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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:25 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary (NDS)
2. Reigns (iOS)
3. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
4. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
5. Castlevania Legends (GB)
6. Yankai’s Triangle (iOS)
7. Mega Man III (GB)
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man V (GB)
10. Sin & Punishment (N64)
11. Love You to Bits (iOS)
12. Mega Man Powered Up - Old Style (PSP)
13. Mega Man Powered Up - New Style (PSP)
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
15. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (NDS)
16. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NDS)
17. Detective Pikachu (3DS)
18. Super Fantasy Zone (GEN)
19. Fantasy Zone Gear (GG)
20. Fantasy Zone - The Maze (SMS)

Fantasy Zone - The Maze is a single-screen “maze” game, similar to Pac-Man. In it, you pilot Opa Opa around 51 mazes collecting coins and avoiding enemies. It is actually a pretty fun game, and it lets you play the first 26 mazes in almost any order. Moreover, it brings some pretty great ideas to the single screen maze genre. First, it allows two-player cooperative play. Second, you can use the coins you pick up to buy temporary upgrades, such as weapons, speed boosts, bombs, etc. that make clearing the mazes much easier. Finally, it has a mostly great system for generating enemies. Specifically, there is one space in the maze that acts as an enemy generator. It will generate three standard enemies that move around the maze like the ghosts in Pac-Man. After that, it will slowly fill up and begin flashing red. When it does this, all of the standard enemies freeze, and if left unchecked, the enemy generator will make each of the standard enemies generate a fast, deadly enemy that will hunt you down through the maze. Thankfully, you can reset the enemy generator by passing over it, which prevents the standard enemies from generating the “too fast to outrun, will likely kill you in seconds” enemies. This adds some interesting strategy to the game since it forces you not to stray too far from the enemy generator, which is typically in a pretty dangerous section of the maze. Also, the fact the enemy generator freezes the standard enemies for a few seconds gives you a strong incentive to push it to just the point of destruction before resetting it.

My primary complaint with the game is that it is just too hard. I could make it through the first 26 mazes with some practice, but the difficulty scales up way too fast after that. Per Fantasy Zone tradition, the temporary upgrades get more expensive as you go, making them less available as the game becomes more difficult (i.e., steepening an already pretty steep difficulty curve). Moreover, the later mazes are clearly designed for two players, with choke points making them almost impossible to clear unscathed. Two skilled players, with some practice, could probably beat the game, but one player would have to devote his life to beating this game on original hardware. The game isn’t THAT good, and I shamefully admit to using save states to beat it. If any of you go this route, I recommend self-imposing a rule that you must beat each maze at least once without dying. That makes the game a bit more like a die-and-retry platformer, and adds to the challenge significantly.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:21 am

1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC

Originally known as Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible in Japan, Revelations: The Demon Slayer is a pint sized SMT experience. It originally came out in late 92 on the original Game Boy, but we didn't get a localized version until it was rereleased on the GBC in 99. As a result, it's much shorter than you'd expect a GBC RPG to be; it's pretty close in size to FFL1. It's not a bad handheld RPG, but it's definitely a bit anemic.

Unlike most SMT games this game is in a more traditional fantasy RPG setting. You will gain a total of three human characters and have a max party size of six, so you'll fill out the rest with various monsters you recruit. The game uses the standard conversation system, but the limitations of the Game Boy means that the monster response are really homogenous, and there's essentially no way to know what particular dialog tree is appropriate to a monster. You can either massively trial and error it, or you can just look up a guide. The thing is, the monsters mostly serve as meat shields; their attack is pretty pitiful, and spell costs are high, so they only really can cast against bosses. Fortunately, your human members will make up for it if you pump up their strength (and frankly, it and speed are the only worthwhile stats).

The game ends up being a bit grind heavy; not to the degree of Dragon Quest 1, but you still will need to do grinding to get the gear from a given town. And the gear makes a big difference in your damage and survivability. On the plus side, the grinding you do means you won't have problem with the bosses, except maybe the last one. He's immediately after the penultimate boss and does double the damage. And since there's no in-battle revival you do need to get a bit lucky with how he targets.

I'd only recommend this game to SMT completionists.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:33 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary (NDS)
2. Reigns (iOS)
3. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
4. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
5. Castlevania Legends (GB)
6. Yankai’s Triangle (iOS)
7. Mega Man III (GB)
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man V (GB)
10. Sin & Punishment (N64)
11. Love You to Bits (iOS)
12. Mega Man Powered Up - Old Style (PSP)
13. Mega Man Powered Up - New Style (PSP)
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
15. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (NDS)
16. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NDS)
17. Detective Pikachu (3DS)
18. Super Fantasy Zone (GEN)
19. Fantasy Zone Gear (GG)
20. Fantasy Zone - The Maze (SMS)
21. Fantasy Zone (Famicom)
22. Fantasy Zone (NES)


First, Fantasy Zone for the Famicom and Fantasy Zone for the NES are different games. One of them is better than the other, but both of them are good. The Famicom version was developed by Sunsoft, and it is a marvel. The graphics are bright and colorful; the music is pitch perfect; and everything about it is smooth and fast. The screen frequently fills with enemies and projectiles, and in typical Sunsoft fashion, there isn’t a hint of slowdown. All of the bosses from the arcade version are there, and the game is incredibly difficult and intense. In fact...it’s a little too difficult at times, and the fourth boss in particular, in addition to being a technical marvel, is an absolute 8-bit bullet-hell beast. (Look it up. It’s crazy what Sunsoft made the Famicom do in this game.) I got pretty good at fighting it, but it’s waaaaaaaay harder than the arcade version. My bullets also clipped through it sometimes, which was frustrating, and I could only beat it maybe one out of ten times I encountered it. Sadly, I used a save state once I defeated it for the second time. :?

