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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:43 pm

Well it was a Quest game, right? I still need to finish it someday. I've owned it for 20+ years.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:50 pm

1. Grandia (PlayStation)
2. Jungle Hunt (Xbox - Taito Legends)
3. Jungle Hunt (Atari 2600)
4. Jungle Hunt (Plug & Play - ColecoVision Flashback)
5. Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)
6. Donkey Kong (Intellivision)
7. Donkey Kong (ColecoVision)
8. Bubble Bobble (NES)
9. Side Arms: Hyper Dyne (PSP - Capcom Classics Collection Remixed)
10. 1941: Counter Attack (PSP - Capcom Classics Collection Remixed)
11. Ys: The Ark of Napishtim (PSP)
12. The Ninja Kids (Xbox - Taito Legends)
13. Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)
14. Golden Axe Warrior (Xbox 360 - Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection)


Neutopia
Neutopia is Hudson's take on the LoZ formula. Though the game was released on a 16-bit system, this was 1989/90 - so it predates Link to the Past by a bit and is thus based solely off of the original LoZ.

It's hard to talk about this game (or GAW, for that matter) without comparing it to Zelda. Let me approach things by talking about how these games differ from the Big Z.

Neutopia doesn't feature a huge sprawling overworld to explore. Instead, there are four smaller overworlds each connected to a central "hub." Each of these worlds looks completely different - they are assigned one of the four elements - and contains two dungeons. Once the dungeons are completed the next overworld opens up. This keeps the game very focused and linear. You also won't find yourself caught in any looping forests or spend time searching for that one special tree to burn.

The sword possessed by our hero, Jazeta, is much less impressive than Link's. There are no projectile laser shots, even at full health. Instead the game relies heavily on the use of a "secondary" weapon: the fire rod. This produces a certain type of offensive magic dependent on Jazeta's health. With full energy he produces long-lasting columns of flame that can "juggle" enemies much like the fire magic in Ys II. When health is low a fireball boomerang is shot from the wand instead. As expected, fire also interacts with the environment, as it's used to burn down trees and, uh, rocks. Bombs are another tool of Jazeta's, though only for blasting through walls - not for blasting through triceratopses. The game controls well, difficulty is well-balanced, and combat is a blast.

Neutopia is surprisingly text-heavy, making it one of the more import-unfriendly PC Engine games. The dialogue and conversations are incredibly straightforward, overly literal, and (unintentionally) hilarious. Some of my favorites:
- The strongest armor, shield, and sword contained within the game are known as the "strongest armor", "strongest shield", and "strongest sword."
- The old wise men and women actually preface their conversations by saying "I am a wise old man" or "I am a kind mother".
- At one point some guy tells Jazeta that he cannot pass if he doesn't have the fire rod in his posession. He says this whether or not Jazeta is equipped with the rod and does absolutely nothing to stop him if he lacks it.

Graphically Neutopia looks "12-bit" - late NES/early SNES styled graphics. Everything is smooth, bright, and colorful. I dig it. The soundtrack is a mixed bag. My three favorite tracks are, incidentally, the first three that present themselves. Everything else I have a hard time recalling.

The dungeons are a bit plain, but Neutopia's bosses are awesome. Huge freakish creatures with great animations and varied attacks. They're tough muthas too, so bring some heal potions.

My biggest gripe with the game is related to NEC's hardware itself. If you're playing on a vanilla TurboGrafx-16, as I was, then there's no way to save your game. Instead you're stuck with incredibly tedious passwords. For this reason I found it best to play in long stretches - fortunately the game is well under 10 (probably even under 7) hours.

Ultimately, this is a decent game - one of the best on the TG16 - but it can't hold a tree-burning candle to The Legend of Zelda. Neutopia simply lacks the hooks and, well, legendary moments that make LoZ so special: the intro with the waterfall, a huge world to lose yourself in, dungeons shaped like creatures and symbols, the snappy dialogue ("IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE..") and so on... And given it's high price tag I'd hesitantly recommend Neutopia - only for those wishing to delve deep into the retro action-adventure-RPG genre.

There is a Neutopia II but it ain't cheap and I don't own it.


