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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon May 13, 2019 8:32 pm

Apologies for the massive Atari screenshots. That's the default size the Stella emulator saves 'em as.

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)

34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)

Fire Fly
Discussion of "bad Atari games" is typically centered around the usual suspects like E.T. and Pac-Man. Truth is, while those games may have failed to meet consumer expectations, neither one is especially heinous. The former is a lackluster licensed title (one of many), while the latter is a severely downgraded arcade port (again, one of many). Dig deep into the 2600 library to reveal the true disasters. Those games responsible for the crash of '83. Those that were not held to any kind of quality standard. Those that may have not even been programmed by an actual human being.

Meet Fire Fly. Dropping in 1983, the game was created by Mythicon, one of those 2600-only developers who only managed to crank out three games total. Their cartridges boasted some inappropriately awesome artwork, but were sold in gaudy boxes with the fixed price of $9.95. The Fire Fly instructions reveal an overly detailed story about a protagonist attempting to rescue a "pixy" trapped on a hostile alien planet. The titular "fire fly" is an insect-like spaceship controlled by the player.

As for the game itself, it's a "shooter" of sorts, a journey through a series of single-screen arenas where the hero's ship must battle one or three enemies. Nothing in Fire Fly works properly. Controls are slow and laggy. There's an incredibly long wait between shots. When three enemies appear they all move in tandem, as if they're all actually sections of a very large sprite. There's no satisfaction granted by downing foes. No radical Atari explosions or flashing colors. Instead they simply vanish from the screen, leaving some generic treasure (chests, crowns, whatever). Moreover, enemies need not be defeated in the first place, as a stage (using the term loosely here) can be completed by simply moving to the right side of the screen. Clear enough boards and the pixy appears. And nothing happens. No ending jingle or message. Just keep moving and the alien formations begin looping.
Graphics are unacceptable. The player's ship is an ugly convulsing blob. Foes don't fair any better, with the exception of the giant pumpkin head which is admittedly kind of cool looking. The sound design is utterly bizarre. There's a persistent (and unfortunate) five-second music loop, and zero sound effects. The game's glitchy too. There's an elaborate "death animation" where the ship sinks to the bottom of the screen when hit, but it's possible to hold right while this is happening to head to the next stage with a broken half-ship. Amazing.

Mythicon was kind enough to grant us difficulty settings. The default "practice" difficultly doesn't even record the player's score, instead replacing it with a smiley face. I'd like to think this was an early example of a game taunting the player who chooses to play on the easiest setting, but I'm probably giving the developers too much credit. Cranking the difficulty up results in faster enemies, but the same horrific gameplay.

Fire Fly is terrible, but mercifully short. Everything the game has to offer can be observed within the first twenty seconds of gameplay. And there's no reason to keep playing beyond that. Most amusing thing about this whole mess: nearly 40 years after release, a complete copy of the game is still only worth about 10 bucks.

Fire Fighter
Imagic was the second third-party developer that emerged for the Atari 2600, following the (once) great Activision. Imagic games were packaged in reflective silvery boxes, with chunky carts that annoyingly don't fit properly into the 7800. Gotta drag out that old VCS woodgrain beast to play an Imagic game. Thankfully, it's usually worth it, as this outfit was able to crank out some rock-solid titles like Atlantis, Demon Attack, and Dragonfire. But every developer must have some stinkers to balance out the greats. One of the Imagic stinkers is known as Fire Fighter.

Like most 2600 games, Fire Fighter makes an attempt at providing a simple, repetitive, addictive experience. The player takes control of a valiant firefighter, his firetruck situated nearby, attempting to rescue a man from a burning building. The graphics are rather plain, but pleasant, with some nice detailing on the retro firetruck. No music is present, but the persistent sounds of footfalls and blazing infernos creates some decent background ambiance. Animation is fairly smooth, and the arm-waving dude-in-distress is both impressive and hilarious.
A stage is completed when the firefighter extinguishes all blazes (visible in building windows), ascends the ladder of his firetruck, and rescues (touches) the victim. The controls are rather difficult to explain, and to grapple with. Pressing right and left on the joystick causes the firefighter to move in said direction. Pressing up (not the action button) causes him to emit a vertical blast of water, naturally used to put out blazes. Holding the action button down switches the controls into "ladder mode" whereupon the angle of the ladder can be altered by pressing left or right, and the ladder itself ascended/descended with up and down. The hero mounts the ladder by touching the firetruck; pressing up or down causes him to climb in that direction, while pressing left at the bottom of the ladder causes him to dismount should the height/angle need to be recalibrated. Given the Atari 2600's limited control scheme, it's honestly a pretty clever way to do things. But it's undeniably awkward in the heat (haha) of the moment.

Controls aside, the biggest issue with Fire Fighter is the fact that it just feels unfinished. There's no goal to shoot for, and it's impossible to lose. Seriously. For starters, the man trapped in the building is invincible and immortal. He can't make contact with the flames, and if they consume the whole building he simply heads to the roof! This isn't a game where one can chase a high score, as there's no score whatsoever. Time is recorded, but it's not a time limit that ticks down signaling impending doom. Rather, it's a counter that ticks up. I suppose the objective was to track one's best time per stage, but where's the fun in that? You can trigger different game "modes" by flipping the switches on the 2600. This simply affects how tall the buildings are. The larger the building, the longer it takes to make a rescue.

