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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Jun 12, 2021 1:02 am

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch

Cathedral is a retro Metroidvania that shares an aesthetic with Shovel Knight but lacks basically all of the polish and balance. You can't blame this on them trying to be like an 8-bit game; most of the painful design decisions are definitely from more modern times. It's a shame, because there are some decent bones to this game but it seems to hate you playing it.

The story is thinner than the original Metroid; you are an animated suit of armor that gets up and walks around, runs into a ghost, the ghost says "we need orbs to open this door", you get the orbs, open the door, and fight the final boss. And at the final boss you maybe get an idea of why you did all this, but it doesn't quite hold together. But you don't play a retro Metroidvania for the story, you play it for the gameplay.

Let's start with the good. Your primary attack is melee, but you quickly unlock an arrow shooter that is used for both hitting enemies and triggering switches to solve puzzles. Later on you will find more items that can be used to solve puzzles or progress through areas. The game also has a bit of a unique approach to some of the unlockable abilities. You have three slots for some abilities, one is for an active ability, one is for a movement ability, and one is for a passive. Initially you can only equip one of the abilities in each slot, but by end game you get to use both at the same time.

Which lets me segue into the various things the game just gets wrong. That aforementioned "you need to pick between two things" ability equipping sounds like a neat idea to force decisions, but in practice it just makes you feel gimped. Forcing choices on passives or combat actives is good; it lets you find a playstyle you like. Forcing you to decide between a double jump and a dash is awful, especially since you get forced into using one or the other to progress.

Remember that aforementioned arrow launcher? It quickly becomes only good for doing puzzles. It has the same damage as your basic sword but uses ammo, and shortly after getting it you can get a sword upgrade that doubles its damage. Eventually you can upgrade the arrow launcher to match that but then you get another sword upgrade right afterwards that raises your damage to 3 per hit. The arrow launcher can't catch a break. But this fits with a general pattern of the game; upgrades are not balanced to make you feel like you're getting stronger, they keep you from feeling like you're falling behind. You spend the entire game at a point of dying in three hits to anything in the area you're supposed to be in and everything taking fourish hits to die.

And that leads to the thing that sticks out the most; the game does not buffer your button presses when you're mashing. Your swing is fast, but not one frame, so getting the cadence wrong really hurts your DPS and makes it feel clumsy when you're trying to chew through enemy HP. And with your fairly short sword (it's not as bad as Zelda II, but it's pretty short) not being able to get in that last hit before an enemy rams you is a source of a bunch of deaths. And getting this mashing right is critical against bosses, because they have far too much HP. Frankly, things would have been better with a slower swing and less HP on enemies, like you see in Castlevania games.

One final thing to point out; the further you get in the game the more dickish the enemy placements are. The game delights in having segments with instant death enemies for no reason other than to remind you the devs hate you. You have to do lots of narrow platform climbs against flying enemies that you don't have good tools to deal with. And checkpoint starvation gets very real in the later areas, with one particularly egregious moment being a needed checkpoint in the final dungeon (which goes on for WAY too long because they wanted to reuse every tileset in the game) being behind a hidden wall.

Overall, Cathedral is a poorly balanced Metroidvania that lacks charm and is hard for all the wrong reasons. Compare it with Blasphemous, which is hard in a carefully planned way that is designed to make you feel like you've gotten better, rather than getting lucky that an enemy decided to jump in this direction rather than that direction and you could make it through without being knocked off. I wouldn't get this unless you really need another Metroidvania to play.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:28 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5

Along with getting a performance bump with its PS5 release, FF7R also has a piece of DLC exclusive to the PS5 (though it might just be timed). The DLC follows Yuffie in the period between the bombing of Reactor 5 and the dropping of the Sector 7 plate. She journeys to Midgar to meet up with a fellow Wutai ninja so they can infiltrate Shinra HQ and steal the so called "ultimate materia" reports indicate is held within.

