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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sat Dec 19, 2020 6:39 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)*
32. Left 4 Dead 2 (360)*
33. Yu Yu Hakusho - Makyou Toitsusen (GEN)
34. Left 4 Dead (360)*
35. Metal Slug 3 (PS2)
36. Metal Slug 4 (PS2)

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37. Metal Slug 5 (PS2)

Recently I've also finished Metal Slug 5 on the PS2, playing it on the Metal Slug Anthology collection. I've been having a great time going through the later games that I missed when released. I'm glad that I was able to score the collection at a good price at a local game store, and finally discover these titles

In Metal Slug 5, the game's development has returned back to SNK Playmore, as opposed to Mega Enterprise who developed the fourth title in the series. I feel that title is a bit better than the previous. It includes branching paths similar to Metal Slug 3 but the levels aren't as big. The game also only includes five levels, which isn't a negative IMO, as I like to play through shorter arcade games from time to time.

Another fun aspect of the title, which continues on from the first game, is controlling the different vehicles. The most noticeable is the spider slug which appears in one of the later levels. It's a four legged vehicle which moves along both the floor and the ceiling, and has an orb that holds the pilot. I wish you had a chance to control that spider slug vehicle for a bit longer!

The Metal Slug series is filled with weird bosses, a mix of soldiers, dictators, and aliens. But this game also includes a flying demon that looks like something out of Castlevania. I thought it felt a little out of place, but then again, there's a lotta strange foes throughout the series.

Overall, I still had a lot of fun with this game and I gotta recommend it to anyone that enjoys the genre!
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sat Dec 19, 2020 8:23 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)*
32. Left 4 Dead 2 (360)*
33. Yu Yu Hakusho - Makyou Toitsusen (GEN)
34. Left 4 Dead (360)*
35. Metal Slug 3 (PS2)
36. Metal Slug 4 (PS2)
37. Metal Slug 5 (PS2)

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38. Time Crisis (PS1)*

I'm a huge fan of lightgun games and the first one I ever had at home was Time Crisis on the PS1. (Yup, I missed out on having a NES with Duck Hunt as a kid.) Time Crisis was originally released in October of 1997, however I didn't get the game until the summer of 1998 at a Toys R Us where I did a lot of my game browsing as a kid throughout the 90's. I became pretty obsessed with this game and put tons of hours into it the following months after getting it. My cousin who was staying with my family for the summer also got into it and I feel like we played every day for a few weeks straight. All these years later, I still remember a lot of the enemy patterns in the levels and had a blast revisiting it.

The graphics look very good for a title that was released in the arcades in 1995 and was at home on the PS1 shortly after. I was impressed with the graphics back when I got it and I think it aged well for a PS1 game. The music is also really well done and gets you pretty amped to begin each section. Another innovation I have to mention is the ability to hide to dodge enemy fire and pop back out to attack your enemies. This feature was a game changer in the arcades and I thought Namco did a good job with bringing it home. In the arcades you used a pedal to dictate your character's position, but at home they achieved it with the press of a button on the side of the Guncon, which I think was really well implemented.

I also have to mention the original Guncon, which came packed in with Time Crisis. This lightgun feels great, the trigger has has that clicky feeling to it, the buttons on the sides are comfortably placed and most importantly it's very accurate. Out of the various lightguns I own, this is my favorite one. A few years ago I acquired the Guncon 2 and was looking forward to testing it out, but IMO the original one is better. The size and feel is just right and it's extremely accurate.

If you have the ability to play lightgun games at home, I definitely recommend Time Crisis! This is one of my favorite games and it holds up all this time later.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:00 am

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)
48. The Song of Saya (Steam)
49. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
50. Otocky (Famicom Disk System)
51. Raging Loop (Switch)
52. Arcade Archives: Contra (Switch eShop)
53. Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram (Steam)
54. Steins;Gate 0 (Vita)
55. Steins;Gate 8-bit (PC)
56. Ys Eternal (PC)
57. Bats & Terry (Famicom)
58. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Night Slashers (Switch eShop)

59. Lufia & the Fortress of Doom (SNES)
60. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ (Steam)


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Lufia & the Fortress of Doom (SNES, 1993) is the first installment of the moderately interesting Lufia JRPG series. The series itself consists of five total entries, though the fifth is an overhauled remake of the second. All of these games were released on Nintendo consoles, though that seems to have occurred by pure happenstance -- Fortress of Doom had a planned Genesis port that never came to fruition, and allegedly the third game was intended to be a PlayStation release (this was after every major RPG series dumped Nintendo for Sony) until development surprisingly shifted to the Game Boy Color. Note that this game (and series) is called Estpolis in Japan; it was renamed Lufia for Western audiences, referring to one of the game's prominent heroines, a questionable decision as future installments don't exactly place Lufia herself in the limelight. Development was handled by the studio Neverland, who is now best known for the Rune Factory series but also developed the rather intriguing (and fan-translated) Super Famicom tactical RPG Energy Breaker.

