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  1. 8 points
    Yeah, great little game. Glad to hear you also enjoyed it. Been a while since I posted an update, hmm... let's see if I can remember what I've played... Well, February got pretty much completely taken over by one game, a controversial game that a lot of people loved to hate, I am of course talking about: Palworld: While I wasn't exactly sold on it at first, I ended up getting hooked on the damn thing and then couldn't stop playing it! As an early access game (and one made by an inexperienced dev team at that) it obviously has quite a lot of issues, and it's not exactly the most original game ever made *cough* but you know what? Neither of those things stopped it from (eventually) being a lot of fun! Played it for around 100 hours in total and in that time I caught the majority of the Pokém-err... Pals, defeated all bosses and unlocked every achievement. It was the base building aspect that ended up appealing to me the most though, it's super simple to use yet pretty flexible in what it allows you to build. But me being me, I went and made a 15 storey Baby Face tower for my main base: Yep, it was just a bit big: So yeah, base building was really great, and alongside being able to make essentially any shape base you like, there's an assortment of furniture items available to craft for decoration. It's cute how your Pals also help out with constructing stuff and can be assigned to various tasks within the base itself, like planting/harvesting food, manufacturing items or weapons, etc. And depending on the type of Pal/skills, they'll be better suited to certain tasks, it makes collecting and levelling them up feel a lot more worthwhile as a result. Unlike in Pokémon, where I always focus on my team and all remaining Pokémon are just left gathering dust in the storage box, in Palworld you want to have a load of different Pals trained up and then set to your base/s. Another aspect where Palworld seems to make an improvement over Pokémon is in the online play department, although it's not something I personally tested, as far as I'm aware the entire game is playable in co-op. No doubt a contributing factor to the crazy success of this game. Despite Palworld one-upping Pokémon in some areas though, it still needs work, it's an ambitious title with a lot going on and all in a huge open world, Pals can get stuck on parts of the environment, characters will randomly T-pose, all that sort of fun stuff. There were already a few updates back while I was still playing that fixed up some bugs, including a major one where it was possible to capture bosses! That's right, not just the Pals, but their NPC trainers too! Luckily I managed to "catch 'em all" before the fix arrived, an unusual advantage of playing via Game Pass, where patches would be delayed over the Steam version. Oh, quick mention on the music before I move on. For the most part it was basically non-existent, as they were going for that BotW vibe just some light piano here and there. So I'd come to the conclusion that the game wasn't going to offer much in that regard, but then I was hit with this!: Crazy good! It's basically the only memorable track from the entire game (for me at least) but yeah, what a belter. Anyway, I stand by what I said about Palworld originally, in that I just hope its success will snap Game Freak out of their rut. It's quite frankly embarrassing how a small rookie studio (regardless of how they went about it) has been able to produce a more entertaining "Pokémon" game than any of the recent titles in that series. Game Freak needed a wake up call, and hopefully this is it. While subbed to Game Pass I noticed Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night had returned to the service, it's a game that I'd previously played through on there and really enjoyed, so I decided to download and check it out again. A couple of hours into it and I was having such a blast once more that I realised I should probably just buy it, so picked up a copy on Steam. It's rare that I replay games, but this one is so good that I simply couldn't resist. I absolutely love it! The visuals, the music, the flow of the game and huge variety of weapons and movesets all make it super replayable. There's only 1 thing wrong with Bloodstained, and that's the atrocious font they used for the dialogue text. Yuck! What were they thinking with that!? I tried searching for a mod to change it to a serif style, something a bit more... Gothic, but there was nothing. I know, that's such a trivial thing to complain about, but it still really annoys me. On the plus side, I discovered other mods that helped distract me from the horrible font at least. @Jonnas, I see this is one of your games to play this year, hope you get around to it. Very briefly revisited Stray to check out a mod that let's you play as Garfield: Game is now 11/10. No More Heroes III: This also popped up on Game Pass, having already played 1, 2 and Travis Strikes Again, I figured I should finally give 3 a go as well. But apart from the combat (which was really good) and the humour (that's so unbelievably stupid it made me laugh, a lot ) it's probably the weakest entry in the series, I just wasn't a fan of the way it's structured. You have several large areas with pretty much nothing in them that are just like hubs for mission markers, you then have to do a number of these repetitive missions to open up the boss battles, that was ok initially, but towards the later stages of the game it got pretty tiresome. I would've preferred some proper levels to explore with a greater number of enemies to progress through occasionally. Anyway, the boss battles and ridiculous story/cutscenes were enough to keep me playing through to the end, but were it not for those things I would've struggled to finish it I reckon. Dead Rising: Where the hell has this game been all my life?! So I randomly purchased this on Steam as I was in the mood for even more silliness after NMH3, and let's just say that this game did not disappoint! Playing this for the very first time in 2024 was quite the experience, a fantastic blast from the past, back when big developers were still relatively free to make highly entertaining games without needing to worry about political correctness and all the other constrictive nonsense they have to deal with now. Anyway, won't go into details on what I liked about this game, because that's basically everything! So I'll instead comment on the single aspect that I truly hated and that stops Dead Rising from being absolutely perfect, and that's its boss battles. My word, frustrating doesn't even begin to describe how awful they are. Damage sponges that can destroy you within seconds using attacks that are so damn cheap it feels like encountering a cheater in an online game. You need to either possess super human reflexes, or cheese the AI in some way to create a window of opportunity to attack. And even then they can just pull a completely unpredictable move which will be impossible to react to. Infuriating. Terrible bosses aside though, this game is gold. The setting, the freaky characters, the OTT (non-boss) gameplay ... so much fun. I was also super impressed by the amount of zombies on screen simultaneously and the multitude of ways they react to attacks too, that must've been so impressive back in 2006! It still holds up really well today. I completely lost it the first time I threw a metal pipe at one and it got stuck inside them. "Let off some steam, Bennett!" I've come to realise that apart from some indie stuff I actually have a lot more fun playing older games now than modern ones, so I'm going to try and catch up on other classics that I might have missed out on over the years, provided they can be found on PC. Hopefully I'll be able to discover some other wacky gems like Dead Rising. Well, that's my gaming diary up to now, I think. The only other thing I've been playing regularly alongside everything else is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, N-E online battles on Saturday's and creating custom stages the rest of the time I'm on it. Yep, still addicted to making those, here are some screens of my latest creations:
  2. 7 points
    Remember the pledge? The one that I made a few pages back? It's time to address it. Final Fantasy II It was about darn time that I tackled this one. Ever since I finished FF1 a couple of years back, I wanted to do this one (also on the GBA). It took me quitting FE Heroes to properly start it. I already knew quite a fair bit about the game going in, so I went with the mindset of wanting to accurately judge its strengths and faults, and whether this "black sheep" was worthy of that title. So let's do it from best to worst: Excellent soundtrack! Nobuo Uematsu did a cool soundtrack for FF1, but here? The man was cooking. The normal battle theme sounds like a military march, the regular boss theme sounds like a grueling trek, and the final boss theme sounds like the evil emperor just burst into the room to gloat via Disney song. The overworld theme feels like a sad resolve, while the final dungeon feels triumphant and intimidating at the same time. It's impressive, especially for 1988, how the soundtrack feels like a such a consistent unit, everything about it contributes to a feeling of dourness and near-despair, with a hint of militarism. Cool story! This was also quite ambitious for the time. Most RPGs (and videogaming stories, really) were doing the simple premise of "evil overlord is there, you must defeat him", but FF2 really wanted to build a narrative. It starts with the player experiencing the overwhelming invasion first hand, then attempting to gain the trust of the good guys, then travelling to specific spots for missions (as part of a greater plan), meeting several secondary characters, which also get mini-arcs of their own... This series was attempting to do in-game cutscenes and set-pieces when that was virtually unheard of. The plot basically has the simple premise of fighting an evil empire, but they make a point of being novel (for the time) about how they're telling it. It was effective, as I was invested into characters like Josef or Gordon. Minwu has such a cool design. I know he's just one character, but it's clear that the series keeps referencing him specifically, with stuff like Paladins (FFTA) and Mystic Knights (FFV, Bravely series). I like the keyword system. It's a subtle way to keep the players invested in the plot, and if well done, it can lead to a lot of potential dialogue without ever feeling too artificial. Obviously, the NES was not the place to put large amounts of dialogue, but even in this limited form, it was already enjoyable. ...Dungeons aren't great. They're often labyrinthic, they always feel a bit too long, and they're riddled with a lot of doors that lead to empty rooms with heightened encounter rate. They feel like gauntlets that leave me tired, and rarely accomplished. I can see that they did try to vary the formula here and there, but always in a way that translates to "face even bigger, harder enemies, in a different form". Which leads me to the one thing that tanks the game: the battle system. I'm sure we all heard about this game's weird level up system, where there aren't any level ups, the stats raise according to whatever we choose to do during battle. Characters attack, they eventually raise their strength, if they get hit, they eventually raise their defence, and so on. I suppose the intention was to be able to raise your party members how you want, define your playstyle. But it doesn't work, it's a godawful system, or at least an awful implementation. The way it's set up, and considering how you might deal with random encounters, your characters will raise strength, defence, and HP often... and rarely agility. You want to raise magic/spirit, you need to use magic, specifically in battle. If you want to raise the level for specific spells, you also need to use them often... which means that utility spells like Esuna, Protect, Shell, etc. will either miss or be ineffective if their level is too low. For crying out loud, for a spell to work properly, I need to use it incessantly and inanely during random encounters until it levels up? This is all exacerbated by the fact that enemies get tough. I usually like that, but it's infuriating to get all of my party blinded or poisoned by a spell, and casting Esuna like 3 times until it works! Or running into enemies that are so sturdy, I need to cast Berserk - once again, a couple of times until it works - to damage them (bosses especially have such inflated defence stats). And it's not like I can just run away from those battles, what with my incredibly low, low agility. That's the main issue with this game, it rewards targeted grinding, but it shits all over people actually trying to play casually (and also, where's the sense with having such a grindy system in a game where characters just rotate in and out of the party?) At one point, I ran into an incredibly tough optional Hillgigas at the end of a dungeon (lucky me, I saved near him), managed to beat him after multiple tries... and then literally the following dungeon just has two fucking Hillgigas as a normal random encounter, well above the average power level for the dungeon they're in. I can't run away from them either. I decided I had enough, the good parts of the game aren't worth that nonsense. I dropped the game. It's a shame, because I was enjoying the story and ambience otherwise. And from what I know about the story, Emperor Palamecia sounds like a fantastic villain. Considering the good parts, and the number in the title, it is fitting that I rate this with 2 stars. If any mainline FF should ever be remade with an entirely new battle/gameplay system, it should be this one. A shame that the first game to be cleared from my pledge is one I dropped, but... I did have something else going on. Phantasy Star So, I previously mentioned that I had this on Steam... Imagine my surprise to find that it was not there! For whatever reason, I registered all four Phantasy Star games as being part of my backlog, but the first one just wasn't there. I felt wronged, and since the eShop sales were still happening at the time, I decided to go for it and purchase the Sega AGES version. In other words, thank you very much, @Hero-of-Time and @Glen-i, for recommending this version. There were a few reasons I wanted to play this: I always wanted to check out this SEGA series; I did want to play the first three before tackling the fourth on NSO; I was really itching for old-school traditional RPGs; and the most recent reason, that my girlfriend cited this one as a childhood favourite (she's from Brazil, Master System was massive there). In fact, I was hoping this release would have the Brazilian Portuguese translation, but alas, it did not have it. I decided to play with the classic Exp&Gold rates, and after listening to both soundtracks for a bit, decided to go with the 8-bit tunes (they just fit better). This version also helps a lot with QoL features. Namely, you don't need to do any guesswork to figure out who can equip what, or which weapon or armour is better than which, as the AGES version comes with a handy guide of what's what. Oh, and the dungeon maps were definitely kept on! As for the game itself... It's lovely, actually, I had amazing fun with it. It's actually very conventional for the most part, with a few unusual aspects here and there (the Talk command, for example). It definitely scratched that itch for a comfortable traditional RPG. It only demands a bit of grinding at the very beginning (likely to teach players the value of level ups and equipment), and then it's smooth sailing. The only snags I found were on how to use the Ice Digger (I did not think I had to randomly test it on every wall) and how to open the path to the final dungeon (I thought for sure I needed that Miracle Key...) Aesthetically, this game is just Star Wars. Not just because it's fantasy sci-fi, the evil guards are literally just Stormtroopers, for example. The plot is... there's a local evil King who killed the protagonist's brother, and she's out to avenge him. Classic stuff. There are also small details here and there that bring flavour to the world (like the lying Dezorians, or the beggars asking for a drink before talking), and I did like the detail about how that one key item ended up in the hands of the mad scientist. Music is fantastic. Really catchy tunes all over the place (Palma is an instant classic, but even the dungeon theme is great). Oh, and 3 distinct overworld themes. Way ahead of its time. I will admit, I did not love the dungeons (I generally hate first-person dungeon crawlers), so the map was a lifesaver. Another issue is that the game doesn't have repels or anything like it, would've been really helpful to have a breather when figuring out where to go next. I was even more impressed when put into the context of the era: this game came out almost at the same time as Final Fantasy 1, but it feels so much more advanced than that. There are cutscenes, named party members who talk, enemies have animations (!), dungeons are 3D crawlers, there's more than one world map in the game... even a set piece like an unwinnable boss battle was unheard of at the time. Also, the developer team was basically 40% women? And Yuji Naka programmed the game so well, the M2 team literally could not find where he stored the data for one of the enemies? The story behind this game feels unreal. I also had fun discussing parts of the game with my girlfriend. She mentioned that getting through the game back in the day was practically a social event, with a bunch of kids trading impressions, playing together, and trying to figure out how to beat the game as a group. I imagine at least one of those kids may have been drawing maps of the dungeons himself. Kinda wild to think that PS may have been to Brazil what DQ was to Japan. Despite the confusing dungeons, the truth is that I loved this game. It's truly one of the best 8-bit RPGs I've ever played (second only to Dragon Quest III), and... it's a shame that it doesn't get the respect it deserves nearly as often. It's 5 stars from me. Kid Icarus I did play a few NES classics during my last update, and I wasn't planning on skipping this one. So, the main reason I wanted to properly beat this title in particular, is the fact that I never gave it a chance. Every time I tried to play it, I found it too confusing to understand, and would drop it. No more, I want to know what was it about this game that made it such a cult classic, even before Brawl came out. It... really is a confusing game. Not a bad or unfun one, it just has very specific rules that are hard to parse. At its core, it's a level-based platformer where you can shoot enemies... except every 4th level is an elaborate labyrinth, Metroidvania-style (with maps so shitty, it's better to have no map at all) Shooting enemies gives you hearts, which is currency, basically. There are shops to spend them, and you can interact with them in highly specific ways... There are rooms with games of chance with confusing rules... There are rooms where you can get your weapon upgraded (but only if you fulfill an invisible "skill" counter), rooms where you face a barrage of enemies in order to gain a reward (either a buff, or a lot of hearts).... And the Metroidvania levels have this specific move where you can free petrified centurions (using mallets) so they can help you against that level's boss (I did not expect Pit's Brawl Final Smash to actually be a thing here, but there we go). That's a lot of unexplained mechanics! Once you finally understand what's going on, it's an enjoyable game that grows a lot as your progress, but that initial knowledge barrier is surprisingly steep. A weird quirk of the game is that the first 4 levels are pretty challenging, but the rest of the game is much easier to get through. Pit gains new skills as the game progresses, sure, but I think the main reason is that they just didn't put any healing rooms in those first few levels. Not sure why they designed the game like that. I eventually reached the end and got the second-best ending. Felt really nice. It's a fun game with a lot of charm, it just has some complicated mechanics, and a handful of questionable design decisions. 3 stars feels like the fairest rating. ---------------------- And just like that, I crossed a few titles off my pledge. One of which is an RPG I beat (that's another 2024 resolution fulfilled, too). April is upon us, and I know exactly what to play next.
