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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:15 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)


I keep forgetting this game exists! XP
I've loved the other 3 games and I soooo gotta get this one :D
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
dust_hound
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dust_hound Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:34 pm

17th August 2020 - Final Fantasy XII (PS2, emulated on PC with PCSX2)

I haven't posted anything here in what feels like an age, because I was playing Final Fantasy XII and it took me about 55 hours to get to the end.

I've been trying to clear my backlog, and decided to actually reduce my gaming library. I've never been one to hold onto a lot of possessions, and I felt suffocated by trying to get through every game I had. I therefore went through all those that I hadn't completed and pretty much all were not physical. I then closed my Humble Store, GOG, and Playstation Network accounts, and deleted several games from my Steam account.

That left me with the core of what I was absolutely sure I wanted to play. Now, having finished FFXII, I just have Okami, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Front Mission: Gun Hazard to go through (barring games that you don't really beat like the awesome occult pinball simulator, Demon's Tilt).

What's remarkable for me for FFXII is that I played through it entirely on a low end, 4gb ram, core i3-7020u laptop with integrated graphics. I ripped my PS2 disc and tried emulating, not expecting much, but I was able to run it at a stable 50fps (PAL version) at half-native resolution, without many problems. There was occasional stutter when loading, but nothing that really affected gameplay. Despite the low resolution (960x540) it looked pretty great on my laptop's 14 inch screen.

Having become fed up with JRPGs' horrible tropes of extreme padding of gameplay with grinding and their often slow pace, I started off in FFXII expecting to feel like it would be a chore to beat, but as I started to get immersed in the story and atmosphere I gradually started having more and more fun. I'd now say it's my favourite Final Fantasy of all time, having played through IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, and Tactics. I think the plot was somewhat badly received by the "hardcore" weeb crowd at the time as it's not all childish emo nonsense like FFVII, and it felt like it was much more grounded in "reality" than some of the others. I also liked the fact that the characters weren't the only focus - I found the political events and scheming behind the scenes that led to the events in-game very interesting to follow too. I even found not-the-main-character-but-shoehorned-in-to-appeal-to-youthful-audiences Vaan to be not as annoying as the more vocal detractors of the game would have made me believe - his youthful exuberance won me over and I thought his interactions with the rest of the cast were enjoyable to watch. I thought he did also receive some appropriate character development - maybe not that much, but let's face it - this is Final Fantasy, not Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.

Taking into account the year it was released, FFXII's graphics looked absolutely stunning to me, with great solidity of the characters and environments. Even though a lot of the locales are, gameplay-wise, just mazes for you to get lost in and grind against enemies, they all had a great consistent feeling "place". The atmosphere too was something I didn't really expect, with the game's opening city of Rabanastre really feeling like a huge melting pot, and there was a brilliant contrast between the appearance of the affluent upper part of the city and the poor ghetto of lowtown. I really often felt like I wanted to get lost in the environments, even just exploring the city locations without any combat. Also, looking at the different costumes of the various NPCs, and seeing the different species all living in the same places but looking so diverse, felt really cool. Sound was also great, with significant contributions by Hitoshi Sakimoto to the score which helped to draw out the mystique each time I entered a new area.

Much was said about the gambit system at the time, with the way that the game plays more like an MMO than a traditional JRPG, and how setting up gambits means that the game plays itself - and much of it's true. However, the satisfaction came from exploring the system and eventually finding a good setup to allow my party to survive, support each other, and beat down enemies. I know that others love grinding, but I fucking hate sitting there pressing the X button over and over as I try to force myself through the latest meaningless random encounter with the same enemies that I've seen for the 50th time, so the gambit system was really a breath of fresh air. The only thing I didn't really like, and which felt like meaningless padding, was the need to not only unlock the Licenses to let my characters use new techniques, and magic, but then to have to go and actually buy the techniques and magic before being able to use them. Weapons I can understand, of course, but the other two didn't really hit a high note for me.

Overall though, I REALLY loved playing through Final Fantasy XII, and would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, moderate-challenge, and visually-arresting JRPG, which has an utterly consistent and enjoyable atmosphere.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:07 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)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)

46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)
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Infiltrate is an old Atari 2600 platformer. It was released by Apollo, one of those drive-by developers who dumped a handful of games onto the 2600 (and nowhere else) in the early 80s, and then immediately went bankrupt once the video game crash hit. Apollo is also responsible for such "hits" as Skeet Shoot, Space Cavern, and Lost Luggage. Their cartridge labels are (usually) blessed with some great artwork, I'll give them that.

The platforming action is conducted within a single unchanging screen, comprised of six horizontal "tiers" and a series of connecting elevators. It's a common motif of the era, and the game bears a passing resemblance to Donkey Kong, Kangaroo, and so forth. The player controls a gun-toting secret agent, tasked with collecting top-secret documents. When the game begins, the documents are located on the top floor. Once collected, a new set appears on the bottom floor. And so on. The bobbing elevators (of which the player has no control over) are used to travel up and down, and the secret agent must also contend with a duo of armed alien(?) adversaries. The player can shoot, with a press of the Atari joystick's lone button, and duck at any time to avoid enemy fire. Destroying an alien will cause it to respawn soon after.
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I've always found it easy to identify a bad NES game, even when simply analyzing screenshots or video footage, as they typically showcase subpar visuals and questionable audio. With the Atari it's a bit trickier. At first glance this doesn't look much different than, say, Kangaroo. The graphics are standard Atari fare, with the stereotypical "rainbow" striping taking center stage, and the sound design (of gunshots, explosions, and victory jingles) is competent. The sprites are drawn well enough, though the enemies resemble the old McDonald's Fry Guys for some reason. But, the devil, as they say, is in the details. Infiltrate plays rather poorly. The secret agent scuttles about a bit too quickly. That is, until confronted by elevators, which are mounted and dismounted in a rather clunky and lethargic manner. You can't shoot while traveling on an elevator (though you can still duck), which is incredibly irritating. Stepping off an elevator causes the secret agent to "shift" left or right in a dramatic manner -- if there's an alien hovering even remotely close you will hit it. But the biggest issue has to do with enemy respawning. Unlike Pac-Man, where the ghosts respawn in a designated spot, the Fry Guys of Infiltrate reappear randomly, oftentimes right next to the player. It's maddening. Even the scoring system is broken. Collecting documents will grant a large point increase, naturally, but it's actually safer (and faster) to accrue a high score by standing in one corner and repeatedly sniping aliens. And no, there are no point bonuses for completing a stage or besting a time limit, as neither element is present.

In some ways, this is the worst type of 2600 game. It's technically playable and functional, but just so blasé and forgettable. Infiltrate isn't bad in a broken-down "funny" way like Fire Fly is. No, this one just putzes around until the inevitable tedium sets in and the console is powered down. There are some really memorable platformers on the 2600, this isn't one of them.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:39 pm

That's a shame, Bone. It looks like it wouldn't automatically be bad. I'm a little curious why the "secret agent" has a cowboy hat, but then there seem to be a lot of questions. Also, does the level ever reset? Like, after getting so many documents, does the level change at all, like elevators relocating or anything?
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:40 pm

No. It goes on and on and on until all your brain cells are depleted.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:42 pm

Ugh, that blows. Such a shame.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:35 am

First 50:
1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch

Gunvolt Chronicles is an alternate universe in the Gunvolt world; it has a lot of thematic similarity to the story of Mega Man Zero. The game stars Copen, the secondary protagonist of Gunvolt 2 in his own solo adventure. Like before his gameplay is based around dashing into enemies and then firing lock on shots. He also gains special attacks from beating bosses; these serve as your Mega Man style boss weapons which have an energy meter (which regenerates) and have a variety of attack patterns which particular bosses will be weak to.

I don't remember if Gunvolt 2 included this feature, but Copen has some pretty crazy mobility with his ability to angle his air dashes. This will also include being able to bounce off flat surfaces to reflect; on a narrow climb section you can just bounce back and forth and quickly get through and this does not spend your dash energy. This makes the game very fast paced if you get on a roll, and like the main Gunvolt games the main challenge is in trying to keep your combo to build up a big score. The bosses share the pattern of having three phases with the third phase opening up with them doing their giant fuck you attack. I found that in general boss attacks were much harder to avoid in this game, so be prepared to take damage. The fact that you use a lock on shot means you can focus more on dodging, but there are multiple times where you need to frankly react instantly in order to dodge an enemy attack in the right way. This is most apparent on the final boss, as it's a back to back series of fights that only heals you if you level up from killing the first boss.

Overall it's a solid platformer; like the main Gunvolt games it is inspired in feel from Mega Man X but does its own thing, so it isn't just trying to imitate. I didn't like it quite as much as the other Gunvolt games, but I can't really articulate why. There's just something subtle in the level and boss design that wasn't quite as good as before.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:02 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)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)

47. Valis II (TurboGrafx CD)
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Releasing a plethora of platformers, RPGs, and shmups, Nippon Telenet was one of the more interesting developers to emerge during gaming's heyday. Working one's way through Telenet's backlog is quite the daunting task, as their games were spread across a vast array of home computers, consoles, and handhelds, and were additionally released under various divisions and subsidiaries (Wolf Team, Laser Soft, Riot, Renovation). While Telenet's crowning achievements were undoubtedly the ARPGs Exile and Xak I + II, their "flagship" series was known as Valis. The star of the series is one Yuko Aso, a Japanese schoolgirl turned "magical girl" who's given the mythical Sword of Valis and summoned to an alternate dimension to rid it of an ancient evil. It's a pretty standard idea, though somewhat novel for its time, and serves as a precursor to Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, and so on.

Valis II was released in Japan in 1989 and in North America the year after, making it both a rather early CD-ROM console game and the first Valis title released stateside. The dozens of Americans who must have owned a TurboGrafx were surely stumped about the missing Valis part one, which in 1990 remained marooned in Japan on computers and the Famicom. Note that the Valis that did eventually reach the Genesis is in fact a full-fledged remake of the first game in the series, adhering to the aesthetic and gameplay of Valis II and III. In any event, these don't really need to be played in order. The story of Valis II is wholly uninteresting, and plays out like an episodic anime series. In each stage Yuko is tasked with destroying a "minion" boss monster, before finally confronting the ultimate evil, Emperor Magus.

Though the story text itself may hold little appeal, how it's told is something altogether different. Valis II features an abundance of primitive anime cutscenes. They're similar to those dating back to the likes of Ninja Gaiden, except here they're presented with glorious CD-ROM audio. There's some light animation here and there, but most scenes unfold via a small sequence of stills, presented in a tiny box surrounded by gaudy green borders. The art is actually quite lovely, in all its retro pixelated glory, though the English voice acting is atrocious. The actors sound as if they're reading their lines from paper, without a moment of prior practice or recital. There's even a moment of light "Engrish" -- yes, in the North American version of the game -- where at one point the sword is referred to as the "Varis" Sword. Presumably the actors were working off an earlier translation. The instruction booklet actually takes things a step further, where the sword itself is referred to as "Valis II."
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Sandwiched between these "Visual Scenes" is, ya know, the game itself. Valis II is of the "action-platformer" variety. Though projectile weapons are persistently available, this one's not speedy enough to be considered a run and gun. Rather, the pacing is on par with the likes of Castlevania, Magician Lord, and The Revenge of Shinobi. The jump and attacking controls are fairly fluid, this is one of the Valis games to not utilize a clunky "mega-jump" in addition to the regular one. Yuko attacks by swinging her sword, which emits one of four projectile types. There's the default "fireball" attack, a "cutter" weapon which can block enemy projectiles, a homing missile, and a two-way spread shot. Collecting one weapon will automatically overwrite whatever Yuko presently has equipped, and weapons can be upgraded by collecting multiple icons, so it can be advantageous to try to stick with one weapon throughout the duration of a stage. There are additionally some defense boosting items, items that grant special attacks, one-ups, point boosts, and life refills. The gathered "special attacks" (such as the full-screen "crusher" move) are activated simply by pushing the up button, which makes them far too easy to engage accidentally. The clunkiest aspect of the controls, however, is actual act of walking itself. As Yuko moves she presses up rather closely to the screen's edge, and one is required to adapt to a persistent start/stop/attack strategy to clear out enemies. Humorously, the instructions acknowledge this bit of sloppy programming, but rebrand the whole thing as a "tip" of sorts. The occasional miniboss won't emerge until Yuko literally hits the screen's edge, whereupon she must immediately turn tail and run in the opposite direction to avoid getting hit. It's quite strange.

As for the stage designs themselves, the quality is mixed. Stage one, an outdoor cityscape, feels like a tutorial: basically a big flat plane with all items in plain view. It's not bad, but it's way too long for what it is. Stages two, three, and four kick things up a notch with some cooler environments (caves, floating towers, alien landscapes) and more platforming obstacles, but once again they all feel just a touch too lengthy. The final two stages are most clever in design. The penultimate environment eschews enemies in favor of a series of laser and spike obstacles, requiring one master a sequence of tricky jumps and maneuvers. The final stage is an autoscroller, with Yuko riding what looks to be a gigantic jawbone on her way to the final confrontation. Each stage concludes with a boss battle, naturally. Bosses are introduced in dramatic fashion, with their height, weight, and "power" displayed onscreen. There are taunts directed at Yuko, delivered via the atrocious voice acting, and then the battles commence. Bosses typically posses rather simple attacks. It's a matter of learning their individual attack patterns, though some shoddy programming guarantees that Yuko will take at least a few hits.
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Surprisingly, the game is very easy overall. Continues are unlimited, one-up items can be found in most every stage, and extra lives are additionally granted whenever certain point thresholds are hit. Checkpoints are plentiful. Moreover, if Yuko falls during a boss battle, she respawns "arcade-style." One of her lives is deducted, but the diminished boss lifebar stays intact. Thus, if one has an extra life to spare then any boss, including Emperor Magus himself, can be defeated via button-mashing. All told, Valis II is the easiest entry in the series by a fairly wide margin.

The level graphics are fairly standard, but pleasant to look at. Nothing looks exemplary by today's standards, but the 16-bit color palette on display here must have wowed quite a few folks back in the day. Remember, this was released before the Super Nintendo even existed. One neat little detail is the evolution of Yuko's "costumes" as the game progresses. She begins the journey clad in her schoolgirl outfit and works her way up to a sort of golden bikini. The enemies look pretty fashionable too. There are lots of creepy little demonic creatures, and the bosses are like hefty beasts straight out of a tokusatsu series. The soundtrack is pretty amazing. It's presented in the glorious redbook format, and is overflowing with all sorts of catchy 1980s synth work. It's a bit like The Ninja Warriors, however, as the best song to be found here is placed right in stage one. Nothing else quite compares. Sound effects are fairly standard. There's the constant sword slashing, though certain weapons (like the homing missiles) add some additional audio. Enemies expire amidst crunchy explosions.

All told, this is a "good" old platformer, albeit one that feels a bit janky and like it could have benefited from a couple of extra months in development. Forget the fact that it's "part two" -- series neophytes should start here. Ignore the Valis on Famicom, as it's utterly abysmal, and just play the upgraded Genesis Valis later on. Gotta love those magical girls.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:42 am

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)

54. Akumajō Dracula [Castlevania IV](Switch)(Platformer)
55. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC)(RPG)
56. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Switch)(Platformer)


Hearts of Stone

This is the first of the expansions for The Witcher 3, and it builds upon the previously open areas, adding to a map that was already fairly robust in its offerings. The general gist follows Geralt of Rivia as he encounters an immortal man who lacks emotions and the ability to really feel, and then later encounters a mysterious man who wants Geralt's help in claiming the immortal man's soul. Yeah, you end up having to help out someone who is basically the devil claim another soul from a bargain. Of course, this requires Geralt having to do three "impossible" tasks, made entirely possible through the help of magic, thievery, and the powers of Satan, even if you don't realize exactly who it is you're working for initially.

