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 Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts

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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyTue 9 Jun 2020 - 7:30

Castlevania 64 took about seven hours with my first character and closer to five hours with my second. Dying slowed me down, that's where the challenge was. 

~

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 Chopper+Attack+(Europe)-image

The last game I finished was Chopper Attack, a relatively obscure exclusive to the Nintendo 64. I didn’t really remember N64 Magazine having much to say about it, and it’s generic name and generic cover put me off. So, it’s another game that I didn’t have for years and only bought when it was pennies on Amazon. 

This was a decent, all-action helicopter shoot’em-up from the early days of the system. Clichés like rescuing POWS, destroying underground bases and saving the president’s life are here and present, power-ups like rocket launchers, machine guns and homing missiles are too. Strafing with the C buttons like you do in Turok and Goldeneye works well, and it’s got a fair amount of variety in it’s missions and helicopters. Not being able to control your own altitude is utter pish though, and I spent the entire game wondering if I’d missed something in the tutorials about the targeting. I hadn’t, it’s just really imprecise. These two drawbacks lead to quite a bit of frustration towards the end, especially when it ramps up the difficulty from the half-way point onwards. 

Despite that though, it was a fairly entertaining game to plough through while having a few beers. It’s nobody’s favourite game and it’s not essential, but it’s cheap, fast and uncomplicated. Think of it like the N64’s version of an easy-watching, straight-to-Netflix action film starring some rocket from WWE, 6/10.
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyThu 11 Jun 2020 - 11:02

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 World-cup-98

Euro 2020 was supposed to start tomorrow.  Aww!

I won the World Cup with Scotland in World Cup 98 on the N64, a tournament we’d have definitely won in real-life were it not for us getting pumped 3-0 by Morocco in the group stage. Beating the computer in a twenty-two year old video game almost banishes those dark memories entirely, and I look forward to the open-top bus parade through Princes Street that will celebrate my accomplishment once the lockdown conditions pass.  

As for the N64 representation of the tournament itself, it’s all right. EA had made a rip-roaring cunt of their N64 debut, with the absolutely awful, no-fucking-chance-am-I-replaying-that-shite FIFA 64. They showed some signs of improvement with FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 later in 1997, but it was still no classic. Six months later, World Cup 98 came out, making it the third N64 FIFA in just over twelve months. I think this third effort does a good job of capturing the atmosphere and magnitude of the World Cup tournament. On reflection, I think it does this while being a decent alternative to International Superstar Soccer, the undisputed champion of football games at the time. The presentation is this game’s strong point, as is usually the case with FIFA. The Tubthumping soundtrack and Des Lynam commentary quickly made me nostalgic for the France ‘98 tournament itself - there’s not many retro football games that elicit that sort of feeling. Also, once I’d won the World Cup, I unlocked a Classic Mode, where I could replay old World Cup final matches with their actual teams and with some nifty sepia-toned graphics. Nice touch!
 
Most of the sports games on the Nintendo 64 have aged terribly, however, and World Cup 98 has a number of issues that time has brought to light. While the jaggedness of the players, clipping and the hilariously rubbish player likenesses can be forgiven, actually adjusting to the way World Cup 98 plays was more challenging than I’d thought it would be. While still totally playable, this is a much more sluggish and lethargic FIFA game that you’d be used to today. Even back then, it just didn’t have the fluidity that ISS 64 had. It’s an oversimplified game too. It’s way too easy to spam the same sorts of tricks and to score the same types of goal. On any level, the difficulty against the computer is just too low.

There’s better options available than World Cup 98, for sure. Yet this is cheaper and more commonly found than them all - there’s probably five copies laying round in your local CEX for £1.50 a pop. It’s a nice way to reminisce about a fantastic tournament, and I think it’s those warm memories - if you even have any - that make this game worth revisiting. That it’s not half-bad itself means that I say, yeah: go pump Morocco 17-0. 6/10.
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gjones
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyThu 11 Jun 2020 - 11:43

Cracking reviews Cappa! You ever thought about compiling these into an e-book or blog? I guess it may muscle in on Scully's territory as Scotland's chief of retro write-ups.

