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Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:54 am
by Exhuminator
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121. Browning | PCECD | 1992 | 4/10

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Browning is a Japan-only, 2D side scrolling mecha shooter, developed for the PCECD by Riot, and published by Nippon Telenet, in 1992. Despite being Japanese only, all of Browning's text and voice acting is entirely in English. (The only text not in English, surprisingly, are the credits.) In Browning, the player takes the roll of a pilot controlling a red mech, on an onslaught mission to kill many other mechs. The player's mech only has one gun, that shoots rapid fire in a straight direction. No upgrades or alternative weapons. The player can jump, use jets to hover (which burn out and must recharge), walk, run, duck, and shoot straight. That's it. The player cannot even aim their weapon diagonal or up. This sounds simple in design, but Browning makes its controls more difficult than they should have been. For example, to run, the player must double tap forward (instead of simply having accelerating speed). To turn around, the player must double tap the opposite direction. To hover, the player must push the jump button, and then press the jump button again, and then continue to hold the jump button (instead of simply holding the jump button the first time to hover). In addition to its clunky controls, Riot tried to make Browning feel like the player is controlling a heavy mech. To do this, Riot made the controls feel "sluggish". Instead of having the mech feel heavy, these sluggish controls impede reaction time, only to add artificial difficulty.

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On the subject of ridiculous difficulty, let's just get this out of the way; Browning is brutal. There are only five short stages, most of which consists of boss encounters. To counter this brief amount of content, Riot choose to make Browning challenging in cheap ways. Enemies pummel the player's mech with fast bullets that are very difficulty to avoid. Melee mechs come out of nowhere and slash the player to bits with no warning. One might think having a regenerating shield would even things out. But instead, this mech's shield depletes very quickly and regenerates very slowly. Bosses are death dispensing bullet sponges, with no indication as to their health. Worst of all, every stage has a time limit that quickly runs out. (It's extremely aggravating to be on the cusp of killing a boss, only to have the time run out.) The fifth and final stage, which is just a three part boss run, is one of the hardest, most annoying pieces of gaming I've beaten in years. It definitely served to remind me just how easy modern gaming has become, versus yesteryear sadism fests such as Browning. As a big fan of side scrolling mecha shooters in general, I did enjoy Browning's theme, nice graphics, and rocking OST. But the genre and aesthetics were not enough to save Browning from its terrible controls, lack of real content, and completely unbalanced difficulty. There's something brown in this game alright.

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Riot made the Game Over screen look nice, because you will see it A LOT.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:18 am
by MrPopo
That cover made me think Front Mission, but then it turned out to just be a shmup :(

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:08 am
by Exhuminator
MrPopo wrote:That cover made me think Front Mission, but then it turned out to just be a shmup :(

The closest thing to Front Mission on PCECD that I know of are these:

http://www.pcengine.co.uk/HTML_Games/Solid_Force.htm

http://www.pcengine.co.uk/HTML_Games/Hi ... i_Serd.htm

Edit: added links

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:50 am
by ElkinFencer10
Games Beaten in 2017 So Far - 134
* denotes a replay

January (10 Games Beaten)
1. Persona 4 Arena - Playstation January 1
2. Chrono Trigger - SNES - January 7
3. Ys: The Vanished Omens - Master System - January 8
4. MUSHA - Genesis - January 10
5. Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below - PlayStation 4 - January 11
6. Ys I - TurboGrafx-CD - January 13
7. Ys II - TurboGrafx-CD - January 14
8. Dragon Quest Builders - PlayStation 4 - January 23
9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. School Girl/Zombie Hunter - PlayStation 4 - January 29


February (12 Games Beaten)
11. Fire Emblem Heroes - Android - February 3
12. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Wii U - February 5
13. Dante's Inferno - PlayStation 3 - February 7
14. Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - DS - February 11
15. Persona 4: Dancing All Night - Vita - February 12
16. Sniper Elite 4 - PlayStation 4 - February 17
17. Pony Quest - NES - February 19
18. Halo Wars 2 - Xbox One - February 22
19. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions - PlayStation Portable - February 24
20. Hotline Miami - PlayStation 4 - February 26
21. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light - Famicom - February 27
22. Bad Dudes - NES - February 28


