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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:49 am

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)

Sigma Team is a Russian game development group that specializes in two things: shooting aliens and shooting zombies. In the 2000s, they released a handful of games in their Alien Shooter and then Zombie Shooter series, along with a variety of expansions that added things like modes with high score attacks as you take on waves of enemies. But the core of their games generally involved picking a hero, plunging into some kind of facility, and getting better weapons and gear to lay waste to hordes of tougher and tougher opponents.

Now I've played through the Alien Shooters of the 2000s and now the Zombie Shooters, and one thing I have noticed is that over time the games became more ambitious, incorporating more and more RPG mechanics and bigger plots. The tech side also slowly but steadily improved, so while I found myself getting stuck on walls and debris often early on, it happened only twice in Zombie Shooter 2. This game from 2009 is the logical continuation and enhancement of a formula Sigma Team had been building from day 1, and I feel like it managed to successfully shine here far more than in any previous iteration.

I won't lie, there are serious problems with the plot, with the English language and voice acting, and some UI issues that keep this from going above and beyond. Also, it's the video game equivalent of cotton candy: good for a bit until dissolving. But sometimes I want mindless cotton candy, just as I want to reduce a horde of zombies to gibs and blood splatter with a minigun, and once you reach the final levels, there is a ton of that. It's satisfying watching the horde explode into gore, and here Sigma has succeeded in something that they hadn't quite attained in any previous releases.

Add in a couple of extra bonus modes for score challenges which focus on surviving as long as you can, and you have an entertaining piece of a game. Considering I bought this for less than $5 on GOG, I am more than happy with my experience. If you feel the need to go massacre the horses of marauding mutant undead, you could certainly do a lot worse than this.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:57 am

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 46
* denotes a replay

January (16 Games Beaten)
1. Phantasy Star Portable - PlayStation Portable - January 1
2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - Xbox One - January 9
3. Duck Tales - NES - January 10
4. Yakuza Kiwami - PlayStation 4 - January 14
5. Xuan-Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament - PlayStation 4 - January 20
6. Doki Doki Literature Club - Steam - January 20
7. Deep Space Waifu - Steam - January 21
8. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter - Steam - January 21
9. Duck Tales 2 - NES - January 22
10. TaleSpin - NES - January 22
11. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - NES - January 23
12. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 - NES - January 24
13. Global Defence Force - PlayStation 2 - January 24
14. Darkwing Duck - NES - January 25
15. Tiny Toon Adventures - NES - January 26
16. Poi - Steam - January 28


February (18 Games Beaten)
17. Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD - Steam - February 3
18. Final Fantasy Legend - Game Boy - February 5
19. Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni - Vita - February 5
20. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo - 3DS - February 8
21. Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Training - Android - February 8
22. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - SNES - February 10
23. X-COM: UFO Defense - Steam - February 14
24. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys -TurboGrafx-CD - February 18
25. Army Men - Game Boy Color - February 19
26. Army Men 2 - Game Boy Color - February 19
27. Army Men: Air Combat - Game Boy Color - February 20
28. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd - PlayStation Portable - February 22
29. Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 - Game Boy Color - February 22
30. Army Men Advance - Game Boy Advance - February 24
31. Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn - PlayStation 3 - February 25
32. Army Men: Operation Green - Game Boy Advance - February 26
33. A Night Out - PC - February 27
34. Army Men: Turf Wars - Game Boy Advance - February 27


March (10 Games Beaten)
35. Phantasy Star - Master System - March 10*
36. Grand Kingdom - PlayStation 4 - March 17
37. Bit.Trip Beat - Wii - March 18
38. Bit.Trip Core - Wii - March 18
39. Bit.Trip Void - Wii - March 18
40. Bit.Trip Runner - Wii - March 22
41. Bit.Trip Fate - Wii - March 22
42. Bit.Trip Flux - Wii - March 24
43. Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien - Wii U - March 25
44. My Nintendo Picross: Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess - 3DS - March 28


April (2 Games Beaten)
45. Gundam Breaker 3 - PlayStation 4 - April 4
46. Night Trap - PlayStation 4 - April 5


46. Night Trap - PlayStation 4 - April 5

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Night Trap is both one of the most recognizable as well as one of the most infamous FMV games of the early 1990s. It was actually originally filmed in 1987 and planned for the Control-Vision, an unreleased game system that used VHS tapes rather than cartridges, but the footage was shelved until 1992 when it was revived for Sega CD. It was ported to 3DO a year later and to MS-DOS, Mac OS, and Sega 32x (still requiring Sega CD) a year after that. In 2017, a 25th Anniversary Edition that no one asked for (or really wanted) was released on Windows and PlayStation 4 with an Xbox One port coming at some point in the future.

