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Currently, I'm playing through Luigi's Castle( Mansion is the correct name oops) on the Cube. Never had a Gamecube when they came out so missed it originally. Such a fun enjoyable game. Granted I'm only an hour or so in. Have to admit I'm struggling with the right stick aiming but maybe I need to invert that.

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After dabbling with it earlier in the week, decided to have a proper crack at Pirates! Gold on the Mega Drive last night.

 

Picked an English Adventurer, War for Profit era (1640s), on Journeyman difficulty. Rather annoyingly, the RNG started me out in Eleuthera, the sole English settlement in the sparsely populated Bahamas/Florida corner of the map, rather than the usual busier Lesser Antillies area in the east (Nevis, Monserrat, etc). If you've played a Pirates game before, you'll know that the (realistic) prevailing winds make sailing West a breeze (honk), but sailing East a bit of a chore.

 

Fortunately, England were at war with Spain, and there were enough tiny Spanish settlements along the way to break up the journey with some pillaging, although they weren't exactly rich. Eventually made it to the lesser antillies, and purchased letters of Marque from the Dutch (also at war with Spain) and the French (currently neutral), then started pirating the shit out of the Spanish, cashing in with English and Dutch governors for titles and land. Spotted a very promising looking potential wife in Monserrat - noted for later! Also caught a rival pirate, giving me one of my 10 Pirate Goals completed.

 

In a slight miscalculation though, I ended up recruiting too large a crew, and it was getting impossible to keep them happy, so I sold off most of my fleet, divided the plunder (a meagre 50 gold each for my vast crew) , had a few months off then set out on a new voyage.

 

Armed with a much smaller crew, I set off to the north coast of South America to plunder the weak Spanish settlements there, flogging the spoils to the one Dutch settlement in Curacao. One of them netted me an absolute tonne of sugar, which I knew sold for 120 gold a bag in Curacao, so I belted back there as fast as I could... only to lose my flagship Barque on a reef. With almost all the sugar, and most of my men. Balls.

 

Now with an unhappy crew spread across two tiny pinnaces, I started limping back to the Leeward Islands in search of easier pickings and a decent replacement ship. Worried about mutiny, I thought I'd better loot a small Spanish settlement on the way to keep them happy. Sailed in to discover that it was a bigger town than I expected, but that the Treasure Fleet was there! This is one of the game's absolute jackpots, that you normally have to chase down all sorts of clues to locate, and I'd lucked on it. The odds were against me, but I had to go for it. Attacked the town from the sea, belting past the forts to get into a swordfight with the commander. My 18 men vs their 89 or so! Fortunately I managed to beat their commander quickly (Rapiers FTW), causing them to flee. Over 40,000 in gold looted, and another tick on my Pirate Goals - capture treasure fleet!

 

Made it back to Monserrat, where the governor promoted me and gave me vast tracts of land, then saved for the night. Absolutely loving this!

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Just finished Simon’s Quest on the Castlevania Collection.

Really enjoyed it.

 

I know it’s considered the black sheep for being different and having crazy random clues to puzzles, in fact I remember playing it back in the day and getting nowhere, but having a few key bits of knowledge and setting out allowed me to get through relatively easily.

 

All I really knew was what the blue and red crystals do, that there’s fake walls everywhere and that you use wooden stakes on the body parts in the castles. I think I got lucky at a couple of points but overall it’s really not that convoluted and actually a really enjoyable playthrough.

 

Glad I played it.

 

Edit: oh and the music is great too!

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Replaying Vice City on PS2.

 

Coming straight off a replay of GTAIII, the step up is surprisingly huge.

 

The combination of dropping the camera height when driving and the far more interesting map design really helps you find your place in the world.

 

You feel like you’re actually heading towards downtown areas and bridges as you speed along the wide open promenades now. You only really felt this when crossing bridges and in certain parts of the New Jersey area in GTAIII.

 

The colour palette is just lovely, and there’s a pleasing shabbiness to the Cuban/Haitian parts of town, which is  great against the glitzier areas.

