suck it zeke
~zvalkyr - 07:43pm 04/23/12
JERK DIDN'T TITLE THIS.
~Spoony Spoonicus - 07:45pm 06/22/11
JERK DIDN'T TITLE THIS.
~Spoony Spoonicus - 07:44pm 06/22/11
shittle 3814 & shittle 5071
~vinic - 11:53pm 05/31/11
Spoony Spoonicus made me do this.
~Dudley - 11:24pm 12/14/10
Superman vs. the Terminator #2 Review
~Zero_Diamond - 05:57pm 01/03/13
Let's Play EarthBound Dog Bat, Part 1
~Spoony Spoonicus - 01:24pm 05/29/12
Let's Play Suikoden II, Part 9: Unite the Clans
~Spoony Spoonicus - 01:43pm 05/28/12
Diablo 3 review
~Spoony Spoonicus - 08:34pm 05/21/12
Star Control 2 (GOG.com)
~Spoony Spoonicus - 01:34am 05/20/12
Longest sequel gaps
~Spoony Spoonicus - 12:25pm 03/28/12
Spoony's Video Game Junk (for sale)
~Spoony Spoonicus - 07:07pm 06/16/11
Radio Transmission #1
~Buddy Hatchett - 02:54pm 08/07/10
Viewtiful Gonterman: The Return + Bonus MSTron mirror!
~Spoony Spoonicus - 11:34pm 05/28/10
A letter I sent to Chase Bank
~Spoony Spoonicus - 04:43pm 05/03/10
~George Foreman - 02:43pm 02/26/10 (02:39pm 02/26/10)
~George Foreman - 11:15pm 06/13/11 (11:13pm 06/13/11)
The Top Ten WORST RPG Cliches
~Spoony Spoonicus - 12:47am 02/27/10 (12:44am 02/27/10)
My Top 30 Favorite Games
~Spoony Spoonicus - 12:16am 07/14/10 (12:06am 07/14/10)
Super Rare Games
~Spoony Spoonicus - 05:11pm 03/10/10 (05:11pm 03/10/10)
the haul § dig it, we look rad as hell now.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:08am 10/05/12 (12:14am 11/26/11) in 2h22m14s § 3422 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
after 1 bombings:
2011 again brought us a lot of solid releases. It's just a shame that we had to wait until the fourth week of November to play most of them. Seriously, almost every quality release this year was pushed back again and again until 75% of them all fell into November 22 or thereabouts. It's not like we wanted anything fun to play over the summer, guys!
With that complaint out of the way, let's dig into my ten thirteen favorites.
Oh, and I've taken the liberty of playing every single game released on all formats in 2011 just to spare you the trouble of telling me I missed one. No need to thank me.
10. Saints Row: The Third
Another surprise hit for me, largely because I think GTA is one of the most overrated, boring shlockfests of a series out there. However, Saints Row makes so many improvements to the formula that it's impossible not to enjoy even if you usually hate open-world games. The action is over-the-top, the humor is genuinely funny, there are tons of options to upgrade your character and expand the gameplay and the controls and physics are tight and have surprisingly few bugs. Hell, even the side-missions are fun - from riding flaming dune buggies and crashing into stuff to insurance fraud (bouncing yourself off cars for money) to enormous shootouts with gangs and cops alike, it's all just a blast to play. Definite props to Volition.
9. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
After a long absence from the gaming scene, due in no small part to the lukewarm reception of Invisible War and Eidos being bought out by Square Enix, hope for a worthy successor to the Deus Ex line became slimmer and slimmer. Fortunately, however, this game breaks the mold in two ways - not only is a worthwhile followup to the first game, incorporating its stealth elements, choice-based gameplay and intricate character customization system to great effect, it's also a very well-written prequel that segues into the other two games quite well. Even better yet, it manages to incorporate cover-based shooting and regenerating health in a way that doesn't make me cringe, largely because you can't just hide behind a box and regenerate all your health in two seconds flat - if you take a hit, you're going to be feeling it for at least a minute or two.
Overall, it does get a bit drawn-out and repetitive, and it feels very rushed in some respects (especially near the end), but it definitely captures the feel of Deus Ex, and that is no bad thing.
8. Portal 2
A followup to the Orange Box's sleeper hit, Portal 2 continues where the first game picked off, offering new puzzles, tons of new mechanics, and of course, some of the damn funniest dialog ever put into a video game (in no small part due to the contribution of Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw, formerly of Old Man Murray fame). The real draw is the two player co-op, though, which adds an entirely new degree of challenge and depth to the gameplay. I hear there's even a level editor in the works for the future, so we'll have plenty of replay value then as well. But for now, a solid choice for #8 on my list.
Atlus takes a break from ultra-hard console RPGs for a bit to bring us something different - an ultra-hard action puzzle game. The concept is simple enough - push and pull blocks to climb your way up to the top of a tower and escape the level - but it quickly becomes a very challenging experience once you start encountering ice blocks, black holes, spike blocks, enemy sheep that try to knock you off the stage, and, of course, giant boss characters trying to murder you every step of the way. Fortunately, the game is pretty generous with lives and giving you pointers on how to traverse the tougher obstacles, so it never becomes hellishly frustrating - it'll annoy you, sure, but only just enough that you want to keep playing until you've conquered the stage.
Definite props for the storytelling in the game as well. Yes, it incorporates all of the M-rated usuals - bloody violence, profanity, nudity and even sex - but all of it is handled with maturity and respect. Every bit of it is there for a reason, with none of it simply being thrown in for shock value or a crass joke. I do believe a few others in the industry could take a lesson from that (cough EPICGAMES cough EA cough cough BIOWARE).
6. Batman: Arkham City
I don't think there's any doubt that Batman: Arkham Asylum was a game that perfectly captured the feel of Batman with its combination of detective work, stealth sections and, of course, a combat system that allows you to elegantly take on groups of twenty or more enemies and look damn awesome doing it. Its outstanding visuals. voicework and writing certainly didn't hurt either. Arkham City only builds upon that same formula, giving you a much larger game environment to explore, lots of new gadgets and combat moves to play with, and refined mechanics that make everything great about the original even more fun to play. Not much else to say, it's just pure fun in the dark and twisted world of Batman.
5. Super Mario 3D Land
While the previous 3D Mario games were all excellent in their own right, they just lacked the, erm, "Mario" element. Super Mario 3D Land finally addresses this bizarre gap and creates a 3D Mario game that feels like a Mario game, bringing back breakable bricks, question blocks, hidden secrets and yes, even airship levels, boss battles and flagpole-jumping. It's also among the first games for the system that actually puts the 3D gimmick to good use, allowing for much easier distance judgment in the platforming. Simple to learn, yet well-designed and genuinely fun, it's the new Mario title we've been waiting for.
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Another series I've always felt was massively overrated - sure, the worlds are enormous and feature an incredible amount of background lore and attention to detail, but the stories and characters were always unbelievably bland and the gameplay was extremely simple and uninvolving. Well, I'm glad to report that Skyrim finally acknowledges the series' glaring flaws. Combat is now intense, brutal and strategic, pitting you against everything from bandits and wolves to towering giants, mammoths and dragons. The story is well-written with several memorable characters and even multiple story paths to take, giving the game some extra replay value. But most of all, you actually feel like you're interacting with a living, breathing game world - you can gather materials to craft weapons and armor, you can take on all sorts of interesting side-quests (including the requisite Vampire and Werewolf plot threads), you can go exploring in any of the dozens of dungeons (all of which are interesting in their scenery and design)... hell, you can even just do mundane jobs like chopping firewood and mining ore if that's really your thing. For the first time, an Elder Scrolls game feels truly vast and substantive, and I salute Bethesda for it.
3. Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3
There was a fair bit of outrage at Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3's announcement - MvC3 had only been out for a few months, after all, and now they had the gall to release an improved version before the year was out?! But as more details broke, we began to grow more and more convinced that this $40 upgrade would definitely be worth the asking price. With twelve new characters, a massive rebalancing to the rest of the cast, new game modes*, new stages, new mechanics (including some tweaks to the aerial juggle that allow you to subtract a Super Meter from your opponent or add one to your own supply) and a ton of new DLC costumes (and all existing DLC from the original version carrying over to this one), people's complaints quickly vanished. Rightfully so, as UMvC3 is one of the most intense and enjoyable fighting game experiences I've ever had. I've had a ton of fun pitting Phoenix Wright, Strider and Rocket Raccoon against all comers for days now.
PS: Get Mega Man and Captain Commando back in there as DLC! As for the Marvel side... I don't know, Rogue and Daredevil? Yeah, that sounds good.
*Sadly, Heroes and Heralds mode was not included on the disc due to time constraints. It was added in a patch in December, though.
2. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Zelda returns to consoles with a vengeance after two mediocre DS outings, and the result is excellent. Keeping the core dungeon-crawling and puzzle solving that made the series great, it also makes effective use of the Wii Motion Plus for combat, adding a new degree of strategy and timing to battles with even mundane enemies. Perhaps even more fun, though, is the new item upgrade system, which allows for some creative new upgrades to the usual Zelda inventory (like a spray of bullets from each firing of the Slingshot). Hell, even the plot is pretty damn good, with a sense of cohesion and urgency that has you constantly wanting to skip the sidequests to see what the big bad and Zelda are up to now. Who says this franchise never innovates? Not I, good sirs. Not I.
1. Tactics Ogre
Another PS1 gem getting the update for the Playstation Portable, Tactics Ogre is perhaps the finest turn-based strategy RPG I've ever had the pleasure of playing. The story is well written with its numerous characters and morally ambiguous choices and even incorporates multiple story paths and endings, which gives it some considerable replay value. Battles are large-scale and intense, often incorporating twenty or more units at a time on one single screen. The game is also extremely challenging, requiring a fair bit of grinding between story stages just to get you on par with your foes - if you're even a level or two behind, you're probably going to get wrecked. Thankfully, leveling is expedited by having classes level up as a group - if you raise your Warrior to level thirteen, any new Warriors you recruit will also be level thirteen, for example. However, this also means that new classes you unlock will begin at Level 1, and you'll have to spend a lot of time and effort getting them up to speed with the rest of your party.
Aside from a few annoying aspects, Tactics Ogre is a game well worthy of your time, and serves as a great example of what Quest was capable of before they got stuck creating mediocre Final Fantasy Tactics Advance games for the rest of time. A fine sending-off for the old PSP.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 11:31am 10/02/11 (07:46pm 10/01/11) in 2h2m22s § 4110 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
Dural (Virtua Fighter)
The long-recurring boss of the Virtua Fighter series, and for good reason, as she's extremely tough to beat. Not only does she borrow moves from every other fighter in the game, she is also extremely good at countering your attacks, whether by grabbing you in mid-animation and tossing you for heavy damage, or by evading your attack, popping you into the air and then juggling you across the arena for most (if not all) of your health bar. Fortunately, Sega seemed to recognize her near-invincibility and she generally just appears as a bonus game of sorts - whether or not you actually defeat her, you'll complete the game and log your high score as normal.
Karai (TMNT Tournament Fighters SNES)
A relatively unknown character at the time of her appearance, as most fans of this game were probably those who watched the cartoon show and probably had little (if any) knowledge of the original comics. Nevertheless, Karai was a fierce boss character, being extremely agile and aggressive with a variety of throws and a flying machine-gun punch that did a ton of damage (and if blocked, would only allow her to build up her super meter faster to unleash her ultimate attack). Like a lot of SNK bosses, the trick was usually just to find one or two effective attacks with each character and use them repeatedly, as her AI wasn't really very good at evading attacks, just being really fast and aggressive.
Gill (Street Fighter III)
Capcom was definitely aiming to show off the graphical abilities of their CPS3 system with Street Fighter III, most prominently with their boss character Gill who, unlike most Street Fighter characters before him, did not utilize any form of sprite mirroring (which they displayed by giving each side of his body a different color, and having his attacks differ slightly according to which side was currently facing the screen). They also made sure you'd be seeing a lot of this guy by making him one of the cheapest bosses the series ever spawned - his height gives most of his attacks a very long reach, his projectiles all hit twice (so they will cancel out any projectiles you attempt to use and still hit you), all of his attacks do chip damage even if you block them, and his super moves are extremely powerful - enough to whittle away upwards of 50% of your health bar each. Oh, and if you defeat him while his super meter is full, he'll restore himself to full health and continue the fight as if nothing happened. Fortunately, he can only do this once per round, and if you hit him whilst the animation is playing, he will only gain part of his health back rather than all of it. Still, this is a tricky thing to do, as he will repel projectiles and push you back as the animation plays.
Flanders (Simpsons Wrestling)
An abismal game that attempted to combine the Simpsons with wrestling. I'm not sure where that idea came from, as I don't recall wrestling featuring prominently in any episodes of the show, but whatever, they did it. And boy, did they have absolutely no regard for character balance in doing so. Flanders not only has a homing projectile attack as one of his basic moves, but he also has an extremely powerful attack that allows him to summon homing lightning strikes (which is the strongest attack in the game and, if he goes for a pin whilst the move is in action, the opponent cannot escape). Worst of all, though, is that like Gill, once per round he can immediately revive himself to full health once his life bar is depleted, so you have to defeat him and his cheap attacks TWICE before you actually win. Yeah, not fun.
Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat II)
Perhaps in response to complaints that the AI was fairly lacking in the original game, Midway ramped it up to obscene levels in Mortal Kombat II, literally having opponents react to your every move with their strongest counter moves and often do things the player couldn't do themselves (like walking through sweep kicks to throw you for major damage). Shao Kahn was probably the shining example, however, as all of his attacks would take off at least a fifth of your health meter, and he had enough speed and priority to ensure that you'd rarely, if ever, get a hit in on him without getting hit yourself. Try a fireball? He'll toss a spear. Jump kick? He'll charge into you or uppercut you for massive damage. Block one of his attacks? You'll stumble backwards for a good second, allowing him to close in and land another free hit. Once again, your best chance here was to take advantage of his aggressive AI and pick out characters that can easily exploit it - using Kitana's fan lift or Baraka's slash attack repeatedly would usually cause him to walk or dash straight into it. Even then, though, he'd catch on after being hit a few times in a row with it, so you'd still need to mix up your attacks and have a fair amount of luck on your side to pull through.
(Fast forward to 0:40)
Magneto (X-Men: Children of the Atom)
Another game infamous for the difficulty of its AI and the cheapness of its boss characters - Juggernaut, who can inflict tons of damage with each hit and can rip out an I-Beam from the background that greatly extends his attack range, and of course Magneto, who is not only fast, but can fly about the arena, fire vertical beams at you from the entire height distance of the arena (and will often do so for entire rounds), and unleash two brutally powerful super moves. First is his Magnetic Shockwave, which can take off well over half of your health bar and can't really be avoided (unless you're somehow lucky enough to get behind him before he fires it), and second is his magnetic barrier, which makes him completely immune to attack for roughly ten seconds. Yeah, no joke. He literally becomes invincible and all you can do is try to block or evade his attacks until it wears off, or try to whittle it down a bit faster with attacks (not a wise move as he can still attack you while you're doing this!). But best of all, he constantly regenerates his super bar without even having to land attacks.
(Fast forward to 2:40)
Sagat (Street Fighter)
Before the concept of "serious tournament fighters" and by extension "character balance" came around, there was the original Street Fighter, which is largely remembered for having some of the most sluggish and unresponsive controls ever, and being incredibly difficult as a result. More difficulty arose from the fact that many of the opponents you faced had far quicker attack animations than you did, and dealt far more damage than your character could. This is no more evident than with the game's final boss, Sagat, who utilizes fireballs that can take off a huge chunk of your health bar, and an uppercut attack to punish any close-quarters combat with an instant loss of 75% (or sometimes ALL) of your health meter. Needless to say, you could burn through an entire pocketful of quarters in mere minutes when facing off with this guy. Pretty much your only shot of victory here was to master the nuances of the clumsy controls and use your similarly overpowered special moves.
Magaki (King of Fighters XI)
SNK fighters have always been notorious for featuring extremely cheap and tough bosses, but Magaki is a strong contender for the cheapest of them all. His primary strategy is, quite literally, to flood the screen with projectiles, whether they come from in front of him, above you, or even appearing BEHIND your character and flying towards him. Even better yet, he likes to generate explosions around himself, making it very difficult to land hits without being hit yourself (and getting hit will send you flying all the way across the screen and back into that huge shitstorm of fireballs he creates), and being a boss character he hardly takes any damage from your attacks.
