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PresidentLeever
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PresidentLeever Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:50 pm

1. Ys IV (PCE CD)
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:24 pm

1. Jungle Book (SNES)(Platformer)
2. Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge (SNES)(Light Gun Shooter)

Yes, I took some time off of my busy schedule of playing RPGs, FPS, and complaining about platformers to sit down with a game for the Super Scope on the Super Nintendo. I had a good time. Do you know why? Because Metal Combat is a lot of fun, that's why! You serve as the gunner in a mech which has to take part in one on one giant robot fights, in a meandering story that takes you from battlefields around the Earth and across the solar system into the mothership of an invading alien species. And with each fight, you gain more weapons and defensive items you can swap between, so long as you don't use them all up.

The visuals on Metal Combat are on point, thanks in part to its mid-90s anime aesthetic. More important though is that you can see everything you need to: incoming enemy projectiles are big and bright, enemy mechs always feature a nice contrast from the background so you know what you're looking at, certain attacks will reveal weakpoints on your opponents that you must abuse, and most importantly, battle damage is a big deal! It's usually satisfying to blow off an enemy's arm or leg, though sometimes doing this can reveal new tricks and attacks from your opponent, so it's not always a good idea...just mostly a good idea.

You're limited in your offensive and defensive capabilities, but the additional gear you can pick up between fights is a real boon. However, you can end up with more than you can carry, which means you'll have to select what you want to bring into a fight with you each time. This gives a strategic element, and sometimes the choice is absolutely key to victory; I wiped out half a battle by properly using one item and dropped a difficult opponent down to a manageable battle, because I made the right call. Make the wrong one, and you may well end up at the Game Over screen.

There is also some variation in the game's storyline, depending on when you lose a fight. I learned that during the final battle, you can lose at the final form only to have your pilot sacrifice himself to keep you going. Conversely, you can also beat the final battle without him dying at all. Unfortunately there isn't much of an ending, so this doesn't play out, but it could have made for a nice touch that I was genuinely surprised about when it happened.

If I have any complaints, it's that a couple of enemies are really tough to figure out. I appreciate that some can get easier or harder, depending on what you destroy on them, but one fight in particular took forever because I couldn't figure out how to hit my opponent. It ended up a long defensive match of me shooting down enemy projectiles and then returning fire in different places and hoping, until I finally figured out how to make some headway. This was a rare occurrence though, and even during this particular fight, I found myself having fun.

I've only ever gotten around to beating a few of the Super Scope games, but I believe I enjoyed this one the most, even moreso than Yoshi's Safari, which was my previous favorite. Metal Combat is worth checking out. I really need to go back and play its predecessor, Battle Clash.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by pierrot Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:30 pm

PresidentLeever wrote:Ys IV (PCE CD)


*Crickets*


Yep.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:56 pm

Yeah nothing needs to be said for one of the best games ever made. Most mere mortals cannot find the words to express how supreme it is.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by pierrot Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:00 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Yeah nothing needs to be said for one of the best games ever made. Most mere mortals cannot find the words to express how supreme it is.

:lol: Yep.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:36 pm

After failing to record much of anything in the 2017 thread (and I beat a fair number of games in 2017 to boot!), I'm hoping to keep a slightly better record in 2018. I think one of the ways I can maintain this resolution is to keep my final thoughts more concise and to the point rather than indulging in the meandering walls of text of the sort I've penned in the past. Wish me luck!

1. To the Moon [PC/Steam]
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To the Moon is one of those critical darlings of the indie scene from a few years back that I always seem to finally play well after the hubbub has died down. While its RPG Maker roots are still pretty apparent in terms of graphical assets, I feel that it successfully elevates itself from many of the cookie cutter RPG Maker clones out there, primarily by way of inventive world building, some solid plotting, and good dialogue. The story borrows a few plot devices from the likes of Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (I got some pretty strong vibes regarding this latter), but it all unfolds in such a way that it doesn't seem particularly derivative, IMO.

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Is it a perfect distillation of the form? Well not quite. The main characters are fairly unlikeable throughout the proceedings, and there were a couple of moments where I felt like this was to the detriment of the story. It also bears mentioning that there's not a lot of actual gameplay to be had here. Outside of a few simple puzzle elements this game unfolds a bit like a 'walking simulator' with 16-ish bit graphics. And having played this game on PC some of the gameplay that is present seems to be implemented strangely. You're limited to mouse-click navigation or arrow keys with no utility to change key configuration, and no controller navigation whatsoever (or at least not without resorting to a 3rd party tool). Providing no means of WASD navigation in a PC game limited to KB+M controls is a real head scratcher to me.

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Having said all of that, chances are you didn't show up for the gameplay (and if you did, you were grossly misinformed in terms of what to expect). Chances are you're here for the story and in that regard I feel that the game succeeds with aplomb. I've seen accusations that this game is 'pretentious' and 'self-important' but honestly I think that reaction is more driven by the subsequent critical praise for To the Moon than any intent of the authorial hand. For my part I found the game to be a somewhat simple and humble experience that largely accomplished what it set out to do, which was to tell a story through the medium of a video game. Recommended for those that enjoy (almost purely) narrative experiences in gaming and those open to emotional investment in video game characters. Not recommended for those seeking a 'manly-man' type of game, lol.
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PresidentLeever
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PresidentLeever Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:02 pm

pierrot wrote:
PresidentLeever wrote:Ys IV (PCE CD)


*Crickets*


Yep.


:lol: Well I did a mini-review on my site as usual but I don't think many want to read just the list of pros and cons so I didn't post it here. I liked it overall, it just edges out 1 as my overall fav so far (I've played Ys 1-5, Complete version of 1-2) thanks to the great cutscenes and the world feeling more alive, but I still didn't find it quite great gameplay-wise.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:05 pm

nullPointer wrote:Chances are you're here for the story and in that regard I feel that the game succeeds with aplomb. I've seen accusations that this game is 'pretentious' and 'self-important' but honestly I think that reaction is more driven by the subsequent critical praise for To the Moon than any intent of the authorial hand.


Not in my case. I genuinely loathed everything about that game. :lol:

Apparently, however, a lot of people really liked To The Moon; so, my opinion on the game’s merits (or complete lack thereof) is in the minority.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:27 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
nullPointer wrote:Chances are you're here for the story and in that regard I feel that the game succeeds with aplomb. I've seen accusations that this game is 'pretentious' and 'self-important' but honestly I think that reaction is more driven by the subsequent critical praise for To the Moon than any intent of the authorial hand.
Not in my case. I genuinely loathed everything about that game. :lol:

Apparently, however, a lot of people really liked To The Moon; so, my opinion on the game’s merits (or complete lack thereof) is in the minority.

Haha yes I recently read your thoughts regarding (though now that I finished the game I need to go back and re-read), and that's totally fair. When cast in a certain light I think even the story of this game (arguably its best quality), could come off as one of the better made-for-TV Lifetime movies. That's me playing devil's advocate since I did enjoy the game, but I can definitely see how it might not be everyone's cuppa. I tend to be slightly more forgiving of games that try for something new or different* within the medium (and in To the Moon's defense it's relatively rare for most games to even reach Lifetime's level of 'quality' where it comes to solid storycraft :D)

* And of course 'new or different' is relative here, but I'd be hard pressed to think of another game that combines elements in the way that To the Moon does even when we include VNs within that scope.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:04 pm

1. Antarctic Adventure (Famicom)
2. Nuts & Milk (Famicom)
3. Commando (Atari 2600)
4. Binary Land (Famicom)
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Hudson's Binary Land is a puzzle game originally developed for Japanese home computers, and later ported to the Famicom in 1985. The situation here is a bit analogous to that of Nuts & Milk, in that the Famicom version has been heavily retooled and is thus only scarcely reminiscent of the original. Graphics were redone to closely resemble the first-party Nintendo games of the era, controls were improved, and, most significantly of all, the cornball human protagonists featured in the original have been replaced by two adorable penguin lovers named Gurin and Malon.

