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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:32 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
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC

Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is a metroidvania by indie studio Team Ladybug. This is not their first foray into the genre; they'd previously done a Touhou metroidvania and this game uses the same engine. And the engine coming from a game set in a shmup IP explains how they decided on some of the new mechanics that were apparently used in the Touhou metroidvania. It ends up giving the combat a fast and frantic feeling which makes the boss fights incredibly memorable.

The game's story is fairly minimal, and if you aren't familiar with the property the named characters won't mean anything to you, but the game gives just enough context for you to understand what's going on and why you're doing what you're doing. It's mostly an excuse plot, so instead focus on the gameplay. The game features all your standard metroidvania elements; a maze of corridors, mobility upgrades, health upgrades, and since this is on the Castlevania end of things an experience system. The game graphically takes a lot of cues from SotN, including the high number of animation frames for the player character. Frankly, the game is gorgeous. A couple combat upgrades from SotN is that every weapon can be used while moving and every weapon can attack in eight directions (though down and diagonal down is only when jumping).

The biggest feature of the game that differentiates it is the system of you having two elemental spirits you switch between; wind and fire. When you are actively using one your attacks are imbued with that element and you have additional abilities. Wind lets you slow fall and hover above the ground (with controllable height up to the limit), while fire lets you stand in lava and your slide (when you get it) is invincible. But there's more to it. Each element can be powered up from level 1 to level 3; this is accomplished by hitting enemies with the other element (i.e. attacking with wind levels up fire). Each level gives you a noticeable strength boost, and at level 3 you automatically heal. But being hit means that you drop a level. So you're going to regularly be swapping to stay topped off in addition to hitting elemental weaknesses. But wait, there's more. The game has an Ikaruga-style enemy shot system. Most (but not all) enemy projectiles (and some stage hazards) will come in wind and fire form. Using the same element as the shot means that instead of taking damage you will refill your mana meter.

This system ends up being one of the key components of boss fights. Bosses have very fixed patterns which incorporate throwing elemental damage at you that you need to weave through with the right timing. This is where the shmup heritage comes through. Boss fights are also an example of the importance of switching to keep health up; most bosses are not especially weak or resistant to fire or wind, so instead you're swapping to weave through shots, swap to your level 3 element to heal, and refill the other one with your attacks. The fights are very active and you always need to be on your toes.

You also have some other tools available. I mentioned a mana meter; this powers your magic spells and your bow. Magic spells fill out the rest of your ability to hit enemy weaknesses; every single element has a spell (including fire and wind having high powered spells), with one spell per element. This is an important source of damage against bosses, as spells are fire and forget so you can blast one off and then attack with your weapon while it's executing. You also get a bow which is powered by your mana (generally not an issue, it's like 1 MP per arrow while the cheapest spell is 15). The bow can be used to attack enemies, but it's a bit cumbersome, as you can aim it up to 45 degrees. It's used more for environmental puzzles; the arrows will ricochet off of metal surfaces and can have their flight path diverted by magnets. So you either need to thread a needle to cut a rope and open a path or shoot at gears to turn things to open paths. There's just enough to be interesting without getting tedious.

My only complaint is it's a bit short and easy for a modern metroidvania. I'd put it at SotN levels of difficulty; as long as you don't completely ignore side paths and are good at keeping your elemental level up you'll mow through regular enemies and bosses, while challenging, have enough options available that you can blitz down many, and the ones you can't you can learn the pattern to. Like I said, the patterns are extremely rote, so you don't need to learn a tell, as move A is always followed by move B and so on until it wraps back to A. I finished the whole thing with 100% map completion in 5 hours. It was an extremely fun five hours, but given most metroidvanias these days are 10 hours on a blind playthrough I can't help but wish it was longer.