March (6 Games Beaten)
23. Root Letter - PlayStation 4 - March 2
24. Vroom in the Night Sky - Switch - March 10
25. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Switch - March 17
26. Super Bomberman R - Switch - March 18
27. Super Mario Run - Android - March 24
28. I Am Setsuna - Switch - March 24


April (9 Games Beaten)
29. Mass Effect: Andromeda - PlayStation 4 - April 1
30. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army - PlayStation 4 - April 2
31. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 - PlayStation 4 - April 2
32. New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers - Switch - April 3
33. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 3 - PlayStation 4 - April 4
34. Persona 5 - PlayStation 4 - April 17
35. Alienation - PlayStation 4 - April 18
36. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - PlayStation 4 - April 23
37. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair - PlayStation 4 - April 29


May (14 Games Beaten)
38. Puyo Puyo Tetris - Switch - May 4
39. Fire Emblem Gaiden - Famicom - May 6
40. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Switch - May 6
41. Outlast II - PlayStation 4 - May 7
42. Dishonored - PlayStation 4 - May 10
43. Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! - Switch - May 12
44. Pikmin - Gamecube - May 12
45. Metal Slug - Neo Geo MVS - May 13*
46. Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Savior - PlayStation 4 - May 14
47. Batman: The TellTale Series - PlayStation 4 - May 17
48. Batman: Arkham VR - PlayStation 4 - May 18
49. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia - 3DS - May 25
50. Farpoint - PlayStation 4 - May 27
51. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Xbox 360 - May 29


June (10 Games Beaten)
52. Star Trek: Bridge Crew - PlayStation 4 - June 2
53. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - PlayStation 4 - June 3
54. Rebel Galaxy - PC - June 18
55. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - Vita - June 20
56. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - PC - June 21*
57. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Spearhead - PC - June 21
58. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault - Breakthrough - PC - June 22
59. Aliens Versus Predator - PC - June 23
60. Army Men - PC - June 24*
61. Apartment 666 - PC - June 26


July (20 Games Beaten)
62. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist - Genesis - July 12*
63. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone - PlayStation 4 - July 15
64. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine - PlayStation 4 - July 22
65. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - PlayStation 4 - July 24
66. Splatoon 2 - Switch - July 25
67. Kamiko - Switch - July 25
68. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge - Xbox - July 26
69. Panzer Dragoon - Saturn - July 27*
70. Snake Pass - Switch - July 27
71. Buck Bumble - Nintendo 64 - July 28*
72. Castlevania - NES - July 29
73. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest - NES - July 29
74. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - NES - July 29
75. Super Castlevania IV - SNES - July 30
76. Castlevania Adventure - Game Boy - July 30
77. Castlevania Adventure Rebirth - Wii - July 30
78. Contra Rebirth - Wii - July 31
79. Heavy Fire: Special Operations - Wii - July 31
80. Heavy Fire: Black Arms - Wii - July 31
81. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn - July 31*


August (9 Games Beaten)
82. Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius - Steam - August 4
83. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn - August 5
84. Sunrider: Liberation Day - Steam - August 6
85. Emily is Away - Steam - August 8
86. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - SNES - August 19
87. Nights of Azure - PlayStation 4 - August 25
88. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - PlayStation 4 - August 26
89. Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut - Xbox One - August 27
90. Devil's Third - Wii U - August 30*


September (14 Games Beaten)
91. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Switch - September 4
92. Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom - Wii U - September 4
93. Daytona USA - Xbox 360 - September 6
94. Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara - Wii U - September 6
95. Cave Story+ - Switch - September 10
96. Cosmic Star Heroine - Steam - September 14
97. Lego Worlds - Switch - September 16
98. Metroid: Samus Returns - 3DS - September 18
99. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls - PlayStation 4 - September 23
100. Weeping Doll - PlayStation VR - September 23
101. Dying: Reborn VR - PlayStation VR - September 24
102. Shadow Warrior 2 - PlayStation 4 - September 28
103. Pokken Tournament DX - Switch - September 29
104. White Day: A Labyrinth Called School - PlayStation 4 - September 30


October (7 Games Beaten)
105. Monster High: New Ghoul in School - Wii U - October 2
106. Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash - PlayStation 4 - October 8
107. Barbie Dreamhouse Party - Wii U - October 14
108. Tales of Berseria - PlayStation 4 - October 25
109. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online - PlayStation 4 - October 28
110. Super Mario Odyssey - Switch - October 30
111. Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti - Famicom - October 31


November (21 Games Beaten)
112. Fire Emblem Warriors - Switch - November 1
113. Sine Mora EX - Switch - November 2
114. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys - TurboGrafx-CD - November 4
115. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper - Wii U - November 4
116. The Bunker - PlayStation 4 - November 5
117. Dear Esther - PlayStation 4 - November 5
118. Gex - 3DO - November 5
119. Crysis 3 - PlayStation 3 - November 6
120. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - Xbox One - November 10
121. Sonic Forces - Switch - November 10
122. Call of Duty: WWII - Xbox One - November 11
123. For Honor - Xbox One - November 12
124. Blue Reflection - PlayStation 4 - November 17
125. Bully - Wii - November 20
126. Star Wars: Battlefront II - Xbox One - November 22
127. Doom - Switch - November 22
128. Onslaught - Wii - November 22
129. Zombie Panic in Wonderland - Wii - November 22
130. Criminal Girls: Invite Only - Vita - November 28
131. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 - PS3 - November 29
132. Gundam Side Story 0079: Rise from the Ashes - Dreamcast - November 30


December (2 Games Beaten)
133. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch - December 17
134. Castlevania Judgement - Wii - December 18


134. Castlevania Judgement - Wii - December 18

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Have you ever been a BIG fan of the series and eagerly awaited the series' debut on one of your favorite systems only to find that they've totally butchered the game and not even stuck to the original genre? Yeah, I feel for Castlevania Judgement and amplified version of the disappointment I felt for Soul Calibur Legends years and years ago. Konami tried to bring Castlevania to the Wii, but they did a...pretty lackluster job of it, all things considered. They made it a fighting game, and it isn't even a particularly good version.

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The basic premise of the game is that some rival of Dracula's from a bajillion years in the future ripped space-time to destroy him and some dude cosplaying as The Doctor decides to chill in the time rift created to find strong folks who stop the evil rival dude's plan. Thirteen characters from the Castlevania series are summoned to some forest or whatever to fight each other in trials to determine who's strong enough to beat the bad guy. To get the "true" ending, you end up having to play through the ten stage "story" mode fifteen times - once as each of the 13 Castlevania characters, then once again as any one of the 13 Castlevania characters, and then once as the character original to Judgement. It usually starts to feel boring after around stage 4.

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The game's visuals are okay. In general, the character models and environments look pretty good. The problem is the with the character animations, specifically the facial animations. During cut scenes, the faces are COMPLETELY static except for the mouths. The eyes don't move, the cheeks don't move, the eyebrows don't move. The lips are the only things that move. Once in a blue moon, a character might blink, but that's it. It looks SUPER unnatural. The dialogue is extraordinarily boring, though, so I usually just skipped the cut scenes anyway. The character models also look extremely out of place; they look like anime characters, not Castlevania characters. Dracula is the only character whom I though looked REMOTELY like he's supposed to.

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The actual gameplay is the epitome of mediocrity. It's a 3D fighter, but it's not a particularly well made one. It's easier to miss attacks outright than any other 3D fighter I've played, and while all of the characters are fairly unique in terms of their weapons and attacks, most of them feel rather...generic. Their special attacks are the only things that feel remotely special about most of the characters. Dracula and Golem are basically the only characters that felt at all special or unique to me. It's not that the gameplay is bad, per se, but it's just an early 2000s 3D version of the me-too fighters of the mid 90s.

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Castlevania Judgement is one of the most mediocre 3D fighters that I've ever played. It's not bad, but it's definitely not good. Normally when games fall into that category, I say that only hardcore fans of the series should bother. Castlevania Judgement is the opposite; fans of the Castlevania are the ones most likely to be disappointed with this game. If you just want a random fighting game to kill some time with, then sure, snag a copy of this, but you're better off with pretty much anything else in the genre.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:19 am
by PartridgeSenpai
I actually quite liked Castlevania Judgment when I played through it a year or so ago. But then, I'm not that into fighters, so I'm far less of a connoisseur.
How did you like playing as Golem and Dracula, btw, Elkin? I had SOOOO much trouble beating Golem's story mode just because of how weird his attacks are and how slow he is. Somewhat of a similar problem with Dracula's. I also thought that Trevor was by far the most broken character. He was the only one I found who could chain people while they're lying prone with a very simple combo.
I wanna say Judgment is actually made by some really veteran fighting game guys, tbh. Isn't like an Eighting game or something?

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:21 am
by ElkinFencer10
PartridgeSenpai wrote:I actually quite liked Castlevania Judgment when I played through it a year or so ago. But then, I'm not that into fighters, so I'm far less of a connoisseur.
How did you like playing as Golem and Dracula, btw, Elkin? I had SOOOO much trouble beating Golem's story mode just because of how weird his attacks are and how slow he is. Somewhat of a similar problem with Dracula's. I also thought that Trevor was by far the most broken character. He was the only one I found who could chain people while they're lying prone with a very simple combo.
I wanna say Judgment is actually made by some really veteran fighting game guys, tbh. Isn't like an Eighting game or something?

Yeah, it was Konami and Eighting. Golem was actually the easiest for me; I just kept spamming A+B until his special was charged and then wrecking people with that. Of the 10 fights, I think there were only two that I didn't get "Perfect" on. Dracula was tougher for me to get the hang of, but his attacks were so strong that I got by. Other than Golem, though, yeah, Trevor was the easiest for me along with Grant.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:53 pm
by alienjesus
Games Beaten:
First 50:
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
49. Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima SFC
50. Super Mario Odyssey Switch

51. Gauntlet IV Mega Drive
52. Alex Kidd in Shinobi World Master System
53. Psycho Fox Master System
54. The Ninja Master System
55. R-Type Master System
56. Momotarō Katsugeki PC Engine
57. Overcooked: Special Edition Switch eShop
58. Parasol Stars PC Engine
59. Star Parodier PC Engine
60. Cadash PC Engine
61. Dead or Alive Ultimate Xbox
62. Dead or Alive Ultimate 2 Xbox
63. OutRun 2 Xbox
64. Pop'n Twinbee SNES
65. Wild Guns Reloaded PS4 *NEW*
66. Journey PS4 *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


10 more reviews to write up yet...


Wild Guns Remastered

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I’ve been making it a mission of mine to try and acquire physical copies of all the games I downloaded on Nintendo’s Virtual Console service. One game which seemed out of reach though, was Wild Guns. Rootin’ tootin’ 6 shootin’ giant steampunk robots in a futuristic wild west setting? What’s not to like!? The answer, of course, is the price tag, as this game is easily a 3 figure cartridge nowadays. So when Natsume announced they would be releasing a remastered version of the game to PS4, I was super happy.

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Wild Guns Remastered is a fairly faithful remastering of the original on the surface. The game plays the same way – finish the first stage, then choose which order to do the next 4 before finally taking on the final stage. Each area of each level involves surviving enemies attacks whilst until the time limit ends, and then defeating a midboss, with a final boss at the end of the stage. You can move with the d-pad and jump (and double jump) with X, whilst Square shoots. Whilst shooting you can aim freely but you’re rooted in place, but pressing the jump button whilst shooting lets you jump out of the way of enemy bullets. Alternatively you can shoot them out of the air, which fills up a guage for your Vulcan Cannon – a powerful machine gun attack that makes you invincible for its duration. You can also press triangle for a screen clearing bomb and shoot down weapon power ups to swap your pistol for a more powerful weapon like a machine gun or shotgun, but these have limited ammo. Lastly, tapping shoot quickly lets you charge up a lasso which can stun enemies when thrown at them – useful for getting hits in on bosses.

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However, this remaster also offers a lot of new stuff. As well as the original characters, Clint and Annie, who play in the classic style, you can now also play as new characters Doris and Bullet. Doris is a big lady who throws grenades to attack – these are super powerful and can be charged up for more damage with a wider spread, but she can’t grab weapon power ups or rapid fire. She also throws 3 lassos at once and can use a shielding ground punch to defend herself, but her dodge animation doesn’t grant invulnerability so it’s easy to die in a busy stage. Bullet is a Dachshund with a drone following him, and easily the hardest character to use. Bullet is small and speedy so good for dodging, but his drone attacks independently to him. Holding shoot sets an area for the drone to shoot, and it automatically aims at any enemies in it’s range. Meanwhile, Bullet can move freely still, but can’t defend himself. This is very different to how every other character works, so it’s very easy to kill yourself whilst getting used to it.