  3. 7 points
    Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is an "interactive animated adventure" game developed by Seedy Eye Software and released on all modern platforms in Feburary this year. It's a spiritual successor to the infamous Zelda games that were made for the Phillips CD-i system. The key difference here is that Arzette aims to change one major aspect about those games. That is, to not have atrocious gameplay. Everything else? Nah, Arzette embraces the crummy production values that made the Zelda CD-i games so infamous by hiring some of the original animators of those cutscenes as well as a couple of cameos from the Link and Zelda voice actors. The Kingdom of Faramore has recently sealed away the evil demon Daimur in a magic book. Afterwards, the traitourous Duke Nodelki is sentenced to scrub all the floors in Faramore. Yes, it's literally the plot of The Wand of Gamelon with character names changed, and it's really funny! However, Duke Nodelki manages to use the Jewel of Faramore to free Daimur, forcing Princess Arzette to set off on a journey to gather the shards of the Jewel of Faramore, and seal Daimur away again. The structure of the game is very similar to Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. The world is split up into selectable levels that contain a whole bunch of secrets and upgrades to find to eventually unlock more levels and find more secrets and upgrades. Progress is normally made by helping various NPC's find things they need, you're meant to be doing it because you're a good person and all that, but secretly, you're doing it to see more cutscenes. The concept of "Personal Space" doesn't exist in Faramore The aesthetic is pretty much spot on. Characters contort in that unmistakable CD-i way. It could be so easy to be mean-spirited about this, but there is a genuine feeling that the creators have a fondness for these games, and it shows in the little details. For example, there'll be a noticable pause after cutscenes, as if the game was reading from a disc quite slowly, because that's how the CD-i works. The actual gameplay is really solid, it's somewhat similar to Zelda 2, but with a focus on finding upgrades, a lot like a Metroid game. These upgrades make up a huge part on how the game avoids a lot of the irritating aspects of the CD-i Zelda games, as well as just good game design in general. The game took me 4 and a half hours to get everything, and it was an utter joy from start to finish. I hope this gets a sequel, would love to see more disturbing charming cutscenes. I mentioned this before, but Arzette's face here looks a lot like...
  4. 7 points
    DAY 365! (of no alcohol!) A person close to Scatman John told me that he used to refer to a year of sobriety as a ‘Birthday of Growth’, so happy 1st Birthday to me lol. I just danced around the room like a loon to something by John I’d never heard before, I feel about 10 years old! The cravings aren’t really there now, I get the odd pang every now and then but I think my dumb lizard brain is finally calming down, and my actual self is aware enough that nothing is worth those hangovers or embarrassing texts, status updates or Snapchats… I’ve lost a few people over the last year, either naturally or because when I was no longer getting drunk all the time and making bad decisions, I realised how bad they were for me. A few others because it seems that we actually didn’t get on at all when I didn’t have my drunk persona. I guess I didn’t realise how much I let slide, or brushed under the rug, or agreed when I didn’t agree, to things while under the influence I also thankfully don’t get myself in stupid situations, like going to clubs, drunk and by myself. It may sound like my life has gotten a lot more boring, but I love it so much more, and feel a lot more like my actual self, the kind of person I was when I first got my dog Banjo and was hyped for the Wii. Despite not drinking, I’ve had some of the best days out ever, just doing more quality things with old and new friends, instead of getting pissed until 4am and pestering people. I’ve been to different arcades, and I’ve been to them LOADS, with different sets of people, playing DDR, setting the high score on Pac-Man and playing GameCube games. I’ve done things I know I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do before, like meeting with Gina for the Scatman biog, and opening up to people more than ever. It’s weird to be in a place where a future seems like something that will actually happen. Previously, for years, I was surviving day to day, and with the suicidal ideation, not exactly thinking too far ahead, but I now actually have the ability to look ahead and wonder what life could be like in the future. As such I have applied for a college course, and while I am not pinning too much hope on it, I’m going to do it for fun and see where it takes me. That’s one of the things I have thought about doing for literally years, but never had the confidence or belief to do it until now. This next part is kind of a joke but totally true too: I will give Pikmin 4 another chance LOL. I was SO mean to that game, like, I hated it with a passion, and was seething with rage over every change they made to the series from the OG games. You’d have thought Oatchi mauled a family member or something. I never even completed the story, let alone 100% it and get medals etc like I did in literally every other Pikmin game. But when I remember that game now, I immediately have the taste of non-alcoholic beer in my mouth, and a feel of agitation. I played it at the HEIGHT of my panging for the drink, and I think that somehow made the cutest game ever my biggest enemy lol. misattributed hate, or something like that, I’m not sure the exact phrasing. There are some parts of my personality that are very slowly starting to make a bit more sense. I still feel like there’s a bit of the puzzle missing, but I occasionally remember things I’d completely forgotten about, things from my childhood and teenage years, that make me think, “fuck, that was a bit weird, and somewhat explains this/that about why I act certain ways”. I still don’t totally have it together, as @S.C.G and @Ashley will no doubt attest to, but you two, as well as a few others in my day to day life, and this site, have been SO helpful. I have always been terrified of letting anyone get too close, but then, and this is a realisation I’ve only really had in the last year, I do get lonely but try to mask it with other things. But this place is always here, when I’m my own worst enemy and won’t talk to, or refuse to talk to anyone For now I shall keep on taking my time! A day at a time!
  5. 6 points
    I’ve played a few GameBoy games on NSO recently: Kirby’s Dream Land It was nice to see where the pink (err… white) puffball started, but ultimately felt this was pretty underwhelming. I appreciate the inhale technique was improved in future games with the ability to take on abilities. Here you can suck enemies in and spit them out. While this created the unique attacking concept for defeating many enemies, the fact that you can simply inhale air and spit it out as an attack nulled a lot of the need for me to use enemies as projectiles instead. Yes this would’ve been impressive and likely fun at the time, as far as early handheld platformers go, but really feeling its age now for me. Super Mario Land 2 The bulky sprites make this look like a Mario game and add character to the cast. However, the compromise of having large characters on a small screen meant the gameplay is really slowed down to allow for the subsequent small viewing area. Not as good as I remember. Just so slow with a low difficulty level. It’s not a tricky game. It was fun finding the hidden exits, but even though I hadn’t played this in around a decade (as a download on 3DS) I was able to blast through it in just over an hour, finding most of the hidden routes. I can imagine most people getting through it faster.
  6. 6 points
    Headed over to the Birmingham Gaming Market last Saturday and had a pretty good time (albeit a bit of a sardine-like experience). Going in, I'd done my research on retro games I wanted to get around to picking up a while ago, but I had a few priority items on my mind for this event: Silent Hill 2 - one of the horror games I want to get around to this year, in its original form rather than the remake. Armored Core games - I adored VI, so I'll be picking up most if not all of these as time goes on, I'm sure! Suikoden V - the only mainline Suikoden I don't own in some form or another. I also said I wouldn't be picking up any JP copies of games. My main tactic with our early access tickets was to take a quick nose around at high list items on racks/shelves closer to the vendor the first go around and then I'd dig into things truly on subsequent loops. So first game picked up was Armored Core: Silent Line, which I picked up on my first go around the place and spotted out of the corner of my eyes from several stalls away chuffed to pick up an Armored Core game, and this one went for £40, which is roughly how much it goes for elsewhere, too. The same vendor also had a PAL copy of Nine Breaker, too, but I didn't pick this up for two reasons: firstly, from my research it seems pretty universally loathed and rated as the weakest entry in the series, and secondly - and perhaps most importantly - it was going for £140. I was tempted (mainly because I know it'll probably go up in price by the time I get to it in the future), but kept my wits about me; I thought it was gone by our third go around which would've made it easier on me, but it had just moved shelf, and I'm glad I didn't pick it up then either. On my second loop I picked up Spider-Man 3 (specifically on PS3) and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, two items high on my PS3 wishlist, from the same vendor. While I've seen them around, I was watching out for copies iin nicer condition - and these would do! They were £18 and £5, respectively. And then...there just weren't any of my other priority items around. I did spot copies of Armored Core V and Verdict Day from a mile off, too, but unfortunately these were JP copies and so I wouldn't be able to play them (they were also £55 and £65, respectively, so not cheap for shelf-fillers). Wanting to make more out of the day and use some more of my budget, I lifted my rule on not picking up any JP titles, and headed back to the same stall (Sore Thumb from up in York) I got Silent Line from with one particular game in mind that I'd spotted on my first pass through... Chrono Trigger. Yes, I own it on DS physically and on Steam digitally, but I'd spotted a Japanese SNES copy a while back in great condition which had been put aside for someone at my local retro games store, and well, a JP PS1 copy of the game would take up less space and still looks quite nice, so why not? That set me back £25. I then also picked up Hunter x Hunter: Ubawareta Aura Stone (The Stolen Aura Stone) for just £10, a game I'd heard a little about and picked up because, well, Hunter x Hunter Which brings me onto my favourite pick-ups of the day, two games I'd actually been thinking of importing before I treated myself to their English ROMs... Suikogaiden Volume 1: Swordsman of Harmonia AND Suikogaiden Volume 2: Duel at Crystal Valley. These are spin-off titles to the Suikoden series which are actually text and picture-based adventures more along the lines of a visual novel, the first being set during the events of Suikoden II and the second being set following the events of Suikoden II, incorporating save transfers for character cameos or your player character name from II, and the games also introduce you to Nash, who I know turns up in III; notably, these never made it out of Japan. These are part of the 'Konami: The Best' line (even came with the spine sleeves, which I've popped into their respective cases), and though I was thinking of importing standard copies, getting to pick these up at a gaming market when I recognised their font while flicking through boxes felt special, and so I was happy to make an exception here. Definitely my favourite pick-ups of the day, big fan of the box art. These were £15 each. Overall, I was a bit let down in terms of finding priority items from my retro games list here - I thought Suikoden V was a bit of a long shot, but I watched footage of last year's event and there were 5+ copies of Silent Hill 2 floating around back at that event, and a good few more Armored Core titles, too. I "only" ended up spending £128 of the £300 budget I'd set myself for the event in the end, and half of that was from JP copies of games I didn't go in expecting to buy, but picked up to salvage the day for me a bit in terms of pick-ups. Cool for a first gaming market experience, but I honestly thought my pick-ups at Comic Con a few months ago felt more special (maybe free of the pressure of not being a gaming market), and I do wish they'd have some sort of traffic system in place with arrows on the floor rather than having it be a bit of a free-for all. No doubt I'll be hunting down my priority items in the coming months online, and I'll be looking forward to whatever gaming market I end up at next!
