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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:14 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
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC

After playing Dusk earlier this year I put a bunch of retro-inspired FPS games that were upcoming on my Steam wishlist, and this is the first of them to go full release. Amid Evil is Heretic with Hexen's mana system and Painkiller's soul system. The developers managed to pull of being a good retro style FPS that still builds on what came before, rather than being a pale imitation.

The game is built around seven episodes of three levels plus a boss fight each. Each episode starts you off with nothing but the melee weapon, and you have the option to have each level act the same way. This leads to the level design being based around giving you a weapon or two early, even if you're already full up on mana. The first two episodes must be tackled in the same order, but the next four can be done in any order. This is facilitated by a Quake-style level select map (which is also used to pick the difficulty Quake style, where hard requires you to get over deadly pits and the harder than hard is secret). Once you've finished the six episodes of the hub map you unlock the final episode. Since the game strips your weapons from you being able to tackle episodes in any order is actually viable, and each of those episodes has their own particular challenge that isn't based around your arsenal, but rather how you use it or how you traverse. The relative shortness of each episode (even though the levels are sizeable) means you're encouraged to use your big ammo, as well, so you don't suffer from never using that super duper awesome gun until the final boss.

There are seven weapons in the game, and each is fueled by mana. Two weapons share the blue mana, two share the green mana, and then orange and purple fuel your biggest stuff. The two blue mana weapons are your rapid fire, low damage weapons. There is a staff that fires homing shots and a trident that rapid fires lightning that requires you to be more accurate. The green mana weapons are your slower, big punch weapons. There is a sword that fires sword slash beams that can penetrate multiple enemies if you hit them on the edges, and a mace that fires crystal shards that functions as your super shotgun. The orange mana fuels a weapon that fires miniaturized planets that explode on contact; your rocket launcher analog. A fun fact is that you can randomly summon Earth as one of the planets, which causes you to blow up Earth (to the message of Uhhhh… you just blew up the Earth). And finally, the purple mana is your BFG; a single shot that fires out and explodes into a bunch of tendrils that zap all nearby enemies for big damage.

Additionally, every enemy drops a soul, and collecting enough of them allows you to on demand go into soul mode, which powers up all your weapons. This causes them to deal more damage and change their properties some, at the cost of more ammo. Collecting souls while in this state causes it to last longer, and it serves as your main "oh shit" button, as well as your boss melter. Soul power is plentiful enough that you shouldn't hesitate to use it any time there's a bunch of enemies swarming you.

The level design is highly varied, with each episode having a cohesive theme, but each episode is quite distinct from each other. The levels are quite large and feature a lot of rolling back over themselves. But the developers did a great job with having the flow guide you to the next area naturally, so you never get lost. If you see a locked door, and the key ends up being deep within the level, when you get the key you'll unlock a shortcut back to the original door. The levels also are quite varied in their general architecture; some might involve a lot of swimming, another a lot of platforming, and a third might just have hazards you have to dodge.

The enemies are similarly varied across episodes. Every episode has a unique set of enemies, and while they always have the same broad selection of categories (the melee guy, the ranged guy, the big guy, the flying guy) the specific implementations of these classes changes from episode to episode, and as a consequence the best weapon to deal with them also changes. This helps keep all the weapons relevant, rather than seeing half your arsenal falling to the wayside because you got the "better" weapon for a mana type.

The game does do a weird thing, aesthetically, that I don't think works very well. The game's textures are highly pixelated, but these are still applied on models that use modern levels of anti aliasing and resolution. This ends up creating this weird effect when you get close and leaves everything a bit dirty from afar. When combined with the modern lighting effects you have this attempt at a older art style that just falls flat. Compare with Dusk, which uses old style lighting effects and has the textures being much more subtle, rather than the more detailed but chunky pixels of Amid Evil. It's not something that ruins the game by any stretch, but it does get noticeable at points and can be a bit distracting. But then they get points for having cheat codes Doom-style, which includes ones to set the graphics to one of the three CGA palettes, the EGA palette, or the VGA palette (although the latter ends up being a much more subtle change, given how much depth 256 colors already gives you).

Fans of retro FPS's should not pass this one up.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:56 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)
3. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)
***4. Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)***
5. Shining In The Darkness (GEN)
***6. Metropolis Street Racer (SDC)***
7. Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Mario Party (N64)
10. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN)
11. Street Fighter Collection (PS1)
12. Pokemon Stadium 2 (N64)
13. Burnout (PS2)
14. Phantasy Star III (GEN)

15. Batman: The Video Game (NES)

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I completed Batman: The Video Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System this afternoon!

