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Monday, December 30, 2019

The Legend of Zelda(ゼルダの伝説)

Well it's the end of the decade and what better way to end it by playing a classic that is now over 33(!) years old: Zeruda no Densetsu. What a great way to make myself feel freakin' old that is! Yes, here at Jhipster blog, us humble gamers take pride in not playing all that fancy new shit. I didn't buy any new games this year and put them into a hoarder box still sealed and untouched. Nope, totally did NOT do that.

Anyways, I was working on my 1988 GOTY list, checking out Fire Bam on the FDS that vaguely resembled Zelda II and then remembered I never played the first one and so here we are a few days and 7 hours of gameplay later and I'm happy to report that this 33 year-old, out of shape beer belly, middle age crisis Tesla buying game still holds up really well! And no, that description has absolutely no bearing on my personal appearance whatsoever!

Getting off my fat arse to switch to Disk Side B not shown here

This Famicom Disk System launch title really does justify buying an FDS at the time in Japan. The poor Japanese kids wouldn't get the FC version until 1994, years after the Super Famicom was already out! Sure, you have to flip the disk and deal with loading, but it's an amazing game for its time and even more so considering it was one of the launch titles on the system. Now, I obviously haven't played every game before 1986 but I have to believe this is the first action adventure game of this type.
"1 star, don't speak fucking french" -review on Amazon Japan

The title screen has a quick summary of the setting and story in English, I guess because it looks cool? Amazingly, it is grammatically correct and gets the point across. At least they were nice enough to ask you to look at the "book" in their customers' native language. I'm assuming they're referring to the game's manual.

Which button do I press to see this book?

Fortunately, due to the re-release of this game on the Famicom mini console, you can read a beautiful scan by Nintendo themselves (how nice!). I took a look at the English version and they "erroneously" translated Zelda's wet nurse Impa as a "nursemaid". Talk about discriminating against a perfectly legitimate and reputable profession. Time to go wild on Twitter! #CENSORSHIP2019 #BOYCOTTNOW

Kanji for "breast" + "mother" = "wet nurse". See, Japanese is so EASY!

I've always been intimidated by this game as you have pretty much almost full reign of the overworld map with no clear direction on the next destination. There's no giant rock blocking most of the way here until you get the right item to progress, this is old-school. However, playing with a guide, this game is probably just as fun as any of the more modern Zelda games. I don't feel bad about using a guide (sparingly) because honestly some of the hidden shit screams "please subscribe to Nintendo Power" marketing to me. For example, I don't think there was any hint on how to find the Magic sword.

Sure this one was easy to find but try to find the Magic Sword (Google time!)

Once you know which trees to burn with the candle and get a better sword and tunic, I found the difficulty was pretty fair though most of the bosses are pretty easy. I mean of course it is, you play a character that can burn a fucking tree with a candle for god's sakes! The hardest dungeon is probably the 6th level. That weird jelly enemy that steals your magic shield was SO ANNOYING.

The fact that you can only save when you die also really made it hard for me to put the game down (literally). I played the GBA version so no sissy save states or "life of luxury" mode for the privileged kids. Nintendo nowadays is all kid family friendly with the, "oh maybe you should take a break" messages. However, in this game, after you beat a dungeon, you get back all your health as if to invite you to keep playing and that's what I did instead of going to work or being a responsible member of society. Great game, thanks Nintendo!

Score: 4 breast moms out of 5 (7 hours to beat)

Great innovation! Ok, time to make like 20 sequels now!

I have to hand it to Nintendo here. They managed to create an entire new genre on a system launch title, which is really impressive. The open world exploration, smooth and fun action gameplay, this is a game that really wouldn't work on the PC-88/98. Ys doesn't come on PCs until a year later and it's choppy as hell. I missed out as a Sega kid, and only vaguely remember the snake from Golvellius at some other kid's house but I'm pretty sure it's not as good as this game.

There's also great replay value with the second quest after you beat the game for the first time. I haven't played the second quest yet but I still think it's amazing that they included a remix of the whole game. They certainly don't do that anymore at least for free. (Hard mode DLC only 800 yen!)

I definitely think for 1986 in terms of innovation, this deserves a 4 star great game score. The only minor downside is the fact that you need a guide and a lack of variety in the music. The overworld and dungeon themes are great, they didn't grate on my ears even after hours of gameplay. But those are the only two songs you hear the whole game except for the intro screen, the last dungeon, and the ending credits.

Scale
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, December 13, 2019

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?(超時空要塞マクロス 愛・おぼえていますか)

If one of my many, many readers were to ask me which I liked more, Gundam or Macross, I would definitely have to go with Macross. As my long-time readers are aware, I like music so that's a no-brainer for Macross. I also think the battles with Valkyries are cooler, the way they transform to take advantage of each form etc. Though I'm not quite sure the point of the half plane/robot form.

