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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Raging Justice Mon Sep 19, 2022 2:26 am

River City Girls Zero - PS 5

Image

This steaming, pile of shit is the worst, fucking, beat 'em up I have ever played...and the worst River City game I've ever played. I don't know what possessed Wayforward to release this crap in the US. It should have stayed in Japan where it could be forgotten.

If you want to play a decent River City game this year, try River City Saga: Three Kingdoms. It's a pretty fun game. I wouldn't recommend River City Girls Zero to my worst enemy.

FUCK THIS GAME. It's an insult to the beat 'em up genre, especially in a year where some decent games came out like Shredder's Revenge (even though I didn't enjoy that game as much as other people did), the aforementioned RVCS: Three Kingdoms, and Midnight Fight Express. Wayforward got some good will with gamers with River City Girls, I don't know why they would follow it up with this garbage that clearly never got a US release for good reason...BECAUSE IT'S AWFUL.

The game plays like a really, awful, shitty version of Double Dragon on the NES. Also, none of the RPG elements that the franchise has become known for are in this game. It's just a straight, side scrolling, beat 'em up, but a terrible one.

The controls suck. The hit detection is all over the place. Jump kicks are the best move...when the hit detection actually works. The AI is cheap as fuck. The combat is bland as you have so few actual moves at your disposal. Your characters are super, fucking, slow. There's a fight involving a ferris wheel that is just stupid and pointless. There's a pointless section of the game where you watch your character ride a roller coster for like 5 minutes for no apparent reason while you just twiddle your thumbs waiting for the game to actually become interactive again, but, hey, at least you get a stupid trophy for the game wasting your time. There are motorcycle levels that feel like something that came out of the pits of hell. There is way too much dialog given that the story is boring as fuck. There is literally NOTHING good about this game. It's the Superman 64 of side scrolling beat 'em ups. Scratch that, there is ONE good thing about the game. I will give credit to the talented woman who sings the very catchy intro/title screne theme music. Here, give it a listen. It's the only thing in this game worth a damn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lmRUtkaQyM

I have nothing more to say about this game because I have already wasted more words on this trash than it deserves. I give it a 0 out of 10...maybe a 1 out of 10 for that intro music. That's me being generous.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Note Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:33 am

1. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth (N64)
2. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (Arcade)*
3. Metal Slug 6 (PS2)
4. Time Crisis II (PS2)*
5. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (360)
6. Shining the Holy Ark (SAT)
7. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
10. Warriors of Fate (Switch)
11. Knights of the Round (Switch)
12. Armored Warriors (Switch)
13. Battle Circuit (Switch)
14. OutRun (GEN)*
15. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
16. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
17. Shadowrun (SNES)
18. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)

Image

19. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

I had totally missed out on the Ratchet & Clank series when it was originally released on the PS2. During this timeframe in the early 2000s, I was in high school and while I was still into gaming, I wasn't following it as closely as I did in the 90s. There were a lot of releases I missed out on, and this series happens to be in that category. However, for the Summer Games Challenge hosted this year, I decided to put this on my list to complete. I was able to finish it on Thursday night last week, and it took me about a total of 23 hours to complete.

Ratchet and Clank is a 3D platformer based around two main characters who are assisted with a selection of weapons, gadgets, and even vehicles to make their way through various planets. The game has a cartoony theme to it, and there is quite some funny dialogue included in cutscenes throughout. I had not played a 3D platformer in quite some time, so this style of game was a nice change of pace in comparison to the titles I've been playing recently. I found the controls to be quite intuitive and responsive. The menu system to select the various weapons and gadgets was also well designed and I found it easy to bring something up quickly in a sticky situation.

As you make your way through the game, you can find or purchase various weapons and gadgets, which will help you to defeat tougher enemies or traverse areas in levels that you could not reach before. I found the level designs to be very well done, as it always seemed easy to get back to a certain area when you needed to return. After a level is completed, there always seems to be some type of shortcuts unlocked to make that additional cavern or factory easy to reach when you had to return. There are also sequences where you get to fly a vehicle in 3D shooter segments, use a turret gun to take on waves of enemies, and even pilot a large version of Clank. I found the variety of gameplay here to be really refreshing. I thought Insomniac did a great job of breaking up the game and possible monotony with these different gameplay styles.

