Flawed Game Showdown

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Hot

Zelda 2: Adventure of Link (NES)
5
63%
The Battle of Olympus (NES)
3
38%
 
Total votes: 8
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Friday
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Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Friday » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:39 pm

Alright so a discussion in #ff prompted this

it turns out that it's sometimes more interesting to discuss flawed games than IS CHRONO TRIGGER OR EARTHBOUND BETTER, so.

This thread will be a sporadically updated 1v1 poll where I pit two flawed games that are similar in some way against each other.

However, as a special rule for this thread only, please do not vote unless you have played both games. I don't want this to be just "oh i have played one of the two games and i thought it was cool despite the flaws so it gets my vote!" That would defeat the whole point of the thread.

You don't have to have beaten both games, just played enough that you yourself think you have sufficient experience with them to make a decision.

I've got a few match ups in mind already, but we'll start with the games we were discussing in #ff.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Friday » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:43 pm

Simon's Quest

Flaws: Boring gameplay, obtuse hints, where the fuck do I go, you have to fucking walk out of every mansion instead of being teleported out, no bosses till the very end (and they suck)

Pros: Atmospheric, good idea behind it, paved the way for SotN, Meme Game

Dracula X

Flaws: slowdown, overly difficult, instant death pits fucking everywhere, the final boss may as well be an instant death pit

Pros: you can do a backflip

So both of these games are very heavily flawed. The channel seemed to prefer SQ over DX while I slightly prefer DX because the gameplay is just so goddamn boring and grindy in SQ despite the positives. I fully admit that SQ is better in basically everything that isn't direct moment to moment combat gameplay, though.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Brentai » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:46 pm

it turns out that it's sometimes more interesting to discuss flawed games than IS CHRONO TRIGGER OR EARTHBOUND BETTER


Pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Brentai » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:32 pm

Anyway if you ask me which of these two Castlevania games I'd rather play I'd say Dracula X, because even though it's kind of broken, mostly abusive, a little bit slow and all around poopy, Simon's Quest is just boring.

But.

Simon's Quest has a lot of ideas, and those ideas, when divorced from what Simon's Quest actually is, are pretty good. It's an early uhh... exploration platformer with a pretty good experience curve, an inventory system with mostly actually useful items, some puzzles that aren't all graveyard duck bullshit, a reason to speedrun (and one of gaming's most amusing bugs as a result), a day/night cycle that feels weighty instead of just kind of there, and the game certainly doesn't sound all that bad either. It only falls apart because all of those good ideas are hung on a level design philosophy that follows up one of the most deviously designed games of the NES era with "ehhh what if some platforms and, I dunno, I guess this enemy walks around, maybe shoots some fireballs?"

Dracula X is a badly and mystifyingly redesigned version of a much better game which would have been more fondly received and regarded if it had simply just been a very compromised-due-to-platform-constraints port of the original instead of a rushed attempt at something different. All it had to do was be lazy.

At gunpoint Dracula X is a better game, but in retrospect Simon's Quest is remembered bittersweetly as a flawed but interesting early attempt at what the series would later fully become, and Dracula X is remembered as "Oh right, yeah, I forgot there was a version of Rondo on the SNES that that was actually released in America, that was... special."

And right now I'm not at gunpoint.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Kishi » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:51 am

Simon's Quest is a fun game to speed run and just to hang out in. The Silence of Daylight, Monster Dance, Dwelling of Doom, and of course Bloody Tears are all big moods. Farming hearts can be a drag, but most things you buy with them are significant upgrades that immediately feel worth the effort. I won't jump up to defend all the useless in-game hints, but they're a temporary annoyance that goes away once you get a run under your belt (or consult Dr. Internet) and already know what to do. Other instances of missing quality-of-life features, like forcing you to walk back out of a mansion when you're done there, just contribute to the unique weight and character of the experience. The finale where you make a one-way descent into the eerily deserted ruins of the castle from Castlevania 1 is one of the most affecting set pieces in the series. The structure, atmosphere, and overall feel of the game were never duplicated by any other title in the series, even later Metroidvanias.


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Everything Dracula XX offers can be found in a large number of other games that do it better (particularly Rondo, of course). The main thing distinguishing it is level design tuned to be needlessly cruel. Medusa Heads in the first stage, overused Armor Knights and Axe Armors poised in the most inconvenient places, etc. The path to the good ending involves holding on to a key sub-weapon for an entire stage; if you die at any point, you lose it and don't get a chance to get it back. And to even get to the key involves a journey across a series of tiny platforms capped with Bone Pillars with Medusa Heads flying at you. If you fall in a pit, you don't even die: You're taken to a different stage, irreversibly kicking you off the good path. I love hard games (Lost Levels all day), and saying a hard game "feels like a ROM hack" is a lame cliché, but this is one of very few cases where I dare say it fits.

Other than that, the whole game just feels kind of thrown together. Sections of stages don't fit together with the logical transitions and sense of place you take for granted in other games. The bold, starkly shaded sprites ripped from Rondo are all mismatched with the more graduated and desaturated backgrounds. There's that infamous gaffe where they reused the castle map for the background of the final stage, meaning you're climbing up to Dracula's keep while looking at the same stairs in the distance.


