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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:17 pm

I kinda hopped off the compilation train now that I own so many carts! For instance, I do have the Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun Fami cart. It is charming indeed, though I have yet to finish it myself.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:21 pm

Haha, yeah, then you have no need to pick this up! It's a nice game though, and it washed away the bad taste that Castlevania the Adventure left in my mouth.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:49 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Infinite Beyond the Mind review, please. :lol: (I am genuinely curious to read about it.)


Sure thing.

Infinite beyond the mind is a 2-d action platformer with nice 16 bit visuals.

Controls here are straight forward and work well. You have an attack, which gives off a very strider-ish vibe, a jump/double-jump, an invincible dash that can be used on the air or on the ground, and a wall jump that can be used on the same well to climb any wall. I have seen some criticism levied towards this game because you basically have all of your moves from the start(you get one new slash done from a double jump about halfway through the game) and there are no sub weapons or anything of that nature, but I reject that as a criticism. The game is designed with your tool set in mind and does a good job of using all of the moves at your disposal while introducing a nice difficulty curve. One point of contention with the controls is the wall jump, there is this annoying delay between the time that you touch the wall to the time when you can jump off it. It generally does not make too much of a difference once you get used to it but there is one boss fight where it was very problematic.

The game is broken up into 16 levels, each level has multiple stages (ie 1-1, 1-2) and culminates in a boss fight. There are also a tiny handful of schmup levels thrown in, which are competent and a fun diversion from the main platforming action.

levels in this game are linear, run from left to right, kill everything you see, with a tiny bit of exploration. Most levels are vertically large while scrolling horizontally, so as you progress through the levels you can explore a bit to find permanent health upgrades and extra lives. The game uses a life system, if you die it is back to the beginning of the stage, if you have to continue, you go back to the beginning of the world, so stocking up on lives early can definitely make a difference on the much harder later stages.

This game has a very nice difficulty curve, the early stages are really easy, you can just run through the levels, kill enemies, and there is little to no platforming, at least none that can kill you, but the game does a pretty nice job of easing you into the difficulty level and around world 10 the difficulty really starts kicking in and stays hard for the remainder of the game. By the time the last level rolls around you are being swarmed by tons of enemies with platforming challenges everywhere. It definitely caused me to rage a few times but it is not insurmountable and you will generally feel satisfied when you do beat a particularly difficult part.

Every single world ends in a boss fight, As a general rule these bosses are not too difficult, they mostly do a good job of telegraphing their attacks, and your life bar is long enough to give you a pretty good margin of error. They are all fun to fight, but the difficulty ranges pretty wildly with some bosses that can just be bashed to death with little strategy, while others are insanely hard. The level 15 boss is one of the dumbest boss fights I have had the displeasure of fighting, it is basically a fight where you are confined to a wall, you have to constantly wall jump or fall into a pit. While you are fighting him there is an insta-kill fog that rises which lowers when you hit the boss, but the boss spends half the fight hiding to close to the fog to get hits in, very frustrating, but outside of that blip the bosses were a good time.

There is also a coop mode here, which probably makes the game much easier, in coop mode when you die you instantly respawn rather than going back to the start of a level so I would imagine that considerably eases the difficulty.

Infinite: beyond the mind is a solid platformer, its not a game that is particularly innovative but it is fast paced fun, and gets the fundamentals right. Not a must play, but I definitely enjoyed my time with it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:27 pm

Awesome review! Thank you!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:05 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)

42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
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Everyone loves Steins;Gate. Including the developers, as they can't seem to stop "rebooting" it. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate retells the story of Steins;Gate, but does so with 8-bit aesthetics and gameplay. This one's available on the Switch eShop, but isn't searchable. To get it one must use the code that came packaged with Steins;Gate Elite (which itself is a remaster of the original!). Note that 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate is quite literally "8-bit" -- it's essentially a Famicom ROM running on the Switch and it apparently functions within NES/Famicom emulators. I suppose reproduction carts can't be too far behind. Humorously, this is actually the second "8-bit" entry of the series, though the PC installment titled Steins;Gate Hen'i Kuukan no Octet was a Japan-only release and resembles an old PC-88 adventure.

