Now Playing: March 2020

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Back in December I mentioned that I had played a number of racing games. This time the variety has arrived.

The big game this time was Syndicate’s single player. I enjoyed what I played, but it seemed to not allow the player to utilize the special abilities that it had available at most times. There are these armored enemies that are invulnerable to attack until disabled. The final boss (or at least what I expected) had this issue along with high damaging attacks. Any of those special abilities also can’t be used against these enemies or this boss. This lead to a frustrating fight that felt very cheap and uninteresting to finish. The multiplayer portion I played years ago still remains much more worth playing.

Trine 2: Complete Story was more of the same when compared to the first title. Because of this I felt less interested to continue after 12 stages of a total of 20. The frustration of Syndicate’s last boss fight continued with the PSP version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. This isn’t the same game as the home console versions and I did go into it knowing the difficulty. The first boss here wasn’t hard to figure out. The game cooperating was an issue. It didn’t seem like the animation was programmed for the better.

The rest of my time was spent with the old school side of gaming.

* Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition — I played this against Usagi704 where his Lipsyncher was devastating. I also had a trial mode win streak of six. That’s the game’s survival mode.

* Super Chase H.Q. — I was able to get to the final of five stages (or rounds as the game calls them) on the allotted three continues. It’s quite tough, but it’s still a fun first person style of the third person original arcade game, Chase H.Q. Maybe some day I shall complete that fifth and last round.

* Axelay — The still fantastic looking Super Nintendo shoot-’em-up from Konami. It’s overall more basic playing than other similar shooters at the time. It’s wow factor is from the weapon switching, music, and the superb graphics. I was able to get to the very end on Easy after many tries. Eventually I used a Game Genie (the horror) to get seven lives instead of only three. This did help me in beating the game (and, yes, this still counts, you macho masochists).

* Galaga, Double Dragon, & Double Dragon II: The Revenge — These arcade classics are easy and quick ways to have fun for a few minutes. The Arcade Game Series release of Galaga has the great feature of allowing you to start on the last stage you’ve reached. Mine is currently on stage 88. No online high scores can be set this way, but that’s to be expected. The first Double Dragon can also be called “Back Elbow: The Game.” Just execute that very move on every enemy for the most damage. In Double Dragon II this move is more enemy specific plus the game is overall more challenging. I finished Double Dragon and also effectively did so with an endless game like Galaga.

Now Playing: December 2019

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The previous three months has been a trying time to find a game I can get into. I succeeded, but the percentage was low. The racing games of Hydro Thunder (PS), Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2), and Flatout 2 (PS2) were more of the usual rubber-banding AI opponents that can make for a frustrating experience.

Flatout 2 had the worst of this issue, but the most annoying problem was the destructible track elements that got in the way on later laps once they were destroyed the debris was laying about. Burnout 2’s deal was solely the issue of the AI being perfect. I was having fun even when not winning, but once a certain mountain area track was what I was currently racing there seemed to be no way to progress regardless of the car I selected. Arcade racer Hydro Thunder was fun, but the bare bones presentation and odd decision to lock tracks behind a currency earning progression system was where I fell off of this one.

I then went to portable side of gaming with my DS Lite and PSP. I was hankering for some Puzzle Quest, but Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was too much of a departure of what made the first game so enjoyable. On top of that they added timed puzzle to complete. This is not what I call a fun Puzzle Quest experience. It was an immediate turn this game off moment.

I had the sequel on hand so I inserted the cartridge for Puzzle Quest 2. It was much more of the traditional fun game with additions that are much more welcome. There isn’t any timed puzzled, thankfully. I didn’t complete the game, but at least I had gotten my fill of Puzzle Quest in a more satisfying way.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was a first person shooter, as one would expect, but it’s on the PSP. Because of this everything hinges on how good the controls are. They’re…decent. It’s not a quick reflexes style of the recent Call of Duty titles on home consoles. It’s quite plodding to be very honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mainly suffer from AI that can aim accurately. This is bad when you’re under a time limit to get out of a base that’s going to explode! This is precisely the scenario I was in when I hung this game’s boots up and moved on.

The game I moved onto was a 2019 released game, if you can believe it. It was The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. Not a new game in practice since the original version was from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. I love the original and this is definitely a worthy improvement. I’m not fond of the two new characters or that you can’t grab and throw the level 1 boss, but otherwise it’s excellent. The game didn’t need a two-player mode, but it’s done well enough with both players sharing the life and blaster (battery in the new version) meters.

Finally, I not only bought The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors in the last month or so, but I was also given Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by Usagi704 for Xmas. My total new games for the year of 2019 is a big ol’ seven.

