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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:20 pm

marurun wrote:The reason Gradius III and Super R-Type slow down has to do with collision checks. In games you have to constantly check to see if sprites are touching so you can register hits and damage. Early SNES programmers did not use good collision detection routines, and when there are too many objects on screen to run collision checks on the games slow down. The CPU just can’t keep up with managing everything and continually checking that many sprites for collisions. That’s why charging your shot didn’t cause slowdown but shooting did. Your shots need to be checked for collisions every frame.


Appreciate the background info on why the slow downs occur in these games, especially with the particular situation I described. Interesting stuff, I'm glad that programmers eventually figured it out and took care of the issue in later SNES games.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:17 pm

57. Star Wars: jedi fallen order

I started playing this game around December, probably around the same time episode 9 hit theaters. I have always been a star wars fan but after the huge disappointment that 7 and 8 were I didn't even bother seeing episode 9 in the theaters, and to this day I still have not. In lieu of spending 30 dollars on the theater, I decided to buy fallen order, which I had heard good things about and instantly fell in love with it. My life got pretty busy when I was about 6 hours or so into the game so I stopped playing but have been meaning to get back to it for months and I finally did.

Fallen order is one of, if not the best, star wars game I have ever played, which is pretty high praise given how excellent many entries in the series are. It is the type of game that just gets everything right, the story is very enjoyable, with extremely likeable characters, strong relationships, and nice character arcs all that fit nicely within the star wars universe. The game absolutely nails the controls, I didn't realize how much platforming there would be in this game but it is handled so well and it so much fun to navigate the environments. Exploration is easy, rewarding, and fun thanks to a very nice map system, and the combat just feels perfect.

I had heard that this game was inpsired by the souls games so I was extremely wary of getting into it because, IMO, souls games are the most unfun genre of games ever created, but while I can see some nods to the souls franchise here, the combat is fast paced, fun, fluid, and extremly dynamic thanks to varied enemy types and lots of cool force powers and other tricks. Fallen order makes you feel like a Jedi, you are not invincible by any stretch, but when you have a rythm going you feel like a total badass and watching the action unfold is extremely satisfying.

I can't think of a single criticism of this game, if you are a fan of star wars it is an absolute must play, but even if you dont like the source material and just enjoy a good action adventure game it still is a game you definitely need to check out. While I still have not seen episode 9, this game made me wonder how the movies can get introducing new characters and a new story so wrong while games like this can just absolutely nail it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:59 pm

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)

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18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)

I heard a lot of good things about U.N. Squadron over the years but never sat down to put some serious time into it until now. This is a licensed game that first appeared in arcades, and is based on the manga Area 88, however the name was changed for the US market. I have to admit, I never saw this game in arcades back in the day. This game lives up to the praise, and is one of Capcom's best games on the console IMO.

Graphics wise, this game definitely looks better than a lot of the other shmups on the system, especially for it's release in 1991. It looks very similar to the arcade graphics, with some changes being made for the home port, such as certain pilots controlling certain ships in the arcade. However, the art style seems to follows the manga pretty close. Also, I enjoyed the variety of levels in this game. With some levels being battles against submarines and ship carriers, others being dog fights against other planes, and others taking place in a forest or cavern. Another cool detail is the pilot being pictured at the top of the screen. The pilot's icon flashes and the pilot's face changes to indicate when damage has been taken, which is a nice and unique touch.

Regarding the gameplay, the setup here is a bit different as you can select which pilot to play as, and each has a different strength. Also, as you progress through the game you can choose which order to play the missions, and you can even choose to do bonus rounds to gain money. You will need to gain as much money as possible, as you will have to purchase new ships and extra weapons before each level. Later in the game, you will need more powerful weapons to handle the waves of enemies and more difficult bosses. Another difference here is that you have a health bar, and can recover after taking damage. I have to give credit to Capcom, because they managed to release a great shooter on the SNES without much slowdown present. Even on the easy setting, I found the game to be very difficult. With the addition of having to choose and buy weapons before each mission, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out which weapons work best in which missions.

Overall, this is an awesome game, and I recommend it to fans of the genre. It may be the best shmup I've played on the system so far. However, it's a bit intimidating for a newcomer as the upgrading of ships and purchasing of weapons for certain levels can be tough to figure out at first. Also, the difficulty can be frustrating, but it's manageable with repeated playthroughs, and it felt like a real accomplishment when I finished the last mission. Give it a go!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:29 pm

Games Beaten in 2020 - 19
* denotes a replay

January (1 Game Beaten)
1. Pokemon Sun - 3DS - January 14*


February (2 Games Beaten)
2. Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order - Xbox One - February 15
3. Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! - Switch - February 29*


March (10 Games Beaten)
4. Pokemon Shield - Switch - March 1*
5. Doom [1993] - Switch - March 6*
6. SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays - PS4 - March 6
7. Lego DC Super Villains - Switch - March 19
8. Doom II: Hell on Earth - Switch - March 19
9. Doom 3 - Switch - March 20
10. Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil - Switch - March 22
11. Doom 3: The Lost Mission - Switch - March 23
12. Doom 64 - Switch - March 26
13. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth - Nintendo 64 - March 28


April (6 Games Beaten)
14. Wolfenstein 3D - Steam - April 1
15. Doom Eternal - Xbox One - April 3
16. Age of Empires (Definitive Edition) - Steam - April 4
17. Age of Empires: Rise of Rome (Definitive Edition) - Steam - April 5
18. Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Switch - April 9
19. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War - SNES - April 18


19. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War - SNES - April 18

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Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (sometimes referred to as Fire Emblem 4 as it was the fourth retail release) is one of the seven Fire Emblem games that never saw a release outside of Japan (eight if you count BS Fire Emblem), and that's a real shame because this game is incredible. With this game's completion, Thracia 776 is now the only game in the series that I haven't played as of the time of writing, and setting that one aside as I obviously can't judge it, Genealogy of the Holy War has solidly taken the #3 spot on my ranking of Fire Emblem games after Awakening and Three Houses, respectively.

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What really sets Genealogy apart from the three games that came before it is that the story is split into two distinct parts with a distinct line-up of characters for each part that only has a couple instances of overlap. In the first half of the game, your protagonist is Sigurd, the young heir next in line to become lord of the Grannvale territory of Chalphy. The bulk of Grannvale's army - including Sigurd's lord father - is away fighting a war against the Kingdom of Issach in the northeastern corner of the continent of Jugdral. During this moment of vulnerability at home, the neighboring kingdom of Verdane in Jugdral's southwest corner launches an unprovoked invasion of Grannvale. Sigurd must take what few knights were left in Chalphy and protect the kingdom from these invaders. This leads into what ends up being a much longer military campaign than Sigurd expected, and along the way, he picks up new friends and allies. For the first six of the game's twelve chapters, you play as Sigurd and his army. Then, after some plot points I won't spoil, the game jumps forward fifteen years.

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The last six chapters have Sigurd's son, Seliph, as the protagonist. In the time between the two generations, Grannvale has moved from being a relatively peaceful kingdom to being an autocratic empire ruling all of Jugdral with an iron fist. Seliph is thrust into the position of revolutionary as fate places him in command of an army of liberation that, starting in Isaach, begins a march throughout eastern Jugdral with the goal of freeing the continent from the Empire's grasp and restoring justice and freedom to Grannvale. With the exception of Finn, a knight from Leonster in Jugdral's southeastern Thracian peninsula, none of your combat troops from the first generation make a return in part two. One non-combat unit from part one becomes a combat unit in part two, and one combat unit from part one becomes a non-combat character in part two, but Finn is the only one who takes part in combat in both generations.

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The "generation" mechanic, which wouldn't come back until my beloved Fire Emblem Awakening, it really what sets Genealogy of the Holy War apart. To put it briefly, each female in your army will, if my count was right, have two children if they're paired with a male lover by the end of Chapter 5. The son will inherit the items and skills of whomever the father was, and the daughter will inherit the items and skills of whomever the mother was. If there's a female unit who isn't paired up, some boring and much less powerful substitute unit will take the children's places. Protip - Ayra's children could single handedly win the second half of the game for you. I mean, not literally, but they're broken in the most glorious ways possible.

