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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Markies Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:24 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2018!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. The Granstream Saga (PS1)
2. Perfect Dark (N64)
*3. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete (PS1)*
4. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (XBOX)
5. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
*6. Pikmin (GCN)*
*7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64)*
8. Shining Force II (GEN)
*9. X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (PS1)*
*10. Mafia (XBOX)*
11. James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire (GCN)
12. ChuChu Rocket! (SDC)
*13. Super Metroid (SNES)*
14. Final Fantasy II (NES)
15. Devil May Cry (PS2)
16. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (GEN)
17. Secret of Evermore (SNES)
18. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (PS2)
19. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GCN)

*20. Paper Mario (N64)*

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Paper Mario could be the best introductory RPG I have ever played. It introduces the depth and the complexity of the genre with clever writing and enough platforming to make it interesting. There is also enough customization and strategy in the game to make veterans want to play the game as well. It was one of the first RPG's I have ever played and one of my favorites. A wonderful classic of a game that should be played by everybody and anybody. Pure Greatness!
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:07 pm

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

1-20

21. Deadbolt (Steam)
22. Legend of Grimrock 2 (Steam)
23. The Witness (PS4)
24. Uurnog (PC)
25. Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
26. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
27. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
28. Magicka 2 (PS4)*
29. Tales of Phantasia (PSP)
30. BOXBOXBOY! (3DS)
31. Blossom Tales (Switch)
32. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Steam)

33. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (PS4)

I bought this game entirely because Elkin's review of the Barack Fu DLC for it had me in stitches. I was very disappointed to find that apparently the Barack Fu DLC isn't actually on the American PSN store yet, apparently? Regardless, I played through Shaq Fu and had a pretty good time. I played through on normal difficulty and it took me like 2 or 2.5 hours (this game ain't long).

The game is a 2.5D brawler, and it's an okay to not-so-great one. The hit detection can be a bit funky, as you can walk around in a 3D space but can only attack left and right, not up and down, but that wonky detection tends to be in your advantage and not the enemy's, so it's not a problem. The combos are pretty simple but satifsying, and the game is short enough that they never get tedious or anything. The greatest sin I can say against the mechanics is that they just really aren't good enough to allow the hard mode to be playable. Enemies hit like twice as hard in the hard mode, and some enemy types like ninjas are just an absolute nightmare to fight with how agile they are compared to you. The hard mode is a total waste of time.

The game also has absolutely no multiplayer of any kind, which is insanely stupid for a beat 'em up released in 2018, quite frankly. I'd go as far as to call it downright inexcusable considering the $30 price tag the game goes for physically (or $40 if you're getting it on Switch). Given that it's a 2 hour game with very little replayability and not even multiplayer, I'd say the asking price on this thing is even a bit much for the default $20 digital price tag.

Where the game really shines is the writing though. It's very unabashadly silly and tongue-in-cheek writing. It has some low-points in the comedy that'll really make you cringe, but the highs far outweighed the lows for me. The music is also really fun 90's rap in a catchy but bad way and the theme song is just such stupid fun in that same vein :lol: . I gotta agree that I'm pretty damn tempted to pick up some of the soundtrack because it's just that damn catchy. The graphics are colorful, but nothing amazing. Very serviceable.

Verdict: Recommended. The writing is silly enough and the gameplay is just-okay enough that this is a game that I enjoyed my time with. Lack of multiplayer aside, the biggest downside to it as it is is the price tag. If you can get this for $10 or $15, this is definitely one to pick up to have a laugh with over an afternoon.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:51 pm

First, Paper Mario is great. I agree with everything in Markies’ post. Beset game in the series and one of the best RPGs of its generation, IMO.

.....

Another big update...

1. Bastion (iOS)
2. LaserCat (360)
3. Zombie Incident (3DS)
4. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! (3DS)
5. Monument Valley 2 (iOS)
6. Zenge (iOS)
7. Master of Darkness (Game Gear/3DS)
8. Wonder Boy (SMS)
9. Full Throttle Remastered (iOS)
10. Adventure Island (NES)
11. Adventure Island II (NES)
12. Adventure Island (GB)
13. Super Adventure Island (SNES)
14. New Adventure Island (TG16)
15. Adventure Island III (NES)
16. The Legend of the Ghost Lion (NES)
17. Part Time UFO (iOS)
18. Adventure Island II: Aliens in Paradise (GB)
19. Adventure Island IV (NES)
20. Super Adventure Island II (SNES)
21. Adventure Island: The Beginning (WII)
22. Quell Memento (3DS)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster Land (ARCADE)
24. Saiyuuki World (FAMICOM)
25. Whomp ‘Em (NES)
26. Bikkuriman World (TG16)
27. Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (TG16)
28. Go Series: Picdun (DS)
29. The Keep (3DS)
30. Dooors (3DS)
31. Ninja Gaiden (ARCADE)
32. Advance Guardian Heroes (GBA)
33. TMNT (GBA)
34. Double Dragon Advance (GBA)
35. Mighty Final Fight (NES)
36. Double Dragon II (ARCADE)
37. Kung Fu Master (GB)
38. Cube Escape: The Lake (iOS)
39. Cube Escape: Seasons (iOS)
40. Cube Escape: Arles (iOS)
41 . Cube Escape: Harvey’s Box (iOS)
42. Cube Escape: Case 23 (iOS)
43. Cube Escape: The Mill (iOS)
44. Rusty Lake Hotel (iOS)
45. Cube Escape: Birthday (iOS)
46. Cube Escape: The Theatre (iOS)
47. Rusty Lake Roots (iOS)
48. Cube Escape: The Cave (iOS)
49. Rusty Lake Paradise (iOS)
50. Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone (ARCADE)