As a child, I remember renting Batman several times from the video store. I always enjoyed playing it, but I could never get very far because of the difficulty. A few years ago, I was up at my favorite local video game store trading in some games. While looking around for what to purchase, I spotted Batman sitting there. It had always been cheap and very easy to find, so I was in no rush to pick it up. However, since I had some extra cash, I figured now would be a good time to pick up a great game from my childhood.

The best part about Batman, by far, is the music. It is simply rocking and I was humming along during the entire game. It is one of the best soundtracks on the system and I would put it right underneath some of the systems heavy weights. The cut scenes are also fantastic with the graphics looking exactly like the characters in the movie. It also moves the plot along nicely as well as adding some memorable scenes. The gameplay is very tight with some of the best wall jumping in video games. I wish Batman's punch was a little bit longer, but that is a common complaint I have in all NES games. The levels are varied and unique. They slowly ramp up throughout the game until you get to the final level. That final climb followed by the fight with Joker is one of the hardest levels on the NES. You will spend more time on that one level than the rest of the game combined. It also doesn't help that your invincibility frames are almost non-existent. You will get hit by the same enemy multiple times and it slowly begins to wear on you. The weapons are really good, though I wish you had something that shot up as that would help so much in the tower climb at the end of the game.

Overall, Batman is an incredibly good game that just misses the mark of being perfect. If you were to compare to other movie licensed games, it is in a league of its own. However, compared to other action platformers on the system, it is still in the upper echelon. I wouldn't say it's near the very top, but it is up there. The music adds so much to the game that many of its flaws can be overlooked. If you love NES action games, fantastic music and have a few hours to kill, you cannot go wrong on Batman. It really does dance with the devil in the pale moonlight.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:40 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
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC

Beast of Winter is the first of three story DLCs for Pillars II. It's approximately 4-5 hours long and fully voiced. The basic premise is that a glacier island in the south of the map has started expanding, and the leader of the village there sends for you to help. It turns out the island is the site of a portal to the realm of Rymrgard, the god of cold and entropy. Turns out, he's pissed that a dragon put her soul in a phylactery and tossed it into the portal in a bid to live forever. And it actually is working, in that her soul is beyond Rymrgard's grasp. So he wants you to put an end to her.

In order to get help on the quest (and you'll want it for the boss fight) you get to explore his realm and help some souls that have been stuck in limbo. By unsticking them they can help you, but it also means they'll eventually go to oblivion, so everyone wins. These souls are part of some pivotal events in the setting's backstory, so the DLC provides more insight into the game's world, making it quite worthwhile if you're a fan of the lore Obsidian has built up.

Aside from that, there's not a lot to say. If you're coming back to it at max level (like I did) then most of the fights will be easy enough, so your time isn't wasted. The boss fights still require management, so it's the right level of challenge for content like this, in my book.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:33 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) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *

27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)

Also known as "For Frog the Bell Tolls," AJ convinced me to check out this 1992 Japan-Exclusive Nintendo release whose engine would go on to be used for Link's Awakening. He said it was a neat adventure game with lots of very silly humor, and he was right! I got it for 400 yen on the Japanese 3DS eShop and played through it over a weekend, and it took me about 7 hours all together. While it was a game whose engine would go to be used for a Zelda game, the game itself is a pretty far cry from a typical Zelda game, and is much more a straight-up adventure game with a surface-coating of action and a big heaping pile of platforming on top of that.

The story sees you as the Prince of Sablé, who chases after his rival Prince Richard of the Custard Kingdom to save Princess Tiramisu from the dreaded Keronian Army attacking her kingdom of Mille-Feuille. Over the course of the game, you gain the ability to turn into a snake as well as a frog to get past all means of obstacles, and meet all sorts of colorful characters in all manner of locations. My personal favorites being the extremely stereotyped and eccentric "Japanese Businessman" Junbei (whose speaking style indicates he's a foreigner despite being in a Japanese game made for a Japanese audience) and Professor Arewo Stein, the eccentric wasabi-loving president of the Nantendo Company which you go visit (who actually would make cameo appearances in games all the way up to Wario Land 4!). The game has all sorts of silly fourth-wall breaking jokes and Junbei especially just sorta had my mouth agape whenever he was on screen because he's SUCH an odd character. I can't speak to the English fan translation's style of humor, but I really enjoyed the silly writing in the Japanese original ^w^

