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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:54 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2020!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Pikmin 2 (GCN)
2. Banjo-Tooie (N64)
3. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)
4. Super Baseball Simulator 1,000 (SNES)
5. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)
6. Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection (PS2)
***7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)***
***8. Cruis'N USA (N64)***
9. Arc The Lad Collection (PS1)
10. Halo 2 (XBOX)
11. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean (GCN)
12. DuckTales 2 (NES)
13. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
14. Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
***15. Skies of Arcadia (SDC)***
16. Dragon Quest V (SNES)
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom (PS1)

***18. Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (GEN)***

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I completed Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition on the Sega Genesis this evening!

This is the version of Street Fighter II that I grew up on. I remember fondly beating the game with Ryu so many times that I lost count. It wasn't until I went through with all characters how unbalanced some of the characters. The addition of new moves in later versions really helped the characters out. Still, the game plays amazingly well and isn't as dizzy heavy as the original SFII. The game will always hold a special place in my heart as I learned fighting games on this specific game.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:46 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) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)

49. Wandersong (Switch)

Wandersong is a cute little game I had recommended to me ages ago, but I can't really remember the why or how of that happening. All I know is that at some point I bought it for my Switch, tried it out for a few hours, and then bounced off of it. It's been languishing up until now, and I finally finished it yesterday. It took me about 8 hours to complete the English version of the game all in one sitting.

Wandersong is a story about a bard. You have a dream one night about being tested as the hero who will save the world... and fail. You fail horribly, and the guardian spirit of the world informs you in no uncertain terms of this. The world has a destined hero, and it is soooo not you. However, the bard does learn of something called the Earthsong, something that could theoretically save the world, but it's never been successfully done. Undeterred, the bard sets out on a quest with his new companion Miriam the witch to try and save the world in a universe that is DEFINITELY about to end.

You travel to all sorts of different locales: an archipelago full of singing and coffee-loving pirates, a city under the thumb of an oppressive toy factory, and a freezing mountain on the edge of the world. All while reality slowly begins to crumble around you and the actual destined hero harries you at every turn, given that you're on two conflicting quests. Wandersong is a story about hope and the relationships between people. The story takes a while to get going, but once it does it really had me hooked (I'd say it starts getting good a couple hours in at Act 3). The dialogue is silly, but balances seriousness with that well. It eases you into the characters of Miriam and the bard with the silliness, and gets to how they function as people beyond that. I was delightfully surprised by the writing in this game, and it at times feels like a VN despite being more a puzzle platformer with a large focus on its story.

The actual gameplay loop of Wandersong is a puzzle platformer, but ultimately not a terribly challenging one, although it certainly has more tricky parts that I would've predicted it had. You can walk around and jump, but what the game really flexes its puzzles with is your ability to sing (you ARE a bard, after all). By pushing the right stick in the 8 cardinal directions, each one sings a different note, and the game uses this mechanic for all manner of puzzles. Puzzles rarely repeat outside of the singing parts, and the game does a great job at pacing puzzles so they go on long enough to feel satisfying but not so long that they feel overly repetitive. They're a great framework for the story to take place in, and they add a lot of character to the bard, as you can basically sing whenever you want, and you also choose dialogue options in conversations by selecting a direction on the little color wheel that appears to help you select notes. You can even hold L to start dancing whenever you want. It has no bearing on the gameplay, but there's a secret new dance to discover in each area of the game, and it's good silly fun to just start dabbing during a cutscene X3

The presentation of the game is super fun. It almost has a paper-craft style to it with how everything is constructed out of shapes. The world is bright, colorful, and full of personality, from the backgrounds to even side characters. The music is also really good, often reacting dynamically to how you're playing the game or what your bard is singing. Nothing particularly MP3-worthy, but it does a great job at making the overall theme of music come alive as well as setting the mood for scenes very well, especially the bard's singing parts.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. There are a lot of indie puzzle platformers out there, I won't deny that, but this is easily one of the most memorable I've ever played. With a strong presentation and a solid story, it's definitely one of my favorite games I've played this year.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:11 pm

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)
52. Castlevania (Switch)(Platformer)
53. Akumajō Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)


I played through the NTSC-U release of Castlevania for the NES and the NTSC-J Famicom cart release back to back and then jumped back and forth between versions to compare them. Instead of breaking these apart into separate discussions, I thought it better to go over them at the same time because, at their core, they are the same game. Most of the differences between the two cartridge versions are cosmetic, save for one significant option incorporated into the Japanese release. However, I won't be going into the Famicom Disk System version because I did not play that one. While both of the cart releases were included in the Castlevania Anniversary Collection that I am checking out on the Nintendo Switch, the FDS release was unfortunately not included.

Do any of us not know what Castlevania is? It's hard to think that someone might not, as it continues to be an important franchise in video games, even as Konami seems to be taking the plunge out of the video gaming world. For those of you not in the know, however, the Castlevania series started as a 2D side-scrolling platformer with a lot of action, difficult enemies and boss battles, a nice array of subweapons which invoke some strategy, secrets spread throughout, and a story that culled classic movie monsters so much that the devs even put film perforations on the edge of the title screen (which are even more noticeable in the Famicom release). This formed the basis for what we now think of as "Classicvania" style, as opposed to the "Metroidvania" and 3D gameplay styles that were adopted later...or the fighting game, but we won't go into that.

Castlevania isn't an easy game, but as a horror fan, it's a series I have always had an affection for. It's also a rewarding experience to play back through and discover which subweapons and strategies work against different enemy types and especially against bosses. Beating the game also warrants a new playthrough at higher difficulty, with additional enemies tossed in to really add to the challenge. Plus, it forms the basis for the numerous tunes that form Castlevania's fantastic music library, so just grooving to the music is well worth it.

It's also a surprisingly short game, coming in at six levels, but with the replayability factor, that's actually not a major detriment. Simon Belmont takes his whip, goes into a castle and beats Dracula's ass, and then the adventure starts over again to further test your skills. There are a few minor differences between the two cart releases, but ultimately you get the same thing in both, with generally responsive controls, a lot of knockback when taking a hit, and a hero who sinks like a stone but yet never feels sluggish the way something like Castlevania the Adventure feels.

In fact, there is one major difference in my mind that might put the Japanese release over the US one, if only for beginners; the Japanese Famicom release has a difficulty option not present for the Americans. This makes sense, as the Famicom cart came out a few years later, so Konami devs had time to review critiques and make adjustments, and if you're a Castlevania veteran, there is little reason to need an Easy mode. For a beginner, it may also lead to some bad habits; there's no knockback, you get to keep your subweapon after death, and you always start levels with 30 hearts to use said subweapon as opposed to 0. Yet it will show you the crux of the game, and it even loops into an easy "Hard Mode" at the end, with all the extra enemies but the Easy difficulty benefits.

I can't really say either one is a definitive version over the other. They're both fantastic games, and as a lover of horror films and games, I adore it. Even if it does kick my butt.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:17 pm

Based and variantpilled. I dunno why you guys don't own a Famicom Disk System though. Such an accessible console.

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)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)

43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
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Kid Niki: Radical Ninja feels like one of the most generic 8-bit platformers around. B attacks, A jumps, twenty-minute runtime, eight levels, Data East as publisher. I suspect this was a frequent "back in the day" rental, and folks who were saddled with this one for a weekend likely all felt the same way come Sunday night, whether the game was finished or not: "Meh." Kid Niki arrived on the NES back in '87, but its history runs much deeper. It's a port of an Irem arcade original, and it received two Japan-only Famicom sequels plus a Game Boy spin-off. Kid Niki also received the requisite (and only moderately playable) computers ports. And yes, as you probably guessed, Kid Niki: Radical Ninja was once of those corny Americanized titles: in Japan it was called Kaiketsu Yanchamaru.

As the game begins, Niki is just chillin' at Ninja School. Yeah, you know, Ninja School. A bird, pierced by an arrow, crashes in and falls dead at Niki's feet. This next part isn't conveyed well within the game, but attached to the bird was a note, informing Niki of a recent princess kidnapping. Not a big fan of doors, Niki crashes through the school walls and begins his quest.

