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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:38 am

  1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch)
  2. Joe and Mac 2 (SNES via Switch Online)
  3. Stardew Valley (Switch) - New
  4. Cosmic Star Heroine (Switch) - New
  5. Grandia HD (Switch)
  6. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)
  7. Kotodama (Switch)
  8. A Robot Named FightI (Switch)
  9. Defenders of Oasis (Game Gear via 3DS Virtual Console)
A Robot Named Fight! - Switch

I have been remiss. I beat this game a couple months ago. A Robot Named Fight! is a procedural Metroid-like. In fact, it apes Metroid quite closely. The way your character moves, shoots, aims, crouches... this game wants to feel like Metroid. But it doesn't want to BE Metroid. It wants to be its own thing, which is good. You are one of a long series of robot warriors fighting against the Megabeast and its army of meat. You collect scrap to buy weapons and upgrades, and as you open up new areas and upgrade your abilities and kill enemies you unlock new enemies and areas that show up in future playthroughs. Levels are procedurally generated so while you'll see some common room layouts, the way they connect, the enemies they contain, and the powerups hidden in them will change. The game does a good job mixing things up because the procedural algorithm ensures you have access to the right kind of weapon to open a particular type or door, or a mobility item to navigate a particular gap. I've only gotten stuck once and that was because of a bug involving projectile persistence between rooms. There are multiple items of each different movement or damage type, so you'll surmount the same type of challenges in different ways on subsequent playthroughs. It also means that though you'll see many powerups again and again, you'll likely encounter them in different combinations, leading to varied mechanical experiences. And because of the unlocking mechanism, the more you play the more new stuff is added to the game.

The game isn't perfect. Some powerup combinations just aren't as powerful, and sometimes you can just get a bad hand. There are also a couple bosses that are significantly harder than their counterparts for certain areas, and a bad matchup can kill a run. But it's so easy to start a new game, and once you're comfortable and have a decent amount of possible content unlocked, a full run can end up taking only a couple hours. The music and atmosphere is WEIRD and dark and awesome, and there are even shrines to robot gods where you can pay homage (pay attention to hints as to numbers if you want the best bonuses). There's also multiple endings that require repeat playthroughs.

One interesting thing is that the game's creator releases periodic updates. I came to the game a bit later, so most of the content was already released, but after beating the game several times another update was released which, among other things, actually overhauled a lot of the environment graphics. This was several years after the game's original release on Steam. Now is the time to get in, because while there may be more coming, this is already a very full package of content, and the Switch version has done a good job keeping up. My only gripe is that a particular mix of powerups can affect the game's performance a bit, when you are capable of filling the screen with glowing, multi-effect projectiles in ridiculous numbers.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys the feel of Metroid or Super Metroid and isn't opposed to the procedural, repeat-play model of many rogue-lites. (Oh, you can also access the previous 5 or 10 game seeds and re-use them if you want to try to replay a particular arrangement.)

Defenders of Oasis - Game Gear via 3DS Virtual Console

Defenders of Oasis is in a lot of ways a standard 8-bit RPG. Coming out in 1992 probably didn't do it any favors, but as it was on the Game Gear it was competing more directly with Gameboy titles and not console titles. You are the prince of a nation during a time when the ancient evil wizard Ahriman is being revived. Shenanigans ensue, your father is killed, and you are left on your own, with only a Genie to help you. You eventually gain 2 more allies to fight at your side.

DoO explores some neat ideas, even as the basics of combat are relatively simple. Only the Genie can use magic, for example. Also, turn order is not like any other RPG I have played. When you act is based on your character's speed. But nobody is actually guaranteed a turn. If one character has very high speed and another very low speed, the character with high speed may actually get 2 or 3 turns and the character with low speed only 1. I made the mistake of not using any of the rare speed-boosting items on my Genie, meaning I was always in a tight spot for magic since he would sometimes just miss his turn. Some battles with enemies you'll get lots of turns to attack and they won't be able to do anything. Other times you'll really have to be in the mix with an enemy attacking back for everyone one of your own. The poison mechanic is also interesting. Poison doesn't drain your life in this game. Poison slowly gets worse over time, and as you take you're turn you'll be informed whether you are somewhat or very affected by the poison. Repeated poison attacks from enemies can accelerate the intensity of poison. And when poison gets strong enough, you simply die (you always return with 1 HP after the battle). There's a poison weapon in the game that lets you do this to enemies, too. It's not very powerful, but it was useful for a time against enemies with massive defense. Just poison them and defend until they die outright. It also means you don't have to cure poison right away, because really, you'll just get poisoned again. You can hold off until you're nearing dying (assuming someone gets a turn before your character faints).