The DLC is fairly short; it consists of two chapters. The first chapter is an intro segment to inform you of Yuffie's unique quirks and get you to the Sector 7 Slums, followed by town activities. This includes a revamped version of the Fort Condor minigame, which is now a board game. Like the original you place various units on the board who will then act independently. Unlike the original this is set up more like a MOBA battlefield. All the units have a simple rock paper scissors dynamic, but there is also a ground/flying dynamic (not all units can hit flying, but flying tends to be weaker). While the original cost money to place units (one of the two reasons no one did it, the other being how damn log it took due to the low specs of the PS1), here unit production is gated by ATB segments. You build up charges over time and different units cost different amounts to place. It is just entertaining enough to fill out the available fights; you would not want to try and have this extend through a full length game. The end of the first chapter is a dungeon, followed by a point of no return prompt so you can wrap up any town stuff you have left to do.

The second chapter is the infiltration of Shinra HQ. You quickly get found out upon entering the Secret Weapons Development area, and you then proceed to fight your way through to the end. Multiple interesting boss fights are involved, along with some allusions to the wider Final Fantasy VII mythos. It's not a spoiler to say that Yuffie doesn't end up getting any "ultimate materia", but the whole DLC serves mostly to give her more characterization and backstory, rather than her very weak "yo, I join your party now" of the original (though to be fair, she does get some characterization if you do the optional Wutai area). Seeing her in a modern game really fleshes her out; she's a genki girl who lives and breathes every single shounen protagonist trope and it's glorious. I can't wait to see how she integrates with the party in the next installment.

One more thing to point out for those who might still be on the fence; the ending includes some stuff that serves as a transition/preview of what might be going down in the second FF7R game. So if you wanted more FF7R I highly recommend the DLC.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:43 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again… some of y'all aren't human. 48? It's only June! That's more or less two games a week!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:20 pm

If I hit 50 by the end of the month I'll be back on track to rejoin the 100 club.
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Raging Justice Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:18 am

Games Beaten:

Kaze and the Wild Masks
Raging Justice
Narita Boy
Mighty Goose

The Takeover - Played on PS4, also available on Switch, and PC

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I believe one of the guys from the old Best Friends Zaibatsu was involved in the making of this game

So this game is pretty blatant about what it's inspired by. There are references to Streets of Rage all over the place, from levels, to enemies, to certain musical cues. Heck, you can vault over an enemy during a grapple, and the main character has blond hair and has a special attack where he spins around doing a flaming punch. There's even a music track from Yuzo Koshiro.

Speaking of which, the soundtrack is pretty sweet. Check these out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vUF47T3ojw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19JgbJkM71E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZDCpp6XQK0

As mentioned, there's some Yuzo Koshiro influence in some tracks. There's also music from Little V, who has also done the entrance theme for internationally famous wrestler Kenny Omega, who is well known for also being a passionate gamer. Currently, that dude has four world titles from three different wrestling companies. What a freaking legend...anyway, back on topic.

The graphics are good, with 3d rendered backgrounds, and an almost Killer Instinct-like look for the characters, kind of like Raging Justice

The Takeover isn't a game that makes the best first impression. The default control scheme is AWFUL, and there is NO option to change it. Fortunately, you CAN go under the PS4's accessibility options and remap the buttons. God, reminds me of playing games on an emulator. Also, the game's mechanics and controls aren't immediately intuitive. I had to actually go to the tutorial section of the game to come to grips with everything. Once you get past all of that bullshit though, there's a decent beat 'em up here.

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You've got all your basic stuff here, melee combos, grapples, throws, and invincible specials that drain your health (two of them, kind of like Streets of Rage2). You can also run (and do dash attacks) and roll up and down the screen. You also have a gun with limited ammo (reminds me of Zombie Revenge), a special meter that can unleash a powerful attack on everything on the screen when it's full (you can even still attack enemies while it's going off), and a RAGE meter that when filled up can put you in a powered up state where you auto block everything and do double damage. You build up the super and RAGE meters by not getting hit, or so the game says, I honestly am not sure. Bottom line though, they both fill up over time

There's a bit of a combo system here, where you do different melee attacks depending on how you alternate your punch and kick buttons. With the right combinations, you can string together a lot of hits. It might even be possible to do infinites, but I don't know. Also, holding up during your combo will eventually pop the enemy into the air where you can do juggles, probably the most efficient way I found to kill particularly annoying enemies. Holding DOWN instead will smash a punk into the ground

There's weapons too. It's funny how hitting enemies with weapons actually smacks them into the ground. Nice thing about weapons, they don't break. You have it as long you don't lose it. You can pick up assault rifles too, in addition to your default fire arm, but with limited rounds too. I usually opted for a melee weapon since I could use it as much as I wanted.