The most innovative aspect of Fortress of Doom is its opening sequence. Following a text scroll that details the typical "good vs. evil" scenario -- a band of heroes is tasked with fighting off a fearsome foursome known as the Sinistrals -- the player is granted control of a fully equipped highly-leveled party lead by a man named Maxim. By controlling Maxim and his three compatriots, the player is essentially granted a fully-interactive tutorial: spells can be cast without regard to MP usage, items seem limitless, and enemies put nary a dent in the party's HP. But all good things come to an end: upon slaying the Sinistrals, the fancy weapons, armor, spells, and XP all disappear into the ether. This isn't quite like Wonder Boy III or Symphony of the Night, which taunt and neuter the playable characters as their abilities and attributes are all stripped away. Instead, in Fortress of Doom, the focus suddenly shifts to a new protagonist: a descendent of Maxim (named by the player), existing 99 years after the original confrontation with the Sinistrals, who is called upon to save a new world from some old evils. He's weak, he's wimpy, he begins at experience level 1, and he initially beefs up his stats... by leaving his village... walking circles around it... fighting slimes.

Yes, Lufia is a 16-bit game, but it's one that undeniably adheres to 8-bit conventions, and the idea that development for this one began on the NES is entirely plausible. Cut from the same cloth as Dragon Quest (well, Dragon Quest II to be more specific) Lufia showcases (or is hampered by) some decidedly "old school" mechanics. The game world is blocky, as characters move rigidly from one "square" to the next. Controls are streamlined, as the entire game can theoretically be played "NES style" using the d-pad plus A (confirm menu choice) and B (open menu and cancel menu choice), though the X button has some limited functionality as well (it can be used within menus to describe the effects of specific magic spells). Inventory space is limited (though generous) and menus themselves tend to be on the clunky side. While shopping for equipment, for instance, the "buy" command is separate from the "look" command (which actually indicates whether stats would be raised or lowered). The player's party consists of four characters, who join one-by-one as the story progresses.
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The first to join the hero is the titular Lufia herself, a cute and spunky childhood friend. Next comes Aguro, the typical tough guy warrior. Finally, there's Jerin, a female half-elf who, like Lufia, seems to be yet another cute and spunky type. While the "main story" has a tendency to drag, the interactions between the characters is rather charming. There's plenty of flirting, fighting, and lovey dovey stuff, all relayed via these adorable cartoony pop-up word bubbles. The localization is surprisingly competent, with random shopkeepers and innkeepers guaranteed to elicit a laugh or two as the quest unfolds. There's also a pretty effective plot twist regarding a specific character, preceded by a surprising amount of foreshadowing. In terms of combat prowess, all four heroes are differentiated in an expected fashion. The hero is reasonably strong, with some healing and defensive spells. Lufia possesses weak physical attacks but is a master at wielding powerful offensive magic. Aguro is a the "tank" of the party, with zero magic but heavy duty attacks and high HP. Jerin is perhaps the most intriguing fighter, as she wields bows & arrows capable of hitting multiple enemies and has access to a myriad of spells. Character statistics are modified via acquisition of experience points and the equipping of weapons and armor, though the game also includes an assortment of rings with their own unique attributes. The most useful rings are those that are tough to obtain or are found late in the game, those that provide big boosts to offense and defense. Meanwhile, the most useless rings are oddly reminiscent of those most useless Magic: The Gathering cards: those that will inflict additional damage, but only to flying creatures, or ghostly creatures, and so on.