Stages are typical affairs, scrolling left to right with plenty of insta-death pitfalls. As the game takes place in feudal Japan there are some intriguing attempts at "period" scenery mixed in with all the "typical" settings (an ice cave, forest, and so on). The jump controls are actually quite good, which is essential given the glut of precision platforming. Niki can pivot in midair; he's not as smooth as Mario but he gets the job done. As far as combat goes, Niki's equipped with a blade that thrusts out in front of him and twirls for a second. It's a decently large weapon, able to strike foes who approach from both the side and from above. There's a temporary special weapon, granted by collecting a bell, which causes a ball to spin around Niki. It technically possesses a longer range than the blade, but is more difficult to aim, making its acquisition something of a gamble.

The enemy selection is pretty standard: bad ninjas, bad monks, lots of random animals. Many enemies simply charge at Niki, though some ninjas throw projectiles. They don't come rushing out guns blazing (or shurikens blazing), there's a "lag" between their first appearance and first attack, and it's advantageous to clear out these foes quickly. The game is very fond of diagonal attack patterns, as every bird in Nippon is determined to dive-bomb Niki at a 45 degree angle. Again, these can be taken out (or avoided outright) as they first appear onscreen, as they don't instantaneously initiate their assault. Bosses are something else altogether. They're huge creatures, lifted straight from Japanese lore. Attack patterns and weak points are not always readily apparent, so a little experimentation is typically necessary. Whenever Niki strikes a boss his blade breaks, and he must go and retrieve the piece before attacking again. It comes across like a bizarre way to counter button-mashing and also feels somewhat glitchy in practice. It's possible for Niki's blade to get wedged in an unreachable place, but should he get "close enough" he somehow manages to recollect it. Defeating a boss displays a message proclaiming "Atta Boy!" -- who wrote the script here, Niki's dad?
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As far as overall difficulty goes, file Kid Niki into the "annoying" category. All standard enemies suffer one-hit deaths, but so does the Kid. Checkpoints are available, but are oftentimes spread too far apart to feel useful. Mercifully, there are continues, but the average player will be inclined to quit well before seeing the game through. Despite the relatively smooth character movement, generally speaking, the sheer amount of enemies makes this one of those "meticulous" games; best to creep through it cautiously rather than attempt to make a full steam charge ahead.

The graphical presentation is rather sad. Niki looks decent enough, but the enemies are static and bland. Many of the stage backgrounds are comprised of garish clashing colors. Others are simply one-note and boring. The "ice caves" boast an ugly green/brown backdrop, with the only "ice" being the floor and ceiling. A certain stretch of Round 5 regresses into sub-Atari visuals, as Niki traverses grass(?) comprised of large plain green stacked blocks. To counter, the game occasionally surprises with some nice visuals, like the giant Buddha in the aforementioned Round 5, and the detailed world map. But these moments are few and far between. The soundtrack doesn't fare much better. There's about seven minutes of music total, with the constantly-looping and annoyingly-chipper "stage theme" being the most commonly-heard lowlight. The sound effects are okay.

Kid Niki is functional and isn't gravely offensive, but it also does nothing impressive. It feels like Irem's early attempt to embrace the platformer craze, and a shaky attempt at that. I recommend this to Nintendo completionists, Ninja School students, and no one else.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:23 pm

Oh man, Ninja School was totally rad, dude!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dsheinem Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:38 am

Yikes, been two months since I updated this...

I've fallen into a very old habit of playing things for short bursts and moving on, so beating games has fallen off this year. I think I have this all updated, though...

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
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
Psychosis - Turbo Grafx-16
Splatterhouse - Turbo Grafx-16 *new*
Minecraft Dungeons - X1 *new*
Astro Bot Rescue Mission - PSVR *new*
Samurai Shodown (2019) - PS4 *new*
Tank Force - Switch (Arcade) *new*
Call of Duty: WWII - PS4 *new*

Total: 26


Previously:
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Last edited by dsheinem on Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:01 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) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)

50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

This is a series I've neglected for a long long time, and I saw the original PS2 games for 300 yen a piece a month or so ago and thought it was a fine time to finally pick 'em up. I've still got the itch for 3D platformers in me after finishing Mario Sunshine and such, so this seemed like a perfect time to give Insomniac's PS2 hit a try. It took me around 11 hours to finish the Japanese version of the game, and I did not go and hunt for more collectibles.

