Game of the Year 2014 – Best Retro Game

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Welcome back to my 2014 Games of the Year awards!

This time I’ll be choosing my favorite of the retro games I played this year. This is mainly from the month of March where I went back to my gaming roots with several titles spanning across the Super Nintendo, original NES, Game Boy, and Genesis gaming consoles. These games consist of those I’ve played or haven’t played in the past, but the common trait among them is that I never seriously tried to finish them before. However, in 2014 I did beat most of them.

I quite liked my time with Natsume’s Wild Guns and Jaleco’s Operation Logic Bomb, both on SNES, but, I don’t see myself going back much to them. Capcom’s NES Rolling Thunder clone called Code Name: Viper was excellent. I’d even consider it better than the game which inspired them. Once I got the hang of how to approach enemies in Super Double Dragon, it became a favorite of mine within the Technos beat-’em-up series.

The one that really brought me back many times, however, was P.O.W.: Prisoners of War. This SNK brawler wasn’t that great in the arcades, but once it came home it was best on NES. Once I watched a speed run of the game with commentary, it gave me the tips I needed to beat the game for the first time. And a second time…and a third time. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would given I didn’t remember liking it all that much back in the early ’90s when my family rented it. I’ll admit that the 21 life code didn’t hurt the experience either.

Do you have a classic game you love going back to that you recently discovered within the previous year? Let me know in the comments section below. Also don’t forget to like and share this blog post if you enjoyed it.

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Games Finished In 2014

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2014. The total number comes to 46. That’s up 10 from 2013.

March proved to be the best month for beating games with 16 in total thanks to getting back to my gaming roots. The monthly average throughout the year was 3.8.

1. Bayonetta (PS3) – 1/14
2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PSN) – 1/27
3. The Saboteur (PS3) – 2/4
4. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) – 2/12
5. Mortal Kombat Trilogy (PS) – 2/14
6. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (VC) – 2/15
7. Robocop (ARC) – 2/21
8. Muramasa: The Demon Blade (WII) – 2/26
9. Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PSN) – 3/3
10. Streets of Rage 3 via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 3/10
11. Jackal (NES) – 3/11
12. Tetris Plus 2 (ARC) – 3/13
13. Metamorphic Force (ARC) – 3/13
14. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (NES) – 3/14
15. P.O.W.: Prisoners of War (NES) – 3/16
16. Vice: Project Doom (NES) – 3/18
17. Fortified Zone (GB) – 3/19
18. Sunset Riders (SNES) – 3/21
19. Castlevania: Bloodlines (GEN) – 3/23
20. Super Double Dragon (SNES) – 3/24
21. Contra (NES) – 3/25
22. Sparkster (SNES) – 3/25
23. Code Name: Viper (NES) – 3/29
24. Operation Logic Bomb (SNES) – 3/31
25. Wild Guns (SNES) – 4/5
26. Return of Double Dragon (SFC) – 4/8
27. Ninja Warriors (SNES) – 4/8
28. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3) – 5/3
29. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PS3) – 6/30
30. Klonoa: Empire of Dreams (GBA) – 7/7
31. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS) – 8/20
32. Syndicate (PS3) – 9/3
33. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (PC) – 9/10
34. Hotline Miami (PC) – 9/14
35. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) – 10/15
36. Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES) – 10/21
37. Splatterhouse (TG-16) – 10/27
38. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2) – 11/6
39. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3) – 11/16
40. Batman (ARC) – 11/20
41. Crime Fighters (ARC) – 11/20
42. Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (PSN) – 11/20
43. Yakuza 3 (PS3) – 12/21
44. RayCrisis: Series Termination (PS) – 12/28
45. Panzer Bandit (PS) – 12/29
46. Strider 2 (PS) – 12/31

More Gaming Roots

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Now I will share with you my thoughts of playing the following seven games. Some of which I talked about recently on episode 44 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. You can listen to it here if you haven’t yet. I also ran through an additional seven games from last month’s Now Playing.

The first game on this list is Castlevania: Bloodlines. I’ve never been one to have an easy time with the traditional style of Castlevania games such as Bloodlines is. With that said, I still did find it easier than those on the NES. The main thing that gave me trouble was Dracula’s final form. The battle looks simple enough once you master it, but I wasn’t apparently going to have anything to do with making it easy on myself. I did eventually see the ending.

I’m sure you have those games that you want to play, but you have a hard time getting yourself to do so because of a perceived difficulty. Super Double Dragon was one of those games for me. The difference being that I did play it years prior. As it turns out if you know how to handle the fights then you’ll likely do well. In my first playthrough I was able to reach the final boss before my continues ran out. Once I started understanding and using the Dragon Power meter I was eventually able to complete the game.

Not much needs to be said about Contra. I’ve finished it countless times and always love going back to this all-time great. You can have the arcade version. I’ll make mine the NES!

As the only SNES entry of the series, our lovable Rocket Knight, Sparkster, comes strong with colorful graphics, great sounding music, and well thought out controls. The only thing I didn’t care for was battling Axel Gear in the big robots. Otherwise, it was a fun and fast paced action game.

I can’t say as many glowing words about Total Carnage, however. This sequel to Smash TV plays the same, but instead of a one screen arena setting, it vertically scrolls. Probably the worst aspect of this game is the lack of the fun personality the original had.

If you don’t know Code Name: Viper, then simply think of it as Capcom’s version of Namco’s arcade game Rolling Thunder because that’s exactly what it is. I like this game a lot more than I thought I would. It was a challenge to be sure, but I welcomed it and the final battle with Commander Jones didn’t go too well for him.

The final game I played was Operation Logic Bomb. This is a SNES game in the same series as Fortified Zone and also developed by Jaleco. Instead of two characters with different abilities, it’s one dude who carries all of the firepower. The game is of a decent length for which there isn’t any level select code. Not that there’s really levels in the traditional sense. However, there is one distinct path through the game. You have a machine gun and 3-way spread gun to start and then eventually you’ll find a reflective laser, flamethrower, and missiles (these I never found). Also the player gets claymores and a decoy along the way. This was another end boss that gave me problems. The health drain from the lightning shots were too much to bear.

Of all of these titles I’d only not recommend Total Carnage. Six out of seven isn’t a bad batch of games at all.

Back To My Gaming Roots

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In my attempt to get to the bottom of why I lacked interest in gaming recently, I think it’s time to spend some quality time with my 8-bit and 16-bit systems. If I was madtyger I’d probably have names for them outside of the official ones. :D

As much as I’d like to think I give equal time to all of the game systems I own, past and present, I really know that this is simply not the case. One look at the complete list of games I actually finished last year proves that I rarely play much of the retro library I own.

To rectify this I’ve selected 14 games from an assortment of systems to play. I probably won’t bother with getting to them all, but these titles listed below are the ones which look to be good fun for the time being. If you’d like to suggest one of the games below, I’ll happily make it a priority to get to first (or next).

SNES
Sparkster
Super Double Dragon
Operation Logic Bomb
Sunset Riders
Total Carnage

NES
P.O.W.: Prisoners of War
Code Name: Viper
Vice: Project Doom
Duck Tales
Jackal

GAME BOY
Fortified Zone

GENESIS
Streets of Rage 3 (via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Rocket Knight Adventures
Castlevania: Bloodlines

The Ninja, The Viper, and The Fighter

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Another set of games acquired over the last week. I’ll get the downer part of this news out of the way at the top.

As you know from my review (online archive) of the Stickman’s Ashland, Ohio location, it’s pretty bad in about every possible way. When I was there a week ago last Friday I bought Truxton. It’s a fairly difficult to find shoot-’em-up for the Genesis. It cost me $12 for the game only which is about what it is. The guy at the store claimed it goes for $50-70 complete. I looked that up after I got back and found out the real deal. A complete copy of Truxton only goes for $20.

The fun doesn’t stop there. It wasn’t until late Saturday night I noticed online that I was charged $21 for the game. Since they’re closed on Mondays for some reason, I had to wait until Tuesday to return to get my money back. As it turns out they’re so cheap that they called the other crappy location in Shelby, Ohio to charge my card. Luckily I was able to get the difference back in cash so I wouldn’t have to go through that again. Bottom line: They sell crap and I ain’t going back.

I’m happy to say there’s a good thing I can say about Stickman’s. It’s in the form of another location in Galion, Ohio. Of course I expected it to be crap, but apparently the third time is still a freaking charm. This location isn’t owned by the same person as the other two locations and it shows. Everything you’d expect from such a store was being done at this location. The place was clean and didn’t smell bad, the prices were reasonable, and the games were cleaned and tested. I’ll gladly go back to this place in the future after getting Code Name: Viper, a second better looking copy of Shadow of the Ninja, and the Genesis version of Pit-Fighter. It probably helped that the owner was a woman.

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From Glyde.com my order with Urban Reign came in. It was an excellent complete copy at only $3.25 and it’s not the easiest to find.

And finally my winning eBay auction of the Game Boy version of Samurai Shodown arrived today. It’s probably more rare than any of the other games listed in this blog entry yet I was able to get it for a mere 99 cents.

New Releases 2009: Sept. 20-Oct. 3

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Another set of new releases for another two week shot and the outlook is pretty varied.

With that said I know that to a majority of gamers the new Halo game is the only thing on their radar. The rest of the games are non-existent to them. I guess that makes sense to a degree with only Zombie Apocalypse being the other game coming out on the Xbox system.

On the other hand, all PlayStation platforms are seeing no less than 12 games in the next fortnight.

My pick would have to be MotorStorm: Arctic Edge. I don’t know if I’ll be getting it for the PSP or PS2. Regardless, I’m very interested to see how it comes out on the less powerful systems.

NEW GAMES FOR THE WEEK OF 9/20
Fallout 3: Broken Steel (PSN)
Halo 3: ODST (X360)
Katamari Forever (PS3)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (PSP)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up (WII)
Zombie Apocalypse (PSN, XBL)

NEW GAMES FOR THE WEEK OF 9/27
Dead Space Extraction (WII)
Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage (PSN)
Fallout 3: The Pitt (PSN)
Gran Turismo (PSP)
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS)
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge (PSP)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Obscure: The Aftermath (PSP)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up (PS2)
Undead Knights (PSP)

I’ll leave you with a few interesting recent items from my twitter account.

* Tricky bastards with their renaming of the Genesis version of Gauntlet to Gauntlet IV.
* For some reason when I read Joystiq’s “What’s In A Name” post title I keep saying it in the same way as the “What is a man” line from SotN.
* Fav. obscure NES games. Metal Storm, P.O.W., Power Blade, Shadow of the Ninja, Super Spike V’Ball, Code Name: Viper, Heavy Barrel, Shatterhand, Star Force, Vice: Project Doom.
* Terrible box art: The Orange Box.
* Favorite Game Music: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers – Downtown (SNES).
* ESPN eXtreme Games: It’s more extreme than spilling your morning coffee on your car!
* Played some of Usagi704’s newly acquired copy of Street Fighter Alpha for the GBC. Also beat it first time playing it. Final score with Sagat: 1.03 million! 37th game beat this year.
* Favorite video game music: Crystal Castle theme from Konami’s Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge.