Now Playing: August 2011

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Last Tuesday was the 20th anniversary of the Super Nintendo as released in North America. Knowing this date was coming up I decided to make it mainly a SNES month.

I played Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers once again and also did a speed run of it in 42 minutes and 12 seconds.

Soon after I asked on Twitter which of eight random chosen games I should play next. The two top picks were Robocop Versus The Terminator and Run Saber. The former game was pretty bad with unforgiving AI and overall uninteresting gameplay. At least there was a funny glitch where you can hold the A and X buttons while on a ladder and Robocop will keep climbing even after passing the top of it. Stage 6 was as far as I was able to go.

Run Saber was much more fun. This take on Strider from Atlus has a bunch of moves to perform in a fast-paced platformer. It has an arrow at the top of the screen always showing the direction to head in. I recommend this game if you’ve ever enjoyed Capcom’s Strider. Finished on Easy was a score of 266,800.

There’s not much to say about Street Racer. It’s basically a Super Mario Kart clone with less charm. At least the racing is decent.

Two other games I finished off this month giving me a total of 27 for this year was Knights of the Round and Alien Crush. In the Capcom beat-’em-up I selected Percival. I prefer him since he’s the only one who can dash. Granted it doesn’t last long at all, but this mobility and being the more powerful of the three characters make him a great choice. My final score was 430,820 at level 15.

I think I’m Alien Crush’d out at this point. I’m played a lot of the game in the recent past, as most of you know, but nothing can prepare you for this. On the PSN version via my PSP I improved my score so much that there’s no way I could possibly top it and that’s even if I’d want to (and I definitely don’t want to). My previous best score, regardless of the version of the game, was 78,533,200 and now it was improved by over four times the amount. Behold my new best high score of 348,932,500!

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You’ll probably need some time to recover from that revealed score so I’ll end this here. As always thanks for reading!

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Now Playing: May ’09

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During this past month I played way more games that I thought I did. When seeing the list I realize that many of them were arcade style games which explains it.

The following three games were the highlights of the month: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Half-Life 2, and The Ninja Warriors Again.

The first two were the top vote-getters when asking what I should play next. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was an enjoyable 15 hours or so that I played it. My save it currently near the end of the game, but I’ve yet to finish it since I don’t have the best DSS cards to deal with Dracula. Something I’m used to having that isn’t available in this game is a shop. All items and weapons must be obtained via drops by enemies which is somewhat annoying even with the luck attribute really high. Good game for sure, but not great as so many people say. I still much prefer Aria of Sorrow out of the three GBA Castlevanias.

Second place in the voting was Half-Life 2. I’ve played this game several times before on the PC. I was even at Wal-Mart buying it in the early morning on release day in late 2004. This time I played and finished it as part of The Orange Box on PS3. It’s still very fun to play and all of the mildly annoying parts are still mildly annoying (ie: your late game teammates).

The final game, The Ninja Warriors Again, is a fun Taito beat-’em-up on the Super Nintendo (look for it as simply The Ninja Warriors). Each of the three characters have different in abilities and give you a different approach to take when battling enemies. This was the only other game I was able to finish this month and wins the Game of the Month award.

I’ll now leave you with a list of the rest of the games that I played.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
Bad Dudes
Heavy Barrel
Metal Slug
Gundam W: Endless Duel
WWF Royal Rumble
Knights of the Round
Final Fight 3
Fighter’s History
The Combatribes
Robocop vs. The Terminator
Brawl Brothers
Super Double Dragon
Sunset Riders
WWF Raw

REMINDER
Retro Revival Week is back and starts tomorrow. Check out the details here.

Playing Licensed Games

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For my next few games that I play I’m going to tackle the licensed games in my collection. If that includes crap, then so be it. Here’s the laundry list of games that I plan on playing that fall into this category.

