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Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:39 am
by alienjesus
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
7. Mugen Senshi Valis III: The Fantasm Soldier PCE CD
8. Bomberman PCE CD
9. Rocket Knight Adventures Mega Drive
10. Trax Game Boy
11. Panic Bomber Virtual Boy
12. Arcana Heart 3: Love MAX!!!!! Vita
13. Super Monkey Ball Gamecube
14. Lost Kingdoms Gamecube
15. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle Gamecube
16. 1080° Avalanche Gamecube
17. Bubble Ghost Game Boy
18. Catrap Game Boy
19. 3D Thunder Blade 3DS eShop
20. 3D AfterBurner II 3DS eShop
21. 3D Fantasy Zone II W: The Tears of Opa-Opa 3DS eShop
22. Ikaruga Gamecube
23. Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal Vita
24. New Adventure Island PCE
25. WarioWare Twisted! GBA
26. Dragon Warrior NES
27. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D 3DS eShop
28. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors DS *NEW*
29. Gargoyle's Quest Game Boy *NEW*
30. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee PS1 *NEW*
31. Puyo Puyo CD PCE CD *NEW*
32. Retro City Rampage DX 3DS eShop *NEW*

It's been a while since my last mammoth update, but it's time for me to clog up this page with a wall of text once more! Enjoy!

Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors
999 is a graphic novel adventure game for Nintendo DS, and it was also game N on my long-delayed Alphabet marathon.

In the game, you wake up locked in a room which is filling with water. You death imminent, you must escape the room, via a series of puzzles, and find out where exactly you are. Eventually you find 9 other people, and your mission is to escape the boat you seem to have been locked up in with them by finding a door marked with a number 9. There's more to it though - they must first go through a series of other doors number 1-8 solving puzzles to progress. They must do this in teams too - I won't go into the intricacies, but each of the characters has a bracelet on which determines which door they can go through with who, and only 3-5 people may go through each door. If anyone tries to go through alone, a bomb inside them explodes, as you find out when the 9th character does this right at the start of the game.

The game is very verbose - you better be ready to do a lot of reading, at least on your first time through the game. Between the first and second puzzle room you can easily spend an hour reading text. The text is a little too flowery for my tastes too. It sounds a bit like it was written by a overly keen English student at some points - too much simile and metaphor and needless adjectives and adverbs everywhere. It also revels too much in descriptions of gore, which isn't to my tastes, but whatever. That said, the story is compelling and I enjoyed the characters dialogue and personalities a lot. There's a lot of second guessing the story and the multiple endings are interesting too. That said, it's a little unfortunate that some of them add nothing overall, and the ones that do are frequently hidden behind very specific actions, forcing you to replay until you figure them out.

The puzzle rooms are quite intelligently designed, although they sometimes rely a little too much on needing to do one thing before the next thing before the next thing - I think in a game like this a little bit of non-linearity on the puzzles would have been nice to change up the pace. Some of them do this, but actually the later puzzles tend to be more rigid in progression than the earlier ones. I did enjoy the puzzles rooms though, I just wish there was less text between them sometimes! What I didn't enjoy was having to replay them when I restarted the game - some rooms I completed 4 or 5 times before I got all the endings, and the very first room I solved a full 6 times. Blergh. Luckily, if you know what to do they can be solved very quickly, but it would be better if they let you skip old puzzles like they do with text you've previously read. Luckily, I hear this is resolved in the sequel.

I enjoyed 999 a lot. It's not perfect, but I found it to be very compelling overall, especially once you started figuring out some of the 'true' paths. The real ending is a bit confusing but pretty cool overall, and I learned to love most of the characters the game teamed me up with. I'm looking forward to playing Virtue's Last Reward, as well as the upcoming Zero Time Dilemma, although I'm a little put off by the amount of gore that appeared to be in the third games trailer - I've never been a big one for that.

Gargoyle's Quest

Gargoyle's Quest is a spin-off of the Ghosts n' Goblins series, starring one of the infamous Red Arremer enemies that killed so many players in those games. It is an action-platformer for Game Boy, with some (slight) RPG elements.

Taking control of Firebrand, you must save a world of monsters from a world of slightly different monsters. You do this by exploring the world, finding items to power up and taking on bosses. Exploring the world takes on a Final Fantasy-esque world map perspective, with the occasional random encounter and the ability to talk, search and use items from a menu, kinda like Dragon Quest. That said, beyond this, the games main focus is on it's platforming.

All of the main stages in the game take the form of side-scrolling platform stages. The stages are normally quite large and also quite vertical, taking advantage of the fact that Firebrand can both fly for short distances and cling to walls, jumping off of them to fly again or jump higher. The difficulty curve of these stages is a bit inconsistent though - the first few stages when you only have 2 hit points are really tough, especially stage 2 where there are lots of tricky jumps from moving platforms. Later stages are much simpler though, once you can take a few more hits.

Firebrand controls very smoothly, albeit very slowly. The game is very deliberate in how you must move, so despite your greater range of mobility, it feels very similar to a Castlevania title in many ways.

Gargoyle's Quest contains about 13 stages, and is only about 4 hours long. It's a fairly fun game overall, although the inconsistent difficulty made me feel negative to it on occasion. I do want to play the games sequels though - I think if they improve on this groundwork they'll be a ton of fun.

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Oddworld was our Together Retro game for March, but I ended up playing it a long time after that, so it eventually also became game O for my Alphabet Marathon.

Oddworld is a cinematic platformer for the first Playstation console. You play as Abe, a slave who works for a meat-processing plants and stumbles across a dark secret - his race are going to become the next product. You must attempt to escape, saving as many of your fellow Mudokans as possible, before passing trials to gain spiritual power and coming back to destroy the plant once and for all.

Oddworld is a hard game - especially if, like me, you attempt to save all 100 Mudokans. The trial rooms which contain many of the Mudokans are both difficult to find, and often very challenging. The worst thing about the game isn't it's unforgiving difficulty though - it's the fact that the checkpoints are often so far apart. Rescuing multiple Mudokans and clearing several hard sections only to miss a jump due to those bloody pernickety cinematic platformer controls and losing all of it is infuriating. Bizarrely, this is also a much bigger issue in the early sections of the game. The game also weirdly teaches you stuff super late - you're almost half way through the game before it teaches you that you can mind-control certain enemies, which I'd been using since the start, You're LITERALLY AT THE LAST LEVEL when it teaches you how to rescue Mudokans - luckily I've played before so I already knew. It's a weird time to teach you though, especially when the good or bad ending is dependant on it.

Anyway, I beat the game, saving all the Mudokans. Overall, I think I liked it. That said, I did find it to be frustrating, and fighting the controls was a recurring issue. The thing is - I hate cinematic platformers. I hated Prince of Persia. I detested Flashback. I couldn't stand Out Of This World. The fact that I could finish Oddworld and also say that I liked it overall is probably a good sign.

Puyo Puyo CD

Puyo Puyo CD is a port of Puyo Puyo for the PC Engine CD, which I played for our Together Retro game this month. It's basically the same game as the more-familiar-to-the-west Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine or Kirby's Avalanche/Ghost Trap. There are a few differences though. First of all, it has a lot of voice acting in the cutscenes, and CD quality audio. Secondly, it's super duper Japanese. The cast of Puyo Puyo is super bizarre, and I suspect more than a few of them are based on Japanese puns that I am oblivious too. My favourite character is Skeleton T. He's a Skeleton who loves Tea. Thats the kind of naming scheme and chaacter design I can get behind.

Anyway, Puyo Puyo is a puzzle game where you must link 4 coloured puyos together to make them disappear. By making combos (where one set of puyo disappearing drops the other puyos down, causing another set to disappear, etc) you can dump garbage puyos on your opponents screen. These really screw you over, and you have to get rid of them by make links of puyos next to them. Bigger combos drop bigger stacks of grabage. One of my pet peeves though, is how massive combos can just end the opponents gaming - dropping so many grabage blocks it isntantly fills the screen, with no way to counter. From my understanding, this was changed in the sequel so you could try to block or reduce the garbage coming to your side.

Puyo Puyo is also HARD. The computer AI is demonic, even on normal, and it takes some decent skill, a lot of persistence and a good dollop of luck to progress. The AI seems inconsistent too - stage 6 was easily the hardest for me, and stage 13 (the final boss fight against Satan) is actually way easier than most of the levels preceding it. Satan isn't that great at Puyo Puyo either. The biggest challenge probably comes from the speed though - in Normal mode, the speed of puyos dropping in each level icnreases stage by stage, and by the last few it's incredibly hard to react to Puyo's if your stack is near the top of the screen. The computer of course has no issues.

Puyo Puyo is great, but this first game has some clear issues to work out with it's high difficulty and tendency to screw you over with an unblockable insta-kill if the opponent gets lucky. My understanding is that both of these are addressed in the sequel, so I look forward to giving it a try soon.

Retro City Rampage DX

Retro City Rampage is an interesting indie game which intends to somewhat replicate Grand Theft Auto as an 8 bit game. It is packed to the gills with pop culture references (frankly, too many, it starts to wear thin quite quickly) and quirky humour (which can be very hit or miss). It also has a feel of the developer trying to throw everything in and see what sticks. Again, it can be hit or miss.

Gameplay revolves around completing missions, which usually involve stealing a car, driving to the destination, then shooting some people. The shooting mechanics are a bit clumsy and sometimes you'll take hits whilst watching all of your shots miss their target. The lock on system doesnt tend to help much either. Luckily, you can get a shotgun which has a spread effect later, and that will basically become your main weapon from that point.

Retro City is very eclectic. The story is only barely strapped together, and the missions often seem like an excuse to make another 80s movie or video gamer reference whenever possible. I have to be honest - whilst I enjoyed the game well enough, I think it would have been improved by being marginally more coherent and slightly toning down the references - they're so in your face they feel forced.

I don't really have much to say about RCR. It was fine. I got it from a humble bundle, it didn't cost a lot and I found my time with it to be enjoyable enough. Just don't go out of your way to pay full price for it.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:40 am
by ElkinFencer10
PartridgeSenpai wrote:I don't really understand why people use "fashion show" as a complaint for games like Bravely Default or Final Fantasy X-2. If I can change how my character looks in a game, whether it's through what job they are, what armor they're wearing, what form they're in, that adds a real layer of immersion for me. In real life I don't wear EXACTLY the same outfit all the time, and I hate it when newer games don't change anything about your character when you change equipment (I can understand not animating every item of clothing onto every character, but weapons changing is pretty reasonable for RPG's nowoadays, I think).

My problem with it was that the appearance was based entirely on job class and not armor. The only equipment that showed any visual change at all was what weapon you equipped. I've got no problem with class-specific outfits, but I'd like the option to have my armor visible.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 8:59 am
by Exhuminator
alienjesus wrote:I do want to play the games sequels though - I think if they improve on this groundwork they'll be a ton of fun.

Gargoyle's Quest 2 on NES (I don't recommend the GB version) is pretty decent. I didn't like it as much as the first game though. However, man... if you've never played Demon's Crest on SNES, you're in for a helluva good time. It's a hugely atmospheric dark action-RPG masterpiece. The very first thing you do in the game is fight an undead dragon:


And it only gets better from there.


I feel compelled to mention that after completing 999 myself, I believed it was the single most overrated game on DS. The story is OK (though highly derivative of other works), but the game design itself is super annoying, due to being highly inconvenient and unnecessarily repetitive. Also the game's equivalent of a final boss is a freaking Sudoku puzzle of all things. :roll: The fact that 999 is so highly lauded says more about the general lack of good writing in video games than anything else.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:45 am
by prfsnl_gmr
Exhuminator wrote:I feel compelled to mention that after completing 999 myself, I believed it was the single most overrated game on DS. The story is OK (though highly derivative of other works), but the game design itself is super annoying, due to being highly inconvenient and unnecessarily repetitive. . . . The fact that 999 is so highly lauded says more about the general lack of good writing in video games than anything else.

I would echo those sentiments if you replaced "999" with "Hotel Dusk". :lol:

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:46 am
by Exhuminator
prfsnl_gmr wrote:I would echo those sentiments if you replaced "999" with "Hotel Dusk".


This is the wrongest you've ever wronged.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 9:50 am
by alienjesus
I think you're both wrong - I loved both Hotel Dusk and 999. 8)

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am
by ZBomber
I beat Star Fox Zero earlier this week and must say I am quite disappointed. Total game time was about 5.5 hours, and a good chunk of that was on the last boss, which really was only hard because of the controls.

The controls are the big focal point for this game, and while I don't think they are good I do feel people are making them out to be worse than they actually are. The dog fights were fine and actually kind of fun. However, the parts I had difficulty with were anything that required ground movement - particularly the boss fights. The one on the snow world in particular gave me some difficulty, but not in a fun way.

All in all, the game didn't need these controls. They clearly just wanted to implement in the gamepad into it, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. For $60, the game is not nearly long enough or fun enough to justify the price. I do still need to try out the Guard game, which sounds like it would be more fun.