Fire Fighter isn't a broken or deeply offensive game. And despite the clunkiness, I actually appreciate the intricate control scheme. But the game is severely undercooked. It's bland, blasé, and provides no incentive to keep someone playing for more than a couple of minutes. During their heyday, Imagic was developing something like twelve games per year. Statistically speaking, at least a couple of 'em were gonna have to suck. This is one.

Space Jockey
This game was made by Quaker Oats. Okay, that's not entirely true but almost. Space Jockey was developed by the suspiciously plainly-named "U.S. Games" which itself was a subsidiary of the aforementioned breakfast giant. Yet another case of a random company trying to hop upon the Atari 2600 gravy train. Same story we've heard before: the developer cranked out a cluster of titles in 1982 (all 2600 exclusives) and folded shortly thereafter. Most of these Oats cartridges are somewhat scarce today, especially some of the more oddball label variants.

This is one of a billion "shooters" on the system. You play as some blimp thing, firing at objects, most of which will fire back. Presumably in space, though most space-themed games don't feature this many hot air balloons, helicopters, houses and trees. Graphics are admittedly pretty decent, with some nicely drawn multi-colored sprites. Animation is smooth, without a hint of flickering. Unfortunately, the game background is a bit lackluster: just a black sky accompanied by an ugly brown landscape. Space Jockey features sixteen game modes. Surprisingly, the game's "genre" changes a bit when playing in the higher modes, going from a fixed-axis shooter to a more recognizable modern scrolling type of shooter. Bullets behave a bit funny in the scrolling modes, as they'll travel in a sort of "wave" motion if fired while the blimp is moving vertically. I highly recommend starting right at the highest difficultly. The game is slow as molasses otherwise.
As for gameplay, you shoot things and earn points. Nothing else to it. No fuel, no hostages, no bosses. One big eternal stage, with nothing but a high score to shoot for. The game's heavily exploitable. You'll always get a shot off before your enemies. Thus, it's possible to position yourself at the bottom of the screen, place a weight on the Atari action button, and walk off waiting for the score to slowly tick up to the maximum. Not saying I've done this, not saying I haven't.

Space Jockey is programmed with (some) competence, but is ultimately a wearisome experience. It lacks the visceral tension of single-screen "wave" shooters like Space Invaders and Gorf. And it's significantly simpler and less interesting than legendary scrollers like Defender, River Raid, and Vanguard. The game basically just exists: a random unwashed bargain bin Atari 2600 cartridge that perhaps disappointed a handful of kids on Christmas of '82. I will end on a positive note: Quaker Oats made better Atari games than Johnson & Johnson and Purina combined.

Airlock is yet another "random" Atari 2600 game, by a "random" developer. This one comes courtesy of Data Age, one of many 2600-exclusive outfits that closed up shop following the video game crash. Their best-known (and highest-quality) game was the horror-platformer Frankenstein's Monster, which I take out for a spin every October. Airlock itself is a platformer, and one with an admittedly original concept: a man races against time trying to escape a rapidly sinking submarine. First, a quick note about game modes. Airlock only contains two stages. However, in the default mode "1" only the first can be played. It's inexplicably strange -- I can't imagine too many '82 gamers were clamoring for half a game. Switch to "3" to experience the entire affair in single-player mode.

Atari games tend to be stereotyped as inherently simple affairs. However, many are endued with graphical and mechanical ambiguities that render them paradoxically complex. This is one such game. In my first few runs, I seemed to lose, mysteriously, within seconds. A harsh Game Over, with a boot back to the title screen. No indication of what was happening. No life bar was depleting, and the game's timer seemed to have an ample amount remaining. After perusing over some archived instructions found on the web, the truth was revealed.
Each stage (all two of 'em) of Airlock is comprised of a set of parallel horizontal platforms, connected by elevators. The trapped submarine commander has ten "ticks" of the timer - they don't quite correspond to real-life seconds - to escape one platform for the next. Otherwise, he's consumed by the rising flood waters. The timer displayed onscreen is a master timer for the entire game, hence my initial confusion. Elevators won't operate until hanging keycards are collected. There are two per floor, with the game requiring the "fat" one be collected before the "skinny" one. The player must jump to reach these, using the lone Atari action button. Speaking of jumping, there are hazards to clear, in the form of stationary blocks and rapidly moving torpedoes. If hit by a torpedo, the submarine commander becomes temporarily stunned, thus losing precious seconds.

While the game deserves praise for creativity, the execution is a bit sloppy. The jump controls are awkward. Due to their placement, it's actually harder to clear the stationary blocks than the torpedoes. It's possible to get "stuck" on the blocks, and sometimes the game will glitch and pass the submarine commander's sprite right through them. The graphical presentation also leaves much to be desired. All the developer's hard work seemed to be dumped into the game's impressive title, ending, and Game Over screens (though for some reason the title screen only reveals the name of the developer and not the game itself). Stage environments are quite plain and monochromatic. The submarine commander is a stick figure that slides around the screen. Hilariously, the torpedo sprites are literally just half of the man's sprite: his head, arms, and a portion of his torso. It's some of the most epically lazy programming ever seen. The "rising water" is also poorly implemented. It doesn't slowly ascend; instead entire swaths of the screen instantaneously turn blue at certain time intervals. Worse, if you're killed by a flood you never actually see it happen, instead the game instantly cuts to Game Over. This can even occur while the hero's sprite is in midair jump; hence the "mysterious deaths" I cited earlier. The game boasts two difficulty settings, but they're hugely disparate. With a sliver of practice the easy difficulty can be cleared with a massive clunk of time remaining, while hard mode demands pixel-perfect precision. Airlock is one of those rare Atari games to feature a true hard-lock ending. There's no looping and no chasing high scores (convenient, as there is no score whatsoever).

