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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:59 pm

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)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)


I have recently beaten two more games, one fantastic, one absolute but still entertaining crap.

NecroVision: Lost Company

NecroVision: Lost Company is a prequel to the generally unmemorable NecroVision. It's a horror game set during WWI which involves a German medical doctor and retired soldier returning to the front line to personally deliver a plague antidote to his friend. Unfortunately, along the way he discovers that the plague is being intentionally spread and that it turns people into zombies, super soldiers, demons, monsters, and whatever else random crap the devs felt like throwing in. At one point, I got attacked by a wolf that suddenly turned into a massive werewolf, which I quickly brought down by pumping full of rounds from my BAR. Suck it, Legendary, this game has much better werewolves.

Let's get something straight immediately: NecroVision: Lost Company is not a good game. At all. Enemy AI is janky and stupid. The game's physics are just as likely to propel an enemy across the room as they are to suddenly launch you across the same room, and you can actually escape enemies by jumping on their heads to evade them. While there is a wide array of weapons, many of them feel ultimately outclassed and pointless. And the plot is batshit crazy. But it also let me use an old biplane to fight a dragon, so it's got its positives too.

Don't play this game to be serious. Play this game because it gives a limited amount of regenerating health and then relies on healthkits during an era of FPS design where everything was brown and usually set in the Middle East. Don't pay attention to the bad voice acting and the grammatical errors, instead understand that you get bonus points for blasting off a zombie's head by jumpkicking it in the face and then pointblanking it in the dome with a trenchgun. Even better, this game has a challenge mode where you do things like shoot flying zombies out of the air as they are launched via springboard and somersault their way into the combat zone.

That's pretty much all you need to know about NecroVision: Lost Company. To take it seriously would be to do it wrong.

Icewind Dale

I got Baldur's Gate with a new computer back around...2000 or so. I wasn't sure what to expect when I installed it off four CDs, but the game served as a formal video game introduction to 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules, which is also around the time that I learned to play tabletop. 3rd Edition followed shortly after, and I successfully made the jump for pen and paper, but 2nd Edition remained a thing of beauty and love for me in gaming.

However, despite loving Baldur's Gate, I never managed to snag a copy of its more combat-oriented cousin, Icewind Dale. It's not the same thing as BG; there's less emphasis on seeking out party members and role playing adventures, while there is much more on creating your own dream team from scratch and then building an understanding for how the combat system works to better take on the game's numerous challenges. Icewind Dale is what occurs in the frozen north, and it's a place that loves a good fight, so don't expect to talk your way out of many encounters...or really any. Icewind Dale wants to punch you in the face.

Now I love Nordic settings in video games, where the mountainous terrain is every bit as hostile as the creatures from Scandinavian folklore. Hard lands breed hard people, and considering I generally favor the tank characters in a session of D&D, I definitely prefer the tough power fantasy types. Here, I slay trolls, take down giants, and rage against fiendish necromancers. I listen to druids who tell tales of nature and stare into the depths of civilizations collapsed into barbarism. I do it with an axe in hand against fiendish beings from beyond time and space. And I love it. It is this focus on combat that makes me love Icewind Dale, and I admit that I think I now prefer this one to the open-ended Baldur's Gate if only because it is the setting that I want and a direct path to the forces which wage war at the end of the world.

It's also a game that demands an understanding of your magic and your tactics, because the same party can just as easily get slaughtered as it can completely route a force with a little set up. If you don't use the right buffs or take the right position, odds are you're gonna make things a lot harder than they need to be. The game's also no slouch about rewarding you well, so by the time I had bested the final boss, I was sitting on a heap of gold that would make me a very rich man indeed.

Does it have problems? Well, yes, I admit that there are flaws in 2nd Edition which nowadays I struggle with, such as the invention of THAC0 or the fractional strength stat. Yet still, most of the best D&D video games, at least in my opinion, are set in the 2nd Ed. rule set, so as I play through more, it's become somewhat comforting to me. Perhaps I'm just a weary grognard.

