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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:05 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Cube Escape: Paradox, like its predecessors, is a tight (to the point of claustrophobic), bite-sized first-person adventure/puzzle game. It continues its predecessors’ loose, surreal storyline, and it links to a short film its developers funded through Kickstarter. (Short video clips embedded in the game are critical to completing the game, and tracking down clues in the short film is necessary to unlock the game’s secrets and alternate endings. It’s almost a FMV game!!!...but good.) I am a fan of all the Rusty Lake games, and while this one isn’t quite as much fun as the exceptional Rusty Lake Hotel, it is a very strong effort. On iOS at least, the first chapter of the game is free, and the meatier second chapter is $2. So...and considering most of the other Cube Escape games are completely free...it doesn’t cost much to give the series a shot. I recommend them all heartily, and I think a lot of you would enjoy them too. (Apparently, they’re gaining a bit of a cult following.)


I had my introduction to the Rusty Lake games just last month and was well pleased with what I found! Definitely some of the better mobile games I've played.

The List So Far:
1. To the Moon [PC/Steam]
2. Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 [SNES]
3. The Goonies [Famicom] [Together Retro - 01/2018]
4. Disney's Kim Possible: Revenge of Monkey Fist [GBA] [Together Retro - 01/2018]
5. The Addams Family [SNES] [Together Retro - 01/2018]
6. The Adventures of Batman & Robin [SNES] [Together Retro - 01/2018]
7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy: Justice for All [3DS]
8. Mickey Mousecapade [NES] [Together Retro - 01/2018]
9. Assassin's Creed II: Discovery [NDS]
10. Half-Life: Source [PC/Steam]
11. The Great Giana Sisters [Amiga] [Together Retro - 03/2018]
12. The Colonel's Bequest [PC/GOG] [Together Retro - 03/2018]
13. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions [PSP] [Together Retro - 02/2018]
14. The Guardian Legend [NES] [Together Retro - 03/2018]
15. Rush'n Attack [NES]
16. A Fork in the Tale [PC/Win9X] [Together Retro - 04/2018]
17. Formula One: Built to Win [NES]
18. Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus: Salamander [PSX]
19. The Dame Was Loaded [PC/GOG] [Together Retro - 04/2018]
20. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 [GEN]
21. Kyūyaku Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei [SFC][Translation: DDSTranslation] [Together Retro - 05/2018]
22. Operation C [GB]
23. Call of Duty: Finest Hour [PS2]
24. Battletoads [NES] [Together Retro - 08/2018]
25. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy: Trials and Tribulations [3DS]
26. Gunstar Heroes [GEN] [Together Retro - 09/2018]
27. Koudelka [PSX] [Sacnoth September]
28. Castlevania: Dracula X [SNES] [October Horror]
29. Silent Hill 2 [PC/Win] [Together Retro - 10/2018]
30. Splatterhouse [TG16] [October Horror]
31. Resident Evil 2 - DualShock Ver. [PSX] [Together Retro - 10/2018]
32. Capcom Generations: Chronicles of Arthur: Ghouls 'n Ghosts [PSX] [October Horror]
33. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier [PC/Steam]
34. Cube Escape: Seasons [Android]
35. Cube Escape: The Lake [Android]
36. Cube Escape: Arles [Android]
37. Cube Escape: Harvey's Box [Android]
38. Cube Escape: Case 23 [Android]
39. Cube Escape: The Mill [Android]
40. Assassin's Creed: Revelations: The Lost Archives [PC/Steam]

41. Shadow of the Ninja [NES] [Club Retro: Natsume November]
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I'd go so far as to say that Shadow of the Ninja is one of the best ninja games released on the NES. And given the popularity that ninjas enjoyed during the lifespan of the NES, it's a console that featured a fair number of games featuring them. Even when we drop the 'Ninja' qualifier and measure Shadow of the Ninja against the deep pool of action platformers for NES (ninja-based or not), it's still above average by a considerable margin.

