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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:14 am

Partridge Senpai's 2019 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018
* indicates a repeat

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)

16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *

I got this for 250 yen in a resale shop a few days back and wanted something fun but a little different to play through. I love looking at how games originally in English are translated into Japanese, so a game like this that I have so much nostalgia for seemed like a great fit. It took me about 8.5 hours and I 100%'d the game like I did the last time I played it.

The writing, which I was most interested in, is admittedly noticeably inferior to the original. There's a lot of character to the original dialogue that just didn't translate over in many cases, and often just feels generic. I would say they should've just done their own thing with it, but the most noticeable case of when they DID do that, with Grunty's speech, is one of the most noticeable negative changes.

Instead of Grunty's taunting rhyming speech (which admittedly would've been very hard in a language like Japanese where rhyming doesn't really exist in the same way it does in English), she simply talks with tons of ~~~~~~ in her speech, dragging out syllables all the time. At least for someone like me whose reading ability isn't super fantastic in Japanese, all it usually accomplishes is making her speech far harder to understand because the 2-line limit of text in a speech bubble is still present, so at least for me it went a bit past not being as memorable and into a negative space of straight-up harder to understand. There's still plenty of humor in the writing in a way reminiscent of the original, but I still think the English original's writing is superior. At the very least, the Furnace o' Fun Quiz was SUPER hard because of my less-than-perfect knowledge of vocab and Grunty's speech style, but I was pretty proud of myself for being able to win it in one try ^w^

The other notable thing about this playthrough is that it was the first real test I've given to the replacement N64 joystick I bought on eBay a few months ago. It's one based off of the GameCube joystick design, and it certainly felt solidly built, but I didn't have a good idea of just how well it worked. As far as a usable joystick, it definitely does the job. The only really notable issue is that it mainly only has two modes: dead stop and full tilt. There is a window for the gradual levels of running (at least in Banjo-terms of maneuvering), but they're SO tiny as to be very awkward to get onto. It made some of the platforming along more slim platforms far more difficult than on a normal N64 joystick, and I have to imagine it'd make a racing game FAR harder to play if you wanted any precision level of control over steering. I'll have to see if I can't get Mario Kart 64 someday for cheap and see how well that plays.

I've already done a standard review of Banjo-Kazooie on the site, so I won't really comment on the overall quality of the game or how it plays because I've already done that. The only thing I will comment on (if only for my own future reference) is that I definitely don't recall the game's framerate being quite so bad so frequently. I couldn't tell if it was the frame-stuttering or the joystick I was using, but it definitely felt more difficult to play more often than I recall from when I played through it a year or two ago. Perhaps it's something more present in the Japanese version of the game, but Future Partridge should note that the framerate this go around was fairly dire quite frequently.

Verdict: Recommended. I'd usually give the game Highly Recommended, but given the notable step down in the writing in the Japanese version, I'm giving it just a Recommended. If you can understand English, that version is definitely superior, but this is still the fantastic N64 collectathon it always has been, no matter the language~
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:04 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)
24. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
25. Kid Dracula (GB)


Kid Dracula (Famicom) is a pretty good, relatively easy action platformer that plays a lot like Mega Man with floaty jumping. You play as Dracula’s son Alucard, and you gain a new ability after each level. The first level is a fun “chibi” version of Dracula’s castle - complete with upbeat Castlevania music! - but the following levels are unrelated to the Castlevania series. (There’s an ice level, a flying pirate ship, a spaceship, etc.) Between levels you play mini games for extra lives. The difficulty spikes on the last level, but it’s always manageable. Also, it has fantastic graphics.

Kid Dracula (GB) is a sequel - Lord Garamoth wants revenge! - that’s also kind of a remake - you go back to GB versions of almost all the levels from the previous game! The game still looks great, and both the gameplay and level-design are tightened up a bit. The mini games are more fun, and it has a really great personality. It also has a password system, too; so, unlike its predecessor, you don’t have to beat it in one sitting.

Both games are good, but Kid Dracula (GB) is a little better than Kid Dracula (Famicom). Neither of them is remarkable, however; so, if you don’t play them, you aren’t missing too much.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:27 am

Famicom version came first right? I'm gonna get it.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:04 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Famicom version came first right? I'm gonna get it.


