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!

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Now Playing: December 2014

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Early this month of December I was looking to play some games with some satisfying brutal visuals. I selected a number of games and had it up for a vote on Twitter. One of those games was Yakuza 3 as voted on by @usagi704.

Yakuza 3 has some new elements which I wasn’t a fan of. The main one was finding Revelations. Upon completing a small quick time event sequence and selecting an appropriate title for it, the reward is obtaining a new attack for Kazuma to use. Thankfully none of these are required so ultimately this complaint of mine is very minor. Good news is that this game still delivers excellent beat-’em-up action especially in the latter half of the game. I completed the game with a total time of 18 hours and 7 minutes.

Next game played was suggested by @ebbderelict and this time on the PlayStation 2. It’s Urban Reign. It’s a 2005 Namco brawler with a weak story that can be completely ignored. The purpose of the story is just to have an excuse for the fights to happen. Mission 15 is the first roadblock for new players. It features a very difficult opponent by the name of Kadonashi. He counters most everything and loves punishing combos. In Mission 24 he reappears with a partner. I didn’t find it very fun and stopped playing at this point. Maybe sometime later I’ll give Urban Reign a second chance.

Another vote I took at around the same time as the one mentioned above was for unplayed original PlayStation games I had. This was for celebrating the system’s 20th anniversary. @24bitAJE recommending RayCrisis: Series Termination after recording the last episode of Space Suplex.

Just as he’d said, RayCrisis was definitely a short game. Even Usagi704 had noticed it was short for even shoot-’em-up standards. RayCrisis is of the “Ray” series of games developed by Taito. I’ve always liked the idea of the games and how they play, but as usual with me, I’m not very good at this genre. Regardless, I found it much more fun than I was expected once I played on Usagi’s setup. There’s a lot to be said about having a CRT television with component video cables.

With those games out of the way I will tackle Strider 2 next.

Now Playing: October 2014

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Well, folks, it has been a fun and enjoyable October. This’ll conclude my 5th Annual Halloween Gaming Event where you voted on what games I’d play. This year it was all about the Castlevania series (and I do like my Castlevania games). I played two of three of the top vote getters and they were Order of Ecclesia (update 1 and update 2/finish) and the vastly underrated Dracula X on the Super Nintendo.

Even prior to the event starting I’d played through another Castlevania game, namely the classic Symphony of the Night. It was also talked about at the beginning of episode 51 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast along with more discussion of it within the series as a whole on episode 52.

In addition I also performed a speed run through Hotline Miami. The total time, including all of the bonus levels, was 1 hour and 49 minutes. As I’ve very likely said before, it’s definitely one of my new top favorite games in recent memory.

Finally it wouldn’t have been Halloween without at least one run through of the TG-16 classic Splatterhouse! I did play it last year too, but this time around my skills were very rusty. I even lost a life on the very first stage and this is coming from a guy who previously had one credit cleared it on the secret Hard difficulty. I was able to finish the game before all of the credits ran out, but it was close.

Last year for November, besides voting, I played a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games dubbed #TMNTNov. Because I already have interest shown for something similar, I’ll be doing #RatchetNov. I’ll be playing as many unplayed Ratchet & Clank games I currently own. I’ll be starting off with ebbderelict’s choice of Ratchet: Deadlocked on PS2 and then move onto Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction on PS3 as picked out by SonicHomeboy.

Thanks for reading!

Now Playing: July 2014

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This month’s game playing time was filled up with Assassin’s Creed III, Gradius Galaxies, and Klonoa: Empire of Dreams. The Klonoa game I talk about my thoughts on finishing it here. I also mention the differences in the controls of Assassin’s Creed III vs. the previous games in the series here.

As far as more ACIII thoughts? I don’t particularly want to bother with the hunting or the shipping goods from the homestead for expanded cash flow. The latter activity feels needlessly complex. I mean, is it really necessary for completing the game?

Another thing I’m not as high on, as I said in the previous blog post, is the naval missions. I’m heard many, many times about how it was the best part of the game. It can be fun, but it also can be frustrating to deal with some of the scenarios.

Overall ACIII is sadly a downturn in quality of the series. That’s why it’s great to hear that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is excellent.