In regards to collecting items, the main thing you will be collecting are bolts, which is basically your currency in the game. You can use bolts to buy new weapons and gadgets at vendor shops that appear at the beginning in most levels. Later on, you can also attain an item that will give you a discount at the shops. There are also two major upgrades, including the best weapon in the game and an extended health bar, that will require a lot of bolts to purchase, but I spent a few hours grinding at a certain section to get there, and it was definitely worth it. The other item that is available to collect are gold bolts, and there are a few hidden in each level. These can be tricky to get, and I did not manage to find all of them, in fact, I was missing a fair amount. This is the main reason I may eventually return to my save file, to go back through and try to find each one. I believe once you collect all the gold bolts, you can receive gold versions of certain weapons, which to my understanding are more powerful.

The only criticism I can throw at Ratchet & Clank is I found the controls of swimming sections to be tough to manage. Earlier in the adventure, it's not a big deal, but later on, there are a few levels where you need to swim through specific rings to unlock doors and you have a time limit while doing so. I found these sequences to be quite tough, as I never felt like I had a good handle of the character's movement during these underwater sections. Eventually I was able to overcome this section, but it took quite a few tries. The difficulty level in general ramps up towards the end of the game, especially with some of the platforming sequences, but I found it to still be manageable.

Overall, I had a great time playing through the first game in the Ratchet & Clank series. I'm glad I finally experienced a game in the series and I'd definitely like to try to play the other two that were originally released on the PS2. This also makes me want to check out Sly Cooper, another 3D platformer on the console I've heard a bit about. I would definitely recommend Ratchet & Clank to anyone that's fan of the genre! Give it a go!
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Note Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:20 pm

1. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth (N64)
2. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (Arcade)*
3. Metal Slug 6 (PS2)
4. Time Crisis II (PS2)*
5. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (360)
6. Shining the Holy Ark (SAT)
7. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
10. Warriors of Fate (Switch)
11. Knights of the Round (Switch)
12. Armored Warriors (Switch)
13. Battle Circuit (Switch)
14. OutRun (GEN)*
15. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
16. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
17. Shadowrun (SNES)
18. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)
19. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

Image

20. Final Fight 3 (SNES)

I consider myself a huge beat 'em up fan, I've always really enjoyed them since I first tried out games in the genre in the early 90s. However, there's some formidable games that I either haven't played much or haven't tried at all. I've played a bit of Final Fight 3 through emulation in the past, but this was the first time I sat down to try to play through the game. For this particular playthrough, I chose Guy.

Right off the bat, one of the unique features of Final Fight 3 is that you can play through the game as a single player with a CPU controlled second player. That's a pretty awesome feature for a game released at this time. I picked Haggar as my partner and off we were in Metro City to take on the Skull Cross Gang. The move set in Final Fight 3 is expanded in comparison to the earlier two games on the SNES. This time around, you have additional special moves you can execute by inputting Street Fighter type of commands. Each of the four selectable characters have about seven different moves, which is pretty impressive. You also have the ability to dash, dash attack, and back dash. Additionally, there is also Super meter, and each character can perform a super move with a specific command, once that meter's full. The gameplay feels smoother overall, especially in comparison to the first game on the system. However, there is still some slow when there's a lot happening on screen.

Going through the game, I played through six levels and one bonus stage. I've read that there's branching paths in different stages throughout the game, and I really like this feature in beat 'em ups, as I think it adds replay value and motivation to fire up the game again to see what other levels you might've missed in your previous runs. I wasn't aware of how to access the different paths when I first tried the game, so I didn't see any of the alternate routes. On my next attempt, I'm going to explore the alternate stages.

Regarding the graphics, I think the visuals are good for the time of release and are slightly stepped up in comparison to the earlier entries. I especially like the look of Level 4, where you're fighting across a bridge and a pier with a sunset in the background. Another nice inclusion are a few brief cutscenes between levels throughout the game, which are also well done. The soundtrack is impressive too, I especially like the music for the last scene in the first level. However, in regards to the sound effects, I still feel the first entry on the SNES has the most satisfying sound effects on the console, but I think the effects here sound better than Final Fight 2. Also, I just want to take a second to praise the box art here. Love the illustration with the orange-ish background, and the yellow outline around the art really stands out. The illustrator and designer did a great job, IMO.