To quickly recap the story: the protagonist and world-saving hero of Steins;Gate is one Rintaro Okabe, a university student and self-styled "mad scientist." He and his ragtag group of friends create mostly-worthless gadgets in their rented laboratory space, before inadvertently discovering time travel ("oops"). Subsequent experiments alter timelines and lead to disastrous results: chaos, death, and an impending world conflict. Okabe, the only individual who appears to be able to "remember" events after timelines have shifted, takes it upon himself to set things straight by "undoing" his previous jaunts through spacetime.
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A couple things to note about the way the story is presented here. First, it's heavily condensed. Steins;Gate was a thirty-hour game; 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate is designed to be beaten in a single hour-long session and lacks a save feature. This means that some of the most impactful and emotional scenes are glossed over for the sake of brevity. Second, certain details have been altered, as I believe this story is supposed to be unfolding over a slightly different "worldline." Nevertheless, it's the same basic plot progression, and the game will be entirely incomprehensible to those who have yet to play the original and/or Elite.

While Steins;Gate unfolds via the "route" style of a modern visual novel, 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate plays more like a retro adventure game. Navigation is accomplished by moving Okabe around within a top-down map of Akihabara. Upon entering a location the game switches to a first-person view, oftentimes with a character portrait (of a friend or adversary of Okabe) placed dead center. In these segments a series of options becomes available. Okabe can choose to speak to a character, investigate something nearby, use a previously obtained item, initiate a "crazy laugh" (seriously), or move within or out of the present locale.
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The game is very, very easy. It doesn't seem like there's any possible way to lose. The player is bashed over the head with hints regarding what to do next and most areas are "walled off" until they become relevant. The writing's decent enough, though the type of sly humor that characterizes the original didn't translate especially well to this compact retelling. Character portraits are charming and well-drawn, as are the location backgrounds. Resolution is 4:3, and visuals are given a "CRT" effect via scan lines and a vintage television border. The soundtrack is comprised of tunes from the original. They're structurally competent, but sound a bit neutered here. The weakest part of the whole experience is inarguably the world map. It's overly large, dull, and gray. Keeping track of locations is a tedious affair as most everything looks the same. The game would have benefited from a simple "move" menu option à la Portopia.

All told, I love Steins;Gate and because I love Steins;Gate I like this well enough. This particular spin-off, while far from life-changing, is a good deal more fun and accessible than the average Famicom adventure. It isn't perfect, but it's "free" and comes packaged with an absolute titan of a visual novel. Play Steins;Gate Elite and then hop on over and snuggle up with 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate. There are worse ways to spend an hour.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by REPO Man Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:27 pm

Shantae and the Seven Sirens for PS4. A near-perfect entry in the Shantae series.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:54 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2020!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Pikmin 2 (GCN)
2. Banjo-Tooie (N64)
3. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)
4. Super Baseball Simulator 1,000 (SNES)
5. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)
6. Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection (PS2)
***7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)***
***8. Cruis'N USA (N64)***
9. Arc The Lad Collection (PS1)
10. Halo 2 (XBOX)
11. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean (GCN)
12. DuckTales 2 (NES)
13. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
14. Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
***15. Skies of Arcadia (SDC)***
16. Dragon Quest V (SNES)
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom (PS1)

***18. Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (GEN)***

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I completed Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition on the Sega Genesis this evening!

This is the version of Street Fighter II that I grew up on. I remember fondly beating the game with Ryu so many times that I lost count. It wasn't until I went through with all characters how unbalanced some of the characters. The addition of new moves in later versions really helped the characters out. Still, the game plays amazingly well and isn't as dizzy heavy as the original SFII. The game will always hold a special place in my heart as I learned fighting games on this specific game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:46 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)

49. Wandersong (Switch)

Wandersong is a cute little game I had recommended to me ages ago, but I can't really remember the why or how of that happening. All I know is that at some point I bought it for my Switch, tried it out for a few hours, and then bounced off of it. It's been languishing up until now, and I finally finished it yesterday. It took me about 8 hours to complete the English version of the game all in one sitting.

Wandersong is a story about a bard. You have a dream one night about being tested as the hero who will save the world... and fail. You fail horribly, and the guardian spirit of the world informs you in no uncertain terms of this. The world has a destined hero, and it is soooo not you. However, the bard does learn of something called the Earthsong, something that could theoretically save the world, but it's never been successfully done. Undeterred, the bard sets out on a quest with his new companion Miriam the witch to try and save the world in a universe that is DEFINITELY about to end.

You travel to all sorts of different locales: an archipelago full of singing and coffee-loving pirates, a city under the thumb of an oppressive toy factory, and a freezing mountain on the edge of the world. All while reality slowly begins to crumble around you and the actual destined hero harries you at every turn, given that you're on two conflicting quests. Wandersong is a story about hope and the relationships between people. The story takes a while to get going, but once it does it really had me hooked (I'd say it starts getting good a couple hours in at Act 3). The dialogue is silly, but balances seriousness with that well. It eases you into the characters of Miriam and the bard with the silliness, and gets to how they function as people beyond that. I was delightfully surprised by the writing in this game, and it at times feels like a VN despite being more a puzzle platformer with a large focus on its story.