I often see Airlock topping "worst Atari games ever" type lists. That's a bit too harsh. The game's not great - or even good - but it's an inventive and somewhat intriguing piece of Atari history. I'm a sucker for any type of old single-screen platformer, and you can certain locate the game's DNA within the vastly superior Frankenstein's Monster.

Makai Hakkenden Shada
Indulge me in this scenario for a moment. It's 1989 and you have that sleek 16-bit PC Engine console, along with a promising new action-RPG. Boot it up and a dithering title materializes over a beautiful nude goddess. Your hero is then, rather unceremoniously, dumped into a small village. Directly north is a lush overworld, teeming with enemies that can be slain by bumping into them. The hero's HP regenerates while standing still. A key item is hidden among the roots of a solitary tree. In a general northeast direction lies another town. There is but a handful of dungeons to be explored. One is a dimly-lit cave. Another is a massive sprawling tower, replete with a mirror maze and a moonlit catwalk. Some goods are stolen while exploring the final dungeon; they must later be retrieved. The supreme villain is a lithe demonic being, who vanquishes sections of the battleground floor during the final confrontation. This journey is a fleeting one, contained within a game that can be completed during the course of a weekend.

Sounds like Ys Book I & II, right? Well, yes, while all aforementioned elements are found within Falcom's peerless classic, the subject of this review is the obscure Data East rip-off known as Makai Hakkenden Shada. Released on the PC Engine as a HuCard, Shada unsurprisingly never left Japan. Despite the game's lackluster reception and relative anonymity in the West, a full fan translation appeared in 2015. This is, apparently, a "licensed game" in the loosest sense possible, being based upon a series of 19-century Japanese texts. I'm wholly unfamiliar with the source material, but everything I've read indicates that the developers were just as clueless. In any event, the game's protagonist is a samurai, who is seeking an assortment of additional (nonplayable) heroes, as they're tasked with collecting a series of legendary crystals and sealing away a great evil.
In a vague sense, I do "enjoy" the game (or at least some fleeting aspects). I'm a sucker for these old simplistic ARPGs, and Shada feels like it could have existed on NEC's own PC-88 two years before a PC Engine release. Controls are straightforward, at least to anyone familiar with the Ys series. There's no semblance of backtracking -- in fact, this is a strikingly linear experience with several notable "point of no return" moments. Sadly, the gameplay just isn't up to snuff. An attempt to emulate the combat of Ys is attempted, quite badly. Collision detection is poor, and combative sprites "overlap" in a most unpleasing way. The hero doesn't get knocked back when damaged, which means that it's all too easy to take multiple hits at once and die within a fraction of a second. The game's grindy (of course it is) and death comes so frequently that I found myself saving after every two or three skirmishes. Like many old ARPGs, success in Shada is largely predicated on XP level (which caps at level 11) and weaker foes stop dishing out experience. That said, level progression is just strange. The game's ultra-hard to start off with. But then, after an hour or so in, a leveled-up fully-equipped samurai becomes literally invincible for a large stretch (including an entire dungeon). Towards the game's end, enemies start to bring the pain once again. Like Ys, the level cap must be reached in the penultimate dungeon, which is a colossal pain given its narrow design. Equipment (armor, swords, helmets) can be found in chests, alongside other goodies like keys and spell scrolls. There are also shops in the game's tiny lookalike towns. These stop appearing about halfway through the game, and it appears that enemies also quit dropping currency at this point.

There's a magic system, which functions like a weird amalgamation of those featured in the first two Ys titles. Choice of magic is determined by whatever scroll is equipped, and the game can be completed with certain types never being cast. Some magic is offensive and projectile-based, while others are stat-boosters. Data East was too lazy to include a MP meter. Instead, cast spells wipe out HP, which just feels hokey and lame. The enemy selection is barren and unmemorable. Most are subpar imitations of Ys fiends, and seem to glitch in and out of the screen at a moment's notice. Bosses are generally unimpressive; just huge mindless enemy sprites that take loads of hits to vanquish. The most interesting (or only interesting) boss battle is against a frog which can be damaged only if the hero allows himself to be swallowed. Once inside, though, there's no way to take damage and the battle ends once the frog's innards have been sufficiently pummeled. Talk about wasted potential.
Without grinding, Shada could theoretically be finished in a single sitting. It took me three or four meaty sessions to complete the game. There's a "save" system, but it's far from ideal. The game does not utilize the internal "file cabinet" memory of the PC Engine. There are options to "quick save" and load, but resuming the game after the system is shut off requires passwords that rival War of the Dead in terms of length, complexity, and outright insanity. I don't typically "recommend" emulation over authentic hardware, but playing this on a vintage PC Engine unit is the stuff of nightmares. Fun tip: a quick save "refreshes" the screen, which clears out all enemies nearby. Good way to get through the final dungeon, which is infested with fiends that no longer grant XP.

