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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:01 pm

Well, I did enjoy the Ys III SNES port...

I always think of the obscure Ultima-esque tactics RPG on PC when folks bring up Exile, but I assume you're talking about the pseudo-religious RPG.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:07 pm

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 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

Pokémon is an odd series when you think about it. On the spectrum of Dragon Quest delivering the same game every installment and Final Fantasy seeking something new with every installment Pokémon sits firmly in the middle. While the core loop is consistent, Game Freak seeks to do different things with the things around that loop. And with those changes getting more radical with every entry I feel that it's starting to become to the detriment of the series.

Sword/Shield is set in alternate UK, and the localization includes a bunch of English colloquialisms to make sure you don't forget it. It's never to the point of a Dragon Quest localization; rather it's things like your friend calling you mate and other minor things like that. Gyms are back after taking a break in Sun/Moon, but unlike the previous games here they are soccer stadiums. In fact, the whole gym challenge feels more like a soccer season and tournament rather than the old "visit the dojos and show your mastery over the sensei" style. As a result, they've ditched the Elite Four as a concept; instead you have a challengers tournament (which you rematch your three rivals) followed by a gym leader bracket (where you rematch three of the gym leaders) before you get to fight the champion. And there's the standard other story involving events you keep running into running parallel to your "be the best" storyline. There's nothing terribly interesting about it, unfortunately.

So now that we're past the main loop, let's talk what the game does new. Wild Pokémon now come in two varieties; overworld and grass. These are pulled from separate encounter lists (though there is usually some overlap). This helps when you want to catch specific ones in the overworld list, and the ones in the grass give you the opportunity to avoid them (there's an indicator they've spawned, and then they move around in the grass). So for the player who has done things before this lets you not have to spend a ton on repels just to get through areas you are overleveled for. The game still manages to keep alive the tradition of having sections where you cross water be worse than being on land, but fortunately it only shows up rarely (once when you get the ability, then tiny gates after that).

The replacement for Mega Evolution and Z-Moves is Dynamaxing, which is somewhere in between. It can only be used in certain battles; gym leader battles and raid battles (plus a couple of specific story battles). Your mon grows and gets an HP boost and has all its moves replaced with a higher powered version that never misses and has some secondary effect (stat ups/downs or weather/field effects). You can only maintain the form for three turns. Naturally every trainer battle with it available has the enemy trainer use it on their last mon, so you can plan for it. There are also a handful of mons that have a superior version called Gigantamaxing; this gives them a special model and a unique move. However, this is not just a case of certain species, like Mega Evolutions. This is requiring you to have caught a specific one that was Gigantamaxed in a raid battle. This makes that aspect incredibly underutilized.

The Safari Zone has been replaced with the Wild Area. It serves the same purpose of having a ton of random ass mons available, and the encounter lists change with the weather, and there's something like six different weathers available. There are also high level wandering Pokémon that you won't be prepared for initially; if an area's level range is 10-15 for normal mons the wandering one might be 25. It's divided into a bunch of areas which each have different encounter tables and levels, so you'll come back multiple times. This is also where you can find the raid battles. Raid battles are you and three other trainers (either humans or NPCs) against a Dynamaxed boss mon. When you kill it you get the option to try and capture it (with a chance of failing), and beating one gets you a bunch of items, including one-shot move tutors and experience items (which are fantastic for leveling up new mons).

The final thing is the curry mechanic, which is both amazing and tedious. It's the standard "do a minigame to get a benefit" thing Pokémon has had for a while, but here the benefit is team wide healing, which can be as much as full heal, restore status, and restore move power. The benefits are based on the items you toss in, with rarer ones giving you better benefits. It takes too long to do each time, but it's so good you'll do it anyway, which is the really annoying part.

Aside from the fact that your rival is the worst written one ever, the biggest flaw in the game is that Dynamaxing is clearly a mechanic that a fair amount of time was spent on, but it's so boring. Mega Evolutions had a real effect on your mons, because they made major stat changes and sometimes changed types. Dynamaxing is just like Z-Moves in that all it does is give you a power boost. There's no real strategy there, since you already wanted to be running a team of "one shot all the things if you can"; this just makes it easier to pull that off.