The overall design of the game is mostly adventure with platforming elements as well. It's VERY linear, with small sub-areas to explore for treasure, but a LOT of the game is talking, puzzle solving, and platforming. And I mean a LOT of talking, probably more than any other Nintendo game of the 8- or 16-bit eras I can think of that isn't Mario RPG. The signposting is excellent, and there was never a single time I was lost. The game always makes very explicit points of telling you where to go (even occasionally saving you the walk and teleporting you there via a cutscene), and there are literally signposts in the case of giant billboards in each town that have a "news bulletin" of what you just did and what you should be expected to do next. It's a fairly easy, relaxing game to spend a day or a weekend with.

The game has no actual combat, per se. Combat is decided by touching an enemy, and that initiates a kind of scuffle where you each take turns hitting each other until one of you dies. There is (almost) never any active element to the combat aside from just dodging enemies, and combat serves more as a puzzle barrier than anything else. Almost every boss battle relies on you having explored the map/dungeon to the point where you've found all the new weapons, stat boosts (attack, speed, max health) to the point where you can kill that boss with one heart remaining. If you can't kill a boss, you haven't explored enough, or there's an item you should be using.

The game also has a lot of side-scrolling sections which do a good job of breaking up the pace of walking around in a bird's eye view of the overworld. The overworld map and the side-scrolling sections should be immediately familiar to anyone who has spent time with any of the GB/GBC Zelda games, but the side-scrolling sections here are far longer, more numerous, and a lot harder. They're probably the hardest part of the game by a significant margin, as there are multiple points in the game where if you don't make a jump quite right, you'll fall in lava and be sent back to the hospital where you'll need to walk back to the dungeon and do the whooole thing over again. This is where playing it on the 3DS Virtual Console with save states was a real patience-saving godsend for me. It's honestly a bit of a shame they are so hard (and often at odd difficulty spikes in the game as well, as one will often be easier than the last and vice versa), because they make what's otherwise a fairly chilled out, silly adventure game have a much higher skill ceiling to enjoy than the lighthearted adventure portions would imply.

You solve many puzzles by talking to people to learn information or by changing form into a frog or snake. The frog can jump high, talk to frogs, and not die in water; the snake can talk to snakes, turn some enemies into blocks, and get small to fit in snake-sized holes; and human Prince (whom you name at the start) has average jumping, can talk to humans, and is by far the best at fighting. It sounds like a gimmick, but it really never felt like that. Never once did I find myself thinking "oh well now it's time for the obligatory frog bit of this dungeon," as I so often do with these types of games. Some later dungeons even make the dungeons a little more open and you are encouraged to try out two of the forms to progress, as each may be able to reach different treasure or a different way forward.

The main fault I'd say the game has, and it's a tiiiiny one, is how these transformations are handled though. You just enter water to turn into a frog, which is fine, but to turn back into a human, or to turn into a snake, you need to eat a consumable item, and if you didn't bring enough of those to the dungeon, you gotta warp out (which the game gives you an item to do) and go buy some at the town and do the whole dungeon over again. the game is pretty good about giving you a few of these consumables in dungeons, but it's never enough to do the dungeon. You'll need to have brought some. Money is really quick and easy to earn and you can carry a TON of those items at once, so it's a mistake you'll only make once, but it's still annoying to be worrying about whether you should just exit now or hope you have enough to finish the dungeon.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite Japan-exclusive games that I've played. I imagine it was for translation reasons (very text-heavy game with some awkward elements to translate adequately) that it was never brought over to the States, but it's a really fantastic game that's well worth playing with the fan translation patch. There really aren't any other adventure/side-scrolling games quite like this I can think of off the top of my head, but this has to be one of the best out there by a fair margin.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:33 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
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC

Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is the second piece of DLC for Pillars II. This DLC isn't as interesting as the first one. The basic plot is that there is an island that has a combat arena that's used to pay devotion to a god of the hunt, but there's something going wrong with the timbre of the souls in the area, so you get called in. In order to fix things you need to become champion of the arena, and this is about 90% of the DLC. You just do fights over and over. There isn't even really much in the way of neat treasure. Once you become champion you have a quick story sequence that ends with you resolving the problem one way or another. Once you do so you have a final boss fight for reasons; it's certainly not built up like the first DLC's was. There's a little bit of adding to the world backstory, but not much. Definitely a skippable bit of DLC.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:29 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
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC
33. Pillars of Eternity II: The Forgotten Sanctum - PC

