Post-Christmas Mail

I am wishing you all the very happiest of new years.  I hope 2020 so far has been eventful in the best way possible and that you all had a lovely holiday season.  Of course, I ordered a bunch of things online before Christmas rolled in, but as you might expect, things were very late arriving.  I’ve just started receiving packages again within the last week or so, and I have a smattering of things to share with you.  For some reason, the local pickups have been very, very few and far between over the past month or two so I’ve more or less been buying exclusively online.

First up is a Game Boy game simply called Looney Tunes.  I saw someone streaming this and immediately wanted it for myself.  I was really impressed.  The game looks absolutely gorgeous and each level sees you playing as a different member of the Looney Tunes crew.  I actually ended up popping this one in over several days to play again and again and can’t wait to sit down with it and try to finish it.  I got stuck on the Road Runner level so far.

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Speaking of the Road Runner, I found a copy of that game for the Atari 2600.  This is one of the first 2600 purchases I’ve made in a long while, and it was inspired by revisiting the NES game again for a high score challenge across December of 2019 (I lost, by the way.)  This is a really plain version of the arcade game and is exactly how you might expect an Atari port to look.

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I kept hearing really great things about Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS, and although I don’t do a lot of portable gaming, I thought I’d try to snatch it up sooner than later.  I think there might be another game in this series in the works for the near future (maybe for the Switch?) that I’ll have to keep my ear to the ground for.  This copy came with the English and French manuals a la Canada, and a Club Nintendo card.  I wish Club Nintendo was still a thing.

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When I was looking for some Master System games on a site I’ve been frequenting lately, I happened to notice that they had a US version of Nightshade available.  Just when I think I’m done collecting for NES, these deals on games I’ve heard so little about keep coming up and I can’t help myself.  Nightshade does look interesting, like a point and click game mixed with some action, so I hope I like it.  The Quest of Ki is a unique puzzle platformer that uses special kind of jumping mechanic to get your character around the levels.  Everything looks very floaty and fun!  It looks like a great time waster with some interesting twists on tradition for the genre.  I also need more English-friendly Famicom in my life.

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And now into some Sega!  As usual, I found lots of games loose or with no manuals, so I’ll start with those.  First up is Strider for the Sega Master System, which looks quite interesting by the state of the cover art.  In terms of box art for the system overall, this is  the most realistic portrayal of a human being that I’ve seen.  Even still, there’s something really funny about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I was also disappointed by James Bond 007: The Duel.  It looked like such a cool game by what I found online prior to buying, but unfortunately it doesn’t work well in NTSC systems!  This is the second time I’ve made this kind of error lately, but there are so many lists out there that contradict one another that it’s never really clear whether it’ll work or not until you have it in your own hands.  What happens is that a lot of visual artifacts that show up in a matter of seconds once you get old Mr. Bond moving around… they crowd the screen and make it impossible to play.  I’m still feeling sad about it.

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Up next were two other games that came sans manual.  The first is Chuck Rock, a visual abomination of a game.  It’s a platformer with no music from what I can tell, but other iterations of the game are supposed to be decent.  I’m not too sure about this port, but I’ll give it a try nonetheless.  Aztec Adventure is supposed to be a maze/puzzle game with lots of different levels to try out, and I think you can hire other characters to fight alongside you.  It’s one of the first Master System games and is pretty plain visually, but there’s a good game in there somewhere.  I just know it.  Both of these games were in reasonably good condition on the front, but Chuck Rock has a big water stain on the back.  It was dirt cheap, so I didn’t mind. I’d like to find some replacement art for some of my more battered games one of these days.

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Cyborg Hunter is a port of a pretty neat-looking game that was also available on the Commodore 64.  It reminded me of something like Zillion that involves some exploration and some puzzle solving as well as action-platforming so hopefully it’s something like that.  Any game involving winged robots that are mildly irritated by laser fire are winners in my books!

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Kung Fu Kid is one of the three martial arts titles I’ve been trying to track down after accidentally purchasing The Ninja, and then Black Belt.  Kung Fu Kid is a side-scrolling kick ’em up and looks really charming, falling somewhere between the aforementioned games and something like Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.  The box art and manual are pretty beat up as you can see here, but the game seems to work just fine.  Of the Master System games I found this time, this is the one I think I’m most excited for just based on the aesthetic alone.

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Last but not least, I finally found a copy of Golden Axe.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Why on earth would I want a port of a game on an inferior system when there are more excellent Sega versions available?  Well, maybe I like a far slower framerate and downgraded graphics, hmmm?  Honestly, the price was right and I couldn’t pass up that tiny-faced man for my shelf.

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And that just about does it for this time around.  Lots more Master System and a little bit of everything else to fill in some gaps was the name of the game here, and that has been a great trend over the past few months.  I have more things coming in the mail and I have my eyes on the local classifieds like a hawk, so here’s hoping for some new discoveries soon!

Thank you very much for reading!

-GG

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2019 At a Glance

Somehow, 2019 has come and gone in a flash.  It’s astonishing to me that across these 365 days, I’ve managed to make my way through almost double the number of games I did last year, coming out to 46 games in total, with one filthy cheater win via password manipulation.  As I mentioned last year, the gaming hobby has shifted a lot more toward playing through games I’ve found rather than acquiring new ones, but that’s not to say I haven’t been picking up new games every chance I get!

Since I’ve had you all caught up on what’s made its way onto the shelves in 2019, I wanted to take a little time to talk about what I played, some brief thoughts each game, and a link or two to things I’ve been doing in other parts of the internet to assemble a lovely summary of a wonderful year in gaming.

Suikoden (PS1)

I started the year on the second half of Suikoden 1, a turn-based RPG that I felt was mediocre at best by the time I got to the end of it.  I didn’t fall in love with this game even a little, and despite it starting out strong, my expectations were far beyond where this particular game ended up meeting me.  I finished the game slightly outside of what would be considered 100%, and I can’t see myself revisiting it any time soon.  It was a slow start to the year.

King’s Quest V (NES)

Playing through this again was probably one of my fondest gaming memories from 2019.  The NES version of King’s Quest V is a game I purchased used when I was a kid but hadn’t had a chance to revisit it in any form since that time in my life.  Like many games on this list, I streamed this and was thrilled to be able to share this experience with so many other people who were only familiar with more modern portrayals of this adventure.  I loved it so much in fact that I played through it a second time to prepare a let’s play for YouTube.

Toki (NES)

This game was a one-night wonder on stream, and I do recall having a fun time playing it.  It took a lot of getting used to with its stiff controls, and I’m still surprised I ended up finishing it given how tough some of the boss fights were.  I can’t remember much, so I’d call it far from memorable.

