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Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:01 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
Thanks for the comments dudes. The Famicom train will keep on rolling throughout 2019.

Oh, and there are a surprising number of Famicom games of Western origin that never made their way stateside as NES carts. There's Dough Boy by Kemco, which is a port of a C64 game. And Electrician on the FDS is a port of an Atari 8-bit game.

The Famicom also has WRPG ports like The Bard's Tale II, Dragon Wars, Wizardry II: Legacy of Llylgamyn - The Third Scenario, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Dragons of Flame.

Jaleco published a port of Choplifter on the Famicom. On the Disk System they had ports of Western computer games like Druid, Knight Lore, and Monty on the Run.

There are some additional Western games that received (very loose) sequels that stayed in Japan.

I'm probably forgetting a bunch, too.

EDIT: Just remembered Famicom Karateka, which comes to Japan courtesy of the United States of North America.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:59 pm
by REPO Man
Spin Master (NeoGeo via PS4), a decent arcade platformer.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:14 pm
by MrPopo
1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC

A little while ago I was thinking about the Microprose Magic game, where you would slowly build up your deck by beating other opponents. That was an experience I wanted, as it's very different from playing Arena with everyone having a finished deck. Then I remembered the Pokémon Trading Card Game on GBC existed! I snagged a copy and dove right in. And I'm happy to say I got the exact experience I wanted.

The basic setup is you get to pick a deck to start with and then you have to challenge eight gyms to earn the right to challenge the final four grand masters in order to earn the legendary cards. These consist of GB exclusive legendary bird trio and Dragonite cards. The game has every single card from the first three sets (base, Jungle, Fossil) minus two which would have been harder to implement than would have been worth the effort (one of the Electrodes and one of the Dittos). As compensation the game includes a bunch of unique cards only found in the game. These mostly have some sort of random effect, such as "deal damage to a random mon on the board" or "get random cards out of your deck". While the former could be done on tabletop (Magic does it regularly) the latter can't. Unlike the base Pokémon games there's no random encounters, which makes sense. So the whole experience is much shorter than the RPGs; a gym consists of three trainers and a boss, and every time you beat someone you get two booster packs that you can use to upgrade your deck.

The actual game is a very faithful recreation of the card game, with a little bit of visual flair akin to the attacks of the original GB game. Since the Pokémon TCG has a lot of shuffle and coin flip effects having the computer do it really smooths things out. My brother had gotten into the paper game back in the day and so I was familiar with the rules from playing with him. As I played it in the video game I found there was more depth than I remembered to the gameplay, and especially to the deckbuilding.

And that, unfortunately, is the one thing I will caution people who might pick this up. If you do, do NOT go looking at modern deck building strategy. This game came out very early in the life of the card game, and as a result all the decks are based on the common wisdom of the time in how to construct a deck. It wasn't until a year or two later that people really started to do the statistical analysis on card ratios; Magic had a similar phenomenon of the early decks being extremely janky compared to modern decks due to people not understanding how to get a deck consistent. The Pokemon TCG is more egregious due to the sheer amount of card selection in the game; a tuned deck is going to see most of its cards before the end of the game, whereas in Magic you'll only see about 20 cards deep. So if you build a deck in game using modern deck building philosophies you will find the game to be quite easy. So I'd caution you to stick to doing what feels right without outside knowledge if you really want to have a more challenging experience. If you build a modern deck you will steamroll everything barring a bad sequence of status effects that you fail the recovery checks on.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:25 pm
by MrPopo
1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC

Metro Exodus is the third game in the Metro series and wraps up things pretty nicely. It builds on the gameplay and atmosphere of the first two games and injects it with some STALKER DNA; since 4A was formed from the core of the Shadow of Chernobyl team it's not surprising to see them return to their roots in that regard. Aside from some minor UI issues that indicate the PC version didn't get the polish it deserved it's a fantastic experience.

The main selling point of Exodus over the other two is you will be leaving the Metro as part of the story. This, however, doesn't mean the game goes full open world. Instead, you will go through a series of levels of varying size. A few are very linear based on specific setpieces, similar to what we saw in the previous Metro games. Then there's a few large area levels akin to what we saw in STALKER. You'll have a few main quests to do which advance the storyline as well as a few side quests pointed out which can gain you gear or karma (for the good ending). And you can also stumble upon some ruins of the old world which might also have gear or just some interesting encounters that build on the atmosphere of the game. It's a good measured approach to things.

Another major change from the previous games is you have a full weapon customization system. There are a wide variety of attachments for all your guns, and at your HQ you can swap out your weapons for any you have previously found (in the field you can only swap with what you find). There's a major scavenging component to the game; you'll have to craft ammo back at base and maintain your gear as it is damaged. You have to be intelligent with how you approach situations, especially on the harder difficulties, or you can put yourself in an unwinnable situation due to running out of ammo or health packs.

A good contrast to the game is the world of Fallout. Both have a similar theme of post-apocalyptic survival, but Metro's take is much bleaker. You spend the game clinging to hope for something better, and get to see humanity at its worse. Fallout, by contrast, has a much more hopeful note; sure there's bandits and such, but there also tend to be more civilized areas as well, and there's a sense that humanity can rebuild. That's a much more ambiguous sentiment here.

The move out of the tunnels does change how the general game feels. In Metro there was a lot more emphasis on the claustrophobia and creepiness. Here, since you spend so much time outside, you get more of dealing with a bleak and hostile world (watch out for those monster dens). But there are several times you have to enter some structure or tunnel that brings back a focus on the unease of the dark and what might be around the next corner, and the end sequence recalls some of the best parts of Metro 2033.

My main complaint was the PC UI has some general issues. Interaction involves holding down your key, with the circle filling in like a console game. Selecting subweapons involves holding down the button and then moving your mouse on the cross that shows; obvious this was designed for d-pads. This is a minor inconvenience by default, but it also makes doing a Ranger Hardcore Full Dive run your first time through needlessly frustrating. Losing all indication of what you can interact with is much worse when the difference between a locked/nonfunctional door and a useable door can't be discerned in a tense situation; you have to take the time to stop and hold for a good half second to see if you interact with it, and that can be too long in some situations. And having no clue what secondary weapon you're picking will lead to lots of bad times (as it's not the greatest system when you CAN see it). It's definitely playable on a second playthrough, but it's unfortunate you can't do it the first time through. At least Ranger Hardcore Minimal Interface works. There's also a weird inconsistency that happens when you remap keys. There are three possible things that happen; the first is the prompts match the remapped keys. The second is the prompt matches the remapped key, but you actually need to press the original. And the third is the prompts are independent of your key maps (this is for when you're interacting with things during the in-between story segments), so while it seems like it would match up with functions they're just keys. Already bad, but what gets worse is that the second case you need to have SOMETHING bound to the original key or else it won't work. The example is the key for cleaning a weapon at a workbench; it's bound to your flashlight key. If you rebind flashlight the prompt is the new key, but it only activates on the original flashlight key, and if nothing is bound to that it don't work (if something is bound then it works). This is all the sort of thing that would have been found with basic PC QA, but it seems that their testers only used either controllers or default layouts. It mars an otherwise engaging experience, as you spend time thinking about things at time which pull you out.

Still, those issues are worth getting through, as the whole experience is extremely enjoyable if you like post-apocalyptic fiction and intelligent gunplay.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:10 am
by noiseredux
1. Super Mario World
2. Super Mario Bros 2
3. Bust-A-Move Universe
4. Crystalis
5. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
6. Donkey Kong
7. Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2
1989, Capcom

I was looking for a copy of that Mega Man Legacy Collection on Switch, but no local stores had any in stock. I was bummed as I had been in the mood to play Mega Man 2 for whatever reason. And then it occurred to me - I could pay one dollar for a trial month of Game Pass on the Xbox One and have full access to the collection. I'd been waiting for some excuse to give the service a try, so I figured why not? I had already re-upped my Gold subscription thanks to Overwatch League making me want to play Overwatch again.

I've played Mega Man 2 many times in my life. It and Mega Man 3 are total comfort food games. It's weird, because I have big time love for certain entries in the series - X and X4 included - and yet have managed to totally skip others altogether. I'm a pretty big fan, just not a rabid one.

But Mega Man 2 is like riding a bike. I was actually impressed with my muscle memory as I breezed through each level. My memory says the last time I played this game was in 2008 on the old Gamecube anthology (that had botched controls). If I'm wrong, it wasn't much later than that. But man, I totally remembered each level easily - at least until I got up to the Wiley stages.

Digital Eclipse's work on this collection is fantastic, and they should be paid to anthologize as many beloved franchises as possible. Everything felt spot-on from the original NES release and all of the emulation options were much appreciated. I'll be honest, I totally used the rewind feature during the old disappearing blocks sequences because truthfully, I've subjected myself to that torture enough in the past that I felt like I had earned the privilege to give myself the mulligan.