Visually, the game fails to impress. Graphics are grainy and the overall color choices are just uninteresting. There are a few somewhat decent character portraits to be found (including the requisite cutesy anime girl) but they're tiny and severely underutilized. The soundtrack is mostly bland. It tries to capture the spirit of the Ys games, but these compositions just aren't memorable enough. For the most part -- there are some delightfully poignant tunes played during some of the game's "sadder" moments, and the final dungeon theme totally slaps.

I'd be remiss to not mention some of the flat-out "weird" moments of Shada. Cross the first bridge on the overworld and a man appears out of thin air. He just straight-up kills you. That's it. Game Over. It's unavoidable. Most mature normal persons stop playing at this point. What's actually happening is that a huge chunk of HP is being deducted from the samurai's total. It's typically enough to drop HP to zero, unless the player has been doing a ton of grinding. There's a "Lost Woods" section found soon thereafter, which can only be escaped by touching one particular random tree. Good luck. And about halfway through the game one encounters an inane "maze" featuring doors that light up with a flame emblem, based on when and how they're entered. The trick is too get all flames alight, a sharp contrast to the nearby sign which proclaims "DON’T LET THE FIRE BURN." Gotta love games that just brazenly lie. Somewhere, Simon's Quest is blushing.

Ripping off a good game can, sometimes, lead to another good game. For a PC Engine example, look no farther than Hudson Soft's Zelda-esque Neutopia. Makai Hakkenden Shada, however, exists in the same realm as Golden Axe Warrior. It's not a "tribute" to Ys, or even a nod. It's a foul parody that should be touched only by the most insane ARPG-addicted madmen.

Squeeze Box
Squeeze Box is yet another janky low-effort cash grab presented by my good friends at Quaker Oats (or "U.S. Games"). Like many D-list Atari titles, this one comes across as a stale Activision rip-off. An attempt was made (possibly) to create a simplistic but addictive score chaser, but the result is an utter failure that inspires one to simply shut off the console.

Conceptually, the game is somewhat original. I'll give the developers that. Squeeze Box is highly reminiscent of Ram It by Telesys, though both were released in 1982 and there's no surefire way to tell which arrived first. Both games involve escaping from a series of rooms where two walls slowly (and later, quickly) converge to crush a hapless individual. The protagonist of Squeeze Box, if we can even use such terminology, is an old-timey prisoner. Clad in the stereotypical stripes, he's equipped with a pistol and is even seen smoking in-game. Atari does what Nintendon't, I suppose. The prisoner's sprite is impressively drawn, but the animation is stiff and shoddy. Only his feet are animated, and he moves like an uncanny shuffling cardboard cutout. The walls of impending doom are constructed out of several parallel rectangles, colored in the garish scheme of those old SMPTE color bars.
Gameplay is killed by the fact that aiming the prisoner's pistol is so difficult. While Ram It utilizes a small player-controlled sprite that can be directly lined-up in front of sections of the encroaching walls, the Squeeze Box developers deemed it necessary to make the prisoner absolutely massive, spanning the height of four wall bars. It's an interesting idea in theory, as the game requires four sections of the wall to be shot out before escaping, rather than one. Unfortunately, since the prisoner is too big to be placed directly in front of most sections of the wall, and since his arm and gun lack animation, achieving proper bullet trajectory is an exercise in guesswork and frustration. Trying to shoot diagonally never seems to pan out, and it's downright bizarre to see bullets flaccidly drop to the screen's bottom when the joystick is held down. Once a sufficient hole in a wall is uncovered, the prisoner may escape to a nigh identical stage.

To their credit, Quaker Oats offers up a few different game modes. By default, both sides of the room will cave in, though this can be changed to one side only. There's also an option to make the wall bars smaller, where seven need to be shot out to proceed rather than four, but this does nothing but exponentially increase the difficulty of an already hard game. Lastly, there's an auto-fire option for the gun, which has the unintentional effect of making aiming even more of a chore.

This is not a good game. Anything this simple needs a "hook" to keep one engaged, and the goofy color bars and rubbery gun controls provide no such thing. Avoid this.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Mon May 13, 2019 9:07 pm

@Originalgamer: I bought it for arcade mode as well but didn't realize I had to beat it in one sitting. Definitely write a review when your done, I would love to know how arcade mode is but am busy with too many other games to check it out myself.

@pierrot: BLASPHEMY!!!! Capcom vs Snk 2 is the greatest 2d fighter of all time and anyone who disagrees with me is objectively wrong ; )

Seriously though, I do love me some cvs 2, I spent hundreds of hours playing that when I was managing funcoland back in the day, I do understand your criticisms of it as it can be a bit much. I will tell you that I was very high level in that game, and never played anything other than C groove, the rest of the grooves are pretty niche other than S groove which is tailored to fans of SNK games, so don't let all the options bog you down.

@Markies: Great review, I really want to try a FA game before the switch version releases, not sure I will have the time but if I do I will probably give this one a go.

55. Contra (nes)
56. Super Punch out (snes)
57. Mega Man 2 (nes)
58. Overdriven: reloaded (switch)
59. Mega Man 3(nes)

My dad had heart surgery last week, everything went well, but given how stressed I was I needed to play a few games that I consider my video game equivalent of comfort food.

All of the above games (other than overdriven, a fun vertical scrolling schmup on switch) are games that I have played dozens of times in my life and just love everything about them. They are the kinds of games I could play anytime I am feeling down and just forget about everything and feel like a kid again.

