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Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:29 am
by PartridgeSenpai
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)

More digital games I've owned forever! Pictobits is a game that I ported over from my DSi that I actually got for free. It was one of a few games my DSi's previous own had bought, but I guess the people at Gamestop didn't wipe the DSi correctly, so I could just redownload what they'd bought off of the eShop. Score! It's the only one of Nintendo's old Art Style series of puzzle games (of which AJ is a huge fan) that I own, and I thought it was about time that I see it through to the end. Many years ago I finished 11 of the 30 stages, and this time I finished the rest (as well as replayed all the old ones). All in all, it took me about 2 or 3 hours to play through the whole game.

The concept of Pictobits is that you're matching colored sets of descending blocks on the bottom screen that then form 8-bit pictures that appear in the upper screen. Block are picked up and put down again by tapping them with the stylus, and oddly enough you put them down in the order you picked them up, like you're stacking them in a tower (e.g. pick up red, blue, then white, the first one you'll be putting down is white). You can match blocks in horizontal and vertical lines of four or longer, or of rectangles of 2x2 or higher. The thing is, that you can only match blocks with the ones descending from the top of the screen, and those sets of blocks will freeze in place (turning into normal blocks you can pick up) once they come in contact with anything. This means that you can get filled up with clutter REALLY quick if you aren't fast on your feet, especially in the last 20 or so levels.

You have some emergency buttons though. You can tap the POW feature to wipe away the bottom two rows of blocks as well as send all floating blocks rocketing to their lowest possible position (at the cost of one unit of your maximum amount of held bits), but you can also get those carry positions back by spending 5 coins (which are earned when a match is made). It's a really addicting little game, if a tad frustrating in the hardest levels.

The levels themselves are based off of old NES games. The big recognizable ones are Marios 1 and 3 as well as Zelda 1, but there are also some less common ones like Wrecking Crew, Excitebike, and Ice Climbers. There's even a pair of levels dedicated to Nintendo's own NES "Baseball". The bits create the picture on the top image in tune to the music, which is composed of slight remixes of classic themes from the game whose picture you're building. The music ranges from good to pretty damn good, and the credits music especially is fantastic.

The game isn't entirely perfect though. I say the last 20 levels are hard, because there are 15 normal stages, and then each has a "dark world" version, which is really just a whole new level based on that game as well. To unlock them, you need to spend your saved up coins on the menu screen (you also unlock tracks in the jukebox this way on the title screen). The coins feel really unnecessary in this regard. Unlocking these stages requires a not super painful but still present amount of grinding stages over and over for coins because of how expensive the later ones are, and it feels really unnecessary. There's already a feature on every level where if you complete it fast enough with a high enough score you get a star-rank near your high score. Why not have those unlock the dark world stages? Very puzzling bit of design there that, while certainly not deal breaking, brings a tinge of annoyance to an otherwise really fluid, fun experience.

The other complaints I have are mechanical. If you have any difficulty differentiating colors quickly, this game will likely irritate you immensely. There are some levels where the colors you're dealing with are VERY similar in color (like a dull white and a light grey), and I cannot tell you the amount of times I had to restart a harder stage because I'd mixed up two very close colors.

The other annoying thing is that you pick up and place blocks on a grid, but that grid is invisible, so if you're trying to set up a big chain for the incoming blocks, you may well mis-tap the screen and end up putting down something in the wrong place or nothing at all because of a slight miscalculation. This irritation goes the same with picking up blocks. There was many a time where I put down a block only to realize it was the wrong color because I'd mistakenly picked up two before when I meant to pick up one. The controls are generally fine, and they certainly don't make the game unenjoyable, but they will very likely irritate you a handful of times if you wanna see the end of the dark world levels. I don't think they could really be any better with the control mechanism being the way it is. It's more of a necessary evil of how this game's concept demands its execution to be done, and it's about as good as it could possibly be outside of providing an in-game grid for reference (which would've been really nice, if I'm honest).

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Pictobits is a game that isn't exactly as ingeniously addictive as Tetris, but it manages to make something interesting and engaging out of that tried and true "dropping blocks" puzzle formula with a fantastic presentation layered on top to boot. It's something you should absolutely give a look if you have $5 to drop on the 3DS eShop for a good score attack time killer ^w^

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:31 am
by Flake
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

It's Super Metroid! Definitely not a 'back log victory' but this is the first time I played it on the Switch's SNES Online feature using the official Switch SNES controller. So that still gives me something to talk about!

I suppose it has been a long time since I last played Super Metroid - much longer than I realized. I was surprised to find the controls too clunky and floaty. I guess my own tastes have evolved over the years. I joke about how much I love Time Spinner but I found myself wishing Super Metroid had the same smooth controls.

The Super Nintendo Switch controller is a dream. It is so comfortable and the muscle memory I developed back in the 90s was there within minutes. The placement of the 'extra' buttons is much better than the NES Switch controller. Accessing the SNES Online menu became a simple reflex. Also - the weight of the controller feels perfect. When I finished Super Metroid, I went back to using the Switch Pro Controller and I was shocked to find that the grip felt plasticy and the button placement clunky. Weird!

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:48 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)

Well, this is one of the stranger Japanese role-playing games to arrive in America during the 1990s.

Knights of Xentar is a product of Elf, a Japanese development studio founded in 1989. Elf's specialty was "eroge" (erotic) video games. Their most notable title being the fantastic visual novel YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World, which received a fan translation, and then eventually a full remake that saw a Western release. Elf was also responsible for the four-part Dragon Knight RPG series. All were released on Japanese home computers (MSX2, PC-98, and so on) and subsequently ported to consoles with the naughty stuff removed. Those first two Dragon Knight entries were first-person dungeon crawlers à la Wizardry. Part four was an epic sprawling tactical RPG. But that third installment is arguably the most user-friendly; it's a traditional "JRPG" in the vein of Final Fantasy. Through some miracle Dragon Knight III received a Western MS-DOS port, renamed Knights of Xentar, courtesy of a publisher called Megatech Software. Megatech was the first outfit to publish eroge games in North America, with Knights of Xentar being their third release. Different "variants" of the game can be played. The standard retail release was rated "NR 13" (this all predates the ESRB), though an optional "NR 18" upgrade could be purchased to restore the adult content found in the Japanese original. These age ratings are woefully inaccurate by today's standards, where the two versions would be considered M and AO-rated, respectively. I own a vanilla copy of Knights of Xentar and have (fortunately?) completed both the NR 13 and NR 18 variations (albeit with a decade-long break in between).

The protagonist of the game is a young man named Desmond (Takeru in the Japanese versions), who also starred in the first two games. In fact, most characters here are recurring, and large amounts of artwork have been recycled, though it's certainly not necessary to play the first two Dragon Knight games before tackling Knights of Xentar. While journeying, Desmond arrives at a new town whereupon he is confronted by bandits. Bound by some arcane code of honor, Desmond refuses to unsheathe his weapon in the presence of the fiends. So, they proceed to beat him senseless, and steal his equipment and clothing. Desmond rises, bruised and sore, in the house of an old man. He's soon sent on his way, left to explore the village naked, slowly working himself back into some semblance of respectability. Shortly after, our hero meets a demon who hints that Desmond may be of divine origin. And so, Desmond sets out to discover his bloodline, as well as the location of his (still missing) legendary equipment.
Knights of Xentar presents with an overhead view, with the "side-view" battles of an old Final Fantasy title. Keyboard and/or mouse are used for controls, and neither feels completely sufficient. Take movement, for example. A click of the mouse can be used to send Desmond to a specific locale, though he'll more than likely trigger an all-too-frequent random battle on the way. Meanwhile, movement with the keyboard feels choppy and slow. Menus, on the other hand, sometimes feel more naturally navigated with a keyboard (shops) or mouse (battle). Mapping commands to a controller isn't entirely feasible either, sadly. Progression is typical of most old JRPGs. There's a big overworld, containing icons representing the various towns and dungeons. Battles can be triggered anywhere with the exception of towns and lone houses, and towns contain the requisite shops, inns, and NPCs.

