Games Beaten 2024

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by MrPopo »

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
8. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth - PS5
9. Tomb Raider Remastered - PC
10. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth - PS5
11. Unicorn Overlord - Switch
12. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: Solaris Showdown - PC
13. Princess Peach: Showtime - Switch
14. Fida Puti Samurai - PC
15. Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money - PC
16. Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts - PC
17. Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues - PC

The third DLC for New Vegas, Old World Blues follows up on some plot points from Dead Money, and provides a nice playground to wander around in. Not to mention, there are a lot of perks to pick up thanks to SCIENCE! You start the DLC by following a transmission to a crashed satellite. Interacting with it knocks you out and transports you to an old research facility. Upon waking up, you discover your brain, spine, and heart were removed, but thanks to some electrodes implanted in your skull you still can function. Time to explore and find a way out, and maybe get your brain back in the process.

Dead Money was confined entirely to a couple of effective dungeons, while Honest Hearts was entirely wandering outside (and not much to see in that area). Old World Blues outdoes both by being a fully realized outside area with lots of small dungeons inside. It serves as a microcosm of the greater world of New Vegas. You'll also build out a nice base in the process of completing the DLC which you can quickly return to after the DLC is over. Facilities include free healing, a store that can repair all gear to 100% (for a price), and several mechanisms for refilling food and water (important for hardcore mode).

Old World Blues is definitely a step up from the previous two DLCs, and it was nice seeing the connections with Dead Money. The new gear you can get felt like mostly sidegrades, but the new perks are a very nice boost that makes things feel very worthwhile (something Honest Hearts didn't have).
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by MrPopo »

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
8. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth - PS5
9. Tomb Raider Remastered - PC
10. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth - PS5
11. Unicorn Overlord - Switch
12. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: Solaris Showdown - PC
13. Princess Peach: Showtime - Switch
14. Fida Puti Samurai - PC
15. Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money - PC
16. Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts - PC
17. Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues - PC
18. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin - PC

Wrath is an indie FPS using the Quake engine (specifically, a modified Darkplaces source port) that is notable for its level sizes. It spent quite a long time in early access, and unfortunately it doesn't feel like that time was put to good use; it has a significant number of problems that make it a sub-par experience, many of them stemming from the amateur nature of the game design.

The game is divided into three acts of five stages plus a boss. You start in a hub level, which includes pickups to do some refilling after a stage, and you're free to do the stages in any order. Your goal in each stage is to get a rune and escape; once you collect all five runes you can unlock the portal to the boss level. The game features an adaptive difficulty; the later stages you pick will have more enemies. This does end up being the first strike against the game; leaving aside the difficulty in properly balancing that many difficulties (main difficulty + stage order combinations), this means that the weapon pacing needs to account for the fact that you can start in any of five stages and do any of the other four stages next. What I found was each act had a single stage that introduced a top tier weapon in an appropriate setpiece, so if you didn't choose that level early you were going to bereft of that weapon.

The arsenal is a fairly standard one, all of which have alt fires. The default melee weapon's alt fire is the most interesting one, as it is a dash forward that does shockingly heavy damage (as in, good enough to oneshot mid-tier enemies) and is used for traversal. You get a pistol, double shotty, chaingun, bio grenade launcher, plasma launcher, rail gun, and then two interesting weapons. The first is a gun that fires a continuous beam that will chain to another target (and you can use its alt fire to crystalize an enemy and then beams shot at that enemy will fan out more) and the second is a heavy damage mace (about the same as the alt fire of your basic melee) that absorbs the souls of every enemy it kills; upon gaining ten souls you can use its alt fire which is this game's BFG equivalent. For the most part the guns all handle well and are all useful in various situations. But I did have some annoyances. The shotty has absolutely no feedback on where the pellets are landing; it's incredibly hard to judge the spread and I found that it felt like it was both incredibly short ranged AND didn't do well in short range against fast targets. And even with that, it's still your primary workhorse. The other thing that really bugged me was certain weapons had shockingly low max ammo counts; specifically the chaingun and plasma gun. They both are incredibly useful and have a fair amount of pickups, but you drain them after a 2-3 major enemies. And the placement of enemies you really want to use them on means I spent a lot of time skipping pickups because I was full. There's a certain pacing to weapon ammo in good FPS's; ideally the player finds situations to use the weapon that still leaves them with backup ammo, and then they find more ammo before the next time they really need it. Here the max ammo is low enough that I was using alternates in situations where they would be best because I was unwilling to drain it.

The game also features a Heretic-style item system. You can only use a single item at a time, and you're capped at 9. The items are a mixed bag of usefulness; the "gain health on kill", "enemies attack each other", and "black hole bomb" were always useful. The rebreather was nice those handful of times you needed it. And the damage amp is always appreciated, but you don't get enough for you to be free with them outside bosses. The ones that disappointed me were the thunder ring (self-centered aoe just doesn't cut it when the only enemies you're that close to die fast to everything anyway), turrets (not enough pickups and you need to spam them to feel effective), and shot reflection (it's a bubble that's placed on the ground, so you're stuck in a small area and it doesn't reflect everything). But the one that really stuck out was the invincibility. See, the tradeoff on it is that it sets your health to 1 and armor to 0. That's an interesting downside, and you can plan around it by saving health in an arena for afterwards. But the problem is that after an item expires there is a multi-second cooldown before you can activate another one. Can you say "oops, it ran out at the wrong moment and you're dead?"

The enemy design is a mixture of stuff you'd see in Doom and Quake, but they all tend to have some component that makes them just a bit more annoying to fight. The prime one is that every single ranged enemy will both keep firing after you're out of view for a couple seconds AND they continuously track you during this time period, even though they lack sight on you. So you can't do a fast dart in and out of cover; you have to jump out, shoot, go back, and then wait. It hurts the pacing of fights. Several of the enemies explode on death or otherwise leave a temporary damage area on their corpse; this is most egregious with the imp analog, which if not overkilled will fire several rapid shots in a cone in the air before exploding. Given how common they are, they're a source of a lot of cheap damage. But the absolute worst is the big melee enemy. He's got a lot of health and can do a fast charge at you. But you've played FPS's before, you know how to sidestep that charge and punish, right? Wrong; his tracking is insane. He can do a full 90 degree curve on his charge, and if it hits you say goodbye to half your health.

Finally, we come to the level design. And this is where the game really drags on you. The level design is a case study in how important pacing is, because the game is terrible at it. Each level is the traversal length of three regular FPS levels. You fight multiple hundreds of enemies a stage, but it isn't like a big Serious Sam area where you blow through most of them in a couple of setpieces. They just keep going and going and going. I found I was checking the enemy count to see my progress, and it was usually after about a third and two thirds of the way through the stage. The actual moment-to-moment design is fine, it's just there seemed to be no one going "hey, how about we chop this up into two different levels?" And because of the "do any stage in any order", you end up seeing the entire (or almost entire) cast of an act in stage one and have no surprises the rest of the act. Which is another thing that adds to the slog.

The really disappointing thing about Wrath is there was clearly a lot of effort put in, and individual elements are fine on their own. But when all combined together it is less than the sum of its parts; it gets in its own way and pulls itself down. As I understand it, there was some troubled development and the original lead left midway through, but even still, there's a general lack of project management that leaves a bloated product.
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

1. Chico and The Magic Orchard DX (Switch)
2. Dusk ‘82 (Switch)
3. Dusk (Switch)
4. Rock Boshers DX (Switch)
5. Metal Slug 4 (Neo Geo)
6. Bleed 2 (Switch)
7. Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
8. Mighty Gunvolt Burst (3DS)
9. Love 3 (Switch)
10. Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge (3DS)
11. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Switch)
12. Mother 3 (GBA)
13. Princess Peach: Showtime! (Switch)
14. Avenging Spirit (Arcade)


The forum’s back; so, I need to catch up!

Mother 3 is a rock-solid JRPG and, despite a slow start, is easily the best game in the Mother series. It looks great, has catchy music, adds beat-based combat, and retains the series’ distinctive sense of humor and place. It has a few problematic elements (e.g., the Magypsies), but it’s still a shame Nintendo never localized it. The fan-translation is great, though, and it’s definitely worth playing for fans of the series.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a great game for young girls, and I am 100% not its target audience. (I wish it had come out 7-8 years ago. I think my daughter would have loved it.) That said, it’s still a fun game, combining many different genres into one complete package. There’s some beat’em up in there, some MGS-inspired stealth, some platforming, some adventure gaming, etc. In fact, there’s so much stuff, the game is almost a Wario Ware game. There’s also a lot to find an unlock, but unfortunately, the game is not very completionist friendly, requiring you to play back through long stages with unskippable cut scenes if you want to try to get everything. That complaint aside, the game is otherwise charming, with a great, new villain - Madame Grape - who feels like something out of a Sega game.