The Cube Escape and Rusty Lake games are first-person adventure/puzzle/room escape games (similar to Myst, The Room, or Year Walk) by Dutch developer Rusty Lake. The mechanics in none of them are particularly inventive, but what the mechanics lack in creativity, the series more than makes up for in charm. All of the games are similar aesthetically, and they are all deeply inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. (I am a big fan of that series, and I know many of our other regular members are as well.) That is, they are all surreal, somewhat macabre, experiences, and they all share a setting, the titular Rusty Lake. Moreover, bizarre story continues from one game to the next in the Cube Escape series and receives elaboration and context in the Rusty Lake games.

I enjoyed each game immensely, especially as I proceeded through the series. In retrospect, none of them is particularly difficult, and the puzzles are just challenging enough to provide a feeling of accomplishment without being so difficult as to result in frustration. (Each game contains a link to a walkthrough in case you get stuck, but I only referenced them a few times in my journey through the series.) I also encountered a few bugs in the Cube Escape games, but that is OK because all of them are FREE. (In playing through the first few games in the series, I did have to sit through a few ads for some weird “fortnite” app, but the later games only required me to view an ad if I tried to get a hint...a strong incentive to beat the game without assistance and an approach to in-game advertising I commend.)

The “premium” Rusty Lake games - Rusty Lake Hotel, Rusty Lake Roots, and Rusty Lake Paradise - are also very inexpensive, and each one provides a more robust experience. (You wil likely beat each of the Cube Escape games in 45 minutes or so. Each of the Rusty Lake games will take at least a few hours.) Their gameplay is also more varied. Rusty Lake Hotel expands on the gameplay in the Cube Escape games; Rusty Lake Roots is a much more ambitious, level-based, first-person puzzle game; and Rusty Lake Paradise is a (believe it or not) more bizarre version of Simogo’s brilliant Year Walk. I enjoyed all of them, but of the three, I enjoyed Rusty Lake Hotel the most. (It plays out like an Agatha Christie mystery...in which you are the killer...and all the victims are animals...who are guests at a five-star hotel...who are then prepared for dinner...and served to the other guests...who rate your meals based on whether you were able to find other ingredients while setting your death traps. Like I said, it is bizarre.)

Again, I really had a lot of fun with the games in this series. They are breezy, fun adventure games perfect for playing when you are on vacation. If you are interested in them, I recommend starting with Rusty Lake Hotel. If you want to try them out without spending any money, give Cube Escape: Seasons a shot. I am a convert after my experience, and I am now really looking forward to the developer’s future efforts.

EDIT: I listed the games in the order in which they were released in case any of you are interested in playing through them in chronological order (which is what I did after beating Rusty Lake Hotel).

EDIT 2:. Double Dragon 3 is trash. It has nothing to offer modern players, and you shouldn’t play it.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:03 am

1. Ultima V - PC
2. Ultima VI - PC
3. Might and Magic VI - PC
4. Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny - PC
5. Pool of Radiance - PC
6. Curse of the Azure Bonds - PC
7. Secret of the Silver Blades - PC
8. Pools of Darkness - PC
9. Gateway to the Savage Frontier - PC
10. Treasures of the Savage Frontier - PC
11. Champions of Krynn - PC
12. Death Knights of Krynn - PC
13. Dark Queen of Krynn - PC
14. Into the Breach - PC
15. Lords of the Realm - PC
16. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands - PC
17. Lords of the Realm II - PC
18. The Alliance Alive - 3DS
19. Shattered Steel - PC
20. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - PC
21. Battletech - PC
22. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part I - PC
23. Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part II - PC
24. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch
25. Pillars of Eternity II - PC
26. Dragon Ball FighterZ - PS4
27. Detroit: Become Human - PC4
28. Call of Duty: United Offensive - PC
29. The Last of Us - PS4
30. The Last of Us: Left Behind - PS4
31. Prey: Mooncrash - PC
32. Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds - PS4
33. Resident Evil 7 - PC
34. Resident Evil 7: Not A Hero - PC
35. Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War III - PC
36. Overwhelm - PC
37. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation - PC
38. Hard Reset Redux - PC
39. Nier: Automata - PS4

