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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:19 am 


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it290 wrote:
Got myself sucked into Fatal Labyrinth thanks to the MD Mini. I'd never really given this one a chance before because of its dire reputation back in the day. The game was clearly just totally misunderstood, it's a great little baby's-first-Roguelike that offers enough spice to keep the player interested. Great way to kill a bit of time, even though I probably won't be returning to it once I manage to conquer the labyrinth.

Yeah, FL is pretty good. I don't think I ever got to the end, but have played it for some hours.

Also picked up the Mini (Genesis), and played a few levels of a variety of games. I think it looks and sounds good, love the care that went into the menu, save feature is handy and the game selection is very good (could nitpick about a few selections and omissions, but overall). The one thing I'm not sure about is the input delay. Doesn't seem to be noticeable in some games, but takes me out of a few others.

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And Fallout 4. Irradiated Walden Pond is something I never knew I wanted.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:09 am 


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Fight'n Rage: Got 'S' rank in all modes with Gal, as well as her black belt and finished all her endings. With Ricardo also more or less completed, there is only F.Norris left to do. Would like to finish up before Ninja Warriors arrives but my fingers and wrist are killing me from playing Gal so much. Might need to rest up for a bit, or play something less button heavy. Might be a good time to give Bastion another shot, though I found the first hour or so rather tedious.
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 Post subject: nah man I don't play rpg's only FE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:35 am 


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Behind the actual releases, I started Fire Emblem: Echoes on hard/classic and find myself charmed with the presentation. Music and portraits are surprisingly blasting the standards again and feel very coherent. Of course it's overall simplified play-wise, yet having as much as 3 Emblems (Rad Dawn, Awake, Fates Conq) NOT completed it ought to tell me something. Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly. I guess.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:54 am 


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People have been talking about The Messenger in the action sidescroller thread, but I didn't really feel it appropriate to post there, because even though you might look at screenshots and think Ninja Gaiden, and various promotion materials and interviews have made it clear that the devs want you to think that way, the game really has absolutely zero to do with Ninja Gaiden.

It's completely your classic modern indie dev retro action platformer, where the challenging sections have a much higher focus on platforming and movement tech (think Celeste, etc) than on combat. In fact, the Ninja's attack is really just straight up button mashing, and trying to time an attack will usually be a disadvantage.
To my surprise, though, it's not really a Metroidvania. At least not initially. And even late in the game when you get the ability to backtrack (ie. the game forces you to backtrack), the areas still remain very individual linear stages.

At first I really disliked the game. The stage design is mostly unoriginal with enemy placements just baiting the same methodic response over and over again. They mostly just function as occasional traps placed here and there. Especially if you're expecting anything remotely like Ninja Gaiden you'd be excessively disappointed.
But troughout the game you get more movement options, and as I mentioned earlier the it ends up focusing more on platforming and puzzles related to that, which greatly improves the quality of the game. And in fact, I feel like once you get into backtracking that's where the game really starts to improve. It's definitely not great game design (though every area is fortunately slightly redesigned on your second visit), but going through the same rooms over and over entices you to work out ways to pass through them as fast as possible, and once you get a feeling for it you can really blaze through them.

It's not a superb game by any means, but it's fun enough to play that I'm fairly addicted and have a hard time putting it down. Actually my biggest issue is probably with the controls. Mostly the unintuitive hitbox on the background items you can hit to get a double jump, as well as the jump button which will both activate that double jump, or the float move which changes your attack in ways that are actually central to movement. It feels really clumsy when you are trying to switch between these states to effectually chain your way across a big bottomless gap.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:06 pm 


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Played through the first Zettai Zetsumei Toshi game over the weekend, specifically the US titled Disaster Report. Looooove disaster fare and this was a long time coming, so it felt good to finally cross this one off. Kinda funny localization where everyone is blondified. Lots of running around while building crumble and pillars fall. Sadly sparse with other survivors, which appears to have been rectified with the sequels. Fairly generous with checkpoints since a lot of the deaths come out of nowhere, but towards the end it gets a bit frustrating when the human element comes into play with Russian henchmen and really jank stealth/horrible camera. Despite the jank it's got the goofy charm and the disaster I love. Pumped for Raw Danger!


