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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:08 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Thanks for the reply! That’s a lot of hours of both gameplay and cut scenes. Awesome work, Elkin!

I came. I saw. I beat the games. Now I'll avoid JRPGs for at LEAST a week.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:34 pm

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 31
* denotes a replay

January (12 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
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (2 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3


31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3

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"Do you trust me?" It all started with a text. When I read it, I thought, "Yes, flake, I trust you, but that question in isolation creeps me out...What do you want?" He then said "Download Gato Roboto on Switch. You'll love it." By this point in our friendship, he knows my gaming tastes pretty well, so I took his advice and immediately downloaded the game and fired it up. I was a bit put off my visual style at first - it looked like Undertale, and I loathe that game from overexposure the same way I came to loath Five Nights at Freddy's - but I stuck with it because of the weight flake's recommendations carry with me. I'm extremely glad I did, too, as the game turned out to be a short but extremely rewarding experience.

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Gato Roboto is basically a bite-sized Metroid clone...if Samus Aran were a small cat. Forewarning - I hate cats, and my specific word choice will reflect this prejudice. A space marine type dude was on a patrol mission and picked up a security signal from an abandoned research facility, so he went to investigate. Because cats suck, his pet cat steps on the control panel and causes the ship to crash, pinning the pilot and leaving him unable to perform his investigation. As any logical person would in this situation, he sends his pet cat - who has a radio in her collar, for some reason - to find a mech suit and complete the investigation in his place. From there, you play as the stupid ass cat in a dope ass mech suit and try to determine the source of the security signal.

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When I say that this is a Metroid clone, I meant that in just about every way from gaining rockets to supplement your regular blaster down to having to shoot doors in order to open them. "Metroid clone" is not meant as a pejorative, though, as doinksoft took most of the things that made the original Metroid great and replicated it...but cuter. Gato Roboto is an extremely short game - my playthrough clocked in at just over three and a half hours, and that's with spending around 45 minutes on one boss - but holy crap, is it good. It's absolutely worth the price of admission. I downloaded it at the tail end of the release sale for just under $7, but even at the regular price of $8, it's totally worth the asking price.

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Visually, the game is extremely simplistic. The visual style is monochrome pixel art reminiscent of 8-bit games from the 80s, but a nice touch is the ability to unlock additional color filters by finding cassettes hidden throughout the game. I never used any of these filters personally being rather partial to sharp contrast the black/white color scheme gives, but you can unlock filters like a softer grey/white, a bubblegum pink and white, a green and white, etc. It's nothing that changes anything other than the color, but it's definitely a nice little bit of customization and an incentive to explore a bit. Exploration is, after all, the bread and butter of Metroid style games.

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The game's soundtrack is extremely fitting for the setting, keeping a somewhat but not overwhelmingly dark and ominous feel but staying in the background, never stealing the spotlight from the action. During the boss fights, I often completely blocked out the music despite having my soundbar turned on. That may sound like a criticism, but I mean it as high praise; a game's music should, in my opinion, be like garnish, there to accentuate the game's tone and action but never taking center stage, and the fact that I found myself blocking out the music entirely during high-intensity scenes indicates that the balance was struck perfectly there. Be it in a boss battle or casual exploration, the focus is always kept on the gameplay with music to provide accompaniment and nothing more.

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Gato Roboto is an extremely short experience, and while a three to four hour time to beat may seem unduly short to some and serve as a turn-off, I must recommend that those people reconsider. Yes, it's a very short game, but it's also an extremely affordable game, and most importantly, it's an extremely enjoyable game. This is the perfect game to fire up and play through on a flight, a train ride, or a morning commute (assuming you're not driving on your commute; I do not condone playing Switch while driving). The game is fairly generous with save point placement, so dying and losing an hour of progress isn't a concern. The only frustration I found in that regard was having to go through the dialogue for each and every boss attempt, but for that to be my biggest complaint is a pretty big accolade for the game. Whether you play on Steam or on Switch (pssssst, play on Switch), make sure you check out Gato Roboto. If you're a fan of old school Metroid, I can promise that you won't be disappointed.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:03 am

