Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity
CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(4/29/06 6:16 pm)
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Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Yes, that should be the actual correct number. I want to archive the old one, so I'm starting another.

Now, listen up, all. That old topic has been up since the 8th and hasn't even made 130 posts yet. I'm very disappointed in all of you. I have a huge stack of applications on my desk and if things don't turn around within the next topic, some of you may be looking for work elsewhere.

...

So, that return to sanity was short lived. Anyway, I've been playing some Gametap lately. It's much improved these days, and cheaper. They've added some nice titles with some interesting ones on the way.

I'm going to try to play some Oblivion tonight as I haven't done much with it in a while.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(4/30/06 12:13 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I beat Manhunt. Took me a shade over 20 hours. (But that includes a lot of replaying earler stages.)

A couple of the last stages were hard as hell. Stage 18 took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to beat (time dying included). I dunno how much of that had to do with me missing the 3rd save point and starting back at the second every time I died, but once I FOUND the stupid save point I went on to beat the stage. Figures.

What sucks is a LOT of deaths on that stage had to do with stupid auto aim problems. There were times when the thing just WOULDN'T lock on to anything as I got filled with lead. This usually happened when there was an obstacle nearby, or when hunters were coming down stairs. Also, if you're pressed up against the wall you can't aim or fire, even if an enemy flanks you and walks up to your face. There were times when an enemy would walk around my cover and be shooting me in the face while I, trying frantically to shoot him, tapped the wall with my gun repeatedly.

I guess overall it's an OK game, as it probably could have just relied on the gruesome stealth kills to get by. But it actually has a decent challenge (more often legitimate than artificial or due to bad controll) and has some solid gameplay. If you can find this in the used bargain bin for 10 bucks, get it.




TaroSH
I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost
(5/1/06 4:19 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Beat my Dawn of Sorrow Harvesting replay.

Overall I think Aria is the better game.

As Seabu once said, the Magic Seal thing basically amounts to "Oh shit, where's the stylus!" followed by either "Woo, just in the nick of time" or "Dammit, I didn't get the seal drawn in time because I was looking for the stupid stylus!"

One thing I'd say DoS has over AoS is that the first four bosses aren't just common enemies from later in the game. But after those bosses are done with, I do think AoS's bosses become better than DoS's (AoS Balore >>>>>> DoS Balore).

I also like AoS's atmosphere better. The DoS review at Castelvania Dungeon is basically "Oh, the final area is so awesome!" I actually like the Chaotic Realm a lot better than the Abyss.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/1/06 5:36 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I played Oblivion for a pretty long time yesterday, and had more fun than usual. The Dark Brotherhood guild of assassins is a lot of fun to play through, reminding me in some ways of the feel of the Sith Academy in KOTOR. They basically tell you who you're supposed to kill, and you get a special reward item if you follow all the special conditions. For example, killing a prisoner in the imperial jail without killing any guards in the process.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/1/06 11:51 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I finally advanced the main storyline a little bit in Oblivion. Trying to track down the cult that killed the emperor in order to get back an important amulet. I did another Dark Brotherhood mission tonight, too. I think I'm almost at 20 hours now.




ShadOtterdan
Cameo senses tingling!
(5/2/06 12:00 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Hey Taro, just so you know, the timer for the seal doesn't start until you start drawing, also you can be pretty sloppy with the drawing so long as you get somewhere near the appropriate part.

I got Sword of Mana because it was cheap, it doesn't seem as bad as everyone else was making it out to be, the challenge is pretty okay for a recent game, although if you actually sit and level for an hour it's too easy to become overleveled.

I got Breath of Fire 2&3, I'm up to Corsair in 2, and Momo's tower in 3, nothing much to say except that acquiring enemy skills in 3 is even worse than acquiring blue magic in any FF.




TaroSH
I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost
(5/2/06 1:29 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Y'know, Meteos isn't that bad once you get used to it.

Except it's one of those games where the longer you play it, the worse you do. After an hour of play I was finding myself constantly grabbing the wrong pieces.

And the final stage is irritating. Not because it's hard, but the movement of the pieces (they're dancing aliens) is incredibly distracting.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/3/06 4:06 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I played about four hours of Oblivion tonight. After a nice nap.

Had a blast playing, and there was a bit of a twist in the Dark Brotherhood questline.




KazuoSH
The Burninator
(5/3/06 6:11 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Okay, Meteos is starting to get really bland, just as I thought it would. Yet every time I close my eyes I can see those blocks falling, and I've imagined moving the tiles on the bathroom floor into lines and firing them into the sky.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/3/06 7:23 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

It took some hours of play to make up my mind, but I've decided that Oblivion is an excellent game, possibly even better than Morrowind. While the simplification of things can be annoying, it's got so much going for it. The nonlinear gameplay, absolutely insane number of quests, more entertaining battles, and great graphics. But a key way that it's improved over Morrowind is that the world feels much more alive. Everyone talks, for one thing, and even if a ton of people share the same voice, it's much less odd than the way conversations were in Morrowind.

In that game, you'd talk to somebody, and a gigantic list of things you could ask them about would come up, then they'd respond when you clicked on each one. It just felt like talking to robots sometimes, while Oblivions dialogue reminds me a little more of KOTOR.

So, progress. I'm a Dark Brotherhood Silencer, and I expect to advance again soon. I think I've made it further in this group than any other in the game so far. My character has turned out to be an assassin and a theif with a bit of world saving on the side!

I did make a ton of progress in the Thieves' Guild today, too. The only annoying thing about this group is that you have to do a lot of independent stealing inbetween missions to prove that you're capable.

While I started out intending to play a warrior, I've been leaning more and more towards stealth lately. It's just so thrilling to break in, steal a ton of valuables, and get out undetected, or to attack your target without them even knowing you're there. I was working on the main quest a little, and I have to infiltrate some cult, but I decided to put it off in favor of guild quests for a while.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/4/06 8:22 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I understand why, but I've never seen the board this slow in recent memory.

I had a day off yesterday and rather than sit around feeling sad then deciding to do something at the last minute, I decided to play Oblivion right when I got up. I played, and I played, and I played. I think I must've spent at least 7 hours on it, and I know I'm close to 30 total. I finished the Dark Brotherhood quests. They got a little less fun near the end, but there was another interesting twist, and then it got quite creepy for a while. I can continue earning about 200 gold per game week for virtually no effort now that I'm so important there.

And in the Thieves' Guild, I advanced enough to finally meet the Grey Fox, the mysterious guild leader. I really have to get back on the Mage's and Fighter's Guilds, though. I've neglected them for a long time.




SolidChocobo
Sister Midnight
(5/4/06 8:54 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I've been downloading a shitload of SNES roms for a friend who I guess can't download them himself. As such I've been trying out a lot of new games.

Most notable was a late era (1997) Super Famicom game called Ganpuru: Gunman's Proof. Thematically it was kind of like Earthbound set in the old west, and it played like a cross between Zelda III and an overhead run & gun shooter. Nothing great, but it was a decent little game all things considered.

I also made a decent amount of progress into this action RPG called Brain Lord before I got sick of it. My first impressions of it were positive, but as I went on I found the dungeons to be far too long winded.

For some stupid reason I've also gotten quite addicted to the SNES version of Sim City 2000. I don't like the original game, and I'm playing what is quite possibly it's worst version on a machine that I could play the real thing on. As I type this, I can hear the few shreds of logic I have left in my head screaming to escape.




KazuoSH
The Burninator
(5/4/06 11:14 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Don't worry, Hobbes. I feel the same way about Meteos.

I did some work on Kirby Canvas Curse. Damn, in less than an hour I cleared out two worlds of about eight, and didn't really enjoy doing it.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/5/06 12:20 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: I also made a decent amount of progress into this action RPG called Brain Lord before I got sick of it. My first impressions of it were positive, but as I went on I found the dungeons to be far too long winded.

I had the same exact experience with that game. It had some good music, but that's about the most positive impression it left on me.

I haven't been playing anything lately because even though I have access to a Game Boy DS, Advance, and Color, I just haven't been in the right frame of mind for playing games. When we get everything settled in our new place, my first order of business will be to test every game system that got a soaking and find out which ones will need to be replaced. I'm already convinced my PS2 will need to be replaced, but that should be easy to do. It's the Sega CDX (and for Crawl, the TurboDuo) that's going to be a real bummer if I can't get it to work.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/5/06 12:59 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I did the next Thieves' Guild mission and the Grey Fox promoted me again. I'll have to do some more "independant thievery" before he'll contact me with more work, so I decided to go back to the Mage's Guild.

Finished a mission with them, and had to fight some ghosts in the process. They drop ectoplasm, and it so happens that I needed some for a Fighter's Guild quest. I've needed it forever, but never felt like searching for it. So after getting another Mage's Guild promotion, I was able to finish a mission with the Fighters, and get a promotion there as well.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/5/06 1:07 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I replayed Castlevania, the GBA version, on FO's DS. I tried CB007's method of holding and pressing the buttons, and I got used to it easier than I thought I would. It might even be easier on the hands in the long run, since it doesn't require as much joint movement. But for now, I still prefer the other method.


Oh, and every now and then I finish off another minigame in Wario Ware.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/6/06 12:15 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Gametap has the arcade shooter Blazing Star available, and I've been having fun with that. I find the graphics to be extremely nice, and I was able to play up to the boss of the second level without a game over, so as a novice, it's more accessible for me. Based on reviews though, I assume it gets pretty tough later on. I played as the wave ship, but there's quite a few to choose from.

The voice-over stuff is pretty funny after a while. As another reviewer said, an average 30 seconds of gameplay sounds kind of like this:

GET RED-EE!!!! BONAS, BONAS, BONAS, BONAS, BONAS, POWA-UP!!!! YE-AAAAAHHH!!!




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/6/06 11:56 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Haha, I was cleaning out a cabinet in my room and found I had not one, but TWO original Game Boys! One of them's missing the plastic part that protects the LCD and looks like somebody tried to color it with a red marker, but it wore off. I'm gonna try playing Super Mario Land in its original form!




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/7/06 12:07 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: I'm gonna try playing Super Mario Land in its original form!


Extreme blur predicted!




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/7/06 11:41 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Haven't had much time to play, but still having a lot of fun with Blazing Star. High score is 692,280. Not much else to report.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/7/06 4:14 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I bought Turok 2 for the N64, and I've played a bit of it. Man, the control in this game SUCKS. There are two control options: an MDK-style setup that uses the C-buttons to move, and a Goldeneye-style setup. I tried using the Goldeneye setup first, but the C-buttons suck for aiming. I couldn't even hit a goddam stationary barrel! My reticle would be at the bottom of the barrel, I'd tap the bottom C button to raise it, and it would move over the top of the barrel! No matter what I did it would aim under or over the barrel. I had to walk right up to it. What a pile of shit.

So then I switched to the MDK-style control, and it's still pretty bad. In MDK, the controls were precise enough to walk on narrow beams. Here, even on big fat platforms I'm worried about falling. It's already happened once. And you have limited lives, too. Who ever heard of an FPS that gives you limited lives? (And if you do know of one, shut up, because it's a fucking stupid setup.)

If I can't get tighter control by messing with some settings, this is going back in the box.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/7/06 8:25 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

My dreams of spending the night with Super Mario Land in its classic glory have been shattered, for there are no AA's in the house. I'll have to painfully wait until tomorrow to run out and get some.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/8/06 8:39 am)
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....

Well, I finished off Wario Ware. The last 4 games were (of Orbulon's) find the microscopic organism, pour the boiling water, (of Wario's) paper-rock-and-scissors, and punch Wario's fist through some shingles. Maybe I'll post more about this stuff later.

That unlocked Pyoro 2. It's nothing but an easier version of Pyoro. For P2, I beat the highscore by a substantial margin on my first try.

Pyoro 1, on the other hand, while it didn't seem very interesting to me to begin with, had one compelling factor: It wasn't all that easy to beat the default highscore. So, I had to stick with it for at least a little while. I ended up beating that last night, too.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/8/06 8:51 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: My dreams of spending the night with Super Mario Land in its classic glory have been shattered,


Spending the night? You mean, spending 20 minutes with? It's not a very long game.

Quote: And you have limited lives, too. Who ever heard of an FPS that gives you limited lives?


I'm not even sure what you mean by this. Goldeneye only gives you one life. MDK2, too. Unless you mean that you only have a limited number of lives to beat the entire game.

In that case, it's hard to think of ANY game (FPS or not) that saves your game, yet gives you a limited number of lives. Castlevania: Bloodlines is the only example I can think of off the top of my head.

(And perhaps Shapeshifter, too, but I haven't played that game as much, so I'm not 100% sure)




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/8/06 10:00 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: I'm not even sure what you mean by this. Goldeneye only gives you one life. MDK2, too.


Imagine trying to finish MDK 2 without save checkpoints in the levels. Turok 2 DOES have save points, but they're ridiculously far apart. I'm two hours into the game and I've seen one save point. When you die, you go back to the last warp portal you went through. Losing your last life could set you back an hour or more.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/9/06 10:02 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I got my first two Gamefly games in the mail today. I started playing Burnout Revenge and I love it. Based on my somewhat vague memories of the previous Burnout game, I think this one is better. The sense of speed is incredible, and there are lots of different modes. Traditional races (if trying to destroy your opponents' cars and driving on the wrong side of the road and doing crazy stunts to fill your speed boost meter is considered traditional), events where you aren't facing other racers, but have to destroy enough vehicles in a certain time limit, regular time trials, crash mode events, and each one ranked so that you can try and get a better result and unlock more stuff.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/9/06 10:18 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: In that case, it's hard to think of ANY game (FPS or not) that saves your game, yet gives you a limited number of lives. Castlevania: Bloodlines is the only example I can think of off the top of my head.

