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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:03 pm

I recently played the first two Super Mario Land games on a television for the first time and it was a great experience. They're both really really fantastic. Given their age and the limitations of the hardware, the gameplay of each is super impressive. Two is way more polished but I prefer the weird setting and music of the first.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:01 pm

I vastly prefer 2 to 1 in the same way I prefer World to Bros. 1. Land 1 was them figuring out the hardware and then they vastly expanded things with Land 2. But Land 3 is definitely the best (albeit a Wario game rather than a Mario game).
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Sarge Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:36 pm

Both of them have some really funky physics. I love how crazy the levels are in those games, though.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by alienjesus Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:08 pm

Games Beaten:
1. 3D Power Drift 3DS
2. Maze Hunter 3-D 3DS
3. Hyrule Warriors Legends 3DS
4. Icarus Proudbottom's World of Typing Weekly PC
5. Paper Mario N64
6. Catherine PS3
7. Glover N64
8. Blast Corps N64
9. Snipperclips: Cut It Out, Together! Switch eShop
10. Pullblox 3DS eShop
11. Pokémon Picross 3DS eShop
12. Bare Knuckle III Mega Drive
13. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja SNES
14. Alisia Dragoon Mega Drive *NEW*
15. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Mega Drive *NEW*
16. Dynamite Headdy Mega Drive *NEW*
17. Runbow Wii U eShop *NEW*

Replays!:
1. Bare Knuckle III Mega Drive
2. Die Hard Arcade Saturn
3. The World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Mega Drive

OK guys, bear with me, this will be a long one. I beat 4 games in about a 30 hour time period this weekend, so there's a lot to write about...

Alisia Dragoon

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Alisia Dragoon is a sidescrolling action game for Mega Drive. It was developed by Game Arts but features some artwork from anime studio Gainax. Obviously, this lovely artwork was remove from the game's box art when brought west, and replaced the typical 80s style barbarian lady that Sega was ever so fond of at the time, but it's still all nice and present in game.

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Alisia is on a quest to stop some evil mage guy reviving some evil overlord of some generically evil description - I don't have the manual, so I can only put together what I can from the one or two in-game cutscenes. She does this by walking around and SHOOTING EVERYTHING WITH LIGHTNING. ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! This is obviously a lot of fun, especially as it homes in on enemies and makies you feel powerful, but there's some considerations with it. Enemies tend to swarm you on mass, so it can be hard to kill them before they hit you even with homing shots. The lightning meter also drains as you use it, and recharges quickly when you don't, which means you can't just hold fire all the time. In addition, letting the lightning meter charge a few seconds before firing lets you performing the rolling blast - a sweep of lightning that covers the whole screen and does extra damage. This is really useful, so the game is often about slow and deliberate progression rather than rushing in and blasting everything.

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Alisia also has some animal buddies who can help her out. Well, they're actually familiars and they're all mythical creatures, but lets go with animal buddies anyway. Animal buddies come in 4 varieties - the first is a Dragon who shoots a spread of fireballs which do a lot of damage, but is a large target to take damage. Second is a 'thunder raven' who takes a long time to charge up for an attack, but when he does it's a screen covering flash that damages everything on screen. He's probably the most useful generally. The third is a ball of fire who attacks by bumping into enemies. He seems to take way less damage than other enemies, but his attack range is limited. The final one is the boomerang lizard, a lizard with boomerangs for wings that somehow shoots the boomerangs but continues flying. The boomerangs swing around towards enemies in a homing fashion, giving him lots of range but can be unpredictable. These animal buddies can be switch at will, but can also take damage, so careful management of them is essential.

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Alisia can find many power ups for both herself and her animal buddies. Potions heal Alisia whilst meat heals the budniks. Alisia can find extensions to her health meter (going from 3 at the start of the game to 6 maximum) and upgrade her lightning power too (not sure on the max, but I had 8 when I beat the game). Animal buddies can be levelled up with a certain power up too, increased the power or number of their attacks as well as extending their health meter. Each buddy can reach level 3 maximum and there's more than enough of the power ups that they should all be maxed by the end. You can also find platform fairies which open up new routes in the levels by creating a platform, invincibility fairies which make you invincible for a bit, and extra lives, which are very important as you begin the game with only a single life and no continues. If you use an extra life you restart the level you were on, but keep all of the power ups you had previously.

