Odds and Ends and Max Payne

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Here’s a few odds and ends to wrap up which I didn’t have much to say about to dedicate a blog post to each item.

Last week I celebrated my birthday and I was given Max Payne 3 by Usagi704. The game didn’t feel like a must have like the first one did on PC back in 2001, but I still did want to play it. Speaking of the first game, I remember trying the demo and then buying it that very weekend to take back up to college with me.

I also decided to throw down $15 for Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. This is the usual digital release of older Capcom arcade games by Iron Galaxy Studios and is a compilations of Shadow Over Mystara and Tower of Doom. The presentation format is similar to that of Marvel vs. Capcom Origins and Darkstalkers Resurrection. I’m all about the classic arcade beat-’em-up genre and I hope to see some of you playing these two games soon!

Lastly, I have a gameplay video some of you might be familiar with, but I seemingly forgot to link to it at the time of upload in August 2011. It’s my gameplay of Alien Crush on the PSP and my score started at 219,270,300 and the video ends at 230,339,600.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Peace!

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Now Playing: June 2012

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This month’s Now Playing consists of five games. Let’s get to them.

Upon going back and seeing what I wrote during the month, I only did this one blog post. In it I mentioned my improvement of my times in Survival and Time Attack of Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival. I did a get a few times even better. Allow me to list them now.

vs. 30
Was 2:39:92 and now 2:08:79

vs. 50
Was 5:15:98 and now 4:32:82

vs. 100
Was 11:41:92 and now 11:25:95

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 12:78 and now 11:03

vs. All
Was 4:21:06 and now 3:51:43

In other arcade style action I played Super Hang-On and Alien Crush doing fairly well for myself as you can read about in the previous post linked above.

One game I forgot to update you on was Yakuza 2. I ended up finishing it on the first day of this month with 20 hours and 19 minutes of game time.

The game overall felt too easy and this was probably because I chose Easy to begin with. I was afraid of the fights against bosses since I remember having such a frustrating time with them in the first game. I also was a bit disappointed in the story itself. It didn’t pull me in as the first game’s did. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from this sequel since it’s definitely a step up from the previous entry. I think I just hyped myself up too much for it. All in all, it’s still a great brawler.

Another fantastic game I finally got around to playing was Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Last time in the blog post linked to above, I mentioned my problem with the difficulty spike on the Mission 6 boss. Once I passed it the game settled down and got back to the business of fun.

One thing I really liked about this game was how more slower paced it was versus all of the Western style shooters. It’s definitely not afraid to say “Hey, I’m an Eastern shooter.” I hate it when Japanese developers try to make a Western style game like with Quantum Theory. Stick to what you’re good at.

My total game time was 7 hours and 35 minutes. I also played some multiplayer against Usagi704 and hope to play some more against Madtyger and her crew soon. I’m relying on them since nobody’s playing Lost Planet online anymore.

Thanks for reading, folks! Have a good one!

The Green Eye Buzz Kill

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Hey there everybody! I haven’t posted about my gaming exploits in almost three weeks. It’s time to get on that.

The last time we talked I had listed what my best times were in Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival on the GBA in Survival and Time Attack modes. I improved a few of them and shall list them below.

vs. 30
Was 2:55:45 and now 2:39:92

4 Boss (Balrog, Vega, Sagat, M. Bison)
Was 53:52 and now 46:66

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 13:82 and now 12:78

vs. Ryu, Ken, Shin Akuma
Was 46:89 and now 38:73

vs. All
Was 4:41:62 and now 4:21:06

During this past week I purchased the arcade version of Super Hang-On on PSN. You can set scores in the original arcade mode or set times on a leaderboard in the Trials mode. The latter I’ve been playing a bit to best Usagi704. At first I did, but he’s since improved on a couple of the tracks. My current times set are as follows.

3:19.08 (Beginner)
5:50.75 (Junior)
8:39.27 (Senior)
11:51.37 (Expert)
30:01.30 (World – all four tracks strung together.)

On Sunday I played some of Alien Crush and managed to set a second place score on the PS3 scoreboard of 65,040,600.

The main game I’m playing at the moment is Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. I’m currently at the Green Eye boss fight of Mission 6 with three hours logged so far. Up until now it’s been quite fun despite the deliberately paced combat. I say “up until now” because I’ve tried to pass the fight with Green Eye several times to no avail. It was really frustrating to a point where I had to stop playing and get my mind on something else (like writing this blog post).

In Lost Planet your, what the game calls, T-Eng drains over time. When you take damage this energy drains faster to automatically heal you. If it runs out then you will simply have less than full health when hit. Getting more isn’t usually a problem.

When in this fight with Green Eye this mech (called a VS) you’re in drains T-Eng much faster when using its abilities like hovering and dashing. This shouldn’t be a problem, but becomes one when the rules are changed. If T-Eng hits zero the game automatically ejects you from the VS and you die.

This isn’t consistent with any previous time my T-Eng displayed zeros on the HUD. It effectively makes my T-Eng equal to health, but isn’t not like the VS I’m in for this boss fight doesn’t have its own health meter because it does. You can now probably see why I was highly annoyed at this game.

LP1 still a fun experience outside of this buzz kill.

Until next time game on!

2011 Award Winners

ANTI-COUNTERFEITING TRADE AGREEMENT
The European version of SOPA/PIPA is called ACTA and it’s worse! Learn about it HERE. Sign the petition to stop it NOW at accessnow.org. Anybody can sign regardless of where you live. Please do so. Keep on fighting! Thank you.

It’s now time to enter the strange world of the 2011 gaming awards from yours truly.

BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
When it comes to beat-’em-ups, I know what I like. It’s my favorite genre after all. I played a bunch of them this last year and Streets of Rage 2 is still the very best of what this genre has to offer.

To an extent Final Fight One on GBA is my preferred version over the arcade just because it isn’t as cheap and it has a few bonus extras like the Street Fighter Alpha versions of Cody and Guy to keep it fun.

The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, while simple, has a great music and play mechanics to keep this game out of licence game hell.

Capcom’s Knights of the Round was never one I got into very much before, but last year I played a bit of the SNES port. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. The character of Percival helped in this with his dashing ability.

Streets of Rage 2 (GEN, PSN)
Final Fight One (GBA)
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)
Knights of the Round (SNES)

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
I also know what a horrible beat-’em-up is. Revenge of the Wounded Dragons is definitely that. Cheap tactics are the order of the day and instead of using Dragon Rage to kill enemies off faster, I was standing still gaining health back. It was a frustrating game and its memory has stuck with me.

The boss fight on stage eight of Streets of Rage against the two women without the backup puts this game here. Plain and simple.

Magic Sword and Rush’N Attack aren’t as bad. But they did have things about them which made them less exciting. The former made you feel like you had to hurry through the stages, but doing so only made you take more damage. The latter was just a bit too simple, but other than that I can’t complain all that much about it.

Revenge of the Wounded Dragons (PSN)
Magic Sword (PSN)
Streets of Rage (PS3)
Rush’n Attack (NES)

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Whether it’s shooting rocks or ice in Super Stardust HD, playing Plinko in Peggle, or block stacking in Tetris, there’s always a friend who’s score you’re trying to beat. With me it was getting over 348 million points in Alien Crush which was the most fun to score high in for 2011.

Tetris (PSN)
Alien Crush (PSN)
Peggle (PSN)
Super Stardust HD (PSN)

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MOST VISCERALLY SATISFYING
Beating down fools is fun in any game, but certain games do it with brutal style be it with hidden weapons in a stealthy fashion like in Assassin’s Creed or street brawling in Yakuza. The most satisfying moves to pull off this time was in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.

Yakuza (PS2)
Assassin’s Creed (PS3)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

hart11-viscerally-satisfying

MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME
These games are the ones where you have very little, if any, expectations of them being any good. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill is a perfect example of this. It gets hated on for being a Tomb Raider clone and the critics are correct. It’s not a game I would recommend, but I somehow managed to scrape some fun from the bottom of this old crusty barrel.

One game I can recommend, however, is Run Saber. It’s a clone as well, but a decent one similar in most ways to Strider. Atlus even published great games back in the Super Nintendo days!

Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PSX)
Run Saber (SNES)
Art of Fighting 2 (SNES)
Shadowgate Classic (GBC)

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MOST FUN VS. USAGI704
In one of the most odd award categories, but fitting for me, is which game did I enjoy the most when facing off against Usagi704. Is it the copious amounts of Mortal Kombat matches? What about the surprisingly good port of Art of Fighting 2? It was actually the matches we had on the Genesis version of Super Street Fighter II way back this time last year.

Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN)
Mortal Kombat 3 (PSX)
Art of Fighting 2 (SNES)

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
There’s a number of ways for a game to be disappointing. Half-Life 2: Episode One is an example of simply not being as good or memorable as the previous main game. Rainbow Six Vegas was an unfortunate case of not being able to pass a boss which was glitched. It wasn’t a big deal once I viewed the underwhelming small amount of the game that was left.

NBA Jam was very disappointing in its Remix mode. The camera angle wasn’t good at all for 21 or Domination. Being a big fan of the original arcade game and still really liking the Classic Campaign in this new edition made this all the more upsetting.

NBA Jam (PS3)
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3)
Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3)
Robocop Versus The Terminator (SNES)

hart11-disappointing

DOWN RIGHT CRAP GAME
I’ve played some crap games in 2011. You’ve already met Revenge of the Wounded Dragons. Now meet GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. It would’ve won this category, but at least I could explain in my review what was wrong with the game. Then I played a game where I couldn’t. This pile of trash goes by the name of Army of Two.

Revenge of the Wounded Dragons (PSN)
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (PS2)
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (PS2)
Army of Two (PS3)

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BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE
It’s no secret I adore Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In 2011 I bought the Prince of Persia Trilogy and got the platinum trophy for said game. With that said, I’ve played the game quite a number of times. I needed something new. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was new, but the experience was similar to the first game. How about new and fresh experience? Assassin’s Creed fit, but it was a bit too repetitive.

This is where Demon’s Souls came in. It was a risk since I usually don’t get into many games of its type. However, the risk paid off. I found the challenge to be overall less than hyped to be, but a challenge nonetheless. The boss fights were very memorable and gave me a sense of accomplishment. No other game I’ve played in recent memory can claim this.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS3)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Assassin’s Creed (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

hart11-action-adv

ABSOLUTE BEST GAME OF THE YEAR
Continuing on the theme of fresh, new gaming experiences, each of these four nominees for 2011 Game of the Year delivered this in one way or another.

Gunstar Heroes is a run-‘n-gun which isn’t new to me, but the amount of variety in the stages and bosses of such a game is. I mean there’s a more traditional shoot-’em-up stage in this game. Treasure’s crazy, but good.

The ultimate winner is Yakuza! It has everything I like about such a game. The story is very good and the fighting mechanics are one hell of a brutally fun time. It’s not often after playing a game that I get a mental reminder to play the next game in the series. This has been the case with Yakuza.

Gunstar Heroes (GEN)
Yakuza (PS2)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

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Games Finished In 2011

2011-finished

The list below shows every game that I finished in 2011. The total number comes to 40 across 11 systems. That’s down four from 2010.

1. Super Street Fighter II (GEN) – 1/8
2. Revenge of the Wounded Dragons (PSN) – 1/9
3. Streets of Rage 2 (GEN) – 1/11
4. Gunstar Heroes (GEN) – 1/18
5. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time via Prince of Persia Trilogy (PS3) – 1/22
6. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PS) – 2/2
7. Rush’n Attack (NES) – 2/4
8. Yakuza (PS2) – 3/17
9. Kamen Rider Dragon Knight (DS) – 4/3
10. Tetris (PSN) – 4/11
11. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) – 4/24
12. Kamen Rider Climax Heroes OOO (PSP) – 4/29
13. Gradius via Gradius Collection (PSP) – 5/2
14. Sonic Spinball via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 5/21
15. Shinobi via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 5/23
16. Power Rangers Dino Thunder (GBA) – 6/4
17. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 6/19
18. Assassin’s Creed (PS3) – 6/20
19. Alien Crush (PSN) – 6/27
20. NBA Jam (PS3) – 7/1
21. Peggle (PSN) – 7/6
22. Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3) – 7/12
23. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3) – 7/21
24. Army of Two (PS3) – 7/26
25. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 8/4
26. Run Saber (SNES) – 8/12
27. Knights of the Round (SNES) – 8/19
28. Art of Fighting 2 (SNES) – 9/7
29. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3) – 10/9
30. X-Men (PSN) – 10/20
31. Shadowgate Classic (GBC) – 10/26
32. Final Fight One (GBA) – 11/10
33. Demon’s Souls (PS3) – 11/11
34. Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land (GBA) – 11/20
35. Borderlands (PS3) – 12/5
36. Contra (NES) – 12/18
37. Mortal Kombat via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PS3) – 12/28
38. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PS3) – 12/28
39. Mortal Kombat II via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PS3) – 12/30
40. Super Stardust HD (PS3) – 12/31

The PlayStation 3 saw the most finished games appear on its platform with a total of 13 (includes PSN). The runner-up with 4 was the Super Nintendo.