Golden Axe Warrior
This might be even more derivative than Neutopia. There's one large overworld here - complete with a rudimentary map - with dungeons scattered throughout. It does mirror Zelda's overworld to a certain extent with mountains in the north and grasslands to the south, but there are some notable additions like an area full of hot lava that must be frozen to proceed.

Some other major differences...
Towns with shops and actual save points (though if you play on Sonic's UGG you can save wherever)! Talking to most NPCs also brings up a separate screen where you see facial portraits. The characters from the original Golden Axe are back to provide your hero (is this the Ax Battler?) with spells. The Golden Axe theme plays when you speak to them which always brought a smile to my face. The familiar beasts from the beat 'em ups are present as well.

And now I have unfortunately run out of positive things to say about the game.

The interface is a bit clunky. Since the SMS had less buttons on the controller than the NES one of the action buttons in GAW is assigned to the status menu. This means you can't hold two weapons/items at once and frequently have to bring up the menu to switch.

But that's petty poop compared to the real issue. The controls. They suck. In Zelda, Link is restricted to something of a grid-like motion. This allows you to easily maneuver the little elf man and line up attacks. It's never difficult to end up squarely facing your target. In GAW, the Ax Battler and his respective enemies move way too fast, like they're sliding across ice. Controls are loose and pixel-perfect precision is required during combat. In fact, combat with any enemy that requires more than one hit to defeat is a chore in itself. When you strike an enemy it gets knocked backed slightly, and then gains blinking invincibility and charges forward again. Enemies seem to loose the "blinking" when they're right on top of your sprite, so fighting most anything requires a sort of two-step dance or constant movement around the screen. This isn't fun.

On the other hand, so many bosses are stupidly easy. Some can't even hit you if you remain in the doorway - including the final boss!

I'm glad I played this. It's an interesting historical oddity and nice to see on a compilation given how expensive the original SMS cart is. But I can't recommend it in good faith. Unless you are, again, deeply in love with old action-RPGs or you consider yourself a hardcore Golden Axe fan (does anyone?) stay away from this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by emwearz Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:58 pm

Games Beaten 2015

1. New Super Mario Bros. 2 - 3DS
2. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - Wii U
3. God of War - PS2
4. Gunman Clive - 3DS
5. Dead Space 3: Awakened (DLC) - PC
6. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney - DS
7. Rogue Legacy - PS4


Total Games for 2015: 7

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney - DS
I have heard so many mixed things about Apollo Justice, it took me quite awhile after finishing the original trilogy to get around to play it. I loved it! It may actually be my favorite game in the series. The chapters were all really well self contained, while also having a very good over arching story to tie them all together. It also lacks the supernatural stuff from the first three which I always felt was a bit out of place.

Rogue Legacy - PS4
I clocked 11 hours into this, not a bad game by any means! Fun rogue like meets Metroidvania game. You pretty much save up, level / gear up, die, play a new random map, do this until you are strong enough to defeat a boss, repeat. Really fun and well polished game. Really right controls as well.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:01 pm

Rogue Legacy is one I hope to take down later this year. Got it via IndieBox. What I've played is awesome.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrPopo Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:19 pm

You pretty much nailed the problem with Golden Axe Warrior. I ended up using the axe most of the time simply because it was easier to hit enemies with if I wasn't lined up perfectly.
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by noiseredux Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:35 pm

Yeah the axe is the way to go.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:00 pm

Yeah I realized that I forgot to mention that in my write-up.

I switched back and forth. From what I recall the normal axe (ie the one you have before the Golden Axe) was weaker than the sword. So it was advantageous only at certain angles and against certain enemies (like the eyeballs). Also, only the sword could extend straight through blocks to hit bad guys.

Whatever the case, I think the combat is just awkward all around.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by dsheinem Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:12 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Yeah I realized that I forgot to mention that in my write-up.

I switched back and forth. From what I recall the normal axe (ie the one you have before the Golden Axe) was weaker than the sword. So it was advantageous only at certain angles and against certain enemies (like the eyeballs). Also, only the sword could extend straight through blocks to hit bad guys.

Whatever the case, I think the combat is just awkward all around.


did you play this back when it was the TR game?
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:53 pm

No, missed it back then. I read through the thread this afternoon though. :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Sload Soap Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:57 pm

Mass Effect 3: Omega and Leviathan DLC
These went into sale a week or two back so I bought them if for no other reason than to say I had beat every Mass Effect game and DLC.

