Saturday, December 30, 2023

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#92 - 110)


#92 Xenogears (Playstation) – Winter 1999

This one I have a semi-complicated history with. It's one of my favorite RPGs of all time and one that I consider to be one of the great true epics out there... but I thought it was really bad the first time I played it. I had the PS1 connected to the TV with an old RF switch, and over time the sound kinda got iffy. I remember first noticing this with FFT whenever thunder would crash, it would overpower the sound. I figured this was some sort of PS1 quirk. When I got to this game, the gear sounds overpowered everything else and made the game kinda suck. I also had to restart the game after ten hours or so due to getting trapped (more on that later) and that didn't help the game's chances either.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#57 - 91)


#57 Final Fantasy VII (Playstation) – Fall 1997

This was me finally breaking with Nintendo tradition and jumping ship to the Playstation. It wasn't an easy decision to make. The N64 was a pretty rad system too. Nothing was competing with Final Fantasy VII at this point though. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI were my top two games for the previous couple of years, and combine that with the futuristic steampunk aesthetic that I was REALLY into as a 13 year old, and I had to have this. So I got a Playstation just for this game, and the game along with it. This is to this day the most excited I remember ever being to buy a game system. (Yeah, even more so than the Super NES).

Monday, December 25, 2023

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#37 - 56)


#37 Final Fantasy IV (Super NES) – Spring 1996

The funny thing about this game is that I didn't get it because I loved Final Fantasy VI. Nope, I got it because of Mario RPG. Thanks to EGM and a few other publications, I was under the impression that Culex was a boss from FF4, maybe even the villain of the game. Heck, Mario RPG itself gave me that impression with him being all "perhaps in another game we were enemies". What's with all the Culex subterfuge? Turns out he wasn't from anything and was a Mario RPG creation. Vanda isn't a thing in any game. What a rip.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#21 - 36)


#21 Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Game Boy) - Summer 1995

Now this is a real classic. I mentioned how when I rented Link to the Past, I wished it was this game, and then later vice-versa when I got this. Putting all that aside, this game was all over Nintendo Power for a while. Screenshots and maps and everything. So I knew the game very well before I ever even played it.

The situation here is that my mom requested it at Media Play, and they had to get it in stock which took a couple weeks. When they finally got it in stock, she told me we had to go there to get something unrelated, but I figured it was probably this, and sure enough, it was! I attempted to play it basically in the dark (had meager nightlight light) when I was supposed to be sleeping, and that didn't work. I also had Space Megaforce rented at the time, and...well, that didn't get played anymore that week.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#1 - #20)


Coming up on my 1000th game finished, so I'm going to make an attempt at doing a big list. Going to give a quick rundown of my memories of each game, how tricky or interesting they were to finish, etc. 1000 sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that the 30th anniversary of me getting Kirby's Dream Land was earlier this year. So that comes out to about... 33 per year or so. Which I guess IS a lot. Most of them are pretty short.

Things that I played on multiple systems only count as one game. If I finished a port of something that doesn't add any appreciable amount of new stuff or have any major visual overhaul, it didn't count as a new game. A remake of a game that totally reworks the visuals or adds a bunch of new stuff (or both) could totally count as a different game. Or a port that is very very different from another version, that could count too. Like Mortal Kombat on Game Boy is different enough from the SNES version. Same goes for T2 The Arcade Game on Game Boy versus the Arcade.

Some entries might be long, some entries might be short. Some will have screenshots, some won't (maybe, I'm going to try to make sure they all do). For some of them I'll get into whatever the toughest part of beating the game was. Some I might not remember what the toughest part is, or maybe there wasn't one. The early entries are probably going to be longer than the later ones. We'll see how this goes.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Castlevania - Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance, 2001)


Four years after Symphony of the Night, we got a sequel of sorts. This is the next "Metroidvania" in the series. It doesn't measure up to its predecessor very well at all, but it's still a pretty good game. This also kicked off the series' second golden era (the first being their 16-bit triumphs). It's the first of a Game Boy Advance trilogy of Metroidvanias that was immediately followed by a DS trilogy. They're all good (though some much more than others). A few bullet points first off:

-This was a Game Boy Advance launch game. I totally missed out on that era myself, but it's pretty awesome that people got this as a launch game.

-The European version was just called "Castlevania" which is kind of funny. Made it look like (yet another) remake of the first one.

-Koji Igarashi didn't work on this at all, and later kind of disavowed it as not being canon. He was back for the next one, Harmony of Dissonance, to "fix" things. IMO that game is the weakest of the six GBA/DS Metroidvanias, though, so not much fixing went on. This game is easily the second-weakest, with the other four being well above the first two.

