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pierrot
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:30 pm

  1. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure (GEN)
  2. The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
  3. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (GEN)
  4. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (GEN)
  5. Go Go Ackman (SFC)
  6. Super Wagyan Land (SFC)
  7. Super Mario RPG (SFC)
  8. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
  9. Front Mission: Gun Hazard (SFC)
  10. Steep Slope Sliders (SAT)
  11. Valkyrie Profile (PS1)
  12. Sakura Taisen (SAT)
  13. Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka (DC)
  14. Shinobi (PS2)
  15. Gungrave (PS2)
  16. Assault Suit Leynos 2 (SAT)
  17. Sakura Taisen 2: Kimi, Shinitamoukoto Nakare (SAT)
  18. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (PS2)
  19. Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (FC)
  20. Ganbare Goemon 2 (FC)
  21. Sakura Taisen 3 ~Paris wa Moeteiru ka~ (DC)
  22. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 (DC)
  23. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 Pro (DC)
  24. Capcom vs SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 (DC)
  25. Sakura Taisen 4 ~Koi-seyo Otome~ (DC)
  26. Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyou-ryuu Doujou (DC)
  27. King of Fighters '99 Evolution (DC)
  28. Madou Monogatari I (MD)
  29. Twinkle Star Sprites (SAT)
  30. Madou Monogatari (SAT)
  31. Policenauts (SAT)
  32. Demon's Blazon: Makaimura Monshou-hen (SFC)
  33. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (FC)
  34. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (GB)
  35. Red Arimer: Makaimura Gaiden (GB)
  36. Getsu Fuumaden (FC)

I suppose it's about time for my bi-monthly-ish games beaten update. A lot of them I've talked about on other parts of the board, so I'm just going to copy pasta some of those:


Twinkle Star Sprites was a game I've only really popped in for a few minutes at a time, before. I'd never really taken the time to play through the story/arcade mode at all. The Saturn version has a number of (in my opinion) minor extras over the arcade, and a lot of the other ports of this game. If you're a huge fan of Twinkle Star Sprites, and all of the characters, then the Saturn version isn't really optional. If you're not, though, almost any version will do. It's an interesting take on head-to-head shmupping, pitting two players (or a player, and an AI, in my case) against each other in heated shmup combat, with a competitive puzzle-game veneer. Enemies of assorted cotton candy colors, and cute shapes float down from the top of the screen to be ruthlessly murdered, shot down out of the skies, by you and your opponent. Bursting enemies all together will give chains that can send attacks over to your opponent's side of the screen. Shooting down your opponents attacks, and especially getting them into chains, can send special attacks, and even bosses over to the other side. The first player to lose all their health (out of five hearts) loses. Hearts also refill, maybe just over time, I don't really recall. The main issue I have with the game is really just balancing. The final boss, especially, is just ridiculous. Some characters end up being mostly impervious because they're so OP. It's a pretty fun game, though. Probably a bit better with a group of people, as long as they agree not to use the 'Mother Computer' (TM).


pierrot wrote:I've been slowly plugging away at Madou Monogatari, which is a very different experience from the original. It's much more of a traditional RPG, by comparison, and the only real "hooks" are the list of different attacks in combat (which is pretty much a staple of the series), and the SP gauge, which works a bit like Trances in FFIX, but only powers up a selected move for one round. Also different characters have different methods by which their SP gauges actually fill. It's not that interesting, but bosses also have SP gauges. I guess the star levels on equipment is a little different, but it's not that special. I basically just run around with insta-death weapons, and healing armor on Lulu and Arle, and I just have the third character do whatever, because it doesn't really matter. I've had some trouble being motivated enough to play it lately because it's just such a bog standard affair, and the dungeons have gotten really long, boring, and replete with umpteen-thousand random encounters. The graphics and music are good, but not great. The plot is paper thin, and it's mostly a character driven story, but it's just not great. Sometimes the banter between characters is kind of fun, but a lot of the time it just hangs out there like a windsock in the breeze. I'm kind of really tired of Shezo at this point, too. I do have MoMoMo in my party now, though. That's kind of neat.



pierrot wrote:
pierrot wrote:Apparently there was a group of staff that were actually given the titles of 'Boob Jiggle Directors,' and they were all female staff members. That's really the sort of exceptional class I expect from Kojima, at this point.

Confirmed from the credits. Just outstanding. Bravo. I'm pretty sure I can even guess what his thought process was behind this: 'Well, if we (I) want realistic boob jigglage in this 2D adventure game, where it makes no sense to even include such a thing, it only makes sense to have a group of women animate it! I'm clearly the greatest idea-man ever. High five, me!' And then he actually, physically, high fived himself, because why wouldn't he?

So, I also finished Policenauts, and if it isn't clear from the tone, already, yeah, I hated it. This is Ed at the end of Act 7:
Redacted Spoiler
This was me, at that very moment: "No fucking shit, Sherlock!"

I think the last time I was this unimpressed with everything a game was trying to sell me on, was with Anearth Story. It was probably the same level of constant eye rolling response. There's nothing of importance here. Everything in this game just-- does-- not-- matter. It doesn't add anything to the game to subject me to a bunch of musings about circadian rhythms being thrown off by the period of the moon's rotation. For one thing, it's obvious. For another, it's not even remotely relevant to anything that's actually happening in the plot. That's just Policenauts, up and down. It even kind of feels like Kojima just gave up after Act 2 (as he rightfully should have), but was still hellbent on wasting everyone's time. I hate this game, and it's a little sad, because I actually liked Snatcher. I had some similar issues with it, but it at least felt good to play, and had a decent story. Also it had Random Hajil.

As an aside, playing with the mouse kind of really sucked, particularly with regard to the shooting segments, and especially in the third part of the chase sequence. I don't know if it's any better with the controller, but I suspect it is somewhat, since after I don't even know how many attempts at trying to get past that chase sequence, the game suggested that I might use the lock-on feature by hitting the L or R button on the controller, and I nearly tore my hair out because it was clear that those assholes didn't even make an attempt at optimizing it for the mouse. It's clearly meant to be played with the lightgun, but oh well. That's water under the bridge at this point. I could potentially go back at some point when I can actually play with the lightgun, and just treat it like a lightgun game, in the shooting mode, but I feel like it would still be really lame, even as just a lightgun game.

I did at least like some of the music, but since it was Tappy (among others), and a couple tracks sounded a lot like some of the music in the original Suikoden, I was just reminded of games I actually like by it.

Nemoide wrote:Let me tell you: I the amount of times I died while attempting to diffuse the bomb is PRETTY EMBARRASSING. But I did it and that's what counts!

This is one of the most heinous things I've ever had the misfortune of encountering in a video game. The light sensor is obviously easy, and removing the screws was fine, whatever. That "irritating Stick" maze was just the most stupid idea imaginable. I died a little on the inside when Ed hit the side as he was about to finish it, because if I had actually needed to do that myself, with the mouse, I would have seriously lost my shit. The absolute worst thing about this shitstorm was the blue and red wire. I will never forgive Kojima for this crap. There is a special place in hell reserved for that son of a bitch.



pierrot wrote:I finished Demon's Crest last night. It was a pretty anticlimactic ending, but the whole game just feels kind of half assed, to me. It's not bad, per se, it's just not nearly as good as Gargoyle's Quest II, and doesn't even quite feel like a finished product, on its own. I'm not sure if I got a bad ending, or something, because I was short a Blazon, a spell scroll, two talismans, and four health even though I felt like I was pretty thorough. The transformations are probably what I have the biggest problem with. They're mostly only relevant in the latter part of the game, and even then, they're not that important. It's kind of annoying that the most useful of the four I got was also unavailable to me until I had finished the first path of the sixth, and penultimate stage. It, and the dark fire ability ended up feeling like afterthoughts, because there's practically nowhere to use them. The final boss was also one of the easiest in the game, but that was partly because it was possibly the least trash boss design. The bosses in this game really sucked.

It's a playable game, and I could maybe understand how some people would like it. Personally, I didn't find much of it to be actually enjoyable to play. Even the metroid-y elements feel a bit lazy. The presentation is quite good, at least, but it doesn't make up for the uninteresting gameplay. I'm just really glad I never spent all the money this thing usually goes for. I would have been really upset if I had. Just, don't spend real money on this game, is all I have to say.



pierrot wrote:I beat Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun on the Famicom. Wasn't impressed. It looks good, but it doesn't run very well (copious sprite flicker, and loads of slowdown). Already don't remember any of the music. Didn't really engage with the gameplay, or was just frustrated by all the manic bullshit in the levels: Turtles in stage 2 that drag you off the jet propelled shinkansen ride, with very little time to stop them from doing it, and no way of getting back to safety if they do; Water bullshit in stage 3; Ice bullshit in stage 4; Annoying enemy patterns on the subway in stage 5; Pretty much all of stage 7, up to the boss; Pretty much all of stage 8, up to the boss; Just, fucking everything in stage 9. I'm sure there was a bunch of bullshit in stage 6, too, I just don't really remember that one. The controls kind of occupy some weird, hybrid space between NES Castlevania, and Mega Man. Knock-back is somewhat minimized, but it pretty much paralyzes young Dracula for way too long, and often still leads to a slow death, where you're holding the direction away from the ledge as hard as you possibly can, but it just doesn't matter. Dracula's going to fall off that ledge, and he's going to die, and somewhere, the programmer is saying that it was your fault he died, but it wasn't. It was that asshole's fault. He did this--.

I'm not really sure what the boardroom meeting went like when they pitched this one. I can't imagine anyone would look at this character, at the time, and say, 'Oh, yeah, that's the Dracula I know from the Castlevania games. He's just a kid, is all.' Maybe there is something in the manual (at least the ending seems to indicate there's a bit more narrative setup to the whole ordeal), but almost everything about the game feels completely alien to main series. I mean, it's supposed to be a parody style adventure, but even that feels like it's in name only. Like, without telling me that it's young Dracula, I'm not sure how it's even apparent that the main character is supposed to be an antagonist. The ending starts to talk about him as if he is, but it feels like an afterthought, at best. Most of the bosses and enemies are really out of left field, too. I'm not sure what Dracula's "character," and the Castlevania property really do for this game. It almost feels more in line with something like Boku-tte Upa.

That was a very "meh" thing you did, Konami. Very "meh," indeed.



pierrot wrote:I also played through Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula Kun, but on the Game Boy, this time (otherwise known as Kid Dracula). There are more cutscenes this time, and it adds a couple new special abilities (while also removing the ICE ability), but it feels like it suffers from a lot of the same kinds of issues the Famicom version has. The cutscenes build it up as a sequel, but the stages make it feel like more of a remix. I guess on the plus side, the terrible water, ice, and city subway areas aren't in this game. On the other hand, the between round minigames may be even more obnoxious, overall (nothing is worse than the one from the Famicom version where you guess the color of the bloomers under the can-can girls' skirts, although the rock-paper-scissor one in the Game Boy version is pretty close). I kind of feel like the Game Boy version is easier, but maybe that's just because I was more familiar with the mechanics from playing through the Famicom game, and I was also able to stock up heavily on extra lives before the last two levels (still only finished the game with one or two lives in stock, because the final boss is an asshat again). I don't really find this one any more fun than the Famicom version, though. Overall, if I had to pick one over the other, I guess it would be the Game Boy version, but it's pretty close. I don't find either one to be all that good, really.



pierrot wrote:I beat Gargoyle's Quest on the Game Boy the other day. (More accurately, I played the Japanese version, Red Arimer: Makai Mura Gaiden, but close enough.) It has some moments that feel kind of like the GQII, but in general, it just feels like an all around weaker game, which I guess is not surprising considering it's an earlier Game Boy game. In that respect, it's fairly impressive, but I didn't really enjoy it terribly. Some of the later levels, like the one with extra hurty drills popping out of the claustrophobic spiked walls, on the initial descent, are a little too bull shit for their own good. Really all the bosses are too big for the arenas, too. I mean, it's kinda cool to have such big boss sprites, but it's also a nuisance, since everything is so cramped. Even some of the regular fights are a chore because of this. It's not a bad game, though. It's pretty good, really. Just might be my fault that I started with the best game in the series.

Hmm. I might need to calm the fuck down sometimes--.


Getsu Fuumaden was an interesting game. I had always thought it was just kind of a half-Genpei-Toumaden, but by Konami. Even the few times I had tried it out before and after buying it, all I had ever seen was the overworld, and some of the different Japanese underworld-themed stages. Little did I know, until earlier this year, when I decided to actually play through the game, that there's another whole gameplay style in the mix, that comes up about a third of the way into the game: There's acutally 3D maze dungeons that you have to delve until you get to a 'boss room.' It's honestly the weakest part of the experience, and what ended up making me shelve the game until just the other day. There were three things in this game that I had to look up: One was why it was so damn dark in the dungeons. Another was how to actually get the third ogre mask card. The last was how in the hell I was supposed to get to the final boss. The premise, from what I remember, is that your character is off to get back his Hadouken, along with the other two his brothers lost when they were slain by the bone dragon ogre. (By the way, when they say 'Hadouken' ('Air Wave Slash'), they mean hadouken.) Ultimately with the power of the three swords he means to enact revenge, and restore the world from the bone dragon's tyranny.

Is the game difficult: yes. Really the toughest thing might be the 3D maze sections, and the bosses afterwards. The first of the mazes/bosses made me take a months long hiatus from the game, with no real plans to return to it, so--. Grinding up your sword's 'level' is really beneficial, though. A lot of that can be done by repeatedly going through the first dungeon. I feel a little iffy about the game, overall, though. It's something like a mix of Genpei Toumaden, Zelda II, and whatever the hell the dungeon segments are. If that sounds awkward to you (in part because both of those games are awkward), then I'd agree. It's pretty fun, though. I didn't love it like Madoola no Tsubasa, but in some ways it feels a little similar to that game, as well.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:16 am

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
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC
33. Pillars of Eternity II: The Forgotten Sanctum - PC
34. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Switch
35. Orphan - PC
36. Project Nimbus - PC
37. Hardcore Mecha - PC
38. Grey Goo - PC
39. Giants: Citizen Kabuto - PC
40. Wolfenstein: Youngblood - PC

Youngblood is the next game in the Wolfenstein series, set about 15ish years after Wolfenstein II. It stars the twin daughters of BJ Blaskowitz who travel to Paris to track him down after he goes missing. They also have two power suits so they can take a bunch of damage and do some super moves (a double jump, a super charge). And they have a bunch of Nazis to kill.

Youngblood is a bit infected with modern MMO shooter design. It's a coop game through and through, though the AI partner is quite competent (and there's a series of teleports when you're doing things like activating something that needs both sisters to minimize frustration). The MMO shooter stuff comes from enemies having levels and the quest system. Like Wolfenstein II you will revisit areas, though the areas in Youngblood are more designed for this; it might be a large level, but a given quest puts you into a smaller portion, so initially you still have a sense of exploration. But as the game goes on it does start to get a bit samey, and you'll get quests that will send you back to the major story dungeons, because they only got one run through initially. The enemy leveling means that the skill tree and weapon mods don't feel as impactful as they should, and indeed the damage weapon mods become the clear winners because you need that to chew through enemy HP in a reasonable amount of time. The other bit of MMOery is the daily and weekly challenges that award in game currency that's used to buy weapon mods. It sticks out, especially the weekly ones. It's as if the game expects you to keep grinding on it like an MMO, but it's a game with a definite story arc (gated a bit behind level progression, but you'll have half the missions still available once your level is right), so you even seeing two weeklies is unlikely.

