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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Senran Kagura SHINOVI VERSUS(閃乱カグラ SHINOVI VERSUS -少女達の証明-)

I'm going to be real here for just a second and admit that yeah, the gamergate jokes are getting kind of a bit stale. I mean sure, it was a sad and pathetic showing for mankind err... excuse me peoplekind from both sides but c'mon, it was also freaking hilarious! But alas, every joke must run its course and I need to move on to something else (millennial jokes?). Now, what game was I going to talk about again? Oh fucking Senran Kagura SHINOVI VERSUS? IT'S GAMERGATE TIMEEEE! Let's party like it's 2014!!!

Welp, there goes my Adsense $.015 per month ad revenue
Just kidding, just kidding! Of course I'm not actually going to go full retard to rant and rave about the irreparable harm these evil vidya games are causing to our otherwise flawless society nor am I going to get all hot and excited about anime boobs cause c'mon, that's creepy as hell. Besides, putting up clickbait screenshots does nothing for me since they don't actually generate money. (That might explain why I haven't seen as much Shitaku clickbait lately though it's probably only because I haven't visited that hellhole in years.)

This looks bad but she's gonna get a check for $130G so it's totally cool. #MAGA
No, what you're going to see is the top-notch, A-class, quality game journalism that you've come to expect here. The always purely unbiased review of these works of arts based solely on their artistic and functional merits.

This expression of iron will and determination from the strong female cast will serve as a great role model for future... um... panty designers?
The first thing to discuss is the platform as I opted to stick with the original Vita version and not the PC version on Steam. I don't own the Steam version but I'll be happy to give it a try if anybody sends me along a review code, given how professional my reviews are and all. Ahem, going back to the Vita version, even though it looks pretty darn impressive for a 2013 portable game, it does have load times that are long enough to get annoying. I've probably read the tips on the load screen a million times and I'm willing to bet at least few hours of my total game time were probably spent just waiting.

Too bad this isn't the loading screen to keep me "busy". Eww, that's gross! LOSER!
This sequel does take place right after the events of the first game so I personally would recommend playing Burst on the 3DS first. The last boss in the first game is actually pretty cool. The director did say that a lot of people skipped the first game when talking about the remake: Burst Re:newal so maybe you can start there? Nyu is of course, the Kanji for "breast", but I'm sure all my savvy readers got the pun.

How are you supposed to make money on your own in-product ad? Dumies!
The plot in this game was actually surprisingly decent. Sure, there's a lot of filler about girls talking about candy birthday party etc., but it actually continues and resolves some of the plot points from the first game. It even ties together some events such as Katsuragi's parents with one of the schools, which I won't get into cause spoilers.

This game actually has some pretty good plot points.
Minor story spoiler so skip the next section if you care...

I did briefly wonder why Yagyu wore an eyepatch from the first game and when Shiki guessed it sealed some sort of hiden ninpou, that's exactly the kind of thing you would expect from countless shounen manga.

Holy fuck, I thought this was supposed to be a happy game? (Note the Kanji for "head" and "mom"...)
It's refreshing that it actually just turned to be a perfectly ordinary eye patch and as for the reason why she wore it... well let's just say that when Hibari asked her if she would wear another eyepatch for her if she died, Yaguu replied, "of course". Then Hibari realizes that she won't be able to see and they both laughed but I just imagined Yagyu deciding to give up her eyesight to remember the death of close ones. Seems pretty tragic. It really made me reflect on the importance of appreciating your loved ones and their safety and happiness.

The story really makes you think... about life...n stuff...
As for the gameplay, it was pretty easy but also satisfactory button mashing. I was genuinely surprised that they were able to pull off not just one but TWO more schools essentially doubling the number of playable characters from the first game.

Yawn, boooring! Bring out the new girls!
All 20 characters play pretty distinctively too such as Yozakura's delayed gun fists or Hibari's infinite butt bounces. The game was easy enough that I almost never got to use the Zetsu Hiden Ninpou as it requires you to be low on health. Eventually, I spent an hour of so with all the characters just to see the ninpou for fun such as the giant strawberry cake move.

I hope some kid doesn't try this at home for clicks.
Maybe if I played online with some human players, I would see some more depth in the fighting system. Yeah, even though I bought this game new a looong time ago with the online pass, of course the rooms are deserted now. The game also sells DLC coins to make unlocking panties easier but this was still in the early DLC fuck fest days so it's pretty easy to unlock most of them with the free in-game currency. No need to pay real money for fake panties.

Most of the 98 panties are just color variations... I think. Um, it's not like I spent hours unlocking em all!
Score: 3.5 If Shitaku feels uncomfortable playing this game, maybe switch to boxers? out of 5. (53.5 hours for platinum)

I think I've gone on long enough so time to wrap up this impartial and amazingly in-depth game review. While I would normally dock a game for annoyingly long load times, I gave this one a break cause you know, Vita is obsolete, has like 2 megs or memory, thank god for the Switch savior blah blah blah. It's a pretty fun game overall and I put it slightly above average just for the volume of content and kudos for really ramping up the number of memorable characters. When I can remember most of the names of 20 characters, that means they did a pretty good job.

Misogynistic fashion design 101
I also liked playing around with the various hair, outfit, and accessories because that's just the kind of shit I like to do, I guess. If you like to mash buttons, mess with outfits, and listen to girls talk about I dunno Ninja girl stuff, this game is for you. Oh yeah, and sometimes, every once in a while, people fucking die (but nobody you care about cause we got ourselves a bona fide franchise here!).

Also have to point out the nice fat 43 page Vita manual #goodoldays

Some bonus screen shots for my social studies thesis paper.

It's not just about boobs but also real quality writing

These blocking turtles were annoying as fuck

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sure the tears looks bad but she's got $150G check coming so... #MAGA?

No seriously, it's a pretty fun game.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Wingman 2: Kitakura no Fukkatsu(ウイングマン 2 -キータクラーの復活-)

About a year and a half after the release of Wingman, comes the sequel from Enix: Wingman 2 and Kitakura comes back in this one. Now, I only read the first few chapters of Wingman to get a sense of the overall setting so I had no idea that Kitakura had gone anywhere. I'm not sure of the story timeline but I guess Kitakura was presumed dead and it seems kind of silly to announce his revival right in the fucking subtitle but there ya go. (Spoiler alert?)

Now all I do is play PC88 games while listening to Plastic Love (tnx YT) 
So, according to random Japanese blogger, the first Wingman sold pretty well (at least for those times) though nowhere near the level of Xanadu, which I don't get cause fuck that game. Anyways, it sold well enough I guess for Enix to go for round 2 and it's what you would expect pretty much any sequel to be: the same shit as the last game but more of it and better. Also, now complete with the obligatory Enix fan service (only one as usual for um... "marketing").

Queue the obligatory Enix fan service click bait
In the gameplay department, they made the user interface a little bit easier to use by allowing you to point at shit to either go somewhere or look at something. Dayum, what is this? Apple II?

Whoa, a cursor? WTF is this newb shit?
You still have to type a bunch of random shit you would probably never guess without a guide but thank god I discovered this little tool that let me bypass the old-school kana input. Unfortunately, there were some bugs using the tool with small kana such as when trying to type "buy juice" so I did have to pull up a pic of the PC88 keyboard at times, but overall WAY easier this time around.

Well well well, looks like we got ourselves a Casanova here.
I'm going to confess to totally cheating again this time around. While the cursor does make things a bit easier than the first game, there's a bunch of random guesswork like having to say "cute" to get an item (again). They have some traps too such as making you go out of your way to pick up some medicine that is never used. When Miku is unconscious, forget about the medicine, you're supposed to type "do kiss" for some reason. Maybe it's a reference to the manga, I dunno but fuck it, guide time. The guide also helped when the game failed to progress as there's a bug that may require you to save and reload (emu save state doesn't count duh).

Kissing without consent is rape! #metoo
Once you cheat, it's a pretty short game as usual but there's a lot more PC88 art to enjoy in this sequel. Although I have to say that even though there is more art, not all of the art looks well... proportional. I'm no artist so I'm not gonna gripe about it but could it be that the Zarth artist was feeling a little time crunch? Who knows? Maybe somebody can kickstart a book about it.

Is this camera angle necessary? I demand a high-tech cape!
One thing to note is that the ending of this game matches the ending of the manga so you might want to avoid if you plan on reading the manga (yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of you out there). Given that it seems the story is pretty much concluded in the manga and this game, I'm curious to see where they take things in the next game: Wingman Special.

Score: 2 disappointed "tweet #metoo" command didn't work out of 5

Overall, a pretty solid ADV sequel at least for those times but there's a lot more competition in 1986 than there was in 1984. The little mini game was a nice distraction though and pretty decent for what it's worth.

This mini game is better than in the previous game but no Contini Punch
The music was also pretty darn good at least in terms of PC88 levels. I should know cause all I listen to nowadays is PC88 music and city pop cause that's what Youtube tells me to listen to.

Coming up next: Plastic Love daft punk nightcore remix 2

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

Star Ocean: First Departure(スターオーシャン1 ファースト ディパーチャー)

In my never ending quest to make room to buy more useless shit for my overflowing Closet of Shame™, I recently rummaged through my gargantuan PSP collection to see if there was anything I wanted to get rid of when I came across Star Ocean: First Departure.

Let's go clean and organize that game closet!!
Yeah, I'm a hoarder collector so I didn't even know I had this game. (Just kidding, I've been meaning to play this for quite a while now.) So is this a game worth keeping in my awesome, amazing collection of pure gems so hidden I can't even find em? We'll find out! Let's pop that UMD in and play some of that!

Whew! All nice and clean. (*disclaimer: not my closet)
The first thing that struck me about Star Ocean 1 was how similar the menus were to Tales of Phantasia, in other words, a confusing mess of options. Even some of the item names are identical. After exhaustive research (4 minute Google search), it turns out the original SFC version was made by the same team behind Phantasia. It's not quite as bad as Phantasia; at least there's actual menus now instead of hidden behind Rune Bottles but still, there's a lot of shit to digest. Fortunately, most of the stuff can be safely ignored as you mash your way through this "action" RPG.

That's a useful skill cause I ate blackberries like it was crack (sighs only us old folks will get the crackberry reference)

When it comes to skills, the only thing that really matters is to max out determination before anything else that costs more than one point. Since determination skill cuts the cost of other skills, you can max most everything else by the end anyway. Honestly, I didn't bother with most of that specialty or super specialty shit. I didn't write any books, compose music, perform an orchestra, or draw any paintings. I'm a gamer, goddamit, not an artist! All I used were the battle skills, identify for unknown items, and training+kaigan for some extra exp and skill points. There's also a skill that allows you to increase/decrease encounter rate, which makes this the earliest game with adjustable encounter rate I've seen so far.

Do I look like a renaissance man? Oh shit, Caleb's slipping! The Janus coin!
Really, the only part of the game that you might want to plan for is which optional characters you want to take along since you only have space for about half of the recruitable characters. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to assemble my usual harem waifu team due to the fact that some characters require other characters to join so I went with Ashlay (old dude), Perisie (cat girl), Joshua, and Eris (#bae). I had to give up on Marvel and Fear to get Eris but it was worth it as she's my fav character (so far).

Now all I need is for Joshua to get in an "accident"
There's quite a bit of content to enjoy based on which characters you recruit, especially since most of the dialogues are fully voiced in this remake. Given that this is made by the team behind Tales of Phantasia, of course you would expect the characters to interact in the form of skits. In this game, they're called Private Actions and just like Phantasia, they are fun skits where the characters interact and talk about stupid shit like which is better, cats or dogs? I enjoy these skits especially when they're fully voiced as I feel more invested in the characters and hence the game itself.

Not sure why they changed the names, Fear is totally cooler than Phia or whatever
I was quite impressed at the variety of PAs. I imagine your experience would be quite different depending on your combination of characters. For instance, there were a couple funny PAs that involve the cat girl trying to eat the bird man that requires you to have Joshua and Perisie. While I'm not so gung ho as to try replaying the game with every possible combination, I do intend to do another play-through later since I missed out on Fear, Welch, and the dude that looks like Ranma with glasses. Unfortunately, there is no new game+ option and actually finding the PAs is kind of a big pain in the ass and a big time sink.