There are healing and curing items, but mostly you'll want to lean on the Genie and his limited pool of MP. Later in the game you can find a spell that allows the Genie to retreat to his lamp and restore some MP. This helps you withstand extended forays away from town. And while your characters can all gain levels, the Genie cannot. The Genie is improved instead through found and purchased items. You basically add decoration to his lamp, which increases his HP, MP, and Defense. The Genie also can use spells that teleport you around, a necessity since there is no big world map. You must find the Genie's spells on stone tablets. It's possible to miss valuable spells and even get stuck until you find an essential one required for progress.

Your fighting characters each have a single distinguishing characteristic. The prince can use the best equipment and is the hardest hitter, the sailor can Dance and attack all enemies for reduced damage, and the thief can hide to evade attacks and spring from cover for extra damage. As a result, combat is a pretty simple affair. Most of your characters can just attack, special ability, use an item or defend. The Genie is a bit more delicate and is largely useless as a fighter, but the spells make it imperative to keep him alive (including returning to the lamp), since he does everything else.

The story is interesting enough, though it feels a bit abrupt in places. This RPG straddles a really odd line. For an RPG released in 1992 it feels awfully basic, but it does look good and sound good (for the Game Gear, anyway). And the interesting mechanics save it from being too draggy, though by the end game you'll probably need to take some breaks like I did. The final stretch of the game is a REALLY long combat section with some puzzle mazes that may have you pulling your hair out. It's a good thing the 3DS Virtual Console allows you to save the game state. Trying to play this game back in the day by saving when you rest would mean something like a 4-5 hour end-game run with no save points (I think, it's not clear when the game actually saves). The other complains is the lack of quality of life features. You have to go through the menus to see what your stats are. The game doesn't tell you what equipment you can use until you try to equip it. The game doesn't tell you how equipment will change your stats until you equip it. It means buying new gear in the shop can be a crap shoot. You'll want an FAQ or guide for this.

On the whole, this is a serviceable RPG that Game Gear fans were probably desperate for. I cannot recommend playing it on an original Game Gear, however. Play it emulated or on 3DS Virtual Console so you can save your state and put it down to take breaks. I hesitantly recommend this game for folks who like older RPGs, done mind a bit of grinding, and would like to see some unique mechanics.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:05 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)
60. MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC)(FPS)
61. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - SNK Version (NGPC)(Card Game)

62. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)(RPG)
63. STRAFE (PC)(FPS)
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)

68. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (PC)(RPG)
69. Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet - The Lovecraft Museum (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
70. The Mummy Demastered (Switch)(Action Adventure)

71. Just Cause 2 (PC)(Action Adventure)
72. Prey (PC)(FPS)
73. Prey: Mooncrash (PC)(FPS)
74. The Signal From Tölva (PC)(FPS)

75. Death Rally (PC)(Racing)
76. Bastion (PC)(RPG)

77. Cosmic Star Heroine (PC)(RPG)
78. Ultimate DOOM (PC)(FPS)

79. DOOM II: Hell on Earth (PC)(FPS)
80. DOOM II: No Rest for the Living (PC)(FPS)
81. DOOM 3: The Lost Mission (PC)(FPS)
82. DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil (PC)(FPS)

83. DOOM 3 (PC)(FPS)

Yeah, if you weren't expecting it, the trend continued. While I have played DOOM 3 before, I decided it was worth revisiting after playing through both expansion campaigns. And by revisiting, I mean set it on the easiest setting and rush through it mainly using the chainsaw, because why not?

DOOM 3 is the odd one out in the whole series library, because it doesn't play like any of the others. It's much more of a horror game, with fewer enemies, near-constant darkness, numerous monster closets and enemy spawns right behind you or folks waiting on the other side of doors to immediately attack, as well as weapons that feel underwhelming due to their audio and the amount of hits many enemies seem to take. Then again, it was a transitional phase for the series, so it makes sense that new things would be tried. They don't all work out, but DOOM 3 should be evaluated on its own merits instead of comparing directly to the rest of DOOM.

First, as a horror FPS, it's considerably more effective than some of its peers, such as F.E.A.R. Between the feelings of helplessness, the oppressive darkness, and the paranoia that sets in from seemingly any doorway or item or even walking forward causing some nasty monster to spawn, the tone is set for a disturbing and violent slaughterfest. Character models are ugly, but that just adds to the nastiness, and nobody dies in a nice way here. As you continue, levels take on the grotesque, yet they also provide winding paths back and forth which, while linear, still feel like an actual facility. This is superior (in my humble opinion anyway) to the repetitive rooms and hallways of F.E.A.R. and its blink-or-look-the-wrong-way-and-you'll-miss-it hauntings.