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:40 pm 


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I'm looking forward to Raw Danger as well, as soon as I am finished with Disaster Report. It's weird and janky, but not without its charm. This plot is getting ridiculous though. I wonder if all games up the human 'drama' this way. I don't mind. :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:03 am 


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Sumez wrote:
People have been talking about The Messenger in the action sidescroller thread, but I didn't really feel it appropriate to post there, because even though you might look at screenshots and think Ninja Gaiden, and various promotion materials and interviews have made it clear that the devs want you to think that way, the game really has absolutely zero to do with Ninja Gaiden.


I had so many people tell me to play this game because, "Durr, you're a big fan of Ninja Gaiden! It's just like it!"

I go to play it and I'm like, "What the hell are these people talking about? It's nothing like Ninja Gaiden."

Having a ninja in the game with mild acrobatics doesn't make it "like Ninja Gaiden".

I digress. I played a couple hours and enjoyed it enough (boss fights in particular), but it didn't grab me like I wanted and so I never went back to it. Maybe I should pick it back up again.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:06 am 


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The messenger is surprisingly fun. Recently played it at a friend's place and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected after watching some gameplay that made it look super generic.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:25 am 


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It honestly is super generic though.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:39 pm 


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gonna do a no miss of blazing chrome on hardcore which will be a pretty fun one that shouldn't take too long, and then imma do mega man x3 no damage.

Also been playing dragon quest xi, and it's pretty solid. just as awesome as any of the other dragon quest games so far
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:59 am 


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STILL waiting for my Ninja Saviors copy to arrive, and reading about the game on here has me itching to get my hands on it.

In the mean time, I've 1 cc'd Fight'N Rage with F. Norris and obtained his black belt. That's all characters done now, but still have to complete the various other modes with him. He's much easier to pick up and play than Gal or Ricardo imo. I will check Hard mode with him soon, though I imagine he will have an easier time vs the Boss than Gal.

Started playing Shovel Knight and really enjoying it. I'm sure many will take this game very seriously in term of gameplay, but I love relaxing and chilling while playing these type of games. It's cute and a lot of fun. The apple trout king dance had me smiling from ear to ear.

Finally finally got to play Blazing Chrome ,and had to get my cousin to log in to my account back home so I could purchase it on GOG. Seriously, region restricted games on GOG? Like, what's the point? Anyway, the game is good. Love the aesthetic and controls. That said, it's lacking something which I can't quite put my finger on. I think it may be the bosses - they feel a tad underwhelming. Something more interesting or zany may have made more of an impression. Additional variety in the characters wouldn't have gone amiss too. Still, it's a good game so far. No missed Mission 1, and practiced Mission 2 for a bit.

When I could get my arcade stick to work with it, I played a little of River City Ransom: Underground. It seems decent, though having not played the original games, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing half the time, which leads me to running around and exploring the area - but maybe that's the point? The combat is just okay, but I'll need more time with this one to give a proper opinion.

Played Double Dragon II for an hour so yesterday. I need to make time and finish this or it'll haunt me forever. Spent time practicing stage 2, and have got a pretty good handle on the boss now. Managed to get him on the travelator fairly consistently and two jump kicks send him to his doom. The biggest danger in the level is not killing the enemies fast enough leading to slow down when the boss arrives. Stage 3 seems straight forward, but that damn combine harvester keeps killing me. Just got to practice the timing and possibly use the hurricane kick to stay in the air longer. Feels pretty cheap though.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:37 am 


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Yeah, I was getting a handle on DD2 up until the combine part - put me right off, given that the controls are so treacly at that point it's hard to respond to anything requiring exact timing.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:48 am 


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Leviathan wrote:
STILL waiting for my Ninja Saviors copy to arrive, and reading about the game on here has me itching to get my hands on it.


Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it! :smile:

I never got to play DD1 or 2 in-depth, back in the day, so coming in relatively new I cannot believe that slowdown. Sweet Jesus it's rough as a badger's arse out there with three enemies onscreen. Kunio/Renegade runs rings around it with twice the onscreen characters. Feels like TJC were running before they could walk.