  7. 6 points
    Interesting vid: It really is pretty nuts what some games were able to achieve on that hardware.
  8. 6 points
    Took some time off work to extended the Easter weekend and so done some gaming this morning. Just finished up playing Robocop: Rogue City. A lot of people gave the game praise when it released last year and I can see why. The game is very much a love letter to the original movies and the developers have done a cracking job recreating the feel of those movies. It's the same guys who made Terminator: Resistance, which I loved and played back in 2019, so I shouldn't be surprised by the quality of the game. What's great about both this game and Terminator is that not only do they both respect the source material but also add to it in a meaningful way. Arguably they do a better job than some of the movie sequels in these franchises. Gameplay wise, it's a tightly packed 10-12 hour game. Again, just like Terminator: Resistance. You have a very small open world area to explore (downtown Detroit) in between missions that allow for side quests and then the main missions themselves are very action based FPS sections. The gunplay is excellent. Murphy feels weighty (as he should) but never sluggish, and using his signature gun, the Auto 9, is stupidly satisfying. It's very powerful and you will be popping heads off criminals very easily with it. They aren't shy about the blood and gore. Love it. This right here is a great example of the type of game that we need to see more of. It's a well crafted, not bloated and very fun AA experience, that doesn't waste your time and just gets down to business straight away. Certainly one for you to buy, @lostmario if you were to ever pick up a PS5.
  9. 5 points
    Extreme-G and Iggy's Reckin' Balls are joining N64 NSO...today!
  10. 5 points
    Baby girl #2 due on Monday..! We're both wishing she were here already given how tough a pregnancy it's been. I'll have even less time to visit NE!
  11. 5 points
    Argh! So many people not going into the NSO options to remove the buttons on the bottom of the screen! I hate it! Star Ocean: The Second Story R is an action RPG developed by Gemdrops, and was released on the Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC last year. It's a remake of the PS1 game, "Star Ocean: The Second Story" The game follows two characters, the first is Claude C. Kenny, an ensign of the Earth Federation (Think of it as the Federation from Star Trek). He's on a mission of some sort, when weirdness happens. Said weirdness transports him to the planet Expel, where he meets the second protagonist, Rena Lanford. Expel isn't aware of intergalactic life, so when Claude whips out a Laser Gun to save Rena from the local wildlife, she mistakes him for a hero in the local legends that wields a "Sword of Light". Word of this gets out quick, and the town mayor asks Claude to investigate the Sorcery Globe, a meteorite that has spawned monsters all over the planet. Claude agrees to look into it, but only so he can find a way off of the planet (he doesn't tell them that). Rena tags along because she wants to find her real parents, she's adopted. The framing device is interesting, you choose between Claude and Rena as the main character, and this tweaks the plot a little, as there's a number of scenes where the two are separated and you only see what happens to the character you chose. So there's naturally a few gaps in the plot. The general plot is fine, but my big issue is that for 75% of the game, the game kinda forgets that it's in a Sci-Fi setting. The planet Expel is for all intents and purposes, a medieval planet, and Claude's laser gun breaks in the first half hour, so he's stuck swinging a sword for the rest of the game. It does remember that the game is called Star Ocean in the last 25% of the game, but it's kinda too late, and it feels like a missed opportunity. The game plays similarly to the "Tales of" games, in that battles are all real time, with you controlling one character, and the AI handling the other members of the party. They're pretty dumb though, with them running towards enemies with no regard for how dangerous that might be. Luckily, there are a veritable smorgasbord of ways to become incredibly powerful, and they all come from the Speciality system. As you play the game and level up, characters accrue SP, which can be spent to improve various things, such as "Aesthetic Sense" or "Penmanship". Some of these provide immediate benefits, but with the right combination of stuff, that character develops a speciality that can be used for certain benefits. For example, leveling up Penmanship allows that character to write books that help other characters level up specialties. As well as that, there are "Super Specialties" that require mutliple party members. If multiple characters develop a talent for writing, then they can work together to write an excellent book that you can get published and start collecting royalties for, which is an excellent way to amass loads of money. It's not limited to that, you can do other stuff like doubling your EXP gains, calling some weird rabbit monster to help you travel over mountains, or even flat out steal from NPC's (Yes, @Dcubed, Octopath Traveler got that idea from this game)! It all snowballed into hilarity for me as Claude accidentally forged the best sword in the game halfway through it, and went on to apply a HP draining effect to said best sword. Add to that an accessory that triples the amount of times he hits an enemy, and he was literally invincible! For comparison's sake, the second highest ATK in my party was 2,100 I haven't played a game that heavily encourages the player to utterly demolish it like this since Bravely Default, it's loads of fun! Anyway, the second unique aspect of Star Ocean is how you build a party. Claude and Rena are the only mandatory characters in the game, but there are 13 other characters you can get, and they are all optional. You can finish the game with none of them if you want. I don't recommend it, but you can. The problem is that you only have space for 8 characters, so you can never recruit everyone in one playthrough. The ending cutscenes are determined by who is in your party, and how much they like each other. There's 99 different cutscenes you can see in the ending (!), so multiple playthroughs are encouraged. Good thing this game only took me about 30 hours to beat then. The game looks drop dead gorgeous, utilising the 2D-HD look that Team Asano games have popularised in recent times. You probably know by now, that I love this style! If only the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters looked this good. The portraits that show up in cutscenes also look great. Incredible detail that makes the PSP versions look positively amateurish. The music is also great. You have the option to use the original PS1 soundtrack, or an arranged version. I preferred the arranged version, but I've not played the other versions before, so I don't really have any nostalgia for them. This is a fantastic remake, the only problems I have are small nitpicks with the structure of the original game, but it's not enough to affect my enjoyment. Highly recommended! Dragons, Sci-Fi, that whole connection!
  12. 5 points
    Princess Peach Will Star As The Main Character In A Brand New Game is effectively a spiritual sequel to the DS title, Super Princess Peach. It's an action-adventure game developed by Good-Feel for the Switch that released quite recently. Peach gets an invitation to the Sparkle Theater. Of course, trouble follows Peach like a bad smell, and the theater is almost immediately overtaken by the evil witch, Grape, and her Sour Bunch minions. The performers of the Sparkle Theater are missing, so it falls to Peach to team up with the guardian spirit of the theater, Stella, to utilise the power of Sparkle to take over pivotal roles of various plays and use those abilities to fight back. The big selling point here is the various transformations that Peach gets throughout the game. Normally, Peach has a somewhat limited ribbon attack as her only action other then jumping, but when she finds some Sparkle, what she's able to do changes depending on the setting of the play she's in. I don't think that's a real horse? This provides a decent amount of variety to gameplay, it's still very simple and an absolute breeze to get through (Good-Feel aren't exactly strangers to that mantra), with the only possible challenge coming from optional things, like finding all the Sparkle Gems dotted throughout the game. There's nothing inherently wrong with an easy game, and I enjoyed my time with it. The aesthetic style in this game is great! Loads of nice touches that sell the idea of everything taking place on a stage. Another nice detail is Peach herself. Her animations all change to reflect the costume she's in, and it's really impressive. It can't be faulted, in that regard. That said, the frame rate of this game takes a noticable dip at times, this only seems to happen in the hub area, and cutscenes, so it doesn't affect actual gameplay, making it merely a minor annoyance. I swear, it was like this when I got here! The music is... fine. Doesn't really stand out to me, though. So yeah, this is a fun game. Doesn't set the world alight, mind.
  13. 5 points
    Wrecking Crew '98, Amazing Hebereke, and SUPER R-TYPE are landing on the service...today!
  14. 5 points
    Metroid Dread (Switch) A triumphant return for the Metroid series and while it doesn’t reinvent the franchise, it is essentially 2D Metroid on modern consoles. The counter move, introduced in the 3DS Samus Returns I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) adds an extra nuance to gameplay, although is pretty much a necessity on bosses. Speaking of which, I thought the bosses here were excellent. Each major one I did, I pretty much got wiped out quickly and wondered how I’d ever defeat it, especially with no visible life bar. However, each attempt I lasted a little longer through naturally learning the attack patterns and my fingers hitting the right buttons a fraction quicker. It’s a pretty cool feeling and motivation to persevere, and actually after a few attempts I found I was taking them down. I’m glad they introduced the QoL improvements such as areas of the map flashing to indicate there’s a hidden power-up, without revealing exactly where it is, and the scanner to identify breakable blocks in an area. I was never that great in backtracking and finding lots in previous games, so this made that aspect faster and much less frustrating, especially as having a host of missiles and health is vital later on. I can see why views are mixed on the E.M.M.I. stealth sections. I appreciate whst they added, but I didn’t really enjoy them, employing a more cowardly ‘run, run, as fast as you can’ mentality a lot if time and seeing way too much of Samus’ death animation! I preferred the Zero Mission stealth sections. The Shinespark puzzles were clever, although some used mechanics I don’t recall the game ever mentioning, which made some much trickier. I did need to look up help on a few. I had no desire to replay it though, unlike some of the previous games, so I was determined to at least find and collect 100% of the items. Overall, great game, and fixes a Metroid itch and will introduce many to the 2D Metroid games. It feels tough, and players need a little patience, especially with boss battles. A good ‘once and done’ title.
  15. 5 points
    So good that PSO did a remix of mostly PSII songs but this song made it in. It's Fire Emblem, right? ...Right?
  16. 5 points
    Just a little update since my last round of posts from X..
  17. 5 points
    F-Zero Maximum Velocity coming to NSO couple of days:
  18. 4 points
    Pikmin keyrings! https://www.n-europe.com/news/pikmin-4-rubber-cutout-keyring-added-to-my-nintendo-rewards/
  19. 4 points
  20. 4 points
    Deadpool & Wolverine trailer:
  21. 4 points
    Banjo-Kazooie NA release: 29th June 1998 PAL release: 17th July 1998 JP release: 6th December 1998 Developer: Rare Publisher: Nintendo N64 Magazine Score: 90% Banjo-Kazooie is possibly my favourite game, something I utterly love. I play it around Christmas every year and never get tired of it. But why is this? What makes Banjo-Kazooie such a lovable game to play? For starters, Banjo-Kazooie has a lot of character, from Banjo-Kazooie themselves to the worlds, settings and music. Even characters like Colliwobble (a giant cauliflower with googly eyes) has a magical style and charm to it. I think it’s Rare’s love for googly eyes, so much stuff has it, including boulders, blocks of ice and boxes of TNT. The world of Banjo-Kazooie is just alive in a joyful way. Then you have the heroes Banjo and Kazooie. Banjo is a fairly straight character. For the most part he’s kind and gentle and wants to do good. If he was completely on his own, he may be a bit bland, but luckily his trust friend Kazooie lives in his backpack. Kazooie is rude, sassy and will mock anything. Together, it makes for great banter between them and other characters. And all dialogue is text with grunts, which helps make their world remain unique. I really hope any (if there are any) future games keep this as I’m not sure how I’d feel about proper voice acting. Banjo-Kazooie is a 3D collect-a-thon platformer, which doesn’t go overboard on its collectibles. Banjo and Kazooie have a lot of moves crammed onto a controller, but they all work really well. There are some slight niggles, like trying to change the camera while aiming an egg can activate your golden feathers, but the platforming itself feels extremely precise, with any missed jumps never feeling like the game’s fault. The camera also functions fine for the most part, but there’s a couple of areas with some forced angles that don’t work, such as the path to Mad Monster Mansion which is a narrow walkway that can be difficult to see. There are 9 worlds in Banjo-Kazooie. These each have 10 jiggies to collect, 100 notes, two honeycomb pieces (which increase your health). One jiggy in every level will be finding all five Jinjos hidden in each level. The levels will be considered small by today’s standards, but I think that they are ideal. It’s a size where you can search for everything without tedium or growing tired of it. Each world has its own charm. Mumbo’s Mountain is a great introductory world. It’s a great introduction to how jiggies are hidden. Some are out in the open, some given to you by characters, some by activating switches and some by smashing things or just trying to shoot eggs into any hole you find. It sets you up for handling the later levels. It also introduces the important Talon Trot move, which allows you to use Kazooie’s legs to traverse steep slopes, and the layout of the level encourages heavy use. Also here is the first Mumbo Skull. Enter here and you’ll find the crazy shaman Mumbo Jumbo. If you’ve found enough Mumbo tokens, he’ll cast a spell on you and you’ll turn into a termite. These transformations are another wonderful thing about Banjo-Kazooie. They’re not in every level so aren’t overused, but they turn you into different animals (or objects), which is required for certain jiggies. They’re all wonderful to use and are simply a joyous thing to have in the game. After Mumbo’s Mountain, we get Treasure Trove Cove, a beach level filled with crabs. Mambo’s Mountain also introduces you to a pound attack (using Kazooie’s beak), which is used here for enemies and tasks. Flying is also introduced, as Kazooie can use red feathers to fly around the map. Treasure Trove Cove is quite open, with a jiggy that encourages flying around it. There’s also a very scary shark in the water. It’s a really wonderful level. Next up is the weakest part of Banjo-Kazooie: Clanker’s Cavern. It’s a murky underwater level, and looks fairly dull. I do like Clanker – a big whale that has been turned into a horrifying trash disposal monster, but is actually a nice but depressed individual, but there’s a lot of swimming in this level, including a very deep dive that terrified me as a kid. That said, I grow more and more fond of the level each time I play the game. Bubblegloop Swamp swiftly returns to form, especially because of adorable crocodile Banjo. This level is split up into segments, and then croc Banjo can traverse new areas, including a fairly difficult minigame with Mr Vile, sneaky crocodile (although a move from a later level can make this easier if you wish). Then the wonderful wintery world of Freezeezy Peak, a level revolving around a giant snowman. One slight niggle for me with this is that you can’t finish the level initially, so I’d recommend a quick trip into the next level to grab the speed trainers, but it’s only a minor hassle. In Freezeezy Peak you get to climb the giant snowman’s scarf, have aerial fights with aggressive smaller snowmen, turn into a Walrus and take part in races – WAHEEEY! From the snow straight to the sand of Gobi’s Valley. This is one of the more challenging levels, with pyramids, temples and sphinxes holding challenges you need to complete. One of these requires a perfect run with the speed boots, and still takes me multiple attempts each playthrough. That said, there is still a load of fun and charm. Up next is for some halloween fun in Mad Monster Mansion, a haunted house and grounds. Initially, I found this level to be incredibly daunting, but traversal isn’t as difficult as initially seems, and getting around the level is quite fun. There’s lots of rooms to explore and even a toilet to explore. Brilliantly, the toilet itself is also a character called Loggo. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is that Banjo-Kazooie loves puns. Some people may pretend to groan at puns, but everyone loves them. Rusty Bucket Bay is the penultimate level, with some very tough challenges. The water in this level drains your air much faster than previous levels, so even though there’s a lot of water, you only spend small stints in it. There’s lots of hidden rooms to find, with some fun and cute details hidden in them. The transformation in this level is also super adorable. And last is the seasonal Click Clock Wood. This is split into four “sections” that you open up over time, each is the whole world in a different season, and some jiggies require doing parts in each season, although if you fully explore each season before moving on, you don’t have to go back and forth. It’s lovely to see all the changes throughout the seasons. Connecting these together is Grunty’s tower. Grunty is an evil witch who wants to make herself beautiful (by stealing the beauty from Banjo’s sister, Tooty, who became a staple of all future Banjo games…either that or she was relegated to a missing person’s poster and forgotten about). You explore the tower, finding jigsaws to fill in with the jiggy pieces you collect to open the main worlds. There are also 10 jiggies hidden here, which require you to hit a switch in each level to reveal (except for one, which is given to you at the start of the game). And once you get past all the levels and go to defeat Gunty, it doesn’t go