I remember hearing about Nier back in the day; the most notable thing about it was there were different protagonists depending on if you had the Xbox version (which was a manly man) or the PlayStation version (where you played a bishie and it was Japan only). So when Nier: Automata was announced I didn't pay much attention; no reason to pick up a sequel to a game I hadn't played. Then I heard both that it was fantastic and that you didn't need to play the first in any way to understand the story. And you know what, that part is correct. While there are references to Nier, they don't start appearing until late in the game and they are presented in such a way that it's a mixtures of nods and events that get summarized. It's mostly a case of "how did we reach the starting point of the game's world?" A quick browse of the Wikipedia page of Nier gives you all you need to understand those references.

So Nier: Automata is set in the 11000s; aliens invaded Earth and drove the humans off with an army of machines. The remnants are now on the moon and have been building up a force of androids to take back the surface. You play as one of those androids, which have both machine parts and red oil that looks like blood, or maybe it is blood, don't think too hard about it. The gameplay is action RPG with a very smooth combat system and a focused open world. I wouldn't call it a true open world like Horizon or Zelda; the overall geography is small enough that to me it felt more like just a series of levels that had good interconnect. You start off assaulting an enemy position as a way of getting your feet wet. And it starts with a shmup level for reasons. You'll do several more shmup levels throughout the game, and they introduce you to the bullet mechanic. The game likes to mix in bullet hell with its action RPG, and there are two kinds of bullets. Light ones can be destroyed with any attack, while dark ones can only be destroyed with physical attacks. This is important during the hacking minigame later, which is a twin stick shooter and you have no melee attack.

After the opening mission you go into a series of quests that start off on just following up on interesting stuff that happens before the plot kicks in. Once it does it rockets to a giant boss fight and a capstone on your journey. Then playthrough two starts. This has you following the second character of the game across the same events, though at certain points the perspective is quite different because he was off providing support rather than directly fighting. Also, he is able to gain deeper insights into the events that are going on, so whereas before it was straightforward "here's a bad robot, stab it", now you start injecting nuance. Once he finishes his story you've wrapped up the first half of the game, and now get to do the third playthrough, which kicks off a completely new story set after the first one. Think of it like season two of an anime that thought it was only getting one season. This is where the game really dives into the deeper themes of the game. Once you finish this third playthrough you have a pretty good idea of what the plot was really about. Now you have access to chapter select; you can go back to any point in time to finish sidequests and collect items you forgot to. This is also the time to explore all the joke endings. See, where in most games you get some sort of "You have to stop this immanent crisis, and we won't let you do otherwise", in this game you can say "fuck that" and run off. The game gives you a quick recap of the (always bad) consequences of your actions, rolls a lightning fast credit sequence, and then forces you to reload your save. It reminded me of the bad timelines from Radiant Historia. In fact, you're likely to stumble upon one of them quite by accident, when you discover that if a normal person would think that an immediate crisis has happened then you need to treat it as such; no running off to do sidequests while a giant monster is about to flatten a town.

I had a great time with the game; the game has a lot of mechanics to make your life easier, so it is rare that you get to a point and go "really, I have to now waste a ton of time on this thing?" There's even a shop where you can purchase trophies that you don't feel like doing, like the ones involving grinding super rare mats or engaging in a mechanic that frankly gets old with just the required uses. The game knows it is asking for a time commitment with the multiple playthroughs and endings and so the rest is geared around respecting your time outside of that.

It's also got a fantastic soundtrack. Including one song that will be stuck in my head until the end of time. Every day's a sale, every sale's a win!
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:00 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 81
* 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 (20 Games Beaten)
58. Jurassic Pinball - Switch - June 8
59. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn - Switch - June 9
60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11
61. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 - Wii - June 12
62. Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Wii - June 14
63. Pokemon Quest - Switch - June 15
64. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - 3DS - June 17
65. Art of Balance - Wii U - June 17
66. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch - June 18
67. DmC Devil May Cry - PlayStation 4 - June 19
68. DmC Devil May Cry: Vergil's Downfall - PlayStation 4 - June 19
69. Assassin's Creed Rogue - PlayStation 3 - June 20
70. Assassin's Creed Unity - Xbox One - June 21
71. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Xbox One - June 22
72. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India - Xbox One - June 23
73. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia - Xbox One - June 24
74. New Gundam Breaker - PlayStation 4 - June 24
75. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard - PlayStation 3 - June 25
76. Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Xbox One - June 29
77. Ride to Hell: Retribution - Xbox 360 - June 30


July (4 Games Beaten)
78. Broforce - PlayStation 4 - July 4
79. Just Cause 2 - PlayStation 3 - July 4
80. Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry - Switch - July 5
81. Organ Trail - PlayStation 4 - July 5


81. Organ Trail - PlayStation 4 - July 5

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When I was in elementary school, my favorite days where the days that my teacher would take us to the computer lab and let us play Math Blaster or Oregon Trail. I loved Oregon Trail, and I still think it's a fantastic game 25+ years later. When I was in college, I discovered Super Amazing Wagon Adventure on the Xbox 360 indie storefront, and I wasted dozens of drunken hours on that game with friends. Now we have the zombie apocalypse parody take on Oregon Trail - Organ Trail.

