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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:21 am

ElkinFencer10 wrote:
Ack wrote:I have to know, what are your top light gun games? I think we all played a bunch, and Area 51 was pretty much everywhere in my area in the mid-90s but then entirely vanished around 2000 when I saw Area 51: Site 4 replacing it...and then nobody played it. My brother played a ton of Maximum Force, and we were both fans of Virtua Cop and House of the Dead. Would you suggest others to look up?

Are you talking just Saturn light gun games or light gun games in general?


I was talking light gun games in general.

And I guess it was just an Alabama thing, but for some reason post-2000, I never saw another Area 51. They were all Site 4 from that point on.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:22 pm

The List So Far:

16. A Fork in the Tale [PC/Win9X] [Together Retro - 04/2018]
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Initially I really wanted to roast A Fork in the Tale, because well … negative reviews are always more fun to write and "Har har, FMV sux". I even wrote a bit of a takedown piece based on my initial impressions of the game after having played it for an hour or so. But despite my early dismissiveness, I felt like I still needed to give this game a fair shake. There was a glimmer of … something here. Whether I was hooked in by the story or the characters I couldn't say, but it was enough that I started the game over with a fresh set of eyes, and fewer preconceptions.

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And well … the game still wasn't great. But crucially it wasn't horrible either. There's a certain a low budget cheese factor at play here which appeals to the side of me that enjoys B-grade science fiction, an unspoken earnest concession by the creators that, "Hey, we're doing the best we can with what we've got". And when framed through the tempered lens of cheap & cheesy sci-fi/fantasy it's not half bad at all. So what we have here is a purely FMV game in first person perspective starring 'funny-man' Rob Schneider as the voice of the unseen (but almost constantly heard) protagonist. The story setup relies on the old trope of a parallel universe sitting adjacent to ours, a low-tech world of magic and chivalry. It's certainly nothing new or groundbreaking, but it's a fun concept and A Fork in the Tale accomplishes some nice world building within this framework. An evil king's forces seek to squash a growing rebellion in the kingdom. You're alternately helped and hindered by knights, a tribe of Amazon-like warrior women, beings of spiritual energy, Alan Moore a crusty and probably insane old wizard, as well as a whole host of other strange (and occasionally wonderful) characters. The acting can be a bit … uneven, but I suppose that's to be expected when we're dealing with FMV from this era. The female lead does quite well in her role, and interestingly enough (though perhaps unsurprisingly) I'd say that Rob Schneider is among the weakest performances here despite having top billing. I can only assume that slotting in a B-List celebrity as the voice of the player was an attempt to sell games on the basis of his fame, so it really is a bit of a letdown that Schneider wasn't able to quite match the output of his lesser known castmates. This becomes even more egregious when we consider that the budget of this game (the first and only to be published by AnyRiver Entertainment) essentially put the publisher out of business before it even hit store shelves.

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Where the game struggles of course is the same Achilles heel seen in so many FMV titles from this era, the gameplay. To its credit, A Fork in the Tale manages to pull off some consistently fast paced gameplay, even if it is purely in the form of quicktime events. In any given dialogue you're typically given several branching dialogue options. Navigation sequences (often in the form of escape sequences) force you to make rapid decisions regarding your route. Action sequences require you to click moving onscreen elements in order to progress. There are even rudimentary spell components in which you must move your mouse in prescribed patterns in order to cast magical effects. It's all very involved, and it's rare that you have a dull moment, but at the same time … it can all feel a bit janky. Sometimes contextual prompts happen very quickly, or you're not sure what you're supposed to do. The game does a middling job of cluing you in regarding the correct actions to take, or the timing of when to take them. This can often lead to some frustrating repetition of segments in which you watch the same people saying the same things over and over again just waiting to see if this is the time you hit that contextual mouse click just right … Obviously these sort of repetitive segments can pop up in almost any game, it just seems to be a bit more problematic in FMV games, where it's literally as enjoyable as rewinding a movie and watching the same two minute segment several times in a row.

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So can I recommend A Fork in the Tale without reservations? Definitely not. I think this is a game in search of the sort of player who's capable of looking past its faults to see the diamond cubic zirconia in the rough. If you can handle a near constant stream of quicktime events, have a love for deliciously low budget sci-fi/fantasy and a relatively high tolerance for the 'comedy' stylings of Rob Schneider, you'll probably glean some enjoyment from A Fork in the Tale. If any combination of the above sounds less than appealing, you might want to steer clear of this one.
Last edited by nullPointer on Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:09 pm

Ack wrote:
ElkinFencer10 wrote:
Ack wrote:I have to know, what are your top light gun games? I think we all played a bunch, and Area 51 was pretty much everywhere in my area in the mid-90s but then entirely vanished around 2000 when I saw Area 51: Site 4 replacing it...and then nobody played it. My brother played a ton of Maximum Force, and we were both fans of Virtua Cop and House of the Dead. Would you suggest others to look up?

Are you talking just Saturn light gun games or light gun games in general?


I was talking light gun games in general.

And I guess it was just an Alabama thing, but for some reason post-2000, I never saw another Area 51. They were all Site 4 from that point on.

Site 4 was definitely more common, but there were still a few Area 51 machines floating around here until about 2010 or so.

If I had to pick top 5 light gun games in general, I'd say (along with the version I played the most):

1. Dead Space Extraction (Wii)
2. House of the Dead Overkill (Wii)
3. Time Crisis 2 (arcade)
4. Area 51 (Saturn)
5. Lethal Enforcers 2 (Sega CD)
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:13 pm

Ack wrote:
ElkinFencer10 wrote:
Ack wrote:I have to know, what are your top light gun games? I think we all played a bunch, and Area 51 was pretty much everywhere in my area in the mid-90s but then entirely vanished around 2000 when I saw Area 51: Site 4 replacing it...and then nobody played it. My brother played a ton of Maximum Force, and we were both fans of Virtua Cop and House of the Dead. Would you suggest others to look up?

Are you talking just Saturn light gun games or light gun games in general?


I was talking light gun games in general.

And I guess it was just an Alabama thing, but for some reason post-2000, I never saw another Area 51. They were all Site 4 from that point on.

It was the same in Illinois. Once Site 4 hit it seems like they tied to replace all the old machine (it wouldn't shock me if it was billed as a simple PCB upgrade or something). And it's a shame, because I felt Site 4 was worse.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:33 pm

I normally don't like light gun games. House of the Dead 2 is the first one that really interested me, TBH. And stuff like the helicopter ones from Sega, those are unique enough for a little play time.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:30 pm

1. Bastion (iOS)
2. LaserCat (360)
3. Zombie Incident (3DS)
4. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! (3DS)
5. Monument Valley 2 (iOS)
6. Zenge (iOS)
7. Master of Darkness (Game Gear/3DS)
8. Wonder Boy (SMS)
9. Full Throttle Remastered (iOS)
10. Adventure Island (NES)
11. Adventure Island II (NES)
12. Adventure Island (GB)
13. Super Adventure Island (SNES)
14. New Adventure Island (TG16)
15. Adventure Island III (NES)
16. The Legend of the Ghost Lion (NES)
17. Part Time UFO (iOS)
18. Adventure Island II: Aliens in Paradise (GB)
19. Adventure Island IV (NES)
20. Super Adventure Island II (SNES)
21. Adventure Island: The Beginning (WII)
22. Quell Memento (3DS)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster Land (ARCADE)
24. Saiyuuki World (FAMICOM)
25. Whomp ‘Em (NES)

Whomp ‘Em Is the North American version of Saiyuuki World II - Son Wukong has been replaced by a young Native American - making it the revised sequel to a revised port of Wonder Boy in Monster Land (and, therefore, a distant cousin of both the Adventure Island and Wonder Boy series). It has a last level and last boss that are both pretty terrible - just like Wonder Boy in Monster Land! - but is otherwise a solid action platformer that was pretty obviously influenced by the NES Mega Man games. (I wouldn’t quite call it an imitation, but it has features like selectable levels and permanent acquired abilities that make the influence obvious.) It features the bright, colorful graphics and chipper sound effects characteristic of late period NES games, and it controls very well. It also has some pretty intense, enjoyable boss fights, which are probably the game’s highlight. Again, however, the last boss is basically a war of attrition - if you stocked up on life and use the most powerful weapon, he’s a pushover; otherwise, he’s impossible - and the level design is pretty dull. It is also just a bit too long to lack a save feature, but the ability to “pause” games on modern systems and emulators resolves that issue with the original release. I probably won’t come back to it, but is a nice little diversion and an interesting, curious spin off of the Wonder Boy series.

Up next....another Wonder Boy in Monster Land Port...Bikkuriman World for the TG16!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Key-Glyph Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:09 am

01. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)*
02. Contra (NES)*
03. Star Fox 64 (N64)
04. Silent Steel (PC)
05. Ecco the Dolphin (GEN)*

06. Ecco: The Tides of Time (GEN)*

* = replay

So, I've been revisiting my Ecco roots this past week.
With an object in the Ecco games being my internet namesake, you might guess that the series is important to me. The series is so important, in fact, that sometimes I can't tell whether it was somehow the perfect combination of variables to seem almost custom-built for me, or if it influenced me into becoming who I am so dramatically that I now can't tell the difference between these two possibilities.

In replaying the first title a few days ago, I was brought on an incredible journey through the pervasive loneliness, the haunting messages, the breathtaking scenery, and the enigmatic mystery of the game's unfolding story all over again. It was amazing and just as engrossing as it's ever been. It's hard in every aspect: the physics are unique among other games, the ever-depleting oxygen meter functions as a constant timer, and many levels are an intense exercise in patience and perseverance. In my eyes, this game is brilliant in so many ways. The last time I'd beaten it was sometime within the last ten years, so it was still relatively fresh in my mind. Everything felt familiar.

Tides of Time, however, I haven't replayed since I was a teenager, and I was really interested to see how it felt to my grown-up self. I was surprised by two things: that my conclusions about the game have not changed since those days, and that there were elements of the game (certain enemies, some secondary plot points) that I'd somehow completely forgotten about. Egad!

Tides is a beautiful game with better difficulty balancing -- including actual difficulty settings -- than the original and huge, expansive levels. It is extremely ambitious in the story it tries to tell, involving trips to two separate Earth futures (one a gorgeous utopia of telepathic flying dolphins and a sentient ocean, the other a barren hellscape of machine pollution and terrifying creatures). If you were traumatized as expected by the first game, Tides brilliantly exploits your fears to leverage the weight and emotion of its plot. When you first read dolphins telling you they "hear songs of fear from the north... terrible songs of strange creatures in the sea..." and you encounter a Vortex spawn in the third level, you have to take a moment, either on a pause screen or the level's title card if you died, to let the horror that's screaming at you right out of the gate fully sink in. As a kid, I actually sat there debating if I could keep going. Could I handle the feelings the playthrough would bring? Could I handle the feelings if I failed to win?

But this sequel always felt a little weird to me, and it still does. I think Tides must have been rushed: It starts off incredibly strong and has an abundance of new ideas smashed into it, but most of these ideas don't feel as solid or deeply considered as most of the elements in the first game and seem to exist only to change up gameplay. You really notice a change halfway through, like the game suddenly loses focus and steam. Some levels are shockingly short in contrast to the general pacing, making you wonder why exactly they're in there; others are extremely long but don't advance the story. It feels like some exposition is actually missing, not just obscured to be purposely intriguing. The execution just isn't tight and polished like its predecessor.

Speaking of level lengths, some stages are absolutely gigantic in scope, which sounds awesome but is sometimes a drawback. Spending over a half hour on one run of a stage can be tiring, and it's especially frustrating if you die and have to start from the beginning. The first Ecco was aggravating in the death department, but until you get to some of the later levels you don't feel like you're set back quite so far by any given failure. Not so here. Another drawback to stage length is that... well, you feel like you're seeing the same environments a lot. The first Ecco had a lot of very visually unique stages ranging all over the globe, even off-planet. Tides is striking in the future levels, but sometimes the present doesn't look all that different from its utopian eventuality. There's even a level that I would swear to you was designed to be in the future but was later retooled.

That's not to say that Tides of Time isn't great. It's the continuation of an epic saga, ends on a gutpunch cliffhanger, builds off the first game in truly resonant ways, and has a killer soundtrack. But it's still something I'm not going to feel compelled to replay much -- and not out of frustration. The up-in-the-air feeling about it, like it is somehow overflowing with concepts but not consistently awe inspiring, just doesn't leave as much of an impression as I would have hoped.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:20 pm

1. Jungle Book (SNES)(Platformer)
2. Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge (SNES)(Light Gun Shooter)
3. Might and Magic VI (PC)(RPG)
4. Revenant (PC)(RPG)
5. Neo Turf Masters (NGPC)(Sports)
6. Fatal Fury: First Contact (NGPC)(Fighter)
7. Pac-Man (NGPC)(Action)

8. Golden Axe (Genesis)(Hack and Slash)
9. Blood and Bacon (PC)(FPS)
10. Gain Ground (Genesis)(Strategy)

11. Flicky (Genesis)(Platformer)
12. Zombie Shooter 2 (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
13. Phantasmagoria (PC)(Point and Click)
14. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - Capcom Version (NGPC)(Card Game)
15. Toonstruck (PC)(Point and Click)
16. Riven (PC)(Point and Click)

I've reached a point in my gaming where I don't have any real white whales left; most of what I struggled with as a child or teenager, I have since returned to and bested. The biggest titles on this list were many SNES RPGs and Silent Hill, but Riven does fall into this category, I suppose. I originally played it when it came out, but with so many CDs to swap between and considerably less experience with the genre, I came nowhere near to finishing it.

This has now changed, thanks in part to the selection of FMV games for this month's Together Retro. I have returned to Riven. Returned and conquered. And it was so worth the trip. Objectively, I found the game more difficult than Myst III, but not terribly so. In fact, I'd argue Riven is perhaps one of the best designed point and click games I have ever played, because it never relies on strange logic or mixing object A with switch B. No, instead Riven has a tiny inventory, so most of its puzzles come down to taking notes, thinking things through, and focusing on the way the world works. It is a game that benefits from thinking as if you really were in its world. Write down what you learn and think things through, and all doors shall be open to you.

That isn't to say it is perfect. Riven relies heavily on sound in a few places, so if you have any issues with hearing, you may be in trouble. It also sometimes requires you hunt for switches you did not know were there, and the two biggest puzzles of the game build up from nearly the beginning, so if you don't pay attention, you may have to backtrack a lot. Nowadays that is much easier with the GOG release, but doing it across multiple CDs would have proven to be a massive pain in the ass.

I cannot day for sure whether I prefer this to Myst. I prefer Riven's cohesion and world building, but there are a couple of ages in Myst I adore more than the somewhat barren islands that Riven provides. There were lush forests, strange caves, and all manner of varieties of style in Myst, while Riven has its buildings, sand, and crater lakes. I guess I hold them in roughly equal esteem. I would happily suggest Riven to anyone playing Myst, though play Myst first.

Yet another game from my childhood is done. I feel a small piece of me has found a sense of inner peace.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Sarge Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:45 pm

Finished Mystic Formula on the Duo. I remember Ex beating this earlier this year (or late last year).

I want to start on a positive note and say the cutscenes looked really cool. Well drawn, great '90s-looking anime.

Gameplay itself feels aggressively average, however. I mean, it certainly isn't a bad game at all. It just feels like it needed a little more punch in spots. Some backgrounds look okay for a bit, but there are long, long stretches where the backdrops look rather bland. Enemies are fairly limited, and most can be taken out with deft maneuvering. Audio could really stand to have some more punch. Music, explosions, the works. Games like this work better with bombast!

One of the nice things about the game is the ability to strafe. Holding the I button will let you do so, and holding down your fire button will emit a continuous stream of fire. That shot is weak, though; if you wait a bit longer, you can unload a stronger shot. Depending on the character of choice, this will do different things. I only used the robot and the thief girl. The 'bot was the easiest to use since he has a homing shot, and his strafe shot has some decent width even when not powered up.

Powering up actually takes a slightly different form; the P icon actually powers up your strafe shot, not so much the charged one, from what I can tell. If you can get that powered up, you'll slice through enemies quickly. Even without it, veterans of run-and-gun shooters won't have too much trouble with the game. That might be one of the bigger drawbacks (or boons, depending on your point of view) from the game: it's just a tad too easy. Perhaps Hard mode would help in this regard.

Don't expect the game to last long. Even if you Game Over a few times, I figure a decent player will finish in an hour or less, and that's including watching all the cutscenes. I'd probably give this one a 6.5. Decent, pushing towards good, but really lacks that something special to vault it into the company of things like Mercs or Shock Troopers.

EDIT: So I realized that maybe jacking up my continues and lives helped a lot. I dropped those, and... nah, still mostly easy. The only really tricky bits are the jet bike segments; those hit-boxes are terrible! I also discovered that the blue guy's weapon is ridiculously powerful. It tore through the final boss like tissue. Not saying I didn't have to continue several times (I did burn through all of them), but most of the lives lost were either on the bikes or pure carelessness on my part in the last stage. Turns out overconfidence is a killer, too. Much like Contra, often the best course of action is to keep moving forward! Especially when it comes to infinitely respawning enemies with erratic patterns, like those stupid bats.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:24 am

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

So I finally closed on the house and yesterday I found the cords for my computer, so I decided to celebrate by knocking out a Metroidvania before Battletech hits on Tuesday. I first saw Guacamelee in a Games Done Quick, and I was intrigued enough to pick it up when it was on sale. The game is definitely more combat focused rather than exploration focused; the main Metroidvania pieces are in the acquiring of movement abilities and using those to progress past the most recent barrier. The map is more straightforward than you see in other Metroidvanias, so the challenge comes from the combat and some of the sections involving your movement abilities.

Guacamelee is a luchador themed game set in a Mexico-esque land. Right before the Dia de Muertos some shit goes down, a bad guy steals your love interest and sends you to the land of the dead. While there you find a luchador mask and transform into our hero. You then need to chase after the bad guy who plans to use your love interest in a ritual to merge the living and dead worlds and rule them all. Along the way are some quirky minibosses and a whole lot of wrestling action.

The main draw of the game, besides the really well done stylized art style, is the combat system. All your attack are melee, and you start by being able to punch dudes and then grapple them once they've been stunned; this lets you throw them into other enemies or do moves like a suplex or piledriver. Later on you gain more moves; these serve as your ways of unlocking content. You get a rising uppercut, a headbutt, a ground pound, and a dashing kick. You can string all these together in a variety of combos, and taking advantage of that is important. Many times you will be locked in a room with a bunch of guys and you can't get out until you defeat them all. The special moves also cost a resource that regenerates, and you have a roll for escaping.

The game has a good flow to its movement, though as the game gets on it starts to fall victim to a flaw I've noticed with Metroidvanias that go deep into movement abilities; gating the main content behind precise application of abilities at precise times. We also saw this in Ori and the Blind Forest. Now, I think this is entirely appropriate for 100% completion, but the main game shouldn't put you in a position of banging your head for 15 minutes trying to get the exact sequence of inputs to get past this particular obstacle.

There's not a whole lot more to say about it. Going in blind and going for a reasonable level of completion the game lasted me a bit over 6 hours, so I'd call it mid length for a Metroidvania. There is a teleport system between the various maps, as well as an in game counter, so if you want to go for 100% you have those tools available. The game also has an alternate ending that is triggered by getting five items that are particularly hard to get.
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