A Week in Gaming 2nd Quest #15+16: 4/10 – 4/16 & 4/17 – 4/23

Whoa, holy crap I have a blog. A blog I’ve been slacking on lately due to a combination of things. You can blame me for my Borderlands addiction, as I’ve put 64 hours into the game in the past 11 days, but when I’m not running through Pandora with my friends I’ve either been focusing on homework or streaming! My semester ends on March 6th for three of my four classes, the fourth the week after that, and as such they’re really packing the homework and projects in. I had to make a written schedule and checklist for all of my assignments just to make sure I wasn’t overwhelmed. This brought with it a question: Why the heck do so many classes throw in one gratuitous end-of-semester paper to write? It’d be fine to finish up a semester with doing one paper for a class, but when all of them do it? That becomes overwhelming.

Still, I managed to beat six games and complete three during the last two weeks. 14 days, 9 games, 3 of which are part of my Borderlands addiction? I’d call that good. Four on Week 15, five on Week 16, with at least something to say about all of them: Continue reading

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A Week in Gaming 2nd Quest #10: 3/6 – 3/12

Yet another week that moves too quick for its own good has passed, and I feel like I’m not doing enough. Truth be told I’ve only really played video games when I’ve been streaming, which is something I’ve done a lot of this week. NES-focused stream, one dedicated to Final Fantasy VIII, I’ve pretty much been a stream whore this week. Had to get it out of my system or something, I suppose.

I made a bit of progress this week in regards to actually beating and completing games. Nothing new or exciting, just games from my past. I probably would have made more progress, but between slow-paced RPGs and finding that making perler bead sprites are an enjoyable hobby, I’ve been lax on the drive to get under 100 unfinished games.

The beaten game this week is Soul Blade. The PlayStation prequel to Soulcalibur, Soul Blade is the game that started the entire franchise and brought with it the innovation of using weapons in a fighting game that you could change. Unless there’s some niche title or something else I’m missing, Soul Blade is also the first fighting game to have a storyline-based adventure mode in addition to the usual set of game modes that populate fighting games.

This was one of my first fighting games, and I’ve got tons of nostalgia for it. There were nights where a friend and I would spend hours in vain to beat certain Edge Master stages, with rage tears aplenty. A personal favorite for me was Li Long, the nunchuck-user, and I fell in love with the soundtrack. Just watch the opening above and tell me that’s not a great song.

This also shows the starting point for how a video game series would evolve over the course of fifteen years. Just look up character art for Sophitia, Taki, or Seung Mina, and you’ll see what I mean. In Soul Blade, the women were sexy but modest, a far cry from the porn start look that Sophitia has in Soulcalibur IV. And don’t get me started on how Taki seems to get a bigger bust and bouncier with every game. I know the games function in a linear timeline, but jeez can a woman’s chest really get that big in such a short period of time?

The fun thing about finding Soul Blade again was checking my PS2 memory card to see what data I had. Lo and behold, I had found a save file transfered to the card in August of 2004 that still worked! I had only acquired all of Siegfried’s weapons and a few of Li Long’s and Hwang’s (two characters that I regretted not seeing in Soulcalibur II, the second game I experienced in the series), but I’ve continued from where I left off ages ago. That’s right, I’ve got a completion file in the works that’s been worked on since 2004.

All in all, Soul Blade was a great title, and from what I played of it now it still holds solidly together. the Edge Master mode might be linear, simple and repetitious, but the gameplay is fun and the music is great. If you see this and you’re a fan of fighting games, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

The completed game this week is The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. My second-favorite title in the series, of which I can blame nostalgia, love for its direct prequel Link to the Past, and a love for Game Boy games on.

All prior experience had come from playing the DX version of the game, so playing the buggier earlier version was a slight change in pace. In the first half hour of playing this on stream, I spent more time fiddling with the color pallets that the Game Boy Player would allow you to change to, then abusing the “Select Glitch”, than actually making progress. For reference, I settled on the smooth dark blue color pallet.

The Select Glitch was rather fun and very useful when I bothered to actually use it. The glitch occurs when you move from one screen to the next. Just as you’re moving, you have to hit select and activate the map. When you leave the map, you’d be in the same place you were on the screen you left but on the screen you were going to. So if I went to the left toward a screen with a pit I couldn’t cross and used the glitch, I would be on the other side of the pit. This allows for sequence breaking, or just funny instances where I got stuck in trees and solid areas.

Even without the color upgrades, the extra dungeon, the Game Boy Camera add-in… pretty much everything that was packed into the DX version, Link’s Awakening is still a solid title. Gameplay was tight, controls worked perfectly, and items always had a use. Even the Magic Powder, which saw limited use in Link to the Past, served a higher role in Link’s Awakening. I also really love having an item in these 2D Zelda titles that allows me to jump.

Like the DX version, my few beefs with the game still stand. Some of the dungeons are too complex for their own good, I feel. In particular, Eagle Tower and Turtle Rock are both mind-numbing in confusion and pacing, and in the DX version Turtle Rock’s color pallet will burn your retinas. I also found Koholint Island’s overworld a pain in the ass to travel on at some points, since it seemed much easier to get from location to location in its predecessor than here.

Beyond those, and a few others I’m probably forgetting, Link’s Awakening is a great title. If you can’t hunt down either version of it, the game is being re-released on the 3DS’s Virtual Console in the upcoming months. I highly advocate this title and recommend it to everyone.

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That’s about it from me this week. Some minor progress with games I’ve played in the past. Next week starts my Spring Break, so we’ll see if I can get to writing about Harvest Moon or Final Fantasy VIII up here in two Sundays. Until then folks, keep gaming! o/

A Week in Gaming 2nd Quest #9: 2/27 – 3/05

It feels like I reeled in a huge sea bass in last week’s post, while this week I was lucky to snag a minnow. Or a boot. Class work hit hard, including the second of Abnormal Psychology’s Jeopardy Fact Exams, and I spent more time buying games than I did actually beating them.

That’s not to say I didn’t make progress though! I beat one, completed a second, and put many hours into Final Fantasy 8, Drakengard, Harvest Moon, and Ys I. Yet those are all time sinks so the dream of reading endgame credits for each is far away. As such, all we’ve got here today is one measly completed game. I did mention a beat but that was CreaVures for the PC, a game I reviewed. The review should be posted up on Snackbar Games within a few days, so if you want my opinions on it go there! Continue reading

A Week in Gaming 2nd Quest #8: 2/20 – 2/26

I felt odd on both Friday and Saturday. I can’t remember the last days I barely played any games on between this weekend so far and May of 2008. But sure enough, I played practically nothing. Two of the five worlds are done in the PC platformer CreaVures – a game I’m reviewing for Snackbar Games! – but beyond that there was no electronic entertainment. Instead, I cleaned, did household chores, put up a new shelf, sorted beads and made some failure bead art, and tackled my homework with gusto.

But looking back on my history over the past week, no wonder I had a vidya drought over the past two days: I got all my gaming done earlier in the week! Hell, in one 24-hour period alone I beat one game and completed three. Throw in the stream I did for Sadrack’s birthday, which included another complete, and I think I overdid it early on to compensate for housework and coursework in the past few days. This week we total with six games: two beaten and four completed. Continue reading