Eh, regardless, I love putting my troops in a T formation, my back forces slinging spells and stones as my tanks hold the line against whatever foe arises. Let the cold wind blow in Icewind Dale, for it blows the songs of my victory.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:00 pm

80. Resident Evil 6 (xbox 360)

I have long defended RE6 but havent played it in years and I have been on a resident evil kick lately so I decided to give it another shot and see if my opinion on the game has changed.

I played through as Chris, for those of you who don't know, RE6 has 3 different characters, each with a different story, with some intersection and different playstyles. Chris is geared more towards action, but I decided to play through it with him because I just finished 5, and read some possible spoilers about his involvement in 8, so I wanted to see his story play out.

The main complaint that this game gets is that it does not "feel" like resident evil, and while I do think series need to change and grow to stay relevant, most hate this game because it took the series far away from its roots, and I do get where the purists come from. Here is a list of things that happen in Chris campaign which are definitely not typical RE fare:

1) you start the game with an assault rifle and pistol with a good amount of ammo for each
2) There is a cover system, much like gears of war chris can hug walls and duck behind cover and pop out to shoot
3) there is a melee attack, which is extremely strong, this is not a weak desperate move to use when cornered, this is something you can use aggressively and I often found myself charging enemies to body check them and them pummel them into bits
4) there is a running body check
5) the knife is badass, if there are 2 zombies feel free to not waste bullets and just slice them up with the knife, it will work better than your guns in many cases
6) there is an on rail shooter section
7) there is a car chase section
8) there is a section where you are controlling a plane shooting at an aircraft carrier
9) Enemies drop ammo, lots of ammo
10) no save typewriters, the game just saves like most action games
11) the vast majority of enemies in chris campaign have guns, the zombies have guns, the spiders have guns, the moths have guns, definitely weird
12) there are quick time events, lots of quick time events
13) there are no puzzles (at least in chris campaign, I believe Leon had a few)

thats off the top of my head, I'm sure I am leaving some out

Having said all that, it still feels like a resident evil game to me. The gameplay is ratched up but the story, characters, setting, enemy types are all right at home. I enjoyed the story here, and with the spoiler that Chris may be the antagonist in RE8, it was interesting playing the game with that in mind, there is a good portion of the game where Chris goes down a very dark road, and while he does redeem himself, it certainly does make a possible heel turn make sense if they do go down that road.

Gameplay wise, RE6 is a good game, the action here is well done and killing enemies is very satisfying, while the game is fast paced it still does maintain a horror vibe to it as you are often thrust into situations with huge mobs of zombies and some other huge OP monsters.

After a 2nd playthrough of this game I like it just as much as I did the first time, I don't know if people genuinely hate this game because they think its bad, or if they just hate it because it is not what they perceive a resident evil game should be.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:47 am

Ack wrote:Does it have problems? Well, yes, I admit that there are flaws in 2nd Edition which nowadays I struggle with, such as the invention of THAC0 or the fractional strength stat.

I agree that Fractional Strength was a bad idea; while the goal was to make fighters better at dealing damage than non-fighters it only happened when you already rolled the highest strength so it didn't come into play for most characters (that aren't rerolling a ton) and was then completely invalidated by any magic effects that set your strength to 19 or higher; 3rd edition and beyond would instead given Fighters special moves to make them better at killing. But THAC0 is literally the same as modern D&D roll plus your modifiers vs. enemy defense; all that's changed is the sign on the modifiers.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:15 pm

The problem with THAC0 is just that it was hard to calculate against AC quickly and easily. I mean, the math wasn't fundamentally hard, but so unlike any other math in the game, just this one-off calculation that seemed oddly out of place, and sometimes caused hiccups in game flow. Even the very disciplined would sometimes stumble over it briefly just because.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:29 pm

marurun wrote:The problem with THAC0 is just that it was hard to calculate against AC quickly and easily. I mean, the math wasn't fundamentally hard, but so unlike any other math in the game, just this one-off calculation that seemed oddly out of place, and sometimes caused hiccups in game flow. Even the very disciplined would sometimes stumble over it briefly just because.

