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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:47 pm

Jet is actually fairly straightforward to get onto the good path. In stage one collect all medals, in stage 2 you'll have capped their value and then midway through when you blow up some of the trains enough ground medals will spawn so they turn into the second tier of medal. From that point just don't die and you'll be on the good path. If you do die there is a point where you fall onto the bad path, but no missing that level will put you back on the good path.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:52 am

MrPopo wrote:Jet is actually fairly straightforward to get onto the good path. In stage one collect all medals, in stage 2 you'll have capped their value and then midway through when you blow up some of the trains enough ground medals will spawn so they turn into the second tier of medal. From that point just don't die and you'll be on the good path. If you do die there is a point where you fall onto the bad path, but no missing that level will put you back on the good path.


Appreciate the tips, Popo. I've been able to get through the first two levels with collecting almost all of the medals and not dying as mentioned. But once the game puts you on the "good path" I can't seem to finish that third level without dying and getting the message that states something to the effect of "this mission seems too difficult for you" -- I'll have to keep practicing the third stage.

I played the game last night using a Hori Real Arcade Pro EX and found it a lot easier to control than using the standard 360 controller. Also, I tried out the Flying Ray ship and think I like it better than the MK-II, which is what I used in most of my previous playthroughs.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:17 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
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
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne

Ryse was one of the launch games for the Xbone and a game that I did the intro level of and then set down, because it wasn't super compelling and I mostly got it to justify buying the console. The Xbone served as a transition point where Microsoft realized that they probably should just release on both PC and console for everything, because either way it's not going to Sony. Thus, I never really felt the need to go back to Ryse until I found myself with a free weekend waiting for a replacement original Xbox to get my Steel Battalion on. And while I'm happy to have another notch on my belt I have to say the experience was utterly forgettable.

Ryse is an action game that uses a simple combat rhythm. Your primary attack is a sword slash, and you also have a shield bash which doesn't do much damage but does break an enemy's guard (either shield or dodging). You have a deflect move which automatically counters an enemy attacking (a la Arkham) and finally a dodge roll with no i-frames for getting out of the way of certain heavy attacks if you aren't confident enough to deflect them (and you can deflect all of them). An enemy that is weakened enough can be executed, which is a series of quick time events that succeed as long as you push any button, but the effect is better if you hit the right ones. Finishing an execution gives you a selectable buff (restore health, restore special meter, more experience, or more damage temporarily). Finally, you have a get out of jail free card in the ability to slow time for a bit and automatically getting hits in on enemies; this is so cheap to use and lasts long enough that any non-boss section that has an enemy you don't like dealing with can be cheesed with it.

If none of this sounds like how the Roman legions fought, then I have good news; there are even more ways it takes a shit on historical accuracy. The game features Nero and his son Commodus (yes, the guy who was actually a hundred years later but is the other "bad" Emperor everyone knows) as you fight Boudica in Briton, including going past "the wall" (presumably the one Hadrian built centuries later), then go back to Rome and fight off Boudica's war elephant invasion of the city. It ends with you killing Nero and apparently Rome lasting for human history.

The game is aggressively average. The combat has a simple rhythm to it and can be cheesed. You then will jog to the next combat setpiece and do it again. Every once in a while you get to man a turret, and in the one nod to remembering vague things about history every so often you will make a formation with a bunch of other soldiers and slow march down a corridor. You'll then encounter a line of archers, at which point you can raise shields when they fire and then return fire with a pila volley. Once you've finished the corridor it's back to one on one fights. This basically demonstrates why you'll never see a game with proper Roman fighting; it was incredibly boring to be a part of (but effective).

The game is quite short; I wrapped it up in about 6 hours. There are collectables in the level which give some minor backstory, but you won't honestly care, because the whole thing is just not worth the effort. The game is incredibly OK; nothing stands out as "this is a problem" or "this sucks", it's just incredibly bland and average. If you pick it up in the bargain bin and have some free time there's worse ways to spend it, but that's the highest recommendation I can give.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:24 pm

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)
12. Operencia: The Stolen Sun (Switch)

Operencia: The Stolen Sun is an outstanding first-person, grid-based dungeon crawler by Zen Studios, the team behind the Zen pinball series.

