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

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

Postby mharr » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:17 pm

You know the Amiga actually had pretty damn good Mac OS 7.5 emulation on account of being on the same processors. I wonder if the MiSTer could actually play the native versions of EV via that route.

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

Postby Mongrel » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:24 pm

This sounds a lot like Avorion which I am playing the absolute everloving shit out of right now.

Basically "what if the game you described, but also it's Minecraft, so you can spend 400 man-hours building a a couple of voxel spaceships. And blow up pirates too, I guess". Or one hour. Or 2 minutes if you download something from Steam Workshop. I just like doing things like breaking the build box snap grid so I can make ships with a billion greebles, including a fully realized bridge and other internal areas viewable through windows. Also all my various freight containers have logos of MTG sets on them.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:19 am

TIER UP! 30-21.

30. Deus Ex (PC)



Memes, JC. This is what you were made for.

Apart from the memes, DX is the first true full fps sim game. I know, I know, Thief or whatever and some other stuff came first, but let's be real: While those games might be good, or even great, DX blew them all out of the water in terms of scope, tone, and gameplay.

DX is a hard game to describe. Is it a stealth game? Sure. After all, again, nobody goes full Rambo. But it's more than that, really, it's... immersive. Playing DX (especially back in 2000 when the graphics weren't so dated) really puts you on the dirty, grimy streets of Hell's Kitchen, in the corporate offices of Versalife, in the markets of Hong Kong at night, in the DuClare Chateau, in Unatco's HQ, and in the grimy undergorund sewers and abandoned subways of the mole people. About two years ago I played through the game again and it struck me how... limited? DX's levels actually are. They're just little boxes carved out of the void, but despite this they really sell the experience of being in these locales and interacting with the NPCs there, hostile and otherwise.

A big part of the experience is just how well written the plot and characters are. Sure, the voice acting is memey and pretty damn bad at times, but a lot of it is pretty thought provoking, or at least was back in 2000 when I hadn't read it all before. The philosophy shit might not be the deepest stuff ever, but it's certainly a lot more interesting than "evil exists because a dark god made it in the shadowlands" that you usually get in most "story" games. DX looks at humanity and the human condition to explain why authoritarian governments come into being. They don't spring fully formed from a bad guy demi-god. They are built, brick by brick, by the people they end up enslaving.

DX has problems. The biggest and most glaring (other than HURRR ANOTHER KNIFE) is the first level. Your skills are so garbage at the start of the game that you literally can't hit anything with your gun, so really the only viable option you have is STICK WITH THE PROD sneaking up behind people, slowly, painstakingly, one at a time, and knocking them out with the cattle prod. Once you get a feel for what the game expects of you, DX becomes a great game, but I know people (here, even) who were never able to clear that first Liberty Island hurdle.

The rpg elements add an incentive to explore and fiddle with everything, since exp goes directly into boosting your skills, which range from SHOOT BETTER to HACK BETTER to SWIM BETTER to HEAL YOURSELF BETTER. Items exist to fill the gaps in your skills (well, except shooting) and creative solutions can get you anywhere, so nothing is absolutely required. On top of that you have your augs, which can boost your stats further and make you do superhuman cyber shit.

There's a lot of text in this game, and boy do I love reading it. It's fun to hack into people's emails and read about their bullshit. I don't know why, maybe I'm just a snoop.

Oh and unlike DX:HR all the bosses can be skipped easily, so. Of course it has the same "three button" ending but for whatever reason this didn't bother people back then? I guess because it's not three literal buttons.

The game is riddled with physics problems, engine problems, and balance issues. Some skills are bad, some overpowered, some augs are clearly broken. I just don't care because when you aim as high as DX did, even failing is glorious, and DX didn't fail.

Do I recommend this game:
Yes. Be warned however the first level sucks. If you can soldier through, though, I promise it gets better as you go, once you pick up better guns and the skill needed to actually hit with them. But you should really STICK WITH THE PROD.

Also, from now on, I'm gonna be ASSIGNING NUMBERS, everyone's favorite thing. Two categories, Gameplay, and Experience. Gameplay is rating the straight up mechanics of the, well, gameplay. How well executed it is, how fun it is. Experience is basically everything else. Talking to NPCs, reading emails, the atmosphere, the music, and exploring the world isn't the same thing as shooting people (either in the front or in the back) but it's just as important to what a game is.

Gameplay: 5.5. Mechanically the game is fine, but nothing special. There are a lot better shooters and even stealth games out there.

Experience: 9. Absolutely amazing immersion and a gritty, realistic (well, realistic in a world that has the Illuminati in it) near-future world.

And now, the thing that must be placed at the end of any video or anything else about Deus Ex:

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

Postby Esperath » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:35 am

Friday wrote:And now, the thing that must be placed at the end of any video or anything else about Deus Ex:

pisa katto

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pisa katto

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

Postby Niku » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:12 am

good morning friday it is the numbers police here to remind you that now if any game that comes next on this list is less than a combined 14.5 it is 100% invalidated as a list because it is clearly biast since a numbered list can only have the numbers go up thank you and have a jail day
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:19 am

fuck i am going to jail
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Niku » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:21 am

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

Postby Mazian » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:47 am

Friday wrote:About two years ago I played through the game again and it struck me how... limited? DX's levels actually are. They're just little boxes carved out of the void, but despite this they really sell the experience of being in these locales and interacting with the NPCs there, hostile and otherwise.

It nailed one environment disconcertingly well: Manhattan's Battery Park circa October 2001, when it really was fenced off with metal barricades everywhere, and patrolled by National Guard troops in fatigues. The weird-coincidence factor was only increased by technical limitations on skybox textures, which were repeated a few times around a full 360° circle - so on the Liberty Island map, they couldn't put the WTC towers on the Manhattan skyline.

The impact is perhaps reduced on other maps when you can hop out of bounds and go walking behind 2D textures in the distance. Level 4 legs and a little creativity just break so much.

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

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:48 pm

Niku wrote:gaol bless you
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:00 pm

mharr wrote:You know the Amiga actually had pretty damn good Mac OS 7.5 emulation on account of being on the same processors. I wonder if the MiSTer could actually play the native versions of EV via that route.

I don't know enough about how the Amiga implemented that compatibility layer or about the state of PPC-era Mac emulation on other platforms to guess at the relative merits of each approach, but MiST/er's Amiga implementation should be mature enough to run anything that ran on a '90s-vintage Amiga with perfect or near-perfect accuracy to how it would have run on real hardware.

(For those who haven't been following MiSTer like mharr and I have: MiSTer derives from an upstream project called MiST, which is so-named for its focus on Amiga and Atari ST. So while there are a lot of MiSTer cores that are still seeing rapid development and frequent improvements -- I believe they just released one for the Mario Bros. arcade board yesterday -- the Amiga implementation is one of the oldest and has had a whole lot of work put into it.)

Anyway, I haven't worked much with any of the PC cores (I fucked around with MSX a little bit and tried out Vampire Killer and Metal Gear, and that's pretty much it) but I've got a Logitech K600 wireless keyboard/touchpad coming in the mail this week and that'll make it easier for me to fuck around with cores that use keyboard/mouse controls.

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

Postby Friday » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:18 am

29. Lufia 2 (SNES)





For reasons that continue to elude me, Lufia 2 still remains fairly obscure to a lot of people, even to people who are big SNES JRPG sluts like me.

Lufia 2 is a prequel to the first Lufia, which you must avoid because it sucks real bad. Unlike 1, Lufia 2 eliminates random encounters entirely except on the overworld, which you don't spend much time on. Instead, you get avoidable fights that you can stun with arrows to get by. This is a big deal as back then pretty much every RPG was using a random system.

The game's structure it almost comical in how cookie cutter it is: Go to a new town, do a dungeon or two, then move on to the next town. There's a lot in Lufia 2 that is generic as hell, including the simple town layouts and straightforward magic.

But where Lufia 2 is good, it's really good. The characters are likable, if not deep (My main man Dekar is the standout) and the dungeons are full of what I consider to be the best part: The Puzzles. Lufia 2 is almost as much a puzzle game as it is a JRPG, and the puzzles are really well done. There are some real head-scratchers on your first time through, but they're never TOO hard if a blonde like me was able to get through them all. Except the World's Most Difficult Trick, which is one of those sliding block puzzles. Sigh. I think I can still hum the theme song on demand.

The combat itself is hardly worth mentioning. You can get capsule monsters and raise them like pokemon. Yay. Other than that, it's hit and heal. You do build up "IP" that can be used for powerful special attacks linked to certain gear, but the game is easy enough that choosing a certain gear piece over another just based on the IP attack it has is never an issue so they're mostly just sort of "there". Well, in the main game, anyway.

The Ancient Cave was probably a lot of people's first look at a randomized, proc gen dungeon (in the same style as Torneko's Mystery Dungeon) and it's fairly common for a playthrough to get derailed as players plumb the 100 floor depths. It's almost a whole game within a game, really. The monsters on the bottom floors are far stronger than anything you face in the main game, and the challenge in general is a lot higher. Having blue chest gear won't save you for hydras that attack 8 times per round, it turns out.

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

Gameplay: 7. I rate it this highly because the puzzles are really that good, and the Ancient Cave is fun for people who like that kind of thing. (Note that the ancient cave doesn't let you stun monsters, but then grinding up exp is mandatory there anyway.)

Experience: 7.5. The writing is pretty funny sometimes, especially when Dekar is around, and the plot and world are pretty good. The graphics are bright and crisp and the music is great, even if some dungeons themes get tired.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:42 am

28. Chrono Trigger (SNES)

A little known game made by a team of obscure nobodies, most of the gameplay of CT revolves around attempting to run in front of Green Ambler, Steel Runner, and G.I. Jogger so Catalack can win the race at the fair.

G.I. Jogger will almost always be in last place, so concentrate your time on Ambler and Runner. Put yourself over them and run quickly back and forth over their sprites, which will slow them somewhat. This will allow Catalack to hopefully catch up and pass. If he wins, you will get Silver Points which you can use to purchase a cat wife for your cat and cat food from the mystery tent nearby. There's some other ways to get Silver Points, but they are not as good.

Once you have maximized your Silver Points per Hour (or SPH) you should be able to keep your kitties well fed, and by periodically checking on them they will have kittens. Remember to keep their food bowl as full as possible, as they will not have more kittens unless they have plenty of food. I find running back and forth horizontally over Ambler and Runner's sprites with your sprite works slightly better than vertically or just full GET DOWN, but remember to stop as soon as Catalack accelerates into the pile. You don't want to accidentally slow him. As soon as he takes the lead, concentrate your fire on second place, but keep a special eye on Ambler, as he tends to have come from behind last minute victories.

Eventually you will have enough kittens that Alfador will show up. Pet him because his human won't because he's a big jerk.

This will conclude the gameplay, though no credits will roll. Just like Lufia 2, the game also includes another game-within-a-game, but unlike Lufia 2 it's not really worth checking out as you can just look up pictures of Ayla online.

Betting on another runner other than Catalack is blasphemy. He is clearly superior as he has four legs and is a cat and can therefore run a lot faster than a dude wearing full plate, a modern day infantryman, or a dinosaur person from an alternate timeline. Sometimes he won't win because they will cheat and load down his cat food with sedatives, which is the only explanation I can provide. Likewise, gaining Silver Points from Gato is only acceptable if you just want to dance to his theme and then lose intentionally, as any cat food you get from beating him will be inferior and slow Alfador from showing up.

At the north of the fair, there is some bullshit about a telepod. In one of the side-game's endings, your cat will run into a time portal and vanish, forcing you to go after him. Avoid this by simply not playing the side-game at all.

During the side-game, there is a scene where your cat will show up and one-shot a boss named Ozzie. This is not a joke and actually happens, and is the only good part of the game aside from Catalack and cat breeding to summon Alfador.

Do I recommend this game:
Honestly the main gameplay loop can get a little repetitive. Racing a cat against three cheaters is fun, but I wish they had added a few more tracks and maybe the option to switch out Catalack's collar.

Gameplay: 7. Some of the techniques you can use during the races are cool. It's pretty damn easy to win, though, once you know what you're doing.

Experience: 8. The setting that the races take place in is really well crafted, with bright, detailed graphics and a lot of personality. Talking to the people watching the races has them say some pretty neat things and some of the more colorful characters are memorable. A few of them would go on to not be in the sequel, which is baffling. Overall Catalack is very memorable and I'm surprised such an obscure, unknown team was able to put together a racing simulator as robust and forward-looking as this.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:16 pm

LETS RATE THE CHARACTERS

Crono: 1/10 uses a shitty katana fucking weeb also LOL DID THE ARTIST JUST TRACE OVER GOKU ARE YOU SERIOUS

Marle: 0/10 fucks with time itself by gorging on ice cream ushering in an age of chaos as reptites take over

Lucca: 3/10 the best character but she still sucks as you only see her with her helmet off and her sexy purple hair like once

Robo: 2/10 oh whats that your speed is terrible? fucking unusable but at least you have rocket punch

Frog: -3/10 frogs are gross

Ayla: 10/10 LOL YOU THOUGHT LUCCA??!?! fucking dumbass

Guile: 6/10 i personally don't like charge characters but at least he's not a shoto

Poshul:

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

Postby Mongrel » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:33 pm

There's a city in Italy named Lucca.

The city's bicycle rental network is called Chrono.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Metal Slime » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 am

You forgot to mention the magical Lufia 2 experience of both the Submarine Shrine and the final Ancient Cave floor being graphic garble because of some issue with the NTSC western releases.

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

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:28 am

Fortunately neither of those issues impact Catalack's acceleration or top speed
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:56 pm

27. Super Mario RPG (SNES)

Rounding out our three SNES JPRGs that are really really good but not quite as good as the ones coming up in the 20-11 tier, Mario RPG also is one of the "Mario" games that I talked about previously.

Before Squaresoft was teaming up with Disney to make games about people with enormous shoes, we all had our minds blown by the mash up of MARIO and RPG back in 1996. Really, while it seems quaint now to talk about how weird it felt to know a game was coming that was combining Mario and RPG mechanics (made by Square, everyone's favorite) it really was strange at the time. Was it going to be any good? How could you possibly combine a Mario game and an RPG and get anything good out of that?

Let me be clear. Mario RPG fucking rules. There's so much to unpack about why this game rules so much, but first and foremost it's the comedy.

Mario RPG might be the funniest game I've ever played. There's so much good lighthearted humor and clever gags. The devs took the absurdity of the concept and just leaned all the way into it, creating a world where since Mario cannot talk, he can instead shapeshift while pantomiming to explain "events so far" to people. The cake gags. Booster Tower. Dodo. Croco. Even an evil super sentai team shows up.

Combat is avoidable, just like in Lufia 2. Simply jump over the enemies! Grab a star and blaze through tons of encounters, leveling up along the way!

Let's talk about timed hits!

They're not that interesting. Oh.

Yep, Mario RPG's worst parts are, just like every other JRPG from this era, when you're actually in battle. But everything else is great. The puzzles are pretty good (though not as good as Lufia) and the minigames are fun and varied. The 3D isometric "platforming" can be a bit shitty but they give you pretty big safety margins most of the time to compensate.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention big daddy Bowser, the best character. That's right, you get the bad boy himself on your team this time through, and let me tell you he is at his best. But you probably wouldn't understand his genius and brawn.

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

Timed hits are better than nothing, I guess, but I think people make too big a deal of them. They don't really disguise the fact that the battles are just the typical hit/heal JRPG snoozefest.

Gameplay: 6.5. Compared to Lufia, minus 1 for no Ancient Cave, +.5 for timed hits.

Experience: 8.5. The graphics are a bit wonky but the music is top quality. The world is fun and quirky and a joy to explore. Comedy S tier.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby zaratustra » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:27 pm

Mario RPG walked so Superstar Saga could run.

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

Postby Friday » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:38 pm

26. Yoshi's Island (SNES)

Ah, yes. The final "Mario" game on this list.

I put it in quotes because really, I don't consider this a Mario game.

BUT FRIDAY, you say. MARIO IS IN THE GAME. I REST MY CASE BITCH AND I HOPE YOU DIE YOU PROBABLY DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT YOSHI IS JUST GREEN BIRDO.

Yeah, it doesn't really control like a Mario game. You've got a super different jump that lets you fly by paddling really hard, you swallow enemies, throw eggs, etc. I'm not saying there aren't similarities, but there's a reason this game spun off into it's own side games. If it is Mario, it's a very different flavor.

I love this game. Is it the top platformer on this list? No, but boy howdy do I consider it a masterpiece. I love the tropical feel, the bright pastel color palette, the level design, how brutally difficult it can be (especially in the bonus stages you unlock by collecting everything, and if there's one way to motivate me to do your collecto-thon, it's to put super hard stages as the reward. See also: Eversion.) and the awesome cheery music. Everything just feels so good. Touch Sol Badguy, get Dizzy.

The story is simple. You have to rescue the princess

You have to find the seven mystic seals

You have to spit watermelon seeds at monkeys

Poochy is in trouble! Guide him over the lava and see him safely home.

The egg throwing really opens up a lot of really interesting mechanics and ideas. In addition to combat, they can be used in all sorts of puzzles, making you ricochet them around to hit enemies or coins or flowers or whatever. But you can only have up to six at a time, so you have to make your shots count. Luckily, almost every enemy can be swallowed and converted to more ammo, so assuming you don't suck super duper hard, you shouldn't have much trouble running out.

The bosses are very creative and fun to fight. Most of them have a specific gimmick so each is like a puzzle to figure out, while you try to avoid being hit because you're going for 30 stars you do not want to hear Mario cry.

The controls are right where the need to be, a perfect blend of freeform and floaty and precise. I love how much control of space this game gives you while at the same time constructing the levels carefully in order to mess you up. Most Mario games tend toward the easy side, but Yoshi's Island actually leans more toward difficult just due to how sadistic some of the levels are, doubly so if you're going for 100%.

But it's not like Ninja Gaiden or anything. It's just not a walk in the park, that's all.

Do I recommend this game:
Yes. You get pooped out by a frog.

Gameplay: 8. Using your tongue, swallowing, and then throwing an egg has never been this fun outside of the bedroom.

Experience: 7. Bright vibrant worlds with catchy tunes. And you can let baby Bowser ride you. A lot of effort and care was put into the style and atmosphere of this game, and it shows.
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Re: Friday's Ultimate Vanity Project: 100 Games, 100 Reviews

Postby Thad » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:47 pm

Friday wrote:Yeah, it doesn't really control like a Mario game. You've got a super different jump that lets you fly by paddling really hard, you swallow enemies, throw eggs, etc. I'm not saying there aren't similarities, but there's a reason this game spun off into it's own side games. If it is Mario, it's a very different flavor.

I can't stop holding down Y to run. My brain knows that it doesn't do anything, but try telling my muscle memory that.

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