Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#134 - 149)

#134 Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo 64) – Winter 1999

The second of the two games I got with the N64. Talk about two great games, because in its era this was a damn fun experience. I don't think it'd be very playable if I went back and tried it again now, but I can leave the memories alone. Either way, it was incredible at the time, the first fully 3D console first person shooter that supported four-player splitscreen and just generally revolutionized the genre. This was Halo before Halo in that sense. Also it made great use of the Rumble Pak, and I still remember how cool it was getting one for this game and feeling the rumbles.

I was kind of depressed playing this for some reason, probably because of how damn cold and mopey everything was (in the game and also the real weather). This and Wild Arms were the two main things I played over the Christmas holiday, and while WA fell off (temporarily), I finished this one right at the end of the year before the world ended and Y2K hit (maybe that's why I felt gloomy, lot of doomsaying in those days). Great game, most known for the multiplayer, but I played the single-player myself and had a ball with that.

I remember a few things about this, like the aggressive tempo of the final level. There were some stages with infinitely-spawning foes, and I liked those stages because I could find a defensible point and just fend off waves of attackers. There was a snow level I liked doing this in. You had this hut in the middle of the snow field and I'd basically barricade myself in the hut and fend off all the enemies as they tried to break in.

Favorite Weapon: The silver DD44 pistol. It looked nice (for the time) and had stopping power. Or at least it felt like it did, it tends to not rank super high on weapon tier lists. Regardless, unlike most FPSes, Goldeneye 007 didn't skimp on the pistols, they tended to be very solid weapons. Plus you could dual wield two of 'em. I've liked silver handguns since Crockett in Miami Vice.

Oddest Memory: This one was just a cartridge, no box. So I had it standing on a bookshelf by itself for a few months until I got around to playing it. Mainly remember Pierce Brosnan peering at me eerily from that shelf. I think I had to turn the cartridge around a few times to look the other way.

#135 ActRaiser 2 (Super NES) – Winter 2000

Much tougher game than the first and I had to make a lot of use of emulator saves to get through this. I thought this was a good game but it seems like not many remember it fondly now. Probably because of the high difficulty plus the way they did away with the well-liked sim aspect of the game. It's unfortunate because it was really gorgeous and a true challenge.

I could see this getting a second life (kinda like Super Ghouls and Ghosts has). Perhaps a remake is on the horizon, considering the first Actraiser got a very solid remake. Probably not though, unfortunately. This is definitely on my list of things I'd like to take another swing at in this modern era of Fromsofts and Soulslikes making this kind of "tough but fair" game much more of a fun thing again now. I'd probably have way more patience for this kind of challenge than I did as a kid, too.

#136 Parodius (Super NES) – Winter 2000

A game most notable for the fact that it's a parody of Gradius. It's an okay game, really not much to say about it. I like that you can play as a flying penguin. It's legitimately pretty funny at times. I think it got a few sequels but this was the only one I played myself.

Post HERE.

#137 Justice League Task Force (Super NES) – Winter 2000

A game most notable for having ultimate DC villain Darkseid in it as a playable character, which is cool. Way before we had stuff like Injustice and Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe, this was what we had for a DC fighter. I don't remember much about this otherwise, except that it's a decent fighting game with the Justice League and a couple villains. Omega Beam!

#138 Gradius II (NES) – Winter 2000

A game most notable for the fact that I completely forgot it existed and thought all these years that Life Force was the sequel to the first game. Well, apparently I finished this game in early 2000, and seeing it on my own list, remembered it existed to get some shots of it in 2023 and write about it in 2024. It's pretty unmemorable, probably because most of this series are so similar to one another. At least this one has some pretty nice sprites that are definitely a step up from the first.

Favorite Part: The part with the Moai statues. I love Moai statues.

Post HERE.

#139 Pocky and Rocky (Super NES) – Winter 2000

Rented the second game in the past and found it very charming and interesting, so of course I went back and played the original. This game is HARD, to say the least. A lot of parts of it I'd say are just plain unfair, but if you know what you're in for, it delivers a challenge. I don't remember too much about this one, and for my money the second game in the series is the high point by a large margin. This one is okay though. It's one of those "more fun on emulator" games because good luck getting through this on console with limited lives.

#140 Mega Man V (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

Finally got to the last Game Boy Mega Man. This one stands alone as kinda its own game since it isn't based on any NES game. The impression I get is that they took the fortress designers for the previous four games and turned them loose to make their own game, because all of the stages in this game resemble the general fortress design from the others. As a result I have trouble telling the stages in this game apart. I think MMIV was overall a considerably better game, but this one has its fans and it's probably the 2nd-best for this sub-series.

Protip I Didn't Know Until Like This Week: Apparently if you game over a bunch of times, you get a powered-up buster. This has multiple degrees and after several game overs the charged shot zips across the screen so fast that you actually have to change the timing of how you play a bit. Armored Core also did this with game overs strengthening you.

Post HERE.

#141 Batman (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

A game covered in the Game Boy Player's Guide and we all know I love anything that appeared in those pages. Is it good, though? I mean, it's alright. Not a bad game by any means. It mostly just reminds me of how into Batman I was in the 1990's. Specifically the two Keaton movies. I associate those movies with bubble gum because I collected the Batman Returns trading cards with scenes from the movies, and those always had bubble gum in the pack. TBH a pack of those cards, and the ensuing bubble gum, got me more excited in 1990 than any video game did in 2023.

Post HERE.

#142 King of the Dragons (Super NES) – Spring 2000

Very strong Capcom beat-em-up with a medieval setting. This and Knights of the Round were kind of a one-two punch from them. Both have multiple characters you can choose from with different movesets as you fight your way through brawling stages. They're very different games though. King of Dragons has less-advanced graphics, more characters to choose from (in the form of classes), and has you fighting predominantly monsters. This one is much closer to a Dungeons & Dragons game and I've always preferred it.

The Archer is the character I usually have the easiest time finishing the game with due to his ability to put distance on attackers, but really, all of the characters are good. Props to them for having the Cleric actually be a great brawler. This game takes after Magic Sword a bit and that was a great arcade game. Yeah, I only have good things to say about this one. It can be found on the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Collection in the present day and is worth playing.

Also, this benefitted from being covered in Nintendo Power immediately after they covered Super Metroid. Turn the page from that coverage and you're greeted with a picture of a 3-headed dragon. For a second, as a kid, you might think you were still looking at something from Super Metroid. Well, this game got proximity heat from that for sure.

#143 Knights of the Round (Super NES) – Spring 2000

The other big Capcom beat-em-up. This one is more of a standard Final Fight type game rather than a D&D game. You've got a mere 3 characters to pick from and they're your standard quick/average/strong type characters. The graphics are better in this one, with large detailed sprites instead of the smaller sprites of King of Dragons. You also fight almost entirely with humans in this game rather than monsters. Like the previous game, you level up as you progress, and this time in addition to more powerful moves, your characters also get bigger and more stylish armor as they level. It's a fun game to say the least.

I'd recommend playing both of these, back-to-back even, which is easy enough now with the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle. It's also nice how it's a medieval war scenario rather than reminding you of how dangerous your streets are like Final Fight does. Also, the 3 selectable characters are all from Arthurian legend. It's good all around.

#144 Castlevania Legends (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

At this point in time I decided to run the Game Boy 'Vania games, and for some weird reason started with the third one. This game... really isn't good. They went overboard with the Game Boy 'Vanias playing super-slow and clunky. What's even worse is that Iga eventually erased this from the canon of his series because of a few crazy things the story tries to do (suggesting that Alucard might be the father of the Belmont line). The main notable thing about this game is how hot the main character Sonia is. In the artwork. Not as much so in the game lol.

In any case, this game really is low-tier for the series and there's a reason it hasn't been on any of the recent 'Vania compilation games (yet).

Post HERE.

#145 Castlevania Adventure (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

The very first 'Vania on the Game Boy and commonly regarded as the worst game in the series (on a Nintendo platform, anyway). This one is slow, clunky, frustrating, and short. Mad short. I think it only has four levels or so. Couldn't even make it to a nice round five levels. Yeah, I basically subjected myself to the two worst 'Vanias back to back here. It's little wonder that I didn't really do anything else with the series for over a decade. I didn't even play Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge after this, which is too bad considering it's actually really good and well beyond the other two on Game Boy.

Fondest Memory: Reading about this in the Game Boy Players Guide. That guide SOLD me on so many games. I do consider this one of the few clunkers in that guide. Damn if the guide didn't make it look great though.

Post HERE.

#146 Battle Unit Zeoth (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

Cool little game here that I don't think many people even know existed. I've barely ever heard it mentioned in the 30 years that it's been around. It's basically an action platformer where you play as a bipedal robot and blast your foes with lasers. You can level up and a number of other things that are unusual for an action game of the era. It's actually got a little bit of depth to it and it plays well. The Game Boy Player's Guide didn't have a full coverage section for this game, but it did cover it in a short blurb later on in the guide. That blurb was enough to get me interested, and there was a time in the mid-90's where I was actually on the lookout for this as a potential buy. Never saw it in a store though, and it's just as well because I'm happy with the few things I did get.

Most Notable Thing About It: The boss sprites are actually super impressive for the time.

#147 TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

The last games I played before finishing High School were the trilogy of Ninja Turtles games on the Game Boy. Yeah I was on a real Game Boy kick in early 2000 for some reason. The Game Boy Players Guide, yet again, sold me on this game, and Nintendo Power sold me on the two sequels. Around this time I wrapped HS (3 months before the end of the school year) and took the GED instead. A mistake? I don't think so, it went fine. So I remember studying a LOT for that test while I emulated Game Boy games and saw some of what I missed from the previous decade.

Unexpected Final Boss: It's noteworthy that the final boss of this game isn't Shredder. That's right, they gave Krang top billing for this one. As a kid I was kind of shocked by this. Five stages, and they made Shredder the boss of stage four? It kinda became normal for Krang to get billed over Shredder though, and then the games started having Super Shredder be the final boss after Krang. So regular Shredder became a mid-point boss in future Turtles games.

#148 TMNT 2: Back from the Sewers (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

This one has more detailed graphics than the first one and generally looks and plays better, but it lacks a lot of the charm. It's hard to say why exactly, but it just doesn't land for me the way the first did. Yeah the sprites are bigger and everything's generally an improvement, but it feels kinda soulless whereas the first felt like a genuine TMNT experience.

Toughest Part: At the end you have to fight three bosses in a row which kinda sux. General Tragg, Shredder, and Krang. Oh yeah, Krang is the final boss again. They made him a hulking behemoth this time. At least Shredder made it into the final stage at all, unlike the previous game. But yeah, I could do without ever fighting multiple bosses in a row in a game (not a fan of second forms either) but games keep insisting on throwing them at me.

#149 TMNT 3: Radical Rescue (Game Boy) – Spring 2000

This was my least-favorite of the three. You traverse a kind of maze of rooms rather than standard levels, and the bosses / bad guys in this one were mostly guys I didn't recognize from the show. I think I only saw the first 3 seasons or so of it. So combine the odd layout of the game with bad guys I couldn't get into, and this one turned into a bit of a slog to finish up with. At least Shredder finally got to be the final boss for this one.

Toughest Part: At the end you have to fight all of the bosses again in a row on one life meter. You can bring a heal pizza (basically an E-Tank) but just one. And get this: if you use that one heal and then die anyway, it stays gone and you're basically stuck on this final boss rush forever with one life meter and no heals. Ideally players will save their pizza until they get good enough at the boss rush that they get within range of victory, THEN use it to give them the boost they need. However, this requires the player to know about all of this in advance. And if they don't... well, you're probably starting the game over. I hate stuff like this.

For my part I remember it being a bit of a nightmare to finish this game because I just couldn't win the boss rush on one life meter. Eventually I got lucky and finished the last boss of the main rush with like one or two ticks of health left. The good news is that if you get to the very last fight (Shredder) it'll start you back at that fight if you die rather than making you do the boss rush right before it again. So basically Shredder is no problem after the horror of the boss rush, which doesn't even make sense. Why couldn't the other fights be checkpointed? Man, this game. Mistakes were made.

Post for the 3 Game Boy TMNTs HERE.

Next up: My most-played game of all time, and a few more Game Boy odds and ends.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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