Games Beaten in 2019 So Far - 32
* denotes a replay

January (12 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
9. Just Cause 3 - PlayStation 4 - January 26
10. Mega Man 6 - NES - January 27
11. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight - Vita - January 27
12. Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space - PlayStation 2 - January 27


February (2 Games Beaten)
13. Earth Defense Force 5 - PlayStation 4 - February 2
14. Fallout 76 - PlayStation 4 - February 3


March (4 Games Beaten)
15. Octopath Traveler - Switch - March 2
16. Resident Evil 0 - PlayStation 4 - March 9
17. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - PlayStation 4 - March 10
18. Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade - Game Boy Advance - March 30


April (3 Games Beaten)
19. Moemon - Game Boy Advance - April 5
20. Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch - April 10
21. Wargroove - Switch - April 26


May (8 Games Beaten)
22. Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen - Switch - May 5
23. Battlefield V - PlayStation 4 - May 9
24. Timespinner - PlayStation 4 - May 12
25. Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain - PlayStation 4 - May 17
26. Shenmue - PlayStation 4 - May 19
27. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht - PlayStation 2 - May 26
28. Team Sonic Racing - Switch - May 29
29. Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse - PlayStation 2 - May 30


June (3 Games Beaten)
30. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprache Zarathustra - PlayStation 2 - June 2
31. Gato Roboto - Switch - June 3
32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4


32. Katana Zero - Switch - June 4

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If you look up "stylish" in an encyclopedia, you'll probably find screenshots of Katana Zero. Well, not literally, but it would be a totally apt example to use because this game absolutely oozes style. It takes Hotline Miami, mixes it with Shinobi, and throws in a pinch of Vindicators and Strider for good measure. In short, it is, as the young people would say, "Devolver Digital af," and if that doesn't convince you to download it, you need to reassess your gaming priorities.

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Katana Zero has you play the role of an anachronistic samurai (or shitty cosplayer, depending on who you ask) with mysterious time-manipulation powers as you assassinate your way through the city at the commands of your psychiatrist. If that sounds bizarre, it is. The game makes absolutely no sense at first, and that's entirely by design. There IS a very well crafted and very well executed story to be found here, but the game's storytelling is like an onion; there are layers upon layers, and you don't start to see what's really going on until you peel back several layers. It's one of the most well delivered stories I've seen in a game like this in a good while, and it was that slowly blossoming story that kept me coming back for more level after level. Without spoiling the story, it involves vivid nightmares, a government conspiracy, and a enigmatic past war.

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The gameplay shows its Hotline Miami DNA with its one-hit-you're-dead mechanics and the requisite careful planning for each step. Like Hotline Miami, you will die a LOT, but with each death comes new understanding of the obstacles that level presents and better equips you to overcome them. You'll fight the same dozen or so enemies repeatedly throughout the game, but because of the diversity with the level layouts and items you can find to help you overcome the game's challenges, this never once felt repetitive or monotonous for me. The game's colorful pixel sprites and the GRATUITOUS blood that covers the walls in your wake make for a visual presentation every bit as colorful and loud as Hotline Miami's, and that's a VERY positive thing.

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Like the visuals, the game's soundtrack fires on all cylinders from start to finish. While there's a bit of stylistic diversity from track to track, it pretty much falls between house and drum 'n' bass, genres that fit the visual style perfectly. Devolver Digital strikes a difficult balance between musical energy and staying in the background with the soundtrack. It perfectly accents the action and colorful style of the game without distracting players from the action taking place on screen. One small but very nice touch that I absolutely loved was that the soundtrack was incorporated into the game's levels; at the start of each stage before you take control of him, your character puts in earbuds and turns on a walkman. What you hear is what he hears. It's a small touch that a lot of players probably wouldn't even notice or think about, but I absolutely love small flourishes like that.

