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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:44 pm

alienjesus wrote:Games Beaten:
First 30:
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
15. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Mega Drive
16. Dynamite Headdy Mega Drive
17. Runbow Wii U eShop
18. The Mystical Ninja starring Goemon N64
19. 3D Puyo Puyo 2 3DS
20. Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa 3DS
21. SteamWorld Dig 3DS eShop
22. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch
23. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped PS1
24. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time GC
25. Pilotwings 64 N64
26. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones GBA
27. Puyo Puyo Tetris Switch
28. Life Force NES
29. Bionic Commando NES
30. Bonk's Revenge TGCD

31. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia 3DS
32. Splatoon 2 Switch
33. Shantae & The Pirates Curse 3DS eShop
34. Devil May Cry PSN
35. Team Kirby Clash Deluxe 3DS eShop
36. Blaster Master Wii U VC
37. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes GC
38. Wario Blast! featuring Bomberman Game Boy
39. Astro Boy: Omega Factor GBA
40. Daiku No Gen-San: Ghost Building Company Game Boy
41. Kirby: Planet Robobot 3DS
42. Noobow Game Boy
43. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 Game Boy
44. Mario Golf N64
45. Akumajo Special: Boku Dracula-Kun Game Boy
46. Rockman World 5 Game Boy
47. Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! GBC
48. Sonic Mania Switch eShop *NEW*
49. Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima SFC *NEW*
50. Super Mario Odyssey Switch *NEW*
51. Gauntlet IV Mega Drive *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
4. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble 3DS VC
5. Trip World 3DS VC

So, people should expect a LOT of posts from me over the next few weeks. People might know that I'm quite bad for getting behind on posting reviews of games I beat, but last week I was off work and also beat about 20 games, so I have a LOT I need to cover - 27 games in all. This post is 50% modern, but some of you people who complain about the lack of retro titles being listed are going to enjoy some of the stuff I write about I think!

Sonic Mania

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At this point, everyone’s written something about this game, and as usual my review is late to the party, but here you go, you get to enjoy me telling you why it’s great too.

I’m a big fan of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games. My first ever game was Sonic the Hedgehog for the Master System, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Mega Drive was one of my most played games growing up – it was a defining game for me. I liked the first Sonic a lot too, and Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, whilst making changes I was less fond of, are still solid games. Over the years, 2D Sonic games have generally remained decent – Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush are pretty fun, but they never captured the magic of the classics.

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Well, obviously, Sonic Mania does. The physics feel perfect, the level designs veer to the fun Sonic 2 end of the spectrum and don’t tend to punish you too much for going fast, unlike later entries. The graphics are gorgeous and the music is great and the game is awesome. I love Sonic Mania.

I had my issues with the game – not all levels are created equally – I’d have liked to see more new stages, as some of those (Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon) are some of the most exciting in the game, and a few of the stage gimmicks were not to my taste (Titanic Monarch was confusing). Blue sphere gets tedious, especially when it gets played so often, and I don’t like the big ring bonus stage mechanic from Sonic 3 making a return – it encourages slow and tedious exploration at the same time that the level designs encourage the opposite.

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But nitpicks aside, Sonic Mania is the best Sonic game since Sonic 2. It might even be the best Sonic game in general, time will tell. Go out and buy it now if you haven’t already.



Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima (AKA Marvelous: Another Treasure Island)

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Marvelous: Another Treasure Island is a Super Famicom title created on the Link to the Past engine and directed by Eiji Aonuma, the man who would go on to direct later entries in the Zelda series. Other than that footnote in Zelda history, the game seems largely forgotten, which seems unfair – this is a game full of charm, wit and whimsy, and is one which is absolutely worth a play… if you can stomach it’s flaws.

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Marvelous tells the story of a class on a camping trip. You play as one group of boys on the trip, the small and sprightly Dion, the tall and clever Jack, and the fat and strong Max. At the start of the game you’re tasked with finding firewood for the camp, and during this introduction you’re taught the mechanics that make up the game. Despite the Zelda influence, Marvelous isn’t an action adventure game in the same game – it’s much more puzzle focused, and combat is incredibly minimal. At any time you can press A to bring up a cursor on screen and use it to look at objects. This generally brings up a zoomed in view of the object, from which you can examine the environment around it, interact with it by using items you’ve previously found, or interact with it as a team using the Teamwork command – this is generally used for moving large objects with all 3 boys, or looking through windows by standing on each others shoulders.