"Primitive" RPGs have the potential to be quite enjoyable, provided they remain relatively straightforward and don't overstay their welcome. Unfortunately, the developers of Lufia committed the same cardinal sin as the developers of Phantasy Star II: in lieu of crafting a captivating narrative that builds and then peaks at the game's apex, they instead yoked a bunch of "stuff" together, thrust it in front of players, all while adhering to the dubious "long = epic" claim. Lufia is, in a word, boring. Not always, but far, far too often. It's obscenely lengthy overall, perhaps reaching forty hours for first-time players, with hour thirty-five feeling near identical to hour one. The game immerses one in RPG purgatory, an inane loop with no clear end in sight. The developers have packed the game with the blandest of dungeons -- towers and caves (mostly caves though) -- each one indistinguishable from the one that precedes it. Such environments were crafted by the department of redundancy department, with the exact same tilesets, environmental barriers, and vapid switch-pushing "puzzles" recycled ad nauseam. Most insulting of all is how the writers actually attempted to integrate these cut-and-paste dungeons into the larger narrative, by making them the focal points of some comically tedious fetch quests. This isn't a game that is simply repetitious; it's a game that revels in such repetition. Some notable examples. At one part in the quest the party needs to cross a chasm, but a bridge is broken. Seeing this fixed requires the party run back and forth, from town to dungeon, monitoring the progress of the construction, at one point even locating the perfect spot to "watch" the workers do their thing. At another juncture, the party must ascend red, blue, and green towers (how original) to "examine" some pedestals and then return at a later point to place the appropriate color-coded stones in said pedestals. Then there's the matter of reaching one of the final tower dungeons. One must first travel through a cave that ends in a locked door. Where's the key? Why in a different cave, of course! Want to make the airship fly? First travel into a series of random caves and locate seven pieces of precious metal. And it goes on... And on...
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Of course, "dungeon crawls" aren't inherently bad, as long as they're coupled with nail-biting complex combat (Wizardry) or that cerebral hack and slash goodness (Diablo and its many progenitors). Lufia, however, is characterized by some very routine JRPG combat, plus an utterly insane encounter rate and a frustratingly slow walking speed. Combat is purely turn-based, with an agility stat determining who strikes when. There is no separate battle screen -- rather, the character sprites and enemies are overlaid on top of the current background. Character sprites retain their size, while enemies are drawn much larger. There are some light animations granted to the heroes when they attack, while enemies simply judder around. Battles are a simple affair, and most are extremely easy outside of bosses. Commands (attack, defend, item, spell, run) are selected from a cross-shaped cluster of icons, somewhat reminiscent of those found in the old Shining games. The big "twist" here is that individual enemies cannot be selected to attack, instead only a given "group" can be chosen and an enemy within that group is then picked randomly. Moreover, if a battle contains multiple "groups" and one is suddenly vanquished, selected attacks are not automatically redirected to the next group. This means that it's possible to strike "dead air" like in the original Final Fantasy. It feels like a countermeasure inserted to prevent the mindless "mash A" strategy, but battles are so persistent that "mash A" is likely the only thing any player would want to do. Bosses up the ante as far as challenge goes, though many feel "cheap" and annoying, especially those that are able to dish out the unblockable status effects. Whether or not the game is "grindy" is debatable; leveling up is surely necessary, though many players will find that the glut of "regular" battles results in more than enough experience points.

Aside from the aforementioned reused dungeon tilesets, the game can and does look pretty on occasion. The towns are bright and vibrant (though, again, they have a tendency to appear too similar to each other). The character designs are endearing, but look a bit squat and babyish. This is true of the villains too (outside of battle) who don't appear nearly as menacing as they could be. In-battle enemies are arguably a tad silly in the looks department, though there blessedly aren't as many palette swaps as one would expect. The soundtrack is perhaps the highlight of the whole experience. It's perpetually triumphant, often at odds with the actual gameplay, and stunningly catchy. There are some really "nostalgic" poignant themes too, like the town theme and the gorgeous track that plays when Lufia picks flowers. How sweet.

If we are to consider Chrono Trigger an "A-list" SNES RPG and something like Breath of Fire a "B-list" RPG than Lufia & the Fortress of Doom is a "C-list" RPG... barely. It may have the appearance of "comfort food" for the first dozen hours or so, but it's comfort food that grows stale quickly. Realistically speaking, the game "exists" and is mechanically sound enough, but does nothing exceptional besides wearing down the patience of all who commit to it. This is a "play it once" game for those who are interested in the series as a whole (and things do indeed get much better) or those who are hellbent on conquering every 16-bit RPG. Anyone simply looking for a well-crafted JRPG from the days of olde is better served elsewhere.