The gameplay is, generally, very similar to Dungeon Master or Legend of Grimrock in that you navigate dungeons from a first-person perspective, fighting monsters, finding secrets, and solving puzzles. Unlike Dungeon Master or Legend of Grimrock, however, the battles are turn-based, and the battles system is more like something you would find in a Final Fantasy or Phantasy Star game (particularly Final Fantasy X). You can see each enemy on the map, and there are no random encounters.

While the basic gameplay is not particularly groundbreaking, the game nonetheless shines because it executes every aspect of it really, really well. Every maps is well-designed; every puzzle is unique and compelling; secrets are hidden cleverly; and the battles are very challenging. (I selected “tough battles” at the beginning of the game, and if I wasn’t prepared, even regular enemies would drop me in a few rounds. Winning battles required a good bit of strategy, and this definitely isn’t an “attack to win” RPG.) Moreover, the game looks great, mostly replacing drab, gray dungeons with colorful, fantastical settings. The first dungeon is a submerged castle populated by frog men. Others include a floating stone fortress, the side of a giant tree, and a copper forest full of robotic woodsmen. The story is solid and steeped in Hungarian folklore. (Zen studios is based in Hungary.) The characters are memorable; the writing is frequently funny, and the voice acting is consistently good. Also, at about 35-40 hours, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Better yet, the game lets you readjust your skills and stats throughout the game so that your party is never tied to a particular build. It lets you experiment a lot, and the game is great for people who really like learning a game’s mechanics (i.e., breaking a game in half). This is critical when, about a third of the way through the game, the difficulty curve goes vertical. It’s also really fun when, by the end of the game, when you can creat some really over-powered characters. Moreover, while you get to create a relatively genetic character at the beginning of the game, most of the characters you meet have really unconventional skill sets. There’s an archer who acts like an agility-based mage, a shaman that can transform into different animals, a fighter/summoner, etc. Finding the right equipment for each character and rebuilding them to highlight their unique strengths and compensate for their unique weaknesses is really quite compelling.

The game lets you adjust the difficulty to your liking, and I think players both experienced in the genre or new to it will really enjoy the game, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. (The ending hints at a sequel, and I really hope Zen studios makes it!)
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:15 pm

First-person dungeon crawlers are coming back!!! Looks like a cool game.

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)
14. Seirei Gari (Famicom)

15. Chaos;Head (PC)
16. Sanma no Meitantei (Famicom)


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Chaos;Head, a visual novel that begins as a murder mystery before delving into some seriously uncomfortable existential horror, was released for the PC in 2008. It was effectively superseded by the multi-platform enhanced port Chaos;Head Noah one year later. As of this writing, all variants of Chaos;Head remain exclusive to Japan. While Noah contains more total content and is easier to track down, English speakers are likely to gravitate to the original, which received a complete fan translation patch some years ago. Developed by Nitroplus, Chaos;Head marks the beginning of the Science Adventure series, which of course contains the exemplary Steins;Gate. Now, the series is something of a mess to wade through: every Science Adventure installment takes place in the same universe, but each individual VN may be either explicitly or only tenuously related to the others. For instance, Steins;Gate 0 is incomprehensible to those who haven't played Steins;Gate, but Steins;Gate can certainly be played by those who have yet to experience Chaos;Head, provided the player doesn't mind missing a few passing references. Chaos;Child (which was officially localized) exists in some murkier waters: it's a "thematic sequel" to Chaos;Head with a new cast of characters but plenty of references to its predecessor. Anecdotally speaking, I went "backwards" here, playing Child first, and things went mostly smoothly. In any event, I'd be hard pressed to "recommend" folks play Chaos;Head from the get-go, due to its price, rarity, its reliance on patching, and outdated system requirements. But for those who are comfortable with tinkering with old PC games -- go for it!

The protagonist of Chaos;Head is one Takumi Nishijou. He doesn't live in a science laboratory (like Okabe of Steins;Gate) or a van (like Takuru of Chaos;Child) but instead dwells inside of a metal shipping container. Peak levels of comfy. Takumi is unquestionably a weird dude. An (occasional) high school student, antisocial outcast, an otaku, a hikikomori, the young man spends the bulk of his time immersed in a certain MMORPG whilst fantasizing about his fictional anime "waifu" Seira. Takumi can be abrasive, selfish, annoying, and downright bizarre. He's also a fascinating lead; not a stereotypical harem-possessing studmuffin nor a contrived brooding antihero, Takumi is a the very image of the alienated male. He also has a long and storied history with mental illness. Depressed and neurotic, Takumi is prone to experience brief delusions of the audiovisual variety. Perpetually paranoid, he can't shake the feeling of being watched at all times by an unknown entity.