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The basic goal in Organ Trail is pretty much the same as that of Oregon Trail; you have to make your way westward across the United States to get to Oregon because there's supposedly a safe haven from the zombies in the northwestern United States. There are huge chunks of the country that are irradiated from what I assume to be nuclear containment attempts, and during your journey, you'll get choices on which routes to take. Do you take the shorter route through the irradiated zones, or do you take a longer route that uses more resources and exposes you to more zombie risk in favor of not having to deal with radiation sickness? It's that kind of cost/benefit analysis element that REALLY makes the game intriguing for me.

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The visuals are done in a pseudo-8-bit style, but given that it's supposed to be a parody of an early 90s PC game, it works brilliantly. As you travel from landmark to landmark, you have to keep an eye on your supplies, and that's more than just gas, food, and bullets; you have to consider spare tires, spare car batteries, medkits, and the overall HP of both your party members as well as your station wagon. You also, naturally, have to contend with illnesses like dysentery and typhoid but also radiation poisoning and - of course - zombie bites. All in all, it does an EXCELLENT job of capturing all of the gameplay functions of the original Oregon Trail. Instead of fording rivers, you have to drive through hordes of zombies, and instead of hunting, you have to scavenge for supplies while fighting off zombies.

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The fact that there are so many risk vs reward choices to make with regards to your pace and route give the game a lot of replayability, but each landmark also provides you with optional missions to complete. Some of these aren't at all worth it - a mission ranked "suicidal" with a reward of one tire - but some of them are fantastic - a mission ranked "moderate" with a reward of $80. It's all about how confident you are at shooting zombies and how much you need whatever resource it is that the mission gives as a reward. It's really a fantastic take on Oregon Trail that seamlessly integrates the zombie theme. A lot of "-insert game- but with zombies!" games feel haphazard and like the zombies are shoehorned in just for the sake of the fad, but that's not the case with Organ Trail. If you'd never played or heard of Oregon Trail, this would feel like a simplistic but completely competent indie game.

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Organ Trail is, at its heart, Oregon Trail with zombies. It's for that very reason that it's fantastic. The difficulty settings make it a little more approachable to total newcomers than the original Oregon Trail, but given that those difficulties range from "Don't an idiot, and you'll live" all the way up to "Abandon hope all ye who enter," few will find themselves lacking challenge. It's a seriously addicting game, and given that it's available on just about every system except Xbox's and Nintendo's, there are few who are without a way to play this gem.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Markies Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:39 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2018!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. The Granstream Saga (PS1)
2. Perfect Dark (N64)
*3. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete (PS1)*
4. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (XBOX)
5. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
*6. Pikmin (GCN)*
*7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64)*
8. Shining Force II (GEN)
*9. X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (PS1)*
*10. Mafia (XBOX)*
11. James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire (GCN)
12. ChuChu Rocket! (SDC)
*13. Super Metroid (SNES)*
14. Final Fantasy II (NES)
15. Devil May Cry (PS2)
16. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (GEN)
17. Secret of Evermore (SNES)
18. Test Drive: Eve of Destruction (PS2)
19. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GCN)
*20. Paper Mario (N64)*

21. Grandia II (SDC)

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I beat Grandia II on the Sega Dreamcast this afternoon.

I played the original Grandia on the PS1 several years ago and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I almost immediately got the sequel on the PS2 and was one of the first games I played on that console. Several years went by and I finally got myself some more consoles including the Sega Dreamcast. It was until that I went looking through the Dreamcast library that I remembered Grandia being originally released on the console. After doing some digging, I learned that Grandia II is actually the better version thanks to better graphics and sound. Since I really enjoyed Grandia II, I decided to buy the better version and hand off the PS2 version to my friend.

The best part about Grandia II is the battle system. It is fun, fast paced, thoughtful and really unique to any other JRPG out there. You are able to control the battle almost along with stopping enemies from casting their big spells or skills. I never grew tired of the battles and it was the part of the game that I looked forward to the most. With the battle system, the skill and magic system is also highly addictive. You gain Skill and Magic Points after each battle and you use them to level up your abilities. With each upgrade, they become more powerful and faster to use, so it is a great incentive to level them up. Also, you get them so frequently that it feels like a game in of itself. The graphics are somewhat dated having that blocky Dreamcast look, but the colors are so bright and cheery throughout the entire game. Sometimes, you feel like you are walking through a canvas. Along with great music that never truly grows tiresome and the package around the game is top notch. The characters can be a bit cookie cutter, but to actually character development and growth throughout the game is really endearing to see.