I think this video sums him up nicely:
Rugal / Omega Rugal (King of Fighters series)
Possibly the most iconic villain of the series, he's also one of the damn hardest fights in video game history. When you first face him, he's already quite tough, with his long reach, powerful attacks, and ability to predict most of your moves. Once you've beaten him, however, he really pulls out all the stops and becomes a cheapskate. He'll generally just stay on one side of the screen, tossing fireballs in your direction (and occasionally a huge fireball that does a boatload of damage if you don't dodge it), waiting for you to try and close the distance so he can nail you with his Genocide Cutter, a speedy, powerful attack that takes up a large portion of the screen and has priority over almost every other move in the game. It's no surprise that a commonly-employed strategy against him is to simply land a few hits on him with a super move, then hang back and dodge his projectiles until the clock runs out and you win by having higher health.
But oh, it gets better. He returns in the sequel with another cheap move in his repertoire - the ability to create a shield that reflects projectiles, making those all but useless against him as well. But even better than that, he gets even stronger moves in the Dream Match games (super speed and electric barrier attacks) and Capcom vs SNK 2 (wherein he borrows some of Akuma's moves, such as his teleport and Raging Demon). Yeah, he's a nightmare that just gets worse in every game he appears in.
(fast forward to about 4:30)
Akuma (Super Street Fighter II Turbo)
Capcom definitely took a page from the Mortal Kombat and SNK camps when they made the US version of Super Turbo, ramping the AI difficulty up to obscene levels. But even if you somehow managed to master the game, outwit the AI, and get to the final boss on a single credit, you got to face the ultimate cheap boss character of the time, Akuma. With the ability to throw two projectiles at once, a very broken air fireball, teleporting ability, and doing a ton of damage with all of his normal attacks, he is literally impossible to beat with most characters, and the few that can still have a hell of a time doing it.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 10:40pm 08/22/11 (07:39pm 08/15/11) in 1h1m52s § 2768 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
10. Flying Warriors: Introduction
Kinda below-average side-scrolling beat-em-up, but the music sure as hell made you want to play it anyway. Or watch Superman.
9. Blaster Master: Forest (Level 1)
One of the most infamously long and difficult NES games, but you sure as hell wanted to play it after that awesome intro sequence played and this song accompanied it. Sunsoft were definitely in their element musically.
8. Battletoads: Introduction
Say what you will about Rare's games - occasionally crappy (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Nightmare on Elm Street) and always frustratingly hard, but they always had damn good music. Battletoads was one of their highest points both musically and in terms of colossal challenge to overcome.
7. Ducktales - Moon Base
Capcom did licensed property games right, and Ducktales is probably the prime example. Not only is it a fun game to play, but the soundtrack is superb - I don't think there's a single NES owner out there that doesn't remember and love the Moon Base theme.
6. Shadowgate: Main theme
Not only a part of the very well-crafted Icom adventure game trilogy, but it also featured some very atmospheric music that only added to the creepiness of the game. The first tune you hear has to be my favorite though.
5. Ninja Gaiden II: Level 2-2
The second of the notoriously tough NES trilogy, and probably also my favorite, providing a much more fair challenge rather than relying on cheap shots and enemies swarming you constantly. The kick-ass musical score certainly helped it too, and this song in particular is one of the most memorable I've ever heard.
4. TMNT3: Scene 2 (Surf stage)
Not only one of the best stages the NES had to offer - iconic of all things TMNT and lovable early 90s action-cheese - but it had a damn memorable music track to go with it.
3. Maniac Mansion: Fat Patty - The Boys are Still Back (Dave's theme)
Lucasarts sure as hell knew what they were doing in the sound design department, and Maniac Mansion is proof enough of that, pushing the NES' sound chip to its limits and creating some truly amazing (and surprisingly realistic) guitar themes. It's just a pity that they cancelled their planned port of Zak McCracken - we could have gotten some even better tunes than this one.
2. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - The Beginning
Castlevania II is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it game in the franchise. However, Konami went back to form with Castlevania III, adding in numerous gameplay tweaks, new characters, and one of the best 8-bit soundtracks ever composed for good measure, even including an extra sound chip in the Famicom cart just to make it sound that much better. Sadly, the NES wasn't able to support extra sound chips, so we got a slightly downgraded (but still awesome) version.
1. Mega Man 2 - Metal Man
My favorite Mega Man game of all time, and the music had a lot to do with that. Once you heard Metal Man's iconic theme, every other NES tune you'd heard up to that point took a step down in comparison, and nothing that followed could possibly hope to match it. Long live Metal Man!
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 08:49pm 01/03/12 (10:46pm 03/28/11) in 1h10m57s § 2440 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
Well, the 3DS is out, and Nintendo's apparently looking to make this their new handheld platform. So unless it flops horribly before the year is over, the old DS systems will probably be phased out in the next year or two. At any rate, this list is a special request from Vinic, and I've got a few games I'd like to highlight anyway, so away we go!
10. Disgaea DS
While a downgrade graphically from the PS2 version and lacking most of the voice clips, the added content is the real star of the show with this edition of Disgaea, adding in numerous new maps, four new bosses, and even four new playable characters, as well as a two-player competitive mode. It's a game that managed to keep me addicted for well over 200 hours as I strived to power up my characters and defeat the ultimate hidden level 9999 uberboss, so even with its downsides, it still has plenty of staying power.
9. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
It's funny - usually these Metroidvania games tend to bore me straight to sleep with their tedious, predictable progression, but Aria and Dawn of Sorrow were two fantastic, addictive games with dynamite visuals and a soundtrack that was leagues beyond any other I'd heard in a handheld system up to that point. The only weakness here is that you pretty much need to have played Aria to fully appreciate this one - it's one of the few direct sequels in the Castlevania franchise. But other than that, a damn solid game.
8. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
The series may have worn out its welcome after five games and tons of recycled plot elements, but the first one shall always be a classic in my book. With some truly inventive puzzle solving, a great high-stakes storyline and an excellent sense of humor, it's a fun game to play through. Shame that it suffers from the achilles heel of the adventure genre and has so little replay value.
7. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
Something of a return to form for the Shin Megami Tensei series after its numerous excursions into the territory of school sim (Persona), turn-based strategy (Devil Survivor) and watered-down horse shit (Digital Devil Saga), Strange Journey is a tough-as-nails dungeon crawl that requires a lot of time invested to collect necessary items, map out dungeon floors, and complete all the side-quests (which, as you'll quickly learn, give items and equipment that are absolutely necessary to overcome certain bosses). Thankfully, it's not entirely unforgiving - you can share passwords with friends (or the Internet) to pass around copies of your various demons, which can be a significant edge if you just can't overcome that annoying boss even with the best equipment and monsters you can scavenge.
6. Contra 4
Another return to form for a respected franchise, Contra 4 leaves all of its Playstation incarnations in the dust and returns to what brought it greatness to begin with - running, jumping, shooting, and carefully timed dodging waves of enemies and enormous superbosses. The game even includes minor tributes to the older games - many bosses return with new twists (such as the "enemy base" boss from the first stage of Contra erupting into a monstrosity with massive firepower that towers into both screens), and even features unlockable characters from past games. It's a solid formula that's done well yet again here.
5. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
Phoenix Wright may have helped to kick off a revival of the adventure genre, but let's face it - after five games of the same plot twists over and over again, it began to wear out its welcome and become a bit dull. But it's thanks to it, at least in part, that we have games like Sam and Max, Back to the Future and now 999, so there is a silver lining after all.
Anyhow, 999 is far and away my favorite of the genre in recent years. While very dialog-heavy, it does feature numerous paths, puzzles that are challenging but rarely nonintuitive, an extremely well written story and cast of characters, and even six different endings to see, giving it some considerable replay value. Even better, dialog you've already viewed can be fast-fowarded through on multiple playthroughs, so you don't have to suffer through gigantic text blocks you've already seen on your quest to get the best possible ending.
I could talk about the plot, but I think the less you know going in, the more fun you'll have in the long run. So pick it up and give it a play - it won't disappoint.
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
While not the franchise's first forway into the realm of strategy RPGs, it is probably their best. The game is actually a bit of a combination of a turn-based RPG and a strategy RPG - units are actually composed of 1-3 small "teams" of humans and demons, and choosing to attack results in a combat round between both sides (and those that strike an enemy's weak point get an extra turn immediately after to inflict more damage). Between attacks, units can also move about, heal one another, or use their demons' skills to do things like recover status aliments or summon in new demons to replace fallen ones.
Of course, as is the norm for SMT, the game is also insanely difficult. Almost right away, enemies begin attacking you at range (which means they get a turn in, but you don't unless you have a certain skill equipped), debilitating you with status effects, and the bosses are utterly ruthless. Hell, the very first boss has a move that inflicts damage to your entire party regardless of their location on the field AND restores his own HP, and can only be damaged by one very specific attack that only your main character can use - if he dies, it's game over immediately. Did I also mention that he's backed by numerous groups containing ranged attackers, and if you eliminate all of them, he'll just summon more?
Thankfully, the game does give you maps where you can fight enemy groups as many times as you wish and retreat at any time, which gives you plenty of chances to level up and earn new skills, so you're never left in a no-win situation. Still, you'd best come into each fight with a plan of attack and an eye for the best and most valuable skills you can attain from enemies (hint: anything that restores MP is absolutely mandatory). It's a massive challenge, but a very rewarding one.
3. The World Ends With You
A very unique take on JRPGs, to say the least. Combat is almost entirely optional, battles take place in real-time with the action constantly juggling between two characters (on the top and bottom screens), you're granted new attacks via pins, and fashion trends actually factor into battle by giving you statistic bonuses. Pair that up with a unique storyline, a fresh visual style and a great soundtrack, and you've got one hell of a game.
The most amazing thing about this title, though? It's a collaborative effort between Jupiter and Square-Enix.
2. Advance Wars: Dual Strike
The biggest and best Advance Wars to date. New units, every character from both of the previous games along with several new ones, swapping COs in mid-battle to mix up strategy even further, the same ever-addictive multiplayer, and of course several new features to complement the DS system (two-front battles!). It's hard to argue with an addictive franchise like this. Just a pity that Days of Ruin ended up being a step backward on almost every front.
1. Bangai-o Spirits
Treasure at their best - truly insane, over the top gameplay laden with hundreds of explosions. It lacks the comical over-the-top storyline of its predecessor, but it's hard to complain when the gameplay has been stepped up in every weay. There are over 160 stages to tackle, and numerous options for weapons and strategies to tackle them with - homing missiles, bouncing shots, shields to block bullets from a single direction, a special attack that reflects all enemy missiles on the screen, and my personal favorite, the giant baseball bat that sends enemies bouncing around the level (and damaging anything they collide with). But the real draw here is the stage creator, which allows you to create and download new stages via a sound-based system (no Nintendo Wi-Fi connection required). Aside from some occasional slowdown (and even stopping the whole game for several seconds during really huge attacks), it's one hell of a good time.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:55am 03/25/11 (02:18am 03/25/11) in 37m59s § 3704 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
"The Switcher" is the mind responsible for countless "Stupidity" videos, compiling the silliest, funniest and just plain dumbest moments of old cartoons (generally those based on video games), occasionally mixing in sound effects for extra humor, as well as slow-mo and replay to highlight especially dumb moments and animation mistakes. They're quite funny, actually, and you can check them out on his Youtube channel.
(His original YT account was removed due to some bullshit copyright claim from Disney, but he's reuploading his old videos sporadically, so check back often!)
Anyway, his other project is "Two Best Friends Play", where he and his buddy play and comment on various games, usually heaping on tons of profanity and verbal abuse toward one another. It is also quite funny due to its relatability - I think anyone who grew up playing games with their friends has had more than a few conversations like this.
But enough of that. You're here for the quotes. Check em out, and then go watch the episodes on Youtube and have a few laughs. (You can find them all under "Favorites" on his channel.)
"Man... fuck this! I'm not playing this anymore. I'm not playing it. No. No. Fuck it. Fuck you."
"So would you want to help chip in so I can buy the full version?"
"Sweet, now that zombie is Blanka."
(Hits zombie with a golf club)
"See you at EVO, fucker!"
"You ready to kill some giant ants?"
"Insects will be killed."
"What about some robots?"
"I can handle robots!"
(Godzilla monster appears)
"What the fuck is that?!"
(Engulfed in flames)
(Both) "What the FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!"
"You're telling me that if I play this guy money, he can make a baby SO STRONG that I can throw it through a brick wall?!"
"That's worth five dollars."
"That's worth a HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars!"
(Driving in circles)
"This motion blur is making me sick. Stop it. STOP IT! (Retching) "You keep doing that, I'm going to fucking throw up in your fucking face!"
"Look, you have two options here, and neither of them are throwing up!"
"Where's the most valuable thing in your fucking house?!"
"Murder is the solution to every problem in an Ubisoft game. You ever play 'Imagine: Babies'? The solution to that... is murder."
"What would YOU say if you were infected with the zombie thing, and you were like "Hey Dad, Save me!" and your dad was like "Sorry honey, I have to go put on these Groucho Marx novelty glasses, and these cutoffs, and go play Golf." Would you be like "Oh, dude, Dad, you're so awesome"?!"
"Okay, dude. I know I blew up, and I'm sorry. ...Are you still coloring this? Are you SERIOUS?! You've been coloring the whole time I've been gone?"
"But it's fun!"
"What is wrong with you?! You're... you're like the worst person I've ever known in my entire life! God, I hate you so... we're no longer friends."
(Cheery Kirby music plays)
"There are a lot of valid arguments about video games being art!"
"Really? Oh yeah? So... what do the giant UFOs shitting out bugs symbolize?"
"Oh, right in that lady's mouth!"
"Yo, why are you teabagging that lady as a baby? OH, SHE DROPPED YOU! OH!"
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:09am 10/05/12 (02:08am 01/01/11) in 31m37s § 2769 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
What better way to start a new year than by talking about the previous one?
10. Tatsunoko vs Capcom
It's been way too long since we've had one of these delightful over-the-top fighting games, and TvC fits the bill quite nicely, incorporating tons of Capcom characters (both familiar and obscure) and the entire gamut of Tatsunoko heroes and villains, as well as some fun new mechanics and even "giant" characters who, while extremely powerful and difficult to stun, have the disadvantage of not being able to select a partner. The online play even works quite well, and has the nifty feature of punishing frequent match-droppers by pitting them against other frequent match-droppers until they learn to knock that shit off.
9. Dead Rising 2
A substantial improvement over the original game in just about every way, providing a larger game environment, boss battles that don't border on impossible, tighter controls and, of course, the ability to combine items together into hilarious, deadly contraptions (Boat oar + Chainsaw being my favorite). Perhaps the greatest improvmeent, tholugh, is the online mult8iplayer function, which allows two players to co-op their way through the story mode or up to four to compete for cash in a collection of minigames (which transfers over to your single-player save - very handy way to save up for the ultra-expensive car keys). It's silly, zombie-killing fun at its best.
8. Persona 3 Portable
Each iteration of this game just gets better, and P3P is thankfully no exception. Being able to control every party member, rather than just the main, is a welcome feature, and the game also has the option to play as a female main character (which changes numerous events through the story). A lot of the animation had to be trimmed to fit the game on a UMD, but still, it's pretty damn impressive that they got the whole thing on there (complete with voice acting). The only downside? They didn't have enough room for the "Answer" chapter from FES.
7. Super Mario Galaxy 2
There's no doubt that Super Mario Galaxy is a masterpiece - easily one of the defining games of the Wii, and a fine example of Nintendo's undying creativity. Mario Galaxy 2 probably won't be remembered in quite the same light, largely because it feels like a mission pack for the original game rather than a wholly original title. But hey, I was having too much fun to care. The only thing I hated were the damned bird-gliding stages.
6. Ys III: The Oath in Felghana
An action RPG that plays up the "action" part to an amazing degree - you earn more attack bonuses, health powerups and experience points the longer you maintain a single killing spree, and the bosses are fast and intense, at times resembling an overhead shooter or a pattern-dodging Treasure boss. It's a damn good time with an amazing soundtrack, go pick it up today! (Grab Ys Seven and the Chronicles compilation too, while you're at it).
5. Sonic Colors
Yeah, I'd never have guessed that a Sonic game made this year would be GOOD. But I got a pleasant surprises with Sonic Colors. Sega finally listened to the fanbase and did away with all of the things that dragged Sonic down - the camera doesn't get snagged on things constantly, the physics and hit detection are solid, the story and gameplay are simple and intuitive, and best of all - NO MORE FUCKING SHADOW. Actually, no more of any of the superfluous extra characters; the series got back on track by just paring the cast back down to Sonic, Tails, Robotnik, and a slew of minor robots. This is the best Sonic game in fifteen years, bar none.
4. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
An excellent tribute to both the source material and classic games in general, combining solid River City Ransom brawler-RPG hybrid gameplay with a ton of references to other classic titles. Everything from Double Dragon to Sonic to Golden Axe to Mega Man 2 shows up here. The only achilles' heel of this excellent piece of neo-nostalgia? No online co-op!
3. Starcraft II
It took us thirteen years to finally get this sequel, but it was worth the wait. The story is as engaging as ever, the new units are well-balanced and fun to use, and the interface is significantly improved, incorporating useful things like auto-casting and being able to swap between unit types within a groups with a simple button press. Even the campaign is fun and challenging, always keeping you on your toes with weird challenges like a stage where lava floods the whole map every few minutes. I pity the fools who let their PCs collect dust just so they can play crappy Call of Duty games on Xbox Live with 11 year olds.
A surprise hit for me, especially since it immediately drew so many comparisons to Devil May Cry, a series which I never liked in the slightest (nor did I like any of its countless knockoffs, for that matter). Like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the game throws in a few elements from every recent action title. Unlike Lords of Shadow, however, it does all of it well. The gameplay provides a perfect blend of frenetic combat (with very well-designed mechanics that discourage button mashing, greatly lessen cheap hits from enemies and encourage chaining together intricate combos), puzzle solving and gigantic boss battles. Hell, even the challenge stages (something I normally despise in games) were fun - they're tough enough to keep you coming back and trying again, but never so frustrating that you eventually get fed up and quit. Top all that off with a ton of hidden secrets to find and even some surprisingly funny characters, and you have a game I was all too happy to play until I maxed out my Gamerscore on it.
1. Fallout: New Vegas
New Vegas combines the best of both worlds - Fallout 3's fun RPG-with-shooter-elements gameplay with the excellent writing staff that worked on the previous Fallout games. The result is everything a Fallout game should be - an immersive game environment with creative characters and genuinely funny humor. Sure, it doesn't break a lot of new ground for the franchise on any front, but I was having way too much fun to care. Hell, any game I can play for a week solid and never get bored of in the slightest is instant gold in my book.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~SHITTLE § at 10:49pm 07/31/11
IT'S A CLUBBER-FUCK!
~Spoony Spoonicus on 04:28pm 06/29/11 (01:49pm 12/30/10) in 24m33s § 2519 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
Cash-in games are a fact of life when it comes to gaming - as long as there's a popular movie, comic or cartoon series being made somewhere, every company imaginable is going to be fighting for the chance to rush out a video game tie-in for it. But then there are those that go above and beyond - not content to simply make a bare-basics game and watch the cash roll in, these guys permanently cement themselves into notoriety in their quest for a quick dollar. So we're going to take a look at ten that I personally consider the worst of the worst!
10. Wartech - Senko no Ronde (Xbox 360)
Admittedly, I don't think Wartech isn't a bad game - it's actually a fun, if rather simplistic, mashup of an overhead shooter and an arena fighter, and it offers a pretty good challenge in both single and multiplayer modes. That's all fine and good. The problem comes in with the publisher, Ubisoft - rather than releasing it as a cheap download title or a budget disc title, they pushed it out at the system's launch for full price. So thousands of early Xbox 360 buyers plunked down $60 and went home expecting an epic, intricate mech combat game with detailed HD visuals, only to be greeted an overly simple arcade title. A pretty dumb move on Ubisoft's part, but we're just getting started on our bad cashin list.
9. Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game (Arcade/Saturn/PSX)
Tying a game into a critical flop of a movie - which was itself based on a game - wasn't Capcom's best idea. The arcade version in particular got some pretty bad press for its clumsy mechanics and a percieved similarity to Mortal Kombat. This wasn't unfounded, however - the game introduced several palette-swapped ninja characters (who made no appearance in the film or anywhere else in the Street Fighter franchise) and utilized digitized graphics to give all the in-game characters and stages the appearance of their movie counterparts. It was a mess.
The home port of the game fared considerably better, removing the superfluous ninja characters and modeling the gameplay much more closely after Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. Still, with its cheesy digitized graphics and the story mode reminding everyone of the not-so-great film, it left countless players dusting off their old SNES and Genesis copies of Street Fighter II in disgust.
But if nothing else, it can claim to be the very first video game based on a movie based on a video game, and is still one of the only titles in that category to date. In fact, the only other that I'm aware of is Double Dragon for the Neo-Geo, a decent fighter based somewhat on a really shitty movie which was, in turn, based somewhat on a classic arcade brawler. I think that one fared a bit better in the end, though.
8. Dissidia Final Fantasy (PSP)
Combining characters together from various corners of your gaming universe into a giant brawl is a pretty damn good concept - just wrap it around a decent game engine and we can all have endless fun pitting Samus against Link using weaponry from EarthBound. Dissidia tried to emulate its success, but unfortunately the gameplay falls short in just about every way; essentially, it just boils down to a tedious tug-of-war between two characters' "Courage" and "Life" stats. There's no move variety (everybody has exactly four), only one collectible item, and the gameplay difference between characters is minimal at best. Even a well produced story mode complete with full voice acting and some very impressive visuals couldn't save this one from blandness.
Still, it's a much better game than our next entry.
7. Ehrgeiz (PSX)
Ehrgeiz - a collaborative effort between Namco and Squaresoft - was a flop in the arcades for its clumsy controls and uninspired, mash-friendly gameplay. So what turned a flop of an arena fighter into a console success overnight? Quite simple, really - just take a game that was all the rage at the time (Final Fantasy VII), transplant several of the characters into another of your not-so-good games, and watch the cash roll in. Yeah, it wasn't really any of a better a game now that you could play as Cloud, Sephiroth and Tifa (complete with each characters' ending simply being a collage of Final Fantasy VII's cinematics) but we all jumped at the attempt to recreate Cloud and Sephiroth's epic final clash outside of a turn-based environment. Of course, once the novelty of that wore out, we were just stuck with the same boring button-masher that we shunned in the arcades. Oh well, at least we can sell it on eBay and buy something decent; lord knows that's the only thing Square's post-1997 library is good for anymore.
6. Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast)
A poor attempt at cashing in on Mario Party. Oh, it had all the bases covered - essentially it was a board game with a wide variety of minigames, concepts and characters from the Sonic Universe - but somewhere along the way they forgot to make any of it fun. Hell, you couldn't even sucker Sonic fans into buying this turd, even after we suffered through those two sub-par Dreamcast games in a desperate attempt to get our Sonic fix.
5. Jaws (NES)
Based on the worst of the four Jaws films (and that's saying quite a lot), Jaws is a game that could have just as easily been made on the Atari 2600. The gameplay is one-note and monotonous, lacks any degree of challenge (every enemy moves in a slow, methodical pattern that's easily avoided) and, once you know how to power up your weapons, you can beat it in under five minutes. Yes, five minutes. I can only imagine how pissed off gamers in the late 80s were after they finished this turd on the same day they bought it and were just left wondering where their $50 went. This is bad even by LJN standards, and when you consider that this is the same company that created Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, X-Men, Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, the Punisher and Karate Kid, that's also saying a lot.
4. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (PS2/Xbox/GCN)
Rarely has there been a game title more blatantly misleading. The game has little to do with Goldeneye and hardly anything to do with James Bond - hell, the series' titular character only makes a brief appearance in the early chapters of this game. The game is instead centered around a rogue agent named GoldenEye (I see what you did there) interacting with various villains from the Bond universe. Which had potential to be a good concept, but like all good ideas EA produces, it immediately goes to waste due to its uninspired, formulaic gameplay - you just feel like you're retreading the same boring objectives over and over again in each stage.
So, for drawing us in with a misleading title and giving us nothing related to Goldeneye and only a faint relation to James Bond and the series' canon thereof, this one earns EA yet another golden turkey award. But can we find a worse cash-in scheme from the masters of crap before this article is out? I'm pretty sure we can!
3. Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash (VIC-20)
An unofficial "spinoff" of the Ultima series, created, marketed and covertly released by Sierra with absolutely no input from the series' creator, Richard Garriott. In fact, Garriott didn't even find out about its existence until many years later. Yeah, that's pretty bad. But there was some solace to be found in the fact that so few people got suckered into buying this one on name recognition - in fact, it's now one of the rarest video games in existence simply because almost nobody knew of it at the time of its release.
2. Wing Commander Arena (XBLA)
Any PC gamer in the 90s will tell you that Wing Commander was about as good as it got in terms of spaceship combat games. Not only were they a blast to play, they had a very well-written storyline, complete with a huge production budget and tons of high profile actors for the in-game cutscenes, which singlehandedly put the entire FMV fad of the mid-90s to shame. In short, they were everything that mediocre shlockfests like Mass Effect and Project Sylpheed desperately wish they could be.