So far, I've only watched the first Macross TV series (all 36 episodes!), Macross Frontier, and the first movie from which this game is based on. The movie is pretty good though the plot is obviously super rushed to fit 36 TV episodes in under two hours. The soundtrack is awesome and the old school hand drawn battle scenes are simply amazing with intricate details we'll likely never see again with all this fancy computer shit these days (old man grumblings).

God, I love this 80s shit!

As for the game, I played the PS1 version and it is a pretty good looking side-scrolling shooter. It also summarizes the movie in between levels with a mix of short animated clips and some audio narration. You may want to watch the movie first before playing the game unless you really want to save yourself time from watching the movie.

Intro cutscene in the game actually takes place before the movie
So yeah, the presentation is pretty good and it plays ok as a game. However, there's only like 11 levels and you can literally beat the whole thing in a day. As a busy, pro reviewer, I love that I can finish the whole game in no time and put it up for sale on ebay. Being a shmup (EXTREMELY RARE!!! BID NOW!!!), I'm hoping to make a little profit by selling this back. Sooo glad I didn't waste that money on an S&P 500 ETF fund, making market average returns like a real adult.

The graphics are pretty good for a PS1/Saturn game
Now, I'm not like a super expert shooter gamer. Sure, I played the shit out of Astro Warrior as a kid and almost beat U.N. Squadron (rented, never owned unfortunately) and as a typical gaming hoarder, I have a stack of games to play one of these days. But even as a novice to the genre, I really wouldn't say this was a good shooting game. It's more about experiencing the movie via a video game like one cool part where you play it sideways. (Is playing a side-scrolling shooter on the side actually like playing it straight? Here at Jhipster Gamer, we tackle life's most important questions!)

1st level again, I assure you I beat the game, just not on an emulator for screenshots #FakeGamer
I mean, yeah, it's technically a game. For instance, you can change forms and I guess it kinda matters because only the robot form can shoot backwards and when the boss is in background but really, it doesn't matter for the most part. Mostly, you'll just be constantly holding down and releasing the square button to fire like a million missiles. There's also not a lot of room for you to maneuver because you take up so much of the screen. This becomes particularly apparent when the Meltrandi show up.

Score: 2.5 prepare to be humming those damn catchy 80s tunes for a while out of 5 (optional 0.5 bonus Jhipster smugness points for never having to know what the fuck Robotech is)

Captain, we have Harmony Gold USA on target, permission to fire?

Overall, despite not being a very good game, it's a pretty nice package as long as you didn't pay full retail price for a few hours of gameplay. I played through it twice on normal and hard and I was like, "Meh, I guess it was fun." At the very least, it gave me a good reason to finally finish watching the movie. I felt bad for Minmay, I would definitely marry her or even Iijima Mari if she wasn't like 60 now. Sigh...

Oh man, if I could travel back in time...

Scale
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, October 23, 2019

Criminal Girls 2(クリミナルガールズ2)

I pride myself on never buying games at full retail price on release but gosh darn, I liked Criminal Girls INVITATION so much that I couldn't resist pre-ordering the sequel with scented eyemask, etc. (Still smells good!) I did however inexplicably manage to resist shelling out for the spanking stick (I dunno even what to call it) as tempting as the notion of owning such a great collector's item would be for my game collection (plz, plz pick up on the sarcasm).


Oh hi hunny, didn't see you there! Oh this? It's nothing, just my new video game

But alas, before even starting the game, I knew that it would be missing that Imageepoch magic that's so hard to measure called "fun". I played it for a few hours and dropped it due to its grindy nature and the slightly off putting character design. Now, almost 4 years later, I finally grinded the plat out in about 50 hours. NIS released a patch soon after release to add a "Casual" mode probably realizing their "Normal" difficulty was the equivalent of "it's just like Dark Souls!" mode in other RPGs. Still, I managed to resist the temptation to lower the difficulty all the way up to the final true boss.

After grinding for a few more hours, I tried to beat the last boss at level 51 but it kept healing itself faster than I could damage it so I eventually cracked and set it to casual. Yeah yeah, I know, gamer fail. Maybe now, I can finally be a pro reviewer and actually make some money. At least you get a ton of exp so I did eventually beat it on normal at level 56 after beating it in casual 4-5 times. Yes, you have to beat the final boss and true final boss 8 times each (16 total) to watch all the endings. Ugh.

This is just like that time I beat Sekiro without using my hands

The endings aren't even all that great. It's like one CG per girl (reused twice) and some bit of dialogue. The other major disappointment was the lack of content after the final boss. Based on the first game, I was hopefully expecting both Maya and Enri to join your party. But no, unlike the amazing end of the first game, the post endgame content was just a token 2 extra floors and yay another boss you have to beat 8 more times... RIP Imageepoch, how I miss you so.

