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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by alienjesus Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:59 pm

1. Star Fox 2 SNES
2. Sonic Advance 2 GBA
3. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Wii U
4. Advance Wars: Dark Conflict DS
5. Joy Mech Fight Famicom
6. Grandia PS1 *NEW*
7. Money Idol Exchanger Game Boy *NEW*

2 more games for the list.


Grandia

Warning, major story spoilers ahead:
I'm a bit late finishing up Grandia for January's Together Retro, but I'm glad to have finished the game.

Like a couple of other people here, I think that Grandia is far superior in execution to Final Fantasy 7, if not as ambitious. The story is better written, the mechanics are more interesting, the main characters at least are more memorable and overall I just find it a lot more likeable as a whole.

Grandia's story feels like it has emotional impact, even when it can equally be a little cheesy and predictable. Moments like Justin leaving home on the ship, Sue leaving the party and Leen's death actually feel like they have weight and are well done. Yes, they can be cheesy, but it's utterly refreshing to have your main character leave his home town by choice - no destruction of the village, no exile - he has reasons not to leave - his mum, his friends - and he makes a difficult choice to do so. It's far more impactful than the bigger epic scale most RPGs start out with.

I also love that despite how it ends up, the first chunk of the game is all about going on an adventure. For a while, there's no world ending threat, destined heros blahblahblah. Yes it does add those elements, but they come later, after you've been given time to appreciate the characters as they are without the pressures of being destined warriors etc.

Justin, Feena, Rapp and Sue, as well as Leen and Mullen, are all quite well written characters. They're not going to be winning an oscar or anything (and the voice actors sure won't - they're not the worst, but they're still pretty poor - ESPECIALLY Mullen, which can ruin the drama of some pivotal late game moments) but they're believeable, they have character and they even feel like they have arcs. The other 4 playable characters on the other hand seem to be just party filler, and I wish that we'd been allowed to just keep Sue for our final party.

The battle system is great. I'm not going to go into much more detail than thatother than to say that taking account of what attack is coming when, who can cancel who and the like is a lot of fun, and I really like the weapon and magic experience boosting stats and granting new abilities. It feels very active for a turn based RPG, and I like it.

Visually the game looks OK. It's not stunning, but it looks nice enough, and theres some nice diversity in the game environments. Dungeons can look a bit samey throughout though, which compounded by the poor camera angle, bad dungeon design, wide open areas and no map can make chugging through dungeons a chore sometimes.

My one gripe with the game is that it's too long - and it is quite a big gripe I feel. I've played a lot of RPGs, and I've played some for far longer than the 50 hours or so this takes (I put 130 into Xenoblade Chronicles). The thing with this game though is that it didn't need to be this long - especially towards the end of the game when big plot developments are happening, the constant new dungeon areas ruin the story pacing. The game has too much filler too - near the end of the game you go through one dungeon twice, only 3 hours apart. Earlier on you must go talk to a character after he leaves your party - two thirds through an earlier dungeon. Almost every major dungeon requires you to manually walk out after beating the boss - it's tedious and unnecessary, and it disturbs the games otherwise solid story pacing.

Overall, I really liked Grandia. I loved the world, the characters and the battle system. It's not my favourite RPG of the era though, just because of the incredibly tedious (and unavoidable) filler used to extend the games length. Final Fantasy IX probably wins out for me as far as PS1 RPGs go, but I had a lot of fun with this one, and I'm glad we chose it. Especially as our other JRPG option was Wild Arms, and that game sucks :wink:


Money Idol Exchanger

Recently I visited an arcade with a friend, and one of the machines they had was a head to head puzzle game which we enjoyed immensely. I had no idea what it was, but from the basic mechanics, I assumed it was a Magical Drop game. What it actually was, was Money Idol Exchanger.

Once I discovered what I'd been playing, I was determined to find a home port to play. Unfortunately, the only console port was on PS1, and was Japan only, which I had no way to play right now. I did find out about a Japan only Game Boy port though, and despite knowing that it wouldn't be quite the same experience as the multiplayer focused arcade game, I picked it up nonetheless.

