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1 hour ago, Dcubed said:

So I've got another two games done and under my belt now...

Super Mario 3D World (Switch version)

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Before talking about my thoughts on the game itself, I want to address the changes made to the Switch version in particular...

The first, and most obvious one, is the replacement of Gamepad features with the onscreen pointer motion controls.  Personally? I think that the pointer is a perfectly fine substitute for the touchscreen really, but the way that the pointer has been implemented here isn't as seamless as it is in Captain Toad (co-incidentally, also ported to Switch by NST).  Having to press a button to make the cursor appear feels a bit clunky; especially when it doesn't autocentre the cursor when making it first appear (you kind of just have to guess where on screen it's gonna appear).  I think it would've been much better if they just had the cursor onscreen at all times, ALA Captain Toad Switch.  But it's not game breaking or anything, just a bit clunkier than it needed to be.

The loss of the microphone however, has not been compensated for in any meaningful way.  As such, the microphone controlled platforms are just exorcised from the game entierly; replaced by standard, boring lift platforms.  Bit of a shame really, takes away from the uniqueness of some of the game's stages.

The loss of Miiverse is also a real shame, as I really enjoyed seeing everyone's stupid messages scattered throughout the world map.  Some sections of the map just feel a bit pointless & empty now as a result.  Thankfully they've managed to find a decent use for the original game's collectable stamps with the new Photo Mode (It's basically the same as the one in Mario Odyssey; but with a couple of extra filters added and the ability to place stamps within the scene for stupid photos); a nice compromise to an unavoidable issue.  Hopefully they do something similar with Twilight Princess HD when it inevitably gets ported to the Switch.

And of course... the big one.  For some very strange reason, NST/EPD Tokyo felt the need to increase the running speed of every character by around 30% or so.  This has some pretty big ramifications on the core gameplay; which I have semi-jokingly referred to as 200cc mode.  Outside of a couple of particular things (most notably, the Rabbits that you can chase), the stages & enemies haven't been altered in any way to compensate for this new increased speed; quite literally making it the SM3DW equivilent to MK8's 200cc mode!  Toad now absolutely blitzes through stages like he's in a Sonic game; and because of this? Each character is now much harder to control at high speeds; braking literally becomes crucial here as you now actually have to let go of the run button to not go flying off everywhere! (Letting go of the run button? In a Mario game!?!? Unthinkable!!).

The increased running speed also has other ramifications... as all new sequence breaks are now made possible thanks to each character now being able to jump further than ever before!

... while certain parts of the game have now been rendered largely trivial... The Great Goal Pole? Finished it in less than 7 seconds as Toad now literally outruns the goal poal!

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200cc Toad laughs at Wii U Peach's pathetic attempt to catch the Goal Pole

Another controversial change is the new rules behind Green Star collection; which NST/EPD Tokyo decided to change in the Switch version for goodnessknows what reason.  In the original Wii U version? You had to survive to the end of the level (or reach the next checkpoint) for a Green Star/Stamp to be counted as "collected", where deaths would reset which Green Stars/Stamp you have.  In the Switch version however, Green Stars/Stamps now stay collected as soon as you touch them; even if you die.  This ends up trivialising MANY of the Green Stars/Stamps throughout the game as a result; as you can now happily suicide jump to get any of the Green Stars/Stamps that float over a pit/lava/poison/whatever...

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Who needs friends? Or Propeller Boxes?

While I appreciate the boost in speed; and actually enjoy being able to sequence break parts of the levels in ways that were never originally intended.  I do feel really split about this decision because there's no option to play the game as it was originally designed.  I think it would've been much better if they had made 200cc an unlockable feature for beating Champion's Road.  That would've been an amazing unlockable, and it would've meant that you could still play the game as it was originally intended.

As things currently stand? It's kind of a bastardised rendition of the original game.  That's both a good thing and a bad thing, but it's a real shame that the original game design is doomed to be forgotten and left in the dust of history; as the Switch version inevitably replaces the original Wii U version in the minds of the general populace.

That being said though? Online multiplayer is an excellent addition, and it works shockingly well in my experience! It's certainly not gonna replace the couch experience, but it's surprisingly playable.

As for the game itself as a whole? It's a real good time, with some incredibly creative level design and gameplay concepts.  The Cat Suit is a brilliant addition that literally adds an extra dimension to each level and each level is bursting with new ideas & concepts, delivered at a blistering cadence that even puts Super Mario Galaxy to shame by comparison.  There are some significant problems with the game though, that are perhaps made even more obvious when looking at it in comparison with its direct predecessor, Super Mario 3D Land.

Quite frankly, this game's camera perspective is a problem... a BIG problem.  It features the same kind of orthographic projection as in the 3DS title, but without stereoscopic 3D support? This game becomes a depth perspective nightmare! I can't even tell you the amount of times where I literally had absolutely no bloody idea where my character was in 3D space! SO many deaths that came from not knowing where I was in relation to objects/ground! It actually does become pretty infuriating after a while (and this is even worse in stages that are filled with pits where you can't see your shadow).  It feels like I've had one eye poked out of me while playing this game, and it never really gets any easier; even right at the end.  Hell, I'm just gonna refer you back to that last screenshot I just posted; where the hell is the Green Star in relation to Mario? Is it in front of him? Is it behind him? Who the fuck knows!?

Another problem is that the game doesn't really put up much of a fight until the post-game.  It's fun all throughout, but it doesn't put up much a fight until right near the end of all things.  While the Green Stars & Stamps did provide some additional challenge? That of course, has been significantly nerfed in the Switch version.

Thankfully the post-game puts up a healthy challenge... and that's mostly intact in the Switch version.  If anything? Champion's Road is harder than ever before, as 200cc only serves to make your character harder to control and doesn't actually help in any way throughout this hell gauntlet...