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The levels in Alisia Dragoon are fun to play through, although they are a mixed bag. Some are generic caves and forests, but a few really mix stuff up - one is a giant destroyed airship which is at an angle, so you must navigate the sloped floors whilst being attack by robots. Bosses are more memorable, with a delightful bunch of weird monsters, mages and tanks to zap your way through. The whole thing is rather pretty visually, and the music is very fitting although I must admit, not especially memorable.

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There are some flaws with Alisia Dragoon - a couple of the bosses feel very cheap until you work out the pattern, and the difficulty can spike suddenly at a few parts. The game can be a bit of a clusterfuck sometimes too, with swarms of enemies, your lightning zap and your familiar all flying about - there are many sections where damage feels unavoidable, but the game seems to take this into account with generous health pickups and a life bar that allows you take a few good hits before dying.

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Alisia Dragoon is a pretty great game for Mega Drive that I think everyone shouyld give a try. It playus a little differently to anything else on the system, and has a lot of fun ideas. The execution can be a little iffy, but generally the experience is super enjoyable, and the game is a ton of fun. Definitely pick it up!




Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

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After Bare Knuckle and Alisia Dragoon, I was still in a Mega Drive mood, so I decided I'd play through some more games on the system. Shinobi III is the 3rd Shinobi game for Mega Drive (after Revenge of Shinobi and Shadow Dancer) and is a direct sequel to The Revenge of Shinobi. Naturally, this means it has a high bar to live up to, but luckily, its one that it arguably surpasses.

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Shinobi III refines a lot of the mechanics of Revenge to make a game which better captures the idea of being a modern ninja - unlike Revenge's careful and deliberate progression, Shinobi 3 aims to give you a selection of new moves that both increase mobility and offer new ways to dispatch your enemies. New moves include the ability to wall jump, dash, a running sword strike, the ability to swing along ceilings, and a drop kick move that can be used for quick descent. Another crucial, but easy to forget new move is the ability to block by holding the attack button - quite a large amount of enemy attacks can be blocked this way, including many bosses' assaults. Lastly, the double jump is still here from Revenge, and is much easier to pull off reliably this time. However, it's still quite picky about timing, so expect to encounter a few missed jumps at crucial moments just like before.

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Level designs are quite distinctive this time, with your opening gambit taking you throught a woods and cave, and later levels taking you through a weird biolab full of mutant monsters, through an army base, into a ninja hideout and a climb along the udnerside of an airship. Most distinctive of all though are stage 2, where you ride a horse, and stage 4, where you become a badass surfing ninja. These offer a nice break in the action for something a little different, and the stage are quite easy and offer lots of opportunities to power up, which is nice.

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Being quite a late release for the Mega Drive, Shinobi 3 sets out to impress graphically and does a good job of it. Crisp graphics, large sprites, transparency, distortion and scaling effects and layers upon layers of parallax abound, and it's clearly a showcase title for the system. The music, of course, is also excellent, and fits the game very well.

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Shinobi 3 is a classic for Mega Drive, and most people's favourite in the series. For my money, I struggle to choose which I think is better between this and Revenge of Shinobi, but there's no doubt this is the easier game to get into for a quick blast, as its both easier and more immediately gratifying than it's predecessor, whilst still maintaining a healthy level of challenge.

Shinobi 3 is a must own for the console, be sure to get it.



Dynamite Headdy
So after beating Alisia Dragoon I still wasn't done with the Mega Drive, and I decided to take on something even more challenging. Dynamite Headdy is no joke. Actually, Dynamite Headdy might be a joke, but it's a joke at your expense.