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The character art is really good and, with the exception of some enemy units, makes each of your units feel unique and special. The enemies leave a little to be desired in that regard, though, as even named enemies tend to look the same. Almost all of the female mages look exactly the same with just different eye and hair colors, most of the male generals look the same, and most of the dark priests pretty much look the same. At least the player characters - the ones you see most of the time - each look solid and unique. The sprites, too, look really nice. The game's soundtrack, something that always stands out as special to me in Fire Emblem games, doesn't disappoint here, either, as all of the game's music is extremely well composed and fits the mood and tone of whatever's going on perfectly.

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he game's general objective is pretty much the same as most Fire Emblem games - evil cult tries to resurrect evil dragon to take over the world, so good guys descended from legendary good guys have to team up, awaken some super good dragon, and beat the evil dragon to save the world. Most of the series follows the same basic script. It's the details and smaller story elements that make each game unique, and they really knock those out of the park with this game. As I said in the beginning, this game rocketed into my top three, and it's definitely my favorite pre-3DS Fire Emblem game. It gets everything right. There were one or two little translation quirks I noticed where the wording was just a little awkward - "I crave your forgiveness" being a line that stood out to me and probably could more accurately have been translated as "I beg your pardon" or simply "Please forgive me" - but I've seen officially licensed translations that people were paid to do that had more errors than this free fan translation, so you know what? A+ on this one, dude. If you had taken me in cold and told me that this was an official commercial localization, I'd have totally believed it without hesitation.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:08 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
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Along with Phantasy Star II, Sword of Vermilion is one of the earliest Genesis RPGs. Arriving at the tail end of '89 in Japan, the game saw a Western release a little more than a full year later. While PSII boasts a wild and memorable science fantasy setting, Vermilion is yet another "medieval" RPG with an 8-bit tier storyline. Apparently Yu Suzuki and his AM2 team were involved in the game's development, which is a touch amusing. Yu Suzuki is of course known for his radical in-your-face fast-paced arcade titles. And Sword of Vermilion is... slow. So slow.

The story is clunky and mostly abandoned after the first few hours, in favor of a seemingly never-ending series of fetch quests. Essentially, in the olde days two kings, Erik and Tsarkon, were keepers of a cluster of magical rings. Like the fabled Triforce, these rings could corrupt those who were weak in composure and restraint. Tsarkon, fallen under the rings' spell, invades the kingdom of Erik, razing it to the ground. Erik entrusts his infant son to a warrior, who raises the child as if it was his own. Once the baby is grown he becomes... well, whatever name the player assigns him, the destined hero of Sword of Vermilion, eternally vowing revenge on Tsarkon. It's interesting how the Japanese and North American game boxes both made a point to display the hero alongside a valiant steed. Aside from the game's opening cutscene, not a single horse makes an in-game appearance.

Reviewing this one is a challenge. Though Sword of Vermilion is ostensibly an "action-RPG" it's actually a bizarre amalgamation of several disparate gameplay styles. First, we have "town mode." The hero visits many such towns along his journey, which are presented in the standard top-down console RPG format. I'm rather fond of these towns. Though all are admittedly similar, they're detailed and exude a gloomy melancholic atmosphere. Such locales are rife with NPCs, all ready to spew forth some semi-helpful hastily-translated late 80s gaming soundbites. The "people sprites" are simplistic, but also large and properly proportioned, similar to what would be seen in Phantasy Star III. The town music is also excellent: the best in the game, really. There's a fine attention to detail, and separate themes are allotted for the shops, inns, churches, and castles that litter each village.
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One step out of town and suddenly Vermilion feels like a totally different game. Both the overworld and dungeons are presented in a first-person view with tank controls: that is, the up button moves the hero forward, down causes him to walk backgrounds, and left and right initiate a 90 degree turn in said direction. It's such a jarring transition: oftentimes I found myself accidentally walking backwards right back into the town that was just exited, as I didn't immediately acclimate myself to the newfound control scheme! Alongside the main first-person display is a very large top-down "map" -- it's quite similar to the interface seen in The Bard's Tale (NES). Overworld maps are received piecemeal, usually from accommodating townsfolk. Those who lack confidence in their first-person navigation skills (oh hi there) can thus opt to simply look at the maps instead whilst moving. "Caves" (the only type of dungeon in the game) are numerous, and adhere to the same rules, except here maps are found in treasure chests: typically one per floor.

