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Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:32 pm
by Markies
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)
***6. Metropolis Street Racer (SDC)***
7. Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Mario Party (N64)
10. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN)
11. Street Fighter Collection (PS1)
12. Pokemon Stadium 2 (N64)
13. Burnout (PS2)
14. Phantasy Star III (GEN)
15. Batman: The Video Game (NES)

16. X-Men Legends (XBOX)


I beat X-Men Legends on the Microsoft Xbox this evening!

During my pre-teen years, I was a rather large X-Men fan. I remember getting up early and watching the cartoon rather religiously. I collected the comics as well for a very short time. I always wanted an X-Men video game to go with the series and though my nostalgia goggles are strong on the Genesis' games, I know they are not the greatest ones in the world. So, when I saw a Gauntlet/Diablo style X-Men game that looked good, I instantly became interested in the game. Since I saw that the Xbox version was rated the best, I was happy to score a sealed copy and relive one of my favorite franchises from when I was younger.

X-Men Legends is a perfect implementation of the Gauntlet/Diablo style gameplay that you expect. You are able to run around as one of the X-Men and destroy many bad guys and fight iconic villains. And everything runs so smoothly and the combat is so satisfying. Obviously, with these styles of game, it gets a little repetitive after a while, but the ability to change characters really mixes up the game play. Also, you can customize and level up your character however you see fit and the ability to destroy almost anything in the game never gets boring. Only after long play sessions did I feel bored as the action never ceases to get old. The story is what you expect from a X-Men game with enough twists and turns to make it at least interesting. The great voice work also helps in the story and adds some realism to the characters.

However, the look of the characters was really unappealing. They all had this blocky appearance with a painted cell-shaded look. And they all got this modern look to them as I sorely missed their appearances from the cartoon. Obviously, some characters are more over powered then others. I used Wolverine throughout the entire game because his healing ability is quite broken. That didn't help against some of the bosses as they ranged from pushovers to utterly frustrating. There is no balance and they mostly come out of nowhere.

Overall, X-Men Legends is an incredibly good Gauntlet/Diablo style game using very popular characters. It's probably the best X-Men game I've ever played and would be very fun to play with multiple people. It makes a good game around the license with some unique features. If you like those overhead hack and slash games and enjoy the X-Men franchise, this is a game not to miss!

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:07 am
by pook99
96. Blazing Chrome

One of my biggest gripes about the indie retro scene is how good contra clones are nearly impossible to find. Contra has always been one of my favorite game series and it seems that just about every modern day version of contra is just terrible for one reason or another and has always failed to capture the magic of what made contra special. (one exception to this is Super Cybrog which is probably the best modern day contra game I have played until now) Of course when Konami announced a new Contra game I was stoked, then it turned out to be a top down shooter and my excitement just disappeared. Luckily Blazing Chrome is here to fill the void and it does an amazing job of capturing what made contra great in the first place.

Blazing chrome plays most similar to hard corps in that there is a roll move (similar to the slide in that game) and there are 4 weapon slots, once you obtain a weapon you can switch between them with the triggers but if you die while using that weapon you lose it. There is also a melee attack which comes in surprisingly handy for when you are getting rushed by smaller enemies. Ib addition to the more standard cotra type stuff there are bots you can pick up that give you different benefits, there is a defense bot which is easily the best thing in the game and grants you 2 extra hits before you die, a speed bot that makes you faster and lets you double jump, and an attack both which gives you a little drone that accompanies you and shoots.

level design here is absolutely excellent, every level is exactly what you want, a non-stop barrage of enemies and platforming along with a healthy dose of mid bosses and bosses. The game is tough but, just like classic contra, as you learn the enemy placements and boss patterns it gets far easier to deal with. Each level is divided into 3 parts, if you play on normal you start with 5 lives and unlimited continues. When you die you respawn right where you left off and if you continue you are put back to your last checkpoint. Extra lives are awarded when you hit certain point values and are randomnly placed around the stages, it is all very fair and while you will often die, you wont have to replay entire levels.

My only complaint is that the game is a bit on the short side, in fairness all the good contra games can be beaten in about 30 minutes so I can't complain too much, but I would have liked to see a few more levels or at the very least a lower price point given the length of the game.