That’s right. Unlike its localized GB sequel, the Famicom game isn’t too expensive.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:09 pm

Funny you say that, I haven't picked up that Fami version yet because I considered it too pricey (for a Famicom game... which means that it's $25-$30 instead of $1-$5). :lol:
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:11 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Funny you say that, I haven't picked up that Fami version yet because I considered it too pricey (for a Famicom game... which means that it's $25-$30 instead of $1-$5). :lol:


:lol:

Yeah. It’s definitely “pricey” by Famicom standards. You’ll probably have to buy it individually. <gasp!>

EDIT: I don’t think it’s any more expensive than Cosmic Wars or Yume Penguin Monogatari. Pretty much in line for good Konami Famicom exclusives. (I need a bunch of those, BTW. So many good Konami games never made it to the states.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:49 pm

46. Katana Zero
47. Pixel Devil and the broken cartridge
48. Fate of Nimi (android)
49. Mega Man Powered up (psp)
50. Riddled Corpses EX
51. Mike Tysons Punch Out (nes)

51. Punch Out:

I decided to play punch out on my switch, I had heard a lot about lag making punch out unplayable on various platforms and was curious to try and see for myself. I knew the game was off to a bad start when glass joe landed a punch on me but I decided to play it through anyway, chalking up the one joe landed on me to me being tired. The first few fights went pretty smoothly and even though I was getting hit by stupid stuff I persevered anyway...until i reached soda popinski.

Disclaimer here, I know a lot of people find soda popinski difficult, but I never have. All of a sudden I could not beat him for the life of me and died about 10 times...I began to question everything. Is there really lag or am I just getting old? Am I finally at the point in my life where I am too old and slow to beat punch out?

In a panic I loaded up punch out on my laptop emulator, which has been my preferred way of playing punch out since the death of the CRT and decided to jump right to the world circuit and give it a chance. I nervously entered the code, fearing that I was too slow and old to play this game, but was thrilled as I breezed through the world circuit, even beating iron Mike on my first attempt. I am now happy to report that I am just as sharp as ever and beating punch out was exactly the pick me up I needed after watching the latest episode of game of thrones.

I'm not going to write a review because I'm going to assume everyone has played punch out, if you havent then you should, it is literally the best boxing game ever made, one of my favorite games of all time, and the only games that are on par with it are super punch out and wii punch out. If I could ask nintendo to make one switch game it would be a new punch out.

50. Riddled Corpses EX (steam)

Do you like grinding????? DO you enjoy playing the same level over and over again?? If so, then this is the game for you, everyone else in the world should skip this turd.

Riddled Corpses starts cool enough, twin stick shooter with a nice retro asthetic, tight controls, and gameplay that is a ton of fun. As you progress through level one the game shows a ton of promise until you hit a wall where you are too weak to progress and die. Once you die you could spend the gold you collected on upgrades and then go back in for another run.

This does not sound too bad in theory, and there are some that may take some joy in it, but the progression is way too slow to be any fun. Here is the thing, on average here are the gold totals I collected for a playthrough of the first 3 stages
stage 1: 1200-1500
Stage 2: 600-800
Stage 3: 700-1000

Looking at these numbers its not too hard to see the problem, you get more gold for completing the easiest and shortest level then you do for the exponetially harder and longer levels. What this means in execution is that you will spend most of your grind time replaying level 1 over and over again which gets incredibly boring incredibly quickly, especially given that this is not a rogue like so every playthrough is identical and one run through the level takes over 10 minutes.

Also upgrades are insanely expensive, for example there is a weapon that floats around you and shoots enemies as you shoot. It is mandatory to collect this to have a shot and it costs 9999 gold. Then upgrades cost between 1 and 5 or 6 thousand for it. There are also 3 characters to unlock and level up to lv 20. Upgrading everything would probably take you hundreds of hours of replaying the exact same stage over and over again.

Eventually, I found the word document that keeps track of your gold and edited it. I gave myself 99,999 and went into the shop. Even with 100,000 dollars and 3 hours of previous grinding, I still did not have enough to buy all the upgrades, so I edited it again and gave myself another 100,000 and spent about 70000 more to unlock everything. If not for this cheat I would never have finished this game.

