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More FFIV, climbing the Tower of Babil. Compared to the Tower of Zot, it’s a piece of piss - the enemies don’t seem to hit any harder, I’ve naturally levelled up a bit and have better gear, and most significantly, I have a proper white mage.

 

Rosa is stupendously better than Tellah at healing. She has roughly 2.5x the MP, and her healing is about 3x more effective - she does as much with a Cure as Tellah did with a Cura. Faster too, and a very handy archer. Don’t feel like I’ve got the hang of adult Rydia quite as much yet, her base level spells don’t do enough damage and her -a level spells (e.g. Blizzara) take too long to cast. 

 

Should finish the Tower tonight. Hopefully the next dungeon isn’t the same generic sci-fi tower theme like the last two. 

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Just coming to the end of castlevania Circle of the moon on GBA. It’s definitely the worst of the 3 gba titles. But still very enjoyable - and better than I was expecting. Been playing via emulation on PSP and it’s mostly ok but some bosses and  rooms have suffered badly from frame rate drops (the Zombie dragons were borderline unplayable). When I started out I thought it would be pretty much perfect emulation. It really isn’t. I’ll definitely be revisiting the other 2 after this but on native hardware. 

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On 11/12/2018 at 22:00, merman said:

Split Personalities on C64, Spectrum, Amstrad and Plus/4

 

Cracking game that. I remember after years of not being able to find a copy in the shops it turned up on a CF Powertape. Month made.

 

 

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Thanks to the Switch, I've been playing Eswat, Ninja Gaiden, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Adventures of Lolo and Phantasy Star recently.

 

Best console. Eswat was poo though.

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On 06/12/2018 at 15:19, Sprite Machine said:

That said, if I am halfway through the game, it hasn't provided much action at all. There's a shoot-out in the Prologue and, aside from some practice sessions at the police station, I've not fired a shot since!

Well, Policenauts certainly gets more action-packed in its second half, with car chases, shootouts and a rather exciting bomb defusing minigame. The action (shooting) is mostly crap, mind - without a lightgun, you move a red dot around the screen, although it's hard to distinguish it from the red dots being fired back at you; and the game introduces a lock-on feature for a big shootout near the end but then seems to drop it again. Weird.

 

The plot falls apart, as expected. Some twists are good, others lack meaning or weight. The final chapters are exciting in some ways but all of the intrigue and tension is lost when the antagonists' motivations become simplistic or they behave foolishly. A conspiracy thriller needs to maintain some believability and threat but this loses it in favour of dumb action scenes, pointless twists and one character who literally claims no motivation for anything they've done.

 

On the whole, it's a game with a fascinating premise but it's badly written and features poor action segments. The enjoyment comes from the novelty, a superficial appreciation of the game's production values, and some individually compelling scenes. An example of being less than the sum of its parts in this case.

 

Where Snatcher was "Bladerunner meets Terminator", Policenauts is "Lethal Weapon in Space", but the same regressive tropes permeate both. At 12 hours long, Policenauts is, despite its improved production quality, a more bloated and boring version of its genre. Not unique enough to be a retro curio like Snatcher, but if Kojima's early work fascinates you, it might still be worth a look.

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And now for something completely different, Jumping Flash! 2 (PS1). Typical of sequels of the era, this is decidedly similar to the first game. Levels are more varied, detailed and interesting, there's one extra weapon added to your arsenal, the plot is even more bizarre and the villain has been turned into a German for some reason. Otherwise, it's more of the same, but it's still quite fun once you get over the 20fps performance!

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4 hours ago, deKay said:

My god Sonic 3D was crap.

 

The isometric one by Travellers Tales? The lead dev released a Directors Cut romhack recently, which is supposed to make some pretty substantial improvements.

 

I never played it back in the day, but remember kind of enjoying it on emulator in the late 90s. 

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Yep. It's technically pretty incredible. I've watched all those (Jon Burton?) videos and the stuff they did to get everything out of the Mega Drive is astounding. Sadly, the actual game (you know, the important bit!) is a slidey mess of wonky controls and broken collision detection.

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On 23/12/2018 at 11:25, deKay said:

Yep. It's technically pretty incredible. I've watched all those (Jon Burton?) videos and the stuff they did to get everything out of the Mega Drive is astounding. Sadly, the actual game (you know, the important bit!) is a slidey mess of wonky controls and broken collision detection.

Is that the one on the MD Classics collection? I haven't got round to trying it.

 

I've been playing various games from there in the last few days (£12.99 on PSN was a bargain), mostly reliving old memories. Went through Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi 3. Both great games but harder and cheaper than I remembered. Streets of Rage 2 on the other hand doesn't feel like it's aged much at all - the control and feel is still spot on. Already started Shining Force 2 and Dynamite Headdy as well, with Gunstar, Beyond Oasis, Landstalker and maybe Phantasy Star 4 to go later. Not sure about Ristar after a quick go - might give it another shot.