-Playing this on the PS4 Castlevania Advance Collection which is a pretty nice value (and again, means I'm not forced to emulate, so I'm glad they're making an effort to re-release these things). That said, the GBA trilogy found on said collection is much easier TO emulate or even buy than the now-rare DS trilogy that followed it, so I was really hoping they would do a second collection with the DS trilogy. No such luck. Where's the DS trilogy, Konami?

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Castlevania Chronicles (Sharp ZX68000, 1993 / Playstation 1, 2001)


This is the 4th out of the five 'Vanias that I wanted to play for Halloween. I got to two of them at the time, Kid Dracula was the 3rd.

I'm playing the PS1 version (which is $6 to download on PS3 and well worth that). That said, technically this game actually came out in 1993 on the Sharp ZX68000, a system I've never heard of and chances are you've never heard of either outside of when people are talking about this game. The ZX was more of a computer than a console, and got a few revisions/updates between 1987 and 1993. 

The system also only got released in Japan, so most people didn't get to play this game until it got a PS1 port in 2001. That's right, this series got four different huge games on four different systems in the early-mid 90's. It was everywhere! Though this is probably the least by a good margin of the Rondo / Castlevania IV / Bloodlines grouping, I still had to check it out.

Before anything else I'd like to pour one out for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. RIP E3. It now joins its fallen brothers E1 and E2. That's right, Expo and Entertainment Expo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-Kun (AKA Kid Dracula) (Famicom, 1990)


That's right, it's KID DRACULA. It's a Parodius type spinoff game that kind of makes fun of the Castlevania series, but in a good-natured way. The Famicom version never made it to the U.S. (until the recent Castlevania Anniversary Collection) but we did get a Game Boy version, which is probably what most people remember when they think Kid Dracula.

...somehow I doubt very many people think of Kid Dracula at all, but I digress.

The Game Boy version is both a remake and a sequel to this one, with new levels and so forth.

Fun Fact: This game was called "Castlevania Jr" in Brazil.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Parodius (Super Famicom, 1992)

From the makers of Gradius, a game that will change the way we look at shooters! Also, what's going on in this box art? Is that octopus on meth?

(Originally posted in 2014. Reposted for reasons)

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (Atari Jaguar, 1994)

A movie licensed game that's actually pretty decent. It's a fighting game from the era of very stiff fighting games, but you can crank up the speed in Options (and I definitely recommend that). It also got versions on the SNES (which I had as a kid) and Genesis. Though the Jaguar version is a lot prettier.

This game meant a lot to me as a kid. I loved the movie (which contrary to what you may read on the internet, still holds up, IMO) and how Bruce triumphed over adversity while standing up to tradition and racism, both against him and against other people. Guy brought martial arts to the US and was willing to teach people he "wasn't allowed to" regardless of the rules. It's an inspiring movie to say the least.

Kinda rustles my jimmies that a lot of young people might only know Bruce Lee as "that joke guy who got destroyed in a fight by Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" while being unaware of his vast real-world contributions to things like making martial arts mainstream and helping Chinese actors actually be portrayed in a non-insulting way in film.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is just a bunch of bullshit in that sense. Man, that movie can f**** off. Does Brad Pitt have a clause in his movie contracts that say he can never look remotely bad in a fight? Because he never does. What an asshole.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (Playstation 3, 2008)


After Armageddon, the devs weren't sure what to do. The story was basically over. Maybe another spinoff? Perhaps MK Mythologies: Noob?

Eventually they settled on doing this crossover game that has pretty much nothing to do with the main MK story and exists in its own kind of pocket universe.  This is indeed what people refer to as "MK8". Technically it is a mainline MK and not a spinoff.

Fun Fact: This is the first game in the series not rated M for Mature. They dropped to Teen for this game only, and it suffered a bit in the reviews as a result. The fatalities and moves / blood are all toned way down for ths one. Likely because they figured the DC fanbase coming in for this game would skew younger.

Not so Fun Fact: There are no subtitles in this game and no option for subtitles, so playing on mute at all and having any chance of following the story wasn't happening. Pretty bad accessibility for a game from 2008 too. The previous several games did have subtitles so I don't know how this kind of oversight even happened.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Highlander 4x22 - One Minute to Midnight


This would have been the 13th Day of Halloween that I didn't get to. Probably the last Highlander episode I get to for a bit, since it's been increasingly difficult to bang these out in any kind of timely manner. Time for another break like the ones I used to take between seasons, but I do intend to do the rest later.

Another episode with a slightly-hyperbolic title, and another episode that I appreciate a lot more now than I used to in the past. This duo of episodes almost takes Highlander into the realm of serialized, continuity-rich shows like Buffy that came along later. It draws on everything leading up to this point, and sets up quite a few problems for Season 5 to resolve.

Note: In the original airing of the show, this episode was actually held over to the beginning of Season 5. Not the case in the DVD sets. I think it works a lot better as the S4 finale anyway.