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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:12 pm

[quote="ElkinFencer10"]Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 7
* denotes a replay

January (7 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
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7


7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7

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Dr. Discord's Conquest is a My Little Pony themed fan hack of Mega Man 3 which I reviewed yesterday. Truthfully, there's really nothing of interest here to anyone other than retro gaming bronies - a niche market if there ever were one - but for those of us who DO happen to be both a brony and a retro gamer, this is a pretty neat hack. It's far from perfect, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't thoroughly enjoy going through Mega Man levels as Twilight Sparkle blasting things with my unicorn magic.

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As far as gameplay goes, the game is exactly what you would expect from a Mega Man 3 hack; you run and jump your way through a platforming level while blasting every enemy in your path until you reach a boss you have to destroy. Then you get a special power that can help you defeat other bosses. The end boss, obviously, is Discord, but the stage bosses (standing in for the robot masters) are Celestia, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Trixie, Rarity, and Luna; and the character portraits for each on the level select screen are actually really well done. The music includes some decent 8-bit renditions of MLP songs, but it's not quite as impressive as the MLP music in Pony Quest.

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Being a hack of Mega Man 3, the game obviously plays amazingly, but the real star of the show as far as I'm concerned is the attention to detail that went into this hack. The visuals, both enemy sprites and environments, have been totally redone to reflect the My Little Pony theme. It's a bit weird seeing Twilight walk exclusively on her hind legs, yeah, but the sprite itself looks good. Even Derpy makes an appearance as a bubble-chucking enemy even despite not being one of the boss ponies. While just a random fan project, it's obvious that this hack was a labor of love with the amount of care that was put into it.

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Dr. Discord's Conquest may be "just" a Mega Man 3 hack, but it's a hell of a Mega Man 3 hack that had a lot of effort put into it. From the presentation to the quality of the sprites to the music to the level design, nothing was half-assed in this hack. It's a little awkward to see Twilight spend the whole game on her back legs, but that's more than made up for by the fact that you spend an entire game blasting enemies in hours of gameplay reminiscent of the changeling swarm scene during the season two finale. There's really not much point in playing this if you're not a fan of My Little Pony or a FERVENT Mega Man fanatic who plays every halfway decent ROM hack, but if you are a fan of MLP and classic Mega Man, then I absolutely recommend checking out this hack. It's fantastic.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:22 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) *

Though I have beaten this game before, I've never done a 101% run like this. HbomberGuy's marathon charity stream of a 101% run last week inspired me to pick the game back up (once again) and try (once again) to do a full completion after giving up on it a couple years ago. I ended up clocking in a 16 hours and 37 minutes (which would actually put me at #62 out of 65 speedruns of 101% if I were to submit it to Speedrun.com somehow XD). For some reason the resale shop in my hometown had a CIB copy of the Japanese version for just two bucks more than a loose American copy, so I picked that one up, but it's functionally identical save for some bug fixes (making it technically the best version to play on a mechanical level, though only slightly). This was really one of the last unfinished projects of a game from my youth, so I'm really happy that I was finally able to plow through those last few horrible golden bananas and do this XD

Granted, I did get 201 golden bananas, but you only actually need 100 to beat the game. The game is well known to be a collectathon to end all collectathons, and it succeeds (for better or worse). DK64 usually has its Tag Barrels and the constant swapping between kongs to backtrack through areas for more collectables cited as one of its greatest issues with pacing and design, but I would say another big part of that is how inconsistent the difficulty is. The beetle races are some of the hardest bananas in the game to get, and there's one in world 2 (out of 8 ), and mini-games like Beaver Bother are almost comically broken and difficult compared to others like Teetering Turtle Trouble which you'd have to nearly try to lose at.

That said, you only actually need every other golden banana in the game, which is a far lower ratio than in Mario 64 or in Banjo (though not by that much, admittedly), so you can really pick and choose which ones you wanna go for and which ones you can't be bothered with. A bit like Xenoblade Chronicles, trying to complete the entire game is something that doesn't really offer much reward compared to just completing it normally, and will disrupt the pacing to the point where you're really going to hamper your enjoyment of the game compared to just going for a normal playthrough to see the credits roll.

That said, I do still really like this game. It has a lot of nostalgia for me, from the characters' designs and their characters displayed through tiny, silent interactions with the environment (like how Chunky will turn around in the minecart stages to wave hello at you) to how fucking EXCELLENT the music is. I was surprised at the time at just how long it took to hit me that this game has some really damn good music in.

Verdict: Recommended. If you like N64 platformers, this is definitely one to give a go if you're hungering for more after the Banjo games and Mario 64. It has far too many problems with its pacing, difficulty curve, and framerate (and good god does this game have some framerate difficulties) for me to ever say that it's better than either Banjo game or Mario 64, but it's still a good enough game to stand far above the worst members of its genre whom it also shares a console with.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Gunstar Green Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:15 pm

Violent By Design wrote:I like the original Megaman series a lot more than the X series. Something about the X series feels a bit more flash than substance - actually I feel that way about a lot of SNES titles.

I hear Megaman Zero is the truth though, that'd be a great series to dive into one day.


Classic is more about platforming obstacles, X is more about fluid movement and combat. They both have the same progression and basic mechanics but are really very different games. I like them both for different reasons.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:37 pm

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)


Esper Dream 2: Aratanaru Tatakai
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Esper Dream was an obscure and creative little action-RPG released by Konami back in 1987, for the Famicom Disk System. Though not quite exemplary, it held its own, well deserving of a spot in the classic ARPG pantheon. A sequel emerged five years later (an eternity in retro game time); Esper Dream 2 surprisingly continued to carry the 8-bit torch, appearing as a Famicom cartridge. Fan-translated in 2006, this particular sequel adheres to the unique gameplay mechanics established by the original, but is undoubtedly superior in every way imaginable.

The "dream world" plot is back. The game's protagonist, a young boy named by the player, initially emerges in the game's central hub: a library. From there he can access five discrete worlds: each contained within a magical bookshelf. What's immediately apparent is how much faster the game moves compared to its predecessor. The original Esper Dream progressed at a snail's pace, further punctuated by the inherent sluggishness of the floppy disk format. Esper Dream 2 is a smooth streamlined experience, with the cartridge format eliminating the necessity for load times and disk flips. But there's more: speed here is actually adjustable and can be slowed down or sped up at the player's convenience. This option is common in older RPGs, especially turn-based ones, but it generally just effects how quickly menus appear and vanish from the screen. The speed adjuster of Esper Dream 2 literally alters how quickly sprites move: heroes, enemies, gunfire, everything. It's a quirky mechanic: obviously the temptation is to crank everything up to move as fast as possible, but some critical boss battles (and even standard fights) can be rendered much easier by taking things slow.
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Esper Dream 2 eschews the faux-non-linearity ("you can go here first, but you'll die instantly") seen in many classic JRPGs, instead preferring to steer the player in the proper direction. Each of the five "worlds" represents a thoroughly fantastic setting: meticulously detailed and memorable. While the worlds of the first game mostly consisted of narrow corridor "mazes" Esper Dream 2 showcases fully fleshed-out environments. I'm particularly partial to world one: a sleepy seaside village setting that gives way to the subaqueous exploration of sunken ships. World two takes place within several futuristic trains (and their respective stations), which are continually attacked by an evil bunny and his minions. The forth world is a multi-tiered sort of magnet factory, occupied by sentient life-size screws.

Then there's world three (yes, it's accessed after world four, I don't get it either). One of the strangest settings I can recall seeing in a video game, it's literally intended to represent the first Esper Dream, but since that game has already been beaten (presumably by the player who's now progressing through the sequel) there's nothing to do but say hello to a few choice NPCs and then leave. Utterly strange -- one has to wonder if more was planned but then subsequently cancelled, or if this indeed was some sort of joke by the developers. The game concludes with a mountainous ascension to heaven, where one must confront hostile Japanese gods before unveiling the true lair of the supreme evil.
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Much of the game is spent vanquishing foes. The combat style is retained from the first Esper Dream: enemies are not integrated into the main gameplay screen but are instead faced in single-screen arenas. Battles themselves are triggered by coming into combat with "footprint" icons, those moving can be avoided while stationary icons signify mandatory skirmishes. The hero's weapon arsenal consists of mainly firearms, though there's an additional mine weapon that can be used to destroy enemy and scenery alike. Combat is fast-paced, frantic, and enjoyable. Surprisingly circumvented this time around too, as escaping from a given battle is generally just a matter of walking off-screen. Magic spells can be utilized, though the standard offensive and healing spells slice off way too much MP to be cast on a regular basis. There's a notable and oft-used teleportation spell that can both cease an ongoing fight and return to the player to the library.

In addition to the main hero, the game features four invincible AI allies, one per world (minus world three), who assist in battle and are integral to storyline development. Allies attack haphazardly, but are typically useful, especially in fights with large groups of enemies. There's the green-haired Lisa, whose songs double as a sleeping spell. Geriatric train conductor Aram is equipped with a similar ability, in the form of a whistle. The magnet world features Screwy, a particularly friendly screw-robot who flings himself around the screen, damaging foes in the process. And there's Starry, who looks like he walked straight out of a Kirby game and can ravage all onscreen foes with a "star rain" attack. Though periodically unassisted in combat, the hero is nevertheless joined by an adorable fairy who "controls" the game menus and provides information about item functionality. She feels like an inspiration for the great "Yomi" character of Terranigma, released three years later. The four companions (or the fairy if no one else is around) can also be conversed with outside of battle, should the player be in need of direction. All told, this type of assistance makes Esper Dream 2 much easier compared to both its predecessor and peers; a fair amount of leveling is still required but battles are so frequent and fleeting so it never feels like much of a chore.
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The game's graphical style is rather idiosyncratic. Everything has a "soft" look to it, making use of a blue and pink "Easter egg" type of color palette. Animation is smooth, and some particular environments are straight-up gorgeous, like the mountain sunsets and seaside docks. There's also ample use of character portraits, both in menus and shops, featuring some fantastically nostalgic early-90s anime style artwork. Anyone who has seen a copy of Esper Dream 2 knows that this isn't just any old cartridge, but a thicc Fami cart housing a special VRC6 chip (Akumajou Densetsu and Mouryou Senki Madara also make use of this technology, for the record). The three extra sound channels greatly enhance the feel of the game's music, resulting in a rich robust aura. Of course it helps that these are also some of the most expertly composed tunes found on the Famicom. A couple of the "greatest hits" from the first game are even slyly inserted in select spots.

This isn't a flawless game. For what it is, it's a bit too long, by the magnitude of an hour or two. The difficulty is a somewhat unbalanced. Towards the end of the game enemies are a touch overpowered and since there's little reason to defeat them I found myself running from every fight (in fact, the "mountain" scene of this game is oddly reminiscent of that of Mother). There's a fetch quest (to find the mandatory "ultimate armor") which isn't particularly long or hard, but is still dull and this type of backtracking is always unwelcome. And the game can only be saved at a single spot (a specific library book), an antiquated throwback to the original Dragon Quest.

Small wrinkles aside, Esper Dream 2 stands tall. A late-stage 8-bit ARPG that finds itself on par with the 16-bit greats. One of the more unique artifacts of Konami's finest bygone hours.


Ninja Jajamaru-kun
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Ninja Jajamaru-kun is a Famicom platformer by Jaleco, released in 1985. It was soon ported to the MSX and arcades. Much later it received several Nintendo Virtual Console releases and, for reasons I can't quite comprehend, the Wii VC version even made its way to America. Though the first of the Jajamaru-kun games, this actually began as a spin-off to UPL's arcade hit Ninja-kun (of which Jaleco was responsible for the Famicom port). Jajamaru-kun reuses sprites found in Ninja-kun, and adheres to a similar gameplay style, though according to the lore the hero of Jajamaru-kun is supposed to be Ninja-kun's brother. Glad that's been cleared up.

Jajamaru-kun is a simplistic platformer -- not a single-screen entry, but one containing stages that only span a few screens horizontally. Our ninja hero is tasked with rescuing the kidnapped Princess Sakura from some evil pirate guy. Both are a permanent fixture at the screen's top, Donkey Kong style. Combat is akin to that of Ninja-kun; the stout shinobi defeats enemies with throwing stars. He can only be be harmed by enemy projectiles, direct contact with an enemy causes him to bounce briefly. Additionally, enemies can be stunned by jumping on their heads, but all need to be done in via a shiruken. A stage is completed when all foes are vanquished. As for the enemy selection, it's small but creative. Spirits, yokai, and the adorable ghostly girls who grace the box art. The souls of killed ghosts (wait, what?) float to the top of the screen, and can be collected for additional points.
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All stages are structured in an identical manner, though the game features a small series of rotating backdrops, and enemy arrangements get increasingly difficult as the game progresses. Each stage consists of four floors, fashioned out of solid segments as well as breakable bricks. Smashing said bricks (like a certain plumber) will allow the ninja to travel up, but also provides enemies with an opportunity to drop down. I suggest taking things slowly, one floor at a time.

That said, it is advantageous to (eventually) smash all bricks, as these areas house power-ups. There's a ball that increases speed, an invincibility potion, a car that grants additional speed and invincibility, as well as the typical extra lives and point-increasing tokens. The net amount of collected power-ups is tallied, and if enough are gathered then Jajamaru-kun summons... a giant frog. Any given level is essentially over at this point, in the player's favor, as the frog is unstoppable and devours enemies upon contact.

I have to commend Jaleco. While the first two Famicom Ninja-kun games showcased controls that were questionable and downright heinous, respectively, Jajamaru-kun is quite agile and his jumps can even be tweaked slightly while he's in midair. We're not talking Super Mario quality here, but it's shockingly competent for a 1985 Fami release. Aesthetics are fairly spartan. The sprites all look decent enough, but stage backgrounds can be a bit garish and unappealing. A single musical track is present. It's good, but gets old really fast.
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The overall structure of the game is a bit odd. Backdrops begin looping after stage four, though a player will have to stay alive for an hour or so to see every possible enemy configuration. Typical antique platformer design. That said, it is possible to defeat the "final boss" and rescue the princess. Princess Sakura drops sakura pedals periodically. Collecting three will initiate a bonus round, where Jajamaru-kun now fires vertically at the dreaded pirate, while avoiding a rain of fire. Success brings forth a brief lovey-dovey "cutscene." Fail (or succeed, actually), and the game continues unabated.

I dig this. I mean, it ain't great, but it's good. The game's surprisingly high IQ controls give it a boost over many competitors. Those who slept on the VC release will find that the physical cartridge can still be obtained for a few bucks. Worth checking out.
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Sarge
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Sarge Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:42 pm

One of the members over at Hardcore Retro Gaming doesn't like Mega Man in any of its forms, so they do exist!

I really like them, though, although there are entries that come in at "meh". I don't think any of the NES games do, though; those range from great to amazing. The X series has always been more hit-and-miss for me. MMX is a stone-cold classic, and I think the same about MMX4. I don't think I've ever legit finished X2 or X3. I have finished X5 and X6, and enjoyed them both. (Yes, I know.) I also beat X8, and it's thoroughly "okay". X7, though, I haven't really given the time of day since buying it back in the day. I'm not sure it's as execrable as its Internet reputation (TM) suggests, but it ain't good.

Back to the classics, for me MM7 is the weakest. Good thing the fan-made Rockman 7 FC fills that void well. I like MM8 a lot, MM&B is also good, MM10 was fun but not amazing, and MM9 challenges the best of the NES games for the throne, difficulty spikes aside.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Gunstar Green Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:12 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:7. Ninja Jajamaru-kun (Famicom)


Well put review. I kind of adore this game in all its jankiness. It's my favorite of all the Ninja-kun and its Jajamaru derivative games. It's real treat for anyone who likes single screen(ish) platformers with clever design that is well ahead of many of the other lazily slapped together games in the franchise.

It's also the inspiration for the fictional retro game "Haggleman" in Game Center CX: Arino's Challenge/Retro Game Challenge for the DS, as it's one of Arino's favorite childhood games.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:47 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 8
* denotes a replay

January (8 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
5. Mega Man 3 - NES - January 6
6. Mega Man 4 - NES - January 7
7. Dr. Discord's Conquest - NES - January 7
8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26


8. Mega Man 5 - NES - January 26

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Mega Man 5 keeps the smooth controls and solid gameplay of Mega Man 3 and Mega Man 4, but it also, thankfully, addresses the rather boring selection of robot masters that left me a little disappointed ​with Mega Man 4. Mega Man 5's cast of boss robots, while not especially crazy or outlandishly creative in their designs (with a couple of exceptions), are interesting and well done enough to keep me entertained and keep boredom and monotony at bay.

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The latter five of the 8-bit Mega Man games didn't stray too far from the core concept established in the original game, but little bits here and there were added to keep things interesting, and Mega Man 5 is no exception. The level designs are generally the among the best that the series has to offer although there are some bland spots here and there. The robot masters are all really well designed, but there are two specifically stand out to me as especially fantastic and, in my opinion, stand out as the best robot masters of the series to this point - Napalm Man and Crystal Man. Their character sprites and level designs are both absolutely fantastic, and the weapons they drop after you beat them are among my favorite of the series. Those two bosses and their levels show how much creative talent Capcom had and how much potential the NES color pallet had when properly utilized.

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One of the most immediately noticeable changes in Mega Man 5 that most fans might take issue with but that I, personally, loved was that the difficulty level in Mega Man 5 was markedly lower than previous games. As one who sucks at video games despite loving them, this was a welcome change for me. The music also really stands out here even in the context of the 8-bit Mega Man games. There's not a single bad track in the game's soundtrack, and if you've got some good speakers connected to your TV, you're in for a great time.

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Mega Man 5 takes the series to new heights and fixes all of my complaints with the somewhat bland robot masters in Mega Man 4. The visuals are bright and colorful, and the sprites seem to pop off the screen. The music is top notch, and the difficulty curve make this an especially approachable Mega Man game. I still have a few gripes - a couple of the bosses were a little TOO easy in my opinion (looking at you, Star Man), but that's a very minor gripe in an otherwise fabulous game.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:46 am

I think that's one of the two classic Mega Man games I've actually been able to finish. Love dat lowered difficulty.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:48 am

BoneSnapDeez wrote:I think that's one of the two classic Mega Man games I've actually been able to finish. Love dat lowered difficulty.

I've only finished any of these thanks to save states although I think this is the one that I'd have managed to beat without given enough time.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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noiseredux
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by noiseredux Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:49 am

I admire your ability to plow through a series. I find that if I play too many similar games back to back I start to get bored or burnt out.
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