If all this sounds grim, well, it is as usual. The Witcher series is dark fantasy and some unwilling political intrigue, but here we've dropped the politics entirely in favor of the dark fantasy and a cautionary tale around getting what you wish for and realizing it isn't what you really wanted. Don't make deals with devils, kids. Of course, there are a couple of possible outcomes depending on how fully you explore certain options and are willing to gamble on yourself, though these are hidden behind some cryptic clues.

While the main plot offers some intriguing moments, such as putting together and executing a heist that goes poorly and attending a wedding while possessed by a party animal ghost, much of the side content is more of the same from the series that by now you will have already experienced. It's just higher level. That said, some previously forgotten groups and characters who were sorely lacking the both this and the last game make their return, so if you've played through the whole trilogy, you'll be happy to see at least one familiar face. Not everyone fares so well, such as a knightly order from the first game that has been disbanded and now resorts to banditry, but hey, times are always hard in The Witcher universe.

There is one side situation that is enormously interesting: runecrafting. The one major addition to the game is now the opportunity to have certain abilities stitched into your armor. While I personally favor one of the weakest enchantments, if you've the coin and the desire, you can have your weapons and armor upgraded in some interesting ways. I'm a big fan of the ability to have arrows bounce off of me. Means one less thing I can ignore in a fight, and the sound effect it produces is positively thrilling.

Look, Hearts of Stone isn't exactly going to shake the world, but it offers some tweaks that are nice and help builds up for the next big treat, which is the second expansion. I'll get more into that once I beat it.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

I have nostalgia for Castlevania III. I knew a kid in elementary and middle school who had an NES with this game, and a few times I spent the night at his place. This was in the early '90s, and I remember watching the early days of Cartoon Network and also trying to get a handle on Castlevania III, which I totally sucked at. I'd get to the first choice and either end up trying my luck in the clock tower or getting my butt kicked by owls in the woods. I never got very far, but it was always cool to try.

That nostalgia is why I opted to play Castlevania III on the Anniversary Collection before delving into Castlevania II, which I have no prior experience with. While I'm significantly better at games now, I'm sorry to say that the one thing about my childhood memories that holds up is Castlevania III being a lot tougher than the original. There are some new additions, such as being able to bring along and swap to a different party member, and the visuals and music build on what the original offered and what the NES could do in wonderful ways. Unfortunately, the controls don't feel as smooth as I need them to be, and while I finally figured out what I was getting wrong with staircases, fighting on said stairs is at best a chore. Hell, having to maneuver quickly can sometimes be problematic, as Trevor Belmont occasionally likes to become unresponsive to my need to make him duck or turn around.

Also, this game is difficult, though in a way that I admit I admire. Castlevania III feels like it wanted me to be able to beat Castlevania before coming to it. There is even a moment towards the end of the game where I realized I was looking at a room based on the initial level of the original Castlevania, complete with hordes of infinite shambling zombies...and bats. The bats are an interesting tough because they don't show up in this room in the first game until the second, harder playthrough. Here I see them on the first time through, which tells me that yeah, this game wants me to know that it's tougher and less forgiving than its predecessor. I can appreciate this, both in that Konami wanted to up the ante and also in that feeling of continuity to a previous game.

One thing that Castlevania III brings to the table is the branching pathways towards the ultimate goal. Unfortunately I ended up on what's considered the hardest path without realizing it and then ended up with Alucard as my partner...the worst of the three partners apparently. Getting through was more by tooth and nail than kicking ass, but I would make it through, rarely use Alucard since I found him largely useless, and do everything I could to keep the cross as my subweapon, just because that's what I've learned to do in Castlevania games.

While I don't think I want to return to Castlevania III any time soon, I am impressed by it. It's amazing what ideas the developer was exploring this early on with the series, and the ambition shines through. It doesn't always work out, and there are some balance problems, particularly with Alucard being worthless, but I still find I appreciate a game that wanted to kick my ass.

Oh, and on a completely different note, is this the easiest fight with Death in the series? Because even with two forms, he went down like a putz.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:27 pm

Ack wrote:Oh, and on a completely different note, is this the easiest fight with Death in the series? Because even with two forms, he went down like a putz.

It's the second easiest. The easiest is CV2, and that's assuming you actually take the time to fight him (turns out the monsters in CV2 couldn't afford to purchase boss doors).
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