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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:29 pm

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *

48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)

Last year, I mentioned in our Shenmue 3 thread that Shenmue 3 didn't seem like a game I'd feel comfortable paying money for, but one I might enjoy. Our very own Pierrot offered to buy me a copy, and he did and sent a copy to my mom's place in America. I picked it up when I visited the States back in December, and have been waiting for the inspiration to strike since then. Last week, it finally felt like the right time to play through Shenmue 3, and four days and 25-ish hours (I think) of playtime later, I've finished it on my PS4 Slim. While I'm certainly far from a converted fan, I do wanna open this review by clarifying that while I have never played Shenmue 1 or 2 to any significant extent, I never really hated my time with this game, and I enjoyed my time with it well enough that it wasn't ever a slog to get through it. As one last warning, I do get into some light spoiler talk here about certain characters who appear as well as things to do with the pacing.

Shenmue 3 picks up right where Shenmue 2 left off with Ryo and Shenhua entering the cave with the big mirrors and the prophecy in it. Shenmue 3 follows Ryo's story in his quest for revenge another couple of steps through Bailu Village and the port city of Niaowu. While Shenmue does have combat in it, it is far more an adventure game that happens to have combat rather than more of an brawler-RPG like Yakuza is. That being the case, I weigh the story in the game pretty heavily as an aspect of recommending it, and it doesn't hold up very well there.

Shenmue 3, being a larger part in a story (that is allegedly still not even close to being finished) only encompass a small section of Ryo's overall quest for revenge. However, rather than feeling like a self-contained episode that is narratively satisfying in and of itself, Shenmue 3 feels more like a section cut out of a larger story with little care given to pacing or payoff. While I do understand that Shenmue is a series far more about the journey than the destination, compared to most other games, this still leaves Shenmue 3 feeling like an unsatisfying and shallow adventure.

Characters have interesting aspects to them, and some very interesting themes (like a father's relationship to their child, how a single-minded quest for revenge can affect a person's worldview and behavior, the dangers of cycles of violence) are present and interesting, they're never meaningfully commented on or evolved. Most characters in the street you talk to (especially in Bailu Village) are boring and dull, and the best most characters ever get are "entertainingly weird". Even that "entertainingly weird" nature can still leave many characters (some very tertiary, some very well established) falling into some harmful and outdated stereotypes. As a result, it's somewhat of a blessing in disguise that characters like Chai have such small roles in the narrative.

The most entertaining characters (for me, Ren and Mr. Hsu) are largely so interesting in no small part because of how good their voice acting is. I played the first few hours of the game with the English voice track on, and then switched it to Japanese for the rest of my playthrough. It is no secret that Shenmue 3 has an embarrassingly poor localization for a game released in 2019. Nonsensical conversations and flat, unemotional delivery are as iconic as Ryo in his forklift. This can be slightly remedied by turning the voice lines to the Japanese voice track, but you're still left with the awkward and poorly done subtitles of the English voice track. The almost non-existent marketing aside, the awful localization is the #1 thing I chalk the commercial under-performance of this game up to. To the uninitiated, Shenmue 3 looks more like a bad joke than a genuine attempt at a sincere story. And even then, the Japanese voice track isn't terribly good either. Most characters still have fairly flat delivery and uninteresting dialogue with only a few exceptions. At most, the Japanese VA provides a story that at least makes better grammatical sense for players who can understand Japanese.

Regardless, even the best VA in the world would have a hard time making up for the too often poorly written dialogue and missteps in setup and payoff in the story's general construction. The fact that the climaxes of both sections of the game revolve around earning a ton of money to get a nearly identical move needed to progress the story makes for a very underwhelming end to the arc in Niaowu. Not to mention that those giant piles of money you need offer nothing but massive roadblocks to the pacing even if (like me) you were enjoying the smaller mysteries outside of the larger revenge plot. I'm really glad that I went into the game knowing that I'd need 2000 and then 5000 yuan, because if I didn't those would've been some awfully demoralizing progress stoppages.

On the topic of money, lets move on from the story and onto the main gameplay loop. Shenmue 3 is still as Shenmue as ever in most regards there. Ryo needs information, and people have information. A lot of the game is going around asking the same question to everyone you meet, trying to get an idea of where to go. This is the bread and butter of Shenmue, and it's hard to fault the game for it given that it's such a staple of the game. It's an adventure game, not an action RPG, so most of the game is talking to people. That said, a lot of the people you talk to are really boring and have little interesting to say (especially in Bailu Village), so this can get a bit dull after a while. Thankfully, you can press square to hurry through dialogue a bit if you're fine just reading the subtitles.

Everything outside of the talking comes back to making money though. In a change from prior Shenmue games, Ryo has a health bar that's also his stamina meter, and you need to eat food to keep it higher so you can run instead of walk (although walking is fast enough that I found myself doing it a lot of the game anyhow), and you'll also wanna have it at least a little high so you can survive a fight should you get into one. To keep that stamina up, you'll need to buy food, and that costs money.

In another change from prior Shenmue games, you don't just get better at fighting in a Virtua Fighter-style. Ryo has attack and HP stats that will go up as he masters different martial arts moves and does simple endurance mini-games respectively. Being at high health means these things level up faster, and (as we'll get to later) the combat isn't technical enough for you to simply win most story fights with technique rather than stats. As a result, there is a lot of actual grinding these mini-games and martial arts moves (just repeating them over and over during sparing) to get past a fight you simply aren't strong enough to beat. However, you can't get new martial arts moves to master just out of thin air: you need skill books. You get skill books by trading items (especially capsule toys) for them at pawn shops or outright buying them at martial arts stores, and that'll cost a lot of money as well. All this adds up to a gameplay loop that means that if you're not talking to people to solve the mystery, you're grinding out cash to get your stats up so you can win a fight to progress the story (or buy the super item you need to progress the story, as mentioned previously).

This wouldn't all be so bad if the combat were actually good, but it is not good at all. The biggest change from the prior Shenmue games is that you no longer have that Virtua Fighter-lite style of fighting. In an attempt to open up the game to more players, Yu Suzuki has opted to change the combat to no longer use directional inputs at all, and all moves are now on the four face buttons of circle, triangle, X, and square. By inputting sequences of 2-5 buttons, you'll pull off a special move. While I believe it is possible to execute a move you don't have the skill book for, you can't level up that move outside of sparing, so you do need those skill books to increase your attack power if you wanna survive the later fights in the game.

Where this really becomes a problem is how the button combo presses are just a sequence of buttons, and because there are only four buttons, the game doesn't know if you're only inputting two buttons, or if you simply haven't finished a four-button move set. This makes it almost impossible to react to opponents moves through anything outside of using the control stick to dodge, because there is a massive lag between your inputs and Ryo's attacks as he "waits" to see if you're done inputting a move or not. This makes the combat very frustrating and unrewarding to try and get good at, although it does mean that the combat itself being more about stats than technique is a small but welcome mercy.

The ways you earn money in the first place can be quite entertaining though. I mostly earned my fortune going around and collecting herbs that I'd then sell, but I also did a button pressing mini-game to earn money chopping wood quite often. Aside from that, you can gamble on all sorts of games of chance to earn money, as well as perform the iconic forklifting job once you get to Niaowu (which I'll admit I never had the patience to try). Earning money through gambling is fairly annoying, as you can't gamble directly for cash. You first need to buy tokens, then gamble (in quite small amounts) for more tokens, and you then exchange those tokens for prizes which you can THEN sell at a pawn shop for actual money. Given that you could apparently just gamble for money in Shenmue 2, this is mechanically a really annoying step back, and I was super excited when I realized that I basically never needed to gamble and could just collect herbs to get past those money-based progress barriers.

The final part of the gameplay that I think annoyed me more than anything were the quick time events. I know this is Shenmue and QTEs are a fairly iconic part of it, but they're not fun in 2019 and they frankly never were (and I'm really glad that the industry as a whole is moving away from them). If you fail a QTE, the cutscene immediately replays and you get another chance to hit the exact same button. The only actual penalty for missing a QTE is the time you lose watching the cutscene again, some of these cutscenes are really long (one near the end of the game is easily over a minute long and has only two button presses in it). I would've much rather they had no QTEs at all, or at least done what a lot of games have done recently and given you the option to turn them off. Shenmue is a very slow series to begin with, but the QTEs more than anything feel outright disrespectful of the player's time.

The last thing we'll talk about is the presentation. For reference, I played this on a PS4 Slim, so this is the base PS4 experience of the game. One of the best things the game has going for it is that it's quite pretty if you stand still and look around, particularly at the environments. Some of the NPCs look a bit uncanny valley in just how stylized they are compared to a lot of the main characters like Ryo and Shenhua, and they can also look pretty creepy when they open their mouths to talk, but it's far from a deal breaker and the game overall holds up visually just fine. The game also has some quite nice music, especially during the final battle and the chicken catching game. It's not without its odd performance issues though.

If you run around an area, NPCs take quite a few seconds to load in, although they still exist, meaning Ryo will just be bumping into air until the NPC loads in and you can interact with them. There are also many areas in Naiowu where you are forced to walk through an area to let the area ahead of you load, and this can get annoying given how often you need to run from one end of the city to the other. There are also a lot of (admittedly quite fast) loading times within cutscenes, and some of them are just these weird fades to black that happen constantly in longer cutscenes. They make for very jarring dialogue exchanges where you keep thinking the scene has ended, but in fact it's just a fade to black that could've been a quick cut, and that's a problem that the whole game is plagued with from the word 'go'.

Verdict: Not Recommended. Though I did not hate my time with Shenmue 3, and actually quite enjoyed most of it, it is not a game that I could actually recommend in good faith to anyone who doesn't already like it. The main reason I enjoyed Shenmue 3 was just down to it being an open world game, and having the same "number go up" dopamine hits of progression that any open world game has. Everything Shenmue 3 does ranges from mediocre at best to outright bad. Shenmue 3 didn't have to feel like a poor man's Yakuza, but the production decisions made along the way make it feel like precisely that. Shenmue as a series has very different goals narratively and mechanically from Yakuza, so steps could've been taken to lean into the mundanity and slow pace to bring Shenmue into the 8th generation of gaming, but that is not what YsNet did. Shenmue 3 is a game that turns its nose up at the decade and a half of innovation in the open world genre since Shenmue 2's release and the start of Shenmue 3's development. It not only refuses to imagine that Shenmue could be anything more than what it always was, but when it does try to change it's actively taking steps backwards. Shenmue 3 had the potential to be an interesting niche entry to an ever expanding genre, and is instead a nostalgia piece that simply can't imagine a world beyond itself.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:50 am

The First 50:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)

As much as I generally dislike platformers, that doesn't mean that I cannot find ones that I appreciate or things to appreciate about them. Kid Dracula is a perfect example; there is a lot here to like, mainly because the game offers up variety alongside its more kid-friendly approach. Sure, it's graphically cutesy when compared to its Castlevania counterparts, but it's also well balanced, steadily builds up, and even at nine levels long throws so many differences at you that I couldn't help but enjoy the experience.

What do I mean? Well, let's start from the beginning. Kid Dracula starts off with a relatively straightforward and easy level. There are no real thrills here. Jumping feels good, you can attack in almost any direction, and when you charge your attack, you release a bigger one that does more damage. You go through the level and come up against a boss that's also quite easy. Simple. And then the game shows you that you've unlocked a new weapon type. And then the minigames start for extra lives.

Yes, between every level, you get to play from a set of minigames for bonus lives, depending on how many coins you earned by killing enemies with charged up attacks. These bonuses include roulette, a spinning lottery ball game, a game involving sticking swords into a can with a skeleton, and Can-Can dancers. Which one you get is randomized based on a ladder layout that changes every time, so I never saw the Can-Can dancers, but with enough coins, you'll likely get plenty of lives. This breaks up the gameplay in an unusual way but provides a nice distraction from the generally short platforming levels.

You also earn new weapons after almost every level, with the exception of the final couple, which is fine; you still get plenty, and while some such as the ice ball, bomb, or homing shots are great for combat, there are others that mix up your methods of getting through levels, such as turning into a bat to fly or being able to walk on the ceiling. There are times where these alternate movement abilities are required, but just as often you can also pull them out for fun to get around tough areas, provided you avoid any issues with hitboxes and pay attention to how long the powers last.

There is also a nice level of variety with the levels themselves. What starts off fairly easy and straightforward soon offers up underwater caves, icy and slick platforms, deadly traps, scrolling sections, and so on, yet the game doles these out slowly to really let you build up your skills. One of the toughest sections for me was an area towards the end which involved jumping across falling platforms inside a large tube, because there were both elements of twitch platforming as well as puzzle solving to ensure I made the right choice on where to go next. Seeing as this was near the final level though, I'd had some experiences already with scrolling segments, so I felt up for the challenge and even ended up enjoying it, even if I did get myself killed more than once through jumping too early and bumping my head on another platform. Boss fights also keep up this creativity, steadily getting harder as you go and requiring you think about your weapon loadout, though every now and again you get a curve ball like one "boss fight" that was actually a quiz show with the Statue of Liberty.

In the end, it all comes down to a final boss battle where you have to get between two lightning bolts and shoot him in the mouth as he tries to shoot you with a projectile. It tests your timing and your ability to gauge where your hitbox is, both serving as a challenge and building on skills you've spent the whole game getting down.

The hitbox is probably the one area where things get a little wonky, as I occasionally found myself hitting the edge of it and getting hurt or killed; in the moment, it feels weird, but it ended up helping out against the final boss because I had an idea of how big it actually was. What I thought was an error was actually a teaching tool... Plus, the game is generally forgiving with health and steadily offers far more powerups to increase your max health than you will likely actually need. While Kid Dracula offers up some challenges, it's generous and encourages you to keep going. And with the array of gameplay you get, you never get bored of it being the same old thing over and over. I found it quite charming.

Yeah, go Kid Dracula.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:05 pm

Wait, that's the Fami version right? And who hates platformers?????

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)

41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
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In 1987 Taito released an arcade game called Darius. It was about shooting evil alien space fish and was so epic that a row of three horizontal screens was needed to capture the action. Soon after came The Ninja Warriors, which called for the same sort of grandiose setup. The Ninja Warriors is a beat 'em up, which was ported to the PC Engine and Mega CD (in Japan only, if those console names didn't give it away) as well as an assortment of home computers. It was followed by a Super Nintendo game called Ninja Warriors (humorously titled The Ninja Warriors Again in Japan), which kind of treads a fine line between sequel and port, and then that was remade later on as The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors (or, The Ninja Warriors Once Again). In any event, this Arcade Archives release is that very first game, emulated by Hamster in all its coin-eating glory.

The story's about the dystopian future of 1993, where a totalitarian government issues martial law across the nation. A rebel group sends some ninjas out on a suicide mission. Except these aren't regular ninjas: they're highly-advanced android ninjas. Player 1 takes control of the female ninja (kunoichi) by default, which is surprising to see in a game from this era. The (co-op) player 2 is the more traditional masculine ninja clad in dark blue garb.
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The game's unique aesthetics are immediately apparent. The "stretched" three-monitor effect is created on the Switch by placing large black bars on both the top and bottom of the screen. It noticeably shrinks the action window, though the same can be said about any 4:3 Arcade Archives release. In order to accurately comprehend all the game's details it's best to play this on a television as opposed to handheld mode. The graphics are excellent. Backgrounds are richly composed; the journey unfolds across an urban wasteland replete with burned-out buildings, graffiti, and imposing military vehicles. Sprites are massive, with richly detailed animation. The walk cycles are particularly realistic and impressive. Though the highlight here is undoubtedly the sound design. The soundtrack is performed by Zuntata, Taito's in-house band. "Daddy Mulk" -- the theme from stage one which resurfaces later on -- is an absolutely legendary track, sporting some of the sleekest synths around, plus some chanting robotic voices, and an unexpected shamisen solo that drops shortly after the three-minute mark. It's quite astonishing. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it doesn't hit as hard as "Daddy Mulk" but is pretty competent nevertheless. There are also plenty of high-definition sound samples. The game is full of varying grunts, groans, and squeals, and the most cowardly foes scream "Retreat!" as they sprint off-screen.

As The Ninja Warriors predates the game-changer known as Final Fight, it's crafted in an older style reminiscent of Irem's Kung-Fu Master. Levels are large flat planes, though the final stage also boasts a few staircases. The ninjas can jump and execute two attacks: slashing with a short-range kunai or tossing shurikens, which are limited in number. Combat isn't particularly nuanced, and the game gets dreadfully hard in the final stages which are absolutely overflowing with enemy combatants. Thankfully, there are respawn continues and Arcade Archives offers up its typical supply of infinite virtual quarters. There's only one life allotted per credit, and as a cool graphical effect the ninjas shed clothing as they take damage, revealing their true inorganic natures.

Ultimately, the super-slick retro-futuristic style of the The Ninja Warriors clashes with the gameplay itself. This is a slow one, with a frustratingly lethargic walking speed and a bloated runtime. It takes around thirty-five minutes to clear this, which is actually quite a lot given how repetitive the action is. This is a decent enough game: for many it will serve as an adequate preview for the SNES successor, which is typically held in much higher esteem.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:02 pm

I hate platformers. And yeah, it's apparently the first official port of the Famicom game. I think you'd like this collection, Bone.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:17 pm

I kinda hopped off the compilation train now that I own so many carts! For instance, I do have the Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun Fami cart. It is charming indeed, though I have yet to finish it myself.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:21 pm

Haha, yeah, then you have no need to pick this up! It's a nice game though, and it washed away the bad taste that Castlevania the Adventure left in my mouth.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by pook99 Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:49 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Infinite Beyond the Mind review, please. :lol: (I am genuinely curious to read about it.)


Sure thing.

Infinite beyond the mind is a 2-d action platformer with nice 16 bit visuals.

Controls here are straight forward and work well. You have an attack, which gives off a very strider-ish vibe, a jump/double-jump, an invincible dash that can be used on the air or on the ground, and a wall jump that can be used on the same well to climb any wall. I have seen some criticism levied towards this game because you basically have all of your moves from the start(you get one new slash done from a double jump about halfway through the game) and there are no sub weapons or anything of that nature, but I reject that as a criticism. The game is designed with your tool set in mind and does a good job of using all of the moves at your disposal while introducing a nice difficulty curve. One point of contention with the controls is the wall jump, there is this annoying delay between the time that you touch the wall to the time when you can jump off it. It generally does not make too much of a difference once you get used to it but there is one boss fight where it was very problematic.

The game is broken up into 16 levels, each level has multiple stages (ie 1-1, 1-2) and culminates in a boss fight. There are also a tiny handful of schmup levels thrown in, which are competent and a fun diversion from the main platforming action.

levels in this game are linear, run from left to right, kill everything you see, with a tiny bit of exploration. Most levels are vertically large while scrolling horizontally, so as you progress through the levels you can explore a bit to find permanent health upgrades and extra lives. The game uses a life system, if you die it is back to the beginning of the stage, if you have to continue, you go back to the beginning of the world, so stocking up on lives early can definitely make a difference on the much harder later stages.

This game has a very nice difficulty curve, the early stages are really easy, you can just run through the levels, kill enemies, and there is little to no platforming, at least none that can kill you, but the game does a pretty nice job of easing you into the difficulty level and around world 10 the difficulty really starts kicking in and stays hard for the remainder of the game. By the time the last level rolls around you are being swarmed by tons of enemies with platforming challenges everywhere. It definitely caused me to rage a few times but it is not insurmountable and you will generally feel satisfied when you do beat a particularly difficult part.

Every single world ends in a boss fight, As a general rule these bosses are not too difficult, they mostly do a good job of telegraphing their attacks, and your life bar is long enough to give you a pretty good margin of error. They are all fun to fight, but the difficulty ranges pretty wildly with some bosses that can just be bashed to death with little strategy, while others are insanely hard. The level 15 boss is one of the dumbest boss fights I have had the displeasure of fighting, it is basically a fight where you are confined to a wall, you have to constantly wall jump or fall into a pit. While you are fighting him there is an insta-kill fog that rises which lowers when you hit the boss, but the boss spends half the fight hiding to close to the fog to get hits in, very frustrating, but outside of that blip the bosses were a good time.

There is also a coop mode here, which probably makes the game much easier, in coop mode when you die you instantly respawn rather than going back to the start of a level so I would imagine that considerably eases the difficulty.

Infinite: beyond the mind is a solid platformer, its not a game that is particularly innovative but it is fast paced fun, and gets the fundamentals right. Not a must play, but I definitely enjoyed my time with it.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:27 pm

Awesome review! Thank you!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:05 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)

42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
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Everyone loves Steins;Gate. Including the developers, as they can't seem to stop "rebooting" it. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate retells the story of Steins;Gate, but does so with 8-bit aesthetics and gameplay. This one's available on the Switch eShop, but isn't searchable. To get it one must use the code that came packaged with Steins;Gate Elite (which itself is a remaster of the original!). Note that 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate is quite literally "8-bit" -- it's essentially a Famicom ROM running on the Switch and it apparently functions within NES/Famicom emulators. I suppose reproduction carts can't be too far behind. Humorously, this is actually the second "8-bit" entry of the series, though the PC installment titled Steins;Gate Hen'i Kuukan no Octet was a Japan-only release and resembles an old PC-88 adventure.

To quickly recap the story: the protagonist and world-saving hero of Steins;Gate is one Rintaro Okabe, a university student and self-styled "mad scientist." He and his ragtag group of friends create mostly-worthless gadgets in their rented laboratory space, before inadvertently discovering time travel ("oops"). Subsequent experiments alter timelines and lead to disastrous results: chaos, death, and an impending world conflict. Okabe, the only individual who appears to be able to "remember" events after timelines have shifted, takes it upon himself to set things straight by "undoing" his previous jaunts through spacetime.
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A couple things to note about the way the story is presented here. First, it's heavily condensed. Steins;Gate was a thirty-hour game; 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate is designed to be beaten in a single hour-long session and lacks a save feature. This means that some of the most impactful and emotional scenes are glossed over for the sake of brevity. Second, certain details have been altered, as I believe this story is supposed to be unfolding over a slightly different "worldline." Nevertheless, it's the same basic plot progression, and the game will be entirely incomprehensible to those who have yet to play the original and/or Elite.

While Steins;Gate unfolds via the "route" style of a modern visual novel, 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate plays more like a retro adventure game. Navigation is accomplished by moving Okabe around within a top-down map of Akihabara. Upon entering a location the game switches to a first-person view, oftentimes with a character portrait (of a friend or adversary of Okabe) placed dead center. In these segments a series of options becomes available. Okabe can choose to speak to a character, investigate something nearby, use a previously obtained item, initiate a "crazy laugh" (seriously), or move within or out of the present locale.
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The game is very, very easy. It doesn't seem like there's any possible way to lose. The player is bashed over the head with hints regarding what to do next and most areas are "walled off" until they become relevant. The writing's decent enough, though the type of sly humor that characterizes the original didn't translate especially well to this compact retelling. Character portraits are charming and well-drawn, as are the location backgrounds. Resolution is 4:3, and visuals are given a "CRT" effect via scan lines and a vintage television border. The soundtrack is comprised of tunes from the original. They're structurally competent, but sound a bit neutered here. The weakest part of the whole experience is inarguably the world map. It's overly large, dull, and gray. Keeping track of locations is a tedious affair as most everything looks the same. The game would have benefited from a simple "move" menu option à la Portopia.

All told, I love Steins;Gate and because I love Steins;Gate I like this well enough. This particular spin-off, while far from life-changing, is a good deal more fun and accessible than the average Famicom adventure. It isn't perfect, but it's "free" and comes packaged with an absolute titan of a visual novel. Play Steins;Gate Elite and then hop on over and snuggle up with 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate. There are worse ways to spend an hour.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by REPO Man Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:27 pm

Shantae and the Seven Sirens for PS4. A near-perfect entry in the Shantae series.
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