Rayman.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/9/06 10:25 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Mario Kart DS - Got some 2 and 3 star mission completions, plus a star in a 150cc mirror.

Nintendogs - ...I kinda neglected my puppies. They're okay, but I had to give them some TLC and baths after so long.

Trauma Center: UTK - I redid some surgeries. I think I got a surgery up to an S ranking.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/10/06 12:00 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I Game Overed Super Mario Land. I fail.

Though to my credit, I burned a lot of lives because I forgot Mario falls like a rock in this game.

And why does everything explode when you kill it? I love how you hit the switch for the bridge the Sphinx is standing on, but instead of the traditional Bowser-fall-into-lava thing... it explodes.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/10/06 10:12 am)
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Re: ...

I reached for a game last night, and just happened to grab Aria of Sorrow. I already had played an hour and a half on that file (and had about 1/3 of the map uncovered, but there may be more than one map (incidentally, even by that point, the map was peppered with save spots)), which I didn't remember AT ALL.

Anyway, the first thing I did after starting again was walking into a room to the right and killing a "headhunter" boss. It started out looking like a lady on a couch, but there were many heads in jars on the back wall. After she takes so much damage, her head is destroyed, and it grabs another one from the wall, and changes form. This happens several times.

I also later beat a grim reaper boss. I played about a half hour, and am now just shy of 50% of the map. I might stick with this game, for the heck of it.



I said that I didn't remember much from my previous experience with the game. What I saw last night wasn't very memorable either. What's the problem?

Thinking back to Symphony of the Night, that game made a good first impression on me.

First, there was the story. Obviously (OBVIOUSLY), it's not good in the sense that great literature is. But it does tie together a lot of Castlevania games, in a way that's a treat for fans of the series. And it manages to shoehorn another game into the series' plotline in a way that doesn't contradict anything else, or that's ridiculous, so it can be accepted as canon without any reservation (unlike, say, Lament of Innocence, which is both ridiculous and contradictory).

Second, it's got a great soundtrack. Within just about your first ten minutes, you'll already have heard 5 pieces of music, all but one original, and all are attention grabbers. And it maintains a high level of quality throughout the whole game.



Well, Aria of Sorrow's story isn't very interesting. The whole "castle in the eclipse" thing seems like a desperate reach for coming up with a new story. Characters talk without really talking ABOUT anything (probably because they're trying to conceal information for the benefit of a plot twist).

...and I happen to know the plot twist, that the character you're playing as IS Dracula. I have to say that sound incredibly stupid.

As for the game's music, nothing stands out.



As for the gameplay, I don't know. When you're in a game's "act 1", it often (but not always) is things (like story, music, or graphics) other than gameplay that grab your attention. Once a game's challenge or complexity starts to increase, then the gameplay can come into its own.

I suppose it is possible that Aria of Sorrow is just not original enough to make much of an impression. Or maybe I just have to give it more time. We'll see.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
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(5/10/06 4:31 pm)
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Re: ...

After Burnout Revenge, I tried a little bit of the King Kong game yesterday. It actually locked up on me once right at the beginning, but it was fine after that.

While really easy so far, it's kind of interesting. Some impressive graphics and it feels a little like being in a movie, I guess. I never actually watched more than a few minutes of the new King Kong, but the game doesn't seem to rely on you having already seen it. Actually, as I think about it, I think the game came out first.

It's an FPS at this point, but I hear that you play as Kong in 3rd person later on. I've also heard that the game's 1000 achievement points are easy to earn, just by playing through the storyline. I like points, and I'll happily take them, but I think some of the points in all 360 games should be reserved for special tasks, like beating a game on hard mode or doing something generally out of the ordinary.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/10/06 4:37 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: Well, Aria of Sorrow's story isn't very interesting. The whole "castle in the eclipse" thing seems like a desperate reach for coming up with a new story.

Actually, I think that was based on a Japanese myth. I don't think I ever actually talked to her, but Mina supposively tells you the story if you talk to her after beating the Headhunter.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/10/06 6:56 pm)
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Re: ...

I just beat Canvas Curse. Bleh.

The final boss's first phase kind of clobbered me the first time (I say "kind of" because after losing 3 or 4 HP (out of five) I finally figured out what I was supposed to do to her. Then I whooped her for a while, until I tried to draw a line and accidently tapped Kirby, propelling him into the boss), but I kicked her ass the second time. And I beat the second phase on my first try.

The best moment in this game is the level just before the final boss'. It's in three phases, one of which takes place in a maze lined with spikes, one of them requires you to hit two switches which are on opposite corners of this space-type area (dullest part of this stage), and the last one is a bunch of floating platforms lined with spikes and a wall closing in on your from behind, kind of like something you'd see in a shmup. Sure, nothing too intense and it would probably be towards the middle of a midly challenging game, but it was a decent stage. And then immediately after we hit the monotnonous final boss stage (just paint your way to the top, no real traps, and very few enemies) and super easy final boss. Yuck.

I'm not sure how long it took me over my play time (I initially played it a long time ago, set it away for a while, then picked it back up and tore through it. Something I quite frequently do with games), but this game could probably be beaten in a day.

And I think the graphic artists thought the arena for the final boss of Harmony of Dissonance looked cool. At least it's a pastel rainbow instead of neon red and neon green.

Games like this hurt me. I have to support the entire DS with one hand. I tried a few of the Rainbow Run stages, and what I actually ended up doing was lying on my back with my head propped up against the wall, putting the bottom of the DS on my chest, holding the top with my left hand, and doodling with the right.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/11/06 9:15 am)
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Re: ....

Believe it or not, I've already beaten Aria of Sorrw, in less than 6 hours. Well, I guess I got the "bad" ending. That still unlocked Julius mode. At this point, I'm inclined to say the game is rather mediocre.

Here's my full stats:

93.8% of the map, level 41, 41.2% of souls, and missing 11 out of 112 enemies altogether.

To concisely sum up the game:

It's just your average SotN/Super Metroid secretly-linear/nonlinear run through a maze and get an item that lets you explore more of the maze type game. Not much stands out. Whatever you might have thought made Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night special is missing here. The game is "fun" enough, in terms of control and such, and it's over so quickly it didn't become boring, but it is lacking in substance. These GBA games have been called "SotN rehashes" before, and for AoS, it's accurate. It's not ONLY that it's a maze based adventure game. A lot of the abilities (such as turning into a bat) that were needed in SotN are here. And newer adventuring abilities (such as walking under or on water) aren't that interesting. SotN added a lot of large, well animated, or interesting enemies to its roster, while AoS doesn't seem to have much I haven't seen before. And while SotN certainly had its share of settings that had been used by previous Castlevanias (such as the ubiquitous Clock Tower), it seems like it had a few fresher settings. Maybe the arena, for instance. I can't think of any AoS settings that seem new (it rehashed the arena, too, btw).

Also, its bosses are all very, very easy. Yeah, even for an adventure game. I beat all of them on my first try, save the final boss, which took me two tries. One boss has a "moment" that's supposed to be "cool" (a horde of bats forms a large bat that you think will be the boss, then a giant hand reaches out from the background and squeezes it to a pulp), but it has safe spots on both extremes of his arena. The final boss's second form also has safe spots, after you destroy part of it.

I died a few times in a few areas. For one, I just decided to backtrack a bit, but see if I could reach new paths off those areas. By the time I returned, I was strong enough that that area wasn't a problem anymore.

Another area (near the giant boss) had three optional sections, for three powerful items. The hardest for me was probably the area with the medusa heads, some more powerful enemies, conveyor belts, and spikes. It's easy to get hit by a medusa head, turned to stone, and then have the conveyor belt push your helpless ass onto the spikes. This was the one and only part of the game where I used a defensive "soul" strategically: For most of the game, I kept it set to the slow descent ability. There, I switched it to the circling fire shield. That kept most of the medusas away from me, which made the area much easier.

I strategically used magic all the time in Circle of the Moon, which was a much better game (that game also had more, and harder, bosses).

That optional area also had a game of "Simon Says", which was one of two things that qualified as a puzzle (I imagine getting the better ending will involve another puzzle, whose clues I believe I already have).

The other puzzle: This game has some parts where you ride boats over water (similar to SotN, minus the riverman). One part has a boat on dry land. So, your first thought might be, "I guess I have to flood this area somehow." Nope. Well, I still figured out what I had to do in minutes if not seconds.

I commented on the music before. It's not bad, but it's nowhere near SotN calibur. I guess it's nice that most if not all of the music seems original (CotM had almost entirely rehashes, but at least it went deeper into the Castlevania catalogue than just regurgitating Vampire Killer/Bloody Tears/Beginning for the umpteenth time ... though it did regurgitate those, too).


I guess I'll try on my own for a while to get the better ending.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/11/06 9:25 am)
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Re: ...

Quote: Actually, I think that was based on a Japanese myth. I don't think I ever actually talked to her, but Mina supposively tells you the story if you talk to her after beating the Headhunter.


Yeah, but so? What if they based it on American myth? Say they got rid of Castlevania by having Paul Bunyan use Babe the Blue Ox to plow it under the Grand Canyon. Then Pecos Bill comes along on a tornado and exposes it again.

Is it less ridiculous because its based on myth? I still say it's ridiculous. And Dracula is based on eastern European folklore. Japanese myth clashes with that.



Incidentally, this reminded me of something else. Aria of Sorrow takes place in this (the 21st) century. It seems like that should clash with the traditional Castlevania atmosphere. Actually, it seems to have no effect on the game at all, except that the main villain is dressed like a Panama retiree.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/11/06 11:27 am)
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Re: ...

I didn't mean it wasn't ridiculous (I thought it was a WTF myself), it just sounded like you thought somebody pulled the concept of an eclipse sealing evil out of nowhere.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/11/06 11:55 am)
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Re: ...

Well, I guess I meant both. But it still seems like there's some ass pulling going on, considering that it's not like it's a natural outgrowth of the Castlevania story, and two "myths" don't really fit.

It kind of reminds me of this:

http://www.jaypinkerton.com/blog/archives/001437.html

Quote: For Christís sake, Santa Claus shows up in this film to give throwing knives to a seven-year-old. After you see something like that, the Jolly Green Giant could have arm wrestled the Trix Rabbit for a bowl of cookies and itíd wash right over you.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/11/06 11:03 pm)
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Re: ...

I've worked on Burnout Revenge, reaching around 15% completion. I start obsessing over getting perfect rankings sometimes and don't end up making a lot of overall progress. I did get all perfects on the first batch of events, and got some achievement points for it. I'm not sure how much I'll end up doing with the game before I return it.

I've played some more King Kong, up to the part where you see Kong for the first time. It's not really the most interesting game right now, so I've put it aside until I'm done with Burnout.

I played some Oblivion tonight, finishing a Thieves' Guild quest, and reaching the rank of Master Thief. I'm starting to feel like the good stuff is coming to an end with the Dark Brotherhood complete and Thieves Guild mostly so. The Fighters' Guild seems kinda boring and predictable so far, same for the Arena, and I just can't get going on the main quest yet. Mages' Guild seems like it would be better, but I'm not a mage, so I can't really roleplay it right, and the quests themselves haven't been too exciting so far.

I have to get up early for work tomorrow, but I'd like to watch some of Empire of Dreams, the documentary that comes with the Star Wars Trilogy DVD's.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/12/06 1:15 am)
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Re: ...

Speaking of King Kong, that was the in-flight movie today. I didn't want to shell out 2 bucks for earphones, so I just watched it silent-movie style. Even without sound, it looked like Jack Black totally overacted in this movie.

Anyway, I finally beat the FIRST LEVEL of Turok 2 last night. It only took me 5 hours. The thing I was looking for was pretty well-hidden. I'm a little more used to the control (and I adjusted it a bit), but I still think it sucks. Trying to circle strafe amounts to a big clusterfuck.

I hear the labyrinths only get harder from here on in. Great. Gamespot said the game takes soemthing like 45 hours if you know where you're going. We'll see.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/12/06 9:55 am)
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Re: ...

Quote: Is it less ridiculous because its based on myth? I still say it's ridiculous. And Dracula is based on eastern European folklore. Japanese myth clashes with that.


In the next Castlevania game, Castlevania should appear on the back of a giant turtle. The ending is your character returning to his hometown after beating Dracula to find that hundreds of years have passed while he was away. So many have passed, in fact, that three other Castlevania games have already taken place. Brilliant!




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/12/06 10:00 am)
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....

I got the more complete ending to Aria of Sorrow (and I didn't use a faq). Even that was done in under 8 hours.

I only needed to get one extra soul. Well, I ended up getting two, because one clue was slightly ambiguous, but I reckoned it applied to a soul I already had, and I was correct.

It's still very much in the SotN-vein: You have to equip certain items during the "final" boss fight, which then opens up a remixed castle.

Having to use that particular soul made the Graham boss slightly harder. I prefered using the lightning doll soul, because that has long range, is fast, hits multiple times, is strong, etc. I still beat Graham on my first try with that set up (of course, I gained a bit of levels since our previous confrontation).

I said the next area is "remixed". It seems to use a lot of areas from the normal castle (though now in black and white), but they seem arraigned differently. It's not like SotN, where the new area is just as large as the original; it's much smaller. Old school game fans might be interested to know that this new area is not mapped for you. If you go to the map screen, you just get a solid black screen. Nevertheless, I got through it without much trouble.


I got another boss death against the final boss. So, there is another, truly "bad" ending that you get for game over-ing there. I was almost completely out of healing items by that point in the game. I was tempted to go all the way back to the very beginning of the game, which is where the only shop is, to restock. But then I thought, ah, heck, I'll give it one more try. And I won.

The true final boss also has two forms. The second has a target in the center of the screen, but it's well armored (it only took ~20 damage, whereas almost everything else was more like 200), and 4 targets in the corners. Also, a large skeleton snake (which seems invulnerable) is in the area. Anyway, on my first try, I went after the corner targets first. On my second try, I focused all my attention on the center one. That did the trick: Killing the center one beats the game.

