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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by alienjesus Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:33 pm

Games Beaten 2018
1. Letter Quest Remastered Switch eShop
2. Batman NES
3. Little Nemo: The Dream Master NES
4. Mickey's Wild Adventure PS1
5. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. 3DS
6. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy 3DS
7. Nier Automata PS4
8. Legacy of the Wizard NES
9. The Legend of Zelda (starring Zelda) NES
10. Tobu Tobu Girl Game Boy
11. Rhyme Rider Kerorican WSC
12. Sonic Advance 3 GBA
13. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap PS4
14. Super Adventure Island SNES
15. Dynamite Cop DC
16. Pokkén Tournament Wii U
17. Mega Man 7 PS4
18. Rhythm Tengoku GBA
19. Portal 2 360
20. Shinobi X Saturn *NEW*
21. Gravity Rush Remastered PS4 *NEW*
22. Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle Switch *NEW*
23. Metroid Samus Returns 3DS *NEW*
24. Shinobi 3DS *NEW*
25. Resident Evil HD Remaster PS3
26. Advance Guardian Heroes GBA *NEW*
27. Alien Storm Mega Drive *NEW*
28. Ecco: The Tides of Time Mega Drive *NEW*
29. Earthbound Beginnings Wii U VC *NEW*
30. Mega Man 8 PS4 *NEW*
31. Dragon Quest Builders Switch *NEW*
32. Vertical Force Virtual Boy *NEW*
33. Snipperclips Plus: Cut It Out,Together! Switch *NEW*
34. Conker’s Bad Fur Day Nintendo 64 *NEW*


I’ve been a long way behind on writing these reviews for a long time, but now is the time to fix that. Be prepared, this is going to be a loooooong post.

Shinobi X

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Shinobi X is an entry in the popular series for the Sega Saturn. It’s known as Shinobi Legions in the US. The most notable aspect of the game is it’s graphical style, which opts for Mortal Kombat style pre-rendering instead of the usual sprites. The second most notable thing about it is it’s use of FMV cutscenes, which is why I played it for Together Retro way back in April. Yes, I am that far behind on these reviews. The graphics make for an interesting and memorable game, even if they’re obviously dated looking now, and the FMV cutscenes are the most glorious of cheese.

Gameplay wise, Shinobi X focuses more on swordplay over the usual shurikens – shurikens still exist, but they’re weak and leave you open. Emphasis instead is on a variety of sword attacks, blocking attacks with the sword by holding the button, and deflecting projectiles by swinging with good timing. The game plays pretty well, but level design feels weak compared to previous entries, with early stages often feeling a bit bland, and later stages being incredibly frustrating. The last few worlds in particular are monstrously hard, in a way that isn’t very fun.

Shinobi X is still a fun game to play, but it’s not a must-own. Play one of the Mega Drive games first, they’re better, but if you have the inclination, there’s worse ways to spend your time than with this game.

Recommended Listening:
Shinobi X (the PAL game) had all of it’s music redone to sound more like Shinobi 3’s soundtrack, so this might be new to you if you’ve played Shinobi Legions (the US game):
Stage 9 – Kazuma’s Fortress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7pwiNRp_i8&list=PLUDqa6qgNinzba2puthPNWk0-NV7ayKjl&index=19

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Gravity Rush Remastered

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Gravity Rush is an open world action game for PS Vita that I’ve previously beaten and had a blast with. Gravity Rush Remastered is a HD port of the game to PS4, which I decided to play to refresh myself on the game’s story ahead of playing it’s sequel.

The main gimmick of Gravity Rush is that you have the power to shift gravity – this allows you to fall (with style) in a direction of your choosing, as well as walk on walls, slide along the ground, or launch long distance flying kicks at foes. The game is built around the enjoyment you get from this freedom of movement, and it feels great. You can upgrade your powers by gathering crystals which are generally up high, encouraging you to soar about as much as possible. However, the games actual missions can sometimes feel a bit basic, like they had a fun idea for powers but didn’t really know what to make you do with them.

Story wise, the game is both simple and complex – the plot isn’t anything in-depth, but a lot is left unresolved or unexplained by the end of the game, so a sequel feels inevitable. The music and visuals in the game are lovely, I especially love how the buildings in the distance dissolve into this sketchy art style.

Overall, Gravity Rush is still as great on PS4 as it was on Vita. Some things feel better on one console or the other, but either method of playing the game is worth your time. I really enjoyed it!

