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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Sarge Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:07 am

Unfortunately, for better or for worse, Capcom only ported over the original arcade releases. So all those cool modes from the PSX version of Alpha 3? Tough luck.

I guess "arcade-perfect" is nice, but yeah, I would have loved maybe some of the home versions being included, too.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Flake Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:05 pm

Sarge wrote:Unfortunately, for better or for worse, Capcom only ported over the original arcade releases. So all those cool modes from the PSX version of Alpha 3? Tough luck.

I guess "arcade-perfect" is nice, but yeah, I would have loved maybe some of the home versions being included, too.


Fortunately I have the PSX and PSP versions of Alpha 3 so no big. Just a weird oversight.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dunpeal2064 Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:13 am

Nice job, I quite dig Xexex myself. I don't think its design choices were outdated when it was released in '91, but I can understand not being a fan of some of its choices now. Konami was pretty big on the "Die once, may as well restart" style of shmups, and Xexex is even pretty mild on this compared to some of their other games, but it can still feel bad to just wash out your health/lives once you get hit once.

I also hate firing backwards in shmups :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dsheinem Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:41 am

Xexex is a great time, but also a frustrating one. I remember playing it a TON on the PSP for a STG competition some years ago. I couldn't get past the boss on Stage 3 when trying for a 1CC run, if I remember correctly. It struck me as quite unfair :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by dunpeal2064 Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:23 pm

Fair point, I admittedly wasn't taking non-arcade shooters into account when comparing Xexex to its contemporaries. It is a toughie though, thats for sure.

I also played Xexex during a shmup tourney thing, and I don't think I fared much better than Stage 3 or 4. Horis usually wreck me.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:25 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 60
* denotes a replay

January (16 Games Beaten)
1. Phantasy Star Portable - PlayStation Portable - January 1
2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - Xbox One - January 9
3. Duck Tales - NES - January 10
4. Yakuza Kiwami - PlayStation 4 - January 14
5. Xuan-Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament - PlayStation 4 - January 20
6. Doki Doki Literature Club - Steam - January 20
7. Deep Space Waifu - Steam - January 21
8. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter - Steam - January 21
9. Duck Tales 2 - NES - January 22
10. TaleSpin - NES - January 22
11. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers - NES - January 23
12. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 - NES - January 24
13. Global Defence Force - PlayStation 2 - January 24
14. Darkwing Duck - NES - January 25
15. Tiny Toon Adventures - NES - January 26
16. Poi - Steam - January 28


February (18 Games Beaten)
17. Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD - Steam - February 3
18. Final Fantasy Legend - Game Boy - February 5
19. Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni - Vita - February 5
20. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo - 3DS - February 8
21. Adventures in Equica: Unicorn Training - Android - February 8
22. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - SNES - February 10
23. X-COM: UFO Defense - Steam - February 14
24. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys -TurboGrafx-CD - February 18
25. Army Men - Game Boy Color - February 19
26. Army Men 2 - Game Boy Color - February 19
27. Army Men: Air Combat - Game Boy Color - February 20
28. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd - PlayStation Portable - February 22
29. Army Men: Sarge's Heroes 2 - Game Boy Color - February 22
30. Army Men Advance - Game Boy Advance - February 24
31. Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn - PlayStation 3 - February 25
32. Army Men: Operation Green - Game Boy Advance - February 26
33. A Night Out - PC - February 27
34. Army Men: Turf Wars - Game Boy Advance - February 27


March (10 Games Beaten)
35. Phantasy Star - Master System - March 10*
36. Grand Kingdom - PlayStation 4 - March 17
37. Bit.Trip Beat - Wii - March 18
38. Bit.Trip Core - Wii - March 18
39. Bit.Trip Void - Wii - March 18
40. Bit.Trip Runner - Wii - March 22
41. Bit.Trip Fate - Wii - March 22
42. Bit.Trip Flux - Wii - March 24
43. Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien - Wii U - March 25
44. My Nintendo Picross: Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess - 3DS - March 28


