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Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:22 pm
by Exhuminator
This will be the biggest review I write this year. Forgive the verbosity and images. I feel it's my duty to do so, because I haven't seen a single proper review of Shadow Tower on the entire internet. Enjoy(?).

Games Ex has beaten in 2016:
1. Mega Man ZX Advent|DS|2007|platformer|8h|7/10
2. King's Field III: Pilot Style|PS1|1996|dungeon crawler|1h|8/10
3. Sleeping Dogs|360|2012|action-adventure|20h 45m|8/10
4. Sleepings Dogs: NiNP DLC|360|2012|action adventure|1h 22m|5/10
5. Chikyuu Kaihou Gun ZAS|GB|1992|shmup|33m|8/10
6. Vattle Giuce|GB|1991|shmup|45m|5/10
7. MechWarrior 2 (Clan Wolf)|PS1|1997|mech sim|2h 35m|7/10
8. Gradius: The Interstellar Assault|GB|1992|shmup|27m|8/10
9. SolarStriker|GB|1990|shmup|23m|7/10
10. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|45m|6/10
11. Dead or Alive (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|23m|5/10
12. Asuka 120% Burning Festival Final (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|26m|8/10
13. Soul Blade (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|18m|9/10
14. Trax|GB|1991|shmup|23m|7/10
15. Street Fighter: The Movie (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1995|fighter|36m|5/10
16. Warpath: Jurassic Park (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|17m|4/10
17. Psychic Force (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|22m|7/10
18. Touki Denshou: Angel Eyes (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|27m|7/10
19. Advanced V.G. 2 (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|15m|8/10
20. StarHawk|GB|1993|shmup|1h 15m|4/10
21. Nemesis|GB|1990|shmup|28m|7/10
22. Cardinal Syn (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1998|fighter|54m|7/10
23. Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1997|fighter|15m|7/10
24. Street Fighter EX 2 Plus (Arcade Mode)|PS1|1999|fighter|22m|8/10
25. Battle Unit Zeoth|GB|1991|shmup|24m|6/10
26. Soul Calibur IV (Arcade Mode)|360|2008|fighter|12m|9/10
27. Mercenary Force|GB|1990|shmup|54m|5/10
28. Battle Arena Toshinden (Story Mode)|GB|1996|fighter|12m|8/10
29. Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams (Arcade Mode)|GBC|1999|fighter|10m|7/10
30. SD Hiryu No Ken EX (Story Mode)|GBC|1999|fighter|24m|7/10
31. Guilty Gear X: Advance Edition (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|8m|6/10
32. Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Revival (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2001|fighter|10m|7/10
33. Dual Blades (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|23m|4/10
34. Gradius Galaxies|GBA|2001|shmup|1hr 24m|8/10
35. Tekken Advance (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|15m|7/10
36. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|22m|7/10
37. Black Belt Challenge (Arcade Mode)|GBA|2002|fighter|8m|4/10
38. Iridion II|GBA|2003|shmup|58m|9/10
39. King's Field III|PS1|1996|dungeon crawler|25h|9/10
40. Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel|360|2013|cover shooter|7h 54m|7/10
41. Panzer Dragoon|Saturn|1995|rail shooter|55m|7/10
42. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei|Saturn|1996|rail shooter|1h 25m|8/10
43. Kirby Air Ride|GameCube|2003|kart racer|45m|6/10
44. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!|GameCube|2003|kart racer|35m|8/10
45. Bloody Roar: Primal Fury (Arcade Mode)|GameCube|2002|fighter|35m|8/10
46. XG3: Extreme G Racing|GameCube|2001|racer|1h 35m|7/10
47. Mario Kart 7|3DS|2011|kart racer|1h 54m|9/10
48. Code of Princess|3DS|2012|beat 'em up|4h 25m|7/10
49. Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy|3DS|2011|flight sim|3h 42m|7/10
50. Crimson Shroud|3DS|2012|JRPG|6h 55m|7/10
51. Gunman Clive|3DS|2013|platformer|54m|7/10
52. Gunman Clive 2|3DS|2015|platformer|1h 30m|7/10
53. Attack of the Friday Monsters!|3DS|2013|adventure|3h 2m|8/10
54. Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception|PSP|2006|flight combat|2h 25m|8/10
55. Ace Combat: Joint Assault|PSP|2010|flight combat|6h 26m|4/10
56. Nayuta: Endless Trails|PSP|2012|action-RPG|16h 03m|8/10
57. Alpha Protocol|360|2010|action-RPG|12h 20m|5/10
58. Makai-Mura Gaiden: The Demon Darkness|Game Boy|1993|action-adventure|6h|7/10
59. Hangman|Atari 2600|1978|puzzle|15m|8/10
60. Beneath Apple Manor|Apple II|1978|roguelike|2h 28m|9/10
61. Rusty|PC-9801|1993|platformer|3h 46m|7/10
62. Night Slave|PC-9801|1996|mech shooter|2h 37m|8/10
63. Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut|360|2013|action-RPG|31h 15m|6/10
64. Target Earth|Genesis|1990|mech shooter|49m|7/10
65. Assault Suits Valken|SNES|1992|mech shooter|1h 23m|8/10
66. Everblue|PS2|2001|scuba adventure-RPG|12h 38m|7/10

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67. Shadow Tower|PS1|1998|dungeon crawler|14h 51m|7/10

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After a series of real time first person dungeon crawlers on the PlayStation, known as the King's Field franchise, From Software shifted gears with Shadow Tower in 1998. Like the King's Field games, Shadow Tower is also a real time first person dungeon crawler. However, Shadow Tower is different from King's Field in many ways. Above all else though, Shadow Tower represents From Software just doing exactly what they wanted to do, customer expectations and legacy be damned. Who could have known that these wild ideas would eventually blossom into the best selling series From Software ever had?

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Shadow Tower's plot is confusing to say the least. The instruction manual's description of the plot differs from what the game itself says, which also differs from what internet lore sites say. Basically though, you're a mercenary named Ruus Hardy who's climbing down into a subterranean tower from the top, seeking a cursed crown. To get the crown, you will fight a lot of monsters and wander a lot of dungeons. You'll need your wits, your skills, and great item management ability to survive to the end. (You'll also need the help of an overgrown rat who for some reason the game thinks is a mole.)

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Shadow Tower's core gameplay is simple to describe. You explore, you fight, you work your way ever downward. Though simple in concept, successful execution is anything but. For starters you have to deal with equipment breaking. Your equipment is ALWAYS breaking. Be it a helmet, a sword, your boots, even your magic rings break. Once broken, a piece of gear no longer works, and must be repaired to use again. Repairing a piece of equipment to its full extent, costs your own life points and can only be done at special blacksmith shops that are never conveniently located.

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Your next worst enemy in Shadow Tower is darkness. Shadow Tower is called SHADOW Tower for a reason, this is a tower of shadows. Without aid of light, your visibility is about five feet in front of you, making stepping on a trap or into an enemy very likely. To combat the darkness, you'll need torches, potions of light, or if you're lucky enough; shining gear. Shining gear is self illuminating, but is also very rare. To use it, it must be equipped, which means it will be broken soon enough. Wandering aimlessly in darkness with broken equipment happens fairly often.

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Once you have a stable set of equipment and some decent light, you can start focusing on the meat of the game; KILLING. This is one helluva combat oriented experience. You must learn to fight smartly and do it well, or you'll get nowhere. Killing monsters nets you item drops, as well as experience. And there are a LOT of monsters in this game, over 140 different creatures to battle with. But you do not level up in Shadow Tower. Rather, your levels rise based on what you do. Attacking with a sword for example raises your slashing ability. Getting hit in the face raises your defense points. Occasionally you can find soul pods, which give you experience points to dole out to whatever attributes you deem most important.

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Shadow Tower consists of themed "worlds" that branch out from the tower itself. Each world has its own vile lord. You must kill all seven lords to open the sealed door at the bottom of the tower to reach the crown. This isn't exactly easy. Broken equipment and darkness are you primary hindrances yes, but so is getting lost. Getting lost in Shadow Tower is not hard to do. You have no in-game maps, and you don't even have a compass. With so many environments being dark and repetitive looking, you'll likely find yourself bewildered fairly often. Shadow Tower goes so far as to track your discovery progress for each part of the tower, so completionists can drive themselves utterly insane trying to 100% explore everything.

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Shadow Tower is a soul devouringly dark game folks. Everything is bleak and depressing by design. Practically every NPC you meet wants to kill you, and the ones that don't simply insult you. You'll often find nihilistic graffiti on the walls encouraging you to just give up and let the tower consume your soul. This unceasingly oppressive atmosphere was the most difficult part of Shadow Tower for me. I mean, even King's Field games have their moments of beauty from time to time. Not here though. And on that note, let's take a moment to discuss differences between the two series.

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King's Field games are expansive nonlinear dungeon crawling action-RPGs, but Shadow Tower is an almost claustrophobia confined linear dungeon crawling action-adventure. Many King's Field games contain outdoor environments, but Shadow Tower takes place entirely in the tower. King's Field focuses on a deeper story and complex puzzles, but Shadow Tower's story is barely there and the few puzzles are utterly simple. Shadow Tower has a far deeper combat system, including the use of shields and dual wielding magic. Other differences include; breaking equipment, lack of a compass, voice acted NPCs, non traditional level up system, shops with their own storefronts, zero maps, much less hidden doors, and plenty of other things I'm forgetting. By far the most jarring difference is the lack of background music. This was done to make Shadow Tower more serious or whatever, but considering how amazing King's Field OSTs are, it really sucks that Shadow Tower doesn't have one.

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Shadow Tower is a crazy game, made by crazy people, for crazy gamers. The cover art with the nearly naked, broken yet gleeful man, clutching his hard won crown, while bathed in pure darkness, is just perfect. It's the perfect visual metaphor of what Shadow Tower provides, with no illusion as to who its true demographic is. Indeed, when I think of my experience beating Shadow Tower, I remember a quote from Hermann Hesse's classic novel Steppenwolf: "MAGIC THEATER, ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY, FOR MADMEN ONLY!" Shadow Tower is indeed a magic theater, with a difficult entrance, for madmen only. This is not a game, it is an experience.

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Thanks for reading. Now I'm going to play something cute and whimsical and see if I can get any feeling back in my soul. :|

Addendum:

Over the years many people have discussed the difficulty level of Shadow Tower. Instead of offering my own opinion, I will just post some quotes with sources below. I'll let other people tell you what they think, and save my opinion for myself.
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(From the back of the game's jewel case.)

"Just finished Shadow Tower today. Hard as hell." - https://warosu.org/vr/thread/829884

"The game is also hard and will leave a lot of newbies lying in splattered, bloody chunks on the Tower floor time and time again. It will take an almost superhuman effort to get through the title without throwing your controller down in utter frustration. Trust me, even the first few levels are extremely difficult and many gamers will find themselves getting killed many times before even reaching the first save point." - http://www.absolute-playstation.com/api ... wtower.htm

"As in King's Field the start of the game is horrendously difficult. After dying a few times trying to get past the first few rooms, though, the game starts to pick up, and the difficulty level smoothes out considerably. It never really relents, though, and the severe shortage of health really gets to be a pain in the ass." - http://www.psillustrated.com/psillustra ... ation.html

"I must admit it does start out a little hard, and a little slow, but once you get going - this game gets more and more addictive the further you get into it." - http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/198605-shado ... iews/11030

"I love Shadow Tower, though that game was a bitch and a half most of the time. It's basically King's Field: Super Hard Mode. And King's Field wasn't exactly easy to begin with." - http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/693331-d ... i/68979625

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:33 pm
by ElkinFencer10
That's a Playstation game? Those visuals - especially the character models - look quite good for the system. Either that or I've just been playing super shitty looking Playstation games.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:34 pm
by noiseredux
ElkinFencer10 wrote:That's a Playstation game? Those visuals - especially the character models - look quite good for the system. Either that or I've just been playing super shitty looking Playstation games.


or he's playing via emulator that can be filtered to look better than it would have on a PS1?

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:35 pm
by Exhuminator
Visuals are up'res'd via ePSXe.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:43 pm
by ElkinFencer10
Ohhh, that would explain it. I was about to say "Damn, since when did the original Playstation pack that kind of capability?"

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 1:46 pm
by Stark
Sounds awesome Exhum.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 7:21 pm
by Xeogred
So are you saying you think it's harder than the King's Field game?

Awesome review though... and hilarious at that, because literally word for word there if you replace "Shadow Tower" with "Demon's Souls", you're basically talking about the same thing. So I guess that confirms what a friend told me, in that Souls may moreso be a successor to Shadow Tower rather than King's Field, but they all look to blend in to some extent.

I'll probably grab it on the PSN store someday, since I think physical copies are more expensive than King's Field now... last I checked.

Frankly this review makes me want to try this one out first before King's Field. Love that claustrophobic vibe some old first person games can give off.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:12 pm
by Exhuminator
Xeogred wrote:So are you saying you think it's harder than the King's Field game?

The beginning of Shadow Tower is more difficult than the beginning of any King's Field. However, overall, Shadow Tower does not compare to the difficulty of KF2, KF3, and KF4. On a difficulty scale concerning From Software's first person dungeon crawlers, I'd say:

Most Difficult ------------------------------ Least Difficult
KF3 > KF4 > KF2 > KF3:PS > ST > KF1 > Eternal Ring

I don't yet know where Shadow Tower Abyss fits in that range, I plan to find out this year though.
Xeogred wrote:if you replace "Shadow Tower" with "Demon's Souls", you're basically talking about the same thing

I had my suspicions!
Xeogred wrote:Frankly this review makes me want to try this one out first before King's Field.

Shadow Tower is different enough from King's Field, that I guess it wouldn't matter. But let me be clear that while Shadow Tower is really good, it's nowhere near as awesome as any King's Field game is.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:43 pm
by Xeogred
I guess King's Field vs Shadow Tower can be broken down just like Demon's Souls vs Dark Souls haha... and so uh, Bloodborne = Eternal Ring? :lol:

Hopefully beating one of these old games will convince me to power through Shadow Tower Abyss. Seems phenomenal. But I just hate emulating. Might have to do with my PC/gaming setup, even though my desk is right next to everything... I just don't have a clue. My motivation for PC gaming is always extremely low.

Re: Games Beaten 2016

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:45 pm
by noiseredux
1. The Match Of The Millennium (NGPC)
2. Pocket Tennis Color (NGPC)
3. XCOM 2 (PC)
4. Street Fighter V (PC)
5. Spelunky (PC)
6. Gone Home (PC)
7. Day Of The Tentacle Remastered (PC)
8. Heroes Of The Storm (PC)

now obviously you don't "beat" a MOBA - but I did finally hit the level cap. So I'm thrilled. I've been playing this game for over a year. It was my 2015 GOTY. The fact I'm still playing it nearly 6 months into 2016 speaks volumes. I adore this game.