The games themselves pull through on their absolute charisma, or as Muneki Ebinuma puts it, their world of unrefined violence. From just the handful of times I played the cabs as a kid, I could recall feeling the savage impact SFX in my chest... and to this day, nothing surpasses the ugly viscerality of DD1's dry-heaving KO sample, sorely missed from Ebinuma's otherwise superlative DD Advance. The near-hallucinatory slowdown almost aids the sense of inflicting an utter stairwell nonce-bashing unto a brainwrong feral goon - blinking his last on the tarmac, having been turbo-vegged by a steel bat to the cakehole. Image

It's enough to make me wish for a Wait Off option, as much as I've appreciated the uncommonly hardcore standards of care in the ACA releases. DD2's a lot more tolerable, admittedly.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:47 pm 


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Wrath of Earth - MS-DOS

An interesting FPS themed around exploring a planet to rescue miners being enslaved by aliens. You have a powered suit that recharges in sunlight and experiences system failures when you take serious damage such as HUD blinking, darkening, glitching out, weapons slowing down or firing erratically, energy capacity dropping, radar and compass glitching, etc. Repairing is as easy as getting into sunlight or suitably brightly lit area.

Because of the nature of the game's main ammo taking from your battery (when not using the much weaker infinite wrist blaster), it's a slower, more deliberately paced exploration game with a really rich yet easy to use interface. Gives me a System Shock vibe, even though it uses a flat 3D engine (no up/down height movement, same idea as Wolfenstein or Blake Stone). You can recharge shields more easily by keeping your battery maxed out by not using the recharging weapons, but the other ammo types are pretty limited. It's not like Doom where you can run around all day long with a shotgun. Two of the three extra ammo types home in though, and one can fire up to 4 lock on missiles, sweeping rooms of targets at once which is very cool!

Oddly though some of the primary enemies in the game disable lockon, and homing missiles won't even dumbfire or operate at all without a lockon, so it's a bit annoying when you've only got those left and encounter radar jamming enemies. It forces you to use your battery weapons if you're hoarding plasma and dumbfire missiles.

Radiation and extreme heat and cold will slowly damage your shields and suit systems too, which you can try and detect via infrared mode (which also doubles as a low light vision mode). Unlike Doom, even though you're wearing a protective suit, toxic pools and lava will kill you instantly if you touch them. You technically take damage in a series of ticks, but 4 ticks kills you at max shields + health and 4 ticks happen in about half a second. Gotta watch your step!

Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse - MS-DOS

One of my favourite games from my childhood. It's a fairly linear top down action RPG in the same vein as Beyond Oasis or Crusader of Centy. However, even though the plot itself is mostly linear, the sheer map size and stuff to explore is incredible. The graphics are among the best ever made for a 2D MS-DOS game, the music and map design are generally fantastic, and the combat's not too shabby either, especially once you get the upgraded charge attacks that hit diagonally or all around you.

The combat's not too hard (with 5 difficulty modes to adjust it), with it perhaps being on the easy side once you're loaded down with health potions, but that's made up for with the rich puzzles and the enjoyable exploration. There's a couple later bits that require the use of stealth which encourage Saving frequently though since failure results in an instant game over, which I'm not crazy about though it makes sense from a plot standpoint. It's really a lot of fun and it's a shame more people weren't aware of this one since it's an absolutely solid game, like console game quality production values.

The combat is a bit slower paced than Beyond Oasis or Brain Lord, and you can't jump in The Genie's Curse so there's no platforming elements. Combat is weaker than either of those two honestly, but I'd say the plot/writing is by far the best of any top-down adventure RPG game I've played and the places you explore are gorgeously rich in detail. It's a great game.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:54 pm 


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Liking the DOS reportage, one of my most put-off, rainy day-est seams of vintage gaming. Image Was looking up some old shareware favourites the other day... I can't for the life of me find it. but I swear there was a "Roboquest" I found impossibly brutal as a kid, but I suspect might be OLD_ME's jam. Precision action/platformer, I remember it playing like Castlevania with a gun and single-screen stages. Looked brutally austere next to Cosmo, Keen etc, but again I suspect I'd prefer that these days. You were this HUNK-lookin' guy in a skyscraper full of evil robots. Fff... imma go look again. Might absolutely blow but confirming that is part of the fun!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:18 pm 


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Both of those have been on my list for a while. Love seeing DOS stuff come up!

BIL, it's not Alien Carnage/Halloween Harry, is it? Sounds like what you're after is probably more obscure than this but it made me think it could be. There's plenty of hunkiness and skyscraper levels--just with aliens.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:22 pm 


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No, thanks though! It was really spartan, graphically - tiny little sprites, black backgrounds, one-line floors etc. Would pass for an early 80s Famicom game despite this being the early 90s. I seem to recall VGA mode looking passable, but Duke Nukem 1 absolutely blew it out of the water (largely why I didn't stick with it! that, and the stern difficulty level :oops:).