Recommended listening:
Pleasure Quarter is the second area in the game, a night time and neon area. It looks great, but the music really brings pleasure to my ears
Pleasure Quarter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxIC6Vu1ee0&list=PL4AA2CAF1947F471A&index=19

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Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle#

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Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn based strategy game for Switch which plays like XCOM starring Mario and the Rabbids, and it will never not be weird typing out that sentence. Like most people, when the rumours leaked for this game, I was not feeling very postitive towards it at all, but also like most people, when the game was shown and when I got to play it, I was very much amazed by the quality of the end product.

Battles involve 3 characters on your team vs various numbers of enemies. Your characters have a wide variety of movement and attack options which vary per character, but I really love how well they can be made to work with other members of your party. My preferred team was Mario, Peach and Rabbid Luigi, with R.Luigi able to force enemies from cover with his high % status effects right into Mario and Peaches shots, as well as supplementing healing thanks to his vampire dash. The simplicity of the accuracy system (enemies are either out of cover, behind cover, or behind partial cover for a 100%, 0% and 50% chance of hitting them respectively) makes it easy to plan your moves, and the games difficulty is nicely challenging without being frustrating too.

The vibrant graphics and Grant Kirkhope soundtrack are like a cherry on the top, and overall I really enjoyed the game. There were a few elements that felt a bit too ‘un-mario’ to me, like a little too much toilet humour, but I did laugh at the characters antics on occasion, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with the game. Highly recommended.

Recommend Listening:

Grant Kirkhope’s music is super distinct here, and it often feels more Banjo-Kazooie than Mario to me, but that’s fine, because I love Kirkhope’s classic Rare sound. This one is very Rare, and very good. It’s the mid-boss theme:

Mid-Boss Mayhem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2DYGAECUh8&index=13&list=PLu6_FOgZp3eh23a3FhrIYkHbRYRNqvzdy

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Metroid: Samus Returns

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Unlike most, when Metroid Samus Returns was announced, I wasn’t too hyped. I love me some 2D Metroid, but I was disappointed to see the game was just a remake of a game I already enjoyed, and I wasn’t a fan of the 2.5D aesthetic and kinda ugly graphics. It took me a while to get around to picking up and playing through the game, but I was made to eat my words, because once I played it, I blasted through it in short order, and it’s left me craving more Metroid.

I’m torn on some of the changes that have been made to Metroid 2. The faster movement, clearer map and addition of new power ups I like, for sure, but I’m mixed on the new counter system. Now when enemies attack Samus, they will lunge at her, and you can counter with a melee attack which stuns them and leaves them open for a quick kill. As a mechanic it’s quite interesting, but it’s overused early on – every enemy will be dealt with this way as they’re bullet sponges otherwise, presumably to encourage you to counter more. Later on, you’ll only use it for the boss encounters because your shots will rip through normally enemies regardless.

The revamped Metroid fights are interesting and surprisingly challenging, and make good use of the new counter mechanic for cinematic battles, but I was less of a fan of the other boss that was added – the giant drill machine – due to the trial and error nature of the chase scene. As a final thought, I was also a little disappointed the music pulled from Prime and Super or whatever, instead of using true remixes of the Game Boy soundtrack, which was super distinctive and unique. It feels like a missed opportunity and a loss of identity.

Overall though, Metroid Samus Returns is a long overdue revival for 2D Metroid that I had a great time playing through. It’s not my favourite in the series, and I prefer the slower style of Super Metroid myself, but I’ll take what I can get and what I got here is a pretty great time on 3DS. Go buy it if you haven’t.

Recommended listening:

Although I was slightly disappointed by the lack of Metroid 2 remixes, the soundtrack here is still good. This is the theme for the new diggernaut boss fight, which carries a suitable level of intensity if you ask me:

Vs Diggernaut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJrrHVnyAtw&index=18&list=PLXGBHsGhYG995SSAbWyXoDHJm3wmtzbDx

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Shinobi:

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Apparently Shinobi X didn’t quite scratch the Shinobi itch, so I played through another Shinobi title, this time on 3DS. Shinobi, as it’s called (I hate games which use the same name as their predecessors, and this series is full of them) was an early release for the console, and is a 2.5D sidescrolling action game.

Like Shinobi X, it favours sword play over the series staple shurikens, but is a much more active game then the Saturn title – whilst that game offered a blocking mechanic that allowed for a defensive playstyle, Shinobi X relies on a counter system – pressing R at the right time when being attacked blocks the damage and deals a counter strike, but otherwise you’re incredibly vulnerable – you can’t hold the button to block. This makes this game undoubtedly one of the hardest games in the series, and just a relentlessly difficult game in general. I game overed several times on every stage, including stage 1.

