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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Sarge Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:44 pm

It's a deal compared to cart prices. But it is a game that I'm loath to throw that much money down on.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Ack Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:46 pm

TSTR wrote:@Juan - Good to know about Hell Yeah! - WOTDR. I got that in some bundle and never gave it a second thought. Might have to change that.

As I recall, Gamerforlife was also a big fan of it back when he was still coming around. I also own it on Steam. I'll get to it someday...
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:59 pm

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
2. Gyromite (NES)
3. Lucy -The Eternity She Wished For- (Steam)
4. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
5. Radical Dreamers (SNES)
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What's the sequel to Chrono Trigger? Chrono Cross, right? Well, that game marks the end of a trilogy. There's another much more obscure title tossed into the middle position: Radical Dreamers. The game was released for the Super Famicom Satellaview; it was a downloadable digital Super Famicom game to put it simply. Much later (2003) an English fan translation appeared. Now, since this is a digital game there's no "official" physical release. I believe you can technically buy and run a Satellaview cart with the game stored inside. These show up on eBay occasionally and are quite expensive. For those looking for shelf candy and don't wanna spend the big bucks I recommend a reproduction cartridge.

So, an unknown Chrono Trigger sequel on the Super Nintendo? Don't get too excited. This isn't another masterfully-crafted JRPG. In fact, it's not an RPG at all. Radical Dreamers is a menu-based text adventure game, not dissimilar to the Phantasy Star II Text Adventures, which originally appeared on Sega's digital download service Meganet.
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The tale of Radical Dreamers bridges the gap between Trigger and Cross. The protagonist here is Serge, some clumsy musician kid. He's joined by the sassy thief, Kid, who he has a mad crush on. Also along for the ride is Magil, a mysterious and stoic mage.

The majority of the game takes place within the Viper Manor, a sprawling estate said to hold a treasure of unspeakable power. Infiltrating the manor is a scheme devised by Kid, who wishes to possess said treasure and extract some sort of revenge on the aristocratic ruler of the estate.

Aesthetically, the game is absolutely brilliant. The manor is dark and gloomy. Every area is shrouded in darkness with only a sliver of moonlight or candlelight providing guidance. It's genuinely creepy without the schlock and jump scares. Navigation is claustrophobic with plenty of narrow passageways and winding staircases. And this manor is certainly worth exploring in full. Every room is distinct: there's a torture chamber, study, catacombs, atrium, outdoor terrace (my personal favorite), ballroom, and much more. Thankfully, the manor isn't a labyrinth - everything is laid out logically and thorough exploration is enough to uncover all secrets, though several areas will have to be revisited.
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Adding to the atmosphere are sound effects lifted straight from Chrono Trigger. For instance, the catacombs feature the same type of water drips heard in Crono's jail cell. Yasunori Mitsuda is back on soundtrack duty, and while this score can't compete with that of Chrono Trigger (what can?) the songs here are nevertheless superb, most notably the bittersweet ending melody.

I can't comment on the original text, but what appears here in the fan translation is quite the entertaining read (and quite the competent translation job). There's a lot to read, but the text flows quickly and the plot remains compelling throughout. The interaction between our three heroes is most certainly the highlight. I especially enjoy Kid's sarcastic 'tude and Serge's desperate attempts at flirting. He's even worse than I am.
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Progressing through the game requires the collection of various items - and unearthing of various secrets - throughout the manor. Mercifully, the game's quite straightforward about where objects may be located and what they do. There is naturally some trial and error involved, as well as the possibility of walking into an instant-death situation. Saving and loading can be done at most any time, and it's incredibly critical to save frequently.

There's also combat. Some encounters (the "boss fights") are guaranteed while others are random. Unlike the Phantasy Star II Text Adventures, a traditional RPG battle window does not present itself for combat. Instead, the game uses the type of text menus used throughout. Depending on the context of the battle you can choose to slice, throw, ram, run away, "hit the deck", and so on. Only Serge is issued commands in this fashion, though Kid and Magil also assist in slaying foes.

