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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:21 pm

Yeah the sexual content in visual novels is a big issue. I've never played a game that's enhanced by such content. It's always detrimental to the overall plot and flow.

It feels jarring too. Perhaps because there's nothing comparable in Western media, where "normal" media and pornographic media are segregated. There are visual novels with like 20 hours of epic combat, romance, comedy, etc. and then BAM -- a random boning scene. It's always cringey and I actually prefer the censored Steam versions of a great many of these games (like Muv-Luv Alternative).

Anyway, play Steins;Gate.
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:34 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Yeah the sexual content in visual novels is a big issue. I've never played a game that's enhanced by such content. It's always detrimental to the overall plot and flow.

It feels jarring too. Perhaps because there's nothing comparable in Western media, where "normal" media and pornographic media are segregated. There are visual novels with like 20 hours of epic combat, romance, comedy, etc. and then BAM -- a random boning scene. It's always cringey and I actually prefer the censored Steam versions of a great many of these games (like Muv-Luv Alternative).

Anyway, play Steins;Gate.


It definitely feels shoe-horned into Kotodama. I mean, there's no sex and they aren't naked, but even just presenting them pin-up style combined with the sound effects... It's just weird. If it had been any skeevier it would have been a show-stopper for me. As it is, it's just a big black mark on an otherwise interesting story.

I will probably play something short and action oriented before Steins;Gate, but I will get there. I deliberately bought it to play it. This wasn't just a "Hey, it's cheap! I should throw some pennies at it!" acquisition.
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pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:47 pm

@marurun: interesting thoughts on curse of the moon, as someone who grew up with castlevania 1 and 3 I felt the game was too easy, but I play loads of castlevanias including difficult the romhacks of the original so I am coming into it with a different perspective. I am definitely not a speed runner and like to just go slow and take my time but I think I am just very used to the jumping mechanics and avoiding flying stuff.

Having said that, if you feel the first was annoyingly hard definitely do not play cotm 2, I think it is a great game, but it is much harder, frustratingly hard IMO, so definitely not for everyone.

124. Captain America (xbox 360)
125. Mega Man (nes)

Captain America for the xbox 360 is a decent game that does not do anything special but sticks nicely to its source material and is a somewhat enjoyable romp.

I'm not exactly sure when this game takes place, it is taking place during world war 2, but does not reflect the events of the film, I am guessing this is framed as an untold war story somewhere between when steve was given the super soldier serum and when he takes down red skull and gets frozen. The cast of the movie is all here and voiced by their hollywood actors, making the game feel like a nice spin off story.

Gameplay is nothing revolutionary but it is competant. You run around environments, use caps acrobatic skills to engage in some qte platforming, collect stuff for upgrades, and fight loads of enemies in a combat system inspired by the arkham series but not as polished. Mobs of enemies attack, you ryhtmically tap the attack button, when an enemy glows you can block, dodge, or counter with different button presses, there are a few special moves, and you can throw caps shield around and laugh as it richochets through groups of enemies.

Total gameplay is about 4.5 hours, if I bought this game for $60 when it was new I probably would have been disappointed, but buying it 10 years later for 5 bucks or so was definitely worth it. It is not too deep but I am a big captain America fan, and although the gameplay is pretty simplistic, it is fun and the story is good enough to keep fans engaged.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:21 am

January through June:
January
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

February
Megaman X (Switch)
Nekketsu Highschool Dodgeball Club (Switch)
Super Dodgeball (Switch)

March

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (SNK Pro Stick)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

April

Batman The Telltale Series (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
SNK Gals' Fighter (Switch)

May

King of Fighters 97: Global Match (PS4)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

June
Megaman X3 (Switch)
Megaman X4 (Switch)
King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match (PS4)
King of Fighters 99 (Switch)
Injustice 2 (PS4)


July

Donkey Kong Country (WiiU)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)


August

Shovel Knight Showdown (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS4)


Just a quick catch-up post before I forget what games I've beaten recently. Not a lot of thoughts to share except:

- Cadence of Hyrule is still a really fun time and one of the best Zelda games in recent memory
- Bloodstained Curse of the Moon is Castlevania 3 with better game design but worse music
- Shovel Knight: Showdown REALLY needs online matchmaking
- The original arcade version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 is underwhelming when you are used to the MAX and Upper releases.
The PSTV is amazing.
---------------
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:02 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)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)

44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
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Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin is a Famicom Disk System game released in 1987, and the sequel to Akumajou Dracula. After defeating Dracula in his first outing, vampire-slayer Simon Belmont finds himself cursed and discovers the Count's minions roaming the lands. He takes it upon himself to trek through Transylvania, gathering "pieces" of Dracula's ruined body so he can annihilate his nemesis for good. Or for a few decades at least. If this all sounds familiar it's because Dracula II is in fact the original Japanese version of what was known as Castlevania II: Simon's Quest elsewhere in the world (and yes, Akumajou Dracula is the original Castlevania).

Of course, since nothing in the world of video games is ever straightforward, Dracula II is technically the third game in the series. It's preceded by the MSX2 installment Vampire Killer, which plays much like the original Akumajou Dracula but with labyrinthine stages and keys required to progress. Dracula II takes things a step further, with a larger "open world" concept. Along with Metroid, Dracula II was instrumental in codifying the elements of the "Metroidvania" genre of nonlinear 2D platformers. It's a genre that persists to this day and, if a glance at available Steam indie titles is any indicator, shows no signs of slowing down. Dracula II differs from the localized Castlevania II in a great many ways, several of which are due to the nature of Nintendo's hardware. In Dracula II, new areas must load from disk whenever they are entered. There are also several spots where the disk must be flipped to continue. Instead of passwords, the game boasts a Zelda-like set of three save slots. Text is a mixture of English (opening and closing texts) and Japanese (NPC text), and the Dracula II title screen is a delightfully bloody throwback to classic horror films.

While Samus Aran's quest begins with her tucked away in her own little corner of an alien world, Simon Belmont is instead placed in a town with pathways to both the left and right leading out and away. While the world of Metroid is comprised of a series of dead-end tendrils, the outdoor landscape of Dracula II is more simplistic and "loops" back around to the starting point, though there are some branching paths and a notable "warp" spot. Mr. Belmont journeys through three main location types: the great outdoors, towns, and "dungeons" (manors and Dracula's castle).
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Simon's primary weapon is a whip, which can upgraded at various points. Combat is rather satisfying, with a pleasant "weight" given to whip strikes. A series of subweapons can be obtained along the way. Unlike those in Akumajou Dracula, one obtained weapon does not "overwrite" the next; instead, once Simon obtains a subweapon he can utilize it for the remainder of the game, and subweapons can be swapped via the status menu. The horizontally-traveling dagger and arcing holy water will likely get the most use, and many of the stronger subweapons are merely more advanced versions of the aforementioned. There are some additional equippables as well, that can boost player stats. For instance, Dracula's rib grants Simon a shield, so long as he stands still.

Compared to literally every other Castlevania game, the enemies are much easier to contend with here. The majority lumber about slowly, begging to be whip-fodder, while the rare exceptions may lazily toss a projectile or two from time to time. There is knock-back damage, though it rarely spells certain doom for Simon, as enemies are rarely stationed near pitfalls. With that said, pitfalls (filled with water this time around) are still guaranteed to cause the most deaths. This is due to the plethora of moving blocks, an environmental element that does not mesh nicely at all with Simon's stiff deliberate jumps. As a personal anecdote, I've played through this game thrice now (twice on the FDS, once on NES) and all of my deaths were water-related: every single one. The game has a life/continue system similar to that of Zelda II, where Game Over means a depletion of Simon's cache of hearts.