The Forgotten Sanctum is the last of the story DLC for Pillars II. You get contacted by a member of the Circle of Archmagi to help investigate a temple where one of their number went missing. It turns out the temple is built on top of the body of the god Wael, god of secrets and knowledge. The missing mage was looking to raise the body up to fight Eothas, the giant statue you spend the main game chasing. Since the body is a horrible tentacle eyeball blob this is clearly a bad idea, and so you need to plumb the depths and stop it from occurring. I'd rank this between the two DLCs; it isn't as in-depth lore wise as Beast of Winter, but it also isn't just nonstop combat like Seeker, Slayer, Survivor. It's a more interesting setting than SSS as well.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
Flake
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:37 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)

April

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS4)

May

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)
Castlevania (Switch)
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (Switch)
Sonic Forces (Switch)

June

SNK: Heroines (Switch)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Saint's Row The Third (Switch)
Operation C (Switch)
Secret of Mana Remake (PS4)


I don't have much to say about Operation C other than my praise for Konami in perfectly distilling the console Contra experience and translating it perfectly to monochromatic violence. Bravo!

I spent some real time this weekend on the Secret of Mana Remake - with Collection of Mana now available, it was time to get this one out of the backlog. I have some a lot of history with the original version. Made a lifelong friend over the summer of 97 playing this one at his house. Once I got my own copy, I spent dozens of hours attempting to sequence break, perfect the magic attack input buffer, or get out boundaries to try and skip map sections. Secret of Mana is in the same category as Super Metroid, Link to the Past, and Megaman X when I remember the endless summers from when I was a kid.

I think that the hate that the Remake gets is coming from somewhere other than people's actual hands-on time with the game. Remake captures literally everything about the original but with a super slick presentation that just about replicates the original art-style that the original game sprites were based on. Add to that the option to use the original sound track and the entire game was heaven for me.

A lot of things low-key got fixed. For instance, the magic attack input buffer was adjusted so that you can still stun lock bosses but you cannot directly stack damage. It's nice not having to guess when I need to let the stun expire so the damage counter can roll-over. Seeing that 999 land almost always meant that you had a lot of damage get cancelled out which sucks for low-level runs.

The new translation is a game-changer. The original game was localized with no changes to the text-mapper. Meaning that the same amount of character space that would be used for two character words was now used to tell the entire english story. The original English version was so butchered and truncated that the story made almost no sense. It was a revelation to play this weekend and find out that Fahna, Geshtar and Sheex had actual motivations - I think that a lot of their lines were given to Emperor Vandole and Thanatos in the original so that exposition could happen. The entire cast was much more fleshed out and that meant a lot to me.

I am so happy that I finally took the time to play this game.
The PSTV is amazing.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:01 am

Operation C rocks. Nice work, Flake!

.....

First 25
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 (Genesis)
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)
27. Double Dragon V (SNES)
28. Fantasy Zone II (Famicom)
29. Street Fighter: The Movie (PS1)
30. Fire Fly (2600)
31. Pac Man (2600)
32. Extreme Sports with the Berenstain Bears (GBC)
33. Fantasy Zone (PS2)
34. Space Fantasy Zone (TG16)
35. Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf Fantasy Zone (Genesis)
36. Mega Man (GG)
37. Konami Pixel Puzzle (iOS)
38. Qix (Arcade/NES)
39. Congo Bongo (Arcade)
40. Phantasy Star Gaiden (GG)
41. Phantasy Star Adventure (GG)
42. Panzer Dragoon Mini (GG)
43. Spartan X-2 (Famicom)
44. BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets (Super Famicom)
45. BS The Legend of Zelda (Super Famicom)


BS The Legend of Zelda and BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets are timed, remixed versions of The Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past released only through the BS Satellaview service in Japan. Thanks to the work of some very dedicated fans, however, these games have been located, adapted for play without the BS Satellaview service, and translated into English. I played them for this month’s TR, and I wrote more about them in the TR thread. BS The Legend of Zelda is hesitantly recommended, but BS The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets is awesome and highly recommended,
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:25 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)
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)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)

44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
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I presume most "everyone" knows this by now, but there were two different games called Ys IV released about a month apart in late 1993. Short version: an understaffed Falcom outsourced its development to various studios, resulting in Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (Super Famicom) by Tonkin House followed closely by Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD) by Hudson Soft. To muddy the waters further, Falcom themselves created the Ys IV storyline and characters, so both games have some striking similarities. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun was remade by Taito in 2005 (bearing the subsubtitle -a new theory-), while Falcom eventually took the reigns and released the canonical "fourth" installment Ys: Memories of Celceta for the PlayStation Vita in 2012.