It might turn out to be totally forgettable but it's one of those annoyances that sticks in your head, you know? I remember shooting flowerpots, definitely. :mrgreen:

I just had a quick trawl through DOS games archive, and it doesn't even have Avoid The Noid (which I was playing around the same time), so I ain't putting my faith in those guys just yet. Image Speaking of, ATN had some pretty shaweet jumps and rolls. I got cockblocked by that key puzzle late in the game!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:31 pm 


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Secret Agent (1992)? Has the robots and the flowerpots! If ya find it be sure to report back. I'm damned curious now.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:38 pm 


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Currently attempting to dispel one of my more egregious backlog sins: long story short, I finished all of Gust's localized PS2 titles back in the day, and have since bought most of their subsequent releases on the PS3/4, but have simply never managed to get more than a few hours into any of them before being distracted by something shiny elsewhere (the sole exception, oddly enough, is Atelier Annie for the DS, which I beat several years ago).

In any event, hoping to finally put one good crack in the wall with Atelier Firis; a few dozen hours in and methinks it's safe to say it's got its hooks in me. Unlike some of its siblings, this one truly makes good on its "journey" theme, and you're encouraged to mess around with everything along the way to gain inspiration for new recipes and the like; it's also nice to see Gust put more than the bare minimum of effort into a game's environments for a change, though the janky framerate is a drag (as is the series' recent and baffling insistence on consistently mispronouncing "atelier"). Haven't actually cleared the bugger yet, but hopefully at this point I won't be lured away once again.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:13 am 


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drauch wrote:
Secret Agent (1992)? Has the robots and the flowerpots! If ya find it be sure to report back. I'm damned curious now.


Not SA (liked that one back in the day! it's been way the hell too long to comment with much authority, but I seem to recall it playing like a more stripped-down, Elevator Action-esque Duke Nukem 1?) - though that's much closer to the aesthetic! Lots of open platforms and elevators.

This modern throwback effort is also very similar to the sort of layouts it used, and the masked, suited player character is familiar too (if more stylised compared to dourly professional 2D HUNK-san - who could add to a neat avatar/sig, now that I think of it). Actually I'm gonna see what its inspirations were:

Spoiler: show
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Will report back for sure! EDIT: damn son, I forgot about Stormlord chick and her ROCKIN BOD Image Middle school me is barricading the bedroom door as I type! :shock: Those crazy-ass European nudists with their Tennis Girl ads, and shit! (I used to bring home UK mags to EAGLELAND and everyone was appalled at how stiff-assed the Euros were on ULTRAVAIORENCE ("Hero Turtles?" FUCK YOU BUDDY) - but consensus was all the T & A was A-OK! Image

EDIT2: Found it. :mrgreen: Robomaze II: The Lobby. Looks like I recalled, will have to try it out!

Oh nice, I can play it in my browser. :o Kinda beat and thought I'd have to do DOSbox stuff, will just jump in. EDIT3: Holy Input Lag Batman :shock: Will wait for now.

Also a Ninja Warriors Once Again replay was running in the background as I started Robomaze 2, and I had a minor break with reality as for a split-second I thought Natsume had poached all their sound effects from this game. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:40 am 


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BulletMagnet wrote:
Currently attempting to dispel one of my more egregious backlog sins: long story short, I finished all of Gust's localized PS2 titles back in the day, and have since bought most of their subsequent releases on the PS3/4, but have simply never managed to get more than a few hours into any of them before being distracted by something shiny elsewhere (the sole exception, oddly enough, is Atelier Annie for the DS, which I beat several years ago).

In any event, hoping to finally put one good crack in the wall with Atelier Firis; a few dozen hours in and methinks it's safe to say it's got its hooks in me. Unlike some of its siblings, this one truly makes good on its "journey" theme, and you're encouraged to mess around with everything along the way to gain inspiration for new recipes and the like; it's also nice to see Gust put more than the bare minimum of effort into a game's environments for a change, though the janky framerate is a drag (as is the series' recent and baffling insistence on consistently mispronouncing "atelier"). Haven't actually cleared the bugger yet, but hopefully at this point I won't be lured away once again.


I got burned out at some point in the PS3 era too. The PS2 titles were DELIGHTFUL especially the MKs were just oozing with charm imho.

Since you say Firis is better, I might just have to give it a chance...
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:21 am 


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Yeah, the Mana Khemia pair were my overall favorites too (closely followed by Ar Tonelico 2, shame about the awful localization job), especially the battle system, which makes it such a shame that battles have been treated as such an afterthought in most of the rest of the series (Firis included, to a significant degree). That said, while it's not exactly a return to the PS2 heyday I do like a lot of the other things the game does, though obviously I can only speak for myself.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:18 pm 


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BulletMagnet wrote:
Yeah, the Mana Khemia pair were my overall favorites too (closely followed by Ar Tonelico 2, shame about the awful localization job), especially the battle system, which makes it such a shame that battles have been treated as such an afterthought in most of the rest of the series (Firis included, to a significant degree). That said, while it's not exactly a return to the PS2 heyday I do like a lot of the other things the game does, though obviously I can only speak for myself.


I enjoyed Ar Tonelico 2 as well. I felt it improved a lot from the first. We don't talk bout Qoga round these parts tho.

The post PS2 ones I have finished: Rorona, Totori, Ayesha, Escha & Logy. Kinda random but both times I didn't have a desire to finish the trilogy. I had the trilogy after that including Firis but never did get that far into the first one before stopping.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:48 pm 


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drauch wrote:
BIL, it's not Alien Carnage/Halloween Harry, is it?


Halloween Harry was the epitome of class. The flamethrower animation was gorgeous as all hell from what I remember. It was a bit of a puzzle challenge in not wasting all your jetpack fuel though since you needed it to get around, similar to the actual Jetpack game for DOS, another good platformer with custom level editing.

BIL wrote:
Robomaze II: The Lobby.


Hah, nice! It reminds me of some of the weird stuff you found on Shareware CDs back in the day, you could go through weird or unusual games all day long and find some real gems (and stinkers). I actually thought you coulda been talking about Electro Body but the graphics you described were too rudimentary for it to be that.

I remember a game called Fairy Godmother where you inexplicably had to avoid crabs and had the ability to temporary turn one type of object into another to phase around ladders and things. It was weird but amusing.

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After finally crushing my Astrosmash/Smashteroid score (MS-DOS remake of Astrosmash that has a deluxe mode with bosses) and failing again at nabbing a SideLine 1cc, I finally wrapped up my run of The Genie's Curse.

Solid 7/10 or 8/10 game. When I was first playing it I thought it was the best game ever as a kid due to its ridiculous production values. The story and exploration are still fun but with nostalgia goggles off, as much as I've gushed about the game it does have a few legitimate issues that keep it from being perfect:

• Eventually you get a ship you can freely sail from one island to another in. Random encounters appear, but of the three possible encounter types, one of them appears to be buggy in Very Hard difficulty, specifically the Water Elemental fight. It looks like there might be some weirdness in how they're being generated and scaled to Very Hard (which generally makes things hit a bit harder and take more hits) and suddenly enemies that die in 5 or 6 hits literally take well over 150 - 200 hits to die, and they're boring as all hell to fight.

Thankfully a workaround exists in the form of saving and reloading anytime you're about to sail. The Water Elemental random encounter also irritatingly awards no treasure, whereas the undead ships and pirate ships you can encounter have treasure and enemies that die in like 10 hits tops even on Very Hard.

• The game did have a few bugs on initial release but they mailed out patched diskettes to fix an early bug where your character got hung up on a building while following someone in a cutscene. It was tied to the game not behaving properly when played on a machine that's running too fast. There's two other traps I encountered that move way too quickly if you're playing in DOSBox, so I found Cycles = 25000 was the best speed to play the game at with the realistically expected speed.

• The controls kinda suck. Ctrl/Enter are primary attack, Space is secondary, Alt locks your movement allowing you to move backwards. Esc annoying is the menu though that handles everything from healing items, spell selection, saving, etc, so any time you have to use a potion in combat you have to move your hand up to Esc. Why Esc is the only button on the keyboard that performs such an important function where you have to move your hand away from the bottom left of the keyboard I don't know. You can also play with the mouse to move and attack but I don't like the mouse controls honestly, it plays better like a console game would feel with keyboard, more precise.

I died once to something fairly dangerous (the game's equivalent of a superboss that deals 3/4 of your health damage in one hit and moves at a speed equivalent to a fighter jet) where you pretty much have to heal instantly when hit or get murdered, and I'd used Autohotkey to remap Ctrl and Esc to Z and X. Hit them both at once accidentally and... start menu pops up. Can't move, dead. Oops.

When I remembered the Enter key also attacked and Enter + Esc didn't register as a windows shortcut I remapped those and solved that problem. :P

• The game's setpieces, dungeons, and exploration are amazing, but the combat's somewhat weaker. It doesn't have the kind of "get in kick and knock the enemy back when there's an opening" sort of Zelda/Brain Lord feel where you get punished for being hit. There's a lot of enemies where just swinging wildly while moving backwards works effectively. And, you can easily just run around spin attacking most things later on where being able to attack at a diagonal is a huge advantage.

Most enemies also only have exactly one attack, with Earth Elementals being one of the few to have one melee and one ranged. It's not super deep combat like Beyond Oasis has with its combo attacks and varied weapons and 100 floor bonus dungeon and there's no gigantic bosses to be had here like in Beyond Oasis or Brain Lord. But The Genie's Curse has the best writing and story in terms of richness out of any of them. It's an RPG at its heart built on a top-down action game.

Your attack hitboxes are also very wonky, with your sword feeling very short ranged when attacking downwards, but very long when attacking upwards. There are several spots where you can hit enemies when a table is between you and them if they're above you, but not if they're below you. There's also a lot of exploitable bits where you can smack an enemy around through a wall.

• Midway through the game there's three stealth sections that frankly don't work well at all due to the relatively limited screen size that's too zoomed in to do stealth properly without a bit of trial and error or sheer luck (failure is an instant game-over, thankfully you can save at any time and make multiple saves). The first is an optional quest and isn't so bad
Spoiler: show
just as long as you don't try talking to anyone while running out of town
, but the second one has a sequence where you have to run from one area to another avoiding detection and it's pretty much impossible to see a reasonable distance ahead of you. It's short-lived thankfully, but still fairly annoying. The third stealth area comes almost immediately after but is a lot easier and enjoyable since the layout of the area means there's only one guard that requires a bit of luck do dodge due to the screen's limited view.

The stealthy sneaking bits are functionally the weakest part of the game since you can't see very far ahead when moving around, as opposed to Zelda where everything is on-screen, or Beyond Oasis and Brain Lord, where the screen is far more zoomed out or centered on your character. It's true the stealthy segments vary the gameplay a bit more, but they're the weakest part of the game and could have been tweaked a bit differently so as not to feel let down by the smaller view on the screen.

Even with these concerns it's still arguably one of the action adventure RPGs with the highest production values that was made for MS-DOS and is seriously enjoyable, even if the action is not super hardcore.

---

Monuments of Mars - MS-DOS

One of three puzzle platformers (heavy emphasis on puzzle) that was made using the same game engine. It's a puzzle game at its core, whereby you often have to locate secret switches that trigger just by walking or jumping into a certain area, and you always have fairly limited ammo that you can't go around wasting if you want to complete the game. You have infinite lives and a restart level button since you can potentially get stuck on some levels, with each screen being a single level.

The game looks actually pretty good stylistically as you explore a derelict martian base in glorious CGA. The game's ugly side shows about halfway through though where moving platforms and slopes start to appear. The game doesn't have smooth walking when going up or down a diagonal slope and fails to register jump inputs when on either a moving up/down platform or moving downwards on a slope, so levels with those elements can feel messy. You also have your vertical jumping momentum reduced to 0 when picking up items, so anytime you grab something in a jump you plummet back down. It feels a bit unusual.

There's a rudimentary score system in place for things like collecting items, grabbing M A R S letters in the right order, and so on, but hilariously a completely trivial counterstop exploit exists on the final level, at least of the first out of four campaigns I've played. There's a super computer you have to disable to win the game, and then exit the level via an elevator. You get a huge amount of points for disabling it, but instead of being able to only do it once you can repeatedly interact with it and get points every single time, easily getting well over 10 times your current score in the space of a minute, and probably crashing the game if you counterstop? I dunno I didn't actually see what happened if you counterstop it, I was too lazy. Someone else gets to do this if they're interested!
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:09 pm 


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Steamflogger Boss wrote:
We don't talk bout Qoga round these parts tho.

Never heard of it. :P At least Ar Nosurge turned out pretty decent IMO.

