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Games Beaten In 2021.

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4. Astro's Playroom (PS5)

 

This is a WONDERFUL lil' "pack-in" game! While it's definitely too short/easy (probably by design for new players, to be fair), it's absolutely dripping with charm! Having all the background bots acting out classic titles while collecting hardware & peripherals gives a unique vibe- like 25+ years of gaming history has led up to this moment, of you playing this game. Kind of a weighty feeling for such a light game- and a total nostalgia bomb for anyone who's been playing since 1994. I hope they expand on this later on- I'd pay money for an 'extended cut'!

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35. GoSub (Atari 2600)

 

Beaten with the octopus and everything. I'm not inclined to "grade" homebrews from our community, but this one's pretty good, and the final level is really quite clever. n/a

 

36. Vapor Trail (Genesis)

 

Beaten on every difficulty setting, culminating in Hard/3 Credits. A decent shooter, but not a great one, as it gets much too cute with the attacks from behind, etc. Plus the different weapons don't really contribute much, and so an opportunity for fun is lost. Instead the winning strategy in the game is to choose the slowest ship with the most firepower, hang onto the superweapon, and plow through the bosses. B-.
 

37. Eliminate Down (Genesis)

 

Beaten on Easy, Medium, and Hard, all with the default of 5 credits.

 

This rare Japan-exclusive shooter is wildly overrated -- not that it doesn't do a lot of things right (it does), or show evidence of extensive TLC (it does). It's full of lavish set-pieces and elaborate stage design (though often cribbed from other shooters like R-Type).

 

But cardinal rule #1 of shooter/shmup design is that eye candy comes second to gameplay. If the eye candy causes sprite breakup and makes enemy bullets disappear, then the eye candy has to go. If a big part of a boss's challenge comes from putting foreground parallax objects in the player's way so that you literally can't see what's going on for a crucial split second -- or because at critical moments, a graphical effect makes the boss's attack literally impossible to see -- then you've screwed up. (No, it's not just me: watching YouTube videos frame-by-frame removes any doubt.)

 

Plus the game is way, way too into deathtraps, some of which are completely non-obvious and non-recoverable. Memorization-dependent stage design is always bullshit: instead of rewarding the player's skill and reflexes, you're rewarding them for agreeing to pretend that there's something clever about memorizing a series of cheap shots. And who on earth thought it was a good idea to have enemies that spawn mid-screen?

 

Sure, it's a rush on some level to beat a game like this on Hard. (I even came close to a 1CC on one run, reaching the final boss with 9 lives to spare...and totally choking it.) But it's not really satisfying because the needed strats end up being a collection of "tricks", turning 80% of the game into a repetitive slog, 10% into a tricky gauntlet with some rewards, and 10% into a bunch of bullshit where you can only hope to be in the right place when the sprites come back.

 

I don't begrudge Eliminate Down's Gradius syndrome (or Gradius-like slowdown!), but I begrudge a game for being this smug without backing it up with absolute technical perfection. Overly-busy screens and cheap shots do not a great game make; indeed, they rule greatness out. C-.

 

EDIT: And to make it clear that these aren't just the sour grapes of someone who needs to "git gud" :), I've now gotten a 1CC on Hard with 3 starting credits, completed shortly after I wrote the post above. I had one death in Level 6 (at those @#[email protected]# bubbles), and 2-3 at the final boss. (The scores are different because the game awards massive bonus points at the end based on extra lives and difficulty level.)

 

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On 7/11/2021 at 1:40 AM, HoshiChiri said:

4. Astro's Playroom (PS5)

 

This is a WONDERFUL lil' "pack-in" game! While it's definitely too short/easy (probably by design for new players, to be fair), it's absolutely dripping with charm! Having all the background bots acting out classic titles while collecting hardware & peripherals gives a unique vibe- like 25+ years of gaming history has led up to this moment, of you playing this game. Kind of a weighty feeling for such a light game- and a total nostalgia bomb for anyone who's been playing since 1994. I hope they expand on this later on- I'd pay money for an 'extended cut'!

This is the main reason I’m interested in a PS5 so far.

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Posted (edited)

Mother (Famicom)

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Finished!  I played the original FC version on original hardware without any hacks, etc., and ended up completing the game at levels 28/25/22 (quite underleveled based on most FAQs I checked after).

 

The atmosphere is quite unique even compared with its sequel Mother 2. Whereas Mother 2 is completely surreal and goofy, Mother instead feels whimsical and strangely touching, sort of like a combination of The Goonies and The Neverending Story.  The soundtrack plays a large part in establishing the atmosphere—it's one of the best on the Famicom and still sounds impressive today imo.

