Game of the Year 2014 – Best Beat-‘Em-Up

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When it comes to the beat-’em-up genre there’s rarely a video game I can’t get through. From the old school belt scrollers like Super Double Dragon to the more combo heavy games like Bayonetta, I love them all. Well most of them at any rate.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, the winner of my Best Retro Game category, was a surprisingly more fun game than I expected, but not the best.

Konami’s arcade game Metamorphic Force is another one of their 4-player machines like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. It has the fluid combat of other hits of their’s like X-Men. The only real problem is the Crime Fighters style of health meter. It constantly and slowly drains over time.

I went back to Sega’s Yakuza series with Yakuza 3 and while fantastic as always, it spent a little too much time on mundane tasks and chores surrounding the children in Kazuma’s care. Less of that and more busting faces in would’ve been a better beat-’em-up meal.

Finally we come to the winner of the award for my 2014 Best Beat-‘Em-Up. This selection probably shocks me more than anybody else. A game for the original PlayStation released only in Japan in 1997. Thanks to Usagi704 I was able to play co-op with him in Panzer Bandit. The quick and simple way to explain how this game plays is that it’s essentially a clone of Guardian Heroes of the Saturn. It’s a very fun chain combo experience that I’d love to play again!

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.

Hart & Usagi Podcast #51: Pile of Secrets

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back JiibayDan to chat about favorite controllers, 25th anniversary of the Genesis, and some hot Tetris pillow action.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Controller?
* Sony: ‘EA Access’ Offers No Value to PS4 Owners
* Report: GameStop Changing Game Trade-In Program
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1988-89
* Microsoft Still Bullish on Kinect
* If Tetris Were Made Out Of Pillows
* Poll: What Should ‘Night Trap’ Have Been Rated?
* Debunked: Most Downloaded Games Per State Not What It Claims To Be
* Happy 25th birthday, Sega Genesis
* Playtotle 001: Character Design

Listen or Download (2:18:05)
Subscribe!
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward

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More Gaming Roots

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Now I will share with you my thoughts of playing the following seven games. Some of which I talked about recently on episode 44 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. You can listen to it here if you haven’t yet. I also ran through an additional seven games from last month’s Now Playing.

The first game on this list is Castlevania: Bloodlines. I’ve never been one to have an easy time with the traditional style of Castlevania games such as Bloodlines is. With that said, I still did find it easier than those on the NES. The main thing that gave me trouble was Dracula’s final form. The battle looks simple enough once you master it, but I wasn’t apparently going to have anything to do with making it easy on myself. I did eventually see the ending.

I’m sure you have those games that you want to play, but you have a hard time getting yourself to do so because of a perceived difficulty. Super Double Dragon was one of those games for me. The difference being that I did play it years prior. As it turns out if you know how to handle the fights then you’ll likely do well. In my first playthrough I was able to reach the final boss before my continues ran out. Once I started understanding and using the Dragon Power meter I was eventually able to complete the game.

Not much needs to be said about Contra. I’ve finished it countless times and always love going back to this all-time great. You can have the arcade version. I’ll make mine the NES!

As the only SNES entry of the series, our lovable Rocket Knight, Sparkster, comes strong with colorful graphics, great sounding music, and well thought out controls. The only thing I didn’t care for was battling Axel Gear in the big robots. Otherwise, it was a fun and fast paced action game.

I can’t say as many glowing words about Total Carnage, however. This sequel to Smash TV plays the same, but instead of a one screen arena setting, it vertically scrolls. Probably the worst aspect of this game is the lack of the fun personality the original had.

If you don’t know Code Name: Viper, then simply think of it as Capcom’s version of Namco’s arcade game Rolling Thunder because that’s exactly what it is. I like this game a lot more than I thought I would. It was a challenge to be sure, but I welcomed it and the final battle with Commander Jones didn’t go too well for him.