Overall, it's an extremely well crafted metroidvania that should be fun for all fans of the genre. I highly recommend you snag it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:57 pm

Already snagged it, but I've only played it once or twice.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:49 am

Flake wrote:Triggerheart Exelica (Xbox Series S)
Guardian Heroes (Xbox Series S)
Megaman 4 (Xbox Series S)

Just doing a little beaten list house keeping before the month is out. I got an Xbox Series S and I've been having fun with some old titles and that really cool clicky d-pad. No reviews or thoughts, just some fun old games. And Guardian Heroes is still the shit.


Totally agree about Guardian Heroes. I was playing it again last month and still think it's great. I just wish I could play the game co-op with a friend.

Also, I've played some Triggerheart Exelica on the Dreamcast but never finished it. I do really enjoy that game and the weird capture/throw mechanic. I gotta give that one another shot later this year.


Markies wrote:7. Phantasy Star IV (GEN)
8. Gunbird 2 (SDC)


Nice choices, Markies! PS IV is a game I played through a large portion of years ago but didn't finish. I'd like to finally beat it later this year. And I'd like to add Gunbird 2 to my Dreamcast library. Seems like a really fun game and I've been playing a lot of shmups recently. Have you played the first game on the Saturn?

Syndicate wrote:...in a better late than never I finally finished Okami. I was playing it for the December Together in Retro. So 85-hours later I have to say I regret waiting so long to play this gem, it was really good, easily one of the best Zelda inspired games I've ever played. I think that I'm going to track down a copy of Okamiden now. My time w/Okami really sums up why I really enjoy Together in Retro so much, I get a chance to play games I've been meaning to get back to in my backlog and more often than not have a great time.


Have heard positive things about Okami over the years and I always thought the graphic style looked impressive. Good to hear that you enjoyed it as well. Didn't realize it was an 80+ hour investment, but I'm still interested in tracking it down.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:04 am

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]*
12. World of Illusion (GEN)
13. Raiden Fighters Jet (360)
14. Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive (360)*
15. Streets of Rage 3 (GEN)

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16. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (Xbox)*

When Street Fighter III was released, I totally missed out on it. None of my friends owned the game or were talking about it, which didn't help at a time when we were discovering things through word of mouth. I was a big Street Fighter II fan but somehow this game totally passed by me and my group of friends. We were big on Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at the time, so maybe that was it -- we'd get together after school on a Friday and play it for hours. It wasn't until I started dropping by Chinatown Fair arcade from time to time around 2008, meeting people in the Third Strike community, and watching people play the game at CF, that I started to get into Third Strike and began to really appreciate it. For this playthrough, I played the game on the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for the Xbox using a Hori Real Arcade Pro EX stick. I played through the game as Ken, who is my main character in the game, but I also like to play as Yun.

The graphics in this game are great IMO, especially for the time of release. I really dig the character designs and art style. The look of the game is totally different from SF II, but I think the developers did a great job of updating the art style but not going overboard with changes to the look of the characters that appeared in the earlier games. The character sprites look amazing. The level designs are also really nice too, I like that the backgrounds also stayed in 2D, as at this time some fighting games were moving to 3D backgrounds, even if the game was on a 2D plane. I especially like Alex's level in a subway station in NYC and Makoto's level which seems to be in a rural village.

The soundtrack is another notable aspect. The music here is a mix of jazz, techno, and hip-hop inspired production and there's a good amount of songs that are really catchy. This is a soundtrack that I find myself listening to outside the game, throwing it on in the background while working or doing other things around the house. Hideki Okugawa did a fantastic job composing the soundtrack to this game. The character themes may not be as iconic as the SF II themes, but I think he crafted something that's stood the test of time.

Regarding gameplay mechanics, this is a deep 2D fighter that contains advanced mechanics while maintaining accessibility for casual fans. My friends and I have had some fun nights playing SF III and passing around the controllers or fight sticks and none of us are great at the genre. The biggest addition to the mechanics of the game is the parry system, which lets players press forward (or down for a low attack) to parry and will take no damage, the player will also recover quickly and have an opportunity to initiate their own attack.