 

The missions are much more forgiving, with less ridiculous time limits. Cutscenes are more interesting, and of course the radio stations are still unmatched.

 

It’s so breezy and full of swagger. An absolute stone-cold classic.

 

 

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Also doesn’t have the issue GTA3 had where about one quarter of the map became shoot-on-sight uninhabitable after a story development, making it harder to enjoy just going sandboxing.

 

Plus the music, of course!

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Street Gangs/River City Ransom. Had this forever and I've finally put some time into it having bought it on Wii-U for convenience because I'm a sucker. 50hz too :/ Cute as a button, immensely satisfying combat but I could do without the maze-like layout if I'm honest, especially as there's no map and no indication of which bosses you've beaten. It's a bit unforgiving at times even though the specials feel a bit OP.

 

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20 hours ago, merman said:

Byte Driver - Windows version of a very obscure Japanese coin-op

 

https://vectorhat.com/bytedriver/

"Frequently Asked Questions

Was Byte Driver really an arcade game in 1979?

Nope. Sorry if that's a disappointment. The 1979 arcade version of Byte Driver is a work of fiction spun up by our own slightly over-active imagination. We liked the idea of a long-lost arcade game with an improbable two screen display being resurrected now by a plucky indie game studio. In reality, a plucky indie game developer made the whole thing up."

 

:sherlock:

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I just put desert strike on the snes on instead of tidying it up like I was planning to.  It's still really good and holds up well.  Tbh I prefer the 16 bit era games to the 32 bit ones like Soviet and nuclear strike.

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I had exactly the same issues as you @Sprite Machine with Alundra. It's ok but hugely overrated. All the mechanics are there but it's something of a drag and miles too long. Plus frustrating etc. It's not hard, it's just not that well designed. 

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I have fond memories of Hammerin' Harry in the arcade. Loved it. I have less fond memories of passing up a boxed copy of the Super Famicom Version before the prices for that machine went stupid. Live and learn.

 

Speaking of the Super Fami - I've just started Treasure Hunter G and it seems excellent. Any love for it here? An RPG with this SRPG-lite style combat is exactly my thing and only becomes better when you discover the old dude can do hurricane kicks that kill the early enemies in one.

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10 hours ago, Yasawas said:

I have fond memories of Hammerin' Harry in the arcade. Loved it. I have less fond memories of passing up a boxed copy of the Super Famicom Version before the prices for that machine went stupid. Live and learn.

 

Speaking of the Super Fami - I've just started Treasure Hunter G and it seems excellent. Any love for it here? An RPG with this SRPG-lite style combat is exactly my thing and only becomes better when you discover the old dude can do hurricane kicks that kill the early enemies in one.

 

I think I sold my super fami version here, it was only a cart only.

I've always like the box art though for the sfc game.

 

I've put the gameboy Daiku no Gen-san on my eBay watch list.

Will give that a try soon.

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I've recently been getting into GZDoom, playing through the quite excellent PSX total conversion which replicates everything about the PlayStation version - the altered level design, the coloured sectors, the outstanding soundtrack, animated fire backgrounds during levels and even the menus - but keeps the benefits of playing on a modern PC with a silky smooth framerate, widescreen support, save games rather than passwords, and even vertical aiming if you're some sort of heathen.

 

What's more, the conversion and additional work contains every level from Doom and Final Doom on the PlayStation, and then the Lost Levels mod brings in all the PC levels from Ultimate Doom, Doom II and Final Doom that didn't make the cut on the PS, all reworked to match the PS style with the coloured sectors and even an additional moody soundtrack.

 

It's now my favourite way to play the game. 

 

Of course, it's Doom, so it's absolutely brilliant. These days I'm admiring its simplicity and creativity - as it wasn't capable of complicated scripting, there's an art to how much id were able to get out of the engine through simple enemy placement, flags and trigger-based traps. 

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Had an enjoyable half hour playing Secret of Mana on the Super NT/SD2SNES, using the newish Secret of Mana Relocalized patch. 

 

Like the FFIV Namingway Edition, this magpies bits from the original script, the remake and various other sources to produce something that should be Woolsey-esque, but consistent and without losing important info from the Japanese. It also adds a variable width font and some other ease of use fixes.

 

Early days yet, but I’ve beaten the first boss and walked to the water temple. All seems solid. I rinsed Seiken Densetsu 3 in the 90s, but never got far with SoM - not sure if that was due to the dodgy translation or general shonk. We’ll see how I go!

 

Main observation at this point: damn, that music is great. 

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Turns out there’s a huge community effort, largely running out of the romhacking.net forums, to basically fix all the bugs in SoM, restore any cut content and also apply some quality of life / balance improvements. The main collection is called Secret of Mana Turbo, which uses a new patching format that lets you pick what combination of changes you want from a massive list. Some are fairly wildly revisionist (e.g getting rid of the stamina system), others are minor fixes and tweaks. 

 

I’ve gone for:

- Relocalised

- Restore missing weapon orbs

- Raise item limit to 9 (like SD3)

- Rebalance the weapon levelling so you can’t hit a situation where it’s impossible to level your weapons anymore.

- Make Magic levelling less grindy (100 casts to go up a level, not 180!)

- Add a 2 second magic cool-off, so you can’t just spam bosses with magic as soon as the battle starts and win in seconds.

- All the bug fixes

 

This is fantastic - the quality of romhacks these days is incredible, and is justification alone for having a flash cart. 

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On 17/05/2019 at 09:51, Sprite Machine said:

(Alundra)
The isometric viewpoint seems to intentionally mislead, often making it unclear if a platform is above you or behind you, below you or in front of you.

God, it's like navigating an M.C. Escher drawing sometimes.

Really struggling to finish this.

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Just finished the English patched Linkle Liver Story for the Saturn.

 

It’s okay, nothing special. Wouldn’t really call it a hidden gem per say, it has a couple of neat ideas but most of the time it falls into average.

 

As mentioned by most people the weapon system is the most interesting part with different weapons being crafted based on where you plant your weapon seed within 3 attributes; attack, range and speed. Also theres 4 types of weapon; water, earth, lightning and fire. This actually makes a difference, which is nice to see with enemies taking 2 hits if you use the right weapon or 4-5 if you use the wrong one.

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On 05/06/2019 at 15:23, Sprite Machine said:

(Alundra [PS1])
God, it's like navigating an M.C. Escher drawing sometimes.

Really struggling to finish this.

Nearly at the end now. It's testing my patience at times but occasionally it's very good. I've just cleared a 'mirror' dream dungeon that was quite clever and inventive.

 

But earlier, a puzzle involving sliding icy columns around a room utterly stumped me (you know the ones where you push the blocks and they slide until something stops them and you have to position them into the middle somewhere using other blocks). I'm normally good at these sorts of puzzles, as they crop up in loads of games of this type, but this was something else! You have to slide six columns into such a position that you can cross them like a bridge. Only because of the game's rather woolly collision detection, it's not actually clear where the columns need to be moved to so that you can actually make the jump from one to the next, never mind working out how to get them there. And if you make a mistake (including the heinous mistake of not being perfectly aligned in a gap and accidentally pushing one of the columns you intended to walk past), you have to leave and re-enter to reset the room, because of course you do.

 

It's a shame but I had to look up how to do it. Genuinely the hardest "slidey block" puzzle I've ever encountered and harder than any other puzzles the game has thrown at me so far.

 

And then after that, when I'm supposed to make my way into the volcano dungeon, one of the jets of water that raises a series of platforms to the entrance... didn't engage. For no apparent reason, it just didn't trigger. So I went back and forth to try to find some other way in or some other event to trigger. Eventually it randomly worked, again for no apparent reason.

 

This fucking game, man. :angry:

 

Oh, also, I seem to have picked up the best sword in the game accidentally and probably much earlier than I was supposed to, because I can one-hit-kill anything, three-hit-kill most bosses, and I've received at least two additional swords since finding this one that have failed to replace it, presumably because they're not as good.