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Like most action platformers on the NES, the story is fairly inconsequential. It's the year 2029 and an evil overlord named Garuda has taken over the United States. Two lone ninjas of the Iga clan have taken it upon themselves to infiltrate Garuda's stronghold and assassinate him using the ancient arts of ninjutsu. Of course when I say 'assassinate', I mean take on the entirety of his forces Rambo style. You may notice that I said ninjas as in plural. In the single player game you have the option of playing as either Hayate a male ninja clad in blue or Kaede a female ninja in red. But single player games are for losers without friends! Shadow of the Ninja also features simultaneous two player ninja combat, and I suspect this would be a fun way to tackle the game with a fellow ninja. I'm a loser without friends … so I really wouldn't know. It's a nice feature and something that's rather uncommon in 8-bit action platformers.

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Playing in simultaneous 2P might help to mitigate some of the challenge in the game though, because make no mistake, this is a challenging game. It's not quite as challenging as some of the more notorious action platformers on the system, certainly not so much as Battletoads or even Ninja Gaiden, the game most likely to draw comparison with Shadow of the Ninja. But that's perhaps not the best comparison here. As opposed to the non-stop breakneck action of Ninja Gaiden, Shadow of the Ninja invites a slightly more tactical approach. It's obviously still an action platformer, but a full speed balls out approach will seldom be successful here. The boss battles too require patience and pattern recognition for success since they last long enough to prevent a simple button mashing approach. If anything, the gameplay in Shadow of the Ninja often felt reminiscent of Sunsoft's Batman game appearing on the NES.

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Graphics and music are both well done. The music is particularly good and occasionally reminiscent of 8-bit Castlevania tracks in some stages. Always high praise! Graphically I was once again reminded of Batman on the NES with levels combining elements of high technology and urban decay.

Shadow of the Ninja is a game that's 'good enough'. It doesn't do a whole lot to distinguish itself from other similar games of its era, but neither is it noticeably bad in any particular area. It accomplishes everything it sets out to do, but doesn't break any molds in the process; a workman like effort. All the same I stand by my initial comment that this is one of the best ninja games on the NES. If you're a fan of other ninja games from this era, Shadow of the Ninja is definitely worth your time.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:10 pm

Nice! I see I’m not the only one who marathoned a bunch of the Cube Escape games. If you get the chance, check out Rusty Lake Hotel. It’s on of their premium games and definitely my favorite. It also goes on sale with some frequency.

Also, Shadow of the Ninja rules. Try out Ninja Gaiden Shadow on the Gameboy if you want some more!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:18 am

Sounds interesting. I'll have to pull up some gameplay.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:43 am

Games Beaten in 2018 So Far - 98
* 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 (8 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
84. Super Mario Sunshine - Gamecube - July 16
85. Nurse Love Addiction - Vita - July 17


August (4 Games Beaten)
86. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - PS4 - August 3
87. Life is Strange: Before the Storm - PS4 - August 3
88. Game of Thrones - PS4 - August 5
89. Star Trek - Steam - August 6


September (1 Game Beaten)
90. Pokemon Vega - Game Boy Advance - September 18


October (6 Games Beaten)
91. Panzer Dragoon Mini - Game Gear - October 5
92. Advance Wars - Game Boy Advance - October 7
93. Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Switch - October 18
94. Mario Tennis Aces - Switch - October 21
95. Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match - PS4 - October 21
96. Banner Saga - Steam - October 23


November (2 Games Beaten)
97. Xenogears - PlayStation - November 12
98. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight - PlayStation Vita - November 15


98. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight - PlayStation Vita - November 15

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One of the big surprise games for me was Persona 4: Dancing All Night when I played that a year or two back. It was...beautiful. Definitely one of my favorite rhythm games probably second only to Elite Beat Agents. When ATLUS announced rhythm games for Persona 3 and Persona 5, I was naturally ecstatic, and being a collector and a Vita fanatic, I naturally had to import the Japanese copies for my shelf and dove into the P3 game almost immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to the high standard that its predecessor set.

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Part of the reason why this game impressed me so much less than the Persona 4 dancing game in addition to the fact that it didn't have the excitement of being a "new" thing going for it involves the direction ATLUS took with the game. Dancing in Moonlight (or, as it's called in Japan, Dancing Moon Night) is much more like Hatsune Miku in its design. It have a few little dialogue scenes in the very beginning, but it doesn't have any kind of story mode like Dancing All Night had. Obviously a rhythm game doesn't NEED a story, but with the writing talent at ATLUS, Dancing All Night proved that a rhythm game can definitely benefit from a story, and unfortunately for Dancing in Moonlight, it just doesn't seem to stand out from the crowd as much without that added narrative element.

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One thing that the game does have going for it is the soundtrack. As anyone who's played a Persona game can tell you, the soundtracks are always phenomenal. Again, though, following in the footsteps of Dancing All Night is a hindrance for Dancing in Moonlight; Persona 3 had a great soundtrack, but Persona 4's soundtrack was legendary. The tracklist just can't stand up in a comparison. There are a few truly killer remixes in Dancing in Moonlight, but all in all, while it's an terrific tracklist, again it just doesn't really stand out from the crowd for the most part. Visually, however, the game is great. Seeing the characters from P3 return in such a jovial and musical setting is wonderful, and the choreography for the characters' dance moves is great. While I loved playing it on the go with my Vita, this is definitely a game that would also benefit from being played on PlayStation 4 or on a PlayStation TV if you have friends over as the dancing itself is good fun to watch.

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The most important make-or-break aspect of a rhythm game is going to be the quality of the input controls, and while I may have had some arguably nit-pick disappointments with other aspects of Dancing in Moonlight, the controls give me absolutely no cause to complain. It's quick and responsive inputs are everything you'd want from a rhythm game. That input factor is also another reason I went with Vita over PS4 for this one; while the DS4 is a great controller, having controls hardwired to a handheld rather than wireless via bluetooth is always my preference when it comes to rhythm games. I'm sure it plays brilliantly on PS4 as well - ATLUS isn't one to release a sub-par product from my experience - but it's hard to beat a good Vita game.

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Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight doesn't quite live up to the monolithic Persona 4: Dancing All Night, it is still an excellent rhythm game in its own right. The soundtrack, while the least impressive of the three most recent console Persona games in my opinion, is still terrific with some truly great remixes of those songs thrown in for some variety and genre diversity. It doesn't do a whole lot to stand out from the crowd in any meaningful way aside from being based on Persona 3, but that doesn't mean that it's not a fantastic game. It's just perhaps not the most memorable rhythm game you'll ever play. It is, however, definitely recommended for fans of Persona or just folks looking for a good rhythm game to pass the time.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:09 am

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

1-20


21-40


41-60
41. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass DLC (Switch)
42. Battle Block Theater (Xbox 360) *
43. Magicka (Steam) *
44. La-Mulana 2 (Steam)
45. Yooka-Laylee (Steam)
46. Snipper-Clips: Cut it Out Together! (Switch)
47. Magicka: Dungeons and Gargoyles (Steam)
48. Hearthstone: The Boomsday Project (PC)
49. Timespinner (PS4)
50. Hollow Knight (PC)
51. Wuppo (PC)
52. Super Mario Party (Switch)
53. Party Hard (Steam)
54. The Final Station (Steam)
55. GARAGE: Bad Trip (Steam)
56. Mr Shifty (Steam)
57. LISA (Steam)
58. LISA: The Joyful (Steam)
59. Divide by Sheep (Steam)
60. The Mummy: Demastered (Switch)


61. Iconoclasts (Steam)
62. Serial Cleaner (Twitch)

63. Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PSVita)

Hardly close to a conventional Silent Hill game, but it's the first one I've beaten XD . When searching for PSVita exclusives the other day after being prompted by talk of it in the PSVita thread, I came across this game on Wikipedia's list of Vita exclusives. When I saw a Diablo-like Silent Hill game I had never heard of that had been developed by WayForward of all people, I knew this was something worth checking out. I completed just the main story and it took me around 18 or 20 hours.