SF III: Third Strike is a timeless 2D fighting game that's fine for novice players (like myself) or hardcore fighting game enthusiasts and has become one of my all time favorite games. I wish my friends and I had got into this game upon release, but I'm glad I discovered it in the arcades later on and have been able to enjoy it at home. Definitely give this one a go if you haven't yet!
Last edited by Note on Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Markies Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:20 am

Note wrote:
Markies wrote:7. Phantasy Star IV (GEN)
8. Gunbird 2 (SDC)


Nice choices, Markies! PS IV is a game I played through a large portion of years ago but didn't finish. I'd like to finally beat it later this year. And I'd like to add Gunbird 2 to my Dreamcast library. Seems like a really fun game and I've been playing a lot of shmups recently. Have you played the first game on the Saturn?


PSIV is definitely worth finishing. The best JRPG on the Genesis hands down and a really breezy game as well. You can beat it between 20 - 30 Hours, so its not too long.

I have never played the Saturn version. I play many Arcade versions, so I may have played the first one through MAME. The DreamCast version is a little expensive, but it is well worth it, especially for an introductory Shoot'em Up.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ack Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:10 pm

1. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (PC)(Adventure)
2. Revulsion (PC)(FPS)
3. Nonogram - Master's Legacy (PC)(Puzzle)
4. Sekiro (PC)(Action-Adventure)
5. Grim Dawn (PC)(Action RPG)
6. Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth (PC)(Action RPG)
7. Grim Dawn: Forgotten Gods (PC)(Action RPG)

8. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage (PC)(FPS)
9. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
10. Shrine (PC)(FPS)

Shrine is an obscure FPS on Steam that is challenging and also entirely free to play. 16 levels of brutality, tough bosses, and drab yet beautiful level design. It's basically Doom II under the hood (and sometimes on the hood ornament), but it's a tougher Doom II, one that's for those folks who blazed through Ultraviolence difficulty.

While it is modernized in terms of controls, utilizing WASD and mouse look, it's classic in terms of design: sprite-based enemies, a slew of weapons, twitch running and gunning, and no reloading your guns. There is a heavy horror vibe in the game, with the Doom monsters being replaced with new and bizarre critters. Some of them are pretty obvious: you're gonna know what started life as the Revenant, the Lost Soul, and even the Baron of Hell. Others have been heavily transmogrified, such as the basic soldier now looking like a fleshy blob straight out of Silent Hill. But the major change comes from some of these guys getting beefier and their attacks pumped way up. For example, the Baron of Hell revamp is the Matriarch, and it will hit you with a massive energy ball that will one shot you even at full health.

Even more challenging are the bosses, which eventually turn into recurring enemies. One is a giant knight that was born from the Cyberdemon, but the other, the Seraphim, appears totally original, takes a lot of punishment, and hits like a Mack truck with a variety of attacks and the ability to fly. The first time you fight it is brutal, and after even a few rounds, it's something to be respected. And with 16 levels, you'll see it a few times. The final boss is also no slouch, with fast moving projectiles, an AOE attack that can clio through walls on startup, and a quick run that makes it tough to hit. The boss gets a lot of mentions in Steam reviews for being a beast; I beat him by playing smarter, not by simply unloading. Shrine demands you use your cover effectively.

The Doom II weapons have also gotten some overhauls. There is a basic pistol and shotgun, and the Shrine take on the super shotgun is a hard hitting monstrosity that actually utilizes an alternate fire so you can blast with one or both barrels. The rocket launcher has been swapped out with a grenade launcher that packs a punch, and you have a take on the Unmaker lazer as one of your most powerful guns. The chain gun is now a minigun that requires spin up and wind down to use, so you have to plan for your weapon swap timing. But the big dog, the BFG replacement, is a weird shark monster that vomits a giant blast of energy to annihilate whatever steps in front of you. Don't neglect your vomit gun in tough fights.