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In addition to working as a team, the boys can split up (to look for clues!). Each boy has a variety of items exclusive to them which require them to solve certain puzzles using their unique skills. For example, Dion gets the ability to run, use a hammer or attack by throwing a baseball, whereas Jack can control robots, jump and fish with a rod, and Max can kick or drill holes. Many puzzles require you to alternate between the characters to solve them.
Shortly into the game, your teacher is kidnapped by pirates, and you go on a quest accompanied by a monkey in order to save her by finding all the secret magic pirate orbs. It’s a bit contrived, but it’s a set up to explain why you visit four unique islands with interesting and fun plotlines. In one island you’ll be time travelling with a penguin to find out why the cowboy pirate town has no water, in another you’ll be investigating strange monster plants and matchmaking gorillas, and in another you’ll be shrunk down to ant size and jailed for lying about being giants. It’s all super charming, quirky and fun.

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However, the game has some flaws, and they’re mainly down to it’s clunky interface. Interacting wqith objects is slow and finicky, and sometimes you’ll need to stop interacting and reposition yourself to be able to interact properly. Switching characters is tedious because doing so seperates the team too, meaning you have to change character, then recall the other two to keep the party together – this despite the fact that some buttons (start and X) do the same thing as one another and could have been the split up/separate buttons instead. The game is slow paced to progress, which can sometimes be at odds with it’s interesting and bite-sized feeling chapters. One other issue to note is that there’s an extended button mashing section in chapter 3 which I could just not beat. I’m normally pretty good and button mashing but this was too much – I turned on rapid fire on the retron 5 to beat it and I don’t regret it either.

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Obviously, Marvelous was a Japan only release, so I played with a translation patch. The patch that’s out there is pretty good, with funny dialogue and clear instructions given. I noticed a few things which didn’t feel very ‘nintendo’ but it’s nothing egregious.

Marvelous is a great little title which is inventive and clever, but it feels like it needs some refinement in it’s controls. With those changes the pace would be brisker and the game would feel less tedious at times. However, space it out a bit and you’ll find a charming and fun game here with a lot to love. It’s more than just a Zelda sidenote. Give it a play.



Super Mario Odyssey:

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Super Mario Odyssey. It’s Good.

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Oh, OK, I guess I should write a bit more about Mario Odyssey than that, but I’ve not got a lot to add that hasn’t been spoken about by everyone else here who has reviewed it already. They all beat me to the punch despite me beating the game before all of them!

But hey, there’s a starting point – I did beat the game quickly – sure, I received it a day before release, but I was away for the weekend visiting family and it still sunk it’s hooks into me. Any chance I got, I’d sneak in a bit more Mario time. It’s compelling.

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And the game works so well for it – Mario Odyssey is the perfect pick-up-and-play experience. You can play for 20 minutes and accomplish plenty, but it definitely supports a lengthy play session for hours on end too. Moons are everywhere, and whilst some may think it cheapens them, in reality it just encourages to explore the world like never before in a Mario game. Everywhere is a point of interest, and everywhere is worth a visit to see what there is to see.

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And getting there is such a joy. Mario controls perfectly, the sheer act of getting from A to B is delightful. You can roll down hills then leap to your feet, arms stretch wide. You can bounce up walls and triple jump over the roof tops, before flinging your har out in front of you and diving onto it for more distance. You can stomp an enemy flat with a ground pound and then leap out out of it, high into the air, bringing your halted momentum back into play and advancing onto the next target. And that’s assuming you even travel around as Mario, and not one of the dozens of possessable enemies you can capture who change the way the game is played.

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As the music bounces along it’s jazzy way, you’ll be entranced by the levels which all just feel charming. Sure, many of them are the generic Mario fare, a sand level here, an ice level here, etc, but they all feel so magical and so vibrant and so full of life. And then there’s the odd outliers – the realistic city, the gothic tower, that feel so un-mario but somehow just work because the game is about finding new things and hey look, Mario’s found something new.