 

There's plenty that doesn't make the grade now of course. Got quite far into ESWAT before giving up because it was stupidly hard and difficult to control. Crackdown, Flicky, Light Crusader , Wonderboy 3 and Shadow Dancer didn't last long. I did end up playing Gain Ground longer than I expected though - it's kind of crap but also kind of addictive at the same time. I knew most of those weren't up to much anyway. Mostly just playing out of curiosity.

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@BadgerFarmer yeah, Sonic 3D is on MD Classics.

 

Funny you should mention Ristar - been playing that today. I’ve always rubbished it and you know what? After you get into it properly it’s actually fine. Not fantastic, but decent.

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10 hours ago, Camel said:

Flicky is brilliant you maniac. Tip: on each level, try to collect every bird before going anywhere near the drop-off for maximum bonus.

I've never got on with it. And that music is enough to drive a person insane.

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11 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

How is the PS4 version of the Megadrive collection. Worth getting?

I think so, at least at the current sale price. It's got a decent range of display options, plus save states and a rewind/FF feature. Everything runs well as far as I can tell, although I'm no expert on that kind stuff.

 

As for the games, there's a good number, and even if about half of them aren't worth more than a quick glance, there are enough of the real classics to make it worthwhile. Of course, as with all these things, it could have been a better line up (more shmups, for example), but most of the big names are present. The Shinobis, Streets of Rages, Shining Forces and Treasure games pretty much justify it on their own.

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Still playing through Xenoblade Chronicles 1. My save file is up to 70 hours now and I’ve just finished the events of Galahad Fortress. It’s such a nice game to potter about in and sweep up little side missions. 

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On 23/12/2018 at 02:40, Alexlotl said:

The isometric one by Travellers Tales? The lead dev released a Directors Cut romhack recently, which is supposed to make some pretty substantial improvements.

 

I never played it back in the day, but remember kind of enjoying it on emulator in the late 90s. 

 

I often re-play Sonic 3D around Christmas time, as it's kinda nostalgic for me. Reminds me of Christmas morning, or "new Sonic game" morning as it often was. Sitting in the back room playing games for hours while dinner was cooking. Bliss. :)

 

I agree with deKay that it's not very good (not terrible, but very flawed), despite its incredible technical accomplishments. That said, I usually manage to glean enough enjoyment from the game to complete it, and this year I gave the Director's Cut a first play through.

 

Again, I'm astonished by what's been done in essentially a ROM-hack, but although there are gameplay and interface improvements, it's still a bit of a slog. That second zone, in particular, with the need to maintain spin through hazardous narrow passages without getting hit just to break through some stone columns - terrible idea. And basically everything in the lava zone is a nightmare if you don't have a fire shield.

At least the DX improves the flickies so they come back to you of their own accord, and SuperSonic is very neat addition. The time trials show just how quickly these levels would be over without all the mucking about collecting birds, although the times appear to be have been set by no mere mortals.

 

----------

 

In other retro news (I'm barely playing anything modern these days), I've gone back to the original Crash Bandicoot (PS1) and, do you know what? It holds up pretty well. As a standard 2.5D platformer with challenging level design, it's just as playable as it ever was. And what Naughty Dog got out of the PS1 in 1996 is nothing short of remarkable. I'm well on my way to getting all of the gems for perfect level completion, which is waaaay harder than I remember it being! Crash's jumping momentum in the first game always throws me off. They nixed it in the sequels, thankfully.

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I'm currently playing Final Fantasy 7 on my GPD Win 2, not a Rom a legit Steam copy. 

 

Now Final Fantasy 7 is a bit of a rare one for me, its a game I would consider to be one of my favourites of all time but its not a game I've actually completed. I've played to possibly half way a handful of times and I'm pretty sure I got to the last boss on my original 1997 game but I can't remember much after around the Golden Saucer point. 

 

I'm currently 8ish hours in (I think) and I'm now on the World Map, I knowing this is nothing new to PSP / Vita owners but I'm loving playing this on a handheld, it looks so vibrant on the GPD screen and this time, this bloody time I'm determined to finish it. 

 

I got a £10 Voucher for Christmas and bought a remake of Final Fantasy 4 that I didn't know existed so I'm going to start that after

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Been playing some top early 1980s shooters from William’s Electronics: Robotron 2084, Defender, Stargate & (my personal fave) Sinistar! All on Atari 5200 and on emulation of the arcade originals on my odroid. The colours and sounds are almost mesmeric at times and they take me back to the seaside arcades of my youth.