April (7 Games Beaten)
45. Gundam Breaker 3 - PlayStation 4 - April 4
46. Night Trap - PlayStation 4 - April 5
47. Corpse Killer - Sega CD 32X - April 9
48. Corpse Killer - Saturn - April 11*
49. Area 51 - Saturn - April 16*
50. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - Sega CD - April 17
51. SD Gundam G Generation Genesis - PlayStation 4 - April 28*


May (6 Games Beaten)
52. Detention - PlayStation 4 - May
53. Guacamelee - Wii U - May 6
54. EDGE - Wii U - May 7
55. RUSH - Wii U - May 9
56. Pokemon Snap - Nintendo 64 - May 27
57. Doom VFR - PS VR - May 27


June (3 Games Beaten)
58. Jurassic Pinball - Switch - June 8
59. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn - Switch - June 9
60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11


60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11

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ost Sphear is the second game produced by Square Enix's newest studio, Tokyo RPG Factory, and it shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor, I am Setsuna. Stylistically, they're identical; if I didn't know the characters and setting in each game, I'd probably not be able to tell screenshots of the two games apart. Despite that, though, Lost Sphear manages to be different enough that you never feel like you're playing the same game with a different coat of paint.

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One of the big objectives that Tokyo RPG Factory stated for themselves in Lost Sphear was to fix the flaws that kept I am Setsuna from being rated higher by critics. In that endeavor, they succeeded; a lot of the mechanical and pacing issues that I am Setsuna had were absent in Lost Sphear. Despite that, however, I actually find myself personally preferring I am Setsuna. It just had a little more charm in my opinion. I found the characters in I am Setsuna a little more charming, but that may be because I'm a sucker for female protagonists.

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The game's music is the same overall style as I am Setsuna. That's to say that it's really nice but totally generic and unremarkable RPG music. That's not to say that the soundtrack is bad. It's fantastic. It's just generic. If someone said "Imagine the most stereotypical JRPG soundtrack," you'd probably think of Lost Sphear's soundtrack. It's great. It's just exactly what you'd expect.

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Lost Sphear is a really great JRPG, and it's an important JRPG for the first year of the Switch's lifespan. It's not a particularly stand-out RPG, but don't let that dissuade you. It's a ton of fun with lovable characters (minus Locke; fuck that guy) and fun Chrono Trigger-style combat. The one thing it does EXCEPTIONALLY well is pacing; with a lot of RPGs, I find myself getting tired of the game before it ends and, as a result, getting sick of it. They wear out their welcome, so to speak. Lost Sphear avoided that. It's pretty much the perfect length; as soon as I first started to feel some game fatigue, the game ended. I couldn't ask for a game with a more perfect length; it's enough to sink your teeth into but not enough to get sick of. Definitely check this one out if you game on Switch, PS4, or PC.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by pierrot Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:00 pm

PresidentLeever wrote:[57. Xexex (ARC) (click for the full reviews)

Konami goes Irem in this shooter with pod and charge shot mechanics which are basically crucial to survival. I liked Xexex, but it kind of piles up on certain quirks that I consider outdated at this point in shoot 'em up history. No auto-fire, respawning with all upgrades lost makes it hard to recover after a few levels, no back attack, and there's no manual ship speed adjustment. At the same time you are given a lifebar, som health drops here and there and lowering the difficulty does have a noticeable effect. The variety and visual spectacle of the game also deserve a mention.

