Single Status Update
I posted this on Board 8 first, but threads permanently purge after 3 days of inactivity there, so I'm posting it here also, because it's a bit more lasting. Although over there, I posted pretty much one game per post in a thread over a period of 7 days, and here I'm posting it all at once, so it's going to be tl;dr, and I recommend you skim it. Well actually, frankly, I don't even recommend skimming it.
Anyway, let's begin, everything from here on is unedited exactly how I posted it on Board 8...Well, except I'm giving you the full system breakdown instead of the top half, because you're not going to read it anyway:
I've finalized all the final finalizations, so here are the final breakdowns. All stats are final. However, I won't give you the Full System Breakdown, because I don't want to alienate any final fanboys, or others.
And for the record, there are not that many Castlevanias. An unhealthy amount perhaps, but I’ll try whenever I post a Castlevania write-up to post the next game with it, because I care.
I'd also like to tell you that there are no Final Fantasies, Zeldas, and even Marios are rare. Reader beware. You’re in for a scare.
4 Action (usually top-down)
2 3d Platformers
9 Sonic Team
3 Intelligent Systems
(All others are 2 or 1)
7 GBA +1 ported
1 SNES +1 exported
You're a miniature cute devil, and you're walking around on gigantic dice, trying to roll them over and match them up, to make them sink. If this doesn't sound awesome, you need to get your awesome sensors checked. There's a puzzle mode, where you have to get rid of all the dice on the field; but that's only half the game, the rest of the game is slapping you on a giant field, maybe 32x32, and there's dice rapidly rising from the ground, and you gotta walk around on 'em and keep matchin' 'em up as long as you can. You can get combos by putting a matching dice next to already sinking dice. If you get stuck on the ground, you've got to run onto a cube while it's spawning out of the ground. If the grid fills up and you can't roll anything, it's over.
There are different kinds of dice, like wood, which you can roll over from the ground, and icy, which slide forever, and metal, which can't be moved. It's a good balance of simple gameplay with constant complications to keep it interesting. Did I mention the co-op? Two players is bestickulously fun. It's PS1, so if you missed it, bummer man, this is a great game, and I've never once heard it mentioned on the intarweb.
Then again, all cutes are opinions, and some opinions are cute.
PS2 (Xbox, GC, 360, GBA, PC)
This very recent sidescroller on PS2 (and its rival systems) was originally a flash game on Newgrounds. It was high enough quality and popular enough, that the creator started a game company and remade and expanded it into a full fledged console game. Well, low priced-console game I guess. It has a wonderful retro 2d Metal Slug feel to it. Generally, you jump around, jump on heads, knife people, shoot stuff, toss grenades, get temp-upgrades to your gun, fight a gigantic boss every 30 feet, explosions occur, climates change, and jumping around occurs again. One thing I'd like to note: you almost never have a chance to fall off the world in this game. Hooray, right? God, I love when people know how to make side-scrollers. I also love it when developers don't follow everyone else and make their own game.
This is an Arcade -> Dreamcast boat racing game. You know what? Boat gives sort of the wrong idea. Really, they're more like ships. No, I guess that makes you think of battleships. I guess we'll call ‘em crafts. They all look very different, for instance, one looks like a drag racing car without wheels, one looks like a titanic with one of the smokestacks bent back to use as a booster, another sort of like an X-Wing. The racing is somewhere between San Francisco Rush and F-Zero. It's fast. The turning is not all about power-sliding like serious (read: boring) racing games, and they don't like it when you turn around. But it's filled with secrets, and side areas with energy for your boost meter, and underground shortcuts and such. Some tracks are basic, and you go around 3 times; others are complicated adventures from point a to point z. The one player mode has great difficulty ramping, and all the tracks and cars are lovable. The mutli, as typical with Dreamcast, is another saving throw.
You know, one of the best things about the Dreamcast was that it was very easy to port games from the arcade straight to DC, and many of DC's best games were that in this way.
48-We Love Katamari:
The sequel to Katamari Damacy. This game took the old game, and made the overall sequence of the game a bit more non-linear. They added some creative complications to levels to keep each one unique. One level is underwater, and there's fish swimming around, and gravity is oozy and low. Another is a gingerbread house made entirely of sweets. The constellation levels in Katamari Damacy attempted to be interesting in these ways, but now it's more polished. The game never feels like the same thing all over again. The game is different than the last in the same ways that each level is different from the one before. They keep it random, keep you choosing what to play next, and let you have the fun yourself, giving you a fun-checklist, not a fun-stepbystep-guide, typical of video games today. We need more games with fun-checklists, don’t you agree? Gotta love those fun-checklists.