Omega is a very action heavy side-quest wherein you help fan favourite (for some reason) Aria T'Loak retake the titular Omega from Mass Effect 2, a city-cum-Mos Eisley cantina currently under Cerberus control. One of its selling points at the time was that it featured a female turian. Unfortunately this was pretty anti-climatic for me as I had played Citadel, the final ME3 DLC, first and there a few lady turians knocking about in that. Also, if one of the selling points is we might get to see some lizard alien T&A EA might want to rethink their priorities.

Anyway, the whole thing is a long battle against Cerberus with some newish enemy types and some reused assets from ME2. Omega was a nice way to set the pace in ME2 but it wasn't really visually interesting enough for a revisit in my opinion. Also, as it is most likely you'll play this after beating the main game, you will shred through it in no time. A new reaper enemy is introduced in hushed tones as this indestructible killing machine only for me to then obliterate it in three shots with my fully upgraded weapons. How are the reapers winning this war again?

Double anyway, the add-on is okay but it doesn't really expand much upon the mythos of the series and I can imagine that if I had played it during a runthrough of the game, it would feel out of place. Shepard really has better things to be doing with his time than saving the dingy shithole that is Omega for the benefit of a woman who is essentially a sexy Jabba the Hutt.

Leviathan however is pretty good and relevant to the events of the game. The story is a murder mystery with you crossing the galaxy piecing together clues and motivations for the seemingly random death of a scientist researching anti-reaper weaponry. Of course this being Mass Effect the guilty party is an eons old telepathic squid monster. And when you confront it Shepard basically tells the sodding thing to help him fight the reapers or shove it. He/she's nothing if not single minded.

The DLC is much less combat heavy than Omega and has much more variety in its locations as well from ocean planets strewn with the hulks of missing starships to a desert planet battered by sandstorms. Okay it's just those two (and a Noveria like mining facility) but still, it's two more visually distinct locales than the hazy industrial glow of Omega.

As an add-on Leviathan is just better paced and has a more interesting story to tell while also expanding on the series lore in more meaningful ways than Omega. I'd go as far as saying it was the fourth best ME add-on. What acclaim!

To sum up: Leviathan is worth it in sale, Omega is for ME megafans and completionists only.


Burning Force (MD)
Burning Force is sort of a Space Harrier clone in which you play as a cute anime girl who pilots a hovering spacebike, that transforms into a jet every third level, shooting up numerous cheese dream inspired enemies on a quest to get an official spacebike/jet pilot license.

As a Space Harrier-a-like it does some things that bring it pretty close to being a great game but it isn't doesn't because the developers slightly misunderstood what makes Space Harrier the game it is.

In simple terms, with Space Harrier you die and say to yourself "damn, I could have avoided that". However with Burning Force you die and go "dafuq, how was I supposed to avoid that?".

Burning Force has a bad habit of filling the screen with junk and expecting you to avoid it (some stuff will even come from behind and jump onto you), a problem exacerbated during the spacebike portions as you are limited to moving along the X axis. It's a small but fundamental difference that makes one game the intense and frantic classic it is and one game a flawed gem.

That's not to say I disliked Burning Force though. It definitely has enough of its own ideas to set it aside from Sega's classic and it has that early Mega Drive charm with its graphics and sound.

The game is structured differently too. The game is split into five levels or "days" each featuring four parts. Parts one and two are on the spacebike with each ending in a sub-boss. Part three you upgrade to the jet to fight the game's bosses and part four is a bonus round where you collect points for extra lives. It's more stop start then than Space Harrier's relentless push but the little scenes of the bike being bolted into the jet adds character.

I liked the game overall. As far as it goes it's better than Space Harrier 2 and has some nice boss battles. The difficulty is uneven and it doesn't have that mesmeric quality Space Harrier does but if you see it going for cheap I say pick it up.


Disney's Donald Duck Quack Attack (PS1)
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Naughty Dog should be very flattered indeed. Quack Attack is really nothing more than a very easy, very simple Crash Bandicoot rip-off with Donald Duck seemingly copy pasted in after the fact.