Man, I friggin' love Xexex! It was my pick for shmup of the month a number of years back. Truth be told, I think I've only ever gotten to Stage 5 on a single credit (possibly Stage 6, like once), but it's so quirky and fun. I don't really see any need for a rear fire, though. Releasing the pod to home in on those enemies, and/or hiding in the pods tentacles is really all that's required. I mean, the pod in Xexex is almost overpowered as it is. Glad to see someone play it, all the same. Nice going!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by pierrot Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:58 pm

That sounds about right to me. There's a cheap way to beat the last boss while hiding in a moving safe zone, but I can never get to it, so I have to dump credits to get through the last stage. :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Ack Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:30 am

1. Jungle Book (SNES)(Platformer)
2. Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge (SNES)(Light Gun Shooter)
3. Might and Magic VI (PC)(RPG)
4. Revenant (PC)(RPG)
5. Neo Turf Masters (NGPC)(Sports)
6. Fatal Fury: First Contact (NGPC)(Fighter)
7. Pac-Man (NGPC)(Action)

8. Golden Axe (Genesis)(Hack and Slash)
9. Blood and Bacon (PC)(FPS)
10. Gain Ground (Genesis)(Strategy)

11. Flicky (Genesis)(Platformer)
12. Zombie Shooter 2 (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
13. Phantasmagoria (PC)(Point and Click)
14. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - Capcom Version (NGPC)(Card Game)
15. Toonstruck (PC)(Point and Click)
16. Riven (PC)(Point and Click)
17. Dragon Wars (PC)(RPG)
18. Dungeon Hack (PC)(RPG)
19. SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (NGPC)(Fighter)
20. Portal 2 (PC)(Puzzle FPS)
21. Goat Simulator: Waste of Space (PC)(Action)
22. Goat Simulator: Payday (PC)(Action)
23. Goat Simulator: MMO Simulator (PC)(Action)

24. Goat Simulator: GoatZ (PC)(Action)
25. Goat Simulator (PC)(Action)
26. Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis)(Beat 'Em Up)
27. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (PC)(Action Platformer)

28. Deadlight (PC)(Platformer)
28. Antichamber (PC)(Puzzle FPS)

I picked up Antichamber when it came out several years ago based on recommendations because I liked Portal and The Ball, but then I didn't get around to it. After wrapping up a couple of other games, I finally decided I should give it a look, and I'm glad I did. Antichamber is mind-bending, mysterious, strange, simplistic, and yet incredible, gorgeous, and complex. I am still not entirely sure how all of it works, because it contains rooms which bend around and twist on themselves, walls that disappear, secrets hidden throughout, and half-finished rooms and ideas that were never implemented. There are even hidden dev rooms which serve as a sort of museum for the game, showing the changing artwork, puzzle solutions, ideas for the art style, and so on. It's like completing a puzzle isn't just a reward in the game, there are often rewards for the player who is interested in how the game came to be.

But this is not an easy game. Some of the puzzles can be solved multiple ways, but some are brutal to figure out or require you find the various upgrades for your "gun". I use the term loosely, because the gun in Antichamber is for interacting with the game's physics, much like in the previously mentioned Portal or The Ball are for interacting with objects or the world for solving puzzles. In the case of Antichamber, it's about storing up and placing blocks on the map for various effects, such as keeping a door open, holding an elevator in place, or building a ladder or bridge. But with different upgrades come new abilities, such as making blocks that can generate more blocks in certain patterns or can be controlled to move in various ways from point A to point B. Many of these tools have different ways to access them, but good luck figuring them all out.

So what are the room puzzles like? Well, here's an example: one long hallway you access has three exits: first, the floor isn't really there, so you can fall down into a pit and access a door by unlocking it via a new puzzle involving infinitely respawning blocks. That's one way through. The next: create a floor using blocks to walk across the floor that isn't really there, but when you get across, the world folds in on itself, and you find yourself in a very different location from where you started. That's the second way through. The third? Walk backwards across the floor you created, and you won't see the world fold around, thus giving you access to a third location. Yes, not looking at a doorway or walking backwards is quite often a viable solution. If you see a pit, finding a way across is just as viable as falling into it; each one provides a new puzzle or access to a new area. Antichamber is a game that encourages failure because failure is just as often a solution as "solving" a puzzle.