That said, while it doesn't have the eternal office building level, DOOM 3 can get confusing because many of its levels do feel samey. Worse, it's possible to miss necessary switches or info because you didn't realize you needed to use the tiny screen on some out of the way computer. That does get frustrating.

More frustrating are the weapons, which feel utterly lacking in oomph. I plink away at things with the assault rifle, and sometimes a point-blank shotgun blast doesn't even seem to register on the imp I just poured buckshot into. I realized while playing that this is because I was trying to play like DOOM, where enemies have no locational hitboxes. In DOOM 3, it turns out they have a special hitbox for the head, so that's where you want to focus fire. We're somewhere between Serious Sam and GoldenEye territory, with more emphasis on the Serious Sam side. Of course, some enemies have weird head hit boxes, which explains why some pinkies go down almost immediately from a good chainsawing and some manage to kick your ass in a battle for the ages before they drop.

Of course, with all this horror, DOOM 3 initially takes on a much slower pace than its predecessors. That's why I set it to the easiest setting and went for the chainsaw, because at least it feels like a semblance of the running and killing of previous games. On higher difficulties, DOOM 3 does still require the run game, but it becomes a different animal of picking where to fight your battles, reacting to bad situations, and often ducking in and out of cover while going for the all important head shot.

I used to refer to DOOM 3 as "Serious Sam with a lighting problem", and in truth, the lighting is by far the most impressive thing about the game. While I think the UAC should invest in some better lightbulbs, it's amazing just how shadowy and sinister the engine manages to be. Suddenly realizing you're surrounded by zombie co-workers as the lights kick out is a treat, as is watching shadows splay on walls or fighting to the illumination of an imp's fireball. The light is its own character here, something sorely needed and very rarely given. Even your flashlight isn't giving you much, and in some sections you'll plunge into pitch black hallways teeming with monsters or trying to navigate little mazes with only a lantern. It's great.

I'm feeling more generous to DOOM 3 than I used to be. Time has had the benefit of experience in numerous other FPS, as well as letting me understand the game's place in history. That, and I can see more of what id wanted, to show off a fantastic new engine and trying to adapt to what was the new "modern". It's not all bad, it just isn't what we had come to expect from the previous decade of DOOM. It also comes from a difficult time of transition in id's history, where the tech was great (Carmack was still around) but the gameplay and level design were lacking in comparison (Romero's chief contributions). The DOOM series has since continued to evolve and recapture a lot of the intensity and frenzied violence of the original games, though I do smirk when I see the DOOM 3 influences in certain enemy and weapon models.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:36 pm

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)*
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]*
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)*
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)*
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)*
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)
21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)
22. Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN)
24. Resident Evil 6 (360)
25. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
26. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)
27. Star Fox 64 (N64)*
28. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (SNES)*
29. Perfect Dark (N64)
30. Resident Evil 2 (PS1)
31. Metal Slug X (PS1)*
32. Left 4 Dead 2 (360)*

Image

33. Yu Yu Hakusho - Makyou Toitsusen (GEN)

I've heard good things about this game for the past few years and the fact that it's a fighter with some arena style four-player modes and it's Treasure game definitely had me interested. I fired up single player mode without any idea of the move sets and any knowledge of the characters, but luckily the button combos are pretty standard for fighting games, so after a few rounds, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it.

Visually, I'd say the graphics are pretty awesome. I really like character animations and the background levels look really good for the most part. There are one or two background levels that I think could have used some work or maybe replaced with something else, such as the blue grid background that reminded me of a Phantasy Star 2 battle screen. But on the other hand, there are some really nice backgrounds like the forest stage, the cavern, or the arena.

The soundtrack and sound effects for this title are also impressive. I think Treasure did a great job with the soundtrack and effects, and the voice samples are a nice touch and sound good for the 16-bit era. The tunes in the game definitely set the mood and are more upbeat and energetic. The background music I enjoy the most from the game is probably from the arena stage, but the music for the Sub-Space 2 and Devilish Forest levels are also great.

Gameplay wise, I wasn't sure what to expect from a fighter that wasn't created by a Capcom, SNK, or one of the other developers more known in that area, but Treasure really delivered here. The moves are pretty easy to get down once you know them and are somewhat familiar with your character of choice. I also like that combos are part of the gameplay and the graphic showing the hits are another nice touch. This game also has a two plain system that characters can jump between, which definitely reminds me of Guardian Heroes. It seems that multiple elements that started in this title were carried over to Guardian Heroes.

