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REPO Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by REPO Man Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:20 pm

The GBC ports of Dragon Quest 1-3 are based on the Super Famicom remakes, which have been fantranslated. Also those SFC ports were ported to those iOS/Android ports or whatever.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:37 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) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *

47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *

This is a game I technically beat before I even started Mario Sunshine, but I wanted to wait until I was properly done playing with it to write a review for it. That time was when I finished playing it on stream (again) yesterday, so now's the time to put it back on the shelf and write my review for it. I got 68 out or 180 emblems, and played the Japanese version of the game for about 20 hours.

Sonic Adventure 2 is the followup to the first Sonic Adventure, and it follows Sonic & co as they try to stop Eggman from blowing up the world with the power of the Chaos Emeralds. But that's only the Hero story mode. There's also the Dark story mode, where you play as Eggman & co trying to end the world with the power of the Chaos Emeralds. It's a neat gimmick where you see both sides of a story that plays out more or less the same either way, as there's a "LAST" story mode you unlock after completing the other two that ties them together and gives a conclusion to everyone's stories. It's ultimately a fairly campy and silly story (that introduces characters such as Shadow the Hedgehog and Rogue the Bat), but it does have some nice moments. It's serviceable and entertaining for what it is, and that's all it needs to be.

I'd actually never realized that apparently this game just has a language select feature, and you can switch between several languages' subtitles as well as the Japanese or English voice tracks in any version of the game! As a result, the Japanese version of the game's only actual difference (so far as I can tell) is that the main title screen is in Japanese (changing the language doesn't affect that, so far as I know). The Japanese voice track is much better voice acted than the English in many places, but I will say that I definitely prefer the English voice for Eggman over the Japanese one. And the infamously awful sound balancing this game has, where music in cutscenes is often far too loud compared to the dialogue, is also consistent across both languages, sadly XP

There are six playable characters, but they're basically light and dark copies of each other. There are upgrades to find for each character individually, but for the most part each character plays identically to their counterpart. Sonic and Shadow both have very speed-focused stages where you jump around, platform, and homing attack enemies. Rogue and Knuckles both have more open stages where there isn't a goal to get to, and instead you're using computer terminals scattered around the level to get hints to where the hidden master emerald pieces are. Last, you have Tails and Eggman, who each have linear levels where they stomp around in big mechs, using homing shots to blast everything in their paths.

Sonic/Shadow stages and Tails/Eggman stages all work pretty soundly and are good fun to go through. This was originally designed for the Dreamcast, and this is a pretty dead-on port job, so the C-stick does nothing and instead the camera is controlled by holding R and L respectively. This is usually something you don't need to worry about, as the game does a pretty good job following you with its auto camera, but it's often not an issue outside of a few boss fights. Where it is constantly a problem is in Rogue/Knuckles stages. They're so open that the auto-camera often doesn't really know what to do, and the levels eventually become so large and annoying to navigate (one of them even has a 5 minute time limit), and they're by far the least fun parts of the game.

There are 31 levels in the game not counting boss fights and including two racing time trial levels, but once you beat a story mode you unlock those levels to play in level select mode. In level select mode, you can play through each of that stage's five missions, and each of those missions has its own emblem associated with it. There are also hidden powerups you can only find upon returning to a previous level with a later level's powerup. It adds a LOT of playtime to the game if you're going for 100%, but this is easily one of the hardest/time consuming games in this fashion I've played in that regard from this time period.

Even completing all the missions in a certain stage (which range from collecting 100 rings to finding a hidden Chao to completing a much harder version of the level) is a challenge in and of itself, but there is also an emblem for each character that you get when getting an A rank on every single one of their missions. You get a rank from A to E when finishing a mission, and that's dependent on your point total at the end (and the point total associated with each rank is never told to the player). Points are gotten by chaining together enemy kills and finishing the level quickly, so in order to get A ranks on EVERY mission, it means replaying them a LOT to get really good at finishing them very quickly and with as many good enemy kills as you can. It's a time commitment I can't really justify for how much I enjoy the gameplay loop, so it's not something I think I'll ever do (and it's the reason I stopped at a little over 60 emblems when I was too demoralized to continue getting them XP).

Outside of all of that, in each level, you can also find boxes with Chaos on them, and breaking one reveals a Chao key which takes you to the Chao garden afterwards. Around levels and from defeated enemies, you'll pick up power cores and small animals, and you can take these back to your Chao garden to allow your Chaos to absorb the power from them (but not kill them) and level up. Chaos who absorb energy from animals will even take on features from that animal (like bunny ears, dragon wings, etc). Chaos age as real time passes, and they can eventually turn into a Hero or Dark Chao depending on what alliance of character has given them the most affection. One of the most significant changes from the Dreamcast version to the GC port is actually that the time for a Chao aging one year has gone from 1 real time hour to 3 freakin' real time hours. Thankfully about a minute gets shaved off of that time each time a Chao eats a piece of fruit, but it still takes an annoying amount of time.

