Now Playing: March 2020

nowplaying0320

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: July 2019

nowplaying0719

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.

Crossed Swords Comes Home

One month ago I bought the last of the games I wanted from my wish list that are available at retail. They are Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Yakuza Kiwami 2.

I enjoyed the initial reboot game of Tomb Raider from 2013. You know, the one that Square Enix claimed was a failure after selling over 3.3 million units. Ha ha ha! Hilarious. I’ve been slowing getting through the Yakuza series. I’ve played the first four titles so far. I’m not one to worry about playing a series in order of release. This is most obvious when I played Saints Row 2 as my entry game and the next time I played Gat Out of Hell. Yakuza is an exception because of how deep the story is with all of the characters interactions with each other.

One other game I’d seen briefly in arcades during the early to mid 1990s was ADK’s Crossed Swords. It was memorable to see such a game similar to Nintendo’s Punch-Out, but instead going with a medieval theme of knights and sorcery. Hamster has released it on Switch, PS4, and Xbox.

yk2-sottr

Hart & Usagi #91: The Becky & Jennifer Show

podcast91

In episode 91 the new Mortal Kombat 11 shows that loot boxes aren’t needed to have a fun game, Google’s expectations for Stadia don’t live in the real world, and Becky and Jennifer stop by to chat for a bit with each other.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Sega Stops Sales Of Yakuza Spinoff Judgment In Japan After Actor Arrested For Alleged Cocaine Use
* Google’s New Game Streaming Platform is Called Stadia
* Konami Announces Three Classic Collections: Arcade, Castlevania, Contra
* GDC 2019: Google Confirms Stadia Won’t Allow Offline Downloads
* Google Stadia Boss Is “Absolutely, Unequivocally” Sure Latency Won’t Be An Issue
* Judgment actor Pierre Taki will be completely scrubbed from game’s western release
* Sega Genesis Mini Will Release in September With 40 Games
* PlayStation Store Now Offering Refunds, But There’s a Catch
* Borderlands 3’s expensive editions come with boost mods for loot drop rates, XP
* Valve Stops Borderlands Review Bombing Over BL3 Epic Store Exclusivity
* Mortal Kombat 11 Has No Loot Boxes, Neo From The Matrix Won’t Be Added
* Blind Squirrel was indeed working on Mortal Kombat Remaster but it was cancelled, first screenshots
* Capcom Home Arcade is an Outrageously Priced Plug-and-Play Retro Console
* Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony’s Next-Gen PlayStation

Listen or Download (1:15:58)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

No Dough Spared

About a month ago I added three games to my collection. One was a Super Nintendo game and the other two were from the PlayStation Store. The latter two first.

They are Galaga and Windjammers. Both were heavily discounted at $1.59 and $1.49, respectively. I don’t play that many games as old as Galaga, but, of them from that era, this is one of my favorites.

Up to this point I’ve never played Windjammers before. I mainly knew of it through podcasts that Jeff Gerstmann was on over the years when he would briefly mention the game. It does look to be one of the many SNK classics!

Finally, I bought King of Dragons on the SNES. This was the final of the three medieval beat-’em-ups made by Capcom that I didn’t have ported to the system. The easiest one to find is Knights of the Round with Magic Sword being a bit more rare. It was $70 for only the cartridge, but I haven’t bought many games in a long time so I had the dough to spare on this purchase.

kod-snes

Releasing the Unreleased

Over the last few months the number purchases in the movie/TV and gaming realms I’ve made have been piling up. Here they are.

Back in April I reported on getting a digital copy of Double Dragon II: The Revenge via Hamster’s Arcade Archives. Well, this time I also added the original arcade version of Double Dragon. This was one that Usagi704 also picked up and said I’d probably like how it turned out.

Lately I’ve been afraid that the Yakuza games, despite getting a wide release in the West, would dry up sooner than you’d think. It seems to already have happened to Yakuza 0. I didn’t want to miss out on Yakuza Kiwami so I got it and I will be looking to get 0 soon enough.

A used copy of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ran me around $20. I was on my wish list long enough and got it along with a unreleased game set to me sent to me in about eight days.

uncharted4-yakuza1k-tn

Onto the movies/TV side, speaking of “unreleased” WWE released a 3 disc set of matches spanning from 1986 to 1995 called Unreleased. It has some decent matches with the two featuring Ric Flair against Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan being quite fun to watch. I also popped huge for seeing Sean Mooney (who?) in the hosting segments.

I bought and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it was fantastic. Yeah, it was another lackluster villain who posed no real threat despite being told otherwise. However, we’ve come to expect the main characters to be fun and relatable and that’s what we got.

A staple of ’80s television was Miami Vice and on a whim I picked up the whole series on Blu-ray despite never really watching it at the time. I mean, I wasn’t even a teenager during its five season run. It’s a huge 20-disc set and was half the original price.

miamivice-bd-tn.jpg

Other films I bought were Pleasantville, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Bridge of Spies, and a special edition of Death Wish II with a theatrical and unrated cut of the film.

dw2-bos-pv-ijlc-unrel-gotg2-tn

On a final topic, I can happily say that the SNES Classic was much easier to obtain than I expected, but it definitely was still on the low end of the quantity of the shipments. The store I work at received only 14 units which was more than the 2-3 they got last year with the NES Classic system. I helped sell an initial 6-7 at midnight, I immediately went on my break and bought mine. A first shift employee asked me if any were left and at 4:30am I sold the last one to him. It might not sound like much, but with just over four hours that supply lasted longer than I expected.

snes-classic-tn

As far as my experience with the system itself, I’ve only played Street Fighter II Turbo and even did so with Usagi704. It was as fun as a real system and I can’t really complain about the selection of games. Even if some of the games aren’t my speed, it’s understandable why they’re on there. Plus, the quality of the games chosen are of much higher quality than the NES Classic had. Truly less is more in this case.

Thanks for reading and game on!

Ninja Commando Masters of Combat

A few more games this time around for the collection. Not all were necessary, but it’s how these things go sometimes.

The first game is very much in that “not necessary” category. I already have Legend of Kay on the PS2. It was one of those games I didn’t know about, but ebbderelict had fun with it as he’d mentioned in his review of the game he did six years ago. As usual I’ve yet to play that one and bought the PS4 rerelease Legend of Kay Anniversary anyway.

In Neo-Geo news, I picked up Garou: Mark of the Wolves and ADK Damashii on PSN when they were on sale for around 50% off. These both are PS2 imports for play on PS4. ADK Damashii is a compilation of five games: Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Combat, Ninja Commando, Ninja Masters, and Twinkle Star Sprites.

I also bought a recent disc release of Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours by Limited Run Games. This is the first time I’ve shopped with them and I also plan to do so for the rerelease of the Sega CD game Night Trap that they’ve announced is coming soon.

dbcs-fugitive

Finally, I picked up the Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive and the great 1980s series Cosmos by Carl Sagan. This latter is a DVD set since there hasn’t been a Blu-ray version made as of yet. I also have another DVD on the way of Best of the Best 2. Wayne Newton is fantastically cheesy in this film and I loved it.

cosmos-sagan

Super Combo of Revenge

Recently I had bought three new games. One was a retail release of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for the PlayStation 4. The other two were from the PlayStation Network. Those were Fu’un Super Combo, consisting of the fighting games Savage Reign and Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle. This was originally a PS2 compilation released in Japan in 2007.

The final game purchased was Double Dragon II: The Revenge. This is the Hamster emulated arcade game original.

mec

Now Playing: January 2017

nowplaying0117

Shortly after I posted about what I played in the latter half of 2016 at the beginning of this month (a week later to be precise), I finished my first game of the new year. It was Watch Dogs.

I enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs more so than it’s reputation would lead you to believe is possible. The story is passé as you’ve probably heard, but since I don’t get caught up in worrying about that I had fun.

Oh and I uploaded ten clips of things I found amusing while I played Watch Dogs. Take a peek at them if you so wish.

With my current game I’m three stages from being finished. It’s Bujingai: The Forsaken City on PlayStation 2. It’s has an enjoyable combat system where you play as a character that was motion captured by singer Gackt.

The problem with the game is figuring out where to go or what exactly to do on some of the stages. Stages range from dead simple straight forward affairs to mind-melting mazes of confusion. Clearly a well-planned out and cohesive game Bujingai is not. To avoid wanting to chuck a controller at the wall, I suggest having a FAQ on hand. I’m playing on Easy to help this out as well.

*****

Finally I have more purchases to tell you about.

Shadow Complex Remastered on PSN was for about $6 on sale so I went for it. Also, I have picked up locally two movies: Big and Enemy at the Gates.

big-eatg

Purchase Stats 2016

purchase-stats16

The following stats are for all of my video game purchases throughout 2016.

Total number of games: 30
Amount bought decreased by 10 from 2015.

18 PS4 (60%)
DMC
Hotline Miami
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Batman: Arkham Knight
Bloodborne
Far Cry 4
Just Cause 3
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Cruse
Transformers: Devastation
Grand Theft Auto V
Ratchet & Clank
Dark Souls III
Doom
Mafia III
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Wild Guns Reloaded

1 PSP (4%)
Kamen Rider Chou Climax Heroes

4 PS3 (13%)
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
Yakuza 5
Far Cry Compilation
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze

2 PC (7%)
The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
Strife

5 GBA (16%)
Island Xtreme Stunts
Stuntman
SSX Tricky
American Dragon: Jake Long – Rise of the Huntsclan
Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams

1 MISC.
SNES Capcom Soldier Pad

******

I also bought myself one last game in the final week of 2016 which is included in the stats above. It’s Nastume’s Wild Guns Reloaded!

wildguns-ps4