This is a really fun game and I had a great time with it. I fired it up on an emulator just to give it a shot and ended up really getting into the one player mode, to the point where I saw the credits roll. I messed around with the four player arena battles a bit which were pretty chaotic and fun too. I can see this game being quite good for a night with friends, when we're able to do that again. I highly recommend this title! I may even have to track down and shell out for a MD physical copy one day.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:13 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)
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)
65. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3)
66. Battle Stadium D.O.N. (GC) *
67. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) *
68. Dracula Densetsu II (GB)
69. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) *
70. Super Mario's Picross (SFC)
71. Castlevania (Famicom)
72. Castlevania (MSX)
73. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
74. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
75. Castlevania III (Famicom)
76. Super Castlevania IV (SFC) *
77. Castlevania: Bloodlines (MD)
78. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
79. Sonic Adventure (DC)
80. Drakengard (PS2)
81. Pole's Big Adventure (WiiWare)
82. Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PC)
83. Mario's Picross (GB)
84. Sonic Heroes (GC)
85. Drakengard 2 (PS2)
86. NeverDead (PS3)
87. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)
88. Gain Ground (Genesis)
89. Bonanza Bros. (Genesis)

90. Golden Axe Warrior (Master System)

A very cool inclusion on the Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, this is a game I've been meaning to get to for a very long time. Given that I played through Neutopia 1 and 2 earlier this year (and that I already had the PS3 hooked up), this seemed a good a time as any given that GAW, like Neutopia, is a pretty shameless clone of Zelda 1. It does have its own spins on the formula it brings to the table, but to paraphrase someone in the Slack chat, Sega were very content to rest on Nintendo's laurels ^^;. The game doesn't keep play time, but I reckon it took me around ten hours to beat with very heavy save state usage (for reasons we will get to later, oh don't you worry XD).

Long ago, a race of giants threatened to take over the world, but the mighty hero wielding the Golden Axe slew darn near all of them. But one, Death Adder, yet remains and has come back and conquered two kingdoms. The kingdom of Firewood (yes, really) is a peaceful nation protected by its nine sacred crystals, but one day a greedy minister sells the crystals to Death Adder and the country is quickly overrun by his armies. You play as the titular Golden Axe Warrior (whom you give a name to) in his quest to save Firewood and the world from Death Adder's reign of terror. There isn't really a meaningful story in the game, per se, but it does have a smattering of towns, named NPCs, and information givers who help you in your quest (using some of the best looking text I think I've ever seen on an 8-bit console).

In grand old Zelda-clone fashion, you've gotta go to each of those 9 dungeons collecting each crystal gem and getting new items in each as well as exploring around the world map for more items as well. It has some pretty neat things over Zelda 1, but mainly its use of both a sword AND an axe as usable weapons, as well as a series of magic spells you can acquire, is the biggest leg-up this has over the game it takes so much from. It also incorporates things like towns and shops from Zelda 2 and such, so you can buy consumable items if you need them (although the main one that matters is the single full-heal you can buy). That said, I think GAW brings a lot more negative to the table than positive.

While the dungeons are competently designed enough and the world map is big and varied, the biggest issue GAW has is its difficulty. The game's puzzles and cryptic clues for new items aren't quite as bad as Zelda 1's (save for the pretty dick move of being unable to upgrade any of your equipment in the hidden dwarf caves until you happen upon the ONE dwarf that you gotta help before any of the others), the game is very routinely difficult to a fault. I used save states a TON in this game because you are constantly being overwhelmed with very powerful enemies who can rush down your health really quick if you aren't suuuuuper careful and lucky. This is all down to a number of compounding factors.

Your character is right-handed, so he actually sticks his sword out directly in front of him slightly to the right. His sword also isn't very thick, so it can be very tricky to hit things unless they're directly in front of you and to the right. The axe, by contrast, has a swinging motion allowing you to hit things in front of you and to the side, but it also has half the range of the sword, and this is a big problem when combined with how very fast both you and all the enemies move. Running around so fast that you bump into an enemy (especially the ones that need to be hit from only one side) is a very common experience, and a lot of the enemies in the game (particularly earlier ones) have AI that make them randomly bumble around. They don't go for you in particular, so trying to hunt them down with your too-fast running (which is made even faster halfway through the game) and short ranged weapons is a real pain to deal with in a game where health is such a scarce and valuable resource.

