RA Invasion [Part 16] – Casual GBC suplexing.

killing machine

I’ve organized a plan for RA, where I’ll do a different console per post, with increased +1 entry each time, up to 10, after which I will make a reset. The console pick up is entirely done by RNG, although I do tend to avoid those that still lack a sufficient number of games in their library. However, for a time being, I might put that on hold, because I really want to prioritize the major clean- up that I’ve been thinking of doing for a while now. Well, I’ve kind of started it a while back, but for real, I should be more consistent with it.

Monsters, Inc. [Game Boy Color]

Monsters, Inc. DONE!

This game is a platformer that starts out pretty decently, but it quickly accelerates into shoving instant deaths into the face of the player. That comes in terms of enemies, platforming segments and boss battles. Boss battles in particular are pretty awful, because it’s not really crystal- clear as to how they should be handled, especially the second one. Another major issue is the boss patterns, which you need to learn proper, as you cannot really outrun your foe and your huge hitbox is of no help either. This game doesn’t shine all that much when it comes to level variety and some visuals in certain levels can be confusing sometimes when it comes to handling properly the platforming. The controls of this game are not very good, but I’ve seen worse. Suffice to say, even if you get used to them, performing certain difficult platforming segments still won’t feel as good as they should. At least the game is generous enough to provide you with a decent number of extra lives and HP pick- ups are all over the place.

How well does this game live up to the original source material? Last time I’ve watched “Monsters, Inc.” was probably over more than a decade ago, but from what I remember, I think this game does its job good enough. You can switch between Sulley and Mike in certain levels, but the majority of the game is dedicated to Sulley. Sulley has a bigger hitbox, can grab onto ledges and roar at sleeping children at the beginning of the game. Further along, Boo will join him for a few stages, but as far as I have played this game, I never found her attack to be of any need or use anywhere in the game. Mike is the character to go in pretty much every stage where he is available. He can double jump and has a projectile attacks, which costs 1 HP per ammo, but it’s still pretty good enough to take out most of the opposition that might try and stand in your way.

My final statement for this game is – I really hated the stage with the doors! The issue there is not the design of the stage, but rather, the fact that you need to position well to grab onto the doors in order to climb on top of them. That gets especially frustrating when it comes to the moving doors, where in some cases Sulley would refuse to grab at all, resulting in pretty much a loss of life and a restart of the whole stage. I also think that the vertical scrolling is done pretty badly. To keep up with your nemesis who is chasing you and can instantly kill you, you need to be really ahead, way past what the camera shows you even. Memorization of the level layout plays a huge role in that, but is this really how the developers intended the level to be played? Does this game suffers from a lack of quality playtesting?

I wonder…

Warlocked [Game Boy Color]

I called this game a “Budget Warcraft: Orcs and Humans”, but I don’t know how strongly do I feel about that opinion. It’s quite the unique experience, I’ve never imagined that I would ever play RTS for a handheld. I think what made me come up with that opinion for “Warlocked” more than anything was the resources gathering in this game. Come on now! A gold mine that you sent your workers to and lumber harvesting? That is so WC alright! I do like that they made different variations for the gold mine and the lumber. In some levels you gather rocks and in the underground levels you mine the gold straight from a drilled- in hole in the ground. Those are but a few simple touches that put a genuine smile on my face.

When it comes to the two factions in the game, the only differences between them are the sprites. Both Humans and Beasts play the same, they both have identical unit types and structures that share equal stats and functions. The only buildings that you can build in this game are farms, towers and barracks. Farms increase the maximum number cap of units that you can have, but sadly, no indication about it is displayed anywhere on the hub menu, which can be kind of annoying. Turrets provide a slight defense for your base. Pretty weak in general, can easily fall to merely a two melee soldiers. The barracks lets your produce either melee soldiers or archers. The first type is what you’ll be producing most of the time, as archers are more fragile, expensive and only necessary for taking down enemy dragons, really.

Maps vary from small to medium- sized. In general, the campaign missions are on the low side of difficulty. Especially the missions where you can obtain Dragons, which you can use to clean up any opposition in no time. In general though, the enemy CPU doesn’t gather resources and does not rebuild structures, but is usually fortified really well. A few waves of melee soldiers usually does the job just as well as a single drake. As for the missions themselves, they mix it up with something new and different every now and then, so it’s not always about cleaning the whole map from the CPU’s units and structures.

The bread and the butter of this game are the wizards. These are really strong units that you can rescue per each missions, after the first one for each faction. They can be stored and summoned from a temple structure, which you need to reveal on the map in order to use. They have no cost for summoning and each one can provide you with unique power. In general, most wizards can instantly kill an enemy unit. Some of them do that and turn the enemy unit into resources, which are credited to your bank right away. Some wizards can convert the enemy units into archers for your own personal army or into weak critters that you can kill in few hits. There are wizards that make your units tougher to kill or fortify your turrets to be able to sustain more damage. The list goes on and there are wizards unique to each factions, even though they are yet again a sprite swaps sharing similar stats and powers.

Maps hold secrets, like wizards, hints, maps for multiplayer and gambling mini- games that you can unlock, so full exploration is encouraged. Army stocks can be saved, imported or exported. The mini- games provide you with additional extra gold for your stock files. [?] I wonder how good multiplayer is? I haven’t experience it yet, but would really like to at some point in the future.

The RA achievements push one towards finding all the wizards. While that is fine and dandy, wizard distribution is unique for each new save file. Luckily, that distribution comes in the form of a few unique sets, all of which have been recorded by a guy on the internet. I’m really glad that documentation exists, because honestly, there is no point in replaying the campaigns over and over, without any knowledge regarding the wizards spawn order. In my case, I was literally chasing after finding sprite swaps of wizards that I’ve already experienced during my first initial run. [Only Sage and Necromancer were left when I consulted the documentation.] Is this a form of cheating or did I do good for saving time chasing wild gooses? I’ll let you be the judge of that…

The plot of this game is pretty bland for each faction, wherein you just build up your path towards dethroning the lead figure of the opposing nation. The music in this game is pretty catchy and it fits quite well with the muffled and bland voices of the units. It’s quite the hilarious experience, I really enjoyed it!

Having trouble defending your main hall? Put a wizard there to halt all attacks along with a worker to repair all the damage. If you have a wizard than can convert enemies into resources or archers, you can turn the attacks into quite the profit! It requires a little bit of micro, but it’s quite effective.

This game… It’s not really amazing, but it can be the perfect gateway game for anyone who wants to get into the RTS genre. Personally, I give it a honest 6/10.

RA Invasion [Part 8] – Mystery Garbage Game Science Theater

robot

This weekend I spent most of my time on “The Powerpuff Girls” entry that I didn’t finish last time, along with the usual “WarioWare: Twisted!” update. Not a lot is left to do in that game, though emulation does make it impossible to 100% clear. I am still going to push onward and see how far can I get. I guess in the end, I’ll have to compromise due to the artificial limitations, but what can you do? Another option is to purchase actual hardware and the game itself, but given my current position, I am way too deep in the quicksand to even consider pulling my nose up and take a breather.

I also did that awful Genesis Barney game for RA. You just know that set is good when you have to go through the game not once but three times total! The life of a hardcore gamer is truly harsh indeed!

The Powerpuff Girls: Bad Mojo Jojo [Game Boy Color]

The Powerpuff Girls: Battle Him [Game Boy Color]

The Powerpuff Girls: Paint the Townsville Green [Game Boy Color]

Here’s not one, but three whole awful entries from the Game Boy Color library. The idea here was that you get all three games so you can trade cards with one another and potentially collect all of them. A pretty common trend for it’s time, though these three games didn’t shine when it came to it really. For one thing, you have to go through each game and collect the said cards. While that’s not all that difficult of a task, the games are not really any fun to play, what with the many issues that they have. I am not talking about gameplay wise only, but technical as well. The Powerpuff girls games for the GBC are full of bugs and glitches, which are prior to not only bad programming, but also lack of testing and overall rushed development for a potential money grab, which again, probably solely hoped for a spike based on the whole card collecting/ exchanging thing and the popularity of the show itself.

In each game you play as one of the girls from the show, following their own unique plot. You can still call the others for help, which is pretty useful if you want to prevent any boss from actually moving and being of any threat whatsoever. A lot of people categorize this game as a platformer, but there isn’t any actual platforming, really. You fly around all over the place, but you have a status bar that displays how limited you are in your flying. Landing and staying on ground for a while will recharge the bar. You can also walk on ground freely. The issue here is not with the limited flight, but with the overall level design, where a lot of times you don’t have a clear information of your surroundings. There are a lot of blind drops and I’ve found myself many times overshooting my flying past the platform I was supposed to land on to recharge. Checkpoints in the levels occur after every event, though not all levels are that generous when it comes to them. Dying can be pretty punishable, as it also doesn’t register all the collectables that you’ve gotten. (The number of items that you’ve collected register only after getting checkpoints or finishing the level!) However, the game makes sure to provide you with enough health pick ups, so the only issue is to avoid falling into a bottomless pit or a water body when you run out of fly juice.

Fighting enemies in this game is done by the traditional technique of jousting, where the outcome is always in favor of you. Fighting stationary is not recommended, unless you have a death wish. You also have to dodge projectiles, which can screw up your jousting charge, so additional maneuvering is required. It’s nothing all that complicated though. You also have ranged attack that can stun enemies and bosses. [It is also used to free brainwashed citizens at that one level in Bubbles story!] You can stun- lock a lot of the opposition not only with your ranged attack, but with normal, regular melee attacks as well! It’s all about the timing!

The controls are floaty and sloppy. The general structure of the levels is very dull and repetitive. The only difference between each level is the layout and the tile set. The girls are also pretty much a palette swaps. There is nothing unique or different when it comes to controlling each of them. The three games are quite identical, with similar enemies and stages being shoved in. There are a few boss fights that light up the day a bit with their different gimmicky fights, but in the end… it all comes down to proper jousting attacks to make even them dull and boring. The collectable items [To which number also count defeated enemies for some reason…] are not hard to find, though there are few hidden behind walls and whatnot. The stages are not all that big though, so finding them all is not a big issue…

BUT WAIT…

If that’s the case, how come one of the games I’ve only cleared to 109% and not 110%?

The game featuring Bubbles… I’ve noticed that it has an issue of not spawning some of the flying squid enemies. For example – It sometimes fails to spawn one of them in the ventilation shaft in the museum level. [Near the thug and another flying squid.] It fails to spawn a squid in the Townsville Dump, located inside the cave [?] on the far- right climb with the one, small stepping stool. So I think it also fails to spawn one of the squids in the final subway level as well. But in the other levels the squids managed to spawn eventually after resetting the rooms a few times, so why can’t I find anything in the subway? I’ve fallen into every hole and pushed against every wall. There are no secret rooms that I might have missed. It could be that the programmer forgot to put an item or an enemy or that they just put the wrong number. I’ve spend over ten hours exploring the subway level from head to toe. NOTHING…

So I’ve come to accept that 109% is as far as one can manage to get on that game. If you do manage to find all items and prove me wrong, please do inform me. If it’s about a missing squid enemy, I’ll be more than happy to learn about its location.

These three games have also received revisions. These updated versions give you all collectable cards, lower the hit boxes of bottomless pits/ water bodies and they remove the save feature and completion percentage display. I don’t know if that’s all, but I did find this issue with Revision A of Bubbles game.

Note: This revision does not fixes the problem with the missing enemy/ loot in the subway level. I’ve tried that as well…

Color me impressed as well, what a shit show this weekend was…

RA Invasion [Part 7] – Dream Schedule

ra suffering

Due to work, I’ve been trying to implement a new sleep schedule in my routine.  RA weekend is not the best time for me to try and adjust to new changes in my life style, I haven’t been able to concentrate or keep my motivation level uptight to cover the usual number of entries that I tend to go after, usually. That’s not really a bad thing, as this schedule might just be the answer for me to turn things around and reach a perfect balance between work and LR19 related activities. Sacrifices needs to be made sometimes for a better good. It’s not that there are no alternatives around it, this is just more optimal and rewarding overall… at least for a time being.

I did revisit “Super Mario World” this weekend. Decent achievement set, though a few achievements do stick out. That tends to be the case with most sets really. 75% of the achievements would usually cover full game completion, while the rest would involve additional goal that inspire change in the overall play style. I can see most people being put off by this, especially with games where the achievement developers would like to increase the difficulty for one reason or another. It all comes down to how much you like the game in the end and how much of your time it’s worth.

I was trying to do “The Powerpuff Girls” games for the GBC. While only one of the games is on RA right now, I do want to cover all titles, since they do connect to each other, what with one being able to trade cards in between and obtain unique passwords from clearing each game. Those passwords can’t be used in the same game you obtained them from, but rather, in the others. I did clear the “Bad Mojo Jojo” successfully, but alas, I had no time to do so with the other two. I will do them eventually, though I am a bit sad that I didn’t had the pleasure of doing so this weekend…

Barbie: Ocean Discovery [Game Boy Color]

Here’s yet another game composed of mini- games, starring our beloved, famous and beautiful character Barbie, from the series – BARBIE!!! This one is unique because getting to the mini- games is a bit of an annoyance, at least until you unlock the shortcuts to them in menu. Other than that, I would say that the games are… I guess they are interactive enough. There is also quite the adventurous plot, by which I mean the good old “Find a map and look for treasure” trope. I don’t know, some people are into it, even at the age of sixty- five. I’ve searched for treasure before. I’ve also managed to find one. Not all that exciting of an activity really, but maybe that’s due to the fact that an old lantern is not near the value of an actual gold coins, gemeralds or a diary full of ramblings…

Is it though?…

RA Invasion [Part 6] – Invade! Lazy Invader

croc

Not a very exciting RA weekend. Rather than playing, I spent most of my time lying on bed and thinking about games that I don’t want to play, along with my constant dreaded thought of “What if tomorrow something destroys the Earth? Everything Humanity worked so hard for over generations would be put to waste.” It’s not the best mood for one to be hanging on, but sometimes there are moments where we can’t shake off certain feelings, no matter if we managed to come in terms with them over the years of our growth.

Croc [Game Boy Color]

Alright, maybe there would be at least one good thing to our total obliteration – There will be no more “Croc” for the Game Boy Color and none of us will be tortured by this game anymore!

So this version of Croc is a 2D platformer. I do not know how well does Croc fare in his original 3D platformer games, but in this one he just sucks ass. The jumping is very fast and sharp. While moving and attacking an enemy, if you manage to defeat them, Croc won’t stop in his tracks, but rather, continue on for a while. Avoid doing that on baddies located near pitfalls! When it comes to said enemies, the hit detection is really awful. In contrast to these problems (/), the game answers with two easy solutions – Bland level design with low difficulty and extra lives everywhere! By everywhere, I mean that at the end of the game, I was already maxed out! One major issue for those who would want to lose a portion of their minds and go for a full clear of this game are the mini- games at the end of each level. You see, each level has these critters that you need to find and rescue, hidden all over the place. However, each level has one of them being the reward for completing the mini- game at the end, to which you only have access if you find all the BONUS letters! Those aren’t really all that well hidden, similar to the critters, but in case you fail to complete a certain mini- game, you’ll have to redo said level all over again! The most troublesome of the bunch is the sliding puzzle mini- game. The rest are fairly easy, though during your first introduction to them, you might find yourself being at disadvantage due to lack of knowledge regarding how does each one control or play.

Your health is represented by the collectable crystals, which grant you an extra life per each 100th. While that is fine and dandy, given that the game showers you with extra lives, you might be more interested in just keeping the number of the crystals high enough so you can tank through stuff, rather than reset the number for a mere 1- UP. The extra life would be meaningless anyways if you die a dozen of times after that, due to being unable to hold your ground against the enemies, who tend to move pretty fast and come off screen in a blast!

The reward for finding all critters is pretty lame, as the game just gives you access to all the mini- games that you’ve played… Wow!

Some of the bosses in this game are OK. They require a bit of thought and direct approach isn’t usually the answer. Even if you lose all your crystals to them, there is a small section before each boss that provides you with some for the fight. I think that the amount is fair enough, as it doesn’t give you all that much extra hits. However, there is still the issue with one reaching the boss with high amount of crystals carried over from another level. But hey! If you feel like this game is challenging for your own personal level, sure, why not?

I really, really hated the mine- cart section! Not the first time I’ve been disappointed by that type of level in a video game though!

Hammerin’ Harry: Ghost Building Company [Game Boy]

Hammerin' Harry - Ghost Building Company DONE!

A very fun action platformer, quite easy in general in terms of difficulty, though there are a few kinda’ tough parts that require a bit of learning. Also, featuring a boss that provides you with enough extra lives and health until you are full, right before the final level! That sure is something I’ve never seen before in a game and I am enjoying this idea quite a lot, especially given that the final level is not really a walk in the park, at least not on your first initial run.

I like how the plot is represented as a movie in a cinema, where people are watching the events unfold. Gen-san Harry has to save his girlfriend from all sorts of Ghosts ‘n Goblins this time around, which… managed to fit in with the whole construction theme quite well. You get to fight a haunted giant Nail, demolish a ghost blimp, part by part and eventually, bring destruction to the ghost making machine itself. Of course, given that this is a [HORROR] themed game, at the end it is revealed that EVIL NEVER DIES!

It’s quite an entertaining twist of events and it made me think about how silly this type of endings are in actual horror movies. Despite the fact that I’ve seen those a billion times, I don’t find them boring or outdated to this day.

But the machine keeps reviving ghosts and the game doesn’t really comes to a halt… I wonder if there is a secret to it that no one has found yet? Maybe a certain combination of buttons could unlock a secret New Game + or something? I highly doubt it though.

This game is a pretty good entry in the Gen-san Harry series. In general, I think Hammerin’ Gen-san is pretty underrated and overlooked. Maybe it’s because it’s not as fast paced as other games and you need some good timing against some enemies?…

How old are Harry and his girlfriend anyways?… HMM…!

RA Invasion [Part 3] – Flare’s Absolutely Mini- Games Only Weekend!