The gunplay is still quite solid, but the armor system and general enemy health can make things still take too long to go down. Many enemies will have one of two armor types; this is tissue paper against the right weapon and a major damage reduction against the opposite weapon (as weapons come in two types). Fortunately, your two workhorse weapons are each of opposite types, so swapping regularly just becomes part of the combat loop. Honestly, my biggest complaint combat-wise is that they drastically reduced the amount of stealth you can do. You might be able to take out one or two guys, but if you don't take down everyone then reinforcements get radioed in (and the amounts get absurd at higher levels). The enemy officers now just level boost the reinforcements or something. Personally, I think this is the biggest loss to the game. I enjoyed being able to try and take out as many as I could before it was time to go loud. In Youngblood you just shouldn't bother and go loud from the getgo.

The story leaves open more room for the universe to go, and there is some definite progression in the world against the Nazis, so it doesn't just feel like they're going to keep the story going forever. The story is nothing special, but it isn't offensive either.

It's a solid enough game for getting more Nazi killing, especially at the $30 price tag. If it were full price I'd be more hesitant, but at $30 I can heartily recommend this game to anyway.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by dsheinem Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:20 am

I fee like all the recent Wolfenstein games have gotten progressively worse, and your review makes me hesitant to pick this one up until I see it at a decent discount (if then). Would you concur that:

The New Order (great)>The Old Blood (good)>The New Colossus (ok)>Youngblood (meh)
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:04 am

I would not; I rank the first three equally, and then Youngbloods a bit below. But not below enough to feel like I should have waited for a discount on the already budget price.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:36 pm

  1. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure (GEN)
  2. The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
  3. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (GEN)
  4. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (GEN)
  5. Go Go Ackman (SFC)
  6. Super Wagyan Land (SFC)
  7. Super Mario RPG (SFC)
  8. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
  9. Front Mission: Gun Hazard (SFC)
  10. Steep Slope Sliders (SAT)
  11. Valkyrie Profile (PS1)
  12. Sakura Taisen (SAT)
  13. Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka (DC)
  14. Shinobi (PS2)
  15. Gungrave (PS2)
  16. Assault Suit Leynos 2 (SAT)
  17. Sakura Taisen 2: Kimi, Shinitamoukoto Nakare (SAT)
  18. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (PS2)
  19. Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (FC)
  20. Ganbare Goemon 2 (FC)
  21. Sakura Taisen 3 ~Paris wa Moeteiru ka~ (DC)
  22. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 (DC)
  23. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 Pro (DC)
  24. Capcom vs SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 (DC)
  25. Sakura Taisen 4 ~Koi-seyo Otome~ (DC)
  26. Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyou-ryuu Doujou (DC)
  27. King of Fighters '99 Evolution (DC)
  28. Madou Monogatari I (MD)
  29. Twinkle Star Sprites (SAT)
  30. Madou Monogatari (SAT)
  31. Policenauts (SAT)
  32. Demon's Blazon: Makaimura Monshou-hen (SFC)
  33. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (FC)
  34. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (GB)
  35. Red Arimer: Makaimura Gaiden (GB)
  36. Getsu Fuumaden (FC)
  37. After Armageddon Gaiden: Majuu Toushouden Eclipse (Mega CD)


So how do you feel about monsters and demons? Okay, but how do you really feel about them? Would it make you feel better if you knew that they were always getting stronger, and more grotesque, by feasting on the flesh of humans? No? Well that's unfortunate--.

After Armageddon Gaiden is a game that, on it's face, in simplest terms, is about a marauding group of mercenary monsters who continually deform themselves further by eating humans who are kept as livestock. There's a story draped over it, and almost everything else is filled in with grinding. This is a game from Pandora Box, and published by Sega (just like the Mega CD version of Burai). You may be familiar with some of their work on the SNES, if you've delved into the Japanese side of the RPG pool, with things like the Oni series, Magic Knight Rayearth, or Arabian Nights. After Armageddon is technically a successor to Last Armageddon, which saw release primarily on Japanese PCs, as well as the PC Engine and Famicom. There seem to be some similar themes and features between the two games, but I don't believe they are truly directly related.

As a JRPG, this game contains a party. Within that party, there are five characters: Radyun, the Wind Dragon; Jokus, the Ifrit; Dalzam, the Golem; Freya, the Succubus (water elemental, because why not); Ropels, the Slime (non-elemental). The five main characters never get swapped, and are always together. The introduction to the story in the scenes before the title screen paint a pretty grim picture. It tells of human history being cut off by nuclear war brought on by their great fear of death, and the dawn of the age of the monsters, built from the rubble. Eventually, after a period of 100 years of war, a monster general named Volzack seizes control over the planet, and domesticated the remaining humans, by turning them into livestock, as well as the monsters, by forcing them to dwell in towns/cities. The five main characters were in Volzack's employ, as mercenaries, during the warring period. They were well known for being especially ruthless, and this new era of 'peace,' simply doesn't sit well with them. There are some early quandaries about why they always travel together, even though, as monsters, they should be constantly trying to assert dominance over the others, but the game doesn't really begin until they decide to check out the ruins of an old human research facility that's 'beckons' them.

Deep in the bowels of the research facility, the party finds the ancient ruins of Mu, and they reawaken the destroyer, Ra Mu, along with the ancient demons Rafael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Michael. They find out that, prior to the human's civilization, the demons had dominated the planet once before. However, Ra Mu doesn't appreciate how weak and complacent the monsters have become, and suggests that the group join him in wiping the planet clean again. The party isn't really happy with monsters living like humans, but they also don't want to wipe everything out (if it sounds like the goal post is moving a bit, that's a pretty common theme). So Ra Mu does what many villains in this situation would do, and calls down molten rock from the heavens to scorch the earth, but leaves the party safely underground, because we're only, like, a quarter of the way into the game at this point. The party arises from beneath the earth to find what remains after Armageddon (herp). They wobble back, as monsters do, to the city of Fatgoon, where Volzack had established his empire, only to find it demolished, as all the other (single) towns were as well. Except, underneath Fatgoon lied a dark secret. Volzack had been keeping humans (humans that could talk!) in cages, and feeding them to the wild monsters roaming the lands in order to make the wild monsters grow stronger. He did this because he was in league with Ra Mu, and was secretly challenging his "weakling" citizens by throwing metaphorical wolves at them. Those who perished were making the world "better" by no longer existing. Why was he doing this? I'unno.

The party defeats Volzack, and gains control of this dark monster factory, and what do they do with it? Make themselves stronger by eating humans, and mutating themselves, because they have to go defeat Ra Mu, obviously. (There is more than one paradox, afoot.) After doing so, they (optionally) stumble upon a human fallout shelter that was broken open by the apocalypse. Inside, they find an account of the president of hoo-mans (official title) that describes his descent into starting the nuclear holocaust, after being possessed by the will of Ra Mu.

Anyway, one thing leads to another, and bam! They meet the King of Atlantis, King Sol. The Will of Fire (Jokus' elemental) tells him he must kill the King of Atlantis, but Freya's elemental, the Will of Water, tells her that he is the only one who can tell them how to revive the planet. King Sol tells them that they must visit the other ten kings: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Their seals hold the key to unlocking the party members' pasts, and true strengths. Over the course of meeting with the ten kings, they learn many things. They learn that each one of them was once an Atlantian (in the parlance of this game, that basically means human): Radyun was a valiant soldier, Jokus was a scientist obsessed with the continent of Mu, Dalzam helped construct the pyramids, Freya was a mom--she learns this from Mercury, and he says something after that really threw me off, because it was all in hiragana, but he says "kareta eda wa oreyasui mono," or, 'a dead branch is easily broken'; He said it would be understood eventually, but I still don't really understand what he was getting at--, Ropels was a military doctor.

The big thing they learn, though, is that in the beginning there were two continents that were home to humans: Mu and Atlantis. The people of Mu were obsessed with obtaining immortality, and no one more so than Ra Mu. He eventually found a way, by using the same machine the party was using to evolve. The people of Mu began to devour each other in the hopes of becoming immortal. Eventually their avarice turned them into monsters from the inside out. King Sol attempted to keep the people of Mu away from Atlantis, but they eventually found their way in, and he was "forced" to send the surviving Atlantians to a shelter before unleashing hellfire upon the world. (If you're keeping score at home, that's, King Sol Armageddons the monsters, Ra Mu, indirectly, Armageddons the humans, then Ra Mu Armageddons the monsters.) So, basically, now King Sol's plan is to use Ra Mu's own methods against him (it's hard to tell which one is the master, and which one is the disciple between these two), and make these five Atlantians into the ultimate super beings to destroy the Will of the Planet. Why the Will of the Planet? I'unno. Apparently the Will of the Planet hates life because it often destroys other life, or some other such half baked philosophy.

Well, in my case, the five characters did obtain ultimate super being-hood, and felled Ra Mu, along with the Will of the Planet. That caused life to be reborn on the planet. (What--?) The ending sort of tries to summarize things, and says that now life on the planet will go on with only its own will to guide it, without rulers, and in unison with the planet. (-- lolWaht?) King Sol says that when monsters choose the wrong path again, a second and third Will of the Planet will arrive. (Hold on, though-- what?) Finally the party, back in their original forms--without really any explanation for it, despite Freya soliciting one from King Sol--decide to venture off into the wild beyond, after the 11 Kings slip off into the ether. Except, Jokus tells them he's not going with them, because he wants to test himself. The other four wish him well, and then--dun, dun, dun--Jokus pulls off his mask (?) to reveal some grotesque little hooded goblin face, and proclaims himself the new arbitrator of monsters! (Are you fucking kidding me!)

I "spoiled" all of this because you shouldn't play this game. If I made any of this sound interesting, it's merely a facade. I will say that it has moments. The story has moments of actually interesting ideas, but they are almost always gotten in the way of by the narrative trying to trick the audience. It tries to make you think one thing, and then it slaps you in the face for being gullible enough to believe any of its bullshit. It's ultimately a bit of a clusterfuck of narrative faux pas.

So, that's basically all of the story, "But what about the game?" I hear you say. (I definitely heard it.) Well, graphically it's kind of all right. Some of it, like a lot of the graphics in battle, is kind of bland. Other times, there's nice use of color, really large boss sprites, and some nice portraits. I actually kind of liked the transition into random encounters, where the game just scales the map, until the screen just becomes a handful of blown up pixels. The audio is also a mixed bag. A lot of the music is fairly good--not necessarily exceptional, but pretty good--but most of the sound effects are just atrocious. They are easily some of the worst sound effects I've ever heard in a game. I guess the saving grace is that they are pretty much so bad that they're good. Like, they're comically bad. Case in point: There's a magical spell that's basically called 'gravity,' which launches a character's sprite up above the screen, and brings them back down to the ground; The sound effect that's used for lifting them off the ground sounds like a slide whistle. It's almost like they just sampled a bunch of royalty free sound effects, and called it a day.

Mechanically, the game is pretty broken. This is one of the most poorly planned/programmed RPGs I've ever played. The manual is almost detrimental in how incomplete the information in it is, as well. I still don't know what the vitality stat actually does. I know it can be used sometimes to cast spells, if a character is out of MP, but otherwise it just seems to almost randomly deplete at times. According to the manual, if it's full, you can't be one shot by an enemy, but I don't think I ever saw that actually be the case. Speaking of being one shot by enemies, it happens constantly. There are two states for damage in this game: massive and minuscule. Jokus and Freya forever have poor defense, and live in the back row. They're supposed to get attacked less in the back row, but generally if anything actually attacks them physically (which happens pretty often), they're usually going to die. Similarly, Ropels has basically no magic defense. He can tank physical attacks all day, but if he even gets a whiff of magic, he's probably dead. Radyun and Dalzam are similar, but slightly more balanced. This arises from the fact that damage calculations are fuuuuuuuuuu--uuuuucked, and that being even mildly deficient in a stat means that that form of damage is either going to be ineffective for you, or very effective for the enemy. There's a number of instances where it seems like the programmers just forgot to keep programming, as well. The most obvious example is this Miracle Restore item, which says it has the effect of reanimating, and healing all status effects. Except, you can't actually target a fallen character with it in battle. You can only use it on one of the characters that are alive. Dead characters revive with 1 HP after battle anyway. Another example is these re-"element"-roll (eg. re-fire-roll) items, that protect against attacks or magic of a certain element, which don't show up in any of the item menus during combat. Yet another example is this one special attack (I think it was called 'self knuckle') which I have never seen do more than 0 damage. The animation has the character move back a little bit, and then hurl itself at the target (a number of enemies have this ability as well), but it never does anything. No damage, no status effect, nothing. What does it even do?

The main hook for the gameplay is the evolutions. After defeating Volzack, you can eat a human to evolve one of the five characters. Each human increases certain qualities (love, cruelty, hope, despair, courage, cowardice, etc), and something about them gives innate protection to certain status ailments, but I don't know what specifically affects that. After eating a human, you're presented with a huge list of possible new forms for the character. They are specific to the character, and some new ones show up after repeating the process, but I'm not sure what it's based on. The leveling in the game is sort of funky. Each character has eight stats, and a level attributed to each one. The overall character level is an average of the stat levels. Each character seems to gain levels in certain stats at different rates, but each stat displays an amount of experience to the next level, which is almost meaningless to the player, because no experience is ever shown after battle. The game only tells you when a character has gained a level in a specific stat. At the beginning of the game, each stat has a level cap of 20. By evolving the characters, these level caps increase. In their ultimate forms, these level caps become 99. The funny thing is that there's almost no reason for it. At attack level 32-ish, with the final weapon, which is just given to you for free, Radyun had 999 attack, which would appear to be the actual stat cap. So any further levels in AP for him would have been meaningless. That's 67 levels of no actual gains. Granted, stats like Freya's HP would probably never get to the stat cap, even if she were level capped.

I've seen the encounter system for this game described as 'convenient,' but it's really not. You can pick a character to scout for the party, and that character's level of alertness would, theoretically, affect how often the party is attacked. There are also options for the search type. You can choose to actually look for enemies, avoid all the 'weaklings,' or go about things more normally. The only thing that really seems to matter is which of those three settings you're on. Avoiding things will basically mean that you avoid getting into battles 95% of the time. The normal setting is going to put you into battle on probably 70 to 80% of your steps, and actually looking for enemies will make it a murder-christmas, on parade. This could be a really good system, but there's not enough control. There's no in between. You'll either spend all of your time fighting things, or all of your time walking around unmolested. You kind of need to get molested by enemies, though, because most of the game is really just grinding to survive the boss fights. Later on, a lot of the regular enemies become really dangerous too.

I could probably go on, but that's more than enough. All that really needs to be said at this point is that there are no credits at the end of the game. After Jokus spends a whole sentence on revealing his ambitions, the game just boots you out into the Sega CD's multiplayer menu. I feel like that's just one big "Alan Smithee" by the whole team. Remarkably, I didn't necessarily dislike this game. In some ways, I kind of enjoyed it. I would not even begin to think of recommending it to others though. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I want to actively tell people that they absolutely should not play this game. Don't do it. It's not worth it.

I suppose the happy by product of beating this game is that now I not only own all of the games released under the Mega Roleplay Project, but I have also beaten all of them but one: Shining Force CD. I keep thinking about playing it, but never do. Hmmmm.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:19 am

First 25
1. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary (NDS)
2. Reigns (iOS)
3. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
4. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
5. Castlevania Legends (GB)
6. Yankai’s Triangle (iOS)
7. Mega Man III (GB)
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man V (GB)
10. Sin & Punishment (N64)
11. Love You to Bits (iOS)
12. Mega Man Powered Up - Old Style (PSP)
13. Mega Man Powered Up - New Style (PSP)
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
15. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (NDS)
16. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NDS)
17. Detective Pikachu (3DS)
18. Super Fantasy Zone (Genesis)
19. Fantasy Zone Gear (GG)
20. Fantasy Zone - The Maze (SMS)
21. Fantasy Zone (Famicom)
22. Fantasy Zone (NES)
23. Kung Fu Master (2600)
24. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
25. Kid Dracula (GB)

26. Fantasy Zone (TG16)
27. Double Dragon V (SNES)
28. Fantasy Zone II (Famicom)
29. Street Fighter: The Movie (PS1)
30. Fire Fly (2600)
31. Pac Man (2600)
32. Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears (GBC)
33. Fantasy Zone (PS2)
34. Space Fantasy Zone (TG16)
35. Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf Fantasy Zone (Genesis)
36. Mega Man (GG)
37. Konami Pixel Puzzle (iOS)
38. Qix (Arcade/NES)
39. Congo Bongo (Arcade)
40. Phantasy Star Gaiden (GG)
41. Phantasy Star Adventure (GG)
42. Panzer Dragoon Mini (GG)
43. Spartan X-2 (Famicom)
44. BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets (Super Famicom)
45. BS The Legend of Zelda (Super Famicom)
46. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (NDS)

Man...it has been a while! I just haven’t been playing as many video games recently, I guess...Anyway, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (NDS) is the fourth game in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. Like two of its predecessors, it is a Lemmings-inspired action-puzzle game where you guide mini-Marios to a goal. The series really comes into its own with this entry, with better controls, tighter puzzles, and excellent boss battles. As before, there is a drastically more challenging “plus” mode after you complete the main game, and obtaining high scores on each level unlocks bonus levels (which are challenging in normal mode and nearly impossible in the plus mode). Like many of the best Nintendo games, it is easy to beat it, but perfectionists, like me, will be in for quite a challenge (and, at times, a slog). I enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to the next game in the series, which changes up the gameplay once again.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:54 am

dsheinem wrote:I fee like all the recent Wolfenstein games have gotten progressively worse, and your review makes me hesitant to pick this one up until I see it at a decent discount (if then). Would you concur that:

The New Order (great)>The Old Blood (good)>The New Colossus (ok)>Youngblood (meh)


I LOVED New Order but really wasn't impressed with Old Blood. I've heard enough things about New Colossus that I've still not picked it up, and all these weird live service elements pushed into Young Blood is pushing me away harder than ever. I'm not sure I'll ever pick up Young Blood: a lot of what it adds to Wolfenstein are things I think it never needed and (call me cynical all you want, but) seem more geared around pushing you towards the microtransactions than actually trying to improve the gameplay O_o

Needless to say, I shall be holding on to my muns for Doom Eternal (if I ever get around to playing it and sources indicate that the PS4 port runs well XP).
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
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opa
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by opa Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:12 am

Lord of the Rings: Conquest - PS3

The original Star Wars Battlefront is probably one of my favorite games of all time. While graphically it isn't impressive by today's standards, I still feel that it captures the feeling of the grand battles in the Star Wars universe. Then comes Lord of the Rings: Conquest... I had this game on my "I'll get around to it eventually" list because on paper it should be great. All the developers had to do was replace all the robots and aliens with orcs and elves and it should have been another excellent Battlefront-style game. Unfortunately the game has many, many issues.

Combat is pretty much broken. You have four classes to pick from: mage, archer, warrior, and scout. You may be thinking to yourself: "Well golly gee, that's some variety right there! I can explore different combat styles in the LotR universe!" Well guess what: If you picked anything but mage you're doing it wrong and you're dead now. Here's the thing. Mages have two ranged attacks, two melee attacks, and can heal themselves. Oh and magic doesn't run out; you have a cool down timer on spells but it doesn't matter because if you alternate between your attacks you'll not be lacking for another move to use. Well surely mages have a weakness, right? Oh, they do. About the only class that stands a chance could be the scout class. Scouts have the ability to turn invisible and they have a backstab move that is a one hit kill. Fortunately, they're not that big of a problem if you're around other NPC's fighting with you. Mages also have one other spell up their flowy sleeves. They can generate a spherical shield that has a 10 foot diameter around them; protecting themselves and their allies from all arrows and magical attacks. Be a mage. Additionally, you can play as the mainline heroes/villains from the stories but if they're not a mage you're generally wasting your time. Whenever I played a campaign level that lets you play as Elrond or Aragorn I declined the on-screen prompt. They're just re-skins of the crappier classes so why bother?

