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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:06 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)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)
47. Valis II (TurboGrafx CD)
48. The Song of Saya (Steam)
49. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
50. Otocky (Famicom Disk System)
51. Raging Loop (Switch)
52. Arcade Archives: Contra (Switch eShop)

53. Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram (Steam)
Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram is a series spin-off, first released in 2013, between the original visual novel and its true sequel, Steins;Gate 0. Those who are attempting to play the English-translated Steins;Gate entries in order (based on original Japanese release dates) should start with the original game and then proceed to My Darling's Embrace and then Phenogram. 2019 marked the North American release of Phenogram, where it continues to be sold in a strange (and quite annoying) fashion. See, in the States Phenogram was only made available as a downloadable "bonus game" for those who brought the PS4 or Steam versions of Steins;Gate Elite (which is a remake of Steins;Gate). Sounds fine, right? Two games for the price of one? The issue is that those who bought Elite on the Nintendo Switch ended up with a different bundled bonus in the form of 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate. What this means is that anyone who wishes to play the three aforementioned titles (Elite, Phenogram, 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate) in English is required to buy Steins;Gate Elite.... twice. Keep an eye on those sales.

My Darling's Embrace possessed a narrative structure that was fundamentally similar to that of Steins;Gate itself: a meaty visual novel with branching paths and multiple endings. Phenogram does something completely different: it's comprised of a series of self-contained discrete chapters, each one lasting about two hours. The player has some leeway regarding chapter order, though certain clusters must be completed to unlock others. Each chapter is completely linear, as the game's title hints at, and contains its own singular ending. Those seeking a break from the rantings of series protagonist Okabe are in luck, as each chapter is narrated by a different Steins;Gate character, providing insight into their inner thoughts and feelings (well, technically Okabe has two chapters though the second is dedicated to his "mad scientist" alter ego). As for where this stuff fits into the series canon: the events that unfold feel as if they happened "behind the scenes" during the original Steins;Gate, or occurred after the fact. Of course, this is a series dedicated to time travel, so everything is perhaps best described as a "what if" event unfolding on a separate worldline.
Aesthetically, this borrows liberally from the original game. The same backgrounds, character sprites, and tunes are back for another round -- and all are exemplary. As is the voice acting, featuring the same cast that's been carried through the entire series. One notable alteration here is the inclusion of an actual Okabe sprite; as he's no longer the full-time protagonist he can actually be "seen" from the viewpoints of others. Each character's phone is now accessible as well, all with some amusing wallpapers (check out Daru's "waifu"). CGs occur frequently, and are incredibly detailed and gorgeous. The "tips" menu has returned, and is used to define all the weird references and slang thrown around -- yes, there is a coded mention of Dragon Quest V. As this has always been a "console" series, a controller is recommended to navigate around menus. While players have no control over the nuances of time travel, one can still manipulate text messages (or emails, technically speaking). There's a dedicated "open flip phone" button, plus the ability to navigate amongst lists of sent and received mail. While receiving mail, it's often possible to highlight specific words and phrases, which will then cause an appropriate reply to be drafted, perhaps sparking a more detailed conversation. This all once again remains time sensitive. Those who wait too long to view certain mails will be unable to reply. Though there are no endings to juggle, completionists can instead shoot for a 100% mail list. Accomplishing this requires one read all possible received mail, as well as sending out all possible replies. It calls for multiple saves and a modicum of strategy.
As for the writing itself... well, it's mixed. It's pretty clear that a different author was assigned to each chapter. Both quality of writing and tone vary wildly. For instance, Okabe's (second) outing is a fast-paced thrill ride, while Christina's is a massive introspective tear-jerker. The best chapters are those that integrate smoothly into the larger Steins;Gate narrative, while the weakest feel like superfluous fan service. It must be noted that the game's treatment of Daru is very bizarre and uncomfortable. He's always been known as the otaku who occasionally cracks an off-putting joke. But here in Phenogram he's transformed into a mega-pervert who references his "eroge" nonstop, hits on a middle school student, and attempts to "get with" his own daughter! It's rather strange, and several different authors felt compelled to insert "perv Daru" into their stories.

Overall, this is on par with something like Muv-Luv photonflowers*. Good but not great. No one on Earth is going to consider this to be the strongest Steins;Gate entry. But with 20+ hours of play/read time, a memorable and hilarious cast, and some really striking art, you really can't go wrong. Again, having it bundled with Elite is inherently clunky, but the fact that Phenogram even managed to arrive westward is something of a small miracle.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Gunstar Green Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:35 pm

So I decided to tackle a game that's haunted me since childhood, X-Com: UFO Defense, known to the rest of the world as UFO: Enemy Unknown.


My first encounter of this game was likely on some shareware CD or in the demo files of another Microprose product, I can't recall for certain. The demo if I remember correctly just throws you off the deep end into the tactical part of the game where you're certain to get cut apart by aliens due to the clunky controls and a UI that may as well be Egyptian hieroglyphics without a manual. I didn't get very far, relegated it in my brain as just another crappy PC game among the literal thousands on those shareware discs, and moved on.

But throughout the years I'd seen it hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. In 2012 its reboot launched to high critical praise. I remember trying it again around that time to see what the fuss was about, this time the full game, but I was met with the even more confusing base management and global defense layers of the game. What to buy, what to research, it was pretty overwhelming especially with the game's reputation of high difficulty I ended up being too scared to screw myself over that I got frustrated too quickly to give it much of a chance.

Now in the far off future year of 2020 where we all struggle to maintain our sanity I once again hear in passing how this game is easily one of the best game releases for DOS PCs. This time I did my research, read through the manual and had the option of using OpenXcom which was a real life-saver as it adds tooltips to all those mysterious buttons though I kept all other options vanilla.

Finally it clicked and I really understood what people like about this game. Even today the tension is second to none as you lead your troops around dark corners and every careless move could lead to catastrophe. A low, pulsing soundtrack assists in getting your heartrate up. This game from 1994 with super simple sprite graphics actually made me jump more than once. The game also does a good job of giving you a ton of tactical options from leveling buildings that might be full of aliens to sneaking around to limit civilian casualties in the terror missions. A day/night cycle will make you hesitate to intercept a landed vessel since night missions are much more difficult and require flares if you want any chance at seeing the enemy, but you risk hesitating too long you allow the UFO to complete its mission and inch closer to losing the war.

And that's where X-Com really shines for me, you really are given the impression that you're fighting a global war, and losing. Early on things are simple enough. You have one base, UFO's trickle in slowly and you use your interceptor jets to shoot them down. But soon you need more bases or the countries that fund you will start to reconsider paying you, and rethink accepting life as alien slaves instead, which means less funding for your organization. Aliens will build bases that are difficult to take out, start sending bigger and faster ships that can outrun or destroy your outdated interceptors and begin using more dangerous species like the horrifying zombie creating Chrysalids. X-Com is at its heart an arms race as you research alien technology to just barely keep your head above water in the global struggle. Even though games like this often give me anxiety, especially because X-Com has a ticking timer as months go by and the aliens grow more advanced whether you're ready for them or not, I oddly found the gameplay loop stress free and hypnotic. You are also thankfully in full control of how quickly time passes ala SimCity.

It probably helps that the game has a lot of personality even though the aliens are kind of generic ranging from the Sectoids which are your run of the mill "grey aliens" to snake people, generic strong guys and generic psychic leader class. Still there's something really endearing about that simplicity and the "terror units" spice things up like the aforementioned Chrysalids which borrow a little from the Alien movie series xenomorphs and are absolutely just as terrifying which you wouldn't think is possible in a turn based game but here we are. There are also also Hortas from the original Star Trek which made me smile. The UFOpaedia is added to as as you research the aliens and their tech which adds to the lore and while simple is a really fun addition that gives background context to X-Com's world. Another dose of personality comes from the game's very mid-90's comic book art-style, complete with a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon-styled opening cutscene which, if I'm being entirely honest, is the biggest reason I gave this game another shot after seeing it again on Youtube.

As I said you're fighting a losing war, so the ultimate goal of the game other than defending the planet, obviously, is to capture aliens of increasing rank to interrogate them to find out what they want and where this attack is coming from so you can mount an offensive. It was a little frustrating at first trying to find alien leaders and commanders and even MORE frustrating trying to capture them alive without losing half of my squad (heaven help you if there's a telepathic Sectoid Commander around in the early game) but when you finally do it it's such a satisfying and rewarding accomplishment and you get to gleefully hand them over to your scientists to punish them for their hubris.

To cut things short and in the interest of spoilers for a 1994 game, you find their base of operations, outfit your people with the best equipment possible, train them in telepathic resistance, build a spaceship with reverse-engineered UFO technology, and take the fight directly to the aliens in a two-mission series that if you fail, you lose the game and if you win, you've saved the Earth from certain doom. These missions aren't necessarily hard especially if you're as over-prepared as I was, but I was on the edge of my seat after struggling to hold back the steadily increasing hordes for months (in game time), aching to taste victory. After hours of carefully picking my way through the final missions it was finally over. And it was 5:40AM... oops.

The game isn't perfect, I do think it outstays its welcome. Things take so long to build and develop while you're being so inundated by UFOs in the late game that you just start shooting them down and skipping battles because you already have a ton of resources and just want it to be over, especially if those UFOs crash in countries who have already defected anyway. The economy is a bit broken in your favor, sure the country funding is important at first but eventually they barely cover your operating costs and most of your money is coming from selling extraneous alien junk (or corpses) on the back market or just building a base dedicated to manufacturing and pumping out advanced armaments to sell which makes you a ton of cash as well (hey, I'm saving the Earth I didn't say I was making it a better place in the process). The missions do get repetitive though there's a good variety of different biomes (though get used to seeing the same farm one most of the time) and the maps are procedurally generated. Eventually you start to feel like if you've seen one UFO you've seen them all and the early surprises wear off as you get wise to alien tactics, blow up barns and ask questions later. There are several mission types but they all boil down to show up and kill all the aliens with only the difficult terror missions adding civilians which are more of a point bonus than a necessary objective. These are minor complaints though as even today the strategy is relatively deep and engaging while not being too complex to be off-putting to my simple mind.

So did I finally come around and discover that X-Com is indeed one of the greatest DOS games of all time if not simply one of the greatest games of all time? Yes, I think I did. X-Com is one of those genre defining games that only comes around once in a while and it deserves its place on the pedestal even if it is a little old, crinkly and inaccessible without research. For anyone into turned based strategy this is an obvious historic landmark that you've probably already played or at least dabbled with, but even for people like me who don't always gravitate towards the genre its tense multi-layered gameplay and incredibly fun alien-busting theme is more than enough to put in the effort to learn how to play this gem. Thumbs up.

Also the Interception song rocks.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:08 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)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)
60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)
61. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
62. Crash Team Racing (PS1)
63. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1)

64. Super Mario Galaxy (Switch)

This is sorta a replay, sorta not. I've beaten Mario Galaxy before, but not only have I never beaten it with 121 stars (let alone also getting 121 stars on the Super Luigi Galaxy mode as well), but this was also played on the Switch's Super Mario 3D Collection. There's enough difference there (and it's also been like 13 years since I last played this) that I figured it was fair enough to call this one not a repeat playthrough, certainly given other things I've also qualified as "not repeats" XD. I don't know the exact time, but I reckon it took me around 25 or so hours to 100% both the Super Mario Galaxy and Super Luigi Galaxy modes in the Japanese version of the game.

The premise for the story is that it's the star festival, where a comet that passes by every century drops tons of shooting stars down onto the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser and his fleet of airships crash the party, steal Princess Peach's whole heckin' castle, and disappear off into the sky. Mario tries to give chase up the castle, but Kamek blows him away into the stars. He's found by Rosalina (or "Rozetta", as she's called in Japanese), and she gives Mario the power of a Luma ("Chiko", in Japanese), baby stars, in order to defeat Bowser and save Peach. Bowser already stole the Grand Stars that power her spaceship, aka the "comet" that causes the star festival in the first place, so she has a vested interest in helping kick Bowser's butt outside of just helping our hero.

The story and premise are very light, as with most Mario games, but compared to Sunshine, there's a bit less overall character to the game. The Lumas and little aliens you meet are charming, but are more or less just set dressing or tutorial-giving machines rather than little characters you can briefly talk to. I don't think that's an awful thing (it's not like Isle Delfino was a well of well-written narrative, after all), but it's something worth mentioning. The writing does what it has to to set the tone and the stakes and push you along to your adventure asap.

Mario Galaxy's overall design is, I feel, a clever response to the poor mission design that bogs down so much of Mario Sunshine. Rather than invest so much time into creating these larger maps that will change slightly for six or eight different missions there, there are instead a bunch of groups of planetoids that house these sets of missions. Mario goes from planetoid to planetoid, messing with gravity and spin-jumping around, to do each mission, and this helps easily create variety in even the same "world" since very often the three main missions of a world won't even visit most of the same areas in each. It keeps each mission feeling different from the others, even in the same worlds, and helps to keep up the pace of gameplay.

