Game of the Year 2014 – Best Beat-‘Em-Up

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When it comes to the beat-’em-up genre there’s rarely a video game I can’t get through. From the old school belt scrollers like Super Double Dragon to the more combo heavy games like Bayonetta, I love them all. Well most of them at any rate.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, the winner of my Best Retro Game category, was a surprisingly more fun game than I expected, but not the best.

Konami’s arcade game Metamorphic Force is another one of their 4-player machines like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. It has the fluid combat of other hits of their’s like X-Men. The only real problem is the Crime Fighters style of health meter. It constantly and slowly drains over time.

I went back to Sega’s Yakuza series with Yakuza 3 and while fantastic as always, it spent a little too much time on mundane tasks and chores surrounding the children in Kazuma’s care. Less of that and more busting faces in would’ve been a better beat-’em-up meal.

Finally we come to the winner of the award for my 2014 Best Beat-‘Em-Up. This selection probably shocks me more than anybody else. A game for the original PlayStation released only in Japan in 1997. Thanks to Usagi704 I was able to play co-op with him in Panzer Bandit. The quick and simple way to explain how this game plays is that it’s essentially a clone of Guardian Heroes of the Saturn. It’s a very fun chain combo experience that I’d love to play again!

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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

Falling Blocks and Robocop

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As I promised I now give you those three arcade games I finished in the last two months I’d mentioned at the end of my last blog post.

Around the time I had purchased the excellent new Blu-ray edition of the 1987 Robocop, I had thought about my memories of playing the Data East arcade game from 1988. Those few times playing said game was in the very early ’90s at a local rollerskating rink as I recalled before. I also watched a video on Retroware TV’s site covering this game and the arcade sequel, which wasn’t nearly as good.

Anyways, off I went to play this Robocop game via MAME, of course. It’s biggest treat is probably the sound effects. This includes a number of voice samples and the sound for when the gun is brought out. Even if getting to the end and exposing Dick Jones to high altitude oxygen isn’t possible, Robocop is still a fun romp of arcade action.

I had said I played Fortified Zone on the Game Boy recently. It was made by Bases Loaded developer Jaleco. This is the same company that made a pair of Tetris arcade games for Japan called Tetris Plus. I tried both and prefer Tetris Plus 2. It’s main game mode has the player clear a set number of lines in each round. It’s the same as Game B in many of the older Nintendo published home versions. There are fewer lines overall in each round to clear in this 1997 title, but it’s still good ol’ challenging Tetris without infinite rotation. You know, the way it was meant to be played!

Metamorphic Force is a Konami beat-’em-up released in 1993. It uses the same engine as the previous year’s X-Men game and has similar fun and frantic gameplay. The four characters available are also mutants, but not in the Marvel comics way. A power up item allows for them to transform into a specific beast, bull, wolf, panther, or bear. It’s a bit more of a button-masher than X-Men was, but still lots of fun. The music, as you might have heard, is some kick ass metal! A few downsides is in human form the characters can’t throw enemies, the wolf is particularly weaker than the other three (sorry, SonicHomeboy :P), and quarter munching was a big problem with this title. In that I mean even if you don’t take damage your character’s health still drains slowly. Otherwise, the game, as I keep saying, it quite fun!

Thanks for reading. Now go play some arcade games! :D

Favorite Game Music: Volume VII

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From the popular to the strange to the unknown, he’s another list of my favorite video game music!

* Stage 4 part 2 from Konami’s Metamorphic Force (ARC)
* Lab 1 from from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Mango Tango from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Amaterasu theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Zero theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Stage 2 & 5 from Data East’s Bad Dudes (NES)
* Stage 2 from Natsume’s Shadow of the Ninja (NES)
* Germany course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* USA course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* Splash Wave from Sega’s Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PS2, XBOX)