Avenging Spirit is a very bizarre arcade game. It’s an action platformer in which you play as a ghost who can inhabit different enemies and use their abilities to navigate the game’s levels. Each enemy you can possess plays very differently, and some are much harder to find than others. Depending on who you possess the game’s difficulty changes radically. Some enemies can access different parts of the levels more easily, and some of them can wreck the bosses while others really struggle. Additionally, there are three hidden keys you just find to get the “good” ending. Honesty, it feels a bit like an arcade port of a console game since so many of the mechanics (e.g., experimentation, exploration, secrets, etc.) work better at home than in the arcade. Strangely, however, it was only ported to the GameBoy (which is an awesome game, BTW). Still, it’s fun, and it’s frequently on sale in the eShop. So, if you’re looking for a pretty great port of a bizarre arcade game for much less than the cost of an Arcade Archives release, you should give it a shot!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by MrPopo »

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
8. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth - PS5
9. Tomb Raider Remastered - PC
10. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth - PS5
11. Unicorn Overlord - Switch
12. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: Solaris Showdown - PC
13. Princess Peach: Showtime - Switch
14. Fida Puti Samurai - PC
15. Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money - PC
16. Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts - PC
17. Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues - PC
18. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin - PC
19. Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road - PC

Lonesome Road is the final piece of DLC for New Vegas. It has the highest base level and zero restrictions on what you bring in (and no surprise locking you in). It's also the most linear, which is used in order for it to have the most meaningful story. It wraps up a background thread from the other DLCs and gives some more context on why Honest Hearts was a thing, and it is a conclusion to the main character's story, as this DLC is about your past (which you've forgotten thanks to being shot in the head at the start of the base game).

The location this time is The Divide; an area on the boarder between California and Nevada that was the site of a series of missile silos which then had a massive earthquake. The land is broken and the wind rips through, keeping things shrouded in a noxious dust that has stripped the flesh from the bones of the ghouls that make up most of the enemies. There's no mechanical component here like there was in Dead Money, but it serves to impart atmosphere.

As I mentioned, it is incredibly linear. You're basically on a single path with a spur now and then for some gear, as you plow through enemies and learn more about your past. You also learn a bit more about the past world and fill in some more details around the wider goings on between the major nations in New Vegas. While I won't spoil anything, there are some elements which dip into Chris Avellone's usual well, so if you've played his other stuff you'll be in familiar territory.

Lonesome Road is a nice wrap up to the DLC and the base game, as it answers various lingering questions you might have had. The focused narrative allows it to be stronger than the standard open world narratives because it doesn't need to adapt to hundreds of choices or lack thereof. Just a couple of dialog trees at the end for you to pick what kind of person you are.
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Syndicate
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Syndicate »

...so I wrapped up Broken Age over the weekend. I've always thought that click and point adventures were sort of interesting, so finally getting around to checking one out was sort of cool. Broken Age is generally pretty fun and has an interesting atmosphere, though I found some of the puzzles to be pretty obtuse. I think I'd give it a second go or even pick up a physical copy if I came across one.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Markies »

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2024!
***Denotes Replay For Completion***

1. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
2. Jackal (NES)
***3. Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device (SDC)***
4. Skies Of Arcadia Legends (GCN)
5. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)
6. Sunset Riders (GEN)
***7. Tactics Ogre (PS1)***
***8. Forza Motorsport (XBOX)***
9. Riviera: The Promised Land (GBA)
***10. Darkstalkers (PS1)***
***11. Splatoon (WiiU)***
12. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (NSW)
***13. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)***

14. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

Image

I beat 3D Dot Game Heroes on the Sony Playstation 3 this evening!

As a child, I didn't have many friends. So, when my older brothers weren't using it, I would always play my NES. I remember many weekends in Grade School, having nothing to do for the weekend, I would start a new quest of the original Legend of Zelda and finish it before the weekend was over. It was my beautiful escapism and one that shaped me as a gamer today. Because of that, 3D Dot Game Heroes was one of the big games that tempted me to pick up a PS3. Even though it took me a while to pick one up, the game was high on my Wishlist. After a bit of searching, I picked one up at a local convention last year and I knew that I had to play it soon.

I absolutely love the story in 3D Dot Game Heroes. A king has watched his poor 2D become neglected, so he had to change the entire world into 3D. I never felt so moved in my life as all worlds should remain in 2D. Once I started playing the game, I realized that it mixes some of my favorite games of all time in Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest all into one wonderful game. The game is a beautiful love letter to all those amazing 8 Bit Games and just a great homage to the wonder years of gaming. After just a few short moments, I was instantly hooked into the game and I was back in my parents' basement playing these games again. The game never tries to be anything more than them and I appreciate that. It knows what it is and it never really tries to be anything more. But, once all the nostalgia wears off, the game is still really fun and enjoyable. You traverse an overworld, you go through dungeons, beat huge bosses, collect a heart container and then do it again. Its really quite simple and it all really works. The dialogue and characters are humorous and it is just an enjoyable experience.

Overall, I loved playing 3D Dot Game Heroes. The final dungeon is an absolute bear and almost felt like 2/3's of the game. Also, you are always strap for cash and there isn't really a great way to get money, so you have to be very tight. I would say those are just minor flaws in an overall great experience. The nostalgia and feelings I got from the game overwhelmed any negativity I might have had for it. If you loved those classic games, then this is obviously a no brainer and an easy recommendation. Even if you have never played them, this is a good introduction and just a solid adventure all around to enjoy!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by MrPopo »

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
8. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth - PS5
9. Tomb Raider Remastered - PC
10. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth - PS5
11. Unicorn Overlord - Switch
12. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: Solaris Showdown - PC
13. Princess Peach: Showtime - Switch
14. Fida Puti Samurai - PC
15. Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money - PC
16. Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts - PC
17. Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues - PC
18. Wrath: Aeon of Ruin - PC
19. Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road - PC
20. Super Buff HD - PC

Super Buff HD is a bite sized indie FPS with a unique visual style. Everything is cell shaded and quite simple; it's almost like what you might be able to draw using MS Paint (and the credits claim MS Paint was one of the tools). Explosions and killed enemies render sound effect text, like "BLAM" and "JO MAMMA". I actually found these obscured things at times. Each level is in the 2-5 minute range to get through, with usually a couple of arenas making up everything. Now and then you'll fight a boss, which are basically regular enemies with a ton more health and are huge. You have four weapons; a basic rapid fire that alt fires as a shotgun, a melee weapon that alt fire throws and then returns, dealing damage in both directions, a rocket launcher that alt fires as more rockets, and paired stapleguns that alt fire as a hugeass staple that pierces enemies (and clears hordes like crazy). The game also has some movement stuff; you have a double jump and an air dash, most non-enemy objects can be bounced off of, enemies can be ridden like a skateboard, and there are rails that can be ridden like a skateboarder. You have a surprising lack of air control, though. And one final thing to point out is the lack of crosshair (you have full 3D aiming, no Doom-style vertical auto aim) and the lack of feedback on hitting stuff (enemies have no pain state, just death). The whole thing is over in just over an hour, which is good, because there really isn't anything more there. It's not a bad waste of a couple of bucks, but a couple of bucks is all it's worth.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

Markies wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2024 9:29 pm Markies' Games Beat List Of 2024!
***Denotes Replay For Completion***

1. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
2. Jackal (NES)
***3. Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device (SDC)***
4. Skies Of Arcadia Legends (GCN)
5. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)
6. Sunset Riders (GEN)
***7. Tactics Ogre (PS1)***
***8. Forza Motorsport (XBOX)***
9. Riviera: The Promised Land (GBA)
***10. Darkstalkers (PS1)***
***11. Splatoon (WiiU)***
12. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (NSW)
***13. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)***

14. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

Image

I beat 3D Dot Game Heroes on the Sony Playstation 3 this evening!

As a child, I didn't have many friends. So, when my older brothers weren't using it, I would always play my NES. I remember many weekends in Grade School, having nothing to do for the weekend, I would start a new quest of the original Legend of Zelda and finish it before the weekend was over. It was my beautiful escapism and one that shaped me as a gamer today. Because of that, 3D Dot Game Heroes was one of the big games that tempted me to pick up a PS3. Even though it took me a while to pick one up, the game was high on my Wishlist. After a bit of searching, I picked one up at a local convention last year and I knew that I had to play it soon.

I absolutely love the story in 3D Dot Game Heroes. A king has watched his poor 2D become neglected, so he had to change the entire world into 3D. I never felt so moved in my life as all worlds should remain in 2D. Once I started playing the game, I realized that it mixes some of my favorite games of all time in Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest all into one wonderful game. The game is a beautiful love letter to all those amazing 8 Bit Games and just a great homage to the wonder years of gaming. After just a few short moments, I was instantly hooked into the game and I was back in my parents' basement playing these games again. The game never tries to be anything more than them and I appreciate that. It knows what it is and it never really tries to be anything more. But, once all the nostalgia wears off, the game is still really fun and enjoyable. You traverse an overworld, you go through dungeons, beat huge bosses, collect a heart container and then do it again. Its really quite simple and it all really works. The dialogue and characters are humorous and it is just an enjoyable experience.

Overall, I loved playing 3D Dot Game Heroes. The final dungeon is an absolute bear and almost felt like 2/3's of the game. Also, you are always strap for cash and there isn't really a great way to get money, so you have to be very tight. I would say those are just minor flaws in an overall great experience. The nostalgia and feelings I got from the game overwhelmed any negativity I might have had for it. If you loved those classic games, then this is obviously a no brainer and an easy recommendation. Even if you have never played them, this is a good introduction and just a solid adventure all around to enjoy!
Great review! 3D Dot Game Heroes is a gem, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Markies »

Thank You Kindly, prfsnl_gmr! It was a great game!

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2024!
***Denotes Replay For Completion***

1. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
2. Jackal (NES)
***3. Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device (SDC)***
4. Skies Of Arcadia Legends (GCN)
5. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)
6. Sunset Riders (GEN)
***7. Tactics Ogre (PS1)***
***8. Forza Motorsport (XBOX)***
9. Riviera: The Promised Land (GBA)
***10. Darkstalkers (PS1)***
***11. Splatoon (WiiU)***
12. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (NSW)
***13. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)***
14. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

***15. Puzzle Kingdoms (Wii)***

Image

I completed Puzzle Kingdoms on the Nintendo Wii this evening!

Puzzle Quest is one of my favorite Hidden Gems on the PS2. It combines RPG elements with a Bejeweled style gameplay. Since college, I have loved to play those little flash games and Bejeweled was always one of my favorites. So, to be able to play it on my TV with a story and a leveling system had me sold instantly. With little physical releases and the series mostly going digital or on handhelds, unfortunately, I could not continue on with the series. Thankfully, the game got a successor on the Nintendo Wii and it was one of the first games I wanted to pick up. I enjoyed my playthrough of the game, but I knew that I was missing just a little bit more. With my batteries refreshed, I decided to go back and finish off what I had missed.

The gameplay is relatively the same though they did make some changes. Instead of swapping jewels to make three in a row, it's more of a sliding puzzle where you push the gems to make three in a row or three in a cluster. It adds a bit more of a strategic element to the game that sets it apart from Puzzle Quest. Puzzle Quest had insanity as combo after combo would happen. That is still here a bit in Puzzle Kingdoms, but its a bit like chess as well as you are strategically moving the board around. You also have small mini games to spend your gold to unlock characters, troops, items and spells to beef up your army. By the end, I felt quite powerful and it was really fun to see the progression of my army throughout the game.

With that being said, the game becomes a bit tiresome. 20 Kingdoms is a ton especially when the gameplay doesn't change all that much. Near the end, it began to drag especially when the Mini-Games became much harder. It no longer became a game of figuring out the puzzle, but more like waiting around until the RNG let you win. These little games took over 30 minutes and I didn't feel like I had control in many of them. The game is mostly fair, unlike in Puzzle Quest, though by the end, it began to sway a bit more away from me.

Overall, I enjoyed going back and finishing up all that I missed in Puzzle Quest. It was much shorter than I imagined, so that was a plus. I never tire of Bejeweled and the light RPG elements were incredibly fun. It's not an amazing game, but for a fun little game that is very cheap. If you like Bejeweled style puzzle games, Puzzle Kingdoms is a more strategic version that is still fun to play.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2024 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)
13. Trials of Mana (SFC)
14. Castlevania Legends (GB)
15. SaGa 2 (GB)
16. SaGa 3 (GB)
17. Celeste (PC)
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)
19. Celeste 64 (PC)
20. CB Chara Wars: Ushinawareta Gya~gu (SFC)
21. To The Moon (PC)
22. LOVE (PC)
23. Pikuniku (PC)
24. Night in the Woods (PC)
25. The Beginner's Guide (PC)
26. Suikoden (PS1)
27. Chocobo Dungeon 2 (PS1)
28. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Advance! Fire Adventure Team (Wii)
29. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Go! Storm Adventure Team (Wii)
30. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Aim! Light Adventure Team (Wii)
31. Line Attack Heroes (Wii)
32. The Quest for Camelot (GBC)

33. Tales of Destiny (PS1)
I tried to play the PS2 remake of this several times when I was younger, and I could just never stick with it. It was paced too slowly, writing was too boring, and the combat was just awful. I bought the PS1 original ages ago around the time I moved here meaning to give it a shot, but never really felt up to it until now. Well now I've finally sat down and played through the first PS1 Tales game, and it's given me a lot of valuable insights as to why I disliked the PS2 version so much (even if this also wasn't exactly my favorite thing ever). It took me around 33-ish hours to beat the Japanese version of the game playing on original hardware.

The story follows a young man named Stahn, who is discovered as a stowaway on a dragon airship and quickly forced to work upon the crew realizing that he's just some idiot and not a spy. However, once the ship is attacked my monsters, he discovers a mysterious talking sword, and as they fall to the ground in their escape pod, his grand adventure to save the world begins~. The game's writing is okay, but decidedly flawed. On its better aspects, the game has a fun sort of vibe almost like a 90's fantasy road trip anime. There's not a lot of meaningful dialogue, but the comedy bits are well written and the dialogue itself is well written. On the more negative sides, the game's pacing is still quite slow (especially in the back half), the false conclusions really hamstring the story, and the narrative overall is badly wanting in terms of focus. They end up coming down a bit too involved in societal issues to have satisfying closure with the more generalized "the world isn't worth destroying just because there are bad people in it" ending they settle on, and a lot of the more interesting characters and aspects of the plot slowly get weeded away until it's just against some random Big Evil Guy (TM). There's a lot of potential, granted, and it's a frankly frustrating amount of potential with just how good a lot of the societal critique that's present actually is. However, we only have the game we have, and what we have is a very mixed bag. It doesn't really stick the landing for its own story, but it's not hard to see how Tales games after this had far better stories with how close to being great this game so often comes.

The gameplay will be very familiar to anyone who's played an older pre-3D Tales game. It's the old Linear Battle System the series is famous for, with an ARPG that sees you fighting against random encounters on a 2D plane as you go along your RPG adventure. The fundamentals are fairly strong, but like with the story, the devil is in the details. Dungeons have some neat puzzles, but some puzzles are incredibly tough and dungeons are also quite long with only one save point at the very end. While combat often feels very fun and quick, the game's balance is sadly quite rough. Enemies and even bosses struggle to ever be much of a challenge, and the only time combat really gets tough is when you're fighting annoying packs of enemies with lots of powerful AOE spells. Adding to that is that, while your ability as Stahn to really be aggressive and dictate the flow of battle is strong, that is your best and only real way to fight, as your AI partners are far too unintelligent to be much use a lot of the time. Even adjusting their AI behavior, I struggled at all points to actually get them to be as aggressive as I wanted them to be, particularly towards the enemies I actually wanted them to fight against.

This is all not that much of a problem though due to the more favorable parts of the game's balancing. The game's EXP rewards are quite generous and the encounter rate is quite high, so I honestly felt over-leveled nearly the whole game as a result without even grinding deliberately. Your natural MP healing after battle is also VERY generous, so just using your healer's heal spells to heal will make it so you really never need to worry about healing with items and running out as a result. They're systems that, while frustrating, are still thankfully fun, but their design blind spots are not difficult to spot, and it struggles to be truly satisfying with just how easy things basically always are.

The aesthetics of the game are very nice. The music is very good, and the character designs are delightful as well. Especially in battle, the characters' and enemies' animations are really well done and pretty, and the special moves and spells have beautifully done pixel art. The voice acting is also good, but it's weirdly sparsely used. Most of the game's voice acting isn't in battle when characters do battle cries to announce moves, but in skits that happen on the world map. However, these aren't like later Tales games where there's a button prompt telling you to hit Select or something to see the skit. Instead, you need to just stand still on the world map for like 8 or 9 seconds before the scene triggers. There are over 200 of these things, but the game doesn't tell you they're there at all, and even realizing they're there is very hard to do by accident. Unless you come across that page in the manual that mentions them (which I did confirm is indeed there), you'd likely never notice they're there at all, which is a real shame for something they clearly put so much time into.

Verdict: Recommended. This game is far from excellent, but it's still a pretty good game. The pace of the adventure usually makes up for the less than perfect writing, and the action generally remains fun even if it is largely satisfaction from being powerful rather than overcoming genuine, well-designed challenges. While the following game in the series improves on these mechanics a lot, it's still well worth playing the original Tales of Destiny if you're a fan of the series and want to see its roots. It certainly doesn't meet the high bars set by its successors, but it was very fun seeing the seeds of where all that later excellence came from~.
34. Metal Walker (GBC)
This is a game a friend told me about months back, and I couldn't help but be intrigued. I'm a sucker for Pokemon clones thrown together back during the original Poke-mania boom, and one I'd never heard of, released in English and by Capcom no less, was too tempting an offer to pass up! That said, in my usual fashion, I found a copy for 500 yen and then proceeded to sit on it and never get around to playing it for like half a year, but the important part is that I got to it eventually! XD. It took me around 12 or so hours to play through the Japanese version of the game on real hardware (via my GameCube GameBoy Player).

Metal Walker takes place on a secluded island called the Rusted Land. 50 years ago, there was some horrible experiment gone wrong that made a huge explosion and destroyed a ton of the island. Core Metal, the main focus of the island's research, is still very valuable though, and core hunters from all over come to the island hoping to make their fortune while avoiding the dangerous metal monsters, Metal Busters, that roam the island. You, the main character Tetto, are on the island with your core hunter father when you're suddenly separated by a metal buster attack. He draws the monster away, leaving you with only your robotic Metal Walker companion Meta Ball for protection and company. Upon waking up, you realize you've been rescued by some kindly folk on the island led by the eccentric Professor Hawke. With the aid of his Pokedex-like wrist watch device, you set out to the island with Meta Ball at your side to find your father and discover just what mysteries the Rusted Land still holds.

The writing is overall just Fine (TM). It's really nothing special, and though it's quite hilariously dark at times, it's still just a kids story at the end of the day. It feels very much like a copy of lots of other "boy goes on an adventure to do The Thing"-type stories that were EVERYWHERE in the 90's, Pokemon-clone or otherwise, and it's not a particularly inspired one of those. The dialogue writing is cute, and it the story does a fine enough job of setting up the action at hand, but it's nothing to care much about on its own.

The gameplay is a very weird thing, and it's what attracted me to the game in the first place. My friend described it as, "Pokemon meets billiards", which prompted the same confused response from me then as I imagine it's eliciting from you now XD. Basically, random battles take place with Meta Ball and from 1 to 3 metal busters on a board. There are various types of board that can spawn depending on where you are in the game, but they all have walls to bounce off of as well as an exit hole for you (or the enemy) to aim for if you want to flee. Much like a billiards (or golf game, to use a likely more familiar example), you pick a direction, gauge the power of your shot, and send Meta Ball pinging into your enemies. If he's the one to initiate the hit, they take damage, but if they're crashing into him, he takes damage, and getting knocked to 0 health means you lose.

There are some other side systems, like finding various core metal elements via boss fights that allow you to transform Meta Ball into new and stronger forms, and there are also items you can toggle on and off to spawn in battle. For your different forms, they're generally just stronger versions of what you already have, but there's also a rock-paper-scissors mechanics where water beats air, air beats land, and land beats water, which is also relatively important to take into consideration (especially for boss fights). Items range from power ups to traps that can hurt you, with both being clearly identified by the former being balls of the light and the latter being skulls. There are even terrain changing items as well to boost certain types of player. While your selected items deploy on your turn and your enemies on theirs, either of you can use items picked up (both power ups and traps), so caution is necessary to succeed if you wanna live, as some of those traps are super dangerous. Lastly, you have money you can use to buy items. Unlocking more items to buy is done by enemies getting scanned in battle, and to do that, you need to bring analyzer items into battle and bump enemies into them, and then take that scan data to shops to unlock the items. It's all a LOT to take in, admittedly, but it's ultimately a lot more straightforward than it seems at first blush.

Unfortunately, it's also a lot more clumsily put together than it might sound at first blush (or perhaps its exactly as clumsy as it sounds here, idk XD). While there are issues with encounter rate being too high and Meta Ball's world-map traversing powers being annoying to use, the game's biggest issue is that the balance is overall quite poor. What type an enemy is is often unclear and matters SO much that you're basically instantly dead in harder fights if you happen to have brought a bad type with you. Items are also really poorly balanced, with some like the attack dropping item or the "touch it and you lose *several* turns" item being SO overpowered that there's really no reason to consider using anything else in bosses. The game is also quite grindy, and I had to grind at the start for over an hour just to have a Meta Ball powerful enough that he could comfortably take on the enemies in the starting area without fear of dying after just one or two battles.

This all wraps around to the game's premise just not being a terribly strong concept for a video game. The Meta Ball transformations are a neat concept to mirror Pokemon's HM system, but there's too much direct power scaling, so there's really no reason aside from type disadvantage to not use a 3-tier Meta Ball as soon as you have him available (outside of drastic type disadvantage). Items are also generally not very useful for random battles, and so they become more of a chore avoiding the enemies' stuff than your own, especially with how long random battles can take with their lengthy power up and damage animations. Another really big problem is that the GameBoy's hardware just really can't handle the level of precision that you'd really want for a billiards game like this. You only have 16 different angles you can shoot your ball in, and that really severely limits how you can battle. Sure, depending on the weight and movement stats of your respective Meta Ball vs. your opponents', you can fly and ricochet further when struck, but the very low number of possible angles you can actually fire at makes battles start feeling very same-y very quickly. The mechanics are OK enough for a quick single-player RPG experience, I suppose, but they're a far cry from being anything possible to make something meaningfully better than Capcom already made with this.

The game's presentation is about what you'd expect for a GameBoy Color game by '99, but nothing really special. The top-down overworld is pretty and nice looking enough, and the music is fine but overall not terribly memorable. The real highlight of the game's aesthetics are the Metal Walker designs themselves, so if you're a fan of cool looking, very mechanical/non-humanoid robots, then this game will have a lot of fun art to look at for you at least.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This isn't a bad game, as far as GBC RPGs go, but it's a decidedly quite flawed one. I wouldn't really stay it's particularly worth checking out unless you've got a deep curiosity for Pokemon-clone games like me and/or the strange nature of the gameplay makes it sound like something that worth picking up. For all the things you can say about Metal Walker, one thing I cannot deny is that it's a very novel premise for a game, and that's something that neither quality nor the passage of time can take away from it. How much that actually makes it worth playing, however, is gonna be up to you, at the end of the day.
35. Frog Detective 1 (PC)
A close friend of mine recently invited me onto a Twitch stream with her, and she said this would be a great game for the two of us to play together~. I'd never heard of the game before, but she turned out to be super right! She controlled the game, but it's so straightforward that, like with the VNs I've played with my wife at the helm, it's barely different from me controlling it myself, so I'm calling it beaten for me as well <w>. It took us a little over an hour to play through the English version of the game while reading out all the voices together on stream~.

Frog Detective is a series of short first-person adventure games. You walk around an environment talking to people and grabbing items, and it's honestly something much closer to a visual novel than it is something like Portal or even The Stanley Parable. In this one, our detective is solving the mystery of a haunted island (as you could probably already tell from the game's title x3). It's pretty fun! The narrative is a short, silly story, and the gameplay is light enough that just about anyone could do it. It's a very simple-looking game and there isn't much music, but it's such a bite-sized piece of fun that the aesthetic becomes much more of a feature than a bug (so to speak).

Verdict: Recommended. If you want something cute and fun to play either by yourself or with someone else, this is a really good option to do it with~. Especially if you can find it for cheap, this would be a great option to gift to a little kid to help them get into video games if they're only just starting out being able to read and/or work out first-person control systems. Not the funniest or most exciting thing in the world, for sure, but a fun time that more than justified the price of entry.
36. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (GBA) *
This is a game I played a TON when it first came out nearly 20 years ago. I must’ve put well over 100 hours into PMD: Red Rescue Team back when I was a kid, and then dozens more hours into the sequel on DS, but I haven’t really thought about it since. However, with my recent urge to play a bunch of old Mystery Dungeon stuff, and the desire of several of my partners to play through this particular game for the first time as well, I thought there was no better time than to track down a copy for cheap and revisit this part of my childhood. It took me about 16 hours to play through the main story of the Japanese version of the game on real hardware.

The story of the first PMD is the story of you, but as a Pokemon! You start the game by taking a little personality quiz, and depending on the results, that’s what determines the Pokemon species of your main character, but you get to choose what Pokemon your main buddy will be. You wake up after a strange dream in this new Pokemon world being found by the buddy you picked at the start. Confused by your new surroundings, you barely have time to think before the two of you are off to save a Pokemon in distress. You do such a good job that the two of you decide to start your own Pokemon rescue team. Such is how your quest begins to both save the world and hopefully find the reason as to your suddenly becoming a Pokemon as well. It’s not the most in-depth story in the world, and it’s a narrative that would be significantly overshadowed by its sequel, but it’s still a fun little story that gives a perfectly good justification for the action at hand. A perfectly good justification when it isn’t getting in the way of the mechanics, that is.

The mechanics of the game are a Mystery Dungeon setup for the most part. You have procedurally generated dungeons to go through in a rogue-like turn-based style where your enemies move whenever you do. Just like later PMD games, the main focus here isn’t just dungeon crawling. Your goals in the dungeons are fulfilling requests that you accept before going into the dungeons, and those can be anything from finding a lost Pokemon in distress on a particular floor all the way to safely escorting a super weak Pokemon to a deep, dark floor of a big dungeon. The mission structure is a really good way to give the traditional Mystery Dungeon formula more longevity, even if the actual ranking up as a rescue team doesn’t often have that much to do with the story.

The story itself is more around getting through dungeons and often beating bosses at the end, but that’s where problems start to surface. On a more positive side compared to some earlier, less forgiving Mystery Dungeon titles, you no longer really have equipment to nurse and upgrade. While you do have ribbons to equip, they don’t get upgraded, and instead you just gain both levels and new moves just like you do in normal Pokemon. Those moves have power points just like they do in normal Pokemon, granted, so you can’t go throwing them around with reckless abandon, but it’s a very clever way to incorporate Pokemon mechanics into this tried-and-true rogue-like formula. You can even recruit new Pokemon as you go into your rescue team up to a team of four, giving you even more options to work with! That said, just because it’s clever doesn’t mean it’s actually good, and the cracks in this system are most obvious when interacting with story missions.

Whoever wrote this story and designed its boss encounters seems to have done so without much actual care for how they’d be impacted by Pokemon’s base mechanics of type advantage. Almost all of the Pokemon you can have selected for you at the start via the quiz (as well as basically all possible iterations of your buddy) are one of the three starter Pokemon from the first three generations of Pokemon. This means you’re almost certainly going to be a fire, grass, or water type, and you also can’t actually evolve until the post-game, so no double typing for you until you’ve beaten the main story.

This wouldn’t be a huge problem save for how limiting that is when put against the type disadvantages you’ll so often encounter along the story, and that’s really brutal given that either you or your buddy going down in a dungeon generally results in a game over (in stark contrast to something like the Chocobo’s Dungeon games where your buddy dying mid-dungeon wasn’t a fail state). For example, your first three major boss fights are against the legendary birds from Kanto, so those are an electric/flying, fire/flying, and ice/flying type. If you’re an unlucky sod who got a grass type for their main character or their buddy (as grass is weak to flying, ice, and fire), you’re going to have a really miserable time surviving through those boss fights (especially because you’re actually not allowed to have extra buddies along with you for several of them for plot reasons). This combined with how crushingly foolish the allied AI is compared to earlier Mystery Dungeon games makes a lot of the game a really frustrating climb against a mountain of RNG, and your only paths forward are more grinding for moves and levels and hoping you get luckier next time. The core idea may be very clever, but the execution is really unpolished, and it makes for an experience that often felt needlessly frustrating whether by the designer’s malice or incompetence in scenario design.

The aesthetics, at least, are very good. The graphics are delightful, with all of the main story’s characters having all sorts of expressive and fun character portraits as they talk, and the battle graphics being really good representations of the Pokemon they’re adapting as well. The music is also very good, and I cannot describe in words how hard the dormant, school-age neurons in my brain began to jolt upon hearing the game’s main theme upon boot up. While the mechanics may be a bit unpolished, they were absolutely spot on with the presentation, and it’s no wonder they didn’t feel the need to mess with them much for the DS entries to follow.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This certainly isn’t a bad game, but it’s one that’s aged very roughly even compared to some older Mystery Dungeon games. The Mystery Dungeon dev team is very clearly still inexperienced with how to actually adapt Pokemon’s systems to a gameplay loop that plays nice with the rogue-like gameplay loop, and unless you’re willing to put up with that frustration and grinding, this is a game you’re likely to find a very hard time scrounging up the will to finish it. That said, if you’re a big Pokemon fan or a big rogue-like fan, this is still a game checking out, as there’s a lot to enjoy here if you don’t mind praying to the RNG gods every once in a while to help see you through to the end of a particularly tough boss fight.
37. Frog Detective 2 (PC)
Like I played through the first Frog Detective game earlier in the week with my friend on stream, we did this game a couple days later as well~. It took us about 2 hours to play through the game with her and I reading the voices for the characters (her as the frog once more, and me as everyone else).

It's in effect the same as the first game, but a bit bigger and a bit better. It's a first-person adventure game just as the first one was, and you talk to folks to figure out the items they want to complete the puzzles associated with them. It's a very simple thing, but that just makes it an even more effective medium to convey the silly story, which it is! The puzzles are a bit more complicated, and the writing is a bit more fun and funny than the first game.

Verdict: Recommended. It's not gonna sell anyone who wasn't a fan of the first game, but it's a very nice sequel that expands on the first game's strengths in a way I found enjoyable. This one was so fun to do, it's got me looking forward to the next one even more than the first one did~ ^w^
38. Frog Detective 3 (PC)
After playing through the previous two Frog Detective games the previous week, my friend and I finally got to playing through the third and final one this week. We did it just as we did the other two, with them controlling it and me doing the bulk of the voice work, and we did it over the course of three or so hours between two Twitch streams.

The third Frog Detective game, as the title suggests, takes place in Cowboy Canyon, and you’re here to solve the mystery of who stole everyone’s hats! There’s a bit more to this game than the previous two, and it’s about twice as long as a result, even if the same overall principles apply. It’s another simple adventure game where you walk around, talk to people, and do trading quests, but it’s back and better than ever this time. The graphics are also once again similar but just that much more polished than the previous entry, with more animations and larger locations this time. I’d go as far as to say the map here may be as large as the previous two game’s maps combined, and what could be more appropriate for Frog Detective’s biggest adventure yet.

Verdict: Recommended. If you liked the previous two Frog Detective games, then this one is a no-brainer of a pick up. The story and writing are the best they’ve ever been, and it’s a lovely bow on the end of the series. If you have any interest in adventure games at all and you don’t mind something that doesn’t get too heavy (and certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome length-wise), then this is a great pick up along with the rest of the trilogy.
39. Super Robot Wars Alpha for Dreamcast (DC)
I bought this game specifically to play it over the course of spring break, and now that I finally had all the game’s I’d set aside to specifically play with people all done, it was time to finally tackle this oddity. Something between a remake and a port of the original SRW Alpha, I’d always been at least somewhat curious about picking this up after playing through the original Alpha on PS1 a couple years back. It was a very interesting experience, and it was also extra cool to see how so many of these series are adapted in more detail now that I’ve actually watched a fair few of the series portrayed in this game. These games never record playtime, but it took me around a week and a half to play through it, so I reckon it took me at least 80 hours if not more. I played through the game as a male real robot pilot (as I did a female super robot pilot last time), and I did the Dreamcast-exclusive ending.

With Banpresto’s first turn at the wheel of making one of these SRW games themselves instead of just publishing them, they took a big swing at adapting a ton of licenses as well as tying in most all of the original content that Winkie Soft had thought up over the previous decade. What results is a big, new adventure where your created main character fights alongside the cast of Gundam, Getter Robo, Mazinger Z, and a big pool of other robot properties to defend Earth from the Ze Balmari Empire’s first big invasion against them. The writing is just as fun and good as it was the last time I played it. It’s definitely something a lot more enjoyable and engaging if you’re already familiar with the properties being adapted (I was impressed at just how deep they dug to adapt some scenes with new characters, honestly), but it’s still great fun even if you’re not familiar with mecha shows and just like big robots and silly crossover stories (as I very much do).

The Dreamcast-exclusive content was also very interesting, and it’s really not hard to see why it was included. It ties up some loose ends in the Neon Genesis Evangelion stuff and especially gives a proper conclusion to the Giant Robo stuff that is quite unresolved in the original game’s endings (though given that the original OVA series never quite ended either, that seemed appropriate at the time). Granted, by playing their hand for tying up the NGE ends too early, they unintentionally make an explicitly non-canon ending for the game (as it makes the return to NGE stuff that Alpha 3 does impossible), but there’s also clearly a greater motive at play. Having already played Alpha Gaiden (the PS1 game that sits between Alpha 1 and 2 in the series), it was difficult to ignore all of the proper nouns from that game’s plot that they mention here. By the end, it was very clear what they were trying to do. The Dreamcast-exclusive ending effectively exists so you have a clear narrative path that circumvents the events of Alpha Gaiden being necessary. This way, a Dreamcast owner didn’t need to have played Alpha Gaiden to just pick up a PS2 and hop right into Alpha 2 without being lost. Though, as mentioned earlier, that future proofing went a little bit haywire, it’s still a really cool new version of this story’s events, and it was very cool to go back and look at all of this as someone who’s already played through all four Alpha series games before.

Mechanically, this game is more or less identical to the original Alpha (so just looking back at my review of that will give you what this game has in good detail). It’s a turn-based strategy RPG with mechs and pilots, and mechs upgrade with money while pilots level up with EXP earned in battle. A neat feature is that mech weapons still upgrade individually rather than all at once like they did from Alpha Gaiden onwards, so that was a nice surprise. The game has all manner of unlockable characters and different routes you can do, and the network of long-term unlockable characters is still a nightmare to decipher just like in the original PS1 game even using a flowchart guide like I did.

The only actual additions/changes here are a couple of new units from another Banpresto-made SRW-like game, the addition of the team move mechanic (moves that two+ mechs can do when standing adjacent to one another) that was completely absent in the original game, and some spirit abilities (personal buff/debuff spells that each pilot has six of) being changed to reflect how they’d be in the PS2 games onward rather than how they were in the original PS1 game. I’d read in several places that this version of Alpha was considered the harder of the two, but my experience absolutely did not reflect that. If anything, the changes to spirit abilities makes them even stronger than they were before (and even the nerfed ones are only very slightly worse, if worse at all), and the team moves also make certain mechs like the EVAs far more powerful than they already were. That said, I’d still say this game is only slightly easier than its PS1 counterpart, and it’s already a fairly easy game on the whole anyhow. If you’re someone who likes Advance Wars or Fire Emblem-levels of complexity but wants something more forgiving while still feeling challenging (as I am), then this title is just as great as it ever was for that.

The aesthetics are overall quite good, which is a lot more than I was expecting! The biggest and most obvious difference between this and the PS1 game is that they completely redid all of the graphics for this version of the game. Of these, the element that stands out the most is that all of the 2D fight scenes have been redone in 3D, and while I expected them to look hideous (as the later 3D SRW games often do), they actually look really good! It really goes to show what you can accomplish when you put some time and money into modeling all of this stuff, but my assumption would be that it was so much time and money that that’s precisely why they never did this again XD. Outside of the battle scenes, all of the other graphics have been spruced up too, with units now changing direction upon moving on the isometric map screens (as they do in Alpha Gaiden forward but did not in the original Alpha) and everyone getting new character graphics too for the narrative scenes between battles (the same ones they’d continue to use for them all in Alpha 2 on PS2). Most of these new 2D assets are flat-out improvements, with tons of infamously weird looking sprites made far less dorky looking (like Kouji from Mazinger or Misato from NGE), and only a few rare examples of “why is that like that?” (like how Shinji and Ritsuko from NGE only have left-facing sprites and lack right-facing ones when they had both in the PS1 game).

The music is also very good, and it’s a lot of very good versions of the songs recreated from the animes present. This also features the very last time a karaoke mode appeared in a SRW game, though this one is just like the one in the original Alpha (complete with lacking battle scenes playing during the songs, unlike all other SRW game karaoke modes). The only real audio weirdness is that this lacks some songs that the original game had in the karaoke mode, such as, despite the Macross song “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” song being in the game still, it’s curiously absent from the karaoke mode.

The only real outright negative I can give for the presentation is the loading times. The original Alpha is famous and infamous for being the first SRW game to give you any option to skip battle cutscenes in maps while also having roughly 10-second-long loading screens for the battle scenes you actually choose to watch. This Dreamcast version does absolutely nothing to improve that, sadly, and likely as a result of just how nice and pretty those 3D cutscenes look (just as was the case with the very pretty 2D cutscenes in the original), we’re still stuck with 10 to 12 second loading times for each fight animation. It certainly would’ve been nice if they’d managed to shorten them some, but at least you can still skip them <w>.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Despite all of my expectations, this is a great version of a great game. While it *does* have meaningfully more content and outright better graphics in some places, I’d still hesitate to call this a truly definitive version if only because, while the 3D IS good, it’s not quite so good that it makes the original beautiful PS1 version’s 2D animations obsolete. Ultimately, which one looks better is likely the thing that will dictate which version you prefer, but you frankly can’t go wrong with either. Both are fantastic ways to enter the SRW franchise and great beginnings to the Alpha series, and they’re well worth checking out if you can understand enough Japanese to play them~.
40. Brain Lord (SFC)
As a huge fan of 2D Zelda-like games, this is a game that’s been on my radar for a good while, but I’ve just never gotten around to looking at it. My girlfriend happened to mention it offhand a week or two ago, and it jogged my memory and my interest about it enough to finally sit down over the past few days and play through the darn thing. It took me about 10-ish hours to play through the Japanese version of the game on emulated hardware without abusing save states or rewinds.

The game opens with a flashback, where the main character is being told of his lineage before his father sets off on a journey that he clearly expects never to return from. We learn of an ancient clan of dragon warriors whose job it was to safeguard the world from darkness, and that you are one of that clan. However, the dragons have seemingly completely disappeared, and your father is going off on a quest to hopefully find one and fulfill your clan’s proud destiny. Upon waking up from this flashback dream, our hero is at a bar in the present, and they learn of a local job to hunt down dragon scales from a nearby abandoned fortress. Seeing it as a clear opportunity to fulfill his father’s wishes, he takes it up at once, and so begins our journey to find the dragons and (of course) ultimately save the world.

The story isn’t really what you’d expect for the depth action/adventure games often had by 1994, but it’s nothing bad, just unambitious. Our silent protagonist has a handful of fellow adventurers that he pals around with, and their dialogue writing along with miscellaneous NPC dialogue is all quite entertainingly written. The twists the narrative takes are interesting enough, but it’s really not the reason to show up (as it were). Compared to other Enix titles and especially SquareSoft titles around this point in the SFC’s lifespan, Brain Lord doesn’t really have a bad story so much as it just fails to stand out from the crowd. It’s not a strike against the game per se, but it’s just one more thing that makes the game that much less novel or interesting to go back to in 2024.

The gameplay is a pretty straightforward top-down action/adventure game. I’ve been calling it a Zelda-clone personally, but it honestly has so much more action than adventure that it feels like its drawing from inspiration outside of Link to the Past, at the very least. You’ve got five BIG dungeons and not much of an overworld to speak of, and 4-ish big bosses to fight along the way. You don’t really get traversal tools or anything like that. It’s just going through dungeons solving puzzles and fighting enemies in a not too complicated fashion. The only really novel mechanic are the fairies you can find as well as buy in some stores. You can have up to two out at a time, and they’ll either attack enemies around you or provide passive benefits like lighting up an area or increasing your attack power. Additionally, while you only get stronger from certain stat boosting items and new weapons/armor, monsters will occasionally drop EXP balls for your *fairies*, and that’s how they level up. Sure, there are a few weapon types, but the range on the sword is SO nuts that I never found any reason to use anything else (though at least they tried, I guess).

Dungeons don’t really have puzzles, as such, beyond just finding keys and then the appropriate door to take them to. Overall, that signposting is usually pretty good, outside of how massive some dungeons are that can make it difficult to remember where a locked door or now-breakable block even *is*, but that’s really the whole of it outside the block pushing puzzles and platforming puzzles. Those block pushing puzzles are frankly pretty damn tough, and they’re such brain-benders that it’s allegedly what inspired the title “Brain Lord” in the first place. They’ll probably annoy some, but I like these kinds of puzzles, so I enjoyed them at least x3. The jumping puzzles were far more annoying to me, but as far as Zelda-clones with platforming go, I found the platforming in this far more bearable and fun than the stuff in Terranigma or Beyond Oasis at least. Ultimately, while the moment-to-moment gameplay is fun enough (if a bit too easy), and I certainly enjoyed my time with it, it’s an experience that, much like the narrative, really struggles to be memorable.

The presentation is overall pretty good, if (again) a bit unimpressive for a 16-bit console in ’94. Anyone who’s played 7th Saga will likely find the human sprites looking quite familiar, and that’s because it’s from the same devs as that. Sprites are big and pretty, but they’re not *so* big that they make actually navigating spaces onerous, which I certainly appreciated. The music is pretty darn good. It’s not like, stand-out amazing, but there were quite a few times where I was going through a dungeon or overworld area and said out loud, “damn, this track really rocks!”.

Verdict: Recommended. I wavered a lot whether to give this an outright recommendation or a hesitant one, but I think this game is overall solid enough that it deserves an outright recommendation. Comparing it to one of these that I played relatively recently, I’d say I enjoyed this game about as much as I did Crusader of Centy. While it doesn’t have the novel design or aesthetics of that game (the highs, you could say), it also lacks the most irritating parts of that game’s ambition (which you could call the lows). Brain Lord jumping and block pushing puzzles may drive some batty, and it doesn’t have a ton that makes it truly stand-out or memorable, but it’s a very competently put together game that I had quite a good time with. While it may be a bit generic, if you’re a fan of 2D Zelda-style games, I think this is still a game you can pick up and have a quite fun weekend with even if it probably won’t be an experience you’ll remember for years afterwards.
41. Lagoon (SFC)
This is a game I think I’ve seen in person a time or two, but the cover and title were just so unimpressive that I never really paid it any mind. I didn’t realize it was a 2D-Zelda type game until a friend of mine mentioned it offhand to me when I was talking about how I was playing through Brain Lord a few days ago x3. Very much not wanting to let a game in one of my favorite genres pass me by so easily, I got right to playing it once I was done with Brain Lord. It took me about 8~10 hours (I didn’t keep super good track) to play through the Japanese version of the game on emulated hardware only abusing save states very rarely (which I will specify more on later).