The other game played was the Game Boy Advance shoot-’em-up Gradius Galaxies. It’s your typical classic style Gradius game. The missiles and shots fired can be assigned to the same button and has an auto fire option. These are great for play-ability. It did progress well enough with the help of the game’s continue option, but this option doesn’t extend to the final two missions. I didn’t finish it, but Gradius Galaxies is fun for those looking for a great GBA shooter.

THIS MONTH’S GAMING STATS:
* Assassin’s Creed III – 17h19m; 40%; 17 trophies
* Gradius Galaxies – Stage 8-3; Score: 65,500

Klonoa: Empire of Dreams

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Klonoa: Empire of Dreams for the Game Boy Advance is my 30th game finished this year. I started it on July 4th and finished the final boss on July 7th.

If you’re familiar with the Klonoa series, and shame on you if you aren’t, Klonoa: Empire of Dreams isn’t the style of game that you’d find on the PlayStation or PlayStation 2. Those games are platformers through and through. However, Empire of Dreams (and its sequel, Dream Champ Tournament) introduces a lot more puzzle solving into the mix. These are brain teasers that’ll certainly test your mental capacity. If this style of game sounds interesting to you, then by all means give it a try.

Empire of Dreams certainly has no problems using its puzzles to make you feel a little stupid and out of your league at times. But this isn’t something you can’t overcome. I was stumped by the simplest thing on one of the levels. I needed a block and I didn’t realize how easy it was to throw it over the obstacle I needed to get around. I had to have Usagi704 show me how it was done. It literally took him seconds to figure out what I wasn’t noticing to do.

There’s still one other thing that’s troubling me where three sections where raised water was the obstacle. I couldn’t figure out how to get past these parts without taking the easy way out and taking a hit and abusing the invincibility afterward. It felt like that was the solution, but I have a hard time believing it to be the case.

All in all, Empire of Dreams definitely still retains that Klonoa charm. It just now adds a bunch of fiendish puzzles. For $12 cart only you can’t go wrong.

Special Note: I typed this blog using the Microsoft Arc keyboard. There’s definitely things I like about it, but it can’t beat the k750.

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #48 – June 24th 2014 (@HartandUsagi)
HartKnight and usagi704 chat the Assassin’s Creed series, the Retron 5, IGN’s “exclusive” on The Last Guardian, live streams aren’t fun for Nintendo, and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/hart-usagi-podcast-48-stop-criminals/

SUBSCRIBE!

SPACE SUPLEX #6 – June 21st 2014 (@SpaceSuplex)
24bitAJE and HartKnight review the June 16th RAW and talk about our current thoughts of the (upcoming) Money In The Bank PPV.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/space-suplex-podcast-ep-6-stardust/

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.

Now Playing: October 2013

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For this glorious month of video game playing I played some of Splatterhouse. It wasn’t anything serious, but I did manage to finish it. Stage VI is still a boring to looking at, but tough to get through. The serious game played, of course, goes to Dark Souls.

At the last time I updated you I was in Anor Londo right before the fight against Ornstein and Smough. I stocked up on mostly pyromancies like Combustion and fireballs. I also summoned Solaire of Astora to run as a distraction. At the start I ran to the left pillar and casted Iron Flesh. With this I can’t run or roll and walk very slowly, but Ornstein likes to rush in and I used that moment to flame him to a crisp. Smough was a little tougher with his huge lightning slam, but thanks to Solaire (my new BFF) I was able to hurl fireballs from afar and win.

Your winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Solaire of Astora and SorcererMatt!

After that match I went on to tackle some minor things, but what I usually accomplished was getting killed. I did better in the next major task at hand which was exploring the Catacombs. Once I arrived at the boss encounter with Pinwheel all it took was two casts of Great Combustion to defeat him. Once entering the Tomb of the Giants I couldn’t see anything so I paid a visit to Dusk of Oolacile to purchase Cast Light. Upon returning to the Tomb I still wasn’t able to see much better which led me to attacking anything I saw and this included Patches. This is where I’m currently at. I hope I’m brave enough to finish this game soon.

DARK SOULS STATS:
47h53m; Level 83 – Sorcerer