Sum up Sonic Adventure? I'll do my best. There are six characters, each has its own storyline and path through the game, and different gameplay in his/her levels. You start off in a hub, and then you run around, do stuff, go to an action stage, then you beat it and you're back in the hub again. Then you do more stuff, travel around the city, or the mountains, or the airship, maybe raise some chaos, and then go to the next action stage. Some think the hubs were annoying, I thought they were cool. The action stages are well made--usually part of the level will be very linear and fast, and then you'll fall into an area that is more non-linear and free roaming, and then you'll return to fast romping again. The different characters have radically different gameplay to keep it interesting. Music is kick-butt, also, there's some good remixes of 3d Blast's music, for instance.
Hi, id NAILED the mood in Doom 3. It's really incredible just how well they NAILED it. The gameplay, the graphics, the noises, the PDA voices, the story, everything was just perfectly executed (NAILED) and they all fit together to make an outstanding (NAILING, jaw dropping, perhaps) experience. The polish of Doom 3 is almost unrivaled. The amount of polish that went into Doom 3 should belong in the polish hall of fame. (It is quite shiny, too) The game is worth the money just for Hell. The story is IMO high quality, really, my only beef with the game is the shotgun. All the guns rule except that one. The Double-shotgun in the expansion pack, on the other hand, is one of the coolest FPS weapons in existence. Have you used the D3:ROE double-shotgun? Have you experienced the awe-inspiring power of it? Have you lived? My first time through Doom 3 on release day was definitely one of the best video gaming experiences I've ever had. The game definitely deserves a spot. Too linear though, so we’ll push it to 46.
45-PaRappa the Rapper:
Talk about sweet. Go ahead. Talk about sweet, and I guarantee PaRappa the Rapper will be referenced in the conversation, because that's how sweet he is. At the top of the screen there's a line with buttons on it, and then a small icon of your face scrolls along it, and you have to hit the buttons at the right time. When it hits the end of the measure, it goes back to the left side and the measure changes. The rapping prose greatly depends on how well you hit the buttons on time. Sometimes you can switch it up, you know, freestyle it a bit, and you are awarded for your skills by raising your rank in the corner from GOOD to COOL sometimes. If you completely do random crap, it won't even sound like rap, and you might even get game over before the song ends. The game follows a six level progression, rapping with a different partner in every level. It all flows on a big (or maybe small) storyline, where you're trying to impress a girl, by learning to bake cakes, learn karate, etc. Finally at the end you get to rap at her birthday party at the end. The graphics are also unique, all characters are paper thin and two dimensional in a 3d world, sometimes the camera rotates around and you can barely see them. Since the actual gameplay only happens on the top sixth of the screen, there's plenty to watch on screen. The game also has a great sense of humor and the rapping itself is catchy, I still know some of the songs by heart, 10 years later.
44-Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance:
This wildly unpopular Castlevania title is actually one of my favorites. Like cotm, it brought whipping action and merged it with exploring of post-symphony Castlevania, and added some sort of magic system. The difference is, cotm had a lot of design flaws. Save points were placed as annoyingly as possible, sometimes forcing you to RE-explore areas if you die to the boss, miles away. If they made me travel a while from save points to boss, that might be okay, but if they make me re-explore, that's bad.
HoD does a much better job with all around map design, than cotm IMO, too. The dual-castle idea was interesting, although you may deny it if you really wish. The areas in the game are also very abstract. Other recent Castlevanias might place you in a ballroom, or a study, but this one would put you in a cavern made of skeleton bones, or a creepy aqueduct, or a red-skied cemetery. Curse of Darkness's aqueduct also ruled, so frankly, Castlevania needs more aqueducts in the future. I'll write a letter for you. My personal favorite area was the red-skied cemetery, it's one of the last places you go, and there are skele-belmonts all over and a lot of tough sweet rooms. Dissonance also makes use of the Konami code, letting you play as very Old-School feeling Simon Belmont in boss rush mode. Oh yeah, and the magic system was sweet in this game, I don't care who you are, it ruled, and heart-items weren't a joke either.
Pokemon! What an amazing series. It's like, an RPG, but simpler, funner, and less about the story, and more about an adventure. This RPG is not about plot. It's about following a journey. To become a pokemon master, you're going to have to explore the darkest reaches of the country, travel long distances, and beat the best of the best. I chose Ruby/Sapphire to be on my list because it is my favorite of the series. Notably, it has probably the best aftermath, that is, things to do after the elite four. Plenty of legendaries to track down, secret dungeons, pokemon to catch, and generally entertaining things to complete before you've seen it all. I'm also a big fan of how the screen never cuts away while you switch from city to a route.
NES (MSX first)
Castlevania one. Hell yeah. What's that? You've never played Castlevania one? That must be an awfully nice rock you live under. Do the pipes leak in there? There can't be much insulation for 'em. Only a matter of time until they bust during the winter buddy, I highly highly recommend you do some refurbishing. Get some insulation in there. Call the pink panther! Teehee. Do you call the exterminator often? The bugs down there must be terrible. You know what? I don't think I could ever do that, what you do there. I could never live under a rock like you, you know? Lot of hassle, housekeeping, you know? Too much. I don't like that, but I guess you don't mind it, huh. Ehyup.
Anyway, six level side-scrolling adventure through Dracula's castle. Entrance hall, outer wall, the high ruined chapel tower thingy area, the cave/courtyard, the dungeon, the keep. You get a whip that can be upgraded 3 times, goes away when you die, usually you'll have it back to max in 10 seconds or so. There are 5 subweapons, you can only hold one at a time though: knives, axes, crosses, holy water, hershey kiss. It is NOT a stopwatch, so there. You hit candlesticks for ammo, aka hearts. That's all there is to it. That's like, the perfect set-up for an adventure. If I was going on an adventure IRL, it would be like this.
41-Pac-Man Collection (GBA):
This four-pack of Pac-Man games for GBA would be even higher on the list, but sadly, it's only near-perfect. Pac-Attack is a lame block-falling game, and it's missing Ms. Pac-Man. However, the plusses outweigh the minuses by far.
We've got the well-emulated original pac-man here, a masterpiece of video gaming. Pac-Man's gameplay is mimicked somewhat by a large amount of video games today. Pac-Man keeps it simple, challenging, and deeper than it looks. Billy Mitchell is my idol.
Next we have Pac-Mania. It's isometric, and you can jump over most ghosts. The gameplay is slow, but it's got a nice difficulty ramp-up to it, and it's pretty long, so it's fun.
Then there's Pac-Man Arrangement. This game is godly. You travel through 6 worlds, like colored block world, forest world, arcade world, and such, and 4 different mazes in each world. The gameplay is lightning fast, if you eat a ghost, there is no pause, when you get eaten, the ghosts don't reset, you just spawn and the game continues. There's also a fifth ghost, if you eat him, it's like eating a power pellet, but if ANOTHER ghost eats him, they become super ghosts. Each of the 4 super ghosts has different abilities. The graphics are like, warcraft 3, you know what I mean? It's like, you know how isometric is from the top and diagonal slightly? This game is from the top, and from the side slightly. That's my favorite point of view in video games. Oh yeah and there's a boss at the end too.
Oh yeah, and then there's Pac-Attack, hate that crap.
Pac-Man is one of the best ideas for a video-game ever. Amazingly creative for it's time. Collect things without getting caught. You can say "I could have thought of that", but it's always easy to say that, but difficult to actually do something that other people say that about.
40-Tiny Toons: Buster's Hidden Treasure:
Konami can do no wrong. This simple platformer for Genesis merges Super Mario World with Sonic. The gameplay is fast. With good reflexes and strategy, you may not even have to slow down, but it's still challenging. The world map is not nearly as complicated as SMW's but it does have a sufficient share of separate paths and nonlinearity. The music is fricken sweetle. One problem with Mario World was that if you run out of lives, who cares. Lives are a mostly an annoyance. With TT:BHT, you've gotta put a little effort into it. If you're down to one hit left, you are going to be careful. You're going to play better. There are no check points inside the levels, and they're a little touch smaller than the average Sonic2 level. And if you run out of lives (probably won't) it's back to the start of the world area.
By the way, the world areas are pretty generic themes, but done very well, and they feel special--gotta love Konami. They look unique. For instance, the snow level, you may climb to the top of a huge mountain during a level, and the background make you feel VERY high up. Sort of like in Yoshi's Island, in the high up areas, you feel high up because of the background, you can see clouds for miles.
The physics, also, is spot-on in TT:BHC. Physics is very important in classic platformers. For instance, Sonic Rush, has poor physics: if you have to jump from one platform to another, you may have some issues doing it. Mario, in my opinion, also has crappy physics usually, but that's just me. I have issues with how you land and you slide for a few feet. It's just so darn slippery. Anyway, TT:BHC rules. So why isn't this higher? It's one of those games that you LOVE to start, but HATE to finish. Did I mention the awesome music?