Also, ammo is shared by weapon types, but most importantly, it's gathered for all guns from the same source: ammo souls. This means it's worth it to swap regularly between guns so you're not only loading up a single weapon whenever you grab one. The more widespread you are in your combat choices, the more the ammo souls will help you out. So keep blasting!

Shrine doesn't mess around with its level designs either. Large open towers, massive waterfalls, cathedrals with pews full of monsters, each level is a marvel in its own way, but each is also built for speed running and finding the quickest route. Do you stay and fight or rush the end and maybe take a devastating shot to the back? Your call. The game kindly autosaves at the start of each level, but if you're only limping through to the finish line, don't expect things to be nice on the other side.

I liked Shrine, and at the low price of absolutely free, I like it even more. And when I emptied both barrels of my shotgun into the final boss's face, and he entered his death animation, and I thought back to how many folks had been on Steam talking about how tough he was, I cracked a smile.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by R_Oldgames Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:37 am

Until this date (April 2nd, 2021), I remember having beaten the following games this year:

1. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4).
2. Super Mario 3D World Deluxe (Switch).
3. Bloodstain Curs of The Moon (Switch)
4. Samurai Shodown 2019 (Xbox One) Story mode with a few characters
5. Street Fighter 2 (PC Engine)
6. The Evil Within (Xbox One)

There are probably others that I've beaten but I did not write them down and forgot. I will try to remember add to the list.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:45 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
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC

Thief 2 follows up Thief by barely touching the mechanics; instead it seems all the dev effort was focused on the level design (and some new enemy types). This ends up paying off handsomely, as now they combine a solid stealth engine with fun level design that gives the player options and provides a much more fun experience than the original (except for the last mission, but we'll get back to that). Basically, everything Thief did wrong Thief 2 does right.

The game is set shortly after the first game; a splinter sect of the Builders called the Mechanites are the current top power and there has been a general crackdown on thiefly activities. After a few missions to get you used to the gameplay again you find yourself once again sucked into events larger than your wishes to just be a simple thief. Eventually you have to save the day again, after much protest. But hey, it's enlightened self interest, right?

As mentioned, they didn't really touch the mechanics at all. You still have the light and sound based stealth system and all the same gear. There's a couple of new items (a rope arrow variant that can stick in more surfaces and a throwable that can home in on enemies), but the core of sneaking in, picking locks, stealing keys, and grabbing loot plays the same as always. The game gets rid of almost all the supernatural stuff; the bulk of enemies are humans, but a new enemy type has been introduced: steampunk robots. Since they are steam powered they are vulnerable to being shot in the boiler on their rear with a couple of water arrows. There's also turrets and cameras, though they usually have a switch to turn them off.

The real changes are in the level design. Almost every level is some form of "here's a large area, you have multiple approaches and need to accomplish something inside and then safely get out". There's a couple of levels that are more linear, though you still have enough nooks and crannies to give you the necessary advantage over enemies. It all feels great and properly sells that thievery fantasy. It's clear that the level designers really learned something from the feedback to the first game and took it to heart.

The one blight in the game is the final level; the enemies are mostly robots, and there are a LOT of them. You don't have nearly enough ammo to be able to take them all out, and there are several gauntlets you have to run in order to accomplish the missions objectives. Like the first game there's no boss fight, though here it's a distributed "do all these things to defeat the evil plan" which just doesn't feel quite as cool as the original game's "steal the MacGuffin out from under the big bad's nose". I get that they wanted it to be a boss level, but they ended up going overboard. You can even see parts where they do lean in to the "be sneaky" mold, but it's not quite enough.

Still, a bad final mission aside, this game is leaps better than the first game. If you're a fan of stealth games I can heartily recommend this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:29 pm

What the hell there's a new Record of Lodoss War game??!?!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:00 pm

Yeah; it was in early access for a while and now went full release.
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