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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:23 am

1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)

It's hard for me to believe that Castle Crashers is over a decade old at this point, but it's true. I've dabbled with it a few times, but this weekend is the first time I actually sat down and blazed through it. It's got a quirky art style that works for the gameplay, but above all else, it gives me a lot of options for how I choose to play the game. Now many of these have to be unlocked, but since the game has a sense of humor about itself, looks entertaining, and doesn't hinder you when you suck at a particular level, the ride is pretty fun.

The game starts simply enough by going with the well worn "rescue the princess" trope. The castle gets attacked, four princesses get kidnapped, and an evil wizard steals a giant crystal thing. It's not a complex story, and it's often played for laughs. The one thing that I really appreciate is that it's all done without dialogue, so while unskippable cutscenes are annoying, there isn't any terrible voice acting; everything is told by showing rather than telling. Levels can also be revisited...so expect to see some unskippable cutscenes over and over again. That's probably my biggest complaint, which is relatively minor considering all the positives of the game.

To play, you pick a character, starting with one of the four knights. However, you'll probably unlock a bunch of characters as you go, and there are two DLCs with additional characters as well as one that gets awarded if you own a copy of Battleblock Theater on Steam. Beating the game with different characters unlocks more, as does fighting in arenas. Everybody is a little different, be it in how they perform combos or use magic. You also can acquire new weapons, which will adjust your stats a little, and you can find animal companions that provide different benefits. I was a big fan of the monkey because it made enemies drop more health pickups, though you should tailor your loadout based on your playstyle.

As you progress through the game, your character will also acquire experience and level up. At the return to the world map, either by dying or beating a boss, you'll be presented with the chance to boost one of the four stats: Strength, Magic, Defense, and Agility. Again, you can tailor a character to your liking, and levels and progress are saved to your character. When you die, you also keep your experience and any levels gained in the previous area, so you're still making progress. I struggled with a level called Full Moon at one point but still managed to go up a couple of levels and fight my way through. The game appears to cap out at 99, though you'll probably beat it long before that. I was 33 on my first attempt, and I chose a character generally considered harder to use, the Green Knight.

Now that I've beaten the game, there is still a bunch more to do. There are more weapons, characters, and achievements to unlock. I'm missing one animal companion at this point too, though I know where to go to get it. And then there are additional modes to play which are there for fun. I look forward to spending more time with Castle Crashers.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:48 am

That game is so much fun. My wife and I co-oped it a few years ago, and we had a blast with it.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:49 am

It's worth revisiting if you haven't lately. They may be about to announce the Enhanced Edition for PS4. That's the hint, anyway.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:53 pm

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
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Bio Senshi Dan is a 1987 Jaleco-published Famicom release, their 14th installment on Nintendo's hardware. No mere TOSE-developed arcade port, Bio Senshi Dan is a wholly exclusive original title, crafted by the then-obscure Atlus. Containing a copious amount of text, the game was fan-translated in 2003. Shortly thereafter, a North American NES prototype from the early days was unearthed, bearing the utterly horrific title Bashi Bazook: Morphoid Masher. For those seeking an English language playthrough, I'd suggest the fan translation over the prototype, as the latter contains the type of unflattering "Westernization" that was so common in the NES era.

Bio Senshi Dan is a meaty action-adventure, emerging during an explosion of such games. It takes clear inspiration from Metroid, in terms of both storyline and gameplay style. This is a tale of a lone space warrior battling an alien enemy menace. The futuristic galactic hero's name... Dan. Yes, Dan. Presumably friends with Jim of Hydlide and Kieth of Ys. As his own era has been irrevocably ravaged by the fiends (known as the Increasers, or Inkrizers), Dan is sent to the distant past year of 1999 to halt the approaching onslaught.
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The environments Dan is tasked with exploring are incredibly memorable. Fleshy and organic, they're comprised of bubbles, tendrils, and haunting alien detritus. Comparisons to Metroid are yet again inevitable, though the deep red, purple, and black hues also evoke the same kind oppressive demonic atmosphere seen in Atlus' other notable 1987 affair: Megami Tensei. Eventually Dan finds himself outside, amid some Romanesque ruins, before delving into the "heart of the alien" (what up Contra). What a gorgeous game. Accompanying the visuals is an expertly-composed soundtrack. Courtesy of Tsukasa Masuko (of Megami Tensei fame), the tunes here contain all his trademarks: creepy synth lines accompanied by some undeniably catchy bass and drum work.