You can enter your Chao in races and karate competitions, which is why you need their stats raised. Completing a karate tournament or winning a series of races will earn you an emblem, and you need at least two (one hero and one dark) Chaos who are very good at racing in order to get all the emblems associated with the Chao garden. That requires a LOT of animals and power cores to get them that high, so ultimately the huge amount of time you'll spend replaying levels to try and get A ranks will feed into how much time you'll have to sink into raising two racing-ready Chao. Raising Chao is a simple but fun addition to the overall experience of going through levels and even just to the normal story mode. Chao have cute little idle animations, and you can even take them to Chao school to have them learn new animations to do (like playing with a tambourine). It's a weirdly engrossing part of the game, and raising my little Horatio and playing around with him is one of the things that kept me playing so far after I beat the game's main story.

Verdict: Recommended. This game won't be for everyone, but if there are any good purely 3D Sonic games, this is definitely among them. It's got a campy, fun story, reasonable gameplay, and a decent amount of extra content if you really wanna sink your teeth into it. It's a childhood favorite of mine, and it was really fun to go through it again after all these years ^w^
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:15 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
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

Earthworm Jim is a distillation of the 90s; a goofy mascot hero designed to be cross media and with a terrible game clearly done by people who think they are far more clever than they actually are. I still cannot figure out why the game is so well thought of, though the second was halfway decent.

I'll start off by pointing out that the game is beautiful. It has great looking animations and everything is very well drawn with lots of little things to add to visual flare. But this leads right into the problems. The level design clearly was first done by someone on paper to make something that looked pretty, and then they had to figure out how to wire everything up so that you had a functional game. This leads to a lot of level design problems on the gameplay end. You'll fall off of ledges because they decided that part of the slow is a falling part rather than a part where you just move slightly down, and you'll not realize you can traverse a portion of the level because you thought it was a background. Not to mention all the times you'll miss seeing ledges and whip points. And the view is a little too zoomed in so you have to make a BUNCH of blind jumps.

Similarly, the animations, while pretty, also add a bunch of floatiness and bad delay to your actions. This is most apparent with the whip move; you'll miss a bunch of them because the animation has a shockingly long windup, and heaven help you if you have to do two in a row. And this windup is especially bad in the Peter Puppy level, as you both have a landing delay from jumping and then a windup on the whip while you're trying to get him over successive pits. The gun also feels really terrible due to the mechanics; it's eight way firing with you being force stationary, but you don't have a visible projectile. The game seems to, in the background, calculate intermediate spits when you transition between points (similar to in Contra III with the machine gun if you whip between two angles you can see the bullets hit between the two), but the hit box on the aiming is wonky and to get anything that isn't exactly on one of the eight points you have to mash between two directions and let it decide whether or not it actually hits. Oh, and you can't do it in midair while most enemies are flying, so the majority of your damage comes from taking damage in midair.

The game also likes to have various changes in gameplay; you have a terrible racing level between stages which is like a worse version of Sonic 2's bonus stages (if that was possible), one level is a bungee jump battle with obtuse mechanics, and one pair of levels has you pilot this submarine which is clumsy an time limited, so you end up going into needing to go fast to beat timer but then get killed by running into the walls too much. It's lose lose. Oh, and that level also has segments where you will take chained damage if you do things wrong in the platforming parts due to enemy placement.

Finally, the game has the type of "humor" which is the product of those poorly drawn adult cartoons of the 90s where some idiot thought something was funny and no one had the heart to tell them no it wasn't. Mostly wacky for the sake of wacky without any real cleverness involved. It's mildly appealing when you're a kid, but as an adult it's just dumb, and you realize that a bunch of adults came up with it.

I really can't recommend this game to anyone. There are so many better platformers of its generation.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:08 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)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)

39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)


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"Noooooo you can't put shovelware on my brand new Nintendo console!"
"Haha witch girl go vroom!"

Engage me in this hypothetical. Pretend you're a developer with an awful game that's near completion. What's the best (or only) way to get consumers to notice such an abomination among all the other rubbish that clogs digital storefronts? Easy -- get the game out early on a fledgling console. Make it a (near) launch title, where little competition exists. Such was the plan of one Poisoft, with their "magical girl" slog Vroom in the Night Sky. By the way, the aforementioned "strategy" worked -- on me, at least. With precious few (physical) Switch launch titles holding my interest I turned instead towards the then-barren eShop, where my initial purchases consisted of Kamiko (a cute little action-adventure game) and.... this.
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Vroom in the Night Sky stars a magical girl of the classic anime tradition; I believe she's literally named Magical Girl in capital letters. She's a cutesy witch who pilots a series of motorcycles as opposed to the typical broom. She's joined by a fast-talking familiar, some glowing ball thing. The witch's mission: to vroom. In the night sky. The game is so incomprehensible that the simple act of assigning it a genre tag becomes a difficult task. Its closest contemporary is probably (I kid you not) the infamous Superman 64. That's because success in Vroom is predicated on flying through a series of rings. That sentence was supposed to end with "within the allotted time limit" right?? Well, no, because Vroom has no stipulations, no challenge, no puzzles, no obstacles. Just bumble around until an objective is completed. And repeat.

Each stage contains an assortment of rings, and a goal that appears once all rings are gathered. There's additional stardust to collect, which is essentially the game's currency. A minute into each stage, a "rival" appears in the form of another witch girl named Shining Star. She gathers stardust as well, which would be a problem, if not for the fact that it respawns infinitely. There's a gas gauge, which appears to be bugged as it creeps down incredibly slowly. Good luck losing more than 10%. In any event, there's a refill station in the center of every stage. As for the environments themselves, they're sparsely decorated and dreadfully dull. Each one takes an average of two or three minutes to traverse. There are eight stages total.