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In addition to new characters, there are some other new features – a pair of new stages (a graveyard and an airship type level) to play, some new weapon power-ups to grab (like a powerful laser beam) and the fact that the whole game is prettier, higher resolution and widescreen too. There’s also now 4 player multiplayer support. It’s a nice package of additions, but unfortunately the implementation is flawed. The new characters and weapons are fantastic regardless, but the new levels only appear on the harder difficulties, and replace old ones. So there’s no ‘hard’ version of the ammo depot and no ‘easy’ version of the graveyard, which is disappointing. In addition, the game balance is also way off – normal mode here is equivalent to hard in the SNES version from what I can see, and that game wasn’t a pushover to begin with. If you play the game on ‘easy’ which is equivalent to the original difficulty, you’ll miss out on the new levels, which sucks.

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The multiplayer is disappointingly done too. For a start, there’s no online multiplayer, which is pretty shit because frankly, who has 4 PS4 controllers knocking about? Basically no other PS4 games support local multiplayer so the incentive to stock up isn’t there. Secondly, and more importantly, Multiplayer play for some reason removes continues. As if the game isn’t hard enough, and chaotic as shit with 4 of you bouncing about, now you also have to worry about a single game over ending your run, which happens in no other method of playing this game. This means multiplayer is basically only for you if you have a couple of friends who are already good at the game, so good luck with that.

Wild Guns Remastered is a nice remaster of the game, but some of the changes they’ve made just feel utterly bizarre to me. Increased difficulty, botched multiplayer and locking away of levels behind difficulty walls all seem like terrible ideas, but thankfully the quality of the base game still holds up and the new characters are great too. Pick this game up if you can, but I have to express a preference for the better balanced original, despite this game’s additional content. The PS4 is way way cheaper though at least!



Journey

My Journey, by Graham N, aged 28 ½ (P.S. Spoilers ahead!)

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I started my journey through the desert wastes alone. I wasn’t very capable. I could walk around, I could call out ‘Bwom!’ with a white orb surrounding me. I could also see a mountain bathed in light. I guess that’s where I’m headed then. Off I go.

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I found a scarf that lets me jump and glide. It feels freeing. No more trudging up hills, no I could float up them. Of course, I’d then need to find a palce to recharge my scarf, but it still helps. I explored a desert area searching for scarves to buold a bridge. It was very big and empty, but I found some cool secrets. A mural on a wall which appeared when I ‘bwom’ed at it. A glowing rune which extended my scarf and let me float for longer. I built a bridge of scarves and flew to the next area, an open desert. It was still quite empty, but I explored and came across another mural.

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“Bwom!” I hear a sound in the distance and turn around to see another wanderer flying over the dune towards me. ‘Bwom!’ I call in response, and begin to meditate by the mural. My compatriot joins me for some time, and then calls out once more. I follow him over the dunes.

My newfound ally seems to know the area. He leads me on a tour, showing me where I can find more runes and more murals. We fly together, calling out to each other as we go. Our calls recharge our scarves, allowing us to fly more. Being with a friend is liberating, and I feel free.

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We continue our journey. My friend lets me take the lead, but every so often he calls to me and leads me aside along the dunes, revealing more secrets to me. Our scarves grow long, and we soar along our journey. Eventually we find flowing sand drifts and zoom down them, jump and sliding through the arcs. It’s easy to lose sight of each other here, so we call to each other as we surf the dunes ‘Bwom!’, ‘Bwom!’. When one of us pulls ahead we drift from side to side to allow the other to catch up. It is joyous, and the journey feels good. Travelling with friends makes the miles pass in the blink of an eye.

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And then we drop, into the darkness. All is not well here. Giant beasts tour the area searching. My colleague leads me through the side passages to avoid their gaze. We surf the dunes and dodge the enemies. Our scarves are so so long now, they stretch for miles behind us. The enemy is here, but we have our friendship, and so there’s no reason to be scared. We reach the end of the cavern, and pass through a tunnel.

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Ahead of us stands a tower of light. It looks like there are puzzles to be solved. I run forward enthusiastically. ‘Bwom!’ I call. But no response arrives. I look around for my partner, only to see the last of their body disappear into sand. My friend has left me, and I am alone. I push on, the world seeming far more quiet now.

