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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:41 pm

I think you were supposed to do Air Man first in Mega Man 2, just because it is hard to use the Wood Shield effectively against Air Man. Might as well use the Mega Buster.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:36 am

Metal Man in Mega Man 2.

He basically destroys like 3 bosses and is only weak to himself. Metal Man is so overpowered in Mega Man 2. I normally go:

Metal - Flash - Bubble - Wood - Air - Crash - Quick - Heat.

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)

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I beat Radiata Stories on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!

I love the developer, Tri-Ace. I mostly love them for the Valkyrie Profile series, with the major games being some of my favorites on each of their respective systems. They make beautiful looking games that are incredibly deep and very unique. So, Radiata Stories has always been a game on my radar, but I never quite pulled the trigger. Finally, my friend gave it to me as a Christmas present and the hype was on. Honestly, I try to avoid hype because it always leaves me disappointed, but I couldn't help myself in being hyped for Radiata Stories. I made the resolution to play through it in 2019 and thankfully the Cookie brought that much earlier than expected.

Radiata Stories is the funniest game I have ever played. Games don't usually make me laugh, but this game did and in spades. The cutaways and one-liners are fantastic. It has this joyful mood to it, which is a shock considering most of Tri-Ace games are very depressing. The story in the game is utterly superb. It makes sense, the good guys and the bad guys motivations. And the overall plot actually makes sense too. It is all understandable and really relatable. With a good story comes good characters and the characters here are so real and wonderful. Some of them are so beautiful and very few of them feel like caricatures. They feel like real people with real problems and real motivations. I just loved talking to all of them and I just wanted to get to know them better. The world is also a wonderful place to explore. It's never too large nor is too small. It never overstays its welcome and never too long.

My two major gripes would be that recruiting characters is very hard and would be impossible without a guide. From finding them to solving all their problems, it would take forever and I wish it was easier to just jump in and do it. Also, the battle system is really simple. You basically mash one button the entire time and it kind of falls apart during heavier boss battles.

Overall, I basically devoured Radiata Stories during my free time. Thanks to some bad weather, I played this game for days at a time. I got sucked into it once I started and I really enjoyed every moment of it. The game is not perfect, obviously, but I could see the past the flaws. It's an enjoyable experiences and one of the most unique games I have ever played.
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Flake
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:19 am

January
Megaman (Switch)
Megaman 2 (Switch)
Megaman 3 (Switch)
Megaman 4 (Switch)
Megaman 5 (Switch)
Megaman 6 (Switch)
Megaman 7 (Switch)
Megaman 8 (Switch)
Megaman 9 (Switch)
Megaman 10 (Switch)
Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Time Spinner (PS4)

Wow oh wow, why is this game NOT more popular than it is? I picked this up on a PSN sale for a song - it goes on sale every now and then - but it's worth the full asking price as well.

Time Spinner is clearly influenced by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Many of the systems such as dual-use maps, familiars, dashing, and the equipment system are almost 1:1 lifted from the older game. Time Spinner also has gorgeous sprite work - the main character Lunais moves fluidly as she battles a variety of enemies and casts spells. Where Time Spinner diverges is in the narrative. Time Spinner's story is one of revenge and time travel, with the main character challenged to determine when, how, and how-much to alter the timeline to avenge her lost loved ones.

I wish that there were some indication of a sequel or spin-off set in the same world but as far as I can tell, Time Spinner is a one-shot. Which is good or bad, looking at how these things can turn out (we can't all be Shovel Knight) but I do hope that more people play this game.
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Flake
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Flake Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:25 am

Markies wrote:
I beat Radiata Stories on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!


Woot! I actually ordered this game and its guide a couple months ago. This is coming up on my list pretty soon! I tried playing it back when it first came out but go so frustrated - you're 100% right that you practically NEED the guide to get most of the best characters.
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:57 am

1. Super Mario World
2. Super Mario Bros 2
3. Bust-A-Move Universe
4. Crystalis
5. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest


Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
1987, Konami


I love the Castlevania series dearly, but that doesn't make me good at the games. So while I've played a big majority of the entries, I've not actually beaten that many of them. I've been playing Castlevania II since it was first released on the NES. It was a bit of a revelation at the time - swapping out of the confines of the castle in the first game and giving us an 'open world' to explore. You could go anywhere - granted it was gated off because you needed a certain item. You could backtrack and find secret areas. Oh, and now it was an RPG as well with experience points and weapon upgrades and so on. If this sounds familiar, it's because Castlevania II is basically a blueprint for one of the greatest games of all time - Symphony Of The Night.

There's hyperbole there, sure. But it's not that far fetched. And really, looking back at Castlevania II, it's astounding just how ambitious a sequel this really was. I mean, Konami could have easily just made another linear level-based trek through another castle, right? Instead they basically changed the game's genre altogether. Of course this was the wild west days of the NES where many sequels strayed heavily from the originals. See: Zelda II, Super Mario Bros 2, etc.

Unfortunately Simon's Quest isn't always remembered for what it accomplished. Instead it's mainly remembered for being kind of an unfair and confusing jerk. So let's unpack that for a moment. Trying to play this game without some kind of walkthrough is a bit of a fool's errand. The NPC's in various towns are infamously liars. And that's when they tell you anything that isn't too cryptic to make sense of anyway. If you were playing this game "blind," I have no idea how you'd figure out that you need to drop garlic in certain graveyards to make an NPC appear to give you certain items; or that you'd need to equip specific items and then kneel down for more than a couple of seconds in specific spots to open up hidden areas; or that the ferryman will bring you to different areas if you have certain items equipped; or that there are invisible platforms in some castles!; or that you need to equip certain items just to SEE some platforms!

I mean yes, there's trial and error. But this feels more like "just try absolutely everything you can possibly think of until something happens and even then you'll probably be stumped on how to proceed at certain parts." I don't necessarily think it's part of a challenging game design so much as this was still the early days and developers were figuring out what really made a game work.

But if we can look past those hiccups - and we can, again with the help of a walkthrough - then there's so much to actually admire in Castlevania II. First of all there's the day/night cycles which actually matter. At night the enemies become more difficult; the town's close their doors and are no longer safe havens. It's interesting stuff, and the mechanic was surely at least partly inspiration for one of my absolute favorite (and vote for most slept-on) NES games of all time: A Nightmare On Elm Street by LJN. I'm being totally serious and completely devoid of irony or counter-culture hipsterism here.

The RPG elements are interesting, though not especially overt. It's definitely akin to The Adventures Of Link. The max level here is apparently six, but I was only level four when I finished the game. Speaking of finishing the game - the bosses are actually a bit of a joke. If memory serves, there were only three of them - the Grim Reaper, a floating mask and then Dracula himself. All of these were easily beaten with very little strategy. Honestly, it feels like the environment was the bigger enemy in this game. I'm pretty sure that any death I incurred was due to a missed jump rather than an actual enemy. I mean once you finally make it to the Demon Castle Dracula, you're greeted to some empty hallways. There's no final gauntlet to make your way through. You're just granted access to Dracula's tomb. It's funny because I had a much harder time making my way through Super Castlevania IV recently - a game considered much easier than this one. Huh.

Suffice to say that I'm pleased as punch to have finally conquered this game, though. It's always nice to beat a game that you've been playing for - OMG... like 30 years? Weird. It's also nice to revisit games and remind yourself just how much you enjoy them.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:First...start with Bomb Man and take it from there. He’s the easiest to beat with the mega buster. Also, feel free to use the “select button” trick when you take in the yellow devil in the first stage of Wily’s Castle. It’s relatively smooth sailing from there.

Second, great review. What was your criteria for heating Galaxian?


Thanks for Mega Man tips. Is there a boss rush (or a stage with a bunch of bosses) eventually? I've made it that far. I may have an easier go of it now that I have the NES cart and can thus play it with an NES controller; I've only ever played it on the PS2 compilation which isn't quite ideal.

As far as a game like Galaxian goes, the stages definitely are distinct in terms of enemy attack patterns. I try to reach the "hardest" stage and then loop it several times. Not much to see in the game beyond that point, unless you're shooting for a respectable personal high score, or something insane like a score/level freeze/roll-over or kill-screen. I also find that the World of Longplays YouTube channel is a good guide regarding where and when these old games "end."

@Markies
Good post. tri-Ace was in cahoots with the strategy guide publishers, I'm convinced.

@noise
Good job. Castlevania II is legit.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:13 am

@Ack
@marurun

You’re both doing it right. I usually start with Flash man, but I can see the argument for starting with Air Man. (I used to start with Metal Man because his weapon is effective against so many other bosses. I stopped doing that once I learned how to get through Quick Man’s level effectively.

@noise

Great post. I’m playing some Castlevania games right now too, and while I’ve beaten Castlevania and Castlevania III several times, I’ve never beaten Castlevania II. You’ve inspired me to give it a run one I wrap up all the Gameboy Castlevania games. I’ve read that some of the game’s cryptic-ness is due to a very poor translation, and rather than playing my cart with a walkthrough, I’m thinking about playing with a translation patch. Does anyone here know if that improves the experience.

@Bone

There’s a boss rush at the end. I never found it too tough, though. Give the game another go sometime!
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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:38 am

Cool, I look forward to your thoughts. Personally, I don't feel like I could even rank the three NES Castlevania games. They are each so unique.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:54 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 4
* denotes a replay

January (4 Games Beaten)
1. Army Men 3D - PlayStation - January 1*
2. Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished - NES - January 4
3. Mega Man - NES - January 6
4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6


4. Mega Man 2 - NES - January 6

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A year after the release of the first Mega Man (two years for North America), Capcom saw fit to bring the Blue Bomber back for another platforming pew-pew party on the NES. The box art for the North American release still looks more like a Chinese knock-off Power Ranger than Mega Man, but at least it's not as ugly and downright creepy as the cover of the first game was.

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Everything about Mega Man 2 is an improvement over its predecessor. The robot masters feel generally better designed, and there's more of an open ended weakness system with them. Whereas in the first game, each robot master had one specific weakness, your options are a bit more varied in the second game. The basic mega blaster will usually take care of them easily enough in a pinch, but they usually have a couple of weaknesses rather than just one, and they have specific resistances this time, too. In one instance, a certain boss is actually healed by a specific weapon, and in another, a boss is weak against his own weapon. It's clear that more time and energy went into the weaknesses and strategy in the sequel which makes sense given that the first game actually didn't perform particularly well commercially.

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Another area in which Mega Man 2 excels over its predecessor (in part because of the aforementioned attention given to the boss weaknesses and strategy) is the difficulty. In the original Japanese release, your only option was "balls hard," but when it got brought over to North American and Europe, they added in a "hard but not emasculating" difficulty alongside the "balls hard" difficulty of the Japanese release. You can also get three special items - creatively called Item-1, Item-2, and Item-3 - in addition to the robot masters' weapons that can make traversing levels MUUUUUCH easier (and I'm pretty sure are required in a few areas) which add to the problem solving that the game requires. The difficulty still doesn't feel as finely tuned to me as some of the later games, but it's an astronomical improvement over the original.

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Mega Man 2 is an entirely different breed of game from the original. I seem to be in the minority in that most folks seem to think that Mega Man 2 is the best of the six NES games, but even if I don't necessarily think it's THE best, it's definitely in the top three of the six. The difficulty is much more approachable, the robot masters have some legitimate strategy elements to them with regards to weaknesses, the platforming takes a bit more thought and planning, and the overall game mechanics just feel more refined and polished. This is basically everything that a sequel should be; fix what's wrong with the previous game and expand what was right.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:01 pm

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)

Ultimate Challenge is the last of the mission packs created by FormGen as an expansion to Wolfenstein 3D. They're generally tied to Spear of Destiny since they use that as the true base, and in both mission packs, you go for the spear and fight the Angel of Death instead of confronting Hitler. There are some questionable design decisions in the FormGen content, though of the two, I vastly prefer Ultimate Challenge to Return to Danger.

Why? Simple: better level design. In Return to Danger, FormGen decided they wanted stuff on the map to look like Nazi iconography, to remind the player that you're in World War II and shooting evil members of the Third Reich...because the Nazi soldiers and swastikas all over the walls somehow wasn't enough. The problem is that doesn't make for good level design. There were also issues with level layout, letting you bypass large chunks without ever having to bother with them (I beat one level in 11 seconds due to this), and necessary keys and doors hidden behind secret walls.

Ultimate Challenge does suffer from some of the problems with secret walls housing keys, but it happens much more sparingly and only in later levels. The layouts are significantly better, and you'll likely see most of the level even if you know where to go to grab necessary keys and get to the correct elevator. There are also no terrible map designs like in Return to Danger; in fact the few things I saw repeated were actually highlights, such as a 9-room chamber where firing your weapon in one attracts a horde of guards from the others and gives you a real firefight. Now that's something I can get behind.

Unfortunately, Ultimate Challenge does have to play second fiddle to Return to Danger since most of the enemy sprites haven't been changed back from the terrible choices FormGen made for their first outing. Yes, you're still fighting blue dogs and bright green Nazis. Bosses also appear on the same levels again, and they're not changed at all from RtD, so while it made sense that you'd be fighting Barnacle Wilhelm in a submarine base, now you're fighting him in some kind of laser guidance lab. It doesn't make much sense, but I guess they were stuck. There are two texture changes that I notice though: ghosts in the final level are now green clouds, and there is a UAC crate texture from Doom used for some of the walls. That was a nice little reference.

With the better level layouts, I liked Ultimate Challenge more than Return to Danger, which I now consider to be the worst of all Wolf3D expansions. Since folks usually play RtD first, it appears Ultimate Challenge has to suffer being forgotten since RtD leaves a bad taste in the mouth. UC is not perfect, but it is way better than the previous mission pack. I'd recommend it over RtD any day for fans who have made it through the original Spear of Destiny expansion for Wolfenstein 3D. Yeah, you gotta worry about those ugly sprite recolors, but it could be a lot worse. I know from experience.
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