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The Takeover likes to break things up occasionally with bonus style levels. One has you driving a car, shooting enemy vehicles to keep your timer from running out. You lose time if you hit civilian vehicles. There's a stage where you also have to run to the right and smash through walls while fighting enemies, nothing new there if you've played lots of beat 'em ups. There's a weird flying level that looks like you're playing After Burner, and one level just hands you an assault rifle with unlimited ammo. The whole stage has these zombie/mutant things and shooting them will often make their heads come right off. Zombieland rule # 2 applies here, at least twice I swore I had killed one of these things and it got up and came after me. Make sure you see their head pop off.

There's a decent amount of enemy variety. One enemy type ALWAYS blocks your attacks, so you can't just mash attack all day. Some enemies have guns of their own, so that becomes a thing you have to watch out for too. Some enemies are just quick attackers (pretty much all the females), so you have to make sure you don't drop your guard when they show up. All that said though, you can use the same tactics against most enemies, which can get a little boring.

The game has a story delivered with comic book style intermissions and voice acting. I never really paid attention, so I didn't even know what was going on. Blah, blah, blah, need to rescue someone and beat up lots of punks. Typical beat 'em up fare. I'm sure some people will appreciate the effort put into these scenes though

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Overall, a pretty decent beat 'em up, doesn't do anything innovative though, and there are better indie beat 'em ups out there in my opinion but the game's not bad. It plays well enough, looks good, and sounds GREAT. The difficulty is quite reasonable too, though I haven't played it on hard mode. Food drops are usually around when you need them, and the game gives you enough tools to handle every situation. I'd recommend it, but there are some cons:

The Takeover has some of the typical cons of the genre. It's repetitive. The whole game could have been one or two levels shorter. The hit detection isn't always on point, which is frustrating. The controls, while good most of the time, occasionally gave me issues with double tap moves (running and rolling). Some times I'd be double tapping and the guy wouldn't do what I want, and sometimes he'd roll when I swore I didn't double tap up or down. Some of the animations are rough. The bosses are nothing special. They all have the typical, "I'm only hard because I can take pot shots at you while you're distracted by my minions" formula. If you save up your RAGE meter and super meter for these encounters though, they're not too bad.

Towards the end of the game it becomes a cheese fest, like most old school beat 'em ups. The last stage can go fuck itself. Right at the start of it you have to deal with a bunch of gun toting enemies plus over powered mechs who can easily take off a big chunk off your health with one attack and ALSO have guns. I literally hated the game while playing through this stage and was ready to make this review a big rant telling you not to play this awful game, but I calmed down. I really hate how so many old school, beat 'em ups feel the need to give you the middle finger towards the end of the game. Yes, a game should be more challenging as you near its conclusion, but there's a difference between challenge and cheese.

The game has an obsession with explosives too. When you smash items they sometimes drops explosives along with food and money. Some enemies will drop a grenade when they die. One level has these remote controlled little cars that drive towards you with explosives. Honestly, at times the game was pissing me off with the amount of things blowing up all the time. It keeps you on your toes sure, but it's also annoying.

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One last thing, the PS4 version has no Platinum. I know many of you don't care about trophies and I respect that, but in my opinion there is no excuse for PS4 games coming out in 2021 without Platinum trophies. That, plus the inability to remap controls, makes The Takeover feel like a pretty lazy PS4 port (it originally released on PC, then on the Switch), specially considering the game came out on PS4 much later than it was originally announced, but these are minor gripes

It's a fun, old school, brawler and isn't really trying to be anything else. If you're a fan of the genre, you'll probably dig it. If nothing else, play it for the kickass soundtrack.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:19 am

A lot of people really loved The Takeover, and Raging Justice seems to have been met with a collective shrug. Between the two, which did you end up preferring? I played The Takeover and thought it was OK. I’m urious how the two c9mpare because I’ll probably do one or the other for my next beat ‘em up.
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Raging Justice Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:51 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:A lot of people really loved The Takeover, and Raging Justice seems to have been met with a collective shrug. Between the two, which did you end up preferring? I played The Takeover and thought it was OK. I’m urious how the two c9mpare because I’ll probably do one or the other for my next beat ‘em up.


Personally, I think Raging Justice is a bit more polished and has a little more personality. The Takeover is a bit more...flashy, I guess. What with the super attack, RAGE mode, and over the top bonus stages, but is more rough around the edges. Aesthetically, they both look good, but again I think Raging Justice has more charm. The enemies celebrating when they get an attack in on you always made me smile. Plus, I like the design and look of the enemies in Raging Justice more. Takeover has a better soundtrack, but not all of it fits the game as well as the music in Raging Justice.

Raging Justice has more interesting boss fights, not just because the characters themselves are pretty funny, but because in The Takeover you can steamroll over bosses if you have your RAGE meter and super meter full. Raging Justice overall is a bit more challenging. The Takeover only really gets tough in the last stage, though it goes a bit too overboard at that point. Big difficulty spike

Raging Justice has about the right length and the stages don't feel too long. The Takeover felt like it was dragging on for me at times.

I like Raging Justice more overall, but The Takeover is alright.

I have noticed that the Takeover gets compared to Streets of Rage 4 a lot. I've played SOR 4 and it's definitely better than The Takeover, though SOR 4 was not without its flaws when it released, but a lot of it was addressed with an update. Fun fact: both The Takeover AND Streets of Rage 4 have a music track from Yuzo Koshiro. SOR 4 is definitely worth checking out sometime if you're looking for fun beat 'em ups.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:48 am

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
* indicates a repeat

Games 1~51
1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)
19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)
57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)
58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)
59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)
60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)
61. Rock Man X6 (Switch)
62. Rock Man X7 (Switch)
63. Rock Man X8 (Switch)
64. Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)
65. Magical Taruruuto Kun: FANTASTIC WORLD!! (Famicom)
66. Maken Shao (PS2)
67. Getsu Fuuma Den (Famicom)
68. Rock Man D.A.S.H (PSP)
69. Brave Fencer Musashi (PS1)
70. Joe & Mac (SFC) *
71. Atelier Lilie: The Alchemist of Salburg 3 (PS2)

72. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (Famicom)

This is the last of the mainline Zelda games I've never beaten. I was putting it off for years, and I honestly thought I'd just never get around to it, but I've been playing and enjoying so many similar games lately (like Wai Wai World or Getsu Fuuma Den) that I figured it was about time I finally sat down and gave a go to beat this white whale of a Zelda game. I even decided to make it extra difficult for myself and did it on my Famicom Mini, and I also streamed it on Twitch. I beat it on my Famicom Mini over the course of three weeks (three streams) over about 10 total hours.

Zelda 2 is an immediate sequel to the original Zelda, where Link learns that there isn't just that original Zelda to save, but an ORIGINAL Zelda to save as well, who's been sleeping for a very VERY long time. What's worse, if he doesn't go through the quest to retrieve the triforce to wake her, Ganon's minions are working to revive him! Link once again dons his trusty green tunic and sword to go out and stop Ganon's minions and get that triforce! Being a Famicom action/adventure game, the story is very light and generally just does mechanical legwork rather than telling any kind of larger or more meaningful story, but it does what it needs to and sets up the stakes and everything nicely enough.

The gameplay is among that slew of 1987 and 1988 side-scrolling 2D action/adventure games on the Famicom, as Link goes around towns collecting spells and new moves as well as dungeons to collect new traversal items (which are really more like keys to access new areas, really) and fight bosses among the land's 6 temples. It's notoriously very different from the original Legend of Zelda, as where that was an overhead-perspective action/adventure game, the only overhead parts here are navigating the world map.

The action and adventuring itself is pretty familiar among other games in the genre, but it's definitely more technical than many others I've played. Sure, Link has spells and a mana bar instead of his extra items like he got in Zelda 1, but the bigger difference here is how he fights. You have two tiers of height that you can hold your shield at, either high or low, and blocking enemy projectiles and sword swings is a big part of the combat with normal enemies. Killing enemies also gets you experience points which you can use to upgrade your magic (making certain spells cost lower mana amounts), your health (which effectively raises your defense), or your sword (which just makes you do more damage).