I'm not familiar with Chopper Attack, but World Cup 98 was a big deal at the time. I remember Euro 96 more, in terms of the tournament itself, but there wasn't a game for that (and my game memories stick more). You're dead-on with the presentation, it looked really slick and was probably the first time I heard real music in a game. I had FIFA 97 on the PC, which felt a bit "chunkier" - you could stand your striker in front of the keeper and he'd boot it at you, inevitably ending in a goal for me. Muahahah! World Cup 98 the players felt smaller, and the ball moved a bit quicker, but I didn't play FIFA: Road to the World Cup 98 or indeed FIFA 64 so had a slightly different transition. I think I played ISS 98 after World Cup 98, so my only real comparison to a good footie game, was Sensible World of Soccer on the Amiga. Which to be honest, was incredible.

That Classic mode was inspired, and an idea that should be available as DLC in modern FIFA/PES. It was indeed a dark day when Konami stopped including Scenario modes in their footie games - that's the REAL reason Mas hates Konami.
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySat 13 Jun 2020 - 8:01

Nah, I've got no plans to do anything with these reviews. I'd just planned on completing as many games as I can for my own entertainment, until I need to go back to the east and go back to my face-to-face work. They could be hosted on Gintendo or something if anybody was bursting to do that though.

~

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 Beetle-adventure-racing-cover.cover_large

The secret’s been out for over twenty years now, and almost anybody who’s got a passing interest in the Nintendo 64 knows that Beetle Adventure Racing is a really entertaining and high-quality game. I don’t think it deserves its place on these ‘underrated hidden gems’ sorts of lists where you frequently see it: everybody knows it’s great. I’d always thought that you can classify it in the same bracket as Mario Kart 64, F-Zero X, Wave Race 64 and the other top-tier racers on the console. I borrowed it off someone across the street back in the day, and I think he sold the game I’d let him borrow (Madden on the PS2, I think?) for fags. So, I punted his copy of Beetle Adventure Racing, because get it right fucking up him. I only picked up my own copy in the GameCube era, bringing it to a smoke-free home.

I’ve got no clue how Electronic Arts and Volkswagen came together, or why anybody thought that they’d combine well on Nintendo 64, but they really do. You quickly get over that odd pairing though when you recognise that this isn’t a game that takes itself seriously at all. Rather than be a simulation, Beetle Adventure Racing is an arcade-style racer in the same mould as San Francisco Rush, Hydro Thunder and other belters of the generation, just here you can only race as the Volkswagen New Beetle. You unlock Beetles with faster acceleration, higher top speeds, better handling and flashier colours, but it’s all that same motor. I think the fact that the Volkswagen New Beetle is quite a goofy car anyway means it works in this setting, where the back of the box promises “smashing, bashing fun”. The big, rich presentation, bright, psychedelic colours and funky soundtrack help set the lighthearted tone very appropriately.

Another thing that works in the game and license’s favour is the track design. Although there’s only six of them, they’re all lengthy, complex and detailed. They can be played in so many different ways that you wouldn’t become bored of them, not for a long time. The volume of shortcuts, alternative paths and secrets to discover in these tracks is peerless as far as N64 racing games go. You’re guided to some of these with Bonus Point boxes that are laid across the tracks and their scenery, but there’s still loads to discover by yourself, and the game encourages you to do so. Honestly, there must be at least fifteen shortcuts in each track. So, taking your time with Beetle Adventure Racing and exploring its tracks is absolutely essential in the long run, and it’s really good fun.

Yet while they make sense in the setting of their respective tracks, I don’t think the majority of the shortcuts are all that useful. A lot were fun to discover and the curious part of you would always want to see where they take you, that’s true. Yet on the harder difficulties I just didn’t feel that they were all that practical, oftentimes adding a bit more onto your usual, straight journey on the road. The AI can be inconsistent as well, being brainless at times and unplayable at others. Rubber-banding isn’t exclusive to Beetle Adventure Racing, but on the Professional difficulty especially it was really noticeable, and on occasion it made the game feel a bit unfair. One other and last thing that I don’t particularly like is the lack of a fun drifting mechanic, but that’s just my personal preference.