The game has a reputation as a brutal, unbalanced, grind-heavy mess of a game, but I didn't find that to be the case at all and didn't have to grind at any point in the game. Mother regularly throws some very difficult areas with plenty of tough enemies at you, but almost always gives you the tools you need to survive. Careful use of PSIs (spells) and items is the key to sailing through the game without too much difficulty.

Although the game is mostly linear, it does open up quite a bit during the second half, allowing to to explore and tackle areas out of order. There is also a lot of optional stuff to find, though most of it is just for fun.

---

Overall, I loved the game. It's got a great story for an 8-bit JRPG, a wonderful atmosphere, and a satisfying level of challenge in which you are rewarded for making use of the tools you're given. There are also some really great "dungeons" to explore, several of which I had to map out on paper so as to not get lost.

Edited by newtmonkey
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38. The Eye of Typhoon (3DO)

 

Plays like a solid fighter on the Neo Geo, but via late-'90s emulation with frameskip turned on. The lack of options and rough presentation suggest that this Korean-exclusive rarity was rushed out the door to try to make up for the sunk development costs of the long-lost (and yet-to-be-found) Neo Geo version.

 

I have a hard time believing that version had 15fps animations like the 3DO port, so playing this is (I suspect) a case of experiencing a very decent game in a severely compromised form. Still quite playable, though, and quite challenging at times. C.

 

39. Iron Angel of the Apocalypse: The Return (3DO)

 

This sequel upgrades the frame rate but loses the atmosphere, with tedious stage design and dull gameplay. It pains me to pan a game where the designers clearly looked out for the player -- load times are low, save points are copious and saving is quick -- and they tried to throw in variety, albeit in the form of totally perfunctory rail shooter and "FMV dodge-'em" levels. But when you have an area that simultaneously introduces two new weapons, one of which completely obsoletes the other, it symbolizes the lack of cohesion in the game. D+.

 

40. Montana Jones (3DO)

 

Over eight years ago, I played this Japanese exclusive for about 15 minutes, beat a level, saved, forgot about it. Tonight I came back to it and finished it off within 2 hours.

 

I don't know that I should give a grade to a kids' game, let alone one where I don't entirely know what's going on thanks to the language barrier, but this seems closer to CD-i territory than 3DO. With very weak 2D platforming reminiscent of an early Flash game, point 'n click maze navigation sequences that amount to busywork, and utterly repetitive stage design and gameplay, it's hard to imagine the 3DO-owning tyke who was thrilled by this one. And for a game based on an animated property, the FMV capture sure looks lousy.

 

The only technical flair comes in a handful of levels that have the hero running through tunnels, with a nice 3D/sprite-scaling effect on the walls that almost reminds me of Galaxy Force. The game throws in a few curveballs, like a skeet-shooting contest, a game of Whack-A-Mole, and a timed solve of a Tower of Hanoi puzzle, but it's not even clear that there's a point to any of them.

 

Also, dig the freaky sound effects on the save/load screen, culminating in a blood-curdling scream when you authorize a save! What's that about? D-.

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5. Ontamarama (DS)

 

Utter impulse buy at the local retro show. I just assumed when I picked it up it was a puzzle game, but the back said it was a rythmn game- and I love rythmn games!

 

This one is... not great. The touch/button playstyle is clunky & the songs are super generic. Do I regret buying it? Maybe a little- it was straight up sealed when I got it, so I pretty much devalued it immediately... thing is, I can only see 5 copies for sale on Ebay right now. So at least it's one of those obscure things where price isn't a huge concern.

 

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I finished Ys I on the TG-16 in two sittings. Does that count? I didn’t even get a credits sequence for my trouble.

 

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

I had completed this back when it was released in the US in 1992 and have replayed it several times since then.  I've always had fond memories of it, so I decided it would be a fun game to revisit in between RPGs.

 

This time around I played it with the msu-1 patch for CD quality audio and a charming FMV intro.  It sort of gives it a quick and dirty SNES CD port feel.  Although the music sounds impressive at first, I definitely prefer the original soundtrack, as Zelda makes excellent use of the SNES sound hardware.

 

This time I decided to follow a walkthrough so that I made sure I got every heart piece and optional item.

 

Anyway, what more can be said about this classic?  It's aged extremely well and I had a blast playing it.  It's got a massive world (or two) to explore, and it's full of interesting things to see and find.  One thing I really appreciated about this, after playing OOT and Link's Awakening, is how easy it is to get around the world and how open the world is even after only a couple of hours in.  In contrast, I find OOT a real pain to get anywhere since you move so slowly through the massive (but mostly empty) overworld, while Awakening suffers from way too many roadblocks that require items to pass.  In terms of pure exploration, I'd rank ALttP and the original LoZ as the best in the series.