Once you get into the flow of using your acrobatic skills and parry to defeat enemies (along with shurikens which are weak but reload automatically over time instead of needing ammo) the game can be quite fun, and it’s satisfying to chain together a series of complicated moves. The problem with the game is that rather than rewarding you for accomplishing flashy, complex and difficult manoeuvres, it demands them – with later levels requiring incredibly tough platforming over bottomless pits that had me swearing incessantly. It’s just too mean to be consistently fun – way harder than Revenge of Shinobi or Shinobi 3 ever were.

Shinobi 3DS is a decent game, and it’s generally pretty cheap to boot, so if you’re a bit of a masochist, it might be worth a go. Otherwise, I’d again recommend checking out the Mega Drice titles first, or for a portable option the awesome Game Gear games. They’re still super tough, but they feel a lot more fair.

Recommended listening:

The soundtrack here is all a mixture of traditional Japanese instruments and heavy thrash guitars. It’s all pretty good, but perhaps a bit samey. Here’s a good sample to enjoy though:

Jungle of Blood 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlSV5rf2o60&index=7&list=PL367971C4BCF96A8F

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Resident Evil HD Remaster:

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Survival Horror has never been a genre I’ve had much experience in. There’s a few reasons why – first of all, I’m mostly a Nintendo or Sega guy, and it’s not been a genre they’ve had a lot of involvement with generally, over the years. Secondly, the restrictive nature of the controls and gameplay always seemed kinda offputting and not fun to me. And thirdly, and most importantly, because I am a giant wimp who doesn’t like scary things. Despite this, though, I decided to play through one of the most iconic games in the genre for Together Retro this year and see whagt the fuss was about.

Resident Evil HD was an interesting experience. The game sure looks and sounds the part, with a tense atmosphere being built up by the camera angles and music. The controls took a little time to adjust to, but I actually found it harder getting used to the limited item space, which I found was more annoying than anything. Resident Evil is a very odd game in that it’s much harder early on when you only have a crap handgun that doesn’t really stun enemies and takes loads of shots to kill things, no item boxes available to drop stuff, no defensive items and ink ribbons available and lots of small corridors full of enemies needing exploring. Later on, when you have a shotgun that knocks enemies down and loads of ammo and shortcuts to the item box open, it’s a bit of a cakewalk.

Despite being harder early on though, Resident Evil really isn’t very scary. Even as a self-certified coward I was very rarely on edge – the introduction to the hunters or the crimson heads caused a little panic as I figured them out, but nothing major. The game is actually a lot easier than I expected overall.

I enjoyed my time OK with Resident Evil, and it was a nice introduction to a genre I’m not as familiar with or as keen to delve into, but I rarely found myself wanting to play more. I plan to pick up and play a few of the sequels sometime (I already did 4 and 5, I mean the actual survival horror ones) but for now I’ve had my fill.

Recommended Listening:

Music from Resident Evil doesn’t really lend itself to listening outside of the game, but here’s a piece I always appreciated hearing in game – the save room theme, a space where you knew there was no danger for now, and with calm music to represent it:

Save Heaven: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLX6reRrD88&list=PLD51053A39E696862&index=8

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Advance Guardian Heroes#

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Guardian Heroes is one of my favourite games by Treasure, one of my favourite beat-em-ups and one of my favourite games for the Sega Saturn, but I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about trying this GBA sequel. Screenshots and footage of it looked very different to the Saturn game and it didn’t appear to have the colourful story and characters, crazy eclectic battles with a wide range of moves and just overall level of polish the original game has. And you know what? Now I’ve played it, I can 100% confirm that it doesn’t.

Advance Guardian Heroes is a massively inferior game to the game it draws it’s name from, and is probably one of Treasure’s weakest out of what I’ve played. And yet, a bad Treasure game is often still a decent time, and this is no exception. Your range of attacks is limited, and the character roster is too samey, but beating up waves of enemies using attacks that send them sailing is fun, and some of the games crazy setpieces (which Treasure love) and bosses (which treasure love even more) are super quirky and over the top.

Once you get going in the game, learning it’s counter system (which is similar to Shinobi 3DS actually…) and becoming accustomed to your slow attacks, it becomes a fun experience. Unlike Guardian Heroes for Saturn, where I felt you could do well with all sorts of crazy character builds, I feel like being well rounded in your level ups is pretty much required here, which is kinda limiting.

Advance Guardian Heroes is a B tier Treasure release for sure, but it’s worth a shot for the right price. I you want portable Treasure games, play Bangai-O Spirits or Astro Boy before this, but this isn’t a bad time for a few hours if you’re in the right mood.

Recommended listening:

I can’t lie, the Advance Guardian Heroes soundtrack isn’t great. A lot of it is tinny remakes of the Saturn game’s soundtrack, but even the ones that aren’t manage to sound kinda tinny and scratchy even by GBA standards. That said, here’s a sample of a decent track from the game to try:

Heat Scorching Samba: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gExxYn ... wRe37hSQ7C

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Alien Storm

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Alien Storm is a beat ‘em up for the Sega Mega Drive, a console known for a selection of classics in the genre, from the amazing Streets of Rage series, the iconic Golden Axe and the cheesy but amusing Altered Beast. Compared to the aforementioned pantheon though, Alien Storm is somewhat forgotten. Is that deserved? Well, maybe, but this is still an interesting game.

Alien Storm has you walking through levels fighting alien scum as one of 3 characters – a man with a laser gun, a woman with a flamethrower, and a robot with a lightning whip. The gameplay is closer to Golden Axe with it’s limited movesets than to Streets of Rage’s level of variety, but it’s fun enough. It also features an energy bar which powers your attacks (they’re super weak when it’s empty) but can also be used for a screen clearing nuke. The interesting part of the game comes from the alternate play styles though – an uncommon one where you constantly run right whilst shooting rapidly, and a much more frequent shooting gallery section where you shoot your gun into the screen destroying aliens and just about everything else. These bits are simple but a lot of fun.

Alien Storm is a short game, maybe 40 minutes or so to play through, but despite multiple playstyles and a short length, its biggest problem is repetition. It has less enemy types than Golden Axe and much blander stages too, making it feel tiresome quickly. Later stages look and play like earlier ones only enemies take ages to kill. With more variety in stage design and enemies, it could have been great, but as it is, Alien Storm is just a decent game for the Mega Drive for a quick 30 minute blast.

Recommended Listening:

Alien Storm has an odd soundtrack comprised of funky baselines and high pitched alien noises. It’s someone of a jam, and somehow kind of irritating at times too. Here’s the stage 1 theme to demonstrate what I mean:

Cybernate-Q: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNsaqaM6Gqo&index=4&list=PL6BoklkwiyPCGxUWyIPE_8b-hEeAtS9Rf

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Ecco: The Tides of Time

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When I first beat Ecco the Dolphin, probably close to a decade ago now (that’s a scary thought..) I was sure that it was the hardest game I’d ever played, and I didn’t know if I’d really enjoyed it per se, but I was glad to have experienced. The other thing I was sure about was that I’d never want to play it again. Skip forward 5 years and I played it again, with mostly the same conclusion. So why I decided it was a good idea to buy and play through the sequel for even more punishment I don’t know, but I’m glad I did. Probably I’ll never do it again though.

Ecco 2 is definitely a ‘more of the same’ kinda sequel. The graphics are nicer and there’s some new ideas present, but this plays very similarly to the first in a lot of ways. They do seem to have learned a few things though, because this game is overall a bit less punishing. There’s less instant death via crushy things, and more levels focused on exploration and puzzle solving. I hear on Normal mode it even features dynamic difficulty in some spots. Unfortunately, masochist that I am, I played on difficult as there are some exclusive levels there, and that mode is just a brutal as the first game. One spot, where you have to swim through a tube avoiding almost impossible to avoid enemies who throw you to the ground below, is the worst part of any video game I have ever played – being caught made you replay the previous TWO levels, the only time in the game where this happens.

Ecco TTOT is more ambitious and inventive than the first game in level designs, but it has times where they just don’t work – flying through the sky world early on was often an exercise infrustration for example. However, the average stage in this game was nicer and easier than the first game, and I’m glad to have experienced it. My overall thought on this game though, like the first, is that I’m glad to have experienced it, and I even found it compelling in it’s own way, but I don’t know if I could say that I enjoyed it. It’s just not that kind of experience I guess.

Recommended listening:

Ecco 2’s soundtrack is very different to the first game. Whereas the first one was very ambient, Ecco 2 seems to have this combination of primal tuned percussion (xylophones and the like) with futuristic synth making for something quite unique and kinda funky, but very different. The first track here is the title theme, which I feel really represents the game best in tone. The second track is from the accursed Tubes of Medusa stage that sent me back over and over, but is a total jam which really demonstrates the percussion + synth thing well.

Title theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32S2oJuANxo&list=PL17AA9A1AB8A41F34
Tubes of Medusa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk72RMv9d0s&index=8&list=PL17AA9A1AB8A41F34

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Earthbound Beginnings

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Earthbound is a game I long had an interest in, since I first played Smash Bros on the N64 way back in the day and unlocked Ness as a playable fighter. It took a very long time before Nintendo finally gave Europeans a legal way to play the game without importing, but in my eyes it was worth the wait. Not long after, Nintendo finally gave the entire western world a way to play the original game in the series in English – and it’s an interesting experience, but definitely one which shows it’s age.

Earthbound Beginnings has a lot in common with it’s sequel, but is more unrefined in pretty much every way. The game is actually surprisingly open, and you spend a lot of time wandering around figuring out how to progress, especially towards the end of the game. This is probably a good thing though, as it gives you enough time to do the obscene amount of grinding necessary to stand a chance – this game’s difficulty level is high, especially during the obscene difficulty jumps later on, and getting characters in range of surviving a round where enemies all target them is pretty tough. Early on you’ll grind for money a lot too, as new characters come at level 1 and unequipped, so lots of time is necessary to prepare them to proceed.

When it’s not being grindy and unbalanced though, Earthbound Beginnings is a charming game – you’ll find singing monkeys at the zoo, rescue a girl from graveyard zombies, ride a tank through the desert and lots more interesting scenarios. Earthbound Beginnings is a good NES RPG, but besides the grind, which is to some extent a product of it’s time, it’s biggest issue is that it’s just been massively outdone by it’s rather similar sequel. Earthbound is basically a reimagining of this game, only better. If you’re only going to play one, play the SNES game, but if you can stand the old-school RPG grind, this one is worth a look overall.

Recommended listening:
The instrumentation on the soundtrack of Mother is pretty basic, but the tunes are really beautiful and nail the games mix of sentiment and zaniness perfectly. I chose 2. First up is the iconic Pollyanna, from the games opening area, and second up is the less appreciated Twinkle Elementary School, which was later reused in the Game Boy Camera soundtrack

Pollyanna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w6siYk_Ge0&index=4&list=PLz5gUls4mkX8Fo2pdrFKPw3OlE_179Gbo
Twinkle Elementary School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qKF2y3I9Pc&list=PLz5gUls4mkX8Fo2pdrFKPw3OlE_179Gbo&index=18

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Mega Man 8

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I’ve played a lot of the classic Mega Man series – I started with Mega Man 9 on Wii, and have since played through Mega Man 10 on the same system, all 6 NES games, 3 of the Game Boy titles, and the PSP remake of the original. But it’s only this year where I’ve really moved away from the 8 bit styled entries in the series. I know that many people don’t like them compared to the NES game, but I had a great time with Mega Man 7 earlier this year, and so I was feeling fairly positive going into Mega Man 8.

And for the most part, that was a mindset proven right. I think Mega Man 8 is perhaps one of the weakest in the series, it definitely had it’s ups and downs, but overall the quality of the classic series is still there. I enjoyed the level designs and whilst I was mixed on the art style (I thought the SNES game looked nicer) it’s still a nice looking game.

The worst parts of the game in my eyes were twofold – first was the JUMP JUMP SLIDE SLIDE gimmick which was both overused and also punishing and tedious. I feel like the only reason Mega Man 8 even lets you continue from the half way points of the levels is to make the jump slide levels feel more fair. By far the worst element though was the whole of Astro Man’s stage, officially my vote for worst level in the series. Frustratingly difficult, filled with confusing and tedious maze sections and enemies who swarm you – I hate every second of this stage.

But despite those low points, I enjoyed my time with Mega Man 8 overall. It’s not the best in the series but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. The hilariously bad CGI cutscenes are one of the things the game is known for, but to be honest there’s not many of them and they don’t intrude too much. Overall, the game is a worth a shot. Just don’t make it be your first choice to try the series.

Recommended Listening:

Whilst I liked Mega Man 8 overall, I was less keen on it’s synthy soundtrack – I like my Mega Man with a bit more energy personally. Here’s an OK song from the OST though:

Tengu Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p1J2rXfzwU&index=8&list=PLBF2026BB0A977BA7

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Dragon Quest Builders

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Minecraft is a game I’ve never had a lot of interest in – the core building gameplay was interesting enough to me, but the lack of direction is something that didn’t appeal to me personally. In an era of open-world games where you can go anywhere and do anything, I personally prefer a game that guides me from point A to B and designs the experience I will enjoy in between. Enter Dragon Quest Builders, which basically takes Minecraft and turns it into a linear adventure with set missions to achieve, a storyline to follow and multiple levels to explore. And man, I loved every moment.

The story of Dragon Quest Builders takes place after the original Dragon Warrior on NES – the premise being that the hero of that game accepted the Dragonlords offer of joining him in taking over the world, and now it’s all gone to shit and no-one remembers how to build stuff. You are born with the power of building, and explore the world rebuilding the cities of dragon quest 1 and saving the people and helping them to improve the world. It’s kinda stupid, and yet over the course of the game I actually became kinda involved with the story and the characters it presents.