This is the first time I’ve played through Beetle Adventure Racing in nearly twenty years, and I feel pretty much the same about it now as I did when I was a teenager. There’s a couple of multiplayer modes too that I didn’t replay, but I’ve got to assume that they add even more to the variety, challenge and longevity of Beetle Adventure Racing. This was very satisfying to complete, and a rare case of an N64 that still genuinely impresses. 8/10.
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Buskalilly
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySat 13 Jun 2020 - 9:19

I was today years old when I learned Beetle Adventure Racing was about the new beetle, not the old one.
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masofdas
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySun 14 Jun 2020 - 19:21

Can I make a request and you play Quest 64 the only proper RPG on the N64
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 13:00

I'm all ears for suggestions, but Quest 64 just isn't something I can motivate myself to play. There's a handful of other RPGs on the N64 though. I might have replayed Paper Mario if there wasn't a new one out next month. Hybrid Heaven is just weird and badly put together - I've tried getting into that a couple of times before and it's simply not happened. I genuinely don't know if Aidyn Chronicles came out in the UK, I've never seen a copy. Lastly, there's Ogre Battle 64 on Wii U Virtual Console, but it's apparently got a fifty hour playtime, and that terrifies me. 

Especially for sports games and non-sim racers you're spoilt for choice on N64, but even I admit that it's a massive letdown for RPGs.
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gjones
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 16:11

Can't blame you Cappa. I'm 25 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles and already the thought has come into my head of, "I doubt I'll ever play this again". Saying that, I am sweeping up every sidequest and killing every enemy I can, but it does beg the question as to whether RPGs are remembered more fondly than perhaps they should be. I think people are more likely to throw Donkey Kong Country on for an hour than they are, say, Final Fantasy 6. Wasn't Quest 64 rubbish anyway? I might be mixing it up with Holy Magic Century. If you have them, I'd like to hear your thoughts on Ridge Racer 64 or Excitebike 64. Games that we never really talk about in 2020.
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 16:31

With these N64 games, there's a couple I've played because I can throw them on for an hour and get straight to the point. Even though I'll review some of these quite lowly, there's a certain sense of achievement and gratification there that I'm just not getting with a couple of far bigger and lengthier games that I'm playing too. 

Quest 64 is the US name for Holy Magic Century, it's all one. Also, I'm almost at the end of Ridge Racer 64, and I'm about halfway through Excitebike 64 (though taking it much slower). I'll type up fuller reviews once I'm done with them, but my immediate thoughts are that both are still worth talking about in 2020 Thumbs Up!
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 17:34

We did get Aiden in 2001, forgot about that one. Think Quest 64 is nearest to a Final Fantasy or something, as often see it brought up as being the only one on the N64, I guess that's why.

I do hear it's bad but do about Castlevania and think Cappa could do a interesting review on it.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 18:28

@gjones wrote:
...it does beg the question as to whether RPGs are remembered more fondly than perhaps they should be.

Maybe it's me coming from a place of not replaying much stuff anyway, but I don't think lack of replayability should perhaps come into the assessment of a game that'll last you longer than two playthroughs of the next game. Anyway, it's interesting what you say there because I think my memories of JRPGs tend to grow harsher over time. I remember the boring downtime between battles or the slow beginnings and forget the feeling of the world unveiling itself and the sense of an epic journey. Maybe I'm not typical.
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 15 Jun 2020 - 22:19

The main thing that's holding me back from Holy Magic Century is it's supposed playtime - looking at a longplay on Youtube, it's over ten hours long. That's played by someone who knows what they're doing and where they're going too. It just seems like a big investment of time into a genre that I'm just not enthusiastic about. Here's a genre I am enthusiastic about though: long-forgotten fighting games~!

~

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 Nus-nmep-scn-bfb

I completed Mace: The Dark Age, a lost-to-time 3D fighter that was developed for arcades by Atari in 1997 and then swiftly ported to the Nintendo 64. Looking at the box or any gameplay footage, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was just Midway trying to produce another Mortal Kombat. That’s what I’d always thought, so I didn’t bother with Mace: The Dark Age when the N64 was still Nintendo’s main console. I was half-right: while it shares a lot of the same gore as Mortal Kombat, I’d actually say it plays a lot more like SoulCalibur on the Dreamcast. Just without the depth, speed and technique.