Looking at reviews online, I saw this game described as a Diablo game wearing Silent Hill's skin, and that's fairly accurate. As a Silent Hill game, this is up there with Homecoming as just an entirely derivative and soulless experience. Given that it's based around a Diablo-style multiplayer in procedurally generated dungeons, the story is fairly non-specific, but it IS there more than I thought it'd be. The whole concept is that your created character is given a mysterious book (the titular Book of Memories) as a birthday package from Silent Hill, and that this book has the entirety of your memories recorded within its ever increasing pages. Your character discovers that they can actually change reality by rewriting the memories in its pages, but doing so causes the "nightmares" that make up the game's dungeons, seemingly needing to conquer the nightmare to make the reality shift work. It's explained exactly how that works later on in the story, but it's a fair enough premise that's expanded upon by notes you find around each floor as well as through TV audio recordings that are scattered around as well. However, there aren't any original enemies or settings. The dungeons take on the look of settings from other games to decorate its hallways and corridors, and other than the bosses, it has no original enemies as its rooms are filled with scads of sexy nurses, double-headed dogs, Boogymen, Pyramid Heads, and more trying to cave in your greedy reality-changing skull.

The dungeon crawling itself is composed of enemy-less corridors connecting rooms in a linear fashion, almost like a Mystery Dungeon game but with doors enemies cannot pass through gating off the boarders of each room. There can be branching paths to dead-ends, but there will never be a ring of rooms (dungeons look more like a tangled up tree, where the branches never circle back). This makes the exploration of the dungeons more fluid and natural, but can make backtracking fairly uneventful and take a while. Especially if you're walking back to a shop or healing spot, it can make it take a while. The dungeon crawling is fun, as you can find the floor's shop (run by the game's only proper NPC, the mailman from Silent Hill Downpour), an artifact room (get a free passive equip item), a karma room, or one of the many battle rooms. Each floor has a fairly simple puzzle at the end that you'll have to solve, but first you must complete a number of fighting challenges in a series of rooms as well as finding the clue for that puzzle.

It took me a little while to figure out, but you don't actually HAVE to fight most enemies you come across. The only enemies you have to fight are the ones for the puzzle pieces, and you can otherwise just run away. Of course, there is an incentive and a kind of disincentive to fight every enemy you see (which I did). The incentive, obviously for a Diablo-like ARPG, is that killing enemies gets you level ups! Kill more enemies, level up more so you can buff your stats and unlock more equipment spaces to equip passive buff items onto. However, your weapons you find have durability! If you use it too much, it'll break unless you can find or purchase a wrench to repair it, and those items aren't numerous enough to just use one item in perpetuity. The tension of trying to preserve your weapons as well as your supporting/healing items is, I think, an effort to give the game an aspect of survival horror. On top of the danger of your weapons breaking and leaving you ill-equipped to do the required fights, there's the karma system. There are three types of enemies: steel, blood, and light. Killing light and blood enemies gives you the respective opposite type of karma (light gives blood, blood gives light). Having a lot or a majority one type of karma allows you not only to heal off of that kind of font trap you can find (although the opposite will hurt you), but also gives you access to powerful spells you can activate by touching the touch-screen.

The touch-screen use is probably my biggest issue with the game's overall design other than how it's kind of a crappy Silent Hill game, generically speaking (although there are plenty of proper Silent Hill games genuinely trying to be Silent Hill games that also have that fault XP). While the load times are a bit long (like 20 or 30 seconds), they only happen between stages and very far apart from the action, and the game itself runs great and I never had any framerate hiccups or game crashes (something I always worry about while playing a Vita game). But the buttons on the screen for certain things like dropping a weapon (press down on the D-pad and tap the weapon you wanna drop) or repairing an item/switching a weapon (very very close to the "close backpack" button) are awkward to hit during a tense fight and will often result in a misclick or wasting a lot of valueable time. It wasn't a game-breaker or a deal-breaker for me at any point, but it was certainly frustrating often enough that I feel I should mention it here.