Also present in each of the larger worlds are (usually) three extra stars. One is a hidden star that the game will tell you the mission its present in after you beat the main three, one is a wandering comet, and one is a purple coin comet. The hidden stars are usually an extra little side-area you get by feeding a hungry luma, and they aren't often that hidden. They're often easily spotted or stumbled across playing a level normally. The wandering comets are special variants on a mission you've already done. They range from a time attack, to a sudden death (one hit and you're dead) challenge, to sped up enemies, to a race against Shadow Mario (or Luigi). They're a fantastic improvement to the secret stars in Sunshine that were so often simply red coin trials in the formerly Fludd-less areas, and it's one more thing to help keep the action fresh.

The purple coin comets only appear after you beat the game, and they're this game's take on 100 coin stars. They give you a section of that world (sometimes somewhere you've been, sometimes somewhere totally new) where 100 purple coins are scattered around in and you've gotta collect 'em. There are untimed ones, which are largely scavanger hunts for all 100 purple coins, and they're endurance tests of your time and skill (normal healing coins are quite rare in these, so 3 hits is usually all you get before you gotta start over). Then there are timed ones, which usually have 100 or 150 coins spread out over a perilous obstacle course, and those ones were my favorites out of all the comet challenges. The comet challenges do create a kind of haze/filter over the screen corresponding to the color of the comet (like the galaxy is passing through the comet's tail), which can be quite annoying at times, but that's nothing major. The purple coin challenges aren't always the best thing in the world, but I think they're a good idea to try and spice up the otherwise not terribly exciting 100 coin challenges of the previous two games.

Control-wise, Mario is much more back to his Mario 64-self, but not entirely. First and foremost, Mario moves noticeably more stiffly than he has in the previous two games. It's hardly a game breaker, and it's something I adapted to very quickly, but there are a few things that make this a tough transition if you'd just played another Mario game. Most notably, you need to wait until you're actually skidding on the ground to do a backwards flip jump, and it takes a while to re-learn that timing from just how immediately they can be performed in Sunshine and Mario 64. The planetoids can also cause their own unique issues, especially on the smaller ones. Occasionally you can get stuck in little circles and you'll need to stop moving and start again, because between the camera angle and gravity, Mario can't quite figure out which way you want him to go.

Outside of those infrequent problems, Mario controls great. No more Fludd, so you can once again do things like long-jumps, and those are really fun to do on the smaller planetoids. Just launch yourself forward and get FLUNG with gravity X3. Mario also has his new spin-attack from the Luma helping him out, and this is both a kind of AOE punch move as well as a tiny double-jump you can perform in mid-air. It allows you to do some fairly silly platforming at times if you combine it with high jumps and/or wall-jumps, and it makes platforming around and trying to sequence break lots of fun.

Once you get all 120 stars (that last one is a final secret) in Mario's mode, you can unlock the ability to replay the game as Luigi, who controls slightly differently. As is so often the case with Luigi, he has less ground friction but moves faster and jumps higher. All of the game's challenges are designed with Mario in mind, with some exceptions, which means those higher jumps and speed can make some levels way easier, but the lower friction on your feet means it can also make some challenges a fair bit harder. The only levels outright unique to Luigi's mode are his Shadow Luigi levels, where he races a Shadow Luigi, and those levels are often quite a bit harder than the Shadow Mario stages, since Shadow Luigi REALLY knows how to use Luigi's move set to the best of his ability, and you'll have to learn to as well if you wanna beat him~.

In terms of the Mario 3D Collection on Switch and how that plays and changes things, I think it's the best piece of that collection. Mario Galaxy looks really nice up-scaled to run properly in HD, and the way they've made the game work on a Pro Controller is great too. You can still shake the controller to spin-attack, but you can also simply press the Y button instead. The pointer is also just bound to the gyro inside your controller, and you can press R whenever to recenter that to the middle of the screen. For someone like me who really doesn't like using the Wiimote and Nunchuk to play games, this is an excellent upgrade to Galaxy that is very much appreciated.

Finally, there's the presentation, which I absolutely adore. I love how colorful everything is, I love how cute the Lumas are, and I especially love the music. The pretty orchestral soundtrack really grabs your attention in a lot of tracks, which my personal favorites being the main theme, the theme for the purple coin collecting missions, and both of Bowser's themes during the final boss fight. Yet another mainline Mario game that absolutely does not disappoint in the graphics and sound department <3

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Before this replay, I thought Galaxy was just okay, but this has really given me a huge re-evaluation of the game. It's certainly no Odyssey, and it's also no Mario 3D World, but it's definitely my favorite of the Mario games that had been made up to that point. The 3D Collection is also a fantastic way to play it that I highly recommend (if the price point doesn't shy you away from it ^^;).
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:27 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)

54. Akumajō Dracula [Castlevania IV](Switch)(Platformer)
55. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC)(RPG)
56. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Switch)(Platformer)

57. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Switch)(Platformer)
58. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PC)(RPG)

59. The Darkness II (PC)(FPS)
61. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - SNK Version (NGPC)(Card Game)

62. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)(RPG)
64. Shadow Warrior [2013] (PC)(FPS)
65. Shanghai Mini (NGPC)(Puzzle)

66. Shadowrun: Hong Kong (PC)(RPG)
67. Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Shadows of Hong Kong (PC)(RPG)

I'm lumping these two together, as the Shadows of Hong Kong campaign is a free expansion given out by Harebrained Schemes along with bug fixes that were desperately needed. Unfortunately, it could use a few more, but these are generally minor annoyances in a game that is otherwise absolutely fantastic.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is the third in a set of Shadowrun games that HBS released over the last decade. Not familiar with Shadowrun? It's basically a fusion of classic fantasy with William Gibson's Neuromancer. I love cyberpunk, and this is freaking catnip for me. Running the shadows in the rainy streets of Hong Kong is a blast, whether in a slum or a corporate high rise.

Here's the deal: your adopted father, Raymond, asks for your help with a situation in Hong Kong. You show up to meet your adopted brother, a corporate cop in Seattle. Shit goes down, and you're left fighting for your life against the Hong Kong Police Force alongside your brother and the remains of a group of bodyguards who had been hired to bring you to Raymond and Kowloon Walled City. Eventually you find yourself running jobs for the Triads while trying to learn what is really going on.

The game is a tactical RPG, where you'll pick your party members to do a variety of jobs. Who you bring changes how you can go about doing different levels. A decker can hack into computer systems, a shaman or mage can provided necessary insight into magic, while a street samurai can bring needed firepower if you find yourself in a fight...which you will. The game does give you a party to work with, though there are extra hands to hire if you want to bring them along. Meanwhile, you also gain nuyen and karma to build up your own gear and stats, so you can give yourself the skills you want. Me? I favor a character that can take hits and deal damage when things go south, but you can specialize however you like. Just don't go too broad; jacks of all trades don't live long in the shadows.

Unfortunately, it's not a perfect experience. I had issues with the game hanging at times, a few necessary game flags were not triggered at points, causing me to revert to older saves, and for some reason exiting the game screwed with the main menu. These problems continued into the expansion campaign as well, so the problems don't improve. Also, another edit pass would have been helpful, as I spotted quite a few typos.

Yes, this is sometimes an inconvenience, but with how great the rest of the game is, it just didn't bother me that much. You see, the writing is good enough, the ability to make decisions and try different things has an obvious impact on the world around you, and you really feel like you are a part of this adventure. Your choices matter here. And while the game is generally low stakes in comparison to other Shadowrun games (neighborhood or city-ending versus world-ending), it still feels big and important.

The Shadows of Hong Kong campaign continues this trend, with you making decisions regarding a quiet corporate war and police brutality. Again, the decisions you make have an impact that change both your and Hong Kong's future. The missions are even more interesting, going into the depths of corporate depravity, while the fights offer more challenge for an endgame party. There are also some really, really nice weapons in the expansion campaign; I highly recommend it. However, it does have some decisions that I find tough calls with sad consequences. In the world of Shadowrun, there often aren't *good* decisions, and even the best intentions can lead to sorrowful results. That's what I enjoy about it.

I have loved this trilogy of titles, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong has ended up being my favorite of the bunch. It's a fantastic way for HBS to end their run with the franchise, at least for the time being, though I hope they come back some day.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:37 pm

First 50:
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

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC
64. Offworld Trading Company - PC
65. F-Zero - SNES
66. F-Zero X - N64
67. Gauntlet (2014) - PC
68. Gauntlet Legends - Arcade
69. Halo 3: ODST - PC

I must say, I am pleasantly surprised by ODST. I went in not expecting much given my experience with Reach and 3 but this game rises above both of them and I think might be my favorite of the series so far. The fact that it stars Mal, Wash, and Jayne certainly helps, but there's a bunch of little things that makes it just overall play better than the rest.

Storywise this services as the 08th MS Team to the numbered games' OG Gundam. You are a more expendable soldier doing things that don't involve winning the war single handed, but that doesn't mean it isn't critical. The game starts with your squad doing a combat drop that goes sideways. You wake up as the voiceless rookie who searches for his squad. And this is where the game gets interesting in its presentation.

See, ODST has a more laid back approach to things. When you are the rookie you have a fairly open city to wander around in. There are enemies now and then, but in the sort of density like exploring the Morrowind countryside. As you reach a given sign of your squad you then will participate in a flashback mission. These are more traditional Halo style, but they also are all just the right length to have a couple cool setpieces and battles and move things along without getting bogged down in "yes, yet more Covenant to kill". You can do these missions in any order, but it does require you to take the small amount of effort to change the current mission marker. If you let the game do them in sequence you experience them chronologically, which involves a lot of backtracking through the city. Then once you've seen all the flashbacks the final bit of story kicks in where you go from "a day in the life of a soldier" to going after the original goal that started off the game.

It feels like they subtly tweaked things with the guns which makes more of them worth using and the enemies less of a pain to go through. Really the only time I got annoyed was when I had loaded up on two heavy weapons and then they spammed the weak flying dudes at me. But that's mostly due to my own stubbornness to not switch to a lighter weapon in one slot.

Overall ODST ends up being a breath of fresh air for the series that takes advantage of relaxed expectations to do some things a bit different and provide a more balanced experience. So now there's just Halo 4 left in the collection. We'll see when 343 releases that.
Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by elricorico Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:13 pm

1. NBA Jam (GEN)
2. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PSVR)
3. Bastion (PS4)
4. Octopath Traveler (NS)
5. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS4)
6. Final Fantasy Adventure (NS)
7. LEGO: The Ninjago Movie Game (PS4)
8. Captain Commando (PS2)

9. Thumper (PSVR)
10. Eco Fighters (PS2)
11. Ys:Memories of Celceta (PS4)

Well it has been a while since I posted, but I felt like catching up on what I beat over the summer.

Thumper on the PSVR was one of the more impressive games on the demo disc that came with the headset. My daughter and I both thought it was good, so when it went on sale I purchased the full version. I beat this one a while back now.

Thumper is a rhythm game at its heart, with minimalist graphics that fly at you sometimes at lightning speed. There are 9 worlds each with a set of checkpoints to work through. The music/rhythm is strange, the visuals are like an acid trip(I imagine!) and the controls are tight and reasonably easy to learn. Practically the first half of the game teaches you each of the different moves in what could almost be described as a mix of tutorial and practice.

The first couple of times playing this one I had a touch of motion sickness, but that faded to nothing once I was more used to the PSVR. I found the game reasonably easy to beat, but it would be very difficult to master - I can't imagine the effort it would take to get the Platinum trophy. If you are into rhythm games at all and have a PSVR I'd say this is worth at least trying once.

Eco Fighters is from the Capcom Classics Collection Vol 2, and I credit fed my way through it as a bit of a distraction from longer games that I was playing at the time. Horizontal shooter with an environmental theme and an interesting gimmick where your aim is controlled by rotating clockwise or counter-clockwise using the R and L buttons. I enjoyed it, died a lot in the late levels, but it is fun, colourful and has just enough uniqueness to make it worth checking out.