Ninjas, Samurais, Executioners and Vikings all compete against one another for control of – yes! – a mace. There’s just three modes – Arcade, Vs. Player and Training – so this is about as much of an arcade-like experience as you could get on the N64. Rather than having Weak, Medium and Strong moves like in other fighters, here your attacks are vertical and horizontal with your weapon, with an extra kick button too. The game’s coup de grace is the Execution moves – or, basically, it’s version of Fatalities. It’s all the standard fighting game stuff, for the most part. At least the characters have their own personalities though, and you can even unlock a janitor, and a chicken, called Pojo.

Mace: The Dark Age is a fantastic-looking N64 game. The character models, animation and scenery might be amongst the best on the console, and that’s impressive for a game that came just months after the system’s launch. The interactivity with that scenery is really good too, with fights carrying on even after you’ve fallen off the level and into a pools of lava and pits of spikes below, for example, and continuing while you’re dodging swinging razor pendulums and avoiding projectiles from the sky. The game definitely has a dreary tone and it carries it off well, and although I don’t find the medieval/fantasy theme all that inspiring, it’s actually quite dynamic in this context.

Disappointingly, Mace: The Dark Age looks better than it plays. Where the whole thing falls down is with it’s moves. I played this for a few hours, and I couldn’t figure out – or even detect – any sort of combo system. With no in-game command list, I felt pretty much left to suss it out myself. I know I could have used the internet, shut your face. Instead, I tried all the fighting game staples - ↓↘→ & P,  ↓↙← & Kick and all that - but they produced nothing. That leaves behind a game that I felt was not so much about technical combat as it was mashing the buttons, and the inputs don’t really feel very responsive either. As you’d expect from a game that was originally designed to guzzle up your spare change at an amusements, it got challenging. But on N64, I sort of just booted my way to victory with the biggest, strongest character. Without combos, it was pretty straightforward stuff, and I just powered through it until I was done.

All in all, I thought Mace: The Dark Age was a really nice-looking game with slightly above average gameplay, therefore making it one of the better fighting games on the N64. Nothing’s happened with the game or license since 1997, so I’ve got to assume that someone like Piko Interactive could swoop in and buy the rights for 10 Deutsche Marks and a bag of Space Raiders. I wouldn’t be unhappy if they did, as I think it’s a decent example of a late 90s’ arcade fighter. 6/10.
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Buskalilly
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyTue 16 Jun 2020 - 8:02

Super Mario Bros

With this game's 30th anniversary this year, and what with rumours of those 3D rereleases, it felt like a good time to give the series a little playthrough. I don't think I ever played through this game properly before, no warp pipes and stuff, but I did it in fairly short order last night. I only used save states at the start of each world. That felt like a good compromise between not cheating and also not wasting my own time.

Bloody good, isn't it? The control on Mario still feels so good to this very day- I started SMB2 this morning, and despite the much better graphics and complexity, it didn't have the feel - and the levels manage a lot more variety than I would have thought possible with the game's limited pallette.

We wouldn't be GNaming, and I probably wouldn't be in Japan, without this game. What a banger.

10/10

@Balladeer wrote:
@gjones wrote:
...it does beg the question as to whether RPGs are remembered more fondly than perhaps they should be.

Maybe it's me coming from a place of not replaying much stuff anyway, but I don't think lack of replayability should perhaps come into the assessment of a game that'll last you longer than two playthroughs of the next game.  

While for some games, replayability is a big factor, I don't think a game should be automatically written off for not having it. Think in terms of movies; there's some stuff, like Pretty Woman, Commando, Dirty Dancing or Transformers: Dark of the Moon that I can watch over and over again. On the other hand, there are films like Dunkirk, Schindler's List, or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri which I can only really put myself through once. Are they "Worse" films? Or do they just offer something different?
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyTue 16 Jun 2020 - 11:03

Have to agree with Buska like I doubt I will play Death Stranding again and the upcoming The Last of Us Part 2 will likely also will get played once, those are the Dunkirk, Schindler's List, or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri to gaming.

I don't often replay games so I might be wrong but those other films to me are things like COD, Mario Kart, Smash games that can be picked up and played & enjoyed at anytime.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyTue 16 Jun 2020 - 20:30

They definitely just offer something different. Good parallel.Thumbs Up!

@masofdas wrote:
I don't often replay games...

And yet you decided to replay UGG Duh! Duh! Duh!
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyTue 16 Jun 2020 - 20:32

Because it was a short fun game at least the first time
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The Cappuccino Kid
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyWed 17 Jun 2020 - 21:15

I'd like to see where you go with your Mario reviews, Buskalilly. I'm happy somebody else is using this thread!

~

So I've been finishing games and typing up my thoughts in advance of posting them on here every few days. One of them was Pokemon Snap, and I was planning on posting this in a few weeks - I just had some other stuff I wanted to talk about first. Yet the stars have aligned, a sequel has finally been announced, and I've simply got to post about the original Pokemon Snap. I've had to rewrite a lot of this though, half of it was just moaning about how they hadn't followed it up!

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 Pokemon-snap-cover.cover_large

I’ve gone back to Pokémon Snap many times over the last twenty years, the on-rails, photography-based spin-off that’s completely unlike anything else on the N64. Even by the standards of the Pokémon series and what we’ve seen since, it’s quite quirky and odd. Although the critical reception was fairly decent when it first released, folk seem to regard this as a little bit of a cult classic these days. In the two decades since it first came out, it’s esteem seems to have only grown when that of stuff like Goldeneye 007 and Donkey Kong 64 has greatly diminished. I think Pokémon Snap deserves this recognition, as I think it’s utterly fantastic, and genuinely one of the best games on the Nintendo 64.

Professor Oak tasks your character (an aspiring photographer who's imaginatively called Todd Snap) with taking pictures of Pokémon in their natural habit on Pokémon Island. That’ll be Zubat in a cave, Scyther in the bushes, Charizard in a…volcano, stuff like that. You travel through seven different areas of the island, each with distinctive themes, and use your camera to capture the best photos you can. Taking each area/course at a time and moving along a set path, you shoot up to sixty pictures and then choose your favourites. You can save these to your cartridge to add to your Photo Album, and then submit them back to the laboratory to be assessed. Professor Oak rates these based on the Pokémon’s size and pose, as well as your own focus and technique. This is all about timing your shots perfectly, and creating a series of events on your journey so that you can best strategise how you’ll get that elusive picture of, say, a mid-evolution Slowpoke, or a Motres hatching from it’s egg.

It takes a bit of patience and it’s quite slow going in the first stages, but perseverance and skills rewards you with apples and Pester Balls to help you coax Pokémon from their hiding places, a Pokeflute that causes Pokémon to dance and pose photogenically, and a second speed so that you can whizz through the stages a lot quicker and keep chase with Pokémon that are running away. These upgrades are used in clever and imaginative ways, and experimenting with them continually surprises you. It’s all brilliantly put together. Pokémon Snap is massively original, creative and characterful, with really high production values, varied and rich graphics, a befittingly melodic soundtrack, and it’s much easier to understand and control that I’ve probably made out. For an undemanding, stress-free playthrough, it might be unbeatable on the Nintendo 64.

What holds Snap back from true greatness is the limitations of it’s scope. There’s only sixty-three types of Pokémon to be found, and photographing them all in about an hour-and-a-half isn’t hard to do. With so few Pokémon and just seven courses, Snap’s replay value comes from trying to beat your own best scores. Yet you’ll find that there’s definitely a top, unbetterable score that you can get for most of the Pokémon, and you can probably achieve something close to this for all sixty-three Pokémon in just a few hours. After that, there’s really nothing to do, except to delete your one save file and start up all over again.

There’s always been huge potential for sequels, and I'm so, so glad that Snap hasn't proved to be a one-off. Happily, the original cartridge is inexpensive, and it’s available for download on the Wii U eShop too, for £8.99. Nine quid for this much originality and enjoyment is an absolute no-brainer. 9/10.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyThu 18 Jun 2020 - 7:49

I bloody love Pokémon Snap, and I'd say you're bang on with your review there. It's the kind of game I fire up once a year or so, on a rainy Sudnay afternoon, to sit down with a cup of tea and play until I feel good about life.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySun 21 Jun 2020 - 17:27

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 Pokemon-stadium-cover.cover_large

It took a while, but I’ve just finished Pokemon Stadium. Being honest, when I started rooting about my N64 collection for things to play, this didn’t jump out. I’d remembered it as being quite a dull, samey game that got by on it’s graphics and novelty. But I’ve replayed Pokemon Puzzle League and Pokemon Snap too, and I thought: stuff it, I’ll go for the hattrick. Recently finding my long-lost Yellow cartridge and opening a Transfer Pak I’d randomly bought in Gamestation for 5p meant that I was all set to see how my feelings about Pokemon Stadium have changed.

I guess you could call Pokemon Stadium the first Pokemon video game spin-off, as it doesn’t have any of the story-driven exploration of Red/Blue/Yellow. Instead, it focuses purely on the strategy of battles. This stretches over four Stadium cups and the Gym Leader Castle. All these Stadium cups have different rules, like only being able to use unevolved Pokemon, or only to use Pokemon between levels 50 and 55. You bring anywhere between one and six Pokemon to your battle, but choose just three to control once you’ve had the chance to scout your opponent’s team pre-match. The Gym Leader Castle works this way too, with your goal being to climb to the castle’s top after facing all eight Kanto gym leaders and The Elite Four. Going through each these cups and the Gym Leader Challenge not only rewards you with a rare Generation 1 Pokemon that you can transfer to your Game Boy cartridge (like the three starters, Eevee and the fossils), but it sets you up for two fights against Mewtwo. These were supposed to be impossible, and I definitely didn’t beat Round 1 when I had the game in 2000. But I now looked up the internet and saw that you just need to rent an Electrode and use Screech and Explosion, so…aye.

That’s a hefty amount of battling, and the majority of the game is concentrated on only doing that. Ergo, Pokemon Stadium’s big issue is that the head-to-head arena combat gets repetitive quickly. Without the RPG elements – specifically without healing potions, attacking/defensive items and levelling up – you’re left with a game that’s quite limited in what it does. You just hope that you outgun your opponent with critical hits, avoid being paralyzed/frozen and just cross your fingers that you lead with a Pokemon that got an advantage over your opponent’s counterpart. And while it’s all nicely animated and modelled, you can’t speed things up, or turn the move animations off. So, you’re basically sitting there with a thumb up your … and waiting for your Pokemon to deliver their moves at a glacial pace, every single time. The music and announcer are exactly as repetitive, and it’s disappointing that the Pokemon don’t have their speech like they do in Puzzle League and Snap – you just get some version of ‘kkkkrrrzzzzzhhhh’ at a different frequency for them all. The novelty of seeing the original 151 Pokemon in full colour and full 3D doesn’t really compensate for any of this. This is a very slow, restrictive game, and to be honest it can get quite boring. At least the AI is competitive though. In Gen 1 on Game Boy, it’s hilariously broken, acting in the stupidest, most counterproductive ways. In Stadium though, your opponent will always switch out when there’s danger, always use their most effective moves, and so on. So, it’s a game that makes you think, plot and strategise…but it’s still not a very exciting one.

The integration with the first three Game Boy games is Stadium’s most important and prominent feature. Plugging in the bundled aforementioned Transfer Pak into your controller lets you use your Game Boy save progress throughout Stadium’s battle modes. It’s more or less a requirement for the game’s GB Tower and Pokemon Lab too. The GB Tower is quite smart, letting you emulate your Red/Blue/Yellow game on the TV, exactly like a Super Game Boy would on a SNES. Progress in Stadium eventually unlocks Duduo and Dodrio options in GB Tower, meaning you get to play Red/Blue/Yellow at double and triple speed, which is quite a nice added incentive to carry on with the main modes. The Pokémon Lab is sort of like Pokémon Home on Switch, letting you organise your boxes, view relevant information, do general housekeeping and such like. It’s a nice feature to have.

The thing that Pokemon Stadium is probably most fondly remembered for is it’s Kids Club, where you can play some amusing, light-hearted minigames. For example, one has you playing as Metapod and use Harden at the right time to avoid taking damage from falling rocks. Another has you controlling a Lickitung and eating as much sushi as possible from a circular table of rotating plates. Others range from simple button-mashers to Simon Says to a game of ring toss. I always thought they could have done more with these games, like some sort of Mario Party. They’re not a reason to buy the game or anything, but they’re really good to have as a break from the action all the same.