This doesn't include the 5 hours in the other save file for beating the previous final boss BLEH

The battle system while pretty much the same on the surface to the first game, somehow felt lacking. They added a coaching mechanic that will help or hinder depending on not sure exactly what but I didn't really find it that useful. Also, the skills didn't seem to complement each other for any cool strategies. The reason why the first game was so fun was how sometimes things play out just right like a finely tuned Magic deck. This game was just like, "ugh Yurine, why oh why didn't you suggest the revenge move when you know the boss is about to hit your party like 10 freakin' times. STUPID GIRL!"

Hey don't judge me because my girls are all S instead of M!

On the other hand, the punishment... err excuse me, motivation portions definitely pushed that Cero D rating to the limit. The funny part was the game was obviously self aware of the times with dialogue along the lines of, "Sensei, you'll get locked up for that these days." And then it proceeds to show one of your students chained up so that her face is pressed up against Shinoa's breasts. Kuroe especially was like got dayum! Hope the UN doesn't see this! (For more reasons than one) I'll have to self-censor adjust this next screenshot to align closer to global values as non-Jhipsters might not be able to handle it. After all, my $.001 of monthly Adsense money is at stake here. #FreeH■■■K■■■

Hey, I'm just trying to protect the pride of "our" country (wink wink)

Overall, I enjoyed the game, my negativity really just speaks to how good the first game was. This one is pretty decent as sequels go. It certainly didn't destroy the whole premise of the first game and shat on my childhood memories like the turd Chrono Cross. It's more of the same just... not as good. Ok, but not great. At least coupling TWO girls in motivation really shows innovation in that department.

Screenshot to illustrate the S&M mechanic, what are you trying to look at??

Also, always a nice Jhipster smugness bonus when the English version is censored though it just looks weird because they mostly just removed the chains/bindings yet kept them in the same positions. At this point, I would normally complain that the fact that these games weren't kept in Japan contributed to the climate of commercial games today but honestly with all that's going on with the cancer of Twitter and FB and the fact that anybody can become outraged at anything, I feel like it was inevitable. Some (don't know of a better way to say this) white guy thinks Love Live! is somehow better than another anime sexually(?) even though it's the shittiest anime I've ever seen. In summary, we're all fucking doomed.

Couldn't have said it better myself, Enri...

Score: 3.5 I'm not one of those creepy bloggers agonizing about Tifa's breast size in the FF7 remake but while we're on the topic, what cup size did the pixel analysis indicate? out of 5 (50 hours to beat)

The 16 repetitive boss fights and especially the lack of effort at the end left such a sour taste at the end, I honestly wanted to dock the score down to a 3 average but as one of the last games of this type we'll likely ever see (at least on Censorstation), I left it at a 3.5 and poured one out for the end of an ecchi era. If Criminal Girls X comes out on consoles, I'll probably buy it, but I'm sure it'll be watered down. After all, it's not censored if you do it to yourself right resetera??

It's not censorship because the devs are trying to make money! #LOGIC

Scale
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, October 22, 2019

Double Cast(ダブルキャスト)

Long time readers of the blog (all 2 of you) may have noticed some recurring themes. Honestly, I'm running out of timely and topical material to keep these posts interesting. After all, there is nothing more boring than reading somebody's breakdown of a video game in a "traditional" review.

One issue is that YouTube is now a pedophile infested commercial sell out and I'm no longer interested in watching  "collectors" engage in their unhealthy obsessions. Speaking of unhealthy buying habits, there are going to be lots of anime games coming up. As I found out with Momotenshi, these games are great to blast through in about 5-10 hours and are easy to purge from the ever growing pile.

So why don't I start by giving a quick summary of the story of Double Cast, follow it up with my thoughts on the gameplay, and conclude with the good and bad points about the game... BOOOORIIIING!!

Wake me when you're finished or if Shitaku shuts down

Double Cast is the first title in the Yarudora series of anime games that I'm working on purging. As an anime, the animation is a bit rough at times and it's definitely not as well produced as Momotenshi. There were several scenes where it looked it was drawn by different people. However, it has a skip feature so that's a big advantage. Unfortunately, the skip option is buried in the option so I actually slogged through it 10 or so times before discovering the feature.

Not very automatic if you have to press △ IMO...
I played the PSP version as I owned the UMD (emphasis on the past tense). Fortunately, there is no real issue with the aspect ratio because the original PS1 game also had widescreen with a big black section for the text. You can either choose to view the text on top or adjust the aspect ratio to make room on the bottom. (why would you do that?)

I swear, this is like the 3rd WicDonalds I've seen in a anime/game.
Unlike some of the more "anime" type of anime games, this is definitely an ADV game with a whole butt load of endings and a fair number of dialogue choices. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out which choices mattered and I got stuck on a couple of bad endings. After the frustration of getting the same ending a few times, I eventually resorted to looking up a guide. The guide, by the way, has a whopping FORTY-FOUR playthroughs to get 100% completion. Like, fuck that shit, I played through it enough to watch all the endings and even then I only got like 93% or so. Good enough for me, I say.

These black screens show the MC's emotion without showing his face
Some saavy gamer who's played this game might catch me in the act and say, "Hey, these screenshots are from like the first 5 minutes of the game! I bet you didn't even play it!!" Oh my, you got me! Time to make an apology video on YT. I'M GOING VIRAL!!! Actually, I just loaded this up in an emulator to post some screenshots after I played it for like 15 hours (most of it spent watching it skip forward). I never could bother to figure out those plugins or whatnot on my PSP to take screenshots.

Trigger warning! There are a couple panty shots. (Spoiler: Pure white)
Score: 2 the panti is pure white but the girl... not so much out of 5 (15 hours played)

Kidding about trigger warnings aside, this anime/game is not super gory like Elfen Lied but the fact that I even compared the two might be a sign that some shit is going to go down. By the way, am I crazy or is Elfen Lied not even that great an anime?

Overall, I found the story pretty cliché and mediocre. I mean, it's a group of college kids making a movie and the title is Double Cast. Not so hard to guess what the game is about. The OST at least was pretty good. I jammed to a few tunes.


Granted, I haven't played a ton of these interactive anime games but the mechanics at least were ok provided you looked in the options menu. I can only hope that the later games offer up a better story and animation. However, watching the same anime over and over with a few scene variations is not exactly my cup of tea so maybe this isn't my type of genre. At the very least, I was able to sell this one on the ol' eBays to pay off 1% of my latest payday loan. #MAGA (obligatory hashtag)

Scale
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, September 16, 2019

Ikatan: Ikamono Tantei(いかもの探偵 -IKATAN-)

Ikamono Tantei is one of those games that come from the golden age of when Japanese game companies didn't need to make money overseas but then again CyberFront is gone so maybe they did need the money. This game isn't even very good and I would've been quite upset if I bought it at full price in 2008. Fortunately, I was too busy working 12 hour days as a salaryman corporate slave back then to buy low budget DS titles on day one. Anyways, the main appeal of this game seems to be the cross-dressing main character: Kai.

Oh the resetera threads I could make with this

The actual offensive thing about the whole poking game (or "non-consensual gaming" as Sony Cali would label it), is that it's just a cheap token segment that appears exactly once and has nothing to do with the rest of the game design. The gameplay is the weakest part of this mediocre game as it consists of you tapping highlighted key words in the dialogue and selecting the right key word at the end of each chapter to solve the mystery.

The dialogue won't progress until you tap the keyword so you can't miss them though then it begs the question,"why can't the game just pick it up for you?" This is yet another one of those games that just annoys you by having to touch the screen every once in a while. Not utilizing hardware gimmicks effectively seem to be a common theme for most games on every Nintendo platform starting from the DS and Wii.

INNOVATION!
Other than the pointless "gameplay", I thought the characters were pretty funny. The story tries to be unique in that you are solving silly and pointless mysteries apparently called "ikamono". For example, in the second chapter, there's a weird man dressed as cat that refuses to leave the Iriomote cat exhibit. The character illustrator for this game worked on the original novel illustrations for Boogie Phantom, yet another anime I need to watch one of these days.

Looks way better then Chrono Cross at least

Anyways, the best part of this game if you bought it used for about $5 like myself, is that you can finish it in like 5 hours. However, if you want to unlock the last 4 omake episodes, you need to collect ALL the keywords in each of the 4 chapters. I successfully did this for the first chapter but gave up after trying to visit every location on the map dressed as both male and female and still ended up missing some keywords.

Each of the total of 12 omake episodes are just a small bit of dialogue and I'm OK with only having read through 9 of them. I only have so much time left to play all my shit after all.

Score: 2 yet another game nobody cares about (including myself) out of 5

On a completely random side note, I played through Heavenly Sword after this game and it also has a character named Kai. What a weird coincidence!

Scale
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

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Dai Obake Yashiki(大幽霊屋敷 〜浜村淳の実話怪談〜)

Funny Jhipster story, I was searching for info on this game based on the cover art of the copy that yes I physically own and Google had to autocorrect because I thought 幽 was actually 山. The cover designer thought it would be clever to make little blue ghost lights instead of properly writing out the little 幺 parts. To add insult to injury, that's not even the regular Kanji for a haunted house, it's like geesh, stop trying to be "artistic".

Oh thanks (read as: fuck you) for the furigana
Ok yeah, talking about Kanji isn't exactly like super fun blog post but really that's the most interesting thing I could come up with when talking about this borefest. Maybe I played too many horror games and am jaded. Other Jhipsters might find it scary but personally, this game was perfect for turning off the lights, laying in bed, and just fucking falling dead asleep like a log bored to tree sap tears. The spine card says, "Please don't play by yourself" and they're right. You can seriously injure yourself if you suddenly fall asleep in random places. In fact, they should have added an extra warning to never play when operating heavy machinery. Lawsuit waiting to happen right there, IMO.