Ah, the hearts, which in Castlevania games do everything but replenish health. Hearts of varying sizes are dropped by enemies and enemies alone (no torches to whip, sadly). Their primary use is currency, as they can be exchanged with townsfolk for various items. Hearts also function as ammunition for some of the more advanced weapons, like the gold knife and diamond (blessedly, the daggers and holy waters are exempt here). Lastly, hearts grant experience points. Dracula II is technically an "ARPG" albeit a simplistic one. The max level is 6, and Simon's health bar is increased at each level-up. The game limits deliberate power-leveling, to some extent, as only hearts dropped by "stronger" foes (relative to Simon's current experience level) will grant XP.
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The most distinct feature of Dracula II is its day/night system. The game persistently runs a background clock whenever Simon is outside (including the towns). At certain hours a "horrible curse" descends upon the land as the sky darkens and enemies become more ferocious. Well, technically they take twice as many hits to kill, but also offer up double the hearts. Village streets empty as townsfolk take shelter for the evening, leaving hordes of zombies (never seen in daylight) free to roam. The addition of "time" is a brilliant little mechanic, which will alter the play style of many. Beginner players may find it too difficult to venture out at night, preferring the safety of towns and company of the (comparatively easy) zombies. Others will use the night as a prime opportunity to go heart-hunting. In any event, the day/night cycle also influences the game's endings: to achieve the best ending, one must make haste and complete the journey within seven days or fewer. This is the game's "hard mode" as it allows for few mistakes, little to no XP grinding, and delicate expenditure of hearts.

Towns (during the day, that is) offer a welcome reprieve from combat. These morose locales feature a rather odd assortment of inhabitants. Much fuss has been made about the awful and nonsensical "clues" doled out by NPCs in the NES Castlevania II. In the original, things don't fare much better. Many NPCs will flat-out lie to Simon's face, while others provide "hints" that are wrapped up in weird Japanese idioms and riddles. As such, playing this game without a guide becomes an exercise in frustration quickly. There are some very specific spots in Dracula II that remain walled-off until a completely inane task is completed (like kneeling with the correct "crystal" equipped) and there are exactly zero coherent in-game hints regarding such things. And the towns themselves house their own secrets, like essential shops being hidden behind walls of brick.

There are six dungeons to conquer, the final one being Dracula's (mostly empty) castle. The rest are manors crawling with all sorts of ghouls. Such manors are quite fun to explore. It's all very reminiscent of Zelda, as you can't simply try to make a beeline to the final room, as Simon must first obtain an item (an oak stake) from a wandering merchant. These oak stakes are later cast into an "orb" to conclude the dungeon-crawling experience. Manors are full of staircases and pathways, but aren't aggressively mazelike. Time doesn't pass during manor treks, so they can provide some opportunity to gather hearts and XP without penalty. Another feature of manors is their false floors: these show up occasionally and can be detected preemptively by tossing holy water. It's pretty weird, and it can certainly be frustrating to fall down a floor or two, but it's not a grave offense. If anything, these hazards keep Simon on his toes.
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Strangely, Dracula II contains but a trio of bosses, the first of which can literally be skipped. There's no real rationale behind this; it feels like the developers simply ran out of time. Death, an absolute terror in the first game, can be destroyed via button-bashing. Same goes for the second boss, as well as Dracula who becomes stunned when hit. It's a bit of a letdown in a series known for its iconic monstrous villains.

Aesthetically, Dracula II is rock-solid. Graphics are detailed, and much less "blocky" than those of Akumajou Dracula. There's a glut of richly designed outdoor scenes -- maintain passes, perilous bridges, poisonous swamps, moonlit graveyards -- something painfully missing from the modern "in the castle" Castlevania installments. The monsters look amazing, and are smoothly animated as they creep and crawl towards our whip-wielding hero. Towns and manors are a bit samey looking, in that palette swap sort of way, but are fundamentally designed well. The towns especially, which exude a desolate and gloomy feel. As for the soundtrack, it's rather brief and carried by a couple of key tunes. "Bloody Tears" (the "daytime" outdoor music) has become a series staple: it's an upbeat energetic piece tailor-made for monster thrashing. That piece segues into the nighttime theme of "Monster Dance" which is especially creepy and even sounds a bit taunting, in that "haha now the game is harder" kind of way. The remainder of the soundtrack is nothing to sneeze at, though experiencing it via the FDS is a bit strange. It sounds high-pitched and a bit too chipper in parts; the music's full potential is realized on the NES.

