Games Beaten 2024

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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Congrats on beating CV64, Stark! :D
That was more or less my impression when I played through it a couple years back as well. It's nowhere near as bad as its reputation would have you believe, but it's far from the best thing ever.

I personally felt that Legacy of Darkness was a WAY better game that makes that original game effectively obsolete, but I'm interested to hear what you think about it when you get to it! ^w^

Also! What ending did you get, if you don't mind me asking? ^w^
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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REPO Man wrote:Have you tried the Castlevania Doom mod, Simon's Destiny? FYI, if you didn't know, it's an IWAD so it can be run as-is.

No, but it looks amazing. I'm currently running through every game in release order, but maybe I will come back to it!

PartridgeSenpai wrote:I personally felt that Legacy of Darkness was a WAY better game that makes that original game effectively obsolete, but I'm interested to hear what you think about it when you get to it! ^w^
Also! What ending did you get, if you don't mind me asking? ^w^

I got the best ending, which is when you don't spend 30K with the Demon store and do it quick enough that the Vampire hunter doesn't get turned into a vampire. I liked the subplot with Rosa. The story was fairly bare bones, but enjoyable enough. And yes, I've already started Legacy and it seems to take care of the camera and save points. Will finish it up and post a review!

Oh and Popo, the new PoP sounds amazing, I'm looking forward to playing it. I am bummed that they delayed Sands of Time remake, I love that game.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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Stark wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:I personally felt that Legacy of Darkness was a WAY better game that makes that original game effectively obsolete, but I'm interested to hear what you think about it when you get to it! ^w^
Also! What ending did you get, if you don't mind me asking? ^w^

I got the best ending, which is when you don't spend 30K with the Demon store and do it quick enough that the Vampire hunter doesn't get turned into a vampire. I liked the subplot with Rosa. The story was fairly bare bones, but enjoyable enough. And yes, I've already started Legacy and it seems to take care of the camera and save points. Will finish it up and post a review!


Woo hoo! Congrats on the best ending! :D
I managed to get that one too, though all through dumb luck XD
I had no idea it was a thing, so I was just spending as much money as I could and not really hurrying at all. I must've come in SO close to the line on both of them, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth! XD
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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PartridgeSenpai wrote:Woo hoo! Congrats on the best ending! :D
I managed to get that one too, though all through dumb luck XD
I had no idea it was a thing, so I was just spending as much money as I could and not really hurrying at all. I must've come in SO close to the line on both of them, but I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth! XD

Yeah there isn't really much reason to spend too much money. They are fairly generous with chicken and beef legs. And I just treated getting turned into a vampire a death sentence and started from the save. Oh yeah did I mention you could get turned into a vampire? :P Basically, makes it so you can't use your whip or your items, only your short sword, which is blegh.
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023

1. Tormented Souls - Switch
2. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II - PC
3. Fantasy Empires - PC
4. Vagrant Story - PS1
5. Might and Magic 7: For Blood and Honor - PC
6. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown - Switch
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project - NES

Manhattan Project is a game built using the TMNT II NES engine to be a pure home release, after the success of TMNT II. It takes all the gameplay of the previous game and makes everything bigger. But in this case, bigger isn't better, as this game is utterly mean. The basic premise is while the Turtles are on vacation in Florida they get a news item that Shredder is attacking NYC again and is planning on literally stealing the entire island. It's up to the Turtles to stop him once again, working their way through eight stages of beat 'em up action.

Now, since this game is based off of TMNT II, people will be very familiar with the general nature of how it plays. You have a jump button and an attack, and doing attack in the air is a dive kick. Enemies move onto screen in waves as you progress, with the bulk being Foot Soldiers of various kinds that die quickly and a handful of beefier enemies (mostly Rock Soldiers). At the end of each stage is a boss, and some stages have a mid boss. Get enough points and you'll gain an extra life, and trust me, you'll need them.

Where the game changes things up is in your extended attack options. In the original TMNT II if you pressed jump and then attack while you were still rising (before the spin jump) you would do an attack that instant-killed Foot Soldiers. It came out fast and had a good range, so it was your primary method for getting through stages. For bosses you would just chain fast jump kicks and hoped you had enough health to get through, as there was just a general lot of immediate punishes you couldn't avoid. Here they've changed things up. Jump into attack quickly now is a super move which makes you invincible for the duration and does heavy damage, but it also takes a point of life. Unlike most beat 'em ups with this sort of mechanic, you can still use it at one health, so once you're down to that last bit of health you might as well spam this. The replacement is the shovel move, where if you hit down and attack you stick out your weapon in a thrust, and if it connects you lift the enemy over your head. On Foot Soldiers this is an instant kill (and the body can impact enemies behind you), while on bigger enemies it might take two hits (and it doesn't throw). It doesn't have the same big hitbox of TMNT II's attack, and it's not worthwhile on bosses because it's a bit slower. And speaking of bosses, they all have MASSIVE health pools. You're pretty much required to spam your super move on them to get them down, as trying to fight them normally ensures that you will die first from their various punish attacks after your own attacks. The supers at least have a chance at dodging them from their invincibility frames.

