Saturday, June 15, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#474 - 500)


#474 Contra (NES) – Fall 2013

Got to the rest of THIS series a good decade and a half after I should have (much like the Castlevania series). This is pretty much the quintessential NES action game. No bullshit, just cool weapons and nonstop battles. It also draws heavy inspiration from Alien and Aliens, which begs the question of why that series never got any games based on it that were just THIS. Nope, they always had to get cute and mess it up. Well, this game gives you the blueprint on how to make a good game, all they had to do was follow it. The only real downside is that it's a very difficult game. The thirty lives code helps a lot and I only play it with that.

Fun Fact: The box art might look familiar, and that's because it's Major Dutch from Predator teaming up with Rambo to battle a Xenomorph.

Toughest Part: That one big guy who jumps around the screen. Had a lot of issues getting around him, given the limited movement and jumping. He later went on to be the final boss of Operation C, I believe.

Post HERE.

#475 Super C (NES) – Fall 2013

The sequel to Contra. While many NES sequels fell prey to "sequelitis" and failed to reach the standard set by the previous game (Castlevania 2, Zelda 2, Super Mario Bros 2 if you're looking at the actual Japanese version, etc), this is one series that bucked that trend. Super C is just as good as the previous game, with some QOL improvements and even more Alien references. Of course, it's still super hard. I really like all of these games, and imagine I'd be super into them if I had the nostalgia of growing up playing them. Konami would be my favorite retro developer, no doubt. It's already pretty much there.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Operation C (Game Boy) - Fall 2013

One of the few Game Boy spinoffs that isn't at least a little bit of a letdown. This game is awesome, and it can hang with the rest of the series no problem.

Post HERE.

Honorable Mention: Contra 3 (Super NES) - Fall 2013

Replayed this, appreciated it a lot more in this timeframe than I did in the 1990's. Probably the high point of the series, much like Super Castlevania IV on the same system.

Post HERE.

#476 Contra Force (NES) – Fall 2013

This one's pretty bad, definitely the weak link of the group. Not even sure this was supposed to be a Contra game at all. IIRC it started out as something else and got the Contra name slapped on it. Which explains why the series would go back to the NES after a successful SNES outing. You choose between four characters, which is normally cool, but some of them are bad to the point of not being viable.

Fondest Memory: None of it. This game's pretty bad. I guess the box art and the final boss are kind of bad-ass.

Post HERE.

#477 Contra: Hard Corps (Sega Genesis) – Fall 2013

The obligatory Genesis game in the series. It's bombastic, it's loud, it's colorful. It's similar to the others, just... Genesisy. Remember the 30 lives code? Yeah, that's just a pussy Nintendo code. This Genesis game has a SEVENTY LIVES CODE BAY-BEE. They do what Ninten-don't! The game also has multiple playable characters (this time in an actual decent game) and one of them is a hot blonde so that's cool. Nice artwork and music in this game too, but all in all I definitely prefer Contra 3 and the first several games. They take the material more seriously, while this game comes off a bit more like a jokey "rad" game with "tude". One of the characters is a wolf with sunglasses, which isn't very Contralike.

Posts HERE and HERE.

#478 Resogun (Playstation 4) – Fall 2013

The first thing I played on my shiny new PS4, a system I'd been eagerly awaiting for a while. It was everything I wanted the PS3 to be in terms of having sharp HD visuals. This was a launch game, and a fairly basic shooter that I finished in one day. It has short levels that wrap around onto each other like a cylinder, fending off waves of foes that move into that small area rather than moving through a level itself. It's an interesting concept and the game was fairly popular for a bit (likely because there was nothing else to play on the PS4).

Post HERE.

#479 Ys III: The Oath in Felghana (PSP) – Fall 2013

The only version of Ys III that I've actually played, and probably the best version out there. Streamlines the whole game into a more standard top-down adventure, like the first two on PSP did. I wish the whole series had continued on this path, but all we got were Ys IV, Ys Seven, and Ys Origin in this engine. I guess that's a lot. Ys Origin was my favorite, easily, but second place probably goes to this one right here. Was cool hearing tracks I knew from the SNES version (that I never played) remixed here and going through areas whose names I recognized from reading about it in the past.

Favorite Tune: Tigray Quarry. I love the first few seconds of this tune, and wish there were an entire track of those first few seconds and their mood.

#480 Mystic Ark (Super Famicom) – Winter 2013

This was entirely for the site, and it was a real slog to get through. I played the first half or so much earlier in the year, then got back to it with the intent of finishing it. I was looking forward to it when I found out it was the sequel to 7th Saga, hoping for a better version of that game that fixed its various issues. Instead I got a very different experience here that was confusing more often than not and had little to nothing to do with the previous game. Worst of all, the whole crowning gimmick of the first game - the seven compelling characters to choose from - is gone here, and you have one specific main character.