Overall, this is one of those games that I recognize has some "objective" flaws, but I subjectively enjoy it quite a bit. Dracula II is far from perfect, but it's a great spooky romp and one of the earliest successful (well, mostly successful) attempts at a nonlinear adventure that plays quickly and smoothly. I recommend it, but with a couple of caveats: use a walkthrough (I held on to my NES Game Atlas all these years), and play through this in big chunks to avoid any clunky save/reload awkwardness (or passwords in the NES version). Approach with cautious optimism.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:40 am

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)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)

45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
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Centipede (by Atari) was originally an arcade game released in 1981. As part of the classic single-screen "fixed shooter" variety, it was America's answer to Space Invaders and Galaxian. The Atari 2600 port, which arrived a year later and is the subject of this review, was one of many ways to experience Centipede at home. This game is also available everywhere else: it made its way to Atari's own 5200, 7800, and 8-bit line of computers. Via the Atarisoft publisher it was ported to the Intellivision, ColecoVision, and various non-Atari home computes. It was on the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and appeared on various compilations. It's now available as a cutesy little mini-arcade. Encountering Centipede is inevitable. Do not resist.

Growing up, I always assumed this was a "space shooter" where the player takes control of a spaceship and blasts giant arthropod aliens. Turns out the protagonist of Centipede is supposed to be some sort of gnome in a mushroom-laden garden, using a magic wand to vanquish hostile intruders. Still, if the official artwork is any indication, the centipedes are designed to be "alien" in some respect. Unfortunately, the visual realm is where the game took the biggest hit when ported to the 2600. Here, the protagonist is a rectangle. The mushrooms look like dashes or hyphens. The centipede villains are still relatively recognizable though, as they retained their segmentation, and the other bugs are unambiguously detailed. The title screen is lovely, but almost too good -- it teases the player by setting unrealistic expectations. As for the sound design, it's quite lovely and very faithful to the arcade. Whether there's actual "music" is debatable, but each descending creature creates it's own little jingle that all blends together in a brilliant cacophony. In later stages, experienced players may even rely on audio cues to warn them of an enemy's onscreen entry. Controls are solid too -- while the original used a trackball, you're unlikely to miss it as the eight-directional joystick movement feels just as fluid.
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On paper, Centipede plays much like the Japanese shooters of old. Your character is restricted to a specific area and can only shoot upwards. Enemies descend, and a stage is completed when a requisite number of enemies are taken out. With that said, Centipede bends (or breaks) the established "rules" in more ways than one. Most notably, the player isn't restricted to an X-axis on the screen's bottom. Instead, the heroic "rectangle" can freely move around inside an invisible "box" that spans a good chunk of the playing field. A Stage is completed when the main villain, an eponymous centipede, is defeated. A segmented centipede will descend row by row, but will change course whenever it hits a mushroom. What's genius is that the player is actually allowed to modify the centipede's downward trajectory. Blasting away mushrooms (three hits to eliminate) can clear a path for a centipede. However, any destroyed centipede segment also turns into a mushroom. Things get complicated when a centipede manages to reach the screen's bottom: here a centipede will begin to travel back upwards and bounce around within the player's "box" -- meanwhile any newly-blasted (and "mushroomized") centipede segments can potentially "flip" another centipede piece in the direction of the player, so it's critical to stay alert.

And there's more. The level progression in Centipede is atypical: the dawn of a new stage brings forth a new centipede, recolors the mushrooms, but does not "reset" the mushroom placement. That means that decisions made in one stage carry onward into the next. Moreover, the centipedes themselves will continue to evolve as the game progresses, possessing more sentient independently-moving "heads" as opposed to the blindly-following body parts. There are additional bugs to contend with as well. Spiders bounce along the screen's bottom. Fleas drop vertically and leave mushrooms in their wake. Scorpions poison mushrooms they come into contact with. If a centipede touches a poisoned mushroom, it plunges straight down the battlefield.