A little grinding is one thing, I am not a fan of grinding but will do a little if needed, the amount of grinding you have to do for so little reward in this game is just not worth it. If you find the game for dirt cheap and instantly use the cheat to give yourself unlimited gold then it is a fun way to kill an hour or 2 but playing it the way it was intended should be avoided at all costs.

49. Mega Man powered up

I don't want to write a full review of this game, I just want to give a shout out to prfsnl_gamer for turning me on to it. I always avoided this because I thought it was just mega man one with better graphics but the game is entirely re-done and a ton of fun to play. Really glad I checked it out.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:54 pm

Sweet! I’m glad you enjoyed Mega Man Powered Up! It was really a pleasant surprise for me too. Also, nice job on Punch Out!! Soda Popinski used to break me when I was younger. I can usually handle him now, but I still dread the encounter.

.....

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)
24. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
25. Kid Dracula (GB)
26. Fantasy Zone (TG16)

Fantasy Zone again! Fantasy Zone (TG16) is a solid port. The graphics are sharp, and it controls very well. The sound is a bit, however, and like a lot of home ports, the cramped aspect ratio results in some cheap deaths. Also, the second boss is occasionally impossible, and there is a slight lag in dropping the heavy bombs that, combined with the fact you cannot fly all the way to the edge of the screen, make the last boss more challenging. Otherwise, though, it is one of the better home conversions, and I recommend it.
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Ordinary Gamer
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ordinary Gamer Wed May 01, 2019 1:54 am

1. The Hong Kong Massacre
2. Volgarr the Viking
3. Astro Bot Rescue Mission
4. The Messenger
5. Super Daryl Deluxe

Since I just recently joined the site, there are some titles I finished a bit earlier this year that I haven't really talked about here in my previous posts. So I'm going to try and add those to the thread in addition to anything I complete in the near future. So I guess the number order above will become irrelevant. Maybe I'll just start listing the games without doing it numerically. Anyway, here's one such title:

The Sexy Brutale - PS4 (Tequila Works)

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I really had no idea what to expect of this game when I first heard its title LOL. This is hands down one of the best indie games I've ever played. Scratch that, one of the best games period, indie or otherwise. The Sexy Brutale is basically a puzzle game. The gimmick behind it is very cool. You go around this casino watching people get murdered, often in sick, twisted, and brutal ways, and have to go back in time in order to prevent these murders from happening.

What's really fun is how you get to just observe people and see what they are doing and what they are saying as you put the pieces together of how someone died, who killed them, and how to stop it. There's a lot going on in this casino, and it's fun to sort of be a fly on the wall and observe it all. And I use that metaphor because there is a minor stealth component here. You can't allow any character to see you. There's a story reason for this that is eventually revealed to you, but you have only a number of seconds to hide or move to another room any time someone sees you, which can lead to some tense situations.

Another cool thing is that the murders are all happening within the same 24 hour period, so while you are trying to stop one of them, you may hear or witness another one that is happening, but you can only focus on one murder at a time. You'll eventually have to figure out exactly what time every thing happens in this game so you know how far back to rewind time in order to do whatever you have to do to stop each individual murder. This means watching people's patterns and routines and always keeping an eye on the clock. You'll also need to get familiar with the casino so you can quickly navigate it to get where you need to be on time. Fortunately, the game helps with that through short cuts and various checkpoints that you will discover as you explore. If you don't get things done in 24 hours, the day resets. You'll spawn at the latest checkpoint you activated and re-do the day from there.

With every guest you save, you gain a new ability to help you stop future murders. Also, these abilities can help you find various hidden secrets in the casino as you explore. So there is a slight Metroid element here. The mix of Metroid, puzzle solving, time manipulation, and stealth is something I've not experienced before in a game so the gameplay gets a big thumbs up from me

The game has a nice, retro style visually. It's sort of top down and graphically looks kind of like a 16-bit era game to me. Actually, it's a bit too nice for 16-bit, maybe more like something you'd see on the Sega Saturn. The retro graphics I think are needed, as this game is quite dark and some of the murders would be hard to watch in a modern game with modern graphics. I love how game's like this and Hotline Miami show how you can tell meaningful stories and create compelling worlds and characters even with very basic, old school, graphics. The soundtrack is excellent, perfectly capturing the right mood at all times. The game's atmosphere runs the gamut from jazzy, dark, mysterious, supernatural, dramatic, emotional, and unsettling and the sound track properly conveys it all. Here's one beautiful track in particular that I love that will give you an idea of the soundtrack's quality:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U-2GN2OFtY

