Hart & Usagi #94: Action In An Elevator

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In episode 94 we chat about the Yakuza Remastered Collection, Tetris 99 coming to retail stores, and our time playing select games in Taito Legends 1 and 2 on the PlayStation 2.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Games Won’t Be Any Cheaper on the Google Stadia
* Tetris 99 For Nintendo Switch Coming To Physical Stores This Fall
* The Switch Mini Is Officially the Portable-Focused Switch Lite, Has Multiple Compromises Over Original Switch
* Bethesda’s Classic Doom Re-Release Requires a Bethesda Account
* Three New Street Fighter 5 Characters Leak Ahead Of Evo 2019
* Walmart is Quietly Removing Violent Video Game Advertising From Its Stores
* TurboGrafx-16 Mini Adds Seven More Games To Complete Lineup, Including Splatterhouse
* Phil Spencer Doesn’t Think That Cloud Systems Will Fully Replace Traditional Consoles Just Yet
* Sony Acquires Ratchet and Clank, Spider-Man Dev Insomniac Games
* Ion Fury Developer Donates $10,000 to Charity After Furor Over Transphobic Comments
* Yakuza Remastered Collection For PS4 Announced, Starting With Yakuza 3

Listen or Download (1:31:26)

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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

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Now Playing: July 2019

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This time out the group of games I played are from April through mid-July. There’s 12 in total with only three finished. Here we go!

The first game on tap is also one of the three I beat: Ghost Squad. This home port of Sega’s arcade light gun shooter works well on the Wii. I don’t have the plastic zapper shell for the controller, but you obviously don’t need it since there isn’t any additional hardware built in. It was a very fun and repeatable three mission structure with some alternate paths to take. I particularly liked earning and using the additional weapons and outfits available. The latter can get somewhat comical at times since the player character is the only one who changes outfits with the rest of the squad remaining in normal gear.

I was looking forward to getting into a new beat-’em-up with Batman: The Brave and the Bold (also on Wii). It didn’t pan out well, however. The training before the game actually begins makes the mistake of throwing every ability at you at once. Of course, you’ll eventually forget some of them long before you’ll need them. My biggest issue was with the overall feeling of the brawling. It wasn’t as mindless fun as I was hoping for. There’s more puzzle aspects to this game’s fighting that’s often enough that it feels like the momentum of a level keeps getting interrupted. I had to check out of this game fairly early on.

Two shoot-’em-ups I played for a little bit was the TG-16’s Final Soldier (via VC) and Raiden IV: Overkill on PS3 (via PSN). The former was a fantastic time until I got slaughtered on stage 5. At least it was nice getting to that point. I can’t say as much for the latter game. I didn’t quite understand the new Overkill Mode, but the normal Arcade Mode was the typical Raiden shooting experience. In that to say it isn’t great. I enjoy the original game and the sequel, but after those (like I am with the Contra series) they don’t appeal to me as much.

Next up on the list is Ninja Spirit. The game is pretty tough until you realize that all you need is the explosive weapon 3 and it’s fairly smooth sailing from then on. I got to what I call the “ninja pit” and was stopped fully in my tracks. I don’t know exactly how to reach the bottom without being touched since it only takes one hit to kill you. It’s the last major obstacle before the final boss if I ever clear it.

Speaking of Contra, I also played, but was unsuccessful in beating Contra Rebirth. While I was able to get to level 4, I’m not exactly the best at managing the switching of the weapons. This was a gameplay mechanic that debuted in Contra III in 1992.

I’m not sure exactly what to say about Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris other than it’s available for download on PlayStation 4 and, well, it’s a Tomb Raider game. I liked it for what it was, but I definitely still prefer the traditional presentation of the series in Tomb Raider: Legend or the 2013 reboot.

More recently I’ve been playing some PlayStation 2 suggested games from readers like you. Of course, I have to already own the games because I’m not in a position to be purchasing whatever anybody suggests. First was Lifeline, the USB audio voice directed game from Konami. I knew going in I wouldn’t be playing it very long because it doesn’t always understand was you are saying. Well, I didn’t even successfully get to the title screen as my current USB headset wasn’t compatible. Oh well. It’s not much of a loss.

ICO was another suggestion and it goes without saying that this was a much better idea. I’m not into these more artistic style of games usually so I’m not going to be as impressed with it like so many others have been. I’m happy for those people, but I’m simply not one of them. I’m at the Crane section, but I needed a more action packed distraction.

That distraction was Power Rangers Dino Thunder on PS2. In this game you don’t play as the Rangers themselves, but instead as their Zoids. I think there’s 5-6 total in the game. Zeltrax is the main boss in the game that you fight twice in very similar battles each time. Unfortunately, you never seen the TV show’s main villain, Mesogog. He’s only spoken about. This was the third game I beat.

Another suggestion I’m playing a little of is the arcade version of Bubble Bobble via Taito Legends. The best I’ve done this time around is round 7. I’ve previously hit as high as round 16.

Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my podcasts over in the sidebar.

Now Playing: March 2019

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Since November I played and completed Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, which was good, but it wasn’t the amazing experience I remember the original game being. I feel it side loaded a linear game into an open world style that it never needed.

I also played and beat Call of Duty: Black Ops. Oh what a mess that single player campaign was. I didn’t feel like I needed any skill to get through the levels. They were just a cavalcade of spectacle and little else. I never felt like my actions ever had an impact on anything that was going on. The game was setup in a way that with or without the player the levels were going to play out the same.