Quote:
The post PS2 ones I have finished: Rorona, Totori, Ayesha, Escha & Logy.

Outta curiosity, any notable recommendations/then again maybe nots on that list? I seem to vaguely recall Escha/Logy keeping my interest longer than the others, but it's been quite some time. I also have the "Plus" version of Rorona which enhances some things.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:19 pm 


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Started playing アスクギア. This game is not bad but it's very linear and the amount of text to wade through is tiresome. Has an unusual system where you can temporarily freeze the enemies and avoid encounters, but depending on how long you use it the enemies will become stronger when you eventually do get into a battle. Has another weird system where you unlock equipment slots and upgrade your item carrying capacity, and then all the items can be restocked for a flat fee.

A few more words about this game since I finished it last week. In the second half of the game there is some other stuff to do besides running through dungeon after dungeon: hidden areas to reveal, new NPCs to see and loot to grab from previous areas, etc.

There are a lot of bosses, like 70+. Most are optional, and most of those are beatable when you are first able to access them. (IIRC, the only ones that seemed unbeatable at first were behind locked doors which you have a limited number of keys to open, or in one case beyond a sign that warns you away.) More than a few times, I examined the boss's stats and thought I was doomed from the start, but ended up winning by a hair's width. Leveling-up doesn't boost your stats a whole lot, your power mainly increases by unlocking more skills and getting better equipment. Much of the equipment is junk too. It will have one or two good stats compared to what you already have but be horribly crippled in some other way.


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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:15 am 


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BulletMagnet wrote:
Steamflogger Boss wrote:
We don't talk bout Qoga round these parts tho.

Never heard of it. :P At least Ar Nosurge turned out pretty decent IMO.

Quote:
The post PS2 ones I have finished: Rorona, Totori, Ayesha, Escha & Logy.

Outta curiosity, any notable recommendations/then again maybe nots on that list? I seem to vaguely recall Escha/Logy keeping my interest longer than the others, but it's been quite some time. I also have the "Plus" version of Rorona which enhances some things.


Okay so I played these not long after they came out (good gawd, Rorona was 09) but digging in the ole memory banks...

Rorona and Totori I remember being pretty thick on the moe tropes. People made a big to do about the time limit but it wasn't an issue at all for me. I was easily to do everything I wanted in one playthrough. Much ado about nothing imo. I know that was a big sticking point in the negative reviews "WAAAAHHHH I CANT EXPLORE" so ymmv.

I don't think I ever started Meruru. Probably JRPG burn out. I should at some point though as I've heard it's the best of the three.

Atelier Ayesha I could not put down. Something about it hit me just right. The gameplay was tight as expected but mostly I just HAD TO SAVE MY SISTER. Now the time limit in this game I actually did find restrictive. I would have needed a second playthrough to do some things, and that wasn't happening. As usual for me I played the game completely organically so it could be possible to do everything in one run. I don't know.

I enjoyed Escha & Logy a lot as well. The two protag thing was a nice touch that we hadn't seen in awhile. Otherwise not too much to say about it.

As you no doubt know the series is mostly more and more and more of the same thing. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them when that's the kind of gameplay you are wanting. The main difference between these two trilogies is the Dusk trilogy is a lot less moe than Arland.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:35 am 


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Steamflogger Boss wrote:
Rorona and Totori I remember being pretty thick on the moe tropes.

Heh, that being the case I should probably note that Firis definitely falls into the same category; at least so far it's not enough to put me off the game, as most of the cuteness is harmless enough, but there's definitely a bucketload (er, barrel-load) of it.

Interesting that you name Ayesha as one entry that hooked you, as I got the impression that one wasn't a big favorite of most players; guess I'll have to judge for myself.

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People made a big to do about the time limit but it wasn't an issue at all for me.

Without spoiling anything, if you had no problem with the time limit in the earlier entries you should have no issues with it in Firis.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:42 pm 


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Yeah I would say no problem is correct. Even in Ayesha it was extra stuff that I wasn't able to sneak in.

My taste can be odd sometimes which is why I tossed in that last paragraph.
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 Post subject: Re: What [not shmup] game are you playing now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:23 pm 


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AI War 2 has finally dropped.

My first impression is that the busywork of managing your economy has been significantly streamlined, freeing you to focus more on the grand strategy itself.

It's also much prettier, but I'm a whore for heavily saturated bloom against the darkness of space.
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