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Dynamite Headdy is a sidescrolling platform title by Treasure, one of the greatest developers ever in my opinion. You play as a puppet called Headdy, who can attack enemies by throwing his head at them. Along the course of the game you can swap your heads for different noggins which offer a variety of different powers - some of which are intended for battling, and some of which can also offer utility in platforming - examples include the spik head which can be used to grapple up walls by sticking it to them, the super head which makes you run and jump faster, and the tiny head which shrinks you down to pass through small gaps. There is a large variety of heads available, and most of them are useful, even the sleep head, which whilst making you vulnerable also recovers your health. The lone exception is the Buddha head which makes you unable to move very well,jump or attack until it wears off.

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Being a treasure game, Dynamite Headdy is a real technical showcase, and the amount of gameplay variety, fun gimmicks and visual tricks it utilises are super impressive. From levels where the floor rotates to give a 3d perspective, to shmup stages, to multiple stages and bossfights in cylindrical areas which can be rotated around and a whole bunch of huge or quirky boss fights full of scaling effects and the like - it's an incredible achievement for the system. Dynamite Headdy deserves to be revered as a classic, but it generally gets forgotten, and I think I know why.

Dynamite Headdy is not a short game - in fact, it's surprisingly long, and I clocked in about 3 hours on the run I beat the game on. It's also a pretty damn hard game, even by the standards of some other Treasure titles. All of this is compounded by the dreaded localisation changes inflicted upon it - that's right, this is another of those games that was made harder in the west than it's original release in Japan. Ostensibly, these changes are normally described as being to discourage people from renting a game and beating it in a single weekend, but let me assure you that was 100% unnecessary with Dynamite Headdy.

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I've played Dynamite Headdy a few dozen times before and never managed to make it even close to the ending. To see how it compared, this time, I played the Japanese version. Version differences includemany bosses having increased HP (often doubled), boss patterns being made more random and less predictable, health items healing less in the western release, a few enemy pattern changes and more. A single boss actually had his health lowered for the western release (he#s the hardest boss in the game foir sure) but in return they made his hit box notably smaller, which probably made him way harder overall anyway. The biggest change outside of boss health increases were in the continue system - in Japan you begin with 2 continues, and in the west you begin with 0. In addition, some bosses rain gold pieces when defeated, and in Japan, grabbing 10 of these grants a continue. In the US and Europe, it's 13, which makes it notably harder to get the continues you need.

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The changes definitely are for the worse. A notable area of consternation for me in the western release is a boss fight taking place on a tower, where the boss is only vulnerable for a short time and requires 8 hits to defeat. The boss uses attacks at random, and it can often take upwards of 10-15 minutes to beat the bugger. In Japan, this boss takes 4 hits and has a predictable pattern of using the vulnerable attack every 4th move. It's notably more fun this way, as it doesn't drag out endlessly.

Here's the thing though - having now beaten the Japanese release, I can say that the game is still stupendously difficult. The point I was stuck on in the Western release (Baby Face - a 4 part shmup boss that requires about 100 hits to defeat and appears at the end of world 6 of 9) was no easier in the original, I siomply beat it because I had more attempts to retry and learn it's pattern this time. The rest of the game featuresd a ton of boss fights in classic treasure style, and the second last one in the game was horrendous, and almost cost me my whole run. He is also a giant face, so clearly they are my weakness.

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Dynamite Headdy also features bonus stages which give a random number when defeated. Complete all 4 bonus stages and enter the 4 digit number at the end of the credits, and you'll fight a secret final boss - a games executive who attacks you by throwing money at you. This boss fight is really tough, but you get infinite attempts, so I beat it and got the 'true' ending, which is essentially just a sign saying 'The End'.

Dynamite Headdy looks, sounds and plays fantastically. It's a real showcase game for the console. Unfortunately, it's probably mostly forgotten because most people never got far enough into the game to experience all it has to offer, due to it's very high difficulty level. The western release completely unnecessarily compounds this issue, but it's a problem in the original release too. If you're hardcore and patient enough to commit to it though, you're in for a really good time. Just prepare for some frustration alogn the way.

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Runbow

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After playing Alisia Dragoon, Shinobi 3 and Dynamite Headdy, I decided I wanted to play some more Mega Drive games, so I played Mercs. Then I decided I didn't much like Mercs, and had a buddy around, and we ended up playing through Runbow on Wii U instead.