IS Soma Dracula? I had assumed, based on spoilers, that he was Dracula reincarnated, like the Dhali Lama and the Buddah or something. But no, while the story is unclear, it seems that Soma has his own personality, and that Dracula would have taken over Soma's body. But on the other hand, Soma does collect the souls, etc. So, is he predisposed to becoming Dracula? As I said, the story isn't clear, and, frankly, I don't care much.


Anyway, getting the true ending unlocked more things: A hard mode, a new game plus style mode, a sound test, and a boss rush mode.

I copied my file to a new slot, and started a new game plus in hard mode.

I *might* try to earn more souls. However: a) Some bosses don't leave their souls. Am I screwed into the next game? b) It's as tedious as hell.

The working designs critic said he beat the game in 14 hours, with 100% of the souls. I can imagine that getting all of them would take an extra 6 hours. That, along with some of his other value judgements (his review of Kingdom Hearts, for instance) has led me to believe that he enjoys tedious gameplay.

Anyway, as I said before, when you kill an enemy, there's a chance you can get its soul. So, if you just play through the game as normal, you'll get a decent number just that way. But if you want to get EVERY soul, then you'll have to kill the same enemy over and over. What this amounts to is, find a room where the enemy is on the edge of that room. Kill it, leave the room, reenter so it respawns, and kill it again. Over and over. Some enemies will give you their soul after you do this just a few times. Others, however, get to be ridiculous. For some (the iron golem, the axe knight, the rock guard), I've gained 2 or 3 experience levels just while killing the same enemies over and over!

Anyway, I still think the game is mediocre. I imagine it *might* be difficult to beat some bosses on Julius Hard mode (since Julius can't heal). Maybe even boss rush. However, this continues the disturbing trend in modern games of having to play for hours before you're finally given something worthwhile.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/12/06 12:18 pm)
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Re: ....

Since there wasn't much to do besides watch TV while we stayed at Crawl's grandmother's place, I caught the ends of some movies, most of which I'd seen before, but some were new to me:

Austin Powers in Goldmember (New) - I was surprised. Even though I only saw the last half of it, this was actually funnier than the first two. There were more jokes and they were generally better. The "shadows being casted behind the curtain" schtick in this one was the best one.

Commando (New) - I don't know what the first half of this movie was like, but the entire last half hour was pretty much just Arnold being shot at by bad guys, they miss, and then he turns around and shoots them. It even had the "he's not in there any more" cliche - A part where Arnold goes inside a small hut and closes the door. Bad guys surround it. They shoot relentlessly at the hut from all sides for several moments. Then they open the door and *GASP* - He's not in there!! I swear every action movie has a scene like that.

Top Gun (New) - This is a T&A movie for gay men.

Rocky 5 (New) - This was undoubtedly the worst of the movies I saw. I didn't need to see the beginning of this to know it was complete crap. It basically ends with Rocky fighting his own student in a street brawl. It's being televised because a news crew just happens to be there, and I'm wondering the whole time when the cops are going to come to break it up. Well, they conveniently show up when the fight is over and they ONLY arrest the kid, not Rocky. Crawl said that Rocky was in the moral right, but the law wouldn't care about that. And even if you try to ignore that, he then goes over to the Don King caricature, while the cops are there, and punches him out (in such a way that the character flies up off the ground and lands on a the hood of a car) and the cops STILL don't arrest Rocky. Uh-huh. Sure. It also reminded me of Karate Kid 3 in the sense that Rocky is clearly taking on someone who is not as experienced as he is and therefore, it's not believable that he should be losing to him at first. I can't even imagine what the point of this movie could possibly be.

Finding Nemo (Old) - Unfortunately, I came in during the part with the turtles, which is the lowest point of the movie. But it gets better after that. At least I got to see that part where Dory speaks "whale" again.

Toy Story (Old) - This was at least the third time I saw this movie. I think it's still the best of Pixar's films (though I haven't seen Toy Story 2 or Bug's Life yet.)

Kindergarten Cop (Old) - I saw this years ago and remembered that I didn't like it. I wondered if it was something like Popeye where I'd appreciate it more as an adult. Actually, I think I liked it even less this time. There are some funny jokes during the parts where Arnold is teaching the class, but the entire third act of the movie is a complete train wreck.

The Godfather Part 2 (Old) - This was the best of the movies I saw, although they censored one part of it and I didn't get to the end of it because it was getting late.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/12/06 1:10 pm)
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Re: ....

Quote: Some bosses don't leave their souls. Am I screwed into the next game?

The first four bosses are just common enemies from later in the game, so they show up later. The only real boss that has a chance of not leaving its soul is Legion. To get its soul you have to knock all four pieces of the shell off before you destroy the core.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/12/06 2:54 pm)
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Re: ....

So Crawl...beat aria.
.....
Heh.
Hehehehehehe...




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/12/06 3:07 pm)
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Re: ....

I mucked through enough Canvas Curse to be able to buy the King Dedede and Metaknight balls. Mostly I wanted the Metaknight ball, but I had to buy Dedede first. I played the first stage with each of them, then decided I was too sick of this game to continue any more (I beat the game with the Waddle Dee ball because I thought you had to do that to open access to Dedede and Metaknight, which you didn't. My only prize for doing so was one fucking medal), and shelved it.

I'll let my thoughts settle before I give it a rating, but right now it's looking like a "lame".

And I just love the way you buy stuff in this game. If something costs 25 medals you have to tap the box on the screen 25 times. And you can't just rapid tap it. You have to wait a couple seconds for the coin to enter the slot and the box to shatter a little bit.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/12/06 4:21 pm)
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....

Quote: Am I screwed into the next game?

And of course, that was supposed to be, UNTIL the next game.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/12/06 5:53 pm)
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Re: ....

With Legion, yes.

With the other four, they can be found in other parts of the game.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/12/06 9:20 pm)
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Re: ....

I finished watching Empire of Dreams. It was fairly interesting, but the praise for Lucas went past the point of excessive after a while. The program spent a lot more time on the making of A New Hope than the other two movie, including some of the ideas from early drafts of the script. I've seen some of these online already, and they were pretty strange sometimes.

After it was over, I fell asleep for an hour or two, and now feel absolutely horrendous. I'm going to try to play something tonight, but I'm not sure what.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/12/06 11:51 pm)
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Re: ....

I played Oblivion tonight and actually accomplished a few things. I went back to the Arena, won a few matches, and got promoted two ranks. You can use your own weapons, spells, and items, but you're forced into a particular set of armor, for each battle.

After that, I decided to go back to the main quest again. The quest is to infiltrate a shrine to some evil guy. You can trade in all your equipment for some robes, and try to pretend to be one of them. The problem is actually escaping, and trying to get your stuff back. I couldn't find a reasonable way to do it, so I've been putting off the quest forever. But now that I'm a little stronger, I thought to myself... forget the infiltration aspect, let's just go in there and destroy them with brute force. I had to reload a couple of times because I got in over my head, but I eventually fought and defeated every person in there, and got the item I needed.

I've been playing for about 34 hours. My 360 gamerscore is now 1520.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/13/06 12:57 am)
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Re: ....

Haha, Phoenix Wright has a Zero Wing reference.

In the third chapter, somebody says the Steel Samurai's motto is "For great justice".




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/13/06 8:05 am)
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Re: ....

I played the GBA Kingdom Hearts game for awhile last night...

The story of this game is a complete mess. First of all, I think you really need to have played the PS1 game in order to understand anything that's going on. The story is pretty much just all the characters asking each other if they remember stuff from their last adventure. Only Sora remembers everything. The others only remember certain things. After I passed Final Fantasy 7 & 8 Land, I went to Aladdin Land. But the weird thing is that it's like you end up in the middle of the Aladdin movie's story. He still has the Genie. He hasn't yet made any wishes. He still hasn't been to the palace to meet the Princess there. It's just bizarre.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/13/06 4:10 pm)
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Re: ....

So, I just finished the first trial of the fourth Phoenix Wright case. Does have a "Final boss" feel to it, what with the new prosecutor who bosses the judge around and Objects to everything.

It is nice to have a DS game I don't have to hurt my shoulder with supporting the DS in one hand and doing stuff on the screen with the other.

After I finish this game I'm shelving my DS for a while.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/14/06 12:51 am)
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Re: ....

So, I beat the main game of Phoenix Wright. And despite it being a bunch of logic instead of action I still felt about 100x better when I beat the final boss here than I did in Canvas Curse. Now I've got the bonus chapter that uses the DS's features. I will play it, but I have a feeling it's going to be one of those things that might as well have been left out of the game.

This probably is the best DS game I've played yet. I liked Castlevania but it was kind of stale (though keep in mind I didn't do much with Julius mode), Canvas Curse and Meteos were both crap, and while Wario Ware Touched had its moments and it wasn't as dog-blowing awful as Twisted, it was still pretty lame.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/14/06 7:41 am)
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Re: ....

I don't think I'm going to stick with Kingdom Hearts: COM right now. I'll probably have to play the PS1 game first so I at least have an idea of WTF everyone's talking about in the story. (And why is Squall called "Leon"? Why not just call him Squall, especially since it says that's his real name in the character gallery?) The battle system didn't really thrill me too much either. It's basically a lot of button-mashing. They included stuff like the ability to combine cards for different attacks, but I have no idea how you're supposed to have time to stop, pick the cards you want, and combine them while you're constantly getting the snot beat out of you. You also have to make sure that the card you're using is of a higher number than the card the enemy has selected, otherwise your attack is deflected. But again, it's difficult to cycle through your cards while the enemies are ganging up on you.

The music isn't anywhere near as good as the majority of Yoko Shimomura's other soundtracks.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/14/06 10:51 am)
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Re: ....

I'm about 20% through Julius mode in Aria of Sorrow.

I've heard people before say that Richter mode in SotN was (or at least felt) pointless, because you have a huge castle to explore, but you don't gain anything by doing so. I didn't feel that was correct. I never did anything to prove it, but it sure did seem like some parts were easier after exploring some of the castle.


It seems that way in AoS, too. In SotN, since I only had a nebulous idea what could have caused Richter to be stronger: It could have been a "buried" experience system, where killing enemies made you stronger, even though it wasn't shown. Or it could have related to the percentage of map explored. Or it could have been that Richter became stronger after beating a boss, or grabbing a life up item.

In AoS, I *think* it's a matter of beating bosses, and I've *almost* proved it. I remembered I did about 50 damage to an axe knight per hit at some phase of the game. Then I beat the manticore "boss", and went back to the axe knight, and I then did about 75 damage to it per hit.

So, I guess that's some motivation to actually explore the castle, rather than just run straight to the boss.


Does anyone else have any information on this?

I don't think I've ever heard this reported or discussed anywhere. As I said, I've only heard the opposite, that Richter doesn't become stronger.

I can see why people would think that, because neither Richter nor Julius have visible stats. Not only that, but Julius's max hit points ARE visible, as a number (I think Richter only had a bar), and they DO stay fixed at 800. But that doesn't mean either his defense or strength can't increase.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/14/06 11:28 am)
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Re: ....

I meant to say "PS2" up there, not PS1.

Before I played Kingdom Hearts, I tried playing Gradius Galaxies again. I probably still wasn't in the right frame of mind for playing games just yet, but I still couldn't stay interested in that game. It looks nice, but the music is terrible and the level design seemed dull to me. I'm also not a huge fan of that Gradius-style control scheme where you need a speed-up just to be able to move.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/14/06 1:06 pm)
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Re: ....

I don't think Gradius Galaxies is all that good, anyway.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/14/06 1:30 pm)
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Re: ....

Hmmm...I've been playing Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (AMA BoF 5). What a weird game. It definitely qualifies as a combat centered dungeon crawler. There haven't been any puzzles at all, and the dungeons are 90% linear (meaning very few branching paths, and when there are, they either lead to the same place or are just a couple screens long and end are item collection centers.

I do like it, though. This game's game over is probably more threatening than any other RPG 's I've played. If you die, you:

-Lose all your levels (i.e., lose all of your experience)
-Lose all your non-stored items, armor, weapons.
Lose half of your party experience. (Depending on how well you do in battle, you get amounts of "party experience" after the battle's done. This experience can either be stored or applied to any character at any time. So it's just like a pool of extra experience.)
-Lose half your money.

You DO keep your equipped weapons and skills, though.

You can either choose to go back to the beginning of the game or the last save point (I think...this whole system is sort of complicated and has many variables.) I've died and restarted once, which allowed me to start from the beginning at level 5 (using my leftover party exp) instead of 1. You can also "suicide" or sorts, wich allows you to keep ALL your party experience and money, so there must be times in the game where it's valuable to do that. So you can die on your own tems after sotring all your items, weapons, etc., and the penalty isn't as stiff.

The field screen's sort of like Chrono Trigger, where you can see your enemies on the screen. You can try to draw them out one by one or fight them as a group, bait them, trap them, etc. The battle system is like that of Xenogears, what with light, medium, heavy attacks that use AP points. You have to move around, get in range, etc.

You really want to avoid dying at all costs, and even the regular enemies must be taken seriously. The game does give you an ability that makes you 99% invincible, and able to waste anything in the game with one attack, but it's very limited. You have this counter that slowly increases throughout the game, and using that ability makes that counter rise rapidly. There's no way to reduce the counter. If the counter hits 100%, it's game over.

I've had to use that ability once so far, in a series of boss battles. I got through the first two OK, but the last one killed a member (who had close to full health) in one attack, and I was out of resurrection items, so I went dragon on it.

Overall, I wouldn't call the game "Hard" so far, but I'm barely halfway through it, and the enemies are requiring more and more attention/strategy.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/14/06 5:57 pm)
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Re: ....