Without it’s own storyline and adventure, Pokémon Stadium isn’t up to much as it’s own standalone thing. Even though there’s tons of content and most of it is still playable (as you can rent the first 150 Pokémon if you don’t use data from your Game Boy save), I wouldn’t suggest you bother with it if you don’t have a Game Boy cartridge or the Transfer Pak. Yet as a compliment to the Game Boy games that it was designed to be, it’s perfectly all right. The minigames, Game Boy emulation and lab round off what’s still a decent package. 7/10.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySun 21 Jun 2020 - 19:05

What you say about battling sounds really fair, in that RBY's strategies were a bit borked because the types and moves weren't well balanced and so much of winning battles came down to luck (critical hits seemed a lot more random). Trapping moves especially were really unfair as they could stop the opponent moving at all. And paralysis/sleep was a nightmare, and freezing was an absolute death sentence. So playing the actual 'strategic' battling in Stadium sticks in my head as a pain in the arse. But I LOVED the minigames, and Stadium 2's selection was better. God, I must have sunk so much time into Stadium 2 as a kid.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 22 Jun 2020 - 12:22

I should have made a bigger deal about the minigames in retrospect, they're really good fun. I never had Stadium 2, sadly, and I've all but missed my chance to get it for a decent price. Stadium just wouldn't work today, but it seemed like it was a decent sub-series for the time. The minigames though, there's potential for something bigger.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyMon 22 Jun 2020 - 19:07

YES. Absolutely. I loved Stadium 2's Kids Club (I actually liked some other stuff, like Your Room and Earl's Academy, a lot as well), and I was pretty fond of Stadium 1's as well. I personally don't think that review raved about Sushi-Go-Round enough: I found it absolutely hilarious and surprisingly deep and tactical. In fact, its scoring system and (obviously) subject matter have a fair amount in common with Sushi Striker, a puzzle game I also championed a bit which has fewer Lickitungs.

The battles... eh. I thought the Pika Cup and Petit Cup were pretty nonsense at the time - who invests all their hard-earned TMs into a bunch of teeny tiny Pokémon? That said, in the sequel and Genius Sonority's GC follow-ups I actually found them pretty compulsive.

In summary: I agree, but more Lickitung please.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyWed 24 Jun 2020 - 20:52

Maybe I'll do a separate review for the minigames in Pokemon Stadium.

~

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The last of the three Pokemon N64 games I finished was Pokemon Puzzle League. It simply came out too late in both the N64’s natural life and in my teenagehood for me to pay attention to, yet retrospectively I wish I had. While the N64 has some very, very capable puzzlers, this is possibly the best of the lot. 

This is Panel de Pon, basically. I’m assuming that we’re all familiar with how Panel de Pon plays (it’s also a bastart to explain). So instead, let’s look at what makes Pokemon Puzzle League different. Firstly, there’s a 3D mode where gameplay takes place round a cylinder, effectively giving your grid three times the width. That, in turn, opens up more opportunities for combos, but also more opportunities for blocks to slowly creep up the grid without you noticing. Clever stuff indeed. There’s a comprehensive training area called the Puzzle University, and a mode where you have to challenge Team Rocket to a line clear game in order to get your stolen Pokemon back. Otherwise, it’s the usual story/marathon/multiplayer modes. If none of this gets your plums pumping, I don’t know what to tell you.
 
While it would still be a quality game without the license, the game’s visual and audio design - all of which is based on the very early Pokemon anime cartoons - makes things a lot more enjoyable. At the start of each contest, you can choose one of three Pokemon depending on the trainer you choose - so it’s the likes of Pikachu and Bulbasaur for Ash, Onix and Geodude for Brock, Staryu and Psyduck for Misty, etc etc. Beating other trainers in the game’s main story mode earns you badges, lending nicely to a feeling of a big adventure. There’s all the proper anime voices and even some of the tunes, and while they’re not quite TV show quality, they’re still commendably good. It’s true to none of this is truly functional in Pokemon Puzzle League, but the interface livens it up a lot, kind of in the same way that Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine makes Puyo Puyo stand out.
 
In many senses, Pokémon Puzzle League could be regarded as the definitive version of (what is basically) Panel de Pon. Yet it’s not the one I recommend. Instead, I’d refer you to Puzzle League DS, which retools the core game with touchscreen controls, making it even quicker and more accessible and immediate. There’s also the matter of the original Panel de Pon itself: it’s again the same core game, and you’ve probably already got it for free on Nintendo Switch Online. Also, maybe you’d like to go back to Animal Crossing: New Leaf: there’s a pretty generous Puzzle League minigame included in its Welcome Amiibo update that you can access when you get a New Nintendo 3DS as a piece of furniture. Yet if it’s Pokemon you absolutely must play, the Game Boy Colour version of Pokemon Puzzle League is on the 3DS Virtual Console (it's even part of the current MyNintendo offers).
 
There’s loads of ways to play this, and make sure you do! Unfortunately, with no Wii U eShop re-release and a high second-hand value in it’s original format, Pokémon Puzzle League isn’t the most convenient way to do it. Reviewed on it’s own merits, however, Pokemon Puzzle League is a rock-solid version of this classic game, uplifted by it’s presentation and exclusive modes. It’s a brilliantly designed, superbly addictive game. 8/10.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptyThu 25 Jun 2020 - 19:14

One of the games I always felt I'd missed on the N64. Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts   Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 EmptySat 27 Jun 2020 - 12:28

Last Retro Game You Finished And Your Thoughts - Page 2 446453-ready-2-rumble-boxing-nintendo-64-front-cover

I completed Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, which I felt was the more interesting of the two N64 boxing games that came out in the UK. Maybe I’m not alone, but whenever I think of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, I think of the Dreamcast. When that console was launching, I remember R2RB being the game that places like HMV and Virgin Megastores used to show off Sega’s ultra hi-tech new system. It acted a bit like the Attract Mode that you still get on arcade cabinets in the amusements, and I think it worked brilliantly. With a catchy theme song, entertaining characters and superb visuals, Ready 2 Rumble stuck out in the best possible way. Sadly, I don’t have a Dreamcast copy to revisit, but I’ve got a minty-mint copy on the N64, for some unexplained reason. 

If you don’t know about Ready 2 Rumble Boxing already, think of it like Punch-Out!! meets Fight Night. With the same type of comical roster and played-for-laughs gameplay from the former and with the same type of presentation and structure of the latter, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing was a success in every measure on the Dreamcast. The Nintendo 64 port, I remember, came out to a much more lukewarm reception. Cannae be that bad, can it?

Well, no, not at all. However, it’s got a couple of issues that I feel really detract from the experience. On Nintendo 64, the framerate takes a massive nosedive, and this makes the game feel slower and sloppier than before. The graphics disappoint too, as they don’t have the vibrancy and detail that was manageable on the still-powerful N64 hardware. For a game that’s supposed to be really cartoony, lively and animated, it looks really rough on N64. You can respect why the audio isn’t as good on a cartridge as it is on a CD, but in every other area, the extent of the drawbacks aren’t as understandable. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing lost a lot in its emigration from the Dreamcast.

It’s still an OK game though. It’s still the same basic game as the one that wowed me on Dreamcast. The Championship Mode, the fitness minigames and multiplayer modes are all here and present, all the combos stayed intact, and the controls are still responsive. Even that theme song still plays in the menus as well. Honestly, it’s not like the developer actually pulled anything content-wise away from the N64 version. There’s plenty to be doing, and while the gameplay doesn’t really vary all that much, there’s enough differentiation between Ready 2 Rumble’s characters to make them worth unlocking and trying out. It’s just that it’s all better on Dreamcast, is all.

There’s a sequel on the PS2 and Dreamcast that I recommend over this. It’s just more of the same, but with more (if that makes sense?). There’s even a Wii reboot that I suppose could be good, but I didn’t bother with that, as it looked gash and it killed off the series. My memories are with the two originals, and happily they remain intact after going back to the first one. Just, if you’re going to play it, do so on Dreamcast instead. On Nintendo 64 anyway, it’s a 6/10.
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