The big problem, which becomes readily apparent a few hours into the game, is how repetitive the whole affair is. The overworld never changes: nothing but a massive sea of green grass comprised of narrow "corridors" flanked by (slightly darker) green trees and brown pillars. Every single dungeon is plain brick and gray walls. "Surely the whole game can't be like this!" I hear the protests, "Even Dragon Warrior ended with a grand final castle!" Oh how I'm afraid to report that the final dungeon of Vermilion looks exactly like the first one; it's just longer and exponentially more annoying.

Of course, redundancy in RPGs is as old as time, and not inherently bad. After all, wasn't Wizardry nothing but a single massive dungeon? Indeed, but while the likes of Wizardry break from repetition via a series of highly strategic battles, Vermilion promises no such reprieve. Instead, prepare for mindless button-mashing. The skirmishes here are, at least on paper, somewhat interesting at first glance. Vermilion eschews turn-based combat in favor of real-time top-down arena style battles, similar to those seen in Esper Dream, Minelvaton Saga, Kalin no Tsurugi, and other 8-bit RPGs no one in their right mind would ever play. Basically, the hero is dropped dead-center surrounded by a random number (up to eight) of identical enemies. The combat controls are unacceptable. Pressing C allows the hero to swing his sword, but the animation is stiff and nigh identical to that of a simple walking animation. Frantically tapping C is the most effective strategy, but expect to lose some HP in the process. Oddly, should one feel overwhelmed it is possible to run from every single battle by simply walking off the edge of the screen.
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Enemy attacks are mostly brainless (they simply move closer to the hero via the shortest route possible) and while some monster sprites are admittedly striking, the effect wears off once the same fiends have been revisited a trillion times. And yes, the game is fond of palette swaps. Battles are initiated randomly, and at an extraordinary frequency. The overworld, dungeon, and battle musical themes are all pleasant enough, though don't expect to ever hear one of these tunes play for more than ten seconds at a time. Combat is so persistent that the game rarely feels aggressively "grindy" and the experience level cap is a nice clean level 31. Magic (eventually) ameliorates some of the battle tedium, simply by allowing the player to vanquish foes faster. There's homing types of magic obtained about halfway through the journey, which transforms battles into mash-C affairs to mash-A affairs. As such, it's easy enough to power-level early on and then bail on all fights for the remainder of the game. I must have fled from the final 200+ skirmishes.

Boss fights are downright bizarre. They make for the most impressive screenshots and were thus used in the "What Nintendon't" advertisements. Sorry Sega, but after slogging through these confrontations I'd rather "don't" than "do." Here we have the fourth and final game mode. Bosses are absolutely gigantic and fought in a sideways manner. The hero now dons a suit of armor, which is fitting as he's stripped of all other faculties. Magic is disallowed during boss battles, as is jumping or even turning around! The only options remaining are to thus walk forward, walk backwards, duck, or swing a sword. It's vaguely reminiscent of one of those early fighting games -- one of those found on European computers that played like absolute crap. In any event, the bosses look incredible. Vermilion perfected the "ugly dragon" look years before Bahamut Lagoon. There are additionally demons, necromancers, the occasional cyclops, and a truly heinous final villain. Unfortunately, big sprites mean slow clunky movement. Some bosses, like the dragons, are mostly stationary, offering up little resistance whatsoever. Those that move do so as if they're attached to puppet strings, being "dragged" from one area of the screen to the next. Most annoyingly, other rely on projectiles which are nigh impossible to avoid. It all leads to some serious uneven difficulty, with some bosses toppled easily with the mash-C method, while others require the player be at a high enough level to weather the impending unavoidable beating.

