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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Doki Doki Literature Club!

Wait, let me explain. In my Jhipster defense, I first found out about Doki Doki Literature Club! in my Jhipster news feed. I wouldn't have even heard about this English-only game if it wasn't for how super Jhipster I am. Um... so yeah... TAKE THAT! (Ego takes 200 points damage! Status: Bruised)

Little known fact: I also know English
I initially scoffed at the idea of playing a visual novel in English. UGH! This looks like some weaboo Japanese wanna-be galge soft porn. However, I was intrigued enough to as least give it a shot. After all, what did I have to lose? The game is FREEEEEEE and the only thing required was some of my time, merely a small chunk of my ever shrinking allotment as time viciously inches forward to my eventual demise. No biggie. So yeah, did I mention this game was totally free? Gratis?

Sad English games require legalese cause lawsuits even for a silly galge
Fortunately, it was not that long and I was able to reach the ending credits in about 3 hours. The art style definitely looks like a game that's desperately trying to look Japanese. I won't go into the story details because don't you hate spoilers?

I ain't writing no poem. Time to uninstall this shit.
Like when you're just trying to look up a song from the game and there's the screenshot for the final boss RIGHT in the suggested videos...

This is a not caption
Sometimes, I wonder, what it would feel like to KILL the spoilers, not like literally but more like feeling the crunch of bone and flesh with some blunt 🔨instrument🔨. In a figurative sense I guess.

Do you guys ever wonder about stuff like that?

Anyways, I thought this game was pretty neat. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of variety in music and routes. Natsuki's route is pretty sparse; would've been cool to see more of her. Even though 英語, I managed to skim through 全く読んでない


Score: 4.444444死死死死死死死/#ERROR

0 - Awful
1 - Who the fuck cares, nobody reads my blog anyway
2 - Worthless, like this blog.
3 - Get Out Of My Head. get out. getoutofmyheadgetoutofmyheadgetoutofmyheadgetout
4 - fuck it
5 -

i'm right behind you

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Atelier Marie Plus: The Alchemist of Salburg(マリーのアトリエ プラス 〜ザールブルグの錬金術士〜)

So in my foolish quest to start yet another series that I will probably never finish, I decided it was fine time to check out Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg, the first of the Atelier series which lately seems to be pumping out new games like clockwork.

First of all, the official title is indeed "Atelier Marie" as shown by the title art. Based on the fact that the Katakana pronunciation is "Mari", the only logical conclusion is that the title is in French, NOT English. Ooh la la, fancy! Though her full name is Marlone, so I have no freakin' clue.

Atelier Marie, très bon!
I did own a physical copy of the "Plus" version when I had the silly idea of owning physical copies of the entire Atelier series. I even went and bought the Atelier Marie & Elie bundle for the Dreamcast. This bundle is especially notable for the fact that it contains nice bonuses such as a phone strap, screen-savers to install on your Win 95/98 PC and even a virus as an extra surprise bonus!

No, I'm not shitting you, the W32/Kriz virus somehow ended up on the CD-ROM for the game published by KOOL KIZZ, putting a stop to further sales. I don't know the details as this version doesn't seem particularly rare (I paid $20) so maybe they fixed it. I don't know if my copy has the bonus feature but I'd rather not find out. I need my Win95 VM to play old games.

KOOL KIZZ, a mix of the words "kids" and "jizz"? Clever!
Anyways, in my futile attempt to make room in my closet of shame™,  I sold my PS1 copy and bought a digital copy like all the kool kizz to play on my Vita. Or more accurately, I decided to put it up for sale after playing it on Vita for a while and finding out just how boring this game is.

It starts off with a nice intro, and then you're on your own with a small bit of change and no idea what to do, and yes, I read the fucking manual. Not only do you have very little money, you have no idea how to make anything and as soon as you step foot outside the town, you get destroyed because you are very, VERY weak at combat.

No in-game guided tutorial for baby gamer?? Score: 1 Awful -IGN
The game does start off very slow as the key to getting any kind of money is scrounging up some Nyuzu in the forest nearby and making some Kurafuto to sell to the Academy. Don't even bother trying to fight anybody for a while. Finally, when you get some money to buy the recipe books at the academy, you can start fulfilling requests from the barkeeper.

There are a few important gameplay elements that are not explained at all. First, you can recruit Shia, your friend, for FREE as long as you want. (After all, what are friends for if not free labor?) Second, you have to pay the barkeeper repeatedly to hear rumors in order to unlock additional areas to explore. Third, once you're able to go to the fairy forest, you can hire fairies to do some tasks for you automatically. Being able to send them off to faraway places saves you LOTS of time in gathering ingredients. If you go yourself, you'll waste a bunch of days to get back and you'll likely get killed anyway.

What the game boils down to is not unlike working as a temp in some corporate office. Gather ingredients, make shit, make some money, buy some equipment, beat up a copier with a bat, and bitch about your job to your buddies at Chotchkie's. Some events pop up throughout the years, some of which I missed I'm sure but it's not like there's much story to speak of even if it is all fully voiced. There are a few mini-games thrown in but they're very, very simple. I thought the characters looked pretty good, certainly a very different style from the recent games but it has its own classic appeal. The music was nothing to write home about.