Structurally, Chaos;Head is comprised of ten chapters plus a brief introduction and conclusion. Chapters are decently meaty in length, though not overly long; a chapter-a-day playing (or "reading") schedule suits this VN nicely. After a rather bizarre and decidedly ambiguous opening, Takumi is introduced in his metal-encased NEET cell. Skipping school and coasting along in MMO heaven, Takumi is made aware of a series of murders occurring in his native Shibuya. These kills are so brutal they practically defy comprehension, with the resulting corpses posed in a sequence of grotesque yet eye-catching arrangements. Takumi would be content to ignore said slaughter, until he's inadvertently roped into it. A mysterious online stranger, popping into an MMO chatroom, sends Takumi a photograph of an elaborately staged killing...... before it happens.
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Those initial hours of gameplay are dedicated to the murder mystery itself, with Chaos;Head playing out like a classic "detective" VN the likes of which can be traced back to Portopia. Takumi finds himself (possibly?) witnessing the very murder he somehow previewed, he's forced to converse with a raggedy hard-boiled detective, he sets his sights on a plausible suspect, while he himself is declared to be the killer by an aggressive acquaintance. Takumi also befriends (loosely speaking) a group of unusual female students, each with their own troubled backstory. Meanwhile, bodies keep stacking up in the streets of Shibuya. It's all quite riveting, with ten additional questions popping up alongside each conceivable answer. And in sharp contrast to Takuru of Chaos;Child, Takumi doesn't especially want to "solve" this murder mystery. He's absolutely bewildered, terrified, and in way over his head.

And then there's a colossal bait and switch. Soon enough the "detective" element of this VN takes a backseat to the "science" element. And this "science" is pretty far removed from hard sciences. Like Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head is deep into the realm of pseudoscience technobabble, globalist conspiracies, dystopian futures, and the fragile nature of reality itself. It soon becomes apparent that Takumi isn't relegated to experiencing simple "schizophrenic" delusions. He's also capable of flipping reality and perception -- that is, what he envisions has the potential to manifest in the real world. This isn't an unlimited godlike power; it's conditional and can only be activated during very specific circumstances. Turns out Takumi's lady friends also possess similar abilities, which opens up the possibility for collective delusions, an idea that comes bundled with some interesting sociopolitical implications. Antagonists emerge, who naturally want to harness these abilities for their own nefarious ends, and the murders end up fitting into the whole dastardly "scheme" albeit in a convoluted manner. One of the great things about Steins;Gate was how the pseudoscience was built upon an altar of real science. Such conventions apply to Chaos;Head as well. The manifestation of delusions is explained using electric brain waves, binary numbers, and "blind spots" within one's visual field. The tale's heroes are additionally able to pull weapons (massive, elaborately detailed swords) from the Dirac sea, a theoretical model of particles used in "real life" physics.

As far as game flow goes, much of Chaos;Head is naturally spent reading. There are no grand "routes" that splice the game into varying pathways (though apparently these were added to Noah, with each route being dedicated to one of the female characters). However, the player can occasionally select whether Takumi is to engage in a positive delusion, negative delusion, or just proceed as normal. Such delusions are Takumi's "normal" delusions, not the "real-booting" of physical objects. The positive delusion option is represented by a moving green dot that briefly appears onscreen, negative delusions are chosen by clicking what looks like a red EKG line. Ignore both options for a few lines of dialogue and the ability to delude Takumi vanishes. Negative delusions tend to be morbid and bizarre, while positive ones are raunchy teenage fantasies. For the most part. Some of the delusions are so flaccid and weak they barely differ from the "non-option" -- one has to wonder if this element of the game was rushed in development. As a further matter, there are also some "Yes or No" questions that pop up sporadically. Though scarce, these actually alter game flow significantly. The questions are presented in a quizzical manner, but are so vague and "philosophical" that it's hard to discern proper answers. As with any visual novel, it's best to save liberally and frequently.
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On to the visual presentation. First and foremost, the game is very dark. Not just in mood and ambiance -- the game is literally quite black. There's a persistent black bar across the top of the game window, the text box is black, and since Chaos;Head sports 4:3 resolution going fullscreen on a modern display will result in vertical black bars on each side. Backgrounds are detailed and numerous, highlighting the gritty aesthetics of a corrupted Shibuya. CGs are also large in number, finely crafted, and available for repeated viewings after the game wraps up. Now, most of the characters that appear onscreen are of the feminine variety. They're all adorable, but the art is a bit generic, especially when stacked up against the likes of Steins;Gate. It's like a single "cute anime girl" template was used, with some modifications to hair and eye color made here and there. For the first few hours of the game it can be tricky to decipher who's who. It should also be noted that Chaos;Head features some extremely violent imagery. The murders are either displayed in full detail or are so disturbing that they had to be relayed via text alone. Take this as a warning.

