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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:29 am

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)***
19. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (XBOX)
20. Disney's Aladdin (SNES)
21. Flatout 2 (PS2)
22. Mr. Driller (SDC)
23. Blast Corps (N64)
24. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (GCN)
25. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse (PS2)

26. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

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I completed Super Castlevania IV on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System this evening!

I have slowly and surely been going through the Castlevania series since 2013. I had the first two games for quite a long time, but it wasn't until my backlogging days that I was able to sit down and actually beat them. Castlevania III took much longer to beat as that game made me incredibly frustrated, but I finally sat down one night and beat it as well. With the NES versions done with, it was time to move to the next generation. I was on the hunt for Super Castlevania IV for a long while and when I saw it at a local game convention, I was so happy to finally have it. And with this month being October, I figured now would be a perfect time to finally play this classic.

Super Castlevania IV is absolutely amazing! It is one of the best SNES games I have ever played. I have enjoyed the Castlevania series, but I have never been find that marquee game. Out of the NES games, I think I enjoyed the first one the best. However, Super Castlevania IV is hands down the best in the series and can easily contend with my favorite as well. The annoying controls from the NES games is gone as you have full control of Simon Belmont. You can whip in any direction and can also move while jumping as well. Everything was fixed and played so much better. The look of the game is also superb with gorgeous backdrops and interesting usage of the SNES hardware. Almost all of the levels had something big or small that made me amazed at what I was looking at. And that is on top of the amazing score that I was listening to. Castlevania has always had superb music and Super Castlevania IV fits right in with the rest of them. Some fantastic tunes that I didn't mind hearing several times while I died.

Overall, Super Castlevania IV is an almost perfect game. In some spots, the difficult gets a bit too much along with long levels. However, I was always learning and when I died, I mostly felt like it was my fault, not the game. It's hard in spots, but you want to keep pushing. With that in mind, I can see why this game gets so much praise and it is well worth it. It is one of the best games I have played on the Super Nintendo and I can see why the series is so beloved. I now want to continue on in the series and see where it takes me. I know there are great games ahead of me and I'm excited to play them all!
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:59 am

Ack wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Great review of a great game, Pidge. I am surprised it runs so poorly, however. I played the iOS port, and it played just fine. Do you plan to play any of the other LucasArts remasters, such as Full Throttle or Grim Fandango?

Pidge is trying, though they're having some technical issues with their PC that may be the root of the problem.


While it would make sense that ports to consoles or iOS would run better, given they're for far less variable platforms as PC, that sadly does not appear to be the case here TwT

My graphics drivers refuse to update, even after trying to do a fresh reinstall of them, so my current hypothesis is that this computer is in some way absolutely fucked on the hardware level Xp. Just one more impetus to finally get the last couple pieces to reassemble my tower PC by the end of the year, I suppose ^^;

I'd love to get to the other remasters I have, but fate has decided otherwise for the time being :lol:
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:47 pm

Markies wrote:Overall, Super Castlevania IV is an almost perfect game. In some spots, the difficult gets a bit too much along with long levels. However, I was always learning and when I died, I mostly felt like it was my fault, not the game. It's hard in spots, but you want to keep pushing. With that in mind, I can see why this game gets so much praise and it is well worth it. It is one of the best games I have played on the Super Nintendo and I can see why the series is so beloved. I now want to continue on in the series and see where it takes me. I know there are great games ahead of me and I'm excited to play them all!


Nice! I started playing through some of the Castlevania games this year too. Have you tried Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Genesis? Would enjoy to hear your thoughts on that game, especially in comparison to Super Castlevania IV.

I haven't finished Bloodlines yet, but I've gotten pretty far into the game and am still learning the later stages.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:50 pm

Note wrote:
Markies wrote:Overall, Super Castlevania IV is an almost perfect game. In some spots, the difficult gets a bit too much along with long levels. However, I was always learning and when I died, I mostly felt like it was my fault, not the game. It's hard in spots, but you want to keep pushing. With that in mind, I can see why this game gets so much praise and it is well worth it. It is one of the best games I have played on the Super Nintendo and I can see why the series is so beloved. I now want to continue on in the series and see where it takes me. I know there are great games ahead of me and I'm excited to play them all!