The final game I played was Operation Logic Bomb. This is a SNES game in the same series as Fortified Zone and also developed by Jaleco. Instead of two characters with different abilities, it’s one dude who carries all of the firepower. The game is of a decent length for which there isn’t any level select code. Not that there’s really levels in the traditional sense. However, there is one distinct path through the game. You have a machine gun and 3-way spread gun to start and then eventually you’ll find a reflective laser, flamethrower, and missiles (these I never found). Also the player gets claymores and a decoy along the way. This was another end boss that gave me problems. The health drain from the lightning shots were too much to bear.

Of all of these titles I’d only not recommend Total Carnage. Six out of seven isn’t a bad batch of games at all.

Back To My Gaming Roots

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In my attempt to get to the bottom of why I lacked interest in gaming recently, I think it’s time to spend some quality time with my 8-bit and 16-bit systems. If I was madtyger I’d probably have names for them outside of the official ones. :D

As much as I’d like to think I give equal time to all of the game systems I own, past and present, I really know that this is simply not the case. One look at the complete list of games I actually finished last year proves that I rarely play much of the retro library I own.

To rectify this I’ve selected 14 games from an assortment of systems to play. I probably won’t bother with getting to them all, but these titles listed below are the ones which look to be good fun for the time being. If you’d like to suggest one of the games below, I’ll happily make it a priority to get to first (or next).

SNES
Sparkster
Super Double Dragon
Operation Logic Bomb
Sunset Riders
Total Carnage

NES
P.O.W.: Prisoners of War
Code Name: Viper
Vice: Project Doom
Duck Tales
Jackal

GAME BOY
Fortified Zone

GENESIS
Streets of Rage 3 (via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Rocket Knight Adventures
Castlevania: Bloodlines

Now Playing: June 2013

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Five games total played for the previous 30 days. Initially I played Wonder Boy in Monster World via PSN, but it was too old school for me despite being of that gaming era myself. Check out my detailed thoughts on the game in the previous update.

In a second update a little over a week ago, I talked about playing with the GPY clan in Burnout Paradise and going through the single player story missions in F.E.A.R. 3 along with RivalShadeX.

In F.E.A.R. 3 we had completed up through Interval 5 at the time. Since then RivalShadeX and I finished the game twice. Both of us played as each character and it was fun times indeed. We also played some multiplayer modes as well. These are co-op too. There’s the typical wave survival mode, a possession mode (Soul King) to get more points than other players, and a mode called “F***ING RUN!” where a “wall of death” is always closing in. Players need to keep moving while taking out enemies along the way. I was surprised as anybody would be that there were a couple others playing this. I had to create the games, of course.

The other two games played was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Super Nintendo and Double Dragon on the Game Boy. I just played around on UMK3 a little bit with some cheat codes. Shao Khan didn’t allow me to have an easy finished game to add to my list for this year.

Double Dragon also didn’t work out in this fashion either. This edition on the Game Boy isn’t nearly as easy as the sequel was. The first two missions are simple enough. It’s midway through Mission 3 where the pits of death and Abobos come out to play. It wouldn’t be so bad if losing a life started you at least somewhat close to where you died. Not the case here. A life loss means you return to the very start of the mission. I wasn’t able to get any further than the first set of moving platforms in Mission 4. Everyone knows the platforming in the Double Dragon series never worked out well. It’s what sadly does me in and you can watch my downfall in my 18+ minute video.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

Peace!

Double The Double Dragon

When Double Dragon Neon was released three weeks ago, I didn’t purchase right away. I wanted to try my luck at scoring a free code via WayForward’s Twitter account. Alas, I didn’t win. Last week Marvel vs. Capcom Origins was released and that’s when I bought both of those games. The latter title includes arcade versions of Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes.

A games shop in Galion was where I went for the final two games. I got some more Double Dragon this time it was the first game for the Game Boy. I also picked up God of War Origins Collection and it includes (as you know) the PSP titles Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta.

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MORE: Hart & Usagi Podcast episode 19