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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by marurun Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:59 pm

Macros really do help make combat sing
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Sarge Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:37 pm

I'd argue the macros make things easier, in that they can guarantee combo attacks as well. Grand Cross was very, very effective for my team.

Anyway, PSIV is top-tier material, so I hope you stick with it!
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by pierrot Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:12 pm

Key-Glyph wrote:Too bad I'd assumed the game was on rails and hadn't been taking careful notes, because now I'm feeling discouraged about having to locate some random item somewhere among the dozen towns I've seen.

I don't remember any of the guild missions being that specific about needing things from specific people, or at least, I thought I remembered the briefings for them sort of leading you to the town you needed to go to. Did you do the first one with the Sandworm?

Key-Glyph wrote:And this leads into something I feel weird saying based on how highly acclaimed this game is and how much I loved its predecessor, but... Phantasy Star IV just kind of makes me tired. My prevailing sensation is actually one of fatigue.

Yeah, I felt kind of similarly, honestly. I enjoyed it well enough, but it was not really something I especially looked forward to continuing on in. For you it was Phantasy Star III that makes PSIV seem less interesting, for me it was Surging Aura, a game that has a lot of graphical similarities to PSIV, but felt a lot more interesting, and fun to me, on both a combat, and story level. I'm not trying to say, 'Oh, you did it wrong, and should have done it like this,' but I think the main value PSIV has is as a culmination of the story arc that started in the first game. That was really the thing I enjoyed the most about it was the call-backs to earlier games, and the explanations for a lot of what happened in the first two games, and even PSIII. In isolation, PSIV is a somewhat average game. It has really nice presentation, but doesn't really do anything else to make the experience fun. I think having expectations that PSIV is going to blow most other RPGs of the time out of the water is just expecting too much, but it can still be fairly enjoyable if the expectations are recalibrated a little.


Key-Glyph wrote:For example, almost every spell, item, skill, and technique has an abstruse name that, for the life of me, I just cannot memorize. I appreciate what they're going for, but I don't think the immersion would have been destroyed by calling things "Fire" or "Heal."

I don't know how things went for the English localization, but the series, at least in Japanese, carries over all of the item and spell names between games. Basically like Dragon Quest, SMT, etc: Once you get used to the naming conventions in one, that knowledge carries over to all of the other games. At least, in theory it does, but I did have some trouble remembering what some spells did in PSIV, even though I had already played the other three before it. I'm assuming these spell names and things aren't what you remember from PSIII, then.



Key-Glyph wrote:[combos]

Yeah, I didn't end up figuring out any combos on my own, over the course of the game. Some of them potentially would have helped me early on if I had actually put the time into figuring them out, but like you, I didn't really see the value in trying. I think toward the end of my playthrough I might have actually looked them up. You may end up kind of needing one or more of them in the later stages of the game, if you decide to play that far.


Key-Glyph wrote:Your mileage may vary, but Rika seems to be a particular kind of character that makes me cringe a little: the wide-eyed, super-sheltered young woman who is basically a child in an adult's body and is just so, so glad that you, the hero, became her friend so that she could learn all about the world, because how could she have done that without you, waaiii~?

:lol:
My prediction is that you might hate the ending.





So, I've still been playing Xanadu on the streams, but my computer is dying a violent death. It's a very fixable death, but it's just going to continue to burn out any new RAM I put into it. So it's time to move on. It's given me almost ten years of service, and that's more than value on this thing, even if I lost $100 from it chewing up, and spitting out some nice 8GB ram sticks I bought for it before cryptos made them into gold bullion. Anyway, that just means I won't be streaming for a while, which means I won't be playing Xanadu again for a while.

However, I did start making some significant progress, despite all of the game's elaborate trolls. For one thing, I realized that the +1 karma thing after saving may be just a random occurrence. I recall reading that back when I was looking up some info on the game when I was first playing it a few years ago. The other thing it will do is steal 500 gold after saving. I think it does this when the frequency of saves is just "too high," maybe. In either case, just loading the file back up afterward resets these trolls, but one has to be alert to them. It's also not enough to just check for them in the menu after saving, because they don't take effect until closing the menu. The other thing is that, for some reason, I just became unable to kill fires with physical attacks, even though I had been able to before. This prevented me from getting back into a tower on the first floor with a boss in it, after I had grabbed a new weapon (and maybe new armor). I then had to grind a bit to get the money for a new magic spell, "Deluge." Once I did, I was thankfully able to put out fires with it (I wasn't totally sure it would actually work that way). After that, I clobbered the first boss, the Giant Kraken. The boss fights in this game are interesting to me, because they're another instance of something that's very similar to Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu on the PC Engine, that I had completely forgotten about. They play out in a side-view again, after transitioning from a top-down view of the towers. There's still no attack button during these fights, like there is in Kaze no Densetsu Xanadu (which also has action sections before that), but the effect is somewhat similar.

