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ExedExes
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by ExedExes Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:48 pm

MrPopo wrote:Interestingly enough, on the healing water mission I filled up both flasks but ended up not losing either. And something nice about them is they also seem to give you a speed boost.

Yes that's right. They give you all the benefits of a red and a yellow potion.
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Xeogred wrote:The obvious answer is that it's time for the Dreamcast 2.
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Key-Glyph
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Key-Glyph Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:00 am

MrPopo wrote:29. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - NES
I really enjoyed that whole review, Popo. I particularly liked hearing about the skill/knowledge difference between child-you and adult-you. It reminded me of how I used to avoid random encounters in my very first turn-based RPGs because I was afraid of losing battles.

Yup. Logic fail!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrPopo Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:10 am

Key-Glyph wrote:
MrPopo wrote:29. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - NES
I really enjoyed that whole review, Popo. I particularly liked hearing about the skill/knowledge difference between child-you and adult-you. It reminded me of how I used to avoid random encounters in my very first turn-based RPGs because I was afraid of losing battles.

Yup. Logic fail!

Clearly young you was just getting ready for Final Fantasy VIII, where a low level is a help and a high level is a hindrance.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Ack Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am

1. Renegade Ops (PC)(Multidirectional Shooter)
2. Borderlands 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
3. Gunpoint (PC)(Puzzle Platformer)
4. Robotrek (SNES)(RPG)
5. The Tick (SNES)(Beat 'Em Up)
6. Alien vs Predator (SNES)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. X-Kaliber 2097 (SNES)(Action Platformer)
8. Metal Slug (MVS)(Run and Gun)
9. Shadowrun (SNES)(RPG)
10. Quake II (PC)(FPS)
11. The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang (SNES)(RPG)
12. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PC)(Action)
13. A Story About My Uncle (PC)(Platformer)
14. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC)(FPS)
15. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith (PC)(FPS)
16. Catacomb (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
17. Catacomb Abyss (PC)(FPS)

18. Catacomb Armageddon (PC)(FPS)
19. Catacomb Apocalypse (PC)(FPS)
20. The Catacomb (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
21. Catacomb 3-D (PC)(FPS)
22. EarthBound (SNES)(RPG)

Ah, EarthBound. You and I have a special relationship. When I first got into SNES collecting, I would just mention it off-hand, and the first question I would always get was, "Do you have EarthBound yet?" No, no I did not. They'd always follow it up with, "What about Chrono Trigger," but despite having that one, even it couldn't subdue the interest and the hype around EarthBound's obscene price and inflated reputation.

Well, now I own EarthBound. And now I've beaten it too, my own personal copy sitting in my own personal SNES, next to the Nintendo official player's guide for the game. It was a long, arduous journey, first to spend years collecting only to have someone give it to me as a birthday present for turning 30(only after a decade of hoping I'd get lucky and find it!), and second to play through it as I'm suffering steadily building burnout about SNES RPGs that caused me to quit for a month halfway through so I could play some first person shooters(because burnout causes me to want to shoot things in the face). But I put in the time, and I made you mine, EarthBound. And I will say, I find you incredibly charming, frustrating, cute, clever, annoying, and occasionally infuriating, with a mix of old and new, ideas both unique and antiquated all rolled up together into a ball.

There is a lot going on here, a lot of ideas tried that I didn't always love but that added to the world, so let's start with the basics: I love the setting. Modern-day RPGs aren't very common, so to have one set in the mid-1990s, with all the colors and quirkiness, the skyscrapers and pre-mass Internet, one that gets the fashion and the design of its decade, that is pretty special. EarthBound nails its decade in terms of design. It understands that this is a decade where stuff like this is cool:

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And EarthBound runs with it. The soundtrack is a weird acid trip combination of jazz and electronic music, the aesthetic reminds me of an In Living Color intro, and the characters are all experiencing a weird slice of life in a world still reeling from the bizarre culture of the 1970s and '80s. EarthBound was also created in the midst of Japan's Lost Decade, and there is a definite absurdest tongue-in-cheek take on modern society, where people covet awkward things and deal with their own psychological failings in a world gone mad while the hero and his friends fight for meaning and existence in the face of ultimate evil. They join cults, they shop, they work, they complain about local politics, and they try to live their lives completely ignorant of events around them or even of the events they participate in.