It's unfortunately not half as scary as it looks
To sum up the "game", you go through a series of PS1 era CG tour of the haunted house while you hear or read scary stories from the staff. The scary stories are very typical ghost stories like, "I was walking home at night and I saw a ghost! Scary!" For some reason, there were a lot of stories about obasans. Total speculation here but I'm guessing it's because they could reuse various pictures of the same old lady with the scary make-up.

Geesh mom! How many times have I told you to knock first?!
There's was a minor meta story about the owner of the haunted house and I liked the credits as they show where ghosts are hiding in the real life pictures that were used throughout the game. I liked the 90s Japan aesthetics as well.

Hey, that's my apartment working as a coporate salaryman slave back in the day!
Score: 1.5 scariest part is when the obasan opens the door while you're masturbating out of 5

If the idea of an audio book of "scary" campfire stories on the PS1 appeals to you, go right ahead and give this a whirl. (Needless to say, you also need to be fluent in Japanese.) It was a good one for me to go through in a couple of nights because I've been having trouble going to sleep due to stress. Additional bonus, it's a time respecter so it was nice to be able to purge this one and make room for another game in my hoarder closet.

You'll need to play through it twice to read and hear all the stories but you can skip through the repeats pretty quickly which is I why I gave it an extra .5 score for being technically easy to blast through.

Scale
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 21, 2019

KOUDELKA(クーデルカ)

Continuing the tradition of documenting my gaming history on the internet for posterity (otherwise known as the cesspool annals), I have to say I never really got into Biohazard (Resident Evil for the non-Jhpsters). I was sufficiently hyped enough by a raving review in some gaming magazine to buy a copy on the ol' ebays but never could finish it. I wasn't a fan of the stupid tank controls (and no fuck you, bad controls don't "enhance" tension) and most importantly, the ribbons were torture for an obsessive saver like myself. I think I will enjoy the remake now that I'm more comfortable with the limited resources nature of survival horror but at the time I probably would have enjoyed KOUDELKA far more. It seems like the perfect game made for RPG fans like myself who want to get a little taste of the horror genre. In fact, I really wished Square had made Parasite Eve 2 more like this game instead of the shitty Biohazard clone that it is. Speaking of Parasite Eve, I wonder if the founders of Sacnoth "borrowed" some tech from Square because the CG cutscene at the end really reminded me of Parasite Eve.

Strong female protagonist but was weak as a child 2/10 - SJW Reviews
The one negative part about this game you'll likely hear are the super slow random encounter battles (probably by the same people that rave about the completely pointless and avoidable battle system in Chrono Cross). Personally, the slow battle system didn't bother me that much because you just don't have to fight as often as a regular 40-60 hour long RPG. This is a pretty short game I beat in about 12 hours and the random encounter rate is low enough that you could easily navigate several rooms before running into enemies. I didn't mind the short length because, 1) I got this game super cheap, and 2) I'm a pro gamer that needs my time to be respected. Joking aside, given the story and setting, I felt like 12 hours was about the right length.

 "Random encounters like this are why JRPGs died" - some know-it-all blogger
Overall, I found the game balance to be on the easy side as you level up pretty darn quick from just a few battles. All the bosses are pretty easy except of course for the gargoyle. I could not for the life of me figure out how to kill the gargoyle even with the gargoyle killer which requires you to save the game exactly 11:11:11 hours in with a certain number of items. Fortunately, the gargoyle is an optional boss and the final boss wasn't too hard as long as you use reflect even though you're supposed to lose for one of the endings. I also threw away the pendant to make room, which happens to be an item needed to beat the game but you can just get another one from the black cat at the last hidden save point.

One potential barrier to entry for casual gamers is figuring out how to allocate your stats as some of them are quirky. For example, Piety increases max MP you but it also makes you more resistant to healing. There's an in-game explanation of each stat that was handy. (Manuals? No thanks, I just ate.)

Oddly, the names are still in English for the reverse weebs
As for the story, I was thoroughly impressed at how good the writing and English VA was for a game made in Japan. I have so many questions about the script and cast for example, who is Vivianne Bateman, the VA for Koudelka and how did she get cast for the role? How did they do motion capture at a Santa Monica studio? Why was the word "gypsy" censored out of only the Japanese version of the game? Yes, in one cutscene, there were a bunch of annoying skips that seemed to be at very specific points during the dialog. Sure enough, looking up the same cutscene on YT, the audio cuts out every time the word "gypsy" is mentioned. Like Japanese people are totally listening to the English dialogue and would get super offended at the racial slur? #MJGA

We don't adhere to that kind of language here. We're equal opportunity killers.

Score: 3.5 the first law of ____ies is to never talk about ____ies out of 5 (12 hours to beat)

Overall, I enjoyed all 12 hours of my time playing this game and it ranks as an above-average game of the PS1 era for me. I'll definitely be keeping this one around in my hoarder collection. The plot is a fun, classic adventure with a motley cast that is both funny and interesting to watch as they learn about each other over the course of extraordinary events. The gameplay while flawed was still fun to play and the music was good. At the very least, I had way more fun than the shit turd Chrono Cross I played previously and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the series has to offer.

"I like how the music is not in your face" - random YT comment


Scale
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 9, 2019

Chrono Cross(クロノ・クロス)

Full disclosure, I'm pretty much a Chrono Trigger fanboy. I still remember watching the trailer over and over at Toys R Us with my jaws on the floor. Holy shit, the Toriyama Akira art, the amazing graphics, the music, it was a trifecta of perfection. I saved up my arubaito money and bought a shady CIB copy at the flea market for the cheap, cheap price of $70, probably like $100 in today's money adjusted for inflation.

As a stupid kid, I lost this poster along with the game.

Several years later, as an older and wiser gamer, I bought a used copy of Chrono Cross on eBay probably for like $15 or something. Despite not splurging on it on release like a craven Youtuber, I was still super hyped, that is until I started the game. The music was pretty good. It's not as good as Trigger's kami OST but not bad and that's about the only good thing I can say about the game. I eventually stopped playing around the part where you rescue Rideru not because the game was terrible but for a reason that's almost worse, it was just boring. This time, as a fully evolved Jhipster, I decided to finish at least the true ending hoping that the original Japanese script will make things better. It didn't really.

Meh, not my jam really.

Here's the deal, Chrono Cross is the kind of title hipster game journalists will hail as "underrated" as they masturbate to their droll, creative lit 101 inspired review. I'm just a dumb gamer so I'm gonna call this spade a duck (or whatever, I'm not a "pro" writer). This game fucking sucks ass.

You would imagine a team would have to mentally prepare themselves with balls of steel to create a follow-up to one of the greatest games of all time by the "Dream Team" of RPGs. For you kids, that term is no joke referring to a team with Jordan, Magic, Bird, Pippen, Barkley, and Ewing. It was like watching somebody play 2K with cheat codes in real life, to give you an idea of how ridiculously OP that was. So when the sequel doesn't even recognize the save files and makes me move the cursor to "Continue" every time and doesn't even remember the last save slot, I could already tell these fuckers did not take the task at hand seriously. How the fuck do you have the balls to make a sequel to Chrono Trigger with a sloppy and shitty UI? I know it sounds like nitpicking but it just shows a lack of polish that also speaks to the rest of the game.

Chrono Trigger team but more Japanese and slam dunking brilliant game design. 

As soon as you start the game, it's apparent that it looks nothing like the original and not in a good way. I'm not super picky about graphics but man, they couldn't cut Toriyama a check? The character design is so fucking generic. It's especially jarring for some characters that are supposed to look a certain way based on the first game and they totally don't.

I'm sorry but this looks like something a bunch of Korean contracters would knock out on the cheap

In addition, while the battle system is balanced, it's slow and boring as fuck. What makes an RPG fun like Dragon Quest and of course Chrono Trigger, is watching your characters get stronger as they progress. Apparently they forgot that, as well as, obviously missing Horii himself. In this game, you get a star and level up when you beat a boss but only very, very minor stat increases for regular battles so there is literally zero incentive to the whole thing. The economy is broken so there is no monetory incentive either. I spent the entire game trying to avoid the enemies as much as possible and still had little trouble beating the game. As a game, Chrono Cross isn't any fun, which is primarily why I stopped playing back in the day. But another reason I stopped was because the story just didn't go anywhere.

People don't understand the story because it's never shown, not because we're not "pro" enough to understand it. In the original game, we traveled around the world across many ages and experienced an amazing adventure first-hand whether it was dragging Robo's broken body to a dome or bumping into a cute girl at the festival by chance. In this game, some shitty ghost characters tell you some mumbo jumbo about multiverse and some Captain Planet shit about the planet moving cities to try to protect itself from humans or whatever. But really, what you're actually doing is going back and forth to the same but slightly different set of islands, collecting shit and fighting boring enemies with no backstory. The switching was especially annoying too. What, they couldn't make it a menu option? You constantly have to go back to the beach, skip the cutscene, go talk to this character, collect an item, etc., and switch again for the next thing. I don't remember what happened in which world and honestly it doesn't even matter.

At least Jhipsters don't have to read Kid's stupid Australian accent, eh mate?
You never get to leave the islands, you don't get to see the main continent they keep talking about, you're just going to the same tiny islands at least twice cause you know, alternate reality! Wow, what a clever way to recycle the same shit... Urr I mean set up an "equally valid, separate, and well-developed world" that's not a "rehash" to quote a "pro" journalist. It really reeks of a low budget game maybe because they were so busy writing tiny variations of dialogue for all the random characters that join you for no reason.

I don't know what the fuck they were thinking with all the random characters. Most don't add jack to the game and you're not going to convince me that their little side stories are equivalent to the deep character development from the original. They also tried to do a half-hearted token shoehorn of Maou but instead fucked up one of baddest, coolest villians in game history.

Fuck you Arufu, you ain't shit

And that's my major beef with this game. It's not a horrible game, it functions and would normally be around a 2.5 score but I cannot forgive it for fucking with the story of Chrono Trigger. They added this ending in the later DS version as a tie-in to Chrono Cross, kind of like how that stupid Anakin kid shows up at the end of the "enhanced" version of Return of the Jedi instead of Darth Vader.

Meesa thinks this game sucksa.

It's the most pathetic ending I've ever seen that just left a bad taste in my mouth. Basically, there's a boss you're not strong enough to beat because you have to wait for Serge or some shit. Yes, the original cast with better design, infinitely better character development, been through way more shit than just floating around some islands somehow couldn't deal with it. Instead, Serge has to... you know what? I don't even know what the fuck he did. The story is so abstract and lectured to you, what did Serge actually do besides being born? The true ending with the Chrono Cross melody that I had to google ends the whole thing with a final boring lecture. I had more fun watching a documentary about quantum physics. (To be fair, quantum physics is cool... and WEIRD.)

Score: 1.5 Jar Jar Binks out of 5 imagine if Solo doesn't even shoot in the cantina but instead lectures about protecting the environment. (40 hours to beat)

Apparently, Chrono was too busy drinking green milk to deal with things this time. Actually, the game never explains that part. It leaves a lot of things unexplained, which hipsters love. But Katou, I just wanted a fun game. If I wanted to play some artsy, hipster shit, I would rather play Moonlight Syndrome and that pretty much sums up how much I hated this sacrilegious "Indiana Jones Crystal Skull" level of butt fuckery.

To explain why I can't help, first, are you familiar with string theory?

Scale
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, July 24, 2019

IA/VT -COLORFUL-

I was pretty hyped for IA/VT Colorful as evidenced by the fact that I bought it only 8 months after release. As a cheapo gamer, I try to wait for the "Best" garbage edition before I buy the OG cover that's actually resellable. That puke yellow shit is practically unsellable on eBay. (#GamerTips)

Ah, the old "fuck you, buy the original release ya cheapskate!" edition.

Given that I only know of two other non-Miku Vocaloid console rhythm games: the GUMI-defiling atrocity Megpoid and Project 575, I was looking forward to this as one of the few alternatives from Sega's grip on the micro-genre (my own pro game journalist term for "niche" like "micro-celebrities" minus the dick pics). On the other hand, I also wanted to save this one for a rainy day so I only played a bit here and there. Fast forward a full 3 years after buying the game, I decided it was fine time to wrap it up.

So stupid! I'll never be PRO game journalist if I keep finishing my games!!
First off, the major big benefit of playing the one and only rhythm game based on IA Vocaloid is that all the songs are totally new with nothing recycling from previous games (there aren't any duh). I have to give major props to the nice selection of songs included within the game (gasp!) and the professional quality unlike the ParaPhray amateurs with Megpoid. As the title implies, the UI and gameplay are very colorful and pleasant to the eyes.

Of course there's DLC. 300 yen per song with no set discount?! Pfft, skip.
The songs and PVs are all good, including some really musically interesting (aka weird) tracks such as Chiri Chiri Juso. I really liked the songs by out of survice and Party Party was also pretty catchy just to highlight a few. All in all, the tracks were solid and I have to say some of the animation on a couple of PVs were outstanding.

Good shit, I watched this in PV mode at least 3 times

However, one minor downside is that this game was not as fun as the Diva games in terms of playing around with costumes and accessories. First of all, only a smaller selection of songs support costumes (no accessories) and it just wasn't as fun to play dress up. Also, there are no mini games or having to spend hours to get a stupid goddamn cuckoo clock. That's a good thing if you didn't get my drift. In fact, I'm not even sure why you have to go to the items menu to "get" your costumes after they unlock because you don't need any sorts of points to get em.

No Diva points to grind here and most importantly no fucking patty cake.

In terms of the gameplay, I found that the difficulty was very fair. The double presses are always parallel eg up+triangle, left+square so the platinum is very doable for those comfortable with the genre. The only tricky parts are some of step up plays on hard mode. The random mode is the only way you get double key press that don't match and that can get quite confusing. I was not able to finish all the steps because of the 10 star difficulty with hidden notes on STEP 21. I might be able to do it with a lot of practice but it's not required for the platinum so I didn't feel like it.

DJMax veterens be like, "Is this a joke?"

Score: 3.5 now, can somebody PLEASE make a decent GUMI game?? out of 5 (37 hours for platinum)

Add another solid title for the Vita as one of if not the best handheld console for rhythm games. I thoroughly enjoyed this little "hidden gem" from Marvelous. Now, Diva F 2nd is totally a better game in many ways but since it has all those songs from the PSP titles, I gave this one the same score for being totally fresh. I don't know a lot of IA songs but I can see myself becoming a fan. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sort of sequel in the works but one can hope.