Despite that, Blazing Chrome is an amazing game, any fan of Contra, or action platformers in general, absolutely need to play it.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:19 am
by PartridgeSenpai
Awesome to hear Blazing Chrome is good! Saw a trailer for it the other day and it certainly LOOKED excellent. I'm glad to hear the gameplay holds up as well! I'll definitely have to stick that one on my watch list ^w^

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:50 am
by marurun
It Blazing Chrome as hard as Super Cyborg? I really had trouble advancing in Super Cyborg just because enemy spawn rates and positions made it very hard to advance, and I ended up burning out.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:27 am
by pook99
marurun wrote:It Blazing Chrome as hard as Super Cyborg? I really had trouble advancing in Super Cyborg just because enemy spawn rates and positions made it very hard to advance, and I ended up burning out.

Definitely not.

First off, the life system used is pretty generous and frequent enough checkpoints that you are not going to nuts, its not like super cyborg where every time you continue your back at the start of the level

Second, many areas dont have infinite respawning enemies, most of the time there is a finite amount of enemies and if you take your time you wont get overhwelmed.

Third, there is an easy mode that gives you 7 lives to start, weaker enemies, and a power up every time you die

Chrome is not easy, but due to the infinite continues and checkpoints, it feels easier than the other contra games, where as I feel that Super Cyborg was the hardest contra game I ever played in my life.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:29 am
by marurun
Cool! Thanks for that info. Sounds like a winner to me. Super Cyborg had hints of greatness but was just too hard. Blazing Chrome sounds like it might be a great title.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:01 pm
by pook99
97. Castlevania: the Holy Relics (nes castlevania hack)

This is hands down one of the best rom hacks I have ever played and any fan of castlevania needs to check it out.

First off, just about everything is completely redone, all the levels are completely new, every enemy except for the skeletons are new, the bosses are new, simons sprite is new, the story is new, the soundtrack is new, and even half the sub weapons have been redone. This will feel like a completely new game as soon as you hit start but I am getting ahead of myself.

There is a story that takes place after castlevania. You play as Simon Belmont in a post dracula world. An evil sorcerer has captured the 7 holy relics and plans to do bad things with them. You take on the role of Simon who has to journey around levels in order to recapture the 7 holy relics ans return them to safety.

As soon as you start the game you are taken to a level select screen, here you can choose to tackle the levels in any order you want, with the exception of the last level which unlocks when you beat the remaining levels. After you pick the level you can also choose to bring one holy relic with you, each time you beat a level you unlock a holy relic and then you can select them before starting.

The holy relics are used by pressing select, you begin each level with one use but can find blue hearts which grant you one more use of the holy relics. At the start you start you have access to a cross, which behaves exactly like the screen clearing cross you find during the regular game. You then unlock a crown, which makes your whip super strong, a basket, which grants temporary invincibility, a bag of money which grants you extra points for every kill, a coffee cup, which refills some health, and a pair of high heels which warp you to the top of the screen.

Other than that the game plays mostly like classic castlevania, taking inspiration from the MSX game each area has a key that you need to find in order to progress, the keys are found in blue candles and occasionally other hidden spots. They are easy to find but often force you to navigate the levels a certain way, it is a lot of fun and adds a little bit of depth to the navigation.

As I said before, every enemy outside of the skeletons, are brand new. Some behave like classic enemies(for example the axe armors have been replaced by minotaurs) and some enemies behave differently, for example, the eyeballs that replace the medusa heads fly in all sorts of different patterns, the vultures are a little slower than their original counterparts, and there are some all new enemies like fish that shoot bubbles at you as you navigate water levels. The bosses are also brand new and all of them, outside of death, feel completely fresh. Death behaves more or less like you expect him to but his sprite is given a fresh coat of paint. There is even a completely new ending that doesnt feature a crumbling castle.

This is not one of those stupid hard rom hacks, the difficulty is fair and is more or less in line with classic castlevania, as a whole it may be a bit easier, but remains challenging enough to be consistently fun and engaging. Overall, this hack is top notch on every level and easily could have been a mainline castlevania game if it were released on the NES, an absolute must play.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:56 pm
by ElkinFencer10
Man, I'm always on the lookout for good ROM hacks after having gotten my Everdrives. I'll definitely have to give that one a check with the glowing praise you gave it.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:14 pm
by Xeogred
ElkinFencer10 wrote:Man, I'm always on the lookout for good ROM hacks after having gotten my Everdrives. I'll definitely have to give that one a check with the glowing praise you gave it.

