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.

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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/

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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/

Speed Run, Forgotten Games, & More Games

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As I mentioned last time, I’m going to speak on Super C and Splatterhouse 2. But before I do so I’d like to talk about a game that’s been neglected. That game would be Conan.

CONAN
I actually beat the game 10 days ago, but for whatever reason forgot to say anything about it. When I last said that I was near the end of the game, I didn’t realize that I was at the final boss and all I had to do was win that battle. Just as Gigastormz and usagi704 told me, the end boss battle was frustrating. His cheapness was pretty much null and void, however, by the several checkpoints from within the battle itself.

Overall Conan it worth your time if you’ve played the demo and were still interested in the full game ever so slightly. 3/5

SUPER C
Super C is up next and I was only playing it to get another game finished for the year. It unfortunately became an amazingly frustrating experience. More so than fighting the final boss in Conan. How so? Because it was on the small DS screen via Contra 4. Those tiny white dots for bullets can easily be lost track of especially when the game’s display is set to fit the screen.

I know Super C inside and out and if I have trouble on the DS screen I can’t imagine the problems that it’ll give those that don’t know the game as well. A scary thought for sure.

SPLATTERHOUSE 2
I like Splatterhouse 2 for the same reason that I enjoy its prequel and Ninja Gaiden on the NES. It’s a game that’s really difficult, but becomes easy as you play and figure out what, where, and when to do what needs to be done to progress.

A good example of this is the first game’s stage 1 boss. If you just stand in the right-side corner of the room, you don’t have to move. Just attack and you’ll pass it.

UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE
After I found all of the treasures in Uncharted I wondered what else I could do with the game besides getting a few more trophies. I decided to try and speed run the game. And speed run it I did. The total run time came to 3 hours and 56 minutes as you can see below.

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A SURPRISE FIND
Before yesterday I didn’t know that a port of Double Dragon was ever available for the Genesis. As it turns out not only is there one, but it’s probably the most accurate to the arcade game. Whether that’s a good thing or not is for you to decide.

I also found two Disney games, QuackShot and World of Illusion, and Resident Evil: Director’s Cut with a Resident Evil 2 demo disc.

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Take this USPS!

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I recently had out of town business in Middleburg Heights near Cleveland. While I was there I found a Gamestop at a nearby mall. After looking around for a bit and seeing the largest amount of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for the Game Boy Color in one place (at least 20 copies), I decided to purchase Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

I’ve been playing the original game and I’m 47% of my way through it. The problem of the surroundings looking natural and blending in make it sometimes hard to tell where to go. It’s the same problem that I had with Tomb Raider: Anniversary awhile back. It’s a very minor thing, though.

The problem of throwing grenades is usually what most players consider the worst aspect of the first Uncharted. I agree, but again I only see it as a minor problem. It’s nothing that interferes with enjoying the game.

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As you all know I selected Splatterhouse 2 as the game that I would find this month. It’s fitting for Halloween that I’d go after this game.

The price wasn’t the greatest at about $23, but it was the best choice out of the ones that I had. It came with the case and the game sans the manual.

The US Postal Service was pretty bad this time. The seller sent the game out the day after I purchased it. It took 11 days for it to reach my mailbox. I thought that it got lost because it was taking so long.

I really like the first Splatterhouse so I expect to have fun with this one too.

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Beyond the Grave

The title of this post is referring to just one game out of the 15 that were added to my collection over this past week. The first stack of games are as follows.

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SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 (PSP)
I bought this over the PS2 version for framerate reasons, if I remember some reviews that I read correctly.

Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded (PSP)
The original three Street Fighter II games along with Eco Fighters, Knights of the Round, and Mercs (aka Commando 2) was worth it for me. However, if you want only one of the two Capcom collections on the PSP (this or Remixed), then I’d have to recommend Remixed for its better game selection.

Sega Genesis Collection (PSP)
Yes, I have had the PlayStation 2 version for a few years now, but the idea of Genesis games on the go was too good to pass up. Sure the Nomad was a cool concept, but obviously it wasn’t reliable enough. I consider this what Sega was trying to do with the Nomad. Mmmm. Shinobi III. :P

Saints Row 2 (PS3)
For a game that only just came out about a month ago, I picked it up pretty quick. I did so by getting a used copy for $30. That was after a few duplicate games that I traded in (TMNT: Hyperstone Heist, Tetris (GB), Mega Man 2, and Mega Man 3). That I’m not going to compare this game to Grand Theft Auto IV for two reasons. The first being that you’re more than likely sick of hearing it and, second, this game has enough differences this time around to warrant a look at both games.

TimeShift (PS3)
It’s been just over a year since the last time I posted anything about this game. Back then I was talking about the demo and how I had some problems remembering to use the time powers. Whenever I get to playing it I’ll see if it was worth the wait for the $20 price tag.

Puzzle Quest: Challange of the Warlords (PS2)
Here’s a game that I’m currently playing on the DS. I wanted this version for something on the bigger screen. It will be interesting to see if it has any game stopping bugs like the PSP version and if I find it a problem with the lack of a stylus.

Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (PS2)
For the longest time I stayed away from this game and I think it was because I once briefly demoed it on the Gamecube, a controller with shoulder buttons that I can’t stand. Speaking of things that I can’t stand. I’m really tired of hearing people compare every Bond game to their beloved N64 game. I heard it once again with the recent release of Quantum of Solace. I could go on, but I already did over two years ago. For those eager to read what I did say, I’ll post it again soon.

Gungrave (PS2)
Here’s another game that I already had…as in the sequel Gungrave: Overdose. Both games are based on the anime of the same name. You control the resurrected character formerly known as Brandon Heat and now known as Beyond the Grave. Pretty cool and so is the crazy third-person action.

Rygar: The Legendary Adventure (PS2)
I figured that since the updated Wii version is due out soon that I should just go for this game. The prequel was an NES game known only as Rygar.

Loaded (PS)
Don’t know what this game is? I have an easy way to explain it to you. It’s a bloody version of Gauntlet.

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Klonoa: Empire of Dreams (GBA)
I wasn’t expected to find nor did I really want to look for another Klonoa game, but credit goes to Usagi704 for noticing that Gamestop didn’t know what they had on their hands.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
Ditto for this game as it usually goes for much more than what they were selling it for. Psst. $6.

Tekken Advance (GBA)
The third GBA game spotted by Usagi704. I played his copy of this game and I must say that Namco did some great work making this game feel and look as much like Tekken as they did.

Mortal Kombat 3 (GB)
Definitely the worst game that bought by a long shot. Why did I knowingly purchase a bad game? Because I simply had it previously. Back in 1995, I was expecting a lot from this game since they did a great job on MKII. Unfortunately, it ended up as an, as the kids like to say these days, epic fail.

Road Rash (GBC)
Not as bad of a port of the Genesis game as you might expect.

Well, that’ll do it for me this time.