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Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ is the second Muv-Luv spin-off to be released in English, following Muv-Luv photonflowers*. Seems like the developers are fond of incomprehensible game titles. No idea what that natural sign is doing there, nor do I know why the game displays a giant treble clef when paused. Yes, the game has a musical soundtrack, like every other video game released in the modern era, but has no musical "themes" to speak of. It's bizarre. Speaking of incomprehensible, don't even attempt this one unless you're familiar with the original Muv-Luv games (of which there are two, though the first is split into two arcs making the experience a "trilogy"). For the unfamiliar, the Muv-Luv saga is something of a delicious bait and switch: what begins as a light-hearted rom-com visual novel eventually (as in, after dozens of hours) morphs into massive alien invasion war drama.

As for Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ itself, this is a strange little release. Originally appearing on the PlayStation 3 in Japan before being ported to the PC (Steam), photonmelodies♮ is comprised of three Muv-Luv side-story VNs, all of which initially appeared on the PC (two of which were parts of other side-story collections while the third was a [mostly] standalone release). The trio of tales: known as Adoration, Resurrection, and Altered Fable: A Shimmering Shard of Spacetime sport original release dates of 2011, 2012, and 2007, respectively. And yes, photonmelodies♮ does present the stories in this out-of-order fashion, and it's actually best to experience them this way.
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Into the stories themselves. Adoration takes place in the Alternative timeline (so, while humanity is ceaselessly battling invading BETA aliens), but otherwise everything else is "new." New situations, new characters, new setting. The protagonist, Seijurou, is a young Japanese man who's been transferred to a European base for some specialized training. Seijurou makes for a fairly amusing character. Absolutely obsessed with a fantastical bushido honor code that interferes with his daily functions, he's also prone to quoting nuggets of wisdom passed on from his seemingly limitless number of siblings. Adoration is a sort of coming of age tale, of a youthful soldier trying to forge an identity amid trying times and unfamiliar territory. Unfortunately, the majority of the (mostly female) supporting cast is rather forgettable, which ends up hampering the entire narrative. The mecha vs. alien skirmishes, albeit brief, are some of the best looking in the series, however. Adoration features but one choice to make, about halfway through the story. Said choice doesn't ultimately alter the ending, but it's worth reloading a specific save a few times to view some of the tale's more interesting scenes. Oddly, the (Steam) achievement-heavy photonmelodies♮ doesn't even acknowledge the branching path in Adoration. Instead, but a single achievement is granted when the credits hit.
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Next up: Resurrection. There's another European connection here, though flipped in the opposite direction. Now we have an Italian solider named Silvio Orlandi, who, after seeing his best friend die, getting mauled by the BETA, and turned into a superman with cyborg body parts, is sent to Japan to spy on the progress of some secret critical scientific research. Here, some familiar Muv-Luv characters do make an appearance, most notably the physicist Yuuko and the "new" Valkyrie fighters of Alternative. Resurrection is fundamentally a mystery tale, and provides something of a nice "behind the scenes" in regards to the events that preceded Alternative. Though the protagonist could be characterized as "somewhat serious" there are still plenty of cornball gags tossed into this one: exploding tape recorders and other spy movie clichés are frequent. The writing is pretty inconsistent overall, and the game's final hour or so tries to juggle several "big reveals" at once. Some of these revelations will be obvious to anyone who was paying the least bit of attention, while others are so convoluted they require massive tedious explanations. Note that Resurrection is entirely "kinetic" (linear) in nature. Don't you just love reading video games?
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Then comes Altered Fable. This is the one everyone wanted, yearned for, pined after. It essentially renders the other two stories moot, and if Steam achievements are any indication there are plenty of gamers who went right for this one, skipping the other two completely. Why the hype? Because Altered Fable isn't a mere peripheral anecdote about some random fighter pilot we'll never see again; Altered Fable is a sequel to the great Muv-Luv Alternative, arguably the highest-rated visual novel of all time. With a story crafted in the image of Muv-Luv Extra, that initial rom-com segment of the saga, Altered Fable also mirrors its structure: expect to sink at least twenty hours into this (whereas Adoration and Resurrection clocked in at five apiece) as there are multiple routes to explore and endings to achieve.