No one asked for it, but there's also an option to play the game with all female characters wearing nothing but their underwear. Supposedly this was an extra available only to those who pre-ordered the game, and my personal copy includes this feature. It's not as enticing as it sounds, for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that every character is underage (at least in appearance even if it isn't explicitly stated). CGs remain unedited (just the standard in-game models were changed), so the lingerie-clad ladies will often "become clothed" for a brief CG and then go back to their unmentionables. This applies to most CGs at least. In some of the "positive delusions" Takumi fantasizes about a girl getting undressed in front of him -- this makes no sense if she's already been stripped. I'm fairly convinced that this whole thing was a prank by the developers anyway: halfway through the game a rotund middle-aged female investigator is introduced and she too is in her skivvies. Trolled like a boss!! In any event, the whole "lingerie" thing is silly and stupid and clashes with the game's overall mood. It can be safely ignored.

The sound design is intriguing. Chaos;Head contains some fine tunes, but makes little use of them. Much of the experience is spent listening to ambient noises (computer hums, traffic, murmurs) or flat-out dead silence. It's unsettling and often outright disorienting, highlighting Takumi's paranoia and projecting it onto the player. Such sounds are often coupled with some light first-person animation: Takumi whipping his head around to behold whatever he perceived to be "following" him, usually to be met with the sight of taunting emptiness. It's an effect not seen in many visual novels and truly elevates the game's immersion factor. As for the actual musical tracks, they're mostly subtle haunting pieces with a strong industrial bent. Add in a few upbeat songs from the fictional in-game goth punk band and a pretty competent OST emerges. The voice acting is relatively strong and about what one would expect from a VN with these production values.
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Pacing is one of the game's better qualities. The chapters all feel about equal in length, each with an episodic vibe. The scenario and script are truly quite excellent, with plenty of hooks and twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Things do get a tad overwhelming at times, there's simply quite a lot of "stuff" to juggle in one's memory while reading. And "the big twist" is oddly similar to the one in Chaos;Child (or vice versa, technically), so anyone who's experienced one of these games will see it coming in the next. Kudos to the writers for resisting the temptation to transform Takumi into a "zero to hero" character. Instead, he's perpetually tragic, his quest being reluctantly undertaken simply to put an end to suffering rather than to dramatically save the world from calamity. This is a sad story, and one that revels in its sadness. The female characters, while ever-charming, aren't especially developed unfortunately. They come and go like the wind; I'd suspect that Noah was crafted in large part to rectify this "issue." There are, of course, specific "themes" to be found embedded in the narrative. Nothing too groundbreaking, but Chaos;Head is certainly an intriguing look at how one perceives themselves vs. how they "manifest" in the minds of others. And how ideas and values can arise from dubious places and take root in our subconscious.

Chaos;Head contains three endings, oddly labeled the A, AA, and B endings. Unveiling the entire trio is somewhat frustrating. Either A or AA can be earned on one's first playthrough, based solely on how some of those aforementioned "deep" questions are answered near the journey's end. B requires one boot up a new save and replay (fast-forward) through the experience whilst activating delusions in a specific manner. It all but requires a walkthrough and the ending itself is a letdown compared to the "true" (AA) one, though it provides some additional insight into the psyches of a couple of Takumi's compatriots.

All told, Chaos;Head is quite the trip. I was actually surprised to find myself enjoying this more than both Chaos;Child and Steins;Gate 0 (the original Steins;Gate remains untouchable). As the first game in the series it feels reined in, in a good way: taut and accessible without layers of fluff and padding. While too obscure for the average gamer, visual novel fanatics would be wise to consider it, at some point or another.