Centipede on the 2600 is a one-player affair, and a pure score chaser. The scoring system gives players an incentive to take risks (for instance, a spider killed at close range is worth more points than one from afar), and encourages blasting of high-point pests (like scorpions). As a "later" Atari release, there isn't a plethora of game modes to choose from: just standard and easy difficultly settings. In the "easy" setting there's a picture of a teddy bear's face added to the status bar. In a modern game this might be considered a taunt, though I believe Atari was just trying to give kids something cute to look at. The score can roll back to zero (takes some serious practice): after 999,999 points on the standard difficulty, and 99,999 on easy. All told, this is one of the most memorable Atari games. It's paradoxically simplistic and deep. The mechanics are finely tuned, and one could spend years improving tactics. I wouldn't call this the best version of the game though. It looks better on the 7800, the 5200 allows for trackball use (though that's not an easily obtained controller), and of course the arcade game is officially emulated these days across compilations. Nevertheless, Centipede remains cheap on the 2600, and owners of the system shouldn't pass this one by.
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opa
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by opa Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:49 pm

I may have to keep a look out for Centipede now if the joystick controls are as good as you say. Never really played it outside the arcade cabinet. Seems like a transition from trackball to joystick controls would be a rough one.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:07 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)

52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)

And so comes to a close the last R&C game I own (for now). I had always heard that only the first three games were really worth playing (up until the newest one), but a friend of mine who is a fan informs me that is not the case (and I have more R&C on the way in the mail). Regardless, I can see why that may've been the talk around these games, because R&C 3 is a damn fine improvement over 2 to the point where I can see why the series started to deviate from this formula after this point. It took me around 16 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game with only light searching for collectibles.

Just as R&C 2 did, R&C 3 picks up right where the previous game left off, with Ratchet & Clank chilling in the capital of the main city from R&C 2. They suddenly see a news report on TV about their home galaxy being attacked by the evil Dr. Nefarious. Losing no time, Ratchet finishes installing the galactic warp capabilities in his ship and the duo return to defend their home galaxy! After a mission to help rescue the missing Captain Quark, the two are roped into his Q-Force to try and stop Dr. Nefarious and save the galaxy!

The writing is head-and-shoulders above the past two games, easily. Characters recur throughout the story, they have conversations, they grow a report with one another. It's hardly a masterpiece of literature, but it's a far more coherent and realized story than the past two games. It also really gives elements aside from Ratchet & Clank themselves time to shine narratively, with the other members of Q-Force being entertaining and fun, as well as Dr. Nefarious being so delightfully extra and silly that he gives Captain Quark a run for his money. It's not hard for me to see why Sony likes him so much that they brought him back for later games in the series.

The gameplay is still the same overall platforming and action segments as the prior two games, but tightened up and refined even past where R&C 2 brought the series to. Ratchet & Clank control better than ever, and the gunplay is more solid than ever with some of the most fun guns in the series yet (the black hole gun and lava spitting gun are both SO MUCH FUN). Also gone are all of the dreadful mini-games that plagued the even R&C 2, and in their places are a more infrequent hacking mini-game as well as ranger mission segments, where you assist the Galactic Rangers in missions that involve going around a map to attack points, defending a single point, riding around in a Halo Warthog-style jeep, and flying around in a hovercraft to destroy targets. There are even 2D platforming/semi-run and gun segments where you play as Captain Quark. The only tiny complaint I have is that I wish your auto-lock-on were a litttle more accurate, or that you had a fire button mapped to a shoulder button so you could look, move, and fire all at the same time.

