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.

Sudden Strife

In the last month I have acquired more games and movies. Here, let me show you.

Since the movies are the most obvious in the photo below, I’ll start with those. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was a random VHS pick up around 15 years ago. I heard about the film from the commentary track on Rush Hour. I liked it quite a bit, but I only had that format as an option for quite some time. Thankfully a DVD version did eventually come around. The purchase this time is an upgrade to a 2015 Blu-ray release.

The other two films, Sudden Death and Universal Soldier, are also 2015 releases along with both starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. I enjoyed both movies quite a bit and thanks to a review on YouTube I was finally convinced to give the former a watch.

Now it’s time for the games. I didn’t have anymore I wanted for the Game Boy Advance, but I dug through a floor bin at Warp Zone to come up with these five titles. I didn’t know anything about them beforehand. Only after some quick info via the Internet did I make a purchase.

Island Xtreme Stunts is a sequel to a Lego game. You wouldn’t know this by just seeing the cartridge by itself as I did. Stuntman and SSX Tricky are, of course, portable versions of their console counterparts. American Dragon: Jake Long – Rise of the Huntsclan is based on a Disney cartoon that ran for two seasons. This game was developed by WayForward. Ans finally Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams is a platformer by THQ and Avalanche Software.

I also bought The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match and Strife during the big Steam discount sale recently. I got the former because it’s the only way to play it in North America. After the PS2 version of The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match this was released, but it never made it outside of Japan. The latter is the 1996 FPS/RPG hybrid by Rogue Entertainment. I loved me some Doom clones back then and this one always stuck around in my mind because it was very unique for the time. 20 years later I still would recommend it.

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You Can’t Beat 100%

In the last month or more I’ve been on a game-free diet of mainly movies as I had explained at the time in Now Playing: April 2016. Despite this I haven’t stopped buying games. I’ve bought five more that have been stuck on my wish list for awhile.

Back in March I tried to get both of the newest Wolfenstein games with only a 50% success rate. I completed in getting the missing The New Order this time. I did a redundant buy as well with the Far Cry Compilation. It includes Far Cry 2, 3, and Blood Dragon. As you might remember, I played and finished both FC3 and Blood Dragon last year. So did I get this compilation for Far Cry 2? Nope. I got it for Blood Dragon. I wanted it on a disc for the impending offline of PS3 on PSN. The disc plays FC3 from it with installers for the other two games. If you’ve experience with other three-game packs from Ubisoft, then you know what I’m talking about.

The other games are WayForward’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze, the FC3 sequel Far Cry 4, and the return of Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 3.

Thanks for catching up with me. Take care!

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Now Playing: May 2015

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It’s been a month of portable power playing the Game Boy Advance and DS. The latter of which I’d recently started the first of four random games. I finished up CT Special Forces and The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris mid-month. I also knocked out Wario Land 4 a few days later.

In that same second hyperlink above I also talked about my time with Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. I was probably around world 3 at the time. I’ve since progressed to 5-1. Skills I didn’t know about until I watched this longplay video (by one of the people behind the game’s development) included the ability to power-up projectile attacks with the puzzle mode. You’ll see what I mean in the video. You’ll also see show difficult the game is in comparison to earlier worlds like world 3. In fact, this is why I have to sadly report I’m done with the game. It just feels unfair at times and more so on 5-1 than ever before.

I really liked what I played of Henry Hatsworth up until that point. I don’t want to sour the memories of the fun I had by getting pissed off. It’s unfortunate, but I will be moving onto the next game I have planned to play.

Speaking of which, I never did list what those other DS games were. They are Solatorobo: Red the Hunter (the next game I’ll be starting), Steal Princess, and Kirby: Mass Attack.

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST | SPACE SUPLEX PODCAST

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Sword of Osiris

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If you’ve been keeping up with what I’ve been playing as of recently, then you know I’ve been focusing on playing games on the Game Boy Advance. I previously played Power Rangers Time Force and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 to varying outcomes. This time I played CT Special Forces, Gunstar Super Heroes, and The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris.