Verdict: Recommended. This game was a real surprise to me as to how much I liked it. I wasn't really feeling it the first time I tried it out, but when I picked it up a second time, I just couldn't put it down and before I knew it nearly 5 hours had passed XD . It's not a perfect game, and certainly if you want a portable Diablo-like game, Diablo III on the Switch has you covered, but if you're looking for something a bit out of the ordinary from other Diablo-likes and you don't mind a Silent Hill dressing over it, then this is a great curiosity to pick up.
Last edited by PartridgeSenpai on Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:01 pm

Oh man I played some Shadow of the Ninja just last night!

Got owned.

Seems legit tho.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:23 pm

Kage/Shadow of the Ninja/Blue Shadow is an awesome action game. The soundtrack is one of the best on the NES. I rank it up with Konami and Sunsoft soundtracks. It's not quite as technically complex as some of Konami and Sunsoft's best, but it's just as catchy. And while the game can get bogged down with slowdown, the weapons are all interesting and the boss and enemy designs are challenging and fun.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Markies Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:41 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)
22. Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PS2)
23. Bomberman Hero (N64)
24. OutRun (GEN)
25. Dragon Warrior IV (NES)
26. Super Monkey Ball (GCN)
27. Mischief Makers (N64)
28. Dragon Valor (PS1)
*29. Beyond Good & Evil (XBX)*
30. Tokyo Xtreme Racer (SDC)
31. Black (PS2)
*32. Street Fighter II (SNES)*
33. Koudelka (PS1)
34. Bad News Baseball (NES)
35. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
36. Shattered Union (XBOX)
37. The Simpsons: Road Rage (PS2)
*38. Cruis'n Exotica (N64)*

39. Kid Icarus (NES)

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I beat Kid Icarus on the Nintendo Entertainment System this afternoon!

Long before my backlogging days, I bought Kid Icarus and just have sat on it for years and years. I originally wanted to beat Metroid first, as both games uses the same engines. However, once Metroid fell, I kept putting off Kid Icarus because of its difficult reputation. Eventually, my confidence rose on beating hard NES games. After Zelda II and Ninja Gaiden, Kid Icarus didn't seem so daunting. After being ready for a more difficult challenge, I decided to see if Kid Icarus really had some teeth. (Spoilers: It does!)

Kid Icarus is such a unique game for its time and even when it was released. The only type of vertical platforming game I can compare it to is Ice Climbers, but that was a more simple and arcade action game. Also, the theme of Ancient Greece or Roman Gods is a fertile concept that I am surprised it is not used even more. All of these combined make Kid Icarus a unique and eventually a very well done game. At first, you are overwhelmed by too many enemies and your shot is incredibly weak. But, like most NES Action RPG's, if you spend the time to grind and gain some upgrades, the game becomes increasingly easier. Eventually, Pit almost feels indestructible except for an errant Eggplant shot. And you feel that progression through the game as you earned these upgrades and are excited to have Pit grow into a formidable hero. The game also throws in many different concepts as Stage 2 is more horizontal while Stage 4 is a side scrolling shooter. These touches change up the pace and make each level unique. Also, the dungeons and bosses change the pace even more. It's fun to discover these dungeons as they are very maze like along with exciting and unique bosses. It breaks up the pace and just shows how you are increasing your strength as a hero.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Kid Icarus. The beginning of the game is incredibly hard and the Eggplant Wizards are the worst, but those are the only two faults I can find in the game. With unique enemy design, catchy music and a unique concept, Kid Icarus is a very different game and one that is worth your time and effort to get into. Once you get through that initial hurdle, it is a fun and worthwhile experience. Anybody that enjoyed Metroid or a good NES game would want to pick this game up. It makes me excited to play the Gameboy sequel eventually!
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:04 pm