I'm not going to write full reviews of all of them, just some personal feelings and ramblings
55. Contra:

Contra is, in my estimation, one of the greatest video games of all time. The formula seems so simple, run sideways, shoot, have some random stages to break up the action, repeat and win. Regardless of how simple it seems good modern contra games are nearly impossible to find. In the age of indies where very modern classic is clones 1000 times over you would think that there would be a wealth of good indies like contra, but there is not. The game is rarely emulated and when it is, it is often done poorly are average at best. To make matters worse Konami is a trash company that has ruined the franchise completely and is likely never going to make another contra game.

Contra is gaming perfection, perfect controls, one of the best soundtracks ever, coop, tons of fun to play, and a perfect level of challenge. As a kid we all knew the 30 life code but I was determined to master this game without the code long before internet trolls were telling people to git gud.

And so 9 year old me played contra non-stop determined to be able to beat it without the 30 life code, and as a kid I was eventually doing no death runs of contra every day when I came home from school. Because of the magic of muscle memory, contra is now a nice, easy, and relaxing game that I call upon in times of stress, I hum the rocking soundtrack and just let all my worries mely away as I blast through the alien hordes.

57. Mega Man 2:

MM2 is not my favorite game of the series, but it is the one I have the most nostalgia for. I remember reading about the game in nintendo power prior to its release and being blown away by the amazing graphics and the new robot masters. It was the first time in my life I remember being absolutely blown away by the larger than life enemies and obstacles, the giant heads in air mans stage, the giant fish in bubble mans stage, the electronic bats and monkeys in wood mans stage, the enemy designs were so thematic and unique and I just couldn't wait to finally play it, especially given the fact that mega man was one of my favorite nes games at the time.

When I finally played it I was blown away, it was everything I loved about mega man but just so much more. Better graphics, amazing soundtrack, better levels, better weapons, better bosses, literally everything was better. I remember my brother and i just marathoning through the whole game, I remember being shocked by dr wily being an alien, and I remember how cool it was to find out he was not.

In terms of pure gameplay I would say that MM9 and the fan game MM unlimited are both better games, but MM 2 is very high on the list and the warm nostalgia it gives me is the reason that I run to that as my go to MM when I am stressed.

56. Super Punch out:

I remember having a snow day very shortly after I got super punch out. I can't remember my first playthrough of the game, but I certainly view it as the easiest in the series, but despite lacking the challenge of its predecessor and sequel, it is still an amazing game that I spent tons of time with.

When the snow day hit I had already beaten the game, in the end credits Bear Hugger says that he heard that someone can beat him in 17 seconds, I didn't get how and so I went to the opponent select screen and played around until I finally figured out that you can counterpunch opponents before they even punch. A well timed punch, with the right hand, to the right part of the opponents body, would stun them before they even punched, landing a few of these in a row would send the opponent into a stun animation, in which you could deliver an instant knock down with a well timed power punch.

and so my brother and I spent the entire snow day trying to speed run all the opponents, by the end of the day I had beaten bear hugger in under 17 seconds, my brother had ko'd nick bruiser in under 30(I still remember how amazed I was as he gets up and falls to one knee on the 10 count) and we had both achieved some amazing times for every opponent. Super punch out was the only game I ever tried to speed run and honestly for a 12 year old kid with no internet access I think I did a pretty good job with it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Mon May 13, 2019 10:00 pm

I agree that NES Contra is the best game in the series. (IMO, it beats Contra III and Contra IV by a hair.) Interestingly, it’s one of the few console ports of the era that’s drastically better than the arcade original.

It’s definitely one of my very favorite run ‘n guns, and I think it’s better than all of the Metal Slug games. The only games I think really gives to a run for its money, beside the aforementioned Contra III and Contra IV, are Sunser Riders, Gunstar Heroes, and Alien Hominid.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Mon May 13, 2019 11:23 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Fire Fly

Is that Evil Otto, or something? I don't get it.

pook99 wrote:@pierrot: BLASPHEMY!!!! Capcom vs Snk 2 is the greatest 2d fighter of all time and anyone who disagrees with me is objectively wrong ; )

Seriously though, I do love me some cvs 2, I spent hundreds of hours playing that when I was managing funcoland back in the day, I do understand your criticisms of it as it can be a bit much. I will tell you that I was very high level in that game, and never played anything other than C groove, the rest of the grooves are pretty niche other than S groove which is tailored to fans of SNK games, so don't let all the options bog you down.

I am almost definitely wrong about CvS2, but while I really like a few SNK fighters like Last Blade 2, and Real Bout Special, I'm not a big fan of SNK, so the crossover doesn't do a whole lot for me. (I refuse to acknowledge any suggestion of Alpha 3 being better than Alpha 2, though.) CvS2 just kinda doesn't work for me, though, kinda like Kikaiou/Tech Romancer which was a game I really wanted to like because of how much I love Cyberbots. I don't care for all the grooves, but often when I don't really like a fighting game, it's also because of some issue I have with the roster. In general, I feel like less is more with fighting game rosters, and the only game with a massive roster that I really like, that I can think of, is MvC2, and mostly because that game is just a bunch of dumb fun. I actually think I would potentially be able to forgive Alpha 3 a bit if it were just the original arcade roster. The ratio system in CvS2 is kind of awkward for me, too. I mean, with free-ratio, six different grooves, and a huge crossover roster, how does a development team balance anything, on a ~1 year development cycle, no less. I feel like the answer is, they don't. It kind of seems like it's actually a three character roster (Morrigan, Blanka, and Sagat), and god help you if you don't like Sagat, and just poking all day with heavies.