Pingu

I don’t know how I managed to put myself into this situation… I guess one thing led to another and I lazily spent my weekend doing titles for RA that are composed entirely of mini- games. Apart from the two new games that I covered, I only had time to also do the Game Boy version of “Darkwing Duck”, which, despite being way easier than the NES one, is still quite fun nevertheless. Having the opportunity to explore it even further, I was quite satisfied with having to search for the secret bonus rooms. I like the new additions in the Game Boy version, especially the very last bonus room located down a hole, for which you need to use one of your special weapons to uncover it. Little neat things like that are making me feel glad that I am doing stuff for RA, revisiting old titles and whatnot, being able to  expand my joyful experience of a certain video game even further.

JOIN RA TODAY!

Arthur’s Absolutely Fun Day! [Game Boy Color]

I don’t know who the hell Arthur is, all I know is that it’s some sort of educational series and for some reason people still talk about it to this day. Maybe it’s the quality of education that the series provide, maybe people who grew up with it are at the age where they start to mix nostalgia with sexual fetishes, WHO KNOWS?

This game is composed of fifteen mini- games. The majority of them focus on concentration and timing, which I think is a pretty good topic, especially for young children. Not all of these games control very well, but they are simple enough to not invoke any potential feeling of frustration. There are no rules explained for any of the mini – games beforehand. You just pick one and jump right in, only with your natural instinct for what is right and wrong at disposal. The strawberry mini- game – That’s what’s very wrong! Having to move around at a snail’s pace picking strawberries is the worst part of this game, thank God it doesn’t last for too long… Sadly, RA managed to further ignite this living hell up with some SOUL BREAKING achievements… “I hate you so much for this one RA!”

I had trouble figuring out how to do the trash collecting mini- game. So you jump on your skateboard, you can increase your speed or slow down, but direct contact with any of the collectables proves to be ineffective? What the hell man? After a while, I figured out that you need to be near them and press “A” at the right time, so Arthur can do some weird pick- up motion. For a while I actually thought that it’s a jumping motion. The top- down view really wasn’t the best choice to convert that expression for picking up trash.

Some of the mini- games become a bit harder the more you play them. There are around three levels for each mini- game with actual difficulty scaling. There is also a very pointless and not fun bumper car mini- game. Bumper cars in general are not fun as a whole, let alone in a video game. Anyone stating otherwise is probably an actual bumper car in real life. I get it, ramming into stuff and children with their laughing parents! Hell, no parent of mine wanted to get into the car. This is how they taught me about the cruelty of the human world…

Pingu: Sekai de Ichiban Genki na Penguin [Game Boy]

Speaking of cruelty, here’s a video game starring freakin’ PINGU!

This game never left Japan for a reason! It was used as an introduction for toddlers to the video game world. Those who were successful were directly put through Ghosts ‘n Goblins for the NES afterwards – A harsh but fair process to prepare them for the cruel life ahead of being a salesman or an anime- loving degenerate. Those who failed Pingu however were directly sent to the South Pole to live the rest of their lives as actual Penguins. If you think I’m joking, then explain a penguin’s natural thirst for raw fish! The fact that I completed this game and I’m not sliding on my belly is another proof of how true my words are.

Now that I am done with my usual racist remarks and none- sense blabbing, I have to say, this game is not bad at all. It has a sweet, short plot of four small episodes, very true to the spirit of the original source material. The mini- games are average in difficulty, wherein’ some dictate the outcome via RNG. A good example for that is the columns mini- game. You can end up clearing some of the harder levels in no time or get stuck replaying the level for a while, until good pieces drop. Something that this game does well is that it SAVES THE PROGRESS that you’ve done in the mini- games, instead of putting you back to first level. How generous is that?

I especially adore the hub world where you can walk around and NOOT NOOT with the “A” button all day long!

RA has put some pretty good achievements for this game, though I still think they can add more to the set. Level 50 columns and fish- catching mini games? I mean, they’ve covered the hide and seek and the sliding puzzle one to the fullest, so why not the other two as well? Also, the snowball fight game achievement where you have to complete it with ten snowballs fired? I don’t know how I managed to perfect this game, given that you have to hit nine penguins who’s movements are heavily RNG based. Your biggest chance on hitting a penguin without screwing up is to catch them while being idle after firing a snowball in the hope that they’ll fire another one and not just move away. Also, a reminder that you have to charge your attack in order to throw a snowball further away. The charge bar also refreshes each time it reaches the maximum output… TALK ABOUT PRECISE TIMING!

Honestly, I think it’s easier to win the lottery than what I managed to do.

Thank you RNG Jesus!