This is further worsened by just how aggressive all the enemies are, how weak your weapons often are, and how many enemies you're usually fighting at once. Dungeons are not only full of rooms where killing the enemies MIGHT give you something you need to progress (but you have no idea if they do or not), but also rooms that are simply dead-ends full of enemies to beat you up. This extends to the bosses as well, with basically all of them across the board being various levels of miserable to fight for similar reasons (too fast, random AI, tons of health), with the red giant in particular being a really horrible slog of RNG and you've gotta fight him 3 times in the game. Death Adder, paradoxically enough, is actually one of the easiest boss fights in the game, and he took me 1 whole try with no save states to beat ^^;. I had to constantly use save states to have any hope of finishing this game in any reasonable length of time because it is just so constantly obsessed with spilling your blood in any way it can.

The magic spells in the game are interesting, but ultimately repeat the mistake of bombs in the original Zelda in that they're not much use as a weapon because you need them for puzzles. The earth magic, one of the first ones you get, is needed to break destructible rocks, and these rocks very often are the triggers to unlock doors in dungeons. You need to kill enemies to replenish magic, so it's quite a precious resource you can't afford to waste. It's nice that you have magic and all, but you're really heavily discouraged from using it with how dangerous it is to fight enemies for more magic and how little magic you can afford to waste.

The presentation of the game is adequate to quite good in many ways. It's quite funny seeing 8-bit, Zelda-ized versions of so many familiar Golden Axe enemies, and this is a very pretty Master System game. The text, as I mentioned earlier, is really really well detailed and they can fit a ton on screen at a time, and the sprite art too looks quite nice as well. Even down to the little speedy swishing of your character's feet below them (like a Peanuts character X3), this is a really nice looking 8-bit game (which you'd hope for one released when the Genesis was about to have its 3rd birthday). The music is pretty forgettable on the whole, but it's not actively bad or anything. It's very standard fantasy fare that sets the mood as well as it has to.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Though I certainly criticized far more than I praised in this review, there is still some fun to be had here. If you don't mind a much harder Zelda-like experience, this game might be right up your alley. Aside from the difficulty, it's a really well done Zelda clone, but because the difficulty IS there, it's at the bottom of the barrel of Zeldas or Zelda clones fo the 8-bit era. If you've got one of the collections it's on, it's certainly worth giving a look, but it's physical cart is a really pricey pick up, and I certainly can't recommend it at that price.
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dsheinem Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:53 pm

I think I am missing a game (or two) in this update, so will have to go back and check soon.

The PS5 is lit, y’all.

Games Beaten 2020
Mortal Kombat 11 - PS4
The Force Unleashed II - 360
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom - Wii
Lara Croft and the Guardiant of Light - 360
Super Fantasy Zone - Genesis
Fable Heroes - 360
Castlevania Bloodlines - Genesis
My Friend Pedro - X1
Darius - Genesis
Ape Out - PC
Doom Eternal - PS4
Dead or Alive 6 - PS4
Plague, Inc. - PC
Space Harrier II - Genesis
Space Harrier - Arcade
G.I. Joe - Arcade
Chaos Control - PC
Super Off Road - SNES
Pyscho Dream - SFC
Psychosis - Turbo Grafx-16
Splatterhouse - Turbo Grafx-16
Minecraft Dungeons - X1
Astro Bot Rescue Mission - PSVR
Samurai Shodown (2019) - PS4
Tank Force - Switch (Arcade)
Call of Duty: WWII - PS4
World War - PC (Arcade)
Death's Hangover - PC
Hotshot Racing - PC
Double-Kick Heroes - X1
The First Tree - PC
Dusk - PC
Astro’s Playroom - PS5 *new*
Super Hang-On 3D - 3DS *new*

Total: 34


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

Astro’s Playroom is an excellent (if short) platformer that strikes me as a sequel of sorts to my 2018 Game of the Year: Astro-bot’s Resuce Mission (PSVR). It certainly serves as an enjoyable showcase for the impressive PS5 DualSense controller, a controller that must be used to really “get” how revolutionary it feels. A good start for what will hopefully be a few PS5 games that go on this list before the end of the year.

Super Hang-On 3D looks great with the 3D effect turned up to max on my 3DSXL, and while I strongly recommend picking up any of the Sega 3D releases, I especially recommend stuff like this, Outrun, and Galaxy Force II where there’s a lot of exisitng “3D” effects in the original game...those really pop on this platform.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:29 pm

154. Cobra Kai (switch)

I am a huge fan of Cobra Kai, so when I was grocery shopping at walmart and saw this for sale I just had to pick it up. I saw a trailer of it a while back so I knew it was a beat em up but did not know much else about it, I went it expecting some generic liscense trash but was pleasantly surprised to stumble on to one of the best beat em ups I have played in a while.

