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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by alienjesus Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:57 pm

1. Star Fox 2 SNES
2. Sonic Advance 2 GBA *NEW*
3. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Wii U *NEW*

2 more for the list!

Sonic Advance 2
Sonic Advance 2 is a really interesting entry of in the series that holds up pretty well. I feel like people kinda forget about the handheld sonic games, but the quality of them over the GBA and DS lifespan was pretty good, especially in comparison to the console entries.

Sonic Advance 2 has a real focus on speed - levels are fast, full of grind rails and boosters, and rarely does the game slow down. Levels even start with a running start, and the finish line measures how fast you were running when you pass it.

For the most part, it works really well - the levels are fast and frantic, and whilst often a bit easy, they offer enough challenge to not constantly slow you down or feel cheap (some irritatingly placed enemies aside) whilst not being a complete pushover either.

One of the later zones (zone 5 - a cliff stage) is a pain in the ass though - lots of bottomless pits and awkward springs that throw you in awkward patterns making it quite easy to die. And die I did - this was as far as I got as Sonic (I beat the game as Cream, who was much easier to use). That said, this stage design wasn't the reason I game overed.

Bosses in Sonic Advance 2 also take place whilst running, kinda like the first boss in sonic & knuckles - and whilst I like that this fits the games fast pace, the boss design is too finnicky for the physics when running - one boss on the ice level cost me a ton of lives as slopes in the terrain made dodging certain attacks nigh on impossible. The bosses suck, and let down what is otherwise a top tier sonic title.

The one other mechanic I didn't like was the special stages - not the stages themselves (I didn't play any), but the requirement to enter them - which requires finding 10 items in a stage in a single run - requiring not only flawless play, as most are missable, but also forcing you down a set route, which defeats the point of Sonic's level design imo.

That said, the game is still a pretty great time and definitely worth a play. It looks and sounds great, has some memorable levels, good replay value and decent level design. A highlight in the series during the 2000s.


Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Whilst the leisurely pace of Captain Toad is quite in contrast to Sonic Advance 2, the bitesize puzzles make playing it feel just as speedy to progress.

Captain Toad is an absolutely charming game from start to finish - the graphics are gorgeous, the characters are lovable and even the enemies exhibit wonderful amounts of character. The music is nothing mind-blowing, but fits the games cutesy and charming 'adventure' theme wonderfully.

Level designs are fun and interesting - like Mario 3D World they throw new ideas at you frequently and not many levels feel alike. That said, none of them were difficult, even when completing the optional challenges and collecting the hidden gems, and I really wish there had been more, harder levels to enjoy.

Captain Toad was released as a budget game, and I really wish it had been a full price release with more content instead. It's a blast from start to finish and the main flaws were it's low difficulty and short length - both of which could've been alleviated with a bunch more levels.
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REPO Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by REPO Man Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:56 pm

MrPopo wrote:How the hell can Bioshock 2 take 70 hours to complete?


Does that include the side quests? Getting lost? Coming back after weeks or months and then forgetting what you were doing and then just wandering around trying to figure out what to do, and then figure out what you were supposed to do AFTER going in the completely opposite direction for an excessive amount of time?
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Xeogred Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:55 pm

Hot damn. I put in ~18 hours or something according to Steam on Bioshock 2 + Minerva's Den, and I thought I was taking my time. :lol:
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:30 am

1. Cut the Rope (3DS)
2. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
3. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (XBOX)

Call of Chthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is an immersive, survival-horror, first-person adventure game based on H.P. Lovecraft's writings (particularly, The Shadow of Innsmouth and The Shadow Out of Time). In it, you play a private investigator sent to the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts to locate a missing person. The townsfolk are less than welcoming, and your investigation eventually uncovers a vast and terrifying conspiracy.

Despite the game's far-fetched premise, its mechanics emphasize realism. There is no HUD, and you have to judge your character's health listening to his heartbeat, analyzing his injuries, etc. (If sounds are muffled, color is fading from the screen, and your reaction time starts dropping precipitously, you are bleeding to death.) All but one of the weapons are from the first-half of the twentieth century; they all take time to reload; and if you keep them aimed for too long, your arms will get tired (and your accuracy will drop). Treating your wounds requires a first-aid kit; takes the better part of a minute; and does not result in immediate recovery of your health. Finally, you have to count your shots to know when to reload, and counting your enemies' shots is a very effective combat technique. (If your enemy has a double-barreled shotgun, it is best to wait untilhe has fired off two rounds before mounting your attack.)

The emphasis on realism - and your character's distinctly human fragility - make the game incredibly tense. (You can kill most of your enemies with a well-placed shot, but they can drop you just as quickly. You have to find safe-locations to treat your wonds. Falling from even a modest height will kill or wound you.) Moreover, the game has a fantastic "sanity" mechanic that makes some of its most exciting moments even more hectic. (Looking at the game's horrors will blur your vision and result in hallucinations. Looking down from great heights will cause vertigo.)

The game is also incredibly well-designed. Despite my discussion of combat mechanics, you spend most of the game unarmed. Accordingly, the game emphasizes evasion, stealth, and creative problem-solving, and it is much more of a first-person adventure game than a first-person shooter. The enemies react realistically to your actions. They are much smarter than the brain-dead soldiers in the Metal Gear Solid games, and they will not stop pursuing you just because you ran down a hall way or closed a door. (In fact, they will break down the door, and search every corner of a room until they find and kill you.)

Finally, several of the set pieces are simply amazing. The ambush at the hotel, the escape from Innsmouth, the assault on the Marsh refinery, the voyage on the USS Urania, and the battle with the flying polyps are among the best set-pieces in any game.

The game is not entirely without its flaws, however. I encountered several bugs during my playthrough, and the game froze on multiple occassions. It is also brutally difficult, and the solutions to many of the game's "puzzles" are not easily uncovered. I therefore cannot recommend it to anyone who is easily discouraged or frustrated.

Nonetheless, it is, IMO, one of the very best games of its generation. It is, as I mentioned above, incredibly well-designed. Moreover, it is very faithful to H.P. Lovecraft's work, and the settings (particularly, Innsmouth and the Yith civilization) match his decriptions precisely. Accordingly, I highly, highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's work, a fan of survival-horror, or a fan of challenging first-person advenure games.
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J T
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:25 pm

Nice Call of Cthulu review. I need to get back to that game at some point. Your review reminds me of all that I liked about it.
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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by nullPointer Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:19 pm

The list so far ...
4. Rygar (NES/Nestopia v1.40)

Rygar
Many of the hidden gems on the NES have gone on to gain notoriety in such a way as to call their 'hidden' status into question. Some of these games, like River City Ransom for instance, have transitioned from being hidden gems to well-known, bona-fide classics. For the most part Rygar has remained a hidden gem for the NES, although it hasn't exactly languished completely in obscurity either. It's one of those classics that sits just on the cusp of popular consciousness.

All that being said, Rygar really is quite a good game with some noteworthy flaws that hold it back from achieving legendary status. Rygar was slightly ahead of its time in many ways. It was one of the early platformers on the NES to combine overhead segments with standard side scrolling. Furthermore, being that it released within months of the first Metroid game, it was also one of the first games to employ a Metroidvania style gear-gating mechanic (and it managed to do it with only minimal backtracking which is a bonus).

The controls here are nice, sharp, and responsive, and I really like applying a bit of turbo to the diskarmor weapon which effectively turns it into a WOMD, although not to a game breaking degree. Part of this is due to the fact that the enemies here spawn suddenly and in droves, which can lead to some cheap hits at times. So long as you keep on your toes you can generally lay waste to the hordes put before you without too much trouble. So while Rygar has a lot of good things going for it in terms of combat, some of the gameplay design elements are extremely indicative of it age. Among other things, you cannot jump off of (or onto) ropes, meaning that you must climb up or down the full length before you're able to take any other action. The game will occasionally put you in situations that exploit this element in which enemies will swarm you while you're just trying to get your slow ass up (or down) a rope. The other element that stands out as being antiquated (and which the game is slightly notorious for) is the wind pulley. This is a tool that you use as a zip line pulley in the game to cross over chasms. In overhead segments this tool is absolutely maddening. I've played through Rygar a few different times at this point and I still have no idea where to stand or what direction to push to get the wind pulley to link up with ropes. It's basically witchcraft. You just kind of … wiggle around until you hear the characteristic 'clink' indicating that you've made a positive connection. But … that's if you haven't already walked off the chasm to your inevitable death (several times) before making that connection. So that part sucks.

Thankfully though that's where my Rygar rant ends. Everything else in the game is pretty much on point. The music in particular is a high point here. Although there are a couple of weak tracks to be found, most of the audio is absolute solid gold. If one were to apply properly tremolo picked guitars and a blast beat, the track that rolls in the final castle is basically an early progenitor of second-wave ambient black metal. The other aspect of Rygar that really shines is the setting of the game itself. Quite honestly I don't think I've seen anything quite like it in gaming, save for certain elements of God of War, and even that comparison is only valid by virtue of having a loose thematic connection to Greek mythology, and a protagonist who uses a unique chain-based weapon. I'd have loved to have seen the world of Rygar fleshed out, fully realized, and expanded upon. In short I feel like there's a lot of untapped potential in the mythology. I do plan on playing through Rygar: The Legendary Adventure on the PS2 later this year though, so maybe that wish will be fulfilled.

At any rate, if you've got an appetite for a lesser known action platformer on the NES you could do a lot worse that Rygar.
Last edited by nullPointer on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:24 pm

I still need to finish Rygar. Thankfully with a Retron 5 I don't have to do it all in one sitting.

Have you played the original arcade Rygar? It's a completely different game!
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J T
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:25 pm

A Wolf Among Us (01/03/15)
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ (All courses S ranked on 01/08/15)
Distance (beta 3315, 01/11/15)
Shantae: Risky's Revenge- Director's Cut (01/16/15)
Sega Bass Fishing (01/17/15)
Fairy Bloom Freesia (01/17/15)
BasketBelle (01/18/15)
Tiny & Big: in Grandpa's Leftovers (01/20/15)
Sideway: New York (01/22/15)

This almost made it into the "games not beaten" thread for numerous glitches and crashes to desktop. I started this game a few years back, shelved it, then only recently got back into it. When it's working, it is a fun game. You are a graffiti artist who has magically been transported onto the walls of buildings with your graffiti. This allows the levels to twist and turn around the building walls that you play on. It's a cool effect and there are a lot of well designed levels that involve Donky Kong Country-esque cannonball shots, grappling hooks, and disappearing platforms. Unfortunately, the play controls lose their flow as they get stuck a lot in excessive animations and you have to anticipate that stickiness for the gameplay. You have to know which moves will require you to wait a few ticks before you can move again. Also, if you double jump too soon or too late, you don't get quite the same extra height, or if you float and stop, you can't begin a float again. It all just makes the game feel like it's killing your smooth groove. There was also some glitch that made it so my character would just get stuck in a ducking position for 2-3 seconds for no apparent reason. These glitchy controls could screw up what was otherwise good gameplay with excellent level design. The final boss had so many glitchy control malfunctions that I almost rage quit the game. I was actually lucky to even get to the final boss because there is a glitch that many people have reported in the Steam forums that is on the final level where the game simply crashes near the end. Your saves only save at the start of the level, not at the checkpoints, so this means playing a substantial chunk of the game over and over until the glitch doesn't happen. Third time was a charm for me, which is how I stayed so persistent on the final boss. I didn't want to have to do that again.

The graphics are pretty good with the graffiti aesthetic, though there certainly could have been more done with this topic. Every graffiti tag looked like it was done by the same artist. There is also lots of repetition of artwork assets, so the game all kind of looks the same throughout every level and it starts to feel a little monotonous. The music is fantastic and produced by hip hop artist Mr. Lif, which gives the game a real sense of authenticity. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is also pretty short, so you get kind of tired of hearing the same songs on repeat before you finish the game. I think with a bigger budget this title could have been a lot better because they would have been able to have more art assets and music.

Final Verdict: The game is about a 6 out of 10. There's not enough variety in artwork or music, and it's ultimately limited by glitchy gameplay and unfixed game crashing bugs. Nevertheless, some brilliant level design and a unique concept make it worth a play.
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J T
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:31 pm

Oh man, I love NES Rygar. I haven't played it in decades, but I was thinking I might make a return soon. I love bouncing on those rolly-polly bad guys.
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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by nullPointer Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:58 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:I still need to finish Rygar. Thankfully with a Retron 5 I don't have to do it all in one sitting.
Ha, yes I neglected to mention that part. I think almost anyone that's beaten this game on the original NES had to leave it running on pause at some point. It's quite a lot to bite off in one game session. That's actually part of the reason I emulate more than I play on my physical system(s) at this point. The ability to set my own savestate based 'check points' means that my gaming can still jive with my time constraints.
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Have you played the original arcade Rygar? It's a completely different game!
Totally! We ran Rygar (arcade) as a high score game of the month a while back on the GameEx forums. It's also great fun, but a very different game, and probably even more intense than the NES version. In this capacity it's a bit like the difference between the NES and arcade versions of Strider.
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