This game also has quite the reputation for being a pretty darn hard game, even for a Zelda game, and I'd say it deserves that pretty well. Sure, you can find new heart containers to extend your health bar, and get level ups by killing enough enemies to increase your defense, but even then there are bottomless pits and you only have three lives. Lose all three and it's back to Zelda's palace (unless you're in the final dungeon). The combat is overall quite good and the game controls well, and I wouldn't really call it faulted at all in that regard. It's really just difficult and technically demanding in a way very few other Zelda games are, and, though my feelings towards this have weakened a bit now, I still maintain my position that Zelda 2 is at times difficult to a fault in just how punishing it often is.

The signposting in the game is generally really good. There are a few places and things that I needed to look up (and one thing I remembered from watching Key play this game months back), but overall there's very very little that isn't very clearly told to you by SOMEONE, at least in the Japanese translation. I do question the decision to make all of the dialogue in katakana in this version, as it makes villagers much harder to understand than if they were given more conventional speaking styles, but the things they tell you are by and large very good hints and information that you likely would infrequently need a guide to suss out the greater meaning behind.

As far as the Japanese version goes, there are actually quite a large amount of differences. There are some things relating to the disk system itself, like the title screen music being a bit different and the bosses doing monster roars thanks to the extra audio channel, but a lot of things are just outright revisions between the Japanese and English versions. Instead of a whole new boss in the 5th palace, it's just a harder version of the 2nd palace's boss, the dragon boss in the 6th dungeon is easier due to an exploit in how his arena is designed, but the final boss, Link's Shadow, is actually even harder in this version since his AI is smart enough to the point where you can't just duck in a corner to kill him really easy like in the NES version.

The most annoying part of this version is that, even though you DO need less EXP to level up, when you die, your levels get reset back down to whichever of your three stats are lowest. If you have Magic level 2, Health level 3, and Sword level 8, they all go back to level 2 if you game over, because Magic is your lowest stat. I actually spent 3 or 4 hours grinding off-stream after my first stream to just get to level 8 in all of my stats so I wouldn't need to worry about it for the rest of my playthrough XD. The Japanese version is generally just different instead of better or worse, but that last point in particular makes this version of the game difficult to recommend.

The presentation is as excellent as you'd expect from Nintendo. The graphics are great with well-detailed sprites and good combat animations. The music is excellent and iconic, and it's actually the reason I even considered going back to the game in the first place. One day I had the temple theme stuck in my head, but I just couldn't remember what game it was from XP. As soon as I did, I resolved to finally give this game another try to complete it X3


Verdict: Highly Recommended. It may be difficult to a fault, and the English translation does make some of the adventure aspects more difficult than they were intended to be, but this is still an excellent game in the side-scrolling action/adventure genre. I enjoyed this game way more than I thought I would, and while it certainly still isn't for everybody, it is well worth giving a chance if you're into these sorts of old games and don't mind a bit of a challenge.

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73. The Bouncer (PS2)
This is a game I just remembered existed and thought would make for a good stream. I watched a Let's Play of it aaaages ago, but I barely remembered any of it, and anyone I mentioned my consideration to stream this game to was really excited to see me play it. Thankfully, it's very easily acquired for the low low price of 100 yen around here, so it was pretty easy to acquire~. I beat it over the course of a little under two hours in one Twitch stream playing the game on the original hardware.

The Bouncer was toted as a sort of playable movie, and that's more or less how the story plays out. However, the story is something more akin to a cheaply produced action movie than some larger summer blockbuster. The titular bouncers of from a bar called Fate on Dog Street, and a girl they know named Dominique gets kidnapped by mysterious assassins who invade the bar one day. It ends up turning into a quest to save the girl and the world from the evil corporation, and it involves so many unimportant characters and weird twists of logic that it's certainly entertaining, albeit not exactly a great story XP. There are three playable characters, and depending on whom you play and when, the levels/scenes you play can change, but it doesn't exactly do anything to make the story more interesting. It more so just adds some replayability. The English script has been punched up a bit, but it's only really to the purpose of leaning into the campy, one-liner focused humor that the Japanese already has a fair amount of. The sillier English script definitely makes it more entertaining, but it's definitely not something I'd call a "must watch" by any means.

You'd also be much better off watching this game than playing it, because it plays BAD. This is a 3D brawler and Square's first game on the PS2, and it very much continues Square's trend of the PS1 era of more style than substance. The substance here is a very rough 3D brawler with RPG elements, and it can't even get that latter part right.

For starters, there is no way to control the camera or manually target enemies, so you're at the mercy of the arbitrary and bad auto-targeting system to try and attack enemies. Attacking enemies feels terrible because different attacks are mapped to different elements of the PS2's infamous pressure-sensitive buttons gimmick, where a light tap on O will give a different move than a firm press will. In practice, this makes fighting chaotic and confusing because it's actually REALLY hard to differentiate between what will be a firm press or a quick tap when you're in the heat of fighting bad guys. To add one last insult to injury, your fellow bouncers are often fighting alongside you, and while you'll get EXP if you get the last hit on an enemy, you get 0 EXP if one of your allies steals that last hit from you. It makes for a frustrating and not very fun fighting experience, and the only benefits it has are that the game isn't very long and it's also not terribly difficult.

The presentation is notable in that the characters were designed by Tetsuya Nomura (of Kingdom Hearts fame), but other than that it's nothing that special. None of the music is particularly memorable, and the character designs were mostly entertaining on the grounds that they look like a bunch of Kingdom Hearts rejects (which isn't the game's fault, as it came out significantly earlier than that did, but it is most certainly the fact of the matter in 2021 ^^;).


Verdict: Not Recommended. There's a weird multiplayer mode you can do as well if you feel like doing some Ehrgeiz (made by these same devs)-style bad 3D fighting with friends, but there really isn't anything this game offers that's worth putting your time or money into it. It's a much more entertaining game to watch the madness of than play yourself, and I would've felt pretty cheated paying much more than I did for it XP. It's memorable for being weird, sure, but that's damning with faint praise given how little else there is to praise in The Bouncer.

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74. Rapid Angel (PS1)

Also known as Kaisoku Tenshi (or as the English on the Japanese box art says, "High Tension Comical Action Game The Rapid Angel"), this is a game I learned about via a video that someone on the Slack chat shared with me about cool, rare games on Japanese PSN to look at before the service was (going to be) shut down. It looked neat, so I picked it up, and this month's TR theme of playing very expensive games made it the perfect thing to try out. I really didn't know what to expect from this game other than something a bit silly, but I was absolutely delighted with what I ended up finding. It took me a little under 2 hours to beat the game playing as Ayane on my PS3.

The game's story is ultimately pretty simple. You play as one of three girls working for the Rapid Angel delivery company. You aren't a very popular delivery company, but when you get a very important delivery, it's up to you to see it to its destination! It turns out this is a VERY important delivery, as you'll be fighting no shortage of bandits, evil animals, super powered assassins, and demons before the package reaches its safe(?) destination! The game has a SUPER 90's animation style, and it not only has a (weirdly *very* compressed) animated opening video, but also full VA of the characters speaking to give the story through stills and VN-style asides in between levels. Each playable character even has her own version of the story, giving it a good deal of replay value outside of going for higher scores and such. It's super charming and silly and I was really taken just how wacky it is. It won't be everyone's style of humor, but it was something I found very entertaining~.

The gameplay is a side-scrolling action platformer with a few branching paths thrown in. There are plenty of bosses, both mid-level and end-level, to fight, but the important thing here is your time limit! It's not the strictest time limit in the world, but it plays into the whole aspect of making your delivery on time. While the combat is fine, your range is short, so it's often the smarter choice to prioritize your health and your clock, because you have a delivery to make! The game does have infinite continues, and you do have a pretty big health bar, but you also only have one life. This gives the game a good level of challenge without feeling too unforgiving, and even though I felt satisfied beating it using a few continues, it's something I think I could beat in one continue if given a few more playthroughs.

The presentation is excellent. As previously mentioned, the very 90's style fits the tone of the game fantastically. Characters have tons of really silly and exaggerated facial expressions they'll pull to match how extra their VA work is, and it all fits together great. The soundtrack is also quite solid, though not super duper memorable compared to the graphical presentation.


Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a bit of a harder game to recommend if you can't understand Japanese, but I definitely got my 600 yen's worth with this one. It's even on international PSN as well as Japanese PSN, so you don't even need to make a foreign account to pick this one up the same way I did~. If you're into platformers and love a weird, silly style, this is absolutely a game you can't afford to miss out on.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ack Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:43 pm

1. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (PC)(Adventure)
2. Revulsion (PC)(FPS)
3. Nonogram - Master's Legacy (PC)(Puzzle)
4. Sekiro (PC)(Action-Adventure)
5. Grim Dawn (PC)(Action RPG)
6. Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth (PC)(Action RPG)
7. Grim Dawn: Forgotten Gods (PC)(Action RPG)

8. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage (PC)(FPS)
9. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
10. Shrine (PC)(FPS)
11. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Adventure)
12. Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (PC)(Action)
13. Red Alliance (PC)(FPS)
14. The Forest (PC)(Horror)
15. Pixel Puzzles: Japan (PC)(Puzzle)
16. 12 is Better Than 6 (PC)(Top Down Shooter)
17. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

18. An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire (PC)(RPG)
19. Port of Call (PC)(Walking Sim)

20. NeonCode (PC)(Walking Sim)
21. Carrion (PC)(Adventure)

Carrion is a game that asks a very important question: what if you were a slithering tentacle monster breaking out of a secret facility hidden under Seattle? You break loose from containment, build up power and biomass as you infect and take over the facility, and inevitably kill all the screaming human prey as they try to stop you...which is a mistake, because I need to feed.

The game has a simple structure involving you taking over rift areas, which double as save points, and slowly break through doors to advance to the next area. As you go, you also get new abilities, as well as secret enhancements like resistance to fire. The most interesting component to all this is that you also grow in size, and with different sizes come different sets of abilities. For example, your smallest form can sneak by electric security tripwires, while your biggest gets the ability to harden and absorb explosions.

This need to swap between sizes also fuels the puzzles in the game; you may need to go to the smallest size to pass a part to open a door which is then accessed by growing in size to remove a barrier. To facilitate this, there are special water areas to drop off sacks of biomass, as well as restoring mass at save points or by consuming the fleshy meat pops on two legs...err, humans. I meant humans.

It's fun, but it isn't perfect. A mini map would have been a nice quality of life improvement, though I was able to get around without it. The biggest issue is in terms of controls; once you're bigger, it gets tougher to maneuver down narrow corridors because you're never entirely sure which end you're controlling as the front. Using a tentacle to manipulate an object is all well and good, except when you can't be sure which end of your body that tentacle will sprout from. In your smallest form, this is never a problem. Hell, it's damn fun to launch yourself down narrow corridors or up elevator shafts with incredible agility. The bulkier you...not so much.

Still, it's a relatively small annoyance in a game that is otherwise a lot of fun, provides an interesting premise and challenge, and let's you have fun tearing people apart and snacking on their delicious entrails like the sweet blood sacks of meat they are...err, humans. Yeah, humans.

I recommend Carrion. And I'm feeling kinda hungry right now...
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Tue Jun 15, 2021 11:11 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5
49. Eterium - PC

Eterium is what you get if you take Wing Commander 1 and remove the jank. Literally; the game started off as a modern remake of Wing Commander 1 before the devs realized if they wanted to get paid they needed it to be their own IP. The game does basically nothing new, but it pulls off updating Wing Commander to more modern technology perfectly.

The story similarly features you as a pilot in the human navy as you find the colonies under attack by an alien force. You fly various sorties to further the war effort, from patrols to escorts to taking out capital ships. There is a bit of a late game twist that unfortunately doesn't quite get the development it deserves. The story is delivered through briefings, optional asides with pilots between missions, and a handful of cutscenes where big ships fight each other. It's nothing special, but it's competent.

As I said, gameplay wise it is a direct copy of Wing Commander 1. Ships have lasers, missiles, shields, and afterburners. You can taunt enemies to draw their attention to you, and you also have to deal with asteroid fields and mind fields in some missions. But since this is a more modern game we have a ton of quality of life improvements. You have your standard lead indicator for your guns, but there's also a bit of auto aim once you're close enough to the indicator, drastically increasing your hit rate. Shields have been rebalanced so that they recharge faster (on both sides). And the torpedo from WC2 has been brought in for anti-cap ship work, but it's not required like it is in WC2. The game also has a few modifications to the flight model; you'll notice your ship has a bit of momentum to it when turning, and also the game implements red and blackout effects.

If you've always been interested in Wing Commander but couldn't get past the jank from the technological limitations of the time then Eterium is the game for you. And best of all it's only $5. It's 100% worth it.
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