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Kind of sums it all up.

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Friday » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:14 am

The one in the background is the inverted castle, inverted
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby LaserBeing » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:22 am

The Preverted Castle
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Metal Slime » Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:56 am

Simon's Quest gave us Bloody Tears. That's all you need to know.

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Friday » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:05 pm

Righto, Simon's Quests leads 9 to zero. I'm not really surprised, but man am I in the minority in this particular match up.

Next we have a potentially more interesting comparison.

Final Fantasy 8

Pros: Triple Triad, Zell, Quistis

Flaws: The Draw system, the main character somehow manages to be more emo than Cloud and he doesn't respond to Quistis flirting with him which I will never forgive him for, skipping a fucking GF animation causes it to do less damage, which must be the absolute worst design choice I have ever seen in any game ever I don't care how much you defend this game holy shit

Final Fantasy 9

Pros: Call me Bitchface, Freya

Flaws: Oh a random encounter, please wait 132 seconds for it to load, oh it loaded, please wait 13 seconds for the camera to pan over the landscape, oh the enemies and your party loaded in, please wait 7 seconds for the camera to pan over the enemies, now please wait 5 seconds for the camera to pan over your party, okay now wait 16 more seconds for the camera to pan over your party from a different angle, okay now 11 more seconds for the enemies from a different angle, okay you can input a command, okay now please wait 12 seconds for the animation of the basic attack to resolve, now wait 3 seconds for the enemy to die, now input another command, please wait 55 seconds for the spell animation to resolve, now wait 5 seconds for the rest of the enemies to die, now wait 25 seconds for the victory animations and music to play, here is how much exp and gil you got, please wait 34 seconds for the overworld to load back up

So FF8 is a divisive game. There are people who legitimately not only love it, but think it's the best Final Fantasy of all the Final Fantasy games. (I can think of two people from here, even.) For my money, FF8 is mostly ruined by boring, weird-ass storyline and the draw system, which defenders seem to love but I think is fucking idiotic. I also don't like the Junction system, which punishes you for casting magic by lowering your stats.

All that being said, FF8 is impressive in some areas. Graphically it was a huge step forward compared to 7, and it has great music. And it has Zell. Triple Triad was fun.

FF9 in comparison just sort of... flies under the radar. A lot of people have a pretty strong opinion about 8, one way or another, but 9 is just sort of the forgotten Final Fantasy. It's pretty bland, and I mostly remember it for having incredibly long loading times. I don't think I've ever met a single person with a strong opinion about the game, ever. Some people sort of like it, some people sort of dislike it. I'm struggling to come up with anything to say about the game just because it's just so mediocre.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby zaratustra » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:31 pm

FF9 is the funko pop of final fantasies

FF5 was possibly the only one with an equally bland plot but it made up for it by having the best gameplay mechanics of any FF, ever

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby fanboymaster » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:56 pm

I have opinions here, hopefully they don't become incoherent.

I respect what 8 is attempting but I feel like there's a fundamental failure in how its gameplay works. Using GFs in combat is hideously tedious, but the only way to alleviate a need for them is to get spells, there is no way to passively gain spells even though spells are your equipment. You can't just buy spells raw you have to either steal them from enemies or make them out of other shit so there's no way to modulate how much the game considers "a normal amount", it's very difficult to make FFVIII have a traditional difficulty curve you're either under or overstocked. If you "know how" the game becomes a repetitive, either because you played a thousand rounds of triple triad (heresy time: triple triad sucks) or because you immediately filled out your spell list and casting any of them will fuck up your stats. As FF plots go, the game fails to resonate with me in any fashion, but every FF plot falls apart partway through (yes your favorite is guilty of this) so I don't have too many bones to pick.

I don't want to pretend 9 only wins by default here, 9 is a game that runs on charm and its slowness is at least fixed on all modern ports. As it is established that all FF plots fall apart part way through 9 is less hurt by this because it is propelled largely by party dynamics, the cast is fragmented for so long they're forced to develop a few strong character points to bounce off each other with. While 8 reinvents the character progression wheel with junctioning, 9 goes for a series first of tying abilities to equipment that slowly gets leeched off them.. This has... problems as it encourages a certain type of player to grind every piece of equipment the second it's purchased, but it stabilizes the ability curve at least. Mechanically and storywise though 9 is a curiously forward thinking game if only because it rightly recognized that it was the last chance to wave goodbye to what RPGs had once been. 9s art style and character dynamics deliberately call to 8 and 16 bit RPGs while keeping a then modern flourish, intermixing bygone series mainstay elements with that peculiarly late 90s early 00s style of PS1 RPG drama. Oddly this doesn't produce a total tonal clash outside a few scenes so what's left ends up nostalgic now for two eras. FF9 was not a game built to stand out, but that doesn't mean it doesn't when examined.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:57 pm

FF8 could be fixed by putting just a liiiiiittle more exposition into the main storyline, rather than having to go look up anything you're curious about in the encyclopedia. I've considered doing a LP thread of Final Fantasy 8 but skipping all the internal dialogue, only transcribing anything that's said out loud. I wonder how different the game would feel.

Kudos for adding a way to skip Draw-grinding system in Triple Triad and whatever-the-opposite-of-kudos-is for adding the Random rule to make playing Triple Triad even worse than Draw-grinding.

I like FF9, but yeah I can't say it's my favorite Final Fantasy. I can't argue about those load times, there's a stretch of the early midgame where the most efficient way to keep the party alive is Auto-Potion, and that. just. grinds. every. fight. on. for. so. god. damned. long.

And it's no new observation that the game basically forgets half the cast exists in the second half of the story. Hell, just a few years ago people found an extra sidequest about Zenero and Benero that nets you a Regen Ring (I think), but nobody knew it was there because it requires leaving the final dungeon. Multiple times. The entire thing could have been axed to give Freya like three more lines and the game would have been better for it. (If you're reaction to this is "Who the fuck are Zenero and Benero?", well... yes, exactly.)

I actually liked Chocobo Hot and Cold. I understand I am in a minority.

I had more fun playing FF9 the first time than I did FF8, so I guess I'll go with that.

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Brentai » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:06 pm

FF9 is very very frustrating to me because it does everything I want a Final Fantasy to do on paper but none of it hangs together properly. It hearkens back to FF6's art style but has ugly off-brand Muppet character designs and way too busy textures. It musically riffs back on classic FF but the actual battle and boss themes would be the least listenable in the series if Final Fantasy X didn't exist, and while there are some great tracks, those are generally one-offs and the most immediately obnoxious tracks are the ones you're forced to listen to the most. It's challenging, but in an arduous, repetitive kind of way instead of in a way that engenders cleverness. And while the characters are mostly likeable, the plot ambles from one catastrophic set-piece to the next in away that feels way too disjointed to be engaging. It's less than the sum of already lesser parts.

FF8 has deep intrinsic problems that kill the overall experience but every once in a while it shines. I can spend hours just in the starting area, wandering around, chatting with people, surfing the 90s pseudo-internet, playing cards, and maybe occasionally killing a T-rex, and have a pretty pleasant and chill time of it. The raid on Galbadia is fun. The sequence where you attempt to assassinate Edea is cool. Being Laguna is occasionally entertaining. Fisherman's Horizon is beautiful. The pre-rendered cutscenes definitely show their age graphically, but are still put together well enough to be visually interesting. In comparison, 9 is just a teeth-gritting experience from beginning to whatever point I end up giving up on that attempt to get into it (at current count, sometime after getting to the first actual city, midway through fighting the tutorial boss, and slightly after meeting Freya even though I was just watching an LP), so in terms of there being, you know, anything there, FF8 wins.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Niku » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:08 pm

ff9 has chocobo hot n cold and riverdancing and MACHINEGUN
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby MarsDragon » Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:36 pm

FF9 is charming. FF8 isn't.

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:03 pm

Niku wrote:ff9 has chocobo hot n cold and riverdancing and MACHINEGUN

I'm remembering at least two machineguns in FF8 but I'm blanking on the one in FF9...?

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Niku » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:23 pm

Garnet: "Oh, okay... I understand now. So this is called a 'dagger'..."
Steiner: "Princess! It's a weapon! Please be careful."
Garnet: "I've decided! From now on, my name is..”

M A C H I N E G U N

(machinegun does not actually fit)
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Caithness » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:28 am

I think I like final fantasy mostly for the systems. Junctioning around to try to find the strongest build was something I found engrossing. Learning abilities from equipment is not.

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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby Friday » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:39 pm

Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) 4
Final Fantasy IX (PS1) 9

Alright, next up we have two games I actually like.

Zelda 2: Adventure of Link (NES)

Pros: Music, I AM ERROR

Cons: Overly difficult, instant death pits everywhere, small fast erratically moving bats and other enemies everywhere that knock you into instant death pits

The Battle of Olympus (NES)

Pros: Music, It's set in Greece and has a bunch of cool mythological stuff

Cons: Overly difficult, instant death pits everywhere, small fast erratically moving bats and other enemies everywhere that knock you into instant death pits

So Zelda 2 is by far the most divisive Zelda. It's certainly a flawed game, but it's also absolutely the Black Sheep of the series. I'm one of the weirdos who actually really likes Zelda 2, and I don't mind that it's a different take. Others view it as almost a form of heresy, and "not a true Zelda game" because of how fundamentally different it is from the rest of the series.

Battle of Olympus is, of course, one in a series of games that were ripping off Zelda 2, but it comes the closest to straight replication. That being said, it's a fun game in its own right (though it maintains pretty much all the same flaws, even makes them worse in some ways) and it was cool and novel just for being a straight up mythological experience.

Olive grinding sucks. Fuck Olive grinding.
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Re: Flawed Game Showdown

Postby zaratustra » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:58 pm

Zelda 2 is a first-party NES game that looks and plays like a third-party NES game.

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