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If you can’t tell, I adore Mario Odyssey. It’s the best Mario game in recent years, and to be honest, probably my favourite Mario game ever. I had a smile on my face every minute I played the game, and I have a smile on my face just writing up my thoughts on it.


Super Mario Odyssey. It’s Good.



Gauntlet IV

So, here’s a blast from the semi-distant past. Some of you may know that Gauntlet was one of this year’s Together Retro titles, from way back in March. Would you believe that’s when I started playing this one? Well, I finally finished it up all these months later.

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Gauntlet 4 is a Mega Drive port of the original arcade Gauntlet, at least as far as I can tell. I think it’s called Gauntlet 4 because it’s the first home console version to allow 4 player via a multi-tap or something, because it doesn’t seem to be a sequel. The main arcade mode is here, as cheap as ever. Take control of one of 4 characters and blast your way through a dungeon, battling hordes of enemies whilst your health bar constantly decreases in a completely unfair manner. Frankly, Gauntlet the arcade game is a bit shit. It’s just too hard and too short lived to be fun, especially with limited credits like you’re given here.

So why did I persist at this game long enough to beat it? Because I was playing the other game mode. The new Quest mode works like Gauntlet if Gauntlet were an Action RPG rather than an arcade game, and it’s way better for it. You again pick one of the 4 character classes to explore the infamous castle where the secret to eternal youth is said to lie. To get into the castle you must break the seal in 4 towers by beating the dragons that reside there. Each tower has 10 floors of traditional Gauntlet gameplay, but it’s much more fair.

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In Quest mode, enemies do less damage from the start, and upon defeating them they grant experience which you can invest into one of your 7 stats – Direct attack power, defence, magic power, long-range power, long-range shot speed, movement speed and HP. You can also find money to buy better equipment which also raises your stats, as well as being rewarded with stat boost upon defeating each dragon. Artifacts can be found or bought too, with the most key one of these being the Healing ring – which stops the constant health drain that Gauntlet is known for when equipped.

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Me and my girlfriend played through the entire game in co-op, and had a good time overall. I played as the fearsome Valkyrie and my girlfriend chose the sage Wizard. By the end of the game our characters were fearsome powerhouses, though the Dragon bosses of each area still proved challenging. We enjoyed our quest uncovering secrets and listening to the games awesome music, but our pace slowed greatly towards the end as dungeons became overly complicated to trawl through, with maze like layouts that required us to clear out the same floors over and over again. As the tedium increased, it became harder and harder to convince my Wizard colleague to continue on in our quest. It took months, but we finally pushed through and conquered the last dungeon.

Gauntlet 4 in quest mode is an interesting and fun iteration of the game, that’s a big improvement on the classic Gauntlet. Playing through with 2 or more is a fun way to pass some time, but it’s quite a time commitment, and it can get tedious later on. If you can find some tower conquering buddies though, you’ll have a good time with Gauntlet 4.


AJ's review posts are a treat.

Never knew of the existence of Marvelous: Another Treasure Island. I'm putting that on my WIP list of goals for games to check out in 2018.

alienjesus wrote:It might even be the best Sonic game in general, time will tell.

I still can't believe I might be considering this too. Sonic Mania is cemented into my #3 spot for my favorite new releases this year.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:07 pm

Anyone remember reading about Marvelous in Nintendo Power? They used to tease and troll us so hard in "Epic Center." Here's my actual issue:
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I have others with big previews for Wonder Project J2, Star Ocean, Tactics Ogre, "Legend of the Fire Emblem", and so on.
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:10 pm

"Legend of the Fire Emblem"? haha, what year were these? Guessing mid 90's at least and pretty late in the SNES life... so NOA just said nah'.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:11 pm

Sonic Mania looks like a complete rehash of love letter to Genesis era Sonic, so I understand why it's so popular with nostalgic fans. Those Genesis games were Sonic's golden age, after all. I have the PC version of Sonic Mania, maybe I'll play it next year.

