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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:58 am

I loved and finished the original DOOM back around its initial release. I've never finished DOOM 2, but what I played of it was good. As for DOOM 3, I found that one to be extraordinarily boring and repetitive, and stopped playing it after about two hours. The new DOOM looks fun enough, I'll likely play it someday.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:35 pm

In terms of gameplay progression it goes Doom, Doom 2, Doom 4. Doom 3 is this weird side episode where Carmack developed a lighting engine and wanted to use it to full effect.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:48 pm

Yeah, my understanding is that DOOM 4 goes back to the old-school sensibilities, to excellent effect.
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by marurun Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:19 pm

Sarge wrote:Yeah, my understanding is that DOOM 4 goes back to the old-school sensibilities, to excellent effect.


That's what's so interesting about Doom 4. It has old-school sensibilities reflected through modern expectations. You can pull yourself up ledges and, later on, even double jump. And while health and ammo are more sparsely distributed on the maps, making hanging back a cautious affair, running in to do melee and chainsaw kills rewards you with health and ammo, effectively rewarding you for getting up close and personal despite the risks.

All this means the game isn't really old-school at all. It just makes you feel like it is, which is more the point.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Sarge Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:21 pm

Having a jump is certainly nice. I really wanted one a few times in the original games.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:49 pm

Sarge wrote:Having a jump is certainly nice. I really wanted one a few times in the original games.

Honestly, that's one of the few things that always really bugged me about Zelda games. I mean, Zelda is great and almost flawless in design, but I do find myself wishing that I could jump in those games to make some of the puzzles a bit easier to plan and navigate.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Key-Glyph Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:02 pm

PartridgeSenpai wrote:Also, I'm not sure what you mean when you say the game never saves achievements. My game always saved my achievements, so maybe that's a console-specific issue you're having? Or perhaps you aren't checking for them in the right place? I don't wish to assume, but I'd just like to try and solve the mystery :oops:
I was probably checking the in the wrong place then! I can't be sure because I don't have the disc now, but I have to assume you're right. Thanks!

01. MagMax (NES)
02. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (GEN) [2-player]
03. Sonic Spinball (GEN)*
04. Sonic Spinball (GEN)* [complete]
05. Comix Zone (GEN)*
06. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
07. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project (NES)
08. WCW World Championship Wrestling (NES)
09. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
10. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)
11. Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)
12. Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)
13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (GEN) [2-player]*
14. Gunstar Heroes (GEN)
15. Columns III: Revenge of Columns (GEN)
16. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)
17. The Legend of Zelda (NES) -- Summer Games Challenge
18. Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB) -- Summer Games Challenge
19. Bases Loaded II (NES) -- Summer Games Challenge
20. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB) -- Summer Games Challenge
21. Shenmue (DC) -- Summer Games Challenge
22. Super Bust-a-Move (PS2)
23. Super Spike V'Ball (NES)
24. de Blob (Wii)
25. Animal Crossing: New Leaf

26. Wiz n' Liz (GEN)

I've been telling everyone that when I finally beat this game, I made this sound. It's pretty accurate.

Personal story:
My attachment to this game is long-spanning and bizarre.

Back in the 1990s I was transfixed by the full-page ads for Wiz n' Liz in Sega Visions. The cover art really captured my imagination, as did the concept of rescuing bunnies and the claim that the game was totally nonviolent. I never saw it in rental or retail stores though, so it remained one of those games I was bonded to only through second-hand fascination.

Flash forward to my mid-twenties and I find the cart tossed haphazardly in a sad flea market bin. Finally! I buy it, go home, give it a try. The first thing that grabs me is the unexpectedly funky title screen music, and I think, YES. This is going to be great. Unfortunately my excitement is cut short, however, as I'm playing for only ten minutes before I realize I have a fever and can't concentrate. I go to bed, wind up sleeping for five hours straight... and I hear nothing but the Snow Land tune in my dreams. From that moment on I knew this cart was one of my Genesis soulmates. :lol:
Actual game description:
So here's the thing. Wiz n' Liz is hard. By the time you get to the later levels you're keeping track of so many rapidfire elements that you're being constantly diverted from your objectives and barely able to keep up.

The basics are this: you play through a suite of eight levels, fight a boss, repeat. As you progress, the bosses get harder, the terrain in the eight levels gets more complicated, the number of rounds played per level increases, and the game introduces more and more dick moves to screw you up. Oh, and you are on a timer. A timer that will haunt you.

Now the details, which are hard to explain: As you run around catching rabbits, they will release stars (money), time pieces (+2 seconds to the timer), fruit, or letters. You need to collect all the letters in the word displayed at the top of the screen to generate the level's exit. The rabbits spawn indefinitely until the word is fully collected, after which point you are given a set total of rabbits you must collect before leaving. (The rabbits also start releasing a fruit after the word is spelled, but more on that later.) Once you've collected the last rabbit, the exit door unlocks and you're done with that round. The extra seconds you've collected are added to your timer, the fruit changes, and you're off to the races again. Note that your timer never resets; it carries over from level to level, for good or for ill, forever.

I know this sounds complicated, weird, and sluggish. But trust me... this game flies at the speed of LIGHT.

Now add to this that you have to do actual administrative work to win. Remember the fruit? If you collect enough of the fruit that the bunnies release in a round -- let's say a lemon -- you will gain a single lemon on your homeworld tree. Mixing two fruit together in your cauldron creates a spell that has some kind of effect on your game. Sounds like a fun, optional bonus type thing, right? WRONG. Not only are spells absolutely necessary to survive, but a great deal of them exist purely to troll you. So you absolutely must put in the time to compile a giant chart with all your spell research before you have any hope of winning this.

tl;dr: Wiz n' Liz is a commitment.
Reflection:
I have to say I'm completely addicted to this game. I beat the three difficulties (they are separate runs with different bosses), which then unlocked Super Wizard mode, which strings all three separate difficulties together into one mega run. I beat that too. And I'm still playing Wiz n' Liz every night.

The reason for this is that there's enough randomness that it always feels fresh. You never know which fruit you're going to get, so you never really know which spells you'll be able to mix. You can buy fruit with stars from the Shop (so long as you've opened the Shop with, you guessed it, its own spell), but cash can be hard to come by, and is often dependent on bonus levels and games of chance. What this means is that every playthrough becomes an exercise in trying to make the best out of what you've been given.

Of course the randomness can work against you too. You can have a fantastic runthrough fall apart in the last few levels, which brings me to my one real complaint with the game: the password system is almost useless. All it saves are your lives and your timer; nothing else. If you die or start with a password, any fruit and stars you may have collected, and even your Shop door, are gone. I've had playthroughs where I've died at the penultimate level and just could not recover with an empty inventory. This game really needed a true save feature.

Would I recommend this game, though? YES. It will keep you occupied for sure. If you want to take it to the end and complete it, you'll have a long road ahead of you that ends with rampaging tyrannosaurs levels of triumph. But you can have a good time just fooling around for a few levels without even caring to beat it, too. It's just undeniably enjoyable. If you've got kids, they are going to have the best time mixing fruit for spells and seeing what happens. It's just so fun! It's almost a little game in itself.

In short, this is a really quirky, hard-to-describe, fiendishly difficult game disguised by its beautifully cutesy exterior, all wrapped up in the brilliant music of Matt Furniss. You'll find yourself enjoying some of the random references they shoehorned into their backgrounds (the Monolith from 2001 makes an appearance in Lunar Land, for example), and the classic games that some spells unlock (Breakout, Space Invaders, etc.).

Oh, and I don't know how they got away with their non-violent claim, but in the boss fights you're casting magic at giant creatures' faces until their features wither or explode. So there's that, too!
My favorite tunes from the OST:
Snow Land
Desert Land
Dead Land
Snake Eyes
The Creepy Clock

And one of my favorite Genesis tracks of all time...
Name Entry



* = replay
Last edited by Key-Glyph on Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:03 pm

ElkinFencer10 wrote:Zelda is great and almost flawless in design, but I do find myself wishing that I could jump in those games to make some of the puzzles a bit easier to plan and navigate.

Technically speaking, you can jump in many Zelda games, to varying degrees. Zelda II, Link's Awakening (Roc's Feather & Pegasus Boots), Oracle of Ages (Roc's Feather & Pegasus Seeds), Four Swords Adventures (Roc's Feather), Oracle of Seasons (Roc's Cape), The Minish Cap (Roc's Cape). All of the 3D Zeldas with their auto-jump feature.

I guess you'll be happy to know that in Breath of the Wild you can manually jump at will, like you could in Zelda II.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:05 pm

Great write-up, Key! I always enjoy your stories, and they add so much character and context to your reviews.

That said...I always thought that Wiz 'n Liz would have been a great name for a baby doll that wets itself. :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:00 pm

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128. Sakura Swim Club | PC | 2015 | 5/10

All this talk about VNs lately got me wanting to play one. So I decided on Sakura Swim Club, rather randomly. This game is available on Steam, albeit censored from what I've read. (I pity the fool who pays $9.99 for a censored VN on Steam.) I did not play the Steam version, I played an uncensored one.

Anyway, in this VN you play the part of a male high school student who is a new transfer to whatever high school it is. Being listless he decides to join a swim club on the behest of a teacher. The swim club apparently only consists of two girls and himself after that point. With such a small amount of members, it isn't long before the swim team starts to bond. And by bond, I mean bang. Yes this is some high school boy's wet dream come true... because both girls end up being his sexual play things (when they aren't busy being their own sexual play things).

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But what about a plot you say? Well the main character does eventually help the girls to overcome their fear of swimming in a competition. And he helps one girl get over her guilt due to an accidental drowning she was involved in. Also the main character starts to bond with his dad through the swimming club progress he makes, and whatever. It's all pretty much banal banter to pad out around the parts where he's just having sex with the swim club girls whenever possible.

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Sakura Swim Club has some positives I guess. The artwork is great (especially the uncensored scenes), and the music is quite nice. The little visual novel engine used is quite smooth, I especially enjoyed the ability to scroll through the conversations forwards and backwards using the scroll wheel. It's a breezy VN to read, but there's not much play. Best I can tell every choice is illusory, always leading to the same outcome. But the illusion of choice was nice.

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Sakura Swim Club reminded me of the one thing I really don't like about VNs... endless filler dialogue and monologues. Anything that can be said in one sentence will be said in fifteen instead. :roll: Many, many, many VNs do this as a form of artificial extenuation of the amount of time they take to finish, so that's nothing new. Even with all the insipid blathering, you'll still probably finish this VN in under two hours. You might enjoy it for what it's worth. I for one appreciated the tight swimsuits and naughty bits, but I'm just simple like that. If you're looking for a deep and complex narrative, with a plot that will keep you hooked until the wee hours of the night... forget it. Sakura Swim Club is about as deep as a puddle of weeb drool.

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