In terms of story, this one oversees the main series protagonist Takeru, back in the "normal" world and back at school, as he shares in adventures and hijinks with his classmates and teachers. All the original characters are here, and those introduced in Alternative now appear as transfer students and freshly-hired school faculty. Takeru and his posse engage in an airsoft tournament, vacation at a winter resort, relax at hot springs (again), get drunk (again), go on another vacation to the tropics, learn to play volleyball, and much, much more. This one's not going to win any awards for writing, but it ticks all those same boxes Extra did: it's delightfully silly, irreverent, hilarious, and endlessly charming. Be on the lookout for some not-so-subtle Alternative references too; Marimo "chomping" Kasumi was quite the sight to behold.

As mentioned, Altered Fable adheres to a route structure, like most twenty-first century visual novels. It's a little more complex than anticipated, however. In addition to the typical "pop-up" branching path choices, there's also a map to be navigated. Travelling to a specific locale will affect the flow of the game, as will the order each location is visited. The volleyball tournament also features a "bracket" system of play, with a wide array of team possibilities, each rendering a slightly different outcome. Achieving the individual endings is easy enough -- simply choose a "best girl" and continuously give her attention -- but tracking down every CG and "wallpaper" requires the patience of a saint (I managed to do it, and my resulting homemade "flowchart" was the stuff of nightmares).
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A couple of things to note about Altered Fable specifically. First, the writers thought it would be funny(?) to insert an extended parody of 24 (as in, the American TV show) into the narrative. An agent named "Chuck Sauber" is chasing after Takeru for... some reason or another. This whole aspect is senseless, humorless, and feels painfully dated. What's supposed to be a tense "espionage" sub-plot withers rapidly and culminates with some strange revelation about... renewable nuclear energy? Why not an investigation into Takeru's status as a "love nucleus" -- something that's actually mentioned throughout this game and at the end of Alternative?! Blessedly, the 24 segments are few and far between and easily enough forgotten (if not outright ignored). Next, there's the whole censorship fiasco. This particular variant of Altered Fable is missing content available in the original (though technically this content was first removed for the PS3 release that served as the basis for this one). To no one's surprise, the "eroge" scenes have been wiped. The game sincerely flows better without then. Some additional (less explicit) adult scenes remain but feature "sunbeam" and "hot spring steam" censoring -- classic! Next are the minigames. I believe three were present in the original Altered Fable; here's there's only one (a watermelon smashing game). This watermelon smashing business is pretty lame and seems totally RNG-dependent, so the exclusion of the skiing and volleyball minigames is perhaps a blessing. This exclusion does create an awkward moment regarding volleyball, however. Apparently the minigame was the only time the characters were actually seen playing volleyball, so with it now removed Takeru and friends instead simply talk about playing volleyball, the screen fades to black, and then the aftermath is discussed. Awkward!

On to aesthetics -- of Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ as a whole. The soundtrack is phenomenal: the old tracks, the new tracks, the vocalized tunes that bookend the whole experience. Just lovely. Background art is decent enough, if not a bit static. The character designs are inconsistent, for a couple of reasons. First, it appears that the art "evolved" at some point after 2007, as the characters of Adoration and Resurrection look leaner and slightly more "realistic" when compared to the adorable doe-eyed ladies of Altered Fable. The "24" agents are supposed to be Westerners and are drawn like complete garbage. Hmmmm...... Chibi art pops up here and then, during the most absurd of situations, and never fails to elicit a smile. One unique aspect of both Adoration and Resurrection is that the protagonist's face is actually shown during those "internal monologue" sequences, and is drawn in its own unique style. Seijurou is displayed as a black & white manga drawing. Meanwhile, Silvio resembles a wispy creation of Yoshitaka Amano, of Final Fantasy fame (and when Silvio is displayed the music that plays is strikingly similar to a certain Nobuo Uematsu piece -- coincidence??).

Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ is a worthy spin-off, and undoubtedly superior to photonflowers*. That said, it's carried solely by Altered Fable, which is preceded by ten decidedly "good but not great" hours. The marketing team has made endless jokes about how Altered Fable can cure the "PTSD" inflicted by the soul-searing Alternative. It's all hyperbolic, of course, but doesn't change the fact that fans of the series should indulge in this "Extra Extra" world without hesitation.
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:18 am

After a long silence, I now know what the Prodigal Bone has been up to. Playing games and writing epic secret handshake-level reviews.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:41 am

:lol: I'm back(-ish). Began homeschooling my kids weeks ago. Turns out to be a massive time commitment and I've been way too tired to play or write about much of anything.

Very happy to see prfsnl_gmr finally finished Phantasy Star III. Mieu is best girl.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:33 pm

Dear Bone,

Please beat Lufia II before the end of the year.