The GBA Kingdom Hearts game is total garbage. You shouldn't waste anymore time with it, really.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/14/06 6:15 pm)
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Re: ....

I'm about 1:20 into Julius mode, and have explored 2/3 of the map.

My favorite song in this game is probably the remix of Heart of Fire (which I believe isn't in the Soma mode). Second favorite might be the garden theme.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/14/06 7:30 pm)
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Re: ....

Heart of Fire is in Soma mode. It plays when...you know...you fight J.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/14/06 7:53 pm)
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Re: ....

I guess that explains why I may have forgotten about it, if it only plays in that one spot.

Anyway, I beat Julius mode. It wasn't much.




Camira Breen
The Baroness
(5/15/06 12:10 pm)
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Re: ....

I never finished that replay of Ocarina of Time. I just got tired about 3/4 of the way through. I don't think I'll be starting Majora's Mask anytime soon. I really don't know what I want to play at this point if anything. I've been taking a long break from games. Seems like the other people I know haven't been too into playing games lately either.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/15/06 12:52 pm)
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Re: ....

I think I'm at least halfway through the bonus trial in Phoenix Wright. It's intriguing, but it really has no business in the game. It feels like somebody tacked on a chapter from a later game, and so far the uses of the touch screen are nothing that couldn't be done with a control pad (If you wanted to turn those dials, you could just hold a button and press the control pad. And spraying the blood-test could be done just like the Examine option). Really, somebody should've left this game on the GBA and this chapter out of it.

Up until this point I honestly couldn't name a character I really hated, except von Karma who you were supposed to hate. But here, the girl who's following you around all the time bugs me, and there's the Chief of Police (whose name is Gant or something, but I was expecting something like Sanderz because of how much he reminds me of a certain fast food icon, which even I don't understand why I thought that because the two don't anything alike) who, at least three times, has been asked a question and just stood there smiling for ten seconds before answering.

I'll still continue for completion and maybe beating it will unlock something.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/15/06 8:44 pm)
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Re: ....

I'm up to the part where you meet Gumshoe after Gant takes you out of his room. I did some fingerprint testing. It was lame. Tap the screen, then blow into the mic. Yeehaw.

Know what's funny? The best use of the DS's capabilities has been the polygon movie in the security tape, which actually was quite well done.

I still stand by my original statement of this chapter having no business being in this game. I'd swear it was the first chapter from the next game, except it's too long and difficult to be introductory.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/15/06 8:49 pm)
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Re: ....

This isn't much of a comment, but I mentioned it to FO, so I can mention it here:

There's an enemy in Aria of Sorrow named Curly. It's one of those 4 armed creatures. I had no idea what kind of messed up Three Stoogies reference that was supposed to be.

Then I remembered that there was an enemy in the much older Magic of Scheherazade called Curly, which was the same type of enemy, which FO had told me was supposed to be "Kali".

It's funny that the exact same mistranslation was made (at least!) twice, in games seperated by such a great deal of time, and that the mistranslation is so goofy.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/15/06 10:34 pm)
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I've reread Eyes of the Dragon.

For myself, this would have fit in perfectly with how I thought of stories when I was a child, that the villains were interesting but I didn't care for the heroes.

There are several times when the storyteller says regarding younger, less attractive prince (Thomas), who later recieves the kingship that is rightfully his older brother's (Peter's), that you (the reader) might hate him, but he (the story teller) doesn't think he (Thomas) was a bad boy.

Well, no, I didn't really hate him at all. To the contrary, I didn't much like Peter, who basically is Simba from The Lion King (a movie I disliked). I can think of few things more irritating than a character who feels he is entitled to rule over others.

This reminds me of how, in older times, stories about normal people weren't considered to be worth telling. Stories had to be about royalty to be worthwhile. Think about that when it's suggested that literature is more art than videogames; much literature was deliberately not representative of normal people or normal life.


But, anyway, the character that really makes the book worth reading isn't Peter or Thomas, but Flagg. The story teller treats him with mock disgust, and even concludes one chapter about the character by saying "good riddance." Uh, but if he wasn't in the story, then there wouldn't really be a story at all, right? And if he's such a distasteful character, why has Stephen King reintroduced him into at least three unrelated stories?

And just about all of the interesting fantasy mythology (except perhaps of the dragon itself) directly pertains to Flagg.

Quote: This green sand was one of the deadliest poisons in all the worlds, so deadly that even Flagg was afraid of it. It came from the desert of Grenh. This huge poisoned waste lay even beyond Garlan, and was a land unknown in Delain. Grenh could be approached only on a day when the wind was blowing the other way, because a single breath of the fumes which came from the desert would cause death.

Not instant death. That was not the way the poison worked. For a day or two -- perhaps even three -- the person who breathed the poison fumes (or even worse, swallowed the grains of sand) would feel fine -- perhaps better than ever before in his life. Then, suddenly, his lungs would grow red-hot, his skin would begin to smoke, and his body would shrivel like the body of a mummy. Then he would drop dead, often with his hair on fire. Someone who breathed or swallowed this deadly stuff would burn from the inside out.

This was Dragon Sand, and there was no antidote, no cure.



Quote: He sat down, turned over his hourglass, and began to read from a huge book of spells. Flagg had been reading from this book -- which was bound in human skin -- for a thousand years and had gotten through only a quarter of it. To read too long of this book, written on the high, distance Plains of Leng by a madman named Alhazred, was to risk madness.


Quote: Shape changing and invisibility, however, are impossible... or so close to it that you might as well use the word.

...

In truth, Flagg had never seen either trick done. He had once known a great Anduan magician who believed he had mastered the trick of changing his shape, but after six months of meditation and nearly a week of incantations in a series of agonizing body postures, he uttered the last awesome spell and suceeded only in making his nose nearly nine feet long and driving himself insane. And there had been fingernails growing out of his nose. Flagg remembered with a grim little smile. Great magician or not, the man had been a fool.





Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/16/06 12:38 am)
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Re: ....

Quote: This reminds me of how, in older times, stories about normal people weren't considered to be worth telling. Stories had to be about royalty to be worthwhile. Think about that when it's suggested that literature is more art than videogames; much literature was deliberately not representative of normal people or normal life.


I might be getting a little carried away here. There's a centuries old play (I think it's older than Shakespeare) called Everyman, which of course isn't about royalty, and I even thought it was touching. I only read it once, though, and have wondered if I'd still find it touching, or if I was just in an emotionally susceptible mood.

I have found a line on the internet about the play, "a fair amount of grief that (paradoxically) usually produces laughter from audiences." Boy, regardless of the last sentences in my previous paragraph, I'm glad I read the play rather than saw it performed.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/16/06 2:33 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Man...I just opted to use the Give Up option on BoF V, and took the "restart" choice. It wasn't the easiest decision to make, since I was 21 hours into the game. (The timer continues on from the give up time.) Looking at a world map, I saw I was about 79% into the game. I chose to restart because:

-I was out of save tokens and the last save was an hour away.
-Enemies were getting really tough.

Restarting an RPG after you're 4/5 of the way through sounds weird, but since that's the way the game is designed, I'm thinking how I can use it to my advantage. I'm starting with about 30,000 gold and experience, which should net me a few level gains. I also stored my strong weapons and equipment (shoot, I should have equipped some of it before I restarted. Oh well).

That and the fact that I'm now familiar with how the game works might speed things along a little. I guess if I end up with 50 or 60 hours on the clock that's par for an RPG.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/16/06 8:07 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

From what I played of BoF5 (not a whole lot), I don't think I even really understood how the game was supposed to work. You kept some experience when you restarted, but not much, and you only keep experience that you had hoarded, that wasn't "working for you".

You mentioned restarting should "net a few level gains", but I didn't see how a few level gains would make much of a difference. If you could keep half your levels, maybe.

When I first heard about the game, and its restarting mechanic, I had assumed it'd be like a normal RPG in that you could level build your way past anything; in this case, though, you'd level build by restarting the whole game. But of course it's not like that. Maybe BoF5 actually is a challenging RPG.

Well, I guess I'd know by playing more myself.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/16/06 12:01 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Heck, I've played for 21 hours and I still feel I don't fully understand how the game's supposed to work.

I think I'm missing out on 2 things:

-How to fully use the SOL (restart) system to your advantage. There must be a way to boost levels quite a bit using it, or else it'd basically be useless. At the beginning of the game now, I probably have enough experience to boost everyone 5 levels. But let's say I do that and then I have to restart again. Those levels diappear and I'm left with approximately the same amount of hoarded experience! I'm pretty sure this problem is related to abusing the Dragon system, but I'm not sure exactly where or how to go about doing it.

-How to deal massive damage. There are enemies near the end that have these shields that absorb a certain amount of damage before allowing your attacks to get through, and they recharge EVERY ROUND. So let's say there's a boss with 2000 HP, and you have the capacity to deal 300 damage per rpund. That's about 7 rounds, which in BoF 5, is long. But if he has a 200 point shield, you're only hitting him for 100 points per round, stratching the fight out to three times that. I think this has to do with the combo system, which I'm still figuring out as well.

Hmmm...




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/16/06 3:45 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Finished the 5th Chapter of Phoenix Wright. Nothing from it but a headache. You don't even unlock artwork for it at the the "New Game" screen.

This chapter was mostly just long. I also got a Game Over when I made a wrong choice.

The game really should have ended at chapter 4 and gone out on a high note instead of an exhaustive one.




bjstrykes
Pinpoint Accuracy
(5/16/06 4:34 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I replayed and finished Metroid but got the "worst" ending. I guess I was out of practice with it and forgot how to get through it quickly. I'm replaying now hoping to get a better ending. I've just beaten Ridley. I'll be taking on Kraid next.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/16/06 9:40 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Work has had me too mentally broken to play anything for a few days, but I downloaded a new ebook. It's called Warpath, set in the second "season" of the DS9 relaunch, which I was really, really into a couple years ago. There are some side stories that take place in between the two "seasons", but I'll read those afterwards. This one is pretty good so far. It thought I might have forgotten too much from the earlier stories, but it's all coming back pretty quickly.




Captain Tall Mike Bismuth van der Bulge
Pirate
(5/17/06 1:37 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I've been trying to get all of the endings in Chrono Trigger without any guidance. My most recent was the one in which the timeline is changed so that Frog marries Queen Leene, thus making Marle part frog. Weird.

I've also been playing Robotrek (first time through). I'm on South Isle right now, level twenty. That game is impossible. I don't see why it was marketed towards youngsters.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/17/06 4:33 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

OK, I found something out in this BoF 5 SOL thing. If you choose to "restore" instead of "restart," You'll begin back at the last save point with your current levels as of that point. So if you save somewhere at level 19, gain 2 levels, then SOL Restore, the only levels you lose are the two you gained since the last save. That makes much more sense than losing all your levels. (And of course, you keep your money and stored experience.)

I managed to find a place that gives a lot of party experience, so I saved before that area, put all my items in lockers, put my money in the bank, then entered the area and abused my dragon power for all it was worth. Then I picked up some items, sent back, sold them off, banked the money, then SOL Restored. I've done that three times so far, and I get about 8000 experience and 5000 money each time.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/17/06 7:12 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I beat the first four stages of New SMB. Nothing amazing yet, but it's not bad. Controls more like SMB1 than the newer ones. Got a koopa shell powerup that lets you do a couple interesting things. Fought Bowser Jr. or whatever his name is, when I got to the fortress. Then it let me save.

Earlier, I gambled, and ate at the Virginia City Buffet at the Wild West Casino. There was much food to be sampled.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/17/06 8:04 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I just finished World 1. I think I'm falling in love. It's not great yet, but playing sidescrolling Mario again is super cool. I also unlocked a water stage in World 1 that's harder than average.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/17/06 8:23 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Okay, so some random details, I guess.

You don't have the classic Mario music in normal stages, but in the underground ones, you do.

The controls are like on the SNES. Y or X to run, A or B to jump. They feel a little less like SMB3 or World, more like SMB1 and 2j at times.

You have a map screen where you can move from level to level. There are parts of each world's map that are blocked off, and require coins to access. Mushroom house, extra stage, whatever. You find the hidden coins in different levels, and then you can unlock these new places.

Bottom screen shows how many coins you've gotten, what reserve items you have, how far you are into a stage, etc.

The first world is traditional grass land type areas, like World 1 in Mario 3. Also like Mario 3, World 2 is a desert area. You can go back and forth between unlocked worlds with no hassle or penalty.

There are minigames you can play. I think some are from Mario 64 DS, but I don't know if all of them are.

You can sometimes cause 8 red coins to appear and you get a 1up when you get them all.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/17/06 10:57 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I've already beaten every world. :D




SolidChocobo
Sister Midnight
(5/18/06 12:24 am)
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Re: ...

Quote: In the next Castlevania game, Castlevania should appear on the back of a giant turtle. The ending is your character returning to his hometown after beating Dracula to find that hundreds of years have passed while he was away. So many have passed, in fact, that three other Castlevania games have already taken place. Brilliant!


I would play this.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/18/06 11:08 am)
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Re: ...

Whoever did the level and boss designs for Mega Man X6 needs to be castrated. Both for his own discomfort, and so he doesn't spawn.

The first Gate stage is impossible without the Shadow armor, (or Zero, I guess). Meaning if you didn't get it, you're fucked. After you complete the stage, you're greeted to the most incompetently designed boss ever. It's designed in such a way that in order to damage it when its weak point is exposed, you have to get hit, either by the boss itself or its onslaught of bullets. Otherwise, you miss your chance to do damage.

The stage leading up to High Max is also ridiculous. You have to battle five of those totem poles from the Central Mueseum. However, two of them are done using a moving platform. Because of the timing, the platform that moves left-right only reaches the totem when the top half is vulnerable. And then there's the spikes protruding from the platform the totem is sitting on. And if you fall, you land in a warzone of gunfire, because the enemies you just defeated respawned as soon as you left the screen. And if you die while fighting any of the five totems, you have to start over from the first one.

