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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Jul 12, 2021 6:19 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 64
* denotes a replay

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


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (10 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12


64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12

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Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus (which gets stuck in my head as “Destruction of Spinobifyda”) is an example of a phenomenon that plagued the Atari 2600 era and remained fairly common into the 8-bit and 16-bit eras - box art describing a game that is way cooler than the game it actually contains. For most NES games, it’s not usually that bad as what’s being shown is typically pretty close, at least in basic concept, to what you get. Dynowarz is 2600-tier, though. The box art makes it look like you’re going to be playing a game as fast paced and intense as Contra or Xenophobe, but it ends up feeling more like Dragon’s Lair.

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The premise of Dynowarz is fairly similar to Mega Man except instead of robot masters, it’s robot dinosaurs in space. Part of the game even feels like a dollar store Mega Man, although that’s only half of the two play styles you’ll see in the game. You play part of the game as a random dude in a space suit with a peashooter gun, and this is the part that feels a little bit like a bad Mega Man clone. You progress through a short section horizontally with some light and extremely cumbersome platforming until you reach a bootleg Mother Brain. Shoot that until it dies, go back the way you came through the platforming part, and then hop into a giant dinosaur mech. This is where the gameplay style changes.

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The second play style is where the game goes from disappointing to bad. This is also side scrolling, but in your giant dinosaur, you move at a snail’s pace and jump with all the effect of a paraplegic. Fortunately, the platforms here are few and far between, but there are some spike pits that you have to jump over, and the controls are even more awkward than with the space suit guy. To make matters worse, you don’t even have a gun. You have a fist. This dude had the technology to make a giant dinosaur mech, but he couldn’t be bothered to put a gun on it. You can, at least, pick up weapon power-ups if they drop from defeated dinosaur robots, but none of them really feel that great. You can get a punch throw - you literally throw your robot fist, and it comes back like a crappy boomerang - a fireball so small that you can barely see it, a bomb that launches in an arc over your head, or a laser that is about as satisfying to use as a slingshot.

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Dynowarz is a tale of two failures. It’s like they played Blaster Master and said “What if we made this but terrible?” The on-foot stages are a little more fun to play (though it would be more accurate to say “slightly less awful”), but the dinosaur robot stages are a bit better to look at with more interesting sprites and detailed worlds; neither, however, are truly good in either the visual or gameplay departments (except the cut scenes of your robo-dino; those are cool). They both look drab, and they both handle like crap. The sprite flicker is also pretty intense at times to the point of being outright distracting, and while I understand that the limits of the NES’s PPU make sprite flicker a fact of life, there are so many games that run much better and play much better without nearly as much flicker. This is just not a great game. It’s passable, but it’s definitely not good. Unfortunately, it’s not even like Rollerblade Racer where it’s laughably bad; it’s just bad.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jul 13, 2021 7:16 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 65
* denotes a replay

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


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (11 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12
65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12


65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12

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Skull and Crossbones is another unlicensed Tengen game on NES, and that usually means that it’s either really good or really bad. Unfortunately, this qualifies as the latter. You would expect that a game about pirates would involve plundering treasure and fighting with cannons and swords. It does not. Well, it does involve fighting with swords, and it involves your getting shot with a cannon, but it’s far from the 8-bit rendition of Assassin’s Creed IV that I was hoping to play.

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Instead of doing actual pirate things, this game is actually just “What if Mario dressed like a pirate?” You’re not actually doing much pirating; sure, you’re taking “booty,” but that booty is mostly rum and raspberries, and you only ever steal from skeletons and other pirates. There’s no ship to control or anything; honestly, LJN’s Jaws game felt more pirate-y than this in that regard. Each level - I think there are half a dozen or so - consists of wandering around a cramped platforming stage killing random pirates, rats, skeletons, demons, and zombies until you kill a certain amount and trigger the boss fight. Then you fight the boss, collect the alcohol and fruit they threw around the area, and then you’re off to the next level. This would be fine if the game controlled well, but it doesn’t. Your character is slow, clunky, and hard to control as he somehow falls like a brick when he jumps while also moving like he’s on ice.

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When I described the game as “What if Mario dressed like pirate,” I wasn’t talking about the gameplay so much as the plot. Your wife/girlfriend/wench is a princess who was kidnapped by an evil wizard, and you’re going through these stages chasing the wizard to rescue the princess. If a real pirate were trying to rescue a princess from an evil wizard, it wouldn’t be to have a dance party on his ship (I’m not kidding, that’s the actual ending); it would be to ransom her for a massive cargo hold full of gold coins and then sail off into the sunset filthy rich.

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Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on this game, but literally nothing outside of the use of a sword and pistol actually feels pirate-y. Change the costume and nothing else, and this could easily be a game about a time traveling space ninja. The game is playable once you get a feel for it, but it’s length is entirely down to difficulty, and its difficulty is entirely down to bad design. Your character is hard to control, the bosses can hit you before you’re able to attack them, and your weapons are limited and replaced by finding piles of bones that could contain weapons or could instantly kill you. Hope you’re feeling lucky. All in all, this game is just bad, but it didn’t have to be. The game’s premise was always going to be dumb, but the game itself could have been fun if it had been made by competent people.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jul 14, 2021 4:39 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 66
* denotes a replay

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


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (12 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12
65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12
66. Sky Kid - NES - July 12


66. Sky Kid - NES - July 12

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I’m a huge fan of scrolling shooters. I typically prefer vertically scrolling shooters, but I’m not one to turn my nose up at a horizontally scrolling shooter. Sky Kid is a home console port of a Namco horizontally scrolling arcade game, and while it’s nowhere near the level of shooters like Gradius in terms of speed or fun (in my opinion, anyway), it’s still a solid shooter.

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ky Kid feels a bit like Chopper Command on Atari 2600. You scroll from right to left shooting down enemy planes and strafing ground targets like tanks and trucks all while avoiding enemy fire and physical obstacles. What sets Sky Kid apart from most shooters is the pace. It’s a much slower game than Gradius or, at times, even Chopper Command. The screen scrolls at a steady pace, and while you can move to the left and the right on the screen, you can’t do anything to make the screen itself scroll faster or slower. This can make it tough to avoid some obstacles, but it also means that you won’t have to worry about rushing headlong into a massive group of enemies unless you’re constantly hugging one side of the screen.

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While all you have to do in order to clear the level is reach the end and land on the landing strip, your objective is to bomb the target, usually either a large military building or a fortress. You’re not equipped with bombs, though. As you’re avoiding enemies and shooting them down, you also need to keep your eyes peeled for bombs on the ground and give yourself time and room to swoop down, grab the bomb, and regain your altitude. Normally you can use one of the buttons to do a roll in the air to avoid enemy attacks and give yourself a moment of invulnerability, but you lose that when you’re holding a bomb; when you have a bomb, that button drops the bomb. If you waste your bomb, too bad. It’s gone. You don’t have to bomb the target in order to complete the level (with the exception of the last level), but you get a massive point bonus if you do destroy it.

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The sprites in the game are fairly small and definitely have the look of an early NES game, but that doesn’t mean they look bad. Simple, definitely, but not bad. While there’s some slowdown towards the end, the game runs pretty smoothly for the most part, and the serious sprite flicker doesn’t start to really show up until the latter half of the game. It may not be my ideal style of shooter, but it’s undeniably a very competent arcade conversion for 1986, and it’s definitely fun to play. There are better shooters on the NES, but this is still a great piece to add to any collection.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Jul 15, 2021 4:07 am

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

Games 1~51
1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)
19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)
57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)
58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)
59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)
60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)
61. Rock Man X6 (Switch)
62. Rock Man X7 (Switch)
63. Rock Man X8 (Switch)
64. Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)
65. Magical Taruruuto Kun: FANTASTIC WORLD!! (Famicom)
66. Maken Shao (PS2)
67. Getsu Fuuma Den (Famicom)
68. Rock Man D.A.S.H (PSP)
69. Brave Fencer Musashi (PS1)
70. Joe & Mac (SFC) *
71. Atelier Lilie: The Alchemist of Salburg 3 (PS2)
72. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (Famicom)
73. The Bouncer (PS2)
74. Rapid Angel (PS1)
75. Atelier Totori: The Alchemist of Arland 2 (PS3)
76. Drakengard 3 (PS3)
77. Alwa's Awakening (Switch)
78. Hermina & Culus (PS2)
79. Atelier Meruru: The Alchemist of Arland 3 (PS3)

80. Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Switch)

This is a game I've been meaning to play for a good while, and was kinda just waiting to stumble across a physical copy until Prfsnl told me that it's included on one of the Namco collections on Switch! it also happened to be on sale for 4 bucks, so I snatched it up right quick, and I used it as a chaser in between Atelier games about a week ago X3. It's a pretty short game, as I beat it in around 40 minutes, but it's a pretty tough one too. I was pretty proud of myself that I was able to beat it in my first set of continues without needing to resort to save states or passwords (which, for the record, I was absolutely willing to do if it came down to it XD).

Wanpaku Graffiti is a cutesy parody of Splatterhouse that sees a "super-deformed" chibi-styled cutesy Rick clobbering his way through a handful of levels to save his girlfriend. The overall Splatterhouse-ness of the story is there, but in cutesy parody form, as there is a ton of silly stuff on top of the cute stuff. Some stuff is still a little creepy, such as fighting the poltergeist boss (one of the tougher ones), but a lot of it is also very tongue-in-cheek, such as the boss of the first stage: a vampire who, instead of fighting you himself, summons a bunch of zombies to dance to a legally distinct version of Thriller to before sending them to fight you (and then he descends back down into the floor once you're done fighting and he's done dancing XD).

The gameplay is a pretty bog-standard action platformer, though it is thankfully of that late-Famicom variety of "reasonably challenging platformer" rather than "lmao go die in a hole" platformer XD. You go through stages, left to right (and sometimes even climbing upwards!), fighting enemies, mini-bosses, and proper bosses. You can collect candy from killed enemies to refill your healthbar, and killing enough enemies extends your maximum amount of health. While you only have one life per continue, and you only have 5 continues, there are passwords between each stage and the checkpoints you go back to when you die are always very generous, so the game does a very nice job of feeling challenging while usually not feeling unfair.

You don't punch like normal Splatterhouse, but instead you have an axe to swing at them, but you can also get a shotgun powerup sometimes as a sort of directed screen-clear superpower. The shotgun does take some care to not fall into a hole while using, as it knocks you back a fair bit when you fire it, but the biggest mechanical stinker is the axe. The platforming, enemy placement, and boss design are all pretty darn good, but the hitbox on your ax is absolute jank. Especially for flying enemies and bosses, it can be very frustrating to land a hit made at a flying enemy or landing a hit while jumping. It isn't a game-breaker, but it's a very persistent annoyance that brings the game's overall quality from "pretty darn good" to "memorable but only okay" for me.

The presentation is quite good, especially in the graphical department. As with most late-Famicom platformers, they really knew how to flex the hardware to get some really nicely detailed sprites. I'm not sure how the Switch version affects the hardware slowdown at all, but at least in this version of the game, it also runs pretty well too. The music is fun and boppin' for what it is, and the Thriller part at the beginning of the game absolutely steals the show in that regard X3

Verdict: Recommended. Especially if you can pick it up on this little Switch Namco collection, this is a Famicom game well worthy of your time. It's not super unique mechanically, sure, and it's pretty short as well, but it's a cute, fun romp that will likely give a good bit of entertainment to anyone who likes action platformers~.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jul 15, 2021 4:19 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 67
* denotes a replay

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


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (13 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12
65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12
66. Sky Kid - NES - July 12
67. Top Gun - NES - July 12


67. Top Gun - NES - July 12

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Top Gun is a game made infamous by the early Angry Video Game Nerd videos, and I’m not ashamed to say that that’s where I first saw the game back when I was in middle school. Since then, it always kind of mystified me as this game that was fun to hate but never seemed as bad to me as the internet - myself included - made it out to be. When I started collecting for NES in earnest in my freshman year of high school, I picked this game up at the flea market down the road out of obligation as much as anything else. I felt like a game that seemingly universally reviled was one that I had to own.

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Top Gun is a flight combat sim, and despite releasing fairly early in the NES’s lifespan - 1987 - it looks fantastic. The game is from a cockpit perspective, and while it’s definitely a product of 1980s gaming technology, it’s remarkable when you take the hardware into consideration. The combat is fast paced, and you’ve really got to be on your toes to shoot down enemies, dodge bullets, and either avoid or destroy incoming missiles all at the same time. It feels a lot like a first person After Burner to me, and considering that After Burner is one of my favorite Master System games, that’s definitely a good thing.

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That’s the majority of the game, but that’s not what most people tend to criticize. Most folks seem to recognize the actual dog fighting as an incredibly fun and well-made experience. What most people criticize - rightfully so - is the landing sequence at the end of each level. It’s nearly impossible to land the plane without crashing and losing a life until you really get a good feel for it, and that’s where most of the hate comes into play. The game consists of four levels, and you have three lives. Even if you play each level perfectly and never get shot down, you’ll still get game over before you finish the last level if you can’t land the plane, and those missiles can be extremely difficult to avoid especially in the last two levels. Even if you follow all of the on-screen prompts immediately, you’ll crash. It just takes a ton of trial and error until you really get a feel for it, and that’s something a lot of people don’t have the patience to do.

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Top Gun is honestly a really good game for the most part. The combat is incredibly fun, but that damn landing sequence ruins the game for a lot of folks. I definitely don’t think it’s fair to write off the entire game as garbage because of that part, but given that it’s unreasonably obnoxious, it’s a definite pox on an otherwise excellent NES. Don’t avoid the game just because of it, but definitely go in with the understanding that you’ll want to break your controller when you get to that part.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Thu Jul 15, 2021 11:15 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

First 50:
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
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5
49. Eterium - PC
50. A Street Cat's Tale - Switch

51. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling - Switch
52. Banner of the Maid - Switch
53. CrossCode - Switch
54. Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency - PC

The Core Contingency adds 12 missions to each side for a post-game campaign. The Arm canonically won but there was a last Core commander hiding; his job to activate their contingency situation of blowing up the galaxy so that it can rebuild the Core forces in piece. The expansion adds four new biomes and several new units with mixed results.

The four biomes are the real new stars, as the new vehicles are mostly in support of those biomes. The first puts the expansion off to a bad start; a complete water world. There is no land on these maps, so all you get is ships and sea planes. There is a ton of economy and static defenses added, as well as a handful of ships and the sea planes (which are regular planes that can land underwater). While this might be interesting in a multiplayer game, in the campaign this makes these early missions tougher than they should be due to how unforgiving that economy is. The second is a swampy biome, where there is a ton of water that isn't passable by ships, so you want to dip into the new hovercraft and the new amphibious units. The third is a planet that has no water, lots of tall rocks that stick up to block line of sight and artillery shots and gets a ton of light meteor showers (supposed to be earthquakes but they didn't have a way to model it), and an ice planet which is like the old biomes but with regular hail storms that deal damage.

As mentioned, the main places the new units have pushed into are expanding the ability to work with water. The other thing that gets added is some weird holes in the economy and defenses, like the upgrade metal maker and upgraded anti-air turrets. But the best new thing is a building that lets your units automatically fire at units in radar range, rather than in visual range. This is FANTASTIC for your artillery pieces, because microing them is a total pain in the ass. It costs a ton of energy but it's worth it for the campaign.

The campaign is fairly average; outside a couple of poorly balanced missions it isn't too hard. You start off high on the tech tree and every level not the water ones can be won by turtling and building artillery to lol blast away everything. And given how annoying the built up base defenses can be I see no problem with this. Since it's quite hard to get a copy of TA without this expansion you might as well play it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ack Fri Jul 16, 2021 2:37 pm

You pulling Croc raids, Popo?
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Jul 16, 2021 2:52 pm

Mobile units are for suckers.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Jul 16, 2021 4:42 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 68
* denotes a replay

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


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (14 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12
65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12
66. Sky Kid - NES - July 12
67. Top Gun - NES - July 12
68. Top Gun: The Second Mission - NES - July 13


68. Top Gun: The Second Mission - NES - July 13

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As the name suggests, Top Gun: The Second Mission is the sequel to the commercially successfully but definitely flawed Top Gun for NES. This, however, is an example of a sequel done right. Konami clearly listened to the criticism that the first game got as well as the praise it got and set about fixing the problems and expanding on the strengths.

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The first thing that most will notice is that this game looks a lot nicer than the first one. It’s not a night and day transformation like Super Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros 3, but it’s a definite upgrade. The cut scenes look much better, and the enemy sprites got a nice touch-up, as well. Likewise, the combat feels much more refined. The dog fights truly do feel like dog fights here. I compared the first game to After Burner in first person, but this game feels much closer to a true arcade experience like that. In addition to the inverted vertical controls like you’d find with a joystick, they added the option for more traditional controls where pressing up on the D-pad moves your plane up.

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The gameplay is also a lot faster. Like, a LOT faster. Truthfully, it feels a little too fast at times. Enemies flit off the side of the screen much faster than in the first game, and missiles reach you much more quickly, as well. The increased combat difficulty is matched, however, by a significantly simplified landing sequence. Whereas I had to try and try and try over a dozen times before I got my first successful land in the first game, I have never failed to land in this one. There are also only three missions as opposed to four, but I’d say the game is probably about just as long as these three missions are all much longer than the four missions from the first game.

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The first Top Gun was a fun experience that was unfortunately marred by a brutally difficult landing sequence that honestly ruined the game for a lot of people. Fortunately, Konami remedied that problem in this sequel. The combat is way tougher than what you found in the previous game, so don’t expect the easy landing sequence to make for an easier playthrough, but it’s a ton of fun, and at least here, you’re going to die due to missiles and machine guns, not accidentally kamikazeing your own aircraft carrier.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Jul 17, 2021 7:07 am

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

Games 1~51
1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)
19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)
57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)
58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)
59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)
60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)
61. Rock Man X6 (Switch)
62. Rock Man X7 (Switch)
63. Rock Man X8 (Switch)
64. Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)
65. Magical Taruruuto Kun: FANTASTIC WORLD!! (Famicom)
66. Maken Shao (PS2)
67. Getsu Fuuma Den (Famicom)
68. Rock Man D.A.S.H (PSP)
69. Brave Fencer Musashi (PS1)
70. Joe & Mac (SFC) *
71. Atelier Lilie: The Alchemist of Salburg 3 (PS2)
72. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (Famicom)
73. The Bouncer (PS2)
74. Rapid Angel (PS1)
75. Atelier Totori: The Alchemist of Arland 2 (PS3)
76. Drakengard 3 (PS3)
77. Alwa's Awakening (Switch)
78. Hermina & Culus (PS2)
79. Atelier Meruru: The Alchemist of Arland 3 (PS3)
80. Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Switch)

81. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (PS2)

The latest game in my Atelier series binge of this year, this is the 6th game in the series and the start of the Atelier Iris sub-series. I considered continuing with the PS3 entries after finishing Atelier Meruru a few weeks back, but I decided to go back and fill in the PS2 gap in my knowledge of the series instead. This is a game I've tried playing through three times in the past, and my last serious attempt got forever derailed because of the sudden start of the Mega Man Mega Marathon Month (i.e. basically all of April XD). But this time I was committed to finishing it, and I did! I did most of the things in the game, but not quite all (for reasons I'll get to later), and it took me about 49-ish hours to beat the Japanese version of the game on original hardware.

Atelier Iris is, very oddly, NOT the story of the titular alchemist and her atelier (though they do make a sort of appearance). Instead, much like how Erdrick/Loto were the historic heroes of legend whose actions you were following in the original Dragon Quest, so too here is Iris a long-dead alchemist whose actions nonetheless continue to define the present in ways you are intimately involved in. You, namely, are Klein, a wandering young alchemist who has come to the land seeking the legendary fallen city of Abanberry, a city once known for its alchemical prowess that is now just a massive ruin upon a mountaintop. On the way, you meet up with the mysterious girl, Rita, and her and Klein become fast friends as a much larger plot slowly unfolds with the fate of the world at stake.