Naturally I did it again with 200cc Toad & no items, of course :cool:

So yeah.  Super Mario 3D World is still great.  Killer level design, killer soundtrack, killer everything; but good lord does the camera make things incredibly frustrating! It's not the best 3D Mario, but it's a great time!

 

  Single Player Games I Have Completed So Far This Year (Hide contents)

New Super Mario Bros 2

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (MSU-1 Switch Remake Music Edition)

Pilotwings 64

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Super Mario 3D World (Switch Version)

Perfect Dark Zero

 

I can't really argue with anything you've said about Super Mario 3D World!

I've got as far as beating Mystery House Marathon this afternoon meaning only one challenge remains.. and I'm worried about it for some of the reasons you pointed out 😅

As someone running through the game having beat the Wii U original, the changes to collecting the green stars and stamps making progress more straightforward is almost something of a blessing but I do agree that it completely destroys much of the challenge. For the good of the game, it was the wrong decision to change this aspect!

Anyway, before I take on Champion's Road, I want to go back and clear a few levels as Mario as my son didn't reach the end of some of them while I was having to go through as Luigi. It may give me the chance to gather a few more lives, though, as Jacob completely obliterated them every time he wanted to join me! Somehow, I don't think 14 is gonna be enough for the final level!

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I think I've discovered @Dcubed's equivalent to Sonic Chronicles. A game that has no redeemable qualities to it what-so-ever in your eyes.

Absolutely miserable, isn't it? Playing a game like that. So bad, that it's not enjoyable, but not so bad that it wraps around to being funny.

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Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Switch)

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You can read my full review on N-Europe. Very short: interesting ideas, but very dated.

It Takes Two (PS4)

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An absolutely stunning co-op game. If it were just singleplayer, it would be a really solid platformer game, but It Takes Two is built around two-player co-op and is all the better for it. The game is almost entirely in split-screen (some set pieces you'll share a single screen) however it can still be played online - and only one person needs a copy. There are loads of clever ideas and the game constantly changes with new mechanics, which are well-thought out and end up being used in multiple ways before you move on. As you explore the eras, you'll find minigames to compete against each other in, or simply just some stuff to play around with. 

Good Job! (Switch)

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While reading views about other co-op games, this one popped up. It's a Switch exclusive and published by Nintendo, but I had never heard of it. While there's not a massive amount of levels, the physical-based chaos is a joy to unleash, especially when playing with someone else. You're the son of a large business owner and have to climb the ranks of the company. The first task is to move a projector into a meeting room. How you do it doesn't matter, you can carefully open doors and manoeuvre it around, or create a slingshot with an electrical cable and launch it through the walls. 

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-Tered

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The building destruction in this is still good fun. Everything else feels extremely standard. One big annoyance with weapons is that you have your sledgehammer, and three other slots. The Remote Bombs are pretty much a requirement, and you need a gun for dealing with goons, so there's little room to have fun with other objects. I would have also preferred more missions focused on the destruction, there's a lot of driving from A-to-B on the surface of Mars, which isn't the most interesting thing. 

Another big problem is that people around you will join your fight and help you. This makes destroying stuff harder, unless you ignore the "morale" (which just grants you extra scrap) and ignore them. They just really get in the way. One hilarious moment was one mission with a really stupidly long drive to pick up a squad, and they all jumped out the vehicle before I got to the destination anyway. Also, the main character is really dull.

 

Spoiler

Donkey Kong 64 (Wii U) 101% - 1st Jan
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (PS4) Platinum - 5th Jan
Star Wars Squadrons (PS4) Main Story - 10th Jan
Bioshock Remastered (PS4) Main Story - 12th Jan
Bioshock 2 Remastered (PS4) Main Story + DLC - 16th Jan
Bioshock Infinite (PS4) Main Story + DLC - 21st Jan
Grim Fandango (PS4) - 25th Jan
The Secret of Monkey Island (PS4) - 27th Jan
Monkey Island 2 (PS4) - 29th Jan
Day of the Tentacle (PS4) - 30th Jan
WET (PS4) - 31st Jan
Star Wars Racer Revenge (PS4) Tournament - 31st Jan
GoldenEye (PC) - 3rd Feb
Concrete Genie (PS4) Platinum - 8th Feb
Little Nightmares (PS4) - 10th Feb
Moving Out (PC) - 14th Feb
Saints Row IV (PS4) - 17th Feb
Gat out of Hell (PS4) - 21st Feb
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PS4) - 22nd Feb
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS4) - 23rd Feb
Transistor (PS4) - 25th Feb
inFamous First Light (PS4) - 27th Feb
Bound (PS4) - 28th Feb
Bulletstorm (PS4 ) - 1st Mar
Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) - 7th Mar
Dark Void (PS4) - 7th Mar
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4) - 12th Mar
Superhot (PS4) - 13th Mar
Puppeteer (PS4) - 17th Mar
Jackbox Party Pack 7 (PC) - 18th Mar
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (PS4) - 20th Mar
Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Switch) - 24th March
It Takes Two (PS4) - 29th March
Good Job! (Switch) - 3rd April
Red Faction Guerilla (PS4) - 4th April
 

 

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Night Trap (Switch)
Urgh! (Not a term I usually begin a post with!)

Reminiscent of attending an uninteresting workshop or course, where you know the information is useful, but you’re feverishly wanting it to finish so you can get on with your life.

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I’ve read it’s history & how it was discussed in Congress and thus importance of this title in video game history, so for my own knowledge & experience I’m glad I played it. Frankly though, I can’t believe this was an enjoyable game back in 1992 never mind now!

Sadly I missed most of the story since it usually played out in a separate room to where the action was happening. With just one-second intervals to correctly time each action button press & stop the intruders, I quickly got overwhelmed & multiple failure screens. My gameplay sessions resorted to writing down when & where I hit the action button to progress the story & replaying it repeatedly until I defeated enough to reach the end.

Frustratingly, and more a product of its time, were the lack of checkpoints, with just one at the halfway mark of the 30-minute story. Failures meant replaying the same sections over again with no way of skipping.