One of those boring, every day events...
Score: 2 mostly for series legacy and originality for its time (I think) out of 5.

I get that it might have been an original concept for its time and it IS a 20 year-old game. Apparently a lot of people enjoyed it because there's so many ports. But I've played games just as old that was much more fun. I would score this one a 2 as a game barely NOT being a waste of your time.

The moepocalypse creepy hands mobile version
While the actual gameplay was pretty repetitive and boring, you do get a sense of satisfaction when you're finally able to make a rare item for the first time. I was able to make the Philosopher's Stone on my first playthrough to get the best(?) ending mostly by working my fairies all day, every day. I mean that because there is an option to let them play that I NEVER selected. I'm not paying you guys to lounge around, you good-for-nothings!

I also beat a couple bosses by making some Mega Furamu, which by the way takes a ridiculously long time to make. In the end, I feel like I got the full experience and there's no way I'm going to replay this game to get the other 6 endings. You can just watch them on YouTube like all the kool kizz in a few minutes as they're all very short.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Monday, November 13, 2017

Megpoid the Music♯

I was actually playing Project Mirai on the 3DS when I thought to myself, "You know what? I'm kinda tired of Miku. I need a change of pace." So I went into the closet of shame™ and dug out my copy of Megpoid the Music# for some GUMI goodness or rather that was the hope. Unfortunately, the reviews are actually accurate this time around and what I instead discovered was a disappointing bag of sour patch kids. (Gumi is the Japanese word for gummi candy and sour referring to the game's quality, I don't dislike sour patch kids... UGH, do I have to explain everything?!)

This is the first game where I didn't even bother to put a tag for the publisher or developer. This seems to be the only game made by ParaPhray and I can't find any other information about them. I guess they quit while they were ahead? Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

First of all the UI looks so damn cheap. I can't really explain it, you just have to see it for yourself. And for some bizarre reason, when you start a song, there's this disgusting sound I just simply can't describe and it's different every time. I don't know if they were trying to emulate a record scratch or if it's just a bug because who wants diarrhea sounds in their game on purpose?

What the FUCK is that sound in the beginning????

Never mind the graphics though, who cares as long as the music and gameplay is good. I could totally excuse the subpar graphics as Megpoid is actually a MUCH better rhythm game than Diva "oh wow, W double press, be still my heart!" games. It requires much more coordination and the ability to press two different buttons simultaneously (GASP!). A far cry from DJMax git gud but definitely more interesting than the Miku series.

The song list is great too as GUMI has a lot of great classics and it's a shame she doesn't quite get the same
Oh, I'm sorry, did you expect me to finish that sentence? Yeah, well I also expected full GUMI goodness and not this TRUNCATED UNDER 2 MINUTES BS in a rhythm game. The part I enjoyed most about this game was after I turned it off. I was able to look up the song list online and had a good time listening to the FULL versions on Youtube, revisiting the classics I heard before or discovering ones I missed. I even discovered there's an updated 2014 version of hentai bassists playing 十面相. (Obligatory Jhipster comment: not the hentai you're thinking of, but the actual correct usage of the word.)

Ah, brings back memories of good ol' Youtube before it went to shit

Score: 2 yeah, it's barely worth playing at least for the trip down memory lane out of 5

I was able to beat this game in under 3 hours and that was without rushing or anything. After all, EVERY fucking song is truncated. However, after you clear all the songs, you unlock the hardest difficulty level and it's actually really challenging and I'm still working through some of the most difficult songs.

I mean, it's no DJMax but Expert does require some practice

It really is a stupid, wasted opportunity. What could have been a good game with some polish issues was instead ruined by the fact that as soon as you get into a song, it's fucking over. It's a shame this ended up being the first and last GUMI game. Yeah, I'm looking forward to playing IA/VT Colorful but overall I feel like Miku and her crew have been dominating the Vocaloid scene lately and we lost some of the richness of competition.

While this game has far better songs than the first diva game on the PSP released in 2009, it falls short in every other category and given the fact that it released on March of 2013, 7 months AFTER Diva f on the Vita makes this game almost pathetic. I almost did a double-take when I noticed the release date.

What's laughable is there's a menu for DLC that does nothing. Aww, maybe they were hoping to sell the rest of the songs afterwards and it fell through? They should've thrown in some loot boxes with each individual note to get that CA$H MONEY$$$.

Eat me, ParaPhray. You suck and don't deserve GUMI.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NIGHTRUTH -Explanation of the paranormal- 闇の扉

It's never good to go into a game over hyped. When I bought NIGHTRUTH, it was after a quick Google search revealing it as a shit game of legendary proportions (aka 伝説のクソゲー, JP search of course). I thought it was worth checking out for a few bucks with my expectations set way, way low. I mean look at the title. Is it NIGHT RUTH or NIGH TRUTH? The latter barely might make a tiny bit of sense as in it's "nigh (almost) true". But based on the way the words come together in the OP, I'm guessing it's the former. (WTF is a ruth?) Either way, unfortunately, perhaps my expectations for this game were not set low enough.

PS opening is almost identical to Saturn sans the naughty frames

As soon as the crazy ass intro video ends, I was assaulted by the shitty audio and shitty graphics. But then, I noticed the weird green line at the top of the screen.

Before I get into the shitty graphics, WTF is up with dat green line???
Was it some kind of bug? Would it go away if I restarted? Nope, it's just a fucking green bar that stays there the entire game. What the fuck is it for? Is it some weird aesthetic decoration? Otherwise, how could the devs not see nor care to fix it?

That was just the tip of the iceberg as the Titanic lunged forward at full speed. Not surprisingly, this game is a bit lacking in the features department. BGM and dialogue audio balance options? Dialogue backlog? Option to skip read lines? AHAHAHAHA. No, pansy, you don't even get a freaking option to SAVE! It auto-saves at certain points with absolutely no indication so if you want to stop playing, just hope you're near an auto-save point and prepare to replay from there. Fuck that, time to burn this disc and load it in an emulator.

No save feature? Man, so spoiled. GIT GUD.
Speaking of (the lack of) options. The BGM is terrible and the dialogue is barely audible through the poorly balanced BGM. What is audible sounds like it was recorded on a cheapo mic, then streamed via RealAudio (yeah, I'm old), and then rerecorded 10 feet away. From the packaging and the second CD of voice actor interviews, it's obvious that the VA was a major selling point of this game. If you're paying top dollar to hire the likes of Ogata Megumi (Shinji from Evangelion, etc.), why would you throw all that in the toilet with god awful audio recording quality?

Not the best screenshot of Ogata. Sorry, Megumi-chan!
I know it was before the days of cheap, high quality audio equipment so maybe they ran out of money to use a real, professional recording studio? Right away, you can tell when a line of dialogue was recorded at a different time when the same person sounds totally different from one line to the next. If you ever tried to create a single video with audio of your voice recorded on different days, you know what I'm talking about. At the very least, it made me appreciate just how difficult voice recording and editing must be in a good game. So... good job NIGHTRUTH??

Well, maybe, just MAYBE the story is good? It starts with you waking up to an all too realistically annoying alarm clock. As you get ready for school, you talk to your ring and out of the blue, it starts talking back. WTF?!

Man, this game would be so cool if the main character was clinically insane
The story is full of these WTF moments and to be perfectly honest, I laughed more than a few times because it was just sooooo STUPID. It really does read like something a middle school kid would write up during his recess complete with numerous spelling errors and terrible grammatical phrasing.

Little known fact: he wrote the plot for this game right after the Liger

To give you some more hints of the wonderful plot, I was able to get 4 different endings. The first route I ended up was the one where you find the dog when you arrive at school. The remaining routes depends on whether your ogle your English teacher's legs/butt or her hair. This is truly Shakespearean stuff at work here...

Your fate hangs in the balance, fool!!!
For some reason, on the dog scenario, the voiced dialogue switched off at a random spot in the game. Perhaps this is the additional scenario added to the PS version which would explain the lack of voice recording. If it is, well, it's not fucking worth it as the dog story was pointless and anti-climatic, much like the rest of the endings. I don't want to give away any of the wonderfully stupid story but honestly, it was so bad, I almost want to recommend everybody (Jhipsters only ofc) to play this game. It even has some great art even though the main visuals look like they were drawn in MS Paint.

Um... wha? WTF? Did they hire a real artist late in the game???

Score: 1.5 Graphics, story, music, features, and audio were absolute shit but you should totally play it! out of 5.

Overall, yes, I agree that this game does deserve the title of legendary shit game. It was so bad that it was almost... well it's still pretty goddamn bad. But hey, I got a few good laughs and I did make it through 4 endings (albeit with save states). I don't know if there are any more routes because nobody cared enough to write up a full guide online, which is surprising because even Prismaticallization has a full website dedicated to it. Frankly, I have to wonder if I'm not just wasting away my precious limited time on this mortal coil by playing this shit but if I don't do it, what Jhipster will?

To give the game credit, it does have some good art and even some rare snippets of good music phrases hidden in all the diarrhea. They did manage to poop out 3 more games of the planned 5-part NIGHTRUTH series (oh god) but who knows if I'll ever decide to buy a copy of the sequels. Honestly, the first one was more than enough for a looooooong time and I've already purged it from my shrinking closet of shame™.

Come to think of it, I almost want to get the next entry Maria, just for the making of disc to see what shitty tools they used.

Additional screenshots for the legendary shit archives.

In 96', you could play Biohazard but fuck that shit. NIGHTRUTH!
My favorite character. She looks cute. Good enough for me!
LOL Sonnet, way to go with product placement
If only I could tell you how Shiori shows up. It's hilarious! (Sorry non-Jhipsters)
Another WTF moment, busts out shades to cry (ie glasses are hard to draw)
One of the infamous(?) lines from this Shakespearean masterpiece
I'm not a Japanese expert but even I could spot this obvious typo.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely