Sega Genesis Mini

Just as I did with the Super Nintendo Classic two years ago, I also bought into the hype of the Sega Genesis Mini that was released this year. It features basically the same number of options with double the amount of games. 42 games are included as opposed to the 21 available for the Super NES Classic. The main downside is having to shell out for additional six-button controllers since, in North America, only the three-button version ships with the console. Because of this the $80 price tag is actually higher with the need to add on $20-40 more. The inclusion of Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition makes the lack of a packed in six-button controller very puzzling.

Speaking of SFIISCE, once I had dropped the extra $40, Usagi704 and I played many matches in the game. The emulation is slightly off and not noticeable in other games, but for a fighting game it can be a problem. This isn’t to say the work that M2 did here is bad. It most certainly is excellent, but it does overall seem a very small bit below their usual high quality work.

I’ll be also getting M2’s next big release next year as I will also be getting the TurboGrafx-16 Mini when it releases on March 19, 2020.

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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.

Hart & Usagi #92: Disgruntled CEO

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In episode 92 we discuss Randy Pitchford doing a bad, Mortal Kombat is entered into the Video Game Hall of Fame, and more CEO multi-meltdowns than you’d ever want in your life.

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

TOPICS:
* Castlevania Anniversary Collection to receive Japanese title variants post-launch
* Capcom Confirms Devil May Cry Switch is a Port of PS4 HD Collection Version, No Price Set
* Loot Boxes Could Become Illegal In US If New Bill Passes
* Claptrap Voice Actor Claims Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford Physically Assaulted Him
* Gearbox CEO Calls Original Claptrap Actor “Bitter and Disgruntled” in Latest Borderlands 3 Twitter Controversy
* Randy Pitchford Tweetstorms Game Informer Over Borderlands 3 Microtransactions
* Mortal Kombat inducted into Video Game Hall of Fame
* “[Crunch] Is Killing People. Something Has to Change”
* Apex Legends is Sticking With Seasonal Update to Not Overwork the Team, Respawn Founder Says
* Igarashi Explains Bloodstained Switch Demo’s Poor Performance at PAX
* Mortal Kombat 11 Is a Good Game Shrouded in a Fog of Tedious Grinding and Microtransactions
* Report: Fortnite Developers Say They Regularly Crunch “70-Hour Weeks”
* Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini Includes Sonic 2, Shinobi III; More Classic Games Revealed

Listen or Download (1:26:02)

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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Hart & Usagi #91: The Becky & Jennifer Show

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In episode 91 the new Mortal Kombat 11 shows that loot boxes aren’t needed to have a fun game, Google’s expectations for Stadia don’t live in the real world, and Becky and Jennifer stop by to chat for a bit with each other.

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

TOPICS:
* Sega Stops Sales Of Yakuza Spinoff Judgment In Japan After Actor Arrested For Alleged Cocaine Use
* Google’s New Game Streaming Platform is Called Stadia
* Konami Announces Three Classic Collections: Arcade, Castlevania, Contra
* GDC 2019: Google Confirms Stadia Won’t Allow Offline Downloads
* Google Stadia Boss Is “Absolutely, Unequivocally” Sure Latency Won’t Be An Issue
* Judgment actor Pierre Taki will be completely scrubbed from game’s western release
* Sega Genesis Mini Will Release in September With 40 Games
* PlayStation Store Now Offering Refunds, But There’s a Catch
* Borderlands 3’s expensive editions come with boost mods for loot drop rates, XP
* Valve Stops Borderlands Review Bombing Over BL3 Epic Store Exclusivity
* Mortal Kombat 11 Has No Loot Boxes, Neo From The Matrix Won’t Be Added
* Blind Squirrel was indeed working on Mortal Kombat Remaster but it was cancelled, first screenshots
* Capcom Home Arcade is an Outrageously Priced Plug-and-Play Retro Console
* Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony’s Next-Gen PlayStation

Listen or Download (1:15:58)

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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

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Hart & Usagi #69: The Super SNES

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. We talk about DigitalTrends.com’s Top 25 SNES games article, the cancelled Jak 4, and we get excited for announced titles such as Mafia 3, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Dark Souls III. All this and more!