Nice! I started playing through some of the Castlevania games this year too. Have you tried Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Genesis? Would enjoy to hear your thoughts on that game, especially in comparison to Super Castlevania IV.

I haven't finished Bloodlines yet, but I've gotten pretty far into the game and am still learning the later stages.


Castlevania: Bloodlines is literally the next game on my list. I'm looking forward to it, though I need to buy it first and I know it has gotten a little expensive recently.

The game I'm most looking forward to in the series is Symphony of the Night. I have never played it and I think it would most be up my alley in regards to gameplay.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:02 pm

Markies wrote:Castlevania: Bloodlines is literally the next game on my list. I'm looking forward to it, though I need to buy it first and I know it has gotten a little expensive recently.

The game I'm most looking forward to in the series is Symphony of the Night. I have never played it and I think it would most be up my alley in regards to gameplay.


Hopefully you can find a copy of Bloodlines at a reasonable price. I think it plays really smooth, feel like it's a bit easier to control than Super Castlevania IV but interested in hearing your thoughts once you're able to check it.

I haven't played SOTN yet either, but I was able to pick it up over the summer and hope to get around to it in the next few months. Looking forward to it!
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:41 pm

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)*
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]*
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)*
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)*
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)*
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)
21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)
22. Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN)
24. Resident Evil 6 (360)
25. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
26. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)
27. Star Fox 64 (N64)*
28. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (SNES)*
29. Perfect Dark (N64)
30. Resident Evil 2 (PS1)
31. Metal Slug X (PS1)*

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32. Left 4 Dead 2 (360)*

I totally missed out on the Left 4 Dead games when they were originally released but my partner is a huge fan of horror movies and anything horror related. She picked up both Left 4 Dead games for a few dollars each last year at a GameStop in my neighborhood shortly before it's closing. We definitely have got our money's worth out of these games as we have binged on them in co-op mode multiple times last year and started a play through of Left 4 Dead 2 again about two weeks ago, in the Halloween spirit.

I think the graphics for this title look good for the time -- the characters, zombies, and environments are all very detailed. The music is well done, sometimes it's ambient, but when a horde or a larger enemy is about to attack, the music will shift as a notice that something is about to go down. Also, the voice acting is well done and some of the dialogue is pretty hilarious.

The gameplay is where this title shines. The frantic action is a lotta fun, especially while playing co-op with a friend. With hordes of zombies that appear quite fast, and huge enemies charging at you from time to time, it's definitely a different spin on this type of zombie game. I also like the elements of covering your teammates, being able to heal one another or give each other items, and the premise of locating safe houses and sometimes having to scramble away from enemies to safely finish a section of the campaign. Also, I like the large selection of weapons throughout the game and the inclusion of melee weapons. It's pretty fun to hack down zombies with a samurai sword.

This game is highly recommended! It's just great mindless fun, mowing down zombies with a friend and holds up well all these years later. Definitely check it out if you haven't already.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:06 pm

@Markies: glad you enjoyed SC 4, it is definitely my favorite linear castlevania, bloodlines is okay, worth playing through but not as good as 3 or 4 in my opinion

@prfnsl_gamer: I feel the same way about electronic super joy 2, I LOVED the first game and the second one just didnt appeal to me, probably for the reasons you listed, I played a few levels with it, and just did not have the desire to finish it

150. Alien Syndrome (wii)
151. Neo Geo Battle Colisseum (ps2)
152. Panzer Paladin (switch)

150. Alien Syndrome

I didn't really know what to expect when I booted this game up, I know it was a budget title so I kind of expected a pretty lame overhead shooter, but I actually got a fairly decent diablo inspired twin stick shooter.

Like the game that inspired it, Alien Syndrome is an overhead shooter that plays like a twin stick, the nunchuck moves and the wii mote aims. These kinds of games always play really well on the wii and I'm surprised there are not more titles like this on the system. Unlike the game that inspired it, AS has loads of RPG elements in it. You have a number of character classes, each with different attributes, you level up and when you do, you distribute points as you see fit, and unlock a variety of different perks and weapon classes. You have a good deal of control on how you want to develop your character and if you want to be a melee tank you can, or you can put the focus on any number of various weapon specialties.

AS plays like a standard loot fest shooter. Enemies drop all sorts of different loot, you have a weight limit on what you can hold, and you can scrap loot you dont need for resource points, used to craft ammo/weapons/armor/etc. The progression of loot is pretty nice in this game, I feel like I was always unlocking a new weapon or new armor and it was a lot of fun to stumble upon some OP helmet or other goodie.

The game is broken up into 40 levels, each level has a map, and has you running around to complete various enemies while killing hordes of enemies. There are a decent number of enemy types but they definitely do pallette swap a lot to artifically create more enemies. There are mini bosses sprinkled around as well that usuallly give you access to rare items.

If you are into diablo style lootfests this game is worth a go.

152. Panzer Paladin

Panzer Paladin is one of the best retro inspired indie games to come out in recent memory. It draws inspiration from loads of classic nes games but also introduces a lot of its own gameplay elements that make the game feel like its own thing.

Graphically, the game is amazing. It is one of those games that make you feel like you are playing on the NES, but realistically can probably never have been done on the NES. The character sprites are large and detailed, the environments are varied and visually appealing, the animation is smooth, and the soundtrack is probably my favorite modern day soundtrack next to shovel knight.

Gameplay wise there is a lot going on here. You play as a hulking mech with a shield and a melee attack that will vary depending on the weapon you are holding. The shield will block whatever touches it and can be held at standing or crounching level to block various attacks. The combat mechanics in this game are clearly inspired by Zelda 2, and I always felt that Zelda 2 should have been emulated more than it was. You also have an upward thrust that serves as a double jump and a downward thrust like Link has in Zelda 2, you also have an invincible back dash that can be done either standing or in air. In addition to that there is a cool parry system in place, if you hit attack the moment you block an enemy attack you will stun them and get in some free hits.

You can also jump out of your mech at anytime, similar to how you can jump out of the tank in blaster master, and when you do you play as a Belmont inspired whip wielding character who can use the whip to attack enemies or grapple on various objects and swing to platforms. You can jump out of the mech to explore hidden areas that will usually yield you a 1-up but there are sections where you have to jump out of your mech and do some platforming. Also if the mech dies you will eject out and continue playing until you die, which usually is not too long, but I did have a handful of cool moments where a boss killed my mech and I was able to finish him on foot.

The weapon system in this game is pretty cool. Your character is able to pick up a ton of different weapons, each with their own attributes, all of have their own dwindling life bar and will shatter when it is emptied. This mechanic works well here as there are TONS of weapons everywhere so you will never be short on weapons to use. At anytime you can also shatter your own weapon which lets you use a one time magic spell, these spells have a wide variety of effects from stat boosting, healing, attacking, and even giving you a pair of wings to get through tough platforming sections. It is a very cool system that is easy to use and constantly keeps things fresh. The game also has a good sense of humor and in addtion to standard stuff like swords, hammers, etc you can find a number of joke weapons like a giant fish, a cat, and even a nintendo switch.

Level design here is brilliant. Inspired by Mega Man, you can play the first batch of levels in any order you want and then you unlock this games equivalent to Wilys fortress which is a six level long gauntlet of challening levels. The levels in this game are extremely varied, and filled with clever patforming challenges, lots of cool weapons to find, and tons of different enemies to fight, which range from fodder that can be dispatched in one hit to enemies with weapons and shields that you have to duel and usually reward you with a decent weapon. Every level ends in a boss fight and all of the bosses are fun to fight, challenging, and none of them feel cheap.

Bottom line is that this is the best retro inspired game I have played since shovel knight, it is a brilliant mix of old and new, and fans of retro platformers absolutely need to play it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:05 pm

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
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC
64. Offworld Trading Company - PC
65. F-Zero - SNES
66. F-Zero X - N64
67. Gauntlet (2014) - PC
68. Gauntlet Legends - Arcade
69. Halo 3: ODST - PC
70. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - PS4
71. Star Wars Squadrons - PC
72. Serious Sam 4 - PC
73. The Bard's Tale - PC
74. The Bard's Tale II - PC
75. The Bard's Tale III - PC
76. The Bard's Tale IV - PC

After the success of the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter inXile decided to bring back another classic game, this time Bard's Tale. Which makes it the largest gap between video game sequels ever. Unlike Might & Magic X, which starts off with a base of M&M 4+5, BT4 is more of a spiritual sequel on the gameplay side (and a direct sequel story side). Personally, I think that's to its detriment, but my opinion is probably biased from having just played the first three games and expecting something hewing a bit closer.

Bard's Tale IV is set 150 years after the trilogy and the intro makes mention of their three villains having been seeing an ultimate power which will be the focus of the fourth game. In the time since an oppressive religion has rolled into Skara Brae and started oppressing spellcasters and the non-human races. This plot thread isn't really followed up on, it seems to mostly just be an excuse to force you to move in certain areas. You quickly have to abandon the main Skara Brae for the old town underneath it which happens to be the town from the trilogy; even the layout is similar and you visit some familiar locales. You learn of the big bad trying to get the evil power and you venture forth to stop them; first under Skara Brae and then out in the wilderness.

The game is still in a first person perspective, but now it is no longer a grid based dungeon crawler (though you can turn on grid movement it is clunky and not worth it). You still tend to be in fairly narrow areas, but they are a bit more naturalistic. Sometimes it's within buildings, sometimes its out in the open air. There are no random encounters; there are fixed enemies who are engaged when you run into them (and you can attack first to get the first attack) and they do not respawn, outside of certain story-mandated respawns. Exploration is heavily puzzle based; when you aren't fighting you're having to do some sort of puzzle. The game does a good job of teaching you; you will get easy versions of a type of puzzle first but over time they get harder and harder. So you've learned the rules by the time you need to get good at it. The puzzles also extend to the inventory; certain weapons can be made stronger by solving puzzles on them (though they end up generally not being as good as regular weapons in the long run).

The combat is dramatically changed from the original. You now have an eight square grid on each side which combatants can move around on. Each side gets a number of action points which are consumed to take actions. This can be attacking or moving around the grid. Attacks have specific ranges; generally these are "first enemy in a column up to a maximum range" (the latter of which means your back row can't hit their back row) but sometimes you can target specific enemies. Some attacks have a wide sweep and others can choose from either the column in front of you or the ones to the sides. Each character can equip up to four attacks and can freely swap them outside of combat. These slots will get taken up by special attacks on certain powerful weapons, so you have to account for that.

Unfortunately, the way combat ends up rolling out it ends up giving you many more clicks but doesn't really get more interesting. There is a dearth of multi-hitting stuff so combat comes down to rending armor (if applicable) and then dropping your biggest attacks on each enemy. Every combat is very samey, and unlike the old games it doesn't go fast. At least with the old games you could just mash confirm to attack everything or quickly nuke everyone with your magic. Here magic is much more limited because spell points must be built up fresh every combat, and the main damage spells are late game and take a lot.
The game also has a bit of a pacing problem; multiple areas are just too long for no good reason. You could easily chop off a quarter of each section and the game would not suffer for it. I think this is exacerbated by the combat feeling samey.

But let's finish with more positive. The game has a "here's what you were doing on this save file" thing, but instead of just a bit of text you instead get a short live action scene where they reenact the cover art of the first game and the bard gives a couple of sentences telling you about the quest you're on. They seem to have recorded a lot of them; even breaks after short gaming sessions would lead to new dialog. Also, the game has some awesome music. The majority is Gaelic songs with minimal/no accompaniment (though combat does have more instrumentation to go with it) that really sells the flavor of the world. And then they enshrined the events of the first three games in songs that will be sung by the NPC bard (and a recruitable bard if you leave her behind) when you visit home base (and the first game's song is the main menu music). They're some real earworms.

Overall I wonder how I would feel about the game if I had played the originals way back in the day and picked it up with only faded memories of the first three. I was hoping for a more old school experience (like how Grimlock is a modern Dungeon Master/Eye of the Beholder) and didn't get that. I don't regret the time I spent with it and it's a decent enough game on its own. I think I was just tainted by doing a marathon.
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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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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:30 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
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC
64. Offworld Trading Company - PC
65. F-Zero - SNES
66. F-Zero X - N64
67. Gauntlet (2014) - PC
68. Gauntlet Legends - Arcade
69. Halo 3: ODST - PC
70. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - PS4
71. Star Wars Squadrons - PC
72. Serious Sam 4 - PC
73. The Bard's Tale - PC
74. The Bard's Tale II - PC
75. The Bard's Tale III - PC
76. The Bard's Tale IV - PC
77. Outbuddies - Switch

Outbuddies is a Metroidvania that stands in homage to Metroid with a couple of new ideas and a majorly flawed execution which ended up being more of a masochistic trip than something I enjoyed. It was created by a single guy (with art and music outsourced) and apparently was a passion project of his, but the game really shows his inexperience. The game never felt great to play, though as I got enough abilities it went to "ok, I can kinda stream through these parts".

The story involves a guy going "They call me crazy, but I'll show them" (that's not a paraphrase) and going out to sea with a diving suit. Then something happens and he crashes in underwater ruins and now you have the game world. And he is woken up by a little flying orb guy who never gets anything explained about him. There's some old god stuff, you kill a big bad, the place explodes, and the little friendly dudes you've been rescuing along the way and you escape through a portal to somewhere and the credits roll.

So let's talk about the good parts first. The game has two pretty unique things. The first is the little helper dude. You can either switch control to him with right stick up or a second player can maneuver him with their own controller a la Mario Galaxy. The helper dude can scroll the map (so you can scout), pick up certain blocks, or "hack" certain enemies. Blocks are used as platforms and also bash enemies good. Hackable enemies are different from screen to screen and have a handful of effects. Some turn into blocks, some turn into moving platforms, some become friendly, some spit powerups instead of goo, and some just die. The second thing this game does that is unique is making swimming its own thing. While most Metroidvanias just have water be "like land, but you move slower and jump higher", this game actually has you swim. So now you fire in whatever direction you're moving (and you can lock direction with a button). This makes the water segments be a bit different from the land segments, and there's a fair amount of water. Finally, let's talk the map. The entire map in is revealed from the start, but only in the form of screen-sized blocks. Whenever you enter a room it fills in all the blocks of that room with the actual layout. This makes for a more aesthetically pleasing map, as well as giving you hints as to ways to go.

Now let's move on to my list of complaints. First, the enemy designs emphasize being assholes. The crawling guys who move along walls? They fall on top of you when they're above you. Bad enough on its own, but when you're scouting with your little dude they really like to come. You only EVER get five hits to die; no health expansions exist. Health drops are relatively common, but it's still pretty assholish (and stands out the most in boss fights). Many of the enemies take way too many shots to die and there isn't a great way to manage them at times. You get a walljump but it's a bit too sensitive; this is most noticeable with all the jumps that just barely get over the corner of a ledge and you automatically clip up; it's not like a proper mantle with animation, just a pop up, and if you jump at that point it turns into a walljump, which frequently sends you either into an enemy you're running from your just off the side you just tried to climb. But the real cardinal sin of this game is the instant death floors. Floors on fire or on acid are instant death if you touch them. You get a power that eventually lets you morph ball through them, but taking damage takes you out of that state. These serve as both roadblocks and as areas to make fighting enemies suck (standing on three pillars above a death sea).

The game gives you a roll with invincibility, and it really wants you to use it. Which is fine about half the time; the other half the time you either don't have room for it or it sends you off a ledge. You eventually get a screw attack, but it only takes effect when you're spinning. Unlike Metroid where a spinjump lasts until you land or shoot out of it here it only covers a short animation at the time you press jump. So you can't hit everything with it due to timing problems. The game has a lot of control problems; your charge shot is reset if you spin in any way, and coming out of a spin you have to press down a couple times to get into a firing mode (which is a problem for one boss). Everything has a bit of stiffness to it, so while the game wants you to do a lot of fancy maneuvering the animations don't really allow for it. The main thing that saves you in boss fights is if you explored pretty well then the little dudes you've been rescuing will toss you health throughout the fight (though only a finite amount).

Oh, one final gripe. The signposting sucks, and the overall map design has far too much backtracking without shortcuts. There are a handful of long tunnels for connecting far portions that feel extremely tacked on (and a couple are useless but still need to be traversed (very out of the way) to get your map percentage and get all the collectables. Similarly, the game records when you get items but doesn't let you know if an item exists in a room.

Overall this is a game where the good heavily outweighs the bad. I get the sense that the developer ended up spending so much time on it that he lost objectivity on the mechanics. He got too used to how things felt without getting enough outside opinions on how things could be made better. There's a seed of a good game in here, but it's buried under a lot of inexperience. I can't recommend it.
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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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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:13 am

So...worst Metroidvania on the Switch? There are a lot of them on that console, so I'm curious where Outbuddies falls.
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