The stages themselves are much longer than the TMNT II stages, and enemy AI has improved. Now, unless they are already doing another attack, Foot Soldiers will automatically throw a punch if you do a jump kick, so you don't have a safe way to approach anymore. Enemies are also now biased more towards ranged options with a very keep away AI, so it becomes hard to get damage on them. Coupled with the stage length and you will find yourself being ground down before bosses (most of which don't have a pizza right beforehand). So you have a grueling stage to get through and then the rocket tag of spamming supers to get through the boss fight. You need a lot of practice and a decent amount of luck to make it through things. And you also have limited continues, just in case you thought you could grind practice time against a particular late-game stage.

Overall, Manhattan Project is a step down from its predecessor; it's harder in unfun ways and just grinds at you. It might be better co-op, as enemy count is limited by hardware considerations, not player count, so you should be able to manage enemies better (and potentially get damage on bosses without having to spam supers as much).
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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Manhattan Project was definitely not a step down, you just aren't playing it well. It's easily the best of the three games on the NES
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RobertAugustdeMeijer
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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I don't know how difficult TMNT3 was in single player, but I recall playing it with a friend as a kid and beating it in one go. Never bothered to touch it again!
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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January
Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox Series)
Metroid Prime Remastered (Switch)
Fire Emblem Engage (Switch)
Knights of the Round (Switch)
Megaman: The Power Battles (Switch)


Killed some time with a friend on the Capcom Arcade Stadium last night. Megaman The Power Battles was a replay of a game that I go back to nearly monthly but this was my first time actually sitting down and trying to beat Knights of the Round. To say that we did not 1CC it would be an understatement. We initially kept track of how many 'quarters' we put in but lost count half way though. I would estimate that we probably 'spent' $30 each going by $.50 a play. But this is what I love about arcade games in this modern era: the ability to push through like you had an endless supply of quarters or master a game and play with a set amount of credits.
Image

Knights of the Round is a lot of fun. I think I like it a bit more than Capcom's D&D licensed beat em ups. The evolution of your character's appearance as they level up is a nice touch though the game gets so hard towards the midway point that I wonder how many kids back in the 90s actually got to see half of the upgrades. This probably added some intrigue and mystique. The gameplay is fun, most enemies don't soak up too much damage, and with a friend you can work together to juggle bosses strategically.
Maybe now Nintendo will acknowledge Metroid has a fanbase?
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Raging Justice »

RobertAugustdeMeijer wrote:I don't know how difficult TMNT3 was in single player, but I recall playing it with a friend as a kid and beating it in one go. Never bothered to touch it again!


Personally, the only TMNT game on the NES I found difficult was the first one...like a lot of people. Still beat it though. The second and third game I thought were pretty easy back in the day, same goes for Turtles in Time on the SNES and that first turtles game on the Gameboy.

I was a different gamer back then though, a lot of notoriously hard games I beat and sometimes had an easy time doing it (like Double Dragon III on the NES). Today, I have a lot less patience though and get pissed off pretty easily LOL.
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
* indicates a repeat
1. Terranigma (SFC)
2. Eastward (PC)
3. Pulse (PC)
4. Lost Ruins (PC)
5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
6. Dropsy (PC)
7. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (PC)
8. Pokemon Ruby (GBA) *
9. Secret of Mana (SFC)
10. Fire Watch (PC)
11. Bokura (PC)

12. Romancing SaGa (SFC)

I’ve had this game for almost a year now, and I picked it up around when I was playing through the GameBoy SaGa games last year. I only made it through one of them, at the time, so the other SaGa games I had, their SFC counterparts included, got put on the back burner for an indefinite period of time. After finishing Secret of Mana a couple weeks back, I was in the mood for more Super Famicom stuff, and I finally managed to jazz myself up enough for something new that I decided it was high time I try this game out (whether I’d completed the GB SaGa trilogy or not). My final playtime on my save was somewhere around the 35 hours mark, but between resets, redos of stuff, and the frankly dubious accuracy of that in-game timer, I’d much more strongly believe my play time was closer to 40 or even 45 hours to finish the Japanese version of the game on real hardware.

As the opening cutscene explains, long, long ago, there was nothing but darkness and turmoil in the world. The three gods of death let havoc reign, and life was nearly impossible. That is until one day, the father of all gods, Elore, put a stop to it. Wielding the power of the ten destiny stones, his chosen human heroes forced the gods of death to stand down, and peace to come to the world for the first time. However, one god of death did not back down. Saruin, the strongest of them, refused to surrender, and only at the end of a long, bloody battle was he finally sealed away, though it came at the cost of the life of Elore’s chosen champion of men.

That’s really all you get to set the stage for the very interesting and unconventional story that is the first Romancing SaGa. Though its graphics make it feel like a rom-hack of Final Fantasy IV, the actual gameplay and narrative design of Romancing SaGa is incredibly ambitious and unique for the January of ‘92 (at least on consoles, anyhow). You have your choice of eight different potential starting characters, and after naming them, you drop into their story. A brief introduction to their tale will see you (usually) set on a brief opening quest that shows how they start adventuring around the land, but there isn’t much in the realm of “plot” to Romancing SaGa 1, at least not in the traditional sense.

Trading more traditional narrative design elements (or at least their execution) for freedom of choice, the “Free Scenario” system means that you can, and are encouraged to, play Romancing SaGa however you want, really. If you want to explore a location, go there! If you want to recruit a party member, do it! There’s even a sort of in-built morality system, and certain quests and events will happen differently depending on how you’ve led your life on your adventure up until this point. While there are certainly quests and bits of story here and there, it’s almost all entirely optional save for your opening quest and however you end up learning of where the final boss is hiding. I started as the pirate captain Hawk, and after being betrayed and cast out of Pirate’s Coast with his first mate Geraha the lizardman, we traveled the land fighting monsters, hunting for treasure, and righting wrongs where we could. But a lot of that adventure happened just because of where I happened to be at particular times and who happened to be with me. The narrative design of Romancing SaGa 1 allows for a really impressive amount of emergent storytelling for the time, and even though it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was a really cool experience that is certainly something novel in the SFC’s early library.

The way that Romancing SaGa 1 achieves this degree of freedom and world progression is by something the Event Rank system (or at least it was called that by the time of the PS2 remake). After every battle you fight, the world’s event rank will tick up by one point, and once the event rank gets high enough, certain things start to occur. Higher rank quests will open up, lower rank quests will go away and/or auto-fail, and the monsters of the world will gradually be replaced with stronger replacements as the world ticks ever closer to Saruin’s resurrection (which happens at about 880 battles, for those curious).

This is both a strength and a weakness of the game’s design depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for. If you’re looking for emergent gameplay and carving out your own adventure regardless of what happens, then you’re likely going to like the Event Rank system quite a bit. However, if you’re the type of player who MUST see everything in one playthrough and really hate missing out on ANYTHING, no matter how trivial, then this is likely going to drive you crazy and make you have a miserable time. It’s up to you which one of those you’ll end up being, but I’ll end my explanation of the Event Rank system with a bit of advice I found on a Japanese guide site when I was looking for advice just starting out. This game lets you have any kind of adventure you want. Instead of worrying about what you’re missing, before you start looking up any more detailed guide or what not, just do your best to lose yourself in the adventure, and follow fate’s thread wherever it leads you. It’s what the game was specifically designed for, and you’ll end up having a much better time if you play it that way. This is how I approached the game, and I can say without a doubt that it made my time with it far, far better as a result~.

Being a SaGa game, the actual RPG mechanics of it are certainly unconventional, but I honestly found them to be quite straightforward and simple once I had the hang of them. It may seems strange at first to have no world map in a game from this era, just picking a new spot on the map to go to once you’ve learned about it in game will become second nature to you very quickly. It will get you in the habit of talking to everyone you see, which will not only help you unlock new areas, but it will also help you bump into new quests much easier too~.

While we’ve thankfully discarded the weapon durability system that the GameBoy SaGa games love so much, we’ve expanded the way that Espers would randomly gain stats to a much larger gameplay system. While your party of *six* will indeed have chances to gain weapons on their respective levels and spells only when they’ve used that particular weapon or kind of spell in battle, all of their other stats simply have a random chance of leveling up at the end of each turn-based encounter. Depending on the background you give your character at the start, there are some *slight* leveling biases for different characters and backgrounds, but there is generally nothing one character can do that another can’t. While it’ll certainly take a fair bit of time (time you don’t have, since you have that event rank to worry about) to re-spec someone very skilled with an iron sword to start being a back-row magic user, there’s nothing actually stopping them from doing that and getting good at it just like a caster who’s been doing it since the start of the game.

This all amounts to a gameplay experience that is very flexible towards adapting to how you want to play the game. If you’re being conscious of your event rank, of course, there are certainly some best practices to follow, though. Weapon skill level often matters a lot more than your character stats (and stats don’t affect bow damage at all), so sticking with one weapon for a very long time is a really smart and good way to play the game, because even just unequipping a weapon (of which you can eqiup like six at a time) will reset your skill level on it. Armor and defense are VERY important, as this is largely a game of rocket tag. Tanking an enemy hit and then attacking back hard enough that they go down in one or two turns is the recipe for winning most tough encounters, so prioritizing armor over weapons is a very smart strategy. Party members are largely interchangable outside of certain quests that are tied to particular ones, so using someone for whatever role you may need them to fill at the time is a perfectly fine solution, and you don’t need to hunt around everywhere looking for a perfect fit if all you need is a warm body to sling spells and wield a bow.

A lot of the freedom in this game can seem extremely foreboding, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling that way, but what makes that MUCH easier to deal with (especially compared to the PS2 remake) is that this game is ultimately just not very difficult. As long as you’re following best practices and not just playing badly, you don’t need to play anywhere remotely close to “optimally” to actually have a fun time and have a chance at beating the game. You actually have all the time in the world to go to the final dungeon in the end, so grinding up at the end of the game until you’ve got the best weapons and armor money can buy is a pretty smart idea once you’re there (and it’ll be a fair bit of grinding, admittedly), but it’s very easy to have a fulfilling and fun adventure just like I did without needing to have a character building walkthrough open the entire time.

A guide can be helpful to point you towards those best practices I mentioned and help poke you in the right direction for a quest, sure, but there is absolutely no need to let the freedom of the game stand as an obstacle in enjoying your adventure. The degree to which you can experiment and party build is intimidating, no doubt, but the game does a really good job at setting you up for success to the point that just wandering wherever the wind takes you is still a perfectly valid and fun way to enjoy your adventure without feeling like you’ve created a part that can’t possibly complete the game.

The presentation of the game is quite nice, but it’s still an early-life SFC RPG at the end of the day. The music is just the quality you’d expect from a SquareSoft game, of course, and the graphics look pretty enough in their FFIV rom-hack sort of way, but it very much has the “we built an 8-bit game on a 16-bit console” vibe that early SFC RPGs like FFIV and FFV have for sure. My favorite part of the graphic design is how they do the text when people talk, though. Speech bubbles of appropriate sizes pop up directing out of the particular person talking, and it’s a very fun and creative way to show who’s talking without needing to make the player remember a bunch of names or whatever, even if it’s just some random NPC talking at you.

The game is also a biiiit buggy here and there. While it’s not a *huge* problem most of the time, there are absolutely places where the instability of the game soured my experience a bit. The biggest example was, when I used a powerful summon item to beat a particularly mean and tough mini-boss near the end of the game, the colors went all weird, and the game froze after the end of the next cutscene I completed. After resetting the console, I went to load my save only to find that my save file, File 1, was deleted! Thankfully my backup save in File 2 was safe, but as successive attempts and trial and error showed, using that summon (on that boss at least) created a RAM issue that wound up deleting a save file in addition to crashing the game. It was such an incredible insult to injury that I could do nothing but laugh at the time (especially since my backup save was so close to that one), and this was the only bug anywhere near this serious or gameplay affecting that I ever encountered, but it was also clearly SUCH a major bug that there was no way I couldn’t mention it here. While that particular instance will likely never happen to you, never forget to save early and save often (and in multiple places!) should you ever decide to play this game on original hardware.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. While this is a game I quite enjoyed, this totally falls into the category of “7/10 game that certain people will really love and others will absolutely hate,” as you probably picked up from reading the review. If my explanation of how to follow best practices and how best to lose yourself in the narrative piqued your interest, then this is a game you might well enjoy a fair bit like I did! However, if a lot of those systems sounded nightmarish and my reassurances did little to assuage your worries, then this is probably one worth staying away from. I honestly didn’t really think I’d like this game very much, and that this would be a game I quietly trudged to the end of because I don’t like not finishing games I spend money on, but I was really pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed with my time with it (and proud of myself for actually sitting down and finishing it in the first place XD). Romancing SaGa is definitely not a game for everyone, but for those willing to give it a chance, it’s a novel and ambitious entry in the SFC’s library that will give you an adventure like just about nothing else on the system can.
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