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Runbow is a competitive platformer game where each stage is a mini obstacle course of platforms. It's big gimmick is that many obstacles appear in a variety of colours, and the background changes colour constantly. If the background becomes the same colour as a platform, wall, laser or other obstacle, that obstacle doesn't exist whilst the background overlaps it. This means that there's some timing to consider as footing becomes unstable as colours change, new routes appear and disappear as walls vanish and re-emerge. and deadly hazards become harmless as they fail to exist.

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The mechanics of Runbow's platforming are otherwise very simple - you can double jump, and you can attack. Attack up[wards launches an uppercut which launches you into the air, effectively working as a third jump, smash bros style. Throwing 2 punches in a row will launch you forward in an attack too, often useful for passing through obstacles at speed. These mechanics are mixed with some fun and clever level design in short burst stages that are a lot of fun.

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We played the campaign mode, and like every other mode in the game it supports up to 9 players though. I've not played the other modes in the game to judge those, but hoenstly the campaign levels don't feel like they're designed for multiplayer, even if it is meant to be competitive. Often the levels are designed in ways that only 1 guy can get through obstacles even very early on, meaning it's a 9 player dash to the first set of jumps, and then there's only a single player left attempting to finish the rest of the level - not nearly as fun as if it accommodated all 9 people the whole time.

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Graphically, Runbow is very basic, but it works well with it's mechanics. Lots of characetr skins can be unlocked, most of which are characters from other indie titles, such as Shovel Knight, Princess Pitch, Commander Video and more. It's all just cosmetic though! The music in the game is fun, upbeat and energetic, and is a highlight of the package. Give the soundtrack a listen sometime, it's good stuff.

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Runbow is a fun little platformer with 'one-more-go' style gameplay which is a ton of fun to play through during it's short run time. It can be beaten in an hour, but there's plenty of content to keep you coming back, never mind the speed run challenges to accomplish too. I'm not sure what it goes for on eShop right now (I got it in the Humble Bundle a while back) but if you can get it relatively cheap, give it a go, it's a decent little game.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:12 pm

Nice post playa. Damn those Mega Drive games are sexy. I don't think I could ever beat any of them though! I'll have to give Alisia another whirl.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:01 pm

Alisia looks amazing. Might check it out today. How long was it?

Shinobi 3 is a 10/10. Goddamn masterpiece. Unfortunately, it's so damn perfect that it kind of ruined the other Shinobi games for me. I have a hard time getting into them because: A) slow controls and lack of run/double jumps, etc, different feel and B) they seem to parody a ton of goofy Japanese culture, whereas Shinobi 3 seems to take itself very seriously. So it's a weird contrast. The PS2 Shinobi is amazing though, just a totally different beast. Still has godly classic Sega music.

I've never been able to get into Dynamite Headdy, but wow those screens are gorgeous. Looks like Ristar in a lot of spots. Maybe I'll give it another shot someday and check out the Japanese version.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:22 pm

Have you played Shinobi (3DS)? It is rad, and it is probably my favorite game in the series.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:27 pm

As someone who only uses their Genesis as Dynamite Headdy machine, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Who is the boss that you nearly lost the entire game on? The gate guardian, and Dark Demon are definitely the hardest in my book. I've never had a terribly difficult time with Baby Face though. Everyone else seems to hate his guts, and while I'll admit he's hard, sure, but I'd much rather fight him a second time than the gate guardian.

Also, don't forget one of the coolest parts of the Japanese release: More story! A lot of dialogue (almost all of it, actually) was cut from the English release, and it's really cool to see the story play out with words as well as actions. Especially on the secret boss, because he's pretty clearly supposed to be a Konami executive when he boasts about how well Headdy did and how many sequels they'll be able to make of him (an infamous complaint Treasure employees had of their former employer).
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Sarge Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:58 pm

Alisia Dragoon may look amazing, but it just didn't do a whole lot for me when I played it last year. It's decent, don't get me wrong, but it's not amazing in my book.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by alienjesus Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:37 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Nice post playa. Damn those Mega Drive games are sexy. I don't think I could ever beat any of them though! I'll have to give Alisia another whirl.