It's all great fun, and there wasn't a single point where I thought "well this game was great right up until HERE." The difficulty is also way better tuned than the previous two games, settling in at a nice place between R&C 1's often unfair-feeling challenge and R&C 2's too frequent ease, all leading up to a really satisfyingly challenging final boss fight (although hoo boy is that final level hard).

This is also the first R&C game I'd say has actually good music. The music in the previous games is at best appropriately atmospheric, but this game manages to actually have some nice tunes in it. It's also once again a very pretty-looking game, flexing a good art style and well-designed characters. Although it does encounter some framerate issues from time to time, like Ape Escape 3 (another first party Sony game released around the same time) these are never problems that seriously impact gameplay.

The Japanese version of each of the first 3 R&C games is more or less identical to the international version with a couple notable (and infamous) exceptions. Ratchet has his infamous large, black eyebrows that make no sense with the rest of his fur coloring. His head is also slightly larger, and that all adds up to what I suppose is to make his face somewhat more visibly expressive? I'm not positive on the rationale behind it.

The localization otherwise is really good, and I actually prefer it to the English original in many ways. I think the relationship between Ratchet & Clank suffers a bit, as Clank comes off as similarly silly and quippy to Ratchet in many ways compared to how well-spoken he is in English, but their buddy dynamic is still very fun despite Ratchet's more kid-like voice. The voice cast on the whole feels like they're hamming it up more than the English VAs, and that overall makes for a much more fun time for characters like Dr. Nefarious and Captain Quark. The Japanese VA threw me off pretty bad at first, but it's something I've really grown to love in a way I didn't expect myself to.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is up there with Ape Escape 3 as one of my favorite games on PS2. It plays so well, the writing is so fun, and it all stays varied enough to keep you interested with the new story beats and new guns you find that it's just a big fun time until it's all over. I'd say you should probably at least play R&C 2 before you play this one, but if you only play one of the original 3 games, this is easily the top of the pile in terms of its overall quality.
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fastbilly1
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by fastbilly1 Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:31 pm

Inspired by Ack, fueled by a crappy workload, and tilted with mild insomnia, I am actively working on my GOG backlog.

Eye of the Beholder 1
Once you learn the dance the game is less about strategy more about keeping pace. I beat 3/4 of the game in one sitting after realizing it.

DragonSphere
Not what I expected. A solid story and a decent challenge. Voice acting was spot on in the Talkie version. And a great shoutout to Popo in the story.

Humans 2
I always enjoyed the first title back in the day, the second and third were never for sale near me. Much more difficult than the first with 15 maps that will test your frustation at pinpoint accuracy with cludgey controls.

MAX 1&2
Not actually beaten but I beat half the storyline and goofed off in multiplayer. Good enough to never go back. Interesting titles where they can be played turnbased or realtime strategy. Forgetable storylines, but really clever mechanically.

And for one not on GOG:
Risk of Rain 2
I have probably 70 hours into the title since it came to steam last year. But Wednesday they added the final boss, and yesterday I got a chance to play and beat it. It is a 3rd person shooter that is akin to older arcade titles. You choose a character and have four moves - two base attacks and two power attacks on timers, you run around a map with randomly placed enemines to find random money and to gain both xp and money. In gaining money you can buy items to change your abilities or attacks (like you attack faster, or every attack has a chance to cause a sticky bomb to appear on the enemy). Eventually you fight a map boss, loose your left over money, then start a new map with an ever increasing difficulty. Each character plays the game differently and there is something for everyone. I am a big fan of the huntress who is a glass cannon who runs the map and teleports away from danger and the Loader who has a grappling hook and a powered arm that when charged up flings you far into the air, or through a dozen enemies. It is wonderful nonsense of a game for when you want to kill hundreds of enemies and have a good laugh. Several on the fourms were huge fans of the original 2d version, but I could not get into it. ROR2 however is my jam.
pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:41 pm

126. Devils third (wii u)

This is a game with a sordid history, it was almost not released, then it finally was released, but shipped out in very low numbers. The first shipment that gamestop got was only 420 copies which is asinine and to this day it is the lowest shipped nintendo game ever made.

