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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Hart & Usagi Podcast #42: The Beat Down

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The Hart and Usagi Podcast is back for the first episode of the new year to talk about the beat-’em-up genre of gaming. To do so we welcome back Anthony from the ++Good Games podcast.

Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and also talk about today’s evolution of the beat-’em-up genre!

List of games talked about (a portion of):
* Streets of Rage
* Final Fight
* Double Dragon
* Riot Zone
* Sengoku
* Rushing Beat
* The Punisher
* Splatterhouse
* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
* X-Men
* Knights of the Round
* Magic Sword
* Devil May Cry
* Bayonetta
* Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
* Ninja Gaiden
* God Hand
* Target: Renegade
* Sword of Sodan
* Rastan
* Guardian Heroes
* Golden Axe
* Dungeons & Dragons
* Ikari III: The Rescue
* Rise to Honor
* Bujingai
* Vendetta
* The Bouncer
* The Combatribes

Listen or Download (2:57:58)
RSS Feed
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Anthony: @24bitAJE | ++Good Games

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#HartandUsagiPodcast

2012 Award Winners (Part 1)

I somehow came up with 17 award categories. A few of them are joking around and others are serious. In this first part it will feature more of the former. Enjoy.

CRAPPY SHOOTERS I HAVEN’T PLAYED BUT ARE STILL CRAPPY
007 Legends
Battleship
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
WINNER: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

Promises of greatness fell flat for these games (expect for Battleship which was obvious crap from the beginning). 007 Legends ended up not being for Bond fans or shooter fans and Medal of Honor had nothing authentic going for it despite the desperate pleas from its developer. The newest Call of Duty on the PlayStation Vita gets this award for promising a great CoD experience at E3 and being nothing of the sort. Other strikes against it include selling at full price and being included with a system bundle. Stay away from this one.

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OVERHYPED
Journey
Asura’s Wrath
Fez
WINNER: The Walking Dead

A lot of love gets thrown in the specific direction of these four games. Other than Fez, there’s little actual gaming to be had in these titles. Story is great and all, but the game part of a video game really should come first. I know you’re probably already typing up a comment to prove me wrong, but please don’t bother.

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Alien Storm
Growl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA)
WINNER: Golden Axe III

I did have a little bit of fun with these games. Growl was decent, but the Vince Russo style swerve at the end with the final boss being some kind of alien was pretty stupid. Alien Storm on the Genesis wasn’t very exciting at all and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on GBA (based on the 2003 show) was somewhat frustrating. However the classically bad Golden Axe III still remains worst of its respective series.

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
WINNER: Prince of Persia Revelations

All were disappointing in their own right, but Price of Persia Revelations was the most disappointing. It took one of my favorite games, Warrior Within, and added extra areas to traverse. Sounds great until to see the worse graphics for these areas and how they weren’t as well thought out as the main part of the game. Because of this I don’t expect the new parts of Prince of Persia: Rival Swords to be good either.

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CRAP GAME OF THE YEAR
Prototype
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Batman Forever
WINNER: Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures

As impossible as Prototype, Batman Forever, or Medal of Honor: European Assault felt at different times, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures on the Super Nintendo was the most impossibly crap game I played all year. I couldn’t pass the first level and I never felt it would clue me in as to how after trying for an hour. Screw this game.

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FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE
Fighting Force
Beyond Oasis (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Mortal Kombat (Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection – PSN)
WINNER: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)

I’m always had Mortal Kombat as a guilty pleasure of mine. Fighting Force is another which I played through several times this year. I didn’t give it much of a chance to warm up to it before Usagi704 tackled it. Beyond Oasis was a fun Zelda-style romp on the Genesis. The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, however, gets this award for being more competently fun than it has much right to be. Thanks for that Natsume.

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Metal Slug Advance
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
WINNER: Super Hang-On

My favorite game to get a high score in and then try and best it was a close race between Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Super Hang-On. Before last year I never seriously tried to play any Tony Hawk game. The original was fun, but I do see why Pro Skater 2 is seen as one of the best in the series.

