Page 73 of 120

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:14 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
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)


Contra
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I can definitively state, without even a second of hesitation, that this is one of the best video games ever made. Certainly the greatest run and gun experience, probably the greatest "action" game of any sort, and a bonafide 8-bit titan. Contra is, was, and will continue to be, unstoppable.

Contra has become affixed so firmly to the NES experience that's it's easy to forget that other versions actually do exist. The game originated in 1987 in the arcades, with the Famicom and (North American) NES carts appearing a year later. This is one case where the NES port absolutely murders the original: arcade Contra is a questionable experience, featuring some decidedly ugly color choices and janky jump physics. As for those home computer variants? Spare yourself the misery.

The story here is blunt, simple, and pure 80s. An evil "Red Falcon" organization has set up shop within the dense Amazon jungles. It's up to a duo of commandos, Bill (player 1) and Lance (optional player 2) to wipe out the threat and uncover the extraterrestrial forces behind the invasion. Though of Japanese origin, the game's Western influences are abundantly clear. Bill and Lance are modeled after action heroes Schwarzenegger and Stallone with the alien fiends resembling those aliens from a certain Ridley Scott film (about aliens).
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Contra consists of eight stages with a single playthrough clocking in at a cool 25 minutes, give or take. There's some pleasant variety to the level design: six are your traditional left-to-right scrollers, one is a vertical scroller complete with a persistent insta-death pit at the bottom (à la Kid Icarus), plus a duo of "bases" where the game instead opts for a "behind the player" type of perspective. The secret to the game's monumental success lies within the control scheme. Contra is sublime, an absolute joy to play. Walking and jumping are fluid, with the speed calibrated perfectly. There's ducking and the ability to hop down ledges with the classic A+down button combo. But it's the gunplay that truly shines. The manly men of Contra can shoot in eight directions, sniping enemies from all angles. Likewise, the heroes are assaulted, relentlessly, from every area of the screen. Left, right, up, down, there are even stages showcasing booby traps and bombs that emerge from background to foreground. Despite featuring a wholly different viewpoint, the base stages feel just as natural as all others, but with the player's bullets travelling "into" the screen. This is the prototypical "run and gun" game, deftly mixing sleek platforming mechanics with all the ferocity of a good shmup.

Let's talk about the guns. Yeah, the guns. While the player naturally begins with the white-bullet pea shooter, each stage of Contra features plenty of upgrades. There's an auto-fire machine gun, the wide-range flamethrower, and the slow but powerful laser. But the most precious weapon of all is what became the series staple: the spread gun. This beast does exactly what its namesake implies: fires out multiple projectiles that "spread" all over the screen. Being in possession of this firearm is monumentally satisfying; losing it is a tragedy. The secret to completing Contra is as follows: 1) get the spread gun, 2) do not lose the spread gun.
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The game showcases some of the most memorable settings on the NES. Sure, there's no logical consistency to any of it (how do the boys go from the Amazon jungle to a snow field within a matter of minutes?) but everything looks fantastic. That opening "jungle" stage is one of the most iconic in video game history, sporting a brilliant array of deep greens and blues for backgrounds, plus those unforgettable exploding bridges. The complexity and intensity just ramps up from there. I'm especially partial to stages 6 and 7: the "energy zone" and hangar environments. Sprawling futuristic mechanical gauntlets, each comes jam-packed with environmental hazards: claws that descend from the ceilings, pop-up spiked walls, periodic flares. For a plot that ostensibly hinges on an alien invasion, there are actually very few alien foes. Instead, most are of the human or robotic variety. Early stages give us the blindingly charging soldiers (called these "football players" as a kid), plenty of snipers, wall-mounted turrets, and more. The first instance of extraterrestrial life is something of a tease: that initial "big alien" appears as the stage 3 boss, and no aliens are seen again until the game's final stretch. The concluding stage of Contra is an absolute stunner. A living, breathing, pulsating alien lair where the scenery comes to life spewing forth freakish arthropod spawn. Boss battles are exceptional throughout the journey. There's a mixture of mechanical defense towers, alien land- and spacecraft, plus the final confrontation with the "heart of the alien" itself. All bosses feature multiple attack patterns, sidekicks, gunfire from every which way. Prepare to weave around like the Vic Viper.

Soundtrack: about ten minutes or so of fast-paced tunage. There's a sophisticated techno metal vibe to the whole thing, like it can barely be contained by the NES sound chip. The compositions are highly infectious. Absolutely immortal NES hit. Things do slow down a bit during those final segments. Stage 8 features an appropriately creepy dirge, and the ending theme is a thumping heroic send-off. Note that the Famicom release had a tad more music (to accompany cutscenes!) which was then excised from the NES conversion. This is of little consequence, however. The sound effects are also pretty much perfect, and were also reused in future Konami releases. It brought a huge smile to my face when Penta the Penguin starting blasting Contra bullets in Yume Penguin Monogatari.
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I'd be remiss to not talk about the game's difficultly level. Contra tops a great many "Hardest NES Games" (not to mention "Hardest Video Games") lists. Is the game hard? Honestly, yeah. Sure. "Nintendo Hard" even. One of the hardest on the NES (or elsewhere)? Not even remotely close. Forget all the broken-down unplayably difficult crap that graces the NES. There are countless "legitimate" games that put up a tougher fight than Contra: any Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania title, the first Mega Man, Blaster Master, Bionic Commando, and so on. I'd even argue that Super Mario Bros. is harder than Contra! Much of the challenge here stems from the unforgiving life system. Three lives, three continues, one-hit deaths. However, (assuming the player hasn't hit Game Over) the commandos respawn instantly arcade-style, and additional lives can be gathered by slaying foes and scoring points. With such silky smooth controls and logical enemy placement, the game never feels "cheap" or unfair. For the most part. There are - and this is the game's only true flaw - certain enemies that spawn onscreen without enough warning. This is especially true of the "gunners" who first appear in the snowy stage. Those dudes just materialize, man. A little memorization goes a long way in dealing with some of these belligerents. For those who find the game unyieldingly brutal, there are some ways to mitigate the pain. The two-player mode is literally just that: a buddy can hop in and play simultaneously without any change to the stage layouts or enemy arrangements. And, of course, Contra is the game that popularized the classic "Konami code" which increases the player's lives to a whopping 30! Playing with the code activated can be a great way to get in some practice, before dropping down for a more "legitimate" run.

Just writing about Contra has me itching to play it again. This is quintessential retro gaming, and Konami at their absolute peak. Most genres need to cook for some time to reach something approaching perfection. Run and guns hit that peak in 1988.


Vs. Super Mario Bros.
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Though Super Mario Bros. is inextricably linked to the NES console, my first childhood experience with the game came via an arcade cabinet. Known as Vs. Super Mario Bros., this was a port of the original Famicom/NES game, and part of Nintendo's larger Vs. line. The majority of these Vs. arcade releases consisted of ports of early ("black label") NES games, but with an added emphasis on two-player action. Other developers eventually got in on the action. There was Vs. Gradius and Vs. Castlevania by Konami, and additional titles by Namco, Jaleco, Capcom, and others. An emulated version of Vs. Super Mario Bros. appeared on the Nintendo Switch eShop in 2017, allowing me to experience the game for the first time in 20+ years.

I'm completely unyielding in my opinion that Super Mario Bros. is one of the greatest video games ever made, which makes this port (mostly) spectacular by default. All of those stellar Mario mechanics and aesthetics are retained for this release. The controls are just perfect, with the player being able to precisely control Mario's every move and make subtle changes to his walking and jumping motions. Koji Kondo's unstoppable soundtrack is back, essentially identical to the NES release but with a slightly different ending theme. And those classic chunky 8-bit graphics remain unaltered. Structurally, Vs. Super Mario Bros. follows the same pathway as the original -- it's a linear 2D platformer featuring 32 individual stages, though some can be bypassed via well-hidden warp zones.
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There are some unique "arcade elements" thrown in for this particular game variant. Points are actually relevant now, as high scores are retained on a scoreboard. Players have the option to continue (without a code), though credit-feeding isn't exactly feasible as Game Over tosses Mario and/or Luigi back to the start of a given world (not level). As part of this Arcade Archives release, DIP switch alterations can be made by the player, adjusting the number of coins needed for an extra life (for instance).

Overall, about 75% of this game is absolutely fantastic. But I have some issues. See, this isn't a direct port, or an "enhanced" port, but a "remixed" one. Remixed with some questionable results. Astute players will quickly notice that the 1-up and fire flower "? blocks" in stage 1-1 are missing. Okay, so this is just "hard mode" Super Mario Bros., right? Not quite. In addition to the "alterations" (there are only four 1-ups in the whole game!), entire stages have been excised and replaced with stages from that cursed floppy game: The Lost Levels (or, the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2). The Lost Levels had some extremely capricious level design, and was punctuated by a great many frustrating segments. To put it another way, any random level from the original Super Mario Bros. is superior to any random level from The Lost Levels, so this swap-out business is rather aggravating.
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This was America's first taste of The Lost Levels, and oh did we get boned. Vs. Super Mario Bros. is incredibly hard, especially Worlds 6 and 7. Wanna skip by those with the warp zone to World 8? Sorry folks, that's gone too. Some of these "new" stages are just terrible. Most (in)famous is probably 6-3, which is characterized by a series of massive jumps that require pixel-perfect precision. The most notable jump is a "leap of faith" that requires Mario land on an barely-on-screen paratroopa and then bounce to a nearby ledge. Trust me, it sucks.

This is a hard one to rate. The source material is obviously fantastic, and most of this port consists of the source material. But The Lost Levels stuff? Forget about it. This is a neat little historical oddity for those who adore Super Mario Bros., but everyone else should steer clear.


Moon Cresta
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The name "Nichibutsu" is probably unfamiliar to most gamers, though anyone with an NES may have stumbled across one of their old "hits" -- MagMax, Seicross, Terra Cresta. The developer was actually quite prolific in the early arcade and console era. Other notable releases include the early man vs. ape action title Crazy Climber (which predates Donkey Kong) and the Famicom "Metroidvania" Cosmo Police Galivan. Nichibutsu's success waned in their later years, and they eventually just started pumping out the occasional sports and mahjong game. Eventually, the development team called it quits, selling their intellectual property to Hamster, who is now releasing their catalog slowly as part of the Arcade Archives series.

Moon Cresta is an early shooter and a precursor to the aforementioned Terra Cresta. Originally appearing in arcades way back in 1980, the game has an unusual porting history. It didn't appear on any 2nd or 3rd generation console hardware, but was on several European home computers. Later, in its native Japan, the game was part of a Super Famicom Nichibutsu compilation, and even received standalone releases for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. In 2019, it arrived on the Nintendo Switch.
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Moon Cresta is a fixed shooter. In other words, a game similar to Space Invaders and Galaxian. The player takes control of a ship, which can only move left and right, and is tasked with blasting the encroaching alien hordes. The game plays nicely, overall. Controls are smooth, and the developers did well to differentiate between the alien species. Some will fire missiles at the player's ship, others bob lazily down towards the screen's bottom, while the most difficult launch blitzing kamikaze blows. Graphics are decent enough. The ship is impressively drawn, as are most aliens, though some have that ambiguous fuzzball look. The game's background is, of course, a scrolling star-filled sky. And while there are no substantial musical tracks, various key moments in the game are punctuated by some iconic jingles.

In addition to the rote alien blasting, there are a couple of additional elements that differentiate Moon Cresta from its peers. Periodically, the player must dock their ship into a larger mothership. The controls here are a little awkward, with the shoot button now functioning as a thrust, though this task isn't particularly difficult. Rather than requiring pixel-perfect precision, the smaller ship tends to home in to the mother once it gets close enough. Such actions cause the player's ship to "evolve" and get larger after a successful docking. This makes one a larger target for enemies, but larger ships are also capable of firing multiple rounds of ammunition simultaneously. There isn't a "trade-off" here; the larger ships are clearly superior, so successful docking is essential. Loss of life will cause the ship to degrade to a smaller state. The game's overall difficulty is skewed in a funny way, in that the earliest rounds are indeed hardest, when the ship is tiniest and equipped with just a pea-shooter. Moon Cresta features some occasional text, all of it charming. YOU CAN GET A LOT OF FUN AND THRILL proclaims the title screen, and a successful docking renders a RIGHT ON!. Complete a loop of the game: FAR OUT!.

Overall, Moon Cresta is fairly enjoyable. It lacks the iconic imagery of Space Invaders, and the brilliant enemy formations Galaxian, but is competently made nonetheless. Fans of fixed shooters (there are others, right?) would be wise to give this one a look.


Joe & Mac
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Joe & Mac is an arcade platformer starring a prehistoric caveman duo, originally released by Data East in 1991. It was ported to a surprising number of systems back in the day including the holy Nintendo trinity (NES, SNES, Game Boy), Genesis, Amiga, and PC. This Switch release by our pal Johnny Turbo is of course the arcade version emulated, presented in widescreen with a "CRT" filter. Note that this game oftentimes bears the alternate title (or subtitle) of Caveman Ninja. Wanna guess how many ninjas are in the game? Read to the end of the review!

Joe & Mac is a linear journey, for 1 or 2 players, about two cavemen who are trying to rescue cavewomen from a rival tribe. What's immediately apparent is the charming art style and graphical design. Joe, Mac, and all other characters are crafted in a hilariously exaggerated fashion with plenty of animation: bulging eyes upon surprise, goofy grins and frowns; the protagonists even flatten like pancakes if damaged by certain hazards. There's a bit of painfully dated crass misogyny on display here too: in addition to the "hot" cavewomen there's also a rather large unattractive one who, I guess, the duo isn't trying to rescue. There's additionally an effeminate male caveman who's also been captured. The game's ending, which seems completely randomized, features the duo confronted by some arrangement of these individuals. It's a little bizarre, to say the least.
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Stages are relatively short. Most scroll left to right, though there are a couple vertical ones thrown in for good measure. Data East tries to entice to player to replay the game, by doing the whole "branching paths" thing periodically. It isn't worth it. All stages have the same fundamental structure and feel, regardless of aesthetics. That said, the backgrounds are quite nice, showcasing the typical environments a caveman might traverse: jungles, waterfalls, icy caverns, erupting volcanoes, and so forth. The most entertaining level is actually the opening one. Joe and/or Mac travel across the back of what turns out to be a massive sleeping Tyrannosaurus Rex. At the stage's end, a baby T-Rex bounds into view, and then "tattles" on the cavemen, causing the mother to wake from her slumber and initiate the first boss battle. The game's soundtrack isn't quite as bold as its visuals. It exudes an appropriate sort of prehistoric rhythm, though the individual compositions aren't particularly compelling.

Controls are mostly simple, though with a few wrinkles. There's a button for attacking and one for jumping, though an additional "mega jump" can also be initiated by pressing up in tandem with the jump button. It feels awkward, and I've never been a fan of multiple "jump styles" in my platformers. The default weapon is an ax, which travels in a crappy sort of arc. Thankfully, there are numerous upgrades found within dinosaur eggs, like boomerangs and stone wheels. The best weapon upgrade grants the cavemen this odd doppelganger attack, where they shoot out copies of themselves to charge at enemies. It's analogous to the spread gun in Contra, once you have this ability you don't want to lose it. The enemy selection is a bit underwhelming. There are too many generic "bad" cavemen and not enough prehistoric animals. The bosses do look awesome, admittedly. Some are just beefed-up versions of standard foes, though there are some standouts like a tusk-dropping woolly mammoth and rolling ankylosaurus.
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Joe & Mac may have a solid foundation, but something feels off, as if this was originally designed to be a console title but had additional elements shoehorned in to add "arcade difficulty." Joe & Mac's lifebars tick down automatically and they must continually collect food to replenish health. It's a mechanic that was hated in Adventure Island and just as hated here. As expected the game's difficulty increases as the player progresses, but it does so in a lazy hokey sort of manner. The later stages simply contain larger amounts of copy/paste enemies than the earlier ones. There are no decent "platforming" challenges, in fact there's no memorable platforming in the entire game, most stages are just flattened planes. And while the boss skirmishes are fun, the bosses are also absolute bullet sponges, each one requiring a seemingly infinite number of hits to vanquish. Successfully defeating a boss also feels annoyingly weapon-dependent, as some are extraordinary difficult to hit with the ax and other arcing projectiles. Oftentimes, it can be easiest to purposefully lose and then reappear hoping for a better power-up to present itself. In some sense the game can be credit-fed, though Joe & Mac features checkpoints rather than "respawns" so every boss and individual level segment does need to be cleared in one successful go.

This is a "fun" one, but a bit shaky overall. I think it's fair to say that the best platformers of the early 90s were appearing on consoles. Not only is Joe & Mac trounced by the 16-bit gems of the era, but it can't even hold a candle to many of the 8-bit platformers that precede it. This is better than Bonk's Adventure, I'll give it that, though that isn't saying particularly much.

There are zero ninjas in this game.


Ice Hockey
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Ice Hockey is the hockey game for the Atari 2600. Released in 1981, it comes to us courtesy of Activision, who were then at the top of their game. There's something to be said for these stripped-down simplistic sports titles. Forget playing through an entire season, Ice Hockey doesn't even feature periods. Just a single three-minute game to play against the computer or a human opponent, taking place within a small single-screen rink. Note that there are actually four available modes, as the player(s) can choose to crank up the speed from "regular" action to "high-speed" action. I prefer to takes things nice and slow, the latter modes just make the ice feel a bit too slick.

This is two-on-two hockey, with the player controlling whichever one of their men is in possession of the puck, or who is closest. Controls are relatively smooth, and there's a surprising amount of depth to the gameplay. The opposing team's AI is aggressive and adaptive, and mastering the game requires one learn how to pass off boards and properly time shots. The goals are rather large, so both teams are able to rack up points quickly. All told, this makes for some speedy, frantic, and enjoyable matches. Given the game's inherent accessibility and intensity, three minutes per match really is perfect.
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There are some amusing quirks to the gameplay, owing to the hardware limitations. Most notably, when a hockey player passes the puck to his teammate he also passes the stick! Well, "pass" perhaps isn't the right word -- it's more like the stick vanishes from his hands and then appears in his teammates'. Apparently rendering four onscreen sticks was impossible, so there are only two (for the hockey player with the puck and his nearest opponent). Another oddity is that whatever hockey player isn't currently under the (Atari) player's control is completely frozen; there's no AI to keep him skating around the rink. Control "switches" depending on the puck's position, but this can sometimes feel like it happens a half-second too late, giving ample time for the computer team to grab the puck.

And there are fights! I don't know how to initiate them except via good ol' button-mashing, but it is possible to slam an opponent to the ice where they stay stunned for a brief period. No penalties or referees here! Matches end firmly at that three-minute mark. Unfortunately, there is no overtime, so a tie game is possible. This one of the "easier" Activision games, for those players seeking to earn "patch" criteria. Simply beating the computer once is enough. Interestingly, back in the 80s Activision didn't require a photograph for the Ice Hockey patch. Instead they asked for a letter detailing the score, also signed by a witness! Amazing.

The game looks decent enough. Characters are drawn well; these are some of the better Atari stick figures. The ice has been given a gray tint, which is probably preferable to blinding white. The classic Activision sound effects ring out nonstop, of course. Overall, this is a solid experience. It's no Blades of Steel or NHL '94, but for its era you really couldn't ask for more.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:34 pm
by Ack
I read Bone's whole post only to finally learn there are no ninjas in Joe & Mac. Huh.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:31 pm
by Aubergine
Dungeon of the Endless
https://dungeon-of-the-endless.fandom.c ... dless_Wiki

This is a cool Roguelike / Tower Defense game with some light RPG elements that Amplitude Studios came up with in 2014 as part of their "Endless Legend" word setting.
The retro-pixel art style, Sci-fi atmosphere and swift and clever gameplay makes for a very satisfying strategy game experience. In true Roguelike fashion, the game difficulty ramps up quickly as you progress through each floor of the dungeon and learn to master the mechanics of the tools as your disposal. It took me a fair few tries to beat the game but I finally managed it yesterday. The game offer a variety of characters and gameplay set up that allow for decent replayability. You can also measure your skills with friends or others in the online coop multiplayer mode.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:11 pm
by marurun
So, what particular hurdles did you face playing that game? Your write-up sounds mostly like marketing copy, so I don't really have any idea what your experience was like actually playing the game.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:03 am
by PartridgeSenpai
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)

I've been eyeing this game on the Wii U VC for quite a while now, as it's a game I have a lot of nostalgia for from when I was a kid, and I finally picked it up the other day. I really wish it were on the SNES Classic instead of the first DKC (or as it's called here "Super Donkey Kong"), but that's a personal preference. This is my favorite of the original 3 DKC games and I had a really good time playing through it. I wanted to say I'd beaten this game before, but the final boss and ending sequence were totally unfamiliar to me. Although beyond that, this is definitely the first time I've ever taken the time to get all the bonus coins and DK coins to do the secret final boss for a 102% finish (I only had to look up where one bonus room was ^w^). It took me a little under 6 hours to do.

I honestly thought that it'd be nearly impossible to try and find all the bonus rooms and DK coins myself, and I was really happily surprised I only needed to look up where one was in the end. A lot of the way they're hidden seems for more adding replay value than just spicing up the way you can play them through the first time (like how Yoshi's Island does its collectibles). Some of the designs of them feel a bit filler-y for sure, but most of them are properly good challenges.

I definitely got a new appreciation for Diddy this time playing the game. I always prefered Dixie as a kid, because her hover made the tricky platforming SO much more easily navigable, but this was basically the first time I'd REALLY tried to utilize the jumps you get if you "spin" off a ledge, and I think that made using Diddy a lot easier and less dangerous. Diddy is certainly faster, but especially when replaying bits of the game to get the collectibles I missed, I noticed the characters don't control all that differently at the end of the day, which I was fine with.

While I will say that, from a design perspective, having a light & a heavy character like DKC 1 and 3 do provides more opportunities for ways to hide hidden goodies, I'm kinda in two minds about that whole thing. I'm not entirely convinced that the whole "two playable characters who have inherently different abilities that are required to unlock certain secrets/defeat certain enemies/navigate certain obstacles" is an amazing design philosophy in the first place. It means you either need to design levels in such a way that the player feels screwed for not having a certain character, or you need to design them in such a flat and universal way that you end up barely using the unique aspects of each character. Ideally, levels would have interesting methods of completing them using either character in their own special way, but that's often easier said than done. This isn't to throw shade on the other two original DK Country games, so much as it is to say that I believe the "partner as power-up" method that the DKC Returns games use is a smarter way to go about things, generally speaking. I'll also admit that this doesn't have much all to do with this review. Just some thoughts I had I wanted to share that fit tangentially with this post :lol:

Verdict: Highly Recommended. A tough game, but still one of the greats on the SNES. Whether or not it's the best DKC game will always be a matter of debate, but regardless of that, it's still a great game.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:27 am
by Ziggy587
pook99 wrote:@Ziggy: I agree that a romhack would be great, the odd thing about the castlevania series is there are DOZENS of rom hacks for the original castlevania and a pretty large number of fan games but the rest of the games in the series have virtually no hacks outside of asthetic stuff. Even the wildly popular Super Castlevania 4 only has 1 or 2 level hacks which is just crazy. I think if konami made a castlevania maker in the style of mario maker it would sell by the boatloads and I would love to see the kinds of things people could come up with.


A little late on the reply, but I only just saw this comment now.

It would be awesome if Konami made a Castlevania Maker. They could call it Castlevania Creator! The market for 2D Castlevania games probably isn't nearly as large as it is for Mario, and Konami doesn't seem to care much about 2D Castlevania games. But this would be awesome!

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:58 am
by Flake
January Games:
Megaman (Switch)
Megaman 2 (Switch)
Megaman 3 (Switch)
Megaman 4 (Switch)
Megaman 5 (Switch)
Megaman 6 (Switch)
Megaman 7 (Switch)
Megaman 8 (Switch)
Megaman 9 (Switch)
Megaman 10 (Switch)
Kirby's Dreamland (Wii)
Time Spinner (PS4)

February Games:

Megaman Legends (PSTV)
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PSTV)
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

March Games:

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)
Mario Galaxy (Wii)

April

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS4)

May

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (Switch)
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch)
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch)
Castlevania (Switch)
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (Switch)
Sonic Forces (Switch)

June

SNK: Heroines (Switch)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Saint's Row The Third (Switch)
Operation C (Switch)
Secret of Mana Remake (PS4)
The Banner Saga Pt 1 (Switch)

July

Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
The World Next Door (Switch)
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (Switch)

August

Fire Emblem: 3 Houses (Switch)
Final Fight (Switch)


Quick thoughts isntead of a full impression -

Power Rangers - If the developers had more budget or ambition, this could be a very servicable Marvel vs Capcom 2-like. It may end up getting there, with future content updates. This game is definitely the stuff of dreams for 8 year old Flake.

Fire Emblem: 3 Houses - holy crap. They fixed everything I didn't like in Fire Emblem Fates. This is the first time I've ever beaten a Fire Emblem on Classic mode.

Final Fight (Switch) - I never got far in this game back in the arcades so having such a great version in Free Play mode is great. Played it on my HRAPV and it felt pretty authentic. Also, the Japanese version features Poison as an enemy which is a lot of fun. So many future enemies.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:02 am
by ElkinFencer10
Flake wrote:Fire Emblem: 3 Houses - holy crap. They fixed everything I didn't like in Fire Emblem Fates. This is the first time I've ever beaten a Fire Emblem on Classic mode.

This is all Fire Emblem got? Three sentences? I am disappoint. :(

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:16 am
by Ack
1. Dusk (PC)(FPS)
2. Project: Snowblind (PC)(FPS)
3. Soldier of Fortune: Platinum Edition (PC)(FPS)
4. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
5. Wolfenstein 3D: Ultimate Challenge (PC)(FPS)
6. Destiny 2 (PC)(FPS/RPG)
7. Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris (PC)(FPS/RPG)
8. Destiny 2: Warmind (PC)(FPS/RPG)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

34. Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary (PC)(FPS/RPG)
35. Far Cry 2 (PC)(FPS)

This game is basically like that song by Toto, but imagine if the rains in Africa are bullets that I'm blessing into a hundred mercenaries' bodies. Ain't war Hell?

In Far Cry 2, you are a mercenary sent into an unnamed African nation on the brink of civil war with the sole purpose of finding an arms dealer named the Jackal and assassinating him. Unfortunately, you contract malaria, the Jackal catches you immediately, and everything goes to shit right from the beginning. From there you take jobs from both sides, team up with other mercs to do bad things, and gather up whatever diamonds you can to buy access to better gear and upgrades. Yes, it's basically Cabela's African Safari, only where the prey is people. People who suck.

Ultimately, this is going to be a game about war being a total shit show, because some folks profit off of it and then get the hell out as soon as everything goes south for them. The few who finally realize the error of their ways in causing all of this suffering do what they can to save the lives of the few, but they either end up killing themselves or irrelevant to the point of being voiceless. This is represented in two ways: the Jackal and a journalist you work with who once interviewed the Jackal as he came to the realization that what he was doing was terrible. The Jackal, now suffering a fatal cancer, decides to cut out the rot by saving as many civilians as he can and killing the mercenaries, arms dealers, and faction leaders involved, including ultimately himself and you. The journalist ends up toiling in obscurity, forced to publish to his personal blog as the only outlet he has. It's something of an exercise in futility, where the "bad" people die, while the "good" are forced out as refugees...but largely unhurt and alive.

This was early in the open world FPS trend that we now have. I don't mean early as in the days of Strife or Deus Ex's attempts at open worlds, but a much more expansive take, where the world is open and traversable in the vein of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Borderlands series minus the RPG elements of the latter. There are unfortunately a lot of birthing pains, such as limited fast travel across the open area and high respawn rates which mean you're going to have to bother wasting resources constantly or navigating around to avoid enemy checkpoints and hoping you don't get spotted...and you most likely will be. It starts off somewhat difficult until you get a few loadouts and upgrades, and then it's just tedious. Add in a system that only tracks main story missions as "progress" and a weapon wear and tear system that causes your guns to jam and misfire far more rapidly than seems possible, and soon the game feels frustrating.

Yeah, guns break fast except for the AK. My preferred load out ended up being a grenade launcher, AK, and silent dart rifle, and the rifle could maybe last a single assault before the scope rusted through and the thing basically exploded on me. I'd make constant returns to the various armories to grab replacement gear for it. Too much of the time in the game is spent having to go find somewhere to replace gear or traveling from point A to B to C through a bunch of enemies simply because my damn gun is jamming once again.

That's probably what I dislike about Far Cry 2 the most. It just feels like after a point I'm rehashing the same territory over and over again because, even upgraded, I'm being forced to travel through rapidly respawning checkpoints to fix my shoddy kit. As a result, I got bored. Bored and tired. This could have been a decent 15 or even 20 hour experience, which is longer than most FPS games, but instead I experience the bloat through design decisions that feel like they were bad birthing problems of a new way of approaching an FPS. RPGs figured out fast travel in the 1990s because they had to, but the FPS certainly took its time.

For what it is, Far Cry 2 is a fascinating experiment, trying to mix in statements on the nature of warfare, the impact that outside influence has had in modern Africa, and new ways of evolving an important game genre. It turns to mush due to the issues with the last part, but it was still an incredible step in how the FPS approached the open world and modern combat at a time when the genre was going way more regressively linear and Rah Rah Patriotic with games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. If you're a die hard fan of the genre, it's worth checking out. If you're not, then it can be skipped in favor of later Far Cry titles that had more polish.

And if you're not interested in morality, you don't have to think about the ethics of what you're doing at any time, though I recommend considering the ethics; it makes the game a more complete experience.

Re: Games Beaten 2019

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:25 am
by MrPopo
ElkinFencer10 wrote:
Flake wrote:Fire Emblem: 3 Houses - holy crap. They fixed everything I didn't like in Fire Emblem Fates. This is the first time I've ever beaten a Fire Emblem on Classic mode.

This is all Fire Emblem got? Three sentences? I am disappoint. :(

One sentence for each house.