Saturday, March 16, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#268 - 283)


#268 Darkstalkers 3 (Playstation) – Summer 2007

A game (and EGM ad) that helped a lot of us go through puberty. For my money this is probably the sexiest game ad and cover of all time. Ten years or so after I first saw the game, I finally got ahold of it and played through it. It's a fighting game, it's over fairly quick, and it's just kinda there. But I sure do like the artwork.

Character of Choice: Morrigan, of course. Duh.

Seriously Though: Sexiest game cover of all time.

#269 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (Gamecube) – Summer 2007

Remake of the first MGS that brings it in line (visually and play style) with MGS2. The best way to play the game, and I'm surprised it never got much recognition. To this day they keep porting the first one to various collections while ignoring this one. Was cool to get more use out of the Gamecube, which was really winding down around this time.

#270 Metal Gear Solid 3 (Playstation 2) – Summer 2007

After a quick MGS2 replay I finally got to the third game, which had been out for a while. It didn't really interest me because the setting was so different from the others. I liked the refineries and futuristic stuff, while this brought us back to the 1960's and a wilderness setting.

However, I sold the game way short because it ended up being tremendously well done, maybe the best the series ever got. It's atmospheric and pulls you in like none other. It isn't the kind of game you rush through, and you have to like crawling around in the Forest for extended amounts of time, keeping a low profile and sneaking up on your foes.

Favorite Part: The bosses. Each one has a distinct personality and way of doing things, and those traits figure into their combat style. One of them is basically the Predator, one has a hide and seek battle over a large area that can go on for actual hours, one uses a flamethrower and his room has the best fire effects I ever saw on the PS2 or even in the PS2 era. The final boss is an emotional fight in a field of flower petals, something that would later resonate with Fromsoft and their staging of final battles in games like Sekiro.

#271 Final Fantasy XII (Playstation 2) – Summer 2007

Thought this game was awesome, but at the time it got a lot of flack for some reason. Yeah some parts of it don't seem finished, but it took some risks that paid off with the new Gambit system. Really liked setting that up and accounting for any problems the party might run into. I actually started this in Fall 2006 and fell off with it fairly early for some reason, so this was my run at finishing the game. In 2007 I was making a notable effort to finish off a lot of things that had been piling up for a while, to varying degrees of success. Had an entire stack of things that I needed to finish and was slowly going through it.

This game has a very unique style and look that no other game has. I don't think it's anyone's favorite FF game, but I respect it a lot for trying new things. It gives the player a lot of freedom, and you can set up the party in pretty much any way you want. For instance, I quickly dumped main character Vaan and led with noted hot girl Penelo.

This game has six characters and they're mostly pretty great, with Vaan (the purported main character) being the weakest character by far in terms of being interesting or well-defined. Matter of fact I'd say he's the least interesting potential lead of the six. The other five could all in theory be the main character of a different game, especially the likes of Balthier and Ashe. I heard that Basch was supposed to be the MC of this game originally and they changed it to Vaan to appeal to The Kids. No idea if this is true but it seems like it.

Toughest Optional Postgame Part: Yiazmat and its 50 million HP. Even at level 99 this fight took a couple hours. The good news is it pretty much plays itself, you just have to make sure it doesn't fall apart. Over that duration of time a lot can go wrong though, and it's an epic odyssey. Or an exercise in tedium, depending on you. Omega MK12 is actually a much more complex fight, but only has a small fraction of the HP that this guy has so I'd put it at #2.

Toughest Main Story Part: The battle with Doctor Cid. About, what, 80% of the way through the game you fight Cid, and he's got a damn minigun. I remember that fight more vividly than the final boss itself because it totally whooped me a number of times.

Favorite Tune: Giving Chase, which plays in the various fights with the Ba'Gamnan gang. However what I remember it more for is the airship fight with Doom Gaze, the 4th-strongest of the game's roughly 10 postgame uberbosses.