Tengen wasn’t as good at programming as Sunsoft, and the NES version of Fantasy Zone is technically inferior to the Famicom version in almost every way. The graphics are a little more muted; there isn’t as much stuff on screen; and the game is plagued with flickering and slowdown. The music is still strong though, and the NES version is much, much easier than the Famicom version (probably because there’s so much less coming at you). After struggling through the Famicom game, I made it all the way through the NES game on my third attempt. Accordingly, I found the Tengen version much less frustrating and, frankly, a little bit more fun.

Ultimately, I recommend both the Famicom and NES versions of Fantasy Zone. I found them to be at least as good as the beloved SMS port.

I plan on playing the enhanced PS2 version of the game next, but then, sadly, my adventures with my good friend Opa Opa will come to an end... :(
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:55 pm

What? No TG-16/PCE Fantasy Zone? Don’t miss out on that!
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:04 pm

marurun wrote:What? No TG-16/PCE Fantasy Zone? Don’t miss out on that!


OK! I don’t need an excuse for more Fantasy Zone. I’ve read it’s a pretty great port.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:09 pm

@prfsnl_gmr

Proxima Centauri IQ post. I'm gonna have to get both of those versions. Do you have the sequel on Fami?
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:43 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:@prfsnl_gmr

Proxima Centauri IQ post. I'm gonna have to get both of those versions. Do you have the sequel on Fami?


Wait...what? The sequel was released on the Famicom? I had no idea...I’m going to have to get and play through that too! (It looks like it was developed by Sanritsu...the team behind Fantasy Zone Gear...I am very cautiously optimistic.)

Also...all of you writing great reviews on here are owed a “Proxima Centauri IQ post” from time-to-time. :lol:
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:48 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary (NDS)
2. Reigns (iOS)
3. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
4. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
5. Castlevania Legends (GB)
6. Yankai’s Triangle (iOS)
7. Mega Man III (GB)
8. Mega Man IV (GB)
9. Mega Man V (GB)
10. Sin & Punishment (N64)
11. Love You to Bits (iOS)
12. Mega Man Powered Up - Old Style (PSP)
13. Mega Man Powered Up - New Style (PSP)
14. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
15. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (NDS)
16. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (NDS)
17. Detective Pikachu (3DS)
18. Super Fantasy Zone (GEN)
19. Fantasy Zone Gear (GG)
20. Fantasy Zone - The Maze (SMS)
21. Fantasy Zone (Famicom)
22. Fantasy Zone (NES)
23. Kung Fu Master (2600)

Porting Kung Fu Master to the 2600 was pretty audacious, but Activision pulled it off fairly well. The game looks great (by Atari 2600 standards), and perhaps more impressive, it sounds great too. Activision replicated the music and the satisfying “crack” of the punches and kicks very, very well. The hit detection is more than a little off, however, and the game is incredibly difficult. Enemies drain your health with amazing speed; the knife throwers and elves don’t telegraph their attacks; the controls are wonky; and the fourth boss is a monster. Thankfully, it’s a really short game, and you can get through it pretty quickly despite its difficulty.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:44 pm

1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch

Mechstermination Force is an indie Switch game that plays as a cross between Contra and Shadow of the Colossus. The game consists of fourteen boss fights (including the tutorial) with no pesky regular enemies in between. The boss fights are against large robots (the mechs you are 'sterminating) with multiple phases and a lot of dodging. Your arsenal consists of jumping, shooting, hammering, and later on in the game double jumping and climbing grey surfaces. It's not a long game, but it is a challenging one. I'm not sure the difficulty curve is implemented quite right, though.

The game controls basically like Contra, and is a 2.5D action game. The weapons available to you are pretty much all from Contra as well, though a couple have been tweaked a bit to be more interesting when the screen scrolls out as far as it can go. The Shadow of the Colossus part is in the nature of the boss fights. To defeat a boss you need to destroy all of the boss's cores. Some of these are yellow, and can be shot. Others are red and need to be hammered. Naturally, hitting the red ones is where a lot of the game's challenge comes in; you might need to dodge between enemy limbs to get close to a core. The bosses have multiple stages; as you destroy key cores the boss will transform; maybe it changes shape, maybe it just loses a limb, exposing more of the boss. Meanwhile, the boss is shooting shit at you (some of which can be shot down yourself, others can only be dodged) and trying to stomp you flat. You will spend a lot of time climbing directly on bosses as well, so those flailing limbs are important to time your dodges so you can get on top of them.

The game has a shop system where you buy extra health and weapons. You start off with just a machine gun, and each gun costs successively more. You won't unlock all the guns until the end of the game, and you won't get all the health pickups unless you do some major grinding. When you beat a boss you get a lump sum of cash, plus a bonus for not being hit and for each hit you have left. You also can pick up money mid-mission, which is saved even if you die. This happens when you destroy key targets (which can also drop a heal item). And this shop system is where I feel the game needs some better tuning for its difficulty curve. See, several bosses pretty much require you to have a certain amount of health, and having a particular weapon on a particular boss can easily be make or break. It seems like the game's difficulty was based on expecting you to do some grinding (at least on a first playthrough; I look forward to seeing how the speedrun looks). And the thing is, the grinding is super boring, because you do it with the first boss (which is a cakewalk). The ramp up between the first boss and the second means that time-wise grinding the first boss is most efficient for your money, which makes for a boring interlude. Personally, I think the game would have done better by giving you upgrades based on boss kills; kill this boss, get this weapon, every boss gives you a heart, something like that.

But if you don't mind having to put in a bit of grind now and then it's a really fun run-and-gun. I highly recommend it if you enjoy Contra or the other games like Contra out there.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:38 pm

That game sounds awesome. I really need to get a Switch.
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