But hey, guess what? Mega Man 2 is still completely awesome thirty years later. The music is still phenomenal. I've had various tunes from the game stuck in my head all weekend. Oh, and I've always loved that opening - the epic music, the fast-panning camera going up the building, and Mega Man himself with his helmet off, hair blowing in the wind. This game is still an absolute classic.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:52 am
by BoneSnapDeez
^ Best game in the series? I'm inclined to think so.

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)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)

File this one into two categories: 1) I can't believe this exists and 2) I can't believe I played it. Oishinbo is a Famicom game released in 1989, based on the cooking manga that began in 1983 and is apparently still in circulation. You read that correctly: a cooking manga. Fully titled Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (or, The Gourmet: Ultimate Menu 3-Course Showdown), the game was published by Bandai. Actual development was handled by TOSE, who I'm beginning to think was behind every Famicom game in existence (except for those developed by Micronics). Oishinbo was fan-translated in 2008, because if there's one game that was begging for a wider audience it's this once.

Now, I've never read the manga, but my research informs me that the game follows the plot of those earliest issues. The protagonist here is a young man named Shirou Yamaoka, a journalist and semi-chef, who's attempting to assemble the "ultimate menu" for his employer Tozai Publishing, a business nearing its 100th anniversary. Joining Yamaoka is his adorable lady friend, Yuko. Yamaoka's main rival is a real jerk: a smug middle-aged chef named Yuzan. Yuzan is also Yamaoka's dad, which is a little odd. Like other Famicom adventures (for instance, Portopia and Ripple Island) much of the story is told via interactions between the two main heroes, though in Oishinbo this doesn't happen automatically, as the player must frequently direct Yamaoka to speak to Yuko.
Oishinbo plays like a typical Japanese adventure game. Yamaoka and Yuko's actions are controlled by menu commands. They can travel to various locales, "look" at the surrounding environment, talk to a diverse cast of characters, and collect/use items. One noticeable difference between Oishinbo and similar games is that there is no cursor system used to sniff out "hidden" treasures. This is probably a blessing, as nearly all Oishinbo contemporaries executed this idea poorly, with weak cursor "hit detection" and a heavy reliance on pixel-perfect clicking precision. The game's graphical style is pretty rudimentary, and slightly grainy -- like an old newspaper comic strip. Hard to deny that those 80s anime character designs are fantastic, though. The soundtrack consists of nothing but stock tunes, many of which are inserted inappropriately -- hey TOSE, I could do without the constant "Yankee Doodle" loop.

The game unfolds through a series of distinct chapters. Yamaoka and Yuko are first tasked with preparing some foie gras. Lacking the skill to execute such a dish properly the duo instead decide to scrounge up some out-of-season monkfish, much to the chagrin of Yuzan and the culinary elite. This part of the game actually requires that Yamaoka and Yuko go fishing, catch, and subsequently dissect the monkfish in an appropriate fashion. It also marks the first time I received a Game Over. I selected an option to "beat" this fish, and apparently Yamaoka's baby hands and wrists weren't up for the task. Game = Over. Yes, Oishinbo is full of utterly cheap and random insta-death moments like this. The one saving grace being that progress can be "recorded" at any time, as pressing the Select button will bring up a password, which can later be used to resume the game.

The epic monkfish quest is followed by another incident, where Yamaoka and Yuko must prepare a meal for an esteemed monk; they ultimately settle on some local river trout (they should have just given the monk a helping of monkfish, amirite?). The final segment of the game is dedicated to a ramen feast. The duo travels around the city, gathers ramen recommendations, samples the local offerings, before settling on the finest available option.
Oishinbo has a tendency to be just as tedious as other adventure game. Making progress consists of a whole lot of guesswork, clicking through multiple options until most (or all) have been exhausted. It's also an incredibly repetitive experience. Advancing the game frequently requires that one talk to the same character multiple times in a row -- sometimes three or four. Even using items is excessively cumbersome. For example, at one point in the game Yamaoka needs to track down a registry. When entering the correct room, the registry can clearly be seen sitting on a desk. To actually peek inside the player must first "look" at the registry, "take" the registry, and then "use" the registry. Many characters also cannot be spoken to unless "looked at" first. Perhaps the game is just teaching me proper Japanese social decorum!

The Oishinbo experience is buoyed by the clever, irreverent writing. Granted, the "fish parts" kind of drag. But the ramen quest -- absolutely hilarious. Everything about this stretch is corny in the best way possible -- the absurd recommendations, the mismatched ramen ingredients, the sudden onset of food snobbery by Yamaoka and Yuko (who refuse anything less than free-range pork and unprocessed wheat from a mill), plus the sudden revelation that ramen is of Chinese origin so it can only be properly prepared by... a Thai man.

Oishinbo is one odd duck (or, one odd fish?). It's inherently clunky and slow, and the really funny stuff takes a bit too long to show up. I can't think of a single person I would recommend this too, but my morbid curiosity has certainly been satiated.

Bird Week
I can't say that this game failed to meet my expectations, because who knows just what to expect from a game called Bird Week. This is one of those oddball Famicom titles published by a record company. Not Victor, or Epic/Sony, but Toshiba EMI. Development was handled by a group called Lenar, who quickly went on to craft the infamous Deadly Towers.

Some websites assign lofty genre tags to Bird Week, calling it a "life simulation" or whatnot, but in reality this is a simplistic action game that would have felt at home on the Atari 2600 or in the Golden Age arcade scene. The player takes control of a mother bird. She's tasked with collecting butterflies that flutter about each stage, and subsequently feeding them to her nested babies. Apparently the other forest creatures are hellbent on avian genocide, as they'll ceaselessly attempt to thwart the mother's attempts to nurture her younglings.

Side-scrolling stages wrap around horizontally, and are comprised of a couple screens apiece. Baby birds (of which there are two to start the game off) are clustered together, visible when each stage begins. They can only be fed while crying; once each bird has devoured three bugs they will fly away. When all babies are sent airborne the stage ends. Hazards are abound, including slow-moving blackbirds, kamikaze woodpeckers, leaping foxes (I think?), and moles that pop up from the earth. Loss of life is frequent and can occur in two ways. In addition to the typical one-hit-deaths that occur when mother bird makes contact with the enemy, the babies can starve if left unfed too long. Lose a baby, and the devastated mother loses a life of her own.
Aesthetics are rather rudimentary and low-effort. Sprites are grainy and ambiguous. Backgrounds fair better, as the treed scenery rotates through multiple seasons and colors. The game appears to be taking place over the course of a year, this certainly isn't a "week." In fact, there may be a month-by-month thematic rotation here, as stage 13 ends up looking identical to stage 1. After every third round comes a middling bonus stage, where the bird can collect fish or apples for additional points. The game's soundtrack is rather disappointing: just one of those annoying shrill video game "jingles" that seems to repeat after a matter of seconds.

Still, this could have been an entertaining score-chaser, or perhaps an entry-level game for kids, if the controls weren't so foul. Maneuvering the mother bird is no easy task. Eschewing both "normal" cardinal direction controls, as well as a "flappy" Joust-like scheme, Bird Week attempts something else altogether. The mother bird feels perpetually weighted down, and will sink if not kept in constant motion. This doesn't add any realism or depth to the game. It's just annoying and forces steep difficulty into a game that would otherwise feel more balanced.

Bird Week was launched in June of 1986, months after Super Mario Bros. revolutionized the gaming scene. I can't imagine this title energized many folks. It's too little, too late, and significantly duller than a plethora of early Famicom single-sitting experiences. I want to close by mentioning that Bird Week is one of those "purgatory" games. Though background scenery and enemy formations will begin looping fairly quickly, the actual stage counter doesn't roll back to 1 until stage 999 has been completed. Utterly insane. I can't imagine the amount of feverish dedication one would have to possess to see things all the way through. Not to mention the time commitment. I'd estimate it would take about a week. Hey, wait a minute...

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:06 pm
by pook99
23. Dragons Lair (switch)
24. City of Heroes (openbor)
25. Callys Cave 4
26. Double Dragon (nes)

23. Dragons Lair:

I was at my brothers house over the week off and saw he bought the dragons lair trilogy on switch, growing up dragons lair 2 was one of my favorite arcade games and I used to draw huge crowds at local arcades as I was the only person around who could beat the game. I would even get random people offering me 50 cents if they could watch me play which was pretty cool.

The original dragons lair came out when I was very young but it was way beyond the scope of my young brain, I later bought the sega cd version as a teenager and that was the first time that I really got into the original dragons lair. My brother was telling me how impossible the first game was and scoffed at the idea that I could still beat it, especially with the cheat indicators turned off, so I turned off all the yellow areas and made my way through the game.

For anyone who doesn't know dragons lair was a game that essentially let you play a cartoon, at the time of its release it was absolutely revolutionary, no game looked like it, no game played like it, and it was a huge smash hit. The game is basically a trial and error fest, you watch the cartoon and figure out when to react and what buttons to hit, there are some visual cues but the reaction time necessary to react to most of these things the first time is basically impossible, the only way to progress is to try, die, repeat.

Despite its flawed gameplay, this game holds a special place in my heart, although it is nowhere near as good as its sequel, I just love playing through this game every so often, and given how much I have played it, I don't typically need to die that many times to make it through.