Popful Mail (Sega CD)

This was hands down one of the most expensive games I’ve purchased while collecting games, and I was thrilled to be able to play the real deal on original hardware.  It compared so much to things like Faxanadu, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys and other sidescrolling adventure games that it felt natural to fall in love with it despite its staggering difficulty at times.  If you ever have a chance to play this game, please do!

Little Nemo Dream Master (NES)

This was another one of my fondest memories from this past year in gaming.  I have an amazing friend who adores this game that kept gently prodding me to try it out for myself, and after much convincing I finally dove in.  Believe it or not, this is the one game I actually rage quit in the past, and unsurprisingly, it was that train level that did it to me.  I let that game sit on the shelf for almost an entire decade before trying it again this year.  With patience of steel as my armour, over two separate sittings, I was finally triumphant and made it through to the end.

Psychic World (Sega Master System)

Psychic World is probably one of my favourite Master System games and one I came upon totally by chance while looking into new games for the system a few years ago.  It’s a really interesting action platformer that was a PAL exclusive for the SMS, but also came out in other iterations on the Game Gear and the MSX.  If you have a Master System hanging around, I can’t recommend this game enough as a quick, action-packed game!

The Legend of Zelda (NES) – Second Quest

Man oh man.  If you know much at all about me, you know that I love some Zelda 1 like it’s nobody’s business.  Although I never finished this game without the Game Genie until I was in my late 20s, the second quest was something that always eluded my interest because I had such a hard time with the first.  Finishing this relatively blind on stream was one of my proudest accomplishments this year.  I made my own video on the experience embedded below, but I was also invited to co-write and co-present two videos comparing and contrasting the first and second quests (Part 1 and Part 2) with Nefarious Wes.  It was a very fun project to work on and I was honoured to be a part of it.

Adventure Island IV

As a long-time lover of the Adventure Island series (except that first one… it can go back to hell from whence it came), finding out about a longer-winded action adventure game starring my favourite Higgins was music to my ears.  I loved every moment of this experience and was grateful to be able to play a translated copy of the game on real hardware since it was originally a Japan-only Famicom release.  I’d recommend this game to anyone for a fun thinkfest.

Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II

Now full disclosure, I only finished this game by blatantly cheating.  After a certain point in the adventure, you’re no longer able to continue.  I lost all my lives and should’ve properly game over’d, but I’m counting it here because with a bit of password manipulation to give me extra lives, I was able to eventually reach an ending screen.  I’ll take it!  The music alone in this game makes it worthwhile to finish.

Aladdin (SNES)

I never grew up with an SNES, and until very recently I was not even aware that the SNES version was even different from the Sega Genesis game.  It diverges in so many key ways like not having weapon to attack with and relying a lot more heavily on platforming skills that it’s truly a unique experience.  Even though I found it really tough to get through at certain points, especially in the end game, I did manage to make it.  It was another single night win for me!

Aladdin (Sega Genesis)

Now THIS version of Aladdin is one I grew up with.  I never owned it as a kid but we did rent it a lot, and I don’t ever remember being able to beat it until last year.  It was nice to finally cross this one off the list of games I’ve always wanted finally finish.

Super Mario Bros. (NES) – Hammer Code (XYAGEP)

This was a feat of strength and skill that I never, ever want to have to go through again myself.  There’s a Game Genie code that gives all enemies hammers to throw, and not just the regular hammer brothers hammers.  It’s the ridiculous King Koopa hammer spew, and they also shoot straight up.  This was a nightmare to complete, and along with the infinite lives code (SXIOPO) I’m still the only person out there that has managed to make it through the entire game.  Here’s a short clip of me making it to the end after about 4.5 hours of trying, with most of that being 8-4.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/446797735

The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES)

This game was one I picked up randomly at a swap because the price was right, and in general, I’ve enjoyed Disney games from the 8- and 16-bit generations.  This game felt very difficult in places, and I’m not sure what I could’ve done differently to make things easier on myself other than practice it more.  There was one boss in particular in a wintry section of the game that made me want to scream, and that’s all I can remember about playing through this one.  I must’ve repressed the rest of it.

Secret of Mana (SNES)

Secret of Mana was the game that really got me interested in ramping up my video game collecting, period.  A friend had lent it to me but took it back before I had a chance to play it at all.  Looking into purchasing a copy for myself opened up my world to so many other RPGs that I never even knew existed, especially on the SNES, and I’m still down that rabbit hole almost 5 years later with no signs of stopping.  You can only imagine how great it was to finally cross this one off the list.  It was definitely a good game, albeit a bit grindy when it came to levelling up magic skills, but I enjoyed it on the whole.  It was one of those perfect games for streaming where I felt like I could still be productive in the game and keep up with a chat at the same time, but as usual, I got lost a lot.  The soundtrack was definitely a highlight for me.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)

Finally!  This entire series was one I’ve been wanting to get into forever, but after getting destroyed by the first NES Castlevania game back in October of 2018 I had been fearful to try out the second in the series.  I’m so, so thankful I did, and despite all the hubbub about a “bad translation”, I was able to finish Simon’s Quest with barely any help in one marathon 8 hour sitting!  The music, the action and the game as a whole was so Faxanadu-like that it was impossible for me not to love this one too.  If you haven’t played it, please do yourself a favour and play it!  It is very underrated!

Katamari Damacy (PS2)

I have so much praise for this game.  I went through some pretty stressful times at work in 2019, and the few weeks where I had this game to look forward to coming home to on Monday nights were like oases in the scorching desert of despair at the time.   The amazing soundtrack is probably the thing I took away most from this experience, but there’s also something about the game’s simple premise that had me playing and replaying levels to not only improve my performance, but to hear the hilarious screams of the people in the midst of the destruction I was causing.  It was so relaxing to terrorize everyone and destroy the world in the happiest way possible.  I can’t wait to play the other games in the series.

Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis)

This was a co-op effort for my boyfriend and I.  We played on easy mode and just barely squeaked by to beat this game together for the first time.  I’m not usually good at brawlers and this playthrough was no different.  He definitely carried me through!

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Sega Genesis)

Yet another game from my childhood that I have very fond memories of!  I never owned this game until I was an adult but used to rent it a lot, and I was able to finish this on stream one night for some people who wanted to see it played through.  I really enjoy the Donald Duck path!

Golvellius: Valley of Doom (Sega Master System)

Exploring Master System RPGs has become a bit of a pastime, if you hadn’t noticed.  Golvellius: Valley of Doom was something that really piqued my interest since I always heard it referred to as a Zelda-like.  That phrasing has lost a lot of meaning for me because everyone’s always calling every top-down perspective game where someone swings a sword a Zelda-like… this game just doesn’t quite fit that bill.  It’s a wonderful game with a great soundtrack, good puzzles, and an interesting mashup of genres that includes some vertical- and side-scrolling sections.  I’ll be curious to get into the other versions on the MSX, or its spiritual successor, Super Cooks!