So we were all pretty crushed when Origin was bought out by EA and the Wing Commander franchise was one of the first things to go down the tubes. But of course, when EA fucks something up, they like to go the extra mile and make sure nobody has any good memories of that particular franchise ever again. Case in point, Wing Commander was resurrected on Xbox Live Arcade, but not as a well-written space epic. Nope, this is a strictly average dogfight game centered around the same multiplayer modes you've seen in every first person shooter ever made - a disappointment so palpable that the online game lobbies have sat completely empty for the last two years. Take that nostalgic blood money and run EA, we all know you're good at it!
1. Chaos Wars (PS2)
A strategy RPG that mashes together Growlanser, Spectral Force, Gungrave, Shadow Hearts and other acclaimed game series... in a disastrous combination of sluggish gameplay, excessively long and extremely frequent load times, bad graphics and some of the worst voice acting you'll ever hear (this stuff is seriously Sega CD quality). I couldn't even stand to slog my way past the first two or three battles - it's that bad! Oh, and even better is the fact that it was a Gamestop exclusive, giving the impression that this "epic company crossover" was going to become a rare gem if you didn't buy it today! But as with
all bad games (well, most of them anyway) it's finally ended up where it belongs - in the bargain bins at used game stores nationwide for less than $10.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:03am 11/27/12 (10:10pm 12/03/10) in 32m11s § 2677 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
Just to prove that I can make a top ten about anything.
10. Mach Rider (NES)
Mach Rider is a fairly obscure game today, but it has a legacy as one of the very first titles released for both the NES and the Famicom, and still enjoys a small cult following. In their rush to port Famicom games to America, Nintendo would often cut corners, from simply throwing simple pin connectors onto Famicom carts (which clever fans can utilize to play imports without a third party adapter) to porting over games without bothering to remove code for unused features. Mach Rider is an example of the latter; the game features a custom course builder that required a peripheral called a "Famicom Data Recorder" to save custom-made tracks. In the NES version, though, attemping to save or load a track will simply hang the game as it tries to access a device that's not there. Perhaps the funniest part, though, is that the manual explains that the options don't work and even gives a pithy excuse that they were left in "for potential product developments."
Thankfully, the Virtual Console release addresses this issue and allows custom tracks to be saved and loaded as intended.
9. Boogerman (SNES/GEN)
A below-average platformer released in the mid-90s by Interplay, Boogerman's password system is the first one I can recall that perplexed me. You don't save your progress with a series of letters, numbers, or even symbols - you use character sprites. Yeah, they expect you to write down "Scab Creature, Fart Ghost, Abdominal Sewer Man, Boogerman" if you want to come back to your game later. At least it's only four characters long, I suppose.
8. Hydlide (NES)
A simplistic RPG from the early 80s that remains a cult classic in Japan but never really had a chance in the rest of the world (primarily due to not seeing a release there until Zelda had been out for over two years), it also featured one of gaming's most confusing save systems. Well, okay, it's not too bad once you know how it works, but it certainly isn't very inuitive. I'll explain; the game has both a "save/load" feature and a password system, but they both serve very distinct purposes. Save/load essentially serves as a savestate - you can save the game at any time and reload to end up at that exact point. So where does the password come in? Well, the savestate data isn't backed up to any internal RAM - in fact, Hydlide doesn't have internal RAM at all, so the savestate data is erased once you shut off the game. If you want to be able to shut off the system and come back to it later, you'll need to write down the password and punch it in.
7. Mega Man's Soccer (SNES)
Mega Man's Soccer is a game that's notorious for being released incomplete, to the point that the ending and credits weren't even programmed in (the game simply boots you back to the title screen after winning the last match) and there's a "hidden" team that can only be accessed via Game Genie or a similar device. But that's not why we're here, so let's get back on topic. Most Mega Man password systems aren't too bad; you simply plunk down 5-6 dots on a 6x6 grid and you're good to go. Sometimes there's more than one color of dot, but that's not too big of an issue. But this one, oh hell:
6. Christmas Crisis (CDi)
Yeah, one for a game you've probably never played on a console you probably never bothered with. As highlighted in Mikeyspiky's review, this game's password system is downright asinine. Not only does it use SYMBOLS in place of numbers or letters, you're given only a few seconds to write it down, so you'd better draw fast or have a good memory. But if that's not bad enough, get this - the symbols aren't even shown in plain sight on the title screen, they're all obfuscated by numbered calendar pages. You have to decode what calendar number maps to what symbol just to punch the goddamn thing in.
5. Rampage (NES)
Okay, I'm cheating a bit here, because this isn't a save system but rather a LACK of one. Of all NES games, there were a few that became infamous for being long, difficult and lacking any form of save feature or even a level skip code, forcing you to restart from the beginning every time you died or had to quit - Battletoads, Blaster Master, Rygar and The Adventures of Bayou Billy are often cited there. The most iconic one to me, however, is Rampage, a game that is 128 levels long. Oh, and your only reward for several hours of work was this poor excuse of an ending. Yeah, not a great payoff for 5-6 hours of work.
UPDATE: There actually is a level skip code I wasn't aware of. Actually, given that it's on The Cutting Room Floor and none of the major cheat sites, I'm guessing almost nobody knows of it. Anyway, all you have to do is press B on Controller 2 and B+Select on Controller 1 at the same time to unlock it.
4. Etrian Odyssey (DS)
It's pretty rare to see a password system on a platform this recent, but they do crop up occasionally, usually as a means to import data between players or different games. Etrian Odyssey is one such case, allowing you to input a password the first game gets you to get a couple new items and some other fringe benefits in Etrian Odyssey II. However, it's not very well implemented. Not only is it an extremely long code to punch in (45 characters), it utilizes a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters and numbers, and it's also quite buggy - many users (myself included) would punch it in exactly as shown and get nothing for their work, eventually forcing Atlus to release one that was confirmed to work in order to address complaints.
3. Rambo (NES)
Ah yes, Rambo. A shoddy clone of Zelda II created by the masters of crap, Pack-in Video (the same guys who brought you Friday the 13th, Die Hard and that horrendous Predator game). But without question, one of the game's worst facets is its password system. It's obnoxiously long (32 characters) and utilizes uppercase, lowercase, numbers and even punctuation, making it a total nightmare to write down. On top of all of that, the game is notorious for handing out bad and invalid passwords, which can unfairly force you to repeat a lot of work. The best advice I can give (if you actually want to play this game for some unfathomable reason) is to get no less than three passwords at each checkpoint before you shut the system off.
2. River City Ransom
One of the finest sidescrolling beat-em-up/RPG hybrids ever made. Actually, probably one of the only sidescrolling beat-em-up/RPG hybrids ever made. But man, is its password system a nightmare. 33 characters with uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols and even apostophes that can go over letters just to make it even more annoying. But even stranger, if you exit the screen and come right back in without doing anything in between, the game hands out a completely different password that gives you the exact same stats upon punching it in. I have no idea how this thing even works!
1. Maniac Mansion (Japan)
The US version of Maniac Mansion is a game with an amazingly complex and well composed soundtrack for the NES, and my personal pick for the greatest adventure game of all time. However, not too many people know that two years before its release, the Famicom got an entirely different version; while it did feature uncensored violence (unlike the US version), it also lacked screen scrolling and had pretty bad sound. But undoubtedly the biggest step down was that rather than utilizing a disk or battery backup, this version of the game had passwords that were a whopping 104 characters long.
No, your eyes do not deceive you. 104. Fucking. Characters. I don't know about you, but I'd rather just start over than spend twenty minutes punching all that shit in!
UPDATE: TCRF reveals a hidden apology for the atrocious password system in the game.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Azul Rojo § at 10:54pm 12/03/10
Those are some insane password systems. 104 characters is ridiculous. And games that don't have ANY way of saving progress piss me off a bit, even when the games are good. Super Troll Island was one of them. Fun to play, but no way to save. And there were a lot of stages, too.
~Spoony Spoonicus § at 10:59pm 12/03/10
Thought of a couple more:
Thankfully, Sega acknowledged this problem with the Saturn and relocated the battery slot to a small hatch on the back, so you can swap it out once it dies.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 04:36am 01/12/11 (03:27am 08/24/10) in 42m37s § 3010 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue
This one still baffles me, honestly. The first one is a genre-defining classic, but the second is shunned or outright hated by a lot of fans. I'll admit it's not as good as its predecessor, but it's still an engrossing game with a memorable cast of characters and a fun storyline. The biggest weakness, in my view, were the villain characters, who were never really given a proper back-story or any real motive besides "they're evil." Regardless, it was good to see old Ghaleon in action again, and his betrayal and redemption was one of the best moments of the story.