Thankfully I only had to spend around 3 hours before succeeding in reaching the end, and I’ve no desire to replay it.

As a relic of gaming history I’m glad it was resurrected, but I found it more of an educational rather than enjoyable experience.

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Made some major progress in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. After finding the easily missable platform that allowed me to make progress in the Royal Chapel I proceeded onwards, defeated the red bird boss and made my way to the Castle Keep, at the very top of the map where the next major upgrade the Leap Stone, was hiding.

 

Its at this point that I have a major issue with the game's main point of progression.

 

There's a lot of easy locations to know where to use the Leap Stone to access, most notably the library. So, where does the game expect you to use the Leap Stone to get the next major upgrade?

 

clock

 

So, I think I may have missed the hint and only knew because of this being an old game and the knowledge being around the internet but... how is the game supposed to let you know that the clock area will open up if you wait in the room for a certain amount of time? The fact that you have to do this to get major upgrades that allow you to view story cutscenes and beat the game then that's a bit much.

 

So after getting through this section and going through the next main area I reached the Colosseum area and saw the game's biggest plot twist so far! Fought the dual boss which I died to first time around but then beat on my second attempt after the Werewolf went down pretty quickly. Beat that boss and got the mist powerup. Oh hey, when exploring the library from getting the Leap Stone I beat a boss and found a dead end where I needed this mist powerup to pass through, lets go back there. So I used it and found the Bat form.

 

Further exploration allowed me to power up the Wolf form and I know there are several other areas that I can get to now. It naturally follows in a genre built around gating where you can explore behind powerups that being able to fly is going to open up pretty much everything. Its mainly why you don't get the Space Jump in Metroid games until later in the game.

 

It admittedly took a while for me to get back to SOTN due to making Youtube videos, including playing Soulcalibur VI for the tournament which reached Round 2 this week:

 

 

I don't know whether I'm going for 100% or not in SOTN but given I usually 100% Metroid games but for whatever reason didn't do the same for Hollow Knight I will probably go out of my way to explore the game a bit more.

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I finally 100%'d* Banjo-Kazooie! Took me an embarrassingly long 11 hours of game time, taking me a couple of goes at the quiz (got an instant death question wrong) and then about 10 goes at the final battle, where I kept falling off the edge after getting hit... But what a great game this is, so much character and charm. An absolutely wonderful nostalgic trip to a time when games were just pure fun and not much more. Click Clock Wood is such a joy to beat, I think it might be my favourite level in any platforming game. Just filled with fun challenges, plenty of variety and compact worlds which are full to the brim with interesting stuff to do and find. Once they started to get much bigger, these sorts of games just became a chore to play at times. BK strikes the perfect balance. Great dialogue, witty British humour and a soundtrack I don't think has ever been topped. This is easily in my top 10 games of all time. Moving on to Tooie in time, once I've had a little break from the series. 

* My save file suffered the XBLA arcade glitch where if you do Bottles' puzzles before the final few worlds the notes he collects in the jigsaws disappear from the game. I'm at 96 notes in Mad Monster Mansion and Click Clock Wood with no way of ever getting them... Going to have to play through the game again to 100% it fully! :cry:

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The perfect level sizes are one of the reasons I play Banjo-Kazooie every Christmas.

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Posted (edited)
On 05/04/2021 at 10:22 PM, Aperson said:

Made some major progress in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. After finding the easily missable platform that allowed me to make progress in the Royal Chapel I proceeded onwards, defeated the red bird boss and made my way to the Castle Keep, at the very top of the map where the next major upgrade the Leap Stone, was hiding.

 

Its at this point that I have a major issue with the game's main point of progression.

 

There's a lot of easy locations to know where to use the Leap Stone to access, most notably the library. So, where does the game expect you to use the Leap Stone to get the next major upgrade?

 

clock

 

So, I think I may have missed the hint and only knew because of this being an old game and the knowledge being around the internet but... how is the game supposed to let you know that the clock area will open up if you wait in the room for a certain amount of time? The fact that you have to do this to get major upgrades that allow you to view story cutscenes and beat the game then that's a bit much.

 

So after getting through this section and going through the next main area I reached the Colosseum area and saw the game's biggest plot twist so far! Fought the dual boss which I died to first time around but then beat on my second attempt after the Werewolf went down pretty quickly. Beat that boss and got the mist powerup. Oh hey, when exploring the library from getting the Leap Stone I beat a boss and found a dead end where I needed this mist powerup to pass through, lets go back there. So I used it and found the Bat form.

 

Further exploration allowed me to power up the Wolf form and I know there are several other areas that I can get to now. It naturally follows in a genre built around gating where you can explore behind powerups that being able to fly is going to open up pretty much everything. Its mainly why you don't get the Space Jump in Metroid games until later in the game.

 

It admittedly took a while for me to get back to SOTN due to making Youtube videos, including playing Soulcalibur VI for the tournament which reached Round 2 this week:

 

 

I don't know whether I'm going for 100% or not in SOTN but given I usually 100% Metroid games but for whatever reason didn't do the same for Hollow Knight I will probably go out of my way to explore the game a bit more.

Yeah, SOTN has some problems with its level design being unnecessarily cryptic.  I actually don’t think the level design is all that great in general; with lots of dead ends, overly flat & long rooms and wonky pacing towards the latter half.  Aria of Sorrow/Dawn of Sorrow have MUCH better level design than SOTN.

As a result, I’ve never been able to stomach 100%ing SOTN.

6 hours ago, Nicktendo said:

I finally 100%'d* Banjo-Kazooie! Took me an embarrassingly long 11 hours of game time, taking me a couple of goes at the quiz (got an instant death question wrong) and then about 10 goes at the final battle, where I kept falling off the edge after getting hit... But what a great game this is, so much character and charm. An absolutely wonderful nostalgic trip to a time when games were just pure fun and not much more. Click Clock Wood is such a joy to beat, I think it might be my favourite level in any platforming game. Just filled with fun challenges, plenty of variety and compact worlds which are full to the brim with interesting stuff to do and find. Once they started to get much bigger, these sorts of games just became a chore to play at times. BK strikes the perfect balance. Great dialogue, witty British humour and a soundtrack I don't think has ever been topped. This is easily in my top 10 games of all time. Moving on to Tooie in time, once I've had a little break from the series. 

* My save file suffered the XBLA arcade glitch where if you do Bottles' puzzles before the final few worlds the notes he collects in the jigsaws disappear from the game. I'm at 96 notes in Mad Monster Mansion and Click Clock Wood with no way of ever getting them... Going to have to play through the game again to 100% it fully! :cry:

I’ve never liked the 360 versions of BK or BT (or Perfect Dark for that matter!).  Lots of stupid, unnecessary and clumsily made tweaks that are actually pretty disrespectful to the source material.  They also completely ruined the FPS sections in BT with one really stupid tweak they made to the controls; they made the cursor snap back to the centre when you let go of the stick (why they did this? I have no idea!) and it is absolutely MADDENING! (It makes the final battle an absolute nightmare as a result!).  It’s death by 1,000 little cuts really (like come on! Why disable saving when using cheats!? It makes Super Banjo totally pointless!).

Much prefer the original N64 versions, even with all the slowdown in BT!

Edited by Dcubed

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Releasing a version of Banjo-Tooie where you aren't able to break the game with the Super Banjo cheat should be a criminal offense. It's literally...

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Actually made me sick. The final battle being a million times harder because of the borked aiming was the final straw.

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Played and completed HITMAN I over the last few days.

I tried it on PS4 back when all the episodes were given out for free and I couldn't get into it. Did it again with the PS5 version and as always: 60fps make a huge difference for me. Looks like I've become a 60fps snob :p

Anyways, the game is very fun. Lots of opportunities and ways to tackle an objective.

However, if you're not into playing the same 6 levels over and over again trying something new, you're going to run out of content very quickly. Which is what happened to me. Doesn't help that the story is lackluster.

Still, had a fun time while it lasted and would recommend to stealth fans, but only if you can get it during a sale.

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I was looking at my shelf and saw my Mega Drive Mini sitting there, and I realised I haven't actually finished any game on it yet. (OK, I have finished Sonic 1 and 2, but that was on the Gamecube, way back)

So I booted it up and realised something. Between the Mega Drive Mini and the Switch, I think I have access to every console entry of the Wonder Boy series.

Except the first one, but no-one cares, because that game is awful.

So I've started with Wonder Boy in Monster World, which I've only just learnt isn't the second game, because the second game is called "Wonder Boy in Monster Land" and is an arcade game (Why are the titles in this series so bloody confusing!?) No, I've accidentally started with the fifth entry! Um... Woops? (BTW, what entry do you think "Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap" is? Nope! It's the fourth entry, idiot!)

Despite the fact that I've accidentally pulled a Virtue's Last Reward with this (Hi, @Dcubed), I'm going on regardless, because I'm halfway through and I doubt the order is that important as long as Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is played last.

Anyway, it's a pretty fun game so far. Leans more heavily into the Metroid genre than Dragon's Trap does. Which I guess is because the Mega Drive is more capable of pulling that off then the Master System was.

Now that I know Dragon's Trap was before this game, it's kind of strange that this doesn't have some kind of unique mechanic to replace Dragon Trap's animal transformations. It feels a lot more basic as a result. (Which is my excuse for thinking it was the second game)

The soundtrack is also kinda lame? I know, going from Cursed Kingdom's wide variety of songs and Dragon Trap's glorious remastered soundtrack is a bit unfair on this game, but it doesn't quite hit as hard.

Also, and this is probably because of it being a product of it's time, but there is one enemy that shows up that... Well, it's racist. Simply put. That kind of stereotypical native cliché that would never fly these days. It was especially jarring seeing as the setting is "Monster World" and all the other enemies are, well, monsters. So it doesn't even fit in the game! It seems to only show up in one 5 minute section that I never need to go back to again, but that's still a big "Oof".

That said, I don't think going back to mess with an original version of a game to change something like that would be the right way to go about it. But a disclaimer before I booted it up would've been welcome. (Kinda like how Warner Brothers handles their more questionable older cartoons)

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Why haven’t you played through Shining Force yet @Glen-i?

I get trying to put off finishing off Shadow the Hedgehog for as long as possible, but why do this to Shining Force!?

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

Why haven’t you played through Shining Force yet @Glen-i?

I get trying to put off finishing off Shadow the Hedgehog for as long as possible, but why do this to Shining Force!?

Actually, I'm playing that on the side. I had a feeling you'd mention that.

Just recruited a robot called Adam. Which sounds cool, until I realised that he's 30 levels behind everyone else and can't hit any enemy for more than 1 damage.

Completely useless at this point in the game.

Edited by Glen-i
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After extensive exploration I believe I found every single room in the castle in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. So I decided to go to Dracula's Keep and fight Richter... before destroying the evil presence controlling him!

 

I am now in the inverted castle. I have also defeated Medusa in the Inverted Royal Chapel and thats as far as I've got.

 

I also made a new character on Soulcalibur VI:

 

 

Apart from that, Youtube continues to take up my gaming time in some ways and I made more MTG and SCVI videos...

 

 

 

BTW one of the fixtures in the video above is particularly notable. Since two characters from the same franchise ended up facing each other I decided to do something a bit special...

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Time to get moving!

I've just spent the past few days burning through Blast Corps on Rare Replay. What an absolute gem this game is. Even to this day it is still a super unique experience. Like B-K, it's been a number of year since I've played this, must be at least 15. The game holds up incredibly well considering its age and the fact it's a very early 3D game. The amount of variety on offer in terms of challenges and different vehicles is solid, and I think it took me about 8-9 hours to gold every stage on Earth (just got a couple of the extra planets to gold now, but they are much harder). 

I think the challenge the game offers is what really struck me this time round. It is expertly balanced, ramping up steadily as the game progresses but never into the realms of impossibility. Some of the carrier missions are very tough but there's always the belief in the back of your mind you can do a little better, go a little faster or get rid of that building a few seconds quicker. Golding some of the racing stages or building destroying stages, where there is no carrier, encourages you to really master the controls and find the perfect run in each level. There were instances in the races where I was shaving 0.1 seconds off my lap, every lap. I love that kind of stuff! And the handling (for the most part) is very good. The game is absolutely chock full of secrets to find in order to unlock the post game content, and while I remembered where most of the satellites or scientists were, there were a couple of occasions where I really had to search high and low to get them. I'd also completely forgotten about the Pac-Man inspired levels, which were a great surprise towards the end of the game. 

The variety in the missions is definitely a big plus for this game. Don't feel like stressing out over the harder carrier missions? Do a couple of races or wander around a finished level looking for secrets and demolishing the remaining buildings. The amount of freedom the game offers is something that is rarely seen in modern games. It took me a good few goes on some of the final carrier missions and some of them are long, like 10-15 mins long and if you mess up right at the end, there are no checkpoints or save states, so it's right back to the start you go. That really adds to the rewarding feeling when you finally do it. Oyster Harbour is a fine example of that. You have shoot a hole into a bunch of buildings to give yourself access to a crane from the start. Once you get there on foot, you have to lower TNT from a crane onto a bridge, then hop into a bulldozer and put some blocks into the ground, but two of them are hidden so if you don't get them, you're done. Following that you have to line up three boats, two of which are quite far away. Do them in the wrong order, you're screwed. You also have to take your bulldozer with you or you don't have time to run back. Then finally, once the carrier is safely across the water, it's a mad-dash back in the final boat for some TNT stranded on an island so you can demolish the final building, which your bulldozer is too small to tackle. It's here where the game really shines, learning the levels and then finally being able to do everything as quickly as possible. There are countless other examples where you're hopping in and out of different vehicles to clear the path quickly and effectively. A couple of levels see you starting in a train with a great view down a valley with the whole level mapped out before your eyes, a great way to build up the tension as your mission begins. 

The J-Bomb is undoubtedly the best vehicle of destruction - a huge mech suit which slams down on buildings from above. A couple of other smaller mech suits allow you to summersault and jump into buildings from the ground with satisfying 1-up like noises as they crumble. All your traditional construction vehicles are there as well. The Backlash, while a novel idea, is the only one that is genuinely frustrating to use. It's weak at the front and powerful at the rear meaning you have to powerslide your way into buildings to down them quickly, and I can just never get this right. This was the only real moment of frustration as I just couldn't see the link between what I input on the controller and what happened on the screen. I often ended up missing, do too short a slide or too long a slide. Horrible when the clock is against you.

The little voice overs have been engrained in my memory from childhood and the OST is still just as good as it ever was, especially Simian Acres. A Banjo before Banjo. Fits perfectly with the "Mid-Western" vibe the game has. Also reminds me of Cotton Eye Joe, which I'm almost certain was the inspiration. 

Overall, Blast Corps is a classic. A game that stands up extremely well to the test of time and is just a hell of a lot of fun to play while providing a solid level of challenge. It speaks volumes about the sheer talent that was situated in Twycross in the 1990s that this, essentially a B-tier project, managed to accomplish so much. It's an easy 10/10 from me and I'd recommend everyone who hasn't played it to at least give it a go if you can, there is truly nothing else like it. 

Spoiler

UnnkB1I.jpg

You're just trying to impress me.

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Oh yeah, love Blast Corps! Such a unique little gem.  It’s shocking how few games like it there are out there.  The concept is so base and simple; I mean, fundamentally speaking, blowing stuff up is fun!

It’s the expertly crafted level design and bevy of unique vehicles & scenarios that really make it so much fun though.  It’s almost like Rare’s take on Pilotwings, in a weird, roundabout way.  It’s a game that is both extraordinarily chill and also really intense & hard when it wants to be!

Great game! :D 

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Marvel's Avengers

Ey4o-Rjd-WUAQn7f-O.jpg

I was very surprised by this. I was expecting something similar to other "live service" games with little focus on story and more focus on levels that can be repeated, so to find out that there's actually a lot of effort put into the single player elements was a surprise. The main story follows Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, which I think is an interesting choice (even if the publisher wasn't brave enough to make her a focus on the box). The Avengers have disbanded due to an event with their helicarrier that killed many people, but AIM is experimenting and killing Inhumans (mutants but with alien DNA, powers are triggered through a crystal), so the story is about finding The Avengers in order to stop AIM and save the Inhumans. 

The combat is quite satisfying, although Hulk in particular feels a bit weak (there's no great way around that, though, and I suppose you just take it as he was knocked out and captured rather than killed), as while you'll be mainly playing as Ms. Marvel, you play some missions as the other Avengers. The main single-player missions are great, while you do have to play a couple of the "online focused" levels. That said, they can be played with AI teammates just find - and rest mode, pausing, photo mode and offline all work fine with these levels. 

There are lots of costumes that are either locked behind payment (you can earn enough credits for 8 costumes), many through competing challenges and quests. Most of the difficult/paid ones are more unique and odd costumes, while the other ones are the "main" costumes, and personally I think the best ones. 

Tokyo Jungle

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A very unique and interesting game, you take control of various animals, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. You have to eat, find mates, produce offspring and complete challenges. You'll be doing lots of the same thing over and over as when you die, it's game over (one you produce offspring, you'll have siblings which serve as extra lives) and you have to start from the beginning of that animal. More animals are unlocked by finding a specific animal (when playing a herbivore) or killing a specific animal (when playing a predator) and story mode levels are unlocked by finding specific articles.

However, the game is also very frustrating. Sometimes the paths you need to take literally have no food to eat, or you can bump into a far stronger animal in a place with nowhere to run or hide. All herbivores play the same, and all predators stay the same so each animal does not alter the gameplay. There is also only one map, which is quite small so you'll be wandering the same areas again and again, and the start of each time you play is pretty much identical. It's worth a try for it's unique ideas, but isn't a great game.

Untitled Geese Game

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A very fun game, especially in co-op. It's quite short (although not as short as first appearances as there's plenty of new tasks after the credits), but quite charming. Working out how to complete each task is fun and having two Geese opens up more opportunities (there's no specific co-op stuff, though). Lovely art style and just really cute.

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Been playing Astral Chain. Almost finished the story but the spike in difficulty between the entire game and the last boss is pretty high lol. 

But I've found it to be a pretty darn excellent game, one of my favourites in some time.

The graphics and art style are amazing and really show what the Switch can do. It's also managed to do this with VERY little FPS drop. 

I love the variation in gameplay, you have the hub world, the investigation and/or stealth, and finally the combat. The combat is original and great fun. It took me a while to get used to the number of button combinations to remember, plus controlling a second character in real time, but I'm pretty much used to it now and I think I'll actually miss having the Legion during combat in similar games in the future. xD

Also on the gameplay, there's a lot there. There's parts of the game that remind me of Zelda, Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, general platforming, and more.

I've really enjoyed the story. It gets complaints for being too simple and predictable or something, but tbh does every RPG story have to be a massive mysterious complicated thing where everyone's a clone of a shadow of a smurf ghost's dream and you have no idea what the heck's going on? I really enjoyed it for just being a good story and likable buncha characters. Although, saying that I don't fully understand what Jena's actual goal was or why she was so destructive, but whatever. xD

The music is also really darn good, and I've been listening to some of the tunes on YT outside of the game.

Another plus point. The game has a cat sidequest! 😺

As with all games, even my favourites, I have a few criticisms:

- The Jena Anderson thing I already mentioned. Also, why does she look like a zombie?
- Sometimes the maps seem to have pointless barriers or one-way systems that force you the long way around for no reason
- The platforming, specifically chain jumping is a bit off. If Zelda did this, the symbol that indicates where you land would be 100% reliable. You either see the symbol because the game has determined you can land there, or you don't see the symbol
- The game should make it very clear when you're about to trigger a "move on" section, and tell you if there's stuff left to do, including hidden side quests. It could tell you there is a hidden sidequest left without showing you where it is
- Astral Chain 2 hasn't been announced yet nor has there been any news at all indicating it's ever going to happen :(

But, overall excellent game and highly recommend!

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April's been a bit of a slow month for gaming, personally. I've been taking my sweet time with certain games, which includes a couple of 2021 indie games that I actually got close to launch...

Huniepop 2: Double Date

ss_ad5291fd80dde4808971f605a8bed8d3095a5

Wait, I can explain!

One-handed gaming makes any playthrough slower. Please understand.

But seriously, I actually really liked the first Huniepop (surprisingly in-depth dating mechanics, with solid Bejeweled puzzles), so I had to check this bird out as well. The main "gimmick" in this one is that you only date two women at once, aiming for the threesomes. I always thought a "double date" is when two couples go out for a pleasant time, but it's always good to expand my wang slang.

First of all, let's talk about tone and plot (actual plot, get your head out of the gutter). Our main character, now a successful womanizer, must engage in threesomes in order to prevent planetary destruction (don't ask). Sure. There's now a new batch of girls to seduce, learn about, and go deep into (several of which are uncommon archetypes for the genre, like a gold digger, a trans youtuber, or a sexually-repressed Pakistani). The new mechanics allow for more fluid interactions, more dialogue, and deeper characterization than before, too (best seen with the two returning girls, Lola and Jesse: Lola has a lot more personality now, while Jesse underwent some personal growth and development). Some of these multiple choice questions are actually hard to nail, now (and you'll want to get them right, character progression is tied behind multiple currencies now).

The first game felt like a legit Dating Sim with an erotic streak (albeit one where you're cheating on everybody with 10 other girls), but the sequel... man, the sequel just operates on full-on porn logic, with flimsy reasons for steamy threesomes all around. On one hand, it feels less guilty, since it seems everybody's on board with casual sex this time, but on the other hand, it's hard to buy that Polly (old-fashioned housewife) or Lailani (shy girl with low libido) would be so eager to get involved in casual threesomes. In a way, the concept behind the game prevents too much of a consistent characterization. Ah well, doesn't matter had sex.

Another issue is that, with a silent protagonist, the dialogue feels like the two women are dating, and you're just obnoxiously third-weeling. Some of the sex scenes had me going "Wait, why are they in that posit- oh right, there's a dude involved. And that's me". Does this game work better if the MC a girl, doing a lesbian fantasy? I wonder.

But enough of that, you know what we're here for: hot puzzles. The puzzling mechanics take the base from the first game (each puzzle represents a date, and each token colour represents an action), and overhauled it. You now have to switch between girls as you solve the board, and in doing so, you're also managing their stamina bars. Focus too much on one girl, and she gets tired. Furthermore, having to effectively manage separate meters for the pink and teal icons (as well as separate gift lists) makes things a lot trickier.