The last game I played was Borderland 2. If you played the first, as I did, then you were in for more of the same. I was hoping for more of a change in the game’s structure, but that was not to be. Any changes or additions made were minor and meaningless. I played it long enough to realize that doing everything was having it overstay its welcome. Eventually, I only did the story missions and skipped all optional ones (which were a ton). Even then it was too long when what I thought was going to be the final battle turned out to be a fake out. I was done at that point and that’s no fake out.

I’m not sure what I’ll be playing next, but I’m sure it’ll take longer than it otherwise would because that’s how I roll. :)

Now Playing: November 2018

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So what have I been up to as far as video gaming is concerned in the month of November? Why is was Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, of course. I’ve explained some of my thoughts on the game on the Hart & Usagi Podcast recently.

I felt that the open world style doesn’t suit the gameplay of Mirror’s Edge to my tastes as much. It does work in reality, but just not as much for me. I’d rather the linear level design of the first game over this. The combat is much better in that guns are mostly absent. Faith can’t use them and only one type of lower level enemy does use them. The heavy damage dealt with an attack after a wallrun, slide, or the like really feels good. If this sounds somewhat interesting of a game to you, certainly don’t let my mediocre feelings about it stop you from seeing it for yourself.

I only bothered with one other game during this same time period. It’s effectually, what I like to call, Kid Niki 2. This is because this is the sequel on the Famicom to what we got known as Kid Niki on the NES. It’s title is Kaiketsu Yancha Maru 2: Karakuri Land. I played Usagi704’s copy and, as he said beforehand, it’s easily finished on your first try. It’s enjoyable despite being a very average game.

The only other gaming related thing I did was watch Max on Twitch play the Blackout mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. His skills along with something about the Call of Duty version of this battle royale phenomenon has been fun to view. I have no interest whatsoever to watch the other popular games or play any of them myself. Granted, I’m not that surprised I’ve watched him play this for hours and hours. In the past I’ve liked watching his regular Call of Duty multiplayer matches in previous games. So these two things are just great together. :)

Now Playing: August-October 2018

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So I’ve been playing these things called “video games” and I figured I’d tell you about some of them. :D

The Bourne Conspiracy follows the events of The Bourne Identity and adds a bit more to it to lengthen the game. You play just about every major and minor scene from the movie including the big car chase scene. That specific moment, however, is done poorly and is not all that fun. Luckily most of the game is beat-’em-up and shooting style of gameplay. There are opportunities for stealthy takedowns, but it’s not required and is the other part of the game that’s also not done all that well.

Speaking of stealthy gameplay, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus on the Game Boy Advance is much better at it than the above game. It’s also much more enjoyable than TMNT 2 on the main consoles of its time like the PlayStation 2. You have to find crystals throughout the levels, but you have to use each turtle because each have different abilities allowing you to access places the others can’t reach. The difficulty of combat is fairly easy, but it’s welcome in this way since the traversal is what keeps you wanting to play some more.

I finally got around to playing *the* Spider-Man game that gets all the praise since it’s 2004 release and that’s, obviously, Spider-Man 2. The praise is pretty much universally for the swinging abilities and it’s well deserved. But, that’s where it ends, in my opinion. The points needs to progress the story from menial rescues are very repetitive. I also didn’t enjoy most, if any, of the boss battles. I don’t dislike the game. I just wish it was as good as its reputation leads you to believe.

Of the four games I played in these last few months, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the most fun. I liked the first two games quite a bit, and I still like them the most, but this game was a step up from the disappointment of Uncharted 3. Sam is a great companion and Sully’s dry wit is as welcome as always. The overall gameplay isn’t much different and that’s okay. It was good to begin with.

Now Playing: June-July 2018

After over three months of playing Yakuza 4 off and on (mostly off), I have finished it. Vets of the series like usagi704 and others will scoff at the fact that I didn’t do any side missions/activities. I enjoyed the main story and I just wanted to focus on that. It took me long enough as it was and I didn’t want it to take any longer.

Of course Kiryu is the best of the bunch simply because he’s had three previous games all to himself. Of the new trio of characters I liked Akiyama the best with Tanimura and Saejima second and third, respectively. All were will written and voice acted. Tanimura’s fighting style was the most divergent from the rest. He used more holds and throws than outright brute strength.

Character progression, I felt, was hampered with the four characters being split up into individual sections of the game, but the story faired much better because of it. You didn’t know how all these guys and their events would tie together, but it was a pleasure in finding out and seeing it through.

I also, during this time frame, played and finished the 2001 arcade game Sengoku 3. I played it via the Wii Virtual Console with the pro controller. It was initially difficult and I did opt for the max of nine lives in the options menu, but eventually I did manage to beat it. Damage dealt to the player is quite high, but it’s doable with the correct battle strategy.

As a birthday gift I received Puzzle Quest: Galactrix from my bro.

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Now Playing: May 2018 (and Podcast Update)

About a month ago I purchased Horizon: Zero Dawn. The Complete Edition with all the extra DLC was the cheaper way to go and more available than the original version. I don’t know if I’ll even bother with the extra content, but I guess I’ll just have to see if I want more of it to play by the end. This all is considering that I get to it anytime soon which is unlikely.

I’m currently playing Yakuza 4 as I’d mentioned in my previously resurrected Now Playing feature. The initial character you control is Akiyama. He’s a good ol’ chap with the best of intentions and a non-judgmental attitude with the firm belief that helping out others is more important than making money. I like him.

I’m now onto the second new character’s story, Saejima, and they already show a clear sign of them all tying together eventually. Here’s a badass that’s trying to get what’s his. At least that’s my first readings of his motivations.

On the podcast front, there won’t be any new episode for a little bit as I sort out my PC issues as those problems only affect that activity.

Thanks for reading!

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