 

The dungeons are also fantastic here, with plenty of puzzles to solve and sometimes even several paths to get through them.  I also like that you have a bit of leeway in the order you tackle some of the dungeons, though there is clearly a certain order you are meant to follow.

 

I love the sense of mystery and awe you get from this game.  A lot of that is due to the fantastic soundtrack, but there are some really nice set pieces here.  Rescuing and escaping with Princess Zelda.  Getting the Master Sword.  The first time you arrive at the Dark World.  That dungeon where you think you are saving a girl but she turns out to be the boss monster.  And it's all done without cinemas or dialog.

 

It all ends with a great ending showing what has happened to all the people you've met on your quest, then a truly amazing song playing over the credits.  I had forgotten how great the ending is, but now I recall as a kid starting my endgame save and beating Gannon many times, just so I rewatch it!

 

I finished the game without dying, but that's not much of an accomplishment on this one since you can save and quit at any time.

 

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(Sorry about that awful photo, I was playing the game in the dark and my phone camera couldn't handle it well haha)

Edited by newtmonkey
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15. Pokemon Ultra Moon for 3DS (same status as Pokemon Sun, Moon and Ultra Sun  - beat the Pokemon League, saved the game, just haven't filled my Pokemon collection, but hey I saw the credits roll so it's minimally beaten)

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I FINALLY got the good ending Thunder Force V today after having it for about a year. I've gotten the bad ending from the boss running away multiple times, but never the good ending from killing him until today. That last boss is really difficult and I'm not sure if it's even possible to beat him if you don't go into the fight with all 3 CRAWs, as I don't think your damage output is high enough to kill him before he runs away otherwise. I ended up using every life I had just to sit there and spam my Over Weapon and recollect my CRAWs as he killed me over and over, but I did get a 1CC. I didn't die until the final stage and I only died because I wasn't paying attention, so I imagine I can get a tasty no miss with a little more practice.

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I'll put this one here, but technically I played the remaster on the XBox.

 

I finished episodes 1, 2, and 3 of Quake last week.  :)  That was a LOT of fun reminiscing back to playing this when it came out.

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16. Fatal Fury 2 for Neo Geo (MVS mode, difficulty level 4)

 

I started trying to play as only Terry but I ended up needing to switch to Big Bear to beat Andy and ended up using him for most of the rest of the game. I think this is the first time I ever finished this game. In my list I am not counting games that I've beaten before.

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41. Rise of the Robots (3DO)

 

You know how some games have a bad reputation, maybe due to a difficult learning curve or offbeat approach, but if you approach them with an open mind there's some fun to be had?

 

Yeah, this isn't one of them. Rise of the Robots is an atrocious piece of garbage and the designers should be ashamed, even now. The 3DO version is apparently the worst of all, making you beat the game's (small) roster twice before you can fight the final boss, and soft-locking when you get a GAME OVER. It's cheap, broken, joyless, and loveless. F.

 

42. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (SNES)

 

Played via the super-polished fan translation by Aeon Genesis. Like most of the Ys games I've played, it's pleasantly accessible and offers a "quick fix" of action RPG goodness, but the final stages are maze-like, tedious, and needlessly obscure. C.

 

43. Epidemic (PS1)

 

The original Kileak was humbler but arguably better, as this sequel (aka Kileak 2 in Japan) gets bogged down by its own ambitions. It controls OK, but the cutscenes are laughable, the labyrinthine levels go on way too long without save points, the puzzles are more irritating than clever, and the combat is one-dimensional.

 

And I hate, hate, hate playing for an hour, meticulously checking every nook and cranny, dealing with the switch puzzles, and being on the verge of uncovering a secret area with new weapons or items -- only to step into the wrong room and trigger a cutscene, boss fight, and end of the level.

 

I like "giant mech in a corridor" games, and I can feel how much Epidemic wants to be a good game, but it doesn't make it. At least it didn't give me motion (simulation) sickness. D.

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On 9/12/2021 at 3:03 PM, jgkspsx said:

Lifeforce again. Does it only count if you beat it twice? I’m not doing that again right now.imageproxy.php?img=&key=f4dcc336a70d5c68

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Do you get a different ending if you beat it twice? Otherwise I don't know why you'd have to do that.

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Many shmups do that, but apparently not this port. It’s the same ending and it loops endlessly as long as you keep going.

 

Tonight I beat Commander Keen on the Game Boy Color after spending the last twenty years with an illicit rom, not knowing how to flip switches, and thus never beating a single level. I beat it on easy, which is a lot more forgiving than normal, and it still took upwards of 100 lives to do.