Atelier Iris is a MASSIVE departure for the series norms up to that point, and that isn't just because this is one of the only games in the series where a boy is the main character instead of a girl. On top of that, you also have the story being something with world-ending stakes rather than just a story encompassing the life of the titular alchemist. As you meet new party members and go to new locations, you often go back to the same locations, particularly the main town, again and again, and this is just one aspect that shows how unfamiliar and uncomfortable Gust is with telling a more linear story like this. It often feels like episodes of an anime whose events aren't all entirely necessary but fill out the characters' personalities for the audience. While that isn't a bad thing, it does make Atelier Iris have a somewhat plodding pace at times with both the main plot and the character writing.

The character writing is something that hasn't changed from Gust's usual prowess though. Your main party, particularly the relationship between Klein and Rita, are a very endearing bunch who get tons of time to respectively shine. Even side characters and shop keeper NPCs have really long and involved subquests you can delve into, and they were easily some of my favorite parts of the game (particularly Viola, who runs the magic shop). I'd say Rita is the real star of the show, with Klein being a more flat character for her character growth to reflect off of, but it's a dynamic that still works well. The overall themes revolve more around the familiar theme of the use of alchemy for selfish vs. common good means, but with a bit of an environmentalist twist to it. It isn't perfect, but it's a story told through a very personal lens to the point that the world ending stuff feels fairly secondary in comparison. It's certainly far from the best written game Gust has done to that point, and certainly not the best written game on the PS2 in '04, but it's a really solid first try, and I enjoyed it a fair bit more than I thought I would.

Where Atelier Iris really obviously shows its differences from its predecessors is in the game design, and that's in many more ways than simply going back to a larger adventure with no time limit to bind you. The first bit of control you have in the game is the tutorial combat fight, as the game seems to say right out the bat that this is a more combat-focused experience in a way unlike the prior five games in the series. The list of changes to that effect is pretty huge, so I'll just start at the most obvious place: alchemy and synthesis.

Now there IS alchemy in this game, but it's just very unlike the alchemy in prior games, and there are two types of it. First, there is the non-alchemy synthesis simply called "Shop Synthesis", where you bring items for recipes at different shops and new items are assembled for you. This is the kind of crafting most similar to the types in the previous games, and it's most like the first few games, as items once again are not unique between one another, and one puni ball is identical to any other. It's a system that's pretty simple, but they make it more engaging by having little events around the item you've created happen after each first-time crafting of an item.

The only really annoying part about this is that the event flags to get you new recipes to craft can be very fickle and sometimes just don't work at all. The reason I didn't end up 100%-ing the game (as I quite wanted to) is that several events, most importantly the one to craft clothes with 3 ingredients, never triggered for me, so there were a dozen or so items I could simply never obtain (and that actually never triggered for me in my previous playthrough either). Looking online and even in the guidebook I bought for the Japanese version, I can find no explanation as to why it didn't trigger (beyond some theories that some events may simply be impossible to trigger once you advance beyond a certain level?), so I can really only chalk it up to bugs. It's really unfortunate, because the extras such as character bios and the jukebox are locked behind crafting/acquiring/seeing certain sets of items, so there were a few I can just never get QwQ.

The second type of crafting is actual alchemy that Klein can do, but this is totally unlike other game's types of crafting. The game has 14 types of elemental mana (which I will call "sources", to alleviate confusion for reasons that will become clear very shortly). As you go through the game, you come across Mana Items that use different combinations of sources to craft. Sources can be acquired through means such as bopping them with your staff on the overworld, getting the last hit with Klein on an enemy in battle (turning them into source), or even turning normal items into source. This alchemy can actually be done anywhere, even mid-battle, and that's because instead of an alchemy cauldron, you use Mana to do your alchemy.

