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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:33 pm

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

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)
3. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)
***4. Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)***

5. Shining In The Darkness (GEN)

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I completed Shining in the Darkness on the Sega Genesis this afternoon!

I absolutely adored the first two Shining Force games as I think they are some of the best games on the system. They had the perfect blend of strategy RPG that just made every battle exciting and were games that I could not put down. I had both of those games in my collection for several years as I actually bought all three Genesis Shining games at the same time. I did them out of order as I skipped over the dungeon crawling first game in the long running franchise. Well, this year, I finally got around to playing the one I passed over and I got to see how the entire franchise started.

It was obvious that they used the same engine from Shining in the Darkness to make Shining Force. All of the archaic bits from Shining Force started here such as complicated item switching and very similar menus. The game is about 95% first person dungeon crawling like the old Wizardy games. Once the game gets going, it is enjoyable to explore the dungeons and they did add some nice quality of life helps in the game. You have the ability to escape at any time, ropes to climb floors and even the ability to warp to a previous location in the dungeon. Battles aren't too long as they only last a round or two, so you get in and then move on. The characters are interesting from the little dialogue that you have in the game. It's not much in regards to story and characters, but what is there is really good.

With the main focus being the dungeon crawling, the game gets repetitive really fast. You have 9 dungeons to go through and each dungeon can last 3-4 hours with several runs. It doesn't change from hour 1 to hour 40 and it really begins to grind on you. Until you get an actual party, the beginning of the game is a horrid grind. With your party of being three people, it is easy to get screwed by RNG. One guy knows Esuna/Life, so if he dies, it's over. One girl knows Escape, so if she dies, it's over. And you can only carry 8 items, 4 of them being Equipment and the rest for Special or Regular items.

Overall, I had a mixed experience with Shining in the Darkness. I like the characters and how they implemented the Dungeon Crawling is really nice. However, 30-40 hours of the game is rather long and the game can be incredibly cheap and grindy at times. If you love first person Dungeon Crawlers, this is a good one and worth playing.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:29 am

High IQ post.

I played the game last year and had a similar take.

It's too long of a game. There's like 10 real hours of quality content. It has no business dragging on as long as it does.

The game's like a really pretty first-person Dragon Warrior (or a prettier Deep Dungeon III, to throw out a more obscure reference).

The character designs and game art manage to salvage the whole experience.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:18 am

I'm also playing through Shining in the Darkness at the minute - I'm only near the start right now (grinding my 2 new party members to the same level as my main guy) and I can definitely see it getting old. The game does have a real feeling of quality about it though despite that - lovely presentation and a real feeling of care put into it. If anything that makes me look forward to Shining Force down the line, which I've not yet played.

I've got a few more Sega RPGs to get through before then though - Shining in the Darkness and Phantasy Star III are both on the agenda before that one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:19 pm

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)

I know what you're thinking. "Ack, are you still playing FPS?" You bet I am! Ack's Year of the FPS continues!

Did you like Wolfenstein 3D? Do you wish to return to old school pre-DOOM FPS? Do you think all of this would have been improved with the addition of werewolves? Well, that's Castle Werewolf, only without all of the high quality of the game that so clearly inspired it!

Look, I gotta be honest, this is a tricky game to give a fair review. It's a cheap, $3, bottom-of-the-bargain-bin kinda throwback FPS made in 2017 by a guy who used the problematic Raycasting Game Maker to develop a title that was clearly inspired by a much celebrated pinnacle of the FPS genre. It suffers immensely form the limitations of the RGM system too, so there are no floor or ceiling textures, saving is a comparative dinosaur of a 3 file system, controls are not changeable, etc. Heck, there isn't even a difficulty setting, though you probably wouldn't want one anyway. The game is easy, but the AI has some cheap tricks I'll go into. RGM is also notorious for not playing nicely with a mouse; I had to edit the properties of the game's executable file to make mine work, and that was a relatively simple fix. For some folks, RGM titles can be completely unplayable.

But say you spend the few bucks to pick this up, what should you expect? Well, Castle Werewolf has a story hidden in the options menu that is misspelled but generally legible. Basically you're a soldier from a platoon in World War I that was sent to investigate a German castle, only to be captured and imprisoned. You manage to bust out of your cell only to discover that the Kaiser's troops have been experimenting with hybridizing humans and werewolves, so you have to kill your way through a variety of werebeasts and hybrid soldiers to escape.