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Katana Zero is a top tier game in every way. The visuals, while simple, are colorful and oozing with style. The soundtrack is absolutely perfect for the game's visual style and tone. The levels are all unique, compelling, and challenging without being unfair. The story is riveting and revealed little by little over time, a piece here and there just often enough to keep you hooked. Almost everything about this game is superb. My only complaints are relatively short length of the game - my playthrough clocked in at about six hours - and the parts of the story and world that were only minimally explored. I've heard that there are a few secrets and an ending I haven't seen, so it's possible that my second complaint is actually addressed in content I just haven't seen yet, but still, regardless, it's an exceptional game. It's not a perfect game, but it's VERY close.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:35 am

elkin the absolute madman
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:39 am

  1. Blaster Master Zero -- Switch
  2. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! -- DS
  3. Steamworld Dig -- Switch

It is with some embarrassment that here, halfway through the year, I recount for you the second and third games I have beaten in 2019. Parenting is fucking hard, and I'm not very good at juggling 3 identity skills (parent, librarian, and gamer). Still, I've been slowly hacking away, and progress is happening.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this game. I remembered reading ages ago that the original Mario vs Donkey Kong was a fun, if flawed, game, and so I picked up this, one of the later sequels, for my Together Retro month (March). That I didn't beat it until May is beside the point. Shush!

Donkey Kong visits Mario and Pauline's theme park, Mini-Land, but because he's visitor 101, he doesn't get one of the mini-Paulines given to the first 100 visitors. So in a fit of jealous rage he kidnaps actual Pauline. Mario, rather than running to the rescue directly, sends his wind-up minis to do the job for him. (Is this canon? What on earth is Mario's career these days, anyway?) Mini-Land Mayhem, it turns out, is an interesting twist on the Lemmings model of action puzzlers. You have a small number of wind-up mini-Marios that walk in a straight line, turn around when they hit a wall or each other, can jump up small steps, and automatically hop into warp pipes. The goal is to get all the minis safely to the end of the level.

Unlike Lemmings, where you assign various powers to the Lemmings and have a certain percentage that must make it out alive, all the minis must make it through the level. Minis can be destroyed (instant game over), captured (and freed), or simply fail to make it to the exit before either the level time or exit timer run out. That last one is particularly devilish. Once the first mini to reach the exit enters, the exit is now active, and rapidly begins to tick down on a timer. This means that you can't have any stragglers running around elsewhere in the level while someone is exiting or you'll never get them to the exit in time. Every mini to subsequently exit the level resets that exit activation timer, but the timer is short enough that if you don't have everyone headed to the exit in short order that accommodation will only do you so much good.

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Instead of assigning special abilities to the minis, you use the DS touch screen and stylus to manipulate elements of the levels themselves. The first world introduces you to girders (red, of course, just like classic arcade DK), which you draw between connection points. You get a certain number of girder "units", each unit representing a character/tile-width of distance, and in some levels your minis can pick up more, for placing multiple girders to serve as bridges, ramps, and walls. Each of the 8 worlds introduces a new mechanic which it mixes in with previously introduced mechanics throughout 8 levels and the boss fight. New mechanics include things like conveyors (placed just like girders) and movable springboards and warp pipe entrances and exits. There are a few new hazards in the levels, like wind-up gorillas that scoop up and capture or simply toss your minis, and a few old enemies (fire piranhas, shy guys, and moving fireballs right out of the original arcade game). One of the 8 levels in each world is a special level where, instead of several Mario minis, you have 1 mini each of several different characters (Mario, Peach, Toad, Luigi, DK) which you must guide to their own specific exit. Every boss level save the final boss is a throwback to classic arcade Donkey Kong, where you have to navigate your minis up a girder structure to key points where they can activate attacks against Donkey Kong. While doing this, Donkey Kong will occasionally stomp and disable random girder connection points or drop barrels down onto parts of the level, where they burst into fireballs and start wandering around aimlessly.

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There are multiple ways, typically, to get your minis to the exit and complete the level, but if you want full marks and a trophy, you have to achieve a minimum score threshold. Points are earned by getting coins and medals, picking up all the level elements like extra girder and conveyor units, destroying necessary destructible walls, and clearing out key enemies. Points are also awarded for time remaining on the clock, so fast traversal and optimal path planning are key to earn that trophy. Each level has a medal in the level, and you can earn additional medals for earning each level's trophy and earning score benchmarks in each world's "bonus" level, in which you use girders to direct minis into sorting boxes for points. These medals can then be used to unlock Special and Expert challenge levels. And once you beat the game you can unlock Plus mode, which are all the levels of the game but retooled to be more challenging. Instead of having all Mario minis, you have the varied minis which must reach their own exits, but on every level, not just one per world.