It definitely is a case of "why was your brain working in the way it did to come up with this?" but it's mostly a case of someone talking in roundabout language. Since both systems start with a naked AC of 10 you end up being able to take something from AD&D monster manuals and run a simple calculation (20 - AD&D AC) to get a modern D&D AC. The most confusing part is it being THAC0, rather than an attack bonus. But a THAC0 of 20 is the same as an attack bonus of 0, 19 is 1, 18 is 2, etc. It's fundamentally the same system.

Honestly, THAC0 is New Math.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:56 pm

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC

The previews for Darksiders III is what actually got me into the series in the first place; I figured I need to play the first two to get the story beats before playing the third. And it was definitely a good thing I did so; while the primary plot is self contained the events are intertwined in the others as part of the overall apocalyptic conflict being set up. As I see it there are two more games that need to exist; one for Strife (the final Horseman) and one set after Darksiders 1 where the team gets together and delivers a well deserved beatdown on all the machinations that have gone on. Darksiders III does a good job of setting up for that final conflict; it fleshes things out more while giving us a character with a real arc in Fury.

Like previous games Darksiders shamelessly copies another game; in this case it's Dark Souls. Combat is much more dodge based; while it was an option before here it is a necessity. Additionally, items are represented as little flames on the ground, there's no minimap, everything has a bunch of interconnections and shortcuts you unlock, you spend ever increasing amounts of currency to raise your attributes in lieu of traditional levels, and you spend increasing amounts of increasingly valuable materials to upgrade your weapons, up to +10. However, this does come with still having some of the stuff we've come to expect from Darksiders. Combat is still much flashier than Dark Souls, so your dodge windows are more forgiving and you have a perfect dodge mechanic where you get extra damage in. You can jump, which is needed in certain fights due to a ground wave that you can't dodge through; you have to jump. You still have the interplay of a primary weapon and a series of secondary weapons that handle in different ways. And you still will unlock traversal powers as you make your way through the story.

The game is set shortly after the prologue of Darksiders 1; War is captured by the Charred Council for starting Armageddon early when Fury gets called in. Apparently the Seven Deadly Sins also escaped and she needs to capture them to bring back balance. Cue an adventure through the decaying ruins of Earth as you fight demons, angels, and corrupted wildlife as you hunt down the sins. Fury starts off as the embodiment of her name, but over the course of the game her eyes are opened that there is more going on then a simple "capture the bad dudes" and she grows as a character; while she is acerbic and unlikeable at the beginning, by the end she has become a hero in her own right.

The Seven Deadly Sins are also very well realized. The designs are fun, and their dialog and voices even fit well with the idea of them being the embodiment of these abstract concepts. Sloth would be pissed at you, but it would be too much of a bother. He can't even care when you beat him. Lust is perfectly androgynous in voice and appearance and does their best to tempt you with what you desire most. And Wrath, he's basically Khorne, and also a bit in love with Fury given how much she mirrors him.

It is overall a strong game, though it does have some flaws. While the whole world is interconnected it is divided up into a smaller number of larger areas compared to Dark Souls; this, combined with some major twists and turns, ends up making it hard to place yourself in relation to other areas. For the most part you have to rely on the abundant save/teleport points and your minimap indicator that points towards the next boss (and is smart enough to point you at particular entrances, rather than just being an absolute compass). There is an area that a cutscene teleported me to that I then died in; I never found the area I was teleported to again. The cutscene made it seem like this would be important, but at best it contained an optional boss that might have given me an upgrade. It was a bit of a feel bad in the end. In a similar vein, the combat relies a bit too much on enemies with shields in the later game; some of the most egregious required perfect dodges (not just regular ones) to get in any real damage. Given the amount of swarming of very mobile enemies that can happen sometimes the Dark Souls combat was not at its best, especially when locked on.