After you learn his pattern, High Max is the most irritatingly easy boss ever. I say "irritatingly" because it takes forever to kill him, but you're never in any danger.

Gate is beaten by ramboing him.

I think Capcom tweaked the game in more places than removing the Japanese voice acting. I swear you could stand under Sigma's second form and slash with the saber when he opened his mouth. Here, it doesn't hit him. Which is great, because even though that trick made him a pushover, it also made him possible. One half of the room is swarming with his little blob cronies, the other half is occupied by him. When it's not full of his cronies, it's because he's firing lasers. And he's only vulnerable when he's firing those lasers which only happens once in a great while. Take into mind his hefty life meter, and you've got a boss that takes forever and a fucking day to beat.

Twenty minutes later, I got him down to half health, and he pulled out his desperation attack, shooting a little purple sphere that splits into two giant spheres and race along the ground. I died pretty quickly, sending me back to the first phase. I had my fill for the night.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/18/06 12:02 pm)
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Re: ...

I've started a review of Aria of Sorrow. I have no idea if I'll finish it, but I like the way it's going. Maybe if I'm lucky, my game progress posts might help me out a bit.

FO has told me that she thought the hardest part of writing a review is starting. Well, that sure isn't my problem. I've started dozens of reviews that have never been finished.




ShadOtterdan
Cameo senses tingling!
(5/18/06 12:45 pm)
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.

I beat Breath of Fire 3, it was pretty good, although there's a lot of stuff I could have done if I wasn't just rushing to beat it.

I started Breath of Fire 4, I'm already up to the second chapter, but something about this game makes it seem less enjoyable than 3, but I don't know what it is.

I played a bit more of Doom 3 on Nightmare mode, I'm up to Alpha Labs, it's not as slow going as I thought it would be, and I rarely use the soul cube to get more health.

Also, FO, if you decide you don't like Chain of Memories and are going to sell it, I've been looking for a copy to buy.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/18/06 1:50 pm)
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Re: ...

I don't think FO has ever sold a game in her life, no matter how much she disliked it.

Neither, for that matter, have I.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/18/06 2:05 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: The first Gate stage is impossible without the Shadow armor, (or Zero, I guess). Meaning if you didn't get it, you're fucked

This is untrue.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/18/06 2:24 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Remember when Crawl and I were talking about the button configuration for playing GBA games on a DS? Well, I got so used to that unusual way of pressing the buttons that I had to change New Super Mario's controls to match it in order to play well.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/18/06 7:26 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I'm up to World 5 of New Super Mario and I don't know exactly how to describe it. It's often amusing, but it's also lacking. Virtually everything in each level seems like it was cut and pasted from another game. It's like if you took some enemies from Mario 1, Mario 3, Mario World, and Mario 64 and tossed them in, then borrowed a basic concept from each game (climbing fences, toad houses, flagpole), reused all the old sound effects, and then put them together without really caring about what you were doing. The game is often fun, but it's like it's got no soul.

The last castle level I finished would have been 100% better if they replaced every water section with lava. I was playing it carefully as if I couldn't afford to fall in, then I realized... oh, I can just swim if I mess up and fall, why bother with careful platforming now? The whole game isn't completely easy, but a lot of it is. I'm thinking that 100 percenting it will be a little difficult, though.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/18/06 8:35 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Finally beat X6. What helped me was the discovery that the sabre not only did much more damage to Sigma than a fully charged shot, but it could hit twice.

I actually felt quite happy at the end. Not at all because I suddenly decided I had just finished a great game. I was just relieved it was finally over.

I could've sworn the ending music was a piano ditty, but here it's some rock stuff. I started worrying they took I-D-E-A out, but thankfully they left that alone. I was meaning to flip off the level designer, but appearantly I missed him while entranced in the relief that I-D-E-A was left in.

And the Localization team had Japanese names, which probably explains this game's horrible translation.

I'm not sure I want to bother with the Zero and X with Zero Missing games.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/18/06 10:04 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I've must have gained 8 levels fighting "Lubicant" in Aria of Sorrow, and I still haven't gotten its soul. Soul harvesting is even more tedious than level building, not only because it takes longer, but because you don't even know how long you need to do it for. With level building, you can at least watch your experience grow closer and closer to the next plateau.

Anyway, at first I looked at that name and thought it was a misspelling/mistranslation of "Lubricant". But after seeing it so often, I started thinking of Rubicant. Then I remembered that in Romanization of Japanese, L's and R's are confused, so it likely was the same thing.

Yup. There's also Cagnazzo and "Skull Milone", and they are all palette swaps of the same design.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/18/06 10:12 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

What I did while Soul Harvesting, both in Aria and Dawn, was take an example from Hobbes and use it as an opportunity to get acquainted with some Queen albums.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/18/06 10:21 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

For those who haven't played the game, there is an item in Aria that supposedly increases the probability of gaining a soul.

However, it's so ridiculously, prohibitively expensive, I doubt you'd save any time by trying to earn it compared to simply trying to earn the souls directly.

It costs $300,000. Of course, that's meaningless, since the value of $1 varies from game to game. To put it in context, I had about $25,000 at the end of my first game, and I have over $60,000 now, a good ways into a New Game +. So, after playing through the game about 1.75 times, I'd still have to play 5 times longer to earn the required gold. It's preposterous.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/18/06 10:25 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

There's a soul that brings it down to $240,000. It's in the room behind where you fought the Giant Golem, that thing that's digging underground (I don't know why they did this, but you have to keep entering and leaving the room until it's above ground, and even then there's a chance it'll bury itself before you can kill it. And you still have only a chance of getting its soul when you actually kill it). Not a huge difference, but it's still something. I used the Gold Ring and selling unique items I got multiples of to bring me to that much.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/18/06 10:27 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I went back and unlocked World 4, since I learned how to do so from a message board post early on. And it has a forest theme. Since the princess was taken from the World 3 castle to the World 5 fortress, following the natural course of the game, it seems that Mario visits World 4 only because he feels like screwing around for a while. Indeed, beating Bowser Jr. at the fortress and the giant Goomba at the castle doesn't result in seeing the princess at all. The stages tend to be a little harder than the ones in World 5, probably because the whole thing is an unlockable. I still breezed through it pretty quickly.

Fighting Bowser Jr. in the fortress was a little different, since he attacked you with a koopa shell. You have to land on it, then toss it back at him. In previous encounters, you only need to jump on him, but he protects himself by hiding in his spiky shell this time.

The Goomba boss at the castle was one of the more memorable things I've seen, easy as it was. It's gigantic, and it runs back and forth within a fairly confined area. You have to avoid it, and hit a switch to make a spring temporarily appear, launch yourself high in the air to land on the Goomba, bounce even higher off of it, then use a pound the ground attack to damage it.

I'm also pretty far into World 5, but I haven't really worked on getting the coins in each level. Figured I'd wait until I beat the game normally first.

I remember when I saw screenshots early on that I thought you were able to keep three or four items in reserve. Those spots are just filled in when you get the coins, though, and you only get one reserve item, thank goodness.




TWEETER911
I learned from both
Jushin Lyger AND Mr. Pogo,
you insolent fool!
(5/19/06 1:29 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I'm a pro at a shitty game. Words of the wisdom! :D

To buy the soul eating ring easily, you need the tsuchinoko soul (that snake/worm thing co-d's talking about) and the mimic soul. Mimic automaticly gives you money whenever you take damage. You equip mimic soul, go to the first save point in the clocktower, stand in the spikes untill you almost die, hop out and heal+save. Repeat. You should have enough cash in maybe an hour and a half if you wear your best armor when doing this (higher def=more damage from spikes.). Once have have 240,000, go equip Tsuchinko and talk to MC Hammer. Viola.



Now you know, half a battle blah blah blaaah.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/19/06 7:24 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity I just beat World 6. You skip over World 7 until you unlock it, so I'm now in World 8 now.

Six was decent, and is notable for having two fortresses and a castle, as well as an exciting boss, but there were still no significant challenges. I never seem to die more than two or three times on the more challenging levels, and the vast majority of stages are beaten on the first attempt.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/19/06 7:27 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I finally managed to properly play some of the Genesis Might and Magic. (Gates to Another World?) Previosuly I'd just created partied and had them wiped out after one or two battles. I've mapped out all of middlegate (The first area). Yeah, the book has maps, but I wanted one I could draw on.

It's a good thing I have the manual, because the game explains nothing about equipment stats. (So you have no idea what effect equipping certain weapons has.)

Middlegate was the only area I explored. That area has enemies that can completely wipe your level 1 party in nothing flat. I ran several times, saved when I won battles with weaker enemies, and managed to train up a few levels. I'm strong enough now to beat most any fight in town. Next time I play I'll tackle the cavern underneath town.

One weird thing is that your base stats don't go up when you level up. Just HP (and maybe some new spells for casters). Looks like I'll have to figure that out.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/19/06 8:45 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I reached what I thought was the last castle in New Super Mario, and was preparing to come here and bitch about how short it was, and how stupidly easy the boss was, when a bunch of new levels, a new fortress, and a new castle appeared.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/19/06 9:57 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Beat New Super Mario Bros! The last castle was pretty exciting, reminding me of a SMB3 airship with all the flame cannon things everywhere. It did have a halfway checkpoint, so it wasn't as scary as it might have been. Oh, before I forget, the reused that multiple paths thing from Mario 1, where if you take the wrong path through part of the castle, you just loop through it again.

The final boss fight was cool, IMO. Not too hard, but just neat. I was afraid you wouldn't get to go up against Bowser after what happens in World 1, but you do. And then some. And he's actually threatening in a way, as opposed to the way he's become kind of a comic villain in recent titles.

The fortress right before the castle had the moving snake platform from Mario World with a twist or two. I think I lost more lives on that than anything else in the game. I'm just thinking of things at random.

You keep wondering what game they're going to pull something from next, and I think reactions could range from thinking it's cool that some enemy or aspect of level design from a favorite Mario game is being seen again, to frustration that they're ripping off past titles so frequently instead of coming up with new stuff.

World 8 was definitely the best, and most challenging. I haven't accessed World 7 yet, so there's still a chance that it could be better, but I doubt it.

Once in a while, the game does try something new that works, and I wish that a little more time had been spent making this the best title it could be. While I'm no big fan of Mario World, it felt like they were trying a lot harder with that one.

I'm going to have to think for a while about how to rate New Super Mario. I'll work on unlocking stuff, too, and see how fun that is before I try to rank this one compared to the other sidescrollers.




pOrn Sigma
Sexy Thang
(5/20/06 1:54 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I have intentions of playing Yoshi's Story, but not with the intentions of getting anything out of it. I just want to have the experience under my belt, and also the ability to draw from my own opinion in the event I get into an arguement about how it's the greatest N64 game ever (Super Princess Peach is the same way, except I already own YS). But having just finished the shit pile of Mega Man X6, first I want to play something good (I actually probably could've gone along with it had Phoenix Wright not had the 5th chapter)

I actually tried out Final Fantasy IV Advance, but it's not cutting it right now. Seems the difficulty was reduced, because I beat the Mist Dragon before it even split once, and I'm often getting four attacks for every turn of the enemies'. Also seems to have some bugs; on occasion I've changed Cecil's direction from left-right to up-down, and he continued with his side walking for a brief moment. And sometimes the battles freeze for a second. And it seems I'm in the mood for something that isn't a replay.

I'm looking in the direction of R-Type Delta, but I'll take recommendations as long as it's not for the DS, which I want to leave alone for a while.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/20/06 9:20 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I got a few screenshots. I had to get them with the Gamecube's Gameboy player and the capture card (rather than using an emulator), but considering that, I think they turned out okay.


http://crawl.flyingomelette.com/reviews/screens/WWare1.jpg

http://crawl.flyingomelette.com/reviews/screens/WWare2.jpg

http://crawl.flyingomelette.com/reviews/screens/aria1.jpg

http://crawl.flyingomelette.com/reviews/screens/aria2.jpg




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/20/06 10:57 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Well, okay, I guess I'm going with FFIV Advance now. I actually did have intentions of replaying this game, because looking through my Japanese enemy guide I realized I didn't remember many of the bosses, like Mom Bomb or that guard with the snakes for arms.

I just got Yang back after turning Cecil into a paladin.

Is it just me, or is Cecil ugly in this game? When I first saw his portrait a line from Weird Al's "Ode to a Superhero" came to mind, the one that goes "Yes, he's wearing that dumb Power Ranger's mask, but he's scarier without it on".




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
Administrator
(5/20/06 11:06 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: I had to get them with the Gamecube's Gameboy player


A funny thing about my Gameboy Player - I had my Gamecube on the floor during the flooding, but since the Gameboy Player was attached to the bottom of it, that's the only thing that got wet. I thought my Gamecube was probably okay, but I'll need to replace the Gameboy Player.

As it turned out, though, the Gameboy Player still works just fine. I tested it with Asteroids on the Asteroids/Yars Revenge/Pong game pack and you'd never know anything at all happened to it. It's nice to know that some modern systems, unlike that cheapass slimline PS2, are resilient. I'm still not sure what to do about my PS2. I've spent so much money lately and we still need a new kitchen table and chairs. I think I'll hold off until all of the bills for all of this are completely paid off. Then I'll make my decision on whether I'll just get a replacement at the store (and keep it off the floor this time) or order a modded one on-line. If I need to use a PS2 in the meantime, I'll just use Crawl's.