Now, I would probably say the story is its weakest point. It uses a tired trope for the big bad in the game and the message hammers home so hard that it becomes almost unbearable. But, if you can put the story behind you, the game itself is utterly fantastic. It is an easy RPG to pick up and play, waste several hours and you wonder where the time went. It is an enjoyable blast to play and one that I am glad to experience the second time around. The instant I picked up the Dreamcast version, it immediately became the better version, but each is worth playing!
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:48 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 82
* 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 (20 Games Beaten)
58. Jurassic Pinball - Switch - June 8
59. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn - Switch - June 9
60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11
61. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 - Wii - June 12
62. Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Wii - June 14
63. Pokemon Quest - Switch - June 15
64. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - 3DS - June 17
65. Art of Balance - Wii U - June 17
66. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch - June 18
67. DmC Devil May Cry - PlayStation 4 - June 19
68. DmC Devil May Cry: Vergil's Downfall - PlayStation 4 - June 19
69. Assassin's Creed Rogue - PlayStation 3 - June 20
70. Assassin's Creed Unity - Xbox One - June 21
71. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Xbox One - June 22
72. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India - Xbox One - June 23
73. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia - Xbox One - June 24
74. New Gundam Breaker - PlayStation 4 - June 24
75. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard - PlayStation 3 - June 25
76. Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Xbox One - June 29
77. Ride to Hell: Retribution - Xbox 360 - June 30


July (5 Games Beaten)
78. Broforce - PlayStation 4 - July 4
79. Just Cause 2 - PlayStation 3 - July 4
80. Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry - Switch - July 5
81. Organ Trail - PlayStation 4 - July 5
82. Red Dead Revolver - Xbox - July 7


82. Red Dead Revolver - Xbox - July 7

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Red Dead Redemption is a game that I hear about all the time and have for years, but I never hear much the predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. What little I had heard was "It's not nearly as good as Redemption" and "Just don't bother with it." Well, that sounds like heresy to me, so I stubbornly insisted on playing the first game in the series despite the lack of narrative connection to Redemption and despite the near-universal suggestions to skip it.

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The basic story of Red Dead Revolver is that you're the son of a Native American woman and a rugged white cowboy fella, but some bad dudes come to kill your folks. Naturally, being a video game protagonist, you set out on a quest to kill everyone involved in your parents' murders and find out the truth of why they were killed. From there, the game consists of a series of levels that involve shooting a bunch of bad guys with the occasional boss fight as well as a quickdraw duel every now and then. The problem with the quick draw duels is that it just feels abrupt and kind of shoehorned. Y'all remember how just awkward and out of place the katana fights felt in Red Steel for Wii? Like, why can't I just shoot him with this SMG I have? That's how these duels felt to me. I already have a lever action rifle out, and I'm already hiding in cover. Why am I going to get out of cover, square off with this guy, and do a quick draw?

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Visually, the game looks great running in 480p over YPbPr, and it sounds great, too, although the voice acting is a bit hit or miss (more misses than hits). The controls can be a bit touchy and finicky especially where taking cover is concerned, but it's nothing that will kill the game for you. There are, however, a fair number of rather silly bugs and a few irritating bugs (and features that really ought to be considered bugs despite being intentional). Things like aiming three inches past a wooden wall and yet still shooting the wall, trying to climb up onto a rock and grasping the air in front of the rock, etc. The rest are just really questionable design choices. Why can this guy survive six bullets to the face? Why does this Mexican general sound like Ol' Bubba from the trailer down the road? Why am I fighting an army of midget clowns? Why are random civilians running around like chickens with their heads cut off while I'm chasing this one dude around this small down exchanging gunfire instead of hiding which causes them to run RIGHT in front of my gun, get themselves killed before I even realize what happened, and force me to restart the damn level? I'm a little salty.

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Red Dead Revolver really isn't as lackluster as my friends had made it out to be, but I can't say I disagree with their conclusion of "skip it." It's a fun Western shooter, but there's as much frustration as there is fun. I'd still recommend it for fans of third person shooters or of games set in the American West, but for the average player who just wants a good time and is neutral about the genre and/or setting, there are better ways to scratch that itch (I recommend Red Steel 2 on Wii). Overall, though, it's definitely not a bad game, and there's absolutely some fun to be had, but it only barely rises above "okay."
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:54 pm