straight into a boss battle (that comes later), instead you have to complete Grunty’s Furnace Fun, a trivia board game where you have to answer questions about the game (or complete some mini games from previous levels). These questions could be about Grunty herself, pictures of places in levels to identify, trivia about characters or identifying sound and music. Music. That’s a very important part of what makes Banjo-Kazooie work. Composer Grant Kirkhope did an absolutely phenomenal job of creating some tunes that you will be humming for the rest of your lives. They also work with the levels extremely well, adding to the magical experience. The music will also vary slightly based on different locations of each level or going underwater, all with perfectly smooth transitions between them. The music to Banjo-Kazooie is simply heaven for your ears, and will put a smile on your face for the entirety of your playthrough. Even other people in your house will start humming the tunes. Replaying Banjo-Kazooie takes between 6 and 10 hours, although this will be a lot longer the first time. It’s a great length for annual revisits and is an extremely well-contained piece of media. You can follow it by its sequel, Banjo-Tooie (as I do every few years), but it works extremely well on its own. The entirety of the game is just full of joy, accompanied by very happy tunes and a sense that everyone working on the game was enjoying themselves. There are two versions of this game, the original on N64 and a remaster version on Xbox. I highly recommend the Xbox version, as the better controller design helps a lot, and the widescreen HD image is much nicer to see. The main other difference between the two is that the Xbox version is easier, as it saves what notes you have collected. In the original, you need to collect all 100 in one go, which I believe was mainly due to memory limits on the N64 and not the original intention. Banjo-Kazooie is my perfect game. Remake or remaster? The Xbox remaster is pretty great, although releasing on more platforms and a few fixes and refinements would be great. Official ways to get the game. Banjo-Kazooie is available on Xbox One/Series and is included in Rare Replay. You can also rent it on Switch via Nintendo Switch Online Re-releases 2008: Xbox Live Arcade 2015: Rare Replay 2023: Nintendo Switch Online (Subscription Only)
  22. 4 points
    Dezaemon 3D JP release: 26th June 1998 NA release: N/A PAL release: N/A Developer: Athena Publisher: Athena N64 Magazine Score: 82% For the N64’s first sci-fi scrolling shooter, this is a bit of an odd one, as it isn’t a specific game, but rather a creation kit for making you own sci-fi shoot-’em’-up game. The software itself is quite complicated and isn’t easy to use, even with a translated manual and Google Lens – although I don’t think it’s the game’s fault. There is a whole host of editing features, you can modify textures, modify models, modify the level layouts with effects and enemies and even design your own music. There are a bunch if icons and I imagine you can do a fair amount with it once you got used to how it worked. The best I could do was do was some kind of takeaway food (the model is already in the game) shooting above water that moves around in waves. I did try to do a bit more, but I somehow accidentally reset all the custom data. Dezaemon 3D does come with a couple of built in games, presumably made using the creation software of the game as examples of what you can do. This is a vertical scrolling shooter and near the start you come across a boss and an immense amount of bullets, but the detail is quite impressive. The second game changes viewpoint depending on what stage you’re on, with a top down view on stage one and a side view on stage 2. This is rather fascinating software, and it seems like it could do a lot. Remake or remaster? I don’t really know enough about games creation software to see how this sits now of if there’s anything similar available. Official ways to get the game. There is no official way to get Dezamon 3D
  23. 4 points
    Finally tried out the demo: it's pretty fun! Only did Level 1-1 and half of 1-2 (I originally intended to stop at the end of 1-1, so there's some proof of fun) The controls need some time to adjusted to (as with most 3D platformers, admittedly), but it's definitely aiming for that sort of platforming that's fast and pleasant. Like, it feels like it scratches that "Super Mario 64" itch, but with moves that have nothing to do with SM64. Penny's grounded moves are a typical dash and a sonic-style spin-dash. Her aerial moves are a double-jump, an air-dash, and a weird swinging motion that serves as a longer-reaching double jump. She also has a regular attack and a spinning yo-yo attack to fend off penguins (and solve certain obstacles). Level design reminds me of Kirby & the Forgotten Land: very linear, no camera control, some set pieces here and there, but there's always space for occasional exploration and side-objectives. Feels like a fast-paced platformer in 3D, done right.
  24. 4 points
    As it happens, I was buying some N64 carts for the shop, and one of the cart-only games I picked up was Wetrix... I might give it a try this week before someone buys it.
  25. 4 points
    Just got the first couple of hours tonight and am creeping up to the inciting incident – taking much, much longer than both Suikoden and Suikoden II to get there, but we're certainly getting there. So, anyways, to cover the obvious: the game looks gorgeous. New areas/dungeons also get a bit of a feature, reminding me a bit of some of the special art we'd get to see entering a new spot in some of the older Pokémon games: With that out of the way, I'm enjoying it so far. Having first played and written at length about Suikoden and Suikoden II on here back in 2021 for the Gaming Diary thread, and coming away from those games a very big fan of them, I'll admit, I'm going into this game with very high expectations, and so far I'd say - time taken to get to the *actual* inciting incident aside - it's meeting those expectations. My biggest hope is that once it's done and dusted, I'd like for it to fall somewhere between the two. So it looks gorgeous (it's worth repeating, I mean just look at it!), the addition of voice work is a welcome one in a game with this much dialogue, there are little tweaks which aren't at all going over my head like having access to the inventory as a whole during battle rather than needing to assign items to individual party members that only they can access during battle, your protag has an actual voice and isn't just a blank slate which I'm a big fan of, there's a lot of silliness to go around, I'm not the biggest fan of 2.5D and HD-2D games because they can feel a bit floaty but this feels great to move around in, and heck, there's even a wonderful world map to look at and a handy list of objectives with some super clean UI to boot: Also worth highlighting is the wonderful character art you get to see when a new character joins your party, such as with Mio here: Combat is just as snappy as it was during my time with Suikoden and Suikoden II, and works in a very similar way, but there are some very welcome additions which seems like they'll keep things fresh, namely in the form of special boss gimmicks, seeing the full order of a round of combat adding another layer to your strategy, and something I'm still figuring out where you can use one character to defend another who is nearly downed. The way SP charges work and function for Rune-Lens use by filling up with a charge as they go a round of battle unused should add a nice element of risk-reward. The Rune Attacks of Suikoden return rebranded as Rune-Lens attacks, while the Unite Attacks return rebranded as Hero Combos, and they both look suitably awesome: Sword Rain is 100% the coolest move available from the start of the game. But Friendship Combo looks great too! As for nitpicks at this early stage, I've seen the loading screen in brief flashes a lot more than I honestly expected to when joining and leaving battles (maybe it'll get patched, who knows?), but there is an upside - and that's a lovely Suikoden carryover in the form of the protag running while things load up! It's the simple things connecting the two which are really making me smile this goes the other way too, though, such as Dux Aldric looking like an older Luca Blight with a bit of facial hair... ...and of course there's Cassandra, the innkeeper with a portrait (almost certainly meaning she's recruitable and will be managing the inn when we get a base) being a huge step down from Leona from Suikoden II Anyways, final little nitpick: 'Enter' being the text that shows up to enter and exit a building, so I've just been viewing it as entering the outdoors but it feels WEIRD... The music so far is also just...kind of fine, so far? We'll see how it turns out but I won't lie, that's where my expectations were probably lowest going into this game, given the crazy quality of the first two Suikoden OSTs. Anyways, not wanting to go out on a low but instead on a high, one last thing I want to though: the geopolitics of a fictional JRPG world, as was front and centre in Suikoden and Suikoden II, just feels great. Even after Final Fantasy XVI built a great world and political intrigue, the first two Suikoden games are the absolute height of this for me in JRPGs, and I already feel the tension creeping up over the smallest of things, just with how certain characters say ambiguous things, carry themselves, or correct people in a petty way. It hasn't quite made up for the lack of an inciting incident in the first 30 minutes, but I'm sure it could do by the time credits roll around. Been in a proper gaming rut of late, so I can't help but feel this has arrived at the perfect time – super excited to get back to it already!