26. Double Dragon:

While I was at my brothers house he also set me up with a nintendo online account for my switch. I was waiting for my wifes concert to start so I decided to check out how the nintendo games on the switch played. I have to say it is really cool, and even though I already have a gaming laptop with every emulator and rom imaginable, there is just something awesome about having these nes classics available on the switch. I was pretty torn about what I was in the mood to play, it was between Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden, or ghosts n goblins, but double dragon won out.

I am of the opinion that the nes version of double dragon is considerably better than its arcade counterpart. I don't think this is a popular opinion, and I don't even know that I held this opinion as a kid, but as an adult I just appreciate the varied gameplay over the rather mundane arcade version. Don't get me wrong, I am not knocking the arcade game, I still enjoy it and certainly appreciate its contribution to video games, but the nes version is more fun.

The big point of contention for many regarding the nes games is the fact that the moves are not unlocked at the start of the game. When the game begins you can only punch and kick, as you rack up points you earn a new move every 1000 points. What this translates to is you having to punch your way through the first level or 2 to quickly unlock the better moves and then go from there. Punches are weaker and take more hits to knock enemies out, and as a result you get more points by punching enemies.

Once all the moves are unlocked the fighting engine is a ton of fun, you get the standard punch, kick, headbutt, hair grab, jump kick, elbow smash, as well as the ability to pin enemies on the floor and punch them when they are down, although stronger enemies will toss you off if you get on them too early. All the moves are easy to use and very fun to perform and the moveset, along with the varied enemy types, make the combat a ton of fun.

On top of the fun combat the level design here is deeper than 95% of beat em ups out there. Most beat em ups equate to walk forward, beat enemies, progress. This game has all sorts of different challenges as the levels progress, it has platforming, obstacles to avoid, traps that try and kill you, ladders, elevators, it just makes the game feel like so much more than your typical beat em up, and is IMO, the reason that the game has held up so well over the years.

Double Dragon is not an easy game, most of the enemies are tough to fight, the end boss is difficult, and the traps and platforming are all tricky, but for all its challenges this is not an unfair game. Learning how each enemy fights and how to progress past each challenge is vital to success but once you figure it out it is a very fair game, probably the fairest in the series.

Overall, this game is a must play, DD as a series is a relatively strong one, although the arcade games got worse with each new release, the home versions all were pretty great in their own right (minus the terrible street fighter clone in the 16 bit era), one of the things I love about this series is how different each game is, no 2 home console double dragons play alike, but all of them manage to be a lot of fun.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:44 am
by prfsnl_gmr
Agree. Dragon’s Lair is pretty bad to play, but a lot of fun to watch. Double Dragon is my son’s favorite series by far, and he adored Double Dragon Neon. I’ve played a lot of the games in the series, and while there are a few high points, there are a lot of low points. I recommend Double Dragon (Arcade), Double Dragon (NES), Double Dragon II (NES), Double Dragon II (GB), Double Dragon III (NES), and Super Double Dragon (SNES). The recently-released Double Dragon IV is also OK, but Double Dragon Advance (GBA) and Double Dragon Neon (360/PS3) are sublime.


Finally, I’m intrigued by the reference to your wife’s concert. What kind of music does she make?

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:11 pm
by pook99
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Agree. Dragon’s Lair is pretty bad to play, but a lot of fun to watch. Double Dragon is my son’s favorite series by far, and he adored Double Dragon Neon. I’ve played a lot of the games in the series, and while there are a few high points, there are a lot of low points. I recommend Double Dragon (Arcade), Double Dragon (NES), Double Dragon II (NES), Double Dragon II (GB), Double Dragon III (NES), and Super Double Dragon (SNES). The recently-released Double Dragon IV is also OK, but Double Dragon Advance (GBA) and Double Dragon Neon (360/PS3) are sublime.


Finally, I’m intrigued by the reference to your wife’s concert. What kind of music does she make?

Outside of game boy double dragon 2 I agree with all of those choices, I also agree that double dragon neon is a top notch game, it is very under rated, but the fighting is superb, the graphics are great, the soundtrack is perfect 80's, and I love how the game does not take itself seriously at all. I only recently discovered dd advance, but that is an absolutely excellent game as well.

My wife sings in a choir and plays piano, she doesn't actually compose music. The last concert her group did was a series of cole porter songs, not really my style of music, but I go to support her.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:14 am
by MrPopo
Reading opinions of Dragon's Lair and Double Dragon makes me want to see a TAS that plays Dragon's Lair 1 & 2 off the same set of inputs and call it Double Dragon's Lair.