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 5] – Grind harder!

grind harder

Pretty good weekend on RA. I got to play through a bunch of platformers, some of which were pretty great while others – not as much. In fact, not at all, honestly. An example for that is “The Flintstones” for the Game Boy by OCEAN! The only good thing that this game did right were the bosses, which were pretty decent in terms of variety and design. I really enjoyed the fight where you have to drug your boss with drinks and put him to sleep. The actual levels themselves are pretty bland and boring, to a certain extend some of them feel way longer than they should be. The length would not have been a problem if there was more to the repeatable hop and bop, litter it all with enemies, traps and pitfalls.

The game is at least pretty generous with its mini- games granting extra lives. It doesn’t go over the top with them at least, but it gives you enough to keep you going while making sure that you don’t make too many mistakes.

I would have added this game to the vault, but I wish to experiment a bit further with the invaders- clone mini – game that you can access on certain levels, if you have any coins in your disposal. Can you go over the top in terms of high score? Will it reset after level 99? How much does the difficulty pick up as the levels go? Those are very important questions that need a SERIOUS ANSWERS!

Disney Princess [Game Boy Advance]

Disney Princess GBA DONE!

Something that I did not expect from this game was to be offering an actual interactive variety of levels that would keep my interest for a while. I was wrong. The game has it all, from good times platforming action, not- so hard to learn mazes, house management and DDR to Little Mermaid 3 and Jasmine’s Assassin’s Creed. The game could have done better with some of the controls, but at least the hit detection is pretty alright. Disney Princess manages to create an atmosphere that perfectly represents both the beauty and harshness of the princess life. Hats off to the RA set for making this game even more challenging and FUN!

Kid Dracula [Game Boy]

Kid Dracula DONE!

I’m not big on the Castlevania games, in fact, I haven’t beaten any of them yet! This spin- off title for the Game Boy was pretty great and fun platformer though! I can’t believe I played something that got an actual laugh from me. A laugh from enjoying myself and having a good time. A laugh representing that I find something very entertaining and humorous. This game got it! The cast is so goofy and charming, I love it! The level design is well- made, with a good progress flow to it. The game can be a bit tough on some parts, but it’s nothing too complicated for one to get stuck on! Great and enjoyable boss fights, the mini- games are easy to play and they shower you with lives… Well, I don’t know about that one… I guess it’s an additional insurance that the designers put to ENSURE the “Good times” experience. I honestly can’t blame them for that…

I really like that the game makes use of every special ability that you get, even if some of them are necessary for only like… two areas in the whole game. You would think that if you get a power that lets you fly everywhere from the start of the game would be a tool that you can abuse easily, but no… The game is well- designed and the abilities are balanced good enough. Man, I really did had a blast with this one, didn’t i?…

I remember playing the NES version a while back, but I did not enjoy it for some reason. I wonder why? Maybe I should get back to it at some point in the near future?

Joe & Mac [Game Boy]

This is the port of “Joe & Mac” where charged attacks obliterate the bosses in no time and getting hit while moving or jumping can sent you flying uncontrollably like a ball from pinball. I don’t remember having those issues in other versions that I’ve played of this game. I also don’t remember enemies dropping exploding bombs. Who would go to such an extend as to implant explosives in cave men and dinosaurs? Were sexy cave babes worth it? Maybe. What do I know about the values of those ancient times? It’s also a video game for fuck’s sake! Of course sexy cave babes are worth it! That’s it, as long as you manage to get them! This game features all three different endings from the original Arcade game, but I am not sure as to how you access each of them. It’s not based on score as far as I know. I think it’s randomized, but it might have something to do with how many hits you take from the final boss, which is improbable, but who knows, really?

I also wanted to beat the high score, but that run ended up being a few hours grind for reaching a score that the game cannot record and instead uses glitched graphics to display. Was it a fun experience? Hell no! There is nothing fun in having to grind baby T-rexes for hours from the skeleton dinosaur boss. I made sure to bring the fire power all the way to it, as it makes short works of the babies, each of which is worth 1000 points.

I thought that I was done with the grind, but then I went to do the DuckTales 2 set for the NES, which was updated a long time ago. It’s a great set, except for the one achievement that makes you grind gold in the Niagara stage. Why would you make people grind in a game with a good flow to it? Why would you kill the overall enjoyment of the game for the sake of altering the gameplay in a very bland and bad way? If you compare it to the other achievements in the set, you’ll notice that they fit perfectly with the game’s design and spirit, while that one is just… flopped tuna over the birthday cake. At least you don’t have to grind all that LONG…

RA Invasion [Part 4] – Short tales from a twisted land

ducketales

Not a lot has been going on this weekend for me at RA. I’ve been clearing mainly old entries and working on “WarioWare: Twisted!”. It’s an entry in which I’ve soaked quite a lot of time and I would like to finish it within’ the next few RA sessions. It’s a great game, I really love it! In the meantime, I’ve also covered some older entries regarding mainly Disney related platformers for the Game Boy. Achievement- wise, I have no complains for “The Little Mermaid”, though I would love to try my skills at the BONUS set, if at some point the link to the patch becomes available again. The first “DuckTales” for the Game Boy could use a bit more achievements when it comes to it’s current set. By that I mean achievements for finding all the treasures, as there is only one ending for this version for some reason. In my opinion, this one is also a port that is way worse compared to the superior one for the second game. No replay value and some sections require some very (out- of- nowhere) precise timing! Well, at least the Moon stage soundtrack wasn’t butchered all that much, it is still enjoyable as it is. It’s a great track, but I am not really all that much obsessed with it, as people tend to be.

DuckTales 2 [Game Boy]

As I mentioned earlier, I think this game is a much better port to the original second game than the port to the original first. You get to experience and play for the three different endings! There is now the addition of a special chest that tells you how much treasure there is left in the stage, so for those craving a bit more exploration, it’s quite the handy thing. It could have been a bit more clear if they used the word “Treasure” instead of “Boxes”, because for a while I thought I only need to go after the chests only. Apart from that, there is also some level layout changes. I don’t think I used to have as much trouble as crossing the bridges in the original Niagara level for the NES as I did in the Game Boy version… The boss from the special stage was also removed, sadly. Other than that, there is not much more to say about this game. Everything else within’ it is perfectly fine.

With this one, I’ve pretty much covered all of Capcom’s retro DuckTales series. Looking forward to one day try the Remastered version. I’m sure that it would be as satisfying platformer as the old games were.

AT LEAST I HOPE SO…