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 83
* 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 (20 Games Beaten)
58. Jurassic Pinball - Switch - June 8
59. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn - Switch - June 9
60. Lost Sphear - Switch - June 11
61. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 - Wii - June 12
62. Medal of Honor: Vanguard - Wii - June 14
63. Pokemon Quest - Switch - June 15
64. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - 3DS - June 17
65. Art of Balance - Wii U - June 17
66. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch - June 18
67. DmC Devil May Cry - PlayStation 4 - June 19
68. DmC Devil May Cry: Vergil's Downfall - PlayStation 4 - June 19
69. Assassin's Creed Rogue - PlayStation 3 - June 20
70. Assassin's Creed Unity - Xbox One - June 21
71. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Xbox One - June 22
72. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India - Xbox One - June 23
73. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia - Xbox One - June 24
74. New Gundam Breaker - PlayStation 4 - June 24
75. Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard - PlayStation 3 - June 25
76. Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Xbox One - June 29
77. Ride to Hell: Retribution - Xbox 360 - June 30


July (6 Games Beaten)
78. Broforce - PlayStation 4 - July 4
79. Just Cause 2 - PlayStation 3 - July 4
80. Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry - Switch - July 5
81. Organ Trail - PlayStation 4 - July 5
82. Red Dead Revolver - Xbox - July 7
83. Omega Quintet - PlayStation 4 - July 13


83. Omega Quintet - PlayStation 4 - July 13

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Omega Quintet is another love-it-or-hate-it Compile Heart JRPG that, as anyone who's familiar with Compile Heart's games in the past decade or so can tell you, plays exactly like every other JRPG Compile Heart has made. I, personally, think that's a fantastic thing. It also means, however, that you didn't like one of Idea Factory's and Compile Heart's other recent JRPGs, you probably won't like this one, either, since it's basically the same game with different characters.

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So the story of Omega Quintet is pretty familiar for Idea Factory fans. There's this world-threatening evil phenomenon that's spawning seven or eight different monsters each of which have approximately half a dozen palette swaps and destroying human civilization, and only a small group of scantily-clad young girls possess the ability to fight this evil. These "Verse Maidens" have the ability to weaponize their voices...or something...which allows them to slay these monsters and sing the portals spawning them out of existence. Yep, it's exactly as stupid as it sounds, but for the specific type of weeb that loves Idea Factory's shenanigans (read: me), it's gloriously stupid. Leading this group of ladies is their "manager" and the main playable protagonist, Takt. I say playable, but that's only technically true; he's "your" character and who you run around as in your home base, but he isn't usable in dungeons, and he's only usable in battle in a support role, adding an occasional weak bonus attack or taking some of the damage of an enemy attack for your party characters.

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The gameplay is your pretty standard modern turn based JRPG. You pick a character to be the "leader" of the group who becomes the character you see while running around, and you explore dungeons to find items, plot flags, and bosses. There are no random encounters instead opting for Idea Factory's recent norm of having contact with monsters in the dungeon start a battle. When you get in the battle, the combat is pretty standard. Rather than having a "your turn/enemy turn" format, the turns are based on each individual character's stats and actions. You get a certain number of action points each turn, and the more of those you use, the longer it will be until your next turn. If you just use one action and then defend, your character's next turn will come a lot sooner than if you used all four of your hypothetical action points to attack. There are some other nuances - using "Harmonize" to have all of your characters attack repeatedly one after another in a giga-combo of death - but that's the basic. You have four basic types of attacks. First if your regular attack that doesn't use any energy. Then you have magic attacks which use special energy and have particular elemental affinities. Third are your "mic" attacks which also use special energy but are based on the type of weapon you have equipped rather than a specific element. Fourth are a kind of special or super attack. These are technically still mic attacks, but in addition to using a large amount of special energy, they also use "Voltage" which can be charged up to 5 points by dealing and taking damage. These aren't attacks you'll use often because of the voltage and energy requirement, but they deal devastating damage when you do use them.

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When I mentioned the mic attacks, I mentioned that they were based on what type of weapon you're using. There are six (but really five) types of weapons. The type that I don't really count is the sword because only Takt can use that weapon type, and that's also the only weapon type that Takt can use. The other five types, however, can be used by any of the five girls and can be changed at any time though each weapon has an affinity stat with each girl that can be leveled up by using that weapon type and determines how many action points they get. These five weapon types are the battleaxe, the spear, the sniper rifle, the brass knuckles on steroids, and the fan. Each of these weapons have varying levels of effect based on distance between the character and the enemy.

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Your battles are broken down into 8 "levels" with regards to field positions. There are five rows on which enemies can be, and your characters are on three rows. In general, you'll want your longer ranged characters like those with sniper rifles or spears on the back rows, but that's not always the most advantageous place as battles get more complex. Suppose that your enemies are all on the fifth row of the enemy plane causing a serious drop in damage and accuracy for short range characters even if they're on the front row. That would be too much distance to have your sniper on your back row, so in that case, you'd want to move them up front even though that opens them up to more damage. On lower difficulties, this isn't as much of a concern, but it will make or break a fight on higher difficulties. You can tell a certain weapon or attack's ideal range by the color of the enemy field when you have the attack selected and are choosing a target; green indicates the ideal range, blue indicates a good effective range, yellow indicates a sub-optimal range, and red indicates that it's a seriously out of range attack. Even in the red ranges, your attacks will still do damage, but they'll suffer big penalties to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%. Likewise, if your attack is in the green range, it will enjoy a boon to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%.