Ratchet & Clank is the story of Ratchet, a wannabe hero who teams up with Clank, a robot on a mission to stop the evil Chairman Drek. Drek is a Blarg, and the Blarg's homeworld was overpolluted and overpopulated, so they need a new homeworld. Drek is harvesting chunks of other planets, destroying them in the process, and using the pieces to make a new homeworld for the Blarg. Clank and Ratchet set out to stop Drek's evil scheme, one step at a time, by collecting infobots slowly revealing where the evil chairman himself is hiding. It's a lighthearted and fairly simple story, but it's packed with lively characters and pretty locations.

It's a bit odd hearing the quite iconic voice cast (which I was familiar with despite not having played the games much at all before) in Japanese rather than English (especially Captain Qwark), but it really grew on me after a while, and the dub is well done, as is the localization. Lots of important signs re textured to be in Japanese rather than English, good voice talent, good lip syncing. I admit I didn't get a lot of the story, both because I was often talking with friends onilne while I was playing, and also because the game has pretty crappy subtitles (granted the subs are only in Japanese, of course). For the first part, it hides the option for them fairly well, by not having them in the main menu's option menu, but only accessible from the in-game option menu (for whatever reason), and even then, that's only subtitles for in-game dialogue. Pre-rendered cutscenes never have any subtitles, and that really sucks as far as accessibility options go.

The gameplay is a more linear action platformer, but with some adventure game elements. You travel to over a dozen worlds, each having several paths through them that lead to either optional or required items you'll need to progress. All the while you'll be collecting bolts (money) that you'll use to both buy more guns and ammo at the various store around the game, but you'll also need them to buy those required items at the ends of each of those paths (this IS from the Spyro the Dragon devs, after all XD). The levels are mechanically largely the same, but there's usually at least one gimmick in each to make it feel different than the last (including some levels where you play as either just Ratchet or just Clank).

The game's combat uses Ratchet's wrench as your default melee attack, but before long you'll get scads of guns to use to blow opponents away. There are some 18 guns in the game (with some quite well hidden super versions of some), and those that use ammo each have their own ammo requirement. You have everything from a flamethrower to a camera-guided missile launcher to a laser that turns your opponents into chickens, and it's good fun smashing stuff and blasting things away. The game can get quite mean with withholding ammo from you, particularly if you die, as enemies rarely (if ever?) drop ammo and ammo crates don't respawn between deaths.

This was quite a surprisingly challenging game. You can eventually upgrade your life meter about 2/3rds of the way in through the game, but you spend most of the game with only 4 hits between you and death, and the game is pretty stingy with handing out more health. it's also pretty darn mean with checkpoints and bottomless pits (especially on the magnet boot sections). Tie that all in with how this is a 3rd person shooting game with no strafing mechanic and the fact that Ratchet is pretty slow and has a big turning circle, and you're probably gonna die quite a bit. The game is pretty merciful in that there's no extra life mechanic, but the game has a lot of sections that didn't feel totally fair, and that I had to try over and over to see the best way of not getting overwhelmed by the hordes of enemies.

Those enemy horde rooms are just one of the frequent "ugh" aspects this game has to it. A lot of later game enemies both fly, shoot guns, and take several melee hits. Ratchet also has only a couple guns that have any meaningful range to them. I spent most of the game using only a small handful of weapons since your hotbar only holds 8 tools + weapons (and you have 6 tools + those 18 weapons), and only a few weapons seemed all that meaningfully effective. Running out of ammo in the later game is a real death sentence, and it made the action get more often frustrating than tense. Then there's the aforementioned tightrope wakling magnet boot sections, the awful hoverboard races, the turret and ship-flying sections. The game has a lot of rough aspects to its design that make for a game that is just as often fun as it is annoying.

For presentation, the game is fairly pretty graphically for a 2002 PS2 game. It's hardly the prettiest thing in the world, but the world has a colorful, fun style to it, and it really helps bring the zany, loud characters to life with how cartoony their designs are. The music is pretty darn forgettable though, and is very much "atmospheric" more than anything else.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This is on the higher end of my hesitantly recommended list, but I really didn't feel comfortable giving this a recommended. It's not often I'm just "done" enough with a game to not even try to get the collectibles in it, but that was very much the case with this game. I'd say it's worth a shot if you can find it for cheap, but the overall product is such an "early 2000's platformer" for better and for worse that it very well might be more frustration than it's worth for a lot of people.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:15 am

