Thursday, May 23, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#411 - 431)

#411 Batman: Arkham City (Playstation 3) – Summer 2012

This is the point where my game-finishing took off because I decided to go for 1000. Played more short games from this point forward to get that number up. So the finish-rate basically doubles for the rest.

Arkham Asylum was good, this is great. Quintessentially what a sequel is supposed to be. Expands to a whole city area and gives you all kinds of new weapons and tools to get around. Far as I'm concerned, this is up there with the 2018 Spider-Man as the best superhero games of all time. It's mind-boggling how expansive the game world feels at times, even though it really isn't. They did a great job with it. It's been remastered since then too. Lots of fan-favorite bosses that show up here and some memorable fights, along with tons of gadgets to play around with. This is the kind of game that can cross over with non-gamers who just like the character, because it's that good.

#412 Alien Vs Predator (Super NES) – Summer 2012

Another of those "game I really wanted as a kid, and for some reason took over a decade to get ahold of via emulation" games. Not sure what the holdup was. Well, maybe it was that the game isn't very good. Mainly did it to do a post. There was a Game Boy version too that I wanted as a kid and somehow never played. Which is good, because the GB version is so bad I couldn't even do it for a post. In any case, this SNES version could have been awesome if they'd followed the arcade version at all. This game was about as "mid" as a game of this property could be, and it was easy to gimp the whole game by using the Predator's slide-kicks and disc-projectiles.

But Why?: There was already an incredible arcade game using this property. Why not just base this version on that, instead of giving us this very barebones game? I'm sure there were some corporate reasons for all of this.

Post HERE.

#413 Gun Nac (NES) – Summer 2012

A solid (especially for NES) vertical shooter. Probably one of the best on the system. Seems to want to compete with Parodius for weird-assness. Has a giant cat idol boss. Not sure how this made it into my game repertoire in this timeframe, but it's right there on the list, so here it is.

Post HERE.

#414 Final Fantasy: Four Heroes of Light (Nintendo DS) – Summer 2012

I had a serious issue with this game. It's a good game and worth playing, no doubt. But why did it limit me to two-person parties for like half the game? Why make a game called "FOUR heroes" that brings back a robust class system...if you're going to have the player stuck with two-person groups for half the game, where someone always has to be a healer, so they only have one character to experiment with classes?

The second half of the game is significantly better than the first, once you have all four characters and total freedom to play around with classes, which was the selling point of the game in the first place. Regardless, this game is good, and brought back a class system that people were really missing. We didn't get much of it in the Final Fantasy series after the 1990's for some reason.

#415 God of War: Chains of Olympus (Playstation 3) – Fall 2012

The first of two GoW spinoffs for PSP that got an HD port to PS3. Surprised I didn't get them on the PSP. You'd think this would be scaled way down, but not really, it's a worthy addition to the series. I have no trouble counting this as one of the six main-series GoWs in the original series. It's pretty short compared to the others though, and they cut some corners. I could have played this sooner on PSP, but by this point the whole series was remastered on PS3.

#416 Batman Returns (Super NES) – Fall 2012

A beat 'em up with that Keaton Batman dark moodiness. Most notable for being the only game I ever played during a class at school. Absolutely shameful behavior! The class in question was one of those introductory "everyone saying something about themselves because it's the first week" classes, but still, I don't know how I got away with that. Just loaded it up on the laptop and played a couple levels. The game itself was cool, and Nintendo Power covered it back in the day while making it look super good as usual. This is a good game if you like beating up clowns, because it's full of them.

This game needed more Danny Devito. Where's Danny Devito, dammit?

Post HERE.

#417 Donkey Kong Land 2 (Game Boy) – Fall 2012

Unlike the first DKL this is basically a scaled-down version of DKC2. I preferred how DKL added a bunch of new levels and worlds and was basically a brand new game. This on the other hand is a port. At least overall this one is better-designed and has nicer visuals than the first. However, it isn't really "worth playing" the same way since the first was actually new content.

Post HERE.

#418 Donkey Kong Land 3 (Game Boy) – Fall 2012

Same deal here. This one probably has the clearest graphics and best animations of the trio. 3 is my least-favorite Country game but I liked all of the Land trilogy just fine. Screenshots aren't really doing much justice to these games, as they look kind of murky and terrible in screenshots. These games are far better in motion and push the Game Boy to the limit in terms of animation and fluidity.

Post HERE (Same as above)

#419 Wild Guns (Super NES) – Fall 2012

Man, I was really flying down the list of things to check out / emulate / whatever as the rocket activated full speed. This one is noteworthy for having that super-sexy Annie woman, with her hat and her revolvers. Games from the 90's aren't supposed to be this sexy.

No idea why I played this game to begin with as it's pretty obscure, but somehow it got onto my radar. It's an interesting one because the controls are probably unlike any other game on the system. It's a fairly short play, but a lot of fun.

Post HERE.

#420 God of War: Ghost of Sparta (Playstation 3) – Fall 2012

The second of the PSP GoW spinoffs, here in HD form. I found this one to be much, much better than the previous, which was already good, and I'd put this up there with the console GoWs. They didn't cut any corners with this one. Mostly remember this for the awesome box art. Surprised I didn't play this on the PSP since I needed things to play on it. Other than that, not a lot to say about this one. It's more GoW, it's good. The first trilogy plus the two PSP spinoffs is a great five-game series and this was me finishing that. Later we got the GoW Ascension prequel which I wasn't as into and saw as unnecessary, but I'll get to that later.

#421 Gargoyle's Quest (Game Boy) – Fall 2012

For Halloween, I ran these for the site. Cool and unique little game here from Capcom. You can hover, which allowed them to line all the hallways with spikes. One of those uncommon games where the original was on Game Boy and the sequel was on NES. But seriously, they really liked those spikes.

Post HERE.

#422 Gargoyle's Quest II (NES) – Fall 2012

Again, they really went crazy with the spikes. Great sequel here, and it's actually a sequel, not just a carbon copy of the Game Boy version like some of the games I've been let down by. This one gets overlooked a lot because it was a late-era NES game in the time of SNES. Demon's Crest totally overshadows it too. I made room for it and I'm glad I did, because this is a neat little series.

Post HERE.

#423 Dead Space (Playstation 3) - Fall 2012

Still in the timeframe of Halloween, I played a game that I'd wanted to get to the previous Halloween during my creepy space phase with Aliens and Event Horizon. This is probably the king of creepy games from this era. It is very scary and very bloody. This game isn't my bag under normal circumstances, but as a Halloween game with the lights out, it's a real experience.

Particularly liked the copious amounts of influence it got from the great sci-fi horror type movies. The monsters are very much inspired by both Xenomorphs and The Thing, and that's just for starters. The only real downside is that you never really get to go all Doom and plow through your foes. It's more of a "creep around the ship slowly and try not to waste any ammo" kind of game. Which, come to think of it, isn't really a downside at all. It's got its place.

Toughest Part: Hard to remember exactly, but at some point there was a big zero-gravity section where I had to move stuff around, and I kept getting lost in it.

#424 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP) – Winter 2012

The second of the three versions of this game that I played. It was good to get some more use out of the PSP. Main thing I remember about this was how damn cold my new place got. Usually the issue was places getting too hot with no AC. Now I had a place with basically no insulation, so it was as cold in there as it was outside. Had to build a tent in a room just to try and stay warm. Playing PSP in a tent indoors was interesting. This was the only winter where I lived at that place. Again, should have stuck with the wood-paneled room.

In any case, this one had screenshot capability, which was useful, and sure looked a lot better than the PS1 version I played back in the 90's. They spruced up the dialogue a lot too. Everything about this was enjoyable.

Favorite Character: Lans Tartare, the Dark Knight. This guy was so cool that they later made a prequel about him as a youth.

Toughest Part: The final battle of this game is ass and a half, and tougher than anything in this game OR Final Fantasy Tactics for that matter. Since I spent a lot of time with this game and did everything, particularly the Palace of the Dead, I didn't have TOO much trouble with the boss in this version. However I think they did make him tougher than the PS1 version, which never gave me any real guff. And then there's the later Switch version, which has the same super-strong final boss as the PSP version. I had a lot more trouble finishing that one, likely because I didn't do as much as I did in the PSP version. Either way, the final battle is one of the toughest in general RPG-dom and certainly the worst one I've seen in Tactics-style RPGs. I'll discuss it more in the Switch version, considering that this version gave me less trouble.

Posts HERE.

#425 Valkyria Chronicles (Playstation 3) – Winter 2012

Now this was a terrific game that I played over Christmas break. Hitoshi Sakimoto did the music for this one and it's a very different kind of strategy RPG. I liked the WW1-like setting with some futuristic tech that obviously didn't exist in that era in the real world. One of the few games in this era that I went out of my way to do everything in, even though I didn't need to. Deserves a lot more than what I'm giving it here.

Toughest Part: I vaguely remember there being a blue-haired sorceress maniac about halfway through the game that gave me some fits. She could fire energy bolts with sniper range and attacked from a well-defended castle. At least, I think it was this game; it could have been the other one I played, VC4.

#426 Final Fantasy III 3D (Android) – Winter 2012

Just about the exact same overall game as the DS version, which I never played. They sharpened up the visuals a LOT for this version and made everything more colorful, making this way more enjoyable than said DS version. I'd go so far as to call this version of the game a joy to look at. Also, this was a breeze to get through, as a phone game that I could play whenever on the go. Found that I got used to the controls after a bit and the game was insanely convenient to just whip out at any given time. Even went so far as to get everyone to level 99 and max out my save file, which is a rare thing for me to do.

My only real complaint about this is that the character models in game don't look anything like the awesome designs they have in the intro movie and promotional art for the game. Ingame they've got almost chibi artstyles, a stark difference from how they look here. At least they aren't POP figures like the recent Pokemon Diamond/Pearl remake. Other than that, it's a perfectly good game. They also made an interesting 3D version of FFIV, but as cool as both of these are I'm glad they stopped there. Much rather see 2D remakes of these games if they're going to remake them at all. That said, both this and FFIV 3D offer quite a bit of uniqueness over the rest of the series, and I'm glad they exist.

Fondest Memory: Laying next to my girlfriend in bed sleeping and quietly level grinding in this game with one arm while the other arm was wrapped around her body. It's a convenient game for situations like that where you have insomnia and also have a sleeping naked person on one arm so you only have one other arm to play the game. It's a very specific situation.

Level Grinding Area Of Choice: Bahamut's Lair will take you all the way to level 99.

Toughest Part: The uberboss fight in this game is Iron Giant, who simply has a ton of HP and whacks you with AOEs almost every round for thousands of damage. The fight gives you a reason to get to high levels and/or max out your classes. I got everyone to 99 and maxed out their Onion Knight classes (which become the strongest class once a character is over level 90) just for this fight. At that point, Iron Giant STILL puts up a bit of a fight, but it's very doable. One weird thing about this boss, however, is that Iron Giant was technically a hidden superboss in Final Fantasy 2. It's the WarMech equivalent in that game, a boss fight that can rarely attack in a certain area of the last dungeon. However, given that it isn't the toughest foe in the game (and barely gets into the top 5), it's not much of a superboss in the grand scheme of things. Astaroth was probably more of a "hidden superboss" for FF2. In any case, it's a little odd that they went with this guy as FF3's superboss when they needed to add one. Or maybe it isn't odd at all. I don't know.

Review HERE.

#427 Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD (Playstation 3) – Winter 2012

The last main series MGS game that I hadn't played. It's basically a sequel to MGS3. Which means the chronological series order is MGS3 -> Peace Walker -> MGS5 -> MG -> MG2 -> MGS1 -> MGS2 -> MGS4. Hope everyone got all that. Course this is a port of a PSP game so we can expect it to be scaled down a lot. wasn't really, it looked fine for the time and was pretty deep. They added base-building sim aspects to this that were very interesting and felt like you were building a legitimate force. They brought these aspects back for MGS5, so they clearly had value.

This one follows Big Boss (before he became Big Boss) after the events of MGS3. He's still a good guy, but now he's doing his own thing outside of US government purview and the clock is ticking on his fall to the dark side. The fun thing about this game is the army-building sim where you could recruit minions by beating up enemy guards and then strapping them to a balloon that would yoink them back to your base (where they'd just sorta join you). This is another PSP game that I should have gotten some more use out of the PSP with, but instead went with the HD version on console. For a spinoff, it's a very worthwhile one, and easily the only MGS series spinoff that's worthy of being considered a main series title. It's pretty much MGS3.5 in everything except name.

#428 Lennus II: Apostles of the Seals (Super Famicom) – Winter 2012

The sequel to Paladin's Quest and it's a wonder I didn't get to this 14 years sooner. Maybe the translation patch wasn't around until this time. This is a terrific game that takes all of the interesting ideas of the previous game and refines them into a smooth, streamlined experience. Definitely one of the better Japan-only RPGs I've played and one of many things that should have gotten a US release at the time. This game continues the story of the previous game, only some time later, and fleshes out this strange and colorful world.

It succeeds in a way that Mystic Ark really didn't (coming soon) by following the story of its predecessor and improving the gameplay while not trying to reinvent the wheel. By comparison, I can barely tell that Mystic Ark is a sequel to 7th Saga. I was checking out both games around this time, and it's a real tale of two games. Regardless, Lennus 2 gets a gold star from me.

Fondest Memory: The 3-person party I fielded for most of the game. For obvious reasons. My boy done good. It's actually a four-person party game, but I could never find a fourth useful (or hot) enough to occupy a spot for very long.

This game set up Lennus 3 which would culminate the story by having the protagonists of the previous two games team up and finally travel to Zaygos' home planet Raiga, which had been built up quite a bit over the two games as being the source of most of the problems plaguing Lennus. Maybe Zaygos has some higher power controlling him, or maybe he'd return? (Probably not, he looked pretty dead at the end of the first game).

Much like the cancelled Lufia 3: Ruins Chasers where you'd go up against Arek, all of this buildup was for naught, because the third game was cancelled after this one didn't sell well. Maybe if they'd released this game in the US it would have made up the difference? We'll never know, as Enix America had pretty much shut down SNES production by then so there was no way this was going to see the light of day in North America.

Toughest Part: Boozoo and his Ice Castle. What's up with super tough bosses in 90's RPGs who are tougher than the final boss of their game, and whose names begin with B? There sure are a lot of them. Someone could probably make a top ten list of bosses with B names that were tougher than the actual big bad of their game. In any case, Boozoo was a destruction machine.

Posts HERE.

#429 Journey (Playstation 3) – Winter 2013

Very special game here, everyone knows it. I prefer Flower and even Fl0w, since this one is pretty much the same every time you play it. It's also a very short game, clocking in at, what, an hour? Regardless, this one does stand out because of the multiplayer nature. It'll pair you with random other people to make the journey in question, and those people could be anyone, from anywhere. It might even be someone that if you met them you'd think they were a terrible person. Maybe they have different political views from you so you think they should be jailed. Well, for an hour in this game you're both just humans making a journey together.

Post HERE.

#430 Dynasty Warriors 7 (Playstation 3) – Winter 2013

The last thing I played over Winter break. Don't remember much of this one besides that it was the one I liked the most since DW3. Had an impactful vibe to it, a good character roster, and a lot to do. Conquest Mode ate up way too much time and wasn't really worth the commitment in the end, but other than that, this was a good time and got me back on board with spending time with the series.

WTF: I got this game on a Black Friday sale in 2011 (the first time I ever got a bunch of things at once) and opened it a year later. Well, there was nothing in the case. Sealed, shrinkwrapped, and empty. Course I couldn't return it by then and wouldn't have been able to prove it was empty even if I could return it. Between this and the several times I've had new games just not work at all and been unable to return them, I'm much more inclined to get used games that someone tested, which has had a nearly 100% success rate, and hasn't given me any empty cases.

#431 Einhander (Playstation) – Winter 2013

A top-shelf space shoot 'em up. Played this on an actual disc on the actual hardware, that's notable for 90's games at this point. The soundtrack is the best part, but the rest of it is good too, and most importantly it's proof that Squaresoft made great non-RPGs too. It's a shame we never got the obvious Zweihander sequel.

Did Squaresoft in the PS1 era have the best box art or what? Most of their games had these kind of bright, heavy on white and grey, eye-catching designs. There was a certain magical quality to how these Square games looked at the time and they stood out from the rest of the gaming industry.

Favorite Tune: Thermosphere. What a hell of a boss theme. The boss names usually being gruff German phrases only added to their badassness. Fights like Schwarzgeist (Black Ghost) and Ausf de Gestell (Perfect Model) are still fresh in my mind.

That wraps up a very cold winter. Next up, 2013.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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