Still, the game has some very nice looking environments and good design on the mobility powers. The associated secondary weapons and powers were balanced enough that I never felt like I should just stick to one outside of needing to make use of a specific mobility; each had their use. While the game just wasn't as tight as a Souls game, given their unfamiliarity with the genre I think they did a good job with it. It's not nearly as hardcore as Dark Souls thanks to the tools you're given, so it properly feels like "Darksiders by way of Dark Souls" rather than "Dark Souls ripoff". Here's hoping the game did well enough to justify a Strife solo game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:02 pm

Games beaten 2020:

1. Ys: The Oath in Felghana PSN Vita
2. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch
3. Super Mario Party Switch
4. Moss PSVR
5. Paper Mario: Colour Splash Wii U
6. The Firemen SNES
7. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SFC
8. Kuukiyomi: Consider It! Switch eShop
9. Valkyria Chronicles Switch eShop
10. Illusion of Time SNES
11. Trials of Mana Switch
12. Undertale Vita
13. Rastan SMS
14. Rainbow Islands SMS
15. River City Girls Switch
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch
17. Streets of Rage 4 Switch eShop
18. Dragon Warrior IV NES
19. Super Tennis SNES *NEW*
20. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Switch eShop *NEW*
21. Pilotwings Switch eShop *NEW*
22. Castlevania: The Adventure Switch eShop *NEW*



Super Tennis

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Super Tennis was the first game I played for this year’s Summer Games Challenge. Super Tennis is a one of the first games released for Super Nintendo in Europe, and was also one of the first games I owned for the system as a kid. My console was a 2nd hand one that my mum bought from a work colleague for me in the mid-late 90s, probably after the PS1 was already a thing, so it was probably someone clearing out old hardware for the newest machine. Anyway, my system came with a selection of games, most of which didn’t really gel with a 7 year old me who already enjoyed games like Sonic 2, Streets of Rage and Bomberman on my Mega Drive. I had Street Fighter 2 (this was OK), Prince of Persia and Flashback (I didn’t understand these ones and didn’t like them), Pit Fighter (even 7 year old me knew this was crap), Starwing (this one I liked) and Super Tennis.

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Of the games, Super Tennis sat thoroughly in the OK camp. I’d play it fairly rarely, as I had enough games I enjoyed more to not need to play this much – but my cousins liked it, and I liked playing games with my cousins, so it got some time in the SNES. Anyway, fast forward almost 25 years, and Super Tennis remains one of the handful of games I owned before I really started getting into retro game collecting which I hadn’t beaten (alongside Wing Commander III on 3DO and Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life for Gamecube). So this summer I made a vow to beat it.

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Super Tennis is a simple game on the surface – you can play tennis in singles or doubles play, or take on circuit mode – 8 back to back tournaments where you can earn points and attempt to be the best ranked player at the end. There are 30 or so playable characters, split evenly between male and female, each with different stats – although without the manual you’ll struggle to know what those are. Tennis play is simple, with each of the 4 face buttons doing a different shot. A is a slow shot, B is quick, Y is a high lob that can be used to force people back from the net (but often sets them up for a powerful counterplay) and X is a topspin shot which can be used to hit wider angles. A and B are context sensitive, with different strength near or far from the net, whilst X and Y stay the same wherever. L and R add clockwise and counterclockwise spin to the ball respectively, depending on which half of the court you’re on.The controls offer quite a variety of options for each play, and there are some other actions that can be done too, such as slam shots when the ball is just overhead, or dives for the ball if it’s just out of range.

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Early progress in circuit mode wasn’t very successful, with the computer responding too well to every hit – some characters are very hard to beat. After a while I started to figure out shots which the AI struggled to handle though – highly curved serves which they couldn’t reach granted me lots of points from service aces, and using topspin (X) as my primary button during rallies proved harder for the computer to respond to than A or B. Eventually the game veered the other way and became a bit too easy overall, besides Kim, who was an absolute demon who all my usual tricks failed to work against due to her speed.

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Anyway, I’m glad to say I finished up Circuit mode, having played 4 of the 8 tournaments (if you play 2 in a row you get tired and move slower, so it’s harder if you play them all), and placing first (ahead of Kim, screw you Kim!). It was during the ending credits, which show characters stats, that I realised I had chosen one of the worst characters!

Super Tennis is entirely OK. It’s nothing super special, and it’s not a must play, but it does have a lot of charm and it feels like some real effort was put in here. Music is sparse (only sound effects during tennis gameplay) but what’s there is super catchy (take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw5Ujk6Kz68&list=PL-vD6rIjXrcKf-OgnNOT9v2M2VcMLMjCu&index=2&t=0s), and the graphics are colourful and pleasant, especially for an early title for the system. If you can tolerate old sports games, I think this is worth a go.




Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

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Castlevania III was the second game I beat for my Summer Challenge, and I (mostly) played the Japanese version of the game. If you aren’t aware, not only were there various difficulty changes in the US version that make the game harder and less well balanced, but, more importantly, you also get inferior versions of the music as the Famicom cartridge game with a special soundchip that boosted the quality of the audio beyond what a standard NES game was capable of.

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I’ve played a few of the Classic castlevania titles – I’ve worked through Rondo of Blood, Castlevania 1, Castlevania IV, Bloodlines and Rebirth over the years, and I’ve generally enjoyed them all. I knew going in that Castlevania III is well though of, but I was interested to see how it compares.

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First of all, it feels like a much better balanced game than 1. I enjoyed my time there, but it definitely through a few too many cheap moments at you too early on, before you had a chance to settle in to the game properly. 3 is much friendlier in this regard (at least, in the Japanese version) – and I personally though was perhaps a little too much on the easy side. I actually ended up playing 3 of the levels from the US version because I loaded up the wrong regional version of the rom by accident when continuing after stopping for the night, and I can’t say I noticed much difference there either – despite me playing through some of the later stages this way.

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Despite this though. Castlevania 3 has a lot of fun setpieces. I enjoyed getting to choose my route through the game, and it was interesting to be able to get another character to play as. I chose to go with Grant as my buddy, and his wall climbing was handy in a few locations. Overall though, I mostly stuck with Trevor, whose whip was far more useful than Grant’s daggers – even if he throws them in the Japanese version instead of stabbing with them. This is actually how I figured out my error with loading the wrong language version though – it took 3 levels before I actually decided to attack as Grant and noticed my mistake!

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I’m not sure what else to say about Castlevania III to be honest. It’s a good game, and it’s more Castlevania. I enjoyed my time playing through it, and I’d happily play through again to try some alternate routes and one of the other partner characters. It’s not my top choice in the series (Rondo > Super > Bloodlines > Rebirth > III > 1) but I’ve enjoyed all the classic castlevanias I’ve played, so it’s still a solid recommendation from me.




Pilotwings

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Aaaaand continuing the trend, here we have the third game I played for the Summer Challenge this year, and like Super Tennis, it’s another very early SNES title. Pilotwings is an arcadey flight sim game, where you’re tasked with completing various missions in a variety of aircraft to earn points. Each stage requires a minimum points threshold to be met in the vehicles on offer in order to earn your license and move onto the next stage.

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There are 5 types of aircraft/aerial challenge in Pilotwings. The first is the standard biplane, whose challenges generally involve taking off and flying through a set of rings around the course, before landing successfully. Landings make up a large proportion of the scoring, and here they’re scored on your speed, accuracy (which I think measures whether you bounced and if you were level when you landed?) and angle (were you parallel with the airstrip, or angled awkwardly). Speed and rings make up the rest of the score generally.

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Second is skydiving, which normally involves falling through a series of rings during your descent, before opening your parachute and landing in a target area. The target area normally comprises several portions worth different points, so landing in a high point area is the majority of the score here. Mastering landings is essential.

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Third is the rocketbelt, which was my favourite. This is essentially a jetpack that allows you to fly freely around an area. Tasks generally involved flying to specific points and accurately hitting marks in any order, before returning to the landing area and making a landing. Landings are scored on impact (don’t fall too fast!) and the score associated with the area.

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4th is the hang glider, which generally starts with you in the air. You can’t ascend manually with this craft, so you use air currents to gain height when needed. Tasks here feel like a blend between the plane and parachute, as you must fly through rings or ascend to a certain height before successfully landing on the target. We’ll cover the 5th vehicle shortly.

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Pilotwings is a short game, but I feel it is quite a flawed one. Whilst the mode 7 graphics are cool, they can be an issue to precisely navigate a ‘3d’ space with, which is obviously the name of the game here. That’s not my main issue though. One bigger one is that points requirements, especially later on, are very tight – often requiring an average of 80 points per challenge (which is difficult to get) in order to pass. In addition, you only get one attempt on each challenge per stage, so if you ace the rocketbelt and plane missions, then screw up your landing with the hangglider, prepare to play all 3 again from scratch. Again, and again, and again. The game is lacking in content overall, and I feel they have compensated with high difficulty.

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There’s also the issue that, for a game ostensibly about flying, there’s very little to be earned through flying itself. Navigating rings at speed normally only offers a small proportion of points for the stage – whereas the landing typically makes up 70 % of the points for the stage. Acing a perfect freefall in skydiving stages only to miss the 70 point landing area by a few pixels, earning only 30/70 points for landing sucks, especially when it often means replaying all the other levels again. Extra points can be earned via bonus stages – but guess how these are earned? By landing on special landing areas which are even harder to hit. This game isn’t about flying, it’s about making it back to the ground.

Anyway, after qualifying through 4 stages, your flight instructors are kidnapped by an evil organisation all of a certain (it comes out of nowhere, believe me) and you are tasked with piloting an attack helicopter to the enemy base, shooting down sentry turrets along the way, then landing to rescue them. This is a trial by fire because the game has never given you access to a helicopter before, so you have to learn to fly it mid-mission. It’s also pretty tough as the turrets are accurate, and one hit spells death. Complete it, and you unlock expert mode, required for credits – 4 more rounds of even harder challenges and then another assault on the enemy base in the helicopter await.

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I persevered with Pilotwings long enough to beat it, but I have to say, I didn’t really enjoy my time with the game. The points are focus on the least fun aspects of playing the game, and the monotony of trying missions over and over until you luck out with the parachute and hangglider targets really sucks. Both sequels to this game are better, and if you’re going to play a game in the series, try one of those (they’re only OK though). Not one I’d recommend sadly.




Castlevania: The Adventure

And now for a c-c-c-c-combo breaker. Castlevania The Adventure is the first Castlevania game for the Game Boy, and it was NOT one of my summer games for the year. I figured that whilst I was playing through Castlevania III on the switch collection, I might as well spend some time to finish up another game on the collection too. I deliberately chose one of the less well regarded games I still needed to play (I didn’t want to be left with only the bad ones at the end!), and yeah….I’m kind of inclined to agree with popular opinion on this one.

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Castlevania The Adventure deviates from the classic Castlevania formula a bit, and it’s not for the better. As before, the whip can be upgraded with special items to make it have more range and power, but now these powerups are lost if you are hit. Losing your power up really sucks, but the game doesn’t care and loves to place incredibly awkward enemies with hard to avoid projectiles in places you can’t really anticipate so that you do. Dodging them often feels impossible, in part due to the usual stiff castlevania physics, and in part because your character feels like he’s walking through water at all times. He is slow. So slow. I know the OG Game Boy had screen blur issues, but I feel this is maybe a bit of an overkill response to the issue.

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Another thing thing castlevania game is really keen on is pixel perfect jumps. We’re talking Mega Man style literally stand on 2 pixels of your characters back foot before jumping levels of perfection required, and the game just doesn’t feel set up for it. Best get practicing the jump though, because the game also loves trolly sections where you jump from one 3 pixel wide platform to the next for the length of about 4 screens. Gameplay!

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Luckily, the game is blissfully short at only 4 stages long, although be prepared to ‘enjoy’ the stages over and over again whilst you learn them. Bosses are generally fairly easy, besides Drac who gave me a few issues. I wouldn’t say this game is awful by any means, but it is painfully mediocre – and in a series with games of the quality of the ones I discussed earlier in my Castlevania III review, that’s not good enough. You can ignore this one.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:02 pm

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC

The original Shadow Warrior was notable for three things: being a Build Engine game, adding racism on top of Duke Nukem's sexism, and playing better than Blood no matter what wrong opinions Ack may hold. When Duke Nukem Forever came out it kept the sexism and dropped the good gameplay. Shadow Warrior reboot does the opposite; it drops the racism and keeps the good gameplay. Add in a dash of a genuinely interesting story that slowly unfolds and then hits right at the end and you've got a really solid FPS reboot that properly brings the good parts back while ditching the bad parts.

Once again you are Lo Wang, this time a Chinese hitman living in Japan and working for Orochi Zilla. You live in Japan because you're a major fan of Japanese culture, which is used to justify the mishmash of elements from the original. You still drop a wang joke now and then, but not to the same degree as before, and in a way that feels just right. You start off trying to acquire the Nobitsune Kage sword for your boss, and when your monetary offer is rejected you need to start stabbing dudes in the face with your sword. Then the demons invade.

Cue 17 levels of demon stabbing and shooting, with a handful of encounters with human enemies that end up being ho hum boring. The demons come in a wide variety, with some melee, some ranged, and some big guys who make your life suck if you don't manage them right. The game is a bit more combat arena focused, similar to the developer's earlier title Hard Reset. The demonic nature makes it less of an ass pull when they have enemies teleport in waves, as they're coming from the shadow realm after all. The pacing ends up being pretty good, aside from one level that climaxes midway through AND is the longest level in the game. But after that the levels are back to normal, with one final extra hard combat arena that really makes you feel like you've mastered how to deal with all the enemies.

The game strikes to balance making melee viable with having a selection of guns, and it ends up balancing a bit more towards the sword. The guns all have their use, but for the most part enemies are a bit too much of a bullet sponge for you to use guns as your primary weapon. It tends rather to be for specific encounters where having a ranged option is important, or the fact that you're using a heavy weapon against a big guy. You learn a handful of special moves for your sword as well as gaining a bunch of passive skills to improve your ability and the net result is the sword is not only viable, it's a great weapon to use. I would have liked a bit more balance to make firearms a bit more viable, but then they risked having you never use the sword (which they put a lot of effort into), so I can see why they went the way they did.

The game also has a handful of magic powers you can learn, but these, aside from the heal, aren't really worth your time. They all tend to fall into the category of "the time I spend activating these is time I could use killing dudes", as most enemies aren't sturdy enough to be worth the setup (the powers are all support powers) and the big guys aren't affected by them. The game also has a weapon upgrade system where you can use found currency to either improve stats or unlock secondary abilities (like an extra two barrels for the sawed off and a second ability to fire all barrels at once). Unusually, you can also directly buy ammo from the upgrade screen, so you pretty much never need to worry about running out (though the game is also extremely generous with ammo, including infinite spawns of ammo in boss arenas).

Overall, while I came into this expecting something middle of the road this is a much better title than that. It brings the intended spirit of the original, of being a kung fu movie inspired FPS, ditching the problematic elements, and having a good balance of gameplay to make a satisfying package. And without spoiling anything, the underlying story behind the events was genuinely interesting, drawing upon themes of Eastern mythology without using anything specific. Three cheers to Flying Wild Hog for doing what Gearbox could not.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:56 pm

Not my fault you have bad taste.
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dsheinem Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:40 pm

Games Beaten 2020
Mortal Kombat 11 - PS4
The Force Unleashed II - 360
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom - Wii
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - 360
Super Fantasy Zone - Genesis
Fable Heroes - 360
Castlevania Bloodlines - Genesis
My Friend Pedro - X1
Super Fantasy Zone - Genesis
Darius - Genesis
Ape Out - PC
Doom Eternal - PS4
Dead or Alive 6 - PS4
Plague, Inc. - PC
Space Harrier II - Genesis
Space Harrier - Arcade
G.I. Joe - Arcade
Chaos Control - - PC
Super Off Road - SNES
Pyscho Dream - SFC *new*
Psychosis - Turbo Grafx-16 *new*

Total: 21


Previously:
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

It's been about a month since I last posted and I think these are the only two games I've actually finished in that time, despite playing a lot of different things. Hopefully I can pick up the pace this month, it would be good to hit 30+ by the half way point.

Both of these games are nice enough to look at and have half-way decent sound, but neither is really amongst the best in their genre and while I am glad I played them, I can't see going back to either one at any point.
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