I'd be remiss to not mention the massive amounts of "trolling" found within the world of Vermilion. There are NPCs that outright steal from the player (and being victimized and then revisiting a certain thief is the only way to obtain the game's strongest weapon). There's a specific inn that decides to charge an exorbitant price should one choose to stay at it before liberating the town. Other towns have no inns whatsoever. Inventory space is severely limited. This boils over towards the end of the game, where several very specific keys are required to navigate the final dungeon. Most famously, the game contains several pieces of cursed equipment which permanently lower stats, even if equipped just once. However, anyone who's familiar with the way "numbers" work in older video games will know that equipping such items repeatedly will cause stats to fall below zero and then "roll back" to the max of 9999. Use and abuse this trick at your leisure; it makes the game significantly more bearable.

Sword of Vermilion has a smattering of intriguing ideas, but makes for a questionable final product. And with a twenty hour runtime the game does way more than overstay its welcome (though the back of the box famously and hilariously claims "hundreds of hours"). Phantasy Star II is, admittedly, probably just as tedious, but that game had much cooler aesthetics. Vermilion is a "chip away at it" RPG for those with a patience of a monk and a copious number of vacation hours. And yes, to reiterate, the best part of the game is the towns, which is probably the most insulting thing I could write in an RPG review.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:17 pm

Amazing review, Bone. I’ve been tempted to play that game a few times, but I think you just put me off it forever. :lol:

.....

1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)

Iconoclasts is an exceptional open-world platformer that draws obvious influence from Gunstar Heroes and Monster World IV. The pixel artwork and animation is astounding; the combat is fast and satisfying; and the boss battles, of which there are many, are absolutely fantastic. (The last boss is a bit of a pushover, unfortunately, but the two hidden bosses are no joke.) The game is loaded with secrets, and it throws a steady stream of new experiences at you. At times, you’re sneaking through air ducts; at others, you’re teaming up with a new, suddenly playable character to launch a rocket. You never really know what to expect as you proceed through the game’s vast world, and the game constantly surprised me. It isn’t perfect - the narrative is a bit heavy at times and never makes a lot of sense; some of the secrets are a bit too well hidden, etc. - but it is really, really good. I can’t recommend the game highly enough, and anyone who is a fan of 2D platformers really should play it.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:31 pm

Bone, I can't believe you sat through that mess of a game. Salute to you. I couldn't get through more than a half hour of it.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:44 am

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)


That's another two off my backlog. Oh boy, this is going to be fun to discuss...

Waking Mars

I didn't pay much attention to the rise of cellular gaming when phones suddenly became the new handheld around the start of the decade. For one, I had a lot of other personal and professional concerns, and I was moving away from paying attention to video game news. However, one name that I recalled hearing as an example of excellence in this medium was Waking Mars. When it got a Steam release, I waited until the next big sale and bought it for ridiculously cheap. Then I sat and waited for six more years before playing it.

Waking Mars is an adventure game with some level of platforming and some level of Metroidvania-style gameplay. You play an astronaut exploring a cave system on Mars, working in tandem with a fellow astronaut back at basecamp with a tech specialization as well as an AI which has had its communication code nerfed as a practical joke. Your mission? Explore the cave, try to find your lost exploration robot, and try to return to basecamp. To do this, you have to grow weird plant-like alien creatures to increase biomass, thus opening up weird biological walls that prevent you from further exploration.

Eventually you discover that what you're doing is moving through a biological system similar to a giant body, put in place by an alien race of flying spaghetti monsters that went dormant on Mars millennia ago. Your actions will eventually lead to the potential reawakening of biological life on the planet, but it may also be the death knell because the energy source keeping these things alive is on the way out. There are a couple of different endings too, depending on actions you take at a few key moments near the end of the game as well as how much work you put into reaching the top tier of biomass.

One interesting aspect for this game is that I eventually realized I was using certain areas as farms for the "seeds" and such that I would need to impact other areas. Some zones became my go-to locations to grab key resources needed in others, and by the end, I had a network of areas I was using effectively as crops for the rest of the cave system. Basically, I was playing a farming simulator in a Metroidvania on Mars.

Cool game.