Out of that cluster of "four fours" only one was destined for action-RPG royalty: The Dawn of Ys. Released exclusively in Japan for the unstoppable PC Engine CD, I've had the distinct pleasure of playing the game to completion both in its original Japanese and with two fan translation patches applied simultaneously. The first, from 2004, translates all in-game text to English (save for the credit roll, which uses a different font). The second, from 2012, is actually a fandub which removes all Japanese cutscene dialogue replacing it with English voice-acting. It's an unbelievable labor of love, and I have no doubt that the combined power of these two fan translations results in a localization package vastly superior to most official ones from those early days.

Now, it's come to my attention that there are some heretics out there that dislike Ys III. Well, those folks are in luck as The Dawn of Ys picks up directly where Book I & II left off, both in terms of story and (2D top-down) gameplay. Prepare for waves of déjà vu as our protagonist, the red-haired adventurer Adol Christin, once again begins his journey by docking at a port town, which is then followed by a quick jaunt to meet a fortune teller. Key NPCs are also back for another round, including Adol's best bud Dogi and the chronically-kidnapped cutie pie Lilia. The Ys mythology is greatly expanded upon in this installment, which dives deeply into the origin of the two goddesses as well as their winged kin. Unfortunately, much of the story is an absolute mess. The writers were clearly in love with this tale, but it's overly verbose, confusing, and contradictory. As with all the worst JRPG storylines, the simple act of "paying attention" soon begins to feel like a chore.
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Much like the other "part fours" the game primarily takes place within the land of Celceta, a lush verdant region teeming with ancient ruins. Adol is tasked with exploring Celceta, searching for a couple of mystical masks, all while fending off the aggressive "Romun Empire." There are plenty of new towns to visit, and a plethora of NPCs making their debut. Some, like the tough female warrior Karna, occasionally join up as AI allies. While the benevolent NPCs of Celceta range from agreeable to downright lovable, the villains in this game are absolute garbage. The leader of the Romun Empire, General Leo (no not that General Leo), perpetually saunters about, endlessly whining. There's a trio of "comic relief" villains who behave in the most cliché ways possible: periodically "teleporting" in front of Adol, cracking a few jokes, and then leaving one behind to fight while the other two scurry away. And of course the primary antagonist is some "all-powerful evil" thing with no reasoned motivations whatsoever.

The Ys IV experience is peppered with frequent cutscenes, all of which are gorgeous. There are also large "pop-in" anime portraits that appear during lengthy dialogue exchanges. The artwork is extremely competent, especially in regards to the female characters. Though, once again, I'm a bit irked by those villains, whose ridiculous face and body proportions make them appear more like SNK fighting game rejects than occupants of a medieval fantasy world. The voice-acting, of which there is an insane amount, is executed well, both in Japanese and English. The English fandub team took great pains to ensure that their voices matched the overall cadence and emotional depth of the original Japanese squad, and executed brilliantly. Truth be told, I think the English dub is actually superior. The text-based fan translation job is additionally stellar -- straightforward and mercifully lacking any "jokes" or unneeded "references."

The Dawn of Ys showcases what is the best implementation of the best video game combat system ever devised: the bump system. Yes, once again, Adol damages enemies (and vice versa) by making direct contact with them. There is no action button. There's a level of strategy to this, as foes need to be hit from an off-center position, or else Adol risks taking mega damage. Damage taken and received is also level-dependent and the game prevents egregious power-leveling by scaling (and limiting) experience received from slaying "easier" foes. The game's not tremendously grindy, and ample exploration of any given locale should grant Adol a sufficient amount of XP. The speed of Adol's movements feels "just right" in The Dawn of Ys. Not too slow, or too "slidey" and quick, with the newfound diagonal movement providing an additional perk.
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The magic system of the second game returns, with the fire and transform spells being the most useful. While fire magic was completely broken in Ys II (in the player's favor) it's been tweaked here, with many enemies being outright immune to the flames. Sadly, the transform magic, which changes Adol into an adorable "Roo" type of monster, is underutilized. While it is fun to see how humans and beasts alike react to Adol's Roo form, this spell is primarily used to navigate waterways. Yeah, apparently human Adol is incapable of swimming. And this is a guy who always arrives to town by boat. Contrast this to Ys II which frequently required the player to deploy the Roo in the craftiest of ways, like using the spell to sneak past enemy guards and infiltrate meetings for intel.