Get Metroid: Rogue Dawn and Super Mario Bros 3Mix.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:18 pm
by PartridgeSenpai
Partridge Senpai's 2019 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018
* indicates a repeat

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *

29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *

My exploration of JRPGs I played as a kid but this time in Japanese continues with Final Fantasy IV. Although it's kinda hard to call it an exact replay, as there's quite a fair bit different between the original SFC release and the American SNES localization. I originally started on the PS1 version before the red laser (the PS1-reading one) in my PS3 died and I had to start over on the Wii U Virtual Console, so between both versions it took me about 28 or so hours. FFIV, as a whole, is a very transitional game from the 8-bit era to the 16-bit era, and that can be felt in just about every part of it, from the mechanics to the narrative.

This game has a few very notable exceptions in its difference from the SNES port. A very different script, some different enemy and boss balancing (I think), a removal of the multitude of items that are just spells in item form, a removal of the multitude of status recovery items and their replacement with cure-all Remedy items, as well as making MP restoring Ethers much more plentiful and making most hidden passages completely visible as opposed to just hinted at subtly. Most all of the mechanical changes made for the localization I would personally say improve the overall game, as especially having so many more items really clogs up your inventory and highlights just how much of a pain manually sorting your inventory is. The only real advantage I would say the original game has over the localisation is script-wise, but that's only a minor advantage (as I will explain in more detail later). The really cool thing the SFC version has that the SNES version doesn't is a secret room in the Dwarf Castle where you can talk to (and even sometimes fight) a bunch of the developers and staff from the game! It's a really fun, silly little bonus room where they talk about everything from how they wish they had their own personal desk to how they'd like you to try out Seiken Densetsu after you're finished with Final Fantasy 4 XD.

The mechanics are a weird first step towards the real time battle system that would define the next two generations of FF games. Instead of the timers represented as bars as so many later FF games use, FFIV has hidden timers. Couple this in with weird transitions as to when exactly you can start telling a character what to do, what menus do or don't seem to stop that timer, and the fact that a lot of spells have quite long casting times (which were mostly heavily reduced for the SNES port), and the combat can feel quite frustrating at times as characters just seem to refuse to fight when you tell them to. Item management is a real pain, you need to reselect spells in menus to cast them in the inventory outside of battles, there's no in-battle cursor memory feature. A lot of this game's runtime is honestly just fighting with the menus to try and make the battles go better.

Edit: Upon closer inspection there IS an inventory sort button, just in an odd place. I still maintain that the menus are overly clunky and annoying though :b

The difficulty curve is also all over the place. Maybe it's like this in the SNES version as well, but there are numerous dungeons that have SUPER hard and deadly normal encounters and utterly trivial boss fights. Mostly due to how a lot of enemies have really viscous counter attacks that range from a really powerful physical attack to casting stone or even confuse on a party member. It makes grinding a really difficult thing to judge the timing of (although I honestly barely had to do any, thankfully), as it frequently feels more efficient to just run from difficult encounters because you'll probably be able to rush down the boss anyhow. I had also heard for the longest time that the final boss was made a lot easier in the American version of the game, but I honestly couldn't notice that. I beat him on my first real attempt (the first actual attempt I immediately had to restart because I used an item I didn't know the purpose of an it casted reflect on Kain, so I couldn't heal him XP), albeit by quite a lucky break with only one character surviving a cast of meteo XD

Another thing the game suffers quite frequently with is putting mechanical/plot convenience in front of actual character development, and simultaneously also struggles just as much with putting huge design inconveniences in the game for the sake of sticking so some (occasionally nearly pointless) plot contrivance.

We'll start with the latter. Two points in the game REALLY stick out for me in this regard. The first is Cecil climbing the Mountain of Trials in order to become a Paladin. There are a lot of really powerful undead enemies here who Cecil can almost literally not affect at all, so all you're left with is hoping your 2 offensive mages in your party can rush them down before they kill you (or you just run away). It makes the whole walk-up the mountain super tedious and frustrating. A much more magnified version of that is in the Magnetic Cave, where having any metallic armor equipped results in your being perminantly held (and effectively dead) in battle, so your party that the game barely half an hour prior made such a big deal about reducing down to one mage and 3 fighters is effectively whittled down to one mage and 1 fighter, as you're forced to basically run from every encounter in the dungeon because your resources have been stripped away so harshly. All this for the sake of a long, cinematic and uninteresting boss battle for the sake of a totally flat character whose payoff you don't even SEE unless you remember to talk to them afterwards. It is a baffling bit of game design that the game would lose almost nothing for for cutting entirely.