I really don't have many gripes with the game. I was a bit disappointed by the slow down, although it didn't pop up often, I was still surprised by it, since this game was released late in the Super Nintendo's lifespan. Also, I had a brief issue with the controls. My CPU controlled partner eventually lost all lives later in the game, and the "Press Start" option appeared on the 2P side of the screen. However, I couldn't seem to figure how to have the CPU partner continue. Perhaps I'm just missing something? If anyone knows, please let me know!

Overall, I really enjoyed my first playthrough of Final Fight 3 and I'm looking forward to playing it again to see the other areas I missed my first time around. I'm going to visit a friend in early October who is also into older games, and I think I'll bring this along so we can play this co-op. I definitely recommend this title for fans of the genre!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:19 am

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4
9. Everspace - PC
10. PowerSlave Exhumed - PC
11. Horizon Forbidden West - PS5
12. Elden Ring - PS5
13. Shadow Warrior 3 - PC
14. Ghostrunner: Project_Hel - PC
15. Triangle Strategy - Switch
16. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - PC
17. Nightmare Reaper - PC
18. Kur - PC
19. Gundam Versus - PS4
20. BIOTA - PC
21. Chantelise - PC
22. Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii
23. Forgive Me Father - PC
24. Xenoblade Chronicles X - Wii U
25. Steel Assault - Switch
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Switch
27. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch
28. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country - Switch
29. Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Switch
30. Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron - Genesis
31. Postal Brain Damaged - PC
32. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth - PSP
33. Super Cyborg - Switch
34. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 - Switch
35. Stray - PC
36. Live A Live - Switch
37. Subwar 2050 - PC
38. Radical Dreamers - Switch
39. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Switch
40. Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 - Switch
41. Soul Hackers 2 - PS5
42. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters - NES
43. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan - GB
44. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers - GB
45. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters - Genesis
46. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters - SNES
47. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue - GB
48. Molek-Syntez - PC
49. Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria - PS2
50. Exapunks - PC

Exapunks is another programming game from Zachtronics. This time the concept is that you are writing autonomous programs that traverse networks to manipulate and steal data, akin to hacking movies of the 90s. Proper management of inter-program communication and program replication are keys to success.

Unlike TIS-100 and Shenzhen IO, here your programs have unlimited space for instructions. This is important, as when a program replicates it copies the entire code of the existing one, though you do have the ability to choose which label it starts with. So you'll end up with multiple exclusive sections of code for different functions that all are captured together. Your actual instructions are quite basic; you have two registers (one fully general purpose, one that you can use but gets written when you run a test operation) as well as the ability to hold and read/write from a file. You can send data to an inter-process communication register which auto blocks and is randomly picked up by one of the listeners (if there are more than one). You have all four arithmetic operations (with three operands), a "grab individual decimal digits" operation, a test operation and a few branches (unconditional and result of test was true/false).

Each program will be run against a test suite of 100 different configurations; this is to ensure you can't just hardcode in the answers. Sometimes you need to deal with a network topology that changes across test runs. These scenarios DO follow consistent rules, but it means you need to have your programs have a level of discovery involved. What makes this tricky is the fact that you can't safely test the existence of a particular part of the network (i.e. you can't check whether or not a link or file exists). Instead you have to bull forward and utilize the fact that invalid operations cause your program to terminate. So you'll have to definitely make use of the replication feature to try all possibilities.

Overall I found the game to be a bit easier than TIS-100 and Shenzhen. Outside of a single late game puzzle you don't have to do any sort of cycle syncing, and you generally aren't resource constrained (though there are some resources that can fill up in very brute force solutions). You're free to focus on the "how do I accomplish this with a small set of building blocks", rather than also dealing with having to do it in a small area. If you aren't scared of the idea of programming then I would say this is more approachable than the previous two. And if you enjoyed the previous two definitely give this one a whirl.
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Raging Justice Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:59 am

Note wrote:1. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth (N64)
2. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (Arcade)*
3. Metal Slug 6 (PS2)
4. Time Crisis II (PS2)*
5. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (360)
6. Shining the Holy Ark (SAT)
7. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
10. Warriors of Fate (Switch)
11. Knights of the Round (Switch)
12. Armored Warriors (Switch)
13. Battle Circuit (Switch)
14. OutRun (GEN)*
15. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
16. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
17. Shadowrun (SNES)
18. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)

Image

19. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

I had totally missed out on the Ratchet & Clank series when it was originally released on the PS2. During this timeframe in the early 2000s, I was in high school and while I was still into gaming, I wasn't following it as closely as I did in the 90s. There were a lot of releases I missed out on, and this series happens to be in that category. However, for the Summer Games Challenge hosted this year, I decided to put this on my list to complete. I was able to finish it on Thursday night last week, and it took me about a total of 23 hours to complete.

