Friday, August 10, 2012

I got my good games and my somewhat cruddy ones.

Don't be scared guys; this is just another random post based on interests and other stuff. Read on if you're curious or want to see what I've been up to. Your choice.

Either way, allow me to begin with Aquanoid. A while back I was considering that since the game is extremely rare to come across (combined with Karsten's lack of activity lately), I was thinking of uploading just the registered version of the title with the editor offered after buying the real game, and the four extra level sets being left out purposely so that one would still have to pay to receive all the remaining content the free version would lack. This version would be called the "SuperJustinBros" release, between the shareware and registered versions. But then I find Stefan, Aquanoid's other developer, and notifies how successful the game was at the time, at least in Germany. He said the game received quite a number of sales and user-created levels (even going as far as to call other games titled Aquanoid attempting to cash in on the name) and when I asked him about the possibility of creating an official sequel called Aquanoid II, he replied happily and would be honored to have me program the new game from scratch. But then comes me having absolutely no programing knowledge; only having a minimal sprite sheet and a list of planned features and upgrades to the original. Still I'm not going to drive myself to a conclusion until I hear back from Stefan, and the "SuperJustinBros" release of Aquanoid will have to be put on hold until I really get willing of asking either developer a free version that only lacks the extra level sets. Of all things considered, I wouldn't hold my hands on it.

Considering the success I had in registering Aquanoid, I attempted to score a few more shareware titles: Raoul Said's Super Ball (the deluxe version), Ivan Mackintosh's Dodger (mentioned in the September post I keep referencing) and Kurt W. Dekker's Rally-K. Of course my only method of receiving these titles was to send out a check to all three locations specified within all the different games and their associated files, hoping they'd figure out I wanted to buy a game of theirs.

Rally-K is a clone of Namco's Rally-X (not New Rally-X) that uses a few crappy stock voices and sound effects (anyone who has seen the Angry Video Game Nerd's Plumbers Don't Wear Ties review may remember the "Player Dead Boom" sound effect.) It has good gameplay and original level design (even though the rocks are placed in fixed locations and aren't really "in the way" spots, but they do change from time to time in those locations) with some homages to the original's stages, such as the infamous "box" located on the top right of the first three boards. The order of Challenge Stages has been changed. Whereas Rally-X had their challenge stages on Round 3 and every fourth round thereafter (a tradition of Namco's set by Galaga), Rally-K has a Challenge Stage every three rounds. The shareware version is configured to end right at the conclusion of Stage 7, or the first stage of the third world if you want to get detailed. The registered version continues on much further and offers an alternative enhanced version with power ups (just like Rally-X Arrangement).

Super Ball, good lord. If you thought all the smack I've said about Aquanoid was going too far; this one deserves the criticism much more. Try playing a Breakout clone not with a mouse, dial, or trackpad, but a keyboard. Yea. Then again Super Ball was released at a time where most people didn't have mouses in their computers, but it has only one speed setting, no way where (to my knowledge) holding down a particular key will slow down or speed up the paddle, and the power ups. The fricking power ups. You will not believe how many times you will see a bomb; a power down that kills you instantly, will rain down from a destroyed block. Worse is that if multiple drop simultaneously at the right time, it can block you off from the ball and force you to let the ball drop under your paddle and lose a life. Thankfully the ball does aim in more than a 45-degree angle and can be steered by the paddle, but it seems as if for everything Aquanoid does wrong, Super Ball does right, and vice-versa. Super Ball's shareware version only has a mere five levels which you will finish quickly, if the crappy control scheme and overabundance of instant-death bombs don't get to you. The game does have a leader board for each level, which are much easier to top than the overall top 5 highscores, which the default is set ridiculously high and you are not guaranteed to pass 200,000 points within five levels. It's possible in the registered version thanks to more levels being present (obviously), but just like 90% of other breakout games, there's no editor in the registered version.

So there, three games on the residue to play in full glory.

And now let me bring into question something that has been haunting me recently. Of course it has to do with Playstation Home, and it's the recently-launched Street Fighter X Tekken Playstation Home Fighter… Where do I even begin? Well, It's broken beyond repair. Taking one of the most anticipated fighting games and transforming it from intense and heart-beating melee action to a turn-based luck-ran RPG fighter. I could understand if this was something made from Square Enix for Final Fantasy, but this turn could be jumping the shark for some with the genre shift. It also looks like garbage in some cases. Alike many other PSHome games, player characters freeze on certain occasions, facial expressions are absent (looks like they play dead when KO'd). and it seems rushed overall.

You have two fighters standing in the space itself, one is yourself, the other is some random stranger or one of the five male-only poorly-designed CPU fighters that only differ in what headgear they wear and the color of their PShome T-shirt. The music that is played I swear is a heavier-metal version of a particular memorable song from Mario Party 8. You pick from six commands (three if you're on the defense side) and see if all three of your attack attempts connect or theirs are blocked, with 33% chance either character's attack will be blocked by the defender. and whoever lost the previous round is given a stats boost (well, it appears to). Charge up your Cross Gauge to launch Ryu or Kazuya onto the ring to pull one of their Supers on the unsuspecting victim (which can be blocked if the proper block height is issued) and magically freeze if two Supers are done back-to-back while the opponents receives from bing knocked to the floor. As with the obviously superior console game this "fighter RPG" is based on, it plays more like Street Fighter than Tekken. After you win a few rounds by pure chance, you could probably end up with a few bonus items to dress your avatar with; all based on (get ready for this) Chun-Li and Nina Williams for the ladies, one article of clothing for every of the game's 10 achievements you complete, one of these (finish a round with full health thanks to blocking all attacks from the opposing player) is like waiting for a lunar eclipse to occur on Christmas, one (win 20 rounds against another player online) will only work if your luck gets the best of you and your opponent doesn't do a cheep strategy to further the odds on their side, or leave right before you can take any form of credit. However it can be done, just don't expect to do it all on a single sitting. Even harder is trying to win five rounds in succession with Kazuya as your tag partner, as you'd probably make good progress, then lose on the last round, forcing you to restart, or like before the opponent will rage quit (a fad I believe was started by Achievement Hunter) right before you can take the credit for a win (I doubt this will reset the counter, but incase it does, it's better to be safe than sorry). Once this happened right when they lost the first of three rounds; as if they didn't know this was based on a "best of three" rule. Defeat your opponent twice, and victory is yours. Thankfully there are certain users that are willing to help you accomplish the feats much quicker by both players doing the same moves each turn they get at attacking, but most people you'd find there are busy in games or helping others. The other seven objectives are straightforward and you can probably succeed at them more easily than the more difficult and time-consuming trio.

The main premise and ultimate goal of accomplishing all 10 challenges are playable models of both Ryu and Kazuya for use anywhere on PSHome. Of course you could also just buy their outfits from the store (and unlock Kazuya's gloves via the PS3 version of Tekken 6), but that's not really as exciting as playing as the real deal. And by real I mean the very muscular ones that go into fighting stances when you don't move, and can perform their special moves outside the arena. I'd presumably stop playing this once I do unlock the playable Ryu and Kazuya models; and incase godforbid you feel guilty of yourself for playing this RPG fighter filled with rage quitters and no methods of penalizing the people that leave a match in progress and award a win to the one that stays, you could go play the real deal: Street Fighter X Tekken; or the 360 version or Super Street Fighter IV if you're uncomfortable with their choices for guest characters. Overall mediocre and very little replay value.

Anyone sick of me mentioning DOS games, brick breakers, and PC puzzle games? :/

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