The game continues Sun/Moon's "we've gotten rid of HMs" thing, but they basically cut out everything except fly (which you get early) and surf (which you get late and isn't really used much). It removes that "I should remember to go back to this area" thing that previous games had that I liked. And Team Yell is pretty lame overall. I'm starting to wonder if Pokémon is reaching saturation for me. The fact that they fucked up the National Dex certainly adds to that feeling.

I guess that's what the review is; if you're sick of Pokémon this won't fix it. And if you can't wait for more then this is more.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by MrPopo Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:04 am

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

Fallen Order can be summed up as Sekiro with Tomb Raider-style level traversal. The combat is very parry based, and parry meters abound on melee users. But in terms of gameplay you're spending probably 2/3 of your time engaged in level traversal. Unfortunately, the combat isn't nearly as tight as Sekiro's, and the game suffers for it.

The game is set sometime prior to Rogue One; in one mission you fight alongside Saw Gerrera, before he goes all crazy. You play a Jedi Padawan who survived Order 66 and is hiding as a scrapper. He gets found out and the Empire comes a-callin, but he is saved in the nick of time by a former Jedi and a starship captain who have a lead on a holocron that has the locations of Force sensitive children across the galaxy that could be used to rebuild the Jedi Order. And of course, you don't want the Empire to get its hands on it. So you get to visit several planets to hunt down the clues that will lead you to the holocron, fighting the Empire along the way.

The game is played in third person, and the traversal definitely is based heavily on Tomb Raider. All the standard conventions are there; crap on a wall tells you that it can be shimmied up, you've got ziplines, and you will unlock additional traversal abilities such as a wall run, Force push, and Force pull, among others. You are aided by your droid, BD-1, who has some tools of his own that will be added to over the course of the game. Combat-wise, the game is heavily based on Sekiro. Regular enemies die in a couple of lightsaber hits, but melee enemies will block your strikes. This will deplete their block meter, and depleting it all the way leaves them open. You can also parry strikes to drastically reduce the block meter. You have a block meter of your own, with the same consequences, and it also powers your ability to deflect blaster bolts (though you can also parry them back at enemies with the right timing). Throw in your Force push and pull and some special saber techniques and you have a combat system. You also have Sekiro-style advancement; the stages are littered with meditation points where you can spend skill points or rest to recover your health and healing kit charges, but also respawn enemies. Skill points are used to give you saber techniques and power up your Force powers.

Unfortunately, the game suffers in two ways. The first is in the level design; the game has no fast travel and so needs to have a lot of shortcuts to traverse the levels for the inevitable backtracking (which isn't just for collectables; the story has you backtrack every planet). This is complicated by the usage of the slides that force you down a path for a while in an action sequence. The levels end up being a series of very linear longish setpieces that then have some unlocked connection to a prior area, and it ends up being rather clumsy. It actively dissuades you from backtracking for items you missed the first time (which is compounded by not getting a map marker when you find a chest you can't open yet). And since, outside of the heart containers and extra healing charges, all the collectables are cosmetic only. The levels are definitely fun to go through the first time, but backtracking for missed items takes way too long.

The other place the game suffers is the implementation of the combat. Sekiro had extremely tight, deliberate combat. Last Order has much looser combat. Some of this is a consequence of how acrobatic the Star Wars property is; there's all the unnecessary movement because it looks cool on screen, and they replicate it faithfully here. This makes some parry timing extremely hard to figure out. But the other part that makes the combat feel really loose is that enemies are extremely inconsistent in how they react to damage. The human enemies tend to stagger a bit (the ones who don't die immediately) before taking a guard stance and repelling you. Though if an enemy is involved in any sort of attack animation they will continue it and nail you (outside of a handful of attacks that can be explicitly countered by attacking during an egregiously long wind up). The non-human enemies basically give zero fucks about you attacking them. They'll just keep going through their attack patterns and it only catches up with them when you remove the last piece of HP, at which point they die. This is INTENSELY frustrating, as these enemies also have really shitty tells, so you'll take a lot of cheap hits working your way through the fauna.

Unlike Sekiro, I never felt like I really mastered any fights. On a Sekiro boss the time I won was the time where I reached that zen and was reading my opponent's moves and countering them appropriately. In Last Order it felt more like THIS was the time where the pattern was reasonable and I was able to get in the necessary counter hits (and you better be using that special attack you get late in the game on the last couple bosses when they're vulnerable if you don't want the fights to take ages). But it never felt like I had properly earned the victory by being better; just by being lucky. And that's the biggest shame.

The game ended up being an equal mix of fun and frustration for me. But unlike a good Soulsbornekiro (I'll keep appending to it until we have a better name for the genre) frustration, here the frustration felt more due to Respawn just not quite getting what makes From games work so well. Their heart was definitely in the right place, but they just missed the mark.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:21 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)

I really love the first Dishonored, but I'd heard the sequel wasn't exactly setting the world on fire and also had some performance issues, so I passed on it. But it's on Game Pass, so I figured "why not" XD. 52-ish hours later, I have completed my no powers, no kills, never sighted run of the game, and I more or less agree with the statements I'd heard about it before. It's not a bad game, but it's overall a rougher package than the original.

Dishonored 2 is certainly more of the first game on the surface, but there are some fairly neat innovations made for the stealth system. The most immediately noticeable is that they have made the leaning far more like classic Thief's leaning, where it moved your camera AND your body. Gone are the days of Dishonored 1's poking your head far around corners but still technically being hidden, and as someone who played the game with no blink or see-through-walls abilities, many many quick loads were done after being sighted while leaning XP. The other most significant change is to the enemy AI. Now their line of sight is no longer tied to where their body is facing, but it actually comes out of their eyes. If they tilt their head to the right to light a cigar, their line of sight also shifts to the right. It's a really neat addition that took me a while to realize, but makes the game feel a lot more alive.

The last slight addition outside of the super powers is to how enemies react to things. Some enemies will react to some things being different in the environment in a way they didn't do before, like going over to inspect a door that was previously shut, but this isn't universal. It's only some enemies and some doors/windows/etc., and honestly it just makes all the times they don't do that that much more noticeable XP. They aren't all positive additions (I really hate how they changed leaning), but it makes the nuances of the stealth feel different from the first game at the very least, even though the broad strokes of it are still very similar.

By far the biggest casualty from the first game to the second is the narrative and storytelling. Where the first game was just Corvo, a silent protagonist, now you can choose at the start between Corvo and Emily (as this game takes place well in the future from the first), and each has different powers from each other to make the stealth and combat feel different depending on who you pick (at least if you choose to have powers at all). Both characters now have voices. They talk in the opening cutscene, they'll have conversations with NPCs they meet (of which there are many more, even in the stages themselves and not just in the between-level hub area), and they'll comment on things they see.

However, this largely only drags the game down. The monologue comments are rarely ever anything more than just stating the obvious of what they see (or making the rare homage to Thief by repeating a well-known line from those old games). When they aren't, they're what most of the rest of the dialogue in the game is: shockingly ham-handed talking to the camera in the most blatant way possible. This game very routinely throws away any attempt at nuance in its storytelling by genuinely talking directly to the player character to explain the moral stance/position of a certain character at a certain moment. It comes off as very unnatural, and makes the already fairly small cast feel really weak and unmemorable.

There is so much dialogue of the variety "I am sad, so I will paint" or "I feel bad because of X, so I will Y" that it often feels a bit patronizing. There is never any need to try to infer how a character's actions or comments speak to their real intentions because they will always outright tell you what they really think and why with a long line of exposition (especially in the voice recordings you find). It's like they either didn't really have any interest in making characters whom you learn about in more nuanced ways like the first game, or they just assumed their audience was incapable of understanding even the remotest hint of nuance. The VA also ain't that great, and is at some points stand-out bad (particularly the Duke).

There are a few things that are interesting tried with the plot, I will admit. The diversity is really nice (PoC major characters, characters of varying sexualities and even a major trans character, even an insinuation that a certain major character might be asexual, which I thought was cool). They go for a different angle on the main villain and try and make them a more sympathetic figure than the first game (even if they go about it in an often comically tactless way). It doesn't make up for the poor way they tell the story, not by a long shot, but I do have to give them points for making a real effort to not just have the plot of the first game again. Other than the new hub area inherently being far worse than the old one, I don't think their changes to the plot are to blame for the other presentation aspects falling a bit flat.

Speaking of presentation, the visuals and music will be very familiar to anyone who played the first game. The grungy, cynical not-quite-Victorian-England style for the world and the characters is back from the first game, although the actual environments have a more Italian vibe to their designs. The weird way the people look is absolutely still a feature though. It doesn't really look better or worse than the first game, although it does have a bit more color to it. Especially the more interesting levels like any of the big mansions have a lot of neat aspects to their designs. Overall the game's architecture and level layouts are far more memorable than most of the characters, if I have to be brutally honest XD.

The music is still very Dishonored, I think, but I wish there was less of it. Very often I found myself wishing the music would just shut the hell up from trying to be atmospheric so I could hear if there were any enemies around me XP. The physics of how dialogue work are also very strange, with the direction you're looking playing a very uncannily huge part in whether you're hearing a conversation or not, and trying to ease drop can be a real technical challenge trying to find just the right spot where you can hear them talking.

The level design is pretty on-par with the first game for the most part. A lot of early levels, especially without powers, are a real bastard to get through without being seen because the world suddenly becomes a corridor you have no chance but to try and get lucky to sneak through when the 4 guards around it happen to be looking away. And that's if they don't decide to just see you through a wall or magnetize directly to you instead of the distraction item you threw (technical bugs like that were few, but often enough that it was very annoying).

The game's first half is far weaker than its second half, with the game having some really cool level designs and gimmicks (particularly levels 6 and 7). One level even lets you skip nearly the entire level if you want to spend like an hour decoding a very difficult logic puzzle (which I did, and then did the level anyhow X3). It has some very high highs, but I can't help but feel like the choice to design the game around having blink AND not having blink compromised the level design to make the lows feel as low/frustrating as they do. I honestly wish I'd played through the game with powers instead of without, and also kinda wish that a no powers option had been restricted to NG+ or something to save me from myself XD.

Verdict: Recommended. While I definitely can't recommend this over the first game, it's still a fine first person stealth game. It's more of the first but a bit weaker, but being a bit disappointing doesn't mean it's awful. If you really want more Dishonored gameplay, this will totally scratch that itch. If the slow world building and voyeuristic approach to learning about side characters was the part of the first game you liked the most, you should probably temper your expectations a fair bit for this one.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:35 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)
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)


Circus Charlie
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Circus Charlie was a 1984 arcade game by Konami, later ported to various systems. I own both the MSX and Famicom variants, for some reason, and am struck by the difference in box art. While the MSX game box portrays the protagonist as a stereotypical red-nosed clown, the Famicom art shows a little boy who seems to be wearing clown pajamas. In the game itself, he's almost like a cross between the two.

Perhaps the discrepancy can be attributed to the fact that Famicom Circus Charlie was surprisingly not published by Konami themselves. Instead, the "honor" was bestowed upon Soft Pro International (who only made games for the Japanese market). Before Soft Pro folded in 1989, they also cranked out the Famicom port of Karateka, whose box art displays a picture of the entire North American continent covered in stars and stripes and labeled "U.S.A." And who can forget Bakutoushi Patton-Kun for the Famicom Disk System, a game whose load screen contains the f-word.
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Circus Charlie is an "action" game, and could loosely be considered a platformer. It toes the line between the two popular platforming styles seen in the second and third gaming generations. It's not one of those simplistic single-screen score-chasing platformers, nor is it a full-fledged scrolling adventure. Instead, Circus Charlie exists somewhere in limbo, consisting of five short scrolling stages, each a handful of "screens" in length. The goal is to guide Charlie through the five circus performances. Success in the game is predicated on making very specific jumps. Yes, that describes most platformers, but that's about all there is to Circus Charlie. So for instance, in stage one Charlie rides a lion and must periodically jump over burning pots and through flaming rings. Left-to-right movement is automatic, though Charlie can be sped up or slowed down by pressing left or right on the d-pad. Stage two controls about the same, expect Charlie is on a tightrope avoiding monkeys.

The game falls apart come stage three, where the lackluster jumping controls start to make an impact. Here Charlie must jump across a series of rolling balls, but his fixed-arc leaps make this far more tedious than it should be. Stages four and five follow suit, featuring trampolines and trapeze that are tremendously difficult to navigate successfully. This is one of those games that needed Super Mario Bros. controls but instead got Donkey Kong controls. The game loops after stage five, with some additional hazards thrown into the mix. There's also a "mode B" for those who wish to begin in hard mode, and the requisite (alternating) two-player modes as well.

Graphics are rather simplistic, but a step up from some of the "black label" (NES) releases of a year prior. The flashing cheering audience and background elephants are a nice touch. There are only a couple of musical tracks, standard old arcade tunes. Not bad, but ultimately unintriguing. It's no real surprise that Konami had little interest in bringing this to the Famicom themselves. The game isn't good, and by 1986 it already felt dated (for comparison, about a month after Soft Pro Circus Charlie hit the scene Konami released Famicom Gradius). I'll take the Vic Viper, thanks.


Ankoku Shinwa
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Ankoku Shinwa: Yamato Takeru Densetsu is a Japanese-style adventure game for the Famicom released in 1989. It was developed by Zap and published by Tokyo Shoseki, two names that don't exactly inspire confidence. An MSX2 variant exists as well, arriving slightly before the Famicom cartridge. The game is licensed, based on a manga from the 1970s. There's an additional anime adaptation, which appeared right around the same time as the game. Note the the manga and anime are both rated rather poorly, at least among Western audiences, with general complaints about slow pacing and confusing storylines. Ankoku Shinwa has been fan-translated since 2010. The translation is a competent effort, though there were some technical issues that left many of the menu selections oddly truncated.

I'm not even going to try to explain the plot, as I can't completely comprehend it myself. Essentially, this is one of those "archaeology" tales, reminiscent of Tombs & Treasure and, oddly enough, the Ninja Gaiden cutscenes. Essentially, there's this kid, apparently the descendant of the legendary prince Yamato Takeru, who discovers his father brutally murdered. When investigating the crime he finds himself thrust into a battle against a series of malevolent demons. A bunch of stuff then happens: some of it coherent and some of it totally out there. The target audience for the game is apparently those that are well-acquainted with the source material (and thus familiar with Japanese history and ancient Asian mythology).
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As a Japanese adventure title, the gameplay of Ankoku Shinwa is centered around a series of menu options. Players can move around, look at the surroundings and various objects, pick up items, speak with NPCs, and utilize collected tools from the ever-present onscreen inventory. As with Portopia and other genre forebearers, there's a large element of trial and error. Playing around with various selections should theoretically lead to the correct outcome, eventually. "Book" icons appear in the top-right corner of the screen if progress is being made in the appropriate direction, which is a nice visual clue. As opposed to one massive experience, Ankoku Shinwa is divided into eight discrete chapters, with a password provided after each is completed. Those who are familiar with the game can complete each chapter in less than ten minutes, so there's about an hour's worth of total content here. Graphics are rather utilitarian. The majority of the screen is perpetually black, with the action taking place in a small window at the bottom. NPC designs are rather generic, and every item has this weird purple hue for some reason. Must be the influence of the demons. The music's pretty cool, and has this calm mysterious vibe.

The main "gimmick" of Ankoku Shinwa is its boss battles. As every chapter concludes, the player must battle an ancient entity. Here the game switches to a traditional side-scrolling platformer viewpoint (and the background remains all-black, of course). The hero can now jump and attack with a sword that flings projectiles. The boss designs are pretty awesome. They're massive grotesque creatures, each one more terrifying than the last. Unfortunately, the gameplay is what suffers. Take the first boss for example, some creepy lizard spirit. It's arguably the hardest foe in the game, as its movements follow no discernible pattern and it's only defeated after fifty or so hits. Other bosses are basically stationary and lob easily-dodged arcing fireballs. These can be destroyed by simply walking up to their bodies and mashing the attack button for thirty seconds. There's another class of bosses (which includes the final boss) that continuously spout virtually unavoidable projectiles. However, the hero apparently seems to have a longer health bar than these particular villains, so simply mashing attack once again does the trick.

Ankoku Shinwa isn't one of the better Famicom adventures titles. But it's not totally irredeemable, and feels designed to be fairly beaten by anyone willing to expend a modicum of effort. Unearthing these bizarre old clunkers is something of a hobby of mine, though I can't think of a single person I'd recommend this to. It's one of those games that seems better in theory than practice, which was perhaps the issue with the source material as well.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:46 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Instead, the "honor" was bestowed upon Soft Pro International (who only made games for the Japanese market). Before Soft Pro folded in 1989, they also cranked out the Famicom port of Karateka, whose box art displays a picture of the entire North American continent covered in stars and stripes and labeled "U.S.A." And who can forget Bakutoushi Patton-Kun for the Famicom Disk System, a game whose load screen contains the f-word.


For those curious:

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Yeah, all of that is definitely in Karateka.

As for the other...

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Isn't this a strategy game?
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:47 pm

Loosely. It's a tank battle game like Combat, but more complex.

I thought about buying a copy for the lulz but it's surprisingly pricey.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:49 pm

Number of Pages in the “What Made You Smile/What Ticked You Off Today” thread IQ level post, Bone.

I love the little tidbits you throw in about the developers, and particularly, how their names do t inspire confidence. :lol:
pook99
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by pook99 Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:25 pm

176, Deadpool (nes)

No, thats not a typo, I just finished deadpool for the nes.

Deadpool is hands down one of the coolest rom hacks I have ever played, both for how high quality the game is and for being a hack of ninja gaiden, which are virtually non-existent.

There are lots of cool things to talk about in this rom hack, the first of how much the gameplay has been enhanced, which I have never seen in this level of any romhack before. Ryu Hayabusa is replaced by Deadpool and at first glance it appears to play just like ninja gaiden, controls are smooth, fast, responsive, and deadpool retains all the moves that ryu has with a few additons. First off, you do not collect sub weapons in this game, from the very start you have access to all of your sub weapons and can switch through the at anytime by pressing select. Of course you need ninja magic to power them, just like the original game, but it is very cool having access to your whole arsenal at any given time. The moves are not just pallette swaps either, some are, like for example the standard shuriken has been replaced with a gun and the spin move is still here (but notably nerfed as it should be) but you also get cool moves like the teleport, which teleports you to the nearest enemy to slice them, among others. It is very cool and a welcome addition to the formula. On top of the weapons being readily available, there is also a counter in the corner that counts down from 10, if it reaches 0 without you getting hit, you will regain a bit of health, which simulates deadpools healing factor. In addition to this, deadpool can climb up and down walls like ryu can in ninja gaiden 2, which is a cool additon given this is a hack of the first game.

Levels are all re-worked from the ground up. All new environments, enemies, and bosses are in this game. There are also more levels in this game than in the original, which I have never seen in a romhack before, I thought that was pretty cool, and a welcome addition. Like the original Ninja Gaiden, this is a very tough game but it is not one of those ludicrously hard rom hacks, I would say the difficulty is about on par with the original game so fans of NG should not have too much trouble going through it.

Of course, NG is famous for its cutscenes and the romhackers here reworked the sprites and added original dialogue into all the cutscenes, they are not great, but they are certainly a nice addition and its cool to see deadpool breaking the 4th wall frequently like you would expect.

This romhack was a major win and it is a definite must play for fans of deadpool or fans of ninja gaiden, definitely check it out.
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