pick a girl to date (eventually), answer the three or four "date questions" correctly, and then behold a cutesy scene. If only it were that easy in real life!

Unlike modern visual novels, the player can't "save scum" and juggle a near infinite number of saves, as Love Hina Advance offers "only" nine save slots (ostensibly one for each ending) plus a set number of specific save points encountered during the tale. It's critically important to keep a separate save for "The Archaeologist" chapter, as this is where the dating sequence begins. A player who opts to roll through the entire story on a single save will likely have to start all over to see additional endings. From start to first ending takes about eighty minutes, depending on one's reading speed, and hitting all nine takes maybe two hours total. There are extras to goof off with after the main game is complete. The Pictures menu will simply allow one to view full-screen stills that were first displayed when a girl's heart was won. The Replay option allows a player to select an ending and then watch the game autoplay to it. No, the game does not literally record and replay the pathway the player previously took. Rather, the most "correct" pathway is instead displayed. It's a neat idea, theoretically, but who wants to beat a game and then watch a game beat itself?
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The graphics are nice enough. They're pretty faithful to the anime, though obviously much grainier. The anime's opening sequence actually doubles as the game's opening, albeit with the music downgraded to "video game quality" with the vocals removed. Though the game's visuals are typically comprised of still images, there are some fleeting moments of full-motion video, which are accompanied by brief voice samples. There's also a small segment where the display shifts to a top-down RPG style viewpoint, when Keitaro roams the inn selecting a lucky lady. The "RPG" sprites are chunky and pretty goofy, but charming in their own right. One annoying thing about the visuals concerns the size of the text bar. It's incredibly minuscule, probably to allow the pretty anime stills room to breathe, and as a result there's oftentimes only one or two words displayed onscreen at a time (this is true of the original Japanese text as well). As such, the average player is going to get into the habit of mashing the A button rapidly, which has the potential to be disastrous if a choice suddenly pops up. Now, the music in the anime was incredibly memorable and heartwarming. Were these same tunes included in the game? Of course they weren't, save for the aforementioned opening theme which is lovely and used twice (there's an upbeat remix inserted here and there). The rest of the musical tracks are all pretty mundane and forgettable.

Even as a fan of the source material, I have to admit that this one's just alright. It has its moments, but should only be played by Love Hina devotees. Regardless, it's pretty cool from a historical perspective -- a rare non-RPG fan-translation coming out of the early-2000s -- and I can't say I'm sorry to have experienced it. Consider this a bite-sized "supplement" for those who can't get enough of Keitaro's antics. Oh, and Mutsumi is best girl.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:07 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Nicole is best girl.


marurun wrote:
QFT

And Randy is best boy.


I'll have to play through the game as these characters!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:38 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)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*
8. King of Dragons (SNES)
9. Wild Guns (SNES)
10. Star Fox (SNES)
11. Guardian Heroes (SS) [2x]*

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12. World of Illusion (GEN)

Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion were both games on my to-get list for the Genesis, and with last month's Together Retro theme being based around 8-bit and 16-bit Mickey and Donald games, it was a good time for me to finally grab a physical copy of each and give them a go. I didn't originally get a Genesis until 1993 and while I was young at the time, I've realized that it was late in the system's lifespan, so I missed out on some of the earlier titles on the Genesis like this Disney platformer. I posted my thoughts of the game in the TR thread yesterday, but going to expand on them a bit here.

I really like the graphics in this game, the character sprites look really good, and I think the Mickey sprite looks better here than in Castle of Illusion. I think the backgrounds are more detailed and colorful than its predecessor. The soundtrack is also awesome and I especially enjoyed the tunes in the water level and the last level. The cover art is also pretty great IMO, and I wonder if it's an illustration that was made specifically for the game, similar to Castle of Illusion.

Regarding the gameplay, I find the controls to be a bit smoother in World of Illusion as opposed to the earlier Genesis title. I do like the cape attack mechanic as it's unique and it's kinda fun to see what type of harmless creature the enemy will turn into after being swarmed by the cape. I don't have any issues with the butt bump in Castle of Illusion, it's a fun move, but it took me some time to get used to pressing the jump button twice to activate the attack. Another aspect to the controls that I appreciate in comparison to the earlier title, is the ability to run and the ability to crawl through certain areas is also a nice addition.

Another element that I liked in World of Illusion are the scenes where the characters are flying. It's a sequence that switches the gameplay up for a bit, which I appreciate in platformers. Both the carpet scene in the clouds and the scene where the character is riding on a cork through the starry night were fun to navigate through. It's also a nice touch that Mickey and Donald each have an exclusive level in solo mode, and I believe I read there's another exclusive level in co-op mode. I really like the fact that each character has their own unique playthrough and I wish more games from this era featured something like this.

My main critique, which is nothing major, is that it's pretty short. It'd be nice if there was maybe one or two more levels or an adjustable difficulty setting, but it's also nice to be able to finish a quick game. Anyone looking for a real challenge, you're not going to find it here. There's not much strategy needed for most of the bosses, and you won't have too many patterns to figure out, which is understandable due to the original target audience. I had only given this game a few tries and ended up managing to finish it in about an hour.

If you're a fan of platformers and never tried this one, I can recommend it, especially if you're looking for something easy. If you're looking for something that is gonna test you, this is not the game to go for. While I also tried Castle of Illusion and enjoyed it so far, I haven't been able to beat it just yet, but I'm going to continue to do so. Give this one a shot if you're in the mood for something light and fun!
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Markies Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:23 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2021!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Midtown Madness 3 (XBOX)
2. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
3. Sonic Adventure 2 (SDC)
4. Mega Man 7 (SNES)

5. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2)

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I beat Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!

After I had purchased Xenosaga II, I was walking around a local game store and found a near mint copy of Xenosaga III. The game was a bit expensive, but not even close to the price the game fetches today. I already had II and I realized that the game was only going to get harder to find, so I decided to complete the trilogy and picked up Xenosaga III. Last year, I played through Xenosaga II and I was ready for a long break from the series. I enjoyed it somewhat, but there were also many parts that I did not enjoy. However, the Fortune Cookie had other opinions, so I soon realized that I would be finishing off the Xenosaga trilogy much faster than I had anticipated.

After the misstep of Xenosaga II, I was a little hesitant playing Xenosaga III, so I am happy to say that Xenosaga III is without a doubt the best in the series. I'm still wrapping my head around the story, but at least everything wraps up nicely. All loose ends are tied up and any existing plot threads are answered by the end of the game. I'm a little confused on the overall story, but the character arcs all made sense throughout the entire series. Much like previous games, the music and graphics are unbelievable. The game has many, many hours of spoke dialogue and it is all really good. The character development isn't all that great, except for maybe Shion, who takes a major role throughout the entire game. The game also has a nice flow to it as you never felt over or under leveled. I felt at the correct level throughout the entire game with battles not too hard or too easy. But what really drew me into the game is the battle system. It is very basic and bare bones and feels like RPG Comfort Food. The long and boost heavy battle system is shelved for a more simple battle system with character based Special Attacks. Add to that an addictive skill tree and you have somebody who is in RPG heaven and enjoyed every moment of the 56 hours.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Xenosaga III. It pains me to say this as the game goes for close to $200, but it is the best in the series and worth playing through the other games to get to it. If you love or enjoyed any game in the series, this game is worth it to play it. If you are new to the series, start with the first one as this one would make no sense to you. But, sometimes, they really do save the best for last.
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