I liked Waking Mars, and I can see why this game got a lot of attention when it came out. Yes, animations are limited, but I didn't really need that, as it still managed to convey an interesting story and provide exciting exploration and fun gameplay. I am impressed with my experience and would recommend this to others who enjoy the Metroidvania style but want something a little different from your more traditional "kill everything" approach to video games.


Requiem: Avenging Angel

Oh boy, this game.

Ok, so...you're an angel. God is concerned because Lucifer and his various demons have infested Earth, so they want you to go down and kick some ass as well as find another angel that went missing in a previous mission. Oh, but in the meantime the demons have set up a one world government, so you also have to join up with rebels to dismantle that, because after all, government is evil. Oh, and the evil demons are also creating a spaceship, and we can't have that because then they might actually be able to reach Heaven on said ship, so we gotta destroy that space program technology too. Also, you have a mullet. In fact, you look like a henchman from a 1990s action movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme. Specifically, you look like a henchman from the movie Time Cop. More specifically, this guy:

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That's right. You're an angel sent to Earth to destroy big government and science and technology. Also somewhere along the way you will destroy a hospital and wreck the government healthcare system as well as a power plant and government-controlled utilities. Oh, and half this game you will be stuck in a sewer, which yes, you will have to occasionally drain.

This game came out in 1999.

I bought Requiem: Avenging Angel when it came out on GOG because at the time I bought every FPS that came out on GOG (though I no longer actively do this, I still own most of them). However, I couldn't get it to work, so as a result, it languished for several years in my "Repairs Required" category until I finally spent a few hours and coaxed it into running...poorly. The experience wasn't good, partly because it was plagued with tech issues, and partly because it just isn't that great a game. What kind of tech issues? Here's a short list:

Disappearing HUD.
Black boxes appearing on screen where text would be at every load point
Resolutions not changing properly.
Zoomed in menus so that I couldn't actually see most options such as controls I was modifying.
Graphical glitches such as geometry lines appearing around objects.
Hilarious texture fails such as character faces appearing on their gibs after they'd been blown apart. Not their head either. Like on their arms.

Still, it limped, and in my family that's good enough. But once that was handled, I discovered the actual gameplay just isn't that great. You see, Requiem: Avenging Angel plays like if Dark Forces II and Blood II had a freaky love child that was weirdly religious. You get angel powers like the force powers of Dark Forces II. You also get guns, some of which are actually fun to use until you realize that enemies have awkward hitboxes. Still, solid sound effects for the most part help you feel like you're actually conveying some firepower for at least some of the game. And then the Blood II part kicks in, with terrible boss fights, enemy bullet sponges, enemies with pinpoint aim (thankfully using projectile weapons instead of hitscan), and frustrating level design.

For the record, I consider Blood II absolutely terrible. Requiem reminded me of a buggier Blood II. Do you get where I'm going with this?

I play stuff like Requiem because I enjoy even the dregs of FPS games, but sometimes it can be a painful experience. That's Requiem, down there so near the bottom of the barrel that if I scraped any further, I'd be an inch deep in wood.

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go blowdry that mullet.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:20 pm

Games Beaten in 2020 - 20
* denotes a replay

January (1 Game Beaten)
1. Pokemon Sun - 3DS - January 14*


February (2 Games Beaten)
2. Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order - Xbox One - February 15
3. Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! - Switch - February 29*


March (10 Games Beaten)
4. Pokemon Shield - Switch - March 1*
5. Doom [1993] - Switch - March 6*
6. SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays - PS4 - March 6
7. Lego DC Super Villains - Switch - March 19
8. Doom II: Hell on Earth - Switch - March 19
9. Doom 3 - Switch - March 20
10. Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil - Switch - March 22
11. Doom 3: The Lost Mission - Switch - March 23
12. Doom 64 - Switch - March 26
13. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth - Nintendo 64 - March 28


April (7 Games Beaten)
14. Wolfenstein 3D - Steam - April 1
15. Doom Eternal - Xbox One - April 3
16. Age of Empires (Definitive Edition) - Steam - April 4
17. Age of Empires: Rise of Rome (Definitive Edition) - Steam - April 5
18. Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Switch - April 9
19. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War - SNES - April 18
20. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX - Switch - April 20


20. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX - Switch - April 20

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For me personally, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX is an exemplar of why game developers and publishers need to release free demos of their games for download. I had never touched a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game before this one. I always thought they looked cute but never interesting enough to bother spending money on and playing. When I saw that the demo for this remake was free to try, though, I thought, "Why not? Can't beat free." Within about ten minutes, I was hooked. I still waited a couple months to buy the full game (I had one of my VERY rare moments of financial responsibility), but once that tax refund check hit, you better believe I used what little I got back to pick up a copy (along with Doom Eternal).