Batman Begins (PS2)
Biker Mice from Mars (DS)
Conan (PS3)
Crue Ball (GEN)
Disney’s Aladdin in Nasira’s Revenge (PS)
Gungrave: Overdose (PS2)
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (PS2)
Justice League Heroes: The Flash (GBA)
Mickey Mania (SNES)
The Punisher (PS2)
The Red Star (PS2)
Rise to Honor (PS2)
RoboCop Versus The Terminator (SNES)
Spider-Man 2 (PS2)
Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run (PS2)
TMNT (PS2)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PS2)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers (GB)
Transformers (PS2)
VR Troopers (GEN)
WCW vs. The World (PS)
WWF Raw (SNES)
The World Is Not Enough (PS)

Of course this list isn’t comprised of every licensed game that I have. Some I have already played (ie: Astro Boy: Omega Factor) or there are too many similar titles (ie: the rest of the WCW/WWE games) to be considered.

Now onto purchases that I made today at Gamestop. I took advantage of a coupon that was printable off of ps3fanboy.com. It’s for 25% off of any three used PS2, PS3, or PSP games. Here’s what I got.

Flatout 2 (PS2)
TMNT (PS2)
Yakuza (PS2)

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Also from JapanGameStock.com I bought two used Super Famicom controllers and a PS1 memory card.

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On the PS1 memory card were some old saves. Take a look.

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Calypso Grants My Wish

Watch out! Here comes a massive collection update. Behold 19 game additions and one system.

Last Thursday I went out to local store #1, It’s About Games. I did so for the GBA SP system. I was going to try and find the Pearl Blue system with the brighter screen, but that was proving to be extremely difficult to find. At least now I’ll have a color that will match the God of War edition PSP this June. I also added a single NES game to the order.

Game Boy Advance SP (red) – system & AC adapter (complete); excellent
Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (NES) – game only; great

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The next day I stopped by Gamestop after a haircut. I wasn’t planning to get Spy Hunter, but at $2.99 I couldn’t pass that up. I made sure that I was really at Gamestop when I saw that price on a decently reviewed game. :D

Spy Hunter (PS2) – complete; fair

After that I decided to make the trip to Shelby to see what Stickman’s had in stock. As usual they didn’t disappoint, especially with the selection of Super NES games. I bought nine SNES games along with the original Twisted Metal game in the early PlayStation longbox.

Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle (SNES) – game only; great
Fighter’s History (SNES) – game only; fair
NBA Jam (SNES) – game only; excellent
Fatal Fury 2 (SNES) – game only; fair
The Lion King (SNES) – game only; great
Robocop Versus The Terminator (SNES) – game only; great
WWF Raw (SNES) – game only; excellent
Aero Fighters (SNES) – game only; good
Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse (SNES) – game only; great
Twisted Metal (PS) – complete; good

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Larger view

Those two days were great and then I received my eStarland.com order on Saturday. I ordered all of the Twisted Metal games that they had. The reason I got TMIII and TM4 is because I wanted to see first hand what’s wrong with them. I also had my eye on Mercs for the Genesis for some time once I found out that it had been released on a home console. I always liked that game in the arcade and since I didn’t have a Genesis during that time, I was totally unaware that it was ever on that system. It was a nice surprise when I read that on Wikipedia.

Destruction Derby (PS) – complete; good
Twisted Metal: Small Brawl (PS) – new
Twisted Metal III (PS) – complete; excellent
Twisted Metal 4 (PS) – complete; great
Mercs (GEN) – complete; excellent
Max Payne (PS2) – complete; good
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – complete; excellent

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To paraphrase Calypso: “I am Hart704, and I thank you for visiting my blog.”

Condition scale: Excellent, Great, Good, Fair, Bad, Poor

1988 Game of the Year

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Note: You may very well disagree with some of my choices, but that’s why it’s a good list.

Here’s how this show works. I’ll list the nominees (up to 5) and then choose the game of the year and runner-up. The games chosen have to be games that I’ve played. They don’t have to have been played at the time, but they do have to be within the year noted in the title.