This PA was actually quite funny as she's MK5 about the present you gave Iria
Unlike the Tales series where you can press a button at any time, you have to go to each individual town and enter it via private action and your party goes into the town separately to do their own shit. Then, you have to FIND your party members scattered at random places in the town to see any skits. If you see a skit, more often than not, you have to exit the town and re-enter it to see the NEXT skit. I probably wasted several hours running through each town looking for all 7 of my party members. Perisie especially was a pain in the ass to find when she's a fucking cat.

Besides the mess of menus and annoyance of finding PAs, the rest of the game is pretty good. I mean, sure, with auto targeting on, the combat is just mashing L+R to train your special moves but whatever. There's also a lot of waiting for long spell animations which don't seem to be skippable. It's all pretty easy to breeze through except of course, they had to add a difficulty spike for the last boss. So that was the only time I even cared about what accessories to use (the ones that halve light and dark damage) and even grinded out a bunch of levels. Fortunately, the ally AI is very good so I just made sure to keep giving my spell casters crack blackberries and they did all the rest.

Whoa, 3D battles! (proceeds to spam all of two buttons)
The part I really appreciated in the remake was the fine attention to details for the environments the likes of which I have not seen since Sora no kiseki. While I did not play the original SFC version, it's clear Square Enix went all out on interior decorating in the remake. I didn't much care for the character design (Ratix especially looks like he has the IQ of a squirrel) but got dayum, with the accent rugs, finely detailed stone stairs, and beautiful shelving carved from the wall, it's like a HGTV porn show.

You'd be surprised how expensive nice rugs are
Most lazy RPGs either reuse textures or even recycle entire shops but oh no, not THIS remake. Every single location is unique and modeled with exquisite detail. Even empty rooms that serve absolutely no purpose has detailed patterns on blankets and posh room dividers with intricate grating.

Who else stared for 2 straight minutes at the amazing stonework on the stairs? Anybody?
I love it when developers put tons of work and polish into little things that ordinary philistine gamers probably don't give two shits about. But hey, if the Japanese dude that worked on the background miraculously happens to read this, I hope he knows that I fully appreciated the effort.

Pfft, that shit is SO last season. I have standards.

Score: 3 hmm time to look into a new credenza out of 5 (30 hours to beat)

Overall, I think Star Ocean 1 is an average good time, at least the remake. Sure, it has some warts, and I didn't even talk about the plot because, well, I just didn't have much to say about it. I did find it ironic that the intro anime reminded me of Xenogears and the last part of the game felt super rushed just like Xenogears. However, to compare the plot would be an injustice as there's just not that much going on in this one. I'm not even sure if the game's intro has anything to do with the plot. I thought the problem was on the Mua continent, I don't remember an entire planet blowing up? Ah well, whatever.

I totally have never seen this before
Anyway, all I'm trying to say is I had fun with the game and that's good enough for me to keep the UMD especially since Nintendo fucking sunk the emuparadise UMD backup battleship. Reserving space in my limited closet space is probably the best endorsement you can get from me. It helped that the music near the end of the game was top notch. I especially liked the Star Wars homage with the John Williams theme that plays right around when you get the force sword. You know, cause Star Wars was still good back then. #troll

The Star Wars influence is strong in this one

The original voiced intro on the SFC version was also a very strong nod to Star Trek and technically I have to give props for adding voiced audio to a SFC game.

Typical misogynistic woman serving coffee. Score: -12 out of 10 (IGN)

Finally, for the obligatory Jhipster commentary, it was really annoying that they decided to change the cast member's names to lame shit like Phia or Mavelle instead of super hero type names such as Fear and Marvel. I bet they wouldn't do that shit today now that Marvel and DC are mainstream Hollywood franchises and not just for the nerds to be ridiculed back in the day (yeah, totally not bitter). ANYWAYS, as usual, the JP voice acting in this remake is way better than the typical anime dub English job so I wholeheartedly suggest playing the OG version. So yeah, Dick Smallberries Jr can just go suck it. Blackberries that is, they're delicious.