Controls are aggressively bad. B and A are used for acceleration and braking, respectively. Acceleration feels clunky and uneven, while there isn't nearly enough feedback when braking. Turning (with the d-pad) is much too loose, and it's not uncommon to see poor Magical Girl hurtling towards the borders of the screen. Y and X provide additional functions, as one assists in "grabbing" stardust while the other initiates a brief "vroom" speed burst. The fact that shoulder buttons were ignored in favor of the face button foursome makes for a cramped and unwieldy experience. There are some additional maneuvers that can be pulled off by rapidly tapping buttons in a "combo" style, but activating these moves properly is nigh impossible, as is keeping control of the bike during execution. To "assist" the player there's a series of tutorial stages, which also include "helpful" written instructions, for example:

Let's occur "Magical Turning & Getting *"3 times with getting Stardusts during "Magical Turn"! "Magical Turning & Getting *" occurs if you get Stardusts during "Magical Turn".

Thanks for clearing that one up! This is as good a time as any to mention that the game's translation is comically bad and full of such "Engrish" gems. The penultimate stage, for example, is described as follows: "It is a Sky. It is a completely Sky." The inchoate exchanges between Magical Girl and her familiar are frequent and (unintentionally) hilarious, and arguably the "highlight" of the Vroom in the Night Sky experience. I'll admit it. I lol'ed often.
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The game looks unfinished, with the flattest and most featureless textures imaginable. The soundtrack can be described in similar terms, consisting of some stock rock/jazz fusion that sounds like it was yanked out of one of those royalty-free websites. But the most egregious sin committed by Vroom is in regards to its stage progression. While stages one through five can be played through quickly and sequentially, stages six through eight remain mysteriously locked. Entrance into these areas requires one first buy specific "upgraded" motorcycles from a shop accessible from the game's main menu. There's no indication that one needs to do this, nor is there any hint in regards to what bike will unlock what level. There's not even a tenuous connection; it's not like specific bikes handle better in specific stages or anything. It's just totally arbitrary. To add insult to injury, the stardust currency collected while playing the game "normally" isn't enough for these bikes. No, one must replay stages to grind for this stuff. It's maddening and stretches what would be an annoying twenty-minute shovelware romp into an excruciating eighty-minute endurance test. Complete stage eight and nothing happens. No ending, no credit roll. Just a boot back to the stage selection screen.

Vroom in the Night Sky is a broken-down sloppy insulting experience. It's actually gained a bit of notoriety; as of this writing it's the lowest-rated Switch game on Metacritic, as well as the lowest-rated game of any kind released in 2017. Big ouch. Vroom away from this one as quickly as possible. Just don't use one of these motorcycles to do so.


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I feel compelled to preface this review with a bit of a confession. I've never been a huge fan of the Sonic games. And no, I'm not just talking about the 3D ones that "everyone" hates, but the series in general. Even in the 16-bit era, this series displayed issues with level design that feels incongruous with the protagonist's physics. Sonic, I felt, has always had a tendency to move too fast, or too slow, or to have his movements whisked away from the player altogether as he's tossed about like a pinball or thrown headlong into a "hilarious" spike or pit trap. In many ways, Sonic Mania Plus (which was released in 2018 but is an expanded version of a game released one year prior) is the Sonic game I've always wanted. It's taut, finely-tuned, and an absolute joy to play. The genesis (haha) of this game is interesting, as it was developed by indie studios, a project led by one Christian Whitehead of the Sonic romhacking community. Presumably there were other people involved too, as Sonic Mania Plus has the longest credits scroll I've ever seen. I think it includes literally anyone who was even tenuously involved with this project, with the exception of perhaps the third shift janitors at Sega of Japan.

The story is succinct and stereotypical. Dr. Robotnik (or "Eggman") is up to no good. He's stolen more gems, this time with the assistance of some rotund robots. It's up to Sonic and his pal Tails, and perhaps various other members of the animal posse, to retrieve the purloined artifacts. To do so, Sonic must traverse through twelve zones, each split into two stages, with each stage concluding with a boss battle. This is a beefy game. It took this reviewer three and a half hours to trek through "Mania Mode" (the main game) -- that's with a small assortment of deaths but zero Game Overs, thanks for asking. Autosaving occurs, but between zones only (not individual stages).
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It's likely that anyone reading this review (lol such optimism) is familiar with the way Sonic controls, but here's a brief recap. The d-pad moves Sonic, and in a delightful tribute to the games of olde there's only one action button. Without a dedicated run button à la Mario, Sonic speeds up quickly on his own as a direction button is continuously pressed, eventually becoming an absolutely blazing blue blur (assuming there's ample space for such a thing). Should he require speed to clear a ramp or some obstacle and there's no "runway" available, Sonic can duck and subsequently execute a rolling dash via repeated taps of the action button. He can jump too, of course, in big smooth arcs whose size varies based on speed. This game also incorporates a "drop dash" where tapping the action button twice in quick succession can send Sonic rolling as soon as he lands a jump. Combat requires a certain level of finesse, as Sonic defeats enemies by jumping (or rolling) on or "into" them. Unlike his plumber buddy (and fellow Olympian) Sonic cannot vanquish a fiend by simply "falling" on top of it. Point being, Sonic must be in "ball mode" to land a successful hit; if his floppy red shoes are exposed he is vulnerable. Collected rings will grant Sonic an extra life per 100 earned, but their primary function is serving as Sonic's "lifebar." Should Sonic be hit he's knocked back and his rings scatter about. These can be grabbed quickly, though most will rapidly bound off-screen.