Ratchet and Clank is a 3D platformer based around two main characters who are assisted with a selection of weapons, gadgets, and even vehicles to make their way through various planets. The game has a cartoony theme to it, and there is quite some funny dialogue included in cutscenes throughout. I had not played a 3D platformer in quite some time, so this style of game was a nice change of pace in comparison to the titles I've been playing recently. I found the controls to be quite intuitive and responsive. The menu system to select the various weapons and gadgets was also well designed and I found it easy to bring something up quickly in a sticky situation.

As you make your way through the game, you can find or purchase various weapons and gadgets, which will help you to defeat tougher enemies or traverse areas in levels that you could not reach before. I found the level designs to be very well done, as it always seemed easy to get back to a certain area when you needed to return. After a level is completed, there always seems to be some type of shortcuts unlocked to make that additional cavern or factory easy to reach when you had to return. There are also sequences where you get to fly a vehicle in 3D shooter segments, use a turret gun to take on waves of enemies, and even pilot a large version of Clank. I found the variety of gameplay here to be really refreshing. I thought Insomniac did a great job of breaking up the game and possible monotony with these different gameplay styles.

In regards to collecting items, the main thing you will be collecting are bolts, which is basically your currency in the game. You can use bolts to buy new weapons and gadgets at vendor shops that appear at the beginning in most levels. Later on, you can also attain an item that will give you a discount at the shops. There are also two major upgrades, including the best weapon in the game and an extended health bar, that will require a lot of bolts to purchase, but I spent a few hours grinding at a certain section to get there, and it was definitely worth it. The other item that is available to collect are gold bolts, and there are a few hidden in each level. These can be tricky to get, and I did not manage to find all of them, in fact, I was missing a fair amount. This is the main reason I may eventually return to my save file, to go back through and try to find each one. I believe once you collect all the gold bolts, you can receive gold versions of certain weapons, which to my understanding are more powerful.

The only criticism I can throw at Ratchet & Clank is I found the controls of swimming sections to be tough to manage. Earlier in the adventure, it's not a big deal, but later on, there are a few levels where you need to swim through specific rings to unlock doors and you have a time limit while doing so. I found these sequences to be quite tough, as I never felt like I had a good handle of the character's movement during these underwater sections. Eventually I was able to overcome this section, but it took quite a few tries. The difficulty level in general ramps up towards the end of the game, especially with some of the platforming sequences, but I found it to still be manageable.

Overall, I had a great time playing through the first game in the Ratchet & Clank series. I'm glad I finally experienced a game in the series and I'd definitely like to try to play the other two that were originally released on the PS2. This also makes me want to check out Sly Cooper, another 3D platformer on the console I've heard a bit about. I would definitely recommend Ratchet & Clank to anyone that's fan of the genre! Give it a go!


It's definitely the weakest Ratchet & Clank game out of the whole trilogy, but it's still a fun game that I love because it is where this great franchise started. Whenever you get around to playing the second game though (Going Commando), you'll start to see where the template for the whole franchise really started. Going Commando is the one where I think the series started to really find it's identity. It's the first great R & C game in my opinion.

Sly Cooper is an awesome game, and its two sequels are even better. To this day, many of us are still hoping and praying for a new game in the series.

Note wrote:1. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth (N64)
2. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (Arcade)*
3. Metal Slug 6 (PS2)
4. Time Crisis II (PS2)*
5. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (360)
6. Shining the Holy Ark (SAT)
7. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
10. Warriors of Fate (Switch)
11. Knights of the Round (Switch)
12. Armored Warriors (Switch)
13. Battle Circuit (Switch)
14. OutRun (GEN)*
15. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
16. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
17. Shadowrun (SNES)
18. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)
19. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

Image

20. Final Fight 3 (SNES)

I consider myself a huge beat 'em up fan, I've always really enjoyed them since I first tried out games in the genre in the early 90s. However, there's some formidable games that I either haven't played much or haven't tried at all. I've played a bit of Final Fight 3 through emulation in the past, but this was the first time I sat down to try to play through the game. For this particular playthrough, I chose Guy.