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Game of the Year 2014

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I had a lot of fun throughout 2014, but the five games which stuck with me the most was Wild Guns, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Hotline Miami, Ratchet: Deadlocked, and Yakuza 3.

Natsume’s Wild Guns is a great game in the style of Cabal and Nam-1975. However, where those games were more plain, Wild Guns kicks up the action a notch with a meter that builds when enemy bullets are shot. Once full your character pulls out the Vulcan gun and is invincible. Is a great reward for such a risk taking measure to get there.

I’d already talked about Hotline Miami in my 2014 Biggest Surprise award, which it won, so check that out.

Ratchet: Deadlocked was the first of three Ratchet & Clank games I played last November and it was more fun than it was for me back in 2010. It had less mini-games to bother with and boxes to smash for bolts which I found to be a good thing. It made for a much more focused adventure. One for which I appreciated.

I love me some beat-’em-ups and, as usual, Yakuza 3 delivered. And while I feel it deserved a spot on this list of nominees for my Game of the Year, there was just too much of finding things for and tending to the kids in the game made it more tedious than I’d had liked. Still the combat portion of the game, once you get to them, is great as always.

Finally, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a game I played for the first time in 2014, earned its way into my top three Castlevania games of the series. This is the conclusion I came to on episode 52 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. Also, as you can see by the image at the top of this awards post, SotN has also earned my top award for 2014. At the time in 1997 it was a brand new experience for series veterans, but the game also remembered where it came from with nods to past titles like Simon’s Quest and Dracula’s Cruse. Just as I said then after playing it I say it now: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is rightfully an all-time classic.

Thanks for reading and make sure to check out the rest of my awards if you haven’t done so already.

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!

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.

Favorite Game Music: Volume VIII

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Volume number eight is here of video game music that’s pleasing to my ears. Check them out below and see if you agree. Also check out the crazy and informative podcasts at the bottom if you haven’t already.

* Black Polnareff’s Theme from Capcom’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver.
* Hello Mr. Cyborg from Cave’s Dangun Feveron (ARC)
* Battle in Westside from Capcom and A-Wave’s Final Fight CD
* Bay Area from Capcom and A-Wave’s Final Fight CD
* Zone 3 from Jaleco’s Fortified Zone (GB)
* Magical Sound Shower from Sumo Digital’s Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
* Passing Breeze from Sumo Digital’s Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
* Gold Mine from Natsume’s Wild Guns (SNES)
* Ammunition Depot from Natsunme’s Wild Guns (SNES)
* Level 1 from Sunsoft’s Super Spy Hunter (NES)

*****

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/

Now Playing: April 2014

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Starting out this month of April was a continuation of my gaming roots. I played seven games and of them six where kick ass. You can read the details of those games here.

I also played the one Super Nintendo game I own on the Virtual Console. It was the tough, but never upsetting or rage inducing, Wild Guns. The details are available here and included is the episode of the Happy Video Game Nerd which introduced me to the amazing game.

The final game I played from the old days of gaming was Ninja Warriors. It’s also on the SNES and I’ve finished it previously, but I didn’t do so on Hard difficulty. I used Kamaitachi through most of the game, but I had trouble throwing enemies into the final boss to damage him. This is where Ninja (yes, that’s the character’s name) came in perfectly. His throws are have a bit more of an arc to them than Kamaitachi’s does. This helped a lot and one attempt was all I needed for Ninja to win the day.

I haven’t played any of the more modern games of today since getting annoyed with Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams in early March. It was a month and a half of glory and reminded me of the past which helped out a lot. Well now I’m back as of two weeks ago and my first game back was Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

I’ve played the previous two games in the series. My favorite has been Assassin’s Creed II (AC & ACII thoughts). Overall, I think I may still feel that way when Brotherhood is all said and done. I’ve been used to seeing a Viewpoint on the map and being able to climb it and synchronize. In this game you have to kill a specific captain beforehand at some of the Viewpoint sites. This isn’t a problem, of course. My problem is seeing them on my map and not being able to reach them. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to open up more of the city.

When I was playing ACII I was surprised of the many, many ways to deal death to opponents. Brotherhood brings all of those abilities back, upgrades a few of them, and then adds even more options to your arsenal. Previously, for example, your options for distance kills were throwing knives and a arm-mounted pistol. Now you have those returning along with a crossbow, poison shots, and eventually the ability to call in fellow assassins.

Somewhat annoying as portions of the game might be I still am enjoying my time with Brotherhood.

THIS MONTH’S GAMING STATS:
Wild Guns – 2h56m
Ninja Warriors – Finished on Hard
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – 19h41m; 44%; 19 trophies