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In search of GOTY for 1987

The Family Disk System had a amazing lineup in its first year but perhaps it was a fire that burned too brightly, too soon. I don't know if it's because they figured out some new cart technology or what but 1987 is the year that FDS peaked before beginning its quick descent into irrelevance. Besides Zelda 2, Doki Doki Panic (aka Mario 2, thanks marketing!), and a handful of other titles, it's clear that the FDS add-on was losing steam and the base Famicon unit was the way to go for mainstream gaming. Unless of course, you were rich and part of the PC 88/98 fap machine master race but more on that later.


Right out the gate, Enix released Dragon Quest II for the FC in January and while I thought it was a big pile of dookie, the Japanese kids loved the crap out of it (pun intended). Personally, I attribute that to an extremely foggy pair of nostalgia glasses; maybe some of you will disagree. When it comes to Enix, I was far more interested in JESUS, and while that unfortunately turned out to be just so-so, at least I got to fap enjoy some of the nice PC88 master race graphics.

Hell yeah, PC (88) MASTER race!!

The other game I definitely do intend to check out from Enix is Wingman Special. Besides a couple action games that I tend to avoid on PC88 such as Dragon Buster and ガンダーラ -仏陀の聖戦-, that pretty much wraps it up for Enix (also World Golf 2 which, who the fuck cares).


Fake news
Of course, since I'm talking about Enix, you're probably wondering, what about Square? Well it turns out, unlike Enix, Square had essentially given up on the PC and besides one FC port and Genesis, became a Nintendo exclusive 3rd party slave dev.

Besides a bunch of FC and FDS titles I totally don't care about, I do intend to check out Nakayama Miho no Tokimeki High School though the primitive FC graphics is gonna make it tough. I did try Cleopatra no Mahō a bit and the difficulty was brutal so I'll need to reserve some grit for that.

Yeah, yeah, I didn't forget about Final Fantasy, releasing at the end of 1987 in December. Now, I only played the PSP remake but I think it's just too little, too late to be a GOTY contender. I enjoyed DQ more and even though I hated DQ2, I don't feel FF1 is innovative enough to be GOTY. Yes, the ending was original and mildy interesting but the rest of the game was nothing we hadn't seen before.

Phantasy Star

I loved the Master System as a kid growing up because well... it was all I had. As I mentioned, the hardware was solid without all that crazy blowing and pressing reset my friends were doing at the time. Even though the number of games released was quickly dwarfed by the far more popular FC, you at least got Phantasy Star this year. Of course, I was ignorant and poor and never did get to play or own it as a kid.

Finally, 3 decades later, I played the Switch version and it was good. Probably one of the best games for this year. I was tempted to make it GOTY but the ending just didn't do it for me. For now, I'm going to say it's a close 2nd.

Super Wonder Boy

Speaking of the Master System, Wonder Boy is the first game I remember beating as a kid. I don't know all the version differences and have no idea why they put Takahashi Meijin in the other port but this game was a BITCH to beat without a cheat code (which I didn't have cause no internet). I certainly wouldn't be able to do it today. The game is meh but got dayum, I will never, EVER forget this fucking song.


Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei

I did a full write up of the first Megami Tensei game and I thought it was a bit simple but still fun times for an early DRPG. I liked the overall setting and so far have not seen any previous game that so blatantly doesn't give a shit about using religion as source material. I have not played the original FC version but based on my time with the SFC remake, this is my GOTY so far for the unique setting and demon fusion.

It's too bad the PC Telenet version was an overhead action (flicker hell) game cause seriously it looks and sounds SO much better than the kiddie FC graphics and music. Maybe I'll try it one day... maybe.

I COULD have used the naked girl pic but I'm not a click baiter... also I already got flagged by Adsense.