On the subject of plot contrivances at the sake of characters, this happens very numerous times, but largely towards Rhydia (whose name utterly baffles me, as Lydia is a super obvious translation of her Japanese name, but I digress). Being introduced to her is a really neat bit of storytelling. Cecil and his best friend Kain accidentally carry out a plot to burn down her village and kill her mom, and Cecil is left to carry her to safety after she inadvertently summons a titan and creates a massive mountain range. She quite logically doesn't trust him, which he accepts, but he wants her trust her anyway. Some guards from Cecil's kingdom come to take her away, he defends her, and she believes that he does actually want to protect her and tells him her name. It's a really nice little scene. There's even a brilliant bit of mechanical storytelling in how Rhydia, despite knowing black magic, never learns fire spells, implying that she still has a fear of fire from when her village was burned to the ground days prior. But it's all downhill from here.

How does Rhydia overcome her traumatic fear of fire? Her friends REALLY need her to because there's an ice block in their path. Not even a boss battle she needs to save them from: Just a stationary ice block the plot would prefer to be gone. It is an absolutely baffling bit of short-changing that element of her character given how carefully it was set up. Then later on, she get taken from your party by Leviathan when it attacks your ship and she could be dead, but then later saves you as she's mysteriously all grown up. She says she was raised in the world of summon spirits that Leviathan took her to, and time passes more quickly there so now she's like 8 years older. But now Kain is back in the party, so perhaps there's some element of mistrust between her and he who murdered her mom? No. There's nothing like that and it's just hand waved away as she trusts him because the summon spirits brought her up to speed on EVERYTHING.

This is a really common problem throughout the whole of the game, and is probably the roughest element of FFIV's status as this transitional Square game from 8-bit RPGs to 16-bit RPGs. SO much linguistic real estate is wasted for throw away line after throw away line on countless 1-dimensional comic relief characters (this game has nearly as many playable characters as FFVI's huge cast, you just get them taken away from you frequently instead of having them be able to be swapped out all the time). Basically no one in the game has any kind of character arc, as even Cecil, whose story is supposed to be this big internal moral battle of realizing the empire he's worked all his life for is actually evil, is just a facade. The game opens with Cecil coming to this realization, and we the audience never get any view of him before he was a good guy. Even him becoming a Paladin and throwing away his being a Dark Knight is entirely mechanical, as his actual character doesn't change. It's not like when he's a Dark Knight, Cecil is more cruel, short-sighted, or vindictive in achieving his goals and then becoming a Paladin changes all that. The game simply tells him that shadow can't beat light so he has to be a Paladin, and that's really all there is to it. From a narrative perspective, he is exactly the same generic hero as a Dark Knight as he is as a Paladin.

And this is every character with only slight exceptions. Yang is a captain of the guard and is valorus. Cid is an airship fanatic who is silly. Palom is an immature comic relief of a teenager and Porom is his more prim and proper older sibling who yells at him a lot. Edward is a bard mournful for his lady love. Tellah is angry at the world for killing his daughter. Rosa is super in love with Cecil and she's his shoulder to cry on and his reason for fighting. Edge is a silly, somewhat lady's man prince out for revenge on the main bad guy. Their characterizations are consistent, sure but they're completely flat for the whole game, and it makes a lot of the story just tedious because characters really never have anything interesting to say other than just plot exposition.

Even the character who has something closest to an arc, Tellah, has his story compromised and reigned in. His story is pretty explicitly about how his quest for revenge bound in his hatred of the enemy for killing his daughter will only lead to his destruction, and it does. He casts Meteo on Golbez and it overwhelms him, making Tellah die and Golbez only retreat. But This Meteo spell saves the party from Golbez, and also breaks the mind control spell holding Kain in their power. So while it may've brought about his death, it still saved the party and Kain, so it hardly ruined everything. On top of that, the whole party spends the entire game effectively just on a quest for revenge because they hate the bad guy, since they barely have any idea what his collecting the crystals will even DO for like 90% of the game's narrative. They set up Tellah to be this big flawed character with this big cinematic death, then do absolutely nothing with the lesson he's supposed to teach the player/audience, and if anything outright ignore that whole lesson entirely.

Verdict: Not Recommended. At the very least, the original SFC port of FFIV is not the way to experience this game. Beyond that, it largely feels like an inferior version, mechanically and narratively, of everything that FFVI would later do. I do feel I was a little harsh on it due to how much I was expecting of the story and was then disappointed by it, but at the same time the story is so frequently a vapid waste of time I still believe a lot of that criticism is well deserved. If you're gonna play this game, make it the American SNES port for a more palatable difficulty, or make it the DS port which adds a lot more story and deeper battle mechanics. Otherwise just avoid it, because it's honestly nothing that special aside from a footstep of FF for what it would later become as a series.