The game is quite simple conceptually: the two penguins begin each level separated in the bottom corners of a maze. They must be guided to a caged heart in the top-center, where they'll reunite and express their mutual adoration. Then the next maze begins. It may sound fairly standard and easy; it's Hudson's ingenious control scheme that puts Binary Land in a class of its own.
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It works like this: the player is able to select either Gurin or Malon on the title screen. The one selected is the one the player takes primary control of. The other penguin behaves like a mirror image, moving at the same time as the chosen protagonist. However, the horizontal controls are inverted. So, for example, if you choose Gurin holding right on the d-pad will cause Gurin to move right and Malon left. And vice versa. It's a fiendishly clever bit of design, forcing the player to pay attention to two moving sprites, which are oftentimes travelling in two separate directions on opposite sides of the screen.

Naturally, these mazes are full of hazards. At the front of the queue is the penguin's natural enemy: the spider. These creep through the narrow corridors seeking avian blood. Not keen on simply attacking, the arachnids have also managed to deposit an ample number of webs throughout each stage. Getting tangled up in one of these does not spell instant death, instead a captured penguin will have to wait to be rescued by his/her free counterpart. Thankfully the penguins are not defenseless. Each is armed with an unlimited supply of pesticide spray that will vanquish spider and web alike.

In later stages foes with a pesticide immunity start to make an appearance. There's the (non-penguin) bird which has the power to swap the penguins' position on the board. This is incredibly disorienting in the busier mazes; immediate acclimation to the new penguin positioning is required or a swift death is all but guaranteed. Then there are the impervious fireballs, which need to be completely avoided altogether. There is some reprieve from the unrelenting assault found in the form of power-ups. Well, one power-up. Most grant nothing but points (yay) but a whale(?!) will yield temporary super-penguin mode. Much like Mario's super star, a "whaled" penguin can plow through anything including the once-invincible fireballs.

Wouldn't it be quaint if the aforementioned enemies were the only barriers to progress? Oh no. Let's analyze these mazes a little more. They're asymmetrical. So while one maze might feature a nice straight corridor on Gurin's side, Malon's path is instead a weaving blocky mess. And there's a time limit: an absolutely brutal one. Forget about putzing around, strategizing, or playing on "stealth" mode. These penguins are in a hurry! Sometimes the hardest part is aligning Gurin and Malon on both sides of the caged heart properly. Frequently I found myself in a maze with no remaining enemies but while one penguin was near the exit the other was in some other spot altogether and when I moved one the other moved too and when one got closer the other moved further away and then ah -- poof -- time over.
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And that's what Binary Land is: heart-pumping controlled chaos. Two simultaneously moving characters, hordes of enemies, untidy maze levels, power-ups to grab, webs to avoid, lovers to reunite, and no time to do it all. An absolutely feverish cluster of a sensory overload. What a cool game. And a hard one at that. First week I owned it I couldn't progress past single-digit stages. Then I found myself tapping out once the "switch-bird" began making the rounds. These days I do "okay" for myself, but the randomization of certain elements makes every playthrough a new fresh challenge.

Progression through Binary Land seems pretty standard and linear, though it's hard to determine when and where the game truly "ends." The final original maze configuration appears in stage 16, with stage 17 being the typical harder rehash of stage 1, and so on. That said, the actual stage counter won't roll over until after level 99 is conquered, should any expert penguin wranglers be up for the ultimate challenge. The game also has bonus stages sprinkled throughout, mostly for the purpose of adding to the point total. When these initiate, one penguin is already stuck in a web. In addition to making a rescue every heart littering the maze must be collected for a "perfect" score. I think the developers were trolling here, as it seems virtually impossible to accomplish this in every bonus stage save the first one or two.

The game's visuals are standard but pleasant, with a soft "Easter Egg" color palette highlighting the majority of maze walls. The penguins are well animated, with the "stuck in a web" flailing especially unnerving. As per tradition, there is no original music here, but a beautifully catchy 8-bit rendition of "Je te veux" loops throughout.

Ultimately, Binary Land is quite the enjoyable little game. Of the many old Famicom action-puzzlers it stands out as one of the most original, and certainly the most intense. Today it can be found on the same GBA compilation as its buddy Nuts & Milk, though both titles remain cheaper separately on the Famicom.

As a final anecdote: this is a great game to play with really young children. You can fib to 'em and claim that they're controlling the second penguin. Not saying I've ever done this, not saying I haven't.
Last edited by BoneSnapDeez on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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