The actual gameplay loop of Wandersong is a puzzle platformer, but ultimately not a terribly challenging one, although it certainly has more tricky parts that I would've predicted it had. You can walk around and jump, but what the game really flexes its puzzles with is your ability to sing (you ARE a bard, after all). By pushing the right stick in the 8 cardinal directions, each one sings a different note, and the game uses this mechanic for all manner of puzzles. Puzzles rarely repeat outside of the singing parts, and the game does a great job at pacing puzzles so they go on long enough to feel satisfying but not so long that they feel overly repetitive. They're a great framework for the story to take place in, and they add a lot of character to the bard, as you can basically sing whenever you want, and you also choose dialogue options in conversations by selecting a direction on the little color wheel that appears to help you select notes. You can even hold L to start dancing whenever you want. It has no bearing on the gameplay, but there's a secret new dance to discover in each area of the game, and it's good silly fun to just start dabbing during a cutscene X3

The presentation of the game is super fun. It almost has a paper-craft style to it with how everything is constructed out of shapes. The world is bright, colorful, and full of personality, from the backgrounds to even side characters. The music is also really good, often reacting dynamically to how you're playing the game or what your bard is singing. Nothing particularly MP3-worthy, but it does a great job at making the overall theme of music come alive as well as setting the mood for scenes very well, especially the bard's singing parts.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. There are a lot of indie puzzle platformers out there, I won't deny that, but this is easily one of the most memorable I've ever played. With a strong presentation and a solid story, it's definitely one of my favorite games I've played this year.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:11 pm

The First 50:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)
52. Castlevania (Switch)(Platformer)
53. Akumajō Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)


I played through the NTSC-U release of Castlevania for the NES and the NTSC-J Famicom cart release back to back and then jumped back and forth between versions to compare them. Instead of breaking these apart into separate discussions, I thought it better to go over them at the same time because, at their core, they are the same game. Most of the differences between the two cartridge versions are cosmetic, save for one significant option incorporated into the Japanese release. However, I won't be going into the Famicom Disk System version because I did not play that one. While both of the cart releases were included in the Castlevania Anniversary Collection that I am checking out on the Nintendo Switch, the FDS release was unfortunately not included.

Do any of us not know what Castlevania is? It's hard to think that someone might not, as it continues to be an important franchise in video games, even as Konami seems to be taking the plunge out of the video gaming world. For those of you not in the know, however, the Castlevania series started as a 2D side-scrolling platformer with a lot of action, difficult enemies and boss battles, a nice array of subweapons which invoke some strategy, secrets spread throughout, and a story that culled classic movie monsters so much that the devs even put film perforations on the edge of the title screen (which are even more noticeable in the Famicom release). This formed the basis for what we now think of as "Classicvania" style, as opposed to the "Metroidvania" and 3D gameplay styles that were adopted later...or the fighting game, but we won't go into that.

Castlevania isn't an easy game, but as a horror fan, it's a series I have always had an affection for. It's also a rewarding experience to play back through and discover which subweapons and strategies work against different enemy types and especially against bosses. Beating the game also warrants a new playthrough at higher difficulty, with additional enemies tossed in to really add to the challenge. Plus, it forms the basis for the numerous tunes that form Castlevania's fantastic music library, so just grooving to the music is well worth it.

It's also a surprisingly short game, coming in at six levels, but with the replayability factor, that's actually not a major detriment. Simon Belmont takes his whip, goes into a castle and beats Dracula's ass, and then the adventure starts over again to further test your skills. There are a few minor differences between the two cart releases, but ultimately you get the same thing in both, with generally responsive controls, a lot of knockback when taking a hit, and a hero who sinks like a stone but yet never feels sluggish the way something like Castlevania the Adventure feels.

In fact, there is one major difference in my mind that might put the Japanese release over the US one, if only for beginners; the Japanese Famicom release has a difficulty option not present for the Americans. This makes sense, as the Famicom cart came out a few years later, so Konami devs had time to review critiques and make adjustments, and if you're a Castlevania veteran, there is little reason to need an Easy mode. For a beginner, it may also lead to some bad habits; there's no knockback, you get to keep your subweapon after death, and you always start levels with 30 hearts to use said subweapon as opposed to 0. Yet it will show you the crux of the game, and it even loops into an easy "Hard Mode" at the end, with all the extra enemies but the Easy difficulty benefits.

I can't really say either one is a definitive version over the other. They're both fantastic games, and as a lover of horror films and games, I adore it. Even if it does kick my butt.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:17 pm

Based and variantpilled. I dunno why you guys don't own a Famicom Disk System though. Such an accessible console.

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)

43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
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Kid Niki: Radical Ninja feels like one of the most generic 8-bit platformers around. B attacks, A jumps, twenty-minute runtime, eight levels, Data East as publisher. I suspect this was a frequent "back in the day" rental, and folks who were saddled with this one for a weekend likely all felt the same way come Sunday night, whether the game was finished or not: "Meh." Kid Niki arrived on the NES back in '87, but its history runs much deeper. It's a port of an Irem arcade original, and it received two Japan-only Famicom sequels plus a Game Boy spin-off. Kid Niki also received the requisite (and only moderately playable) computers ports. And yes, as you probably guessed, Kid Niki: Radical Ninja was once of those corny Americanized titles: in Japan it was called Kaiketsu Yanchamaru.

As the game begins, Niki is just chillin' at Ninja School. Yeah, you know, Ninja School. A bird, pierced by an arrow, crashes in and falls dead at Niki's feet. This next part isn't conveyed well within the game, but attached to the bird was a note, informing Niki of a recent princess kidnapping. Not a big fan of doors, Niki crashes through the school walls and begins his quest.

Stages are typical affairs, scrolling left to right with plenty of insta-death pitfalls. As the game takes place in feudal Japan there are some intriguing attempts at "period" scenery mixed in with all the "typical" settings (an ice cave, forest, and so on). The jump controls are actually quite good, which is essential given the glut of precision platforming. Niki can pivot in midair; he's not as smooth as Mario but he gets the job done. As far as combat goes, Niki's equipped with a blade that thrusts out in front of him and twirls for a second. It's a decently large weapon, able to strike foes who approach from both the side and from above. There's a temporary special weapon, granted by collecting a bell, which causes a ball to spin around Niki. It technically possesses a longer range than the blade, but is more difficult to aim, making its acquisition something of a gamble.

The enemy selection is pretty standard: bad ninjas, bad monks, lots of random animals. Many enemies simply charge at Niki, though some ninjas throw projectiles. They don't come rushing out guns blazing (or shurikens blazing), there's a "lag" between their first appearance and first attack, and it's advantageous to clear out these foes quickly. The game is very fond of diagonal attack patterns, as every bird in Nippon is determined to dive-bomb Niki at a 45 degree angle. Again, these can be taken out (or avoided outright) as they first appear onscreen, as they don't instantaneously initiate their assault. Bosses are something else altogether. They're huge creatures, lifted straight from Japanese lore. Attack patterns and weak points are not always readily apparent, so a little experimentation is typically necessary. Whenever Niki strikes a boss his blade breaks, and he must go and retrieve the piece before attacking again. It comes across like a bizarre way to counter button-mashing and also feels somewhat glitchy in practice. It's possible for Niki's blade to get wedged in an unreachable place, but should he get "close enough" he somehow manages to recollect it. Defeating a boss displays a message proclaiming "Atta Boy!" -- who wrote the script here, Niki's dad?
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As far as overall difficulty goes, file Kid Niki into the "annoying" category. All standard enemies suffer one-hit deaths, but so does the Kid. Checkpoints are available, but are oftentimes spread too far apart to feel useful. Mercifully, there are continues, but the average player will be inclined to quit well before seeing the game through. Despite the relatively smooth character movement, generally speaking, the sheer amount of enemies makes this one of those "meticulous" games; best to creep through it cautiously rather than attempt to make a full steam charge ahead.

The graphical presentation is rather sad. Niki looks decent enough, but the enemies are static and bland. Many of the stage backgrounds are comprised of garish clashing colors. Others are simply one-note and boring. The "ice caves" boast an ugly green/brown backdrop, with the only "ice" being the floor and ceiling. A certain stretch of Round 5 regresses into sub-Atari visuals, as Niki traverses grass(?) comprised of large plain green stacked blocks. To counter, the game occasionally surprises with some nice visuals, like the giant Buddha in the aforementioned Round 5, and the detailed world map. But these moments are few and far between. The soundtrack doesn't fare much better. There's about seven minutes of music total, with the constantly-looping and annoyingly-chipper "stage theme" being the most commonly-heard lowlight. The sound effects are okay.

Kid Niki is functional and isn't gravely offensive, but it also does nothing impressive. It feels like Irem's early attempt to embrace the platformer craze, and a shaky attempt at that. I recommend this to Nintendo completionists, Ninja School students, and no one else.
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