The party system is a bit reminiscent of Dragon Quest II, as Desmond ventures out as a loner, but is eventually joined by two compatriots. First comes Rolf, a massive bearded man with a viking helm. Like Desmond, he's reliant on physical attacks. Though he resembles your typical RPG "tank" Rolf basically functions exactly like Desmond but on 80% capacity. He's slower, weaker, and the one who needs to be healed most often. Later comes the stereotypical beautiful girl-mage Luna (how original). Unlike most RPG mages, Luna doesn't simply posses weak physical attacks -- in fact, she possesses none whatsoever! Luna's a pure spellcaster: with an incredibly useful "earth" (heal) spell plus an array of offensive magic. If said magic can be found, that is. See, Luna doesn't gain new spells based on XP level; instead a series of elemental "gems" must be unearthed. Actually finding these things is utter insanity, and with no official Knights of Xentar strategy guide I fail to see how it was possible in the before-internet era. Examples? One gem is found buried in front of a specific sign post. Typically, a depressed man occupies this spot. One must first talk to the man, head to a specific town that he flees to, speak to him again, then return to the post and "search" its base. Another gem is found in a jar that must be searched ten times. Yet another is sold by a shopkeeper -- but only after the party first spends 50,000 sovereigns (gold) during a single shopping trip (and there's no reason to do such a thing at this stage in the game as the party will already be outfitted with superior armor). Long story short: Luna's a great and powerful addition to the Xentar party, for those players who have a walkthrough.

The battle system is arguably the most unique and surprising aspect of the game (ya know, besides the presence of naked women). Essentially, it's something of an automated version of the "mash A to win" system found in so many similar JRPGs. Here, the standard attacks are purely automatic. Desmond and Rolf hack away at enemies (who attack back). Any other action must be dictated by the player. These include Luna's casting of spells, use of items, or the choice to flee from battle. Battle AI can also be modified. For instance, one can direct Desmond and Rolf to attack the weaker enemies first, or vice versa. There's an additional "knowledge" meter than increases as the party is exposed to a specific enemy over time. One the meter reaches 100% the party can "attack using knowledge" which seems to help a fair bit. There's an "attack gauge" (set at 6 by default): the player can manipulate this to unleash harder slow attacks or weaker fast attacks. Lastly, the overall speed of battles can be raised and lowered. Though seemingly a cosmetic feature, this actually seems to impact the game most, and all should be advised to crank this to max speed for more seamless level grinding. The game's difficulty is wildly inconsistent, and heavily dependent on the party make-up. Oftentimes, it's best to outright avoid enemies within a certain area (a specific item can halt the triggering of random battles). The game is over whenever a single character falls, though the save-anywhere feature can render this penalty moot.
I suppose I should address the sexual content. These scenes are laughably stupid at their best, creepy and problematic at their worst. Desmond is a hit with the ladies, for no good reason given, and a multitude of women encountered throughout the game will throw themselves at him. There's a crappy trope found in these "eroge" RPGs: where a hero saves a woman from an impending sexual assault (sometimes from monsters and other vicious beasts) and she subsequently "rewards" him with sex. Yeah, that's here in Xentar, occasionally. Everything else is more along lines of "the hero is here, let me strip!" or whatnot. It's all pretty uncomfortable and contrived, but there's really nothing too explicit shown, and every one of Desmond's "conquests" is presented as consensual, which is much more credit than I can give to filth like Rance. Technically speaking, the full-screen artwork displayed during these scenes is very good, though I can't say the same for the accompanying dialogue. As for those changes made to the "NR 13" version... some entire scenes have been removed, and some dialogue has also been stripped, which makes a few conversions totally nonsensical. Certain women have been granted clothing, which looks awkwardly "pasted" on. This was apparently impossible to pull off with one gal, perhaps due to her body position, so the censors simply erected a wall in front of her! How sensual.

Knights of Xentar is full of loquacious NPCs, and the core trio is also prone to constant banter. The game is filled jokes and frequent jabs at Desmond, mainly about his body odor and, uh, size. Some of these gags land and some don't. My sense of humor tends to be "immature" so I indeed found myself laughing out loud, frequently. There's also tons of self-referential humor, pop culture references, and shameless breaking of the fourth wall. Much of the dialogue is similar to that of Working Designs. But while Working Designs jokes often fell flat because they were "randomly" inserted into otherwise "serious" RPGs, the entirety of the Xentar script is predicated on silliness and stupidity. Most everyone is fully voiced... and the voice-acting is some of the worst ever seen in a video game. Just stunningly bad. Any eroticism to be found is quashed by the fact that every female character sounds like a middle-aged woman from the American Deep South attempting to pull off a "sultry" accent. Desmond himself sounds like some sort of stoner/surfer duuuuude, while Rolf is apparently perpetually intoxicated. Luna's okay, I guess, but she still sounds like a grown adult woman trying to imitate a girl half her age.