I am itching to get back into playing games, but I wasn't planning to start with anything for the PS2 anyway.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/21/06 1:10 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I replayed a few of the World 1 stages, getting the three hidden coins in each. I also took a look at that map, and the maps of some of the other worlds, and it seems it'll take a lot of work to unlock every hidden area. It's not just a matter of opening them with coins, as I first thought. Different stages will have multiple exists, etc. And I still have to unlock world 7, but the process of attempting it is a little bit time consuming.

Clearly, the Gamefly thing isn't working out this time. Guess the time in my life where I could do something like that has ended, whether I wanted to accept it or not.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/21/06 1:30 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I just played through a game of Super Mario Bros. 2 on my NES and I did every stage without warping (although I used shortcuts in some stages, ie, using the Princess to skip right to the boss of World 4-3). I was just really itching to play a game again and that was the only thing I had immediately available since it was still in my NES.

I found my Atari Jaguar controller today and took it out of the plastic wrap. I had forgotten what it looked like and it's one of those things that makes you want to laugh out loud at it. It's this huge awkward bulky thing made all the more hilarious by the inclusion of a phone-like number pad on the lower half of it. What the hell was Atari thinking??

I also had to assemble my turntable. I've never had to do that before. The last one I bought was part of cassette player/stereo unit and it was already assembled in one piece. It seems to work great and so do my speakers.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/21/06 1:51 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

When FO was playing SMB2, she remarked that she couldn't remember if, in Super Mario All Stars, the first gate in 6-3 still had the holes above it that made it look vaguely like a face. So, I booted it up on an emulator and quickly warped there.

It turns out that, no, it doesn't. It's just a gate with a bob-omb symbol above it.




pOrn Sigma
Sexy Thang
(5/21/06 2:18 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I landed by Troia and did a little level building. Would've kept going except my room light went out.

Tellah won't stop dying.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/21/06 11:20 pm)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

So, I guess I'm coming up on that mad scientist. According to the recommended levels in my Japanese guide, everyone's four levels too high. And considering it's for the Super Famicom version and the GBA version seems to have its difficulty lowered a little, I think I'm even more overleveled than that.

The one thing I don't like about this guide is it cuts off at the Giant of Babil's core (whatever it's called), so there's no Amano artwork of Zeromus which I would've loved to have seen.

One thing I feel like mentioning is so far the only Japanese names changes are Edward is "Gilbert", and the Magus sisters aren't Cindy, Sandy, and Mandy, but Dogu, Magu, and Ragu.




ShadOtterdan
Cameo senses tingling!
(5/22/06 1:00 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Actually, I heard that the difficulty mode in the GBA version more closely resembles the original japanese version, at least it does when you are farther in the game.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/22/06 1:28 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

FO, I know your intention was to avoid newer systems overall, but perhaps the PS3 might be a consideration?

Pikmin - I saw a friend playing the sequel and had to return to the original. I have spent time setting new challenge mode scores. I got the Impact Site one up to 180 Pikmin (with none dying).




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/22/06 2:16 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I just got back to Illinois. I finished BoF V, I'll discuss it more later. I tried to get back into Viewtiful Joe, but I had fogotten how it worked. I'll have to start a new game sometime, because I do want to finish that game.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/22/06 7:07 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

Quote: FO, I know your intention was to avoid newer systems overall, but perhaps the PS3 might be a consideration?

Not if it's going to be $600.




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/22/06 10:05 am)
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Quote: FO, I know your intention was to avoid newer systems overall, but perhaps the PS3 might be a consideration?

I wonder what brought this up anyway?

It occurred to me that I DID avoid the systems of THIS generation, insofar as FO actually did the purchasing of each and every one of them. I guess I liked a few games, but my contention remains that this (the XBox, PS2, Gamecube) generation is the weakest since Atari's dominance, and I think all signs point to the next one being weaker yet.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/22/06 7:58 pm)
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Re: ....

I just watched Banjo the Woodpile Cat. Okay, I'm definitely sure that I saw this years ago. I remembered that part where he got on the roof of the barn and wanted to jump off. I also remember the part about the switch and I remembered that I didn't know what "switch" meant in that context.

But some things didn't play out the way I remembered. I thought that, at some point, the cat accidentally fell into the truck. But both times he ended up on it, it was intentional. I also don't remember there being that much singing throughout the whole thing (and I especially didn't remember that it was mostly one song they keep repeating - one that constantly beats the "moral" of the story over your head.) I also didn't remember Banjo being quite that upset the whole time. I thought he was mostly happy the whole time he was in the city, but only decided at the end he wanted to go home.

Maybe my mind, being very young at the time, embellished the story somewhat. Or maybe my memory is just clouded. But now I'm almost wondering if there was another show or movie or something I saw that had a plot very similar to this one that played out more closely to what I actually remember and I'm confusing the two. (That happened to me once before...my memory somehow combined the Transformers movie with the Dark Awakening episode from Season 3.)

Basically, it seems like what happened is that the story of Banjo the Woodpile Cat was lifted and supersized to make An American Tail. From what I understand, it was actually Don Bluth's first solo effort after he left Disney. (Plotwise, it also bears some resemblance to the "Garfield on the Town" animated special, although I believe Banjo is older...)




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/23/06 12:17 am)
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Re: ....

So BoF V is definitely a different kind of PRG, which is refreshing in this day of Final Fantasy offshoots.

It centers almost exclusively on combat; the dungeons are more or less battlegrounds, as there's little exploring to do. There's a few branching paths (more if you replay the game) here and there, but you won't be getting lost anytime soon.

There's no world map, not even a point and click one. You can just toggle between the map of your area (which gets filled in as you go) and a map that shows your general sub-dungeon position in the one huge dungeon that you're in.

Some main features:

The combo system. As I said before, this game has a Xenogears-like combat system, with light, medium, and heavy attacks. But unlike most games that have this system, it's fruitless to just use the heaviest attacks you have the AP for. With each sucessive attack, you get a 10% bonus damage. So if you do all three of your light attacks, the hits are: light, light +10%, light+20%. You can also repeat the last attack you did, but the bonus stays the same unless you change it. The ulimate combo is a 9-hitter that cuminates with a heavy+80% attack.

Using combos is imperitive, since many of the later bosses have an "absolute defense" that rejuvinates after every broken combo (not, as I stated in a previous posts, every turn). So, for example, you'll have to do may have to do 300 points in damage before you start actually damaging the boss.

Thus, it may pay to skip a turn and carry all that AP over to your next one, then let loose all at once. With each battle you win, you get experience per-usual, plus party experience that is not assigned. The amount of party experience depends on how well you fight. (If you're outnumbered but still manage to win in one turn, you'll get a boatload of party XP).

-SOL. Then there's the SOL (Scenario OverLay--I prefer to call it the Shit Outta Luck) system. This was really tricky to figure out. Esentially, you can restart the game from the beginning or from the last save point at any time. Doing so reverts you to the state you were in at that time, minus all of the items in your backpack save for some trinkets you get to start out with. But you DO get to keep your weapons, skills, and party experience. So in essence, used properly, you can buff your characters up using SOL.

Let's say you fight through an area where you get lots of party XP. When you finish that area, you can store your items in a locker (where they will remain even after SOL), and restore the game from your last save. Then you can go through the area again, get the XP all over, and apply that XP to buff up a bit.

D-Counter. Ryu can transform into a Dragon in battle. This form is ridiculously powerful, but each move you make raises the D-counter. If it hits 100, game over. The only way to reduce it is to SOL. Even SOL restore only reverts it back to what it was when you saved, so if it's TOO high, you'll have to restart. Needless to say, you only want to use this as a last resort (or to gain massive party XP before you SOL). You might get away with using it on every other boss, but it should really only be used near the end of the game.

Needless to say, the SOL system is kind of complicated. I had to play with it a bit to fully get the hang of it. One nice thing is that when you SOL you get to see some cutscenes you didn't see before.

There's also an ant colony you can build up, which offers some breaks in the fighting. You can also net some great items from it.

Overall, I haven't had this much fun with an RPG since Nocturne. There IS a decent challenge to it, unless you spend hours redoing areas (which I guess would be the equivalent of grinding random battles in your normal, everyday RPG). I also liked the fact that there was no artificial lengthening of the game through use of fetch quests of backtracking.

The guys at Netjak didn't like it though. They seem upset that you can't use your Dragon power limitlessly. Uh, OK. So making Ryu invincible for the entire game would have made it better? Asses. Besides, they complain that Ryu is the mose useless character, lacking the rance of Lin and the clout of Nina's spells. Actually, if you use the combo system right, Ryu is the most potent damage-dealer in the game.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/23/06 1:48 am)
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Re: ....

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance - I picked up where I left off in this game and made it through the temple without killing any priests. It was fun doing it, but I didn't get any of the cool treasures. I also crossed the bridge to Crimea, losing Shinon in the process (darn wyvern was too fast for the ballista).

I forged two weapons - a new fire tome and an iron sword. I hadn't forged items before, so it was a neat trial. When I can forge again, I'm going to approach it with a solid idea in mind.




Brigade Delbrack
Electric Boogaloo
(5/23/06 9:17 am)
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Re: ....

I just finished Donkey Kong Country 3. I never beat that one before because I hated Kiddy Kong. Now I need to find the rest of the bonus stuff.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/23/06 12:31 pm)
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Re: ....

It's really difficult for me to say I was "disappointed" in Banjo the Woodpile Cat because I didn't really know what to expect. And I was sort of expecting it to not really be appealing to adults.

However, I was a bit taken aback by just *how* representative its story and moral is of what was generally wrong with a lot of cartoons of that era. It's the type of thing that Image Arcane was the exact antithesis of. I can't say that I liked Banjo, but I was glad to see it again if only to reconfirm the prevalence of that type of 70's/80's cartoon mentality, since such prevalance heightens the significance of the central themes of IA.

As bad as my writing was back then, one thing that continues to impress me about it is that it did have a purpose. Countering a lot of the vague, bad, stupid, and downright wrong morality of those shows was far more important than arguing over who was the first to have Tiny Toons-style humor. Yet it's something few shows I'm aware of did (except Garfield & Friends).


And on a side note - The song that Scatman Crothers sings in Banjo is nowhere near as good as the one he perforned in The Aristocats.




pOrn Sigma
Sexy Thang
(5/23/06 3:09 pm)
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Re: ....

I beat FFIV Advance.

I didn't kick his ass like I did in the SNES version, but I did beat Zeromus somewhat handidly. Had a major trip in the beginning when I found myself with only Cecil and Rosa conscious and no Phoenix Downs, but was able to pick myself up. I think Kain was at Lv.60, Cecil at 59, and everyone else at either 58 or 57.

This game has bugs in it. Numerous times I've had a character attack twice in a row, there's the slowdown, and after it fades out after your party gets knocked down, I think right after Golbez tries to use the crystal, I honestly thought the game had crashed because it was taking so long for the lights to come back on. I hope they do a better job with 5 and 6.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/23/06 6:49 pm)
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Re: ...

I got to the Forbidden Area in Aria of Sorrow. That boosted my map percentage up to 99.5% or so. That also added the mudman to my enemy list (I now am missing only one enemy altogether). My soul percentage is in the mid-80's.

I wrote a few more words for my Aria review. Now I only have to figure out what order to put them in.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/23/06 7:32 pm)
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Re: ...

I just skimmed through FO's Super Metroid player's guide. It claims that Samus weighs nearly 200 pounds. That seems a bit difficult to believe.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/23/06 7:52 pm)
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Re: ...

Well, she is a strong, muscular, 6'3".




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/23/06 10:49 pm)
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If nothing else, it's impressive that you'd remember her description and exact height off the top of your head like that.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/24/06 1:14 am)
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I remembered her height only. (I remember, when I first read that, being struck that she was 6'3".) The rest I got from the player's guide.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/24/06 1:43 am)
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Re: ...

I recall seeing a picture of her where she had a bit of a gut. Maybe that Chozo blood doesn't help her metabolism?

Fire Emblem: PoR - I made a couple of weapons (I think I'm getting addicted to the forge) and did a couple of missions. I lost Largo in the first mission he was in, and I lost the captain of the Holy Guard! Brom also died, and he was the one non-essential I wanted to keep alive until the end.

On the plus side, Mist finally changed class after I stared in horror as almost half of her HP vanished upon boulder collision and decided to dump the majority of my bonus exp into her (she IS my only healer). By the by, I hate rocks now.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/24/06 7:47 am)
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Quote: I recall seeing a picture of her where she had a bit of a gut. Maybe that Chozo blood doesn't help her metabolism?


Heck, there are some pictures in the player's guide where it looks like she's balding.

But she doesn't look the same in any two pictures. The "good ending" pictures at the end of Metroid and Super Metroid don't look anything alike.




pOrn Sigma
Sexy Thang
(5/24/06 1:50 pm)
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I got all the bonus weapons for the other characters. I'm starting to feel really burned out on this game.

Is it just me or does the encounter rate in this game border on ridiculous?




CRAWLand1000
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/24/06 4:47 pm)
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Re: ...

Going back to Banjo the Woodpile Cat, my guess is that it wasn't even supposed to be something that'd be great on its own. It probably was just something he made to prove (to investors) that he could come up with an idea, execute it, and get it sold. So then he could raise money for a movie.

The show does have decent animation.

Anyway, it seems like part of FO's objection to the story is that she feels Banjo wasn't really naughty, but I think that he was. Pulling your siblings off a roof is naughty, even if you didn't mean any harm by it.


It seems to me the real moral of the story is, If you get in trouble, run away. When you come back home, your parents will be so glad to see you that they'll forget that they wanted to punish you.

Which reminds me of a story of my own. At one point in Banjo, his father tells him to fetch him a switch. FO told me she didn't know what a switch is.

A switch is a long twig from a tree that you whip a child with as punishment. It really does act like a whip, being thin and flexible, so it can sting very painfully.

When I was a very little boy, about 4 years old, my grandfather said he was going to switch me. Considering that I remember most things that had led to punishments when I was younger (such as even saying "Yeah" instead of "Yes"), but I don't remember that, I think it's likely that my transgression was trivial at best. I probably just went into the neighbor's yard or something (at one point, they had rabbits living in their hedge, and I liked to see them). Anyway, I ended up hiding from him under my bed. I didn't want to come out until he was gone, but I never knew for a fact when he left. I ended up hiding there for what felt like several hours to be on the safe side.




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/24/06 5:32 pm)
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Quote: If you get in trouble, run away. When you come back home, your parents will be so glad to see you that they'll forget that they wanted to punish you.


Sounds like a Leave it to Beaver episode.

Well, a typical Leave it to Beaver tactic is to do something that will delay the inevitable punishment, yet only serve to exacerbate the situation.

For instance, Beaver sent away for an accordion, which he wasn't supposed to do. When it came time to pay for it, he was worried that his parents would get mad so what did he do? He hid the bills! Go Beaver! (I believe they also reused this plot with a record club offer.)




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/24/06 5:40 pm)
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Well, of course, I wasn't expecting it to be great on its own. It was a half hour made-for-TV special after all. I was just hoping it could have at least been a fun adventure, but the moral is too heavy-handed and Banjo is too sad throughout the whole thing for it to be much fun.

Quote: Anyway, it seems like part of FO's objection to the story is that she feels Banjo wasn't really naughty, but I think that he was. Pulling your siblings off a roof is naughty, even if you didn't mean any harm by it.


I think we need to watch that scene again. I thought Banjo slipped on the roof and then grabbed his sisters to try to hang on, and therefore accidentally pulled them off the roof. So, maybe he was being naughty by teasing them about jumping off, but the actual act seemed like an accident.

I just have an objection to anything that teaches that your parents are always right, or that no matter how bad things are at home, be happy about it because everything else is worse. One movie that gets away with that kind of a moral is The Wizard of Oz, but considering how good the rest of the movie is, it can get away with it. Banjo does not earn that right or even come close.

This might also be one reason I liked Finding Nemo - because the father had as much to learn about the situation as Nemo did.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/24/06 8:19 pm)
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Re: ...

I just played through D on the 3DO and got the Bad Ending. That was about the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/24/06 9:01 pm)
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Banjo slipped, but I think he did have the intention of pushing his siblings off. They might not have fallen onto the tree if he hadn't slipped... okay, enough of that.

Wizard of Oz does have a tough moral, because it's basically saying "Real life -- even real life on a dust-bowl, depression era farm -- is better than escaping into fantasy." And it's hard to say how much even the creators of that movie agreed with that, because they were successful Hollywood types -- it's easy for them to tell everyone else to go back to their farms.

Maybe one thing that softens the moral a bit, though, is that you could interpret it to specifically mean "Real people -- your friends -- is what makes real life worthwhile." Because that's really why Dorthy wanted to get back home. Not just for Aunt Em (the paternal figure), but all the other friends, too. And people from our imagination are never as full as people from real life.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/24/06 9:22 pm)
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I heard Wizard of Oz was a political allegory.

[/off topic stupidity]




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
Administrator
(5/24/06 9:34 pm)
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Uh, if you're gonna bring that up, you could provide some details.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/24/06 9:42 pm)
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I know the scarecrow was the farmer, the tin man the steel worker, and the cowardly lion is some guy, but I don't the rest.

EDIT: Okay, I think the Wicked Witch of the West was supposed to symbolize the Western part of the US, I think the Wizard was supposed to be the president, and I think Dorothy is the poor, naive farm girl who gets whisked away to the city. I don't know what all everything was supposed to represent, or even what time in history it's supposed to be (I'm guessing the Great Depression).




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/24/06 9:48 pm)
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Gilligan's Island was supposed to be a microcosm. It was even pitched as one (despite turning into a goofy farce).

Having said that, the roles of every character is probably obvious.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/24/06 9:50 pm)
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Quote: I heard Wizard of Oz was a political allegory.

It was an allegory about how the gold standard for currency (a winding, seemingly endless yellow brick road that didn't take you home) was not as good as the silver standard (the ruby slippers, which were silver in the book but changed for the demonstration of Technicolor and could REALLY take you home), the farming industry was falling apart (scarecrow), the steel and oil industries were interdependent (tin man), and the president - I think McKinley was in charge when this was written - was cowardly and an unfit leader (the cowardly lion).

I forget what the witches were, and I think the Wizard of Oz was supposed to be that day's Secretary of the Treasury. The name of the place itself - Oz, or ounces - was how gold and silver were measured.

The moral of the story was supposed to be to switch to a silver standard for currency. If there was an added-in moral that there was no place like home, then it was simply to indicate that you couldn't run away from your problems and expect utopia. After all, it was better to receive empty threats from a nagging woman than to have your own well-being seriously threatened and be incapable of helping those you care about.

EDIT: Oh yeah. Historians tend to differ on certain issues - whether the Wizard or the Lion were the president, for example - but the general message about money still prevails.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/24/06 9:53 pm)
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Re: ...

Okay, yeah, that all rings a bell.

Except I heard the cowardly lion was some protestor, whose name I've forgotten but I'd know if it I looked it up.

EDIT: Okay, I think the lion was supposed to be William Jennings Brian.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/24/06 10:06 pm)
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I had a rough day, but I can't really talk about it. I decided to play Fable: The Lost Chapters for a while to get my mind off of it.

It runs pretty good on the 360, but I don't think the framerate is as high as it should be. They could probably perfect if if they keep working on Xbox 1 emulation for the system, but they seem to be slowing down with that. They could be assuming that the increasing library of 360 games will cause people to forget about the older system, giving them a chance to abandon the backwards compatibility project to save money. And they're probably right about people forgetting about the Xbox 1. You know how most people are, once a new system comes out, they don't care about the less powerful ones.

I played through all of the Guild training, which is nothing but an insanely long intro (1.5 to 2 hours) where you don't do anything except practice, and for some stupid reason, you can't save. I thought that for this expanded version of the game, they might have changed that, but no. You've just gotta sit through it until the Guild lets you go off on your own. Then you can save whenever you want, as long as you aren't right in the middle of a quest.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/24/06 10:11 pm)
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Okay, I just played through D again and got the "good ending". It's still pretty dumb. It's basically the videogame version of that Stuart Smalley episode where he tells the scary story. (http://snltranscripts.jt.org/92/92esmalley.phtml)


When I first played through the game, I got all 4 of the fireflies, which show different FMV sequences. But on my replay, it only counted that I found one of the fireflies (I guess it only counts them if you get the good ending...had I known it was going to count them at all, I would have actually bothered to get the other three during the replay.) But when I tried to replay a third time, the fireflies wouldn't show up. I wonder if my game data is screwed up somehow? I'll probably have to erase it to reset the fireflies, but I need to find the 3DO Sampler CD to access the memory (what a half-assed way to design a system...)




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/24/06 10:18 pm)
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I think I've actually heard about that gold issue before, but must have forgotten about it. It sounds kind of stupid. I think the movie downplayed it (is there any way to figure any of that out exclusively from the movie?), which is a good thing. I read the book once, but found it mostly uninteresting, except to note where it differed from the movie.

There's a pretty damn good reason not to be on a silver standard: Gold is stable, but silver oxidizes.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/24/06 10:51 pm)
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I also unlocked World 7 of New Super Mario Bros. and beat a few stages of it. The first one has you riding on platforms while a Fire Chomp attacks. It felt a little like a merger between Mario World and Mario 3, but amazingly, not as good as either. The Ghost House that came next was a little more fun, but this just isn't a great game, and no amount of searching for new levels or secrets will make it one.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/25/06 6:53 am)
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This is a quote from the only negative review the PS1 version of D got on GameFAQs:

Quote: (To show how terribly slow this game moves: in one area Laura has to twist a wheel numerous times to spin a room in the proper direction. You will have to do this about ten times. Laura first grasps the wheel handle, slowly pulls it around, waits a second, then releases it. The process takes around ten seconds at a time to complete. So you waste about two minutes spinning a wheel. SPINNING A WHEEL! Then you have to do it AGAIN later! You either have to have a lot of patience or already be extremely bored to enjoy this sequence).


This is absolutely true and I agree with the sentinment. It's one of the worst forms of game design I've ever seen. The stupid thing about it is that it didn't HAVE to be done that way. When you turn the wheel, the door behind you changes. There are five doors in sequential order that it will land on (the barred exit you came in through, a door to the outside garden, a door to the basement, a door to a knight armor chamber, and a door to a stained-glass window.) But sometimes it just changes into a brick wall. There are seven brick walls scattered between the doors total. The tedium of this part could have easily been eliminated by taking out the brick walls. I can maybe justify having one brick wall so that you'd know when you turn the wheel that the door behind you is changing, otherwise it might not be obvious at first. But at one point there are three fucking brick walls in a row!

Oh, and the game isn't scary at all. Nothing at all really happens. There's barely any story, so there's nothing to get worked up over. There are no monsters, and the worst that happens is that you open a door and see dead bodies. And when the doctor transforms in the ending, Crawl said it looked like Max Headroom.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/25/06 8:52 am)
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Re: ...

When symbolism gets a bit overdone, obscure, or just plain silly, it reminds me of this PWOT parody:

Quote: Then you would have a point of view promoted by the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which J.R.R. Tolkein himself acknowledged that the one ring symbolized free market capitalism (made of gold and signifying over-indulgence with its doughnut shape) which hangs heavy around the "neck" of a hobbit (representing the lower classes of smaller, oppressed nations) who smokes his "pipe weed" (the international drug trade) and becomes invisible when wearing the ring on his finger (socialized health care).

They are allied with Aragorn (whose patchwork quarter-inch layer of facial hair represents Western Europe's balancing of the "beard" of capitalism and the "nonbeard" of socialism) and the elf Legolas (representing the world's desire to explore sexual ambiguity). Together they march across "Middle Earth" (its budding "bushes" symbolizing the 20th Century, often called "the puberty of mankind") . They get help, but in the film refuse to acknowledge said help, from Tom Bombadil (symbolizing God) while eating magical Elven loaves (the AIDS epidemic) and finally attacking the Dark Lord Sauron (Ireland).





Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/25/06 5:32 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: Maybe one thing that softens the moral a bit, though, is that you could interpret it to specifically mean "Real people -- your friends -- is what makes real life worthwhile." Because that's really why Dorthy wanted to get back home. Not just for Aunt Em (the paternal figure), but all the other friends, too. And people from our imagination are never as full as people from real life.


But even that can be difficult for an adult to swallow, because as The Fox and the Hound taught us, you tend to grow apart from your friends as you get older. And as The Little Mermaid taught us, sometimes it is possible to find the world that you belong in and be happy there. (With the exception of The Incredibles, Disney movies in general seem to have better morality than a lot of other children's/family-oriented entertainment.) But I think it's easy to enjoy the rest of The Wizard of Oz without thinking too much about its ending.

Quote: And people from our imagination are never as full as people from real life


And I dunno about this one, either. I'm uncomfortable with a moral that basically says that no matter how vapid, shallow, or irresponsible the people in your real life are, and no matter what other undesirable traits they have, love them because...well, just because.

I'm not saying there couldn't be worse situations. But I think the subliminal message morals like that send to adults is that you don't have to be responsible for your kids or their future. They should obey you and love you anyway no matter what you do.

I could say more but I just don't feel like it right now and my attention keeps getting distracted...




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/25/06 5:48 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: And I dunno about this one, either. I'm uncomfortable with a moral that basically says that no matter how vapid, shallow, or irresponsible the people in your real life are, and no matter what other undesirable traits they have, love them because...well, just because.


That's not really what I was thinking of at all.

Basically, every character in fiction is a fictional character.

You're complaining about people in real life. Okay. In fact, I think that one of the reasons to read, for example, Shakespeare is to escape into a fantasy world where people are more articulate than people you really know are.

But whenever characters in fiction are "idealized" in some way (this would also include, for instance, Peter from Eyes of the Dragon, and -- in her eyes -- Ayn Rand's characters) there's something obviously false about them.

But, heck, even for characters that aren't idealized, no fictional character is all that real.

In real life, whether you like a person or not, people have a degree of unpredictability that they don't have in fiction. They almost *can't* have that in fiction, because if a character acts too unpredictable, it'd be considered "out of character".

Or, even if you disagree about other people being unpredictable, do you think you know all the mysteries of your own soul? How easily could you describe yourself, and be exhaustively complete?

And think: All characters in a work of fiction come from one mind. In a sense, each character is just a few dimensions of one author's personality.


Maybe the most realistic character I can think of in entertainment off the top of my head would be Lawrence of Arabia, but a) He's explicity based on a real person! b) In a four hour movie, his character isn't really delineated. The movie just succeeds at suggesting the complexities of his character.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/25/06 6:02 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: That's not really what I was thinking of at all.


I know that's not what you were thinking, but that is the sentiment of writing that has that kind of morality.


You have to grow up in a hick town where everyone knows everyone else. And you have to be born to parents who are perceived as being garbage, so that no matter who you actually are or what you're actually capable of doing, the people with money will keep you down because to them, you're garbage, too, and they need someone to work for minimum wage picking up their trash, or at the grocery store checkout, or at the bank, or at McDonald's, etc, because it ain't gonna be them and it ain't gonna be their kids. And I'm supposed to be happy living in such a place and accept that nothing else is better? Fuck that. Fuck them.

Speaking of reading, did you ever read "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas?" It's a very short story by Urusla K. Leguin. (I know some people here have because it was used as a metaphor for something else a long time ago...)




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/25/06 6:37 pm)
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Re: ... Going back to D, it also reminds one of Ebert's...