Anyway, I don't need to detract from CvS2, because it's a fine game, and I get why people would like it. It's just not my game.

prfsnl_gmr wrote:It’s definitely one of my very favorite run ‘n guns, and I think it’s better than all of the Metal Slug games. The only games I think really gives to a run for its money, beside the aforementioned Contra III and Contra IV, are Sunser Riders, Gunstar Heroes, and Alien Hominid.

I feel like you really meant to just say Contra: Hard Corps five times.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Tue May 14, 2019 11:17 am

January Games:
Megaman (Switch)
Megaman 2 (Switch)
Megaman 3 (Switch)
Megaman 4 (Switch)
Megaman 5 (Switch)
Megaman 6 (Switch)
Megaman 7 (Switch)
Megaman 8 (Switch)
Megaman 9 (Switch)
Megaman 10 (Switch)
Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Time Spinner (PS4)

February Games:

Megaman Legends (PSTV)
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PSTV)
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

March Games:

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)
Mario Galaxy (Wii)


Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS4)


Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (Switch)
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch)
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch)

After a brief break, I returned to complete the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove! Or at least the parts that are out so far. This is particularly satisfying because Shovel Knight Treasure Trove was the first game I downloaded to my Switch. So there's definitely a sense of 'unfinished business' having been taken care of.

It gets a lot of praise but Specter Knight didn't wow me as much as Plague Knight. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it immensely, though. The level design and mechanics are fantastic. I missed the overworld map, though. I felt like there were too many gimmicks or items that were introduced either too late or weren't used enough. Some of the 'curio', I never even used once.

Specter Knight was also too easy. The challenge that Shovel Knight had or the tricky movement of Plague Knight wasn't there. Powering up Specter Knight was super fast - it seemed like I had max health and power with a ton of gold and other resources to spare.

One thing that Specter Knight's campaign brings in spades though was plot and character development. Plague Knight (as I understand it) is more of a 'what-if?' tale that happens roughly contemporaneously with Shovel Knight's adventures. Specter Knight's story appears to be canon and explains the history of several main characters like Shield Knight, the eponymous Specter Knight, and the random little fighters Shovel Knight runs into on the overworld map. Specter Knight fleshes out an already interesting world and has me thinking about the potential that a Shovel Knight 2 might have more than what the King Knight expansion will be like.
The PSTV is amazing.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue May 14, 2019 1:15 pm

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)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)

With Blood: Fresh Supply finally out on Steam and GOG, I decided I'd go back and revisit an old classic that I had sadly missed the first time around. Sure, I've played Blood II, but it's terrible. I didn't want to let that be my one experience here. With this release, I'm glad I didn't let the bad taste of the sequel get to me. Now the Fresh Supply does include the two expansion episodes, Cryptic Passage and Post Mortem, but I haven't gone through them yet. I figured though that since I've officially beaten the original four episodes, I should go ahead and record my thoughts, then revisit when I finally get around to beating the add-ons.

If you are big on FPS, this game doesn't need an introduction. I'm sure a couple of you are scratching your heads though and asking, "What's Blood?" It's that red fluid in your body. Human motor oil, you know? As for the game, it's a First Person Shooter built on the Build Engine by Monolith Productions and published by GT Interactive. It's one of the principle trilogy of Build Engine games, held up along with Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior despite there being other games designed using it, such as Witchaven, the PC release of PowerSlave, and even William Shatner's TekWar. We don't talk about TekWar.

In Blood, you play a demonic gunslinger named Caleb who starts the game being double crossed by his demon boss, Tchernobog. He returns to life centuries later with the sole purpose of killing his old boss and every freaking minion that happens to get in his way, which is a lot of them. Tchernobog's got a whole cult, an army of demon critters, and loads of traps at his disposal, as well as his boss mobs that took out Caleb's old crew of pals. Each of the four original episodes involves Caleb going after either one of the bosses or eventually Tchernobog himself, who reveals he had Caleb killed because he knew he'd be back and murder everyone in his wake, thus becoming a great font of souls that Tchernobog plans to feed off least that is until Caleb pumps him full of dynamite and buckshot. Yeah, you probably shouldn't piss off your best killer and then act like everything's gonna be all nice-like when he shows back up to wipe the floor with your face.

But enough about plot, how does it play? Well, that depends a bit on your difficulty, but I'll get to that in a bit. First things first, Blood has fantastic level design. Each new level feels like a direct continuation of the last, so every episode builds on itself. This leads to fantastic results, such as a train station in E1M2 leading to a train level in E1M3, which you crash to arrive at a carnival in E1M4. I absolutely love how this is handled, and the levels are sometimes mazelike but structured in a way where you'll steadily unlock easy paths to backtrack as necessary. I never felt stuck in the base game, there was always something new to go check out and push on, and levels sometimes feel open enough that you don't have to go in a linear approach.