This would be a good time to mention that Hitoshi Sakimoto did the OST for this game. He's my second-favorite composer besides Yasunori Mitsuda, so this elevates the game quite a bit for me. However, this is also one of his weaker soundtracks, by and large, with far fewer memorable tracks than things like FF Tactics and Vagrant Story. There are a few impactful, driving tracks though, like this one. It actually kinda sounds more like an unused track from Vagrant Story and stands out from the generally low-key FF12 soundtrack.

#272 Mega Man 7 FC (PC) – Summer 2007

This is a de-make of Mega Man 7 that puts it in-line with the NES games in the classic series. Later someone made Mega Man 8 FC, so you can actually play 1-10 of the classic series all in NES style now instead of having 7/8 be different-looking outliers. I do like Mega Man 8 as it is, but it's pretty cool that these de-makes are a thing.

Personally I'm finding de-makes more and more intriguing as time goes on, like the Game Boy version of Elden Ring that has the first two major bosses. Or the PS1 Bloodborne with the first two bosses. Or the Metroid Prime 2D demake that...I think got C&D'd? There were a couple of NES Final Fantasy VII de-makes too, and one of them was actually really good. Covered the whole game and used FF3's engine. Demakes are something that intrigue me and that I've barely ever gotten around to checking out. 

As for this actual game, for a fan project it's very high-quality and certainly worthy of counting as a real game. Everything looks just like it would on the NES. Only potential issue with it is that the backgrounds aren't nearly as detailed as Mega Man 6, so this looks more in line with the early series. Which could be a little distracting if one plays through them in order. Other than that one minor blip, this is a rad game that more people should know about.

Post HERE.

#273 Ogre Battle (Playstation) – Summer 2007

Could have sworn I played this way sooner / already covered it in the 90's, but it doesn't look like it? I think I ironed out all the duplicate entries in the list a while ago. It appears that I didn't actually play through it until 2007. I vaguely remember having this game for a while before I got to it, and think I got it on a really good deal at Let's Play before it closed. Probably one of the many things I got for $10 there.

My main strategy in this game was just to consolidate all of my best units (usually unit leaders) into one or two power groups and just have them mop up everything / overlevel. Usually my main hero unit would be the one thrusting into enemy territory while the backup team guarded the base. This strategy won every battle in the game without any fuss. Things did get a bit tedious after a while because the game got so easy, however. I'd just point and click and watch it play out, one battle after another, until I eventually got to the end. Tanked my ingame reputation meter by doing this, and didn't get a good ending, but it was certainly easier than playing as intended.

Not So Honorable Mention: Front Mission 4 (Playstation 2)

I tried with this one, I really did. The game is so slow and so boring that I just couldn't get through it, and this was at a time where I got through basically everything. This and Xenosaga 2 got shelved because even during my 2007 finish-a-thon I couldn't stomach either of them. Xenosaga 2 I eventually got back to and found the good in, while this one... well, I don't know what happened to it. Probably got sold, or given away, or is in a box somewhere. But yeah, this was one of those rare games that made me wonder what I was doing with my life. Long, plodding, dull. Even liking mech combat, this was as tedious as a Tactics style game can get.

#274 Elite Beat Agents (Nintendo DS) – Summer 2007

This was the first DS game I ever played/beat. My friend Amanda gave me a DS and Pokemon Diamond, while my other friend Danica gave me this game, and I played this first. There's a lot of licensed music in this game and it's one of the few rhythm games I could ever get into. It also makes use of the DS stylus for tap gameplay that actually feels like a good use of the system. One of the few times where the DS' Waggle-Motion controls really felt worth it.

Fondest Memory, Toughest Part, and Favorite Tune: The final level is the toughest challenge, and a ton of fun trying to get right. Only part that I remember having any real battle to finish. Particularly like the song for it.

#275 Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance) – Summer 2007

Probably the best portable Zelda up until Link Between Worlds if we're being objective, though I'll probably always prefer Link's Awakening and the two Oracles. This game is really good-looking, uses the GBA to its strengths, and is certainly better than the two Zeldas on DS. Really had fun with this one. Does this mean I revived the almost-finished Zelda Crusade? Nope, and I was like four games behind now (3 after this one).