Lagoon is the story of a teenage boy named Nasir (or “Nassel”, if his transliterated name in Japanese is anything to go by). Sat down and instructed by his father figure at the start of the game, he’s told of the kingdom of Lakelyland and how a curse at Lagoon Castle is causing all of the water in the land to turn foul. If that weren’t bad enough, it’s also causing monsters to spawn all over the kingdom! So begins the story of Nasir, Lakelyland’s Hero of Light. It’s all around an okay story. The pacing is honestly pretty decent, and there aren’t too many characters to get lost in either, so I had a good amount of fun with it. It’s nothing amazing or anything, as it’s a pretty stereotypical fantasy adventure story for the time, but for 1991 on the SFC, it’s nonetheless a pretty good showing for an action/adventure game.

While the story was more or less what I expected (if not a little above my very meager expectations), the gameplay was immediately surprising. It’s a top-down 2D action/adventure game, sure, but this is no Zelda-clone. It’s a heckin’ Ys-clone! xD. The original Sharp X68000 version of this game had bump combat, but they’ve switched to giving you a physical sword in this one, and it’s VERY short. You go around towns and a handful of dungeons along your quite linear quest to save Lakelyland, but the combat is never particularly great. That said, enemies tend to be pretty simple to deal with between your sword and your magic, and just learning their movement patterns makes things not too difficult to deal with eventually.

This is down to three factors. Factor 1 is that you actually regenerate health and mana by just standing still (as long as you’re not in a boss arena). This means that, as long as you can beat an enemy, you don’t really need to worry about running short on resources, since just standing still for a little while will get you right back up to perfect readiness. Sure, it’s annoying in the late-game to stand still for like a minute to just fight one or two more enemies, but at least you won’t die. Factor 2 is that this game actually has save-anywhere functionality. As long as you’re not in a boss arena, you can save anywhere, and you’ll appear right back there upon death, so even getting sniped by an unexpectedly strong enemy or boss doesn’t need to be much of a set back as long as you’re saving frequently.

Factor 3 is that, much like Ys, you have levels that you gain from fighting stuff, and there’s little that just grinding a bit won’t eventually solve. However, unlike Ys, the maximum level is something way higher than you’ll need to fight almost anything in the game quite comfortably. Sure, your sword is so uselessly short that you’ll take hits a lot, but between hunting down better swords/armor and grinding up a few more levels, there’s usually just a bit of grinding between you and being able to tank that boss well enough to finally beat it.

The only real exception to this is the final boss, who is a pretty unforgiving gauntlet of hard-ish fights with the penultimate one being NUTS hard, and you basically just gotta get lucky to kill that guy. You actually can’t use magic in boss fights, and instead you have magic rings you can equip that buff your stats in exchange for draining MP constantly, but even then, that final boss really is a step too far. Sure, the boss fights are already not very good, as there’s not a ton of strategy beyond having the stats to tank and spank your way to victory with your puny sword (that’s far too difficult to hit things with when facing up or down), but I was having a good amount of generally frustration-free fun with the game until the final boss came and ruined things. He was what I finally had to start using save states for outside of a faster alternative to the save-anywhere system, and godspeed to anyone brave enough to take that jerk on using original hardware. Overall, the mechanics of the game will probably wow few and frustrate far more, but as a big fan of the genre, I thought it made for a good enough time that I was excited to go back to playing more Lagoon after getting home from work the past few days, and I think that speaks for itself in regards to how engaging the game manages to be despite its relatively poor mechanical polishing.

Aesthetically, the game is pretty good for the time even if it’s still very heavily drawing from Ys for its mechanical inspirations. The graphics are simple and very Ys, but they have a simple charm to them that I found quite fun. While the monsters (and especially bosses) are big, fairly detailed sprites, the adorable simplicity of the human sprites made me smile and giggle a lot, and that goes double for Nasir’s friend Soa and his 80’s hair metal haircut XD. The music is all around pretty damn good though! There were quite a lot of times where a field theme or boss theme had me bopping my head along to how good it was, and the music is honestly the highlight of the game in terms of how little there is to criticize.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. While this is apparently a bit of a meme-bad game in some circles (given that several of my partners began to laugh when they heard I was going to be playing it x3), I think it’s nowhere near that bad. It’s something that only big fans of 2D Zelda-style or Ys-type games should really consider looking at, but I had more than enough fun with it that I can recommend it at least a *little* even if I understand that it’s actually a relatively weak game at the end of the day.
42. Dark Hunter: Jou Ijigen Gakuen (PS1)
This is a game I’d actually never heard of until my partner suggested we go through it together sometime as an idea for a date night. Always curious to both learn more about a new (old) game as well as spend time with her, I eagerly agreed, and we played through it together last weekend. It took us about 4 hours or so to go through the PS1 version on emulated hardware with her at the controls.

Both halves of Dark Hunter are part of an English educational series published by Koei during the late-90’s, and this is the first half of it. The titular academy is surrounded by mysterious happenings, and it’s up to our unassuming high school girl and two strange transfer students to get to the bottom of it. This is only the first half of the story, so it doesn’t exactly feel fair to judge it on its larger narrative elements quite yet, but the premise is at least delightfully odd with just how quickly things get utterly ridiculous (which is exactly why my partner suggested we play it together x3).

A large reason for it being so entertaining is because of how this is (ostensibly) an English educational tool. The game is a visual novel that plays out like a very simply animated anime. Not only do you have subtitles for everything, but you also have full voice acting, and both of them are in Japanese and English. You can switch between either whenever you like, and the English bits even have remarkably detailed explanations for harder words as to how they’re used (such as for the word “they”, pointing out both what the article is pointing to in the particular sentence as well as a more dictionary-definition of the word).

As an English-teaching tool, I think it’s a really remarkable effort, and the English is just about perfectly fine save for a typo here and there. That said, I think this is kinda a product for no one in many regards. By my experience both teaching English and learning Japanese, I think a hypothetical Japanese learner of English would very likely find little value with this game, as it’d almost certainly be either far too difficult for them or far too easy. It’s a pretty wild story, and they’re using that to try and engage you, but at the same time, it’s also so complicated that you’d need a pretty advanced level of English to engage with that aspect of it meaningfully. It’d certainly be a nice practicing tool for someone with more advanced English skills (not unlike how I use Japanese-language games to practice my Japanese), and it’d be quite unique in ’97 when importing an American game to practice with would’ve been a lot harder, but it’s still such a niche product that I have trouble praising its educational value too highly.

The game is mostly a visual novel that you just watch happen with a very occasional choice here and there, but there are actually some more video game-y aspects to things as well. However, they’re often so poorly implemented that you’d wish they weren’t there in the first place. On the more unremarkable side of things, you have mini-games that are just glorified little English tests, which are inoffensive enough even if they’re not too interesting. Then on the more egregious end, you have the adventure and shooting sections. The adventure sections are basically point and click adventure games with you navigating areas in first-person, and they’re dreadful. It’s often extremely unclear on where to go, and the loading times on the unskippable voice clips are such that it takes absolutely forever to just aimlessly hunt around some of these areas trying to find the one very unclear thing you’ve missed (or just hoping the game eventually decides to let you progress).

The shooting sections are light gun games without the light gun, and they’re also pretty bad. My partner confirmed this to be true after the fact, but even just watching her play I could very easily tell that the response time on the cursor was awful and even the button to shoot their weak points was weirdly unresponsive too. You can retry one right from the start of that fight should you die, thankfully, but that doesn’t make them suck any less, unfortunately XP.

The presentation is, like the story, definitely a reason to check the game out, but not really for good reasons XD. The animation is very stiff and characters are almost never on model. This combined with the less than stellar English voice acting makes for a great comedy experience, even if it takes a lot out of whatever tension the story could theoretically have XD. The Japanese voice acting is good, as you’d expect, but I imagine most people reading this review would be playing the game for its hammy English VA anyhow, and it is indeed just as hammy as one would hope (it even shares a voice actor with the original Symphony of the Night voice cast! X3).

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. If you can bear with the cruddy adventure and action sections, then this is a good, silly time to go through with friends like we did. The story is hardly high art, and I doubt going through the second half this coming weekend will convince me otherwise, but it’s at the very least entertaining regardless, which is the least you can ask of something like this, I feel X3.
43. Ys: Books I & II (PCE)
Playing through Lagoon recently, it made me curious on just how it compares to the game its so clearly copying, Ys Books I & II. I’ve played through the DS remake of Ys I & II many years ago, but I’ve never actually so much as looked at the original version of the games. I then realized that I actually have a perfect way to play the contemporary versions of those games via my PC Engine Mini, and set right to work playing through them once I finished with Lagoon. It took me about 18 or 20 hours to play through the Japanese version of the game on my PCE Mini without abusing save states.

Ys Books I & II, as its name implies, is the first two Ys games back-to-back, as they are each one half of one larger story: Book I is our hero Adol unraveling the mystery of the tomes of Ys and climbing the Tower of Darm, and then Book II is him actually in the titular Ys and saving it from the great evil that besieges it. Being action/adventure games from the late-80’s, the writing isn’t exactly anything terribly impressive (it’s a bit too exposition heavy and the cast is a bit too packed with one-dimensional characters, for starters), but the voice acting this PCE CD version adds to the PC-88 originals definitely helps it stand out that much more. It’s highly improved by the remakes the story has gotten over the years, but it’s quite impressive for a game this old nonetheless.

The gameplay of Ys I & II is actually a little different between games, but the building blocks are the same, and they share the most important one anyhow: bump combat. Back when making games, especially on home computers, faced a lot more difficult technical hurdles, some games opted to forego an ability to swing your sword at things and instead just have combat decided by how you happened to run at your enemy and make contact with them. This collision-based combat has been since deemed “bump combat”, and while Ys is far from the first instance of it, it’s definitely one of the most famous.

That said, just because it’s historically interesting doesn’t really mean that it’s good, and I think that we’ve since moved away from bump combat for very good reasons. Your power in Ys is determined not just by what sword, shield, and armor you’re using, but also your level, as this game has light RPG-elements in how you get experience points from killing enemies. While there are actual mechanics to the bump combat here (it isn’t all random or stat-based), you and your enemies move so fast that you functionally don’t really have much reason to think of them most of the time. As long as you’re not standing still (in which case you will definitely take a very nasty hit), you’re bump combat-ing more or less correctly.

Ys II adds offensive magic that makes fighting bosses in particular feel far more like your choices actually matter, but Ys I has no such system to benefit from. Bump combat is neat in how fast and simple it is, sure, but it’s so simple that I ultimately felt myself questioning why it was even there in the first place. Especially given just how much grinding is necessary in these games, bump combat often just makes the “combat” feel like nothing but padding between boss fights, and those boss fights are pretty lousy too. Either you’re getting mulched because your stats/equipment aren’t high enough (or that boss has some really annoying gimmick that makes them awful to hit like the one in the mines), or you’re instantly mulching them because your stats are high enough. The final boss of Ys I and especially the final boss of Ys II are some stand outs as for how they really make you use some strategy and reflexes to dodge projectiles and such, but the combat and boss fights in both games are frankly really underwhelming compared to a lot of other action/adventure games we had by the late-80’s.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if the story were good or interesting, which it isn’t terribly, or the level/dungeon design were good, but that’s also sadly not the case. Both games (but especially Ys I) suffer from some really rough level design, and the signposting can make it absolutely maddening on where you’re actually meant to go next. Ys I is packed with necessary plot items hidden in all corners of its dungeons, and it’s very easy to make a wrong turn or just not realize one is there at all, so then you’re stuck wondering just what the heck you missed, wandering around for ages just trying to find some semblance of where to go. Ys II is thankfully far better in this regard, but both games have some pretty rough design in just how sprawling and maze-like their dungeons are, and with basically all enemies fighting the same way (it’s all just bump-to-win) too, it’s not like dungeons really feel all that different from one another anyhow outside of aesthetics. A lot of Ys I & II’s issues are far from unique to them for their era, and a lot of their issues come down to their large ambitions more than anything, but that’s cold comfort in current-year when those failed ambitions just make things frustrating more than they do fun or interesting a lot of the time.

Given that the aesthetics are from 1989, they’re really impressive and show off a ton of just what the PC Engine could do with its fancy CD tech! While they’ll hardly put later games in the 16-bit generation to shame, they’re both very impressive for the time and still pretty now. On that same note, the music is absolutely excellent. Lots of awesome, rocking tracks that underlie the action at hand really well. If anything, they’re so awesome that the action should kick things up a couple of notches just to keep up! XD

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. As much as I ragged on this game for a lot of reasons, I did still quite enjoy it at the end of the day. While the first Ys games really do show their age quite a bit in this, one of their earliest remasters, they’re still fun games and it’s no surprise that the series got so popular off of games like this. I think it’s going to be a hard sell for all but the biggest of retro fans to go back to this particular version of Ys I & II these days when there are so many excellent remakes that Falcom has made since, but there’s still some fun to be found here for those who are willing to look for it.
44. Ys III: Wanderers From Ys (SFC)
After finishing Ys I & II, I went straight to the sequel. I watched a let’s play of this game well over a decade ago, and that was actually probably my first exposure to Ys as a franchise. It didn’t look super incredible then, so I’ve never given it that much thought in the time since, but I figured since I was already thinking about Ys (and this is also a game my partner quite likes) that I might as well track down a way to play it and finally experience this game myself. It took me around 5 or so hours to beat the Japanese version of the game on emulated hardware.

Ys III takes place two years after the first Ys, with Adol going off with Dogi (a minor character from the first Ys) on more adventures around the world. Eventually, a fortune teller gives Dogi a disastrous fortune about his hometown of Redmont, and the two set off there at once. With such ominous beginnings, Adol quickly finds himself on a quest to save not just Redmont but all of Felghana from the great evil that lies just beneath its surface. Once again, this is a relatively early 90’s action/adventure game, so it’s not the best thing in the world, but we’re already seeing good steps from Ys I & II. The total cast is significantly smaller than that of those games, and those who are here generally have relatively far more active roles in the story instead of just being glorified dialogue flag triggers for Adol. It’s hardly going to give most SquareSoft games a run for their money, of course, but we’re taking firm steps in the right direction, and it’s a story I thought was good fun.

The actual gameplay of Ys III could hardly be more different while still being in the same action/adventure genre. Dead and buried is the old staple of bump combat, as now not only does Adol fight by swinging his sword with the attack button, but we’re not even a top-down game anymore! Ys III is a sidescrolling action/adventure game in the vein of something like Castlevania II or Zelda II, with everything from towns to dungeons navigated like that and having no overworld to speak of. This is sort of a double-edged sword. On the more negative end is that sidescrollers just have a lot less literal space to work with as adventure games. The world feels quite small compared to Ys I & II (even though it’s not terribly bigger or smaller), and the level design ends up feeling quite unimpressive as well.

On the other hand, however, I honestly far prefer the gameplay in this to the gameplay of Ys I & II. While the bosses still aren’t amazing and a lot of enemies are quite simple and similar to one another, needing to jump, duck, and swing your sword to fight stuff means that combat has far more depth, and I found it far more fun as a result. Sure, a lot of bosses are still a matter of mulch or be mulched, that more active element means you actually feel more accomplished for taking a boss down quick compared to the bump combat equivalent of just having vindication that you did enough grinding to see this through. Hit detection (especially on the penultimate and final bosses) is a bit wonky at times, but this game at the very least continues to have the same save anywhere system that the earlier Ys games has, so getting nuked down by a boss is still just a matter of entering the room and trying again until your strategy is more sound.

This game still has levels to grind for, sure, but the relative length of this game being shorter also comes with the levels being far faster to grind for too. I did maybe a combined hour or hour and a half of grinding in this (with the owls in the ruins being a particularly great place to reach max level quickly), and after that it was all smooth sailing. This game even has better signposting than the first two did as well, thankfully, and I didn’t get lost or need to look up where to go a single time~. Ys III is overall still a bit on the easy side (much like Ys I & II were if you kept on top of grinding), but the overall play style of this was something I ended up enjoying much more despite how much smaller an adventure this is.

Though we’re on a SNES and therefore lack the storage capacity for the voice acting or CD-quality sound that a PC Engine can boast, the presentation is still as good as ever. The graphics are a bit simple compared to some other SFC games, but environments are still nice and colorful, and enemies especially are very pretty and well designed. Though I’ve been told that other versions (such as the PCE CD version, naturally) have better music, the SFC is still a very capable machine, and this is still an Ys game, so the music still rocks as much as ever even though the gameplay has changed so much.

Verdict: Recommended. This is a game that I don’t think is honestly that much better than Ys Books I & II on paper, but the execution is done so much better that it ends up being much easier to recommend as a result. If you don’t mind a bit of jank and a bit of grinding at the start, this is a good fun action/adventure 16-bit adventure game. It’s not the best thing on the system, for sure, but it still manages to be good to play with good music, and it’ll make a fun thing to go through in a weekend if this is a retro genre you’re interested in (as I so very much am).
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
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