December proved to be the best month for beating games with 6 in total with a monthly average of 3.33.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 159 last year. Two of them were platinums from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (both in January).

Now Playing: August 2011

nowplaying0811

Last Tuesday was the 20th anniversary of the Super Nintendo as released in North America. Knowing this date was coming up I decided to make it mainly a SNES month.

I played Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers once again and also did a speed run of it in 42 minutes and 12 seconds.

Soon after I asked on Twitter which of eight random chosen games I should play next. The two top picks were Robocop Versus The Terminator and Run Saber. The former game was pretty bad with unforgiving AI and overall uninteresting gameplay. At least there was a funny glitch where you can hold the A and X buttons while on a ladder and Robocop will keep climbing even after passing the top of it. Stage 6 was as far as I was able to go.

Run Saber was much more fun. This take on Strider from Atlus has a bunch of moves to perform in a fast-paced platformer. It has an arrow at the top of the screen always showing the direction to head in. I recommend this game if you’ve ever enjoyed Capcom’s Strider. Finished on Easy was a score of 266,800.

There’s not much to say about Street Racer. It’s basically a Super Mario Kart clone with less charm. At least the racing is decent.

Two other games I finished off this month giving me a total of 27 for this year was Knights of the Round and Alien Crush. In the Capcom beat-’em-up I selected Percival. I prefer him since he’s the only one who can dash. Granted it doesn’t last long at all, but this mobility and being the more powerful of the three characters make him a great choice. My final score was 430,820 at level 15.

I think I’m Alien Crush’d out at this point. I’m played a lot of the game in the recent past, as most of you know, but nothing can prepare you for this. On the PSN version via my PSP I improved my score so much that there’s no way I could possibly top it and that’s even if I’d want to (and I definitely don’t want to). My previous best score, regardless of the version of the game, was 78,533,200 and now it was improved by over four times the amount. Behold my new best high score of 348,932,500!

aliencrush-348million

You’ll probably need some time to recover from that revealed score so I’ll end this here. As always thanks for reading!

Now Playing: July 2011

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This month was unexpectedly worse in quality gaming than I expected. While I did enjoy my time with Alien Crush, Peggle, Tekken 6 on PSP, Super SFII Turbo HD Remix and a few others, some game just got on my nerves.

NBA Jam was the first to be a lot of fun and then it turned into a travesty when I tried to play half-court matches in Remix mode. It’s also very hard to tell your distance vs. an opponent to make a block. The CPU players don’t help things by being merciless even on Easy. Thankfully the original mode is still fantastic after all of these years!

Of course the biggest problem of all was Army of Two. I kept on calling it dumb via my updates on Twitter. When I looked at reviews for this game from ’08, I couldn’t believe how many were giving it fairly good passing marks. I didn’t play a 8 out of 10 game. Nowhere near it. They all claimed that the AI partner is horrible, but that this was made up for by having a friend play along with you. It’s not. Stay away from this 3 out of 10 BrickBeef McDudeShooter*.

Half-Life 2: Episode One and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas were the best of the bunch for this last month. The latter I had to consider finished when it didn’t let me continue on with the last two objectives by always saying I failed. I know I was playing the mission in question correctly when I checked out gameplay on YouTube.

The former, Half-Life 2: Episode One, was the great gameplay I liked from HL2 in bite size. This game I actually was able to finish. Being away from this style of game for as long as I have made it feel a little old in how it played. By this I mean I’m used to recharging health, clearly marked objectives, and a very linear path. I’m okay with this since it’s Half-Life after all. It was a fun experience, but, as I’ve read many times, I’m very likely to enjoy Episode Two much more.

In closing, I finished six games this month giving me 24 total for 2011. It’s probably the most in a long time. Listed below are those games and dates. Thanks for checking my blog out!

Alien Crush (PSN) – 6/27
NBA Jam (PS3) – 7/1
Peggle (PSN) – 7/6
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3) – 7/12
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3) – 7/21
Army of Two (PS3) – 7/26