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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:30 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:I still can't beat the original Mega Man. :oops:

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
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Taito's Space Invaders was quite the revelation when it launched in 1978. Not only did it revolutionize the arcade scene (and, later, the home console scene), but the game also spawned a legion of single-screen shooting imitators. Truth be told, I've never been head over heels in love with Space Invaders -- those barriers are as much of a curse as they are a blessing, and I find myself tapping out quickly as the alien hive inevitably crushes my hapless ship by stage two or three. Come 1979 Namco crafted their own arcade shooter, known as Galaxian, which soon found itself a heavily-ported smash hit. One such port, for the Famicom (Namco cart #1), arrived in 1984. Oddly enough, despite the game's popularity, a North American NES cart was never released. I can only guess that by the time Nintendo's debut system launched in America games like Galaxian were considered to be a generation behind, too primitive for the fledgling hardware (on a similar note, Space Invaders also never made the leap from Fami to NES).
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The basics of Galaxian can be understood within minutes, with subsequent hours, days, and years spent chasing high scores. Gameplay is simple. The player controls a ship, the Galaxip, which can only move left and right and fire upward. The upper area of each screen is filled with an assortment of hostile aliens, sporadically firing downward. Unlike Space Invaders, the aliens of Galaxian occasionally break formation, veering off in kamikaze dives towards the Galaxip. Avoid the swooping aliens, and they'll loop from screen bottom back to top. A stage is completed when all enemies are vanquished, whereupon the player is whisked away to a similar environment with progressively more hostile foes.

It's a simple formula, executed quite brilliantly. There's some subtle strategy to the game. Only one player bullet can appear on the screen at once, so button-mashing must be eschewed in favor of well-timed shots. It's surprisingly easy to miss the aliens - even when a new stage has begun and the screen is full of 'em - as bullets can travel through the tiny gaps between each enemy column. The swooping aliens can be tough to contend with as well, especially in later stages, and one has to quickly decide whether to attempt a shoot-down, or quickly dodge the oncoming assault and wait until foes reappear at the screen's top. "Getting good" at Galaxian is really a matter of steady practice -- eventually it becomes easier to judge the speed of oncoming foes and the attack patterns begin to feel predictable. For the most part.
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All of the console ports of Galaxian turned out surprisingly well, this one included. This Famicom version feels very close to the arcade original, with the most obvious difference being that of aspect ratio. The graphics here are simplistic, but competent, with a fantastic looking array of alien baddies. The scrolling starfield (revolutionary for the time) is a nice touch, as are the flag icons used to represent the current stage. There isn't much "music" to speak of, but the sound effects are nostalgic gold.

Galaxian is a game that does one thing, and does it well. As there are seemingly countless available North American variations available today I wouldn't say that this specific Famicom release is absolutely essential. But anyone exploring the early days of the console (that pre-SMB era) should give this one a spin.


First...start with Bomb Man and take it from there. He’s the easiest to beat with the mega buster. Also, feel free to use the “select button” trick when you take in the yellow devil in the first stage of Wily’s Castle. It’s relatively smooth sailing from there.

Second, great review. What was your criteria for heating Galaxian?
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:12 pm

I always started with Cut Man and did Bomb Man second. Now I'm curious if my order in others was ever the "correct" order.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:46 pm

Nope! The “correct” order, if I recall correctly, is:

Bomb Man
Guts Man
Cut Man
Elec Man
Ice Man
Fire Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:15 pm

What was the order in Mega Man 2? I always started with Flash Man.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:41 pm

I think you were supposed to do Air Man first in Mega Man 2, just because it is hard to use the Wood Shield effectively against Air Man. Might as well use the Mega Buster.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:36 am

Metal Man in Mega Man 2.

He basically destroys like 3 bosses and is only weak to himself. Metal Man is so overpowered in Mega Man 2. I normally go:

Metal - Flash - Bubble - Wood - Air - Crash - Quick - Heat.

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)

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I beat Radiata Stories on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!

I love the developer, Tri-Ace. I mostly love them for the Valkyrie Profile series, with the major games being some of my favorites on each of their respective systems. They make beautiful looking games that are incredibly deep and very unique. So, Radiata Stories has always been a game on my radar, but I never quite pulled the trigger. Finally, my friend gave it to me as a Christmas present and the hype was on. Honestly, I try to avoid hype because it always leaves me disappointed, but I couldn't help myself in being hyped for Radiata Stories. I made the resolution to play through it in 2019 and thankfully the Cookie brought that much earlier than expected.

Radiata Stories is the funniest game I have ever played. Games don't usually make me laugh, but this game did and in spades. The cutaways and one-liners are fantastic. It has this joyful mood to it, which is a shock considering most of Tri-Ace games are very depressing. The story in the game is utterly superb. It makes sense, the good guys and the bad guys motivations. And the overall plot actually makes sense too. It is all understandable and really relatable. With a good story comes good characters and the characters here are so real and wonderful. Some of them are so beautiful and very few of them feel like caricatures. They feel like real people with real problems and real motivations. I just loved talking to all of them and I just wanted to get to know them better. The world is also a wonderful place to explore. It's never too large nor is too small. It never overstays its welcome and never too long.

My two major gripes would be that recruiting characters is very hard and would be impossible without a guide. From finding them to solving all their problems, it would take forever and I wish it was easier to just jump in and do it. Also, the battle system is really simple. You basically mash one button the entire time and it kind of falls apart during heavier boss battles.

Overall, I basically devoured Radiata Stories during my free time. Thanks to some bad weather, I played this game for days at a time. I got sucked into it once I started and I really enjoyed every moment of it. The game is not perfect, obviously, but I could see the past the flaws. It's an enjoyable experiences and one of the most unique games I have ever played.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:19 am

January
Megaman (Switch)
Megaman 2 (Switch)
Megaman 3 (Switch)
Megaman 4 (Switch)
Megaman 5 (Switch)
Megaman 6 (Switch)
Megaman 7 (Switch)
Megaman 8 (Switch)
Megaman 9 (Switch)
Megaman 10 (Switch)
Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Time Spinner (PS4)

Wow oh wow, why is this game NOT more popular than it is? I picked this up on a PSN sale for a song - it goes on sale every now and then - but it's worth the full asking price as well.

Time Spinner is clearly influenced by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Many of the systems such as dual-use maps, familiars, dashing, and the equipment system are almost 1:1 lifted from the older game. Time Spinner also has gorgeous sprite work - the main character Lunais moves fluidly as she battles a variety of enemies and casts spells. Where Time Spinner diverges is in the narrative. Time Spinner's story is one of revenge and time travel, with the main character challenged to determine when, how, and how-much to alter the timeline to avenge her lost loved ones.

I wish that there were some indication of a sequel or spin-off set in the same world but as far as I can tell, Time Spinner is a one-shot. Which is good or bad, looking at how these things can turn out (we can't all be Shovel Knight) but I do hope that more people play this game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:25 am

Markies wrote:
I beat Radiata Stories on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!


Woot! I actually ordered this game and its guide a couple months ago. This is coming up on my list pretty soon! I tried playing it back when it first came out but go so frustrated - you're 100% right that you practically NEED the guide to get most of the best characters.
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:57 am

1. Super Mario World
2. Super Mario Bros 2
3. Bust-A-Move Universe
4. Crystalis
5. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest


Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
1987, Konami


I love the Castlevania series dearly, but that doesn't make me good at the games. So while I've played a big majority of the entries, I've not actually beaten that many of them. I've been playing Castlevania II since it was first released on the NES. It was a bit of a revelation at the time - swapping out of the confines of the castle in the first game and giving us an 'open world' to explore. You could go anywhere - granted it was gated off because you needed a certain item. You could backtrack and find secret areas. Oh, and now it was an RPG as well with experience points and weapon upgrades and so on. If this sounds familiar, it's because Castlevania II is basically a blueprint for one of the greatest games of all time - Symphony Of The Night.

There's hyperbole there, sure. But it's not that far fetched. And really, looking back at Castlevania II, it's astounding just how ambitious a sequel this really was. I mean, Konami could have easily just made another linear level-based trek through another castle, right? Instead they basically changed the game's genre altogether. Of course this was the wild west days of the NES where many sequels strayed heavily from the originals. See: Zelda II, Super Mario Bros 2, etc.

Unfortunately Simon's Quest isn't always remembered for what it accomplished. Instead it's mainly remembered for being kind of an unfair and confusing jerk. So let's unpack that for a moment. Trying to play this game without some kind of walkthrough is a bit of a fool's errand. The NPC's in various towns are infamously liars. And that's when they tell you anything that isn't too cryptic to make sense of anyway. If you were playing this game "blind," I have no idea how you'd figure out that you need to drop garlic in certain graveyards to make an NPC appear to give you certain items; or that you'd need to equip specific items and then kneel down for more than a couple of seconds in specific spots to open up hidden areas; or that the ferryman will bring you to different areas if you have certain items equipped; or that there are invisible platforms in some castles!; or that you need to equip certain items just to SEE some platforms!

I mean yes, there's trial and error. But this feels more like "just try absolutely everything you can possibly think of until something happens and even then you'll probably be stumped on how to proceed at certain parts." I don't necessarily think it's part of a challenging game design so much as this was still the early days and developers were figuring out what really made a game work.

But if we can look past those hiccups - and we can, again with the help of a walkthrough - then there's so much to actually admire in Castlevania II. First of all there's the day/night cycles which actually matter. At night the enemies become more difficult; the town's close their doors and are no longer safe havens. It's interesting stuff, and the mechanic was surely at least partly inspiration for one of my absolute favorite (and vote for most slept-on) NES games of all time: A Nightmare On Elm Street by LJN. I'm being totally serious and completely devoid of irony or counter-culture hipsterism here.

The RPG elements are interesting, though not especially overt. It's definitely akin to The Adventures Of Link. The max level here is apparently six, but I was only level four when I finished the game. Speaking of finishing the game - the bosses are actually a bit of a joke. If memory serves, there were only three of them - the Grim Reaper, a floating mask and then Dracula himself. All of these were easily beaten with very little strategy. Honestly, it feels like the environment was the bigger enemy in this game. I'm pretty sure that any death I incurred was due to a missed jump rather than an actual enemy. I mean once you finally make it to the Demon Castle Dracula, you're greeted to some empty hallways. There's no final gauntlet to make your way through. You're just granted access to Dracula's tomb. It's funny because I had a much harder time making my way through Super Castlevania IV recently - a game considered much easier than this one. Huh.

Suffice to say that I'm pleased as punch to have finally conquered this game, though. It's always nice to beat a game that you've been playing for - OMG... like 30 years? Weird. It's also nice to revisit games and remind yourself just how much you enjoy them.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:First...start with Bomb Man and take it from there. He’s the easiest to beat with the mega buster. Also, feel free to use the “select button” trick when you take in the yellow devil in the first stage of Wily’s Castle. It’s relatively smooth sailing from there.

Second, great review. What was your criteria for heating Galaxian?


Thanks for Mega Man tips. Is there a boss rush (or a stage with a bunch of bosses) eventually? I've made it that far. I may have an easier go of it now that I have the NES cart and can thus play it with an NES controller; I've only ever played it on the PS2 compilation which isn't quite ideal.

As far as a game like Galaxian goes, the stages definitely are distinct in terms of enemy attack patterns. I try to reach the "hardest" stage and then loop it several times. Not much to see in the game beyond that point, unless you're shooting for a respectable personal high score, or something insane like a score/level freeze/roll-over or kill-screen. I also find that the World of Longplays YouTube channel is a good guide regarding where and when these old games "end."

@Markies
Good post. tri-Ace was in cahoots with the strategy guide publishers, I'm convinced.

@noise
Good job. Castlevania II is legit.
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