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    Recently, I’ve decided to dive into the Ganbare Goemon games.

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  1. I really liked Chasm, actually. One issue that many people have with the game is that it has, to a limited extent, randomly generated levels. This meant that you could get a bad combination if you were unlucky, but later updates to the game have really fixed a lot of things and polished everything in general. It's the rare Metroidvania game that plays more like SOTN than Super Metroid. Iconoclasts is a remarkable game, I think. Salt & Sanctuary is really interesting. La Mulana 1 and 2 are really good, too--both games are merciless in their difficulty, though. Cave Story, although maybe not a true Metroidvania in many ways, would be worth a look, too.
  2. Evidently, Sega missed a trick by not releasing a set of joycons with this design:
  3. The video above is considered “borderline unplayable”? I’m not saying it’s great, but youngsters these days don’t know they’re born, etc.
  4. I'm sure that many people have seen it already, but this article at The Escapist ("The Way My Kid Plays Video Games Pisses Me Off") popped up on my timeline recently, and it's made me think about how things have changed in the way people (especially young people) consume video games. I think the writer of the article itself probably thought that they were being tongue-in-cheek, although to me it comes across as rather gross. There are parts where I think the writer is not really being honest with themselves, and that, deep inside, they actually think their child is a "filthy casual." Maybe it's just me. Nevertheless, I'm a father of a four-year-old kid who has expressed interest in video games, and now I'm wondering what I should do next. On the one hand, I admit what I play and how I play is not the modern way. (I beat Konami Wai Wai World recently--an old-skool Konami Famicom game with an unrelenting, unforgiving design that would be unthinkable in this day and age. I enjoyed it, though.) On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about the pervasiveness of YouTube in consuming game content and the experience of Roblox-like games. I don't have any immediate answers, but I am planning to let my child approach games as books--letting them play what they think is interesting, but checking with them from time to time, trying not to be pushy about my own likes and dislikes. Or is that too hands-off? I'd be curious to know what other people think.
  5. DeDeDe

    Apple Arcade

    Conversely, I liked wurdweb more than Scrabble because it’s much less stressful to manage word placement rather than letters, and there are a number of rules that and game modes that keep things interesting. Trying to fit words between other words you’ve placed previously like this: MUSHROOM A FIREBALL I O is a good brain-training-like challenge as well. Relatively trivial in Scrabble, but much more difficult when you have to fit unmodifiable words.
  6. This thread: Super Monkey Ball is great! Everyone should experience it! Also this thread: What, do they want everyone to be able to finish the game? I’m OK with finite continues in most arcade-style games, but I must admit that I was not a fan of how they were implemented in the original on the GC. One of the many reasons why the game didn’t click with me, I guess.
  7. Attack of the Friday Monsters (3DS) I was in the mood to play something summery and short before the end of August, and in an amazing bit of coincidence, Level 5 was running a sale on their 3DS eshop with dozens of their older games on the platform, including this game. I've always wanted to play the game, so I snapped this up, plus a few other titles from the 2013 Guild series, which this game is part of. Attack of the Friday Monsters is a game designed by Millennium Kitchen, Kaz Ayabe's company, which was responsible for the Boku no Natsuyasumi [BokuNatsu] series of games on PlayStation hardware. The company has been involved in other games, but Ayabe's ideas have always gravitated toward the slice-of-life nostalgic framework of the BokuNatsu games, and the series is what made the company semi-famous. Ray Barnholt has a great interview with him and an insightful overview of the series in his Scroll magazine from 8 years ago. Attack of the Friday Monsters is set in a small neighborhood in 1960s Tokyo. You play as Sohta, a young boy who has just moved into the neighborhood a few days prior, and the game takes place over the course of an afternoon on a Friday in summer. The game is similar to BokuNatsu games, but a key difference is that there is more of a larger story element in Attack of the Friday Monsters, as you and other people you meet uncover the mystery surrounding said monsters. It's a really pleasant experience, but it's difficult to put into words why. The gameplay itself is reminiscent of Animal Crossing, but with a stronger emphasis on the characters and the story. It is presented in a more cinematic manner as well, with different camera angles as you explore the neighborhood. It's all about the experience, soaking in the well-written story and the environment of the game. I completed the game yesterday, but it feels like I played the game the wrong way. I played it in short 30-minute bursts. However, given that the game lasts only about 4 hours, by the time the credits started scrolling, I got the feeling that it would've been better to have played it in one or two sittings to get the full effect of the slice-of-life structure. Kaz Ayabe's most recent game is a BokuNatsu-like game with the Crayon Shinchan characters. I detest Crayon Shinchan, though, but I'm hopeful that if it is successful, we might see similar games in the future.
  8. Sounds great. If it’s your first time playing Metroid 1 and II, I would strongly recommend using a map, or drawing your own. (Falcon Zero’s map of the original is good and somewhat spoiler-free, I think.) Metroid 1’s areas are color-coded, which means that you can get a feel of the world in general, but the game design can be maddening at times. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, the initial areas in Metroid II look too similar.
  9. @scottcr I think I needed four or five attempts myself. One thing that I forgot to mention above is that one way in which Samus Returns differs from previous Metroid games is that the game works at extremes. Enemies hit hard, and if you make a mistake, you lose a big chunk of energy. On the other hand, enemies can also go down easily if you find an effective strategy. As you also mention, this was the moment in the game that tested the controls to breaking point. Missile management and Aeion powers really should have been streamlined more. I'm not sure where you're struggling, but, if you're like me, what advice I can give is: - Reserve your Super Missiles for the final form. Just stick to Plasma Beam blasts throughout. - Use the Lightning Armor at all times. Remember to re-equip it between the boss's forms, too. (I don't know why the game resets the Aeion powers in this way.) - Roll into your morph ball form for the boss's most powerful attack. - As with all bosses, if you manage to counter with your melee attack, it makes the battle easier. Look for the yellow spark before one of his ground attacks. - Finally, if the above doesn't work, you can always do like speedrunners and use Phase Drift and Beam Burst at the same time to slow down the boss and fire directly at his weak points. (For massive damage, obviously.) The timing is a little tricky using this method, however.
  10. @kensei @dumpster Thanks for the info. I’d forgotten about the Vita port. Reading more about it, it looks like there is also another version that was ported through dodgy means. I feel like Metroid games are best played on a handheld, so it’s a shame that it’s not an option for me.
  11. Earlier this month I decided to revisit Metroid II: Return of Samus (Game Boy) in celebration of the series's 35th anniversary and in anticipation of the release of Metroid Dread. And after finishing that game I was curious to see how Nintendo and Mercury Steam had remade the game. I recall a lot of Metroid fans and writers having mixed feelings about Samus Returns when it was released, and after finishing the game and reading people's thoughts in this thread I can see why. Samus Returns was sort of billed as a remake of Metroid II, but it feels more like Mercury Steam took the overall structure and ideas of the original Game Boy game and decided to make an original Metroid game with their own ideas. I like the game a lot: Samus Returns sacrifices a bit of the amazing atmosphere of Metroid II for a plethora of new tools and items and a mountain of new content. And it works, overall--Samus Returns is a really beefy adventure with a lot to do, but it feels overwhelming at times. The answer to new content is a lot of the time just new items, without thinking about the overall game balance. My biggest misgiving about the game, however, is that I felt that a lot of the most memorable moments in Metroid II were mishandled in Samus Returns (especially the last hour of the game)--but on reflection now I see that perhaps it is more like Samus Returns was made for a new generation of Metroid fans, who have grown up with a different set of influences, exemplified by the new melee system. Samus Returns was made as a "complete" 2D Metroid experience 30-odd years after the first game. It's not a perfect game, but it seems to have been a success in this regard. Anecdotally. a lot of younger people list Samus Returns as the best 2D Metroid game. Now I’m interested in playing AM2R to see how Metroid II was remade there, but is there any way to play the game if you don't own a PC or an Android phone? Anyway, Samus Returns is not Super Metroid, but it was a great experience, and I'm amazed at how well they balanced the game to allow for speedrunning, actually--especially glitched ones. I wish it had a better soundtrack, though. BTW, I'd be really interested in reading more of your thoughts about the game, @Cyhwuhx, but it looks like your website is down.
  12. To celebrate Metroid's 35th anniversary this month, I decided to play the one Metroid 2D game that had passed me by: Metroid II: Return of Samus. I remember playing this game back in 1994 or so when I got the Super Game Boy (which featured this game surprisingly quite a bit in its marketing), but I didn't really get it. The metroidvania genre didn't click with me until Super Metroid the following year, I suspect. I had some apprehension about going back to it, but the release of the remake on the 3DS and the announcement of a new Metroid game this year convinced me that this was probably the best time to revisit it. Metroid II is lacking in many areas in comparison to other games in the series. Samus's sprite is too big, her movement too stiff, and it really needed an in-game map. The original Metroid for FDS/NES also doesn't have an in-game map, but at least in that game the areas had their own unique theme to help you understand the layout. Metroid II's areas, however, are not so well-defined, and the first two areas looked so similar that I ended up using a map for reference. To be fair to the game, once you know how the game works a map becomes less useful, but that first hour was frustrating. Metroid II is not as much about exploration as other games in the series, and arguably TMNT: Radical Rescue is a better Metroidvania game. As a mood piece, however, the game can be astonishing in places. Despite having only four colors and a limited space to work with, R&D 1 made a minor miracle in creating a game with real atmosphere and tension. There isn't any moment where you feel safe on the planet, and the game masterfully evokes strong feelings of being alone and almost despondent the further along you progress. Two episodes in particular stand out: one is the oft-mentioned eerie final stage before you face the Metroid Queen. The second one was when you drop down to a level with a series of long vertical shafts with very few enemies and a Metroid at almost every turn. The level layout, assisted in no small part due to the outstanding minimalistic soundtrack, produced a really unique and memorable eerie play experience. Metroid gained a lot in terms of imagery when it moved to the SNES and especially the GameCube, but there is something to be said about the abstract nature of the first two Metroid games that has been lost.
  13. Maybe it’s because I grew up with an NES and an SNES, but, ergonomically speaking, I’ve always felt that Nintendo’s button layout always made the most sense. It’s easier for your right hand thumb to move right to left, so it feels logical that the controller reflects that. Conversely, the fact that Sega and then Microsoft went for an AB order has always been disappointing to me. I wonder why Sega ditched the 1-2 button layout found on the Master System.
  14. Ganbare Goemon #5 Ganbare Goemon: Sarawareta Ebisumaru After the disappointing look back at the first SNES/SFC game, I must admit that I was not expecting much from this game, the first Ganbare Goemon game on the Game Boy. And a lot of reviews certainly take this point of view, describing it as an adaptation of Karakuri Dochu, the first Famicom game, for the portable. It turns out it is arguably a contender for one of the most "complete" Ganbare Goemon games, in terms of gameplay, soundtrack, and plot. Sarawareta Ebisumaru was developed by an almost completely different group at Konami. (Their previous game was the rogue-like Game Boy gem Cave Noire.) They take a lot of cues from earlier Goemon games, but streamline the central Goemon formula of the time and build on it very effectively. Goemon travels from locale to locale across various stages, but there is a surprisingly well-developed plot here and a sense of surprise at every stage. It has its fair share of annoyances and frustrating roadblocks, but the design of the levels and the game is well thought-out. There are lots of surprisingly entertaining mini games, and the music... This is another Goemon game with an astounding soundtrack. The West got a really poor Goemon for the Game Boy a few years later, but I would really recommend taking a look at this game. It's available as "Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon" in Volume 3 of the European compilation cart Konami GB Classics Vol 3. (Terrible colors, though.)
  15. Ganbare Goemon #4 Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyushutsu Emaki (Legend of the Mystical Ninja) The first Goemon game to be released outside of Japan is a graphical and aural tour de force. The development team doesn't stray very far from previous games in terms of the game's structure (which again sees Goemon and co on an adventure around west Japan), and on top of that adds side-scrolling stages, more co-op features and more mini-games. The game also has one of the strongest soundtracks in the series, composed by Kazuhiko Uehara and Harumi Ueko. I played this game when it came out in its US guise as "The Legend of the Mystical Ninja," and, coming back to it in earnest after a 20-year gap, I have to admit that I was disappointed in a lot of ways. This game is somewhat infamous for its localization--Goemon and Ebisumaru are called "Kid Ying" and "Dr Yang", and rice balls are replaced by pizza--but I'd say that it's really not that bad. Everything else was left largely untouched, and the shorter game script actually works in the game's favor. The plot in this game feels very half-baked in the Japanese original. What disappointed me the most, however, was the structure of the game itself. Gold coins rule the land in the first Super Famicom game; if you collect enough coins to buy all of the necessary equipment in every stage, it's smooth sailing for the most part, but the game can be really punishing if you make a mistake: the less money you have, the slower and weaker you are, and you can truly become stuck at a stage. Yes, co-op is fun as well in this game, but it's soured somewhat by money. (The password system is also a real pain, too, despite the fabulous music.) Recent discoveries in the beta release by TCRF reveal that the developers were thinking of ways to rebalance the game, but apparently they weren't able to implement them in time. Note that a re-translation patch for this game is available, including the ability to save your game using "battery saves," but none of the more glaring problems were fixed. So, mixed feelings... But did I mention the fantastic soundtrack?
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