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The basic premise is that you're a human turned into a Pokemon through plot device magic, and you team up with a BFF Pokemon (in my case, Jeff Dahmer the Charmander and Lil Homie the Squirtle, respectively) to form a rescue team to go help save Pokemon in danger from the natural disasters occurring all over the land. I named my team PokeBros. From there, you go through procedurally generated dungeons, battle random Pokemon, pick up items, and try to find the stairs to the next level of the dungeon as you search for whatever Pokemon it is you're tasked with saving. Sometimes when you defeat an enemy Pokemon, it can develop acute Stockholm Syndrome and feel some kinship with you after you beat the shit out of it. This Pokemon will then ask to join your party. For the rest of the dungeon, it will serve as an ally NPC. When you clear the dungeon (assuming it hasn't been defeated by an enemy), the ally NPC Pokemon will ask to join your rescue team. If you have a camp it can stay in (each camp only allows certain Pokemon, so build as many camps as you can as quickly as you can), you can invite it to join your rescue team. If you don't have a camp for it or decline to invite it, you'll get some money as a reward for giving it a great adventure (and beating the shit out of it). If you invite it join your team, it can fill one of the three playable slots in your rescue team. Keep in mind, though, that you can only have up to five ally NPC Pokemon with you at a time. This was disappointing to me as I found my sixth abused Sandshrew that asked to join but couldn't and forced me to abandon my dreams of building a grand Sandshrew army.

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The game of which this is a remake was a 2D Game Boy Advance game, and while the remake keeps the 2D gameplay, the environments and characters themselves have been redone in a 3D style that has an EXTREMELY visually pleasing hand-drawn aesthetic. Honestly, the visuals are probably my favorite part of the game. The gameplay is great, the characters are cute, and I obviously love building as large a reserve of rescue team members as I can, but the graphics are just to beautiful and well-done that it's hard not to be stunned. It's reminiscent of Muramasa on Wii and Vita with the art direction. That's not to say that it necessarily looks exactly like Muramasa, but the obvious care and artistic flair with which the visual style was crafted definitely reminded me a lot of it. As far as game features, though, it's mostly a pretty standard dungeon crawler, but there is one that I want to mention specifically - the rescue system. Not rescuing NPCs - that's the whole point of the game - but when your team gets knocked out. If all three members of your team faint in a dungeon, you have two options - respawn and lose all of your money, progress, and items; or put in a rescue request. If you choose the latter option and have the ability to play online, you can put up a request (with a seven day expiration) and hope that another real player online will see your request, take the job, and rescue your team. From there, you can continue your journey through the dungeon where you were defeated without losing any items or money. If you don't have the ability to play online but do have more than three Pokemon that you've recruited, you can put together a second three-man team and go rescue yourself. This is definitely the faster way, but I personally preferred having someone rescue me and using my other Pokemon to rescue other people who've put up requests in the meantime. It's not efficient, but it was more fun to me personally. It was a really nice touch, and while it's not true multiplayer, it's a cool way to get player interactivity into the game.