With that said, I was quite amazed at the fun in besting a friend’s time in Super Hang-On via PSN. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the arcades of old. Now I want to see Outrun!

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BEST SHOOTER
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Max Payne
WINNER: Half-Life 2: Episode Two

I think you could say that these four games were fairly unique when they initially were released. Maybe not so much for the winner, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, but the variety of environments along with the strong gameplay of Half-Life 2 to begin with pushes it to the top.

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BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Darksiders
X-Men
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
WINNER: Yakuza 2

While I was disappointed with the overall story of Yakuza 2 as opposed to its previous entry, I did find enough to enjoy along the way to stay entertained. I ultimately can’t be totally down on a game which allows for a Heat move to pick an opponent up and throw him into a glass display case.

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Thanks for reading. Part 2 of my awards are up next.

Now Playing: July 2012

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It’s time for Now Playing and I’d like to start off with the absurd…Neo Contra. It was suggested by 6h05tly shortly after recording the 16th episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast, which he was a guest on.

Neo Contra is absurd in that it has a lengthly intro and cutscenes where the most ridiculous things happen. Near the end of the intro, Jaguer holds this katana vertical while kneeling on top of a jet while it’s flying and proceeds to cut a missile in half. The bosses’ names follow the formula of random noun + CONTRA (Guerilla, Plant, Pheromone, Animal, and Master).

I was able to finish the game on Easy which gives 30 lives and about six continues. It didn’t take long to figure out that the controls for where you were shooting didn’t work very well. Holding R2 stopped character for the left stick to aim in all directions. For L2 you are locked to just one direction, but can strife. Without holding either button you only shoot in the direction of movement. Since this game had an overhead view of the action a dual stick style of controls would’ve worked much better.

Another game I finished this month was Beyond Oasis. A short, but nonetheless entertaining action beat-’em-up light RPG. This Genesis title has the music stylings of one Yuzo Koshiro of Streets of Rage fame. It took me 6 hours and 46 minutes in total to beat.

Along with Beyond Oasis, I previously talked about Golden Axe III here. This is also one of four blog posts where I talk about Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and the PSP port subtitled Revelations. Check those out, if you will.

The most recent gaming I’ve been doing is with the recently bought original PlayStation game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. I appreciate what this game (and its sequels) did for making what would’ve likely been a series I would’ve otherwise avoided if they came out more like Thrasher. The moves are easy enough to pull off, but very tough to master. At least that’s been my experience so far. The whole idea of putting the combos together to get high scores confounds me to no end. It probably has to do with the system being much deeper than it appears on the surface. I get the overall basics, but my skills haven’t gone much past that despite trying hard. I feel like there’s something to it all that I just don’t get.

The game itself definitely still holds up today, some 13 years later (as evident by the sales numbers of the HD release). Some of the levels don’t work especially well like the downhill style Mall and Downhill Jam. The levels that worked back then still do like Warehouse and School. Overall the game is still excellent. I just suck at it. :D

Concentrating On Some Revelations

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Over the last week the two games I’ve been most concentrating on are Beyond Oasis and Prince of Persia: Revelations.

Before I get to either of those games, however, I’d like to briefly speak about Golden Axe III. Originally only released in Japan with a quick visit to North American via the Sega Channel, it has been known for being quite poor in comparison to the two previous entries. I tried playing it seriously this time around with Level 4 being as far as I was able to get. Enemies don’t always react to getting hit and they have annoyingly hard to avoid jumping attacks in several situations. Not to mention the character selection is nothing to write home about. Blocking is a new thing which is not easy to do on purpose and with enemies also able to block make for frustratingly longer boss fights. Not recommended.

About three years ago I started playing Beyond Oasis via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light via Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection) because of Retro Revival Week. I got back to it this last week and it has been surprisingly fun. It’s usually considered an RPG, but overall I’d say it’s more of a non-linear beat-’em-up, but there are a few RPG elements to keep up interest. I just finished getting the fourth and final spirit to help out when needed. Now it’s onto the castle.