Sincerely,
Lufia II Fan
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Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sun Dec 20, 2020 4:05 pm

160. Wargroove (switch)

There are few genres which hook me the way a good turn based strategy does, right now there are just tons of things going on in my life(not all bad, I'll make another thread about it), and there is something about a good strategy game that just allows me to mentally check out, and become completely engrossed in another world. It's funny because as much as I love the genre, I don't play as many games in this genre as I do some others, but if I had to make a list of some of my all time favorite games there would most certainly be some great strategy games on it, almost all of them strongly associated with some tranistional time in my life, and wargroove would now be among them.

This is a game that just does everything right, it is easy to learn, difficult to master, has incredibly compelling characters (in a quirky whimsical way, not a deep brooding way), tons of different game modes, great graphics, great soundtrack, its tough while being fair, and will keep you busy for a long time if you want to get the real ending.

I don't think I could write a real review of the game because there is so much here that it would take me way too long to try and explain it all, I will just say that this game is easily up there my all time favorite strategy games and may even be my new favorite in the genre.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Dec 20, 2020 7:10 pm

MrPopo wrote:Dear Bone,

Please beat Lufia II before the end of the year.

Sincerely,
Lufia II Fan


Not enough time!!!! Plus I'm working my way through something else right now. Maybe in 2021!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:32 am

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

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51-100
51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)
60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)
61. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
62. Crash Team Racing (PS1)
63. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1)
64. Super Mario Galaxy (Switch)
65. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3)
66. Battle Stadium D.O.N. (GC) *
67. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) *
68. Dracula Densetsu II (GB)
69. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) *
70. Super Mario's Picross (SFC)
71. Castlevania (Famicom)
72. Castlevania (MSX)
73. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
74. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
75. Castlevania III (Famicom)
76. Super Castlevania IV (SFC) *
77. Castlevania: Bloodlines (MD)
78. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
79. Sonic Adventure (DC)
80. Drakengard (PS2)
81. Pole's Big Adventure (WiiWare)
82. Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PC)
83. Mario's Picross (GB)
84. Sonic Heroes (GC)
85. Drakengard 2 (PS2)
86. NeverDead (PS3)
87. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)
88. Gain Ground (Genesis)
89. Bonanza Bros. (Genesis)
90. Golden Axe Warrior (Master System)
91. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)
92. Shadow the Hedgehog (PS2)
93. Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
94. Mighty Switch Force (3DS)
95. Mighty Switch Force 2 (3DS)
96. Pushmo World (Wii U)
97. Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U)
98. Stretchmo (3DS)
99. Saru Getchu: Million Monkeys (PS2)
100. Ryu Ga Gotoku: Kenzan! (PS3)


101. Goemon Mononoke Sugoroku (N64)

This is another game where I'm not even 100% sure where or how I heard about this thing, but I remember it being described as "Yu-Gi-Oh meets Monopoly with a Ganbare Goemon theme", and like any rational person, I knew I HAD to experience this thing XD. I got it on ebay for like $8 back when I lived in the States, but never got around to playing it. I held onto it though, and after having it with me for over another year and a half in Japan, I finally sat down and beat it XD. It took me about 8 hours to play through all 7 stages of the story mode.

The story of the game is typical wackiness for a Goemon game. These cursed cards are taking over the minds of gods and yokai and the Goemon crew have to go around defeating them to break the curses. Along the way you'll see a lot of familiar faces from previous Goemon games who even have some small voice clips to go with them, which add a little extra flavor to each opponent. You'll also see a really tasteless gay/trans joke or two, which while annoying and shitty is also definitely not out of character for this series. The story is very bare bones and does what it needs to in regards to giving the game a single-player mode.

Mechanically, the game is more or less what I gave at the start: Yu-Gi-Oh, Goemon, and Monopoly. together at last(?). The basic gist of things is that you all start with a deck of 50 cards (Monsters called Mononoke, equipment, and spells) at the inn space on the board. You need to go around the board hitting each checkpoint before you can return to the inn for a big pile of free money. Along the way, there are special spaces like shops, caves that teleport you to another cave, and torii gates that heal status effects. There are also neutral spaces where you can summon monsters, and if the element (of which there are five) of the monster and space align, the monster gets a free level up. If you land on a monster that isn't yours, you have to fight it, and if you win the fight the attack points that overkilled the monster take away HP from your opponent's life points (very much like Yu-Gi-Oh). Monsters can be leveled up either at the end of your turn or by beating another monster, and to tilt the odds in your favor even more, you can play equipment cards during battle to beef up your monster's stats. That all sounds complicated, and it is for a video game board game, for sure, but that's about as simple as I can describe what took me like 3-ish hours of bumbling through the first few single-player stages to figure out XD

The problem, however, is that past the cool concept, the board game itself isn't actually put together that well, nor does the game have all that much polish either. I could go on for ages about the problems the game has, but I'll try and make this as concise as I can:

- The game has effectively 3 currencies: Money, Cards, and Life Points. These three currencies don't work together well enough, and you get SO much money from one, let alone two runs to the inn that money becomes worthless very quickly.

- Money is only valuable in the early game, as monsters are cheap to summon, equipment is VERY expensive (good ones anyhow), and you lose money to whomever beats you in combat. Most games are decided in the first few turns, especially if one player gets unlucky enough for the other to get them into low or even negative money. If you have negative money, you've gotta start selling played monsters and cards in your hand, and there is basically no coming back from that.

- Much like SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash, the power creep of better cards is absurd, and unlike that game there is basically no reason to keep bad cards in your deck. You're here to stomp your enemy with powerful monsters with unfair abilities, and if you aren't trying to do that, you'll almost certainly lose.

- While stronger/rarer monsters take more money to level up directly via turn actions, all monsters level identically through combat, whether rarity C or rarity A. That method is by stealing the levels of whatever they kill, so if a level 1 fresh monster kills a max-level 5 monster, that winner is now level 5. This means that strong monsters get SUPER strong and nearly unkill-able, making sure that comebacks are very rare.

All this boils down to games feeling like you're SUPER at the mercy of the RNG of card draw (which is basically just one card a turn, as you need to land on a shop to use it instead of just passing by it) and whichever player has the better deck. The only reason I was able to beat most stages on my first or second try was because the AI is pretty dang bad and I also got very lucky (particularly on the last level). When it rains, it POURS in this game, and it makes for very unengaging matches past the first half-dozen turns or so. Whoever can make it back to the inn first is almost certainly going to win.

Then on top of that, the game has absolutely inexcusable quality of life features. There is just no way to look around the board. You can zoom in and out from your current position, but unless you're in the middle of an action that involves picking a space or a monster (such as playing a spell card for removal, or picking the monster you want to fight at the end of the turn), you cannot look at the things on the board. You also can't bring up your cards to look at unless you're about to play one. Want to look at what equipment cards you have before you take a fork in the road that will land you on a monster or not? Tough luck. That is literally impossible. There are also no descriptions for what special spaces do in-game (I still have no idea what the boat spaces do), and there are also no indicators to where exactly caves spit you out before you land on them. The amount of information and convenience needlessly kept from the player is absurd down to the point where the game has no pause menu. If you wanna exit a match mid-game, you've gotta restart your console. There simply is no pause menu for such things mid-game. While you can at least see what the special ability and stats of a monster are mid-fight, that is cold comfort given the mountain of other bad UI decisions this game is filled with.

The presentation is also fairly rough beyond the bad UI and insignificant/crappy writing. The boards are very detailed 2D sprites that your tiny 3D models walk around on. The boards are very pretty, yes, but the paths between spaces can often be obscured by that detail, and combined with the lack of a mini-map or the ability to look around the board at will, sometimes you'll go one way only to figure out it doesn't lead anywhere close to where you thought it did. The music is quite nice, but there aren't many tracks, most (if not all) of them are from past Goemon games, and they often don't fit the atmosphere of "board game" very well. The only really good thing I can say about the presentation is that the graphics overall look quite nice, especially the card art.

Verdict: Not Recommended. I was pretty disappointed with this game. As I played more and more, it sunk in just how utterly broken so many of the basic building blocks of the card game were. Even at its best with some more polish, I think this game would be just okay, but with how bad the board game is on top of how rough the surrounding experience is, this game is impossible to recommend even if I didn't absolutely hate all my time with it. There are so many other board game games to play that are so much better than this, that even if needing to know Japanese to play it weren't an obstacle, there is just no real reason to go back and play this unless you're like me and simply NEED to witness this mechanical madness with your own eyes XD
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:09 pm

I almost imported that a few years ago because I thought it was mainline Goemon game we missed in the States. Then I realized it was a board game and was like yeah I'm good. Sounds like I didn't miss much.
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