Building is a lot simpler than Minecraft – rooms only need 2 block high walls and a door and a light, recipes for items are unlocked over time and don’t require experimentation or memorisation like in Minecraft either. But this allows you to focus more on the fun stuff – building quickly, going exploring for treasure and completing sidequests. And I had a great time doing all of those things. I highly recommend the game, and I’m really looking forward to the sequel to. I think the one thing that really shows how into this game I got is the nostalgia it induced for the original Dragon Quest – which is impressive, as I only played it a few years ago and didn’t really like it very much! Definitely a must play.

Recommended listening:

The Cantlin OST had me fondly remembering my 8 hours of tedious grinding at the end of Dragon Quest 1, somehow:

Cantlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afAiPYhTulA&list=PLN74rYA5C8OSUxcZaxMHdiqajJUGtmQJ5&index=4

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Vertical Force

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Vertical Force is a game I played back for Together Retro for our Virtual Boy exclusives month. It was a game I’ve played before previously, but never all the way through. Vertical Force is a vertically scrolling shmup which plays fairly typically for the genre – you can power up your ship with a selection of weapons, as well as gather option pods as you play to increase your firepower. The main gimmick of the game is that you can press a button to raise or lower your altitude, dipping between the foreground or background gameplay planes to dodge attacks and attack enemies at different heights. The altitude gimmick is most key during boss fights, where you’ll spend lots of time dodging attacks by switch altitudes, before quickly switching to get shots off at opportune moments.

The pod system is more complex – you can have 2 pods out at a time, but you can also bank up to 3 more using the consoles right d-pad. Pods have health bars but will recover health whilst banked, and when out you can also change how pods will behave using another button – they can target enemies on the same plane as you, the opposite plane, home in and more. Which attacks pods use depends on which ones you’ve acquired. Some shoot bullets, some shoot slow but powerful lasers, and one will heal you over time, as long as you don’t shoot. Good use of pods is key to progressing.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though – this game has some of the worst difficulty balancing I’ve seen in games. Whilst easy mode is a breeze and enemies die super quickly, later bosses on normal difficulty can take 10 minutes each to kill and pump out endless attacks – it’s frustrating and massively imbalanced, and I feel like Easy mode is probably the closest setting to ideal for this game – despite beating Normal, it just got too tedious and frustrating to be the best way to play.

Vertical Force is a decent time for the Virtual Boy, but it’s not a most own game. If you’re looking for decent games for the console, pick it up, but if you’re just looking for a good vertical shooter, there’s loads of better options out there.

Recommended listening:

The Virtual Boy is capable of putting out some cool music, but I found this games soundtrack kinda forgettable, it was a little low energy for a shmup I thought. Here’s one of the better, higher-tempo songs though:

Stage 5 – Parallel Dimension: https://youtu.be/R2D77Bdg89c?t=8m35s

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Snipperclips Plus: Cut It Out, Together!

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Snipperclips is a game I played in co-op with my girlfriend last year and we enjoyed our time with it. It’s a fun, accessible puzzle game for 2 players but our main issue with it back then was the short length – it only took a few hours to work through it’s 45 stages and then it was done – we were left wanting more.

Enter Snipperclips Plus, which delivers …more. Not a lot more, it has to be said, but more. In addition to the original 45 stages, we now get an additional 30 stages to enjoy, for another couple of hours of puzzle fun. If I’m being honest, it still feels a bit light on content, especially at it’s price point, but they did try and alleviate it somewhat with an unlockable ‘random shapes’ mode after beating the game – which changes your U shaped avatars into a selection of random shapes at stage start, requiring you figure out how to use your new, less regular shapes to solve the same issues.

Overall, Snipperclips Plus is still great, and if you’re going to buy the game you might as well get the physicalcopy of the plus version and enjoy all the extra content. But as an add on to the original, it only partly addresses my original concern of a lack of content – more Snipperclips is great, but it’s not enough.

Recommended listening:

We ended up talking over the music most of the time, so I don’t remember all the music here. But this song is pretty chill, and I like it. It’s from the 4th world, which was added in the Plus DLC.

Cosmic Comics A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnHuJOeYqig&list=PLr5p868Z-ITUHARepl6J59l2w3MnLHAd_&index=1

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Conker’s Bad Fur Day

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The N64 is one of my favourite consoles, and Rare’s output on the console comprises some of my favourite games for the system. I’ve always wanted to own all of their games for the system, but Conker was the one game that was outside of my price range. However, my girlfriend bought me it for my birthday last year, and as part of my summer challenge I decided to finally sit down and play through.

Conker is a 3D platformer, but compared to Rare’s other output on the console, it’s much simpler and less refined in the abilities on offer to you – Conker can basically only run, jump and hover, and that’s it. Instead, the gameplay is driven forward by a variety of gameplay setpieces which use other mechanics – riding around on a raptor, rolling a giant ball of poo, shooting zombies in a graveyard – there’s an interesting mix here. Unfortunately, these sections are also varied in quality, and whilst some were a lot of fun, some felt too clunky and awkward to be fun, and left me feeling frustrated instead.

Conker is more known for its vulgar sense of humour than its gameplay though, and whist it’s certainly better in this respect, I also found it somewhat hit and miss. Some scenarios I found funny, especially the dialogue or incidental detail (the scarecrow’s sign which says ‘FECK OFF CROWS’ always makes me laugh) but others I found tried too hard to shock for me (like most of the games gore) and some just felt too juvenile to make me laugh (most of the stuff related to poo, although I liked the boss).

Overall, Conker was a mixed bag. I would say I enjoyed the game overall, but there were a lot of moments I found clunky or frustrating and the game didn’t hit the heights of Rare’s other output on the system for me. I’d recommend it as a game to try, except that the price for a physical copy holds it back as a ‘pick it up when you can’ kinda game. Give it a try on Rare Replay for cheap, or via various other means, but I wouldn’t recommend splashing out on the N64 cart without trying it first. I’m glad to own it, but it might not be for everyone.

Recommended listening:

The game I had mixed reactions on overall, but the music is awesome. The main Windy theme from the hub world got stuck in my head, but my favourite scene from the game was the nightclub full of stone monsters which was the most amazingly 90s experience ever. Here’s tracks from both:

Windy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz8C2fjdOW0&index=8&list=PLDCCA30182EC41DB5
Rock Solid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7shcZkAgkH8&index=48&list=PLDCCA30182EC41DB5

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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:26 pm

Amazing post.
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laurenhiya21
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by laurenhiya21 Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:49 pm

I have to catch up to my reviews too haha. I only have two more after this one though.

8/16: Tales of Hearts R (Vita)
There are many games in the Tales of series that I really should have played first, as I have not played most of the highly praised ones, but I really wanted to play on the Vita and I randomly decided to play Tales of Hearts R. I have heard very little praise for the game, but I still wanted to give it a shot and I’m glad I did.

The story of the game centers around Kor and his quest to gather the shards of Kohaku’s Spiria (which acts as a soul for a person), which of course eventually leads to saving the whole world. It’s a fairly simple story overall, but I was fine with that since a lot of the character interactions were interesting in some scenes and funny in others. I really enjoyed all of the main characters you can play as, with sometimes Kor being the exception. He’s just so incredibly dumb and loud that he did get on my nerves at times, but at least he was genuinely trying to do the right thing without trying to show off all the time like many loud anime protagonists might do. One other thing to note about the story/characters is that the translation can be a little bonkers at times. A lot of times it feels like someone decided that the original dialogue wasn’t good enough as is and decided to turn the puns and cheese up to eleven. As an example, Kor’s catchphrase is “Kor doesn’t TRY, Kor DOES!”, which sounds really odd to me especially since he doesn’t normally refer to himself in first person. Another example that’s just really weird, during amore serious cutscene where the team is confronting a bad leader guy, Kor says this to him:

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I now sort of have an idea what the insult is suppose to mean, but it’s still just such a weird thing to say. I’m not sure if this is actually what the original Japanese dialogue was saying, but it certainly feels a bit out of place to me. That being said, the dialogue often was good for a laugh, even if it wasn’t suppose to.

From what I can tell, the gameplay is pretty typical for a Tales of game. Battles are in a side view (but you can move around freely if needed) and are go by very quickly, which your smashing though the monsters with both regular attacks and Artes. Outside of that, it’s mostly talking to random people, maybe doing a side quest or two, or looking around the overworld for various goodies. One aspect that I think is a bit different though is the Soma sphere thing, which acts as a sort of skill tree. As the characters level up they get a certain number of points, which they can allocate to several categories on the Soma sphere thingy. Each category levels up certain stats and at certain milestones, upgrades will be unlocked such as weapons, Artes, and skills. You can see what upgrades are available in each category so you can choose what you want to go for first, but you have to go through each category’s list of upgrades in the order they appear. So if one category has a nice weapon you want but it’s way down the list, you’ll have to unlock whatever is before it first. It’s not really a complicated system, which was fine with me but it may be disappointing to those who really like diving deep into skill trees.