I climb the tower, filling the chamber with light as I progress. It feels like a lonely task alone, but I also feel accomplished. Then, below me, I catch a glimpse of red! My friend is back. I fly down to him! ‘Bwom!’.

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But it is not him. This is another traveller. They seem confused, lost. They wander around absently. Their scarf is small, their journey has not been so easy as mine. I deem to help them as my friend helped me. I call out to my new compatriot to show them where to find the runes I have discovered in the room. But they do not follow. They do not heed my calls, and they do not follow me when I go. I deem to instead follow them, but they wander around absentmindedly and I am forced to make the decision to abandon my new friend. They are slowing me down, and I have to finish my journey. And so, once more, I push on alone.

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At the top of the tower I discover a world of ice. My scarf freezes and I can no longer fly. Winds blow me back. I feel helpless. I wish my friend was here. I crawl from cover to cover dodging the child winds and the floating monsters until I reach a plateau.

Suddenly, a monster swoops down. My scarf is frozen and I cannot escape. The monster rips the scarf in two, the benefit of dozens of runes lost to the world as I am left with rags of my former glory. I push on, alone and weakened, to my final goal. I call out frequently, in case any other lonely souls are nearby and can hear me, but there is no-one to be found. I am truly alone.

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Finally, I reach the top of the mountain and step into the light. I’m soaring now, flying through the sky. After the oppressive journey up the mountain, this feels like a reward. You did this alone, and you alone shall get to soar. And that was my journey.

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Journey in all honesty is a simple game without a lot to offer in it’s gameplay systems. But the mood of the game is fantastic, and if the stars align and you get an experience like I did, it feels truly magical. The way you’re limited in communication with your partner makes you feel like you need to pay attention to them, and the benefit of free soaring is so wonderful that it makes you want to work together. I felt a real sense of lost when my first friend vanished. Journey is short and easy and without a friend I can imagine it may feel underwhelming, but I found the experience quite special.

At the end of the game, Journey tells you the PSN IDs of the players you encountered. I decided to send a message to my helpful friend, thanking them for the journey. When I looked them up on PSN, it turned out they were Japanese. By limiting communication, Journey had passed language barriers. I think that’s something to be celebrated.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:15 pm
by Sarge
That Castlevania Judgment soundtrack is great, though.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:32 am
by Exhuminator
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122. Santa Claus no Takarabako | FDS | 1987| 3/10

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Santa Claus no Takarabako is a Japan-only Famicom Disk System gambling simulation, developed by Musical Plan, and published by Data East Corporation in 1987. Santa Claus no Takarabako has two modes. One is a video greeting card maker that allows the user to create custom sprite-based Christmas cards. The player can select a message, modify a walking sprite of Santa Claus, and choose a background image and music to accompany the message. The idea there is to have an audio-visual Christmas card on the television screen to greet someone when they come home (I guess). The secondary mode provides various random generators for legit gambling. Such as dice poker, a roulette wheel, a bingo sequencer, and a slot machine. Because let's be honest, nothing gets someone in the mood for eggnog and cheer, quite like losing their Christmas bonus due to a crappy Famicom gambling simulation's indifferent whimsy.

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I'm fairly surprised there isn't a pachinko simulator in this game, given Japan's love for it. Perhaps the intricacy of creating such a thing was too much for Music Plan's poor programmers. Now, I'm not even going to pretend to understand what the impetus was for the creation of Santa Claus no Takarabako. I can only imagine Japan views Christmas quite differently than the West does. Another surprise is an English fan translation exists for this oddball FDS release! There really isn't much to do with Santa Claus no Takarabako, this isn't really a game you can "beat". I mean, you can make a greeting card (using a painfully clumsy interface), play each of the gambling games, and then ruefully ponder why you just wasted ten minutes of your life doing so. The graphics are ho-hum (pun intentional), but at least the little ditties that play while running the gambling sims are catchy. (These songs aren't traditional Yuletide songs either.) I wouldn't recommend anyone bother with Santa Claus no Takarabako these days, unless they want to swindle some drunk Scrooge outta his cold hard cash.

Re: Games Beaten 2017

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:05 am
by Sarge
I vaguely remember this game? Must have seen it as part of something like Chrontendo, or maybe in one of Parish's videos.