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« Reply #90 on: February 14, 2010, 02:55:31 PM »

Rgh, Japanese game developers.
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« Reply #91 on: February 26, 2010, 09:00:31 AM »

Surprisingly good games.

Have you ever just been looking around in the store and spontaneously bought a game you knew nothing about? Just from a suggestion, box art/description, etc.? Sometimes you can find hidden gems in this way, I have gotten a few from this method, some you guys may not even know about, some you probably have.

So here is a list of my:

Games from a gamble

-Bloodrayne-
This is the first to come to mind, now most people know about the game, but when it came out it had surprisingly little press. Seeing it on the shelf I bought it just based on the vampire stuff, and hack and slash look. It really did turn out to be pretty amazing, though the gameplay is somewhat repetitious, which is common for hack and slash. The minute I knew I was going to love it was in the tutorial, your teacher-thing lady leaps like 30 feet across this part of the lake then turns and says "now you try". My friend and I looked at each other thinking there's no way they'll let us jump like that! Unfortunately the super jump was taken out of Bloodrayne 2, which had it's own ups and downs. The first though, was a great game to kill a few hours, and Nazis.

-Gitaroo Man-
If you haven't heard of it, you should look it up. I went in to buy Parappa 2, (ok, I'll wait until you stop laughing.....done?) saw this on the shelf and was immediately drawn to the ultra-cool pop art style done by a guy who calls himself 326. The songs are mostly played by a japanese pop band named Coil who are quite good at mixing different music styles. There are songs from blues, metal, mariachi, and more. Gameplay was nice and flowing too, part DDR (defend mode) and part jenois se que (attack mode). I don't know, you would just have to see it, there are videos I'm sure but playing the game is much better. (PS2&PSP) I have never once for a second regretted this purchase, nor ever dreamed of trading this game in.

-RAD (Robot Alchemic Drive)-
You may be able to fathom from the title alone this was a very Japanese, huge mech type game. You may also be able to gather from the title, it sounds a little cheesy.And if you actually saw the cover to the game you most likely would have held it long enough to show a friend, make a joke or two, and promptly place it back never to touch it again. Unfortunately, you would have been making a mistake. I was never into mech games/anime like Gundam or even Voltron, but this game is really pretty clever. It looks great, particularly for PS2 and particularly since you are in a large destructible city, with large destroying robots. What can I say about a giant robot brawler? Explaining the plot or the levels would not really do anything to wow you, though the controls are actually quite excellent. Each analog stick controls the appropriate arm, and the shoulder buttons control the legs back and forth. It took a lot to understand and get the hang of controlling, but the game also does a great job in making you feel the heft and raw power of the huge machines. Especially when it gets tossed into the building you chose to stand on top of, forcing you to scramble away like a cockroach searching for a new hiding spot.

-Katamari Damacy-
Another well-known that was practically invisible at release. A friend saw this coming and made me get it when it was brand new at $20. You may well know now what has become the Katamari snowball effect. Or maybe just Katamari effect? This game oozes charm, a choice of words I always found odd, ooze isn't that charming. Mixing colorful insanity, with awesome musical...insanity. With the number of sequels now on the market (and another planned I believe) the gameplay should be well known. However at release it was quite an interesting new mechanic and became a lot of fun, though I think the sequels are a bit watered-down and forced. Still, if you're new to it, you can get the ball rolling just as good with any of them.

-Way of the Samurai
A bit of a black sheep in some people's minds, all I needed to know about this one was "Samurai". It helped a lot that it was a samurai tale, rather than a straight fighter. Taking place in a small farming town being torn in two by rival samurai families, in walks the protagonist, you. Your actions determine not only the outcome of the story, but the stories progression as well. A fact I have always admired about it, there are many good ending/bad ending games, but few allow the game itself to change around you. With a heavy emphasis on replay, due mostly to an extremely short playthrough, subsequent games could be made more interesting by playing with new heads (changing your face), outfits, taking the swords aquired in previous games, and sometimes meeting characters you didn't even realize were there. A third was pretty recently released for PS3 and 360, though it feels much more like a mix of the first and second, like a remake, than a true sequel.

-Gungrave-
So many games have been made from anime, only the most immensely popular ever make it out of Japan. So around the time that everything was getting the cel-shaded treatment, I found Gungrave. Even cel-shaded it looks completely like hand drawn anime (the cutscenes especially). However the best part I found of this shoot 'em up was that it was actually not made from an anime! Rather the anime was created after, as an homage to the game. Similar to the DMC anime. It also has style blaring forth from both barrels, and grave is the quintessential anti-hero. Check it out if you like action and/or anime most likely under 10$ used nowadays.

So there you have it, from days when not every game had a million dollar release party and super bowl air time, and there were no two-hour commercials called "video game awards". Taking a chance can be risky and trust me I've gotten more than enough crappy games in my days. Now it's easier to get demos and stuff from games before having to purchase outright, but it still pays to look beneath the radar every once in a  while, you never know what you might find. Happy hunting!
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« Reply #92 on: October 13, 2010, 08:06:43 AM »

Yes, I'm sure I want to reply. I'm oiling up my necro cannon for the most likely final installment of the Classic Games list here. Just for the hell of it, not like there's a lot else going on around here anyway.

Challenging the Past

So it becomes clearer to me as I play more and more games nowadays, and hear peoples responses to them, that what most people really want is a challenge. I can understand this mentality, if a game's too easy you just blow through it which is not much fun at all right? Back in the day (yeah, I went there) most games were quite a bit more challenging. After all there were limited continues, no save point/autosaves, and the control was much more simplistic.

Personally however, I was never much up to the challenge, well to a certain extent, but I'd rather be able to play the game than need to memorize each stages enemy patterns to progress. To me it starts to lose the fun factor at that point, luckily the old-school programmers had kids like me in mind and to that effect added countermeasures for us. These were known as "programmer cheats" or just cheats I guess, generally a button combination or similar act that would give you a significant advantage. Before the days of hacks, Action Replay, and Game Genies we depended on these to see parts of the game we couldn't easily see otherwise.

So I'm straining my mind (and search engine) to bring you my list of:

the Cheater's Retro Arsenal


-UUDDLRLRBA<start>-
It's possible the code itself is actually more well known than it's 'proper' name. The Konami Code is perhaps the most well known cheat of all time, appearing in such games as Contra, Gradius, and even Castlevania once or twice. This series of button presses has become so ingrained on our minds it's seeped into all aspects of society! No mere cheat anymore, since being featured in TV shows, song lyrics, etc. Even those who have never touched a controller have heard of this code whether they remember it or not. If cheats were cars, then truly the Konami Code (capitalization mandatory) would be Apollo 13.

-JUSTIN BAILEY-
Though shrouded in controversy, the Justin Bailey code was one everyone owning a copy of Metriod knew of. While debate continues to it's true meaning, the effect of this cheat is incontrovertible. Placing you in a prime (heh-heh, get it?) position to destroy the game in minutes, it was more of a play around cheat than anything. Though, in the end, that's really what they are for after all. There are other, maybe better codes in the Metroid universe, but this stands alone as a simple, and ultimately effective cheat. Whoever/Whatever Justin Bailey is, we will always remember him/it.

-Sound Test-
Stepping away from the NES for a moment, the second console I had was a Genesis. It was a while before I got one though and as such it was a second-gen (now commonly reffered to as 'slim') system and was packed with Sonic 2. Sonic 2 had an interesting way of letting you cheat, most codes were activated through very specific selections of music and SFX in the sound test menu. To further confuse you, a sound would play to let you know if your code was correct. These cheats were typically stage select, extra lives/items, or even a debug mode. While not overly exciting, it's always fun to fill the level with invincible boxes and tear through any opposition. I mean, it is, right?

-ABACABB (the blood code)-
Anyone who owned a Genesis in it's heyday will likely cite this as one of the major reasons. When Mortal Kombat was released for home consoles, the game rating system was just getting started, and this game was likely a major contributing factor (the rating system from those days labeled MK I and II as "MA-13"). While extraordinarily tame by today's standards, MK in the arcade was like nothing we had seen in those days. Photo-realistic characters, digitized voices, and gruesome finishing moves, or 'Fatalities' made this the must-have game in the early 90s. Unfortunately for SNES owners, the only home version with blood was on the Genesis! And even that was only unlockable with a code! In my mind, this game was ultimately un-playable without such a code. I mean, when you rip a man's spinal cord/heart out, there's gonna be some blood. And if there isn't, is it really that much more family-friendly? (forward, down, forward, high punch baby!)

-Ghost Player-
There were some games which were single player, but relied on the second controller for their cheats. The most notable personally was Mega Man 3. Though I rarely had another person to play with, and even less 2-player games, in those days consoles actually came with a second controller!!!! Can you even imagine it!?!?! MM3's code was terribly simple, but without a second person to hold the appropriate buttons, you had to rely on tape or toes. Neither were particularly reliable, but you work with what you have. Still, I was saved quite a few times knowing I could simply dive into the nearest bottomless pit, only to emerge quite unscathed when the danger had passed. Or having the ability to jump the entire screen's height. While not technically a code by the strictest definition, this cheat helped me quite a bit especially in Gemini Man's stage. Frickin' bottomless pits!