There are additional unique aspects that add some complexity. There's a bird Adol can summon to the various poop-encrusted tree stumps, should he need some guidance and direction. There's a very rudimentary crafting system, courtesy of a witch NPC. This gives birth to one of the earliest Ys side quests: Adol can obtain an invisibility potion that lets him sneak into an enemy encampment, snagging the game's ultimate set of armor. Though, in a throwback to the first Ys, the second-best gear needs to be equipped to damage the final boss. There's also a really neat, and well-hidden, item called the Samson's Shoes. These slow Adol's movements to a crawl, but he is able to defeat any non-boss enemy with a single hit. For those playing on an emulator (and let's be real, who isn't?) a great "cheat" is to equip the shoes and then turn on the fast-forward function. Adol will now move at a "normal" speed, and will essentially be unstoppable. The resulting garbled chipmunk music is perhaps a small price to pay.

The Dawn of Ys features some of the best bosses the series has to offer. No longer is the player required to simply level up and hope for the best. Here, one must strategize, learn patterns, and exploit weak points. And there's a lot of bosses too -- not simply one per dungeon, but others scattered about the overworld, halfway through a dungeon, and so forth. Some are only damaged by fire, others by bumps. Besting one of these fiends typically takes five or ten tries, but the save-anywhere system eliminates any tedious backtracking.

Graphically, the game makes no attempt to reinvent the wheel. It bears a smooth soft look, very much like Book I & II but with the benefit of four extra years of technological progress. The character portraits are much sharper here, lacking that grainy pixel look. Though this is a PC Engine CD exclusive, the developers deemed it necessary to include those throwback PC-88 borders, which is always appreciated. The game environments are quite pretty to look at, especially all the outdoor forest greenery. Dungeons are detailed and quite fun, growing gradually more complex as the game progresses. There are some rather intriguing puzzles in the latter ones, including an area where Adol continually gets flipped upside down. Navigation outside is a tad odd. The overworld isn't exactly cohesive, as completed dungeons tend to dump Adol out into fresh virgin territory. The game relies heavily on warp spells, which will instantly summon Adol back to a given town.
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The soundtrack, arranged by Ryo Yonemitsu, is an intriguing mixture of old and new tunes. The new tracks are quite good, and clearly modeled off the Ys songs of old. There's even a dungeon track with water drip percussion! As for the throwback tracks, they are remixed, with mixed results. The moody "Tears of Sylph" for instance has been only subtly altered and retains its fantastic melancholy atmosphere. Then you have something like the Darm Tower theme, which has been "enhanced" by the addition of these jazzy saxophone sections. It sounds awful. Overall, though, a pretty strong effort by some of the best composers in the business.

As mentioned, Ys IV is overindulgent. It just doesn't quite know when to quit. Not only is there an excessive amount of exposition, but the game itself drags on towards the end. It's about five hours longer than it needs to be. What feels like a proper "final dungeon" ends up leading to another dungeon. And another. And another. The classic Ys games were more about streamlined action than being "epic" and The Dawn of Ys should have stuck to conventions. While the game never exactly feels annoying or miserable, that "too much of a good thing" feeling really strikes around hour ten.

The Dawn of Ys occupies a weird spot in the series (and ARPG) history. It's undeniably the worst of the PCE Ys games, but that's simply a testament to how good its predecessors are. As it stands, The Dawn of Ys is among the strongest ARPGs of the best era of the genre, owing much of its success to the utterly blissful combat and stunning visual presentation. Don't let the obscurity of the game (and its accompanying hardware) scare you, this is not to be missed by fans of RPGs and retro games.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:35 pm

How can Ys IV be the dawn of Ys if Ys existed before Ys I and it starts the hero of Ys I, who doesn't visit Ys until Ys II?
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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