While the gameplay is more traditional JRPG-fare, there are some unique touches that change things up a bit. The biggest for me was the roulette system for health, where a devastating attack drains health but doesn't instantly register, giving the player time to heal a character or go nuts before death sets in. I won a couple of boss fights by going nuts; the party was dead save Ness, he was out of PP and items to heal or revive, and I just started rapidly pressing the button to have him attack as much as possibly before his impending death. I prefer to think of it as Ness declaring, "Screw this," and then going full Baseball Bat Guy from the Raid 2 on them, repeatedly beating opponents with his bat in a fervor of adrenaline-fueled malice to do as much damage as possible before the fight is over. I love the roulette system. I also enjoyed the auto-kill system for enemies that were too weak to really fight me, as it meant that even a long dungeon crawl could be navigated safely with even some level of experience boost.

Are there things I dislike? Yes, and this gets back to some of what I said about archaic systems. The item inventory system in EarthBound is horrendously limited, and since it includes all of the gear you are wearing and whatever else you need, it inevitably gets clogged. There is also an abundance of different item types, but you may never know exactly what item you need until you're already in a dungeon and have to walk a long ways to get back. Also, certain items can only be used by certain people, so their inventories will be filled with their goods. Jeff's broken objects and bottle rockets pretty much locked his inventory up the whole game, and since Ness needed his ATM card, receiver phone, and sound stone, half of his inventory was effectively gone. Poo can't even use half the items in the game and must keep his inventory separate for his own items(though that said, his items have an awesome effect on him). There is a storage system, but it is limited in size, limited in how much you can put in or take out at a time, costs money to access, and takes time to use. That was a big point of consternation for me early on; money has to be withdrawn, it doesn't come to you directly, but it takes time, and then I have to spend more time to put up or take out items. It feels clunky. Sure, maybe it's supposed to be a joke on cultural malaise, but it is not conducive to fun game design. Nor is the heavy reliance on menus, and it took someone on this website telling me I could instantly talk or check things by pressing the L button before I realized I could do that. I spent the first fourth of the game opening the menu to use Talk. That got old fast.

I also dislike new members coming to the party at level 1, and EarthBound does this repeatedly. It makes up for it a bit with Poo immediately being leveled to 16, but each time this new character is still a liability. Plus, there is a plethora of status effects, which I still don't know what they do or how to get rid of. In general there is a lack of explanation about the finer details on what abilities do what, what items do, how to get rid of certain statuses, etc. I got diamondized once, I was possessed several times(which are impossible to get rid of by the party...that blows), I was put in tears, given a cold, poisoned, numbed, etc., and I still don't know what a lot of this stuff means.

Those complaints aside though, EarthBound is quirky, weird, and in my opinion once you get past those issues or figure out a few workarounds, it's actually a pretty nifty game. As a result, I found the back half way more fun than the start, and the final boss battle is something to behold. The game has a proper ending which feels like an accomplishment to reach, and it's actually quite extensive depending on where the player wishes to visit and who Ness talks to. I highly recommend returning the library book.

So, EarthBound, worth $200? No, I don't think so. Best game ever? No, I still prefer Final Fantasy VI, and I probably always will. But is it a fun, quirky, and unusual game that is enjoyable, offers a unique world, and is a worthy edition to the SNES library? Most definitely. Despite the frustration, it's a weird ride that's worth taking.

Oh, and that player's guide? It's also quirky and odd, but it has a bad habit of getting things horribly wrong and leaving out information. I don't recommend it nearly as much as the game...
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:08 pm

Awesome review, Ack. I will be firing up Earthbound very soon, and it was great to read your thoughts.

.....