So call me a cheater, call me a wimp, all I know is I had fun playing around with my games. If these things weren't meant to be, why did someone program them in in the first place? Sure challenge is fun, but sometimes you just want to show the game who's boss, and that's when cheating is A-OK! So fire up those emulators or dust off that old machine and cheat up a storm, breaking the rules is fine because the name of the game is FUN! and that's all that really matters. Now what to do with this infinite gold? HMMMM.....
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Tyndras
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« Reply #93 on: October 16, 2010, 09:05:15 AM »

No one mentioned Galaga?
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« Reply #94 on: October 16, 2010, 11:40:20 AM »

Probably because the more classic Galaxian was mentioned once or twice. I didn't bring it up because I didn't really play shmups as a kid, though I played a bit of Galaga.
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« Reply #95 on: October 16, 2010, 06:21:56 PM »

have you guys ever played crystal quest? I really like that game, and it actually has an editor where you can alter the look of everything in the game. (i playit on my dad's 1980's computer)

Here is a random screen shot i found.
http://www.blamethecontrolpad.com/gbshooters/CrystalQuest/Crystal-Quest.jpg
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« Reply #96 on: October 17, 2010, 01:09:59 AM »

My earliest gaming memories are of playing the Amstrad CPC6128 port of Gauntlet with my mum, circa 1988; that machine stayed in my parents household for close to a decade, largely out of nostalgia (it's hard to throw out the machine you learned BASIC on), partially out of my demented and ultimately doomed determination to get it working with a jury-rigged tape drive (the 6128 had an internal 3" floppy drive, but there wasn't any particular hardware or software reason it couldn't be made to work with external drives, and we did have all those old 464 cassettes lying around...never did gt it working, though).

This meant that many of my formative gaming experiences were with titles I regarded as "classic" but which no other bugger had so much as heard of (Space Frogger? Roland In Time? Escape From WACCI? Yeah, thought so). The thing is, this was when home PCs were either glorified electric typewriters or hobby projects; commercial games for the platform were rare, and hard to get, so the majority of the games I cut my teeth on were freebies distributed with magazines - sometimes authors would straight-up publish the code for their new games, so if you wanted to play it, you'd type it all out from the magazine and save it to one of Amstrad's absurd proprietary discs.

It wasn't until 1992, when I got a Game Gear for Christmas, that I started getting into more mainstream stuff, and discovered some abiding favourites. The ol' GG gets a lot of stick, and not without reason; it was fucking enormous, chewed through six AAs a week, was prone to breaking, and had a back-catalogue comprised largely of shitty Master System ports and even shittier Mega Drive scale-downs. But there were some real gems on there. Both GG Shinobi games, but especially the second one, The Silent Fury, are absolute fucking diamonds. The two Streets Of Rage ports SEGA squeezed onto the thing were extraordinary. I still believe its Ninja Gaiden port shits mightily on the original - it's certainly a damn sight harder - and that its Batman Returns tie-in game was absolutely the best game licensed from the character right up until Arkham Asylum.

Of course, it was around this time that other kids started getting SNESes and Mega Drives and the like, so stuff like Street Fighter II and Turtles In Time started getting into my life around then, too.
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« Reply #97 on: October 17, 2010, 07:53:45 AM »

That's pretty cool Toom, you have a pretty unique start to your gaming experience. I was always impressed with the Game Gear, but never had one. A friend had it but only a couple games, I remember Sonic and Columns? (the gem, puzzle game).

If we're talking intro to gaming, like earliest memories and all....let's see.

I may be wrong, but the first game I believe I played was Wolfenstein 3D. Yeah, at like 10 or something?  Shocked  That seems wrong, but the only other thing I can remember from back then was my aunt coming home with an NES, it was still pretty new at the time. Didn't even come with Mario yet, she bought Renegade!

So it was definitely one of the two that were my first games, either way I was violently introduced to gaming at a very young age. (also watched Tales From the Crypt and Nightmare on Elm Street Grin) I believe I am a living contradiction to the theory of violent games breeding violence in children, I never tortured animals, never got in a single fight, had night terrors or anything. But, I have developed anti-social tendencies pretty hard, so there is that.
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« Reply #98 on: October 19, 2010, 11:54:26 PM »

Sonic Chaos is still probably my favourite Sonic title, come to think of it; the first of two GG-exclusive Sonic titles, and about the only really successful shake-up of the classic formula I've played (Sonic 4 can eat a bag of dicks).

The thing about the Game Gear as a portable console was that it was, well, huge, and consumed batteries at an alarming rate; the first generation ones didn't get much more than five hours of charge out of six AAs. Mine was plugged into the charger most of the time and basically never left the house. I kind of wish I'd kept mine now - it'd be an interesting project to disassemble one and try to make it smaller. Even hacking in a rechargeable battery pack'd be an improvement.
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