As an aside, this game is rated Cero C with a needle icon likely due to just one song. Boy, those Japanese sure are sensitive about drugs. Oh I know! Let's rip IA from all media works as punishment! (RIP Judge Eyes Pierre)

Another favorite track of mine though it has drugs. #Boycott!

Scale
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, June 25, 2019

Murder Club(殺人倶楽部)

The legacy of the J.B. Harold series of detective ADV games goes back even further than the Tantei Jinguji Saburo series, though it doesn't seem to have the same miraculous tenacity. The series sadly got into the dead dumb-phone platform for the last 3 games and are basically unplayable as far was I'm aware. It's too bad because I'm kind of curious about the 5th game Seattle Purple Haze. The only thing I could find about the game was this tiny screenshot.

"Little did J.B. know that renting would lead to homelessness years later when he could no longer afford his Ballard rent due to soaring tech stocks."
Unlike the last 3 games which are lost in the heady days of flip phones and PHS (lol remember picchi?), the first game Murder Club has been ported to every platform imaginable. Its release history reads like some sort of abridged game console timeline from the original PC-88 1986 release to the MSX, Famicon, PC Engine CD, PC, DS, etc., the most recent release being a port of the iOS version on the Switch eShop. The later versions are all based on the DS remake which is the version I played.

God, Janet Robbins is so HAWT in the remake.
I believe the DS remake is mostly the same as the original but with a new coat of paint and some improvements to the UI. It also added an epilogue where you can check on what the cast is up to after the main game, as well as, a lead in to the sequel. Fortunately, my used copy had already unlocked the epilogue because supposedly you have to beat it with 100% completion to unlock and I only had 97% with zero desire to play all over again.

The official sites always feature Janet... Well, she IS hawt.
I also checked out the PC Engine CD version because it's the only version with all voiced dialogue. It's a rare fully bilingual game with both text and audio so no reason to pay $80 for the TurboGrafix CD version. But then again, what else would all the rich, privileged non-Jhipsters spend their money on?

Well, you have to spend your institutionalized socially advantageous money somewhere.
The unfortunate thing about the PCE version is that the BGM for the game is just awful. It's so weird because the title and setting screens have pretty darn good CD quality jazz music. A little too much soprano sax for my taste but still pleasant to listen to. What, did they think having a nice jazz BGM would be too relaxing or maybe it was some technical limitation? Even without a CD soundtrack, they could've done a better job with the sound chip IMO. At least in the DS version, while the BGM is super boring, I didn't even really notice nor care.

Yeah the OP sounds good but wait till the game starts...

Finally, onto the game itself, what's all the hubbub about? Is this game really so good that it needs to be ported to 13 different platforms over the span of 31 years? Well, for a 31 year old game, it's pretty good but that's not saying much. It's a standard old-school PC-88 ADV game which means you're trying menu option after menu option. I feel like some of the menu options are useless and should've been removed. For example, why the fuck would you want to ask everybody's blood type? Americans don't even know their blood type half the time. It's not like we're reading Japanese teen magazines to see what boy hunk is compatible with our blood type "personality". I actually had a tiny bit of fun seeing how many ways the VAs could say "I don't know" for all the various menu options but it gets old fast.

Today's blood type?? She's playing ya man! Get a DNA swab! You never watched CSI?

In addition, I understand that there weren't countless podcasts and murder channels to describe in depth how murder investigations were conducted in 1986 but the way you go about it is simply ridiculous. The game dumps a ton of characters on you at the very start which is a bit overwhelming, trying to remember who did what. After you spend a few hours asking everybody their blood type, you then get search warrants and start finding evidence I guess nobody bothered to dispose of. Then, you go to the DA to start arresting people for questioning. You press them with the evidence until they confess. Case closed. All in a good day's work, eh detective?

If you ignore the gameplay, this game does a pretty decent job of uncovering a web of human drama for you to untangle. The story pales in comparison to the deep human drama presented in Hokkaidou blah blah but it kept me interested enough once I got over the initial mental hurdle of memorizing all the characters.

Unfortunately, this is the extent of the fan service. No Yuji Horii panti here.
Score: 2 "Look at my amazing complete PC Engine collection, no it doesn't bother me that I can't read most of it, I'm a Youtuber not a gamer silly!" out of 5 (8 hours to complete)

Pretty cool but how much was a Sharp X68000? Probably like one of my kidneys.

As I look back on the short list of games I completed so far from 1986, I would say that this game is a very middle of the road average 3 score for its time. The remake was fairly well done in that it was faithful to the original while adding some minor improvements. However, in today's standards, this would be a hard one to recommend unless you're striving to be a Jhipster gamer historian like yours truly or just really partial to old school ADV games.

The only reason to buy the U$ version is if this typo bother you. #1stWorldProblems


Scale
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