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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:54 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
Cool, I actually have Master of Arena lined up as one of my next games to get into. It's the oldest one in the series I own, so it's gonna be the first one I play. How does it work as an introduction to the series? It seems to be one ot the more popular entries.


Master of the Arena was my introduction to the series years ago at a friend's place. It's the best of the three PS1 games, and you don't need to have played the others to get the full appreciation of it. The first Armored Core is fun but has some slightly janky missions in terms of pacing. The second one, Project Phantasma, feels like more of an expansion pack than anything else and somewhat more bare bones as the mission structure is much more linear, but it's fun and there's a fun final boss at the end of it. Master of the Arena is pure armored core perfection.

My only complaint with the series is that the difficulty of the later optional arena fights in all the games is largely due to them being... enhanced and able to do things you're not able to do, like use loadouts that completely disregard weight restrictions.

Spoiler: show
Specifically, each game features an arena where you can duke it out with optional fights between missions to get extra cash as well as for funsies. However, beyond a certain point, the opponents are all Human PLUS opponents, which means they're specially modified humans with cybernetics that are meshed with their AC so that they can do things like ignore weight restrictions, have better energy recovery, have built-in radar at all times that is always always used regardless of equipment, fire shoulder mounted anti-tank cannons without having to kneel to do so, and access a unique and devastating special laserblade attack on the Moonlight Blade. The last two are perhaps the most significant because shoulder mounted weapons and the unique laserblade special attack can melt your health.

It's possible to become Human PLUS yourself... but it's not a performance-based reward. Rather, the process to become human plus in the PS1 games is treated as a "you suck so we'll give you some free buffs in exchange for losing your humanity". It's recommended that for your first playthrough you don't spoiler yourself and try to purposefully become Human PLUS, although if you're having trouble you may trigger the process by accident... Also you can't become Human PLUS in Project Phantasma apparently; you have to import a save file from the first game that's already Human PLUS.


-

I've been playing a lot of EDF 4.1 again; I got gifted a copy of the fifth game so replaying the previous game again before digging into the sequel to fully appreciate it. Dashing around as a Fencer is way too satisfying.

I'm also working on a run of the first GB SaGa game, Final Fantasy Legend, without spending any money (no visiting Inns or Shops ever). Just about halfway through the game currently, grinding up to make sure my stats are sufficient to blow through enemies even with wildly suboptimal equipment.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:06 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
I'm also working on a run of the first GB SaGa game, Final Fantasy Legend, without spending any money (no visiting Inns or Shops ever). Just about halfway through the game currently, grinding up to make sure my stats are sufficient to blow through enemies even with wildly suboptimal equipment.


Oh shit man. You recording it in any way?
I found the game just playing normally to be like pulling teeth!

I was Human,Human,Mutant,Monster
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:28 pm 


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I was streaming it but it wasn't terribly interesting to watch, honestly. There's a lot of grinding involved that would not be needed if playing normally. If I recorded the rest of it I'd probably fast forward the grinding bits involved or cut those out entirely? The presence of healing pools in the first game and the ability to use the guild to farm weapons makes the first game a lot easier. The challenge is mostly gonna come from dealing with the 3 major endgame bosses
Spoiler: show
Machine, which is a straight-up damage race, Ashura, who is far easier with Battle Suit you can buy in the 4th world for the O-Weapon property, but short of being lucky to get O-Par/WP or O-Change only the Mutant with So-Cho's headband will resist his physical attacks, and Creator, who has the full-party confusion attack Repent and a boatload of health. Using the chainsaw on all three of them is always an option, though.


I'm also planning on doing it with the hardest team possible, 4 Humans, on the second game which I found was a fair bit tougher last time I tried it. I remember getting walled at Venus's world then losing the save file when a friend borrowed the cartridge. Levelling is insanely slow, and you're running around at 1 HP a lot of the time because there's only a handful of HP pools you can use (in the volcano themed dungeons specifically). Being hit with Blind is also more annoying than it is in the first game.

Robots, Mutants, or Monsters would all make the second game easier. Robots can auto-recover HP at any time by unequipping and re-equipping armor, Mutants can get passive abilities and spell charges including healing and status curing spells, and Monsters can refill charges without an Inn by simply swapping monster type.

Quote:
I found the game just playing normally to be like pulling teeth!

I was Human,Human,Mutant,Monster


How easy the first game is basically is directly proportional to how many Mutants you have. More = better, always. Their stat growth is huge, and at the endgame they can far more easily gain HP than poor Humans can. Mutant abilities are annoyingly random, but they're still often useful, and Mutants are plenty amazing due to their stats alone as well as their ability to use spellbooks, which are the best way of killing things. Spells tend to wreck monsters.

Humans are tedious to level up, especially HP where past 600 HP you can only gain one point of HP at a time, and you really want 800 or so to try and survive two hits of Flare or else you're forced to speedkill bosses to survive. Mutants have massive natural growth and don't have to worry about stats accidentally rolling over past 999 / 99 like a Human can with Str and Agl. Just to prove how good Mutants are, even ignoring Mana based equipment, I once did a run where I played 4 Mutants as if they were Humans with 4 weapon slots, no magic spells or magic weapons allowed whatsoever. Detailed writeup's here, hopefully an interesting read to someone into the game: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/56 ... d/76256868
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:18 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Detailed writeup's here, hopefully an interesting read to someone into the game


Well done writeup; interesting premise. I haven't played it since the 90s, but I was very into the FFL games back then.

I always played with a human and a monster just for variety though. Of course it was known that mutants were much better, but I guess I wanted to get more mileage out of the games at the time and it made sense to take advantage of all the options available.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:32 pm 


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Oh absolutely, I do not recommend playing as a team consisting of 4 of the same race on a first playthrough. You get the best first playthrough experience having a varied team. Humans really only falter in the endgame past world 4 due to their max HP issues but are solid single target heavy hitters until then, and Monsters can become insanely strong, capable of reaching the second highest tier as early as the beginning of the game if you eat very, very specific meats in a specific order. Monsters are pretty decent even if you don't do this, though, and it's nice to have a member that doesn't require money to improve.

The second game makes Robots the absolute powerhouses of the game, where they only falter somewhat in the endgame due to lack of Mana, causing some healing issues. However, Robots can be utterly game breaking even there if using an exploit that allows martial arts to permanently raise their max HP and Agility, as in capable of soloing the game effortlessly as per the writeup found on this page: https://sirsystemerror.dreamwidth.org/

The solo Robot run he did doesn't even rely on that glitch until the second-last boss of the game who simply wasn't doable otherwise due to having unresistable attacks and no real way to for a Robot to heal itself enough to survive normally. Nothing having a whopping 5000 max HP can't solve!

For an RPG I think this sort of writeup format for a playthrough works really well, especially a challenge run where it's assumed the reader has at least played the game once normally. Their solo Monster run was also nuts, I didn't imagine there was a Monster actually capable of soloing the final boss.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:00 am 



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Sumez wrote:
Cool, I actually have Master of Arena lined up as one of my next games to get into. It's the oldest one in the series I own, so it's gonna be the first one I play. How does it work as an introduction to the series? It seems to be one ot the more popular entries.

Well, one thing I've learned is when the AC community judges the games, they're mainly talking about PvP. The impression I get is many of the big names in the community were really just looking for a customization heavy PvP shooter, and moved on to things like CoD between Last Raven and 4.

I guess what I'm trying to say is things many of the AC community almost exclusively judged AC on are not really unique to AC today, or even the AC series' strengths, in retrospect. But that's not to say there are things about AC that the community didn't put much emphasis on that are still unique and amazing (fundamental things, like movement and aiming).

Anyway, as for Master of Arena I had no issues getting into it. One thing to keep in mind is advancing in the Arena will advance the plot and clear your mission list (replacing it with the next plot mission).

In retrospect the first game might be a better start. No arena, less parts. More arcadey structure. Or maybe a better characterization would be a dungeon crawler with mechs. At least that's what MoA without the arena would have felt like. Also, as Roo pointed out, it's not unfair to say the 1st game and 2nd game go together. From what I now know, I'd play those first, then Master of Arena, which I think is preferred over the earlier games due to more customization options, and better PvP balance and other symmetric battle oriented content e.g. custom Arenas etc.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:31 am 


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Ah man i never understood monstarz. I just saw some guide for endgame mons and was like "ok, i'll try and become one of these."

Did i go about that the wrong way, then?

I can't say I ever want to touch the sequels.
But hey Roo, have you ever tried Romancing SaGa 1? I'd love to hear about your experiences with that..
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:13 pm 


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Sorry, RS1 is on my list to play though! Is there a full translation for the SNES version out yet? Last I checked no, but admittedly it's been a year at least.

Play however you find it fun. I'd usually suggest going without a guide for a first playthrough unless you get stuck; you'll eventually get some decent monsters from sheer experimentation. I did a 4 monster run once where I purposefully did not use the monster evolution guide and I manually wrote out every monster + meat combination I discovered gave so if I found a particularly good one I could go for it to power up. There's a bit of trial and error involved.

Interestingly, the Wonderswan Color version actually shows you what you'll evolve into prior to eating so you can make an informed choice.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:18 pm 


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oh man there was a full translation out some 4 years ago when i played it.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:25 am 


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!!!

I missed that a fully translated one was released on 2016. :O
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:15 am 


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played a bunch of stuff

I kept reading people saying that Sonic Adventure on DC is better than the SADX release on GC.
Well, it sure looks nicer. Textures are better and more detailed looking, a lot of textures are outright different entirely from DC->DX, lighting is way more consistent, objects have better looking reflections, etc. Some bits are a bit overly dark looking, but it's overall better looking on DC. There's a lot of stuff that got murdered brutally in the transition away from the DC. Nothing like seeing the ocean as a bright acid blue in the middle of the night, too.

...but like, I also fell out of a loop for no apparent reason [twice!], fell through the bridge in Emerald Coast because it suddenly jumped in position, it was a little odd trying to get onto one spring in Windy Valley and the game keeps trying to reposition where Sonic is and isn't quite doing it right, etc, etc -- all things I keep hearing are "far worse" problems in SADX [and although I've had my fair share of falling through "solid" geometry in SADX, I've also had like thrice the amount of weird issues pop up in a similar amount of time on DC].
Also, SADX seems to handle better. I think this is just because it runs at 60fps [mostly, it framedrops here and there, I used the GC version to compare], while SA1 on DC is 30fps locked, so it's easier to react to anything.

I was also playing Kururin Squash for GC.
Very fun. Knew about the series having played one of the GBA games and decided to pop this in.
I also played a bit of XGIII on GC, it's okay. Kinda remembered it being a bit better, since it was like the second or third GC game I ever had way back when. :lol:

Oh, and I threw on Sin and Punishment 2. I don't have a Wii anymore, so I had to use Dolphin to play -- but it works pretty much perfectly with KB+M controls. Really perfectly.
I kinda forgot how much padding these stages had, good lord. It's still really good, but there are annoyingly long stretches of basically nothing that are visibly just there so you can build multiplier.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:14 pm 


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Which version of Sonic Adventure DC are you playing? The earlier non-International JP version is even more buggy than the later versions.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:54 pm 


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I like Master of Arena, but I definitely think the original Armored Core's the strongest of the PS1 games. It's full-fledged with meaty, varied missions. There's just so much more that can be done with level design when you're not fighting ONE enemy: getting paid to do as much property damage as you can, riding shotgun on an airship, fighting huge bioweapons, flying down the barrel of an orbital supercannon.... Compare that to "this is the match against the guy with one kind of machine gun, and this is the match against the guy with another kind of machine gun." Arena fights are like 20-second snippets of a game, a good supplement, but unsatisfying when they're the main course.

Naturally, it's better still to have lots of missions and lots of arena matches a la AC3.

On an unrelated note, I started Silent Hill: Homecoming. It's like the Silent Hill of a Silent Hill - something familiar that's now off in an unpleasant way. I did a search to see what's been said about it before and found a softlock warning from Roo (thanks!) and this delight from Bil...
BIL wrote:
I do think it'd be cool if when the dust settles Kojima got a few of the old staff back together for something new. Hiroyuki Owaku, Masahiro Ito, maybe even Keiichiro Toyama? Call it "dis be sum spooky shit muhfucka: the muhfuckening" or something.

That working title would be, regrettably, changed to Death Stranding.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:35 am 


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Mortificator wrote:
I like Master of Arena, but I definitely think the original Armored Core's the strongest of the PS1 games. It's full-fledged with meaty, varied missions.

Oh yeah. Of the PS1 trilogy, the original Armored Core definitely has much better missions than the other two.

BrianC wrote:
Which version of Sonic Adventure DC are you playing? The earlier non-International JP version is even more buggy than the later versions.

The US release.

Also, I supposedly heard that SADX is based on the earlier JP release, which is why it's supposedly buggier.
but this is unsourced "I heard a guy who heard a guy" talk, so don't actually quote me as if that's true :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:07 am 


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Mortificator wrote:
I like Master of Arena, but I definitely think the original Armored Core's the strongest of the PS1 games. It's full-fledged with meaty, varied missions. There's just so much more that can be done with level design when you're not fighting ONE enemy: getting paid to do as much property damage as you can, riding shotgun on an airship, fighting huge bioweapons, flying down the barrel of an orbital supercannon.... Compare that to "this is the match against the guy with one kind of machine gun, and this is the match against the guy with another kind of machine gun." Arena fights are like 20-second snippets of a game, a good supplement, but unsatisfying when they're the main course.


From what I heard, the arena is just a small part of Master of Arena? I thought it was supposed to have a fully fledged mission campaign as well, similar to the original game - and that's the part a lot of people like better.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:44 am 



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Sumez wrote:
From what I heard, the arena is just a small part of Master of Arena?

Well, like I said, arena advances the game. I didn't know during my first playthrough, so I missed out on most of the missions.

It works like this: you play 4 or so missions then you get your arena license. Then you can keep doing missions or you can do arena battles. I just did arena battles. When you get to a specific spot in the arena ladder, your arena license gets suspended and you are forced to undertake a mission (no choice between missions either, your mission list will be wiped and replaced with just one). This happens 3 or so times. By the time you reach 2nd in the ladder, your license gets suspended for the final time and you are forced to do the final mission.

So the shortest path through the game is about 6 or so missions and something like 20 arena battles.

Put simply, the missions are mostly optional, but the arena is mandatory.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:23 am 


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I just played through BreakThru, the US Gold game for NES. Haven't played it since I was kid, so kind of nostalgic.

I forgot how short it is, and I guess it's easy because I just breezed right through it. I had to continue a half dozen times, but that's not bad for me just picking it up and playing. Still though, it was fun and just enough of a challenge for a laugh.

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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:36 pm 


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vol.2 wrote:
BreakThru, the US Gold game


What! :o


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:08 pm 


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CIT wrote:
vol.2 wrote:
BreakThru, the US Gold game


What! :o


I was under the impression that BreakThru was a Paul Houbart game from when he worked at US Gold (which is ironically a British developer).

Perhaps I have that screwed up?


https://www.mobygames.com/game/breakthru_

https://www.mobygames.com/company/us-gold-ltd


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:29 pm 


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I started playing the Saturn version of Symphony of the Night.

Fuck it, with the extra content this is better than the PlayStation version. I don't know what the internet has been on about for 20 years.

vol.2 wrote:
I was under the impression that BreakThru was a Paul Houbart game from when he worked at US Gold (which is ironically a British developer).

Perhaps I have that screwed up?


https://www.mobygames.com/game/breakthru_

https://www.mobygames.com/company/us-gold-ltd


As the very link you've provided states, it was a 1986 Data East arcade title ;)


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:28 pm 


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vol.2 wrote:
I was under the impression that BreakThru was a Paul Houbart game from when he worked at US Gold (which is ironically a British developer).

Perhaps I have that screwed up?


https://www.mobygames.com/game/breakthru_

https://www.mobygames.com/company/us-gold-ltd



Well, originally it's a Data East developed arcade game, no? Paul Houbart just worked on the UK home computer ports.

I'm actually not sure who's responsible for the NES version, though.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:42 pm 


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CIT wrote:

Well, originally it's a Data East developed arcade game, no? Paul Houbart just worked on the UK home computer ports.

I'm actually not sure who's responsible for the NES version, though.


Right. I was playing the US Gold port of the Data East arcade game. I thought the US Gold version was the NES version based on the mobygames page. Sorry if I got all that wrong. I originally tried to look up the game on wikipedia first, but there wasn't any page for it. When I played the game as a kid, I only knew the NES version, not the the arcade title.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:50 pm 


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vol.2 wrote:
I was playing the US Gold port


I'm so sorry: )
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 8:01 pm 


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Yeah I lied.

After a week away from the Colorado wastes I created a new group of Rangers and jumped back in. Made many different decisions this time. Many of the decisions you are faced with have more than two options so knowing I still haven't seen everything is really cool. I'm enjoying this as much as one can enjoy a second play of something. A lot, but it will never match that first play.

Haven't played it quite as slow (running a bit more, don't listen to all the dialogue. Cool fact - skipping at the end of a sentence flows seamlessly into what characters say next), but this run will probably take me about 40 hours or so.

I won't be playing it a 3rd time (already have my party) until the next patch drops. Which is before months end
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 6:37 am 



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I've been on a Contra kick this week and picked up the Contra Collecfion since it was 75% off. So far I've 1CC'd Operation C and Super Contra for NES in the last week.

A few thoughts...

Operation C on the gameboy punches way above it's own weight. In some ways it reminds me of Megaman V for gameboy, in that it steps out of the shadow of its more famous NES predecessors, and is a more than worthwhile game in its own right with a really high effort thrown in there. It's easy an elite game for the system.

Super Contra I've warmed up to a little bit. I've always thought of this as somewhat inferior to its iconic predecessor, and I suppose that's still true, but I've come to appreciate this game a lot more.

I'm currently playing Contra Spirits now and this one's quite a bit harder. Also a bit more set piece driven. It can be kinda frustrating, but there's a lot of good here as well. I'd be shocked if this one surpassed Hard Corps or Shattered Soldier for me, bit what's here is fun.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:52 am 


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Star Ocean 2. Quite easily the best game in the series. Seems like I am winding towards the end, in the middle of a typical jrpg thing currently. On disc 2, obviously.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:25 pm 


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Just finished the most underwhelming Master of Magic campaign ever (and the second one I've played of the community patch version). Four wizards that were all pacifists and wouldn't even try to oppose me. Eventually I cast the spell of mastery. Even then they twiddled their thumbs and didn't take a single town from me. They were content to just snipe a couple of my heroes with crack's call. Maybe I'll play another at higher difficulty, using the same armies of lizardman javelineers.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:22 pm 


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Playing Cyber Shadow. Game is basically everything I had hoped it would be. Some sound and music design is questionable, but whatever. This game owns.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:42 pm 


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XoPachi wrote:
Playing Cyber Shadow. Game is basically everything I had hoped it would be. Some sound and music design is questionable, but whatever. This game owns.


Yeah, this is the Ninja Gaiden clone The Messenger was pretending to be.

Though the aesthetic reminds me more of Sunsoft's Batman.

EDIT: I spoke too soon. The first level gives an impression of a Ninja Gaiden-esque enemy slaughterfest, but as the game gets into its groove it feels a lot more like The Messenger. I'm still enjoying this more, tho.
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An oligarch walks in and grabs nine cookies for himself.

Then he says to the white dude "Watch out for that black dude, he wants a piece of your cookie!"


Last edited by Mischief Maker on Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:34 pm 


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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 3105
Location: Brooklyn NY
2nd trip through the Colorado wastes is complete. Kept making different choices as the game went on. Also skipped some optional stuff - time for 2nd run 35 hours.

So two runs and 100 hours in I can say this is a game I will absolutely be playing again.

I will say that of the two ways you can solve the next to last area one makes far more sense:

Spoilers for Yuma -

Spoiler: show
Through subterfuge you can get the gangs to turn on each other. Did this on my 1st play through. 2nd play through I marched through and gunned them down, but it didn't feel quite right due to the way it was implemented.


Still have encountered some minor bugs here and there, but nothing game breaking. That said it would be nice to have a relatively bug free play through.

On tap for now - Bloodstained on PS 4/Cyber Shadow on Steam.

I will head back to Colorado after some time away. Got to miss it first.
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