Finally on the PSP I’ve been going through Prince of Persia: Revelations. It’s a port of Warrior Within just with new areas to traverse. When going to the Throne Room the path changes part way through to the Courtyard/Guard Tower. On the way to the gears side of the tower the new area is The Puzzle Chamber. Getting to the Gardens section requires going through the Underground Spring, River, and Cave. These latter sections have really bad textures. I’m sure once I get the Wraith mask I’ll be greeted with additional new areas.

One bug which came up during Usagi704’s playthrough of Warrior Within on Xbox also appeared for me in Revelations. After defeating Kaileena for the first time and the Prince thinks he won and then getting chased several times by the Dahaka and raising the alter in the middle of the room. Climbing up to it to escape was impossible. At the top the game didn’t think you were so an invisible wall was in the way. Reloading the last save point (Beach – Present; The Long Way Home) after quitting to the main menu helped solve this problem.

Outside of that Xbox version bug the only other problem is the sound in cutscenes playing a little after they should. Otherwise the translation to the portable screen is pretty good.

New Releases 2012: May 27-June 16

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WEEK of 5/27
Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland (PS3)
Max Payne 3 (PC)
Pure Chess (PS3, PSV)
Resistance: Burning Skies (PSV)
Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe (X360)
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage (X360)

WEEK of 6/3
Inversion (PS3, X360, PC)
Madagascar 3: The Video Game (PS3, X360, PSV, 3DS, WII, DS)
Rayman Origins (3DS)
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown (PS3, X360)

WEEK of 6/10
Dirt Showdown (PS3, X360)
Gravity Rush (PSV)
Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, X360)
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PSV)
Pikmin 2 (WII)
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (PC)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)

Now Playing: September 2011

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This past month I’ve been mostly playing a few fighting games as I previously mentioned in my blog post “Fun With Fighting Games.” The only thing I have to add to what I said about MKII is that I’ve since moved Sub-Zero from backup into my main character list and added Scorpion as a backup.

When playing the arcade version of Mortal Kombat 1, it’s clear that Johnny Cage and Sonya are the best. Both characters can punish a variety of whiffed or blocked moves with the Shadow Kick and Leg Grab, respectively.

Along with Usagi704, we played some of the conversions of MK1, namely SNES and Genesis. Cage was still very effective in both, but Sonya much less so. For my mains it was Cage and Kano on SNES and Cage and Liu Kang on Genesis. I also noticed, when playing the arcade game around the same time, that the SNES version is faster.

On the age old debate of which 16-bit version is the best, I honestly have to go with the SNES version. Sure it doesn’t have the blood, but everything else from graphics, sound, music, and controls are accurate making it much better. The Genesis version has different music and sounds making it grating to listen to.

A small note on one last fighting game, I played and finished game #28, Art of Fighting 2 on the Super Famicom. Since it was Usagi’s system we did spar a little bit and it was okay, but once he chose Lee it got quite annoying.

The last few games I’ve played more recently are Quake II on PS1 and Golden Axe via the Sega Genesis Collection on PSP.

The former was a manly choice as NeonNinja has agreed with. I’m up to the Grid Control area which I don’t think is very far in and I think I also have low health too. Regardless, I wasn’t feeling up to playing any more of this game (a decision that’s not very manly), but I’m sure I’ll get back into it soon enough.

The latter game I played while over at a friend’s place and I was doing pretty well until I met Death Adder in battle. I remember having a very easy time with this game a few years ago, but I’ve since lost any skill I may have had. It also doesn’t help that along with fighting Death Adder you need to worry about two skeleton warriors who have infinite health. It’s fun I think.

And finally I’m in the middle of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on Chapter 3 with a playtime of 2 hours and 23 minutes and 15/51 trophies. I expected this game to be difficult and it is, but my biggest problem is with this notice giving at the title screen.

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This means that even if you’re signed out of PSN because of an error which you didn’t cause this will still happen. Haven’t saved your progress recently? Too bad. You lose that too. This did happen to me shortly before typing up this blog post. I was none too happy as you can imagine. Thankfully, you can get around this by being signed out and declining to sign in when prompted to. At least it’s not as bad as not being able to play at all unless signed in like with Final Fight: Double Impact and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2.

End of NGS2 rant and thanks as always for stopping by.