Quote: First Rule of Repetition of Names

When the same names are repeated in a movie more than four times a minute for more than three minutes in a row, the audience breaks out into sarcastic laughter, and some of the ruder members are likely to start shouting "Kirsty!" and "Tiffany!" at the screen. (Cf. HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II.)



The bad guy in D is always saying, "Laura... Laura. Laura.... Laura!! Laura..." (I wish I could imitate the voice, which showcases the worst acting I've ever heard, but alas, mere text can't bring it across.)

After listening to that so many times, I could resist the temptation to throw in a few of my own "LaUrA!"s.



When you read reviews of games like this that claim the game has a great story, you have to wonder if these people have EVER seen any movie or read ANY book.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/25/06 7:41 pm)
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Re: ...

I got the best ending in D and also got all the fireflies this time. All I got for doing all of that (and I'm not making this up or exaggerating) was a blank screen with a baby crying. That's it. That's the only difference besides the ending congratulations. WTF???

In order to explain just how ridiculous the game's threadbare shoestring of a plot really is, I'd have to spoil the secret behind what "D" stands for. Let's just say two things:

1. I think it practically deserves to be spoiled.

2. This is not the first time in anime that "D" has stood for that.




Bomberguy221
Hit and away is my style!
(5/25/06 8:28 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: There's a pretty damn good reason not to be on a silver standard: Gold is stable, but silver oxidizes.

Sorry to bounce back to this, but this statement reminded me why the silver standard was getting pushed for: the gold market had become very unstable, and while the silver would not last forever, the price wouldn't fluctuate as badly. Of course, now that problem is been and done away with; we don't back our money with anything.

Anyway...

Fire Emblem: PoR - I made a custom silver bow to commemorate losing Shinon, but failed to acknowledge nobody in my group could use it. At least the color looks cool. :(

One thing that bothers me about the forge system (and the reason I waited so long to use it) is how, no matter what the change, you still lose money. I could drop the weight, hit power, critical, AND hit percentage down, and I'd end up paying much more for a weapon that would be statistically inferior to fighting with a stick. I'm only going to use the forge one more time to make a spear, then I'm done with it for this campaign.

I managed to get through a mission without losing anybody! That was a good thing, too, because I had to use all but one of my remaining units in this battle (Reyson got a break).




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/25/06 9:28 pm)
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Re: ...

Well, I dug out FO's copy of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (except that actually, the fire was mostly responsible for it having been dug out) and read The People that Flee from Omelettes, and then The Metamorphosis for good measure (and then another 1-page short story, and some other stuff).

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas was sort of interesting. It's not what I normally consider to be a story, though I guess it's good that there's still some sense of fresh possibilities for literature that I can glean by reading new things.

It's more like an essay for two reasons: First, there's no characters or dialogue, or anything that's typical to a story. The writing is also in some parts deliberately simple and nonpoetic. Second, the point of the story is very much something that could be addressed by an essay, and is explored in the same way. The subject of the essay is the nature of happiness.

What makes it closer to "art" than a pure essay is a) It asks for the reader to consult their own feelings to determine what sorts of emotions are believable. b) The final bit of the story is aimed directly at the gut.

It is sort of interesting how the story develops, because, indeed, at first the sort of happiness described does seem unrealistic and unbelievable. For all the protests at the beginning of the story about how it IS possible for a person to be happy and at the same time intelligent and mature, etc., there does seem to be some deep objection to the possibility of happiness without sadness.




As for the Metamorphosis, I wonder what I'm missing by reading it in translation. It seems rather long winded, almost tedious, since almost the whole of the story is in the set up, and the rest is just a sort of naturalistic way of following the consequences (most of which you could guess, more or less, had you bothered to wonder about such a situation).




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/25/06 10:46 pm)
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I suppose I focused too much on what I percieved to be negatives for The Metamorphosis.

Indeed, there are stories for which you just feel a certain length is needed or appropriate. I've said before that it helps that No Exit in performance lasts three hours (as opposed to less time) because that's needed to convey the eternity of hell. And a certain length is probably seen as needed for The Metamorphosis to suggest the passing of time there.

There are a certain number of incidents to fill that time. Gregor has to struggle with the idea that what's happened to him is a sort of waking dream, he has to make his plight known, he has to deal with (or at least attempt to) his employer, the buisiness of feeding him has to be figured out, he learns to climb around his walls, his room is rearranged, his family has to deal with new financial realities, they take in borders, and so on.

Something about each episode, though, seems to make it feel as though it's being milked a bit. As though there could have been a little bit less to it and a sense of time still would have remained.

I know that some people pride themselves on their ability to "bullshit", but I find saying things when I really have nothing to say to be distasteful. After having that opinion about myself for so long, I'm starting to have it about others as well.

Which reminds me, I don't know if I've ever exactly come to grips with Waiting for Godot. It's a "fun" play, but I've often felt that it doesn't give you anything to take away from it (which is likely a fact of the matter, and done that way deliberately). Considering that the play really is just spinning its wheels, and I just said I generally hate that, but that I don't particularly hate that for this play, is it some kind of at least technical achievement? I'll meditate on it for another decade.

Anyway, it's rather easy to identify with Gregor, to at least some degree (and maybe it's just because the story is told from his point of view [limited third person]). It's hard to identify with anyone else, though. While reading the story, I couldn't help but think that Stephen King is usually better at bringing these bizarre situations to breathing, vivid life. I think any one of us would have to think hard about how WE would react if someone we knew or loved just transformed out of the blue into a giant bug, because it's not something we're prepared for. Gregor's family react with a bit of fear, a bit of hostility, a bit of confusion... but a whole lot of indifference.

I'm sure part of the point of the story is the dehumanization of man by today's working society -- after all, the guy is turned into a bug and is still expected (and his first and greatest concern is) to get to work.

But by the end of the story, even the writer himself has finally stopped caring about poor Gregor and has shifted his attention elsewhere. I'm not totally sure what effect he was going for (maybe I'll think about), but it seems like maybe he was trying to end the story on some sense of hope, but, again, the way Gregor was abandoned seemed chilling in its indifference. (Of course, between the family and the author, only the author really knew what was going through Gregor's head)




Facilitypro
Slow Daddy
(5/25/06 11:29 pm)
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Re: ...

Quote: which showcases the worst acting I've ever heard,

Hmmm...There needs to be a compendium of bad voice acting somewhere.

My personal vote goes to Arius at the end of stage 13 of DMC 2.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/25/06 11:37 pm)
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Re: ...

My votes for that still go to Pike's parents in the beginning of Albert Odyssey and Carnby's partner in Alone in the Dark 2.




Captain Ladd Spencer
Behold the many
uses of my amazing
BIONIC ARM!
(5/25/06 11:42 pm)
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Re: ...

I haven't heard much voice acting, but my votes would go to Eve in Blaster Master: Blasting Again, or X in Mega Man X4/7.

Anyways, I played Yoshi's Story and finished up my game starting from Page 2 in about fifteen minutes. I think everything I'd like to say has already been elaborated on, except that if the game had halfway competent controls a five year old could beat it in twenty minutes.

I died against the final boss once. I lost some health figuring out what to do and not being able to see anything, then the third hit on Bowser caused him to land right on top of Yoshi who was down to a sad flower, and as soon as his speech ended Yoshi died.

I'll probably play it a few more times so people can't say "But you only played through it once!"




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/26/06 12:10 am)
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Re: ...

Man, I've been looking at reviews of D and WTF is up with people saying that it scared the shit out of them? I'm not someone who's easily scared by games, not even survival horror games, but I could at least understand why someone might be scared, shocked, or startled by some things in Eternal Darkness or Resident Evil 0. But D? No, not D. It's about as scary as Alone in the Dark 2 was, which was a survival horror version of a Home Alone movie.

And yeah, people saying it has a great story is further proof for my theory that if you put any amount of talking into a videogame at all, people will say it has a great story. Nevermind that it has about as much plot as that Stuart Smalley story that I linked to and it's about as scary as that, too.

That's literally what it's like. You plod around a mansion for about an hour, solving a few puzzles (and the game doesn't even have much in the way of puzzles, either. It's mostly just finding a key and using it somewhere, or spinning that dumbass wheel). And the whole time you're doing this plodding you have no idea what's going. Laura's father appears now and then, says some vague things after repeating her name about 20 times, then disappears, so this whole time he's purposefully holding back information so there can be a "big reveal". And when you finally plod up to the point of the "big reveal", try not to burst out laughing at it.

This game reaffirms why I liked Shadowgate so much. There's a game that had very little plot (find and defeat the Warlock Lord), but...

1. You knew WHY you were at the castle. It's a goal. It's what gives the game purpose. The structure of the game is a series of linked events to meet that goal. It is not just a bunch of random plodding that only exists to kill time for a "big reveal".

2. Although it didn't have much story, it was wonderfully descriptive...to the point that even though the entire game took place in just one castle, the world beyond it seemed very real and with a life and history of its own. Atmosphere is not synonymous with being scary. And even if it was, plodding slowly through a mansion isn't scary. Something has to happen. And it has to happen to a character we care about.

3. You are not likely to finish Shadowgate with 1 ~ 2 hours after playing it your first time assuming that you're not cheating. It had genuine mysteries. Some gave immediate affirmation to the wonders of its world. Others hinted at the possibilities of even greater wonders beyond.

About the best thing I can say about D is that the graphics for the environments (which look like one big long FMV sequence) do look nice, I suppose, but the human CG models are typically bad for the era. The doctor's head looks made of rubber, and his lip movement doesn't match his dialogue. Laura's hair looks like it's made of porcelain shells. And she's not very convincingly animated, especially when running, or when seen climbing from a distance. And the way the doctor transforms is stupid, it's just a dumb CG effect. Even if you get the bad ending, you still don't get to see his full transformation. It would be like if there was a werewolf movie with no werewolves.

It somehow reminded me of that Worst Witch Tim Curry music video review on X-Entertainment where Matt said that the people who made the music video had a special effects machine and wanted to use every single effect in the video. The overwhelming impression I get from D is that someone had a bunch of CG effects and wanted to show them off in some FMV sequences.


**Footnote - And please...do NOT give me that "for its time" argument. This game would have never scared me in any era. And nor is their any time period in man's written history in which this story would have been considered good.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/26/06 12:18 am)
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Re: ...

Quote: Carnby's partner in Alone in the Dark 2.


Yeah, the thing about how the guy was "obsessed with gambling! ... and DEATH!" Neither of which is actually a crime.


But there was something in D that was just like it. Laura's father tells her that the first part of the change is "being interested in the strange." Uh, gee, that could be just about anything.




Flying Omelette
Blue Rogue
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(5/26/06 7:05 am)
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Re: ...

I read "Death by Landscape" in that Norton Anthology of Short Fiction last night. The book is designed for use in a classroom, so it has questions at the end of each story that the teacher is supposed to ask of the class.

However, I found the questions at the end of this story a little odd. They seem to focus on Lois's grief and who was "guilty" for what happened, but I don't think that's the point of the story at all. One question also asks which is the greater mystery - Lucy's fate or Lois's fate, but I don't think there's anything mysterious about Lois's fate at all. I mean, the whole point of the story is to explain why she is the way she is.




Crawl and 1OOO
The Fuzzy Physicist
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(5/26/06 8:20 am)
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I have another literature book with questions at the end of some of the stories, and for that too I felt the questions were often too "duh, duh". To be specific, it seemed like knowning to ask those questions would be a sign of understanding the story, but the questions were written to be so leading that they almost answered themselves.

Example, in The Rocking Horse Winner, mention is constantly being made of how the house is whispering, "There must be more money. There MUST be more money!" Yeah, okay, so what's being said isn't that the house is literally whispering; it's just a feeling that you get from the mother's attitude. Talking about the house whispering is appropriate because a) The mother is so obsessed with needing more money, that it seeps into the subconscious of everyone around her, and they feel that even when she's gone (hence, the whispers don't come just from her) b) because money could be spent on things around the house (a new kitchen set, new drapes, whatever) c) because the story is told from the point of view of a child, who has the imagination and faith needed to think of the house as really whispering. (He tells about the whispering to his uncle, who instantly understands it on a metaphorical level).


So, anyway, the question is something like, "Is the house really whispering, or is it only a metaphor?" Well, gee, just raising that issue practically solves it. It'd be like if, instead of a short story, the reading was a riddle,

There is a thing that nothing is, and yet it has a name
'tis sometimes long and sometimes short
It joins our talk and joins our sport
And plays at every game

And if the question was, "Describe how the answer 'shadow' fits every aspect of the riddle."

You know, though, I've been in literature classes where some people want to tediously discuss the meaning of things that should be obvious to everyone.


Anyway, last night I still had a little time before I wanted to go to sleep, so I read a little more. I looked through the table of contents of that book, and it has all these big names in literature -- Joyce and Hemmingway and Faulker and Chekov -- and there in the midst of that were two stories, titled "Big Foot Stole My Wife" and "I am Big Foot". So, I had to read those.

They were kind of goofy, and a bit intentionally humorous, but still not totally without literary ambition.




CLOUDBOND007
Lunitari Mage
Moderator
(5/26/06 10:23 am)
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Re: Game Progress Topic #59: Return of sanity

I've still gotta upload the last GPT. It's all ready to go, I've just been lazy.

I got pissed off at Tracfone today, so I'm switching to Cingular.

I went to three stores today to buy a new airtime card for the Tracfone, and they didn't have them in. A shipping problem of some kind. So fine, I can just buy the airtime online, right? Well, normally, but for some reason, that website won't and never has accepted any of my credit cards, except when I first bought the phone. In case, you're wondering, calling them to buy minutes with my credit card doesn't work either because they fucking suck.

I've bought stuff from more online companies than I can remember, and I've never seen anything like this before. So right now, I have no way to get minutes on my phone for when I leave today, and I'm not calling customer service, because they can hardly speak English and weren't at all helpful last time.

So Cingular prepaid it is.