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX may have been my first experience with the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series, but I highly doubt it will be my last one. I had an absolute blast playing it, and I'll definitely be going back to do some of the post-game content. It's addicting and chill all at the same time, and it's just so damn CUTE. The art direction really steals the show, and while that in no way should diminish one's appreciation for the fantastic soundtrack in the game, it's not often that I see games as oozing with artistic style as this one. This is definitely a game to keep on your radar, folks. If nothing else, download the demo (it's free; what do you have to lose?) and see if it scratches that itch for you the way that it did for me.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:45 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)

26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *

A best friend of mine visited me earlier this month before he headed back to America (this was before the pandemic got very serious around here), and he gave me his Japanese PS2. Now with the ability to finally play PS1 and PS2 games, I hurried to the resale shop near me that I knew had this game and picked it up, since I've been wanting to play it for months. I'd never played the Japanese version of the game before, but it's a game I've 100%'d at least twice in English many years ago, so this was very much a trip down memory lane. It took me about 7 or 8 hours to capture all the monkeys and beat every stage (the English localization uses "ape" and "monkey" interchangeably, despite them clearly being apes, so I'm gonna do that as well here :b).

Ape Escape 2 is the second main-line game in the Sony-published and produced platformer franchise. It's a 3D action platformer collectathon that has two main gimmicks: monkeys and the dual-shock joysticks. Gimmick #1 is that the "star" equivalents are the monkeys themselves, whom you need to hit with your net to capture them. As you go through the game, they have ever more sophisticated methods of both hiding and then defending themselves, and if you collect enough of them in a stage, you'll complete it and be teleported out. The game has a sorta Mario Odyssey feel to it, to compare it to something more recent, in that there's a kind of linear path (or two) through each stage, but only once you get enough of the collectible do you actually leave it. You don't need to restart it each time. There are even some extra monkeys that repopulate levels once you beat the game as an incentive to go back and get other monkeys you missed, also a bit like Mario Odyssey (although nowhere near as many new things in old levels as that game), and getting all of those unlocks the true final boss.

Gimmick #2 is the dual shock, as this was a game series born on the PS1 more or less to show off the new DS1 controllers. You move with the left joystick, but the face buttons don't do anything but change your weapon. Actual attacking is done with the right stick (swinging in a particular direction, rotating it to spin up a propellor, etc.), and then you jump with R1. It can take some getting used to, and it honestly sometimes feels more like a contrived gimmick than a genuinely needed element for a few weapons, but it's gives the games a unique play style that is more good/novel than it is bad/frustrating.

The plot is as silly as the nature of the adventure describes. Due to a mislabeled shipment of monkey pants getting mixed in monkey helmets at the monkey park, the evil supergenius monkey Specter is able to once again get back his super intelligence, give all his mischievous buddies better smarts as well, and escape from the monkey park. You as Hikaru, whose fault this more or less is, are tasked with going out there to the various places and times the monkeys have run off to to re-capture them. It's all a very light-hearted and silly affair that doesn't take itself too seriously. While I do certainly have a soft spot for the English voice acting (I don't really like how Specter sounds like a kid in Japanese), the Japanese VA is also very fun, especially the Monkey Force Five who are all similarly campy and fun in their own ways in both English and Japanese.

As far as regional differences go, between my memory and the very small page for it on tcrf, there's very little differences between the English and Japanese aside from the VA and a nature around of the monkey's pun names. The only noteable ones are the English version technically having more monkeys out of the box, as 3 special event monkeys in the Japanese version are just wrapped into the main game seamlessly in English and don't require any special action on the part of the player to go and catch. Granted, that's 3 monkeys out of a total of 300, so it isn't exactly a mind-blowing amount of extra content, but the English version does technically have more to do. Then the weird thing I cannot imagine the reason for the English version lacking is the faster ability to change weapons by double tapping that face button to cycle through them. I mean it isn't a perfect system, as you have 14 of the things so going past the one you want can suck, but it's far faster and more fluid than going into the pause menu to change them every time like the English version forces you to. Perhaps they thought it was just a bit too fiddly to impose upon the international release of the game.

The presentation of the game is very Japanese without being explicitly so, and I think that speaks to just how little of the game was changed for the localization. It's very upbeat, very colorful, and has good music (although not anything particularly MP3-player-worthy, in my opinion), but it's all still grounded within its own logic. It's still fairly 'anime' in its style, but it's no Stretch Panic or Incredible Crisis.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is one of my favorite games on the PS2, and one of my favorite franchises of Sony's. I love the presentation, the characters, the gameplay, and the level design. If you like action/platformer games, this is absolutely a game worth checking out.
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