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)
21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)
22. Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN)
24. Resident Evil 6 (360)
25. Skies of Arcadia (DC)

Image

26. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)

I was nervous when I first heard there would be another title in the Streets of Rage series, as I was hoping the installment wouldn't be a disappointment. But once I saw the gameplay videos released, I thought it looked promising, and had been anticipating the game's release since. I introduced my girlfriend to Streets of Rage 2 a few years ago, and she became a fan of the series, so when the game was announced, she pre-ordered a copy on the Switch through Limited Run right away. She received the game a few weeks ago, but due to the pandemic, we haven't been seeing each other as much, so this weekend we finally hung out and put some time into the co-op mode. I played through the game as Axel and she played as Blaze the first time around. The second time, I tried playing as Cherry and she chose Adam.

In regards to the graphics, I think the creators of the game did a really nice job with the art style. The backgrounds are really detailed and definitely fit in with the rest of the games in the series in terms of keeping it to a dark city environment. I especially like the look of the train level. The character designs look great and the animations are really smooth. It's cool to see the original characters appear here as well as some bosses from the original games. The soundtrack is going to be heavily critiqued due to the greatness of the soundtrack from the first two games (I personally wasn't a fan of the experimental sounds from SOR 3). I found the soundtrack to be pretty impressive for the most part. There's a few songs that I don't care for, but overall I think it's pretty good, and we found ourselves turning up the volume in some instances. We didn't try playing with the retro music, but will give that a shot next time.

I didn't notice any issues with the controls, and it was pretty easy to get a hang of, as the move inputs follow the previous titles. The additional special move inputs also fit in well with the control scheme. The one main difference that took me a little time to get used to was pressing a different button to pick up an item, but it's a nice touch, as it's a lot easier to avoid picking up a weapon or health accidentally while in the middle of combat. Also, it's nice that friendly hits can be turned off, so you don't accidentally beat up your partner. Some other cool features are the ability to save your progress in the middle of a play through, the customization of the health items, being able to switch between soundtrack styles, online play, the option to unlock a lot of characters, and the warps to secret sections of certain levels. We found the difficulty of the game to be fairly challenging but were still having a blast, and I'm sure we'll get a bit better over time, as we get more familiar with the game.

Overall, this game is a really fun beat 'em up, and one of the best co-op experiences from a new game I've had in a long time. We really enjoyed this title, it lived up to our expectations, and is a worthy entry in the Streets of Rage series IMO. The remaining unlockables also give us a good incentive to go back and continue playing, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with this game and trying out the different characters, especially the new characters. I highly recommend it!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:08 am

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

1-50
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)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)


51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)

The R&C train continues as I move right onto the sequel. It's still a very recognizable game from the first, but this game has a TON of small but super significant improvements over the original, so I was pretty immediately drawn in. It took me around 12 hours to finish the Japanese version of the game while only getting a couple collectibles.

In this game, Ratchet & Clank find themselves where they ended the first game: watching TV at home. When suddenly, an eccentric inventor from another galaxy transports them to his location and tells them he needs their help to recover his stolen Protopet! After 2 weeks of commando training (off screen), Ratchet and Clank set off to save this missing Protopet and figure out just who the real bad guys may be. The story is certainly better and more involved than the first, but its overall presentation is still pretty similar. Most characters just amount to being little more than quirky item vendors you meet only one time, but it's still entertaining, and the overall resolution to the story is fun. Ratchet & Clank's banter is still fun as ever and it's a pleasing overlay to the platforming action of the main gameplay.

The main gameplay is very similar to the first game, but with many improvements. It's still a series of planets with a few branching paths in each. You kill enemies to get money to buy weapons to keep going through those planets to find more tools and guns and navigation data to new levels. Just how much better this game plays than the first game cannot be overstated, though. You can FINALLY strafe! In a third-person shooting game, this helps the combat out MASSIVELY, as you can probably easily imagine. On top of that, Ratchet also moves way less clumsily than he does in the first game, and his jumping and walking are tighter overall. Checkpoints are more frequent as well as actually being told to you when they happen, there are far less annoying and awful minigames (although there are still a couple), and ammo boxes actually respawn now between deaths so ammo is far less of a worry.