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The basic premise of Night Trap is that teenagers have started going missing around one particular house, and the SCAT (Sega/Special Control Attack Team) is planning an operation to investigate and bring those responsible to justice. To do this, they take control of the house's suspiciously elaborate camera and trap system and plant one of their own (bizarrely young) agents in with a group of teenagers staying in the house overnight. The player controls the six cameras as well as the traps and must activate the traps at the right time to catch the "Augers" (vampires) and keep the teenagers safe. Missing too many Augers will result in a game over (I think you get a game over at like 20 missed or something like that).

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The reason for the game's relative notoriety is not that it's actually all that risque by today's standards but rather that it - along with Mortal Kombat - was the catalyst and major focal point of the Congressional hearings on video game violence spearheaded by Senator Joe Lieberman (CT-D) and Senator Herb Kohl (WI-D). The claim was that the game portrayed extreme violence and promoted sexual aggression against women. If you actually play the game, you'll see that the only "violence" is pretty mild, and the claims that it promotes sexual aggression against women is completely ridiculous (unless, of course, we're implying that pajamas are somehow inherently sexual). Folks today tend to remember the claims that the game was horribly offensive more than anything actually questionable or controversial in the game.

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Given that the game uses film from the late 1980s, the video quality is obviously not great, but in my opinion, that's part of what makes it great. It's the most gloriously cheesy 80s thing I've ever played. The hair and outfits are both just dripping with the 80s, and the entire style and premise is the type of experimental "this is probably a bad idea but let's do it anyway" gameplay that games these days just don't attempt anymore. Despite all this, though, the game is actually really fun and addicting. In terms of overall quality, I only have two real complaints. There are times when you have to change the color code to control the traps, and you get the code you need by listening to dialogue between the homeowners' family in the right room at the right time. Unfortunately (as this really breaks my immersion), these code change dialogue clips are significantly lower audio quality than the rest of the recordings. The other issue is that there are major audio bugs usually resulting from pausing the game. Pausing the game several times to pee, get another Coke, answer a text, etc. led to my game's audio and video being a full five or six seconds out of sync by the end of the game. On my attempts where I didn't pause, though, I'd either have less than a second or only a second or two of sync issues by the end. It's not usually a big issue for the actual gameplay, but it's extremely irksome and kills your immersion.

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The actual gameplay involves switching between six cameras in six different rooms of the house. There are often different clips with characters in multiple rooms at a single time, so if you really want to see and experience all of the glorious 80s cheese, you'll have to do multiple playthroughs. There are also six endings, so there is a bit of replay value here. You have to switch between the various rooms (this mechanic influenced the vastly inferior Five Nights at Freddy's, I think) and keep an eye out of Augers entering the house. When the Augers walk by a trap, you have to activate it at the right moment to catch them and keep the teenagers safe. There's a color coded bar to help you with your timing; it's green when no one's near the trap, yellow when someone is approaching the trap, and red when you need to activate the trap. There are a few instances when you can catch good guys in the traps accidentally, so you need to be careful with your timing (and, honestly, be willing to put up with a bit of trial and error).

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Unfortunately, once you have seen all of the endings and such, there isn't a whole lot of reason to come back to the game. The timing and locations where the Augers appear are all set; the only thing at all random about the game is what color allows control of the traps. There is, however, a wave mode that I haven't personally tried out but seems to give some extra content for those who just can't get enough Night Trap. In addition to that and the main mode, there are some unlockables that you can access by beating the game under various conditions including Scene of the Crime, a prototype that was originally used to pitch the game's concept.

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By today's standards, Night Trap is a pretty simple game. At the time, though, it was fairly revolutionary. It's not an amazing game, but it's definitely fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it and plan to revisit it later one (probably while drunk at a party). The various scenes that play throughout the game and trying to keep an eye out of Augers and time their capture right is a lot more fun than it sounds, and I was actually extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed the game. That said, while it's definitely a good game, I can't say that it's a "great" game. It does tend to get rather told relatively quickly, and there's isn't a whole lot of variety with it. While physical copies are a bit pricey - around $50 for PS4, $60 for Sega CD and CD 32X, and $80 for 3DO - you can get it digitally on PS4 or PC for $15, and I'd definitely say it's worth the $15 asking price.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:04 am

Nice, dude.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:34 am

I love how the one girl in the bathroom doesn't notice the obvious person in the shower. The REALLY obvious person in the shower. Who is ostensibly reflected in the mirror she's in front of.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BogusMeatFactory Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:02 am

Elkin, this night trap review may be your best written review. You do a spectacular job of looking at the game and breaking it apart honestly and intuitively. It really is some strange, magical mess that is worth playing and beating. Folks need to check it out for the together retro this month!!!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:10 am

So when are JT and Bogus going to review something they played for TR? I wanna read their reviews!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BogusMeatFactory Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:20 am

marurun wrote:So when are JT and Bogus going to review something they played for TR? I wanna read their reviews!


When I have time! 3 month old baby with my wife going back to work full time is exhausting! My steam link is coming in today supposedly so I should be able to get some time in the evenings in the living room. My 3 month old, Gwendolyn hates being in the computer room/walk in closet, plus my wife sleeps during that time so it has to be even extra quiet. Not so in the living room!!!
Ack wrote:I don't know, chief, the haunting feeling of lust I feel whenever I look at your avatar makes me think it's real.

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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Exhuminator Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:32 pm

marurun wrote:So when are JT and Bogus going to review something they played for TR? I wanna read their reviews!


I do too! After all, they seemed to be the biggest proponents of the FMV genre winning the poll.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:32 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
marurun wrote:So when are JT and Bogus going to review something they played for TR? I wanna read their reviews!
I do too! After all, they seemed to be the biggest proponents of the FMV genre winning the poll.

In fairness to Bogus he's definitely been an enthusiastic contributor to this months TR thread thus far. I'm also curious to see what he might play(!), but he's definitely provided tons of valuable insight as well. :)

But onto other important matters! Don't look now, but I've completed my Together Retro backlog for games that I started in the last two months!

The List So Far:

14. The Guardian Legend [NES] [Together Retro - 03/2018]
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Over the years I've seen The Guardian Legend referred to in various places as a 'hidden gem' on the NES. And I think that's an apt assessment. It's not what I'd necessarily call an extraordinary game, but it is a good game, and one that deserves to be recognized for its merits.

What we have here is an action/adventure setup taking place inside an alien infested planet (meteor?) which is hurling toward Earth and will undoubtedly wreak large scale havock and destruction should it reach its intended target. You play the role of a lone cybernetic super-soldier sent to infiltrate the planet/meteor and prevent this catastrophe from happenning. This really sets up some nice atmosphere reminiscent of Metroid in a way, e.g. the loneliness of space, the harshness of your environs, and the unrelenting firepower you unleash upon the alien hordes. Your cybernetic enhancements grant you the ability to transform between human form and a weaponized spacecraft capable of high speeds and aerial maneuvers. Accordingly gameplay is divided fairly equally between on-foot overhead shooting sections and top down sh'mup (shoot 'em up) sections. This division between on-foot and in-vehicle play style is also a bit reminiscent of Blaster Master, particularly so for the on-foot sections.

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Basically there's a single 'overworld' which is broken down into areas of various difficulty. All on-foot gameplay takes place in this overworld which primarily serves as a means of traversal to reach myriad 'corridor entrances'. These corridors serve as the shmup 'levels' in the game. In this way a comparison can also be made to The Legend of Zelda in which you travel across an overworld in order to reach various dungeon entrances which serve here as entrances to shmup levels instead. The overworld sections are a bit rote to be honest. The gameplay is quite good, but the enemy variation is lacking and despite the fact that the overworld is broken up into 10 different areas, none of them are very visually distinct save for some various palette swaps. I mentioned that these areas are quite reminiscent of Blaster Master and I think that comparison has merit. You'll see similar enemy patterns, similar destructible blocks, similar weapon upgrades, etc. I might give a slight advantage to Blaster Master for gameplay and visual variety, but it's worth pointing out that The Guardian Legend does some things better in this capacity, notably it controls much more crisply (on-foot sections in Blaster Master have always felt rather drifty to me).

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I feel like it's the shmup sections that are the highlight of this game. In the same ways that the overworld lacks a lot of variation, the shmup levels have it in spades. Each corridor has a specific theme and the enemies you face are generally identifiable as being part of that theme. Furthermore I'd call the shmup bosses the crown jewels of the game. Some of them can be a bit bullet-spongy, but I feel like several of them present a nice challenge as well as some much needed variation.

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In some ways I wish that the on-foot sections had the same level of polish and challenge as the shmup sections. As it is The Guardian Legend feels a little bit lopsided, almost like you're playing two different games; a mediocre-to-good on-foot shooter, and a good-to-great shmup. If these elements had been evened out a bit, I think we'd look back on this not necessarily as a 'hidden gem' but one of the best games on the system. The Guardian Legend is still quite a good game and it deserves to be experienced, but this unevenness does occasionally leave you wishing that the on-foot sections were more than just a means of travelling from one shmup section to the next. Recommended for 8-bit shmup fans and for those seeking to tap into the large reserves of 'hidden' quality available on the NES.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:22 pm

Great post, great game. I heart Compile!

Have you played Golvellius by any chance? It does the "alternating" gameplay thing as well, but with much less success.
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