Money Idol Exchanger is a puzzle game with Magical Drop mechanics - you can grab a bunch of the coins that litter the screen and place them on top of others to match them. The crucial difference is that instead of matching colours, you're matching currency value. Combine five coins worth 1 to make one coin worth 5. Combine two 5s to make a 10, five 10s to make a 50 etc, until two 500s disappear outright.

This makes for interesting pacing, as some coins are easier to clear than others. whereas 5s, 50s and 500s can be cleared by simply matching 2, clearing the 1, 10 and 100 coins requires making a chain of 5, which is trickier. There's a major balance in finding time to align 5 of the lower value coins whilst still matching the easier ones whenever possible.

In the Arcade version, matching fast, or making combos will push more coins down your opponents screen. This mechanic is sort of carried over into this Game Boy port, but you can't see the opponents screen, so it doesn't really feel like it's something to worry about.

Presentation wise the port is bare bones - it has a nice super game boy border, comes with 3 modes (no idea what 2 of them are, the top 1 is vs. CPU though), and only a few music tracks, which are OK but get annoying eventually. Theres not much else to it. It plays fairly well, although it really misses the shininess of the arcade ports sound and graphics, and I feel like the d-pad movement feels a bit less reponsive, although it's hard to compare as I haven't played the arcade game all that much.

It's a fun game and I enjoyed it, but definitely play the PS1 or Arcade versions if you can - the 2 player really is integral to the experience.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:20 pm

Oh wow that Money Idol Exchanger game is on MVS.

*looks at prices*

lol nevermind.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by alienjesus Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:29 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Oh wow that Money Idol Exchanger game is on MVS.

*looks at prices*

lol nevermind.



Yeah, I hate to even ask...


Apparently it's on PSN in Japan though?
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:09 am

Games Beaten 2015

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call - 3DS
A Bird Story - PC
Quake - PC
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - PS4
Quake: Scourge of Armagon - PC
Quake: Dissolution of Eternity - PC
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis - NDS
Painkiller - PC
Gungrave: Overdose - PS2
Adventure -Atari 2600 (PS2)*new*
Auto Racing - Intellivision [1979] *new*

Total: 11


Previously: 2014 | The First 400 Games

I decided to start my Alphabetical-By-Year challenge with a game from the year I was born that stated with A. I played a bunch (several hours) of Akalabethbut I suck at it and am giving up trying to beat it. I beat Adventure (2600), but most accounts have that coming out in 1980 instead of 1979 so its inclusion is spotty. I went with Auto Racing on the Intellivision (which I have on the original hardware but skipped b/c I hate the controller). I played "through" single player mode as best as one can, but in truth it is more about enduring the challenge of playing a poorly designed game than it is about the game itself. In any case, it is almost mid-February and I need to get cracking on this. Up next, 1980 & "B"...
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:49 am

Nice work.

Honestly the best way through Akalabeth (and the only way I've beaten it) is to exploit the BASIC code and turn yourself into a jacked-up Lizard Man.
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:51 am

BoneSnapDeez wrote:is to exploit the BASIC code and turn yourself into a jacked-up Lizard Man.


I played with that but it feels gimmicky and not really worth doing...it was also working inconsistently for me. In any case, I certainly got a good feel for the game and am glad to have it under my belt as something I now know about beyond just its name.
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Stark Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:41 am

What's next Dave? Berzerk?
Let strength be granted, so the world might be mended...so the world might be mended.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:07 pm

Wait so Dave #1 has combined the alphabet and year challenges? Awesome.
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:17 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Wait so Dave #1 has combined the alphabet and year challenges? Awesome.


I did, yes.

Stark wrote:What's next Dave? Berzerk?


No, I don't have it in me to clear 60,000+ rooms. Is there another angle on beating it?

Edit: went with Activision's "Boxing" for the VCS.
Last edited by dsheinem on Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:25 pm

Looked at 1980 on my RFGen list.

Intellivision sports games, Space Invaders (scratch that it's a reissue), and Alien Invaders Plus (Odyssey 2)...
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