Sierra On-Line

Sierra nerds will recognize the reference to the cover art for Softporn Adventure

Sierra in those days was still undeniably a pioneer in interactive ADV games that doesn't involve endless menu selections. Sure, Enix tried to have a very, very basic walking simulator in JESUS, but it was nothing like King's Quest. Sierra is still a powerhouse in 1987, releasing Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest II. That's quite a fucking lineup.

Police Quest is undoubtedly one of my favorite series giving you the illusion of being a REAL policeman even though it's totally fake. I even enjoyed that god awful game SWAT cause how else is a kid going to learn about cold barrel shots without, you know, living in the south? #NRA #ColdDeadHands #CantFixStupid #MAGA

A quick aside but can you imagine if you involved company employees for a hot tub cover art today? Boy, I didn't know 1981 was so cool. why didn't they tell me? C'mon, let the baby know what's up!

My pick is Roberta William, hawt and made King's Quest
Still, while these games are laced with nostalgia crack for me, I don't think they stand the test of time for GOTY. All great games for their time but I probably won't recommend for the "30 FPS gives me headache" kids.

Other games I tried

I guess I should mention that the first Ys game was released this year as well. I like Ys, especially the remake on the PSP. But once again, the choppy nature of action games on the PC88 doesn't make this first version exactly what I would call GOTY.

I dig the intro screen ofc, very classy

Tantei Jinguji Saburo Shinjuku Chuo Koen Satsujin Jiken

Another game I also played and for some crazy reason actually finished was the first Tantei Jinguji game on the FDS. It was pretty bad in every department but since it's one of the longest surviving game franchises besides Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, I thought it at least bears mentioning.

Definitely a rough start for another murder mystery series. I would not recommend anybody waste their time on it. If there was a GOTY category for most contrived setting, this would be a winner. Hmm, maybe I should start a stinker of the year series...


1987 seems like the year the FC finally exploded in mainstream popularity in terms of the sheer number of action and platform titles. They're not really my genre but sure, I enjoyed playing Contra as a kid at my friend's house (FC port was in 1988 but it was on arcades in '87).

I briefly tried the first Rockman via the handy collection on PS4 and while I can appreciate that pattern training can be fun for some, I'm not some sort of fucking Google AI neural network that gets my algorithmic rocks off by learning patterns via repetition. Just not my genre and if you have a problem with it, start your own goddamn blog or YT channel. Too bad there's no money in it no more. What we gonna do now without all that ad money? Play games for fun? Pfft, get the fuck outta here.


Man, that background just looks lazy...

Based on an anime, the Japanese title is Akai Koudan Zillion. I played the English version when I was a kid way back in the day. It's kind of like Metroid but with terminals and 3 playable characters. I only beat this game once and I vaguely remember it being a real pain in the ass. I liked the game but far from being GOTY.

Kung Fu Kid

Another Sega Master System game I played as a kid called Makai Retsuden in Japan though of course I had no clue at the time. I really dug this game, and got good enough where I could beat it in an afternoon when I got bored. It was really fun to jump kick everywhere and throw your Ofuda paper thing. Pretty fun and simple game.

PC Engine

It's also worth noting that the PC Engine was launched on October 30 of this year with a paltry 2 games as launch titles and 3 more released in the subsequent 2 months. One of the launch titles: Shanghai is a simple matching game using Mahjong tiles. I played Shanghai on the Master System a shit ton as a kid because there was literally nothing else to play. It's nothing to write home about.

The other launch title Bikkuriman World is basically Wonder Boy: Monster Land but the characters changed up. It was a bit interesting to finally get to play the sequel to a game I played so much as a kid but the difficulty level is brutal and I'm too old for this shit now.

Thank goodness Hudson released The Kung Fu, probably the only good game out of bunch that isn't a port. It's a pretty fun action game but too simple to be GOTY. The character details are graphically impressive if all you know is the Famicom and you haven't been fapping to PC-88 porn. Too bad kids these days just comment "Hi Score Girl!" because it was briefly shown in the anime.

I watched the anime too, so what?

Games I plan to try later

Too many to list here, there's just so many potentially cool games on PC88, MSX, etc. for example Metal Gear.

ブレインズ 電子脳攻撃司令