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So, apparently "games starring Japanese comedians" was a "thing" during the Famicom era. Off the top of my head, there was the awful platformer featuring George Tokoro, the intentionally awful mess of an "anti-game" featuring Beat Takeshi, plus this... A Namco-developed adventure game featuring Sanma Akashiya which, while not as heinous as the two aforementioned, is still fairly poor. That said, I probably don't have the best frame of reference here, as I'm unfamiliar with the work of this particular funny man, and it's additionally possible that many jokes and references were difficult to convey via the 2018 fan translation. However, I also have a hard time believing this was a well-received title in Japan back in '87 -- it just isn't designed particularly well.

Sanma no Meitantei is largely a menu-based detective story crafted in the vein of Yuji Horii's Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken, with the eponymous Sanma assuming the role of investigator. A murder has been committed and some jewels have been stolen and Sanma is on the case! Pretty heavy stuff for a comedian, huh? It's an oft-imitated formula, but Sanma no Meitantei does contain a couple of interesting innovations. First and foremost, the protagonist is technically not Sanma, but you, the player, who has the option to enter a name at the game's opening. The player is cast as a junior detective, assisting the comedian in his clue-hunting. As such, Sanma himself is always present on-screen. Second, Sanma no Meitantei ditches the traditional methods of Japanese adventure game navigation -- selecting locations from a menu or laboriously walking from place to place via step-by-step commands -- and instead boasts a top-down world map. New locations are exposed via acquisition of items or dialogue triggers, but locales never close back down once they become irrelevant, so eventually the map gets huge to the point of being overwhelming.

And "overwhelming" is the best way to describe the entire Sanma no Meitantei experience. There's simply too much to "do" here. Take the menu screen, which features an absolutely insane number of options. Those initial eight options -- go, investigate, call, inspect inventory, listen, talk, punch, and record -- are represented by icons. Then, clicking one of those will typically bring up a very large sub-menu. For instance, the choice to "investigate" leads to further options including examine, strike, push, open, rotate, ingest, and take... Should one choose to "examine" the player is then confronted with a large list of onscreen visible items plus the option to wield a cursor to hunt for "hidden" goods. Back to that first menu -- should Sanma choose to "call" on someone (summon a character to the scene) a list of no less than fourteen NPCs is then produced. And when "listening" to these folks Sanma is presented with a list of topics plus the ability to select "another topic" which brings up an additional list of, you guessed it, more topics. Those paying attention will have noticed that the game also needlessly differentiates between things like punch and strike, and talk and listen. Sometimes only one or the other will work -- such subtlety!
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Now, Sanma no Meitantei unfolds like most every other Japanese adventure game, where one often has to play around and exhaust all options until the correct one is chosen. Except here it takes forever. Forever. So what's the point of all the extraneous stuff? Well, this is where the "humor" comes in. The game is full of jokes and gags and weird references and non sequiturs. So the player is "supposed to" spend some time goofing off and misdirecting the detectives for the sake of a few laughs. And there are admittedly some genuinely humorous moments scattered here and there, but the whole thing gets really old, really fast.

Sanma no Meitantei occasionally breaks from the gumshoeing in favor of some minigames, but these are additionally quite weak. Success here is predicated on button-mashing or meticulously-timed button presses or deciphering some inane pattern, but there are no genuinely interesting puzzles. Most minigames are integrated into the plot, but some are totally optional. One has Sanma avoiding a series of falling objects; successful completion grants the player the ability to record passwords. There's also a goofy riff on Galaga found in the local arcade. The game's visual style is certainly "early Famicom" but isn't especially terrible. Note that the characters all appear cartoony but realistic. If you want blue-haired anime space girls surf over to something like Suishou no Dragon instead. The soundtrack is very tinny and quite irritating. Occasional "chimes" are sounded when a major (correct) decision is made, which is a small sliver of assistance. All told, the Sanma no Meitantei experience is just too obtuse, too cumbersome, too annoying, too lengthy, and more trouble than it's worth.