I was introduced to CT Special Forces with the sequel about 11 years ago. Since then I had picked up the first game and finally got around to playing it. The look of the game graphically reminded me of the Metal Slug series by SNK. It has quite the lengthy levels and some interesting variety in gameplay. Other than running and gunning you’ll also pilot a chopper in vertical shoot-’em-up stages, parachute and try to stick the landing, and sniper sequences. All are fun small diversions from the main activity of getting to and defeating the boss of each level.

Gunstar Super Heroes is the GBA sequel to the Treasure classic on the Genesis released 12 years after. If you’re familiar with either of these games then you’ll know what the other has in store because they’re roughly the same. My problem with Gunstar Super Heroes was the dice rolling section late in the game where it’s like a board game and it selects what you fight against. I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t get to the end of the board. I just kept rolling badly and going around in a circle. If it wasn’t for this section I would’ve been happy to finish it. A fantastic game otherwise.

Final game is the movie-based The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris. It’s much better than its console counterpart of 2002. WayForward handled the development and it shows. Just like Treasure, WayForward makes high quality titles. While this game is a basic side scroller, this Scorpion King game does what it does well. Like with CT Special Forces above, The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris has very long stages, but once you get the skills it becomes much easier. An unexpectedly fun game such as this comes recommended.

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #63 – May 10th 2015 (@HartandUsagi)
Matt, Mike, and Dan chat Game Boy Advance, Konami, rating for PC game Hatred, and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/hart-usagi-podcast-63-game-boy-advance/

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SPACE SUPLEX #18 – April 28th 2015 (@SpaceSuplex)
Anthony and Matt chat Extreme Rules 2015 and more.
https://hartarchive.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/space-suplex-podcast-ep-18-get-extreme/

Favorite Game Music: Volume VII

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From the popular to the strange to the unknown, he’s another list of my favorite video game music!

* Stage 4 part 2 from Konami’s Metamorphic Force (ARC)
* Lab 1 from from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Mango Tango from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Amaterasu theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Zero theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Stage 2 & 5 from Data East’s Bad Dudes (NES)
* Stage 2 from Natsume’s Shadow of the Ninja (NES)
* Germany course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* USA course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* Splash Wave from Sega’s Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PS2, XBOX)

DS Virtual Console Won’t Have All Your Favorites

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Recently an announcement was made by Nintendo regarding their Virtual Console library on the Wii U. They are planning to release DS games for download.

Now this may sound great to some of you and it is to an extent. The television plus the Wii U tablet controller does seem to be simply a giant sized DS anyway. Why not release DS games to be played on it?

I’ll tell you why not. Because some of the DS system’s original and interesting titles simply don’t work well anymore once the dual screens are detached. Sure a slower game like Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars or one that doesn’t use the touchscreen in any unique way like Ultimate Mortal Kombat and New Super Mario Bros. will work just fine.

However many games won’t transition well at all once both screens aren’t in your field of vision at all times. Sonic Rush and Contra 4 are two games where both screens are used as one. Dodging bullets from the soldiers of Black Viper are now much more unfairly difficult when the enemy is firing from the TV screen at your character on the tablet. The whole reason this is problematic at all is because you have to move your head to look at either screen instead of it being in your peripheral vision at the very least.

Ultimately, I’m not saying Nintendo shouldn’t do this, but as long as they’re smart about it you won’t be seeing The World Ends With You on the Virtual Console.

Joystiq: Nintendo bringing DS to Wii U Virtual Console

Game of the Year 2013 – Most Disappointing Game

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Continuing on with my great 2013 gaming awards I’m going to be getting real with you all, my audience. Some games sound great, are even considered some of the best of all time, but once played they unfortunately disappoint.