Right off the bat, one of the unique features of Final Fight 3 is that you can play through the game as a single player with a CPU controlled second player. That's a pretty awesome feature for a game released at this time. I picked Haggar as my partner and off we were in Metro City to take on the Skull Cross Gang. The move set in Final Fight 3 is expanded in comparison to the earlier two games on the SNES. This time around, you have additional special moves you can execute by inputting Street Fighter type of commands. Each of the four selectable characters have about seven different moves, which is pretty impressive. You also have the ability to dash, dash attack, and back dash. Additionally, there is also Super meter, and each character can perform a super move with a specific command, once that meter's full. The gameplay feels smoother overall, especially in comparison to the first game on the system. However, there is still some slow when there's a lot happening on screen.

Going through the game, I played through six levels and one bonus stage. I've read that there's branching paths in different stages throughout the game, and I really like this feature in beat 'em ups, as I think it adds replay value and motivation to fire up the game again to see what other levels you might've missed in your previous runs. I wasn't aware of how to access the different paths when I first tried the game, so I didn't see any of the alternate routes. On my next attempt, I'm going to explore the alternate stages.

Regarding the graphics, I think the visuals are good for the time of release and are slightly stepped up in comparison to the earlier entries. I especially like the look of Level 4, where you're fighting across a bridge and a pier with a sunset in the background. Another nice inclusion are a few brief cutscenes between levels throughout the game, which are also well done. The soundtrack is impressive too, I especially like the music for the last scene in the first level. However, in regards to the sound effects, I still feel the first entry on the SNES has the most satisfying sound effects on the console, but I think the effects here sound better than Final Fight 2. Also, I just want to take a second to praise the box art here. Love the illustration with the orange-ish background, and the yellow outline around the art really stands out. The illustrator and designer did a great job, IMO.

I really don't have many gripes with the game. I was a bit disappointed by the slow down, although it didn't pop up often, I was still surprised by it, since this game was released late in the Super Nintendo's lifespan. Also, I had a brief issue with the controls. My CPU controlled partner eventually lost all lives later in the game, and the "Press Start" option appeared on the 2P side of the screen. However, I couldn't seem to figure how to have the CPU partner continue. Perhaps I'm just missing something? If anyone knows, please let me know!

Overall, I really enjoyed my first playthrough of Final Fight 3 and I'm looking forward to playing it again to see the other areas I missed my first time around. I'm going to visit a friend in early October who is also into older games, and I think I'll bring this along so we can play this co-op. I definitely recommend this title for fans of the genre!


To me, FF 3 is really the only one in the series that `holds up well when put up against the series' biggest rival, the Streets of Rage series. Streets of Rage 2 is leaps and bounds better than Final Fight 2. Final Fight 3 benefits a bit from Streets of Rage 3 being butchered when it was brought overseas. So it comes across as the stronger game. The original Japanese version of Streets of Rage 3 though puts up a much better fight, though I think Final Fight 3 still wins out in the soundtrack department
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Raging Justice Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:07 am

I ranted a bit earlier in the thread about how much I hate River City Girls Zero. I have seem some generous reviews giving it like 7 out of 10 scores and calling it, "Standard 90s beat' em up". That kind of pisses me off as we just got a review from one of our members of a 90s beat 'em up that is way better in Final Fight 3. I can think of tons of other "90s beat 'em ups" too that play better and are more fun than River City Girls Zero. Turtles in Time, Ninja Warriors Again, Batman Returns on the SNES, just about any arcade game from Konami or Capcom at the time, the Streets of Rage games. River City Girls Zero doesn't even hold up when put up against 8-bit beat 'em ups like the Double Dragon series.

Sometimes I really can't stand modern game reviewers. They talk about retro games that they don't seem to actually know anything about.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Ack Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:35 pm

1. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Action Adventure)
2. The Citadel (PC)(FPS)
3. Gothic 3 (PC)(RPG)
4. Witchaven (PC)(FPS)
5. Unpacking (PC)(Puzzle)
6. Firewatch (PC)(Adventure)
7. Perilous Warp (PC)(FPS)

8. The Ascent (PC)(RPG)
9. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PC)(FPS/RPG)
11. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PC)(FPS/RPG)

12. Kingdom of the Dead (PC)(FPS)
13. Monument (PC)(FPS)
14. Bloodwash (PC)(Horror Adventure)
15. Dead Estate (PC)(Isometric Shooter)

16. Lost in Vivo (PC)(Survival Horror)
17. Star Explorers (PC)(FPS)
18. Dark Souls Remastered (Switch)(RPG)
19. NAM (PC)(FPS)
20. WWII GI (PC)(FPS)
21. Necromunda: Hired Gun (PC)(FPS)
22. Quake: Dimension of the Past (PC)(FPS)
23. Quake: Dimension of the Machine (PC)(FPS)
24. Quake: Scourge of Armagon (PC)(FPS)
25. Quake: Dissolution of Eternity (PC)(FPS)

26. Huntdown (PC)(Run and Gun)
27. A.W.O.L. (Steam)(FPS)

Ion Fury might be the most recent game released commercially in the Build Engine, ending a 20 year drought where it had been left behind, but it's not the last to see the return. A.W.O.L. is a free to play game just released that goes wild showcasing some of what the Build Engine can do, with iron sights, reloading, stealth mechanics, story sequences, and a rudimentary form of squad mechanics. It's still actively being worked on and tweaked, and there are some major bugs that need to be ironed out, but for those of us who enjoyed our Duke Nukem 3D and wanted something to wash the bad taste of NAM out of our mouths, we got a good game.

A.W.O.L. focuses on a squad of elite soldiers who have been contacted because their squad leader has gone missing. Allan, the main character, receives the news while in an Apocalypse Now-type hotel room, and despite that he looks like the Postal Guy, he gears up to try and find out what happened to his old buddy, Duke. Along the way he joins up with his former teammates, discovers the identity of someone who screwed him over in the field a while back, and takes down a massive international drug and pharmaceutical operation, all while traveling the globe from the US to Colombia, Dubai, and the Russian arctic.

To do this, Allan needs a set of firepower, and you get some good gunplay to fit your needs. Starting with an Beretta M9, you get the likes of an MP5, AK47, M16, SPAS-12, and even an RPG. You also have throwing knives and grenades, as well as your trusty knife if you're really up the creek, but hopefully you'll never be that screwed. Each gun feels unique, with different reload animations, rates of fire, levels of power, and behaviors while looking down the sights. For example, the AK kicks like a mule, while the MP5 feels like a peashooter against body armor and takes forever to reload. And the SPAS-12 is God tier, like pressing the delete button at an enemy if you aim for the head.

Yes, aim for the head. A.W.O.L.'s enemies go down faster due to locational damage. And you need to drop them fast, because they're all hit-scan enemies that can drop you easily if you don't pay attention. As a result, A.W.O.L. works better as a tactical FPS than the usual Build Engine run and guns. I found myself playing the game more like I would NAM and World War II GI, only with better everything. Enemy behavior really likes to empty the magazine, so often times I'd fire a quick burst and then duck behind cover, then pop back out once they shouted out they were reloading to mop up whatever was left. And if there were a bunch, a hand grenade would do the trick.

That said, this is where the biggest bug of the game comes into play. Sometimes enemies manage to shoot through cover. It's not based on the type of cover you're hiding behind but instead seems like a hitbox issue. Visuals do not always match up the other way too, so at one point I was having a gun battle with a guy only to realize we were both shooting a wall that looked like it had a hole to shoot through. There are other problems with FOV sliders and weather effects, particularly if you're using an AMD GPU, but the developers are actively working to fix problems in the game. Hell, in the four days I was playing, two patches got released for minor bug fixes and quality of life upgrades. For a game that's free, I admire how the devs appear to be listening to their community.

The squad mechanics are also interesting, though you have only limited control over your teammates' AI behavior. Either they're aggressive, stealthy, or they follow you around. Often times, you rely on them more for meat shields or let them glitch through walls to fight enemies you haven't reached yet. Is this remotely realistic? No. Is it hilarious? Yes. Do I wish this game gets 4 player co-op? Definitely. Because when it does work properly, like having AI enemies go after your squad while you flank and hit them from the side, it feels fantastic.

The levels are also varied, including trains, prisons, military facilities, and skyscrapers. Most of the levels are good, though one particular city level set in Dubai has problems with conveying where to go next and relies on a drone enemy that's more annoying than anything else. This is the one level where I had any kind of issue though, as most of the time the flow is well maintained. And those quality of life tweaks I mentioned? Well, this level was the one getting the most to fix the issues I talked about, so I expect it will only continue to improve.

Overall, A.W.O.L. is a better game than the price tag states, and I'd rather play it than quite a few of the other Build Engine games I've run through over the years. If you want a fun few hours checking out a true Boomer Shooter and don't want to spend any money, here's how you do it.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:11 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 57
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (11 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11
29. Sniper Elite 5 - Series X - June 12
30. The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker - PlayStation 4 - June 15
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Xbox One - June 16
32. 007 Legends - Wii U - June 17
33. TimeSplitters 2 - Xbox - June 18
34. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect - Xbox - June 18
35. I Saw Black Clouds - PlayStation 4 - June 19
36. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified - PlayStation Vita - June 20
37. The House of the Dead Remake - Switch - June 24
38. Halo Wars Definitive Edition - Xbox One - June 29*


July (14 Games Beaten)
39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5
40. Halo Reach - Xbox 360 - July 6*
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360 - July 8*
42. Halo 2 Anniversary - Xbox One - July 9*
43. Halo 3: ODST - Xbox 360 - July 10*
44. Halo 3 - Xbox 360 - July 10*
45. Halo 4 - Xbox 360 - July 11*
46. Halo: Spartan Assault - Xbox One - July 12*
47. Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game - Xbox One - July 12
48. Halo 5: Guardians - Xbox One - July 14*
49. Halo 4: Spartan Ops - Xbox 360 - July 17
50. Halo Wars 2 - Xbox One - July 18*
51. Halo Wars 2: Awakening the Nightmare - Xbox One - July 19
52. Maneater - Series X - July 20*
53. Maneater: Truth Quest - Series X - July 21*


August (2 Games Beaten)
54. Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse - Steam - August 5
55. Radian Historia: Perfect Chronology - 3DS - August 24


September (2 Games Beaten)
56. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - 3DS - September 3
57. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Arcade - September 9


57. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Arcade - September 9

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I'm extremely familiar with the NES port of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game - it was one of my favorite NES games as a kid - but I've never seen an actual coin-op arcade machine of it, and I suspect most gamers younger than I haven't, either. Fortunately, both the NES port and the original arcade version were included in the recent Cowabunga Collection, and best of all, that version included online co-op and the ability to force-feed more credits like cough syrup to a sick kid. Screenshots were captured on the Cowabunga Collection on Switch while flake and I were playing together.

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For the most part, when you consider that it's an 8-bit port of an arcade game, the NES version that most of us are more familiar with sticks pretty closely to the arcade version, but the arcade original is, obviously, significantly better. There are some differences in the levels and enemies, and while most are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, some definitely stand out. The little laser whip robots at the end of the first level, for example, are small and numerous on NES whereas in the arcade original, there are fewer of them, but they're significantly larger. That's how the majority of the differences beyond music and visuals that I noticed are - enough to make the games feel distinct and worth playing both but small enough that you're not really "missing out," per se, if you've only played one or the other.

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As you progress through the game, you'll face a variety of types of Foot Clan soldiers as well as a variety of iconic villains from the comics as you pursue Shredder to save April. If you've somehow never played this game before, it's a pretty standard arcade beat 'em up, and like arcade beat 'em ups, it's designed to punish you in a multitude of unfair ways. I don't think anyone has ever 1CC'd this game, and if you have, you're a liar. Still, though, it's a great challenge (even if there are some boss attacks that I genuinely think are impossible to dodge), and the ability to just increase your credits with a button press if you're playing on the Cowabunga Collection keeps it from getting too frustrating. Unless you like being frustrated; I'm not here to kink shame.

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While it's not as good as the later arcade game, Turtles in Time, in my opinion, I do think that this first TMNT arcade game is one of the truly great beat 'em ups of the 1980s. The NES original is fantastic, but the arcade original really is the best way to play regardless of if that's on a legit machine, in the Cowabunga Collection, or on 1Up's TMNT cabinet.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:19 pm

You know, I find that the NES port is actually the better game. The arcade game has the obviously better visuals, but the NES game has far more content (two extra levels and existing levels are longer, a new boss fight in the garage) and is better balanced to not lean so much on being a credit sink.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:46 pm

I played through the TMNT arcade game with my kids the other day. It holds up remarkably well for an arcade game from 1989(!), and we had a blast. Definitely not the deepest beat ‘em up, and a total credit sink, but with three or four players, it’s just a ball.
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