Outside of those aforementioned "sexy" cutscenes, the game doesn't impress too much graphically. There are some nice character portraits given to the playable trio and key NPCs, but the designers got lazy with the smaller character sprites. Certain "types" are used repeatedly. For instance, every "anime girl" has the same little blond sprite. Only when one of the ladies is spoken to can she be differentiated, either by a pop-up portrait or a full body shot in one of those "scenes." Likewise, there's a stereotypical bearded "wise man" sprite given to all elderly men...... but the cutscenes of Desmond being rescued display a man with a mustache and glasses. Most of the environmental and enemy designs look very "early 16-bit" which I suppose is fitting, as Dragon Knight III was originally released in 1991. As for the music, it's absolutely awesome. Some of the slickest to grace a 16-bit JRPG. Very catchy and synth-heavy, and it sounds surreal to hear "JRPG music" being delivered via DOS and the sound chips of old PCs. A very successful East-meets-West blending.
The biggest weakness of Xentar is that of its actual game world. The constant barrage of jokes, nudity, and jokes about nudity can't hide the fact that the game's pretty bland. The overworld is really weak: it's just like a big flat green pancake. There's no rhyme or reason to the positioning of towns and dungeons, and navigating can be a huge pain. There are scattered hints about where to travel to next, but never any decent directions. Getting lost is all but guaranteed, and this is one of those games where the party is sure to be slaughtered should they venture into the "wrong" section of the map too early. Dungeons are also rather stale and monochromatic. Most consist of branching pathways, but rarely anything that resembles a coherent or compelling structure. There are few puzzles to be found, and most can be solved via trial and error plus save scumming. Truthfully, the best areas of the game are the towns, though that's due to the abundance of funny NPCs rather than any clever layouts.

This is a tricky one to rate or recommend. The battle system and riveting soundtrack are the best things the game has going for it. The jokes and "adult scenes" are amusing and all, but not enough to carry this one throughout its 25-hour run time. It's a "good" game, but substantially worse than the all-time 16-bit RPG classics found on the SNES, Genesis, and PC Engine. I'd recommend this to those who think they've had their fill of 16-bit JRPGs: if anything, Xentar is objectively and substantially different than any other RPG released in the West. Those who can read Japanese would be advised to explore the entire series; some critics actually consider this installment to be the weak point. As a final word of advice: most certainly utilize a walkthrough and most certainly avoid playing this one in mixed company. Desmond has a thing for catgirls and faeries.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:16 pm
by REPO Man
Undead Horde for PS4. I'm literally three trophies from my first Platinum.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:41 pm
by Note
1. Streets of Rage 2 (Sega Genesis Mini)
2. The Ninja Warriors (3x) (Super Nintendo)


3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (Super Nintendo)

I've been on a beat 'em up kick recently, and have not played through this game in around 15+ years. I recently ordered a pair of the 8bitdo SNES30 bluetooth controllers, as I'd like to preserve my original Nintendo pair. The controllers and receivers came in and I wanted to test them out on a game I hadn't played in a while, so I went for this.

The graphics, soundtrack, and gameplay hold up really well IMO, and it's one of my favorite titles on the system. I'm glad I still have my original copy from around the time it was released. I played through the game with Michelangelo since he was my go to character back in the day. It was awesome going through this one again. It brought back good memories, as my sister and I used to play this co-op.

If for some reason you haven't tried this game yet, or haven't played through it in a long time, like myself, give this one a go! It's highly recommended, especially if you have a friend to play co-op with.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:56 pm
by Note
1. Streets of Rage 2 (Sega Genesis Mini)
2. The Ninja Warriors (Super Nintendo) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (Super Nintendo)


4. Golden Axe (Sega Genesis Mini)

Still on a beat 'em up binge, I decided to give Golden Axe a go. I hadn't sat down to try to beat the game in about 10 years. This is the first game I've had issues with on the Genesis Mini. Over the weekend this particular game either glitched or froze on two occasions while my girlfriend and I were playing co-op. This happened during one session we were doing particularly well in, so that was frustrating. Either way, I wanted to try to beat the game after playing through it a few times and getting shut down due to technical issues.

Usually I pick Ax-Battler but I wanted to try Gilius this time around. The roll move with Gilius is a game changer IMO. I was able to do a lot of damage to bosses I was unable to successfully navigate in previous sessions. I was also able to dodge some charge attacks from enemies with the roll. The first time I tried with Gilius I got up to Death Bringer, but only had one life left and died pretty quickly. I tried again and navigated the earlier levels in a much better fashion, and got up to Death Bringer with a good amount of lives to spare, and was able to beat him.

It's a great time in co-op, but I had a lot of fun playing it solo too. I previously played this game using a 6-Pak cartridge I got in 2004, but I'd like to add a copy of the original game to my collection. Highly recommended if you're a fan of the genre.

I might have to give Golden Axe II a shot next. I never had the sequel, or knew anyone that did when it was originally released.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:01 pm
by REPO Man
Have you heard of Revenge of Death Adder? It never got a port, but it's getting an Arcade 1UP cabinet.

Also if you like Openbor, check out Golden Axe Myth.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:54 am
by Note
REPO Man wrote:Have you heard of Revenge of Death Adder? It never got a port, but it's getting an Arcade 1UP cabinet.

Also if you like Openbor, check out Golden Axe Myth.

Yeah, I actually had a chance to play the Revenge of Death Adder arcade at a Barcade location in Manhattan about 2 years ago. Thought it was great, but I didn't get to play for long, only the first two or three levels. I'd like to go back with a friend and try to finish it. I kinda wish it had the original characters, but was still a fun game. Sega really should've ported it to the Saturn.

I'm not familiar with Openbor, thanks for the tip. Gonna look into it and Golden Axe Myth. I played Streets of Rage Remake (which I thought was awesome), if that's similar?

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:02 am
by elricorico
1. NBA Jam (GEN)

2. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PSVR)

I finished Astro Bot this morning and boy was this a good time!

When I first jumped into the current gen with a PS4 I thought I would get the VR when the right deal struck, but the right deal just never seemed to strike. However, at Christmas time my youngest daughter started talking about her interest on VR, so my wife decided we were getting one. The 5 game bundle was ordered and we've been enjoying our first taste of VR as a family since.

I had heard a lot of good things about Astro Bot, but that didnt stop me from having a number of "wow" moments while playing. This Is basically just a solid 3D platformer, but the VR aspect puts you in the role of the camera. As you look around, lean back and forward or even dodge projectiles you become immersed in the game world. While the platforming itself is well made, the enhancement of VR elevates the experience greatly.

The game consists of five worlds, with 4 levels in each, followed by a boss battle. After the 5th boss is a "final" boss, and them the credits roll. It doesn't take very long, even if you are fully exploring each level(which I strongly suggest because why would you want to miss anything?) Probably about 6 hours for my casual playthrough. It isn't a hard game if you have any experience with 3D platformers, I would die a few times on the later levels, but the checkpoints were very generous. The last few bosses took a few attempts, but nothing killed me more than a handful of times. After finishing I was immediately replaying a couple of early levels to collect a few things I had missed.

I think Astro Bot is a strong candidate for "killer app" for the PSVR. A solid little game wrapped up in a number of tricks that only a VR experience could exploit. I would recommend it to anyone.

Re: Games Beaten 2020

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:36 pm
by dsheinem
My first post in this thread of the year! w00t!

Games Beaten 2020
Mortal Kombat 11 - PS4 *new*
The Force Unleashed II - 360 *new*
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom - Wii
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - 360 *new*

Total: 4

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

A fine slate of games to start off the year...

MK11 is another excellent entry in the franchise, and I enjoyed playing through the campaign just to try out a bunch of the characters, even if the story was often mind-numbingly boring. I don't know yet if I like it more than XL, but they are certainly comparably high-quality fighters.

The next three games I played for Together Retro (they all came out in 2010).

I didn't think that The Force Unleashed II holds up very well - its level design and emphasis on neon/electric effects are very much of its era. It isn't a bad game at all, but it struck me as less polished and interesting than the first entry (which I played at its release). Worth playing through for Star Wars fans, as it is a short title with some interesting ideas.

Since its release, Tatsunoko vs Capcom has been my favorite "Versus" title to date - I try to get back into it every few years and play through Arcade mode a few times. This one controls like a dream with the official MadCatz stick produced for the game, and it remains one of the absolute best experiences on the Wii. (It is arguably the best fighter overall of the last decade...)

I was pleasantly surprised by Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. The game plays like old school Tomb Raider+Diablo+Mario: and it works really well. There's lots of fun areas to explore, the combat feels great, the puzzles are just interesting enough that you can solve them all without being overly frustrated by any of them, and the graphics work really well to create a particular atmosphere/feel to the game. The story is forgettable but serviceable. I would definitely encourage people check this one out if they haven't. I now plan to play the sequel sometime soon...