Super Mario Galaxy is probably my biggest example of what I mean and I have details in my Now Playing article from December. This game rarely gets a bad word said about it, but I just didn’t care for it. It might be that I’m simply not the fan of platformers I thought I was.

One thing is for certain, however. I am definitely a fan of beat-’em-ups as I love to say again and again. Two games in that genre had disappointed me in the last year. I don’t think either are bad games by any means, but I wasn’t as enthralled with Dragon’s Crown or the winner of this award, Double Dragon Neon.

I pretty much hung up Dragon’s Crown until I was helped out by two friends who helped me finish it. I also beat Double Dragon Neon, but the mechanics didn’t do much for me. This was unfortunate since I loved the graphics style and soundtrack.

Hart & Usagi Podcast #36: SOPA

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On this 36th edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome the return of longtime guest SonicHomeboy to the show and talk about the PlayStation 4, Wii U, 2DS, and much, much more. Check it out!!

TOPICS:
* Ben Affleck as Batman
* PlayStation 4 launch date
* PS4 launch window lineup
* Tomb Raider worldwide sales exceed 4 million units
* Yakuza Restoration announced
* Stop SOPA 2013
* Online Streaming Dead If You Let It
* Nintendo 2DS out Oct. 12 for $130, plays all 3DS, DS games
* Wii U price drop
* Smothered by Nostalgia

Listen/Download (1:25:43)
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@SonicHomeboy | WP blog

Now Playing: January 2013

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The first game I finished for the new year, and two days in at that, was Double Dragon Neon. I was very excited for this game when it was released back in September. Sadly, I may have just waited too long to play it. I didn’t have as much fun with the game as I was hoping for.

It’s not a bad game by any means. I know it sounds like I’m apologizing for it, but I do think it was my inability to master the controls as well as I wanted to which made for a more aggravating time. The key is to activate Gleam as often as possible by performing split-second dodges of enemy attacks to be able to deal out at least double damage.

Everything else was enjoyable about the game. The graphics give that ’80s vibe and the music, redone and new, are fantastic. Skullmageddon is a fun and funny villain and his one-liners will stick with you. Now where’s my promised online co-op?

It should come to no surprise that I played another version of Street Fighter II. It’s Champion Edition on the TG-16 to be exact via the Virtual Console. It became finished game number two.

SFII CE here is another typical 16-bit port of what you’d see at the time. Compared to others on the SNES or Genesis it looks close though there are a few missing elements like the foreground fence on Zangief’s stage as an example. Otherwise the controls are tight and the sound effects sound as you’d hope for. However, the music itself is quite bad and shows why this should’ve been a CD based game. All the stage music is much less than desirable ranging from tolerable (Zangief’s stage) to don’t-choose-that-stage garbage (Sagat’s stage). It’s not hard to still recommend the SNES version, SFII Turbo, over all other 16-bit ports.

The last time I played a Crash Bandicoot game was the third PS1 game, Warped, in 2009. After the PS1 era the series saw a number of developers make titles for it. One of those studios was Vicarious Visions and the game was Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced on the Game Boy Advance.

This game, other than being in 2D, is very much mimicking the Naughty Dog titles. The sounds effects are carried over and the graphics are as close to its 3D counterpart as one might expect.

I always fancied myself as a small fan of the Crash Bandicoot games, but I think I’ve finally realized that maybe this isn’t the case. Even when I played Crash Bandicoot: Warped, it always felt like the difficulty was either too easy or spiked too hard in many instances. I didn’t ever feel there was a good middle ground. This second GBA title doesn’t change things in this regard. In fact, it might have made them worse with the new ideas for some of the levels.

If you’re more of a fan of the Crash games, then you might find N-Tranced to be fun, but other than Crash of the Titans in the future, I’m probably done.

THIS MONTH’S GAMING STATS:
* Double Dragon Neon – #1 finished; 4h35m
* Street Fighter II: Champion Edition – #2 finished; 6h35m
* Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced – Lv. 19; 39%