(By the way, the funniest joke in the game is an oft-repeated one. The "cursor" used to search for hidden objects is actually a crab, which causes Sanma to exclaim "Let's SEA what we can find!" -- I assume a similar pun is present in the original Japanese text.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:24 pm

Not just the Famicom era. Norimaro/Noritaro was in Marvel vs Street Fighter.
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.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:24 am

Marurun vs Games 2021 edition!
  1. Trials of Mana (Switch)
  2. Outer Worlds (Switch)
  3. Code of Princess: EX (Switch)
  4. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)

Known in Japan as Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 2, this is the only title in this DQ spinoff series that came to the US. I have to say, the title came to the US in style. You are a slime living in Boingburg, when your town is attacked by the Plob and their Platypunk minions. All the town's slimes are kidnapped and you must recover them and return them to town and rebuild. This is an overhead action title where you, the titular slime, wander around defeating enemies, collecting items and enemies, and fighting tank battles. It's not an overly challenging game, though some of the tank battles can be a little nail-biting until you figure out how to approach them. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is a somewhat simple game. And yet, it's so much fun to play. This is in part thanks to the variety of things you can do in the game. While it may lack depth, Rocket Slime excels at breadth. There's just so many ways to engage with the game that it invites doodling about. Further, the localization is fantastic. The translators worked hard to preserve a certain level of "punnery" and keep the dialogue snappy, humorous, and moving along. There's a lot of text, but you don't have to spend a ton of time unrolling needless exposition. Character personalities are clear with only a couple lines of text. It doesn't feel like the game is trying to hammer the various personalities into your skull with extensive dialogue (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, I'm looking at you).
So let's talk a bit about the breadth of gameplay. There are two basic modes of play: exploration and tank battles. In exploration you go to a level and wander around, battling with enemies by throwing things (or other enemies) and rocketing into them with your Elasto Blast attack. You can carry up to 3 items or enemies at a time in a stack on your head and you can throw the one at the bottom of the stack. If you throw it at an enemy you can do some damage to it. If you throw it on a moving cart headed toward a cart exit you send it to town. You need to collect items and enemies, you see, for the tank battles. At a particular point in the game you gain access to the Schleiman Tank and can engage in tank battles. Your default ammo are just little rocks that do pathetic damage. Items you collect can be used as ammunition, and later in the game as ingredients in a crafting system to create even more powerful ammunition. Enemies which are collected will turn up in your slime town and, when enough are collected, join you as selectable assistants in tank battles.

While I do enjoy wandering around the levels exploring, collecting items and monsters and engaging in slime-to-monster battles, the real gem of the game, for me, is the tank battles. See, you don't control the tank directly. Essentially, two tall, massive tanks face off against each other, unmoving, across a short open expanse and pound away until one tank's "heart" is exposed. At that point, you have to infiltrate the tank and destroy the heart. Each tank has two areas inside: the cannon room and the rest of the tank. Ammo dispensers throughout the tank slowly and regularly dispense the ammunition load you've stocked your tank with. You and your assistants collect the ammo and carry it to the cannon room, choosing whether to toss it into the upper cannon (which fires in an overhead arc) or the lower cannon (fires straight across). Different ammo has different characteristics like flight speed, damage, special effects and behaviors. You can even fire yourself or your assistants. Defense consists of firing your ammo at the enemy ammo being fired at you. Most ammo, of whatever type, will be stopped by running into ammo coming the other direction. Some ammo is extra durable and may take several hits to stop. You and your assistants can also be defeated by taking too much damage. When this happens you respawn after a delay. Most assistants have two different tasks they can be instructed to perform, like manning the upper or lower cannon, simply collecting ammo, or stealing ammo from the enemy. But the tank battles aren't as simple as merely loading up and firing cannons. You can also attack and infiltrate the other tank, damaging it internally, slowing the dispensation of ammunition. You can also attack and harass the enemies manning the opposing tank, or even steal their ammunition.

Rocket Slime is fantastic fun, in part because of the varied gameplay. The lack of difficulty is countered by the sheer variety of systems and play styles to interact with. That and the quality localization help counter the game's few flaws, among them some annoyingly long crafting and item collection chains, making getting truly high-powered ammo a real slog (and somewhat unnecessary once you hone your tank battling skills).

Highly recommended for most players. Even if the game isn't for you, it would take a truly cold heart to hate it.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:06 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
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne

Rushed into release, KI 2013 managed to be a lot more fun than anyone expected and received continuous development into a solid fighting title. While it started with only six fighters and bare bones content, it now has every fighter from the classic games and a decent enough single player mode. More importantly for me, it has an intuitive system for dealing with the series' trademark combos that allows a novice to perform decently against the CPU.