 

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Now that I understand the game and know what will kill me I might actually play through it on normal. It really does have some positive qualities to it. It’s not a patch on the real games, but it’s a lot better than Keen Dreams, and there are no platformers that are remotely as similar to real Keen as this was.

 

Plus it has the Dopefish.

 

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44. RealSports Tennis (Atari 5200)

 

This game has a poor reputation, but I rather like it. The idea of using the keypad to direct your serve and shot is reasonably clever, and takes the burden off the mushy Atari 5200 fire buttons (which are used to serve, but really shouldn't be used at all -- the keypad could handle that too).

 

The only problem is that it's too easy: though I'm admittedly a seasoned tennis video game player, I still destroyed the CPU, 6-0 6-0, the very first time I ever played it. I even spotted the CPU a few points whilst I figured out the controls, and still managed to win the opening game!

 

That was on Intermediate difficulty, and Advanced difficulty yielded the same result: in fact, I never lost a single game to the CPU. So yeah, too easy, but still well above average for its era, because it actually lets you place the ball (amazing!). C.


45. Tennis (Atari 2600)

 

As a low-key, long-term project, I'm attempting to beat every tennis game ever made (at least for 20th century consoles/handhelds). I've been genuinely dreading this Activision title, as it's an unending series of tedious volleys with no ability to generate angles and a backboard CPU.

 

However, on B difficulty, you actually can crank a few wide shots, which makes the game more or less playable once you figure out the right court placement for your character. I won the set 6-4, but I think a replay could get me 6-1 or 6-0.

 

But on A difficulty, which takes away the wide shots, it's exactly as I feared. The manual claims A is easier, but despite winning 6-1 this time I think it's much harder, and you essentially have to manipulate the AI in order to score points. (I found that taking the ball well inside the court and just barely letting it bounce was the key, though it's easier said than done.)

 

I appreciate its contribution to the era, and its place in history as a very early effort, but I simply don't like this game. Boxing is way more fun. D.


46. RealSports Tennis (Atari 2600)

 

Better than the Activision effort, but it suffers from most of the same problems, and extending the match to 2 out of 3 sets just makes it more tedious. At least you get a bit more control over your shots, but on the other hand it's possible to intercept serves at the net (tsk tsk), and lobs are tough to hit without underrunning the ball. I beat B/B difficulty (automatic racket swing/weak CPU) something like 6-4 6-0, and A/A difficulty (manual swing/stronger CPU) by 6-4 6-2. I'm glad to be done with this one too. D+.

 

As a side note, I'm close to having beaten 50% of the tennis games released for 20th-century consoles and handhelds (i.e. up through the Dreamcast). If you restrict it to games released in North America, I'm at over 66%, with mostly portable games remaining.

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Yoshi's Island! (SNES) 

 

I played through this on a whim last week and ended up finishing it (again).   We'll see if I feel like getting 100% in all the stages.

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17. Diablo: Hellfire for PC.

 

I had played and completed the original Diablo at least three times on PC and once on Playstation, but I had never tried the Hellfire expansion pack. I liked it even better.

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6. Taiko no Tatsujin: Chibi Dragon to Fushigi no Orb (3DS)

 

Been on a bit of an import kick since getting that PS2 stuff last Secret Santa 😁 Decided to import a 3DS for rythmn games (and becuase I learned of the cat-covered Palico LL model.) This was so. Frickin'. CUTE! I really enjoyed it! Strongly hammered home that I can read simple Japanese (basically just kana), but lack the vocabulary to understand much. Luckily it's not super nessecary here. Very much need to pickup the Switch release of the sequels!

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Finished Star Soldier Vanishing Earth on N64 today. Got inspired to play it after watching a Glenn Plant video. It was short but fun and had some surprisingly clean graphics.

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7. Shingata Kururin Pa! (Saturn)

 

I picked up the first game in this import series on a whim at a local shop, & was happy enough with it to grab this sequel. It's an unusual (and rather hard!) puzzle game that has you stringing together bombs & fuses, then lighting it all when a flame comes along. The garbage blocks are snowmen, & everything has adorable lil' facial animations (the bombs cry, nod, sleep, etc.) And the snowmen often pop up with a cheerful 'konichiwa!' Each character gets a special block that does something unqiue- but that's one of the only parts that's in Japanese, so I don't know what they all do. If you've the means to play import Saturn or PS1 games, & you like the puzzle genre- give it a try! It's not very expensive & super import friendly. (Although the sequel here isn't easy to come by- this copy I got is one of two listed on Ebay in the last few months.)

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