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
40. Darksiders - PC
41. The Banner Saga 3 - PC
42. Guacamelee! 2 - PC
43. Spider-Man - PS4
44. Shadow of the Tomb Raider - PC
45. Star Control Origins - PC
46. Valkyria Chronicles 4 - PS4
47. The Messenger - Switch
48. Dragon Quest XI - PS4
49. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - PC

So when the time travelers TR came up I realized all my main time travel games I've already beaten. Ironically I was concurrently playing two modern games with time travel components. So I scoured my collection and discovered that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 has time travel as a major part of its storyline. The only problem was that I hadn't played the first game. So I leaped on it so I could move on to Soul Reaver 2. So how's the first stack up? In a word; flawed gem. There are several really neat ideas in here, but the execution is quite flawed. The whole thing is worth playing, but you need to have a high tolerance for 90s 3D platforming.

The basic premise is that Kain is the leader of the vampires and gets pissed when Raziel evolves wings before he can. He tears the bones out of the wings and tosses Raziel into the Well of Souls as an execution. Raziel is tormented for centuries, but wakes up transformed into some sort of wraith. The voice of the Elder God informs him that Kain's vampires actually are fucking over existence by trapping souls in limbo instead of being part of the wheel of existence, so he wants you to kill Kain. And since you're still pissed at Kain for casting you aside you sign up for vengeance. However, you slowly discover that there is more at play here than simple revenge, though it won't be until the sequel that these themes are really dove into.

Soul Reaver is a puzzle platformer. The main mechanic is the duality of the material world and the spirit world. You can shift into the spirit world at any time; while here you regain health and all time is stopped. The terrain tends to be twisted, reflecting the twisted nature of the spirit. You can return to the material world at predefined portals, but only when your health is full. In the material world your health slowly goes down (though after a couple of bosses you gain the Soul Reaver weapon, which will maintain your health but only manifests at full health in the material) and the enemies are much harder to deal with. But on the flip side, now you can actually manipulate objects. So there is a back and forth gameplay, as you might have to go to material to open doors and move blocks into position, then go back to spirit to take advantage of the terrain moving to propel you to new heights and get through a door that would otherwise rapidly close. As you defeat bosses you gain new abilities that expand your ability to make it through the world. You gain the ability to phase through grates in the spirit world and to climb certain walls in the material world, for example. This leads to an overall gameplay loop reminiscent of the Metroidvania genre, where you gain mobility powerups that let you explore previously closed off areas, rather than having level transitions after bosses.

Unfortunately, the backtracking ends up being utterly superfluous. Outside of the basic "backtrack to the central area to get to the next major area", backtracking for pickups is completely unnecessary. There are pieces of heart equivalents and a slew of magical abilities, and none of them are required to get through the game. I finished the game not even having filled up one health powerup and never getting a spell. This is probably a consequence of the teleport system; there are a series of teleport rooms that quickly move you around, but also means you never experience areas that you can now find powerups in. Compare with Metroid, which doesn't have powerups so you will revisit areas with new abilities, or SotN, where the teleports only get you into the general vicinity and still require a visiting a lot of old areas.

The other thing that makes item hunting unnecessary is the health system, which leads into a discussion of the combat system. So the basic mechanic is that in the material world when you lose all your health you are forced into the spirit world at 3/4 of the starting health (no idea if that increases if you have higher max HP). In combat areas there's pretty much always a nearby portal to the material world and an easy enemy to refill your health, so you never experience a real threat. So health powerups don't really do much for you. But the unfortunate thing is that material world combat sucks. Most enemies are vampires, which need a finishing move to actually kill them. This might be tossing them into fire, into water, or impaling them either on a nearby wall hook or with a weapon. All this is fine when there's only one enemy, but when there's two you frequently run into an issue where you can't finish off one without the other one kicking your ass. And your basic attacks have such a shitty range that you'll frequently find yourself kicked into the spirit world just because the combat is bad. Even when you get the Soul Reaver, you're so fragile that the first scratch means you're probably going to take a lot more damage. I actually found that it was usually better to avoid enemies.