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But that's not all! There's a Construction Zone in the game in which you can use the DS touch screen and stylus to design your own levels, up to 160 can be stored, and also share the levels via wifi with others. The Construction Zone is very much a precursor to Mario Maker.

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This is a mammoth game that is, oddly, very easy to pick up and play. Each level only takes a few minutes to master, and you can save and put down the DS after each level. Some of the levels are easy and some are quite hard, but even a very hard level is short and will only frustrate you for so long. And having so many short levels means you'll have lots of "AHA!" moments as you find the solutions you were looking for. This is a fantastic game for fans of puzzlers, and also for folks without long stretches of game time or even folks with ADD/ADHD. The sheer amount of content combined with the pick-up-and-play ability makes this a rewarding and accessible package. It helps that the levels are thoughtfully designed and the music is super-happy, carnival-style renditions of classic tunes. In addition to being good for time-challenged gamers, this would also make a great secondary game for someone trudging through a long RPG or intense action game. It's like break-time, a quick diversion to let you refocus.

This game is highly recommended for almost anyone kind of gamer.

Images were shamelessly borrowed from Nintendo World Report's image gallery for Mini-Land Mayhem.

Steamworld Dig

Steamworld Dig is an indie game that's been on quite a few platforms at this point, of which the Switch is only the latest. It's a little like Terraria + Castlevania 2. You are a robot with a pickaxe and you've inherited your uncle's mine. You quickly find your uncle's robot body and it's up to you to... mine for valuables? You start out in a rather empty town themed like the wild west. You use your pickax to dig down a square at a time, mining ever downward. Once you pass certain depth markers dirt becomes harder to dig through. The way you get around this is by cashing in your minerals and gems and buying upgrades to your equipment. You start out with a very small backpack and a pickax you can use to dig dirt and attack enemies, but you eventually pick up a drill for breaking some kinds of rocks, dynamite for exploding things, and steam-powered jump boots. Upgrades allow you to break through tougher dirt with fewer swings or less jackhammer time, store more minerals in your pack, and expand your health, light, and water resources. There are also consumables to help you in your mining, like ladders and the aforementioned dynamite, and also teleporters to jump you back to town.

Let's talk about light and water. When you start out you have a little solar-powered lantern. It has a very short light radius and runs out very quickly. When you dig around underground your light helps you see around you. When your light runs out it's hard to see the tunnels and dirt and you have to go back up to town to recharge. Upgrades expand your light radius and capacity, allowing you to stay in the mine longer. The other key non-life resource is water. Water is used to drive the drill and for a pressure-driven high jump. You do not recharge your water in town. Instead you find pools of water that you stand in to refill your tanks. And those pools drain as you refill (they do fill back up between play sessions, however), so you can't really waste water. Upgrades that affect water include larger water tanks and greater drill efficiency.

The layout of the mine is randomly generated (to an extent: there are small bits that feel curated), meaning a different play experience can be had every time. Mobility is tough. Your jump is pretty puny, but you have a wall jump much like Mega Man X. This is extremely useful, since the mine is vertical. But since most of the floors are destructible, you can get into situations where there's not a convenient wall to climb and so you must keep going down. Digging therefore also has a strategic element. You have to leave adequate dirt to provide a manageable path back up in case the next pipe or teleporter back to town is still far away (and your resources too slim to survive to find it).

There is ultimately a final boss, and there is a story that slowly develops, but it's mostly told through environmental storytelling and chatting with the bots back up in town, who really don't know all that much. As you mine more minerals and gems, new merchants come to town to sell to you, and each bot in town has a different robot "voice" sound as they burble at you while their text displays. The game definitely has a lot of personality. Music is mostly environmental and atmospheric and not so much melody-driven. The varied game elements, the dark mine, the varied tile sets, the music and sound, everything comes together well to set a coherent tone. Compared to some of the indie stuff that's out now, including this game's sequel, Steamworld Dig 2, the game can feel a bit rough around the edges in a few places, but it's priced well, is a good, manageable length, and manages to keep things interesting and compelling enough to carry players to the end.

I recommend Steamworld Dig for folks who want something relatively simple in concept with a gradual power and ability curve, especially for anyone who's been reading great stuff about Steamworld Dig 2 and wants to have the backstory before diving in. I don't think Dig is for everyone, but if you're amenable for something a bit new (digging, collecting, vertical levels, gradual upgrades, but NO building or constructing) I think this is a fun diversion at a very good price.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:43 pm

Maru, I'm impressed you saw any games to completion with a young child. No need for embarrassment.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:54 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)
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Xak III is the fifth (and final) installment of Micro Cabin's criminally underrated action-RPG series. It follows the first two mainline titles, as well as the Fray in Magical Adventure and The Tower of Gazzel spin-offs. While all previous entries were released on a slurry of 8-bit and 16-bit machines, Xak III exists purely in the 16-bit realm. First appearing on the PC-98 and FM Towns in 1993, this PC Engine CD port materialized one year later. Fan translations of PC Engine CD games are exceedingly rare, though this particular RPG apparently generated enough interest to warrant the existence of one. Xak III has been playable in English since 2004.

The hero remains the same: the young blue-haired Latok Kurt, who I swear doesn't resemble Adol Christin in the slightest. In terms of plot, the game seems to pick up, quite literally, where The Tower of Gazzel ended. Latok even begins his journey with an experience level of 50, which I can only surmise was the required (or recommended) level needed to finish the previous game. The story is an abject mess, crafted in that tried-and-true JRPG fashion. There's an abundance of characters, both good and evil, and a "realistic" military conflict that eventually morphs into a quest to unify three mystical dimensions. This is a verbose game, with frequent stops made for exposition. In addition to the traditional dialogue boxes, Xak III boasts two types of "cutscenes" -- those that showcase text accompanied by large (and exquisite) character stills, as well as fully animated and voiced CD-ROM anime clips. The anime clips are few and far between, tragically. In the tradition of the PC Engine ports of Xak I + II, these scenes only show up at the game's beginning and end, plus a lengthy midpoint intermission. Nevertheless, they're gorgeous in that perfect classic 90s anime kind of way, and the voice acting is exemplary.

Xak III is characterized by a weird sort of tonal dichotomy. This is a shockingly violent game, due to the actions of the numerous reptilian villains. There are buckets of blood spilled, onscreen decapitations, and constant talk of murder. In contrast, Latok and his cohorts are a lighthearted sort, continually trading jokes and good-natured jabs. Far from being a strong silent protagonist, Latok comes across like a bumbling teenager, one who is committed to his righteous crusade against evil but is still a little unsure of his capabilities. Once again, he's caught in the middle of love triangle. On one side is fan favorite and series mainstay Fray, the clumsy cutie pie magician who previously starred in her very own game. Competing with Fray is Pixie, the small sassy winged being who has remained Latok's constant companion. Not sure how she plans on having relations with the man given the size difference -- best not to think about it. There are additional male warriors who float in and out of the party, though they don't prove to be nearly as interesting as the quarrelling ladies.
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Combat has "evolved" for this installment, though some may consider it a step backwards. Yes, sadly the glorious old PC-88 style "bump system" swordplay has been replaced by something more modern. Now a button must be pressed for Latok to execute a sword strike, though combat still has that computer-like stiffness to it. There are no "knockbacks" upon striking an enemy (or being struck) and no mercy invincibility. It's possible to get Latok's sprite to "overlap" with that of an enemy, which results in a massive loss of HP. Xak III also showcases the addition of AI comrades. Fray is now an offensive ally, for the bulk of the game, with the rotating cast of men rounding out the trio (unfortunately the ever-present Pixie possesses no combat prowess). The character AI is fairly, uh, intelligent and Latok's pals teleport to his position if he charges ahead, meaning that it's impossible for them to get stuck among the scenery (take that Secret of Mana!). Fray, being a magician, can wield magic, though the magic system is a bit ungainly. For starters, to cast a spell the player must bring up a screen-filling menu. Spells that require aim are essentially worthless, as there's no good way to control Fray's position. That leaves the cure spells and strike-all offensive spells, both of which are invaluable. There are also spells to remove status effects -- however, the game seems to be afflicted with that same bug that infected Cosmic Fantasy 2. Status effects simply never make an appearance, rendering those spells and items that remove them completely moot. Another oddball quirk is the fact that the game's HUD doesn't display the allies' HP or MP; instead this must be checked by bringing up the menu, though all characters do start blinking when health is low. While combat may sound sloppy on paper, it comes together quite nicely in-game. Skirmishes are frantic, fast, and fun, and Xak III offers up a great assortment of grotesque fiends to slay. Enemies spawn (and respawn) quickly in that "twitchy" sort of fashion, making level grinding an absolute breeze. Every few minutes of gameplay, someone in the trio is guaranteed to hit another milestone.

The game's dungeon environments are exquisitely crafted. They're large and involved, without dragging on and getting too overwhelming. Most are constructed around the concept of "tiers" -- crisscrossed catwalks, suspended platforms, and pitfalls to previous floors. There is jumping in Xak III, with Latok's buddies auto-jumping directly behind him. The periodic block-pushing puzzles were already an ARPG cliché by this point, though the game doesn't get too intense with these. A good many "dungeons" are in fact alluring outdoor expanses: winding cliffs, forest mazes, and so on. Due to the game's perspective, it is possible to get "lost" behind "foreground" graphics temporarily, which can allow enemies to get in a few cheap hits. Thankfully, the AI allies aren't blinded by this weird graphical idiosyncrasy, and can thus dish out a few blows in return. Towns are also quite notable, and hugely distinct. One's a military base, another a carved-out rock formation adjacent to a waterfall, and the quaint "hometown" of Fearless makes yet another appearance.
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As far as classic action-RPGs go, Xak III is most certainly on the easy side. While the first two games had some glaring balancing issues, bullet-sponge bosses, and obtuse puzzles, this installment seems determined to hand victory to the player. It's virtually impossible to get lost or stuck. There's no overworld to explore, instead towns and dungeons are selected on a cursor-driven world map. And like Telenet's Exile, the game only allows the player to visit two specific locations (one town and one dungeon) at any given moment; there's simply no real semblance of backtracking possible. Within each explorable environment one has the option to "teleport" to and fro -- this option is available within the menu and doesn't even penalize the player with a reduction of Fray's magic points. Should one forget the game's current objective, the "HELP" option activates a skit where the protagonists talk among themselves (this is lifted right from Glodia's Emerald Dragon). These skits are actually quite hilarious, and contain all the game's best dialogue. To get full enjoyment out of Xak III one should trigger these periodically, regardless of any problems that arise.

While the previous games featured that classic computer JRPG level cap system, no such restriction is found in Xak III. It's extraordinary easy to overlevel, even through casual exploration. Bosses look menacing but most go down without much of a fight. Healing items "stack" (in other words, you can hold 99 of each as opposed to 1) and money exists in great abundance. And, as anticipated, HP is recovered just by standing still, though this doesn't work during boss battles or in the final dungeon. With all that said, the lack of challenge doesn't cheapen the game any. If anything, it's a breath of fresh air.

Graphically, this is as gorgeous as late-era PC Engine games get. The sprite animation is fantastic; most impressive is the animation of characters hugging (seriously). There's a great attention to detail paid to all locales, and the each character is given a whole host of facial expressions displayed when cutscenes are triggered. It's clear the character designer really loved these villains. They're all absolutely hideous, in the best and most unique ways possible. And it's delightful to see some of the classic Japanese computer RPG staples spill into this console port, like the ubiquitous screen borders and boss health meter. The soundtrack is "good" but it lacks the type of infectious earworms prevelant in the first two games, instead opting for a more orchestral "epic" score. The best tracks include the haunting overworld theme and the (slightly remixed) Town of Fearless tune. That one never gets old.
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I don't comment on fan translations often, as they aren't part of the "core" game. That said, this one is quite excellent, especially when one considers the absolutely enormous amount of text that needed to be translated, coupled with the generally obtuse nature of the story. There is, however, an extraordinarily cringeworthy political "joke" inserted into the dialogue of the very first NPC. It's hugely jarring and inappropriate, and at no other point in the game did the translators deviate from the original script. Even Victor Ireland would never dream of such a transgression. Note that the voice-acted anime segments received no such translation, though those who lack Japanese knowledge are still likely to surmise what is happening, generally speaking.

Verdict: Xak III is outstanding. It's a fine-tuned pick-up-and-play ten-hour thrill ride from one of the retro realm's greatest defunct developers. While I prefer Xak I + II (mainly due to its bump combat and vastly superior soundtrack), I'd wager that most ARPG fanatics would gravitate to part three. Anyone who cut their teeth on the likes of A Link to the Past and Secret of Mana is sure to fall in love with this game. And with Fray.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Ack Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:56 am

ElkinFencer10 wrote:Maru, I'm impressed you saw any games to completion with a young child. No need for embarrassment.


Yeah, dude, no shame. Only respect.
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by dsheinem Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:23 pm

Games Beaten 2019

Kentucky Route Zero Act 1 - PC
All Our Asias - PC
Shape of the World - Switch
Hidden Folks - PC
Hyrule Warriors - Wii U
Onrush - PS4
Assassin's Creed Origins - X1
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown -360
Metro Exodus - PS4
Split/Second - 360
Far Cry: New Dawn - PS4
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - X1
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite - PS4
Rage - PC
Red Faction: Armageddon - 360
Momonga Pinball Adventure - Switch
Psycho Soldier - Arcade/Vita *new*
Super Mutant Alien Assault - Vita *new*
Burly Men at Sea - Vita *new*


Total: 19


Previously: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

Psycho Soldier is still one of the more technically compelling pre-Neo Geo SNK games, but damn is it tough. I really dig the varying art designs for each level and each level end boss, many of which look like they were ripped out of something like Contra.

Super Mutant Alien Assault is a great little shooter that bills itself as "The Citizen Kane of Super Crate Box clones" and that seems apt. The pixels are nicely stylized, the action fast and addictive, and the semi-rogue-light progression system nicely incorporated to make this one a winner.

I had hopes that Burly Men at Sea would be a game with some similar trappings as Simogo's better offerings...but it is a poor substitute that instead tells a (series) of dull stories in a pretty boring way. At least it is short.
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lordb0rb4
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by lordb0rb4 Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 pm