Sonic games live and die by their stage design, and the design here is absolutely stunning. The stage (or "act") list consists of a smooth blend of nostalgic throwbacks and brand new environments. The game eases the player in, with the fan favorite Green Hill Zone, which is once again replete with the anticipated obstacles and features: floating platforms, ziplines, crumbling cliffsides, and hedgehog-launching springs. Additional zones offer additional gimmicks. All are self-explanatory (no Sonic 3 spinning barrels, ugh) and presented in a clear and unambiguous manner. The Chemical Plant Zone, for instance, is full of liquids that possess varying effects on Sonic's movements, while the Flying Battery Zone experiments with magnetic charges, and the Metallic Madness Zone utilizes shrink rays to squeeze Sonic into tight spaces. Every act feels like a fresh experience; old elements are quickly swapped out for new ones, that are soon abandoned or evolved just as quickly as they arrived. Despite its hefty length, Sonic Mania Plus never begins to feel stale, and the more endurance-oriented gamers will feel compelled to roll through this one in a single sitting. Most importantly of all, the game "flows" beautifully. While each act is massive and offers multiple avenues to victory, there are never any frustrating dead ends. Nor are there moments that make the player feel "stuck" or that backtracking is the most viable option. Moreover, Sonic's speed meshes perfectly with the design, as it's an absolute blast to be shot through loop-de-loops, launched from slopes, and ricocheted off the various bumpers. When the game does slow down the focus is on precision platforming, rather than, say, "waiting" for sluggish moving platforms to align properly. And Sonic Mania Plus is devoid of any and all "cheap" moments that defined some prior series entries of decades past. You won't suddenly find yourself accidentally launched into a spike pit, or dropped onto an enemy unexpectedly, or caught between a haphazard mess of nigh inescapable trampolines. No, this experience is pure fluidity and momentum from start to finish.
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To nitpick a bit: as the game progresses the stages most certainly get larger. And the final stages take much too long to complete. Even with the seemingly generous ten-minute time limit, I was still slammed with a "Time Over" in the game's penultimate act. The final act is just as egregious (I hit the last checkpoint at 9:45) but the timer is wisely reset for the rather grandiose final boss battle. It's a small quibble, and those who are more accustomed to the game's mechanics and layouts likely find this a non-issue.

Sonic Mania nails the aesthetics. The graphics here look like they walk a fine line between late Genesis and early Saturn. The pixel art is luscious and strikingly detailed. Each stage contains a flurry of background pieces and multiple layers of scenery. The character animations are lovely and brimming with humor, and there's a wide selection of new friends and foes alike mixed with the old ensemble. The soundtrack spans two hours, a frothy mix of Genesis hits plus some tunes making their debut. It's energetic stuff, and it all nails that techno-Genesis vibe perfectly.

Two types of bonus rounds appear throughout the journey. The first present themselves within checkpoints, should they be reached with 25 rings in tow. These are the classic 3D bonus rounds atop a giant checkered orb, where Sonic is granted "pivoting" tank controls and tasked with collecting blue spheres (hey you never said I couldn't grab the red ones too!). Success in these rounds unlocks additional content accessible from the main menu, like a sound test and debug mode. To access the second type of bonus round, one must first discover well-hidden "giant rings." These rounds see Sonic chasing a UFO as it speeds away. The chase occurs over a wrapping 3D plane; grabbing rings increases allotted time, while snatching spheres speeds Sonic up. By catching all these UFOs one gains a full set of chaos emeralds, and thus access to the true ending. Truth be told, I always found Sonic bonus rounds quite difficult and not especially compelling, though these are some of the best (or least worst) of the bunch.
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With a boss fight concluding every act, we're left with a lot of bosses on our hands. The quality and difficulty of these skirmishes fluctuates, though most are meticulously designed and memorable. There are the usual "Robotnik in a big machine" battles, plus all kinds of wacky newcomers like a robot that inhabits a trash compactor, a sandworm that floats in and out of the background, and even a match of Puyo Puyo (or, uh, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine). The "race" boss fights also make a reappearance, where Sonic must engage in a melee whilst running along a track and avoiding various hazards. It makes for a delightfully frantic time.

Beyond Sonic, one can choose to play as the additional woodland creatures. By default, Sonic has Tails the fox in tow, who can lend a helping (or "lifting") hand and deal blows to bosses. Tails played solo can fly for brief spells by rapidly whirling his multiple appendages. Knuckles is back. He still resembles an echidna about as much as Sonic resembles a hedgehog. Knuckles is able to climb walls and blast the ground. This Plus version of the game also boasts the inclusion of Mighty (an armadillo with a smashing ball attack) and Ray (a flying squirrel who glides). These extra characters are pretty neat, and stages are modified slightly to accommodate them, but it's often too easy to trigger their abilities by double-tapping the action button accidentally, and nothing feels as smooth and sleek as good ol' Sonic himself. It's also possible to play as a tag team, with a press of the X button swapping between, say, Sonic and Knuckles, where the computer AI steers the unused character behind the active one. And, ya know, there's multiplayer if you happen to have friends. Finally, Plus includes an "Encore Mode" for those who mastered the default "Mania" and are seeking remixed stages with an additional challenge. There's a lot to dive into here, with the Plus experience stretching for several hours after the main quest has been completed.

All told, Sonic Mania Plus is not only one of the better Switch platformers but is the best game within the entire Sonic series. The team behind this clearly understood not only the elements that make for a decent Sonic title, but what elements make for an unforgettable platforming experience. Forget the trauma caused by Sonic Shuffle and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and that weird game where Sonic has a realistic human girlfriend. Instead, think back fondly to the greatest attributes found within the Genesis titles, and then multiply everything by one-hundred. Dive into the "Mania" without hesitation.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:56 pm

@MrPopo: Blasphemy!!!!! I absolutely adore everything about earthworm jim, outside of the sub levels, I agree they suck. It is definitely a silly game, not sure if I would find it as amusing now as I did when I was a teen, but I was a hardcore fan of the series.

117. Infinite Beyond the Mind
118. Rogue Trooper: Quartz zone massacre (wii)
119. Rockettron
120. Double Dragon (nes)

118. Rogue Trooper: Quartz zone massacre

Rogue trooper is a 3rd person shooter that began its life as a ps2 game, got ported to the wii, and then ported over to the ps4 and switch. Kind of weird to have a game that nobody has ever heard of to be ported over to so many systems over the course of 3 console gens, but I guess stranger things have happened.

The story here is you play as a trooper named rogue, who is part of a genetically engineered band of soldiers. You embark on a mission in the quartz zone and your entire race is annhilated(hence the name of the title). You then go on a mission to figure out what went wrong, the story is nothing amazing but it does a good enough job of keeping the story moving which is really all I ask for from a shooter.

The gameplay here is a ton of fun and does a few things that are unique to the genre. You start off with a machine gun, as you kill enemies, rather than dropping guns and ammo like in most games, the enemies here all drop salvage. You can use this salvage to craft more guns, more ammo, health, upgrades etc. There is plenty of salvage to go around, effectively giving you unlimited ammo for all of your guns, grenades, gadgets etc. I enjoyed this style of gameplay because it lets you confront challenges however you want, if you want to just hang back and snipe everyone feel free, want to run it with a shotgun that works too.

Aiming is done with the wiimote, which works really well here. Having a sniper rifle, with unlimited ammo, and wii mote aiming led to hundreds of very satisfying head shots which was really fun. When you are not sniping enemies the game plays like a cover shooter, lots of cover everywhere, which you can duck behind, blind fire from, or pop out and shoot. Stealth is also an option and it is fun, but never required, to sneak around and shoot everyone with the silenced sniper rifle, or perform melee stealth kills.

In addition to the guns there are also a number of gadgets and grenades to add more flair to the battles. There are several different types of grenades, hologram decoys, and auto gun turrents which can be deployed at will to set traps for enemies which is pretty cool. Like if you are unlocking a door you may place a gun turret and some mines in front, and then watch the enemies run straight into them which is always good for a laugh.

I really enjoyed this game, it is not perfect, some of the collision is a little off, the cover can be spotty at times, and the AI is often pretty brain dead, but I had a ton of fun with it and is well worth a playthrough for 3rd person shooter fans.

120. Double Dragon (nes): Not going to write anything too deep here, just a friendly reminder that the NES version is so much better than any other version including the arcade. This may be an unpopular opinion but I think of it more as a fact.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:51 pm

Infinite Beyond the Mind review, please. :lol: (I am genuinely curious to read about it.)
Last edited by prfsnl_gmr on Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:29 pm

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) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *

48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)

Last year, I mentioned in our Shenmue 3 thread that Shenmue 3 didn't seem like a game I'd feel comfortable paying money for, but one I might enjoy. Our very own Pierrot offered to buy me a copy, and he did and sent a copy to my mom's place in America. I picked it up when I visited the States back in December, and have been waiting for the inspiration to strike since then. Last week, it finally felt like the right time to play through Shenmue 3, and four days and 25-ish hours (I think) of playtime later, I've finished it on my PS4 Slim. While I'm certainly far from a converted fan, I do wanna open this review by clarifying that while I have never played Shenmue 1 or 2 to any significant extent, I never really hated my time with this game, and I enjoyed my time with it well enough that it wasn't ever a slog to get through it. As one last warning, I do get into some light spoiler talk here about certain characters who appear as well as things to do with the pacing.

Shenmue 3 picks up right where Shenmue 2 left off with Ryo and Shenhua entering the cave with the big mirrors and the prophecy in it. Shenmue 3 follows Ryo's story in his quest for revenge another couple of steps through Bailu Village and the port city of Niaowu. While Shenmue does have combat in it, it is far more an adventure game that happens to have combat rather than more of an brawler-RPG like Yakuza is. That being the case, I weigh the story in the game pretty heavily as an aspect of recommending it, and it doesn't hold up very well there.

Shenmue 3, being a larger part in a story (that is allegedly still not even close to being finished) only encompass a small section of Ryo's overall quest for revenge. However, rather than feeling like a self-contained episode that is narratively satisfying in and of itself, Shenmue 3 feels more like a section cut out of a larger story with little care given to pacing or payoff. While I do understand that Shenmue is a series far more about the journey than the destination, compared to most other games, this still leaves Shenmue 3 feeling like an unsatisfying and shallow adventure.

Characters have interesting aspects to them, and some very interesting themes (like a father's relationship to their child, how a single-minded quest for revenge can affect a person's worldview and behavior, the dangers of cycles of violence) are present and interesting, they're never meaningfully commented on or evolved. Most characters in the street you talk to (especially in Bailu Village) are boring and dull, and the best most characters ever get are "entertainingly weird". Even that "entertainingly weird" nature can still leave many characters (some very tertiary, some very well established) falling into some harmful and outdated stereotypes. As a result, it's somewhat of a blessing in disguise that characters like Chai have such small roles in the narrative.

The most entertaining characters (for me, Ren and Mr. Hsu) are largely so interesting in no small part because of how good their voice acting is. I played the first few hours of the game with the English voice track on, and then switched it to Japanese for the rest of my playthrough. It is no secret that Shenmue 3 has an embarrassingly poor localization for a game released in 2019. Nonsensical conversations and flat, unemotional delivery are as iconic as Ryo in his forklift. This can be slightly remedied by turning the voice lines to the Japanese voice track, but you're still left with the awkward and poorly done subtitles of the English voice track. The almost non-existent marketing aside, the awful localization is the #1 thing I chalk the commercial under-performance of this game up to. To the uninitiated, Shenmue 3 looks more like a bad joke than a genuine attempt at a sincere story. And even then, the Japanese voice track isn't terribly good either. Most characters still have fairly flat delivery and uninteresting dialogue with only a few exceptions. At most, the Japanese VA provides a story that at least makes better grammatical sense for players who can understand Japanese.

Regardless, even the best VA in the world would have a hard time making up for the too often poorly written dialogue and missteps in setup and payoff in the story's general construction. The fact that the climaxes of both sections of the game revolve around earning a ton of money to get a nearly identical move needed to progress the story makes for a very underwhelming end to the arc in Niaowu. Not to mention that those giant piles of money you need offer nothing but massive roadblocks to the pacing even if (like me) you were enjoying the smaller mysteries outside of the larger revenge plot. I'm really glad that I went into the game knowing that I'd need 2000 and then 5000 yuan, because if I didn't those would've been some awfully demoralizing progress stoppages.

On the topic of money, lets move on from the story and onto the main gameplay loop. Shenmue 3 is still as Shenmue as ever in most regards there. Ryo needs information, and people have information. A lot of the game is going around asking the same question to everyone you meet, trying to get an idea of where to go. This is the bread and butter of Shenmue, and it's hard to fault the game for it given that it's such a staple of the game. It's an adventure game, not an action RPG, so most of the game is talking to people. That said, a lot of the people you talk to are really boring and have little interesting to say (especially in Bailu Village), so this can get a bit dull after a while. Thankfully, you can press square to hurry through dialogue a bit if you're fine just reading the subtitles.

Everything outside of the talking comes back to making money though. In a change from prior Shenmue games, Ryo has a health bar that's also his stamina meter, and you need to eat food to keep it higher so you can run instead of walk (although walking is fast enough that I found myself doing it a lot of the game anyhow), and you'll also wanna have it at least a little high so you can survive a fight should you get into one. To keep that stamina up, you'll need to buy food, and that costs money.

In another change from prior Shenmue games, you don't just get better at fighting in a Virtua Fighter-style. Ryo has attack and HP stats that will go up as he masters different martial arts moves and does simple endurance mini-games respectively. Being at high health means these things level up faster, and (as we'll get to later) the combat isn't technical enough for you to simply win most story fights with technique rather than stats. As a result, there is a lot of actual grinding these mini-games and martial arts moves (just repeating them over and over during sparing) to get past a fight you simply aren't strong enough to beat. However, you can't get new martial arts moves to master just out of thin air: you need skill books. You get skill books by trading items (especially capsule toys) for them at pawn shops or outright buying them at martial arts stores, and that'll cost a lot of money as well. All this adds up to a gameplay loop that means that if you're not talking to people to solve the mystery, you're grinding out cash to get your stats up so you can win a fight to progress the story (or buy the super item you need to progress the story, as mentioned previously).

This wouldn't all be so bad if the combat were actually good, but it is not good at all. The biggest change from the prior Shenmue games is that you no longer have that Virtua Fighter-lite style of fighting. In an attempt to open up the game to more players, Yu Suzuki has opted to change the combat to no longer use directional inputs at all, and all moves are now on the four face buttons of circle, triangle, X, and square. By inputting sequences of 2-5 buttons, you'll pull off a special move. While I believe it is possible to execute a move you don't have the skill book for, you can't level up that move outside of sparing, so you do need those skill books to increase your attack power if you wanna survive the later fights in the game.

Where this really becomes a problem is how the button combo presses are just a sequence of buttons, and because there are only four buttons, the game doesn't know if you're only inputting two buttons, or if you simply haven't finished a four-button move set. This makes it almost impossible to react to opponents moves through anything outside of using the control stick to dodge, because there is a massive lag between your inputs and Ryo's attacks as he "waits" to see if you're done inputting a move or not. This makes the combat very frustrating and unrewarding to try and get good at, although it does mean that the combat itself being more about stats than technique is a small but welcome mercy.