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My biggest problem with the game is the character development. They're almost all ass holes. Seriously, like they're all total jerks to each other. They'll have moments now and then of being cute or sweet, but for like 90% of the game, they're dicks. I'm totally cool with having one or two characters with generally rude personalities, but it's pretty much the entire cast of the game. The only one who's mean a minority of the time is Otoha, and that's mostly because everyone's always being mean to her so she's the target more than the one doing the targeting. It just kind of put a damper on what would otherwise have been a cute harem titty anime game. >_< The game DOES, however, feature a separate set of hit points for your character and your character's clothes, and when those outfit hitpoints reach zero, then you've got a cute anime girl fighting in her underwear. I love this game. :') There's also a music video choreography minigame of sorts, but it didn't seem to have much effect on the core game, so I never really messed with it.

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Omega Quintet is a pretty standard Idea Factory/Compile Heart JRPG. Have you played Megadimension Neptunia VII? Then you've pretty much played Omega Quintet. There are a couple of little gimmick differences along with the character and setting differences, but in terms of mechanics and actual gameplay, they're pretty much exactly the same. Idea Factory doesn't really push the envelope far, and its games are pretty niche, but if you're like me and dig that niche, then you already know that this is a great game. My one big complaint is the ending. There's a normal ending and a true ending, and the normal ending is...not really an ending. It's basically "After the final battle, nothing changed, so let's keep killing monsters to protect the city!" That's it. No resolution whatsoever. Other than THAT, though, I had fun. I'm probably being a little more generous with this score than I should be, and I did start to feel a little bit of game fatigue towards the end, but all in all, I really enjoyed Omega Quintet and the few little unique elements it had. I'd recommend it for fans of titty anime games.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:01 pm

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

1-20

21. Deadbolt (Steam)
22. Legend of Grimrock 2 (Steam)
23. The Witness (PS4)
24. Uurnog (PC)
25. Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)
26. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
27. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
28. Magicka 2 (PS4)*
29. Tales of Phantasia (PSP)
30. BOXBOXBOY! (3DS)
31. Blossom Tales (Switch)
32. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Steam)
33. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (PS4)

34. Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius: Forever With Me (PSP)

I LOVE Parodius a LOT. It's one of the first games I ever imported for my SNES after seeing Let's Plays of it like 9 years ago. When I went to Japan back in 2013 I was so excited to have found the Parodius Portable collection on PSP so I'd have all of them in one place (mind you the Arcade versions and not the SFC/Saturn versions I'm more familiar with)! But it took me until now (in traditional me-fashion :lol: ) to finally get around to messing around with that version. I took an hour and played through Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius this morning, which apparently has a subtitle for ports not the SFC version :P .

It's still same old Parodius (parody of Gradius) in all its glory and then some. It's a damn solid shooting game that's like Gradius but with a more fun theme and a more fair difficulty/design. I still think this is an awesome game just like I used to, so this review will focus mostly around differences I noticed between this "original" of sorts and the SFC port I'm more familiar with.

First of all, something I also noticed in the arcade version of Gokujou Parodius on this collection, that the song in the first stage is totally different. Past that you obviously have better music quality, but also some just brand new/changed content. There's a decent portion of just general visual improvements/flair added compared to the SFC version, as to be expected, as well as some minor graphical changes to certain bosses. Some bosses also have attacks they didn't have previously (like the giant girl at the end of stage 2 having a large bullet after-effect to her hair-flip attack). As well as the boss-rush in stage-7 no longer being an assortment of random bosses, but it's a series of bosses with almost identical attack patterns based off of the game Shinme! Taisen Pazurudama (some Konami puzzle game I'd never heard of), where previously there was just one boss in the SFC version based on it (who is in this version, but he's a totally different boss fight) as the boss of level 6. The last big change is that the boss actually at the end of stage 6 is the third in the kitty-cat vehicle bosses from the previous two games (pirate ship and then submarine) as Kitty Cat Subway Train! He's a tough cookie too! Xp

Edit: I nearly forgot the mention! The Lethal Enforcers level that proceeds the Kitty Cat Subway Train actually has the two Lethal Enforcers' guns shooting at you while you fly though it! It makes a hard level WAY harder, I'll tell ya that much for free :lol:

It's pretty nice emulation, but some weird slowdown is still present when the screen gets really crazy. It's really accelerated slowdown as well. You'll be doing fine and then BOOM super slow and then BOOM back up to normal speed. It makes the game harder if anything though XP

Verdict: Highly Recommended. If you love Parodius and don't mind using a PSP, this is a great way to have the original 5 game's original versions all in one portable package~. It's not the PSN store in any region, though, so a physical UMD is unfortunately the only way to go. It's be really awesome if Paro Wars was in here too to round out the whole series, but you can't have everything I suppose :P
Last edited by PartridgeSenpai on Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:19 pm

