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

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

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:22 pm

Friday wrote:Zelda 2 could be vastly, vastly improved just by having the LttP added in where falling into a pit or lava or whatever just teleported you back up and did a bit of damage. Combined that with maybe a 30-50% cut in the damage enemies deal to you, and you'd have a real solidly challenging game without feeling cheap. It's conquerable as is, of course, but expect frustration.

I played through it a few years back with a Game Genie infinite lives code and it's impressive just how much that one change improves the balance of the game.

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

Postby Friday » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:59 pm

Yeah, I think a good blanket rule is "if your game has one hit kills in it, then you need to have fast and infinite respawns at a nearby checkpoint."
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:29 am

Tier up! 50-41.

50. Super C (NES)

If Contra has one flaw in my perfect, unassailable opinion, it's that the fire weapon sucks and it shouldn't suck.

Anyway, Super C fixes that, nerfs Spread a bit (it's still the best upgrade) and makes Laser stronger. The classic action is back, this time with top down levels instead of the semi-3d base stages and DIAGONAL FLOORS. Wow!

So, it sounds like this is what you like with the problems fixed, Friday? If Contra 1 is in your top ten, and this game fixes some of the problems, what's the deal? It's still a pure run n gun shooter with no frills or bullshit, so why is this game all the way down at spot 50?

I'm not 100% sure, myself. The level design IS a bit lackluster in comparison, despite the diagonal floors (so amazing) but overall it just... it just feels slightly off. I dunno. Don't get me wrong, I love Super C quite a bit. It's a great run n gun game from a simpler, more direct time when a videogame wasn't afraid to just be about blowing shit up.

Everything I like about Contra I like about Super C, but for whatever reason, Super C has always felt like a slightly watered down version of the original. I really can't put my finger on it. It's just something in the game feel. I do really enjoy the final bosses a lot. The giant heart at the end of Contra 1 is sort of a lame final boss, so I'm glad they made the ending of Super C better.

Not a lot left to say about a game this simple. Shoot bad guys. Shoot bad aliens. Don't get dead.

Do I recommend this game:
Lukewarm yes. I mean, if you've never played Contra, go play Contra instead. Then if you want more, Super C and Contra 3 are there for you.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:11 pm

49. Metroid Fusion (GBA)

Metroid Fusion is a game about fear. Fear and consequences.

After the absolute horror of Metroid 2, where you commit genocide on an entire race, it turns out that hey, wiping out entire species is bad and can lead to unforeseen consequences, like turning the entire Oregon Underwater Coastline into a wasteland (Otters, who would feed on the clams, but now the clams destroyed the kelp forests, which wiped out the entire ecosystem so the whole coast is literally barren now and cannot be restored even with reintroductions) or major disruptions to the ecosystem and a complete reshaping leading to extinctions of fish, plant life, mammals, etc (Yellowstone Wolves, though thankfully we reintroduced them in time and the ecosystem is starting to recover) or unleashing a super-virus that will wipe out all life in the galaxy.

This is called the "Keystone" effect, and certain species are labeled "keystone species" because they're like a keystone in those old arches people used to build: remove the stone, and the whole thing crumbles.

Whoa Friday, this is some pretty heady stuff right off the bat! What gives?

Well, it turns out Metroid Fusion is a pretty heady game! It has some stuff to say about things, and if you say "what do you mean Friday it's just a silly Sci-Fi game" then I will throw back my head and laugh for ten consecutive hours because man, buddy, you have not been paying attention to Sci-Fi over the last 80 years just AT ALL, have you?

And yes I know it's revealed later that the Metroids were actually created by the Chozo to keep X suppressed. So they're not actually a "natural" predator, but that was written later (in Zero Mission, I think) and isn't really relevant anyway to the message Fusion is trying to impart. Which is a very simple message, really: Don't fucking murder something all the way to death just because it's somewhat dangerous to you. Or inconvenient to you. Or has a valuable body part.

No, really, don't. Other animals have a fundamental right to exist, and even if you don't believe that or disregard that, you're still risking a serious consequence to yourself if you do go ahead and xenocide them.

Alright, so that's consequences and the message the game was trying to convey. Let's talk about fear.

Fusion is a masterpiece of a horror game. It starts off small, with you boarding a dead station and investigating empty, echoing hallways. Eventually you find the X Virus has started to copy and animate the human corpses on the station, and you quickly move to contain it... but the virus escapes into another section of the station and begins to multiply.

Meanwhile, you find your old infected suit of armor has ALSO been taken over by the virus, and it made a copy of you from your DNA. This creature, dubbed the SA-X by your AI pal (Samus Aran X) is equipped with all your upgrades you worked so hard to acquire in Super Metroid.

The AI tells you directly that you don't stand a chance against this thing. Hell, your weapons can't even damage it. If you meet it, run.

From there the game leads you on a path crisscrossing through the station as you work to counter the virus. It spreads to more and more of the station, infecting and copying everything it encounters. The virus has a rudimentary intelligence, and this is reflected in the gameplay: At one point, the virus figures out that you're now part Metroid (which is why you can eat the virus and restore power from it) and adapts to become icy. So now absorbing these ice viruses hurts you (because Metroids are famously weak to cold). But then you get an upgrade that allows you to withstand the cold and absorb the icy viruses too. After you get this upgrade, the next section has the viruses attacking you as they were previously and you just simply absorbing them... but in the next room, they begin to flee from you again.

There's something truly horrifying about rudimentary intelligence. A simple intelligence that learns slowly is, on some level, far scarier than a human intellect. Especially when it's behind and directing a hivelike enemy.

Your encounters with the SA-X are about hiding (or, if you fuck up that bit, running) from it. It's immune to your weapons and will freeze you and super missile you. It has power bombs and screw attack. It's a walking invincible arsenal. Whenever you stumble into a scripted encounter with it, the music changes to a slow theme punctuated by the chilling metal on metal footsteps of the SA-X.

The station changes as the game continues. The plant area creatures go into cocoons and morph into flying creatures while the vines continue to extend until they fuck up the power core, forcing you to fix it. The whole experience is anxiety inducing as you get the very real impression that the virus isn't a static thing that simply waits around for you, but an active adversary that is constantly working against you behind the scenes, just out of your view. It's honestly a massive accomplishment for the devs. I don't know any other game that has ever made me feel like I was literally racing against an invisible enemy like Fusion did.

The gameplay is very solid. It's a bit faster and more dangerous than Super Metroid, as enemies do more damage to you and your abilities aren't as robust. (Until the very late game, anyway.) All the staples are here, including charge beam, missiles, super missiles, screw attack, speed booster, etc. I actually prefer the combat of Fusion over SM simply because SM feels so floaty and easy.

Fusion is a scripted, linear experience. It has very little open world exploration in it at all. This made some people angry because Zelda 2.

Do I recommend this game:
Very much so, yes. It's a masterpiece of a horror game pretending to be a Metroid game.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:32 pm

48. Hotline Miami 1 and 2 (PC)

Alright, I'm cheating a little bit by having both games be in the same entry, but the thing is they're so similar (despite some differences) that it's hard for me to review them as separate games.

A lot of you might be familiar with Hotline Miami already, but for those of you who aren't:

Do you like hurting people?

Hotline Miami is a topdown one hit kill... shooter? I say it like that because a lot of the time you can just melee everyone down with a pipe or whatever. Guns run dry pretty quickly, forcing you to pick up a new one from one of your downed victims.

Everything is a one hit kill, including you. The game is blisteringly fast paced. Entire rooms will die in seconds, only for one last enemy you didn't spot to suddenly come up behind you and kill you. Respawning is instant. Kill, die, repeat. Each checkpoint is like a puzzle: How can I murder every single human on this floor without them killing me? As you experiment you will find things that work and things that don't work until you find a path through that works for all of it.

Calling this game a twitch game is both completely correct and completely incorrect. It requires instant reflexes but also gives you infinite lives with a static (or nearly static) challenge, so there's just as much emphasis on strategy and tactics as there is on clicking and reacting fast.

The joke about these games is that some people think they glorify violence, but if you play to the end of 2, you know the actual message is the exact opposite. Violence just begets more violence, spiraling and spiraling until it gets completely out of anyone's imagined control. 1 examines the dissolving psyche of a violent psychopath and the effects of violence on the individual, 2 is more about the futility of violence in general.

As far as gameplay goes, most people (myself included) prefer 1. 2 has a lot more gunplay and forced camping as you wait for enemies to come to you, while 1 lets you do melee "blitz" strategies a lot more. But I like 2's story and themes better. Unlike 1, 2 has you swapping between multiple protagonists as they deal with the fallout from your actions in 1.

In both games, the story is a confusing clusterfuck. It will take multiple playthroughs (or watching some youtubes) to figure out what the hell is going on exactly. But I sort of enjoy games that do this, forcing the player to think about things and why they're happening. It can go overboard at times, I won't lie. I didn't know what the fuck was happening for like a third of 1 and maybe 75% of 2. But on subsequent plays I was able to follow the story a lot better, and it's pretty good.

The soundtrack is legendary. Hyper murder with trance music just does something to the human brain. The neon 80s colors, the music, and the fast paced action all combine to just "put you in the zone" to where all the restarts cease to be annoying and just become part of it all. This is contrasted in the first game in that at the end of each level, the music stops and you just have to leave the building, walking over the piles of corpses you created.

Hotline Miami is another game that I consider art with its examination and critique of violence and murder. Nothing about Hotline Miami is subtle, but of course some people missed the point anyway. The game isn't about glorifying violence, it's just told from the perspective of those who do.

Do I recommend this game:
Yes. You do like hurting people, after all, don't you?
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:02 pm

47. Suikoden II (PS1)

Welp, these next two games on my list are unique, because I've never played either of them.

What the hell? you ask, gesticulating wildly. How can you review a game you've never even played?!

The answer, my friend, (at least in this case) is R^2. And general osmosis.

Let's Plays are a super cool thing that we have now that lets people enjoy games that they might not have or want to play themselves for whatever reason. I'm not saying I don't want to ever play Suikoden 2 myself, I'm saying I don't need to to know that it's a high-quality videogame.

So, why do I like Suikoden 2 enough to put it at spot 47 despite never having played it?

The answer is the characters and story. The combat is nice and breezy by all accounts, but that by itself is just icing on the cake. The story and character development is where Suikoden 2 shines. Do you like political stuff? Local region wars? Tired of every RPG being about a giant space flea who is gonna destroy the whole universe? Suikoden 2 is the game for you!

That's not to say there aren't stakes. In fact, the stakes in Suikoden 2 read MORE intense thanks to the investment you get in the characters. To this day, Nanami is the only "genki girl" type character that I unironically actually like. Her doofy antics are combined with a genuine likability that most authors writing that archtype forget to include. Most genki girls lean heavily on how annoying they are to the people around them, with the mistaken idea that this will somehow endear them to the audience. Nanami is different in that, while she's a hyperball of super-energy, she actually cares about her friends and family and fights to help them instead of just being an annoying piece of shit all the time like every other fucking genki girl ever written.

And that's just one character! All the characters that get development are good! Even some of the bit characters!

Flik, Victor, Jowy, Pilika, Gorudo and his knights, Victor's love interest/mayor of Muse, the Highlanders, Luca Blight, his sister, Richmond, Shu, Apple, Fitcher, the list goes on. Some of them are despicable, of course, but the game is careful not to paint either side as entirely corrupt or entirely saintly. Luca is an absolute monster, but is Gorudo really any better? Is Shu any less brutal and cold-hearted in his tactics than Leon?

With the exception of this game and the next game on the list, I've never just "watched" a game and found myself counting it among my favorites before. Suikoden 2 is a truly special piece of media. It examines the effects of war on the common person and why war happens (answer: it's usually a bunch of assholes at the top of the governments making everyone else miserable), it examines racism, it examines family and duty over love, it examines how big a fucking piece of shit Neclord is, and it examines how Flik is really fun to mess with.

Thad once mentioned he's like to see a game purely about Victor and Flik going on adventures, maybe set between Suikoden 1 and 2 during the time they were setting up their mercenary company. I agree, that'd be cool as hell. And they're just two characters in a huge world full of great characters and all kinds of possibilities!

The main interaction is of course the relationship between the Main Character and Jowy. I won't spoil anything for those of you who haven't played or read R^2's LP, but it's very well done. The obvious comparison is to Ramza and Delita, of course, and even if it doesn't rise to that level, if you're comparing something to that, you know it's good.

All in all Suikoden 2 is a terrific game with a lot of mechanical depth that avoids a lot of the pitfalls of JPRGs at the time (such as slow as fuck animations and battles) with an excellent and engaging plot featuring some of the best characters in any videogame. The spritework is very detailed and the music is great. There's a whole fucking Iron Chef minigame with it's own plot and credits when you beat it, jesus christ.

As far as flaws go, there are some bugs with when music tracks are supposed to play but don't. Some of the characters are just Chrono Cross "just there, no real development" because there's like 101 of them or whatever. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolutely awful translation. We're talking WORSE than Breath of Fire 2. It may have the all time worst translation of any videogame I've ever seen. Of course, some of the time this ends up being funny, so it's not entirely bad. (It's still pretty damn bad, though.)

Do I recommend this game:
I mean, Thad will BAN ME AND DELETE MY POST LIKE HE ALWAYS DOES AND HAS DONE IN THE PAST A LOT THOUGH I CAN PROVIDE NO EXAMPLES OF HIM DOING THAT if I say no. But yeah, memes aside, 100% yes no reservations. At least do what I did and go read R^2's LP. Suikoden 2 is a masterpiece.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:59 pm

Friday wrote:Is Shu any less brutal and cold-hearted in his tactics than Leon?


And what's particularly notable about Leon is, he's on your side in the first game. I think that's as key to the "who's right? who's wrong?" ambiguity as spending the first six hours of the game with Jowy in your party. Suikoden 2 is a standalone game and you don't need to play the first game to enjoy it*, but there are definitely moments in Suikoden 2 that are a lot more meaningful if you played the first game, and Leon stepping out of the shadows as the new advisor to the Blights is an "oh shit" moment if you have.

Suikoden 3 continues the "shifting alliances" motif, by putting Sasarai, one of the antagonists from 2, in your party and (major lategame Suikoden 3 spoiler) also Luc is the villain and (Suikoden 3 all-108-stars ending spoiler) also also the postgame has you play an all-villain team that still counts among your Stars of Destiny.

* I heard on Retronauts that the developers said 2 was the game they wanted to make from the beginning and 1 was a dry run they decided to try first, so they weren't starting with something so ambitious, and I find that entirely believable

As far as flaws go, there are some bugs with when music tracks are supposed to play but don't. Some of the characters are just Chrono Cross "just there, no real development" because there's like 101 of them or whatever. And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolutely awful translation. We're talking WORSE than Breath of Fire 2. It may have the all time worst translation of any videogame I've ever seen. Of course, some of the time this ends up being funny, so it's not entirely bad. (It's still pretty damn bad, though.)


The time constraint on Clive's sidequest is fucking bullshit too.

I no-shit completed the entire game twice (four times?) doing a "read all the dialogue, explore, work your way through to the next save point, then restart from your last save and mad-dash your way to it as fast as you can" playthrough in order to complete Clive's quest and still manage to get all 108 Stars. You know how sometimes you think "Jesus Christ, I used to have so much free time"? Jesus Christ, I used to have so much free time, y'all.

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

Postby MarsDragon » Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:58 pm

On a personal level, I prefer Suikoden I for various reasons, but I can't deny that II is a very good game and deserves all the acclaim.

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

Postby Thad » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:37 pm

Yeah, I always preferred the first game as well; it's tight and focused and I think its straightforward plot resonated with me more than the complexities of the second game.

But 2 is certainly bigger, more complex, more ambitious, and just plain has more to it, and while I prefer the character designs of the first game, the second one may be the single best-looking sprite-based RPG I've ever seen. The colors, children, the colors!

(Also recruiting Mace and Leon in the first game is bullshit.)

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

Postby Friday » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:07 pm

46. Persona 4 (PS2)

EVERYONE IN THIS THREAD IS A SCIENCE PROJECT

NOW TAKE A FSTEAK AND GET BENT GET BENT GET BENT

Persona 4 is a game I have thoroughly plumbed the depths of without ever touching it as an actual game. I read R^2's LP of Suikoden 2 and read a little bit about it on the wiki, but for P4 I have:

1. Watched a complete LP playthrough, including most of the combat parts and all the bosses (I skipped some longer repetitive sections of the dungeons)
2. Watched every single social link event for all the characters, and all the alternate versions of said events (usually whether the girl is being romanced or not)
3. Watched the original anime
4. Watched the Golden anime
5. Watched the Hiimdaisy comic video so many times I can basically recite it by heart now

Suffice it to say, I probably have a greater working understanding of Persona 4 and what it is as a game than most of the other games on this list that I actually have played.

So, then, aside from the plentiful S tier memes, what is Persona 4? What's it about? What kind of game is it?

Well, on it's face, Persona 4 is a dating simulator and a visual novel and a murder mystery and a JRPG sort of all shoved into one full to bursting shell. It's all held together by, you guessed it, the all-star cast of characters, fully THREE of which appeared on my top ten anime husbando/waifu list. So uh. Yeah. I like the characters. The characters are good.

Persona 4 isn't afraid to go dark. In a lot of ways, P4 is considered the "lightest" of the Persona series but it also deals with darker themes that the other games don't touch. Stuff like nihilism, existentialism, and most importantly the Shadow. (In The Jungian sense).

The Shadow is you, and you are your Shadow. The Shadow is anything about yourself you don't want to admit to, or show other people. It's almost always a negative thing, usually really deep seated nasty shit about your feelings. Often viewed as a adversary or a negative by popular media, your Shadow is actually your greatest ally, should you muster the courage to face and embrace it.

Chie and Yukiko are best friends. Yukiko is beautiful and proper and a lady, and Chie is a plain tomboy who excels at physical stuff. To the casual observer, they might look like a mismatched pair, but they love each other.

When you face Chie's Shadow, it turns out that a part of Chie felt both superior and jealous to Yukiko, because of how Yukiko is perceived as a more correct "girl" by society. So Chie relished the chance to be the dominant one in their friendship, to be the one in control. Her resentment of Yukiko's better looks and better traditional feminine qualities caused her to develop a negative (and potentially damaging) emotional relationship with her friend.

This kind of nuance and writing isn't common. Deep dives into what makes us as humans tick are not usually (in fact, hardly ever) so well written, developed, and executed. Chie doesn't overcome her Shadow by destroying it, because you can't destroy part of yourself. You must instead embrace and accept the Shadow as part of who you are, and by doing so gain the power and confidence that comes with knowing your own faults and working to become a better person.

Everyone has darkness in them. To be jealous, to be resentful, to be angry, and to be hateful is to be human. None of us are saints. Life isn't about ignoring those feelings and letting them influence you from behind the scenes of your mind, but instead understanding them and allowing them their proper place in your psyche, not festering in the back but held up to the light.

In real life, embracing your Shadow gives you confidence, power, and strength. Personally, my Shadow has always been anger and rage, and when I learned to accept that about myself, I found my actions became less controlled by my emotions. And my Shadow is always there when I need it, when I need anger at injustice. It's my greatest ally.

Oh, sorry. Is this game review getting a bit personal? Sorry, it's just that, you know, games that make the people who play them look inward at their own workings are, you know, pretty much this game, and that's it, ever. So.

In Persona 4 the characters that embrace their Shadows also get a super cool Persona to beat up monsters with, so that's nice.

Persona 4 also touches on some really cool subjects that games basically do not fucking talk about ever (I'm not counting Indie stuff, which is flooded with this kind of thing) like being gay, gender as society understands it and how the individual presents, the veil of ignorance being both bliss but a false bliss, the chameleon nature of a person's personality and what your "true" self is, and how much Yosuke hates living in the country.

Speaking of Yosuke, he's by far the worst character. He's the plucky comic relief and his Shadow is the least interesting. Furthermore, he constantly does the whole "comic homophobia" thing, which is a REALLY odd choice in a game as nuanced and sensitive as this one. It's possible they were just going for "well, people do this in real life all the fucking time, so" when they wrote him like they wrote all 10 seasons of Friends (seriously, go back and watch the show, you can't go three episodes without Joey, Ross and Chandler being homophobic) but it's played pretty straight up for laughs at the expense of real people with real issues. I'm not sure about Yosuke's constant shitting on Kanji. While it may be "realistic" as far as society goes, it seems somewhat disingenuous to write a game about being true to yourself but then write in a character that constantly says "except if you're gay, cause that's like, super gross, haha."

But aside from Yosuke's SO FUNNY HOMOPHOBIA, I would not change a single thing about any of the characters. They're all great otherwise.

I'm talking so much about the characters and the themes over the plot and the gameplay for a reason. They're both far more interesting and important to this game than anything else. The gameplay is similar to a visual novel where you have only so many actions per day, so you have to manage your time if you want to see all the content. The dungeon crawling is the worst part of the game and is typical Persona boring random encounters in proc gen featureless dungeons. Ho hum. I guess the "collect pets" part of the game's combat is interesting to some people.

I could go on about the characters and the romance and the themes. But this is supposed to be a review of the game, not an in-depth dissertation on each character and why they're so well written and realized and the themes and lessons we can learn from each. And, I don't want to spoil anything for those who have never experienced it, so I'll end this here.

Do I recommend this game:
Absolutely yes. You can do what I did and just watch the complete LP and skip all the combat because it's bog standard and tedious, but the rest of the game is actually an Important examination of the human condition. In Japanese High Schoolers, but also in us all.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:40 pm

Also it just got released for PC, so there's that.

(Denuvo, though, unfortunately. Sega's been decent about removing that shit after the release window, though, so maybe wait and see.)

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

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:45 pm

Thad wrote:Sega's been decent about removing that shit after the release window, though, so maybe wait and see.


Oh shit I should check Valkyria 4.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:03 am

45. Ninja Gaiden 2 (NES)



You'll note this entry is a tier up from Ninja Gaiden 1, and that's intentional.

Ninja Gaiden 2 is more of the same, but better. Significantly better.

Firstly, the difficulty is toned down. I'm not saying Ninja Gaiden 2 is an easy game or even a moderate game (it's still a hard game) and the stage design is even pretty much exactly as difficult. But a few things are different: You've got the Shadow Clones (up to two copies of you that follow along behind you and copy your attacks, including special attacks), enemy damage has been toned down (Birds no longer do THREE FUCKING DAMAGE and now hit for a much more reasonable one) and if you die on the final boss, you don't get sent back to the start of the whole goddamn level.

To make up for this, there are now stage hazards, including a windy level, a dark level, and an ice level. Also, Spin Slashing bosses in one hit to death is gone, but that was mostly a speedrunner trick anyway.

So, on balance, the game is a step or two easier than the first, especially at the end. It's still hard as balls, don't get me wrong, but it's less cruel. Well, sort of. Birds still one hit knock you into pits just as much as they did in Ninja Gaiden 1, that hasn't changed.

The cutscenes are back and just as cool (if not as novel) as ever, starring everyone's favorite 80s cape evil guy, Ashtar. (See top link.) The graphics are a bit better and cleaner, and the music is just as quality as before.

Also, you can climb walls now, which is a nice quality of life change (you no longer have to do that weird "jump off and immediately back on over and over to gain incremental height" thing) since in the original you could only climb walls with ladders on them.

Ninja Gaiden 2 is, for my money, the peak of the formula. 3 is also a pretty good game, but it won't be appearing on this list due to it taking several steps back compared to 2 in certain ways.

Do I recommend this game:
Nah, too hard. It's better than the first game both in difficulty and otherwise, but it's still a relic of a bygone era of overly difficult cruel games.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:13 am

ok Zara nerd away
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby zaratustra » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:25 pm

Friday wrote:ok Zara nerd away


god i guess there's not that much really

just wanted to point out how Ninja Gaiden slowly streamlines its selection of powerups across the games; on ninja gaiden 2, you lose the shitty spin attack, which was ultra powerful but limited so much your skills in a game that already depends on them that nobody actually used it.

Instead, you get the extremely powerful shadows, which let you play it much safer when you can.

Also, you get a new magic - the triple down-side fireball, which is not nearly as good as the up-side fireball because you're usually so close to the lower side of the screen anyway.

Ninja Gaiden 3 would refine this further - removing the shadows and adding a giant sword, removing the terrible regular shuriken and just giving the boomerang shuriken as "default", and adding the inexplicable vertical wave attack just to have something shitty.

Also the wall-climbing ability has been upgraded, as you mentioned, and later on NG3 you get a ceiling climb. It feels a bit like Ryu is a little better at being a ninja, each time around.

Meanwhile it took the Belmonts like four games to learn to twirl their whip and that's it.

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

Postby Thad » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:36 pm

zaratustra wrote:Meanwhile it took the Belmonts like four games to learn to twirl their whip and that's it.

I was playing Vampire Killer for MSX the other day and it does some stuff with the subweapons that I've never seen in any of the other games in the series. You can have more than one at a time, and they're activated in different ways. I don't know if I like it, but it's a fascinating little evolutionary deadend.

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

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:03 pm

44. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)

Do you like BioWare games?

Do you like being a Jedi?

Not to be confused with the MMO, KotoR is old school early 3D WRPG greatness. The game begins with you as one of three classes (basically, figher, rogue, or ... I can't even remember) and eventually you get to pick one of three Jedi classes (double fighter, more ability/caster focused, or in-between) and those Jedi classes are further influenced by your alignment (the infamous dual BioWare alignment system) represented by Light Side Jedi and Dark Side Sith.

The game engine and rules itself runs on Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition, so if you were familiar with that ruleset (and I was) the game felt very natural.

But enough about the mechanics, because lets be honest, you're not playing a BioWare game for the combat.

The game is set thousands of years before the movies, hence "The Old Republic". The characters are pretty good. Not, like, Suikoden 2 or Persona 4 good, but pretty good. You've got a Twi'lek girl and her Wookie, a boring male romance lead if your character is female, Bastila the Jedi, A catgirl Jedi, a Grey Jedi, a Mandalorian, and the absolute standout and best robot character ever, HK-47, an assassin droid who is about as evil as he is amazing.

You'll travel to several planets (including Tatooine, of fucking course) collecting mcguffins until you go to the final planet and fight the last boss. Pretty standard RPG structure... but the plot has some surprises along the way. And I mean some actually good plot twists and revelations.

It's hard to discuss this game without spoiling the experience. Suffice it to say that if you're familiar with the Mass Effect series, KotoR was sort of the prototype for that. Sidequests, characters, dialog trees. Standard BioWare stuff, but done well and certainly back when it was more if not entirely novel.

And seriously, HK-47 is worth the price of admission alone.

Do I recommend this game:
Yeah. It's easy enough and anyone who likes Star Wars or RPGs or both will enjoy it. I actually got a friend of mine who never cared about Star Wars into the franchise with this game because he was a big DnD fan and that was enough.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:29 pm

BioWare, not Bethesda.

Friday wrote:It's hard to discuss this game without spoiling the experience. Suffice it to say that if you're familiar with the Mass Effect series, KotoR was sort of the prototype for that. Sidequests, characters, dialog trees.


And an excellent VA cast with Jennifer Hale in a prominent role.

I'll also add that while the setting and structure are a lot like Mass Effect, the combat's d10-based (am I saying that right, tabletop gamers?) and plays a lot more like Baldur's Gate, NWN, Dragon Age Origins, etc. There's shooting but it's not a shooter.

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

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:38 pm

BioWare, not Bethesda.


Derp, I knew that. Damn Studios with B names. Fixed.

And an excellent VA cast with Jennifer Hale in a prominent role.


Agreed. One of the first games to have such good voice acting that I can remember, actually.

I'll also add that while the setting and structure are a lot like Mass Effect, the combat's d10-based (am I saying that right, tabletop gamers?) and plays a lot more like Baldur's Gate, NWN, Dragon Age Origins, etc. There's shooting but it's not a shooter.


d20, but yes. Unlike Mass Effect you don't actually aim at enemies you shoot at with your mouse. You just select them and the character hits or misses based on rolls. There's also plenty of melee combat (lightsabers and such) and "spell" casting, like Force Lightning.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:21 pm

Friday wrote:Agreed. One of the first games to have such good voice acting that I can remember, actually.

Yeah, KotOR was one of the first games I remember playing where they actually hired established, professional VAs who I recognized from cartoons.

The first would have been X-Men: Children of the Atom, which was notable for using the voice cast from the X-Men cartoon, but they were just shouting things like "Drill claw!" I remember there was a Beast Wars fighting game that had some of the voice cast from the cartoon, too. I never did play MGS, so I think the only story-based game I'd played with professional voice talent prior to KotOR was probably Spider-Man for the Dreamcast.

Notably, the voice talent on both X-Men and Beast Wars was non-union -- they even recast Storm and re-dubbed her voice in the reruns so they could avoid paying her residuals. KotOR cast real live card-carrying SAG members and they probably get checks for it to this day. That's the norm now, but it was a pretty lavish expense back in those days that you could justify if you had a brand like Star Wars or Spider-Man attached to it, or even Evil Dead, but it was a pretty big gamble when MGS did it a full 5 years before KotOR.

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