Sadly, just another subpar game on the WiiU. This is unfortunately probably my least favorite Nintendo system ever, and even the games that should be enjoyable (Mario 3D World, Splatoon) get stale pretty quickly. The 3DS has some great titles, thankfully, but I don't think time will look too favorably on the Wii U.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 11:15 am
by Exhuminator
ZBomber wrote:All in all, the game didn't need these controls. They clearly just wanted to implement in the gamepad into it, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

I'm having deja vu here...

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 11:24 am
by prfsnl_gmr
^ Both of those are actually pretty good, though. :lol:

(Seriously, I am not a huge fan of Spirit Tracks, but I really liked Phantom Hourglass.)

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 11:34 am
by Sarge
1) Bonk's Adventure (NES)
2) Little Samson
3) Holy Diver
4) Holy Diver (legit!)
5) Mitsume Ga Tooru
6) TMNT II: The Arcade Game (NES)
7) Mighty Final Fight
8] Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
9) Monster In My Pocket
10) Battle of Olympus
11) Gunstar Heroes (repeat)
12) Dragon Age: Inquisition
13) Dragon Age: Inquisition - Trespasser
14) Captain America and the Avengers (NES)
15) StarTropics
16) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (save states)
17) Double Dragon II: The Revenge (NES) (legit)
18) Crisis Force
19) Esper Dream 2
20) Felix the Cat
21) Moon Crystal
22) Panic Restaurant
23) Frankenstein (NES)
24) Crystalis
25) Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu

26) Killer Instinct (GB)
27) Mashin Hero Wataru Gaiden
28) Sly Spy (Arcade)
29) The Red Star (unreleased XBOX, also on PS2)
30) Adventure Island 4
31) Cocoron
32) Batman: Arkham Knight
33) Xeodrifter (Vita)
34) Doom 2
35) Brandish: The Dark Revenant
36) Magical Pop'n
37) The Ninja Warriors (SNES)
38) Phantasy Star (SMS)
39) Phantasy Star III
40) Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
41) Brandish: The Dark Revenant (Dela Mode)

42) Freedom Planet (Milla, 82 lives lost)
43) Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
44) Lara Croft Go
45) Oniken
46) Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
47) Batman: The Video Game (GB)
48) Batman: The Video Game (NES)
49) Super Spy Hunter

50) Mega Man 2
51) Mega Man 4
52) Mission: Impossible (NES)
53) Mega Man 6
54) Super Mario Bros. 3
55) Sword Master
56) DuckTales 2
57) Rush'n Attack (NES)
58) Mega Man 3
59) Mega Man 5
60) Mega Man
61) S.C.A.T. - Special Cybernetic Attack Team
62) TaleSpin (NES)
63) Double Dragon III (NES)
64) Donkey Kong (NES)
65) Astyanax (NES)

66) Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu
67) The New Ghostbusters II (NES, proto)
68) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSP, via Dracula X Chronicles)

Oh, yeah, SotN. It still floors me how much I enjoy playing through the game every single time. I still think it's the best of the Metroid-influenced games. Some come close (Dawn of Sorrow in particular), and many are better balanced (SotN gets really easy), but there's just so many little details that I still find astounding. Little quirks, Easter eggs, crazy weapons, you name it. Seriously, if you haven't somehow played this masterpiece, get on it.

Final clear time was 6:41, with 195.1% map coverage. Not the fastest, I took some inefficient routing clearly, but not too shabby. Well under the HLTB estimates.

Speaking of discovering new things, though, I found a really cool weapon called Morgil in this translation. It's a flame sword, but the cool thing is that the flame burst actually lingers from your swing and lets you pump in multiple hits. It's great on anything that isn't flame-resistant. I completely dominated several bosses this way.

The other thing I found out about is the Shield Rod/Alucard Shield combo. Wow. I actually only died in one place in the game, against Galamoth. So I decided to cheese it. That combination is absolutely ridiculous. He dropped in about five seconds. :D

The interesting thing about the PSP version is that it integrates some of the changes in the Saturn version. Not the new areas, because those felt out of place anyway. But you get that Maria fight, and you can also play as a version of her, one that isn't in any other version of the game as far as I know. Unlike the Saturn version, she plays a lot more like her Rondo incarnation. I doubt I'll play through it as her right now, but it's a cool feature. The translation is more reserved this time, some scenes are better, some are not quite as good, but overall, it's very solid.

Anyway, again, absolute classic.