Sunday, February 18, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#232 - 238)


The List continues with the entirety of 2005. Game #1004: ARM-BAR.

#232 Drakengard (Playstation 2) – Winter 2005

The only console game I beat in Q1 2005 (was pretty busy, and also had some EQ going on in that timeframe with my return / new monk). This was an interesting game where you basically just slash your way through an army of enemy troops. There are also some great stages where you fly around on a dragon and launch fireballs at enemy dragoons. Squaresoft kinda outdid themselves here in a low key way because this isn't like any of their other games at the time.

The soundtrack of the game was also a solid one, even if a lot of the tracks are kind of droning in retrospect. I listened to this soundtrack a lot while playing EQ, specifically the Muramite war expansions. And it fit amazingly well, I gotta say. Not gonna link them though, because like I said, they're droning, and I don't think I can capture here how well they actually worked with this game and the other game.

Note: In Japan this game was called Drag-On Dragoon. Which is weird because it doesn't have any dragoons dragging on.

Fondest Memory: Playing EQ with this game's music. Matter of fact at the end of this post I'm gonna link a few of the game's tracks that I remember going with as droning BGM for my other endeavor.

Honorable Mention: The New Tetris (N64)

This was a fun thing I played some of at this girl's house a few times. Didn't beat the game though. I particularly loved the soundtrack. Mostly remember the game because... I was actually spending time at girlses houses!

Favorite Tune: Morocco. Listened to this soundtrack quite a bit on a CD player while walking around various blizzards and other inclement weather (to girls houses) because I didn't have any other way to get around at the time.

#233 Mega Man Xtreme (Game Boy Color) – Spring 2005

A decent scaled-down game that combines elements of Mega Man X and Mega Man X2. There isn't really anything bad about this, but it isn't great either. The most interesting thing about it is bringing weapons from one game into stages from another. It's a cool game that there really isn't much reason to play except to be a series completionist.

Note: This game has four bosses from X and four from X2. The next one has two from each, and four from X3. Which means they left 2, 2, and 4 bosses respectively out of this portable series entirely, which would have been perfect for a Mega Man Xtreme 3. However, none ever existed.

Post HERE.

#234 Mega Man Xtreme 2 (Game Boy Color) – Spring 2005

Another decent game that combines elements of MMX2 and MMX3. Again there isn't really anything bad about this one. Not much reason to go back to it when the console versions of those games are around, though. The small screen resolution can be difficult to deal with. I imagine in the year 2001 or so when these games were current and the best the X-series got in a portable sense, they had a lot more reason to exist.

This game is a significant improvement on the first due to playable Zero being added, and a third would have been rad, but still, they're squished portable X games and we can do better. It also has a huge issue: Literally all of the new content they added to this game is terrible. Mostly stage hazards that instakill you. Flame Mammoth's stage is particularly obnoxious, with insta-death fireballs everywhere. Really not sure what they were thinking, because Mega Man X handed them perfect levels and they messed them up. Subtraction by addition.

Post HERE.

Dishonorable Mention: Mega Man X7

I tried to get into this game a couple times in 2004 and 2005 but it was just so bad. Certainly didn't beat the game. Wanted to get it done for series completion sake but I just couldn't. The ride-chaser type levels were the main thing that warded me off. So did pretty much everything else though. I'll get into this more whenever I get to where I actually finished it.

#235 Super Star Wars (Super NES) – Spring 2005

In the runup to Revenge of the Sith I was pretty into Star Wars, and went back and played the SNES trio. Now these are some damn good games...if you can get anywhere with them, because they went waaaaay over the top with the difficulty. They go beyond a fun challenging experience and into the realm of frustrating, and often there just isn't much you can do about it (they like swarming you with enemies, and putting lengthy pits everywhere in the levels). I don't think there's any real way around the difficulty or any tools you can use to mitigate it.

All of that said, this game was a ton of fun to play through, and kinda expands the movie lore with the interesting new areas and bosses that they included. You've got Mode-7 shooter stages and on-foot platforming stages, and they really did a good job recreating the movie here.

Its appearance in an early issue of Nintendo Power was actually the thing that got me into Star Wars in the early 1990's, something I hadn't paid much attention to before that.

Favorite Boss: The one in the Mos Eisley Cantina, the big blue long-necked guy. In the movie, that thing was just a hologram in someone's battle chess game, and this game went ahead and made it a full-on boss.

Post HERE.

#236 Super Empire Strikes Back (Super NES) – Spring 2005

My favorite of the 3, due to it being covered in my first subscribed issue of Nintendo Power, Volume 53. Also might objectively be the best game. This one has some fantastic gameplay and level designs, and it seemed to me like it wasn't quite as balls-out difficult as the other two. Also liked that the game was divided into 3 acts that were very different from one another: Hoth, Dagobah, Bespin. The Hoth section was too long and the Dagobah section was too short, but other than that, a good thing to run. Lots of interesting (and really well-drawn spritewise) bosses in this game, and just a great time across the board. Again you've got a bunch of Mode-7 flight stages (including the Hoth snow battle) in addition to all the regular platforming stages. Super game here.

Favorite Boss: There are too many of 'em. These games managed to mine boss fights out of everything in this movie trilogy.

I like the fight with the AT-ST on foot in the Hoth hangar, but I gotta say there are a ton of great boss fights here that totally mine everything they can out of the movie.

This giant probe droid was also a cool idea for a boss. You can gun these things down easily from the air, but on foot? That's a different story.

Post HERE.

#237 Super Return of the Jedi (Super NES) – Spring 2005

This one I got the least out of, for sure. It starts with a Mode-7 jet bike level that I found really frustrating and tedious to get through; not the best start at all. Matter of fact, ten years earlier when the game came out, I tried it in the local game store and actually balked at renting it because the first level kept killing me. Despite being excited about it when I popped it into the system, fast-forward 15 minutes and I was ready to pick something else. Wasn't until a decade later when I played the 3 games that I got through this one.

It's actually a good game and plays just as well as the others. Luke is the most formidable that he is in any of the trilogy (as he should be) and starts with his lightsaber and all his force powers (things you got halfway through the first and second games, respectively). Also the saber is green now which is rad.

Toughest Part: That damn intro level. Whose idea was this? I did have to use states to get through this trilogy, if you're wondering, Didn't abuse them though, just did what I had to do.

Coolest Part: The final levels where you fly around the Death Star. This game has some really good Mode-7 levels that make up for some of its other deficiencies. I think I like it the least of the trilogy but it's still a very good game.

Post HERE.

#238 Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner (Playstation 2) – Fall 2005

Took the first game's foundation of atmospheric Evangelionesque worldbuilding and gameplay, and built on it. This one was awesome and a real experience at the time. The environments and enemies were much more varied than the first game and it had you going to a bunch of different worlds. This game is also completely gorgeous from start to end. There are a lot more mech vs mech battles in this game with you facing a variety of interesting antagonists (as opposed to the first game which was mostly fights with cut and paste fodder enemies).

Like the game before this, it has kind of a crummy first level that might ward people off. Get past that and you're in for a treat. The only real bad thing about this game is that it ends fairly quickly. It probably looks pretty antiquated on an actual PS2 nowadays, but there's an HD collection for PS3 that at least makes it a bit more decent. This is something that could use a full-on PS5 remake, maybe even a ZoE3. Probably not getting that though. I wish I had more to say about this one.

Now, some Drakengard tunes I associate more with EQ than the actual game they're from:

A light, airy travel theme for flight. Also a good EQ travel theme, which is mainly where I listened to it.

Kind of an Ogre Battle ish theme here and a good indication that we're playing something special. Kind of funny that Drakengard is the game I do a bunch of music links and not any of the incredible soundtracks of previous years like Chrono Cross and Vagrant Story.

A "castle under attack" theme that made more sense in Everquest's Wall of Slaughter, where Muramites were overrunning the defenses of Earthrealm.

Same situation here. I mentioned the music was droning, it's less obvious when you're grinding EXP. The music in this game has a certain chaos to it. Fun Fact, this one contains parts of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"

My personal favorite tune from the game, and a more victorious track, like winning is within sight. Well, it's droning for a while, but the real prize here is about two thirds of the way through the track. That part is pretty incredible and I wish that were its own entire track. That's what I associate with this game and flying on dragon-back.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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