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)
25. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Gate of Doom (Switch eShop)
26. Front Line (Atari 2600)
27. Donkey Kong 3 (NES)
28. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (Game Boy)
29. Exerion (Famicom)
30. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Bad Dudes (Switch eShop)
31. Arcade Archives: Double Dragon (Switch eShop)
32. ACA NeoGeo: Ninja Combat (Switch eShop)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Wizard Fire (Switch eShop)
34. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (Game Boy)
35. Virtual Boy Wario Land (Virtual Boy)
36. Grand Master (Famicom)
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Following the runaway success of Zelda and Ys came a flood of Japanese ARPGs. Most, unsurprisingly, remained in their native land. One such obscurity was known as Grand Master. Developed by Soft Machine (who?) and developed by Varie (what?) the game is a true lone wolf. No ports, sequels, or remakes. The original Famicom cartridge is rather expensive (for Famicom standards, I paid like $30). Though those who choose to emulate will discover that a rather competent English patch is available. That said, the game is perfectly playable without said patch, though non-Japanese speakers would be missing out on the story.
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Yes, Grand Master is a very story-driven title, with the narrative unfolding via a series of delightfully illustrated anime cutscenes, not unlike those of Ninja Gaiden. The tale details the exploits of Rody, a bodyguard to a royal family, who is tasked with defeating the evil demonic Dante and rescuing a princess. Oh, and Rody's sister has been placed under some sinister spell and must be nurtured back to health. Their are some minor characters that float in and out as well. It's all pretty generic stuff, but the frequent cutscenes look gorgeous and never overstay their welcome.

This is a "stage-based" ARPG, vaguely similar to HAL's Alcahest, released two years after Grand Master. The gimmick here is that the initial five stages can be completed in any order. Once Rody has bested these environments, the Evil Tower of Doom™ rises from the depths and the final confrontation commences. In conjunction with the aforementioned nonlinearity, the game attempts the "multiple endings" thing but does so poorly. Any road traveled besides the one "correct" path will invariably lead to a bad ending. One that emerges not after the final boss is defeated, but instead pops up halfway through the final dungeon -- "lol you messed up, Game Over!" Though the game does hint at where to go and when, it's still a total bummer.
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The five core stages are pretty fun. The environments are well-designed, grid-based (like Zelda), and worth exploring thoroughly. Each area is rife with enemies, weapon and armor upgrades, and insta-heal potions. There are some additional gimmicks too, including both one-way and two-way warps, waterfalls, conveyor belts, spiked sections, and pitfalls. Stages are locked once completed, so it's essential that "missable" upgrades get picked up. The graphical presentation is solid, with each area appearing distinct and memorable. As a semi-late Famicom release, Grand Master boasts some nice chunky sprite work; at times the visuals come close to those of A Link to the Past. As an additional bonus, Rody himself is dressed for whatever occasion presents himself. For instance, in the ice cave he's donned with a winter parka! The accompanying soundtrack is competent enough, if not particularly memorable, with the most striking piece being the pseudo-Egyptian theme that plays throughout the Pyramid segment.
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Generally speaking, these first five stages each take 10-20 minutes to complete. Difficulty is skewed in a strange direction, however, due to the unnecessary leveling system. Since these sections can be tackled in any order, they were crafted with the same static difficulty in mind. Which means that whatever stage is selected first is going to be the hardest. Due to the enemy respawns, power-leveling comes rather effortlessly, though it is time-consuming. I found it easy enough to max out Rody's HP and MP in the first stage, which made the remaining an absolute cakewalk. Well, except for that final boss tower, which is way too long and confusing, filled to the brim with lengthy boring ass walkways and inane glitchy "puzzles." Strangely enough, leveling up doesn't seem to effect offensive or defensive prowess in any meaningful way, instead more HP and MP is simply lobbed onto Rody's total.

Combat works well enough. Rody begins with a basic sword, but can then switch to any acquired weapon at will. There's a long-range morning star that can also be used to cross pitfalls, a throwing axe, and a magical rod. Magic isn't its "own thing" but is instead inextricably tied to weaponry. Tossing an axe deducts one magic point from Rody's total, while using the eight-way magical rod attack consumes an enormous chunk. The morning star is sufficient for about 90% of the game, due to its massive attack range, while all bosses (including the final one) are utterly helpless in the face of the rod attack.
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I'm on the fence about this one. It's a weird amalgamation of elements that feel finely-tuned and cohesive, and those that are just superfluous trash. It's a short little ditty of a game, one designed to be taken down during a single rainy afternoon, but the Darm Tower wannabe final dungeon seemingly slows time to a halt. It's a tale of high highs and low lows, and it's a shame that Soft Machine never had another go at the ARPG genre.
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