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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:46 am

Markies wrote: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.


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



Yup Popo's got it. I'm playing all 51 games on the Switch Mega Drive Classics collection, but I've sorted them by genre and organised them so I don't front load or backload all the ones of lesser quality.

I've also ensured I play games in the same series in order, so Shining in the Darkness came first from that series. It's game 17 of 51, Shining Force isn't until game 34. Shining Force 2 is actually game 51.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:11 pm

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)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
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Challenger is a 1985 Famicom game by Hudson Soft. You play as an Indiana Jones lookalike, attempting to rescue a Princess Leia lookalike from some big evil dude. This one character on the game's box art is exclaiming "Garf!" presumably as a tribute to the all-time Famicom classic A Week of Garfield.

Press the start button on the title screen and the game opens in a spectacular fashion. "STOP THE EXPRESS!" flashes boldly, and diagonally, as a speeding train whips into view. Indiana Clone skillfully hops on top. The goal is to work him to the train's end, enter the innards, and then approach the supreme villain and his hostage. Attempting to thwart Indiana are a barrage of thugs, dive bombing ducks, sentient clouds, and invincible fireballs ripped straight from Donkey Kong. The game plays nicely here, for the most part. It's fast-paced, fun, arcade-y action with a simple-but-pleasant graphical style and upbeat soundtrack that fittingly complements the action. Indiana can leap high into the air and toss knives. My only quibble is with the backwards controls: B is jump and A is attack. While there's nothing objectively wrong with this (Challenger was released a month after Super Mario Bros.) it will screw with the muscle memory of anyone who grew up playing the NES. I suppose Master System kids (insofar as such a thing ever existed) will feel right at home.
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Reach the end of the train only to see Indiana booted out before he can successfully save Leia. Stage two beings and... What... Suddenly Challenger transforms into a completely different game. Now it's like a top-down proto-Zelda adventure. There's a vast cluttered landscape of towns, roads, and mountains to be explored. Caves to be entered and plundered. The old-school one-hit-death system of stage one has been traded in for an actual lifebar. What gives!? The transition from stage one to two was so jarring that it prompted me to do some actual research(!). The story here is somewhat interesting. See, in 1983 Hudson released a game called Stop the Express for the Sharp X1 computer in Japan. It was later ported to the MSX, ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64. The entire game consists of nothing but the eponymous (and aforementioned) "Stop the Express!" train scene, repeating on a loop. Standard design philosophy of games of that era. When Hudson decided to craft a Famicom variant of Stop the Express it was presumably deemed too simplistic and archaic, thus additional content was (quite literally) lobbed on and Challenger was born.

Stage two features the exact same enemy sprites as stage one, which is a bit surreal as the viewpoint has been flipped. It's like watching cardboard cutouts slide across the screen. In any event, this "adventure" sequence is rather lacking, featuring an ugly sloppy monstrosity of an overworld. The goal is to enter a series of caves and collect treasures (referred to as "keywords" for some odd reason), which will open the pathway to the final area. Said cave entrances are guarded by dancing skeletons. It takes a powered-up knife to slay the bony fiends. Obtaining these power-ups requires that one "grind" briefly, slaying regular foes until the item appears. It's tedious, and though Indiana technically has a lifebar there's no mercy invincibility, which means that his entire cache of HP can be depleted by a foe in a matter of seconds. Enter a cave and Indiana must navigate across a series of rising and falling geysers to reach a sparkling treasure. It's here that the jumping controls completely fall apart. Crossing the geysers requires pixel-perfect precision. Failing early, and often, is inevitable. Oh, and there's fall damage too, so you can't simply "drop" to a lower geyser.
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Following the treasure hunt comes the game's final segment: an interior single-screen cavern level like something out of Canyon Climber or Miner 2049er. It's a sleek-looking stage, but once again the jumping mechanics are unacceptable. Oh yeah, there's also a final boss battle at the cavern's top tier, which is lazily programmed and just brutally uninteresting. Shame.

I feel compelled to touch on the adjustable difficulty setting. By default it's set to "medium." This is the only way to play the game if you wish to hold on to some semblance of sanity. Adjusting the difficulty does little other than adding or subtracting enemy sprites. Set the difficulty high, and the game just transforms into an annoying jumbled mess. Conversely, the game essentially becomes broken if the difficulty is dropped too low, as the enemies that drop essential power-ups never show up. What a hilariously embarrassing oversight.

Truth be told, the only real quality to be found within Challenger is contained within that initial "Stop the Express!" train stage. Everything else is shoehorned in haphazardly and the overall game experience lacks cohesion, no to mention competency. I'd wager that the original loopin' score-chasin' Stop the Express is actually the superior experience. Sometimes less is indeed more.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:01 pm

Markies wrote:
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.


Agreed, I played shining force for the first time ever this year and it was absolutely amazing. Anyone who has any interest in srpg's need to play it.

Games Beaten:

27. Duck Souls
28. Jumping joe and friends (switch)
29. Zombie Panic in Wonderland dx (switch)
30. Jackie Chans action kung fu (nes)

30. Jackie Chans Action Kung Fu:

Speaking of amazing games that I played for the first time this year, Jackie Chans action kung fu is an incredibly top notch action platformer. It is a game that I never heard about when I was young but will randomnly pop on youtube channels as a hidden gem, it always looked like my cup of tea but for some reason I never played it until now.

The story is simple enough, Jackie chan is hanging out with a girl, a demon comes steals her, zaps Jackie and floats away. The opening scene is reminiscent of ghosts n goblins, it is short, simple, and to the point.

Jackie has to journey through 5 levels in order to rescue the girl. The game is your standard 2d action platformer but there is a lot to like in this game. For starters the graphics are top notch. Jackie's sprite is large and detailed, the levels are all unique with some very high quality nes graphics, there are a decent number of enemy types, and the bosses are mostly large and take up a good portion of the screen. I'm not sure when this game was released but it is a very technically impressive nes title.

The game is also very accessible, controls are simple and tight, one button jumps, one button attacks. Jackie has a few moves at his disposal, his standard attack is a punch with a nice reach, he can duck and kick, jump kick, and he gains access to special moves that can be executed by pressing up + attack but have limited uses. In addition to this he can also hold the button down to throw a fireball but can only execute this 5 times so you really should never use this outside of boss fights.

Each of the 5 levels are fairly large and different enough that the game never feels repetitive. Sure you have a few standard video game tropes thrown in (ice level, fire level, dark level etc) but there are also some other more original levels that have you bouncing through clouds, riding rafts down rapids, and stuff like that. The only level I did not enjoy was the ice level as the controls are slippery as anything but the level is not really challenging so it did not bring down my enjoyment of the game.

Every level ends in a boss fight, the bosses are pretty easy for the most part once you learn their patterns with only the final boss causing me to die a few times.

You are given one life and 5 continues, you can earn more continues by finding hidden bonus stages and doing well in them. When you die and continue you are not taken back to the beginning of the level and each level has a few checkpoints meaning you won't be replaying long sections very often. One life sounds unforgiving but its really not, you have a life bar, health pickups are scattered throughout levels and most things that insta kill you in other games do not kill you here. For example if you fall into a laval pit Jackie bounces out of it and takes some damage, in the mountain level when you fall down a pit you just fall down to the screen below and have to replay the section, in the raft level if you fall into the water you do not die but without the raft the enemies are a little harder to avoid. Things like this make the game a fun playthrough and I never felt myself getting frustrated playing through this game.

I did beat the game on my first playthrough so it is not one of the harder nes games out there, but it does present a decent challenge and is a ton of fun to play. It is definitely a title I will revisit in the future and if you haven't played it and are a fan of action platformers it is definitely worth your time.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:24 pm

Great reviews!

Challenger is one of the games in my small Famicom collection, and Jacki Chan’s Action King Fu is, IMO, one of the best NES games.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:35 pm

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 15
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (1 Game Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2


15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2

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Square has been on a real roll of putting out some high quality retro-styled JRPGs lately. After playing I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, I was hyped for Octopath Traveler. I resisted the urge to buy it at launch in my brutal struggle to make not-stupid decisions with my money, but I only held out for a couple months. Then I sank around 100 hours into the game. I ALMOST 100% completed the game. I did all four chapters for all eight characters. I got all of the best equipment. I unlocked every job and completed every side quest. ALMOST was I was at 100% on the game....almost....

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So before I go into the one single thing that stood between me and completionist glory, I'll explain the structure of the game. There are eight protagonists in the game, and when you start, you pick one as your "main" protag. Who you pick doesn't really affect anything other than whose Chapter 1 you start on, and you can't remove whomever you picked from your party until you finish all eight characters' stories. Other than that, it makes no impact on the story who you pick. You then go from town to town, starting new characters' Chapter 1 and then continuing their story. That's where the game's first shortcoming appears - the game is laid out to have eight separate stories that intersect, but those intersections are loose and sparse at best until you get to the very end. When you finished each character's Chapter 4, you start to see common strands linking them, but they don't really converge at all until you get to the post-game dungeon (after a solid 15 or 20 minutes of unskippable credits. Then you find out how they've all been connected all along, and that part is really cool, but they feel completely unrelated throughout the first 90% of the game. Why are these people randomly traveling together and helping each other? There's no interaction between the characters aside from unvoiced "travel banter" that pops up infrequently and never contains any meaningful or significant dialogue. It all feels like a gigantic missed opportunity.