NOMINEES (All games are the arcade versions unless otherwise noted.)
Alien Crush (TG-16)
Altered Beast
Chase H.Q.
Contra (NES)
RoboCop

1988 Game of the Year: Contra
Runner-up: Chase H.Q.

Those that know me well enough or have simply read my blog for awhile will not be surprised to see Contra as my Game of the Year for 1988. I actually never owned it at the time, but I did get to play it when a friend of my brother left his copy at my place for several weeks. I remember being up all night playing this on the weekends.

You can probably tell by now that I was at the arcades a lot at the time with a number of the nominees being arcade games. Chase H.Q. was another one of those games. This one was basically doing what I love about the Burnout series way before Criterion Games was even a thought. The name of the game was to chase down a target car and then ram into them until you’ve won. Sounds like Burnout’s road rage mode to me. :D

Going back to that side note that I pointed out the last time. RoboCop was another arcade game that I liked that was available at my local Coliseum Roller Rink in the early ’90s.

Previous entries: 1985 | 1986 | 1987

The Days of the Arcades

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Recently I’d read a blog post by Wil Wheaton on suicidegirls.com. In it he talks about how important arcades were for those of us that grew up during the 1980s. Being one of those people, I found a lot of what he said to hit home with me. The following post will be quotes from the article with a commentary of sorts talking about how it relates to me.

Donkey Kong will forever be associated with Verdugo Bowling Alley in La Crescenta…

Park Lanes is the name of the bowling alley where I live. I remember such arcade games as Mortal Kombat II, Fighter’s History, and the terrible Time Killers being there. They even had Capcom Bowling. I guess that made sense. It was the only place that I’d ever seen it.

Another Nintendo staple, Punch Out!!, takes me back to Malibu Grand Prix, a Southern California staple in the pre-lawsuit-as-lottery ’80s where adults could race cars around a twisty track while their kids played mini golf outside or tons of video games inside.

I remember going a few times to a location of Malibu Grand Prix. I couldn’t tell you where it was. Maybe somewhere outside of Columbus, OH. That’s my best guess. The game that comes to mind was a hacked version of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. During the demo the word “ACCELERATOR” would appear on screen. When I played it as Ryu I soon was against a CPU controlled Ryu. With both fighters having the same color outfits, it was certainly difficult to tell who was who. The tokens that they had were of the oddly shaped variety. One side was what you’d expect, but the opposite side of the token had about three slots cut into it. It was the same with where you’d insert the token. I haven’t seen anything like it since.

Crystal Castles, Demolition Derby (did anyone ever get to see more of that girl between levels?), and Journey conjure up images of a Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle…

Aladdin’s Castle. Now that’s where a majority of my time in arcades took place. At the local Richland Mall in Ontario, OH. I remember bugging my mother to take me out to the mall so that I could go to that arcade. The early 1990s was the best time I had there because that’s when the fighting games genre was huge. It’s why I like fighting games and what started the whole craze for me. They had all of the major fighting games. Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Mortal Kombat, Samurai Shodown, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, etc. My biggest memories of that place was watching others play MKII and SFII: Hyper Fighting. I did partake in other types of games, but the fighters were definitely what drew me in at that time. Sadly, Aladdin’s Castle was closed up a number of years ago. It was replaced by the emo-shop, Hot Topic.

I really miss those days when Chuck E. Cheese’s had more than an assortment of ticket-dispensing coin suckers…

I do remember going to a Chuck E. Cheese only about two times when I was growing up. I also remember how it was. Just as Wil Wheaton said, lots of arcade games to play. At the time there wasn’t a local location, which explains the few times we went. Now the Richland Mall has one and I can atest to the fact that all they have now are ticket-dispensing machines. I guess fun is only a passing thing at Chuck E. Cheese now.

Another place I remember a number of fun arcade games being at was the rollerskating rink in my hometown of Mansfield, OH. I was introduced to that place as part of a grade school outing. After that I went many more times. The games that I remember being there were: Shinobi, Robocop, P.O.W., Gun Smoke, and Black Tiger. Eventually SFII: The World Warrior was added to make a total of about 15 games in all. That was also the place where I watched Usagi704 beat an arcade version of SFII. It was pretty cool!

Extra reading: A farewell to arcades at The HUB.