-

Marvelous is pretty cool, I concur. AJ, if you're interested in my thoughts after beating it, I reviewed Marvelous back in 2014. I will never forget that special moment I shared with a particular simian.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:28 pm

Xeogred wrote:"Legend of the Fire Emblem"? haha, what year were these? Guessing mid 90's at least and pretty late in the SNES life... so NOA just said nah'.


Pretty much yeah. The Marvelous issue is Feb. 1997. Mario Kart 64 on cover.

A few more things from that era.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by MrPopo Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:15 pm

Can we please not quote longass review posts and leave everything in? Trim it down to the game name or the first paragraph or something.

think about potentially backtracking to the first two in the future, though I'll wait and see how I feel after this two part juggernaut. I need to go back to when Popo played through them and read over his thoughts again.

So my advice here would be that you want to beat MM1 to import the party into MM2, as the start seems to be in a position of assuming you imported but technically being able to handle a new party. And MM1 definitely shows its age. It has a very difficult early game and exploration is much more involved due to the entire overworld being one giant dungeon with edge walls (as opposed to block walls that MM3 and later use). Once you start going you can follow quest clues and ultimately beat the game, though the very last dungeon is the height of tedium and I recommend you just cheat and use a map. You'll understand why when you get there. MM2 has a ton of improvements in terms of playability; the overworld is now tile based with skills to traverse blocking terrain like how MM3 and later use. If you can get through MM1 then MM2 will be a real treat.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:31 pm

MrPopo wrote:Can we please not quote longass review posts and leave everything in? Trim it down to the game name or the first paragraph or something.


I do that for a reason, it's called courtesy. AJ's post was at the end of the last page so chances are people might miss it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:12 am

MrPopo wrote:Can we please not quote longass review posts and leave everything in? Trim it down

I agree with you MrPopo, it's annoying when people do that. No one is going to "miss" someone else's review on a prior page. There is a previous page arrow button after all.

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109. Skyblazer | SNES | 1994 | 8/10

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Skyblazer is 1994 action platformer developed by Ukiyotei, and published by Sony in Japan, Europe, and USA. The story concerns a guy named Sky trying to rescue a sorceress from a big baddie. He does this by marauding through stages killing enemies and bosses. There is plenty of jumping over pitfalls as is expected of the genre. However Skyblazer's design is a bit more advanced than standard side scrolling games of its era. For example, Sky can cling to vertical walls, and he gains the ability to use all kinds of offensive magic. During some stages Sky can fly, both in shmup shooter style, and in bonus rounds a rear view Mode 7 style (think Pilotwings). Sky's main attacks are punches and kicks, as his magic uses a pool of limited quantity. Parts of Skyblazer can be tricky, and death is not a rare occurrence. However, extra lives are very easy to find and farm in this game, so it's no big deal. In addition, passwords are available to save the player's progress.

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I'm kind of surprised I haven't heard more folks talk about Skyblazer on retro forums. Skyblazer has impressive graphics (loved the backgrounds) with absolutely killer special effects, an above average OST, and really strong stage layouts. I enjoyed the impressive variety of each stage's design, as every area is unique, with new concepts popping up all the way to the end. There's a lot of stages too, Skyblazer's breadth of content is larger than your average SNES platformer. The controls are tight and simple, and the special powers Sky gains are fun to use. There's a fair amount of enemy types to fight, and lots of vexing bosses. There's even a bit of non-linearity in the way Sky can approach stages, thanks to a nice overworld map. Honestly I think Skyblazer is a bit of a hidden gem. That's not to say Skyblazer is perfect, mind you. I didn't appreciate the loose hit detection, super short melee attack range, nor the way Sky automatically sticks to walls (I'd rather hold a button down to do that). But those are minor gripes in an otherwise surprisingly strong SNES game. If you enjoy Demon's Crest, ActRaiser, or Mega Man X, I would certainly recommend Skyblazer. It's not quite as good as those seminal classics, but Skyblazer's a lot closer than you may expect.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Sarge Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:53 am

Skyblazer is one of my favorite hidden gems. Is this your first time through?
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:59 am

Sarge wrote:Is this your first time through?

Yes it was. Had no idea it was this solid.
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