The game starts out with Hawk and Demitri in the principals office after fighting at school, they are asked to explain why they are fighting and at that point you can choose to play as either Cobra Kai or Miyagi Do. Each dojo offers 4 unique fighters and its own storyline, separate from the show, all voiced by their original voice actors from the show which is definitely cool for fanboys like me.

Gameplay here is what you would expect from a beat em up, walk through levels, fight enemies, fight a boss at the end, and sometimes a mid boss, but the combat system here is incredibly deep and varied, far more than what you would typically expect in a beat em up. Every single button on the controller is used here and the amount of moves and combos available to each character is pretty stunning. You have your standard punch, kick jump buttons. Punch and kick can be comboed together to produce a variety of different combos and pausing inputs at intervals changes the combos and produces critical hits. There is also your standard grab moves, dashing moves, and a variety of moves you can perform on downed opponents like a stomp, ground and pound, and even a swinging leg throw. These basic moves alone are far more than what is in your standard beat em up, but there is so much more here.

In addition to a huge arsenal of normal moves each character also has 8 special moves, 4 shared special moves that every member of your dojo has, and 4 special moves that are unique to each character, these special moves can (and should be used) liberally, there is no cost to any of them and each one has a small cool down window, enough so you cant just spam the same special move over and over again, but not long enough to prohibit you from using them liberally. These special moves along with your normal moves can create enormous combos, juggle combos, ground combos and more making the combat system consistently fun to experiment with.

On top of all the offense you also have a good number of defensive options, you have an invincible dodge roll that can be performed anytime, even mid move, so if you are performing a slow move and get attacked you can cancel the move to roll out of the way. You also get a parry that can block and counter incoming attacks. Parrying attacks does very good damage, usually clears out enemies around you, and even recovers some health so mastering parries and learning what can and can be countered is essential to survival on the later stages.

At any given time you can switch between all 4 members of the dojo, you can tag out when you are low on health, or just switch out for the fun of it. Each character plays very differently, for Cobra Kai you have Johnny, who is slow but strong with lots of crowd control tactics and huge damage moves, Miguel is the most balanced fighter with great juggles and stun attacks, Hawk is very fast with low defense but capable of racking up huge combos, and tori is somewhere in the middle of Hawk and Miguel with some nice moves to help her from getting surrounded.

In between levels there is a robust upgrade system where you can upgrade your characters, your moves, and your dojo in general which affects all of your characters.

All of this adds up to one of the best beat em ups I have ever played. The fact that I am a huge fanboy of the show definitely adds to the fun for me and I was rewatching season 1 and 2 while I was playing this, but even if you are not a fan of the show the combat system here is lots of fun and puts most retro inspired beat em ups to shame. In fact I would say that it is my favorite beat em up of the year and that is definitely high praise in a year that saw the release of streets of rage 4.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:36 pm

1. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN)*
2. The Ninja Warriors (SNES) [3x]
3. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)*
4. Golden Axe (GEN) [3x]*
5. Beyond Oasis (GEN)
6. Super Double Dragon (SNES)*
7. Shenmue II (DC)
8. Shining Force 2 (GEN)*
9. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
10. ActRaiser (SNES)
11. OutRun (GEN)*
12. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
13. Captain Commando (SNES)
14. The Pirates of Dark Water (SNES)
15. Final Fight (SNES)
16. Gradius III (SNES)
17. Super R-Type (SNES)
18. U.N. Squadron (SNES)
19. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
20. Arrow Flash (GEN)
21. Forgotten Worlds (GEN)
22. Contra III: The Alien Wars (SNES)
23. Wonder Boy in Monster World (GEN)
24. Resident Evil 6 (360)
25. Skies of Arcadia (DC)
26. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)
27. Star Fox 64 (N64)*
28. Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (SNES)*
29. Perfect Dark (N64)
30. Resident Evil 2 (PS1)
31. Metal Slug X (PS1)*
32. Left 4 Dead 2 (360)*
33. Yu Yu Hakusho - Makyou Toitsusen (GEN)

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34. Left 4 Dead (360)*

As mentioned earlier, this is a game that my girlfriend picked up in the bargain bin at a local (now closed) GameStop after playing it with her friends. She's a big fan of horror movies and everything horror related and we're always looking for couch co-op games to play together, so it was a no brainer. I played the sequel first, so I wasn't sure if I'd still enjoy the original, but I ended up having a great time playing through this one too. We originally finished the game last year, but decided to dig it out again around the Halloween season.

