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Tomb Raider. I'd played this a little bit on the Playstation in its early days but never really got into it for some reason (the "sex appeal" of Lara Croft eluded me because the character just looked like some ugly polygons patched together in a feminine shape, sort of the 3D equivalent of the pink blotch that was supposed to be a "naked woman" in the Atari 2600 game of Porky's). Playing the PC version now, with extra sharp graphics and using the keyboard to control it, I was able to enjoy it much more. It's a very well-designed 3D platforming game - you run into a big room, realize you need to get up to some high place, and then start searching for rocks you can climb and jumps you can make and when you're done you feel like a badass even though you were basically just playing the game the way it's meant to be played.

The movement speed is a bit slow and Lara Croft generally moves like a two-legged tank, but that's also good because beating the game requires you to make lots of small, fiddly adjustments to your angle and starting points. The price, however, is that combat never really becomes fun. I think most of the time when I was battling an enemy, I'd just try to find a platform to jump on or a niche they couldn't get into and then I'd wait for them to get in my sights and get a couple of shots in, over and over, until they dropped, or I'd hop around constantly while shooting and make sure to eat a health pack if I was getting close to dead. The platforming makes you feel skillful; the combat makes you feel like you're winning through attrition, but since the game emphasizes the platforming, the combat doesn't hurt it too badly.
CMOT70: Allied General
Played this one for hundreds of hours on my PS1. Love it - and I hope GOG is able to bring it to us like F.G. & Pacific. (Star would be great too - never played that one...)
Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

Originally, I attempted to complete the game through the Virtual Console, but I gave up years ago (lost interest in it) and never came back to it. Now, after buying a used copy of the GBA version, I decided to give it a go again.

I'm not really regretting the money I spent on the copy (it's still a good game, after all), but I would be lying if I said that it's the bee's knees. For starters, it's easy. Leaving aside the ability to revisit old stages and farm for lives/items, giving the player the ability to absorb an extra hit (if using the flower or the cape) on top of having an item that can be used in the middle of the stage (which is automatically activated if you turn to small Mario) is making the game noticeably easier. Couple that with stages that aren't exactly the most taxing ever and maybe the game's title should actually be Super Mario Breeze. Heck, even the special stages weren't anything to write home about.

I was also not particularly impressed by the game's worlds. Including canyons, forests and ghost houses was nice and all, but they get particularly repetitive after a while (especially the ghost houses). The otherwise nice soundtrack could also have used some more variety, as I lost track of how many times I heard the Overworld theme from stage to stage (with not even an interlude in between). Also, the GBA version's music quality isn't as good as the SNES one (particularly noticeable in the Castle theme).

Now, what I did like was the inclusion of Yoshi and the cape (though I miss the raccoon suit). Both are a joy to mess around and make the game stand out from the previous ones. Mind you, using either of those (or even both at the same time) makes the already easy game even easier. With the cape, you can usually just fly along the entire level, while Yoshi can be used to absorb hits as he never dies. :P

In conclusion, while I didn't like the game as much as I liked 1 and 3, it's still a game that I would like to replay in the future, perhaps doing so, without hunting for the Dragon coins or the secret exits. This might take a while, though, so let me just update the list.
Post edited September 09, 2015 by Grargar
I've finished my first expedition in Spiderweb's RPGs in a row Geneforge 1, Avernum 1, Avadon 2.
All games are very fun and worth playing, well actually Avadon 2 was a so-so quality for me. I don't like this linear story-telling system compared to other 2 free roaming games.
I'll be playing other Geneforge(2-5) and Avernum(2-6) series too, but that will be later day.

My list
Finally found time to play through Singularity. It's one of those games I usually install and play as soon as I buy, but for some reason, it remained in the backlog and had never been installed.

Anyway, pretty fun FPS, I won't say I loved everything about it gameplay wise, but it was certainly above average.

From the three endings, the "good" one made no freaking sense, which is a shame, really.

I also got back to the Blackwell series and played through the third one, Convergence, though it was more a "let's see the story" than a genuine play through. I already have Deception and Epiphany installed, so I should be getting to them soon enough.

Anyway, I did enjoy it a lot and I'm looking forward to the next two.
CMOT70: Allied General
budejovice: Played this one for hundreds of hours on my PS1. Love it - and I hope GOG is able to bring it to us like F.G. & Pacific. (Star would be great too - never played that one...)
Star General would me my preference for GOG to get as well, as Star and Peoples General are the only two that i haven't played and that i don't own in disc form. Great series.

Assassin's Creed Liberation HD (360)

Went into this one with low expectations. Though i play all types and genre of games on PC and Consoles without prejudice, from casual to hard core- whatever i feel like at the time- but one thing i've never been able to get into is Mobile gaming. And AC Liberation HD is just a high texture port of a PS Vita game. Though the good thing about low expectations is it's easy to be pleasantly surprised, and that's how this one turned out. It was good to see it last week at 75% off on Xbox Live.

Honestly the job they did with the HD textures is excellent...really this game probably looks as good or better than the last of the previous gen full release AC games as far as texture quality. I think the 3D models and animation maybe didn't quite get the same level of love in the porting process, but nothing actually bad.

Playing Liberation reminded me more of playing AC2 in some ways, it's more back to basics with much of the recent AC bloat removed, leaving a game based on several smaller, more focused maps instead of the huge maps saturated with icons like recent titles. So maybe the fact that it was a Vita game, with less resources to access, is a blessing in disguise.

Aveline is also probably the best AC character since Ezio as well. And she comes with her own personal game play quirk. As a woman of wealth she can get around down as a high class lady, attracting little attention...but only able to carry light hidden weapons and no jumping up wall and hiding in hay bails when in this form. If her lady persona is Aveline's "Bruce Wayne", then her Assassin persona is her Batman. In that form she has all the usual Assassin ability...but it comes with permanent level one notoriety, the guards are always alarmed by a heavily armed suspicious looking half black woman running around. In between is her Slave Woman persona which can carry medium utility weapons and she can free run...good for blending in certain areas-but in this form she attracts notoriety very easily.

Overall Liberation HD is by no means the worst AC ever, in fact i'd rate it only behind AC2, Brotherhood and Unity for me. It's smaller, with less bloat and the "persona" idea combined with the Aveline character even brings a little bit of freshness to the formula. And now i've played every AC game (excluding mobile only games).
Post edited September 09, 2015 by CMOT70
My replay trip down memory lane continues (early/mid-eighties). As before I won’t even try to give unbiased reviews, rather I’ll simply list the games I’ve finished although I’d be happy to comment further on any particular games if anyone is interested.

Gateway to Apshai
The Goonies
International Soccer
Jumpman Jr.
Law of the West
Leaderboard Golf
FlatOut 2 - The sequel to the first FlatOut. I didn't enjoy the driving as much in this one as compared to the first. You are able to take much more abuse before you reach the state where you're ejected out of the car. That being said, I enjoyed the format of the races more in this one. There's more tracks and more environments and they are structured in a rally format, with points awarded based on finish over several races. The cars and upgrades are pretty similar to the first one, however, this introduces tiered cars. Overall, an enjoyable racer with some aggressive AI.
Nightmares from the Deep 3: Davy Jones

One of the better HOGs I've played. Decent story and the voice acting was pretty good as well. Still not a fan of the mahjong tie in, but at least its optional.
9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

Far too easy, quick, and low rez for my liking. Decent voicing and story, but low mid of the pack when it comes to these types of games (HOGs).
More early/mid-eighties games from my C=64 days I’ve been replaying recently. If anyone would like more commentary on any of the games, just ask :).

Master of Magic
Mountie Mick’s Death Ride
One on One
Park Patrol
Pharoah’s Curse
Racing Destruction Set
Raid over Moscow
Raid on Bungeling Bay
Realm of Impossibility
Fran Bow. Fran Bow is a recently released point & click adventure game with a dark setting. Fair warning, I'm probably going to VASTLY overuse the word dark in this review.

The gameplay is of course fairly standard point & click. You click on things. You pick up things. You combine things. You use those things. Blah blah blah. You know the deal. Fran Bow adds a bit of a twist by allowing (and requiring) you to switch between two different realms to solve puzzles, each realm (usually) having a piece of the solution to whatever puzzle you're on. On top of that, Fran Bow occasionally tosses levels at you that are NOT point & click in style. Those levels include a stealth section, a Frogger level, and a autorun jump over the obstacle level among others.

As with any point & click adventure game, the puzzles are the bread and butter of the gameplay. Most of the puzzles are logical (at least within the game's universe) and not too mentally taxing, however there are three or four puzzles that range from annoying to "OH COME ON?!?!". One example being a puzzle that utilizes a mechanic in a different way than you're used to, in fact it's used in a way that you NEVER told about, and you can only figure it out via lots and lots of trial and error or ye olde walkthrough. Another example being necessary dialogue options being locked based on your inventory at the time and the game not giving a head's up about it.

The writing is generally really great in my opinion, save for the overuse of the word "dear". The game really enjoys the word "dear". As you might've guessed it's a very dark game and it covers a lot of dark topics, however it often does so in as much of an "innocent" light as possible. An example would be a character who self harms, the character and Fran refer to the blood as "red milk" (I believe the whole line is something like "Please make the red milk stop".

You might also say that much of the writing for both the story and dialogue is of the "cutesy disturbed" or "creepy cute" style, as Fran often makes comical light of death, mutilation and other things, however the game does know when to play it straight and it does a good job of doing so when needed.

The characters are all very well written, save for the big bad sadly enough. While most of the characters are fleshed out, the big bad is rarely talked about and when it is mentioned it's usually fairly simplistic stuff. I get "why" the character is bad and all that, the game just never gives you much motivation to care about it despite what it has done. Beyond the big bad, I would call several of the characters memorable, even side characters that were there for ten or fifteen minutes. As with any horror game, there are some thinly veiled shoutouts to legends like The Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the character design of one character who is reminiscent of a certain Nightmare Before Christmas character.

The overall storyline is hit and miss. Most of it is solid but there are two parts that kinda drag it down, the first being a loooong lore dump area about 2/3rds into the game and the very ending, unfortunately. The lore dump area is (surprise!) full of lore, some of which is just not interesting and feels like padding, whereas the ending feels very VERY rushed and very sloppy.

Graphically it's a beautiful game. The art direction is stellar (if you're into that style at least), everything is really high quality, from the character models to the drawings to the animations, it's all very impressive.

Sound wise, the music gets a bit repetitive and some of it is fairly boring. The sounds effects are all decent enough though

Overall I really enjoyed Fran Bow despite its flaws and would recommend it, I bought it at full price and I don't regret it. A friendly word of advice, don't be afraid to check a walkthrough if you get stuck, due to the nature of some of its puzzles.
01kipper: My replay trip down memory lane continues (early/mid-eighties). As before I won’t even try to give unbiased reviews, rather I’ll simply list the games I’ve finished although I’d be happy to comment further on any particular games if anyone is interested.

The Goonies
One of my all time favorite video games, especially for NES. When you walked into the rooms and had to hit holes in the walls and use ladders, keys, ect. it was just awesome. The music is kind of creepy in those rooms too. The yoyo weapon was the coolest too. Also, the warping doors were sweet. Very metriodvania styley.

Never did really understand why you were rescuing a mermaid?
The Deer God (Xbox One)

It should be renamed to OMFDG. It's an indie pixel art platformer sort of game. It's a good idea for game i suppose, you play as a Redneck hunter guy that's reincarnated as a Deer and it's meant to be about karma and so on. But the game has a few issues in that area.

The artwork is really nice. Pixel art platform games are a dime a dozen these days, but it still looks good. The music is also quite good and makes the game vibe feel very relaxing, which i think is what the game is meant to be. The game has a lot of character and feels right, it just sometimes plays wrong.
As mentioned, you play a Deer and you eat stuff and grow big and strong as you progress...though it seems that the growing big and strong part isn't actually a requirement, as in my first play through (yes i played it twice) i didn't ever reach full adulthood and never got all the skill power ups. So the games progression system is optional it seems.

The world is generated and not fixed. Sort of. It actually consists of several world types (swamp, desert etc) that are blocks and repeat in an endless loop. After an hour or so you've seen all of terrain except for maybe a few story related areas. Getting around the world mostly works well, the controls feel good and the platforming is natural.

At first i thought this game was buggy, but after playing it i now think that it just has some questionable design choices and is really in beta form. It's like it started as a roguelike and changed somewhere along the design path. It is possible to get into an unwinnable situation...i think. When you die, you come back as a young deer again, that means you can't jump very high among other things. What this can mean is that you find yourself in some pit and unable to jump high enough to get out, unless you have some items that give you temporary abilities, like defy gravity. But if you don't have those items, you're shit out of luck. Game over. Oh yeah and the game has a nasty habit of saving you in those pits! So even if you just wait until you starve to death, you come back in the same place. Game Over. But here's the thing, despite being in this situation many times during my first play luck would have it i always happened to have a use able item that got me out. Whether that was just luck, or the game is cleverer than i thought, i don't know. But many people do say they've become stuck.

The game also has a Karma system, kill cute furry things and you become an evil red Deer. Be nice and kill only ugly animals you become good. Because we all know it's perfectly okay to slaughter ugly animals. But the whole karma thing may as well not be there, as it makes no difference to play in any way at all, other than you can be reincarnated as a rabbit or something, instead of a deer, if you're bad.

So the game has some issues, even potentially serious ones. Then why did i play it twice? Because i still enjoyed it! By the end of the first play through i'd worked out how everything worked and i was starting to have fun. Second play through i quickly grew into a fully grown deer, found heaps of extra lives and turned into a powerhouse murdering machine and only died a couple of times which was covered by spare lives. So i have no idea if i should be recommending this or not.
Post edited September 11, 2015 by CMOT70
NoNewTaleToTell: Fran Bow
Awesome review, more people need to play this wonderful game. I agree with everything, although I did enjoy the "lore dump" (cool expression btw!) in chapter 3 because it fleshed out a lot of worldbuilding. At the cost of pace, yes, but it's a trade off I personally don't mind because worldbuilding adds immersion, even if in a different manner than plot driven segments.
As for the big bad, I can understand your sentiment. He is pure evil though and pure evil needs no quirks, plus he's supposed to be a mystery. Also, him not having much of a personality makes sense within the story.
And even though the ending might seem rushed compared to some games, I did not find it sloppy but the details of this is something we can't really discuss without spoilers so I'll leave it at that. I think we both agree that it's a quality game that one can loudly recommend.