Anyway, I blasted through the towers on the second floor, and moved on to my nemesis: Floor 3. This floor introduces the thing that forced me to hang up the controller on this game, a number of years ago. I've made mention of the karma system, but until this point, I don't believe there are any enemies that will actually increase the karma value (and prevent one from leveling up/progressing) upon being killed. The manual says to be on the look out for enemies that don't attack you, because killing those enemies is liable to increase your karma. There are plenty of examples of groups of enemies that will actually run away from you, on all three floors, but especially the second floor. I've yet to see my karma increase from killing these, though, and I know I would have been cleaving through them like a mad man years ago. However, the wisp enemies on Floor 3 (I think they're called Uiks, or something like that, but I can't remember now), will absolutely increase one's karma by 4, each time one is killed. The sticking point here is that they are hyper aggressive, and immediately swarm to your location. They don't actually do any damage to me, even though they're firing off needle magic like crazy, as well, but they do basically get in the way of items in towers. I was forced to use a mantle, which lets me walk through walls, in order to walk around the perimeter of a room in the boss tower of Floor 3, to get some items, and not kill the wisps in the room.

So, yeah. I also encountered the boss of Floor 3: The King Kraken! It's green this time! (As opposed to red.) It thwarted me very easily. I think I've pretty much taken care of everything else I need to on Floor 3, though. The main thing I need to consider is whether or not I want to do another key buying spree or not. I've collected a bunch of bottles off of enemies, and the keys are still reasonably priced at my current level. With my 12000 gold, I could get another 22-ish keys, which would put me back up to about 80, I think. I'm not sure if it's really necessary, though. The towers in Floor 3 have been really light on locked doors, but maybe that's just trying to lull me into a false sense of security. I probably can't take anything for granted with this game.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Key-Glyph Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:16 am

Popo, Maru, Sarge, thank you so much for the tip about macros. In re-reading the manual I can see how it was trying to tell me that programming macros would set my characters' attack order in stone, but the statement wasn't quite direct enough for me to understand its full meaning. After reading that whole thing about attack order and trying to process that seemingly central mechanic, I probably would have needed a big fat bolded "NOTE: Macro attack order overrides the default order of descending strength!" before I'd've sat up and paid attention to it.

This will definitely make the game less tedious. Again, thanks folks. This is why I love this summer challenge. Swappin' tips like it's 1995!

pierrot, it was gratifying to hear that you shared a lot of my thoughts. I will definitely have to play the earlier Phantasy Stars eventually to get the true full scope of the story. I love the setting, the world, and its conventions. More of it can't be wrong!

Also, pierrot, is Xanadu basically Ultima IV? That karma system is... very similar. And wow, I just looked up the release dates of the games to see which came first. Ultima IV was released a month before Xanadu. Was there something in the zeitgeist at this time that gave rise to these two very separate games having such a similar morality system?
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by marurun Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:50 am

I will admit that I played PS IV with occasional reference to an FAQ, so I didn't play it blind. That may have shaped my experience a bit. I also made heavy use of macros.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by pierrot Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:57 pm

Key-Glyph wrote:Also, pierrot, is Xanadu basically Ultima IV? That karma system is... very similar. And wow, I just looked up the release dates of the games to see which came first. Ultima IV was released a month before Xanadu. Was there something in the zeitgeist at this time that gave rise to these two very separate games having such a similar morality system?

From what I know about Ultima IV, Xanadu is a very different style of game, but It probably was the zeitgeist, anyway. I don't know anything about the morality system in Ultima IV. Xanadu was originally pitched to the developers of the Wizardry games, as something they were hoping to use that license for, though. I feel like Xanadu has more superficial commonalities with Ultima IV, than Wizardry, personally. Initially Kiya, and Falcom had wanted to really focus on rolling different class archetypes (I guess like Wizardry), and the title screen, as well as the stat training areas at the beginning of the game are thought of as remnants of that pitch to the Wizardry folks.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Key-Glyph Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:20 am

Regarding Xanadu and Ultima, check this out (via Wikipedia):

"Origin Systems founder and Ultima series creator Richard Garriott flew into Tokyo to have a meeting with Nihon Falcom about having Origin release Xanadu in the US, as well as having Falcom help with releasing a port of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar in Japan. However, Xanadu contained artwork directly lifted from the manuals of the role-playing game Ultima III: Exodus. During the presentation of the game, several digitized pictures from the manual of Ultima III appeared in various shops in the game. Upon seeing this, Garriott and Origin ended the meeting and decided to sue Falcom; the lawsuit was settled out of court and the artwork in the game was changed to what appears now."

:shock:

Also...

Phantasy Star IV

I managed to do it! I almost pulled a bit of an all-nighter here to finish things off, but Phantasy Star IV is completed. I'll form more cogent thoughts about it another day, but if I were to summarize in the briefest of summaries, I'd say that I really enjoyed the worldbuilding that really picks up about halfway through and had a great deal of fun with bosses, but the lack of basic information coupled with the constant barrage of new items/techniques/spells was as frustrating as the random encounter rate.

I find myself almost wishing I enjoyed it enough to play it again someday, but I doubt that I will. I did find a really funny blog-style longplay, though, so I'll be re-ingesting the story and mulling it over through that piece of media instead.

Oh, and I'd be lying if I said my breath didn't catch a little when that absolutely kick-ass title screen music came back around during the credits. I absolutely love when title screen music resurfaces either as a callback or as a "oh, THAT'S why they chose this music as the defining piece of the entire game" moment of clarity.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by marurun Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:14 am

Would you share the blog you found? I'd like to revisit the game in some form even though I don't really have time to play it right now.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by pierrot Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:43 pm

Key-Glyph wrote:Regarding Xanadu and Ultima, check this out (via Wikipedia):

"Origin Systems founder and Ultima series creator Richard Garriott flew into Tokyo to have a meeting with Nihon Falcom about having Origin release Xanadu in the US, as well as having Falcom help with releasing a port of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar in Japan. However, Xanadu contained artwork directly lifted from the manuals of the role-playing game Ultima III: Exodus. During the presentation of the game, several digitized pictures from the manual of Ultima III appeared in various shops in the game. Upon seeing this, Garriott and Origin ended the meeting and decided to sue Falcom; the lawsuit was settled out of court and the artwork in the game was changed to what appears now."

:shock:

Sounds like I might have confused Wizardry and Ultima in my memory of the Xanadu development, but I kind of want to go back through some of the references I have from this Japanese blog with tons of detail on these golden-era Falcom games, in the form of a lot of archived Falcom documents, and editorials about their projects. The reference for what you quoted there is apparently from the Official Book of Ultima, so that's gotta be accurate info, I assume.


Key-Glyph wrote:Also...

Phantasy Star IV

Holy shit! You flew through that once you got rolling! Where were you at in the game when you had given that last progress report? I remember it feeling a little bit like the game just would not stop, toward the end.

You may get into this when you do a more full reflection, but did you hate the ending, like I thought you might?
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by pook99 Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:14 am

I completed vectorman for the genesis this morning.

I saw vectorman on several people's lists and had some very strong opinions on it about it being over rated trash but after playing through it I'm not really sure what my problem with the game was, then again I haven't played it since about 1996 so a lot can change.

The game is pretty fast paced with a lot of running and shooting, there are also some mini-game style levels thrown in the mix, and although the levels are linear-ish, there seemed to be several paths through the levels and lots of areas to explore with hidden areas as well.

I did play using the cheat code that allowed me to start with 99 lives and a maxed out health bar, I would like to give it another shot one day with less forgiving conditions, although I do feel that the initial start of 2 lives and no continues is a bit too unforgiving. As it was, vectorman was a pretty enjoyable romp and I'm glad I decided to give it another shot.

so that makes the 8th game I have played for the summer challenge. My summer does not end in my mind until I start my new job on september 18th, I am pretty engrossed in RE2Make right now and will be buying astral chain later today but I think I can bang out at least one more game before its over
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