Posts HERE.

#481 Altered Beast (Sega Genesis) – Winter 2013

This game is totally crazy. Just completely zany and bonkers. Don't even know how to sum it up. It's like...a beat 'em up where you can transform into these werewolf maniacs and just wreck everything in sight It's pretty much the most Sega Genesis thing ever. It's also one of those games that can be beaten in like a half hour and was clearly designed for arcades. I had to do a post for it, obviously, where I pointed out that the hero throws the dantiest kicks I've ever seen. One of my favorite posts.

Post HERE.

#482 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis) – Winter 2014

Continuing with the Sega Genesis, I finally played another Sonic game. I liked this one waaaaay more than the first and found this to be more in-line with what I expected the Sonic series to be. What might be a bit sacrilegious is that I played this crowning Genesis game with a USB SNES controller. Later I went and got a USB Genesis controller for times like that, for authenticity. Plus NES, N64, etc. Unfortunately I didn't up my controller game until well after I was pretty much done checking everything out that I wanted to for those systems. This one is not my favorite post and I was definitely on some drugs.

Post HERE.

#483 Final Fantasy I (PSP) – Winter 2014

Finally, the PSP gets some use again! This is an outstanding port of the game, and has all of the optional content from Dawn of Souls on the GBA, plus some new stuff (while looking waaaay nicer). This version of the game is way too easy during the main story, but other than that, it's a good time. I've played this game more times than any other FF game and maybe any other game, period. Usually the NES version, and in pretty much every configuration of party members / classes you can think of.

In this version, the optional dungeons are better challenges and a lot of fun, especially for a series that is hit-or-miss with its optional dungeons in remakes/ports. What's more, this game adds a new 5th optional dungeon that wasn't in Dawn of Souls and is intended to be postgame beyond the others. This gives you something to use all of your weapons, tools, and levels from the optional dungeons on.

You'll also see a bunch of familiar faces from other games in the series. Just an outstanding game and a lot of fun to plow through, even if it didn't take long at all (12 hours even with all the new stuff). This was a real joy to play on the PSP and gets the title of high point for this chapter of the list.

Toughest Part: The new super-boss, Chronodia. As mentioned before, this gives you an actual reason to min-max in this game and puts your strategies and class choices to the test in a way that nothing in the main game ever does. It basically takes FF1 to the next level and I'd say it's the best version of the game out there.

#484 Batman (NES) – Winter 2014

Good Sunsoft game that I find to be a bit overrated, but it's certainly not bad either. The controls are stiff and the later levels are over-hard. However it plays decently well and is certainly above-average for a superhero game from this era.

Toughest Part: 5-3, if I remember correctly, was ridiculous. It was one of the world 5 levels. I actually tapped out on that level the first time I played this, which was many years earlier. When I went through it again for a post, it turned out that there were only a couple of levels left after that one. But yeah, the difficulty ramps up through the roof midway through this game and not in a good way.

Post HERE.

#485 Assassin's Creed 4 (Playstation 4) – Winter 2014

The first game I played on PS4, but not the first one I finished. Was making my way through this during Winter break of 2013 into 2014. This has to win the title for "Most time spent playing with a woman in my lap" of any game on the whole list. Mock me if you want, this game was so gorgeous that it was fun for folk to just watch me play it as we were constantly wowed by the visuals. It's got a grown-up storyline, good dialogue, likeable characters... definitely a game with crossover appeal. It's mostly sea-faring and you spend a lot of time piloting a majestic boat through strikingly blue waters under a pure, pollution-free sky.

I really liked this one and I remember feeling like PS4 was what I had wanted PS3 to be. Like it really felt "high-definition" and crystal clear and all that. The gameplay in this one is great too, with memorable ship combat and a lot of pirates battling it out. Easily the best AC game since AC2 and probably the last time they scored a 10 out of 10 with the original series formula. What's kind of sad is that it looks a bit dated now, very much like a cross-platform PS3 game (which it was).

#486 Double Dragon (Game Boy) – Winter 2014

Decent Game Boy spinoff of this series. It isn't one of those top-shelf Game Boy games that can hang with its series, but it isn't one of the bad cash-in type redundant Game Boy games either. It's just...decent. Always had a soft spot for it because of the coverage in the Game Boy Player's Guide. Played this to do a post, due to the guide and due to wanting to play the whole Double Dragon series finally. It took me many years to get to the rest though.

Post HERE.

#487 Lunar: Eternal Blue (Playstation) – Winter 2014

A game I'd been saving for a really long time, something that I do occasionally when I want to leave something for a "better time" or whatever the case may be. After sitting on this for years, it was time. While I have a lot more warm fuzzies for Silver Star Story, this is probably the better game overall. In 2014 it was a huge blast from the past. I just wish I could remember it better. Funny how I have a way more vivid memory of the previous game despite it being 15 years earlier.

Favorite Tune: The boss theme. One of the best boss themes on the PS1, and one of the rare video game tunes that I'd call "inspiring" to listen to.

Toughest Part: The final battle with Zophar is hands-down the most difficult thing this game serves up.

Best Villain: Ghaleon is one of the best RPG villains out there, no doubt.

#488 DmC: Devil May Cry (Playstation 3) – Winter 2014

The remake / reboot that ended up being really short-lived, where they turned Dante into a generic douche and got rid of most of the things people liked in the series (while retaining the excellent gameplay, at least). This game is better than it got credit for, and was a blast to play. That said, I'm glad it didn't get any sequels and that they went back to the main series later for DMC5. Basically they pretended this never happened and it's just this sort of failed reboot that inhabits limbo now. I'd probably even take the terrible DMC2 over this because at least that game is part of the series continuity. Though again, in a vacuum this game was decent and probably a better playthrough than half of the four existing games. How about that douchey main character though?


Here's what was definitely intended to be the super-serious Game Informer cover.

#489 Batman: Arkham Origins (Playstation 3) – Winter 2014

Same exact scenario here as GoW: Ascension, this is a prequel game that tones things down a bit and gets into the weeds of potential villains, since they used up all the good ones in the previous games. After the incredible Arkham City, this felt like it kinda didn't need to be made in comparison because I'm not sure if it really improved anything. So yeah, kind of an unnecessary game that felt like a step down from its predecessor, a prequel that we didn't really need. No coincidence that I played it around the same time as GoWA. A lot of folks swear by it, but I can't remember much of it personally. It's still a good time, as these Rocksteady-era Batman games always are.

#490 Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (Playstation 4) – Spring 2014

Somehow the only game I beat in March 2014, despite being about two hours long. This was less its own game and more a demo for the eventual MGSV, but it rolled credits and it's on the list. I only spent a couple hours with this and I'm not sure it was worth the $30 price. Luckily this sort of practice didn't become commonplace. The good news is that this semi-prequel is better than most of the actual MGSV. It's focused, visually stunning, and tells an interesting little story that follows up on Peace Walker. It's definitely a game where the PS4 started showing what it was capable of, so that's cool too. Kinda sad that the PS4's main killer app in its first year was a glorified demo like this though. Assassin's Creed 4 was really great but I don't remember there being much else.

Post HERE.

#491 Final Fantasy: All The Bravest (Android) – Spring 2014

Weird game here that had some appeal, since it created 2D versions of bosses from FF7, FF10, and FF13 for the first time ever. Wasn't much by way of gameplay, since you just ran your fingertips up and down the phone screen over and over until you won any given battle. I mean there was ZERO strategy whatsoever here and every time you died (from not rubbing fast enough) you had to wait a few minutes for your characters to revive, or pay money to revive them quicker. As you got more and more characters, it took longer for them to revive. Game was a terrible idea all around.

One cool element is that it had a lottery system to "pull" new characters and hope for a rare hero like Cloud or Sephiroth to add to your party. Though really it was more of an army. So pulling a character and seeing who you ended up with was actually fun, as was seeing 2D versions of so many late-series bosses. While this was a novel concept, everything this game did was done WAAAAAAY better a year later by Final Fantasy Record Keeper.

Post HERE.

#492 Dragonball Z: Kyoushuu Saiya-Jin (Famicom) – Spring 2014

It's kind of stunning that it took me 14 years to play the rest of the DBZ RPGs on the NES, given how into these games I was in 1999. This is the Saiyan Saga one and it's pretty solid given how early it is in the lifespan of DBZ games. It's also very short for an RPG, which makes sense given how much they had to work with, and has lots of Saibamen and Saiyan goons as regular enemies. I believe it also incorporates the Dead Zone movie to pad things out a bit.

Posts HERE and HERE.

Honorable Mention: Dragonball Z: Gekishin Freeza (Famicom)

This HM gets a screenshot because it's such a fond memory. The second of the four, and the one I actually finished in 1999. The best of the group, and that isn't just nostalgia talking - the Freeza Saga is perfect for an RPG. Already talked about this one.

Posts HERE and HERE.

#493 Dragonball Z: Ressen Jinzouningen (Famicom) – Spring 2014

Another short RPG, the Android/Cell Saga game actually ends about halfway through the Cell Saga itself. They incorporated Movie 5 into this one to pad things out, like the Saiyan Saga game had to do. I talked about these games quite a bit in my ranking of 80's and 90's RPGs list (HERE). They couldn't finish this game because the series hadn't actually finished the Cell Saga yet (maybe wait on it then? I don't know, they probably had studio interference and a deadline, or expected to get to do another sequel).

One cool thing about this is that Piccolo gets to main event, as the final battle is Piccolo vs. Form 1 Cell. It's longer than the Saiyan Saga game, which isn't saying too much. I'd go with the Freeza Saga game, but anyone who likes that one enough will also enjoy the rest of these.

Best Part: The first couple hours, where you get Gokou vs Freeza, Trunks vs Metal Freeza and King Cold, and Gokou vs Trunks. Plus some Movie 5. So basically before the Android stuff even gets going.

Post HERE.

#494 Dragonball Z Gaiden: Saiya-Jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku (Famicom) – Spring 2014

The Plan to Destroy the Saiyans. Still think it's super weird that the fourth and final DBZ RPG on the Famicom was about this TV special and not the Cell Games, or the Buu Saga. This is a damn good game, though, and manages to capture the badassness of the four Super Saiyans a lot better than the previous game did. They're all in their Cell Games forms here, as opposed to the previous game where they're in Android Saga form.

This one is a pretty kick-ass game, and a bit more polished than the other three. I definitely approve of it. The only thing working against it is that it isn't based on a saga from the series, but rather a non-canon TV special that a lot of people might not even be familiar with. And it seemed to be missing the final boss from the special (not the first time they've left a final boss out of one of these...) which is super weird. I may have missed something, though, to cause Hatchiyak to not show up. Yeah, the bad guy's name is Hatchiyak.

Posts HERE and HERE.

#495 Final Fantasy II (PSP) – Spring 2014

Much sharper and prettier HD version of Dawn of Souls. Much like FF1 on PSP, this adds an entire new postgame uberdungeon that DoS didn't have, with a new superboss. And that's on top of the existing Soul of Rebirth postgame. It's probably the best version of FFII at this point, aside from maybe the Pixel Remaster version having mods to normalize leveling a bit. Just a shame it doesn't have the Soul of Rebirth postgame that this game does, as it's the best part of FFII easily and should always be included in that game. It was developed a good 15 years after the original game, so it really should be better.

Unlike most postgames, SoR isn't just about superboss challenges. It actually continues the story and brings back the characters you lose during the game (at the exact level they were when you lost them) to give you an opportunity to go on one more adventure with them. It's also interesting to see those characters interact, while they never got to in the main game. More Minwu and Josef is never a bad thing, and you also get Scott who I don't think was even playable in the main game. The SoR final boss also feels more like the game's real final boss than the story final boss does.

Toughest Part: Deumion, the superboss. I don't remember what happened with this fight but I assume I won it. No FF superbosses escaped me that I know of. The fact that I don't remember this fight nearly as well as I remember Chronodia tells me that this fight probably wasn't that big of a challenge. It's definitely the game's strongest boss, though.

#496 Killzone (Playstation 2) – Spring 2014

This was the first time I remember PS2 ever feeling old and obsolete. Going back to it for a shooter (to get the story en route to playing the others) felt like a huge step backwards. In any case, this is a good (and largely forgotten) shooter series that was another of Sony's answers to Halo, like the Resistance series. This one turns you loose against an authoritarian government that is legitimately scary. I started playing these because the fourth (and final) game in the series was one of the PS4's very few launch games worth playing.

The good news is that this game has a really fun Aliens style chain-gun you can tote around and blast foes with a nearly infinite magazine size. That one particular weapon is what kept me playing this and saw me through it despite the visuals being so meh in 2014. With the futuristic setting, this game really felt like it should have had lasers, and it didn't. There were a lot of futuristic games in the 2000s that opted for ballistic ammo instead of beams, and it was dismaying. Maybe laser beams were just a product of 1980's futurism, I don't know.

#497 South Park: The Stick of Truth (Playstation 3) – Spring 2014

Particularly well-done and fun to play RPG, even if you're not familiar with the source material. So if you are, it's a total blast and the closest you can get to acting out a season of the show. All kinds of things from the show appear here, and to this day I'd say it's the best South Park game out there. A few years later it got a sequel that, IMO, didn't reach the level of this one. Regardless, this game was probably the closest thing I got to Earthbound since... Earthbound. Without any of the profound moments or touching music, that is. Yes, including Mother 3. From a gameplay and quirkyness perspective, not to mention how charming the town is, this game is a real catch.

Strategy of Choice: Went with "bleed builds" and did everything in my power to proc bleed effects on foes to essentially load them up with DoTs.

#498 Suikoden 4 (Playstation 2) – Spring 2014

Terrible game here, but I decided it was time to play the back half of the series and By God I wasn't skipping anything. You start the game with the main character losing multiple fights to various opponents, which is pretty lame. Introduce a new hero and have them lose fights right out of the gate and never get their wins back. It's like I'm watching Shang-Chi again.

That's the least of the game's problems, though. The character designs in this one are bland and forgettable and it's a huge letdown for how lively this series usually is. Even the box-art is unappealing. I finished the game, because Suikoden 5 existed and I wanted to finish the series. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with this one at all. Everything about this game visually feels like they cut corners, there's like no color, and the character models are all weirdly-proportioned, often with these tiny heads. Even the battle system was slower, if I remember right. So did I like anything about this game? Well, no.

Post HERE. I did a short-form brief look at the beginning and not much else.

#499 Suikoden Tactics (Playstation 2) – Spring 2014

Significant upgrade and I don't want to bash this game, but it's still not really anything anyone's gonna reflect fondly on. This series is strong with its first two entries and to a lesser extent the 3rd and 5th. This one is basically Suikoden 4-2 and it plays completely differently from the rest of the series. Not sure why the worst entry in the series needed to be the one to get a sequel, and we still didn't have the Harmonia game teased by Suikoden 3 either. In any case, this continues Suikoden 4's story, with the same characters, only overhauling it into a Tactics-style game. It's a little slow, but it's playable, and it's fine really. Wonder if Suikoden 4 was just flat-out not done yet when it got rushed out to market and that's why it had so much more story to tell in this game.

#500 Suikoden V (Playstation 2) - Spring 2014

This one is actually quite good, but it was probably too little too late to save the series, much like Xenosaga III. It recaptures the vibe of the first two games to an extent, the battle system is quick again, and the story is quite interesting. Like Eternal Blue this was way overdue in terms of finally getting to it.

Visually, this game is instantly a lot more colorful than the super-drab Suikoden 4. Even the box art has actual colors in it now. The costumes in this game get really creative, and it's like they went in a direct 180 away from what Suikoden 4 was doing with its terrible outfits and uniforms. So this is a candidate for best game of this chapter, against Assassin's Creed 4 and Final Fantasy on PSP (that last one is really more personal preference, while the other two are high quality games no matter who you are). I just wish that, like so many other games on the list as it goes on, I could remember more about this one and get more in-depth. I can't remember too much of it at all. One thing I remember vividly is...

Fondest Memory and Favorite Tune: Sol Falena, "A Power Like The Sun". What an inspiring and magic-tinged track. You spend a lot of time in this city early in the game, listening to this very track. I had the windows open and the curtains were billowing in the springtime air while I was playing this, and I even took a rudimentary video of it because it all went so well together. One of those rare times where a game sort of steps outside of its box and becomes one with the world around it. Seriously though give a medal to whoever composed the soundtrack of this and the first two games.

With the list half over, I'm going to take a break for a while. I'll do the back half later.


  1. Re: the confusion over "who is Red Falcon?" in your Contra posts: I believe that has its roots in a translation error, believe it or not. In Japan, Red Falcon is the name of the human militant organization controlled by the aliens, and the aliens' own names are ridiculously awesome in that way Japanese sci-fi villains' names are.

    * Big Xenomorph/Contra 1 final boss: Emperor Demon Dragon God Java, with his living heart Heaven King Demon-Breeding Heart Gomeramos King.
    * Giant face/Super C penultimate boss/Contra 3 final boss: Emperor Demon Gava.
    * Super C final boss: Shadow Beast Kimkoh.
    * Gava's brain/Contra 3 true final boss: Brain Organism Searle, who has a powered-up form on Hard Mode called Six Men Feromeros. I don't know either.

    Like I said, these names rule.

    1. Wow, that's awesome stuff, thanks. I know from NP that Contra 3's first boss is "Beast Kimkoh", which is odd because it looks nothing like Super C's final boss...

    2. That's another translation error! The Contra 3 first boss' actual name is "Taka" in Japan, with the actual Kimkoh showing up later in the final boss rush. The giant Terminator has the absolutely hilarious name "Big Fuzz," too.