Mana in this sense isn't MP (although the game does *very* confusingly call MP "MANA" as well), but it's the name of the cute little familiars you acquire throughout your journey. Sometimes they give new actions you can perform on the overworld, such as shooting fireballs to destroy obstacles or making enemy encounters more or less frequent, but the most important thing they do is give you the ability to utilize new sources when you do crafting. If you don't have a mana who can manipulate water source, you can't make anything that needs water source, and certain mana get more efficient multipliers for using certain sources than others (such as a x1 multiplier vs. a x1.5 multiplier). Mana can even eventually be equipped on party members to give slight stat boosts and also to make certain skill abilities level up faster, and they can also be used to manufacture special boosts you can equip onto certain customizable weapons (which are usually the best weapons and accessories in the game). It's a very interesting new system that contributes a lot to how combat works now.

How combat works now is much more heavily yet sloppily position-based compared to prior games. Finally scrapping the 3x3 grid that prior games used for its enemy placements, now enemies are just scattered along pre-set patterns across from you as you fight. Klein plays an extremely important role in that, while all characters can use normal items, only he can use Mana items. Mana items are much more easy to make and much more powerful (generally) than normal items, making Klein and extremely important party member, and this also mimics how in later games only alchemists would be able to use items at all. You still fight in parties of 3, but in a neat move a lot like Final Fantasy X, you can actually swap between any active party member for one in reserve once you get to their turn for no turn cost at all, and that opens up a lot of opportunity for interesting strategies to approach enemies with.

Different items and skills have different attack radii, but that's where the most annoying aspect of combat comes in. The actual effective radius of attacks is never shown to you outside of enemies who will be affecting starting to blink to indicate they'll be hit by it. It makes using these area of effect moves very awkward and frustrating at times, and it also makes moves that do knock-back to the enemy difficult to use effectively either, as you can never be SURE that you're about to hit someone into an area where they'll be able to be hit. It's hardly something that breaks the game entirely, but it makes combat *far* more frustrating than it really needs to be, and it's an extra shame in a game that really brings focus away from crafting and towards combat.

Even exploration has been wildly revamped. Where before you had rectangular rooms to navigate, now you have properly crafted maps to wander around in and pick up ingredients in. They even have platforming, as you jump around areas trying to get out of the way goodies and to new found areas. It's ultimately not a huge change, and none of the design is particularly innovative or inspired, but it's regardless a big change for a series that up until this point had left combat and exploration a secondary concern behind the crafting and writing aspects of the game. The whole game plays much more like a traditional JRPG than prior Atelier games, and this (admittedly largely aesthetic) change perhaps more than any other really hammers that home.

The presentation is quite nice, but very lacking in certain regards. The music is once again very good, and the graphics, while taking on a new style, are very pretty. The visual-novel dialogue segments shift from the old style where you were talking to characters head on (effectively seeing people from their perspective) to characters appearing on the left and right to talk to one another (the style the series would continue to use until it abandoned 2D illustrated sprites completely). The most unfortunate thing is the abandonment of a LOT of the voice acting that made the series so distinct up to this point. While there is still voice acting, there is a TON of spoken lines that simply have no VA, and that includes a ton of unskippable story dialogue as well. This wouldn't be an issue if not for the fact that the previous five games had really pushed the boat out to have ALL of the spoken lines in the game voice acted. Perhaps it was due to this being the first game that was localized for the English-speaking market, but regardless of the reason, the voice acting budget for this game was seriously shrunk compared to previous entries, and it leaves a pretty sour first impression on the presentation front.

Verdict: Recommended. While I had way too many annoyances and bugs with this game to ever be able to recommend it SUPER highly, I still really ended up enjoying it. In many mechanical ways, it just isn't an Atelier series game at all, and it's one that a lot of fans of the rest of the series will bounce off of pretty hard if they're looking for an experience more like the rest of the series offers. That said, Atelier Iris may be different, but it still manages to be a really fun JRPG in its own right while also keeping that Gust-quality dialogue and character writing the series excels at so well. It may be a black sheep among Atelier games, but it's still a very solid JRPG worth playing.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
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