Plot-wise the game is a reboot of the series. It takes the end game revelations that transitioned from KI to KI2 and uses that as the game's baseline, but there are no time travel shenanigans and Gargos is the big bad. Several new characters have been added that add to the rosters of Ultratech and Gargos's minions. Most of them still fit the man height of the original, but a couple are much larger.

The combat system tries to maintain the general feel of the original, but with a bunch of quality of life features. The bread and butter is still building your combos, where you have openers, linkers, and enders. Here it is not proscriptive in terms of "you must use these specific button strengths"; instead it ties in with the combo meter. As you combo there is a meter that fills; it fills slowly with light hits, and not at all with shadow powered hits (like Street Fighter IV's EX meter), but you need to use your ender before the meter fills up or else you drop the combo. And the ender's power will be dependent on how long you made the combo go (there are boxes that fill up below the meter to indicate the four strengths). But there's a flip side; the longer the combo the more vulnerable you are to combo breakers. These are triggered simply by hitting a punch and kick of the same strength that needs to match how your opponent opened the combo. If you guess wrong you're locked out for a few seconds, but once that timer finishes counting down now you know exactly how to break. There's also systems to refill the meter or counter a breaker, but that's too advanced for me. And adding a layer of user friendliness on top of this is the combo assist system, where all you need to do is push forward and an attack to chain the combo, selecting punches or kicks to use specific specials in the combo and selecting your strength (with fierce being your ender). You lose some flexibility and gain a bunch of "look, I just want to have fun with flashy moves".

The game's story mode is one of the more interesting ones in a fighting game from a story standpoint. While the plot is threadbare the main draw is that you are doing a series of fights with various modifiers. You are given a globe and one to four missions show up on it; failing them or not doing them causes the corruption in a given continent to rise. Once three continents have full corruption Gargos shows up and it's time for the final boss fight. Doing the missions causes corruption to reduce in that region. The fights can be against one to three fighters who have a variety of modifiers; they might have extra health, extra damage, or statues like regenerating super armor. On your side you can bring up to three fighters (but each fighter can only act once per turn), can equip consumables to give you a temporary boost, and can equip guardians which provide passive stats and some special ability; one cause you to steal life and meter for a short time after finishing a combo, while another gives you a certain number of charges of free combo breakers. Your health is also persistent; after a fight however much health you have is what would go into the next fight. You can either use healing items or have them sit out a turn. These items are gained in post fight rewards as well as being crafted using post fight reward materials. Guardians must be purchased; either with post fight currency or real money. And the grind is real; the best guardians cost a lot. The mode wraps around; every time you finish it (win or lose) everything carries over, so don't stress about losing. Just get stronger for next time. Oh, one last thing to mention; you can customize your difficulty by deciding to deal with Gargos's powers or not. The first four regions to hit 50% corruption will spawn a Gargos minion with a special power. If you leave them alone then Gargos will have that power in the ifnal fight. If you beat them he won't get that power. Then when Gargos spawns he gets whatever powers you left alone plus a fifth power. So if you want an easier time you go after his minions; if you want a harder time just let him get everything.

Overall KI 2013 is a solid fighter with a decent amount of single player content to keep you engaged. I can't speak to how competitive it is because I am a very casual fighting game fan, and I just games on that axis. If you're looking to have some fun and not stress about learning frame counting and the like then this is a good pickup (though the move list does seem to have that information if you want to get into it).
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:21 pm

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)
12. Operencia: The Stolen Sun (Switch)
13. The Knight of Queen (Switch)

Perhaps more than any other game, The Knight of Queen dares to ask: “Who wanted this? Why did someone make this? Did anyone think this was, even remotely, a good idea?” Not that it’s a bad game - I actually liked it a lot - it’s just very, very weird that this game exists at all.

The Knight of Queen is, at heart, a very basic, very short JRPG that plays a lot like Dragon Quest I. You play as the titular “Knight of Queen” who must recover the Hero’s Shield and Hero’s Sword before restoring peace to the Queen’s kingdom by confronting the devious Devil King in the Land of Evil. As you travel through the kingdom, you engage in one-on-one, turn-based combat, gaining EXP to gain levels and GP to buy equipment, buy items, and recover your HP and MP at inns. You get a new spell every few levels, and in addition to forests and fields, you explore the occasional cave or dungeon. There are a few boss fights, and the game pads out it’s length by, basically, requiring you to grind EXP or GP for a bit every time you enter a new area. (Levels are capped at 30, and I spent at least a quarter of my time with the game grinding to the level cap once I entered the Land of Evil.)

