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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:35 pm

First 50:
1. Octopath Traveler - Switch
2. Dusk - PC
3. Forsaken Remastered - PC
4. Tales of Eternia - PS1
5. Resident Evil 2 (2019) - PC
6. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC
7. Metro Exodus - PC
8. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - PC
9. Project Warlock - PC
10. Magic: The Gathering - PC
11. Ghost 1.0 - PC
12. Call of Duty 2 - PC
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - PS4
14. Revelations: The Demon Slayer - GBC
15. Mechstermination Force - Switch
16. Shadow Warrior Classic Redux - PC
17. Lost Sphear - Switch
18. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal - PC
19. Dragon Quest III - NES
20. Rage 2 - PC
21. Blood - PC
22. Harvest Moon 64 - N64
23. Battlefield V - PC
24. Sigil - PC
25. Shining Force III: Scenario 2 - Saturn
26. Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - Saturn
27. Borderlands 2: Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary - PC
28. Gato Roboto - Switch
29. Timespinner - Switch
30. Amid Evil - PC
31. Pillars of Eternity II: Beast of Winter - PC
32. Pillars of Eternity II: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor - PC
33. Pillars of Eternity II: The Forgotten Sanctum - PC
34. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Switch
35. Orphan - PC
36. Project Nimbus - PC
37. Hardcore Mecha - PC
38. Grey Goo - PC
39. Giants: Citizen Kabuto - PC
40. Wolfenstein: Youngblood - PC
41. Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch
42. Metal Wolf Chaos XD - PC
43. Ion Fury - PC
44. Final Fantasy Adventure - GB
45. Astral Chain - Switch
46. Rebel Galaxy Outlaw - PC
47. Blasphemous - Switch
48. Daemon x Machina - Switch
49. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch
50. Borderlands 3 - PC

51. Valfaris - Switch
52. Unreal: Return to Na Pali - PC
53. The Outer Worlds - PC
54. MechWarrior 4: Black Knight - PC
55. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - PC
56. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: System Rift - PC
57. MDK - PC
58. Pokémon Sword - Switch
59. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - PC
60. Blazing Chrome - Switch
61. MDK 2 - PC
62. Heavy Gear - PC
63. Virtual-On - Saturn
64. Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram - DC
65. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries - PC
66. Metaltech: Earthsiege - PC
67. Earthsiege 2 - PC
68. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - PC
69. Starsiege - PC
70. Hedon - PC

Hedon is a new FPS built using GZDoom as its engine that takes a lot of inspiration from Hexen when it comes to its level design. It's a pretty solid Doom-engine game with good weapon variety and no real bullshit enemies, though it does have some rough edges. And it ends on a major cliffhanger, basically, the ending is like the ending of Empire Strikes Back in terms of "there is OBVIOUSLY more to come and the main conflict has not been resolved."

The basic premise is that you are a half-orc half-demon woman who is involved in her orc tribe's invasion of Hell to fight back the demons, but then something happens, she gets knocked out, and wakes up in the ice caves close to her home. With no memory of what happened she needs to make her way back to town, where she discovers that everything has been overrun by a vile cult and her sisters are dead (it's an Amazon orc tribe, just roll with it). The solution to this is murder.

The game levels are quite large and intricate, with care taken to make them feel like real places (akin to what Duke 3D did). In addition to your standard key hunt every level also has some sort of key item hunt where you need to put together SOMETHING that lets you progress; this adds some variety to your tasks, even if it's basically the same thing as a key and switch hunt. One thing the game does is give you a period at the start of the level where you just explore, without any hostiles. This helps you digest the aesthetics of the level before you switch into murder mode. The whole level design is quite reminiscent of what they did in Hexen, and the levels are about the same size (though without being split into a bunch of sub maps with varying aesthetics). So the ten levels each take between half an hour and an hour to complete. The levels also have a bunch of readable notes hanging around which help tell the story.

On the weapon side you have a pretty good selection. An axe, automatic rifle, a shotgun, a crossbow that fires explosive bolts, two kinds of grenade launcher ammos, and a spear that shoots hitscan bolts that are high damage. Each of these also has an alternate fire mode, though only about half of the alt fires are useful. The game also has a melee-only difficulty that completely replaces the ranged weapons with melee weapons and has enemies drop healing potions instead of ammo. Each weapon is good against some selection of the enemies, and you'll be constantly switching things up to both balance ammo consumption and to deal with what is thrown at you.

There are a few rough edges. The game takes advantage of the jump button added to basically every Doom source port to add in jumping sections which are very hit and miss. It's especially bad when you're platforming over lava or pits. The game also has a very mixed aesthetic; while the terrain is your standard Doom engine low-res textures all the sprites are a much higher resolution which makes them stand out in an unflattering way. The art for the sprites is competently drawn; it's basically the dev's DeviantArt made into a video game with pixel size limitations, so it can only be so good. Finally, and this is mostly a personal pet peeve of mine, there are sections where the game goes for the "let's just keep spawning shit for minutes on end" arena to punctuate certain moments. It's an excuse to wear the player down through cheap damage and the obvious ammo use.

On the whole it's a very solid retro FPS experience. If you're a fan of old FPSs this is another worthy addition to go with the general bounty we've gotten over the last couple years.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:36 pm

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

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)
57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *
58. Blazing Chrome (Xbone)
59. Minit (Xbone)
60. Dishonored 2 (Xbone)
61. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Xbone)
62. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Xbone)
63. Recore: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
64. Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
65. Super Lucky's Tale (Xbone)
66. Snake Pass (Xbone)
67. My Friend Pedro - Blood Bullets Bananas (Xbone)
68. Kirby 64: Legend of the Crystal Shards (N64) *
69. Kirby's Adventure (NES)

70. Super Metroid (SNES) *

I still had the Classic consoles hooked up, and I've still got the Metroidvania itch deep in my soul (and I think I always will X3). It's been a looooong time since I've played Super Metroid, so I thought I'd give it a replay. Considering how long its been, Super Metroid is a game kinda amazingly ahead of its time in a lot of respects, and still holds up as one of the all-time greats of the genre (although Zero Mission is still my favorite Metroid game). I seem to recall my last attempt through this game having a similar completion percentage (74% this time), but a longer playtime (5 hours, 19 minutes). Either way, I really enjoyed my time with it ^w^

Y'all don't need me to tell you that Super Metroid is great. Y'all know it controls really well, has great graphics, atmospheric music, the works. It's an exemplary 16-bit game and one of the best games on the SNES, easily. So instead of going on about that, I'll talk more specifically about what surprised me about what the game has (or doesn't) under the hood for a game in 1994.