Let's move on to the UI: the weakest aspect of the game. To successfully complete Radical Dreamers one must keep Serge's HP above zero (duh), and also maintain a healthy relationship with Kid. Now, HP is apparently represented by a numerical value throughout but there's no way to view it. Instead, after every battle Serge verbally comments on his situation to indicate how much stamina he has remaining. It's quite innovative, though an accompanying HP number or meter would have been much appreciated. There's also no way to view the "reputation points" built with Kid (this is impacted by positive or negative character interactions) or inventory items. I surmise this was done to keep the game minimalistic and streamlined, and while I appreciate this design from an artistic standpoint it's also undeniably annoying at times.

Lastly, and this is a very specific complaint, selecting an option from the game menus is more difficult than it should be. That's because the text color is white while the highlighted menu choice is.... off-white(?). Or perhaps a really light gray. Whatever the case, it's needlessly tricky to decipher and I frequently found myself "losing" whatever option was presently highlighted.
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I admit I enjoyed this way more than anticipated. Clunky interface issues aside, exploring this dreary dank mansion is a great way to spend a few hours. You'll notice some references to the original Chrono Trigger sprinkled throughout, so most definitely play that first. Another Super Famicom hidden gem? Not quite. But a damn intriguing game.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Markies Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:00 am

1. Phantasy Star II (GEN)

I completed Phantasy Star II this evening on the Sega Genesis.

Oh, wow, that game is quite brutal. It was released a little before the original Final Fantasy, so it very much feels like an 8 bit RPG. There is little story and it is actually a little hard to follow sometimes. The interface is hard to navigate. The grinding in the game is real and very long. You will be grinding for money and pure levels. Some of the enemies and especially the bosses are just pure mean and evil. It is a long, slow and arduous process just to get through the game.

It is one of the first Science Fiction RPG's, which is a first for its time and helped pave the way for many before it along with many other firsts. I really like the multiple characters and how you can choose your party members at any time. Having a main character die half way was shocking and very gutsy on their part. However, by far, the best part of the game is its music. Oh my Goodness, those are some of the best tunes in the world! Fantastic for a game of that age.

There are many things that frustrated me about Phantasy Star II, but there are many things I like/respect about the game. I think it is only for hardcore old school RPG fans and those interested in the genres roots. It is an elder that deserves our respect, but it can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:12 am

Markies wrote:It is an elder that deserves our respect, but it can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes.

So true, and congrats on beating a legit classic.

I haven't beaten this game since 1991, back when I was in traction for six weeks. I didn't have a whole lot to do in a hospital bed, so to a twelve year old the grinding was a blessing*, making the experience last longer and prolonging the entertainment. I distinctly remember the fight with Mother Brain, being amazed at her palette cycling effect, and the feeling of elation when I beat her.


*As a busy adult, excessive grinding can piss off.
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TSTR
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by TSTR Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:30 am

Phantasy Star II came out two years after Final Fantasy. The first Phantasy Star came out at almost the exact same time as FF1.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:40 am

TSTR wrote:The first Phantasy Star came out at almost the exact same time as FF1.

Yep. The first PS was released all of two days after the first FF. What a time to be alive that was. :o
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TSTR
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by TSTR Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:45 am

The ol' one-two!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:22 am

The US releases of both were in 1990, with Phantasy Star II coming first. But from the perspective of design choices PS2 came after FF.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Markies Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:28 am

Exhuminator wrote:
Markies wrote:It is an elder that deserves our respect, but it can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes.

So true, and congrats on beating a legit classic.

I distinctly remember the fight with Mother Brain, being amazed at her palette cycling effect, and the feeling of elation when I beat her.


Oh yeah, that was completely stunning! Her fight was amazing and her sprite was utterly stunning. The Pandora's Box fight before her can just die. He was beyond mean.

Yeah, the graphics and sprite work in the game are really amazing. The enemies are ginormous on the screen and look absolutely huge in battles.

One thing I just remembered about the game: the 'look room' is AWFUL! Your characters are so close to the screen for it to finally move. That was so annoying in dungeons as you can hardly see around you.

I do own Phantasy Star III & IV. I have heard great things about both, so I am very excited to play them in the future!
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