Regarding the graphics, I think Left 4 Dead looks good for the era it was released and the user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, especially for a game that's action packed and has instances with a lot of enemies coming at you at once. Gameplay wise, this title's great for couch co-op. It's a ton of fun mowing down wave after wave of zombies with a friend, and there's a decent variety of weapons to do so. I feel like some of the maps aren't as expansive as the sequel, and you'll be having some fights in close quarters, which isn't a bad thing but just a difference to point out. With a variety of campaigns and weapons, the game has a high amount of replay value. I'd also say the AI in this game is fairly good, but every once in a while one of the AI controlled characters will take way too long to join you in the safe room, or will accidentally fall off a ledge or bridge to their (temporary) doom. The AI issues aren't game breaking at all, just a minor grievance.

This series has become one of my favorite co-op experiences over the past few years. I'm hoping there will eventually be a third title in the series, but I know it's a long shot. In the mean time, I'll have to consider downloading some of the DLC campaigns in the sequel. Overall, this is a great FPS in co-op mode, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for that sort of title.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:04 pm

@pook99

That is high praise, indeed! I’ll need to look into that game since it sounds like it’s much more than a quick cash-in. A good Karate Kid game...blasphemy!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:45 am

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
70. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - PS4
71. Star Wars Squadrons - PC
72. Serious Sam 4 - PC
73. The Bard's Tale - PC
74. The Bard's Tale II - PC
75. The Bard's Tale III - PC
76. The Bard's Tale IV - PC
77. Outbuddies - Switch
78. Ghostrunner - PC
79. Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict - GG

Final Conflict is the last of the Game Gear side story games for the Shining Force series, and it serves as an interquel that ties together Shining Force 1 and 2, as well as Shining in the Darkness (though the latter is only noticed if you know that in Japan the boss of Shining in the Darkness is named Mephisto, rather than "Dark Sol" as localized by Sega). While it has some balance problems it's a reasonably fun entry in the series, being about as good as the other Game Gear games.

The story starts off near the town of Hassan on the continent of Paramecia; veterans of Shining Force II will recognize the first mission as the shrine of Tauros where the Caravan is stored. Max and Adam had traveled to Paramecia from Guardiana in pursuit of Michaela, who apparently survived the events of the first game. Adam and Max get separated and Adam gathers a new Shining Force to chase after Max. The journey will cover much of Paramecia as well as Grans Island. You will hit up a bunch of places you recognize from Shining Force II, and the game does a decent job of doing 8-bit versions of Shining Force II's music.

Like the other Game Gear games the experience is pretty bare bones; you only have menu towns in between battles and the battles themselves are a bit less involved. You definitely don't need to grind to 20 before promoting in this one, and you really would need to grind hard to pull that off. Compared to some of the other games in the series I found the healers underpowered (bad level up gains and your primary healer has shit MP growth) and the mages dropped off as well. Fortunately, around the time the mages are starting to suck you get several new recruits who can pull their weight. And with two ninjas who gain Raijin (Bolt 2) at a decent level you don't even miss out on ranged firepower.

The game once again does the "fight the big bad, then fight the summoned big bad" thing of other games. The first mission is one of the nastiest missions I've ever played, as there are five of the "shoot everything in a line" enemies along the only approach, and you have no way of dodging them if you can't fly (not enough MP to get from one safe spot to the next unless you stack move speed on one character, as in both a Pimento and a Running Right on someone who can at least move 6). Also, most of the enemies at this point have a ranged aoe attack (magic or inherent), so you are going to finally burn those healing rains you've stocked. By contrast, the fight against the giant summoned guy is the easiest in the series, as there are no restrictions on who can deal damage and no summoned monsters to force you to rush; just two sub-bosses and the primary boss. Take out the sub-bosses fast for breathing room and then fight the boss at your leisure. As long as you got through the preceding fight reasonably intact you're fin.

The game is worth playing for fans of the series, especially if you want to see the plot connections between all the games. But like the other Game Gear games I wouldn't recommend it to newcomers. I think of all the Game Gear games it's the most worth playing due to the plot stuff; the other two ones are pretty divorced from things and fit the "side story" moniker much more.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:40 pm

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)
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)
65. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (PS3)
66. Battle Stadium D.O.N. (GC) *
67. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) *
68. Dracula Densetsu II (GB)
69. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) *
70. Super Mario's Picross (SFC)
71. Castlevania (Famicom)
72. Castlevania (MSX)
73. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)
74. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)
75. Castlevania III (Famicom)
76. Super Castlevania IV (SFC) *
77. Castlevania: Bloodlines (MD)
78. Kid Dracula (Famicom)
79. Sonic Adventure (DC)
80. Drakengard (PS2)
81. Pole's Big Adventure (WiiWare)
82. Day of the Tentacle Remastered (PC)
83. Mario's Picross (GB)
84. Sonic Heroes (GC)
85. Drakengard 2 (PS2)
86. NeverDead (PS3)
87. 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)
88. Gain Ground (Genesis)
89. Bonanza Bros. (Genesis)
90. Golden Axe Warrior (Master System)

91. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)

This is the last game on these Genesis collections that I played a fair bit of but never beat as a kid. It was certainly the Sonic game (other than 3D Blast) that I got farthest in as well, making it all the way to Robotnik before losing my last life against him immediately XP. I decided this would be another great entry for this month's TR of finishing games we failed to beat before, and managed to get to the end of it (mostly) without save states~ (I saved before Robotnik so I wouldn't need to fight Silver Sonic over and over if I wanted to try again XP). It took me a few hours to get through the English version of the game on the PS3 version of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection.

Sonic 2 is, of course, the sequel to Sonic 1, and brought a lot of things to the series that would become staples of the franchise. Tails is brought in as your player 2, bosses are now at the end of Act 2 instead of being their own stages, Robotnik's machines became more elaborate, and there were now 7 chaos emeralds instead of 6. There's also a new, different mini-game to collect those chaos emeralds, although I'm really not a fan of it compared to the mini-game in Sonic 3 (and I only ever managed to get 1 chaos emerald in this game and have no intention of going for more XP).

The level design is tightened up significantly from the first game, with a much higher emphasis on going fast while carefully making your way through levels instead of the speed mixed with precision platforming that so defines Sonic's first adventure. Sonic 3 would go on to make exploration of levels a much larger aspect of the game's design, but I really don't care for that design much either. Between Sonic 1's awkward meshing of speed and not-so-great platforming and Sonic 3's massive maze-like stages that take at least 5 minutes each to complete, Sonic 2 is a great sweet spot for me of polish without sacrificing that quick gameplay pace. The game is also much more generous with extra lives and mid-level checkpoints than the first Sonic, and that goes the same for continues as well. It might not have the save system that Sonic 3 has, but Sonic 2 is a really good mid-point of reasonable challenge in its difficulty as well (for the most part).

Sonic 2 isn't completely without fault though. I actually got a game over with my first run because Tails kept getting me killed so often, as he'd so frequently hit bosses or enemies right before I would that I'd end up having nothing to bounce off of and fall into the death pit below XP. Thankfully, you can turn off Tails in the options menu, but the options menu is fairly well hidden on the title screen ^^;. And if you're with a second person, Tails somewhat trivializes the difficulty of the game, as he is completely invincible. Your Player 2 can risk life and limb without fear of punishment fighting bosses or enemies while Sonic just hangs back and stays alive as best he can XD

There are also a few more mean bits of the game where not knowing what to do in advance is definitely going to get you killed, and the biggest example of that is the final fight against Robotnik. There are no rings in the entire stage, and you need to fight the robotic Silver Sonic EVERY time you play the stage, so every time you want another chance at Robotnik, you gotta go through him first (whittling away your precious extra lives). It's a really unfortunate difficulty spike right at the tail end of a game that otherwise has a really nice difficulty curve throughout (even if some stages like Oil Ocean can drag on a bit too long at times).

The presentation is fantastic, as is to be expected of a Sonic game on more or less any Sega console. 1992 is really when Sega's first party entries on the system started to kick into high gear, with games like Streets of Rage 2 making their predecessors released just a year before look like glorified Master System games, and Sonic 2 is in many ways no exception. It's a very pretty game full of beautiful sprites and great, memorable tracks. This era's Robotnik will always be my favorite aesthetically, and this game really helps bring him to life with little animations like his cowardly running and sinister laughing. It really helps bring the all around package together into something that feels much more than Sonic 1's more simple fare.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. I'm still not a huge fan of 2D Sonic, but this is definitely a game I quite enjoy. I'll never like 2D Sonic as much as I like 2D Mario, but this is for sure the best 2D Sonic game of the Genesis days for my money. Quick speed, fair challenge, and more straightforward levels make this a really fun action platformer well worth your time if you're like me and somehow still haven't gotten around to playing through these games yet X3
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