In short, the game is an extremely basic JRPG with extremely archaic game design. The presentation, however, is what really sets it apart. Unlike all other archaic JRPGs, which are played from a third-person perspective and utilize sprite-based graphics, The Knight of Queen is a VR game entirely from a first-person perspective. It isn’t like modern VR game, though. It’s like a VR game from 1991, replete with untextured polygons, NPCs that look like Playmobil toys, and an intentionally jittery frame-rate designed to mimic both the look and feel of navigating a virtual 3D space three decades ago. (I know the frame rate is intentionally low when you’re navigating the game because it’s smooth as butter when you’re in combat. Also, I’m pretty sure the Switch can handle the minimal processing required to render all 100-200 untextured polygons on the screen at any given moment.) This is a very, very, very bold aesthetic choice, and I really applaud the designer’s willingness to commit to it completely.

Still, though, I recognize that grinding levels in a game with such intentionally dated 3D graphics isn’t for everyone (even if the combat system is actual pretty good). Accordingly, and while I certainly enjoyed the 3-5 hours it took me to beat the game, I can only recommend it very hesitantly.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:38 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
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
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC

Heretic Kingdoms is an isometric RPG that is equal parts Diablo and Baldur's Gate, but with some rough edges due to the studio's lack of experience. Overall it ends up being pretty fun; you can get stupidly powerful as the game progresses and smashing the hordes coming at you is always satisfying. It also isn't too long; I think I spent somewhere between 10 and 15 hours on it, which is about right for a game like this.

The story is set in a world where God is dead; literally, the backstory has someone kill God and the sword used to do so becomes magic and becomes a major relic through history. Some time after a man who can wield the sword declares himself the Theocrat and rules with an iron fist; he is eventually overthrown and all religion is outlawed; you serve as a member of the Inquisition that helps ensure people remain atheist. The game kicks off with someone having stolen the sword for some nefarious purpose (revealed to be an attempt to revive God). You must track down the person who did so and solve a bunch of problems along the way.

As mentioned, the game is equal mix Diablo and Baldur's Gate. The combat is pure Diablo; you right click to swing based on your stats and gear, can fire arrows, or can equip magical catalysts that let you cast spells. Whenever you level up you gain advancement points (which can also be gained through interactables in the world); every time you get 100 you can raise one of your four core stats; melee, ranged, magic, or speed. Initially you might not get enough for a single advancement with a level up, but by end game you can advance two or three times off of a single level. There is also a system of passive abilities called attunements; these are learned from your equipped gear if you meet certain conditions. That condition is what makes the learned attunement active. For example, a medium weapon attunement might decrease enemy evasion if you have a medium weapon equipped. For weapons and armor the attunement requirement is served by the gear you learn it from, whereas for accessories you need provide that from your other gear. You gain more attunement slots over time, and this is the primary way you customize and make your character a walking god. The learning process is fast enough that you should feel free to experiment, but by the last third you should have an idea of what you want to specialize in, as the late game attunements for a given specialization take much longer to learn.

What the game gets from Baldur's Gate is how you interact with the world. There are a lot of NPCs to converse with and get optional quests from, as well as gear to buy and sell that is actually worthwhile (whereas Diablo all the good stuff is dropped). Also, the game world is divided up into a bunch of maps where you exit and get a world map view that lets you click on the area you want to traverse to, with new areas opening up as you either clear a map or trigger an event flag. The game has a fairly extensive history that gets presented through dialog, illustrated static cutscenes, and books. It's a fairly interesting world that depicts a fairly unique setting. There also are multiple races, but it's hard to get an idea of what they are because of the low resolution graphics. But they aren't your traditional elves, dwarves, and orcs.

Overall if you're looking for a hack and slash with some depth to the story this is a good one to snag. The walking speed is a bit slow, some of the dungeons really could use a fast exit, and a couple of quests didn't complete for me (along with some visual bugs), but nothing game breaking. I can definitely recommend this one.
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