They're all pretty great, but they're not an easy bunch for sure. I'm quite proud of myself :)

Xeogred wrote:Alisia looks amazing. Might check it out today. How long was it?

Shinobi 3 is a 10/10. Goddamn masterpiece. Unfortunately, it's so damn perfect that it kind of ruined the other Shinobi games for me. I have a hard time getting into them because: A) slow controls and lack of run/double jumps, etc, different feel and B) they seem to parody a ton of goofy Japanese culture, whereas Shinobi 3 seems to take itself very seriously. So it's a weird contrast. The PS2 Shinobi is amazing though, just a totally different beast. Still has godly classic Sega music.

I've never been able to get into Dynamite Headdy, but wow those screens are gorgeous. Looks like Ristar in a lot of spots. Maybe I'll give it another shot someday and check out the Japanese version.


Alisia Dragoon is about an hour or so to play through, although it is reasonably challenging so it might take more than one attempt. The game actually isn't too brutal until you hit the final level or so where there are some bosses with difficult to work out patterns. Once you figure those out though, you should be good.

Revenge of Shinobi does have some silly bosses, but it mostly takes itself seriously. Shinobi X/Legions could be argued to take itself too seriously considering how silly the whole thing comes across with the digitised characters and hilariously cheesy cutscenes. I'm actually a big fan of the Game Gear ones, which are great experiences if you can overlook the obvious Super Sentai influences.

Dynamite Headdy is a game that deserves your time, even if you ultimately never finish it. It's got a lot of cool stuff to show off in it's runtime.

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Have you played Shinobi (3DS)? It is rad, and it is probably my favorite game in the series.


I have Shinobi 3DS but haven't given it much time yet. The time I did give it though, it kicked my ass. Even beating the first stage is super tough on Normal :shock:

These are the shinobi games I own. The ones I've actually dedicated some time to are in bold, and the ones that are in green are the ones I've finished:

Shinobi (SMS)
The Revenge of Shinobi (MD)
Shinobi 3 (MD)
The GG Shinobi (GG)

The GG Shinobi 2 (GG)
Shinobi X (Saturn)
Shinobi (3DS)
3D Shinobi 3 (3DS eShop)
Also: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

I've been curious about the PS2 releases, I should pick those up sometime. I'm not that fond of the original Shinobi, so I'm not sure if I'll like Shadow Dancer either - it's more like the Arcade game, right?

PartridgeSenpai wrote:As someone who only uses their Genesis as Dynamite Headdy machine, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Who is the boss that you nearly lost the entire game on? The gate guardian, and Dark Demon are definitely the hardest in my book. I've never had a terribly difficult time with Baby Face though. Everyone else seems to hate his guts, and while I'll admit he's hard, sure, but I'd much rather fight him a second time than the gate guardian.

Also, don't forget one of the coolest parts of the Japanese release: More story! A lot of dialogue (almost all of it, actually) was cut from the English release, and it's really cool to see the story play out with words as well as actions. Especially on the secret boss, because he's pretty clearly supposed to be a Konami executive when he boasts about how well Headdy did and how many sequels they'll be able to make of him (an infamous complaint Treasure employees had of their former employer).


Why only as a Dynamite Headdy machine when there's so many other Treasure games to enjoy? Plus, y'know, all the other cool games for the system?

I didn't think to search for a translation patch, so I never saw the extended story. Baby Face is nightmarish for me - I find Baby Face and Boy Face just fine (normally take a hit or two on Boy Face, but none on Baby) but Man Face tears me a new one.

I don't know what the boss I struggled with is called in English since I've never reached him in the western version, but he's right before the final boss, and the japanese version of the level is called Funny Angry. You flip the floor and ceiling and he goes from green to red and tries to crush you against the wall.

And yeah, I got the Konami executive inference. It was funny. It was less funny on my 30th or so attempt at that damn boss fight though :lol:
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