Rather than showcase a gigantic sprawling world, Dan's quest takes place within five very large non-linear self-contained stages. Freakish extraterrestrials await at every turn. The sprite work is excellent, and the enemy attacks are about what one would anticipate. Some scuttle about, while others are airborne and/or projectile-launching. The boss of each stage is a "queen" -- a bigger, badder, and uglier iteration of the main foes. Slain creatures deposit "energy." This is actually used as a currency within the various shops. There are friendly hint-droppers, men who sell (of just give away) weapons and upgrades, a sexy lady innkeeper, and a comical alien who challenges Dan to an A-button-mashing wrestling match. The character portraits are all visually striking, though one noteworthy shopkeeper is a deeply unsettling Chinese caricature.
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When the game opens, Dan finds himself wielding a simple short-range sword. Eventually he gathers an additional cache of weapons: arching bombs, a sort of laser boomerang, circling fireballs, and more. There are also supplementary items for enhanced speed, defense, and navigation. The Metroid conventions are flipped here. Dan builds up an arsenal of weapons, and can switch between them on the fly. In contrast, any supplemental item gathered will overwrite whatever is held previously. So, for example, it may be wise to skip the speed-boots, as the armor Dan likely has equipped at that point in his journey is vastly superior.

One unique aspect of the game is a "MV" ("Mother Vitality") meter. It superficially resembles a traditional video game timer, but it slowly ticks upwards. What it represents is the gathering HP of the queen alien that inhabits each stage. The longer is takes Dan to reach the queen, the stronger she becomes. Thus, the player is presented with options: make a beeline towards a weak boss or explore thoroughly to collect all helpful items and upgrades. It's a bit of a false choice, however: skipping the gear will not only render the boss (even with lower HP) nigh impossible, but Dan also won't be fully prepared for the following stage.

Though aesthetically competent and boasting some creative design choices, Bio Senshi Dan is weighed down by a series of gameplay flaws. Dan himself moves in a slow unwieldy manner, not unlike that of Simon Belmont. He leaps in a fixed arc, and midair attacks are wholly inaccurate and clumsy. There's no ducking; Dan instead performs an awkward crawl like the protagonist of Sega's Zillion. In contrast, enemy motions are straight out of Ninja Gaiden. Aliens are savagely quick, twitchy, and infinitely respawning. Dan is greatly outmatched while wielding his sword. As for those special weapons: each use of one drains precious "energy" (currency), the same stuff that needs to be hoarded for additional weapons, upgrades, and recovery. Moreover, health refills are incredibly scarce. The aforementioned inns can only be used once per stage, and they don't "reset" if Dan loses a life. Enemies do not drop health refills (syringes), ever; instead they are to be found hidden within breakable bits of scenery. They're incredibly rare finds, and only replenish a small segment of lost HP.
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But the worst sin committed by Bio Senshi Dan is that it doesn't respect the player's time. This is a long game, likely to take a first-time (or even semi-experienced) player an entire afternoon. There's no save system, and no passwords. There's no in-game map. Much like Tecmo's NES Rygar, anyone planning to finish this one on original hardware should be prepared to give up a Sunday. To add insult to injury, lives and continues are limited. Having a true Game Over in a massive complex Metroidvania is downright infuriating.

This is a fair game, overall. Though it can't hold a candle to many of the other Metroidvanias and ARPGs that dropped around '87, Dan is compelling enough to please diehard fans of the genre. If anything, no one should skip over an old Atlus cartridge, as their brand of supernatural 8-bit horror is unparalleled. Ultimately, it seems like Bio Senshi Dan suffers not by being too derivative, but by not being quite derivative enough. Samus would have no problem rolling through this hostile alien landscape, and had Atlus attempted to recreate those sleek Metroid physics we'd have a real winner on our hands.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:58 pm

I'm loving all these reviews Bone, I don't think I heard of any game you reviewed and after reading all of them I feel like I am much better for it. Are you going to try and play every crappy famicom game ever released? Will you at any point give yourself a break and play a great game or are you trying to push yourself to the brink of insanity.

I almost feel like you should do a youtube series of you playing these games, I'd watch it for sure.
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by dsheinem Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:10 am

Games Beaten 2019

Kentucky Route Zero Act 1 - PC
All Our Asias - PC
Shape of the World - Switch
Hidden Folks - PC
Hyrule Warriors - Wii U
Onrush - PS4
Assassin's Creed Origins - X1
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown -360
Metro Exodus - PS4
Split/Second - 360 *new*

Total: 10


Previously: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

Split/Second is a game I started playing initially in 2010, when I made it about 25% of the way through the main single-player ("Season") mode. A few weeks ago I picked it up again and picked up where I left off...and am glad I did: Split/Second is arguably one the best arcade-style racers of the last generation, even if the back half of the game gets a little repetitive. It seems to pick up the PS2/X1/GCN-era Burnout torch that Burnout Paradise, despite its own awesomeness, never really captured.

Did anyone ever play much of the PSP port? Is it worth checking out?
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:07 am

pook99 wrote:I'm loving all these reviews Bone, I don't think I heard of any game you reviewed and after reading all of them I feel like I am much better for it. Are you going to try and play every crappy famicom game ever released? Will you at any point give yourself a break and play a great game or are you trying to push yourself to the brink of insanity.

I almost feel like you should do a youtube series of you playing these games, I'd watch it for sure.


Thanks. I promise I'm not trying to play "crappy" Famicom games. I'm just playing the ones I happen and own, and some have turned out to be questionable. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up, but I'm having fun.