Much like the Oracles, this one revolves around having a power that lets you transform the world around you between two different states. Instead of seasons or past/present, now it's micro and macro. In other words you can shrink down and engage with the world in a totally different way. This allows regular common enemies to become bosses since your character is tiny in comparison.

Fondest Memory: Friend of mine playing this on an actual GBA while I played the first couple hours of Metroid Prime 3 on his TV. Funny thing is I didn't get to finishing that game, or get to the Wii at all, until years later despite being such a massive Metroid fan. However I was all about emulating Minish Cap right around when said friend was playing it.

Favorite Tune: Minish Woods is a super memorable and timeless tune.

Posts HERE.

#276 Mega Man X7 (Playstation 2) – Summer 2007

Oh hey, I finally got around to finishing this one, which was on the agenda for years. It wasn't the only not-great "7" that I got to this year either. 2007 was, after all, the "finish things" year and I was wading through the pile.

I was still on Wily Alert at this point, waiting for the series to get to the point with that whole deal. Well, no Wily in this game. With him definitely present in X5 and X6 and it being clearly indicated that he was the one building Sigma's new bodies, it was logical to think this is where he'd finally make his presence known to X.

Well, he doesn't. But get this, the final battle theme is called "The Professor". Like Wily? Yet the final boss is just Sigma again. Sigma, who isn't a professor and has never been referred to as such. Makes me wonder if the original plan was a Wily fight at the end and they just dropped the idea for some reason. They changed the name of "The Professor" to "Our Blood Boils" for the American version, probably because by then somebody realized that there was no Wily fight at the end.

Favorite Tune: "Our Blood Boils" (also known as "The Professor" depending on the version). What an absolute banger of a battle theme, and makes one wonder what they were doing the rest of the time during the game's development. Because this track is waaaaay better than anything else in this game.

Post HERE.

#277 Mega Man X8 (Playstation 2) – Summer 2007

Significant improvement over the terrible previous game, but still not the X series of olde that I really missed by this point. Very different from the other games. Several of the stages are duds and I pretty much never go back to this one, but after X7 it looked great in comparison.

Biggest WTF For Me: After building up Wily in the background for most of the X series...we reach the final X game...and finally have a game where Sigma isn't the villain...and they gave the spot to some random guy we've never seen before, with no mention of Wily at all in the game.

Post HERE.

#278 Grand Theft Auto 3 (Playstation 2) – Summer 2007

This is something I'd rented a couple of times but never got super far with it. Around this time I made a bid to actually finish the game because I really liked it (and I think GTA4 was out so I probably wanted to get to that...funny thing is I never got to GTA4).

GTA3 is in a class of its own for the early 2000's in terms of being a sandbox game like nothing before it. You can play this for hours and have a blast without actually accomplishing anything. I just liked how the city in the game felt like a real-world city, something I don't think any game had done before this.

Favorite Radio Station: Probably the MSX one. Was it called that? I think it was. It was pretty much all Drum & Bass genre, which wasn't really a thing yet when the game came out in 2002 but was getting fairly popular by 2007. Favorite Drum & Bass song? "Sun King" by State of Mind. It isn't in this game though.

#279 Fire Emblem 7, Rekka no Ken (Blazing Sword) (Game Boy Advance) – Summer 2007

This was my first FE game, and the first one we got in North America anyway. In the U.S. it was a standalone game, but in Japan it was a prequel to the previous game in the series. I didn't really know what I was getting into, but I always wanted to play the SNES Fire Emblems and here was my chance to play one in English. Never got to the SNES (or NES) installments but I did play everything from FE6 onward, just about.

Fondest Memory: A lot of the women in this game are straight-up gorgeous. I mean they really knew what they were doing with the artwork. The armor and outfits are all pretty awesome too, across the board. Every character is appealing, just about.

#280 Fire Emblem 6, Fuuin no Tsurugi (Sealed Sword) (Game Boy Advance) – Summer 2007

The sequel to FE7 funnily enough, and a Japan-only game at the time. Luckily a fan-translated ROM existed, which was a great turn of events because after FE7 I really wanted to see what happened next in the story. So this was a huge pleasant surprise. It's a better game than its prequel, as well. This was a lot like the Wild Arms 2 situation back in 2000 where I finished a game and then found out I could continue the story. Pretty amazing surprise, the once in a blue moon when it happens. This one moves forward in time quite a bit, and a naive boy from FE7 is the ruthless emperor in this one. Kind of interesting how for American audiences with emulators this would be a sequel to FE7, but for Japanese audiences who already had this, FE7 is a prequel. Kinda crazy that this never got an American release, as well.

#281 Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (Playstation 2) – Fall 2007

A Blockbuster rental that I think was very spur of the moment. I think this is the first 3D Ys game (in terms of having 3D-looking visuals, not actually a 3D landscape, which wouldn't be until Ys VIII). I liked this game a lot and it ended up being the first Ys game I'd ever beaten (or really played, for that matter). This opened the door for me to check out others in the series later on.

Favorite Tune: The final boss theme is a genre I don't know the name of, kind of a chill-techno like 90's sensation "Dubmarine". I liked this tune a lot though, it's moody and atmospheric and feels both alien and technological, like you're fighting a foe you can't really identify. This might be my favorite tune in this entire post, for some reason.

#282 Shadow of the Ninja (NES) – Fall 2007

This was one of the first 3 console video games I ever played, in a doctor's office when I was like 7 years old. They had an NES set up with Super Mario Bros, Destiny of an Emperor, and this game. I played all 3 of them, probably for like 10 minutes each. SMB was the one I went back to on follow-up visits, but I liked this game too. There was a stage select code for it in one of the first Nintendo Powers I ever read, and I wanted to go revisit it and see what the last level looked like. I don't think that ever happened. Speaking of Nintendo Power, it's really weird, but NP never covered this game. I checked the issues up and down from 1990 and 1991 (released August 1990) and it's nowhere to be found. Not even a mention of it.

In any case, I got around to emulating it in 2007 and beat the game pretty quickly. It's basically a lesser Ninja Gaiden in most ways, while still being a quality game. It's easier too, so that helps. Also you can choose between a male and female protagonist at the outset, which is something you didn't see very much with the NES.

Post HERE.

#283 Dragon Quest 7 (Playstation) – Winter 2007

Finally, I wrapped up 2007 with this. On the third major run at the game (all of which took place in Winter seasons, for some reason), I finally powered through to the end. Most of my memories of this game involve level-grinding in overworld plains endlessly. I think I got lost for a while a couple times when I had like, one missing shard and no idea what to do. While I didn't find a whole lot to like here, it's cool for a while and I actually like that it takes two hours to even fight a single battle. It's unique in that regard. Going to try giving it a second shot and see how that goes.

Toughest Part: Hell Cloud. Early(ish) game boss that is a huge leap in difficulty from everything before it. Not sure anything after it ever posed the same level of challenge. I never did the postgame or fought the super-boss because I was mostly just ready to move on the minute it was over.

Favorite Tune: The boss theme is really good, but I'll give the duke to the shrine theme. This is the hub area of the game and where I probably spent the most time. There isn't a lot to do there besides place shards (and look at all the shards you've found) but whenever I was lost, I'd sit in there and look things up. So I remember this theme pretty vividly. Unfortunately the 3DS version kinda messes with this theme by speeding it up, which gives it a very different vibe.

Posts HERE (If I get to it)

Before we go, more versions of The Professor / Our Blood Boils from Mega Man X7:

Sega Genesis soundfont!

Mega Man X soundfont!

NES soundfont!

Mega Man Zero 2 soundfont!

Arcade soundfont!

Mega Man X3 soundfont!

BW2 soundfont!

Modern Pokemon soundfont! I think this might be my favorite of the group, either this or Genesis.

That's it for 2007. Next up: 2008

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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