I remember when this game came out I was dying to get a copy, I love Ninja Gaiden, over the top action, and cover shooters, and this game seemed to be a big conglomerate of all of them. However, I did not own a wii u and in 2015 was not doing great financially so I couldnt afford to get a wii u or this game. This game also received some terrible critical reviews and was panned everywhere as being a trash game even getting the nickname "devils turd" among gamers everywhere. That still did not deter me from wanting to play it.

Fast forward 5 years, and I finally buy my wii u at the start of this year. My first 2 games that I knew I always wanted were super mario 3d world and devils third. 3d world was easy enough, picked it up for 15 bucks at the same gamestop I bought my wii u at and then started checking other gamestops to find a copy of this game with no luck. I then checked ebay and was stunned to see this game going for nearly $200! Extremely disappointed I just moved on figuring I would never actually play the game, but kept checking local game stores and other sites for it hoping that one day I would stumble upon it for a decent price.

Last week I was checking offer up and found a new posting for this game for $100, I have never paid so much for a game in my life but I also knew that if I did not snatch it up then I would never find it for such a great price and so I pulled the trigger and hoped that the game would be in good condition, it came in the mail only 2 days later and I immediately stopped every game I was playing to finally play this game that I never thought I would play and have waited years to finally play. Would it live up to the hype that I had built up in my head? Could it? or were all the reviews right, this game truly was a devils turd??

Devils third, as mentioned before, is a hybrid hack n slash/cover shooter. Controls are responsive and intuitive, you automatically enter cover by going near it, can pop up to shoot, aim in first person, throw grenades over cover, standard cover based shooter stuff. It also has melee attacks with a ton of different weapons ranging from swords, to tomahawks, steel pipes, sledgehammers, and much more. All of these weapons have their own properties and all of them have their own unique gory finishers.

The gore in this game is way over the top, your main character, (Ivan) cuts people in half, bashes their heads into mush with sledgehammers, impales people, shoves tomahawks into their skulls, and so much more. In aidditon to the over the top violence in melee attacks shooting people yields equally brutal results. Head shots send heads flying into through the air, body shots cut people in half, shotgun just explode people, it is so completely over the top and I absolutely loved every second of it.

Gameplay here is fast paced, no puzzles, no back tracking, no getting lost, just running from set piece to set piece and engaging in ever increasing fire fights, turret battles, melee brawls, and some other random acts of violence. This is a game that starts out fast paced and just stays that way through the entirety of the game.

Each level ends in a boss, the first boss is pretty easy, shoot him a bunch and he dies, but every boss after that ratchets up the difficulty considerably with instant death moves and relentless attacks, you cannot mash your way through these bosses and the only way to win is to study their patterns and learn exactly when to strike because one wrong move and you are dead.

The challenge in this game is great, it starts out easy but quickly escalates, you have pretty forgiving checkpoints and infinite lives so you will make it with some perseverance but be prepared to die a lot in certain sections of the game.

The story here starts out ridiculous and stays that way throughout the game. You play as Ivan (surprise, hes Russian) a terrorist who is serving an 850 year prison sentence in a max security prison for murdering tons of people including children. The worlds satellites get knocked out by a terrorist organization (your old pals) and stuff starts to go down. You are in your cell playing the drums when you are asked to bust out of prison and work for the government to take revenge on some of your old pals. What unfolds next is a ludicrous story filled with cheesy dialogue and every action game trope you could ever want, terrorists, soldiers, prisoners, ninjas, zombies, they are all here ready to be killed by Ivan.

I was reluctant to spend $100 on a game, and when I did I took some comfort knowing that if it sucked I could easily sell it for a profit so that made it easier for me to swallow but fuck the critics, devils third is one of the finest dumbest action games I have ever played. I loved every second of it, I loved the boss battles, I loved watching heads fly off with a single headshot, I loved the ludicrous environments, the over the top story, the unbelievably graphic melee kills. I loved every second of this game and it absolutely met every expectation I had for it.
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