Yes, the levels are dark, and you'll probably get a little tired of looking at the same grey stonework over and over again, but this is alleviated partly through the use of humor. Yeah, Blood is a dark comedy, and Caleb is having a ton of fun murdering whatever gets in his way and making movie references. For example, E4M3 features a furnace room where Caleb mentions A Nightmare on Elm Street. E4M4 is a massive homage to the Friday the 13th film series, complete with a reminiscent soundtrack. The level is even called Crystal Lake. References to other horror media is found throughout, from choking hands that shout "I'll swallow your soul" out of the Evil Dead series to references to Edgar Allen Poe's poetry.

The weapons add to the mayhem and fun too. Caleb has a thing for fire, and multiple weapons can be used to ignite enemies. He also likes explosions, so you better get comfortable lobbing dynamite around, because it will likely save your ass more than once. The weapon I tend to favor is of course a double-barrel, sawed-off shotgun, because it pumps enough buckshot to launch most critters beyond oblivion, but there is also a Tommy gun for when you need to spray and pray, a Tesla cannon for frying some of the big nasties, and even a voodoo doll, because sometimes you just need to make someone feel pain. It's a bizarre mix of firepower that supports self-harm almost as much as it does harming everything else, and it totally works for the chaotic murder-fest that Caleb is unleashing. Also, there's a good chance he's gonna laugh if you blow up enough stuff. You'll probably be laughing with him.

Does it always work? Well, no. Blood has some serious issues with difficulty levels, with enemies going from near worthless to Terminator-esque aimbot snipers depending on what you pick. On the higher difficulties, the general advice is to memorize the location of every enemy in the level and learn what you can skip. Even on the medium difficulties, which is where I default to for a first run, one enemy can put a lot of hurt on you if you don't react quickly or appropriately. You may enter a room and watch yourself immediately drop halfway in health if you're not careful. The Fresh Supply has added in some difficulty tweaks, so you can modify things how you wish, though I haven't played with it enough to say how effective it is.

The Fresh Supply from Night Dive Studios has some other weird bugs right now. I have trouble using the Steam overlay and have to alt-tab out of the game if I want to do something like check my friends list. Certain sound effects are also used by Steam, so I keep thinking I've gotten a message whenever I grab certain items, and the amount of gore fluctuates in a way that Night Dive hasn't been able to fully track because of a lack of consistency. They're working on it, and it's still the easiest way to play Blood in Windows, though if you want a more accurate experience, there is always DOSBox.

Do I like Blood? Hell yeah. I am looking forward to going back for the expansions. I hear at least one of them will create evil mini Calebs if I shatter a mirror. Straight out of Army of Darkness.

Ack's Year of the FPS continues...
I have a movie review website now:
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ordinary Gamer Tue May 14, 2019 5:23 pm

The Hong Kong Massacre
Volgarr the Viking
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
The Messenger
Super Daryl Deluxe
The Sexy Brutale

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - PS4


Been playing this one on and off again for months, and now I have the Plat. So this is basically a stealth game, but in the style of a game called Commandos that I've never played. My interest in the game came mostly from enjoying ninja stealth games like Tenchu, Mark of the Ninja, etc. The game has a somewhat top down, isometric, perspective to it and a bit of a tactical feel to it. This is because, unlike a typical stealth game, you typically have control over more than one character. You can actually queue up commands for them and then have them simultaneously execute them. Having characters work together like this has cool results. For example, you can set up an ambush for a trio of patrolling guards. The first one walks into a hidden trap set by Yuki (a young female ninja in training), while two of your other characters burst out of hiding and stab the other two guards. If you pull this up off right, all three guards will be dead before they can even react. Sometimes you can pull off other fun strategies too. One character can disguise herself as a civilian woman and distract guards with her feminine wiles, while your other characters sneak past them from behind. The playable characters all have specific strengths and you will have to learn how to leverage them all. For example, your ninjas can't take out samurais, but one of your other characters can. There's even one character who can attack enemies from long range with a rifle, or use his pet to distract enemies


The game is fairly hard and very punishing. Unlike most stealth games, enemies are smart and have very good vision. That second part will be especially jarring to people used to the practically blind enemies you get in most stealth games. You really have to think your way through every situation as the game is very good at strategic enemy placement making it VERY hard to sneak through certain areas without the right game plan. Also,.every chapter has different optional challenges, including speed runs, something I never even thought I'd ever see in a stealth game. These challenges will force you to play through levels in a variety of different ways. Completing every challenge and going for the Platinum trophy, if you play it on PS4 like I did, is tough but rewarding. Much like Volgarr the Viking, this game advertises itself as a "hardcore" experience. What Volgarr is to 2d platformers, this game is to stealth games. To use a more well known cliche, it's the "Dark Souls" of stealth games. Fortunately, the game does make one concession to players to keep them from hurling controllers across the room. You can save manually at any time. This gives you a lot of leeway to just try different things and not worry if you fail. Also, if you want to cheese your way to that platinum, there is an in game glitch to make the speed run challenges a cinch to complete. Not that I ever stooped to such a thing in getting my Platinum...nope, not me. I'd never even dream of such a thing


The graphics are nice. It looks...kind of cel shaded. I'm not that great at describing graphics honestly. It all looks appropriately like feudal Japan. The music is good, cinematic at times, and really feels like something out of a samurai movie with a very Asian feel to it. Speaking of which...

The story is a tale involving both samurais and ninjas. It's pretty good. It hits on themes you'd expect if you know anything about samurais and ninjas. The characters are great and the dialog is pretty good. The story is fairly serious and full of drama, though the game does insert some humor from time to time, sometimes in the form of quirky easter eggs for players to find. All in all the game does a good job of making you care about what's going on.