The guns are also better across the board, with nearly all of them being far more generally useful rather than the more circumstantial-to-useless feeling so many guns in the first game had. They also level up as you use them, going from normal to upgraded, and helping your favorite guns stay more relevant through more of the game. Ratchet himself also has an XP bar of sorts now, as killing more enemies will eventually trigger you to gain a new quarter of a life container (they're basically like hearts in Zelda), so you end up dying a LOT less even though the game's enemies do hit harder as you progress through the story. This game, like the first, still has an issue with some super weapons and armor (which reduces the amount of damage you take across the board by a percentage) being HORRIFICALLY expensive and requiring hours and hours of grinding for cash to acquire. A lot of the normal guns and armor are also quite prohibitively expensive, but the game really doesn't expect you to collect them all on your first playthrough (given that the game has a new game+ mode of sorts).

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a radical improvement from the first game in just about every way. It plays so much better I was actually happy to chase some of the more silly in-game side quests, like collecting every crystal and moon stone, simply because I was having so much fun with the combat. It's not quite perfect, but it's held up damn well and is still very worth playing so many years after its release.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:41 pm

  1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch)
  2. Joe and Mac 2 (SNES via Switch Online)
  3. Stardew Valley (Switch) - New
  4. Cosmic Star Heroine (Switch) - New
  5. Grandia HD (Switch)
  6. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)
  7. Kotodama (Switch)

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - Switch

I actually beat this game right before starting Grandia, but kind of forgot about it, because I was really just resuming playing from about a year or so before. My feelings on this game are complicated. On the one hand, the graphics, animation, and audio experience are great, and it's clear that Inti Creates took great care to craft this game in loving homage to games of old but without feeling completely tethered, just as with Blaster Master Returns. And just like Blaster Master Returns, I find it frustrating in places due to an insistence upon making the game feel NES-hard in many places. Basically, this is an 8-bit-inspired game that mimics many elements of Castlevania III, including rescuing characters who join your party to whom you can switch mid-play. Each character has different movement and jump characteristics, a different attack, and different sub-weapon attacks. You can use this team to advance through the game. Unlike CV3, you can have all your partners with you and not just 1. You don't lose a "life" until all your characters are dispatched. There is an "easy" mode which reduces knockback and allows infinite continues. But everything else is still really hard.

Many have hailed this game as a successor to Castlevania III, and while it's clearly inspired, I'm not feeling it. In discussion with MrPopo on the Racketboy Slack channel he noted that his experience with Castlevania III is through speedrunners and playing in a manner similar to how speedrunners play. Whereas my approach to the game is much slower and more thorough. I think that's where the disconnect is. Perhaps if you play both games with a mind for speed they do start to feel very similar, but for someone who plays the games the way I do, they feel quite disparate, despite obvious similarities. As a cautious player, I felt like Curse of the Moon was looking to punish me for playing the way I wanted to, whereas I didn't get that feeling from Castlevania III.

I really wanted to like this game, and from what I've read I didn't unlock the "true" ending or anything, which is fine. I'm not going back to try again. It is a well-crafted game that many do love, but for me, I just am not down with the challenge level. If you have more tolerance for frustration and NES-hard you'll likely have a great time.

Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa - Switch

This is a VN and puzzle game that was on big sale not a long time back. I picked it up because Bone speaks so highly of the Visual Novel experience (generally, not Kotodama specifically) and I wanted to know what's up with that. Well, I'm both impressed and depressed by Kotodama. Production values are strong, with more voice acting than expected, good art, and an excellent localization. This is also one of those VNs you have to replay for multiple endings, which is to say it is like most VNs out these days. For those who haven't played a VN, it's basically a bunch of still backdrops and character portraits with some minimal animation that play out like a Choose Your Own Adventure story, but with far fewer branches. You often have the choice of which order to visit certain places and on rare occasions that will affect the outcome of the story. Unlike CYOA stories (and point and click adventure titles) there aren't a billion different ways to die or prematurely end the story. So basically you read (and listen, thanks to lots of voice work) the story while looking at characters and backdrops. So maybe an illustrated light novel (to use a Japanese genre term) with lots of choice points, of which only a few are critical, is a better descriptor. Kotodama has reviewed moderately well in most outlets, getting a 62 score on Metacritic, but there are a couple truly scathing reviews, including from NintendoLife. I will address the reason for those scathing reviews below, because I don't disagree with their rationale at all.

What makes Kotodama different from many other VNs is the inclusion of puzzle elements. Your main character is a transfer student to a new high school, and he just happens to have a pact with a little cat-demon. That pact allows him to use a special power to reach into people's minds and compel them to, if briefly, tell the truth. You do this through a match-3 type game where, instead of swapping pairs of tiles, you select (or tap: this game can be played completely with the touch screen, which is kind of cool) a tile and it jumps up to the top row, allowing all the tiles above it's old spot to fall into place, triggering matches and cascades. You get special tiles for doing long cascades. As you advance through the puzzle match, you slowly strip the defenses away from the character's mind by hitting specific spots on a match meter, stripping off their clothes until they are left in their undies (there is no actual nudity, thankfully) and you win. You have a set number of moves, which increase every time you strip off part of their outfit, and which can also be increased by using special "tease" items like a feather, ice, etc..., uses of which you also get via matches. Different "tease" items have a different risk/reward balance, e.g. the feather gives you 2 moves if successful, and has a 60% chance of success. When it doesn't succeed, the result can either be neutral (waste of a tease action) or negative. Each character has a different negative response, from locking tiles to shuffling the board. As you go through the game you investigate several mysteries at the school, talk to teachers and classmates, both named and generic, visit different locales within the school, and attempt to unlock the truths the characters wish to hide.

Where Kotodama excels is production quality. The voice work is great. The art is great. And the localization actually flows really smoothly and doesn't feel awkward at all. There are only a couple minor editing errors that were clearly typos. And the story has some really interesting twists which you may not expect. While the characters are in some ways kind of generic manga/anime tropes, they do have enough detail and interactions that they start to stand out a bit from their tropes. Some of that standout personality, however, comes from unlocking their secrets and revealing the person under the facade, which is a neat narrative device. The game also has lots of quality of life features, like quick save and quick load, and to facilitate multiple playthroughs, it remembers which choices you've made and will remind you at key points which choices were ones which advanced the story or ran it aground. It also has an auto-text-advance option, which you can set to only advance text you've read before, so when you go through again you can have it fast-forward through the sections you've already been through and stop for input at either a decision point or where it hits dialogue that's new or changed.

Kotodama falls down in a couple areas, though. One is repetition. If you fail a match game you go to the load screen, from which you can only load regular game saves, not quick saves (so you have to restore a regular save and then quick load back to your quick save). When you replay you do have to play all the match games again, and the match-3 gameplay just isn't strong enough to carry as many times as you have to play if you want to see all the game has to offer. So you need to develop strategies quickly to make sure you can get through those match games with minimal fuss. So yeah, a strong variety element in the early game that becomes annoying in the late-game. The other area this game falls down is also in the match games: the stripping of the characters. Yes, it's a very nice metaphor - their clothes are their defenses, and you must bare the truth. But here's the thing... As you make matches and strip their clothes they make moans and squeals and flinch in pleasure and pain. These high school students who are, for legal purposes, all 18. And even though this only takes place in a magical shared mind-space, it is kind of creepy and out of place, because the VN sections of the game don't sexualize the characters at all. So you have these platonic story interactions with characters and suddenly, "STRIP GAME!" And as the NintendoLife reviewer pointed out and was so offended by, this is also rather non-consentual. You basically violate their emotional privacy in a way that is highly sexualized, in a game that is otherwise not at all sexualizing. While almost all the characters are female, there is one male character you also have to find out the truth from. That token inclusion doesn't blunt the real problems with this.

Now, that didn't ruin the game for me as it might for some. I find it cringe-worthy, but also not inconsistent with other Japanese games of this type. This is just how Japan often makes these kinds of games, for good or for ill. By talking about it I hope to make people aware, and maybe over time more Japanese developers will get away from including pointless sexualization in games which otherwise don't have any sexual elements (and avoid non-consentual scenarios altogether). On the whole, I enjoyed Kotodama and would encourage people to give it a try as long as they can cope with the inappropriate, non-consentual sexualization of the characters (if you are downright OK with it, that's another conversation altogether, one I don't want to have). The actual game story and characters are pretty compelling. So play it for the great story, enjoy a few brief puzzle breaks, and try to not get grossed out by the out-of-place non-consentual sexualization.
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