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Here Are The Top 25 Games That Made The SNES, Well, Super
* USgamer Community Question: Which is Best – Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis?
* Consumers complain to FCC about ‘data caps’
* Beautiful Concept Art from Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter 4 Canceled Game Surfaces
* Scathing Nikkei Report Hints At Shameful Treatment Of Staff By Dictatorial Konami Management
* PlayStation Game-Streaming Service Officially Hits PS Vita Tuesday
* Need for Speed Series Had Too Many Games, Too Quickly, Dev Says
* Why New Need for Speed for Xbox One/PS4/PC Is Always-Online
* Activision Blizzard CEO Donates $50,000 to Chris Christie Presidential Bid
* Reddit bans some of its most well-known racist communities
* Mafia 3 Tackles Racism and the Vietnam War in 1960s New Orleans
* Why Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a Frontrunner for Gamescom’s Best Game
* Dark Souls III is Faster, Smoother, and More Fluid Than its Predecessors
* 90 Minutes with Dark Souls III Put My “Sequelitis” Fears to Rest
* Street Fighter 5 is a Bolder Reinvention Than Looks Suggest
* Crackdown 3 to Include “100 Percent Destructible Environments”
* Crackdown 3 Destruction Restricted to Multiplayer
* Sony’s New PS4 Projector Costs As Much As The Console
* Sony Explains Decision to Increase PlayStation Plus Three Month Subscription Price in Europe
* PS4 System Update 3.00 Adds Twitter Video, YouTube Broadcasts, and More
* Resident Evil 2 Remake Confirmed
* Wow, Spotify’s New Privacy Policy is Atrocious

Listen or Download (2:01:48)

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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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Game of the Year 2014 – Favorite Revisit

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A number of games I have I’ll sometimes go back to them. This is especially the case if it’s short and going to be a quick session to play through. Arcade games fit this bill perfectly. Whether it be Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Contra, Ninja Warriors on Super Nintendo, or the fun horror game Splatterhouse on TG-16 (played during my Halloween Gaming Event). It’s always great to go back to these titles.

The one which caught my attention in 2014 was the arcade version of Robocop by Data East. It’s a bit tricky when it asks the player to level traversal that’s more than walk to the right, but otherwise it’s fun. It reminds me of a roller skating rink I used to go to and this blog post I mentioned it before in. All of this was spurred on by my purchase of the remastered in 4K Blu-ray edition of the original movie I picked up back in February.

Last year my favorite revisit was Tomb Raider: Legend and this year’s was Robocop!

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

Hart & Usagi Podcast #51: Pile of Secrets

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back JiibayDan to chat about favorite controllers, 25th anniversary of the Genesis, and some hot Tetris pillow action.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Controller?
* Sony: ‘EA Access’ Offers No Value to PS4 Owners
* Report: GameStop Changing Game Trade-In Program
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1988-89
* Microsoft Still Bullish on Kinect
* If Tetris Were Made Out Of Pillows
* Poll: What Should ‘Night Trap’ Have Been Rated?
* Debunked: Most Downloaded Games Per State Not What It Claims To Be
* Happy 25th birthday, Sega Genesis
* Playtotle 001: Character Design

Listen or Download (2:18:05)
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Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
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Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward

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@HartandUsagi

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.

Best On NES

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If you’ve played some of the arcade games by Konami and/or Capcom, you’ve probably noticed some of the differences between those and the later home versions of the same games on the NES. Granted some of the differences might be minor, but those changes still make all of the difference in the cosmos.

When looking for some examples of these differences, one can easily see it in Ninja Gaiden. The thing with Ninja Gaiden is that the arcade beat-’em-up and the NES action platformer were likely developed at roughly the same time. Another game mentioned by JiibayDan was Dragon Spirit. I don’t know enough about the game to know if it had a better home port.

I recently played and finished the NES version of Jackal. This Konami game was originally an arcade game which I never saw or played until I briefly tried it out via MAME. The differences in this title are mostly in the controls of the jeep the player uses. Popping off a grenade takes a fraction of a second longer than on the NES. Because of this it doesn’t always fly in the direction you intend it to. This is the sole reason why Jackal is best on the NES.

Another game which also has smaller changes is Gun Smoke (That’s right, I don’t type it as “Gun.Smoke.”). The differences here is mainly the difficulty. There’s four fewer stages, smaller amounts of enemies, and your quarters stay in your pocket. :D Shops were added to the game to make the money displayed at the top of the screen mean more than just as a score. The music is also better too!

Bionic Commando is up next and this is one NES game that is known and loved far and wide. If you’ve ever played the arcade game, then you truly are familiar with probably one of the greatest examples of best on the NES. The graphics are artistically better, there’s a fleshed out story, and the damn thing just controls great! There’s also more variety in this version than compared to its quarter-munching cousin.

Finally there’s two Konami games which are some of my personal favorites of all time. They are the pair of run-‘n-gun titles Contra and Super C! I’ve played a bit more of the arcade original than that of Super Contra, but both of them run off of the same hardware and therefore had pretty much the same issues. The vertical screen didn’t help with the view of oncoming enemies. When aiming in a different direction while shooting you needed to wait a few seconds for the bullets to feel like it. I also felt that the arcade versions color palette was drab.

Best on the NES fits Contra and Super C well. The problems with the arcade versions were dealt with perfection. More stages were added and lengthened, but the challenge is very much still there. The difference being that the precise controls make it possible to have the character do what you want. There’s no more of the nonsense waiting for the bullets to go in the direction you intend them to. All you have to worry about on the NES is where and how much of Red Falcon’s ass to kick!

If you have any other potentially fun arcade games which, once on the NES (or another system), finally paid off on that potential, please, by all means, regale me with your story below.