 

Oh, also:

 

The main village burns down, including the only shop, just after and before a really hard boss. So that's nice.

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Far Cry 5

 

WTF am I doing playing this? It came free with my microphone that I bought for my work calls, so I decided to set up a Twitch account and stream the fucker to return the courtesy. I'm kinda having fun with it... some parts are LOL IRL, mostly it's open-world checkpoint marker tedium.

 

Streaming is addictive. I might do Bayonetta next, but then I have friends begging me to play Yakuza 0 while I personally want to do modded Skyrim to generate viewership. I've never played Dark Souls either, so it'd be cool to maybe try completing it within a 24 hour window or something.

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That ice-column puzzle in Alundra is a notorious spot, aye. It's probably my favourite action RPG (I love its intriguingly depressive world and find the core conceit of exploring people's nightmares to try and help them really charming, and I want to listen to the soundtrack all the time), but even I found myself calling it a day upon reaching that puzzle the last time I played it. Trying to think several moves ahead whilst remembering all the ones you've already made can be exhausting. :p

 

I've been diving into a lot of older Fromsoft series recently and having some of the best gaming experiences I've had in ages. King's Field 2 (KF1 here) in particular has a vast interconnected world that places enormous emphasis on secrets and charting your own way through it. There's a wonderful feeling that everything is a secret, in fact - even your normal forward progress through the game. Getting to the "Big Mine" near the start required spelunking through caves and finding hidden walls, finding "rhombus keys" in piles of bones, and infiltrating an enemy base that isn't signposted or even on the map you have at that point*. Every area seems to tidily loop back around to the ones you've come from, too.

 

I found exhausting the dialogue with the NPCs helps an awful lot with general navigation - a boy told me pretty much exactly where to go next after giving me an important key, a fortune teller explained what the star gate & keys do, etc. The game has a reputation for being inscrutable but all it takes to get by is a little attentiveness and engagement with the world. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's ever been intrigued by it but been assured by gamer consensus that it's aged too badly or whatever. It's brilliant. I'm moving onto KF4 next and fully expecting it to be one of the finest exploration-oriented games I've played. :)

 

*The maps are a great bit of world-building in themselves - always sketchy and half-finished, presumably because their cartographers have died. 

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Had a great session on Secret of Mana last night. Finally got magic power, and the final Mana weapon, so the whole team is cooking now. The magic recharge period added in this romhack seems to work perfectly, as does the lowered threshold for magic levelling up.

 

I just love the look of this game - nothing else has a palette quite like it, so vivid. The mode 7 for the cannon travel also has buckets of charm. The solid colour text window options the hack adds looks worlds better than the semi-translucent default, which together with the better font and casing options fix my only real aesthetic complaints with the game. 

 

You know a game has a good combat system when you think “Well, I could fast travel back to that location, but I think I’ll walk it and have fun levelling up these new weapons”. 

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On 16/04/2019 at 15:05, Sprite Machine said:

Currently playing Alundra (PS1), which I've never played before, but as a Zelda fan I felt I needed to.

(To my shame, I did play the much-maligned sequel back in the day and quite enjoyed it. :ph34r:)

 

It is very similar to classic 2D Zelda so far, but with darker storytelling, and more vertical level design due to the included 'jump' ability, which makes navigation a little confusing. Also, whoever designed the button configuration needs a stern talking to.

 

 

On 17/05/2019 at 09:51, Sprite Machine said:

 

20 hours in and so far it's almost exactly like a Zelda game... except one that somebody has sucked most of the fun and joy out of.

 

I don't mind the bleak tone and plot, but the game's dungeons and puzzles seem intent on annoying rather than entertaining. I've lost count of the times that I've assumed a certain jump or traversal is impossible, only to find that it's possible but extraordinarily tight with no margin for error and I've wasted ages looking for a more obvious alternate route. Or the times that I've had to leave a room and come back in to reset it because certain objects can only be used once. Or the times I've slightly misjudged a jump and fallen into a hole - and rather than respawn with some life removed, I've been sent into a basement and made to fight my way back through several rooms to reach where I started. The isometric viewpoint seems to intentionally mislead, often making it unclear if a platform is above you or behind you, below you or in front of you. Solutions to puzzles, particularly ones involving stacking barrels/blocks, often feel like the solution is a glitch. Traversal isn't pleasurable, and Alundra often gets 'stuck' on corners of walls and doors.

 

It's clearly lacking in the polish and refinement of even the worst of Nintendo's Zelda entries, but if I had to compare it to any of them, it most reminds me of the original NES game - quite hard, a little bit aimless, often frustrating and set in a world with an oppressive and forboding feel. It's a challenge, but it's increasingly becoming a tedious one.

 

The game throws dungeons at you like there's no tomorrow, but many of them look kinda samey and don't even progress your main quest to retrieve the seven McGuffins. As such, I feel like I've hardly scratched the surface. And yet, HLTB suggests I'm over half-way through. Or just really slow! :lol:

 

On 05/06/2019 at 15:23, Sprite Machine said:

God, it's like navigating an M.C. Escher drawing sometimes.

Really struggling to finish this.

 

On 14/06/2019 at 15:47, Sprite Machine said:

Nearly at the end now. It's testing my patience at times but occasionally it's very good. I've just cleared a 'mirror' dream dungeon that was quite clever and inventive.

 

But earlier, a puzzle involving sliding icy columns around a room utterly stumped me (you know the ones where you push the blocks and they slide until something stops them and you have to position them into the middle somewhere using other blocks). I'm normally good at these sorts of puzzles, as they crop up in loads of games of this type, but this was something else! You have to slide six columns into such a position that you can cross them like a bridge. Only because of the game's rather woolly collision detection, it's not actually clear where the columns need to be moved to so that you can actually make the jump from one to the next, never mind working out how to get them there. And if you make a mistake (including the heinous mistake of not being perfectly aligned in a gap and accidentally pushing one of the columns you intended to walk past), you have to leave and re-enter to reset the room, because of course you do.

 

It's a shame but I had to look up how to do it. Genuinely the hardest "slidey block" puzzle I've ever encountered and harder than any other puzzles the game has thrown at me so far.

 

And then after that, when I'm supposed to make my way into the volcano dungeon, one of the jets of water that raises a series of platforms to the entrance... didn't engage. For no apparent reason, it just didn't trigger. So I went back and forth to try to find some other way in or some other event to trigger. Eventually it randomly worked, again for no apparent reason.

 

This fucking game, man. :angry:

 

Oh, also, I seem to have picked up the best sword in the game accidentally and probably much earlier than I was supposed to, because I can one-hit-kill anything, three-hit-kill most bosses, and I've received at least two additional swords since finding this one that have failed to replace it, presumably because they're not as good.

 

Oh, also:

  Reveal hidden contents

The main village burns down, including the only shop, just after and before a really hard boss. So that's nice.

 

 

Well, that's Alundra finished. (That final dungeon and bosses, yeeesh!!! :o)

It took me over 40 hours all together, and I still probably missed loads of things. Eg. those warp gates scattered around the map - I never activated any of them. I still had a broken armour in my inventory that I never got 'fixed'. And I only upgraded two of my magic scrolls to books (I assume they can all be upgraded) and I only had three magic vessels, which feels a bit stingey, or perhaps the game just has some underdeveloped elements.

 

Still, all in all, it's not a bad game, and I appreciate the darker tone of the story, but it is a very frustrating game with some questionable or flawed design decisions. As I said, it's like a Zelda game that somebody sucked most of the fun out of. Somebody with less patience than I have probably would have given up, but I ploughed on through and extracted as much enjoyment from it as I could. Wouldn't recommend, unfortunately.

 

Nice anime ending video and the music is pretty good throughout.

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Well into Goemons Great Adventure (US N64 NTSC)

 

i paid a fair bit for it, with a manual. i'm loving it now...after an original blip with my mem pak.

 

For the everdrive guys - Give this one a go, if you haven't already. Its really fun, and challenging!

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