Ys:Memories of Celceta was a somewhat recent physical release on the PS4, ported from the Vita original. Ys is becoming more and more one of my favourite series. I grabbed this as I didn't want to miss out(I did miss out when it came out for the Vita). I beat it just last weekend and had a blast almost the entire time. For an ARPG I don't think the gameplay could get too much better. Graphics did the job and music ranged from good to awesome. If this website hasn't already convinced you, check out the Ys series, as they continue to be winners.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:45 pm

First 50
1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)
34. Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (Switch)
35. Aggelos (Switch)
36. Quell+ (iOS)
37. The White Door (iOS)
38. Grizzland (Switch)
39. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Switch)
40. Silent Hill (PS1)
41. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio (Switch)
42. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
43. Stories Untold (Switch)
44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)
45. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
46. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior (Switch)
47. Duck Souls+ (Switch)
48. Daggerhood (Switch)
49. Gravity Duck (Switch)
50. Biolab Wars (Switch)

51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)
52. Mega Man & Bass: Challenger from the Future (Wonderswan)
53. Double Dragon (Game Gear)
54. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
55. SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters Clash (NGPC)
56. SUPERHOT (Switch)
57. Dogurai (Switch)
58. Ori & The Blind Forest Definitive Edition (Switch)
59. Alchemist’s Castle (Switch)

Ori & The Blind Forest is a really good metroidvania game, that I really started to enjoy once I recognized that, despite its aesthetics and open world nature, it’s really a precision platformer. That is, the game, despite its relaxing music and hand-drawn, Thomas Kinkade-on-LSD graphics, is all about overcoming really well-designed platforming challenges. Combat is, at most, an afterthought. Once I recognized that, the game clicked with me, and I couldn’t put it down. The game flows wonderfully; each area presents distinctive challenges; the world is fun to explore; all of the optional upgrades are actually useful; and the final set piece is stupendous. Highly recommended.

Alchemist’s Castle is a very short $3 metroidvania where you push a lot of boxes. (It’s almost a soukoban-troidvana.) Despite it’s short length, it’s actually pretty tough and well-designed, emphasizing exploration, platforming, and puzzle-solving over combat. For a $3 game, it’s really quite good, and I also recommend it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:38 pm

1. Ys: The Oath in Felghana PSN Vita
2. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch
3. Super Mario Party Switch
4. Moss PSVR
5. Paper Mario: Colour Splash Wii U
6. The Firemen SNES
7. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SFC
8. Kuukiyomi: Consider It! Switch eShop
9. Valkyria Chronicles Switch eShop
10. Illusion of Time SNES
11. Trials of Mana Switch
12. Undertale Vita
13. Rastan SMS
14. Rainbow Islands SMS
15. River City Girls Switch
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch
17. Streets of Rage 4 Switch eShop
18. Dragon Warrior IV NES
19. Super Tennis SNES
20. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Switch eShop
21. Pilotwings Switch eShop
22. Castlevania: The Adventure Switch eShop
23. Streets of Rage Game Gear
24. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix Switch eShop
25. Ninja Gaiden Game Gear
26. Psychic World Game Gear
27. The G.G. Shinobi II: The Silent Fury Game Gear
28. Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble Game Gear
29. Fire Emblem: Seisen No Keifu SFC
30. Pokémon Sword: Isle of Armour DLC Switch *NEW*
31. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter N64 *NEW*
32. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse Game Gear *NEW*
33. Deep Duck Trouble starring Donald Duck Game Gear *NEW*
34. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch *NEW*

Pokemon Sword: Isle of Armour DLC


The Isle of Armour is a DLC expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield. It sees you visiting the titular island of the game, which is essentially a large new wild area for catching Pokémon in, and following through a simple storyline involving a dojo on the island. When you arrive on the island, you meet a new antagonist character (it varies between versions of the game who they are, mine was a poison type trainer girl) and are also introduced to Mustard, the head of the dojo. Mustard sets you about on some simple tasks to resolve issues at the dojo, which mainly serve to get you to explore the new wild area a bit, before giving you ownership of a new pokemon, Kubfu, to train. These sidequests are honestly a bit dull, but I was entertained by the first one which involved chasing down three exceedingly fast slowpoke.

Training Kubfu involves a set of additional sidequests, the final ones of which involve defeating Mustard in battle. This is where one of the big issues with the DLC comes into play – the level balancing. As this DLC needs to be accessible to trainers regardless of how far through the plot they are, levels are adjusted depending on story progress through the game. Unfortunately, this comes with a few issues – first off, if like me you already finished the main story of Pokémon Sword, the wild pokemon levels are high enough that you’re essentially consigned to continuing with the main team you used rather than enjoying capturing a new team. Secondly, all enemy battles are levelled up but are disappointingly easy because they all used unevolved early game pokemon. Finally, and most significantly, it adds in an annoying grind – because one of the challenges involves defeating Mustard’s Kubfu with your own, only his is at level 70, and you get yours at level 10. Cue a lot of running about grabbing level ups to stand a chance.
After the storyline concludes, you can evolve Kubfu into one of 2 forms of his evolution Urshifu, and then that’s pretty much it. There’s a bunch of other things to find, some gift pokemon obtainable by finding 150 hidden diglett across the island, 130 or so new pokemon to catch that aren’t in the main game, and some nice hidden items and new features – but mostly, this is a very content-lite update as far as storyline gameplay goes.
I enjoyed my time on The Isle of Armour, but there’s no doubt that the main selling point is really just having more Pokémon to catch, and that makes it really easy to know if you think that’s worth it to you. There’s more DLC out later in the year with more new pokemon. I wish there had been a little more to do on the Isle of Armour than just catching stuff, but that’s true of Sword and Shield in general. That said, like the main games I still found this charming and enjoyable. Just perhaps a bit pricy for what if offers.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter


Turok is an FPS game for Nintendo 64 which I played through as part of this year’s summer games challenge. Its based on a comic book series, and I don’t know the plot very well (the game doesn’t really expand on much) but you’re a native American stereotype who appears to be in some sort of scifi setting featuring aliens but also dinosaurs. Obviously, the best course of action is to shoot everything, which to be honest, is a course of action that generally seems to work in the game.

Turok is a pretty typical N64 FPS. It features my favourite control scheme for shooting games on the system (C buttons to move, stick to aim, Z shoots, R jumps and A and B change weapons). You explore some huge maps gathering up weapons and ammo and shooting things til they stop moving. Throughout the levels are lots of secrets, some accessible via mysterious blue portals, and some via hidden walls, climbable structures and more. Turok is a game with a life system – you have 3 to begin, and running out of health or falling off the level will cost 1 life. You can gather force points through the level, floating triangles which grant an extra life upon gathering 100. You have 100 health by default, but some health pickups allow you to go above 100 up to a maximum of 250 health total. You can also grab armour on top of this, although it’s rare in earlier levels.

The shooting and exploring gameplay is quite satisfying overall. Being the era and console it was on, there’s quite a hefty leeway for what counts as a shot hitting, so you can run and gun pretty quickly. Turok moves around the map quickly and this makes the running and gunning feel breezy and satisfying. In terms of weapons, there’s a good variety, although some early games are made redundant quickly, and some late guns are a little too awkward to use to feel worth it, which meant I mostly tended to stick to the same few. For example, the pistol from level 1 is utterly outclassed by the assault rifle, which is useful for most of the game. The assault rifle is essential the same as the pistol but fires bursts of 3 instead of 1 shot at a time, making it much quicker whilst not costing any more resource. Similarly, you find the shotgun on level 1 about 20 metres away from the vastly superior Auto-shotgun, a semi-automatic version of the same thing. This means the shotgun wastes space in your inventory and gets in the way when selecting weapons. Other useful guns include the plasma cannon, a laser machine gun with good power, the mini-gun which is good for shredding bosses when you run out of better options, the grenade launcher, which is unwieldy but very strong, and the quad-launcher, a rocket launcher that shoots 4 mini rockets for lots of damage but eats ammo fast. The final weapon of the game, the Chronoscepter, is divided into 9 parts spread across all the levels, and is reassembled right before the last boss, meaning you only get to use it on him. Hitting all 3 shots of ammo on him eats up about half his health pool.

Exploring is the other main aspect of the game, and the maps here are very big and often confusing, as they frequently involve backtracking, unlocking new pathways from old areas, 3 dimension travel (climbing and dropping to lower ledges etc). They can also be hard to figure out due to the games significant fog obscuring your view quite close, despite many big open areas. Luckily there is a map ovelay you can turn on with L which helps a lot, although can be annoying in the way all the time. On each level your goal is to find the keys which open later levels (3 for levels 2-8, and 6 for level 9) and the chronoscepter piece, before leaving back to the hub level and trying another stage from there. It’s very possible to miss the keys as some are hidden away, so expect to have to replay levels sometimes if you miss one. Luckily, this only happened to me once, but it is frustrating. Also frustrating is how many enemies respawn quickly, so if you’re a bit lost and trying to find where to go, you can often run low on health and ammo dealing with constant annoying enemies whilst you do so.

Not nearly as frustrating, however, as Turok’s immense love of first person platforming. Judging distance in turok is very difficulty when jumping, and the game makes you do precision jumping a LOT. Early in the game you will often either accidentally run off a cliff because you jumped too late, fall short of the other side because you jumped too early, or jump past the platform because you jumped too far. I eventually found it a bit easier to use the mini map to line up jumps, but they were a constant frustration throughout. The game also doesn’t really introduce you to them gradually – most early jumps are over instant death pits despite you having very few lives. Stage 3 features a brutal section of about 80 very narrow and tricky jumps of varying distances in a row, and whilst the game was nice enough to offer a save point just before it, I died quite a few times navigating this exceedingly boring and tedious section of the level. I game overed a few times early on due to pitfall deaths. They were the cause of 70% of my deaths in the game overall. Another 5% or so were from running out of health from common enemies. And the other 25% were from the stage 3 boss.

There are only 4 bosses in Turok, and 2 of them are on the final level. The final boss isn’t too difficult, but offers a challenge, and the T-rex battle before him is hectic but fairly easy. Stage 6 features a giant mantis boss who is exciting but a pushover, due to his big hitboxes and easy to avoid attacks. Stage 3 on the other hand, features the Longhunter and Jeeps. The jeeps are hard to avoid and take a beating to put down, and you fight 2 in a row. This normally runs out all of your ammo as you don’t have many weapon options at this point in the game. The you fight the longhunter, a human character with a powerful gun, homing projectiles, a small hitboxes and the ability to dodge. You have sod all ammo left, you’re low on health and he is a nightmare to hit. This boss was the single hardest part of the whole game to me, he killed me more than anything else. Even more frustratingly, the aforementioned series of 80 jumps over instant death pits comes right before him with no save in between, and I honestly almost gave up on the game right here. I made that series of jumps at least 8 times.

I’m generally thankful I didn’t though, because Turok improves from there. There’s still some annoying levels later, but they mostly dial back the platforming, or at least make it easier by having damaging floors below them instead of instant death, and wider platforms to land on. The focus moves more to shooting tougher enemies, and the game is much better at handling this than platforming. Turok is a decent game, and whilst I wouldn’t say it’s a must own, and it has a few too many flaws and frustrating bullshit design sometimes, I would say I enjoyed my time with it overall. Play GoldenEye and Perfect Dark before this if you want to try an old-school console FPS, but if you’re wanting more after those, you could do worse than Turok.

Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse


Land of Illusion is a game starring Mickey Mouse, and is a part of the Illusion series by Sega – the most famous being Castle of Illusion for Mega Drive. There was also an 8 bit game of the same name which was similar in theme but different in level designs, and was quite excellent too. Land of Illusion is the follow up to that 8-bit Castle of Illusion, and is very possibly the best in the series – and one of the best platformers for both the Master System and the Game Gear.

Land of Illusion sees Mickey exploring the titular world to defeat the evil King Pete. Mickey starts with 2 health points, although he can gain more (up to 5) and he can jump and butt bounce on enemies to defeat them. He can also pick up certain objects and throw them at enemies or reposition them to use as platforms. Along the way to defeat Pete he helps rescue other famous Disney characters such as Donald and Goofy, who give him a variety of items to use which increase his abilities in game. One example is a potion which allows mickey to shrink by pressing down + B, to pass through small tunnels, and another is a rope which mickey can use to climb sheer walls.

The level design is simple but offers a nice variety of themes and ideas. One level sees Mickey in a giant land with huge bugs, another in a castle burning to the ground, and another in a haunted building where he must carry lights with him to be able to see. There’s some clever level mechanics too, like an auto-scrolling section with switches that can be held down to reverse the scrolling, requiring some puzzle solving to get a key at the end to a door at the start.

The game looks and sounds fantastic for either series, and is honestly a joy to play. I’ve beaten it before and it’s a great game to get down and play through of an afternoon now and again. I also highly recommend the sequel, Legend of Illusion, too

Deep Duck Trouble starring Donald Duck


After playing through Land of Illusion, I decided to pull out another Sega Disney title I hadn’t played in a while to give it another go. Deep Duck Trouble is a platformer starring Donald Duck, on a quest to find a treasure to help Uncle Scrooge who has been cursed and inflated like a balloon. Donald explores various environments hopping and bopping his way through them. Unlike this games predecessor, The Lucky Dime Caper (another decent sega Disney game, though not as good as Quackshot or the Illusion series) Donald doesn’t have any weapons to use this time, so generally jumps on enemies to defeat them. Donald can also kick blocks and chests, and kicking blocks into enemies hurts them too. He also has a health bar now.

The levels of Deep Duck Trouble are generally more simple than Land of illusion, with some fun but basic platforming challenges. There’s a few creative uses of donalds abilities, such as kicking blocks along ice and riding them in the ice world, but overall nothing that really stands out. Boss fights are interesting though – rather than fighting enemies, they all take the form of escape sequences, where Donald runs from a chasing hazard, such as a shark, a volcanic eruption or a gorilla. Once you’ve run far enough, they will crash into something or otherwise be halted and Donald will received the levels treasure

The game is a real treat when it comes to presentation. The music is catchy and sounds good for the system, and the game features super impressive graphics– it looks outright incredible for an 8 bit console or handheld. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. See, the elephant in the room with Deep Duck Trouble, is slowdown. The game is full of it, it’s a constant hazard. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t impact the game so much, but it unfortunately does. I replayed the ice world multiple times because it relied on a series of 2 quick, pixel perfect jumps over an instant death pit to finish – but every time I started the jump sequence, slowdown would kick in making it potluck whether my button presses would register at the right time or duration to make the jumps. It felt punishing in a way that wasn’t fair or fun. There are other instances of this too.

And that’s a shame, because if those issues weren’t there, this would be a pretty good, maybe even great platformer for the systems it’s on. I played on Game Gear, so it’s possible the issue is less pronounced on Master System, but given the similarities of the hardware I doubt it. As it stands, this registers as just decent. A short and fun romp if you can forgive the frustrations caused by the technical issues. Worth a play, but I’d recommend all of Sega’s other Mickey & Donald games first.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening


Link’s Awakening is an interesting game. I often see it pulled out as the most common of the left-field picks for people’s favourite Zelda games. You know, people generally choose Ocarina, Majora, Link to the Past, Breath of the Wild or even Wind Waker. But there is a small but committed bunch who know that Link’s Awakening is truly the best one.

I have never been one of those people.

I like Link’s Awakening on Game Boy, but it’s far from my favourite. It’s not my favourite 2D Zelda, or even my favourite Game Boy Zelda – both of those titles go to Oracle of Ages, with Seasons close behind. But all that said, I was still pretty excited to see Nintendo deciding to remake a 2D Zelda game for Switch in 2019. And it looked good! The art style was supposedly a little controversial with some, but I don’t see why, because it’s perfect for the game. It feels like a diorama, and I love how we see link in his hand animated style in the ‘real-world’ but in a toy-like form in the dreamworld of Koholint – it really sets things apart. I also quite enjoyed the childlike musical remixes, although I will say there is such a think as too much whistle sometimes!

Upon replaying Link’s Awakening, one thing that stood out to me was just how small the world is. It takes no time at all to scoot around it, and even with the addition of new heart pieces and secrets to find making it more densely packed, it still felt perhaps a little too snug to me. However, it’s nice to play a game with a brisk pace every so often – I just wish I got to spend a little more exploring the fun overworld of Koholint and a little less time inside the games dungeons, as often it only take 10 minutes or so after clearing a dungeon to get into the next one. As the dungeons get longer, this gets more pronounced. One the dungeons, they’re simple but fun enough. The first time I played the game I found the puzzles in the Eagle’s Tower frustrating, and that didn’t change second time around, but nothing was frustrating enough to put me off, except for one self-inflicted challenge…

That challenge was Hero Mode, an option I’d chosen to enable on my save file. Hero mode doubles the damage enemies deal, which is challenging early on, but not too scary on it’s own. The other thing it does is remove all heart pickups in grass and from enemies, meaning you can only replenish health by using fairies or visiting a fairy fountain. This was brutal in dungeons 1 and 2, where only 1 or 2 little mistakes could cause a game over – and I wanted the good ending which requires zero deaths, so every game over required me quitting the game to keep my save file clean. After dungeon 2 though I finally got access to fairies and to the blue armour from the colour dungeon, and suddenly hero mode was no longer a challenge at all. In the end, it’s only a problem for the first hour or 2 and then it barely even registers any more.

I hear people talk about how great the story is in Link’s Awakening, and I get it, but for me the writing feels a bit hamstrung. The concept of the game is really exciting, but I don’t feel invested enough in the world or characters to care. I get that they wanted to be true to the original, but I do think a little bit of extra dialogue and some rewritten text now it doesn’t need to be on Game Boy storage limitations and screen space would have maybe helped flesh it out a little more. As it is, I feel there’s a lot of missed potential here currently.

I made the mistake of aiming for completion on this game when I played through, which was a fun process for the most part. Finding all heart pieces was fun (except the dumb river minigame) and secret shells weren’t too bad either, especially with the radar you get now. However the other requirement for completion were the new dungeon creator challenges with dampe. These have you assemble your own dungeons using rooms you’ve visited in other dungeons and then playing through them for rewards. Unfortunately, these just feel like pointless time wasters, as there’s no new challenges to face here, no incentive to make it harder and very few ways to do so without just throwing bosses in your way. Because you want the rewards too, you’ll probably just throw the simplest rooms you can and make the shortest path possible – I did. This side mode isn’t really worth the time unless you want that 100% completion like I did.

Overall, I had fun with Link’s Awakening, but I did feel by the end that I still personally don’t love this entry as much as most people seem to. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but somethings missing for me. It has charm, and classic Zelda gameplay, but I find the story lacking and the dungeons a bit too simple aside from the random spike in difficulty that is Eagles Tower. The world is charming but small, and I find the pacing of the game too focused on dungeons – my favourite part of 3d Zelda games, but probably my least favourite part of the 2d ones. I’d happily recommend anyone give this a go, and I still really enjoyed it – but it’s one the lower end of my favourite Zelda game list I’m afraid.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by alienjesus Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:36 pm

1. Ys: The Oath in Felghana PSN Vita
2. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Switch
3. Super Mario Party Switch
4. Moss PSVR
5. Paper Mario: Colour Splash Wii U
6. The Firemen SNES
7. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SFC
8. Kuukiyomi: Consider It! Switch eShop
9. Valkyria Chronicles Switch eShop
10. Illusion of Time SNES
11. Trials of Mana Switch
12. Undertale Vita
13. Rastan SMS
14. Rainbow Islands SMS
15. River City Girls Switch
16. Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch
17. Streets of Rage 4 Switch eShop
18. Dragon Warrior IV NES
19. Super Tennis SNES
20. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Switch eShop
21. Pilotwings Switch eShop
22. Castlevania: The Adventure Switch eShop
23. Streets of Rage Game Gear
24. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix Switch eShop
25. Ninja Gaiden Game Gear
26. Psychic World Game Gear
27. The G.G. Shinobi II: The Silent Fury Game Gear
28. Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble Game Gear
29. Fire Emblem: Seisen No Keifu SFC
30. Pokémon Sword: Isle of Armour DLC Switch
31. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter N64
32. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse Game Gear
33. Deep Duck Trouble starring Donald Duck Game Gear
34. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch
35. Baba Is You Switch *NEW*

Baba Is You


BABA IS YOU. Except when he’s not. You see, sometimes BABA IS NOT YOU. Sometimes ROCK IS YOU, and BABA IS SHUT. Sometimes BABA IS EMPTY, and KEKE IS YOU. Sometimes BABA IS YOU, but also ROCK IS YOU. Sometimes, nothing is YOU and that’s ok, as long as something IS YOU eventually.


