Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Mon May 18, 2020 5:59 pm

73. I Wanna Be The Guy (PC)

So the story (as I'm aware of it) goes like this: Kayin was playing one of those old japanese "trap" games where the game is just absolutely cruel to the player and kills you over and over and thought "Man, this shit sucks. I can do better than this."

And thus was the greatest Trap game ever born. Kayin also stocked it full to bursting with retro game references and nostalgia, and result was just magical. IWBTG is the "Doom" of it's genre, in that while not the first, it launched the genre forward a million miles and also spawned a fucking gigantic host of imitators. And just like Doom, most if not all of the imitators were inferior.

IWBTG, if you can believe it, is a fair game. I mean, it's cruel as hell and you will die a billion times, but it's what is called "Masocore fair" in that correct input will grant victory. Most of the fangames based on IWBTG have a bunch of random bullshit that requires you to just ram your face into it until the RNG decides its okay for you to win.

A lot of people refer to games like IWBTG as "Masocore" and while I feel that is accurate, it's probably more accurate to call it "Trap Masocore" because that's what makes IWBTG so great. So many times you'll have FINALLY cleared a difficult section for the first time and be headed for that oh so covetous savepoint, only to die to a background element that moved in a novel manner, instantly splattering you all over the screen.

And the thing is, it's not frustrating. It's funny.

Okay, sometimes it's both. But I mean, traps are what you signed up for. If you're playing IWBTG and NOT laughing at the ridiculous impossible to avoid unless you already know they're there traps, you are playing the wrong game, friend.

Some of the traps are literally just added for humor with a save point right before and nearby. I'll spoiler tag my favorites (hell, probably everyone's favorites)

You jumped into a sword, retard!

The first cherry that "falls" up.

And of course, the absolute legend that is WHAT IS A MAN!?

The basic gameplay for those of you who have never played this is simple: You're a tiny kid with a gun and a double jump and no health. Everything splatters you in one hit. That's it. Run and gun your way through the world until you collect all the orbs or whatever to get into The Guy's Fortress, then kill The Guy.

Did I mention you're doing to die?

Don't worry though, Kayin added an easy mode for you if it's too tough for you to play the game.

Do I recommend this game:
Uh, it's like my perfect game. It's called "Masocore" for a reason because it appeals to masochists. So I can't really tell people to play it unless they, like me, enjoy pain and overcoming nearly impossible challenges. I guess I'll make the rare legitimate Dark Souls comparison and say that if you like the Souls games, you might like IWBTG. It's got the same basic gameplay loop. Die, learn, repeat, until you "get gud" and overcome the challenge at hand.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue May 19, 2020 4:47 pm

72. Breath of Fire 4 (PS1)

Man, I'm having trouble articulating why I like this game so much. It feels like a cop out to just say "good characters, good story, decent combat system" but that's pretty much why. The feel and atmosphere of BoF4 is very eastern, with slow, rolling clouds and a relaxed pace. Nothing happens quickly in this story, instead building and building and building until the pressure erupts and someone fires off a weapon of mass destruction.

The story is that Ryu gets called to the planet by a summoning ritual gone wrong. So wrong, in fact, that's he's the other half a god summoned thousands of years earlier, having now finally arrived. The other half of you (Fou-Lu) wakes up from his tomb and starts the process of looking for you. You play as both halves on their adventures. Ryu has a fairly typical jrpg experience while Fou-Lu... does not.

See, the thing is, Fou-Lu was the original Emperor who single-handedly forged the Empire thousands of years ago, and the current Emperor knows that if Fou-Lu were to return, whole or not, he'd want to resume his position on the throne, so he sends his best assassins to try and destroy Fou-Lu before that can happen.

Eventually the stories start to converge as Ryu travels to the western continent. Along the way he picks up Cray, a boring version of Rei from Bof3 and the worst character, Nina 4, who is also boring, Ershin, a robot who is actually Deis trapped in a robot due to another botched god-summoning, Ursula, an imperial sent to hunt you down who rules and has a gun, and Scias, a dog mercenary with a stutter and a laid back attitude toward life.

(There's a scene where you're crossing some sandbar islands and the tide rolls in, trapping you on one until the tide goes back out. Everyone else is freaking out while Scias calmly just sets up a hammock between two palm trees and lays down in it.)

The game examines duality, which I think is why I like it so much because that's always been a topic I have a keen interest in. Fou-Lu and Ryu, the good and evil of humanity. Deis is a selfish naga who just wants to lay around in bed with her harem attending her every need, but eventually she re-learns the value of friendship. Cray learns to stop being such a stick in the mud and break the rules once in a while. Nina learns the same thing Nina always learns in a Breath of Fire game. Fou-Lu learns that Yuna is a real fuckin' asshole.

(Seriously, Yuna getting away with it still bothers me to this day.)

The combat is serviceable. There are elemental combo attacks you can do and a few other bells and whistles that make it less boring than your standard turn based jrpg stat masher, but it's still your standard turn based jrpg stat masher underneath. But as usual, you don't play a jrpg for the combat.

There's actually a lot of dark, fucked up shit in this game now that I'm thinking about it. It doesn't pull many punches. People who should get whats coming to them don't, and maidens who should get rescued instead meet a fate worse than death. The eastern alliance opposing the Empire turns out to be just as corrupt and shitty as the Empire, shattering any illusion you might have about the typical Good Guys vs Evil Empire fantasy. It's mostly just people living in their nation states trying to get by. You know, like real life.

In the end you control Fou-Lu as he slaughters an entire city and kills the coward on the throne before waiting for Ryu to arrive. And you can even side with him, agreeing with his dim view of humanity and getting an alternate ending. I respect a game that doesn't pull any punches and really explores the very real dark side of humanity and power and greed.

Do I recommend this game:
Yes, if you're willing to sit through a large heaping portion of RPG random battles that are not particularly interesting. Also, guess what! I'll be literally copy pasting this snippet into a bunch of RPGs to come!
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue May 19, 2020 5:04 pm

71. Dungeons & Dragons Tower of Doom (Arcade)

Oh sorry did I say Final Fight was the best beat em up?

JUST KIDDING

Will you be Fighter, who has a longsword, Dwarf, who has an Axe, Cleric, who has the POWER FROM ABOVE and a Mace, or Deedlit, who fell into a portal from Lodoss and ended up here?

With up to 4 player co-op available, I considered leaving this game out of this list because it's a lot more fun with a friend, but then I remembered how many hours I spent playing it solo in the boys locker room after school had ended and nobody was around in Junior High. And yes I did once see a boy in his underwear on accident.

If you're a Dnd fan this game is an absolute smorgasbord of treats for you. So many of the Dnd monsters look exactly like they do in my mind because of this game it's not even funny. There are trapped chest, illusions, kobolds, beholders, manticores, you name it this game has it. All placed onto the framework of a really good brawler. Capcom is a legend for a reason, and this game is part of that reason.

The graphics are crisp and colorful. The music is atmospheric, the sound effects a bit cheesy but classic. FIYA-BALL! coming out of the elfs mouth is something I still quote whenever a player casts it to this day.

The game itself has shops to buy consumables and healing potions (remember to mash them before the other players can get there) exp and leveling up, and even multiple paths you can choose from, both in-game and in text choices. Will you pursue the monsters back to their lair, or defend the town? Will you pick anyone other than the elf over and over again, teen Friday? The answer is no bitch

This game even has a sequel which is widely regarded as even better, but I have sadly never played. I guess it adds a Thief and a Magic-User? Sick.

Do I recommend this game:
The answer is yes bitch but I have dibs on the elf
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Büge » Tue May 19, 2020 5:48 pm

wait wait wait

the boys' locker room had an arcade???
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue May 19, 2020 6:18 pm

not really, just a few cabinets that would rotate every 6 months or so. I remember Primal Rage was one of them, because there was this older high school boy (I think he was the big brother of one of the kids in the school) who I could never beat at it, until one glorious day I did, with both of us at 1 hit from dead, in front of an audience, and everyone was like "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH"

one of the best moments of my life to be 100% with you

He was playing Vertigo and I was Sauron and he shot out a projectile and I did Sauron's full screen command throw move which normally sucks because it's heavily telegraphed and punishable but he was animation locked and I went right through his projectile and killed him
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Esperath » Tue May 19, 2020 6:49 pm

Friday wrote:71. Dungeons & Dragons Tower of Doom (Arcade)

Do I recommend this game:
The answer is yes bitch but I have dibs on the elf


this game is a lie, my 7th level elf was able to down what was at least a juvenile black dragon by herself

ps i stole your elf
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Esperath » Tue May 19, 2020 6:54 pm

Friday wrote:not really, just a few cabinets that would rotate every 6 months or so.


your boys' locker room had an arcade. what the fuck
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Büge » Tue May 19, 2020 11:00 pm

Seriously. All I got from the boy's locker room is athlete's foot and nascent gender dysphoria.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Mongrel » Tue May 19, 2020 11:37 pm

Yeah, "just some cabinets that rotated" is like, WTF, like... not only was there an arcade, it wasn't that someone had gifted the school some cabinets, or made a deal to "host and forget" like a couple shitty gumball machines full of remaindered candy - someone was actively maintaining this operation.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 4:08 am

I guess when I think of an arcade, I think of more than 2 or 3 cabinets stuffed in a corner, but I'm not enough of a pedant to argue the point. I just picture an arcade as maybe 10 or more machines.

It is unusual, even in small numbers. They must have made pretty good money. I probably spent 50 bucks in the two years I was there alone. I was big into arcades as a teen because a lot of them afforded me the ability to play vs other people and scratch my competitive itch in the years before the internet did that.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby nosimpleway » Wed May 20, 2020 3:16 pm

The best things about the D&D arcade fighters:
1. The Cleric gets a functional Turn Undead, and some of the last bosses summon a neverending horde of skellingtons or zombies as adds. You can just "Nope, you sit down" and pound on the boss all day.
2. The Dwarf is not a useless lump of meatshield, and is in fact the most athletic and technical character in the game. Even more so than the Thief in SoM.
3. "FOYYA BAAWWL"

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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 4:02 pm

Yeah, each character brings something really powerful to the mix. The Fighter is very straightforward and strong, the Dwarf has really good special attacks, the Cleric gets good support magic and like R^2 mentioned POWER FROM ABOVE (Turn Undead) which just vaporizes any undead enemy. Also STICKS TO SNAKES!!!

And Elf has the weakest attack and HP but is Deedlit. Also I guess she gets spells who cares
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 4:20 pm

TIER UP! 70-61

70. Crystalis (NES)

Crystalis is a game so far ahead of its time it's sort of hilarious. It's also a very flawed game. It's for sure on my top 5 games that I'd love to see a comprehensive remake or sequel of that fixes the problems, because the core gameplay and ideas are super excellent.

So the plot is that in 1997 we all died and turned into monsters. 100 years later some dude in a cryo tube wakes up without a memory and an old man hands him a sword and says "go kill stuff."

So you do.

Along the way you develop your PSYCHIC POWERS (spells), buy better armor, find more swords, upgrade the swords with orbs and bracelets, gain exp and level up, and most importantly: the Bunny Shoes so you can hop around.

The gameplay is like a cross between Zelda and Secret of Mana, but you move so damn fast that it almost feels like an Ys game. You have the ability to charge up your sword, which when released launches an powerful projectile attack, based both on the sword you're using (You start with Wind, but can get Fire, Water, and Thunder) and what level of charge accessory you're equipped with (Orb for level 2, Bracelet for level 3 which drains MP on firing).

There's no direct damage attack magic from what I remember, but you do get paralyze to hold enemies in place, and a ton of utility and support spells.

The overworld sections are great. Large field areas filled with wandering monsters and exploration. The dungeons leave something to be desired, as they are almost entirely long featureless hallways arranged in a maze. This is tolerable in the early game as dungeons are fairly small, but in the later game when they get huge it's very easy to get hopelessly lost as the game, being a NES game, features no automap. Switching weapons constantly is annoying because you have to go to the menu each time.

Figuring out where to go and what to do next in the story is also a pain, and fairly frequently. I would recommend playing this game today with a guide open for when you just don't have any idea of what to do or where to go.

This game desperately begs for some quality of life improvements. If you made it so you could swap swords with the L/R buttons, put in an automap, redesigned of all the boring flat featureless hallway dungeons, fixed the sometimes wonky hitboxes, and gave better hints on what you're expected to do next in the story, you'd probably end up with one of the best action/adventure/rpg games ever made. As it IS you've got a game good enough to make it into my 70-61 tier, and a game a lot of people look back fondly on as early foray into the fast paced world of action rpgs.

It's actually a criminal act that this game never got a sequel. If aliens ever show up and broadcast "YOUR PLANET IS UNDER ARREST" and we ask "WHAT WHY" this is what they will cite. Crystalis is the Zelda 1 to a nonexistent LttP, that's the kind of potential I'm talking about.

Do I recommend this game:
Yeah, but like I said, have a guide open for when you get stuck. It's also pretty damn hard, but you should have already known that from the system it was on. But if you can look past the flaws, you will fall in love. And also you can ride a dolphin.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 4:50 pm

69. Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen (SNES)

FIGHT IT OUT!!

Ogre Battle is the ultimate tactical rpg nerd's wet dream. The amount of micromanagement you can do in this game is pretty much the absolute maximum. I'm talking swapping out which units you use in each stage so nobody gets over leveled, matching unit leader alignment to town alignment when you liberate them, and carefully curate individual character alignment to get desired class-ups, yeah. Or, just use a few units, vastly overpower them, and ignore everything, but the people will hate you for it. (For some reason. I guess they had to give the player an incentive to play it more like a real war instead of just power leveling.)

The gameplay is a topdown tactical army battle simulator. You build each unit individually, deciding what people to put where and in what row and in what combinations. Add flying units to get faster movement speed, water units (Octopuses and Mermaids) to dominate the seas, or just straight up heavy land units of Knight Knight Knight, Cleric Wizard. Based on alignment (which is determined by in-game actions) each individual can change into different classes and become stronger. Knights become Paladins, Samurai become Masters, Wizards become Arch-Mages (and can be turned into Liches with a rare item) Clerics become Monks with an aoe heal, etc etc.

You command your army from a top down view, moving them across a large landscape with towns and temples to liberate and heal up at. Meanwhile the enemy commander will be sending out troops in waves, trying to recapture any liberated towns and take your base. The objective is always to destroy the boss at the enemy base, but if an enemy unit moves onto your base, it's instant game over. So make sure to leave a unit back to guard it, dummy.

There's a ton of options and room for creative unit comp. Undead are immune to most damage but die instantly to a cleric turning them. Beastmen sort of suck but increase the power of monsters in their unit. Also, a lot of classes have different attacks based on whether they're placed in the front or back rows. Put a Paladin up front and he's a physical damage tank, back row and he'll heal.

Like I said, tactical nerd wet dream.

The graphics are great, very colorful and vibrant. There's a lot of good sprite work too. The monsters are cool looking, the animations basic but effective (until you get sick of them and turn them off, which THANK GOD they let you do) and the sound effects decent.

There's a lot of really good world-building and lore here. The story is engaging and very political. Based on your alignment and reputation, certain characters may or may not join with your rebellion against the evil empire. Lots of characters have history with other characters and will interact with them when you meet. Recruits can lead to other recruits, and if you want the best ending, you better be prepared to do a lot of work.

There are 10 endings, I think, ranging from the canonical good ending to the "A demon possesses you and a new dark age begins." and everything in between. Even very early game choices can lock you out of the best ending, like killing the Witch Deneb, which grants you a rep boost because everyone is mad at her for kidnapping them. But just doing whatever the people want at the time (like bloodthirsty vengeance) isn't the mark of a TRUE LEADER so GET FUCKED.

It's hard to talk about a game with Ogre Battle's scope. There's easily 100+ hours of gameplay here. You can revisit each area after clearing it and all the town dialog will have changed, giving you clues and hints and more lore. To this game's credit, I managed to achieve the best ending WITHOUT USING A GUIDE AT ALL, which means that the hints people give you are actually, you know, useful.

Do I recommend this game:
Not really, no. I feel like anyone who IS into slow paced tactical games has already played this, and anyone who isn't into games like that certainly wouldn't be into one of the slowest and most micro-manage fest games of that genre.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 20, 2020 5:51 pm

FRIDAY THAT'S THE WRONG SONG

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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 9:14 pm

68. Spelunky (PC)

What if IWBTG was proc gen and Indiana Jones themed?

Spelunky is a masterpiece of proc gen and rougelike gaming. It's also hard. Like, NP hard. I know, speedrunners make it look easy. But trust me, this game is fucking hard. It may actually be the hardest game on this list. One mistake is more than enough to kill you full to dead in this game. It is absolutely unforgiving and unlike IWBTG, there are no save points. If you die, you start a new run.

The mechanics behind the proc gen are amazing. No other game has even come CLOSE to the level of Spelunky's proc gen. Everything else that uses proc gen is a boring shitty mess in comparison to Spelunky's interesting and infinitely varied levels.

The gameplay is simple. You're a man with a whip and a desire to find treasure. So you head into the depths to make your fortune, collecting powerups and ropes and bombs and Pugs along the way. (Yes, Pugs. If you don't change the Maidens to Pugs you are an inferior lifeform, sorry.) However there are enemies and traps everywhere. Instant death spikes, spiders, giant spiders, angry shopkeepers, UFOs, Yetis, Frogs, Exploding Frogs, Piranha, a SPPPOOOOOOKY GHOST, oh my god is that a giant Mummy shooting locusts, holy crap it is!!! and a plethora of others.

Spelunky is cruel. Spelunky is cold and uncaring. Spelunky will hit you with a bat that knocks you into an arrow trap that knocks you two floors down onto a spike pit, ending a 45 minute run AND YOU HAD A SHOTGUN AND A JETPACK OH MY GOD I QUIT FUCK THIS GAME!!!!11

Spelunky is excellent.

There's a ton to unlock and discover. The Black Market, secret levels, sacrificing Pugs to Kali (you monster) to get items, trapped idols. It's a masterpiece of game design, just tilted allllllllllll the way on the "fuck you" side of the difficulty spectrum.

Do I recommend this game:
Haha, no. At least, not unless you're a pain slut like me.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 9:35 pm

67. Portal (PC)

Is there such a person who has not played Portal?

Probably not, especially in the ones who are reading this, but what the hell, you never know.

Portal is a puzzle game where you shoot one of two colored portals into a wall or floor and then you can go between them. You conserve your momentum so all sorts of crazy solutions are possible. It's a neat concept and it's executed flawlessly, with each room having its own obstacles to overcome (including vats of acid, sentry turrets, complicated cube onto button combos) and each time you overcome those obstacles you feel super smart and clever. The puzzles are juuuuust hard enough to give you that feeling of accomplishment but not so hard you ever have to look anything up. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard of single player getting stuck. Really, Valve should be absolutely commended.

Of course, the icing on the cake (GET IT) is the antagonistic AI, Glados, who is one of the greatest (and funniest) videogame characters of all time. I won't spoil anything regarding her, but suffice it to say there's a reason she's so popular and has spawned so many damned memes.

Portal ranks as many people's "perfect" game. I wouldn't go that far, but it's absolutely a high quality experience that you deserve to have for yourself.

Do I recommend this game:
Absolutely yes. If you somehow have managed to not play this until now, why? Do you not like Puzzle games? I fucking hate Puzzle games. This game is a must-play for anyone who plays videogames.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 20, 2020 9:55 pm

You'd be surprised at just how many games I've never gotten around to playing.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Wed May 20, 2020 10:01 pm

You know, I was specifically thinking of you when I was trying to come up with a person here who might not have played Portal, but then I thought "nah he was big into TF2 and so he must have got the orange box" but I guess you got TF2 as a standalone?

Or you've been sitting on Portal all this time for some reason. If "some reason" is just "I haven't gotten around to it", then yeah, get around to it. It's not that long a game and you can play it in short chunks at your leisure. If there's any game on this list I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, it's Portal.

(And actually one upcoming game, but we'll discuss that when we get there.)
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Newbie » Wed May 20, 2020 10:33 pm

I like to put Let's Plays on when I do the dishes. A week or two back, YouTube recommended a Portal LP to me, and what astonished me was that this was a blind LP recorded within the last year. It turns out that, every year, more and more people pop into existence who have never played Portal! It also turns out that players who struggle with FPS controls or are prone to motion sickness may find Portal especially difficult to get through. Also, it is fundamentally a puzzle game, so the normal caveats about puzzle game intuitiveness and difficulty apply. These are still the only qualifiers I have ever encountered that might make me discourage a player from trying Portal. Plus, it's not even 4 hours long, realistically.
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