The game definitely feels a bit over ambitions, but it's still pretty fun. The music is completely baller, and when the ideas are working they work fantastic. I ended up seeing the combat as just an obstacle you had to deal with sometime (such as enemies in a block puzzle room). Fortunately, the boss fights are all puzzle fights, so they don't suffer from the combat (except the final boss, which is just a luck based timing fight and still doesn't suffer from the combat).
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:46 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
40. Darksiders - PC
41. The Banner Saga 3 - PC
42. Guacamelee! 2 - PC
43. Spider-Man - PS4
44. Shadow of the Tomb Raider - PC
45. Star Control Origins - PC
46. Valkyria Chronicles 4 - PS4
47. The Messenger - Switch
48. Dragon Quest XI - PS4
49. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - PC
50. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 - PC

The original Soul Reaver ended up being too big and they split the game in half. This made it end on a crazy cliffhanger; worse than the one at the end of Golden Sun. It also happened at about the same time as the PS2 started to come out, which meant they switched development over to the PS2. And as a result, there is a major upgrade in the game's presentation, all for the better. This is really the game they wanted the first one to be, and I'm glad I took the time to go through it.

Soul Reaver 2 starts you off with all the powers of the first game (minus the one used for turning blocks, because you can just do that with the grab because it was stupid). So they've really removed the Metroidvania-style backtracking. Instead, there are a handful of doors that are blocked off until you gain the appropriate elemental power for your soul reaver. Combat has also been vastly improved; everything is smoother, you don't have to use finishing moves, and you can summon the soul reaver at any time (though there is some risk/reward with it). It's still not great, mind you, but it's serviceable. Really, the only annoying thig is in the late game when you get into forced fights where you have to kill some enemies to progress (because of an energy barrier). Since you spend most of the game skipping fights I guess they felt they needed to ensure you engaged in it sometimes, especially since they removed all the boss fights.

The game's puzzle gameplay has been expanded on. Now it's more of a Tomb Raider style. In the game there are four elemental infusions for your soul reaver, and they are unlocked by going through a Tomb Raider-esque puzzle dungeon, which involve making your way through a series of challenges that tend to cascade and eventually culminate in you activating the altar that gives you the power. The first one ended up being the hardest not because of the puzzles, but rather that it wasn't always obvious what puzzle elements existed. The grabble blocks are much more subtle this time, but once I learned what the cue was I was able to sail through the rest.

Environmentally, the game has you do a few points of time traveling. You go into both the past and the future of the area you start off in, which is a combination of level reuse and using the passage of time to create a different feel. The future has everything ruined, while the past has things sterile. The game suffers a bit from the fact that you end up traversing all the levels multiple times; there's no fast travel and no convenient skips to the end of areas, so you will go from A to B, get an ability you need, go back to A, time travel, then A to B again. Fortunately, each traversal ends up being faster due to some level changes between time periods or just going the quicker way through things (down cliffs rather than up).

The game's story is also much better realized. It feels like there was more care given to the narrative, and the PS2's power let them devote a lot of energy into having very expressive characters, both through gross gestures and a very extensive facial system. Frankly, it's quite advanced for a game in 2001. Heck, it's on the level of some stuff we have today, just with a low poly count (comparatively) that makes everything exaggerated like a cartoon. This let them dive deeply into the plot about destiny and fate. They have a lot of fun with it, and the presentation of information has you gain revelations at about the same rate as your character, which is nice (compared to other games where you figured out everything in act 1 and have to wait for your character to catch up).

Now I'm really looking forward to the final Soul Reaver game, though I hear that cliffhangers a bit too.
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