It's also not as easy to cheese through dates with the right gift combo. You assign gifts to girls, instead of coming up with a decked-out combo for everybody, so you do need to find good gifts for every individual girl. Furthermore, since it's harder to cheese, you do need to keep a consistent strategy in mind for each date (usually, it's aiming for 4-in-a-row matches, and grabbing Power tokens, but how you go about it varies greatly depending on your item setup)

Another excellent addition: baggage. That is to say, flaws in the girls you're dating effectively function as handicaps or game-changers during dates. For example, Lailani's "Prude" gets offended by Sexuality tokens, as if they were purple broken hearts. Meanwhile, Ashley's "Commitment Issues" penalises you focusing on her for 4 moves, which neuters a lot of strategies. This effectively means that you don't get just one strategy for each girl, you need to come up with a strategy for each pairing. off the top of my head:

  • Polly and Brooke will handicap the date in different ways if you give a gift to the other woman. In order to navigate this pairing, you need to tire each one out on purpose before giving gifts;
  • Ashley doesn't like being the focus of attention, while Nora dislikes having focus taken from her. Seems like a good match, but then keeping Nora's stamina up becomes the crux of the date;
  • Lailani gets offended by sexuality, while Jesse doesn't feel it. This effectively turns every red token into dead weight;
  • Zoe swaps the properties of teal and purple, while Lillian does the same for pink and purple. In other words, they are effectively chasing the same purple resource for different meters, which completely changes how you approach the date.

And so on. There's a lot of variety and challenge at work here, which will keep your grey cells working on getting you laid. And if you're looking to have an easier time, well, there's an Easy Mode (though be warned, it still doesn't mean Simple Mode).

So yeah, while the simplicity of the first game worked well, the management and puzzle mechanics of the second one feel a lot more fleshed out, without obsoleting the first entry. I appreciate that a lot, makes the sequel feel very distinct (without ever losing its silly tone), and gives me hope the genre(s) can still be pushed in other directions.

And on a general note, if you're willing to experiment silly embarrassing games, I do recommend trying this series out, whether you're looking for Bejeweling satisfaction, or just some horny nights.

...

Horny nights... Huh, why does that feel familiar?

...

Oh right!

Horned Knight

content-15-36484-hornedknightbanner.jpg

N-Europe Review

If you haven't checked it out, I wrote a review for a 2D platformer on the eShop called Horned Knight. I recently beat its Hard Mode while playing leisurely. In my opinion, it's a good title if you're looking for some simple platforming action, but don't take my word for it when you could take the entire review for it! Click the link above for my full thoughts on this affordable little game.

  My 2021 log (Hide contents)

Played/Beat/Completed:

-Fire Emblem: Three Houses (2019) Beat (January 9th)

-Fatal Fury Special (1993) No Goal (January 17th)

-Art of Fighting 2 (1994) No Goal (January 19th)

-Samurai Shodown II (1994) No Goal (January 20th)

-The Last Blade (1997) No Goal (January 22nd)

-Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 - The Newcomers (1998) No Goal (January 22nd)

-King of Fighters 2000 (2000) No Goal (January 23rd)

-King of Fighters 2002 (2002) No Goal (January 23rd)

-Samurai Shodown V Special (2004) No Goal (January 23rd)

-Harmo Knight (2012) Beat (January 25th)

-Furi (2016) Completed (January 31st)

-Life is Strange (Episode 1) (2015) Beat (February 13th)

-The Stanley Parable (2013) Completed (February 14th)

-1979 Revolution: Black Friday (2016) Beat (February 17th)

-Azure Striker Gunvolt (2014) Beat (March 6th)

-Hitman: Blood Money (2006) Completed (March 10th)

-A Short Hike (2019) Completed (March 16th)

-ABZÛ (2016) Beat (March 20th)

-Silence (2016) Completed (March 27th)

-Huniepop 2: Double Date (2021) Completed (April 13th)

-Horned Knight (2021) Completed (April 14th)

 

Dropped:

-Perfect Angle (2015) (January 20th)

 

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21 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

April's been a bit of a slow month for gaming, personally. I've been taking my sweet time with certain games, which includes a couple of 2021 indie games that I actually got close to launch...

Huniepop 2: Double Date

ss_ad5291fd80dde4808971f605a8bed8d3095a5

Wait, I can explain!

One-handed gaming makes any playthrough slower. Please understand.

But seriously, I actually really liked the first Huniepop (surprisingly in-depth dating mechanics, with solid Bejeweled puzzles), so I had to check this bird out as well. The main "gimmick" in this one is that you only date two women at once, aiming for the threesomes. I always thought a "double date" is when two couples go out for a pleasant time, but it's always good to expand my wang slang.

First of all, let's talk about tone and plot (actual plot, get your head out of the gutter). Our main character, now a successful womanizer, must engage in threesomes in order to prevent planetary destruction (don't ask). Sure. There's now a new batch of girls to seduce, learn about, and go deep into (several of which are uncommon archetypes for the genre, like a gold digger, a trans youtuber, or a sexually-repressed Pakistani). The new mechanics allow for more fluid interactions, more dialogue, and deeper characterization than before, too (best seen with the two returning girls, Lola and Jesse: Lola has a lot more personality now, while Jesse underwent some personal growth and development). Some of these multiple choice questions are actually hard to nail, now (and you'll want to get them right, character progression is tied behind multiple currencies now).

The first game felt like a legit Dating Sim with an erotic streak (albeit one where you're cheating on everybody with 10 other girls), but the sequel... man, the sequel just operates on full-on porn logic, with flimsy reasons for steamy threesomes all around. On one hand, it feels less guilty, since it seems everybody's on board with casual sex this time, but on the other hand, it's hard to buy that Polly (old-fashioned housewife) or Lailani (shy girl with low libido) would be so eager to get involved in casual threesomes. In a way, the concept behind the game prevents too much of a consistent characterization. Ah well, doesn't matter had sex.

Another issue is that, with a silent protagonist, the dialogue feels like the two women are dating, and you're just obnoxiously third-weeling. Some of the sex scenes had me going "Wait, why are they in that posit- oh right, there's a dude involved. And that's me". Does this game work better if the MC a girl, doing a lesbian fantasy? I wonder.

But enough of that, you know what we're here for: hot puzzles. The puzzling mechanics take the base from the first game (each puzzle represents a date, and each token colour represents an action), and overhauled it. You now have to switch between girls as you solve the board, and in doing so, you're also managing their stamina bars. Focus too much on one girl, and she gets tired. Furthermore, having to effectively manage separate meters for the pink and teal icons (as well as separate gift lists) makes things a lot trickier.

It's also not as easy to cheese through dates with the right gift combo. You assign gifts to girls, instead of coming up with a decked-out combo for everybody, so you do need to find good gifts for every individual girl. Furthermore, since it's harder to cheese, you do need to keep a consistent strategy in mind for each date (usually, it's aiming for 4-in-a-row matches, and grabbing Power tokens, but how you go about it varies greatly depending on your item setup)

Another excellent addition: baggage. That is to say, flaws in the girls you're dating effectively function as handicaps or game-changers during dates. For example, Lailani's "Prude" gets offended by Sexuality tokens, as if they were purple broken hearts. Meanwhile, Ashley's "Commitment Issues" penalises you focusing on her for 4 moves, which neuters a lot of strategies. This effectively means that you don't get just one strategy for each girl, you need to come up with a strategy for each pairing. off the top of my head:

  • Polly and Brooke will handicap the date in different ways if you give a gift to the other woman. In order to navigate this pairing, you need to tire each one out on purpose before giving gifts;
  • Ashley doesn't like being the focus of attention, while Nora dislikes having focus taken from her. Seems like a good match, but then keeping Nora's stamina up becomes the crux of the date;
  • Lailani gets offended by sexuality, while Jesse doesn't feel it. This effectively turns every red token into dead weight;
  • Zoe swaps the properties of teal and purple, while Lillian does the same for pink and purple. In other words, they are effectively chasing the same purple resource for different meters, which completely changes how you approach the date.

And so on. There's a lot of variety and challenge at work here, which will keep your grey cells working on getting you laid. And if you're looking to have an easier time, well, there's an Easy Mode (though be warned, it still doesn't mean Simple Mode).

So yeah, while the simplicity of the first game worked well, the management and puzzle mechanics of the second one feel a lot more fleshed out, without obsoleting the first entry. I appreciate that a lot, makes the sequel feel very distinct (without ever losing its silly tone), and gives me hope the genre(s) can still be pushed in other directions.

And on a general note, if you're willing to experiment silly embarrassing games, I do recommend trying this series out, whether you're looking for Bejeweling satisfaction, or just some horny nights.

...

Horny nights... Huh, why does that feel familiar?

...

Oh right!

I loved the first game too. Will get this eventually!

Glad to read they haven't just cashed in on the success of the first and made a solid game. 

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I beat The Touryst over the past couple of days on the Series S. 

Took me about 5-6 hours to 100% it and it's another decent game from Shin'en which obviously looks gorgeous!

It's nothing to really write home about - a solid 7/10, but I enjoyed it for what it was. After a bit of general confusion at the beginning and not really being sure what to do or where to go, I eventually found my way into the first "dungeon". As a whole, The Touryst is essentially a fetch-quest-em-up where you have to travel over the game's 8 islands doing tasks and looking for secrets. That part of the game is fun and there are some cool little set pieces along the way, such as setting up a disco for the tourists on Ybiza, which involves switching on a bunch of lights on, plugging in the sound system and activating the smoke machine. Once all the lighting and smoke effects are in play against the orange sunset, the game really does looks special. Shin'en are truly wizards, this is by far the best art style they've had in any of their games. A mix between low-quality textures (think Minecraft), blocky characters and landscapes (3D Dot Heroes) and exquisite lighting effects (Octopath Traveller). It all comes together beautifully. 

Unfortunately, the "dungeons" are pretty atrocious. The puzzles are very obtuse and not helped by the awful controls and jumping mechanics. The camera makes gaps impossible to judge and you end up fighting with it way more than you should. Luckily, you won't spend more than half-an-hour in these parts of the game, so it's not too bad. 

As much as I enjoyed the experience, this is where I'm beginning to really appreciate Game Pass now. I backed out of buying this day one on Switch due to price to content concerns, and I'm glad I did. The game offers little replay value and is fairly straightforward to 100%. 5 hours of gameplay is just right, in my opinion. Any longer and it would begin to outstay its welcome. Glad that I got the chance to play through it here, and I am a little curious about how it looks and runs on Switch (flawless 4K60 on Series S!!). 

I've enjoyed Shin'en's work in the past, and this is no exception. A fun romp, but not much more. Would recommend giving it a go on Game Pass or picking it up in a fairly deep sale. 

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Posted (edited)

Just finished Castevania Symphony of the Night. Kind of blasted through the last part of the game after taking a suggestion off someone on Discord to farm Schmoos to get the Chrissagrim, the most powerful weapon in the game... in fact its TOO powerful. Literally one shots ever single enemy and makes bosses a toilet training excersie. Literally three swipes of that thing was enough to kill most bosses in the game... so I put on the Alucard Sword for the final battle against Dracula, a battle I did twice due to wanting to go and get the 200% ending.

 

Overall thoughts, really enjoyed the game, I can see why its an all time classic. At the same time I feel like there are a lot of problems with the level design which hold it back somewhat, while the first portion of the game is intuitive a lot of stuff afterwards isn't at all and key objectives are hidden in really remote places that you wouldn't know were very important unless you looked it up. Some hidden rooms were also TOO well hidden if you know what I mean.

 

But this was a game I was looking to play for years and I'm happy to finally get around to doing it. Probably not done with Castlevania just yet though as I still have the Anniversary Collection to get through. I will also look to get some of the Castlevania games on Wii U eShop as I'd definitely like to play more SOTN style games, with Circle of the Moon (or Castlevania GBA as its known here) and Aria of Sorrow two games I'm looking to get in particular. The dark colour palette of GBA won't make too much of a difference on the Wii U eShop I reckon and I've heard good things about Aria of Sorrow...

 

EDIT: Also uploaded the latest part of the Soulcalibur VI Custom Character Tournament, the quarter finals!:

 

 

 

Edited by Aperson
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