The ways you earn money in the first place can be quite entertaining though. I mostly earned my fortune going around and collecting herbs that I'd then sell, but I also did a button pressing mini-game to earn money chopping wood quite often. Aside from that, you can gamble on all sorts of games of chance to earn money, as well as perform the iconic forklifting job once you get to Niaowu (which I'll admit I never had the patience to try). Earning money through gambling is fairly annoying, as you can't gamble directly for cash. You first need to buy tokens, then gamble (in quite small amounts) for more tokens, and you then exchange those tokens for prizes which you can THEN sell at a pawn shop for actual money. Given that you could apparently just gamble for money in Shenmue 2, this is mechanically a really annoying step back, and I was super excited when I realized that I basically never needed to gamble and could just collect herbs to get past those money-based progress barriers.

The final part of the gameplay that I think annoyed me more than anything were the quick time events. I know this is Shenmue and QTEs are a fairly iconic part of it, but they're not fun in 2019 and they frankly never were (and I'm really glad that the industry as a whole is moving away from them). If you fail a QTE, the cutscene immediately replays and you get another chance to hit the exact same button. The only actual penalty for missing a QTE is the time you lose watching the cutscene again, some of these cutscenes are really long (one near the end of the game is easily over a minute long and has only two button presses in it). I would've much rather they had no QTEs at all, or at least done what a lot of games have done recently and given you the option to turn them off. Shenmue is a very slow series to begin with, but the QTEs more than anything feel outright disrespectful of the player's time.

The last thing we'll talk about is the presentation. For reference, I played this on a PS4 Slim, so this is the base PS4 experience of the game. One of the best things the game has going for it is that it's quite pretty if you stand still and look around, particularly at the environments. Some of the NPCs look a bit uncanny valley in just how stylized they are compared to a lot of the main characters like Ryo and Shenhua, and they can also look pretty creepy when they open their mouths to talk, but it's far from a deal breaker and the game overall holds up visually just fine. The game also has some quite nice music, especially during the final battle and the chicken catching game. It's not without its odd performance issues though.

If you run around an area, NPCs take quite a few seconds to load in, although they still exist, meaning Ryo will just be bumping into air until the NPC loads in and you can interact with them. There are also many areas in Naiowu where you are forced to walk through an area to let the area ahead of you load, and this can get annoying given how often you need to run from one end of the city to the other. There are also a lot of (admittedly quite fast) loading times within cutscenes, and some of them are just these weird fades to black that happen constantly in longer cutscenes. They make for very jarring dialogue exchanges where you keep thinking the scene has ended, but in fact it's just a fade to black that could've been a quick cut, and that's a problem that the whole game is plagued with from the word 'go'.

Verdict: Not Recommended. Though I did not hate my time with Shenmue 3, and actually quite enjoyed most of it, it is not a game that I could actually recommend in good faith to anyone who doesn't already like it. The main reason I enjoyed Shenmue 3 was just down to it being an open world game, and having the same "number go up" dopamine hits of progression that any open world game has. Everything Shenmue 3 does ranges from mediocre at best to outright bad. Shenmue 3 didn't have to feel like a poor man's Yakuza, but the production decisions made along the way make it feel like precisely that. Shenmue as a series has very different goals narratively and mechanically from Yakuza, so steps could've been taken to lean into the mundanity and slow pace to bring Shenmue into the 8th generation of gaming, but that is not what YsNet did. Shenmue 3 is a game that turns its nose up at the decade and a half of innovation in the open world genre since Shenmue 2's release and the start of Shenmue 3's development. It not only refuses to imagine that Shenmue could be anything more than what it always was, but when it does try to change it's actively taking steps backwards. Shenmue 3 had the potential to be an interesting niche entry to an ever expanding genre, and is instead a nostalgia piece that simply can't imagine a world beyond itself.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:50 am

The First 50:
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)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)

As much as I generally dislike platformers, that doesn't mean that I cannot find ones that I appreciate or things to appreciate about them. Kid Dracula is a perfect example; there is a lot here to like, mainly because the game offers up variety alongside its more kid-friendly approach. Sure, it's graphically cutesy when compared to its Castlevania counterparts, but it's also well balanced, steadily builds up, and even at nine levels long throws so many differences at you that I couldn't help but enjoy the experience.

What do I mean? Well, let's start from the beginning. Kid Dracula starts off with a relatively straightforward and easy level. There are no real thrills here. Jumping feels good, you can attack in almost any direction, and when you charge your attack, you release a bigger one that does more damage. You go through the level and come up against a boss that's also quite easy. Simple. And then the game shows you that you've unlocked a new weapon type. And then the minigames start for extra lives.

Yes, between every level, you get to play from a set of minigames for bonus lives, depending on how many coins you earned by killing enemies with charged up attacks. These bonuses include roulette, a spinning lottery ball game, a game involving sticking swords into a can with a skeleton, and Can-Can dancers. Which one you get is randomized based on a ladder layout that changes every time, so I never saw the Can-Can dancers, but with enough coins, you'll likely get plenty of lives. This breaks up the gameplay in an unusual way but provides a nice distraction from the generally short platforming levels.

You also earn new weapons after almost every level, with the exception of the final couple, which is fine; you still get plenty, and while some such as the ice ball, bomb, or homing shots are great for combat, there are others that mix up your methods of getting through levels, such as turning into a bat to fly or being able to walk on the ceiling. There are times where these alternate movement abilities are required, but just as often you can also pull them out for fun to get around tough areas, provided you avoid any issues with hitboxes and pay attention to how long the powers last.

There is also a nice level of variety with the levels themselves. What starts off fairly easy and straightforward soon offers up underwater caves, icy and slick platforms, deadly traps, scrolling sections, and so on, yet the game doles these out slowly to really let you build up your skills. One of the toughest sections for me was an area towards the end which involved jumping across falling platforms inside a large tube, because there were both elements of twitch platforming as well as puzzle solving to ensure I made the right choice on where to go next. Seeing as this was near the final level though, I'd had some experiences already with scrolling segments, so I felt up for the challenge and even ended up enjoying it, even if I did get myself killed more than once through jumping too early and bumping my head on another platform. Boss fights also keep up this creativity, steadily getting harder as you go and requiring you think about your weapon loadout, though every now and again you get a curve ball like one "boss fight" that was actually a quiz show with the Statue of Liberty.

In the end, it all comes down to a final boss battle where you have to get between two lightning bolts and shoot him in the mouth as he tries to shoot you with a projectile. It tests your timing and your ability to gauge where your hitbox is, both serving as a challenge and building on skills you've spent the whole game getting down.

The hitbox is probably the one area where things get a little wonky, as I occasionally found myself hitting the edge of it and getting hurt or killed; in the moment, it feels weird, but it ended up helping out against the final boss because I had an idea of how big it actually was. What I thought was an error was actually a teaching tool... Plus, the game is generally forgiving with health and steadily offers far more powerups to increase your max health than you will likely actually need. While Kid Dracula offers up some challenges, it's generous and encourages you to keep going. And with the array of gameplay you get, you never get bored of it being the same old thing over and over. I found it quite charming.

Yeah, go Kid Dracula.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:05 pm

Wait, that's the Fami version right? And who hates platformers?????

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)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)

41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
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In 1987 Taito released an arcade game called Darius. It was about shooting evil alien space fish and was so epic that a row of three horizontal screens was needed to capture the action. Soon after came The Ninja Warriors, which called for the same sort of grandiose setup. The Ninja Warriors is a beat 'em up, which was ported to the PC Engine and Mega CD (in Japan only, if those console names didn't give it away) as well as an assortment of home computers. It was followed by a Super Nintendo game called Ninja Warriors (humorously titled The Ninja Warriors Again in Japan), which kind of treads a fine line between sequel and port, and then that was remade later on as The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (or, The Ninja Warriors Once Again). In any event, this Arcade Archives release is that very first game, emulated by Hamster in all its coin-eating glory.

The story's about the dystopian future of 1993, where a totalitarian government issues martial law across the nation. A rebel group sends some ninjas out on a suicide mission. Except these aren't regular ninjas: they're highly-advanced android ninjas. Player 1 takes control of the female ninja (kunoichi) by default, which is surprising to see in a game from this era. The (co-op) player 2 is the more traditional masculine ninja clad in dark blue garb.
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The game's unique aesthetics are immediately apparent. The "stretched" three-monitor effect is created on the Switch by placing large black bars on both the top and bottom of the screen. It noticeably shrinks the action window, though the same can be said about any 4:3 Arcade Archives release. In order to accurately comprehend all the game's details it's best to play this on a television as opposed to handheld mode. The graphics are excellent. Backgrounds are richly composed; the journey unfolds across an urban wasteland replete with burned-out buildings, graffiti, and imposing military vehicles. Sprites are massive, with richly detailed animation. The walk cycles are particularly realistic and impressive. Though the highlight here is undoubtedly the sound design. The soundtrack is performed by Zuntata, Taito's in-house band. "Daddy Mulk" -- the theme from stage one which resurfaces later on -- is an absolutely legendary track, sporting some of the sleekest synths around, plus some chanting robotic voices, and an unexpected shamisen solo that drops shortly after the three-minute mark. It's quite astonishing. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it doesn't hit as hard as "Daddy Mulk" but is pretty competent nevertheless. There are also plenty of high-definition sound samples. The game is full of varying grunts, groans, and squeals, and the most cowardly foes scream "Retreat!" as they sprint off-screen.

As The Ninja Warriors predates the game-changer known as Final Fight, it's crafted in an older style reminiscent of Irem's Kung-Fu Master. Levels are large flat planes, though the final stage also boasts a few staircases. The ninjas can jump and execute two attacks: slashing with a short-range kunai or tossing shurikens, which are limited in number. Combat isn't particularly nuanced, and the game gets dreadfully hard in the final stages which are absolutely overflowing with enemy combatants. Thankfully, there are respawn continues and Arcade Archives offers up its typical supply of infinite virtual quarters. There's only one life allotted per credit, and as a cool graphical effect the ninjas shed clothing as they take damage, revealing their true inorganic natures.

Ultimately, the super-slick retro-futuristic style of the The Ninja Warriors clashes with the gameplay itself. This is a slow one, with a frustratingly lethargic walking speed and a bloated runtime. It takes around thirty-five minutes to clear this, which is actually quite a lot given how repetitive the action is. This is a decent enough game: for many it will serve as an adequate preview for the SNES successor, which is typically held in much higher esteem.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:02 pm

I hate platformers. And yeah, it's apparently the first official port of the Famicom game. I think you'd like this collection, Bone.
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