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Sega Master System)

Did I mention I finally made it into the club for people who can beat a GnG game? I honestly feel like this game is a cheater’s paradise into that club since this game peels away a lot of the white-knuckle difficulty of others in the series.  With permanent upgrades to armour and weapons and magic that’s independent of which armour is equipped, it’s a great way for casual gamers to actually enjoy this series without ending up bald after the fact.

Vice: Project Doom (NES)

Beating this game was a hard-fought victory.  It was another one-night completion for me, but the lead up to the end of the game was a real slog.  The final boss encounter is probably one of the most difficult ones I’ve had this year, but the rest of the game’s interesting and challenging level design wiped all that frustration away.

Asterix (Sega Master System)

I’ve been familiar with the Asterix comics for as long as I can remember since I’ve lived in Canada all my life, and this game was one of the most pleasant discoveries I’ve had while getting into the PAL library of Master System games.  It’s a platformer that allows you to switch between two different characters, Asterix and Obelix, and every level is completely different depending on which of the characters you choose to play with.  It has a ton of replay value and although it fell a little flat at the end, I’m looking forward to playing it again sometime.  I’ve also recently purchased the other two Asterix games on the system and am excited to try those out as well.

Super Adventure Island (SNES)

I was really excited for Super Adventure Island when I first heard about it a long while ago, and I was familiar with the game’s amazing soundtrack long before I ever played it.  The game itself is a little bit mediocre and really, really difficult toward the end, so until this past year I had never been able to finish it.  It was so nice to finally send that final boss to the depths after so many missed attempts in the past.  Woohoo!

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Game Boy Advance)

I had really high hopes for this game. It’s Zelda, so what could possibly go wrong?  It was decent overall, but the whole kinstone fusion thing being required for key items and plot progression really, really turned me off.  There was far too much of a focus on that and I found it really detracted from the main game objectives a little too often.  It also left me in the dark a lot about where to go next.  I’d say this is definitely at the bottom of my list of Zelda games in terms of preference, unfortunately.

Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

This was the first time I’d really sat down to play this, and it was a tremendous struggle to say the least.  The redeeming quality that made playing this game worthwhile was the very excited chat full of people who love this series and this particular game, and that sweet final boss fight music.  DKC was so tough, and if you’re wondering, yes: I fell for the fake ending and had to do it over again.

Shadowrun (SNES)

This game was AWESOME!  I bought this one on a whim at the request of a friend to play on stream, and am I ever glad I did!  This game fused sci-fi, fantasy, cyberpunk and so many genre types that it’s hands down one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve ever had.  There are a lot of thoughts rolling around in my brain on this game and I have a review video planned, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it down on paper one of these days.  It comes highly recommended if you haven’t played it yourself!

Great Greed (Game Boy)

This is a game that’s been on my mind on and off since I finished it a few months ago. It’s a turn-based RPG that is both fast-paced and hilarious that set the bar very high for the games that will come after it.  The music in this game is beautifully composed for the most part, and I loved how sporadic the story felt at times.  It was definitely one of the more interesting games I’ve played this past year and again, something that comes highly recommended if you’re into oldschool RPGs.

Kid Icarus (NES)

Kid Icarus is one of those games that I only understood as a vertical platformer and nothing more because for the longest time, I couldn’t get out of the first few levels.  This game felt like a terrible grind when I picked it up this year again, but after some diligence and with the encouragement of many people hanging out with me while that death counter climbed higher and higher, I found a few upgrades and the game got a LOT more manageable.  It’s truly an experience that gets easier as you go, and I tell ya, busting into that second loop never felt so good.  Those eggplant wizards are the devil though.  Probably the worst enemy ever in the entire history of time, no question.  Getting turned into a defenseless vegetable never felt more offensive than it did here.

Bionic Commando (NES)

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more embarrassed streaming a game than I did playing through Bionic Commando. You know how usually when you play a game for a while that you get better at it in a timely fashion?  That didn’t happen here.  It was at least an hour of blunder after blunder before something finally clicked, and it was another marathon night of gaming that brought me to the end of this one.  Regardless of the struggle, finishing this is easily one of my proudest gaming experiences of 2019.

Super Metroid (SNES)

Ah yes, Super Metroid.  It’s a game beloved by so many, and now by me as well.  I do have to say that it was a lengthy run playing through without a guide and with a request for no spoilers, but finding a way forward or brute-forcing my way into areas I wasn’t supposed to be yet made for an interesting experience that I’ve rarely had with games outside of this franchise.  I only just played the first Metroid game last year for the first time and this was my second game in the series, and Super Metroid more or less fixed many of the issues I had with the first game.

Breath of Fire (SNES)

This was only one of a few turn-based RPGs I had the pleasure of playing through this year, and it fell awfully flat for me.  It did a lot of things right as a back-to-basics game, and I usually love these.  Unfortunately, the translation here was a big letdown and really held me back from loving the game since I couldn’t really keep track of the story and got lost a lot.  I was kindly asked to share my thoughts on Breath of Fire on the Mage Cast (Episode #37).  That conversation can be found here:

https://thewellredmage.com/2019/12/06/breath-of-fire-podcast/https://thewellredmage.com/2019/12/06/breath-of-fire-podcast/

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)

After having some luck with Simon’s Quest, I gave Castlevania III a go.  It is by far the hardest game I finished in 2019 along with the Hammer Mario challenge, and it took a lot of patience and practice along with a little luck to make it through.  I’m still surprised I made it… I took Sypha along for the ride and will never forget the horrible, horrible sounds of that final level’s music.  As a dear friend of mine once said, that song sounds like a straw being pulled in and out of a fast food cup lid.  You’re welcome.

Castlevania (NES)

This game haunted me for just over an entire year before I was finally able to put it away for good.  I had gotten stalled at the reaper in October of 2018 with no hopes of making it through, but after beating Castlevania III earlier in the evening, this one came together quite well.  That final fight against Dracula was a real nail-biter over the long while it took me to obliterate him, but finishing two Castlevania games in one night is something I won’t soon forget.

Lord of the Sword (Sega Master System)

Ah yes. This is a game I put off playing for ages because I thought it was going to be horrendous.  Horrendous is a very strong descriptor and while I wouldn’t have called it an overwhelmingly positive experience, it was certainly far from the worst game I’ve ever played.  It was a lesson in patience which I seem to have in droves, and it’s still shocking to me that I got to the end of this one.  You have 10 continues/lives, you have to finish the whole adventure from start to finish, and not one bit of it is easy.  It’s definitely one of the more challenging things I’ve accomplished this year.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis)

Coming back to old favourites was a theme to round out the end of the year.  I’ll never get tired of crashing back down to earth after setting Dr. Robotnik ablaze.

River City Ransom (NES)

I was so pleasantly surprised by River City Ransom!  Having some stream help to figure out what to eat in the shops to level specific stats was just what I needed to make this playthrough enjoyable, and I’m now excited to try other games like River City Girls, or other Kunio Kun series games.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to this one.  I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t played it yet!

Danan the Jungle Fighter (Sega Master System)

At a first glance, I thought I had found a brand new action adventure RPG for the system, but it turned out that that Danan the Jungle Fighter was more a mix of an arcade-style sidescrolling platformer with a few RPG elements sprinkled in.  And it was the lightest possible sprinkling!  This game is fairly short, but like Lord of the Sword, it also required finishing it all in one sitting.  It’s moderately pricey and a PAL-region exclusive, and for what you get out of it, I wouldn’t recommend paying the going rate.  If you can get it for a deal, absolutely.  It’s a fun albeit small adventure.

Rambo (NES)

Rambo had just come in the mail the day I played it at someone’s request, and over two sessions I managed to make it through this strange, strange adventure.  The translation in this game was probably my favourite part, but having not seen the Rambo movies before playing this also brought me into it without any expectations of what a Rambo game should be.  The main theme is so quest-y and awesome too… contrary to popular opinion, I loved it.

Bubsy: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (Sega Genesis)

Beating Bubsy 1 for Sega Genesis felt like a true occasion for celebration.  I’ve had this game since childhood and used to play it alllll the time but never made it even remotely close to the end.  Playing it occasionally as an adult over the past few years saw me make it a bit further each time, and a few weeks ago I finally vowed to push through to the end no matter how many times we had to put in a password.  And I did it!  I had an amazing stream talking about one of my favourite games (yes, you read that right), laughing at Bubsy’s horrible rollercoaster face, and finally closing that chapter of my gaming life.  What a rush!

EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear (Sega Dreamcast)

EGG queued up more negativity in me than I had hoped.  It was an action RPG I sought out for a long while and found it locally not too long ago.  My high hopes were dashed and this was probably one of my least favourite games I played through this year, with Suikoden and Breath of Fire being about even.  It needed a little more refinement to make it a great game, but I wouldn’t even really call it very good.  It was sub-standard at the core of what makes action RPGs what they are, and that’s why it all fell apart for me.

Bubble Bobble – Bad Ending (Sega Master System)

Did you know that there was a Bubble Bobble game for the Master System? And that it has 200 levels instead of 100?  Well, I’ll probably never see the other half of the game because I finished it with the bad ending.  There were some conditions to be met to open up the 100 level home stretch and I missed them playing through blind!  So much for that, but I was happy to seriously sit down with Bubble Bobble for the first time.  It was enjoyable, and even after 100 levels I was not tired of that song!

Virtual Boy Wario Land (Virtual Boy)

After my boyfriend kindly modded our Virtual Boy for AV out, first on my list to play was VB Wario Land.  I feel like this adventure was way harder than any Mario game I’ve ever played and I’m pretty sure I came away from it with the worst possible ending.  Nonetheless, it was a shining moment for me to play and finish something on a system I never dreamed of owning until a few years ago.

Super Mario Bros. 3 All-Stars Version (SNES)

SMB3 again, you say?  Yes!  Except for the very first time this year, I decided to play it on the SNES.  I can’t say I liked that experience more than the NES version though… the backgrounds were too busy, and I sincerely missed my familiar NES sound effects.  Soon I’ll have to torture myself with Super Mario Advance 4 to see what abominable voices they added to that game…

Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (Super Famicom)

I made a triumphant return to the Ys series as well this year after finishing Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (SNES) last year and Ys: Vanished Omens (SMS) back sometime in 2017.  I was able to apply a translation patch using the Super UFO 8, and thankfully the translation was exceptionally well done!  It was by far the best experience I’ve had playing a patched game so far and I have lots of great things to say about it that will likely trickle out in a video review in the coming weeks.

Faxanadu (NES)

You didn’t think I could let a year come and go without a return to the World Tree, did you?  I just squeezed this playthrough in a few days ago and finished it in just under five hours.  It’s always fantastic revisiting one of my very favourites.

The Lion King (Sega Genesis)

And with one last hurrah, launching back to yet another old favourite closed out my year for gaming.  I finished this one up on normal mode and saved the day yet again.  What a hero I am!

As you might expect if you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, that’s it!  I feel like I’ve expanded on my gaming hobby so much in the past year.  Collecting is continuing to wind down and I’m finding myself enjoying games more and more through streaming and creating video reviews.  In a million years, I would’ve never thought I’d be doing this kind of thing, yet here I am enjoying every moment.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around through collecting, streaming and watching my content out there.  It means the world to me to be able to share this hobby with you all, which was the true goal when I started up this blog almost 4 years ago now.  I’m so grateful to have met so many wonderful people over the past few years.  I’ve been lucky to become surrounded with a really solid group of gaming enthusiasts, and I appreciate you all so much!  Thank you so much.

I hope 2019 has been a wonderful year for you all.  As always, I’m wishing you the best in your gaming endeavours and beyond for a fruitful year.  Be safe out there!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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Getting Mail

Before we get to the goods, I wanted to mention I was a guest on TheWellRedMage’s wonderful podcast talking about the first Breath of Fire game for SNES.  If you want to hear more on our conversation, it’s here!

http://magecast.buzzsprout.com/199140/2229524-037-first-stage-halitosis-breath-of-fire

The local pickings out my way have been slim over the past few weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of looking online for new games.  Thankfully there have been many deals to scoop up, so I’m bringing you a little bit of awesomeness thanks to the wonders of credit cards and door-to-door delivery!

First up are a few Game Boy games.  Ultima: Runes of Virtue is one of the RPGs I had left to collect for the system.  I fired up an old save file on this one and died within seconds, so it seems just about right for this kind of adventure!  I can’t wait to start my own game, find a manual online somewhere, and see what this (and its sequel, which I have already) are all about!  I’m not sure how the Runes of Virtue games are related to the others in the main series.  There seem to be a lot of Ultima spinoffs out there!

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Another game I bought is Pokemon Pinball.  I only had one other weirdly-shaped Game Boy game prior to this and it’s a Star Wars game I think, but anyway, I love pinball!  I played a lot of 3D Pinball Space Cadet when I was really young, and even though I haven’t played much real life pinball, video pin ball is where it’s at.  I’ve bought a few games over the past few years, most notably Pinball Quest for NES, but mixing Pokemon with anything fun is sure to make it even better.  I really want to sit down with a manual for this game since it looks a lot deeper than your typical paddle-flipping time.

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Wario games are plentiful, but I’ve only played the first one for the Game Boy ages ago.  I’ve been dabbling a bit in the Virtual Boy game recently and have been having a good time with it, so when I saw Wario Land II available, it was hard to resist.  I’ve heard these games touted as some of the best of the best on the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, and I’ll be looking for the third and fourth games in this series to round things out.

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I also picked up two NES games, the first of which was Rambo.  I’ve been feeling moderately obsessed with finding more Faxanadu-like side-scrolling action adventure games over the past little while.  Rambo is something that fits the bill (believe it or not) and it was just what I was looking for to scratch that itch!  I ended up playing through the entire game over two streams, and while it was difficult, it was also very fulfilling to get to the end of this one.  The music in this was awesome too.  Very quest-y!

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Another game I found for NES was Conquest of the Crystal Palace.  I think I mentioned a few posts ago how I always used to get The Krion Conquest and Conquest of the Crystal Palace confused all the time, but now that I own both of them I hope I’ll stop making that mistake.  I doubt it though.  They’ll probably always just be The Krion Conquest of the Crystal Palace to me.  This game is a side-scrolling adventure game with shops and weapons, etc.  Maybe some RPG elements here?  I’ve been wanting to pick this up for a long while now and I’m glad I finally did.  It’s in great shape too!

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In an effort to find even more games with bone-in meatsticks to play for a themed stream night on Mondays, I purchased this Capcom Classics Mini Mix cartridge for the Game Boy Advance.  It comes with a few games that were repackaged from the NES: Strider, Bionic Commando, and the game of interest, Mighty Final Fight.  Mighty Final Fight is about a bajillion dollars to buy in its native NES state right now, so this was one of the cheaper and easier ways I’ll be able to play it.

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I found a whole bunch of Master System games for a relatively good price as well, the first of which is Black Belt.  A couple of posts ago I mentioned accidentally buying The Ninja when I meant to buy this game instead, so I’m officially calling things fixed.  This is the one where you run around and literally explode your enemies into several pieces when you kick or punch them.  It’s awesome!  I can’t say I’ve ever been good at these run-to-the-right-kicking-and-punching games, but I hope I’ll be able to finish it sometime!  And look at that wonderful box art.  It’s just beautiful (not really at all).  It’s too bad that the manual was taped up, but it’ll do.

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Battle Out Run is a pretty neat game that I’d never really heard much about until I found this game sale.  Apparently you run into other cars with your car to teach them a lesson!  Compared to Hang on and regular Out Run, I found this one to feel a lot smoother and nicer overall, but it’s obviously a bit more complicated than getting to the next finish line in time.  Unfortunately there were some scuffs on the box’s cover plastic that are noticible (even in the photo) and the label has clearly seen better days, but the price for a complete copy was too good to pass up.

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Rescue Mission is a light gun game that has been highly praised as one of the best on the system by sirhcman, who has his own blog that you should check out sometime if you haven’t already.  You have to protect a soldier that’s rescuing what I’m assuming are prisoners of war while the enemy is trying to kill him.  It looks like a blast.  I love light gun games.  I’m not particularly great at them, maybe except for Duck Hunt!

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Asterix and the Secret Mission was the last Asterix game I had left to pick up for the console.  These games are so delightful and fun that completing the trifecta was an absolute requirement for me.  It’s another platformer where you can play as either character, and once again doesn’t come with a manual.  I’m really curious about where all these manuals end up.

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Finally, I also scooped up a copy of Deep Duck Trouble Starring Donald Duck.  This was by far the most expensive of all the games I bought, but all things considered, it was still less than the going rate out there on the internet.  The box label has a little bit of damage, but overall the rest of it is in relatively good shape.  This game is absolutely adorable.  There’s something about the Disney games that is really charming on the Master System.  They’re all beautifully scored and animated.  I can’t wait to play through this, since I’ve heard it’s relatively short.

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And thar she blows, folks!  I’m really happy with where my collection is standing these days, but as usual, there’s always more around the next corner.  I hope you’re all keeping warm out there.  The weather here has already turned pretty cold, and the snow has come and gone a few times… it’s going to stick soon!  More time to stay in and play games, I guess!

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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I am a Game Magnet

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been very lucky in being able to find some wonderful games to add to my collection both locally and online.  Some of these things I’ve been looking for over a long while, and others are things I took a chance on without knowing what to expect!  Sometimes you just have to jump on a deal when it surfaces, and I was pleasantly surprised all around!

First up is the Mega Man Anniversary Collection for Playstation 2.  I do own the GameCube collection, but I heard that they did something weird to the controls.  Maybe they switched the buttons around?  I can’t quite recall now, but I was advised to pick up the PS2 version for a more approachable experience.  As someone who has never beaten a single Mega Man game, I’m glad to finally have them all in one place since my physical collection is sparse.  The disc isn’t in the greatest shape, but I’m sure it’ll spin up whenever I get around to testing it out.  Also, the manual here is completely in French!  Sometimes Canadian games came with two manuals for English and French readers, but here, the English one is missing altogether.  My French is terrible at best, so hopefully I can figure things out and won’t need to rely on it too much!

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Sticking with disc games for the moment, I found two for the Wii U, the first of which is Hyrule Warriors.  I think I’m incredibly late to the party on this one and have no idea whether or not it has a story mode for single player, but I’ve never seen this game so cheap and couldn’t resist picking it up.  The disc was in excellent shape overall, but the case itself had a bit of scuffing on the outer plastic and was also really dirty.  I cleaned it up the best I could.

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The second Wii U game is Pikmin 3! I have been looking for the third installment in this series for many months now, and I finally found it for a good price.  It came with all the inserts as well as a now-defunct Club Nintendo code, and like the disc for Hyrule Warriors, this one was in virtually perfect condition.  I still have yet to play any of the Pikmin games, but from what I’ve seen, they look fun and relaxing.  I’m hoping for a Katamari Damacy-like experience when I finally sit down with it.

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I was also really lucky to find two Game Boy games.  The first I bought online, and it’s Dinosaur’us for the Game Boy Color.  This was the turn-based RPG I would’ve never expected to exist in the slightest given how unconventional it is, and after I learned of its existence, I sought it out and finally have a copy of my own.  I didn’t get too far into it, but at a first glance, it involves some sidescrolling platformer action with turn-based battles against enemy dinos.  There’s a whole levelling system with skills involved, so it’s quite the endeavour.  Space Invaders was also a great find.  It’s one of a very small set of games that, when used with the Super Game Boy, gives you the option to play a separate, full game on the SNES.  This one lets you play the arcade version of Space Invaders, which took me straight back to my days of playing the Commodore Vic 20.  What a blast!

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Another game that pleasantly surprised me was an SNES game called Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos.  I took a chance on this one.  Prior to buying, I’d never heard a peep about it, but it is actually really good.  I played it for about 15 minutes to test it out, and everything feels really fluid and smooth, and the music is something else!  I’m very surprised at how good the first few levels felt, so I can’t wait to play it for a longer time and see more of it.  This is probably the worst game of the bunch aesthetically, with a worn label, especially at the top toward the end label portion.  It definitely looks like it was loved.

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On the opposite of the impressiveness spectrum is Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms for the Game Boy Advance.  Now, I might be jumping the gun a little on my feelings for this game, but I was not pleased trying it out for a few minutes.  It feels like one of those hand-holders that tutorial-izes every moment, and all of the characters feel like they’re moving at a snail’s pace.  I’m not sure if anyone has played the Sega Genesis Little Mermaid game, but the controls are reminiscent of those in my mind.  Hopefully I’m wrong about the impending terribleness, but for a few dollars, I’m not complaining.  The title screen music was really great at least!

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I recently managed to fight my way through Castlevania and Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse for the NES, and Castlevania has definitely been on my mind more often than not over the past few weeks.  I already owned two other Castlevania games for the DS, but when I saw Order of Ecclesia, I had to jump on it.  It was not cheap, but it definitely wasn’t the going rate on eBay at the moment either, and I’m happy to have finally completed the DS Castlevania trilogy.  My better half has played a lot of this one and really enjoyed it, but he lost his copy a long while ago.  It’s nice for him to have that back again.  Other than a bit of brown gunk on the case, the rest of the contents were in great condition.

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I found quite a few games for the Sega Master system as well.  I have a huge fire under my butt to keep seeking out games for this amazing little console, and I’ve chanced upon some really excellent deals over the past little while.  For some reason, most of the games I’ve purchased haven’t come with their manuals… I wonder what happened to them all?

The first game I bought was Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi.  The game came to me with a wavy case art sheet as if it had been wet at some point, but it’s not damaged in any other noticeable way.  To be honest, I’m not really sure if this game is a good purchase for this particular console, but I’ve heard the Genesis version is pretty awesome and wanted to see what this port might be like in comparison.  I recently found the Master System port of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts to be surprisingly well done and different from the many other iterations out there, so one can only hope that this Shinobi game will follow suit. Here’s a review I did of the GnG game:

Getting back to Shadow Dancer though, there’s a longplay online that takes just over 10 minutes.  Maybe very easy for a seasoned player but a welcome challenge for a newcomer?  Only time will tell!  I need more Master System in my life!

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Next up is Impossible Mission, a port of a game originally released on the Commodore 64, the Atari 7800, and a variety of other early computers.  It’s not to be confused with Zillion, which I feel it strongly resembles.  It seems like an interesting and unique action game from what I’ve seen available for the SMS, and it was extremely cheap.  How could I say no to an adventure?  It does look tough and also seems to require a great deal of mapping, things I don’t shy away from in the games I play.

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Sigh.  One of the games I was most excited to see posted lately was Fantastic Dizzy.  This is a game made by Codemasters and was an unofficial release for the console, and it’s on the more uncommon side.  I immediately pounced on this purchase not realizing that it doesn’t work at all on NTSC systems, and unfortunately I’m now stuck with a game I can’t play at the moment.  I’m going to do a bit of research and see if I can get things working, specifically if there’s a model of the SMS in my region that that might be able to play it.  Otherwise, I might be looking to import a new system in the near-ish future.

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Asterix and the Great Rescue is something I’ve been on the lookout for since I finished up the first Asterix game for the system a few months ago.  Of those on the Master System, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the others.  There’s also a third game in the series that I have yet to find, but this one I got for a screamin’ deal, about $20 under the regular going rate online.  I really liked the first one I played, and this one looks to be in the same vein in terms of gameplay and graphics.  Now to find the last one to round out the trilogy!  Of all the games I ordered, this one was by far in the best shape of the bunch.  Everything looked nice and crispy!

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Last but not least, I found a copy of Ninja Gaiden! This game has been evading me for a very long time and is again one of the more uncommon games for the console from the PAL region.  It usually averages around $110, and I was able to buy it for about half price shipped!  This game is an exclusive on the Master System, and despite not having played very much of this series, I’ve been wanting to give this one a go.  It’s always nice when the price is right.  Woohoo!

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I have some other things on their way to me in the mail, but I thought this might be a good place to break up some of the recent purchases.  Hopefully there will be new games just around the corner.

Thanks for reading!

-GG

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Game Swap Adventures

A couple of weeks ago, we got out to a smaller swap event, and I tell ya, I found some really great things I’ve been looking for there.  Just in time for the cooler weather to settle in, too.  That just means a nice cold winter coming up with lots of great games on tap since I don’t usually partake in beers!

There were a few things I’ve been wanting for NES for a long while, and those were Journey to Silius and The Krion Conquest. I’ve seen a few people play through Journey to Silius in the last few months, and I’m especially in love with the soundtrack.  I think it’ll be a difficult game to master, but I hope to be able to beat it at some point.  And who doesn’t love something reminiscent of Mega Man?  I loved Little Nemo: The Dream Master, so I can’t wait to see what The Krion Conquest is like.

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I was inspired to pick up even more NES stuff since a familiar vendor was trying to part ways with some of his games for cheap.  He was mentioning there’s been a downturn in NES sales lately, so he was looking to offload a few things. The Immortal in particular has a great soundtrack that makes me laugh at how sneaky it is sometimes with all its traps.  There’s something about the battles in that game that crack me up every time I see them going down.  I also made a point to find Kickle Cubicle after I saw NES Friend’s review over on YouTube.  I don’t know what I initially thought this game was, but I didn’t think it was a cute puzzle game!  It looks great and like a nice fun way to unplug my brain which I’m needing more and more of these days.  And Jaws, well… I just wanted it.  It’s one of those games I always see and never pick up because I want other things more, and the price here was too good to pass up.

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I did manage to sneak in an uncommon Game Boy Color game from another vendor that was looking to move his stuff for a reasonable price.  Wendy Every Witch Way is something I’d seen around the internet as a great game that nobody seems to have, so naturally I picked it up.  I almost missed it since it was obscured by some other games in a case, but I’m glad I found it.  It was in very good condition and worked on the first try.  I love when that happens!

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I did pick up Hybrid Heaven for N64 after seeing a few people chatting about it in a livestream.  It was described to me as a Wrestling RPG (oh really?) which intrigued me for many reasons, but mostly because I want to see what the heck this game is and why I’d never heard of it before!  I thought I’d gotten the four total RPGs for the N64, but it seems like I’ve managed to add another to the mix.  There are never too many RPGs, even if they’re seemingly weird and unconventional.

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A nice find for me was Vanguard Bandits for the PS1.  The Demo CD was not in the greatest shape, but the game itself was pretty much pristine.  I don’t think I have too many more PS1 games I want to track down now that I’ve found it.  This, like many other games I’ve bought over the years, smells like laundry dryer sheets!  I’m not sure why people tend to store their stuff around their dryers or with dryer sheets inside their storage boxes, but it’s a weirdly comforting smell compared to something like cigarettes, I suppose.

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A swap wouldn’t be a swap without some Sega Master System things, and I was lucky enough to find a copy of Rambo III in great condition with its manual.  A long while ago my boyfriend bought a copy of a different Rambo game thinking it was this one, but alas… the wrong game didn’t even use the light gun like he was hoping.  We’ve finally remedied this after a long wait, and though it’s probably not going to be my favourite game by any means, I’m definitely willing to give it a try sometime.  My light guns don’t get nearly enough use.

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More Sega always makes me happy, and I did manage to reel in a few loose Sega Genesis games.  I stumbled upon a table that had so many things I never usually see out and about at these kinds of things, and High Seas Havoc was the first thing I picked up from that particular table.  It’s a platformer that people often compare to the Sonic games, and I can’t seem to stay away from things with pirates in them.  It felt like a pretty natural buy.  I also picked up Blaster Master 2, which I’ve heard is a bunch of junk, but it’s the first time I’d ever seen it in the wild.  It’s mine now!

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We also finally got a copy of Gunstar Heroes!  I can’t say how many times I’ve seen this around at a swap and it’s been waaaay more than I was willing to pay.  I’ve been patient, and I finally found a box and cartridge combination for a decent price.  This was much more my boyfriend’s pick than mine, and I think he’s happy to finally be able to cross that off his list.

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Last not but not least, I found a copy of Skeleton Krew for the Sega Genesis.  It’s an isometric adventure game that looks pretty great, and I rarely hear anyone even mention its existence out there in the world.  This is probably the most expensive game I picked up, but thankfully I had lots of stuff to trade to get it.  Apparently a lot of people were interested in it, and I was the lucky person who was able to take it home.  Hooray!

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I’m pretty sure this’ll be the last swap I make it out to for the year.  The weather has turned pretty cold already and there is snow coming up in the forecast, so travel to any remaining events might be unpredictably tricky… back to eBay and scouring the classifieds for another cold winter of collecting.

Thanks very much for reading!

-GG

 

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Video Game Soup for Cooler Weather

Since there are pretty long gaps between the spring and autumn game swaps in my province, there’s a lot of reliance on local discoveries for continuous, year-round game hunting.  Although most of my luck swings between being dry as a desert and as wet as beach sand, it has consistently been on an upward swing over the past few weeks.  With the exception of a few purchases coming to me from online, most things I found after a store that closed a few years ago reopened again (woohoo!)

First up were a few games I found at a game shop.  You may recall a long while back that I found a copy of Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak, and I only picked up this second copy because the store owner must’ve made a mistake on the price: he was selling it for $2 instead of the normal going rate of $30ish.  I didn’t end up correcting his mistake since he didn’t give me a birthday discount… how terrible of me, I know.  Sigma Star Saga is another game I’ve been looking for for a long while.  It’s supposed to be an RPG-shooter hybrid… maybe something in the same vein as The Guardian Legend?  It was an intriguing game when I first found out about it, so I’m glad to finally own it.

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Staying in the handheld variety, I also found a couple of Game Boy/Game Boy Color games from all different places.  Wizards & Warriors X: Fortress of Fear I jumped on after over a year of seeing it priced for $7.99 in a local shop.  I worked up the courage to offer the guy $5 cash and he took it!  For some context, this person’s hock shop has been notoriously overpriced and unwavering with haggling in the past, and I have rarely spent any money there.  It took a lot of courage to save those few dollars!  Bionic Commando came from a video game shop, and I scooped it up after finally playing through the NES game and loving it.  It seems to control the same way so far, so that’s a relief given how long it took me to learn the controls in the other game.  Catrap was a really neat little puzzle game I bought from eBay with catchy tunes and an interesting puzzle-solving mechanic where you can’t jump, but you can shove things around to maneuver around the level and kill enemies.  I need more Game Boy in my life.

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I only lucked into one NES game, and it was Baseball Simulator 1.000.  I initially thought it was Baseball Simulator 1000, which obviously sounds way cooler.  It was in the case at the thrift store, and through the glass and obscured by a few other things, it looked like baseball in space.  Unfortunately it looks like it’s just regular baseball with a few bells and whistles, but it’s promising because there are apparently some interesting modes to try.

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For the Nintendo DS, I found a game called Magical Starsign, an RPG I hadn’t heard too much about until I was perusing through some of my E3 2006 stuff.  I saw some promotional materials for it and decided to look further into whether or not it came to market, and sure enough, there it was!  From what I can find online, it’s praised as being a totally great game that I haven’t heard many people talk about before.  I’m also able to stream DS games now, so I’m hoping to play it that way with people one of these days.

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I was also lucky enough to get my hands on a few free DS cases and manuals for Harvest Moon DS Cute and Harry Potter, Years 1-4.  The guy in town that re-opened his shop was kind enough to gift these to me with another purchase I made from him, and I think the Harvest Moon game is pretty expensive, but will be much less pricey to acquire without needing to get the case and manual.  Hiding in between the two games is a copy of Kirby Super Star Ultra.  I had been hoping to find a copy complete, but this store also had it priced for a few dollars.  I couldn’t let it go for that, even if it was just loose!

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At a Salvation Army store, we chanced upon a few Sega Genesis sports games.  There were some I had and some I didn’t yet, but what was more interesting to me were the coloured cases they came along in.  These had pricing stickers on them from Zellers, a long defunct Canadian department store that I used to frequent a lot as a kid.  That was pure nostalgia fuel for me.  The games were $1 each with the case, so I thought it was totally worth it!

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In addition to the sports games, there were quite a few PC games to be had.  My boyfriend got a few things as well, but I ended up picking up a compilation of Sim games.  I think the only one we already had was Sim Ant, so the rest are brand new to me.  I love the idea of Sim games but I’m also worried to get sucked in and never come out again.  SimTower is the one game I played a lot as a kid and replaying that lately was a ton of fun and something I had a hard time putting down.

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One really, really wonderful purchase I made was EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear for the Sega Dreamcast.  It’s an action RPG on a console filled with arcade ports, shooters and brawlers, and one of the last games I was truly pining for on the system.  The disc was in immaculate condition, and conveniently, I was able to get it locally from a couple that was driving through town one day and were willing to get together on their journey.  They were some of the nicest people I’ve ever had a gaming-related transaction with.  I hope to spontaneously have an opportunity to deal with them again sometime.

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The Resident Evil 10th Anniversary Collection game to me just in time to get ready for the Halloween season.  Even though it’s still a bit early, the weather here lately has cooled off substantially.  It’s fall in my heart!  This box set came with three Player’s Choice Resident Evil games, including the first game, Resident Evil Zero, and Resident Evil 4.  I haven’t played a single RE game, but I’ve been told they’re worth owning if I can ever get brave enough to try them out.

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For more horror fun, I picked up Clock tower 3 for a smooth $1 from the Salvation Army.  The disc is a little beat up but hopefully if/when I decide to sit down with it, it’ll play okay.  It’s a game I know literally nothing about.  Does anyone know if it’s a good game or not?  I also found Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as well as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (the EU version?) at the thrift store here for $5 each.  Both were unfortunately missing their manuals, but I’d never seen either of those games up for grabs out my way before.  With the re-release of Ni No Kuni coming out for Switch, I thought now would be a fantastic time to add that one to my collection.  Now if only I could get my PS3 to be quieter… it sounds like a rocket ship taking off it’s so loud!

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With the news of Duck Tales Remastered getting pulled from digital stores, I decided to pick up the physical copy for Wii U before the price went up.  I snuck in just in time it seems.  I have yet to play the original on NES, but I do own the Famicom version!  It’s such a beloved game for so many that I’m shocked I haven’t run into it sooner, but there is so much to play these days!  Sega Superstars Tennis is a game someone recommended to me a long while back, so when I saw it for a few dollars at a consignment store, I went for it.  It’s so weird seeing this game generations slate of mascots since I haven’t played much of anything more recent than the Genesis.  Hopefully it’s going to be a fun time!

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Last but not least, I bought a terribly beat up copy of the game guide for Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance.  It was only $3, and given that I’ve never played a strategy RPG, I very well may want a copy of this hanging around when the time comes.  Hopefully it’ll stay together until then!

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And there it is: another set of games to go on the shelf and into the queue to be played eventually!  There is one last swap we’re planning to get to before the snow flies, so stay tuned for those updates.  I hope you’re all staying warm with the turn in the weather, if it’s any different out your way.  There’s something so calming about fall settling in, but also a sadness that comes along with saying goodbye to summer.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

-GG

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More Sega Master System

Lately I’ve been diving as deep as I can into Master System collecting, but to do that I’ve had to do a bit of research to see which games are worth pursuing.  I’ve had good luck so far with polling people and reading many lists about the best of the best, but one obstacle I’ve come up against is learning more about the PAL library.  The North American Master System game list is quite small compared to what was released elsewhere in the world, meaning that there is an untapped set of games that I know next to nothing about.  I’ve gotten a few good leads and have been tracking a few things down, and here is a collection of some of what I’ve managed to find so far.

This first bunch are games I didn’t feel compelled to try to get complete in the box.  I hadn’t heard much about Wolfchild prior to buying, but I do know it had a supposedly better port on the Sega Genesis.  From what I understand, it’s hard to find on the Master System, and because of it’s ragged label, it was quite cheap to pick up compared to what it’d usually run for.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is… interesting.  I lost at least three lives in about 30 seconds while trying to punch people with guns, and there’s no music past the title screen in what little of the game I’ve played so far.  I’m not hopeful that this game will sweep me off my feet at any point, but it’s definitely seeming like a challenge to rise up against!

The Terminator and Jurassic Park have a small degree of jankiness that tickles me when playing games from this generation, but they look the most promising of the bunch in terms of action platformers.  Putt & Putter is a fun mini-putt game that I managed to get a hole in one in during the first hole.  That’s the kind of golf game I like!  Lastly, Submarine Attack is a horizontal shooter that is supposed to be easier than other shooter games on the system, but per usual, I got roasted in the first level.  I watched a friend stream the game and it looks manageable with a bit of practice.

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Danan the Jungle Fighter gave me some serious Faxanadu vibes, and that’s something I can’t resist in a game, especially from this generation.  I bought the game in hopes of having another action-packed sidescrolling adventure with RPG elements tied in, so let’s hope that it lives up to my expectations.  I hadn’t previously heard of this one, but I’m really glad I’ll have the opportunity to try it out.  It arrived later than the rest of my games and missed the group shot.

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I did manage to find a few games in their boxes, but the only one I found with a manual was The Ninja.  You might be asking why on earth I’d want to buy this game, and truthfully, I don’t know why I did.  You see, there are too many Master System games like Kung Fu Kid, The Ninja, Black Belt, etc. that became synonymous in my brain.  Truly, I don’t even know now which one of those three I even initially wanted to purchase, but it definitely wasn’t The Ninja.  What a glowing piece of… beautifully crafted 8-bit art to have on my shelf.  It was only a few dollars, thankfully.

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The rest of the games I found boxed with no manuals, and two of them are supposed to be excellent.  Land of Illusion is a PAL region exclusive platformer that is apparently on the same level of awesomeness as Castle of Illusion and other great Mickey Mouse games.  That and The Lucky Dime Caper Starring Donald Duck are absolutely gorgeous.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more beautiful environments and character sprites in a Master System game.  Asterix was pretty beautiful to look at but my nostalgia for Mickey and Donald might be pulling me along a little harder.

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I also picked up Batman Returns.  This game came highly recommended to me from someone who has a much more well-rounded and complete Master System collection than I could ever dream of having.  Owazrim streams lots of Master System games over on his Twitch channel so if you’re looking to see some of this library in action, he’s someone to check out.  Daffy Duck in Hollywood looked quite promising from the gameplay I watched, but the camera’s a bit weird… it seems to whip all over the place and the game feels a little too zoomed in, but I only played for a few minutes.  Perhaps a longer play session will reveal more.  Hopefully it was a good choice to buy.

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I found out about Laser Ghost from a random Tweet and immediately bought it.  It’s a horror game where you move a little girl with the controller and need to simultaneously use the light gun to kill things that are trying to hurt the child as you try to get her to safety.  It’s such an interesting concept for a game that I’ve never seen done before!  Now, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants is a game I grew up playing on NES.  Finding out about the Master System version intrigued me, but good LORD is this game ever bad.  I know that the NES game’s controls are hard to master (run and jump are the same button if I remember correctly) but it feels completely different and worse on the Master System somehow.  They also didn’t have the theme song on the title screen or any Simpsons-related music in what little I got to.  It’s definitely inferior in every single way.

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Last but not least, I bought two games that I’ve always considered must-haves for the system from the PAL region.  I picked up Rainbow Islands and Bubble Bobble, and both came without their manuals.  Rainbow Islands’ something I’ve only played on the PSP, but the 8-bit and arcade versions have always been more attractive to me.  Bubble Bobble’s case art was a little shabby, but given that it’s a bit harder to find and usually pretty expensive, I didn’t mind it being in slightly poor condition.  I don’t like the music in this version as much, but apparently you get double the levels and mini-bosses, so it’s a totally different and expanded game from the NES version.  I doubt I’ll ever see all 200 levels, but I’m excited to try!

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Hopefully that fulfills whatever Sega fix you may (or may not) have been looking for.  I’m so excited about each of these games, and I have more on my list to try to track down in the coming months.  I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer.

As always, thank you very much for reading.

-GG

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