I should explain. Baba Is You is a mind-melting puzzle game about rules, and of course, about Baba. In each level of Baba Is You, your goal is to WIN, but it is up you to interpret and reshape the rules to make that possible. You (normally) play as Baba, a white creature who moves about a grid and can push things, sokoban style. In the levels of Baba Is You are words, which you can push around to change how the world works. BABA IS YOU means that you are in control of Baba. If you push the word rock to make ROCK IS YOU, you are now the rock and can walk around freely. Making both BABA IS YOU and ROCK IS YOU means you’ll control both Baba and the rock simultaneously. Normally, FLAG IS WIN, meaning if you touch the flag the level is completed. However, you could make ROCK IS WIN if you like. If you make BABA IS WIN and BABA IS YOU at the same you’ll win automatically because you are the thing which wins.


Thus begins the logic bending mindfuck that is Baba is You. Most levels feature rules that cannot be broken due to placement, and those are conditions you have to work with, but you should always pay attention. For example, most levels with walls feature WALL IS STOP making them impassable and non pushable – but sometimes they don’t, and you can just walk right over them. Or change it to WALL IS PUSH to move them around. Or WALL IS YOU and shift it all at once. Figuring out the right sequence to make something WIN and YOU in contact with it is the name of the game.


As the game goes on, more words get introduced that complicate matters. Some are adjectives, like SINK which makes objects that touch it disappear (sink into the ground) or HOT and MELT – an item that IS MELT touching an item that IS HOT will disappear. FALL is a property that adds gravity so it’ll fall to the bottom of the screen. PULL allows you to tow stuff behind you. SWAP makes you swap places with stuff you move into. Then things get complicated with conjunctives. AND appears so now you can do stuff like BABA IS KEY AND PUSH which lets you push baba into a locked object to unlock it. Or CRATE HAS KEY which means that the create will drop a key if destroyed (via SINK or MELT or many other options). They get more complex, what would NOT BABA IS YOU or NOT GRASS IS MELT AND NOT NOT LAVA do? Only one way to find out! Care has to be taken though, because if nothing on the map IS YOU, then the game becomes unplayable….at least, as long as you haven’t set up a sequence of events that moves stuff around so something becomes you again!


And so, Baba Is You is somehow an intensely logical game, which requires you throw logic out of the window somewhat and think outside of the box. Sometimes way outside of the box. Experimentation is the key to success, but Baba is nice enough to make it easy for you by allowing you to instantly rewind movements one at a time – you might get in an unwinnable situation, but at least you can reverse out of it. And trial and error is definitely a big part of this. Baba Is You is a fun challenge for the first few worlds, but it gets very hard, very quickly. Some levels have tons of rules and tons of possible rules you could make, but only certain combinations will allow you to succeed. Many levels can be solved in several ways, but all of those ways take some incredible sussing out. Be prepared, if you play Baba Is You, to either put some serious time into each level, or be willing to skip over some or look up hints.


There are some aspects of Baba Is You’s difficulty I didn’t like though, and those come down to some of the mechanics. Whilst I love the logic sussing of the rules, I find the Sokoban elements very frustrating. Sometimes I knew what I needed to get to solve a level but the issue I was having is not knowing how to push stuff around to get what I needed. These levels were a lot less fun for me. Another issue I had was with some later levels, which ask you to come up with solutions that actually don’t make sense with the understanding of the games rules you’ve been given. Normally, words cannot overlap under any circumstance, but there are some obscure ways to make it happen. These are required in many later levels to make multiple rules possible at once. This felt a little like glitching the game rather than solving a puzzle, but I guess that 4th wall breaking is part of the fun.


Baba is You is a great game, and there’s a bit more I really want to talk about regarding it, but be warned that this is a major, major spoiler. If I’ve convinced you to give this game a shot at all, please don’t read this next section, as it is something that would probably be much cooler to discover yourself.


Baba Is You is a game about breaking the rules, and being a bit Meta. And it knows it too. Towards the end of the game, you break Baba is You. Only, it’s expecting it, and comes prepared. Near the end of the main game, the word LEVEL is introduced. Adding it to LEVEL IS WIN is a great, easy way to finish the level you’re on. But you can do a lot more with it. What happens if we say ROCK IS LEVEL for example? Suddenly, we can access a new level – inside of another level. What about the other way around? If we say LEVEL IS BABA, what happens?


Suddenly, we’re on the map screen, with Baba in place of level 8. And it turns out the map screen has rules too. BABA IS YOU and FLAG IS WIN. If we turn another level into a flag, we can ‘WIN’ the map screen. And when we win a level, we go out to the map. When we win the map, we go out….to another map! And things get super meta from there. Levels inside worlds inside levels inside levels inside worlds. Levels that can only be beaten by doing stuff on other levels. New mechanics that really mix things up, like individual letters you can spell words with. Things get very cool, a bit crazy, and very, very tough. But it’s still super exciting to see what you can do next.


And so that’s Baba Is You. Baba Is You is an experience. Early on, you feel clever for figuring things out. And then it pulls the rug from under you and makes you work for the answers. New rules, challenging puzzles and an honestly quite extreme difficulty level await – and a whole lot of content, literally hundreds of levels to complete. And fuck, it’s tough. But it really is super satisfying when you figure one out on your own. Baba Is You is often too clever for it’s own good, to the point of frustration, but it knows it, and I love it. It wants you to think outside of the box, and it rewards you for it. I think it’s an acquired taste, but I’d recommend anyone give it a go at the least. It’s super cool.

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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:48 pm

Sweet review, AJ. I love a puzzle game, and I really want to play that one. A game you should consider looking into, based on your experience, is Corrypt. It’s a pretty great sokoban game you can only when by causing the game to “glitch” to the point of being almost completely broken. I really enjoyed it, and it’s short enough not to wear out its welcome.
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