What first surprised me big time is something unprecedented for even modern Nintendo games: Rebindable buttons! You can rebind ANY of the face buttons (other than movement) from the title screen when you pick your save file. Something right off the bat that let me enjoy the game WAY more than I otherwise would've because I didn't need to relearn a control scheme all of a sudden. The other really cool bit is a language selection! I can't think of many other SNES games have have an option for English or Japanese text right from the get-go! Beyond that, lots of the design aspects of the game, whether on purpose or not (it feels purposeful), the levels of fuckery they allow you to commit in this game because of how certain powers work, especially the wall jump and the bomb jump, that allow you to sequence break like HECK almost immediately XD. I made some bad choices and managed to have to fight (and win against! ^w^) Kraid without the Spazer or the Hi-Jump powerups. Lucky for me this was the playthrough I FINALLY sussed out exactly how the wall jump works XD

However, parts of the game definitely do make it show its age in ways I didn't remember. Having an auto-completing map in 1994 is freaking awesome and helps the game IMMENSELY, Buttttt going back to play it in 2019, it's really apparent that the map showing entrances to rooms, and not just their location in relation to one another, would've really helped exploration. This adds to the larger problem of the signposting in the game being kinda bad. You can't make marks on your map, objective markers are absolutely not a thing, and you can't see the map of any area but the one you're in. Even though I've beaten the game before, and I was playing it all in one session, I still managed to get lost and forget where I was supposed to go to progress the main game (I found a lot of neat stuff exploring, but beyond that I also did a lot of ultimately pointless wandering hunting for the gravity suit XP).

There are also some mechanical aspects to the game that feel a little unnecessary or not as fleshed out as they needed to be. The grapple hook is a neat stop-gap in platforming aids between the hi-jump and the gravity jump, but it always felt awkward to use and not very fun for me. Power bombs are a neat idea for screen clearing, but most of the nastier enemies you'd want a screen-clear for are so mobile (or otherwise immune to the power bomb) that it feels like something only put in to gate progress arbitrarily. It's hard to hold much of what the game doesn't get 100% perfect against it, considering that it's still an incredible accomplishment for 1994 (and the Casltevania games honestly wouldn't get this good until at least Aria of Sorrow), but it's stuff I couldn't help but notice in 2019 and felt are at least worth mentioning here.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Like I said before, we all know the game is great. This was a neat jaunt for me back to one of the first games I picked up on the Wii Virtual Console. It still holds up really well and has some really incredible accessibility features for a console game in 1994. Modern Nintendo could lean a thing or two about rebindable buttons from R&D1 back in 1994, I can tell ya that much for free XD
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pierrot
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pierrot Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:40 pm

Games Beaten List:

  1. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure (GEN)
  2. The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
  3. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (GEN)
  4. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (GEN)
  5. Go Go Ackman (SFC)
  6. Super Wagyan Land (SFC)
  7. Super Mario RPG (SFC)
  8. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
  9. Front Mission: Gun Hazard (SFC)
  10. Steep Slope Sliders (SAT)
  11. Valkyrie Profile (PS1)
  12. Sakura Taisen (SAT)
  13. Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka (DC)
  14. Shinobi (PS2)
  15. Gungrave (PS2)
  16. Assault Suit Leynos 2 (SAT)
  17. Sakura Taisen 2: Kimi, Shinitamoukoto Nakare (SAT)
  18. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (PS2)
  19. Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu (FC)
  20. Ganbare Goemon 2 (FC)
  21. Sakura Taisen 3 ~Paris wa Moeteiru ka~ (DC)
  22. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 (DC)
  23. Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 Pro (DC)
  24. Capcom vs SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 (DC)
  25. Sakura Taisen 4 ~Koi-seyo Otome~ (DC)
  26. Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyou-ryuu Doujou (DC)
  27. King of Fighters '99 Evolution (DC)
  28. Madou Monogatari I (MD)
  29. Twinkle Star Sprites (SAT)
  30. Madou Monogatari (SAT)
  31. Policenauts (SAT)
  32. Demon's Blazon: Makaimura Monshou-hen (SFC)
  33. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (FC)
  34. Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun (GB)
  35. Red Arimer: Makaimura Gaiden (GB)
  36. Getsu Fuumaden (FC)
  37. After Armageddon Gaiden: Majuu Toushouden Eclipse (Mega CD)
  38. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)
  39. Elnard (SFC)
  40. Actraiser (SFC)
  41. Sonic Mania (PC)
  42. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC)
  43. Blazing Chrome (PC)
  44. ReCore - Definitive Edition (PC)
  45. The Outer Worlds (PC)
  46. Shenmue II (DC)
  47. Shenmue III (PC)
  48. Timespinner (PC)
  49. Ori and the Blind Forest - Definitive Edition (PC)
  50. Super Lucky's Tale (PC)

Timespinner - This is a really forgettable game, but in kind of an odd way. I hated quite a bit about this game, but it only took a couple days after finishing it for me to almost completely forget most of what I had played. It's not good though. I am willing to acknowledge that it's potentially a little better than I would give it credit for, because I really never allowed it to elevate past its absolutely atrocious first impression, but it's not good, either way. For one thing, the rendered game window is bordered in this extremely bizarre fashion. It's less noticeable with the decorative right/left boarder setting, but there's always black boarders on the top and bottom, with no way to fill the screen in the settings. The really obnoxious thing is that the game just starts off like an unironic "No Time to Explain," and the story feels too much like Freedom Planet's, with the added nut-punch of being forced to actually watch it. I'm not going to sugar coat it, the story is basement-level shit, and even the writers can't keep track of their own nonsense, as evidenced by one of the things the main character does in one of the endings making no sense, since she's erased from her timeline after using the timespinner. It's all just ad-hoc story telling, with no real goal anyway, though. The only thing worse than the story is the characters; Oh my god, what sock-puppets they are. The main character's arc is just plainly poor. You learn about her mother through a bunch of memories, and it's just not worth it because she's a pretty shitty person, like her daughter. The narrative wants to do a billion things all at once, and never follows through on any of them. It's a clusterfuck of hot garbage. I don't know if there's anything that better exemplifies how forced everything feels. narratively, than the currency in the game being "entropy," and that it's accepted by a crow that collects shiny rocks, and a quartermaster 1000 years in the past.

This is something of a spoiler, but I usually roll my eyes when people complain about "agendas" online; unfortunately the forced nature of the writing extends to the sidequests, and the characters who give those sidequests. The main "reward" for these sidequests is being clued in to the fact that they are all queer people. Normally that might be something to celebrate, but it's done in such an awkward way, that basically feels like watching an HR video on how to respond to queer coworkers, that I honestly kind of agree with people who complain about it demonstrating an agenda. Because it basically does. It's awkward, stilted, irrelevant, and ultimately serves no purpose within the game other than forcing a couple of love scenarios that aren't even really believable. They just seem coincidental and forced, and the main one doesn't really make much sense upon inspection. Anyway, just don't go inspecting the story. It's insufferably amateurish, and not worth anyone's time. If I were acting as a consultant for the developers, I would tell them to make an "arcade" mode that removes the story, like Freedom Planet. If you, somehow, liked the story in Freedom Planet (I'm not trying to judge), then Timespinners' story might be for you. It made the game borderline unplayable for me.

In terms of gameplay, it's pretty all right. I honestly don't care about it one way or the other. It's just really clear that it doesn't have any of its own ideas, and basically just steals everything from better games. It has that typical kind of RPG Maker look, which I don't particularly care fore, but can't really knock either. I will say that I thought the enemies were pretty much uninteresting, or just kind of bad. The map is also pretty underwhelming, because most of it is just repeated over two different time periods, without even a lot of difference. All told, I thought it was decent, at best, but with some serious caveats. I would highly recommend looking elsewhere for a metroidvania fix. This one skews toward the Castlevania side of the spectrum, so if that's your bag, just play SOTN. Hell, play ROTN. Unless you have absolutely nothing else to turn to, just don't bother with Timespinner.

I guess once I got going, I was able to remember a bit about it, but I'm probably going to forget about it again pretty quickly.


Ori - Ori was really great. In stark contrast to Timespinner, Ori gives such an amazing first impression, and has a truly amazing soundtrack. The story is also very clearly thought out, and not forced or pretentious, like some other games. Ori is a bit more like a Metroid game in terms of gameplay, and has a pretty nice path through the map. However, while first impressions are off the charts with Ori, I was a little less enthusiastic about it toward the middle of the game, because some of the earlier skill acquisitions just feel a little weird, particularly stuff like the climb ability, and I wasn't really a fan of the bash technique (I think that's what it was called, where Ori can redirect projectiles, and launch itself in different directions with them). Early on while I was playing the game I was thinking, 'wow, this seems a lot like one of the newer Rayman games,' and, at least according to the wikipedia page, it was supposedly influenced by those games. I think it's a visually interesting game, and for the most part I thought the art style was nice, but I wouldn't say it's really my preference. I feel like neon is the main contribution of this generation of games to the greater pantheon of gaming, and I would say that's not a great legacy.

Anyway, I actually ended up finishing 100% of the map on normal, with the skill tree completed. I really loved Naru, and enjoyed the area that was apparently added for the definitive version of the game. I will say that I can't imagine playing this game without the warps, because even with them being added to the definitive version, it still felt like they were in less than ideal locations. This is a recent metroidvania that actually adds some value to the formula, like Guacamelee. It will also jerk the tears out of your face, so I'd recommend it over the more derivative fare out there.


Super Lucky's Tale - I don't have a lot to say about Super Lucky's Tale. It's all right. The characters are cute, and I enjoyed the wormles and their stupid voices quite a bit. The somewhat fixed camera can be a bit of a nuisance, but the platforming is generally decent, aside from being extremely easy. Sometimes I wasn't quite sure if it was really a game intended for very young kids or not. Generally it seems like it's for the five to ten age range, but then there's the final boss (which was weirdly abrupt) who kind of caught me off guard by actually being somewhat challenging. I didn't actually bother playing all the stages since I was able to get to trinket totals that let me take on the bosses before even going to a couple of the stages in a given world. I finished with 74 charms out of 117, I think. I actually got a lot of those charms from doing the puzzle challenges, though. That was kind of more fun for me than the rest of the game. Honestly, I don't really enjoy the collectathon style of 3D platformers (even though I can be pretty obsessive about collecting things in games), and feel like that's the worst side effect of Mario 64's existence. It's just not a very inventive, or inspired gameplay loop, and fills the gaps with a fair amount of repetitiveness. In that respect, I think it's kind of a boon that Super Lucky's Tale doesn't have all that many levels in the base game (which is all I seem to have access to with the Game Pass version), and generally it only takes one pass through them to collect all four of the clovers in each stage.

When it comes down to it, you can chuck the story out the window, because it doesn't even matter, but it's a cute game, that plays fairly well. The experience is a bit on the dull side, though. Also, I don't understand how they thought it was all right to put such exploitative prices on the unlockable outfits.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:44 am

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

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)
57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *
58. Blazing Chrome (Xbone)
59. Minit (Xbone)
60. Dishonored 2 (Xbone)
61. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Xbone)
62. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Xbone)
63. Recore: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
64. Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
65. Super Lucky's Tale (Xbone)
66. Snake Pass (Xbone)
67. My Friend Pedro - Blood Bullets Bananas (Xbone)
68. Kirby 64: Legend of the Crystal Shards (N64) *
69. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
70. Super Metroid (SNES) *

71. Metroid Fusion (GBA) *

Still very much in the mood for a walk down Metroid memory lane, I played through Metroid Fusion on my 3DS today. Metroid Fusion was a game I got way later than Zero Mission or Super Metroid. I didn't even know it existed until I happened upon used it in a Gamestop in the early 2010's. Out of the three, it's one I definitely remembered the least about despite having beaten it before. Gunstar was talking in Slack about how it's one of his favorites out of the bunch, so I thought it would be a perfect thing to play through today. My completion time was 3 hours and 50 minutes with a 71% item completion rate.

Compared to other Metroid games (at least at the time), Metroid Fusion has a lot of text and story. On a mission to SR388 (home planet of the now extinct Metroids), Samus is infected by a mysterious life form they later call X. X is basically The Thing (from the titular film), and can consume its host and take its form and memories. Their natural predators were the Metroids, but now that those are extinct, they're free to multiply like crazy on SR388. Samus nearly dies, but is saved by a cure made from a culture taken from the last Metroid when it had been in captivity. Now that Metroids are literally a part of her, she can absorb X organisms harmlessly (and these organisms are your new weapon and health pickups). There's an explosion at the center that treated her, and she is sent back to inspect it and try and solve whatever problem may have arisen. And that is JUST the opening cutscene. From there, the story largely takes the form of your little objective briefings from the AI in Samus' new ship (the old one drifted into an asteroid belt and blew up when she got first infected and fell unconscious) as well as little internal monologues Samus will have with herself between large objectives.

If Metroid HAD to have a story with some kind of arc, I think the direction they're trying to take this in is probably one of the better ones they could've taken it. The execution falls soooo flat though. The only time any drama or literal dialogue between Samus and her computer really start happening is in the last little bit of the game, and that is when the game decides to make all of its big reveals and character growth moments and such. It's a ton of "tell not show" that ultimately really comes off flat. It's a nice narrative excuse to give you objective markers (to help solve some of Super Metroid's signposting problems), and it probably would've been fine if they hadn't tried for the big dramatic moments and left it as just something to bring a little levity to the story. But as it is, it's somewhere between a net-neutral addition and a bit of an overall drag as the objective briefings (which cannot be skipped) overstay their welcomes and drag down the pacing.

This is a 2D Metroid game, so of course it's Samus going around, collecting suit upgrades both optional and necessary, and fighting big boss battles with your arm beam & missiles. There have been a lot of really smart simplifications made to the Super Metroid formula to get Metroid onto a platform with 4 buttons instead of 6, though, and I would say on the whole this game plays a lot better than Super Metroid. Samus moves quickly, turns quickly, and has a real consistency to her movement so you're never second-guessing if the weird terrain you're in or around will interrupt her current movements. Instead of being a separate power up, super missiles are just an upgrade for your normal missiles that just makes them stronger, and you just hold R to use them or your power bombs instead of pressing select to toggle through a bunch of them. A lot of the mechanical fluff and stumbles that didn't quite work in Super Metroid has been stripped out and it's for the better, as all the platforming and action feel way more fluid and fun to play. This game is also a fair bit harder, as while bosses aren't super difficult, normal enemies hit REALLY hard and can run down your HP really quick. It's well worth hunting down energy tank expansions for more health, because otherwise you're probably going to be dying a lot if you aren't careful.

However, not all changes are positive, and most of the issues I had with the game come from the new narrative conceits and tightening up of the signposting. X organisms being your new health and item powerups is neat in a narrative standpoint, but that does a lot to add to the game's difficulty. You only get one power up from an enemy at a time, and the most health you can get from one enemy is 10. Most enemies can deal far more than that with just one hit, and there aren't scads and scads of enemies to farm through, so if you're getting hit by even 1 in 5 enemy encounters, you very well might be taking net-negative HP damage. This is compounded by the fact that enemies revert into X organisms when they "die", they don't disappear into a powerup. That little flying blob will fly around and often try and run away from you, and it'll turn into a NEW enemy to fight if you don't snag it fast enough (with some enemy spawns being scripted to turn immediately into a new enemy and being impossible to grab to prevent that).

Additionally, there are tons of objective markers as you progress through the story, and the orbital research facility the game takes place in is divided into a hub with 6 sections. The ultimate execution of this is that the game is very linear compared to Super Metroid or Zero Mission, with almost no sequence breaking possible in it. Wall jumping has been made a lot easier, but easier to the point that it's almost expected, and the world is designed so that you won't be progressing any more than a little bit ahead of where you are if you use it. Bomb jumping has also been removed, so you can no longer defy vertical passageways right off the bat. These two things aren't really negative issues as such, but they make the game feel significantly different than the other two post-8-bit Metroid titles. It makes it feel like this has a lot more in common with the Metroid-y Casltevanias on GBA coming out around this time (although I'd say Fusion is far better than either of the two that had come out by this point). Higher difficulty and more linearity aren't inherently bad things, but it's different in a way that's worth mentioning.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Differences from the series and narrative issues aside, this is still a fantastic Metroid game. I'd put it on equal footing with Super Metroid, personally. Overall, I got the feeling from this game that in 2002, Nintendo really had no idea what they were going to do with Metroid. The perfect representation of this comes near the end of the game when you fight Ridley. You see him in his Super Metroid sprite, but then it morphs into a new sprite much more reminiscent of how he looks in Metroid Prime (which came out right alongside this back then). From the far more linear gameplay to the fairly lukewarm narrative, Nintendo was really testing out the waters to see what Metroid could be. Had this game had a little more nonlinearity or a better narrative, I think it could've seen the success that its sister game Metroid Prime found, but that was not the case. That said, It's still a great Metroidvania well worth your time, even if it is a little on the short side.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:52 am

Metroid Fusion does a lot of telling instead of showing with the core plot events, but there’s a ton of environmental storytelling in the design. I think Fusion’s environments are just dripping with little details.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:02 am

marurun wrote:Metroid Fusion does a lot of telling instead of showing with the core plot events, but there’s a ton of environmental storytelling in the design. I think Fusion’s environments are just dripping with little details.


That's a really good point! Honestly, the parts when the game just lets you do stuff and stops telling you what to do, when it just lets itself be a more linear Metroid-y experience, are some of the best moments of the game. Had the game had a bit more time in the oven to work on the things it does well rather than on what it does not, I think it may've had a more positive reception.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:48 am

The First 50:
1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

9. Destiny 2: Forsaken (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)(Rail Shooter)

11. Castle Werewolf (PC)(FPS)
12. Project Warlock (PC)(FPS)
13. Castle Crashers (PC)(Hack and Slash)
14. This Strange Realm of Mine (PC)(FPS)
15. BioShock Remastered (PC)(FPS)
16. BioShock 2 (PC)(FPS)
17. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den (PC)(FPS)

18. Blood (PC)(FPS)
19. Blood: Cryptic Passage (PC)(FPS)
20. Blood: Post Mortem (PC)(FPS)

21. Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
22. Shadow Warrior: Twin Dragon (PC)(FPS)
23. Shadow Warrior: Wanton Destruction (PC)(FPS)

24. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (PC)(FPS)
25. F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn (PC)(FPS)

26. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (PC)(RPG)
27. Men of Valor (PC)(FPS)
28. Ultima III: Exodus (PC)(RPG)
29. Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space (PC)(Point and Click)

30. Midnight Ultra (PC)(FPS)
31. Amid Evil (PC)(FPS)
32. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)(RPG)
33. Betrayer (PC)(Horror)

34. Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary (PC)(FPS/RPG)
35. Far Cry 2 (PC)(FPS)
36. Apocryph (PC)(FPS)
37. Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor (PC)(RPG)

38. Menzoberranzan (PC)(RPG)
39. TimeShift (PC)(FPS)
40. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition (PC)(RPG)
41. Shadowgate (PC)(Point and Click)

42. Might & Magic Book One (PC)(RPG)
43. Miasmata (PC)(Adventure)
44. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (PC)(FPS)
45. Legendary (PC)(FPS)
46. Hedon (PC)(FPS)
47. Last Rites (PC)(FPS)
48. Half-Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)
49. Dishonored (PC)(Stealth Adventure)
50. Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World (PC)(RPG)

51. Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall (PC)(Stealth Adventure)
52. Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (PC)(Stealth Adventure)

53. The Spy Who Shot Me (PC)(FPS)
54. Z.A.R. (PC)(FPS)
55. Bunker Punks (PC)(FPS)

56. Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC)(FPS)
57. Final Fight (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
58. The King of Dragons (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
59. Captain Commando (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
60. Knights of the Round (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
61. Warriors of Fate (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
62. Armored Warriors (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
63. Battle Circuit (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)


I've mentioned it in several places, but I received the import Capcom Belt Action Collection over the holidays, and I promptly sat down and delved through Capcom's history. This isn't all of their beat 'em ups, but it's a healthy chunk and shows off a variety of styles. Many of these I've beaten before, while others I had never touched. Some I had experience with console ports as well as the original arcade games offered up. Also, since I'm an American, I decided my first experience with these should be the English (read: American release) versions. I intend to go back to play the Japanese originals at some point in early 2020.

The overall bundle is fantastic, offering up artwork from the get go, control scheme information and options, how to play sections, some visual options, and so forth. Each game also allows you to modify and tweak difficulty within the parameters of that game, so if you're looking for a more challenging or a significantly easier experience, you have it. However, the games are all set to Free Play, so even when you get your butt kicked, perseverance is your friend.

The games range nearly a decade of Capcom's game development, starting with Final Fight in 1989 and going up to Battle Circuit in 1997. However, the key year is 1991, when in a span of just a few short months, King of Dragons, Captain Commando, and Knights of the Round all released. Because of their proximity (and with Warriors of Fate following less than a year later in 1992), as I was playing I started to recognize recurring ideas that I had never before noticed.

For example, two games in this collection are ostensibly hack-and-slash titles as opposed to your fist-fueled beat 'em ups: King of Dragons and Knights of the Round. KoD stands out for a couple of reasons from the rest of the collection because its lineage feels more like it's borrowing from Golden Axe than a direct line to Final Fight: boss health is styled after GA, skeletons show up constantly as well as thieves, there is a magic system, albeit in a different style, and most importantly, this is the one game that doesn't allow hitting enemies en masse, instead targeting only one in a crowd when you swing your weapon. No other game in this collection does this, even the older Final Fight.

However, a reuse of sprites in Knights of the Round tells me that KoD was at least on their minds when they moved to it. That's right, the Phantom of KotR is the Black Knight of KoD, even with similar moves and attacks. There is also a leveling system in place in KotR which leads to visual changes of characters, much like the changing weapons and shields of the KoD protagonists. But KotR follows much closer to the Final Fight and Captain Commando style in how it showcases boss health and the like.

Another idea that is brought in and then dropped are horses, which appear in KotR and make their way into Warriors of Fate, where suddenly even unarmed protagonists whip out weaponry, showing the hybrid beat 'em up and hack and slash roots of that game. Warriors of Fate is crippled by a butchered storyline (why it was believed American consumers wouldn't want to hear about Chinese history over some fictional Mongolian fairy tale land is beyond me), but it incorporates elements of both lines of its predecessors...

...and then there was silence until 1994's Armored Warriors, which again features the recurring representation of health bars but adapts a totally new system of rebuilding your character on the fly. I was familiar with the characters from Cyberbots and various Marvel vs. Capcom titles, but to finally get to play AW was a great feat. It's a fantastic game where, with a little moxxie and some mixing and matching, some particularly devastating combos of gear can be discovered, some of which accommodate new play styles. The downside? You have to learn all of this, so yeah, learning curve.

And then we jump further ahead to Battle Circuit, with radically different character designs, unlockable special moves, and weird and wonderful level design come together into a masterpiece. I love Battle Circuit; it's my favorite of the set, partly because it's so well done, and partly because it's so strange. However, it seems to pull plot ideas as much from Shadowrun as it does any previous Capcom games, particularly as you play bounty hunters going after an Egyptian-styled disk developed by a mega corp in a giant pyramid and stolen by some kind of street gang. Also, levels are short...really short, basically only there long enough to keep me from thinking of this as a boss rush beat 'em up in the style of Monster Masher or Metamoqester.

This is perhaps a weird point, where my two favorite games in the set, Battle Circuit and The King of Dragons, pull from external sources like Shadowrun, Golden Axe, and Dungeons & Dragons. I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

I haven't talked much about Final Fight, but going back, it just feels rudimentary and cheap compared to later games that Capcom did. Captain Commando I also haven't gone into much, though the zaniness of Battle Circuit seems to hearken back to its ridiculousness, and that I consider a mark in its favor; Captain Commando is weird, but it's a fun kind of weird.

All of these games are worth playing. Some haven't aged as well as others, but played together, they form a tapestry of Capcom's ideas and influences. Is there anything missing? Oh God yes, Alien vs. Predator is glaringly absent considering the inclusion of other titles that never saw any sort of home release. However, I'm guessing that one is stuck in licensing hell. I do wish it could have been a part of the experience though.

Get this collection. By playing through it, I found new games to enjoy like Warriors of Fate and old favorites to return to. I'll be going back, and while I probably won't always include my thoughts here, I'll be savoring and enjoying my time with it. That said, look forward to me bumrushing the Japanese releases at some point!
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:58 am

Games Beaten 2019:
First 50:
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch
2. Alex Kidd in The Enchanted Castle Switch
3. Streets of Rage Switch
4. Vectorman Switch
5. Galaxy Force II Switch
6. Flicky Switch
7. Phantasy Star 2 Switch
8. Sonic the Hedgehog Switch
9. Altered Beast Switch
10. ESWAT: City Under Siege Switch
11. Columns Switch
12. Virtua Fighter 2 Switch
13. Kirby Star Allies Switch
14. Katamari Damacy Reroll Switch eShop
15. Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! Switch
16. Octodad: Dadliest Catch Switch eShop
17. Sword of Vermilion Switch
18. Decap Attack Switch
19. Golden Axe Switch
20. The Revenge of Shinobi Switch
21. Beyond Oasis Switch
22. WarioWare Gold 3DS
23. Shining in the Darkness Switch
24. Kid Chameleon Switch
25. Streets of Rage 2 Switch
26. Bio-Hazard Battle Switch
27. Super Thunder Blade Switch
28. Gain Ground Switch
29. Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Switch
30. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Switch
31. Comix Zone Switch
32. Vectorman 2 Switch
33. Light Crusader Switch
34. Crack Down Switch
35. ToeJam and Earl Switch
36. Dynamite Headdy Switch
37. Golden Axe II Switch
38. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Switch
39. Columns III: Revenge of Columns Switch
40. Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention Switch
41. Kirby No Kirakira Kizzu Game Boy
42. Klonoa Wii
43. Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Alert! GBC
44. Mario Tennis N64
45. Fire Emblem Warriors Switch
46. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [Randomiser] N64
47. The New Zealand Story SMS
48. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Switch
49. Shenmue 2 Dreamcast
50. Castlevania GBA

51. Mario Party N64
52. ActRaiser SNES
53. GoldenEye 007 N64
54. Mom Hid My Game Switch eShop
55. Money Puzzle Exchanger Switch eShop
56. Gunbird Switch eShop
57. Tokyo School Life Switch eShop
58. Musynx Switch
59. Gremlins 2: The New Batch NES
60. Subsurface Circular Switch eShop
61. Yoshi's Woolly World Wii U
62. ToeJam & Earl: Panic on Funkotron Switch
63. Bare Knuckle III Switch
64. Gunstar Heroes Switch
65. Space Harrier II Switch
66. Sonic Spinball Switch
67. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium Switch
68. Sonic 3D Blast Switch
69. Rabbids Go Home Wii
70. Alien Storm Switch
71. Alien Soldier Switch
72. Untitled Goose Game Switch eShop
73. Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole Switch
74. Fatal Labyrinth Switch
75. Ristar Switch
76. Golden Axe III Switch
77. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master Switch
78. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Switch
79. Bonanza Bros. Switch
80. Shining Force II [& Sega Mega Drive Classics] Switch
81. Castlevania Bloodlines Switch eShop
82. Puyo Puyo Sun 64 N64
83. Chameleon Twist 2 N64
84. Cruis'n USA N64
85. Darkwing Duck Game Boy
86. Fortified Zone Game Boy
87. Lock 'N Chase Game Boy
88. Spanky's Quest Game Boy
89. Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Revenge! GBC
90. Puchi Carat PS1
91. Battle Garegga Rev. 2016 PS4
92. Flower PS4
93. FlOw PS4
94. The Longest 5 Minutes Switch
95. West of Loathing Switch
96. Pokémon Sword Switch
97. Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 DS
98. Ace Attorney Investigations: Prosecutor's Path DS
99. Game Center CX: Arino no Chōsenjō 2 DS
100. Bayonetta 2 Wii U
101. Thimbleweed Park Switch



Bayonetta 2

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Sometimes I play a game I really enjoy, and decide that it would be a good idea to play the sequel soon whilst I remember more of the first title. An example might be Final Fantasy X, where I intended to play X-2 before I forgot the story. Inevitably though, I don’t get around to playing the sequel anywhere near the time I expect to. Bayonetta 2 was an example of that.

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I enjoyed playing through Bayonetta 1 several years ago – and my wife really enjoyed watching it to. It was just on the right side of stupid for me to make the flashy combat, dumb story and hypersexualised protagonist fun, and I think she agreed. And so when I finally sat down to play Bayonetta 2 this year, I was looking forward to it – even if we had to remind ourselves of the first game’s story a couple of times!

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Bayonetta 2 is basically ‘more of the same’ in terms of what it offers. This time, Bayonetta is on a journey to hell to rescue Jean, who has gone and gotten herself killed. Along the way she meets Loki, a child who seems to have some special powers, who guides her to the Gates of Hell (the real ones, not the bar which Rodin runs) on the sacred mountain Fimbulventr. All of the characters from before are here – Jean, Rodin, Luka and Lorenzo all make an appearance even if they feel somewhat underutilised. Loki is very annoying too – especially his god awful accent that I think is meant to be British. It makes Dick Van Dyke look like a born and bred Londoner, is all I can say.

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Anyway, gameplay is the same combo of flash combat with some secrets to find in between. Bayonetta can attack with various combinations of weapons on her hands and feet – my favourites were the swords and whip, but the bow proved very useful on some of the games harder Muspelheim challenges – optional battle with special rules such as ‘don’t get hit’ or ‘maintain a combo the whole battle’. Dodging is super important, with a timely dodge activating witch time, putting all enemies in slow motion for a while. Double tapping dodge turns you into a panther for sprinting around at speed, but I wish this was on another button – I found myself constantly turning into a panther mid battle whilst trying to dodge, so I heard the roar a looooot.

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Bayonetta 2 has some fantastic setpieces, much like the first game. Highlights include the opening battle on a jet, and a battle with a giant demon and angel wrestling in the background. I don’t feel like anything feels quite as impressive as the first game, but I’m not sure if that’s because it’s lesser in anyway, or if there’s just a lot more competition for spectacle these days and I’m more desensitised to it. Either way, it’s still fun.

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One thing I did think about Bayonetta 2 though is that it seemed notably easier than the first game. In the first game, I died a lot, especially on bosses. It had a real learning curve to manage. In the second game, I played on Normal again, but this time I died only once in the whole game – to an unexpected insta-kill move. I only came close to dying one other time, and I never used a single health recovery item. Now, maybe it’s possible I’m just better now after having played the first game, but being that it’s been several years since I did so, I’m leaning towards this title just being more accessible and less challenging than before.

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Either way, it doesn’t dampen the fun I had with the game – I enjoyed the game all the way through. The gameplay is fun, the music is catchy when it wants to be and atmospheric when it needs to be, the graphics are flashy and good for the system, and overall it’s just a real fun game to experience. I’m glad I did so, and happy to reach 100 games beaten in the year for what I think is my first time ever.




Thimbleweed Park

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I quite enjoy the old LucasArts point and click games, so I was keen to give Thimbleweed Park a try. Made by Ron Gilbert, it aims to be a spriritual successor to those old point n click games, particularly the earlier examples like Maniac Mansion, which can be seen through the games art style. The game initially follows 2 characters, the newbie Agent Reyes and the experienced Agent Ray, two FBI agents who are investigating a murder in the sleepy town of Thumbleweed Park. The game takes inspiration from classic TV shows like The X-Files and Twin Peaks in it’s aesthetics for sure. Ray and Reyes are basically immediately revealed to have ulterior motives for being there, but what they are remains a mystery at first.

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As you walk around town trying to solve the mystery of the murder, you uncover the backstories of a few potential suspects – first is Ransome the Clown, a mean spirited ‘insult clown’ who has been cursed to remain in makeup forever and is hated by and in turn hates basically everyone in town. Next is Delores Edmund, niece of the towns most wealthy benefactor, Chuck Edmond. She’s suspected because she ran away to become an adventure game programmer instead of taking over the pillow factory her uncle owned. And lastly, Franklin Edmund, brother to Chuck and Father to Delores, who has been missing for several weeks. You quickly discover he’s dead though – as each new suspect comes with a flashback where you play as them.

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After you finish all the flashbacks, all 5 characters become playable – Ray and Reyes are generally interchangeable, but some other actions can only be performed by Delores or Ransome – Delores is the techy of the bunch, whereas Ransome isn’t scared of heights for example. Franklin is limited to the place he died for movement, but as a ghost can travel without being seen and pass through locked doors.

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So far so good, right? Unfortunately, the game is pretty flawed. First of all, the game really dials back on that classic LucasArts comedy – there’s few laughs here, which means the story has to hold up the game – and it really fails to live up to this requirement, being mostly uninteresting and then having spectacularly poor payoffs at the end. The game world is also huge, and every character has separate inventories and moves independently – meaning lots of moving back and forth figuring out where to go next, and then also sometimes doing this 4 or 5 times to get everyone where they need to be. There’s also little reason given for why people are working together – I see no reason Ransome and Delores would be supporting Reyes for example. The only logic apparent is strictly limited to 4th wall breaking – the player knows, so that’s good enough.

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I often found myself stuck not because the puzzles were complex, but because I had no idea what the next objective was, or I’d missed an item somewhere. The game is full of tiny items, just a few pixels on screen, which are required for progression. Luckily, there’s a phone number you can call in game for hints, but I found myself using it not for solutions but for item locations – usually the last hint given, meaning by the time I could do it, I already had the solution.

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The controls are bad on switch. B is used to walk to a location, and A looks at the item selected. Otherwise you use the stick to control a cursor on screen and must manually navigate it to the verbs are the bottom to use. Touch screen controls are theoretically better, but they feel imprecise and I actually preferred the button controls. Pressing L and R should move the cursor to nearby interactable items on screen, but this felt inconsistent to me, and I sometimes struggled to highlight even items I knew I could interact with.

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Overall, I found Thimbleweed Park to be a massive disappointment. It’s cumbersome to play, the puzzles felt awkward and not fun most of the time, the scope is too big to be fun, and the game is utterly lacking in any of the charm that defined those original titles. I think Thimbleweed Park isn’t worth the time or effort to play through it, and I’d advise you skip it. There’s better options easily available elsewhere.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:21 am

1. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
2. Dragon Scroll: Yomigaerishi Maryuu (Famicom)
3. Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken (Famicom)
4. Hello Kitty World (Famicom)
5. Galaxian (Famicom)
6. Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai (Famicom)
7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)
8. Jajamaru no Daibouken (Famicom)
9. Front Line (Famicom)
10. Field Combat (Famicom)
11. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
12. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken: Murder on the Mississippi (Famicom)
13. Space Harrier (Famicom)
14. Geimos (Famicom)
15. Attack Animal Gakuen (Famicom)
16. Sky Destroyer (Famicom)
17. Ripple Island (Famicom)
18. Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Famicom)
19. Bird Week (Famicom)
20. Baltron (Famicom)
21. Yie Ar Kung-Fu (Famicom)
22. Challenger (Famicom)
23. Ikki (Famicom)
24. Dough Boy (Famicom)
25. Atlantis no Nazo (Famicom)
26. Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser tono Tatakai (Famicom)
27. Yume Penguin Monogatari (Famicom)
28. King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch (Famicom)
29. Congo Bongo (Atari 2600)
30. Coconuts (Atari 2600)
31. Arcade Archives: Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
32. Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome (Super Famicom)
33. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Super Burger Time (Switch eShop)
34. Fire Fly (Atari 2600)
35. Fire Fighter (Atari 2600)
36. Space Jockey (Atari 2600)
37. Airlock (Atari 2600)
38. Makai Hakkenden Shada (PC Engine)
39. Squeeze Box (Atari 2600)
40. Lagoon (SNES)
41. Atlantis (Atari 2600)
42. Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (PC Engine CD)
43. Blue Blink (PC Engine)
44. Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (PC Engine CD)
45. Cally's Caves 3 (Steam)
46. Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet (Steam)
47. Contra (NES)
48. Arcade Archives: Vs. Super Mario Bros. (Switch eShop)
49. Arcade Archives: Moon Cresta (Switch eShop)
50. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Caveman Ninja (Switch eShop)
51. Ice Hockey (Atari 2600)
52. Indy 500 (Atari 2600)
53. Video Olympics (Atari 2600)
54. Fast Eddie (Atari 2600)
55. Muv-Luv (Steam)
56. Air-Sea Battle (Atari 2600)
57. Combat (Atari 2600)
58. Street Racer (Atari 2600)
59. Food Fight (Atari 7800)
60. Galaga (Atari 7800)
61. Donkey Kong (ColecoVision)
62. Cosmic Avenger (ColecoVision)
63. Mouse Trap (ColecoVision)
64. Zaxxon (ColecoVision)
65. Armor Battle (Intellivision)
66. Armor Ambush (Atari 2600)
67. Basic Math (Atari 2600)
68. Astrosmash (Intellivision)
69. Astroblast (Atari 2600)
70. Donkey Kong (Intellivision)
71. Beauty & the Beast (Intellivision)
72. Surround (Atari 2600)
73. Borderline (SG-1000)
74. Omega Race (VIC-20)
75. Star Battle (VIC-20)
76. Mahou Kishi Rayearth (Game Gear)
77. Muv-Luv Alternative (Vita)
78. Joe & Mac (SNES)
79. Muv-Luv photonflowers* (Steam)
80. Cadash (TurboGrafx-16)
81. Cadash (Genesis)
82. Circus Charlie (Famicom)
83. Ankoku Shinwa: Yamato Takeru Densetsu (Famicom)
84. Gyromite (NES)
85. Suishou no Dragon (Famicom Disk System)
86. Captain Silver (Sega Master System)

87. Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)
88-89. Legacy of Ys: Books I & II (DS)


Neutopia
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I oftentimes hear the term "Zelda clone" applied liberally to a vast array of early action-RPGs, even those that share more DNA with pre-Zelda games like Hydlide and Dragon Slayer. In actuality, there was a grand total of two notable console titles, both released in the West, that unmistakably and unquestionably imitate most every facet of the Nintendo titan. The first, Golden Axe Warrior, by Sega for their own Master System, is rather janky and can safely be skipped. The second, Hudson's Neutopia for the TurboGrafx-16, is a fitting Zelda tribute, crafted by developers who understood what made Miyamoto's game so compelling. And with a 1989/1990 release date (depending on region), Neutopia also nicely filled the role of first 16-bit "Zelda" title, providing sustenance for those gamers (well, PC Engine owning gamers) eagerly anticipating A Link to the Past.

Now, Neutopia is so derivative that it's impossible to review without also constantly referencing The Legend of Zelda, either directly or indirectly. Take the basic plot, for example. The hero of Neutopia is a young man named Jazeta, who is tasked with rescuing the kingdom's princess from the clutches of an evil demon named Dirth. Dirth has also scattered eight sacred medallions across the land, entombing them in the darkest of dungeons. Said medallions represent wisdom, power, and virtue. Only by obtaining them can Jazeta restore peace to the land, and unlock the entrance to Dirth's lair.

Of course, the general game mechanics are lifted right from Zelda as well. Jazeta wields a sword, permanently mapped to one button. The second action button is dedicated to a rotating series of sub-weapons and items. Most often utilized are the bombs and fire wand (no arrows or boomerang here, sadly). Neutopia flips the Zelda conventions in terms of weaponry: bombs have no offensive value and are used strictly for blowing up rock, while the fire wand is often more useful than the sword! In addition to its tree-vanquishing function, the fire wand also serves as the game's projectile weapon, as Jazeta lacks "lazer sword" capabilities. The fire wand's emissions are tied to Jazeta's life bar: when it's nearly full the wand emits a series of flames that linger on screen, causing mass damage to nearby foes. When Jazeta's life falters, the wand shoots forth weaker spherical projectiles. Neutopia succeeds where Golden Axe Warrior fails: the combat is fluid, satisfying, and undeniably Zelda-like. Controls are speedy and smooth, and while Jazeta can only move in the standard four directions he can surprisingly blast the fire rod diagonally. With only two weapons at Jazeta's disposal, combat can get stale after a spell, but on the flip side there's also rarely a need to fiddle with the menus.
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The one aspect where Neutopia differs from Zelda significantly is in the realm of navigation. Zelda offered players a massive overworld, ripe for exploration at the game's beginning. Getting lost was inevitable, progression was conceivably nonlinear, and map-making skills were required. In contrast, Neutopia starts the player in a central hub, connected to a series of small overworld "spheres" which each contain two dungeons. The spheres are thematic: while the first resembles the grassy outdoors of Zelda, the remaining three showcase subterranean, sea, and sky settings. Dungeons themselves are easier to locate as well. Rather than having a compass as a recurring dungeon item, the compass of Neutopia is a persistent tool used to guide Jazeta within each sphere to the location of the next available dungeon. And the dungeon entrances always appear as so, there's no fingers-crossed spelunking into random holes hidden under tree and rock. Speaking of such matters, bombable rock faces are clearly marked with cracks, and trees fit for burning are typically segregated from larger verdant clusters. Step inside to find shops or people just chillin'. The overworld(s) are littered with NPCs, always loquacious and helpful. There are wise men (and women), monks that grant life and bomb increases, and regular old townsfolk. There's a shockingly huge amount of dialogue in the game, all of it very well translated. Isolated bits of the game script are a tad clunky: there are "jokes" that fall flat, and one notable NPC will tell you to backtrack and get the fire rod, regardless of whether or not it's already been obtained. There are save points to be found periodically, though saving the game is dependent on hardware. Those with access to internal memory (TurboBooster-Plus, CD drive, Duo) can simply save to the "file cabinet" while those unfortunate souls who possess but a vanilla TurboGrafx-16 (oh hi there) will have to make do with the insultingly long passwords. Holistically, the game is significantly less intimidating than Zelda: no NES Game Atlas required!

The dungeons themselves are a bit of a missed opportunity. It would have been cool had they been designed around the same concepts as the spheres they resided in (for instance, the land sphere could have had a hedge maze, or a cloud-based dungeon in the sky sphere). Instead, they're all stony rock labyrinths, virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Those specific types of flair that characterized the Zelda dungeons (garish colors, creative shapes, hidden basements) are nowhere to be found within Neutopia. The dungeons don't really seem to get more complex as the game progresses either; they merely increase in length. Dungeons lack keys (save for the one that opens the boss door) so there's more freedom to explore from the get-go. "Sealed doors" are encountered frequently however; these are opened by either dispatching all enemies within a given room or "solving" one of the seemingly infinite "push the right block" "puzzles." There's a neat little bell item that allows Jazeta to open any sealed door without meeting the official requirements, though it's obtained way too late in the game to make a strong impact.
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Each dungeon concludes with a boss, naturally. Some, like the dragon and crab, feel as if they're taken straight out of (wait for it) Zelda, though I swear Ys must have served as inspiration for the stone man that's surrounded by a force field. These are decent fights, though the difficulty is inconsistent, and successfully besting certain bosses seems heavily dependent on having a powered-up fire wand. Thankfully, Jazeta can travel with two HP-refilling potions (oddly enough, purchasing these provides the only practical use for the in-game currency). Frustratingly, standard foes almost never drop those tiny one-square health refills; one is obtained only every ten minutes or so.

Neutopia boasts a solid audiovisual presentation. The graphics have what I like to call that "12-bit" look: like a "beefed-up NES, not quite SNES" sort of deal. Graphics are crisp and colorful, with all sprites and backgrounds kept simple and pleasing to the eye. The soundtrack is interesting. All the best tunes (like the title screen theme, shrine theme, and land sphere theme) show up early on. Things start to wane from there, with those later sphere and boss themes being entirely less memorable. One annoying thing about the soundtrack is how brief the tracks are. That fantastic title screen theme: 26 seconds. And then silence, not even a loop. Most tunes do indeed loop, after a minute or less, which can be a bit grating to the ears.

Neutopia is a good game, with some scattered issues. It can't touch The Legend of Zelda, but it feels like a worthy unofficial sequel. Anyone craving more of Link's shenanigans is likely to enjoy this. As there's one single "route" through the game it lacks the replay value of Nintendo's classic, but is worth taking on once or twice.


Legacy of Ys
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Playing an Atlus-published Ys title on a Nintendo handheld feels a bit surreal. Especially since this is the first Ys game to appear on any Nintendo hardware in North America since the so-so Ys III SNES variant. Legacy of Ys is yet another compilation of the first two games in the series. It's modeled directly after the PlayStation 2 Ys I & II Eternal Story, which itself is based on the Windows PC Eternal versions of the games. Note that every variant of Ys I & II since (and including) Eternal, whether standalone or compilation, is a full-blown remake, sporting some new tunes, reworked graphics, and an extra town plus an extended overworld (though dungeon layouts remain rather faithful to the PC-88 originals).

Legacy of Ys is one of the more intriguing of these releases, as it features some gameplay idiosyncrasies not found elsewhere. Though a compilation in North America, Ys I and Ys II actually received standalone DS releases in Japan.... for the most part. There was something released later on in Japan called the Ys DS / Ys II DS Special Box, which, well, was a large box with both DS releases stuffed inside, plus some additional goodies. But the North American Legacy is the only one to feature both games on a single DS game card.

The hero of Ys is one Adol Christin, swordsman extraordinaire. He begins Ys I unconscious, washed up on the shore of a sleepy seaside town. He soon wakes and is asked to investigate an incident of burglary, a kidnapping, and the whereabouts of a mysterious man in black. In contrast, Adol begins Ys II.... unconscious (my man is on his way to some serious neurological damage). This time he's roused awake by a beautiful young lady. Apparently now marooned on a floating island, it's up to Adol to discover the true meaning of the books he was hoarding in the first chapter.
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It's no secret that Ys Book I & II, in any form, is action-RPG perfection. And such is true for this round on the DS. The two bite-sized quests flow together beautifully to make one hearty experience (though one could elect to simply play the second part). The scenery is breathtaking throughout, boasting some of the most memorable dungeons in gaming history. There's even a bonus area here, exclusive to the DS platform. Known as Vageux-Vardette, it's one of those all-too-rare "outdoor dungeons" and it concludes with a brand-new boss encounter. Combat is ever-present and incredibly satisfying, with level-grinding occurring naturally throughout the course of exploration. NPCs are wholly unique, and yes there are cute anime girls aplenty.

As for the alterations made, there are two big changes that many would consider "quality of life" improvements. First, the classic "bump system" combat has been replaced by a traditional button-press sword swing (for the most part, there's a stylus controls option with limited functionality). Adol's sword is short, but swipes in a decent arc, and kicks back wounded foes a fair distance. As the nuances and challenges inherent to the bump system are also scrapped, enemy abilities have been beefed up a bit to compensate. They have their own sets of attacks, with some lobbing projectiles that can clear a screen. But overall the game is much, much easier when compared to any other Ys. One no longer needs to deeply contemplate positioning while fighting, and it's actually possible to vanquish bosses without taking a single hit. That infamous bat boss? Total chump on the DS. And then there's the issue of navigation. Legacy of Ys features a persistent area map on the bottom screen of the DS, complete with a symbol to indicate Adol's current position, door icons, and an area name. This is extraordinarily useful in the overindulgent final dungeons of both "books" as nearly every floor superficially looks identical. There's even a little "hint box" that indicates the current objective, though these typically consist of rather vague statements.
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Aesthetics are a mixed bag. The game features 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds. And while the 2D looks fantastic, the 3D suffers a bit. Environments are zoomed-in, pixelated, and slanted in a way that's sometimes off-putting. In contrast, the large character portraits that appear while in conversion are absolutely riveting. As are the cutscenes, ripped straight from Eternal. Yuzo Koshiro's musical compositions are utterly peerless, but sound a tad weak coming from the tiny DS speakers. Still, some of these remixed tunes are quite fantastic. The game boasts the best arrangement of "Departure" (the opening town's theme), though in fairness that track wasn't included on the TurboGrafx soundtrack.

Astute observers of all that is Ys may have noticed that the PSP had a compilation of its own (Ys I & II Chronicles) drop shortly after Legacy. I'd give Sony the upper hand here, as Chronicles showcases a smoother and brighter graphical appearance as well as a superior audio presentation. But that's still no reason to skip straight over Legacy. If anything, this is the one I'd recommend to Ys neophytes, with it's (arguably) more palatable combat style and auto-mapping being the main perks. Nevertheless, longtime fans of the series will find enough differences in this one to be satisfied as well. The goddesses are waiting.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:43 pm

Bone, I would love to hear your thoughts on Crusader of Centy sometime.
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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