1. Cut the Rope (3DS)
2. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
3. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (XBOX)
4. Jewel Link Chronicles: Mountains of Madness (NDS)
5. Super Mario 3D World (WIIU)
6. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
7. Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS)
8. Gunman Clive (3DS)
9. Child of Light (WIIU)
10. Gunman Clive 2 (3DS)
11. Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition (WIIU)
12. Shifting World (3DS)
13. VVVVVV (3DS)
14. Mega Man 9 (PS3)
15. Mighty Switch Force 2 (WIIU)


Mega Man 9 is great. It is easily one of the best Mega Man games, and it is also one of the most difficult. (With regard to quality, I rank it just below the sublime Meag Man 2 and Mega Man 3, and with regard to difficulty, I rank it just below Mega Man.) The game looks and sounds great, the challenge is perfectly tuned; and the game "feels" like a classic Mega Man game. I highly recommend it to any fan of classic 2D action platformers.

Mighty Switch Force 2 is another fun - but very easy - action platformer. Whereas the original Mighty Switch Force felt like a Mega Man game, the sequel feels a bit more like a unique puzzle platformer. In it, you play as a firefighter who has to use her "switch" ability to put out fires and rescue young women hidden throughout the level. The game has 16 stages, all of which can be beaten in just a few minutes. It is unlikely that you will be able to beat most of the levels on your first attempt, however, and the final levels are quite challenging. (Not nearly as challenging as the last level in Mighty Switch Force, however.) The game also keeps track of your best time for completing each stage, and reaching the "par" time for each one would be incredibly challenging. Accordingly, there are enough challenges to keep devoted fans playing for quite some time. I probably will not spend that much more time with it, however, and I would not recommend spending more than a few dollars on it. (I spent about $2.50, and I definitely got my money's worth out of it.)
Last edited by prfsnl_gmr on Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Markies Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:09 pm

I beat Earthbound for the first time as well just a few months ago.

The setting and characters are unbelievable. They just don't make games like that anymore as each character and even NPC was just full of personality. I loved the weird and trippy atmosphere of the US, but it still had this Normal Rockwell subtly to it that I absolutely loved. The enemies and items were very unique and just added to its charm. There is no other game like Earthbound.

However, the item system is a pain in the butt. Most of my game was spent using items or just throwing things away. Much like the original Final Fantasy, it is quite annoying when items cannot stack. Also, the game's core is a Dragon Quest battle system and it was quite annoying in spots. The stat gains were very tiny at times, there were necessary grinding spots at time and some of the battles could be really cheap. The difficult battles really took away from the setting and characters.

So, I had very much the similar experience you had when playing the game. It is worth a play just for the settings, characters and uniqueness, but you need to go in with an open mind and remember that it is a bit archaic.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Sarge Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:10 pm

Man, been a long time since I went through Earthbound. I always thought of it as a quirky Dragon Warrior game, basically. Definitely good stuff, doesn't move the needle a whole lot on the gameplay side as far as mechanics, but everything else makes it a classic.

Agreed that it's not a $200 classic, though.

Oh, and very yes to Mega Man 9. That's a modern day classic. It's tough enough to require you to use your subweapons, unlike some of the post-Buster games, and the level design is inspired stuff. MM10 is just okay compared to it.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:13 pm

Sarge wrote:Oh, and very yes to Mega Man 9. That's a modern day classic. It's tough enough to require you to use your subweapons, unlike some of the post-Buster games, and the level design is inspired stuff. MM10 is just okay compared to it.


Yes. The sub-weapons were critical, and I definitely had to break out a few E-Tanks to take down Dr. Wily. There were also some times were I really, really wisehed I had the Mega Buster, the Rush-Marine, the slide, and all of the other mechanics that made the later NES games so much easier. :lol:

I am also looking forward to 10, but I know to keep my expectations in check a little bit.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Sarge Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:15 pm

Don't get me wrong, MM10 is still a good game. That was true for all the NES-style games. It's just not MM9-level.
Hardcore Retro Gaming - Talk about games ten years old or older. Now with a modern gaming section!
“History isn't just the story of bad people doing bad things. It's quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” -- C.S. Lewis
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Exhuminator Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:18 pm

Sarge wrote:Oh, and very yes to Mega Man 9. That's a modern day classic.

I am stuck on Mega Man 9 on WiiWare. I made it to this part:

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That area just kicks my ass. :cry: It was a rock solid game up till that point for me.
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