001.Shikhondo - Soul Eater (02/01/2019, Playstation 4)
002.Ridge Racer (04/01/2019, Playstation Portable)
003.Streets of Rage (06/01/2019, Mega Drive)
004.Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition (07/01/2019, Playstation 4)
005.Bladed Fury (09/01/2019, PC)
006.Rogue Legacy (12/01/2019, Playstation 4)
007.Castlevania (12/01/2019, Nintendo)
008.Contra: Hard Corps (13/01/2019, Mega Drive)
009.Streets of Rage 2 (13/01/2019, Mega Drive)
010.Mortal Kombat (15/01/2019, Mega Drive)
011.Castlevania Bloodlines (18/01/2019, Mega Drive)
012.Battlefield 4 (21/01/2019, Playstation 4)
013.Mortal Kombat 9 (27/01/2019, PC)
014.Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (29/01/2019, Playstation 3)
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015.Brawlout (02/02/2019, Xbox One)
016.The Hong Kong Massacre (03/02/2019, Playstation 4)
017.Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (03/02/2019, GameCube)
018.Apex Legends (02/2019, Playstation 4/Xbox One)
019.Metro 2033 Redux (10/02/2019, Playstation 4)
020.Wave Race: Blue Storm (11/02/2019, GameCube)
021.Titanfall 2 (22/02/2019, Xbox One) **Xbox One S 1st**
022.Fatal Fury 2 (22/02/2019, Xbox One)
023.Driveclub (22/02/2019, Playstation 4)
024.Super Stardust Delta (24/02/2019, Playstation Vita)
025.Sonic 4 Episode I (25/02/2019, PC)
026.Crackdown 3 (27/02/2019, Xbox One)
027.The King of Fighters XIV (28/02/2019, Playstation 4)
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028.Sonic 4 Episode II (01/03/2019, PC)
029.Butcher (01/03/2019, Xbox One)
030.Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (02/03/2019, Xbox One)
031.Virtua Fighter 5 (03/03/2019, Playstation 3)
032.Medal of Honor Airborne (03/03/2019, Xbox 360)
033.Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 (04/03/2019, Xbox One)
034.The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match Final Edition (04/03/2019, PC)
035.Ridge Racer V (04/03/2019, Playstation 2)
036.Mortal Kombat Deception (04/03/2019, Playstation 2)
037.Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (06/03/2019, Xbox 360)
038.WRC 7 FIA World Rally Championship (08/03/2019, Playstation 4)
039.Ace Combat Assault Horizon: Enhanced Edition (16/03/2019, PC)
040.Army of Two (17/03/2019, Xbox 360)
041.Dead or Alive 6 (17/03/2019, Xbox One)
042.Pinball FX3 (19/03/2019, Xbox One)
043.Rez Infinite (19/03/2019, PC)
044.Diablo (/24/03/2019, PC)
045.Gran Turismo HD Concept (28/03/2019, Playstation 3)
046.Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable (30/03/2019, Playstation Vita)
047.Metro Last Light Redux (31/03/2019, Playstation 4)
048.Sega Rally Revo (31/03/2019, PC)
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049.Virtua Tennis 3 (05/04/2019, PC)
050.Godzilla (06/04/2019, Playstation 3)
051.Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (06/04/2019, PC)
052.DiRT (08/04/2019, PC)
053.SEGA Rally Online Arcade (09/04/2019, Playstation 3)
054.AngerForce:Reloaded (09/04/2019, Xbox One)
055.Batman: The Telltale Series (10/04/2019, Playstation 4)
056.Mortal Kombat 3 (13/04/2019, Arcade)
057.F-Zero (14/04/2019, Super Nintendo)
058.F.E.A.R. Extraction Point (15/04/2019, PC)
059.Wave Rave 64 (15/04/2019, Nintendo 64)
060.Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (16/04/2019, Playstation 3)
061.Mortal Kombat 1 (18/04/2019, PC)
062.Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (18/04/2019, PC)
063.Mortal Kombat 3 (20/04/2019, PC MS-DOS)
064.Mortal Kombat 4 (20/04/2019, Playstation)
065.F-Zero Maximum Velocity (20/04/2019, Gameboy Advance)
066.Earth Defense Force 2025 (21/04/2019, Xbox 360)
067.Katana Zero (21/04/2019, PC)
068.Dirt 3 (24/04/2019, Xbox 360)
069.F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate (27/04/2019, PC)
070.Time Crisis: Razing Storm (28/04/2019, Playstation 3)
071.Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (29/04/2019, Nintendo 3DS)
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072.Mortal Kombat 11 (05/05/2019, Playstation 4)
073.Mortal Kombat (11/05/2019, Playstation 3)
074.Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (12/05/2019, Playstation 4)
075.Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD (16/05/2019, Playstation 3)
076.Forza Horizon 2 (16/05/2019, Xbox One)
077.Tomb Raider (18/05/2019, PC)
078.Mortal Kombat XL (19/05/2019, Playstation 4)
079.Super Castlevania IV (20/05/2019, Super Nintendo)
080.Tom Clancy's HAWX (23/05/2019, PC)
081.Nidhogg 2 (24/05/2019, PC)
082.Project Nimbus: Code Mirai (25/05/2019, Playstation 4)
083.Red Faction II (26/05/2019, Playstation 4)
084.The King of Fighters XII (27/05/2019, Playstation 3)
085.Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (28/05/2018, PC Engine)
086.Mother Russia Bleeds (30/05/2019, PC)
087.Raging Justice (30/05/2019, Xbox One)
088.Castlevania Chronicle (31/05/2019, Playstation)
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089.Bulletwitch (01/06/2019, PC)
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Quite strange japanese take on TPS but i ended up loving it, kinda addicting gameplay and amazing magic spells that trully makes the character feels like a force of nature.
090 .Sniper Elite V2 (02/06/2019, Xbox 360)
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Replaying this on consoles this time, pretty straightforward TPS with it's unique x-ray visual effect that never gets old.
091.Tekken 3 (05/06/2019, Playstation)
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Unlocked all characters and played a bit of the mini-games, amazing game 'til this date.
092.New Super Mario Bros. (06/06/2019, Nintendo DS)
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One of the worst Mario formula designs and bad pacing, my first game on the Summer Games Challenge. :lol:
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