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The one part of the game I didn't complete is the post-game dungeon. I finished almost all of it. There's a boss rush with eight boss rematches and then a two-phase fight with the true final boss. I got about the final boss's second phase down to about half health before I got rekt. After six tries and never making it past that point, I said screw it and gave up. It's post-game, the credit rolled. I count that as beat. What makes that post-game boss so damn frustrating is that he spawns souls that lock all of his weaknesses to keep you from breaking his defenses and stunning him in addition to making him completely invulnerable to any damage whatsoever. The only way to unlock his weaknesses and deal damage is to kill all of the minion souls. What makes it worse is that all but one of the souls' weaknesses are always locked, and the boss will respawn a soul within a turn or two, so you have one or two turns to kill all of the souls, stun the boss, and dish out as much damage as possible before the boss recovers and spawns more souls, starting the whole process over again. The boss rush isn't hard, but it's extremely time consuming. The boss's first phase, however, is tough, and the second phase is downright brutal, and the ridiculous invulnerability ends up making the difficulty spike from "stay on your toes, but you'll be alright" to "wtf balls to the wall" hard, and difficulty spikes like that are - in my opinion - a sign of a poorly made game and kill the fun for me. So screw it, I got close. As one of my college professors always said, good enough for government work.

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Octopath Traveler's biggest problem is that it just falls short of its potential. It's not a bad game; it's just a disappointing game. The characters are all pretty interesting. Olberic is a noble knight setting out to find the truth about a painful betrayal. Therion is a master thief on a quest to redeem himself from a shame brought on him by his own pride. Tressa is a young merchant traveling the world to see what their is to see and gain experience from her journey. Ophelia is a cleric on a religious pilgrimage across the continent. Alfyn is a wandering apothecary who just wants to help those in need. Cyrus is a brilliant scholar seeking out an ancient and taboo tome that vanished from his university's archives mysteriously 15 years prior. H'aanit is a huntress on a quest to find and rescue her master. Primrose - Octopath waifu #1 - is on a quest to kill the trio of assassins who murdered her father and brought to ruin her family's once powerful noble house. Had these stories been written to intersect before the very end of the game, it would have been a fascinating experience. Instead it ends up feeling like eight extremely short, separate RPGs haphazardly pasted together. It's still a fun experience with a beautiful world - seriously, the background's visuals here are top notch - but it could have been so much better with a little more TLC in the writing department.

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Octopath Traveler is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, the gameplay is a lot of fun, and it feels a bit like Bravely Default. The multiple protagonists give it a fairly unique feel, but the writing connecting those characters' stories just doesn't feel cohesive enough to live up to its potential. The difficulty level also spikes from time to time especially if you're going for the "true" ending. You've got eight characters in a party with a maximum of four characters, and the inactive characters don't gain any experience. That necessitates a certain degree of grinding which is definitely NOT a welcome feature to a JRPG in 2018 or 2019 for me. Octopath Traveler is definitely a game worth owning and playing for Switch enthusiasts, but as a JRPG, it's kind of run-of-the-mill and not particularly outstanding in any area aside from "missed potential." It's good, but it's definitely not great.
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:07 pm

ElkinFencer10 wrote: Octopath Traveler is definitely a game worth owning and playing for Switch enthusiasts, but as a JRPG, it's kind of run-of-the-mill and not particularly outstanding in any area aside from "missed potential." It's good, but it's definitely not great.


It's interesting, because even though I agree with your specific complaints, I still consider it a great game.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:29 pm

noiseredux wrote:
ElkinFencer10 wrote: Octopath Traveler is definitely a game worth owning and playing for Switch enthusiasts, but as a JRPG, it's kind of run-of-the-mill and not particularly outstanding in any area aside from "missed potential." It's good, but it's definitely not great.


It's interesting, because even though I agree with your specific complaints, I still consider it a great game.

I mean, that makes sense when you consider that a single problem is going to bother some people way more than others. I've played RPGs that I've seen people slam for being super generic with the storyline, but I loved it because it was a well delivered generic story. Likewise, a sharp difficulty spike or tedious and boring tutorial will straight up kill my interest in a game whereas other folks can look past that.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:38 pm

I think the other thing is this - I don't feel the need to beat some games. So like in Octopath, I got to a point where I knew I needed to grind before I could continue on toward the end. So in my mind, okay next time I'm in the mood for Octopath I'll pick it up where I left off; but I still had a great time playing the 30 or whatever hours that I did.
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Arenegeth
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Arenegeth Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:40 pm

You don't mention what level you were when you attempted the superboss, you are generally expected to be about 60 with all 8 characters (and apply proper tactics beyond that).

But this game, is one of those rare JRPG's that hide their superboss behind the story, if you saw the fight as the same as fighting Ruby Weapon in FFVII or even the suped up version of Indalecio in Star Ocean 2, which is one of the best direct comparisons since he can also cock-block you from the game's 'true' ending, you wouldn't consider it a difficulty spike.

As a true 'final boss' however, I can definitely see that argument.

I have my own issues with the game some of which you covered, but my biggest one would be how formulaic it is.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 pm

Hey Bone, did Challenger give you any StarTropics vibes? I don't know why, but the changing viewpoints and styles make me think of a mix between StarTropics and Adventures in the Magic Kingdom.
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