This is a weird game, and as I mentioned before, it is unfinished. There are hidden rooms with things the developer was interested in doing but just simply didn't have the time, the money, or the patience to finish, yet as a result they build a mystery. I like that mystery, even if things simply don't have a meaning at all. If you have enjoyed puzzle FPS or first person games that are about interacting with your environment in creative ways, or you simply want to see what happens when you turn around from an infinite staircase to find a totally new locale, well...Antichamber is for you. It certainly was for me.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:05 pm

Beat this two weeks ago. Posting today. God do I suck.

1. Antarctic Adventure (Famicom)
2. Nuts & Milk (Famicom)
3. Commando (Atari 2600)
4. Binary Land (Famicom)
5. Devil World (Famicom)
6. Disney's Aladdin (SNES)
7. Popeye (NES)
8. Super Mario Land (Game Boy)
9. Ys: The Vanished Omens (Sega Master System)
10 Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter (Famicom)
11. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)
12. Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD)
13. Otenba Becky no Daibouken (MSX)
14. Metroid (Famicom Disk System)
15. Mahou Kishi Rayearth (Game Boy)
16. Wabbit (Atari 2600)
17. Kirby's Dream Land (Game Boy)
18. Warpman (Famicom)
19. Final Fantasy (NES)
20. Transformers: Convoy no Nazo (Famicom)
21. Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol (Switch eShop)
22. Gremlins (Atari 2600)
23. Arcade Archives: Ninja-Kid (Switch eShop)
24. Shining in the Darkness (Genesis)
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I had been acquainted with the excellent Genesis Shining Force strategy RPGs for several years before coming to the realization that they comprised a subset of a larger series known as Shining. Notable non-SRPG installments include Shining Wisdom, Shining the Holy Ark, and the game that started it all -- Shining in the Darkness, developed by Climax Entertainment in conjunction with Sonic! Software Planning. Darkness is a first-person dungeon crawler. Some refer to this as a sort of Japanese "WRPG" though this title lacks the complexities (and annoyances) of its North American brethren. There is no class system to be found here. Nor is there alignment, a food meter, or characters that advance in age (though anyone who attempts to tackle this will feel aged by the end). No, Darkness is ultimately a true "JRPG" displayed in a first-person format, much like the Hummingbird Soft Deep Dungeon "classics" that predate it.

The plot is a threadbare necessity. A hero, canonically named Hiro, is tasked with saving a kingdom from an evil sorcerer and his goons. There's a princess rescue too, though much like Dragon Quest it serves to advance the plot rather than wrap up the storyline. Hiro is soon joined by a duo of companions: the stout Milo and elven Pyra. The characters are differentiated in terms of combat prowess. Hiro is the unmistakable tank, with no magical competency. Pleasantly, the "black & white mage" trope was eschewed here in favor of making Milo and Pyra well-rounded fighters who both possess an arrangement of offensive, defensive, and buff spells.

Progression in the game requires one bounce back and forth between three central locations, which are simply chosen from a "world map" with a cursor. The castle is mostly useless, unless one really enjoys chatting with the king and his cronies, though an occasional visit is required to "trigger" the next game event. The town is arguably the most interesting aspect of the entire Shining in the Darkness experience, and is where the developers best showcase their artistic merits. The scenery here is impeccably crafted, populated by a mixture of human and elvish townsfolk, something that would later become a series trademark. NPCs are undeniably goofy; shopkeepers are wont to strike poses or fall right over amid transactions. Characters have a sort of Disney-anime appearance, with the ladies all impossibly thin and long-legged, and the Westernized box art coincidentally doesn't stray too far from reality. There's a tavern in town, populated by loquacious weirdos lounging about in varying stages of inebriation. This locale doubles as the typical HP-recovering inn; staying overnight requires one first ring a bell which summons the adorable pointy-eared innkeeper. The game contains a smattering a cutscenes, most of which occur in or directly outside the tavern. In one "famous" scene Pyra finds herself scolded, and subsequently spanked, by her mother, even though both appear to be grown women. Uh, well played, Climax Entertainment.
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Also worth mentioning are the delightful and oddball aesthetic quirks found here and, later, in the Shining sequels. Menus are all icon-driven. You never choose "Yes" but instead an image of a man nodding. Likewise, every item, spell, and piece of equipment is illustrated. There's rudimentary character "speech" too, which has to be heard to be believed. Taking a page from the Final Fantasy playbook, Shining in the Darkness has no proper title screen but instead a grand "credit roll" when a new game is started. And there is acknowledgement that this is indeed a game. Darkness breaks the fourth wall, as the file select screen features an old man in a rocking chair, ready to resume or halt the story according to the player's whim. In sequels the old guy was replaced by a witch and (of course) a kawaii elf girl.

There isn't much to say about the soundtrack. It's present and appropriate, but fundamentally feels stock and rushed. The music swells when it's supposed to, lulls when it's supposed to, and the battle theme is just as chipper and annoying as you'd expect, but nothing leaves a lasting impression.

The labyrinth. This is a first-person RPG, after all, so most of the game's time is dedicated to exploring this monstrosity. Unfortunately, it's the least interesting aspect of the game to talk about. The labyrinth is comprised of five floors, and several disparate basement "trials" that must be completed before a portal bridging floors one and two is revealed. Movement is grid-based. There's no true in-game map to speak of, though Pyra possesses a spell that reveals current location coordinates and illustrates the surrounding (explored) area. Navigational difficulty is raised gradually with all the typical hazards making an appearance: pitfalls, warps, spinners, ascending ropes. It's possible to warp back to town at any time (again, with a Pyra spell) though warping back into the labyrinth isn't a viable option until late in the game and it involves a convoluted process of first dropping a specific item on a designated spot. Very little was done to differentiate labyrinth floors - mainly just some subtle changes in background - and one should expect to see palette-swapped foes as they ascend.

Yes, an absolutely inordinate amount of time is spent slaying creatures of the labyrinth. Random battles are seemingly triggered every few footsteps or so. Monster designs are actually pretty well-done, if not on the generic side. Most RPGs of this era lacked enemy animation, and this one is no exception. Sort of. Foes "twitch" throughout the duration of a battle; that is, their otherwise unmoving sprites shift around a bit. Bosses (there are far too few of these, typical for Sega) are prone to displaying "entrance poses" like a professional wrestler. Combat is purely turn-based. There's no way to target specific enemies, just groups, but it's not as bad as it sounds. The game comes equipped with some smart AI - weakened enemies are struck first and if an entire group dies off before a round of combat is over then attacks are automatically shifted to the next (no "hitting air"). Milo and Pyra both have an arsenal of powerful attack spells, and MP is surprisingly plentiful. Some of the later spells feature some cool animations, like a valkyrie who blows a horn before setting the battlefield ablaze. Grinding is required, though it seems to occur in tandem with exploration.
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Unfortunately, Shining in the Darkness is an exercise in tedium. The game's incredibly repetitive. I don't necessarily disparage repetition in games - oftentimes it's downright welcome - but it needs to be coupled with brevity. Darkness is a thirty hour game with ten hours of content. There's not enough here to differentiate each labyrinth floor from the next. The game feels like it's looping more so than progressing. And while other early first-person JRPGs have a distinct "hook" (like the monster relations of Megami Tensei), Shining in the Darkness just has one big heavy long dungeon. It's a grind. A pretty grind, but a grind nonetheless. Combine this was some prominent annoyances (lack of inventory space, not knowing what items do) and the tedium can quickly turn into pure frustration.

That said, I do "like" the game. The graphical presentation is stunning, and the core gameplay engine is finely-tuned. I've read that the game was cranked out rapidly, under intense time and monetary restraints. And the cut-and-paste vibe makes that apparent. Thankfully, the strongest aspects of Darkness were carried over into the future "sequels" -- the CRPG subgenre is where Sonic! Software Planning seemingly found their niche.
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