If there is one flaw to the game, it's that as a port of a PC game, the controls don't feel quite as intuitive when playing on console. Don't get me wrong, it's playable and you'll get used to it. I have a Platinum trophy to attest to that, but I never could shake the feeling that this was meant for mouse and keyboards. Controlling multiple characters is a bit tricky on a controller in some situations, and I've seen videos on youtube of players doing stratagems that I just couldn't pull off on console. I'm not much of PC gamer, but I'd imagine that would be the best way to play this game. You can even see if you look at the screenshots how the interface is a bit different on PC than it is on console. That said though, I still thoroughly enjoyed playing it on console. Just know that there may be parts of the game where you will have to do things the hard way, while someone on PC could probably incorporate a more efficient approach that makes that part of the game easier.

The game is excellent and one of those hidden gems I don't hear people talk much about. On console, I'd rate it a 9/10. And though I haven't played it on PC, just knowing that a mouse/keyboard setup is the one the game was likely designed for, it's probably a 10/10 on that platform. Lastly, the game's title screen is just badass. I'm gonna use a gif here as some of the movement happening onscreen adds to the coolness of this image:

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed May 15, 2019 8:40 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 23
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27

February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3

March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30

April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26

May (2 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9

23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9


Battlefield V was a controversial game upon release to say the least. Fans of multiplayer criticized the game for focusing too much on the single player. Fans of single player criticized the game for focusing too much on multiplayer. History buffs criticized the game for being inaccurate. Misogynists criticized the game for featuring women on the battlefield. With all of that, I wasn't too sure what to expect when I started Battlefield V, but fortunately for me, I don't really agree with much of the criticism at all and ended up having a fantastic time.


If I were going to agree with any of the criticism, it would be that the game DOES have some historical inaccuracies. For the most part, however, these inaccuracies are creative decisions. The whole point of Battlefield V's campaign is the "untold stories" of World War II. One of the missions has you assume the role of a young Norwegian woman in the Resistance. One has you play as Senegalese soldier fighting for France and encountering European racism for the first time. One - and my personal favorite - has you assume control of a German Tiger commander at the end of the war struggling between his obligation to carry out his duty and the knowledge that the war is lost and his country has committed unforgivable sins. When I first saw that you played as a German commander, I was a bit uneasy. Are they going to try to portray the Germans as somehow less guilty of horrific war crimes? Are they going to just have the player do horrible things to reinforce the point that Nazis are history's shittiest people? Fortunately, however, they didn't do either. They managed to humanize the Germans without sanitizing them. The four characters in the campaign each represent the major archetypes of soldiers. Your character, the commander, is, as I said, struggling with doing his duty despite knowing his country is wrong. The driver is jaded and disillusioned, bitter from the horrific things his people have done in a war they can't win. The gunner is the patriotic party-line toting loyalist who executes traitors without mercy and never questions Germany's righteousness. The loader is the terrified, young recruit who doesn't know what to do, who to believe, or what to trust. They never try to suggest that Germany was right in this war, though, and that's a relief.


My biggest complaint with the game as far as historical inaccuracies go is their refusal to use the swastika. They make mention of the swastika as a metaphor for German control, but they never use it actually in-game. Everything from uniforms to tanks to symbols on banners in Germany all uses the Iron Cross; there's not a swastika to be seen. Obviously the use of the Iron Cross isn't a problem; it was still a symbol wide used throughout Germany during the war. The problem is the use of the Iron Cross to the total exclusion of the swastika because that is a big point of historical inaccuracy. The Nazis put the swastika up all over Germany. That probably wouldn't bother most people, but as a history teacher, that kind of erasure REALLY irks me.


I never played the multiplayer as it's just not a feature that really interests me that much, but as for the gameplay in the single player, I was pretty satisfied. I've read that there were a lot of complaints about the accuracy of the weapon models in the game, but while I am a history major, I'm not a gun nut, so I can't speak for how accurate and appropriate the weapon models are. The aiming seemed pretty well polished and responsive, weapons were well detailed, and the firing sound effects are full-bodied and satisfying. The vehicular combat, while fairly limited in most of the single player, is extremely gratifying.


Battlefield V is definitely not one of the better efforts in the series, but it's still a good bit of fun if you're a fan of World War II shooters. It's definitely not as good as Battlefield 1 was, and it's certainly not the WW2 glory of yesteryear's Battlefield 1942, but the single player is a good experience, and it tells stories that you're not likely to see told elsewhere. That alone won the game some major points in my book considering that I play games for the stories they tell and the experiences they provide. I wouldn't pay any more than $20 for Battlefield V, but if you can find it for that price or less, definitely give it a play.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Wed May 15, 2019 12:01 pm

A couple things for you Elkin. First, did you play Battlefield 1, and if so how does the 5 campaign compare in terms of length and satisfaction? The second, the lack of swastika is entirely because they want to sell the game in Germany without creating an alternate German content patch; the same thing happened with Return to Castle Wolfenstein's multiplayer maps.
Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed May 15, 2019 12:11 pm

Oh, I know why they omitted the swastika. That doesn't change the historical inaccuracy. As for BF1, yes, I've played it. They're about on par, but I think BF5 was a bit more fulfilling.
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