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Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:57 pm
by Ziggy587
MrPopo wrote:1. Oni - PC
2. Donkey Kong 64 - N64

101%, K. Rool down in two attempts, 23 hours in game (so probably closer to 30 hours real time when you figure in all the unskippable cutscenes that don't advance the in game timer. I ended up having to look up the locations of the two secrets in the entrance to Fungi Forest (it's not evident they exist, and even getting the first one probably means you miss the second one) and the location of Diddy's banana at the peak of DK Island (I got screwed by the draw distance and thought it didn't exist there).

This ended up being a really mixed game for me. I thought the overall level design was really clever and they did a good job of slowly ramping things up and teaching you to switch between your characters to pass different parts of the level. The game has a ton of collectables, but it never really feels onerous. Unless you're crazy enough to try and get all 100 bananas for all Kongs in all levels.

The part that ended up causing me the most frustration, and it was enough that I feel it really hurts the game, is the minigames. About half of them were fun and not too bad, but the other half just utterly sucked. Herding the gophers (especially having to do 15 twice), every single race, fly swatting, and several of the battle arenas that either forced Donkey Kong on you or spammed Kasplats.

Also, the credits aren't nearly as awesome as Jet Force Gemini's. But at least it has the DK Rap.

Man, I really wanna replay this game again at some point. I got it upon release, and eventually made it up to K. Rool but never beat him. I ended up losing my save file, so I'd have to start over if I ever wanna beat it. It's probably the only game that I regret not beating. The game itself is fun, but it does get a little tedious toward the end.

As for the mini games... I REALLY fucking loved having to play the classic Donkey Kong arcade game. I suck at old arcade games, but DK64 forced me to get good at DK. Now I enjoy playing it.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:10 pm
by Xeogred
Haha, I want to revisit DK64 myself someday, just because of the story I think I've told you guys about for years now. I played DK64 for day long sessions when I had mono or was ultra sick with a high fever and the whole experience was really weird, I literally feel like mush or light headed when I think about DK64 to this day because of my health back then when I played it. lol, makes no sense. I want to revisit it so I can associate some new better memories with it.

But I think it has something to do with those Rare platformers in general. So I think it induced the sickness even more back then. I noticed I felt kind of dizzy when I replayed Banjo with the HD release. The caves/interior levels are super claustrophobic and kind of nauseating to me. I never get that feeling with Mario 64 or the 64 Zelda's though.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:45 pm
by Exhuminator
I have never been able to get into any of Rare's 3D platformers. I avoided DK64 because of its focus on collecting tons of dinky rinks. The Banjo games... I can't stand Banjo's character design, I just don't want to play as that... thing. I put a fair amount of time into Conker's remake on Xbox, but the bad level designs and tepid game design outweighed its potty humor. Never tried Jet Force Gemini because all I heard was bad things from reliable sources. That said, I enjoy Rare's 2D platformers and their 3D first person shooters.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:59 pm
by Xeogred
Exhuminator wrote:I have never been able to get into any of Rare's 3D platformers. I avoided DK64 because of its focus on collecting tons of dinky rinks. The Banjo games... I can't stand Banjo's character design, I just don't want to play as that... thing. I put a fair amount of time into Conker's remake on Xbox, but the bad level designs and tepid game design outweighed its potty humor. Never tried Jet Force Gemini because all I heard was bad things from reliable sources. That said, I enjoy Rare's 2D platformers and their 3D first person shooters.

Way bigger Nintendo fan myself (as in I like 3D Mario stuff way more than these), but I think most people around here love the Banjo games. They're alright to me. Did you ever play the second one? It's pretty different and a lot more open. Both that and DK64 overstay their welcome to me though.

I actually don't recall Jet Force Gemini being very comparable to these. Think it was pretty different and more action oriented, maybe more like Ratchet or something. Who knows though I haven't played this one since it was released. Also, another one I never beat because I thought I remembered it being super long.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:12 am
by Exhuminator
Xeogred wrote:Did you ever play the second one?

Nope. Too kiddy for me when it was released. Some companies can make games that appeal to both kids and adults alike. I mean character, art, and sound design that appeals to both camps. But the Banjo stuff just came off to me like it was meant for young kids to enjoy, just very juvenile in art and sound design. Reviews lead me to believe the game design centered around contrived busy work, perfect for keeping an 8 year old out of their parent's hair for a weekend. Now I know what I'm saying will rub some folks the wrong way, and I understand. They probably were a lot younger than I was when the Banjo games released, and were more open to such skewed aesthetics. And I'm not saying that as an adult you can't enjoy a Banjo-Kazooie game either. I'm just saying that as an adult those games never appealed to me in the slightest. But I loved the hell outta Mario 64 in contrast, I didn't mind Klonoa or Ape Escape on PS1 either. All of those early 3D platformers I just mentioned felt more generationally inclusive and less child oriented to me is all.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:32 am
by MrPopo
Jet Force Gemini is much more focused on action. The Tribal collection is the only real Rare-style collectathon, and for the most part it's super easy to do. There's only a handful of cases where you need to actually put forth effort to collect them.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:41 am
by MrPopo
1. Oni - PC
2. Donkey Kong 64 - N64
3. Yoshi's Story - N64
4. Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide - PC
5. Forsaken 64 - N64
6. Bloodrayne: Betrayal - PSN

A 2D platformer by Wayforward, Betrayal is the latest entry in the Bloodrayne franchise. I believe it's set in between Bloodrayne and Bloodrayne 2, but the story is super light. But that's ok; Bloodrayne has always been at its best when focusing on its gameplay. And this game has some pretty crazy gameplay.

The game divides itself into two components; a combat engine and platforming sections. For the most part the flow of the levels is that you platform around until you reach an area that freezes the screen and starts spawning in enemies. The combat is actually pretty robust for a 2D platformer; you have a variety of attacks to combo enemies or knock them into the air. The game lets you knock enemies into hazards such as spinning blades or acid pools, and there's also a really fun mechanic with your feeding. Since Rayne is a dhampir she can feed on the blood of her enemies to sustain herself. But in this game if she stops feeding on an enemy before it dies that enemy becomes infected. You can infect as many enemies as you like, and you can cash those infections in by hitting a button to make them all explode, dealing damage around them. This is one of your main methods of crowd control. The other main technique is your dash that makes you invulnerable for a bit. It has a similar feel to X's dash + air dash.

The platforming makes up the other major part of the game. You can wall jump off of certain surfaces, you can do a head hop (like the downkick in Castlevania games), and the aforementioned dashing. In the later stages of the game you need to do a lot of very precise platforming, and a few times you also need to do very fast platforming. There were a few segments that were balls hard; this game makes you earn your credits screen.

One thing that stands out is the animation. The game is done in a style that mimics hand drawn animation and has a very fluid style. The whole thing is an utter visual treat, and it helps salve when the game is crushing your balls.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:26 pm
by ElkinFencer10
01/01 - Shadow Warrior (PS4)
01/02 - The Order: 1886 (PS4)
01/03 - Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop (Wii)
01/04 - NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits (WiiWare)
01/05 - Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS Vita)
01/09 - Shadow the Hedgehog (Gamecube)
01/10 - Fairy Bloom Freesia (Steam)

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:46 pm
by alienjesus
Time for my first entry. Quite a few to add to get going here, sorry that I always seem to post too much at once, but I actually beat 5 of these this weekend :oops: :

1. Ys Book II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter PSN Vita
2. 3D Streets of Rage 2 3DS eShop
3. 3D Gunstar Heroes 3DS eShop
4. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 3DS eShop
5. 3D OutRun 3DS eShop
6. Mugen Senshi Valis II: The Fantasm Soldier PCE CD

Ys Book II
I've beaten Ys 1 twice at this point, on the Master System, and on the Vita (via a digital version of the PSP game). This is the first time I have moved on to Ys II, and although it's mostly more of the same (which is good) there are some differences between the way the two play out (which are not necessarily always good).

Storywise, the game takes the plot of the first game and builds on it tremedously - the story, whilst fairly shallow and not at the forefront, was actually quite compelling and made for some very dramatic moments. Without spoiling too much, the race up the bell tower in the last dungeon to beat the last toll was awesome, and I loved running into all the familiar faces before the final boss too.

Presentation wise, the game is more of the same. The graphics are still stunning and the music is excellent, although I feel the first game's music just edges this one out for the superior soundtrack. Whislt the graphics are nice, there is a pretty big flaw in how long is spent in some of the games areas - you just spend too long staring at the same tilesets sometimes, especially in the mines at the start and the sanctuary at the end of the game.

The new mechanics they've added are nice additions. The spells offer some nice variety - having the option to freeze time, attack from a distance or even to sneak past as a monster gives you lots of options to proceed, rather than just running headlong at enemies, although, being Ys, this is still a major aspect of the gameplay.

The biggest flaw with the game, by far, is the level design. The first Ys game has some fairly large areas, and there are maze like sections in them, but they're not too hard to manage, even Darm Tower. This game though, jesus christ. Every area is a labyrinth and it just gets tedious to navigate. There was too much focus on making the player get lost, and it almost manages to ruin the experience at times. Luckily, the gameplay is fast paced enough that it keeps you going despite the frustrations. Were the game mechanics any slower, this would be a big deal breaker for me.

Ys 2 is a great game, and I liked it a lot. As a cohesive experience with Ys 1, it only adds to how great the first game was. In comparison though, I feel it falls a little flat compared to the first game due to it's sheer love of making you get lost in it's dungeons. Seeing as Ys 2 is seemingly always presented with Ys 1 though, you have nothing to lose here. It's great stuff.

3D Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 2 is still possibly the best beat-em-up ever made. This is the best version of it. Buy it.

...OK, I'll say a bit more about it. The 3D effect on offer here actually adds a ton to the game, it looks stunning,and makes it way easier to work out which plane an enemy is on, especially the likes of the jetpack guys who aren't on the ground. The biggest place I noticed this was against the alien machine miniboss Vehelits in stage 3 - every time I play the game this guy gets a few cheap hits on my because I can't just the distance he's at. This time, he didn't get me once.

Even if the 3D isn't a selling point for you (and it should be, it's awesome) the game adds lots of other options to make it worth a purchase. You can play the US or Japanese version of the game, which have some minor changes between them. You can emulate the sound of a model 1 or model 2 Mega Drive. You can turn on new easier difficulty modes such as Casual (enemies die when they hit the ground) or Fists of Fury (enemies die in one hit). These sound stupid, but they're tons of fun for a quick blast, especially on harder difficulty levels.

Lastly, the best new edition in my eyes is Rage Relay mode - you choose all 4 characters in turn, and have 4 lives maximum. When a character dies, you respawn as the next character in the list. This is how I played through the game and beat it in the end. I used 8 lives (which is quite a lot) and spent almost none of it as my usual character of choice (Skate) as I didn't reach him (he was 4th) until the elevator on level 7, which might be the hardest part of the game. Instead, I spent a lot of time as Blaze and Max, which was really interesting. Axel is still my worst character by far.

If you have a 3DS, you should have this, and basically all the other 3D classics too. They're great.

3D Gunstar Heroes
Gunstar Heroes is still possibly the best run 'n gun ever made. This is the best version of it. Buy it.

...OK, I'll say a bit more about it. The 3D effect here is less significant than Streets of Rage 2, as it doesn't add anything to the gameplay, but it still looks incredible,and makes some of the 3D looking enemies in the game (such as the block man in the forest stage, or the infamous Melon Bread in the dice maze) look stunning.

All of the emulation options from the other games in the series are here again, and like Streets of Rage there are a few options to change how the game plays. The big one here is Gunslinger mode, which lets you swap weapons on the fly with the L and R buttons, letting you always have the weapon you need for any situation. Pressing X will also swap your character between free shot (where you move and aim you shot at the same time) and fixed shot (where you cant move while shooting, but can aim whilst standing still), if thats something you like, but I go for free shot all the way personally. You can also unlock Mega Shot mode, which is a mode where guns do double damage, but that's kinda boring.

3D doesn't improve Gunstar the way it improves Streets of Rage, and there are less additional modes on offer, but this is still the best version of an amazing game, and everyone who owns a 3DS needs to own this too.

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2
OK, so calling Sonic the Hedgehog 2 possibly the best platformer of all time is probably pushing it a bit but it's still a fantastic platformer, and this is a pretty great version of it.

I hesitate in this case to describe it as the 'best' version of the game, although it probably is. The big difference here is that what's been added here is pretty minimal in comparison to the other 3D Classics I'm talking about. The 3D effect is nice, but subtle - unlike Gunstar or SoR2, Sonic has pretty flat backgrounds, and all the action looks like it's on one layer here still. It's nice, but not really obvious.

As well as the usual Mega Drive emulation options, this game adds a few custom features, but they're pretty minor in comparison to those games too. You can turn on level select (which works like the cheat does on normal versions, but is easier to access). You can also turn on Ring Keep mode, which makes you only lose half your rings upon dying, which makes the game too easy, and Super Sonic mode, which makes you start every level with 50 rings and gives you all chaos emeralds from the start so you can power through as Super Sonic.

I played through on the normal settings, and picked up all Chaos Emeralds for the first time. Super Sonic is fun in Sonic 2, but as a reward, he's actually kinda flawed. Getting Super Sonic basically means you'll never get any more extra lives from collecting 100 rings, as he activates at 50. Continues are harder to come by too. Not that that's an issue for me, but it could be concerning for some.

The other issue I had is that Super Sonic is actually a massive liability. The game can't always handle him - I died severaltimes from glitches - in Hill Top zone I jumped so far and so fast, and dropped so far I died offscreen from hitting the 'death zone' at the bottom of the screen, even though where I was landing was safe. I got crushed in Hilltop by glitching into a wall too. It happened quite a lot.

In addition, as a reward, Super Sonic is odd as the last few zones are designed to work against him. Metropolis loves surprising you with enemies that steal your rings to make it hard to hit 50. Air Fortress requires precision jumping that is much harder as super Sonic, over instant death pits that Super Sonic isn't immune to. And Death Egg offers no rings either way, so forces you to play it straight.

Sonic 2 is great, and 3D Sonic 2 is still great. It's not as essential as SoR2 or Gunstar, but it's well worth a purchase.

3D OutRun
Unlike the other 3 games in the series I've beaten this weekend, this one is an Arcade port rather than a Mega Drive port, and I've also never played it before.

This one offers different emulation options to the Mega Drive games. You can adjust the difficulty from 1 to 5 stars, adjust how much time is added when passing checkpoints, change whether the speedometer displays in metric or imperial, choose either the Japanese or Western course layout, change whether you hold or press the button to switch gears (or you can set it to automatic), set the screen size for the game and change the type of arcade cabinet it's 'running' on. You can set it to tilt on corners like the real cabinet, and can turn on the cabinet noises too if you like that. Unlike 3D Space Harrier, I preferred to turn the cabinet noises off here. You can also adjust engine volumes, and the equalizer for all audio channels. There's a ton of options on offer.

There's also a ton of cool extra features for OutRun that drastically improve the experience in my eyes. You can save replays of your best run, and for each goal you reach of the 5, you'll recieve a reward. The first 4 of these are improvements for you vehicle which you can choose to enable or disable. The first improves your steering on corners, the second reduces slowdown when you collide with other cars, the third improves top speed and the final one makes your speed reduce left if you go off the road. For completing all 5 goals you get 'Arcade mode' which disables all bonuses and makes the game run at 30fps instead of the usual 60, to better emulate the arcade experience.

The 3D here is incredible - the game looks stunning, it allows you to more accurately judge corners and the distance of other vehicles, and best of all it all runs at 60fps, or double the frames per second of the arcade original. It might not have the full cabinet experience, but this is the best home conversion you're likely to get of OutRun. The game also adds two new songs in addition to the original 5, both of which are great.

I beat all 5 courses in my runs, although I'll happily admit it was with the timer increased a bit and the difficulty set to 2/5. I also used the perfomance upgrades as I got them. I don't mind if it's not the authentic experience though because the game was exhilarating and fun they way I played it and that's all that matters in my eyes! I enjoyed OutRun quite a bit, and it's definitely worth picking up, even if, like me, it's not normally your kind of thing.

Oh, and for anyone wondering, the best song is clearly Magical Sound Shower. Splash Wave is overrated.

Valis II
Valis is a series I've always been interested in, but the general consensus seems to be that they're all overrated. In addition, I've pretty much only heard the games being described as 'good' at best, with 'average' and 'medicore' being floated around too. And Valis 2 in particular is generally regarded as the weakest of the 4 on PC Engine.

So I wasn't expecting a huge amount when I started the game, and that's definitely how I felt about it when I got going too. Playing as Yuko, you run to the right, swinging your sword of Valis to shoot projectiles and defeat enemies. The game controls alittle awkwardly, although it's hard to describe. Yuko has a little lag to starting and stopping, and everything feels a little slidy. Shooting can sometimes delay a little too as only so many shot can be on screen and it feels a little awkward.

That said, once you get to grips withe the unrefined controls, there is a lot to like about this game. It's challenging, but rarely too cheap. Bosses are an issue and you'll mostly power through those with extra lives instead of learning patterns, but the level designs require some learning, and some skillful play - it's very much like a faster paced but lower budget Castlevania in that respect. The game is pretty tough too - stage 5 took me a lot of attempts to finally take down.

Speaking of lower budgets, this game also tries to take advantage of the CD medium by including voice clips and cutscenes. I can't talk for voice over quality as I don't speak Japanese, but the recording quality is fairly poor. The English version of this game has hilariously bad voice acting, so I'm sad to have missed out, but the Japanese version is way cheaper. The cutscenes are pretty poor though - they take up a quarter of the screen and are surounded by an ugly green border, and they also actually have very little animation - lots of times it's static with just some mouth movement at best, and the very occasional movement and blood splatter to top it off.

For all the criticism aimed at both the Valis series, and this entry in particular, I actually ha a great time with Valis II. It's unrefined but still has a lot of solid design and some decent gameplay. It's not a definite absolute classic by any means, but it's well worth a play, and I like it.

That said, I have all 3 other Valis games on the system too, and I've played them all a bit. It definitely improves from here on out.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:20 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I agree that the dungeon design is one of the worst things about Ys II. The palace/sewer section at the end can be infuriating.