Like, it's not a terrible game and it looks quite good and plays fairly well, some dodgy hit detection aside, but it is a kids game with a capital KIDS. I enjoy easy games because sometimes I just like to know I will see the end but honestly Quack Attack is kind of patronising. And I don't mean just to beat, you should really 100% this thing on a first attempt.

It's a competent game from an era when that was all Disney expected of their videogame ventures but settling for merely competent was not what gave us Aladdin or Castle of Illusion.

Quack Attack is literally the made in China version of Crash Bandicoot. Officially it's an early Ubisoft Montreal joint but the credits show a lot of the work was farmed off to their nascent Chinese branch who were obviously tasked to make the game as quickly and cheaply as possible. I did get some enjoyment out of it and on the whole it is not a execrable experience but it is too easy, too short and generally too unpolished to be anything better than mediocre. Just let the kids play Crash instead.


Metal Gear Rising: Revengance (360)
Holy moly, this game is fucking nuts and that is really saying something when you consider it's parentage of a developer not known for its subtlety making a spin-off from a series not known for its sanity.

Metal Gear Rising is like a fever dream one would get after reading a load of Tom Clancy, watching a load of anime and then spending a few days huffing paint. It's credit to Platinum that they set out their stall early on with assassinations, cyborg ninjas and a solo fight against a metal gear coming within the first, oh, fifteen minutes of play. And it's even more credit that it continually ramps up the crazy from there. Nanomachines, son!

All this crazy in the story and setting would be nothing though if it wasn't also supported by some crazy in the gameplay and it is here Metal Gear Rising truly shines. Ostensibly a hack and slash game, Rising is really closer to being a samurai simulator. Simply mashing away at the buttons will just lead to countless retries and what at first seemed like a fairly shallow allocation of attacks soon opens up and shows itself to be a deep counter attack based game of quick reactions and anticipating enemy attacks.

This is achieved with the easy to learn, hard to master parrying system, a system that becomes both your greatest defensive and attacking move. I don't have the reflexes or patience available for it but I can imagine that a skilled person could beat this entire game (which isn't always the most forgiving even on medium difficulty) without being hit.

I'd say in that way it was less like developer stablemate Bayonette and more like the Arkham games. Whereas Bayonetta is all about the ridiculous pyrotechnics of its fights, Rising goes more for that Arkham style combat assessment vibe with the player constantly thinking ahead in terms of keeping up combos and avoiding incoming attacks. It's a wonderful mix and when it clicks it feels so good.

When you combine this flowing combat style with the games central gimmick, a bulletime inducing, right analogue stick controlled, freestyle sword swinging mechanic, and you have some very memorable battle sequences. The "zandatsu" sword kills are like the punctuation to the games many fights. And they looks cool as hell.

The whole game looks cool as hell. Platinum have done an excellent job of taking the Metal Gear universe's unique look and kept it consistent even while they jack it up to eleven. The game's fantastic boss battles are themed much like previous Metal Gears and there's a real visual flair to cut-scenes.

Did I also mention the game is kind of crazy? Because it is, and it is fabulous. I loved little bits of crazy like every boss giving you heartfelt monologue as you stand over their shredded, unrecognisable corpses, the way Raiden looks like someone stuck Debbie Harry's head on top of a wrestlers body, the way people talk unironically about "the memes", the way the Gekko's moo and the rays roar, the way the evil corporation is based in Denver and the way the senator looks like a really buff James Rolfe and does sumo foot slams before powering himself up for a fight. The whole thing is batshit, off the wall, off its head insane. It revels in its excess and gives not a jot about that.

I really don't have many issues with the game. There are occasionally times when the camera will dick you over in tight spaces and on a first run some enemies have moves that can be hard to read. The final boss can also be a real pain in the arse without any back up healing item and while the cutting mechanic feels great most of the time, you really notice how imprecise it can be when asked to cut something along a more straight path.

I don't think that the package on the whole is as refined as Bayonetta and certainly doesn't have the ocean deep moveset that game boasts. Rising is much more off-kilter and like its protagonist is a ball of malevolent fury hiding beneath the steely veneer of a noble samurai. It's top tier stuff and when you get into a groove can feel like a 3D update of those truly great nineties action arcade games.

Madder than a sack of drunk badgers but ultimately loads more fun to play with. Less biting.
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