Everything else about the game is just alright. The soundtrack is just there, graphics are fine but nothing special, and there wasn’t really anything else that stuck out as being really bad or really good. So overall while I did enjoy the game enough to beat it, it definitely didn’t blow me away either. If you haven’t played a Tales of game before, I don’t think I would recommend this to be your first, but I think it’s an alright game if you don’t set your expectations to high.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:34 am

laurenhiya21 wrote:I have to catch up to my reviews too haha. I only have two more after this one though.

Don't feel bad, I'm still one or two behind. :oops:
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by alienjesus Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:57 am

I'm officially more up to date with my reviews than you guys now, clearly you're doing something wrong!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dunpeal2064 Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:03 am

AJ, that post was epic. I generally skim through when someone updates that quantity of games, but they were all succinct yet informative enough that I read through them all. Helps that I either already like or have interest in most of the games there, too. Solid taste, solid writing.

Good stuff!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:11 am

alienjesus wrote:I'm officially more up to date with my reviews than you guys now, clearly you're doing something wrong!

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Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dsheinem Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:36 am

great post, AJ
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:03 am

Terrible post, aj.

I kid, I kid. That was excellent. And I loathe Mega Man 8.
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:11 pm

1. Ultima V - PC
2. Ultima VI - PC
3. Might and Magic VI - PC
4. Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny - PC
5. Pool of Radiance - PC
6. Curse of the Azure Bonds - PC
7. Secret of the Silver Blades - PC
8. Pools of Darkness - PC
9. Gateway to the Savage Frontier - PC
10. Treasures of the Savage Frontier - PC
11. Champions of Krynn - PC
12. Death Knights of Krynn - PC
13. Dark Queen of Krynn - PC
14. Into the Breach - PC
15. Lords of the Realm - PC
16. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands - PC
17. Lords of the Realm II - PC
18. The Alliance Alive - 3DS
19. Shattered Steel - PC
20. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - PC
21. Battletech - PC
22. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part I - PC
23. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part II - PC
24. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch
25. Pillars of Eternity II - PC
26. Dragon Ball FighterZ - PS4
27. Detroit: Become Human - PC4
28. Call of Duty: United Offensive - PC
29. The Last of Us - PS4
30. The Last of Us: Left Behind - PS4
31. Prey: Mooncrash - PC
32. Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds - PS4
33. Resident Evil 7 - PC
34. Resident Evil 7: Not A Hero - PC
35. Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War III - PC
36. Overwhelm - PC
37. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - PC
38. Hard Reset Redux - PC
39. Nier: Automata - PS4
40. Darksiders - PC
41. The Banner Saga 3 - PC
42. Guacamelee! 2 - PC

So this game snuck up on me; I didn't even realize it was coming out until I saw a Polygon interview with the dev team about the changes they made between the first game and this one. For the most part, the changes are in the pacing of teaching you abilities and a handful of new chicken abilities, making it a much more interesting form (rather than a glorified morph ball like it was before). Guacamelee! 2 is definitely one of those "more of the same" sequels, which certainly isn't a bad thing. I'd also say that the challenges top out at a harder difficulty than the first game (but they're also optional), so that's the big draw for people looking for something new.

The game starts at the last boss of the first game (though you're hilariously powered up and he's hilariously powered down; it's for story purposes) to quickly introduce you to the setting. This is important, as you are introduced to the idea that there are a bunch of parallel timelines, and you happen to be the only Juan who won in his timeline. The new bad guy is from the "Darkest Timeline", where after your character died a new luchador took up the mask and beat the final boss. However, this is not without consequence, and now this new hero, Salvador, is dying, and is willing to go to any length to prevent that. And that includes tampering with divine forces that threaten the entire multiverse with destruction. So you have to go to the "Darkest Timeline" to stop him.

The gameplay is still the metroidvania with the mobility moves also being combat moves, with color coded enemy shields that correspond to each of your moves. There is now a skill tree, which lets you buff yourself over time (and you'll finish the whole thing by the end of the game, so the important thing is to take the skills that appeal to you early). The game supports four player co-op, though I can't imagine how that will go given the precise platforming and timing with the live/dead dimension hopping. It's fast and furious and keeps you on your toes throughout the game.

The optional challenges for the best ending are a post-doctoral study in your movement options, and frankly they are far too frustrating for my tastes. You have to do an obstacle course in a single go and it is LONG and requires very precise timing for each of them. If you can make it through all four you get some kind of good ending (I haven't looked it up on the youtubes yet), but unlike Guacamelee! 1 this game's "bad" ending is still quite good. So I'm guessing the good ending is even more good.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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