The maps just feel off and unlike the Star Wars Battlefront games, there aren't that many characters on the map at once. I don't have a count but it seems like there's maybe 40-ish characters on the map at once; and some of the maps are large with 90% of the area being untouched by any characters. Also, when you encounter other characters they mostly seem to be just standing still or milling about. Even enemies just hang around with no clear purpose until you get close to them. I know these aren't the most advanced A.I. in the world or anything but I would think that when they spawn they should know to "go to point A and attack."

I just realized I'm starting to write a book on this game when that's more effort than they probably put into coding it. To quickly close, if you decide to play this just stick with the Instant Action portion and play the conquest modes on whatever map you want. I've had more fun that way; the campaigns suck.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:42 pm

Great review, Opa. I’ve always been curious about that game, but now..nope!
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:58 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)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)
34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)
44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
45. Cally's Caves 3 (Steam)

46. Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet (Steam)
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I've always been a platformer and RPG guy, but in recent years I fell in love with a strange and unexpected genre: the Japanese visual novel. Though ostensibly a subset of "adventure games" visual novels play out more like interactive manga, typically with occasional player input used for selecting dialogue and choosing branching pathways. However, there's a specific breed of visual novels, popularized by the VisualArts/Key development collective, which offer up no player choices whatsoever. Known as "kinetic" visual novels, these advance along one predetermined path, in accordance with the player's particular reading speed. Truth be told, I actually prefer this hyper-linear style of visual novel. I don't have to decipher the author's intent, nor can I get stuck travelling down a dead end road, nor can I get slammed with the dreaded "bad ending." One well-known kinetic novel is Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet (often stylized as planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~), courtesy of the aforementioned VisualArts/Key. Originally released as a PC game in Japan in 2004, it was soon after ported to the PlayStation 2 and PSP. My experience with the game came via the English Steam version, which appeared a decade after that initial Japanese launch.

Planetarian is about an Earth in ruins and a girl who's more than she first appears to be. It's admittedly cliché (I mean, c'mon, Key's own Harmonia has the same general plot!) but this story's unquestionably well-written. Taking center stage are a grand total of two characters. First, a well-armed "junker" who is never seen on-screen, a broken man searching the landscape for sustenance and treasure. Earth's population has been decimated and its surface annihilated following prolonged periods of climate change, war, the rampant production of malicious AI, and a failed space evacuation program. While taking refuge inside an abandoned mall he stumbles upon one Yumemi Hoshino, an adorable female android completely oblivious to the fact that the planet's been destroyed. In charge of the mall's planetarium, she first greets the junker as a customer. After some initial terse dialogue, a relationship between the two blossoms, as they bond over a shared goal of restoring a projector back to working condition. A glimpse into the stars, and perhaps into an outer world that may still hold some semblance of hope. Playing this fifteen years after its initial launch, there are some elements that I find morbidly amusing. Like how the crumbling shopping mall seems so similar to my own local abandoned malls. Or how the futurist dream of achieving travel to Mars was all in vain.
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The game's strength lies within is brevity and honesty. This is a "short" visual novel (3-4 hours, maybe?) without a single sentence of excessive dialogue. There's no attempt made to weave an "epic" narrative, nor is there a ham-fisted love story. Just a sequence of convincing exchanges between man and almost-woman. One of many anecdotes to be found within the apocalypse. The characters do evolve throughout the course of their journey, one becoming more empathetic and the other gaining a heaping of courage. This one's a tearjerker, as all Key novels tend to be. I expected to be manipulated, I was, and I enjoyed it. While the ending is wholly predictable, it then slams the player with something of a cliffhanger right in those final moments. Indeed, the Planetarian story was continued within a (Japanese exclusive) mobile sequel, a series of light novels and drama CDs, and an anime.

It is, of course, the audiovisual elements that make Planetarian a "visual novel" as opposed to a standard on-paper story. The game's gorgeous. Of special mention is the Yumemi Hoshino character, who's impeccably designed, complete with long flowing hair ribbons that situationally change appearance. Backgrounds are intentionally left fuzzy and vague, a testament to the denuded landscape. What little animation exists consists of nothing but noxious rising smoke and the ever-pummeling rain. The accompanying soundtrack is subtle and beautiful, and features some surprising renditions of centuries-old hymns. It's an OST worth listening to outside of the game itself, and is thankfully made available to the player once the tale has concluded. Same goes for the CG gallery.
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Verdict: supremely recommended. Not only is Planetarian an exemplary visual novel, it's also one of the best examples of a "starter" VN for those unfamiliar with the genre. Wading through this genre can indeed be daunting, as Steam and other platforms are full of worthless "waifu" eroge and other similar garbage. Avoid such things and make a beeline straight to Key's offerings. Especially this one.
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