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On 02/01/2019 at 15:16, Sprite Machine said:

In other retro news (I'm barely playing anything modern these days), I've gone back to the original Crash Bandicoot (PS1) and, do you know what? It holds up pretty well. As a standard 2.5D platformer with challenging level design, it's just as playable as it ever was. And what Naughty Dog got out of the PS1 in 1996 is nothing short of remarkable. I'm well on my way to getting all of the gems for perfect level completion, which is waaaay harder than I remember it being! Crash's jumping momentum in the first game always throws me off. They nixed it in the sequels, thankfully.

And after 100%-ing the original, I've been and done the same to the sequel. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a superior game in almost every way, with better animation and production values throughout. Honestly, it's some of the best graphics on the PS1, it's really remarkable what that little console could do in the right hands.

 

Crash's new moves (sliding, high jump) make the platforming more interesting, and its introduction of secondary gems and unique level completion requirements make it more challenging physically and cerebrally. Having to clear levels in the right order, test suspicious platforms for secret exits, do a "no box" run on level 1, I'd completely forgotten that! Hah, I used to know this game inside-out back in the day, I could clear the whole thing in an evening - it's been weird revisiting it and learning all those secrets again, occasionally remembering something from 20 years ago that I haven't thought about since.

 

Great fun, though! Onto Crash 3 and then I really must play the 'N-Sane' remake at some point.

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Still plugging away at FFIV, managed a bit more a few nights ago, clearing the Sealed Cave in the underworld.

 

The puzzle/RPG scenario nature of the game continued, with this dungeon being all about the Trap Door enemy, which you meet multiple times. It locks onto a character one turn, then uses an instant death spell the next, and can quite easily wipe out your whole party. Worked out that I could use Rosa to cast reflect on whoever had been targeted to bounce the spell back and kill the door itself - score! In practice though, usually had to burn through a few Phoenix Downs, as they seemed to be particularly fond of killing Rosa herself. Once I'd levelled up a bit from all this door destruction and got a shiny new sword, I found I could fairly successfully just whale away at them and come through OK. Glad I stocked up on Phoenix Downs before I came in, anyway.

 

I knew the final boss by reputation - the Demon Wall. Another puzzle of a sort, this one edges towards your party bit by bit, then once it gets there kills them one after the other. But I had a plan! Use a silk web to slow it down straight away, then have Edge hurl old weapons at it (I'd brought several for this purpose), while a Berzerked Cecil clobbers it, Kane jumps and Rydia casts something fast and painful (Bio seemed to be the best option), while Rosa casts Haste on everyone. It worked - the second time I tried it, anyway. Annoyingly, it turns out Edge can't throw any old weapon, and it's fairly arbitrary (he can throw swords, except *that* sword, etc), so literally none of the weapons which I'd lugged all the way there were any use - but I did have some shuriken, so they did the job for a few turns.

 

I'm kind of enjoying the methodical nature of the play, but also beginning to look forward to having finished this and being able to play something less primitive. I felt something similar with Phantasy Star 2, although this is definitely the better game (PS2 was just a bit undercooked), and I'm very glad I persevered and finished that one.

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On 29/12/2018 at 01:02, Ninja Doctor said:

Still playing through Xenoblade Chronicles 1. My save file is up to 70 hours now and I’ve just finished the events of Galahad Fortress. It’s such a nice game to potter about in and sweep up little side missions. 

Update: 85 hours in now. Been to Agniratha and got rescued after Egil trashed everything. About to ninja back in and assault the Mechonis Core. 

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Having clocked all the old Crash Bandicoot games, and with the remake of Crash Team Racing on the horizon, I thought I'd give the original another go, having not played it for years and years.

It's not aged quite as gracefully as I had imagined. Though it's a damn fine cart racing game in its own right (it should be, it's pretty much a Mario Kart clone), and the IP maps onto the concept perfectly, the tech is pushing the little PS1 slightly too far, I feel, with a framerate that struggles to surpass 20fps a lot of the time and level geometry that often looks like it's ripping itself apart. The art design and animation are great, the levels are inventive and numerous, the handling model is fun (slide boosting and jumping) and the Adventure mode is robust.

It was a genuine contender against Mario Kart back in the day, but it just feels a little shonky in 2019. The remake should have a lot to offer, overcoming the technological issues of the time.

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Super Adventure Island - SFC. Really enjoying this, partly because it's not too taxing and pretty short which suits my working-parent-up-to-his-eyeballs lifestyle, but mainly because it's a really fun platformer with great level design. I can now reach the final level on one credit and with a decent collection of lives, but when that penultimate boss chucks out blue fireballs I'm toast. I'll persevere though and will continue to avoid the temptation of using save states.

 

Also: Realm of Impossibility - C64. Played this for this month's Lemon high score competition. It's really archaic but is still a) fun to play b) surprisingly epic and even manages a few Escher-style flourishes in its level design.

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