The story is very good and the characters are all very interesting. In fact, you will end up learning much about them in order to save them. Some of the collectibles you can optionally find will flesh them out even more. You will inevitably find yourself getting really invested in a few of them, further motivating you to rescue them from a grisly or tragic fate. The Sexy Brutale is always compelling as you get drawn into these characters lives, get invested in the story, and just get more and more familiar with the casino, a character in and of itself in this game with its own history and personality. Unfortunately, I have one complaint here. The way the story resolves itself, while making sense and tying up all of the game's threads together in a logical way, was a bit disappointing to me. I found if fairly predictable and it uses a story telling trope I'm not particularly fond of. Still, the story's themes and the message that its resolution delivers are still admirable

Overall, this is a great game if you like puzzle games, murder mysteries, arty indie games, or just good story telling and characters. There's a small role religion plays in the story and imagery of the game, don't know if that would bother anyone. It didn't bother me. I actually thought it was a nice character quirk how your character does the sign of the cross every time he goes into hiding.

Now as someone who has recently gotten into PSVR games, I kind of want to try out The Invisible Hours now. It's by the same developer and seems to have similar themes, a murder mystery and a game where you spend a lot of time exploring one environment and just observing people as they go about their business, taking in the stories that doing so reveals to you.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed May 01, 2019 3:24 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)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)

32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)


Dragon Quest V
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Dragon Quest V (1992) is a game of firsts. The first in the series to grace the exemplary Super Famicom, it's also the first mainline title to not receive an official English localization. There are, thankfully, two complete fan translations available, the eldest of which is now old enough to vote. The game exudes a vibe similar to Final Fantasy IV. Its storyline is vastly more complex than that of its 8-bit predecessors, though the iconic imagery and mechanics remain (mostly) intact.

The game begins by naming the (male) hero. An opening cutscene reveals that he is... a baby. Born the son of the great warrior Papas, and doting mother Martha, the player first gains control of the hero aged six. He toddles around in the most adorable fashion, unable to read road signs or converse with barkeeps. As a natural JRPG protagonist, the hero has a thirst for adventure, as he and his childhood friend Bianca soon sneak out of town to explore some ruins, unbeknownst to the slumbering Papas. And, as these games typically go, a chain of events soon unfolds that pits the hero against a great intangible villain, in a dual quest to both save the world and win the everlasting approval of loving parents.

Of course, the hero doesn't stay a kindergartener for the duration of the game. Dragon Quest V possesses a "generational" theme, featuring a protagonist who grows both in age and experience throughout the journey (a similar attempt was made by the oddly-maligned Phantasy Star III two years prior). In the game's "second chapter" the hero becomes a strapping young man. Amid the typical monster-slaying and adventuring he's also tasked with picking a wife. Yes, two women are apparently willing and ready to say yes at a moment's notice. What a charmer. One lady is the aforementioned Bianca. The other: Flora, daughter of a rich man found in one of the game's many towns. The writing heavily implies that Bianca is the canonical wife, and I'd have a hard time rejecting her without feeling some vague pangs of guilt. Flora, seemingly pleasant enough, has little character development and is haphazardly dropped into the mix as possible wife #2. In any event, choice of wife effects some plot elements going forward, namely what children will be birthed. Yes, the kids! One boy, one girl. The game's concluding chapter is dedicated to them, their development, and their relationship to the main hero. One has a special destiny, apparently, revealed at the story's conclusion.
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As far as core gameplay goes, anyone who's played a Dragon Warrior title on NES should know exactly what to expect. ChunSoft made no attempts to reinvent the wheel, and gameplay remains pleasingly slow, steady, turn-and-menu-based. The L and R buttons can be used as a catch-all "talk/search" button to bypass said menus, which is a brilliant touch. Nevertheless some elements of the game feel dated. Shopping, for instance, is a chore, as one must buy or sell one item at a time, and inventory space is incredibly limited. But the game is fun. Very fun. There's a huge overworld, and a plethora of towns and dungeons to explore, recruitable characters, and surprisingly erudite NPCs. The developers took pains to distinguish each town from the next, which is extraordinarily useful as backtracking is often required. Dungeon design slowly evolves over the course of the experience, though most still fit that typical JRPG mold, linear with some branching paths for useful items. There are certain environments that are especially memorable, like the water shrine that requires a ship for navigation, the illusory fairy forest, and the switch-laden mine cart cave. Dragon Quest V also features a day/night cycle. It isn't used to drastically alter main plot events (unlike, say, Breath of Fire) but it can be fun to visit those raucous town bars in the later hours. Once you're old enough to drink that is.

The final hours of the game are a bitter pill to swallow, I'm sorry to say. While the plot never really moves along at a breakneck pace (this is a Dragon Quest game after all), there is a sense of drive and urgency most of the time. However, once the kids mature the game becomes "nonlinear" in a way that isn't entirely pleasing. The player is left to trawl the overworld, searching for random unexplored caves and MacGuffin items. Travel also becomes an annoyance at this juncture. Good old walking will only take the party so far, and there's an overabundance of additional travel methods: a warp spell, a ship, flying shoes, a magic carpet, a bell that summons a dragon, a flying castle. All of these are just slight variations of each other (the magic carpet, for instance, cannot clear mountains but the dragon can) and amount to a bunch of inventory clutter. Just give me an airship, Enix!

A huge segment of the game is spent in combat. The ultra-simplistic baseline JRPG battle system is retained: purely turn-based with options to attack, defend, cast magical spells, use items, and run. There are some additional positive twists to the system. Allies (anyone besides the character that leads the party) can be controlled by AI, with options to attack all-out, play defensively, or anything in between. This cuts down on the dreaded A-button mashing, as does the abundance of boomerang and target-all weaponry. The main party can only support three characters at a time, though the game is structured with this in mind.
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While there are a handful of human characters ready to scrub in as combatants, it's much more fun to hunt for monsters allies. The system of obtaining monster sidekicks is incredibly simple, even compared to 8-bit titles like the original Megami Tensei. Once defeated, specific monsters are able to join the hero's posse, while others are not. Of those eligible, some have greater odds of extending an offering than others, of which the player is free to accept or reject. As the main playable party is but a trio, those spillover monsters end up in the horse-drawn "caravan." Once the caravan fills, some can be sent away to a monster master that inhabits each town. The utility of monsters varies widely. Some, like the Brownie, lack spells and can't equip much, and outlive their usefulness very early on. Others, like the Slime Knight, rival even the hero in terms of combat prowess, and are worth keeping around throughout the game's duration. It's important to note that even those monsters that chill out in the caravan can still level up and use healing magic outside of battle. This arguably breaks the game in favor of the player, especially if you travel everywhere with a few dedicated healers in tow. There is a flaw to this monster-raising business: all monsters start as level 1 weaklings, so by late game it isn't worth recruiting anybody, even those monsters that theoretically have the potential to be the strongest. Leveling them up from scratch simply isn't worth the time investment.

Aesthetically, the game keeps it simple. Graphics are a touch above the 8-bit Dragon Quest IV. It's a colorful game, and an occasionally pretty one, and also very spartan and ordinary looking. There are no character portraits to be found, so those who want a glimpse of Akira Toriyama's gorgeous character art will have to glance at the instruction booklet. Monster graphics are fantastic, however, all done in that distinct kinda-goofy style. There are very few palette swaps to be found, and plenty of creative original fiends. The pop-up battle backgrounds are heavily reminiscent of that first Dragon Quest, and a nice return to form following the stark black battlefields of installments II, III, and IV. The soundtrack is well-composed, in a mostly subtle way. It's a pleasant listen, with no attempts at being showy or epic. The classic series theme is present, and sounds fantastic in its 16-bit debut.

Players who aren't satiated with the main quest will find some other things to goof off with. There's a casino, for those who enjoy losing money. The venue boasts slot machines, an arena where monsters battle and bets are placed, and a hilarious belly-flopping slime race. Casino winnings can be cashed in for prizes (equipment), though I can't fathom how to win consistently. Special gear can also be obtained by collecting small medals and trading them with the "Medal King." This type of collectathon isn't particularly compelling; I managed to get but a sword out of the whole ordeal. Lastly, Dragon Quest V is an early JRPG to feature "post-game" content after the main quest has wrapped up. Again, not something I find especially intriguing, though completionists may get a kick out of the additional challenge.

This is a fine game, and an excellent way to transition the series to the fourth console generation. Some may argue that the DS remake would be a better avenue for English speakers. It's an argument I can't really refute (and what a fine remake it is), but the magic of an old SNES RPG remains undeniable. Hail the King Slime.


Super Burger Time
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Anyone who possesses even a passing interest in Golden Age arcade games has probably run across Data East's BurgerTime. It's a jumpless single-screen "girders & ladders" type of platformer, starring a chef equipped with a quickly-depleting pepper shaker weapon. The goal is simple. Make complete burgers by walking over individual ingredients, which will subsequently drop down a level and stack. A stage ends when all burgers are made. All the while, ruthless food-themed enemies must be avoided, crushed by ingredients, or stunned by pepper. On paper, it's a simple game. It's also outrageously difficult. I "get" how to play BurgerTime, on a cerebral level, but every time I'm confronted by fiendish hot dogs, eggs, and pickles I end up folding like a cheap lawn chair. Stage two is where I typically tap out. Stage two.

BurgerTime was an enormous success and was heavily ported. What most folks don't realize (including myself until fairly recently) is that the game spawned a handful of immediate sequels. The first, Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory, arrived in the arcades in 1984, not gracing home consoles until Data East Arcade Classics was released for the Wii in 2010. Next came Diner, a (now very rare) Western-developed Intellivision exclusive, which was intended to function as a sequel to Mattel's own Intellivision BurgerTime port. Then, at the dawn of the 1990s, Super Burger Time (yeah now we're spelling it with a space) dropped in the arcades, resurrected by one Johnny Turbo 28 years later for a Nintendo Switch release.
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Super Burger Time features a line-up of small stages, with the goal being identical to that of the original BurgerTime. Make those burgers, chef. The chef now being some cutesy babyish looking dude, supposedly the son the of the BurgerTime protagonist. Apparently this new chef is a bit more athletic than his father, as he's actually capable of jumping. This changes up the formula completely. No longer is it necessary to meticulously plan careful routes around each board, or focus heavily on crushing enemies with lettuce, as the food foes can now be hopped over. Sort of. Super Burger Time is absolutely littered with enemy sprites, and it's a miracle the game doesn't experience some sort of slowdown. This is a hard game, in a way that feels cheap and contrived. It's a quarter-muncher, if you will. The game does support two players, simultaneously, which is probably the ideal way to play.

The addition of jumping and co-op play gives Super Burger Time a bit of a Bubble Bobble feel. There's plenty of available weaponry to wield against enemies. "Ammo" is limited, and seems to be based on a timer rather than a numerical meter. In addition to the pepper shaker there are spatulas and frying pans, available for pick-up at either side of the screen. Some of the later stages are large, spanning four screens or so, which ends up feeling disorienting given the simplistic gameplay and ingredient stacking objective. Ingredients no longer fall when simply walked over. Now the chef must jump on them, or stomp by pressing down in tandem with tapping the jump button.
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And there's a story here, complete with a world map displayed between stages. Apparently the chef is travelling through some medieval kingdom, with the end goal being a confrontation with a corrupt king. There are periodic bosses to battle, where the player is granted unlimited ammo. Boss difficulty is wildly inconsistent. I recall the first being the hardest and the last being the easiest.

On to the aesthetics. The game looks and sounds like garbage. The graphical design is an absolute nightmare. Ugly, gaudy, and blindingly bright -- it's like a terrible Eurojank Amiga platformer was transported to the arcades. The sprites are also very unappealing. And the music. Nothing but a shrill "carnival" type of theme on loop for the entirety of the game. Abysmal.

In a weird sort of way, I almost prefer this to the original. But that's only because the respawn continues and ability to credit-feed allowed me to actually finish this one. It's a playable game, but one of sub-mediocre quality. No one should mourn the lack of old-school home ports; this one stayed in the arcades for a reason. Game historian types and hardcore Data East fans (lol) may find something to enjoy here. For everyone else, you can find something better to do with twenty minutes.
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