As for YouTube, I'm way too old, slow, and lazy for that sort of thing.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:47 pm

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
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Konami's 1991 release Yume Penguin Monogatari is in fact the third game to star the lovable Penta the Penguin, following the (very common) Antarctic Adventure and the (very rare) Penguin Adventure. While the initial Penta Adventure duo consisted of two similar simplistic multi-platform titles, Yume Penguin Monogatari is a vastly more complex platformer/shmup hybrid, developed exclusively for the Nintendo Family Computer.

In his first two outings, Penta was but a cutesy mascot, an avatar. Now, he's the hero of a much larger narrative. And what a ride it is. Apparently, Penta has some sort of binge-eating problem. He's swollen to an unacceptable size, prompting his longtime lover, Penko, to bail on the relationship. She shacks up with an alpha penguin named Ginji, but drops an ultimatum on Penta's feathery head: should he drop a few lbs. she'll consider taking him back. Ginji, apparently amused by the whole situation, decides to go along for the ride, though he warns that his "gang" lurks behind every corner, enticing Penta with an array of fattening treats. The story progresses along with the game, with cutscenes interspersed between each proper stage. Those who lack a working knowledge of Japanese will want to seek out the fan translation; this is not a tale to be missed.
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During the platforming segments, pressing A causes Penta to jump while B unleashes his weight-dependent attack. By default, he utilizes a short-range kick. Should he put on too much weight, Penta becomes a penguin-shaped blob, with a pitiful jump range and belly-flop attack. If Penta manages to slim down sufficiently, he can fire a projectile from his beak. Current weight is represented by a meter at the screen's bottom. It is raised and lowered based on the food Penta consumes, naturally. To get slim, Penta must chug nutritional shakes. Obesity is triggered by consuming the food tossed by Ginji's gang... apples and rice balls. Seriously? Has Japan no concept of proper junk food? Maybe the game is an early anti-carb statement. Also note that the weight meter doubles as a traditional health meter. So, yes, according to the game's "logic" if Penta makes contact with an enemy he also gains a few pounds. Same goes for if he falls into a pit, whereupon he emerges massively heavy (waterlogged?). Calibrated directly above the weight/health meter is a heart, either broken or whole. This represents the weight threshold required for finishing a stage. Penta can technically "complete" a stage while too heavy (and brokenhearted), only to find himself scolded by Penko via landline phone, and sent back to the level's start. Mercifully, the game treats lives and continues as one and the same, and infinite chances are granted to complete each segment.

Shmup stages are auto-scrolling. The "rules" remain the same, though Penta now flies an airplane with one standard attack. Both the platforming and shoot 'em up sections impose a strict time limit upon the player; in addition to keeping his weight in check it's also important for Penta to grab clocks that will add seconds to the overall time limit. Shakes and clocks alike can occasionally be found lying about, though most are collected by defeating Ginji's thugs. All stages conclude with a boss showdown, replete with taunting dialogue about the poor penguin's physique. Bosses all follow a similar pattern: they move about and shoot waves of "bad" food at Penta. But there will be an occasional shake thrown into the mix, so it is still possible to complete a stage even if Penta initiated the boss battle while brokenhearted. It's extraordinarily difficult to best a boss if Penta enters the arena as a belly-flopper, however. Konami actually managed to sneak a "bad ending" into the game, in addition to the stock Game Over, if an overweight Penta manages to somehow defeat Ginji at the end.

Speaking of endings, the game unnecessarily pulls a Ghosts 'n Goblins. Rescue Penko successfully and she declares that it's time for a "second lap." Rescue here again and prepare for one of the most absurd and trollish game endings of all time. All said, even if we are to consider two loops, the game feels oddly short, with only six unique stages total. The cutscenes and world map tease the player into thinking an epic journey is about to commence, but then things wrap up almost as soon as they begin. No saves or passwords, naturally.
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This is a Konami cartridge, so top-notch mechanics and graphics are to be expected. Yume Penguin Monogatari is a gorgeous game. It's one of the most colorful Famicom experiences, boasting an array of memorable scenes. Penta scales a giant frosted cake, waddles along the seashore, cruises through Ancient Egypt, and of course makes a visit to Antarctica itself. The accompanying music is whimsical, upbeat, and silly, if not particularly memorable. It's impossible not to dig those sound effects though, ripped straight from Contra. Controls are smooth as ice (ha), though being demoted to a weaker state after taking damage can get especially annoying in some of those more cluttered stages. Makes me think that the developers were fans of Gradius.

Aside from some passing cameos, this is sadly Penta's last big appearance. And what a note to end on. While Yume Penguin Monogatari feels a tad underdeveloped, the utterly bizarre premise and top-notch Konami production values make it a worthwhile experience. I certainly can't think of another game dedicated to binging birds.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:03 pm

That's a game I've been wanting for a while, glad to hear it's as good as it looks to be!
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:11 pm

You'd enjoy it.

I didn't mention this in my post, but it's on the "expensive" side... Around $30 or so for a cart-only copy.

I think I need a break from the Famicom.
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