  26. 4 points
    After the Triple-i event, I decided to play through some indie games. I played and enjoyed Coffee Talk a year or two back and figured I would give this a go, given that it's pretty much the same kind of game. I wasn't that big of a fan of it. The narrative wasn't as interesting as Coffee Talk and I really didn't get on with the UI when it came to making the drinks. It felt very clunky, although I imagine it would be fine using a mouse and keyboard or a touch screen. There was at trophy for completing a mini game that you end up unlocking. Its a good job I had been playing Cotton over the past couple of weeks because otherwise I would have struggled with it. It's a ripoff of that and pretty brutal as well. Such a weird thing to put in a VN game. This was a fun little game. You have to collect pieces of map that are scattered around the area and then place said pieces to create a bigger world for you to explore. For example, if you come to a dead end, place a map piece down so you can move forward. Want to reach a cave that is out of reach? Pick up the map piece, rotate it so it fits and place it down. It's very, very clever and surprised just how well it works. I LOVED this. I vaguely remember @RedShell enjoying this a couple of years back and now I can see why. It's a massive love letter to Pikmin and plays exactly how a top down, 2D Pikmin game should. Instead of a whistle to call your creatures, the main character rocks what is essentially a Proton Pack from Ghostbusters. You suck up the little creatures to get them back to you. The development team knew what they were referencing because when you fully upgrade it this is what the trophy us called. Yeah, loved this to bits and it's up there with Bat Boy and Tinykin as some of my favourite indie games I've played this year. I also played through the GBA WarioWare game. This was due to Nando posting about his adventures on the more recent Switch version. Its been years since I played the original game and so set about fully completing it. This required me to unlock every mini game and also beat the high score on each of them. This took some doing and so I was just tackling a few at a time, in between other games. It was fun playing though it again and reminded me of when it was first released. I would take my GBA to work with me and during our lunch break, me and the lads would take turns trying to get the high scores.
  27. 4 points
    Good guess It is the anniversary month. But I didn't mean a game from the pledge, I meant another April release... ...But before I ever explain whatever that means: A Jonnas NSO Update Watching Sakurai's channel has been a treat, he's got a lot of insight into a myriad of details. One thing I noticed is that he seems to be a big Shmup* fan, having referenced quite a few titles from this genre throughout his videos. I was never really into the genre, so I did feel a tad alienated whenever he made any such reference. With the NSO carrying quite a few titles from this genre, I figured it would be a good idea to delve a bit deeper into it, try to find something to connect with. *(For the record, "Shmup" is short for "Shoot'em Up". I insist on using this abbreviation, because... we western gamers have somehow called two distinct genres the same thing: "Shoot'em Up" refers both to the genre with auto-scrolling ships (like Gradius) AND the genre with run&gun marines (like Contra). Thankfully, they both have alternative, distinct names, so "Shmup" it is!) The 8-bit Shmups I knew I wanted to start with Xevious. It's the oldest one, and often mentioned as a reference in the genre. I didn't actually like it much, though. I did think that the bombing mechanic was interesting, but between the endless level, the boss with a time limit (and also a difficulty spike), and the generally slow pace, I got bored quickly. I will give its due as an impressive game for 1982, but that's it. On the brighter side, I finally know what was that Bacura thing in Tales of Symphonia. Next, it was Star Soldier. Sakurai explicitly mentioned this one as a good title in the genre. It's faster and feels more fun, but... what is up with this level design? There's so much metal all over the place, and it blocks your bullets, but your ship can run through just fine? If it wasn't for these weirdly artificial barriers, I'd like it a lot more, but as it stands, it just feels like my shots disappear no good reason. I moved on to Gradius. This is a particularly famous title, almost synonymous with the genre. A bit slow, but plenty fun. There's an element of strategy, with the player having some control on which power-ups to unlock, pretty creative stuff. Sadly, the game got really dang hard from Stage 3-ish onwards: those Moai heads just fill the screen with bullets, and if you die, your power-ups reset entirely, and now the bullet hell is unbeatable. Shame, the game was doing pretty well up until that point. And then there was Twinbee. All I knew about it is that it's a lighter and softer take on the genre. Hated it. There's a power-up system that doesn't seem to function properly, it has the same bombing mechanic as Xevious (but not the slower pace that makes it work, nor the precision that made it fun in the first place), and the game is just too damn hard for what was supposed to be a "lighter" title. I'd say my ranking of these goes Gradius > Star Soldier > Xevious > Twinbee. Can't say I was hooked on any of them (though Gradius came the closest). Probably because they all feature a ship that dies in one hit. The 16-bit Shmups For some reason, my instinct decided to start with Super Earth Defense Force. Might've been the generic look and title, made it a good base starting point. Right off the bat, I'm actually having a lot of fun with it! Music is good, graphics look impressive, it feels super pleasant to simply move and fire shots, and the selectable weapon system made me try a bunch of playstyles. Then I carried on with the game, and found out that the Homing weapon ought to be the default for 80% of the game, because goddamn, so many tiny enemies surrounding you all of the time! But there's a couple of bosses that render Homing useless, which was cool, forced me to adapt my gameplay. Ended up depending on Photon to deal with the final level. I've seen this game get criticised for being too difficult, and I can see why: even though your ship can take 3 hits before dying, you only get 3 lives/credits total for a whole playthrough (no extra lives whatsoever). Plus, despite a sensible difficulty curve, the game gets pretty hard in the later half. Thankfully, if I use the NSO to create save states only at the weapon selection between levels, I can effectively make this game have infinite lives, while still making the challenge count. This ended up being the first NSO shmup I've beaten. 3 stars Looking at the other titles, I really wanted to go for MUSHA. This one really, truly clicked with me, right off the gate. Game looks hectic, game-feel is super fast, but still smooth as butter, and the aesthetic direction of this game (sci-fi with a lot of traditional Japanese iconography) is impressive. I played for several levels without understanding what the heck was going on, or how the power-up system worked, but I was having a blast. I eventually figured some parts of it out, restarted the game, and went on to beat it in full. The last level/boss was a bullshit difficulty spike, but other than that, it was a fantastic experience. 4 stars. I might play it in Hard Mode in the future. Then I went for Thunder Force II. What a downgrade. You command a ship in overview perspective and you go around shooting other stuff. I had no idea when the level was supposed to end, I just... flew around for a long time, blowing up ships and bases, until I got literally too bored to try to dodge anything. I would later learn that this game has more typical side-scrolling sections, but it's not winning me back. How are you gentlemen !! Someone set up us the bomb. What you say? Get signal, all your base are belong to Zero Wing. I was really happy to see this classic 20+ years old meme show up in the NSO, for great justice Legendary opening aside, the game itself felt pretty rote, and overly slow as well. As soon as you get some fully upgrade homing shots, I just kept my finger on the firing button all the time, while waiting for those interminable slow levels to end (Is this what CATS meant by "Make your time"?). I just stopped at some point, looked up the final level, and... I'm sorry, you don't even fight CATS!? Zero Wing, you have no chance to survive on your way to destruction! After the NES disappointment, I kept delaying this one, but I needed to tackle Pop'n Twinbee. Thankfully, it is considerably more fun than the NES game. The colourful aesthetics work a lot better here, the power-up system works properly now, and it is very fun to control and play. I still dropped it quickly though, as the game is insanely hectic. The bombing mechanic is still here, but it doesn't fit the fast pace of the game, and grounded enemies generate an oppressive bullet hell. Meanwhile, you're juggling colourful bells, while still doing the usual loop of shooting airborne enemies and dodging bullets. I actually breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the first boss (a simple, single enemy to deal with, huzzah!), but then the next level was more of this crazy game, so I stopped. I can see this being a hit with hardcore shmup fans, but not me, clearly. What is it with "cutesy" games that fail at being simple and/or easy? (At this point, I was convinced that MUSHA totally spoiled my expectations for the genre, as I wasn't enjoying any of the other 16-bit titles) Finally, another Sakurai recommendation, and one I've seen from time to time: Super Fantasy Zone. I wanted to finish on this one, because it looked to be the most unique and interesting. And in many ways, it really was. One of the few titles to not be an auto-scroller, you just command the ship in a looping corridor (and you can turn left and right!), your mission being to destroy 10 specific objects while tiny enemies respawn infinitely. After that, you face a boss in a more traditional fashion. There's also a cool upgrade system where you collect coins to buy power-ups and weapons, it's really cool (except for the part where new guns have a time limit to be used, that's silly). Overall, a really creative and fun game. Sadly, it's not one I could finish, because... the ship dies in one hit. The enemy bullets are really tiny in this game, and though you can buy extra lives, they get expensive. At one point, I reached a level that was just too difficult for me, and I dropped it. A shame. My ranking goes MUSHA > Super EDF > Super Fantasy Zone > Pop'n Twinbee > Zero Wing > Thunder Force 2 ------------------- This is not the end of my Shmup journey, but it is a good place to pause. I still don't think the genre is a good fit for me, but there are a few occasional aspects here and there that do end up resonating with me. Like being able to survive more than a single hit
  28. 4 points
    PS4/PS5 version finally announced for this Summer. Also, Contra DLC is on the way.
  29. 4 points
    Now this would be a Zelda film that I'd absolutely love to watch: Also, Lol @ Tingle! Sure as hell nothing like what we're going to end up getting, but with AI generated video improving so damn quickly at least there's a chance that an entire film in that style could be created some day.
  30. 4 points
    Dug out my copy of Super Princess Peach and have decided to play through it. Honestly can't remember the last time I played it. I remember very little about it other than I loved it. Time to wipe the slate clean and start a new save file. Crazy that it's nearly 20 years old now! Anyway, I've played through the first 2 worlds this evening and its been great. It feels so weird going from Princess Peach: Showtime! to this. Showtime is very slow and clunky but this feels super smooth and fast. It actually feels like a Nintendo game. I had a look at who made it and came across this. They've had their hand in a stupid amount of games. Seriously impressive. Makes sense that they made The Legendary Starfy (awesome game). Super Princess Peach shares a similar visual style.
  31. 4 points
    Oh and here’s another one I just got! (And it’s the shot that clocked Tiny to boot!) Also I’m posting this shot I took earlier on in the game ‘cause funnies…
  32. 4 points
    Completed Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! today and that is the DKC trilogy done. Graphically, it's the best of the three even though the GBA struggles with some of the water levels, I was struggling at times to see enemies which I didn't with the first two. I thought the music was fantastic, back to the catchy tunes of DKC 1 after the dark tone of DKC2. I was back humming the tunes after my lunch breaks for the rest of the day. Interestingly I discovered while searching for certain tracks on youtube that the GBA soundtrack is completely different to the SNES version which I'm sure everyone on here was already well aware of. I absolutely adore Rockface Rumble, like I couldn't stop smiling and humming along whenever this played. Gameplay, top notch. Level design, felt a bit all over the place at times. Like they used scrapped ideas from 1 & 2. Some of the boss battles were very random. I think DKC 2 is the more complete game but this one runs it close. Oh and I hate Kiddy Kong, that incredibly annoying cry when he dies... hate him. When I've finished Spider-man: Miles Morales, Donkey Kong Country Returns is next up Not sure what my next lunch time GBA game is, maybe the Super Mario Advance series...
  33. 3 points
    Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth JP release: 10th July 1998 NA release: 15th December 1998 PAL release: N/A Developer: Hudson Publisher: Hudson (JP), Electro Brain (NA) N64 Magazine Score: 62% Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth is a very traditional style sci-fi scrolling shooter. While it features some nice 3D graphics, it doesn’t try to utilise 3D in its gameplay or camera usage, it just keeps things simple. I was quite surprised that this game worked well with widescreen, as with the fixed camera, you would expect everything out of view to be removed. However, keeping things simple works for this genre. You can pick between a few ships that have different weapons – all of which can be upgraded by collecting power-up, which level down if you get destroyed. Everything is fast, smooth and feels polished. Outside of the main mode – which has some hidden paths to unlock bonus missions – there’s also a couple of timed modes for quick high score challenges. It’s a decent example of its genre. Remake or remaster? A regular re-release would be fine. Official ways to get the game. There is no official way to get Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth
  34. 3 points
    This looks utterly bonkers. *adds to wishlist*
  35. 3 points
    I suppose Pokémon is an RPG with more than 100 playable characters (150 even!), and that still works, so just choose the characters that look cool. You can always change your mind later and release them back into the wild.
  36. 3 points
    Most fun on VC in a log time.
  37. 3 points
  38. 3 points
    It's indie time! Everyone probably melting down after the recent Silksong ratings haha
  39. 3 points
    What have we here? In what feels like a rare event these days, the reverse is suitably gorgeous too – look at all that character art! Very excited for this going to start the install now, and I'll be back with some impressions later/tomorrow!
  40. 3 points
    Sorry Cube, but if I’m quoting this line, it can only mean one thing… As it turns out, there is a way to get it officially… one way. And it’s a pretty ironic way at that… Piko Interactive currently hold the rights to the N64 and GBC versions of Wetrix (and presumably the other versions too), and they just so happen to have set up a deal with Krikzz (the creator of the Everdrive line of flash cartridges for various retro systems) and the Stone Age Gamer online shop… If you buy an Everdrive 64 flash cartridge from Stone Age Gamer, you get a free pack of N64 game ROMs licensed officially by Piko Interactive… and wouldn’t you know it! One of those games just so happens to be Wetrix! So, in a hilarious twist of irony, the only way to officially buy Wetrix on the N64, and not resort to either the second-hand market or piracy, is to buy a piracy device
  41. 3 points
    Fixed it, cheers @bob
  42. 3 points
    He's the ultimate lifeform created by Professor Gerald Robotnik (Dr. Robotnik's granddad) and an evil alien who was setting up a long-term invasion of Earth. He then ended up in stasis for 50 or so years before Dr. Robotnik finds him. He looks like a hedgehog because the professor saw an ancient prophetic mural depicting Super Sonic.
  43. 3 points
  44. 3 points
    Was browsing the store a few days ago and bought this on a whim since I play a lot of poker. Still trying to get the hasng of things but its pretty fun.
  45. 3 points
    Yeah, I fired the game back up. What of it?
  46. 3 points
    The adventure is over. Endless Vibe becomes available once you have collected everything and played through each stage again. Bit of a pointless power up seeing as there's nothing left to do but hey ho. Really enjoyed my time with the game. When you revisit a game after so long you often wonder if it was actually any good and will it still hold up today. SPP is a cracking platformer and I probably appreciate it more now than when I did back when it was first released.
  47. 3 points
    Very interesting little anomoly of a game... and one of the very few N64 games to use a custom cartridge! I imagine that it must've originally been in development for the 64DD (which also had a built-in modem), before being shoved onto the cartridge format; because adding online play with custom hardware in 1998 is a ridiculously ambitious move for such a small publisher! Speaking of which... Seta are also the developer/publisher responsible for the Japanese only Tetris 64; a game that I won't go into too much detail about here (lest I steal Cube's thunder), but it too came with a rather interesting hardware accessory! Seta really liked using weird and custom hardware didn't they? They were also responsble for Hayazashi Nidan Morita Shogi 2 for the SNES in 1995... which came with a custom-made ARM7TDMI CPU (in fact, it's an earlier version of the same CPU archtecture that would later go on to power the GBA; albeit running on the Ver 3 instruction set, rather than the more advanced Ver 4 instruction set used by the GBA) that that was orders of magnitude more powerful (and expensive!) than the console's own CPU, or any other custom cartridge chipset ever made for the SNES! In fact, it wasn't even emulatable at all until it was finally added to the cycle accurate BSNES emulator in 2012!
  48. 3 points
    The end of that level was a great comedic moment. "Alright! We found the bomb!" ... "OH NO! We found a bomb!" Got a good chuckle out of me.
  49. 3 points
    I ended up starting this today. Loving it. The start of the game is very strong. Not as strong as Persona 5's but certainly tighter/faster than Persona 4's. Really liking the characters I've seen so far. Junpei seems to be this game's equivalent of Yosuke or Ryuji. I'm also fond of the traversal. There's not much in terms of walking around a map and that suits me perfectly. Just fast travelling around the various places gets a thumbs up by me. Currently in Tartarus just farming money and experience. Doing my best to hit Shuffle Time so that I can get that sweet 50% HP heal without spending SP. I'm also on the lookout for Twilight Fragments to repair the clock at the entrance of the dungeon. They must be rare as I've only found the 1 and I need 7! I swear this series is one of best when it comes to style and presentation.
  50. 3 points
    Today I started setting about tackling all 300 VR missions and have made decent progress. These are incredibly fun. I never played Special Missions back on the PS1 and so this is a new experience for me. There's a lot of trial and error involved and you can deviate from what the game wants you to do and think outside the (just a) box. The time trials can be a little tight at times but with a little practice and memorisation they can be beaten after a few attempts. I've finished all the weapon challenges, both standard and advanced, and so there's just the stealth and special missions left to do.
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