Advance Guardian Heroes
It's easy to write this off as an "inferior" game to the original, as it lacks the non-linear aspect and the gameplay and overall style of the game bears very little resemblance to Guardian Heroes on the Saturn. Judged on its own merits, though, it's a very fun, action-packed brawler with some of the craziest action the platform has to offer. Hell, the final boss alone is worth the price of admission; disassemble a colossal android limb-by-limb, then deflect a sun-sized fireball right back in his face as the ultimate poetic justice? Hell yeah.
Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)
If you're comparing it to the TGCD version, then yes, this is one of the worst "ports" ever; it has almost nothing in common with the game it's allegedly a down-port of. If you're expecting more of Castlevania IV's 3D effects and gameplay innovations, well, you're going to be disappointed there too. But if you can distance it from both of those games and judge it on its own merits, it's actually a pretty damn good game. The graphics and music are stellar, and the gameplay and challenge are both up to Castlevania standards. Although I will admit some areas seem custom-tailored just to frustrate the living hell out of you. One that comes to mind is an area where you have to cross a large gap on a floating platform and take out an Axe Armor on the far ledge while evading Medusa Heads at the same time; take one hit from anything and you fall off and you get to backtrack a pretty long way just to take another shot at it.
Super Mario Sunshine
Again, I'm not sure where all the flak for this one comes from; I've heard claims that "the camera is awful" or "all you do is clean sludge", which are both total horseshit (and you'd know this if you'd played the game for any length of time; hell, there's hardly any missions requiring you to clean up slime). I think a lot of it comes from some of the more annoying stages in the game - you're usually traversing extremely tricky terrain or operating on a very strict time limit, and making one or two mistakes usually results in your death (rather than SM64's policy of just forcing you to exit and restart the stage). Still, it's all very managable with some good old-fashioned practice. Super Mario Galaxy's hellish purple coin challenges and "fly the bird that doesn't respond to the goddamn controller" stages (shades of Final Fantasy X... uggghhh) caused me a LOT more grief than this game ever did.
But for the record, I will admit that having to hunt individual Blue Coins for the last fifteen or so Shines was pretty damn tedious. Should have just added two more levels, guys!
Streets of Rage 3
Another one that has a lot of hate directed at it for reasons I can't really fathom. I mean hell, it's a fun side-scrolling beat-em-up with some pretty good graphics and music for the platform, what's not to like? Well, the dumb storyline, perhaps (evil robot clones replacing city officials, ooo!), but since when did you play a brawler for its plot? You could also argue that its predecessors were better, I suppose, but that's still no reason not to give this one a chance.
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
I'll admit Phantasy Star III has its faults - the visuals are nothing special, the music ranges from bland to downright horrid and the mechanics aren't very refined - but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it regardless. It has an interesting setting, the branching storyline and multiple endings were something that were very rare in console RPGs at the time (and are still uncommon today), and the automated combat system made the frequent random encounters go by significantly faster than in most RPGs - instead of having to tap through five characters' option menus, you could just click once and they'd all attack continuously until everything onscreen was dead. Convenient!
I guess the lesson here is to not go in expecting it to be a golden followup to the dark, nihilistic Phantasy Star II, because it's definitely not. In fact, just ignore the words "Phantasy Star" in the title and try to judge it on its own merits - it has very little connection at all to the rest of the series.
Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (NES)
The arcade version of Double Dragon III was widely panned by fans for its sloppy programming and "feature" of forcing you to pay more quarters to get special weapons and health powerups, and rightfully so. The NES port, on the other hand, was equally disliked for its sheer difficulty - you get one life and one continue to take on some of the most aggressive and ruthless foes in any brawler seen to date. You could get some "extra lives" in the form of two recruitable characters along the way, but of course that assumed you could last that far (which most players didn't). Mastering the controls and finding and exploiting patterns in the enemy AI were both absolutely essential to survival in this game; bringing along a second player to prevent enemies from ganging up on you wasn't too shabby an idea either.
Bionic Commando (Xbox/PS3/PC)
Bionic Commando is fondly remembered as an innovative platformer for the NES and Arcade platforms where, rather than a jump button, you'd have to navigate stages via creative and carefully-timed use of a bionic arm that allowed you to climb and swing around. Which is why it surprises me that the 2009 sequel wasn't nearly as well received. I suppose you could argue that it's got a few too many third-person-shooter elements in it, or that it has some annoying gameplay decisions (having to complete inobvious and sometimes annoying tasks to "upgrade" your character), but I still found it to be a very enjoyable game. Hell, once you mastered the controls, it was just great fun using it to swing past a group of soldiers, drop a grenade in their midst, shoot another guy dead in mid-flight, then take out an attacking bio-mech with a series of aggressive stomping kicks. It also had an excellent soundtrack; easily among the best of this entire console generation. I will concede two points, however: A) Radd Spencer's redesign is fucking atrocious and B) Bionic Commando - a game lauded as an example of humorous 8-bit camp - shouldn't be turned into a dark, angst-fueled war story.
* Fortunately, if you've played Bionic Commando Rearmed, you can unlock a skin that changes him back to the familiar NES-era design.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Nintendo tried to take the series in a new direction with Zelda II, with mixed results. On one hand, the game does provide an interesting change of pace with its RPG elements and side-scrolling, platforming gameplay. On the other, it has annoying elements like aggressive enemies that quickly drain your health while blocking almost every attack you throw yourself, enemies that steal experience points when they hit you, losing ALL of your current experience points when your last life is gone (forcing you to start all over again) and being dropped back at the start point as punishment for losing your last life, forcing you to walk all the way back to the last dungeon you were in to take another shot at it. Overall, though, I think it did more right than it did wrong, and it's worth a try. Just be prepared for a challenge, and be ready to do a fair amount of experience grinding and retracing your steps.
Deus Ex: Invisible War
Ah yes, Invisible War, a game which was dismissed almost immediately by Deus Ex fans for its lousy game engine and some really dopey design decisions ("let's have all weapons draw from the same ammo supply, I don't see how this could possibly be a bad idea!"). There was still much to like, though - the story was an enjoyable followup to the original and the nonlinear gameplay was still in full force, granting the player several ways to play through the game, as well as four different endings to see. Biomods were still as fun as ever, allowing you to, among other things, hack electronics for various means, turn robots against your enemies, regenerate health and - my personal favorite - run ridiculously fast and jump ridiculous distances like in the Matrix. If nothing else, it's also the only game I've ever seen where you can throw grenades that summon lightning-throwing mechanical spiders to your aid. The game is definitely inferior to its predecessor, but it's still worth playing through at least once.
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Spoony Spoonicus on 02:38pm 12/31/11 (11:34pm 03/30/10) in 1h56m51s § 2516 eyeballs
Top ten lists of whatever the hell.
There are a lot of really tough games about there, and endless debates about which are the toughest of all. Well, having played far too many games in my free time and spent a lot of time thinking about them in my non-free time, I've decided to chip in my personal picks for the ten hardest video games ever. So enjoy, and feel free to chip in your own contributions, or even write your own list to counter mine!
And yes, I'm sticking with games that are actually GOOD; I could fill up the list with crappers like Bart Versus the World, Friday the 13th, Superman and othes that are nearly impossible just for their terrible programming and nonintuitive goals, but nah, that would be far too easy. Not to mention that there's way too many of those to even count.
10. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (Playstation 2)
Ultima 5 was formerly my pick for the hardest RPG I'd played, perhaps followed by Baldur's Gate 2, but this one now takes the cake. From beginning to end, you'll be hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Enemies constantly use debilitating status effects like Confuse, Charm and Sleep (which, unlike most RPGs, won't be canceled when that character simply sustains an attack), dungeons are lengthy and convoluted, and the bosses are downright diabolical. One in particular will boost his speed to maximum (ensuring that he dodges almost everything and can hit you nearly 100% of the time), bombards you with powerful wind spells and randomly-striking physical attacks (with 2-3 consecutive hits resulting in death), and gets two moves each turn, so he can easily cancel out any de-buffing spells you put on him and still have a turn left over to bombard you with. Oh, and the guy I just described? He's the third boss in the entire game. It only gets harder from there!
9. Castlevania (NES)
One of the NES' earlier hits, it's ballooned into a franchise with over thirty games since its debut and still shows no sign of stopping. But few, if any, have ever topped the challenge the original presented. At first you'll primarily run into enemies knocking you backward into pits, but this is only the least of your worries - before long, you'll be encountering enemies that take four units of health with each hit and can take 7-8 hits themselves, zig-zagging enemies that are difficult even to hit, and bosses that, even knowing their attack patterns, you'll have to have flawless timing to avoid and counterattack. Dracula in particular is a pain, as there's really little strategy to his second form outside of the brute force method - hope you can whittle all of his health away with your whip and sub-weapons before he tramples you to death. A standout game for its time, but it will always be remembered as one of the hardest games in the NES library. Thankfully, most of its sequels were more forgiving, and reliance on brute-force tactics for bosses became much less common.
8. Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (NES)
The first two games were no walk in the park, but Double Dragon 3 is perhaps the most hated of the series in both its arcade and NES iterations. The arcade game was infamous for its rather clumsy hit detection, high enemy damage, and the fact that you had to put extra quarters into the machine to get sub-weapons and refill health. The NES version thankfully did away with these flaws, but was still widely disliked for one reason - the sheer difficulty. Unlike the last two games, enemies were smart, fast and utterly ruthless - you could start in a combo on one character and another would simply jumpkick you to the ground, hit you with a bottle when you got back up, and launch the guy you were just beating on with a jumpkick aimed at your spine just for good measure. Oh, and you got no extra lives and only a single continue to make it to the end. You needed to be absolutely relentless with your characters' special moves and have the enemy's attack patterns down to a T to get far in this game.
7. Ninja Gaiden (NES)
An entire trilogy that drew us all in with its stylish presentation and energetic gameplay, then proceeded to unleash one of the most brutal and hellish of all platforming experiences. You're under constant attack from every concievable threat and hopping across narrow platforms over bottomless pits, and enemies are very fond of respawning if you scroll them even the slighest bit offscreen (and sometimes you don't even have to do that - kill one and another will immediately appear). But perhaps the worst part of all the final boss - if you die at him, you don't restart at the boss, or even the middle of the stage - you get to do the entire final stage again!
Ninja Gaiden II and III had some tough challenges to overcome, such as blowing winds, completely dark levels (with the only light coming from occasional lightning flashes) and stages that are steadily sinking into lava, but those at least gave you some useful extra powerups to get by. Ninja Gaiden just forces you to tough it out.
6. Battletoads (NES)
You probably predicted this one, and it shouldn't be a surprise for the third stage alone. But even if you did manage to get past the Turbo Tunnel, you were only in for more unpleasant suprises, as it only gets tougher from there. From the nerve-wracking platforming stages to the tough bosses to the numerous instant-kiling death traps, this game was utterly ruthless. It only got worse with two players, too - not only could your attacks harm one another, but if either of you died on an obstacle course or lost all your lives, you'd both have to redo the entire stage! Many games of the era became significantly easier when they were ported to gamers overseas, but this was one of the rare exceptions - the later-released Japanese version was actually toned down in numerous ways.
5. Radiant Silvergun (Arcade/Saturn)
So what happens when several of the guys who worked on Gradius, Contra and numerous other difficult Konami games decide to put their own spin on the shoot-em-up genre? Radiant Silvergun, that's what. Many shooters only give you two or three options in terms of weapons, and even fewer of them allow you to use all of them at any given time. Well, Radiant Silvergun has seven standard weapons and an eighth super attack, and you're going to need to figure out when and where to put all of them to work to get very far. But going in guns blazing is probably the worst thing you can do - you'll have to carefully employ strategies to destroy enemies of like color without destroying any others. This will allow you to gain more points in order to power up your weapons - ignore this and the enemies will rapidly come to outclass you, taking dozens of hits to destroy even one of them, and making most boss fights nearly impossible. And if you've ever played a Treasure game, you know that there will be a ton of bosses, and that going in unprepared against them is never, ever a good idea. It's rare to see any shmup involve this level of dedication on the player's part, but it makes for one of the most unique and compelling experiences I've ever seen.
4. Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? (PSP)
Made by a company that prides itself on making strategy RPGs that involve borderline-ludicrious amounts of grinding, item collecting and random elements, Prinny is their attempt to make a platforming game for the hardcore audience. Well, they certainly succeeded, bringing a game that employs numerous elements of the Ghosts n' Goblins series - sluggish movement, difficult jumps, awkwardly placed enemies, and bosses that can best be destribed as "sheer torture", requiring you to head-stomp them numerous times before you can dish out any significant amount of damage. Oh, and you die in three hits*, assuming you don't simply get knocked into a pit and die instantly. There's a very good reason this game arms you with one thousand lives.
*That's on Normal. On Hard difficulty, you die in ONE hit. Have fun!
3. Ghosts n' Goblins (Arcade)
Ever a difficult series, but the one that will always be the most notorious in my mind is the series' arcade debut - nearly every enemy moves faster than you and tends to swerve out of the way of your attacks, most special weapons are actually a detriment (arcing downward instead of flying straight ahead), there's always a strict time limit, and far too many times to count you'll get clipped by a cheap shot while jumping across platforms or climbing ladders. But perhaps the most diabolical trait of this series is its ending - once you defeat the final boss and reach the end, you're ambushed by a message telling you that you need to go through the whole game again and defeat the boss with a specific weapon to see the real ending! If you lose that weapon at any point, you can't complete the game! Augh!
2. Gradius III (Arcade)
Another series that was always tough, but there was one game in particular that always stood out as its most hellishly difficult point. In Gradius' case, that would be Gradius III. From the very first stage on, you're never given a moment of rest - enemies are always attacking from strange angles and in huge quantities, and losing a life at any point is practically a death sentence, as you'll be forced to run through a huge gauntlet of enemies and obstacles with only your basic gun, which will only make it that much easier for them to overwhelm you. Most Gradius games get really difficult three or four stages in, but here you'll be lucky to even survive level one. Thankfully, the SNES port was much more forgiving in this regard.
1. Contra: Hard Corps (Sega Genesis)
Contra on the whole is regarded as a difficult series, but generally manageable with the right blend of pattern memorization, practice and twitch reflex. Hard Corps, however, is one gigantic stomp-fest from beginning to end. The action is lightning fast and relentless, you're given almost no advance warning when an attack is coming, bosses can take a ton of damage but can kill you in an eyeblink, and worst of all the US version removes the health meters and unlimited continues that were present in the Japanese version. Yep, you die in a single hit, and all you get is three lives and five continues to try and tackle the entire game. It's a monumental feat to even stay alive long enough to encounter the bosses, to say nothing of learning their patterns and reacting quickly enough to dodge their frantic attacks. Hard Corps is, without a doubt, the toughest game I've played to date. Hell, I'm lucky to even complete the first stage most days!
rawks § rad comments, dogg.
~Azul Rojo § at 01:11am 03/31/10
I've seen playthroughs for Ninja Gaiden and Battletoads. Just fucking mean, some parts. Treasure and Atlus also have some nice pain in the ass games, too.
I don't see the original Super Mario Bros. 2 here. When a game makes my mom cuss, you know it's going to be hard.
~Spoony Spoonicus § at 01:14am 03/31/10
Ah yes. Tack that one on as an honorable mention, for the backwards warp zones if nothing else! (And there is plenty else.)
Ah, and add on God Hand and F-Zero GX as well. Very fun, well-designed games, but they're utterly ruthless from beginning to end.
~Washuu § at 01:38pm 04/05/10
God Hand on Die level is insane fun. Amazing challenge and it does need a lot of real life dexterity to pull off some of the shit you need to do in order to not get wasted, especially by guys with weapons.
Let's Play Suikoden II, Part 9: Unite the Clans
Let's Play Suikoden 2
Star Control 2 (GOG.com)
Downloadable Games Quick Hits
Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Finale
Let's Play Baldur's Gate
Viewtiful Gonterman: Diminishing Returns
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Demo) in a Nutshell
Games in a Nutshell
A standalone Heckle - Timespiral ~RahuBrouhaha
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MiST on the Ghost Planet - Sonic: The Mobius Chronicles Chapter 1: Conclusion ~Davey-kins
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Duke Nukem 3D Mod: Naferia's Reign ~creepy fanboy
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Monster World IV (Sega Genesis) ~Spoony Spoonicus
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Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Demo) in a Nutshell ~Spoony Spoonicus
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Another Brief Treatise on Plot Codices and Final Fantasy XIII-2 (and Mass Effect, again) ~Spoony Spoonicus
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Spoony's Top Ten Games of 2011 ~Spoony Spoonicus
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- ~Spoony Spoonicus
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