As for gameplay, you use W and S to go forward and back, A and D to strafe, Left and Right arrows to turn, and Spacebar to open doors. Shooting and changing weapons is done via the mouse, so if you're having a mouse issue due to RGM, you're pretty much screwed. The only options in the game pertain to audio, though I kinda liked the music, and the sound effects aren't bad, though the volume levels are different for certain things. That's annoying. Every now and again, you'll hear a wolf howl off in the distance, irrespective of the music. It's a nice touch. The music can get a little repetitive, but the game is brief enough that I didn't find it too bad.

The game is straightforward: go through each level and find the Top Secret door to progress to the next area of the castle. Each level is denoted on a map shown between levels of your progress through the castle, with certain levels serving only as hallways between areas. I like this idea, as it makes for a nice breather between certain levels which can end with a werewolf rushing crescendo. Plus, you know, hallways exist in real life. Why not in classic FPS? The map also tells you that certain levels have secrets, though it's up to you to find them. I found it usually wasn't worth sticking around in a level once I found the door, save to ensure my health and ammo were topped off before progressing.

The gunplay is mostly hit-scan, though you seem to target objects before enemies. Don't expect anything special with the weapons; they're the usual mix of pistols, machine guns, and a shotgun. They tend to get more powerful as you go up, though all use universal ammo, and you only get ammo for the gun you currently have equipped. In general, it's not worth it to use a weaker gun once you have a stronger one, unless you have to break a barrel or something blocking your path. The guns do get noticeably more powerful, with the shotgun one-shotting werewolves. It's also the only true projectile from what I could tell, firing a ring of buckshot straight ahead that werewolves might sidestep if timed poorly.

Enemies are...well, not great. I like the sprites, though they only face forward, and at least one type does literally nothing. Werewolves drain health when they get close enough, but the absolute worst is anyone with a gun, because they fire repeatedly, accurately thanks to hit-scan, and can shoot around walls and as soon as doors open. You'll probably lose most of your health to these guys, and there's not much you can do outside of gunning them down immediately.

Look, this isn't a good game, but it's serviceable if you need a quick FPS fix. It's $3 on Steam, and odds are that you will get a coupon for it. I did, so I only paid $1.50, which I feel is justifiable for the entertainment that I got. I don't think I'd have paid the $3. There are much better throwback FPS games on Steam, like Dusk, but there isn't much if you want to get back to the dawn of the genre, and that's what you're getting here.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:43 pm

Hey Ack, you should snag Project Warlock. I just finished the second episode (of five) and it takes a lot from Catacomb Apocalypse aesthetics-wise and then adds in a persistent weapon upgrade system and some really tight gunplay.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:00 pm

MrPopo wrote:Hey Ack, you should snag Project Warlock. I just finished the second episode (of five) and it takes a lot from Catacomb Apocalypse aesthetics-wise and then adds in a persistent weapon upgrade system and some really tight gunplay.


I remember watching gameplay of that a couple of months ago when I was playing Dusk and was interested. Thank you so much for reminding me! I need to go put it on my wishlist.

There are a bunch of other budget FPS that interest me on Steam, but many are Early Access; keeping track is a little hard. Some others I'm keeping an eye on are Voltage and AMID EVIL. And then there's weird crap like SUFFER, Hectic, and Crimson Metal... I don't know if those three are worth actually paying any money for, but it's interesting to see what folks are trying to do with dirt cheap indie FPS these days.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:30 pm

Yeah, I've got Amid Evil on my radar as well.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by SamuraiMegas Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:36 pm

Beat Paper Mario TTYD. I really enjoyed it; but by hour 25 or so I was pretty ready to be done with the game. It kinda started dragging out too long for me, especially the last dungeon. I tried moving onto wario land but I didn't enjoy it at all, so I dropped that and started playing Magical Drop V, which I somehow got like five years ago and never played. Beat the campaign on normal with the fool, I think I'm gonna try Magical Drop 3 next because it's apparently loads better.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:58 pm

Thank You Bone!
Glad to see you had a similar opinion.

alienjesus wrote:If anything that makes me look forward to Shining Force down the line, which I've not yet played.

I've got a few more Sega RPGs to get through before then though - Shining in the Darkness and Phantasy Star III are both on the agenda before that one.


Phantasy Star III is on my list this year as well. I've only played Phantasy Star II and I own the entire Genesis trilogy, so it is high time for me to play the next one.

Also, don't put off Shining Force. It's fantastic. I know how much you love Fire Emblem, so I know you will love Shining Force.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:37 pm

AJ is specifically putting off Shining Force so that he has known good games every so often in his journey.
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