EarthBound (SNES/GBA): Pure Artistic Desire (Detailed Review)

Earthbound | Ness's Nightmare

EarthBound is a game that has been well received since its introduction, but has only recently received a serious look by mainstream gaming websites in the past few years. We now find it frequently in top-10 lists near the number one spot. The weird thing about this however, is that Nintendo of America has ignored the EarthBound series and has given it no publicity over the years, so what was there to increase its publicity so drastically that major gaming sites started noticing? The answer would be the game’s rabid fan base that is incredibly loyal to the series and have pushed hard to get it noticed. This however has led some to some fans that are really overzealous and give the series a massive amount of hype with great expectations to fill. I myself at one point have been in that same position of near obsession with the series, but it has been years since then and I have moved on and played many other games that have made me just as passionate as EarthBound did.

I recently decided to replay EarthBound and I expected that losing my overzealous passion would make the game’s flaws more noticeable. Despite having a very special place in my heart I expected this review to be one that, while still having a positive tone, was more critical of the game. I was wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right. It turns out that not only in this play-through that I re-discovered exactly what it was that made me fall in love with it in the first place, but I discovered more. This play-through marks the only time that my opinion of a game I already played improved despite being one of my all time favorite games to begin with. Read more

Castlevania Retrospective #2: The Classicvanias (Part 2)

Castlevania Retrospective Part 2

Guess what? I didn’t completely forget about this retrospective project! After four months the second part is finally here… and I still haven’t beaten every Classicvania, or at least not every Classicvania gameplay wise. This piece DOES instead choose to rank the last of the traditional retro Castlevanias with the cut off point being the 2000s. Okay yes there is still technically Castlevania Chronicles but I’m covering the remake which was in 2001.

Castlevania has been kind of a strange entity in that nearly EVERY game in the series were linear sidescrollers, and then everything changed when the Symphony of the Night nation attacked! Since then the only traditional sidescrollers have been the aforementioned Castlevania Chronicles, the Rondo of Blood remake Dracula X Chronicles, the WiiWare title Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth that can no longer be purchased since WiiWare was shut down, and Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon that isn’t even an official title.

But this article is about the five Classicvanias that preceded those ones, although that term is a misnomer because on two of them are good. Anyway let’s get going. Read more

Standard Review: Gargoyle’s Quest (Game Boy)

Gargoyle's Quest | title Screen

Having been born in 1995 and grown up in the 6th and 7th console generations, I missed out on a lot of classic titles. I didn’t know how to use emulators at the time and I was always very careful using my money so I didn’t get every virtual console title I was interested in. For fucks sake I only just recently started playing through the Castlevania series. The issue that comes with trying to revisit these older games is that not only is there a fuck ton of them, but that new games don’t stop coming out either.

Then there are people like me who have backlogs with 900+ games and who is constantly watching all corners of the market for anything interesting. Gargoyle’s Quest is not quite as popular as a lot of the more fondly remembered classics of the time period. For those that don’t know, Gargoyle’s Quest is a spinoff of the Maki-mura/Ghosts ‘n Goblins series starring one of those little red demons that everyone hates so much. I kinda failed to mention in my review of Ghosts ‘n Goblins that the original arcade game was from 1985 and thus was pretty advanced for the time but likely aged poorly. The same can probably be said of Gargoyle’s Quest. Read more

Standard Review: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade/C64/ZX/NES/Amiga/GBC/WS/GBA/PC/IOS/Android)

Ghosts 'n Goblins | Level 1

Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more

Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven (3DS): As Dull as an SRPG Can Get (Detailed Review)

Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven | box art

It is titles like Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven that helps me truly appreciate the work that niche publishers like XSeed put into their localizations. I do not say this because I enjoyed Lord of Magna, as I honestly found it rather bland, but more so because it shows they care for the genre as a whole. Yes it is a pipe dream to live in an industry where every time I see a new JRPG announced, I don’t need to tell myself “this game looks very cool, it’s a shame that it likely won’t be loacalized” but  when even some of the more mediocre titles like Lord of Magna are being localized, it definitely provides a lot more hope that a lot of the best titles will get one.

I will also admit that curiosity plays a large factor in that I like to see if these games are any good in the first place, and even when a game does not get the best reception I still tend to prefer seeing it for myself. As such I generally am hesitant to take any claims of “this game wasn’t localized because it’s terrible” seriously. It can sometimes make one feel like an ass if you ask a publisher to localize a game that can take up time and money only to say that their game is bad and their effort was pointless. So despite me not caring for Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, I am still glad XSeed brought it over and I’m glad to have given my money if only because it supports them for doing so (plus it comes with a nice looking box with a soundtrack CD, which the collector part of me always appreciates).
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Castlevania Retrospective #1: The Classicvanias (Part 1)

Castlevania Retrospective Part 1

So there is this video game series called “Castlevania.” I’m sure you never heard of it as it’s quite obscure like everything else I cover. In all seriousness though there was a time when Koonami actually made good games and wasn’t obsessed with Pachinko machines and Soccer games. They had many influential and beloved series such as Gradius, Ganbare Goemon, Metal Gear, Contra, Suikoden, and Silent Hill, and not to mention plenty of other cult hits like Shadow of Destiny, Azure Dreams, Zone of the Enders, and other series that I never actually played but will still get weebs riled up by mentioning since no one else knows they exist.

The last time I did a retrospective, it was on Namco’s Splatterhouse series where I reviewed each game individually. I only needed to cover five games so that was more manageable, but the Castlevania series has over 40 of the bastards to cover and I kinda want to do other shit. As a compromise I decided I would start by covering multiple games per article so I don’t need to write a full review for games most of you already have played or know you should play. This does still allow me to touch upon the more obscure and lesser known entries in the series and compare them to the ones everyone likes and mock how inferior they are or make you feel bad about having not played them (mostly the former in this piece). Read more

Amazing VGM: Monster Dance (Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest)

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest | What a horrible night to have a curse

Simon’s Quest was an interesting game. There were a lot of unique ideas present at the time and it laid the groundwork for what Koonami would later perfect with Symphony of the Night. Yet there are also a lot of shortcoming present. I’m not here to talk about those though, we’ve all seen the AVGN video after all. Instead I would like to focus on its presentation, and by that I mean the track listed in the title of this article… you did notice that right? Read more

Senran Kagura Burst (3DS): Like the Shinobi Itself, you Cannot Always See Everything There is to Know About Senran Kagura at First Glance

Senran Kagura Burst | Uk Box

To start things off, I will say that I did not have much to expect going into Senran Kagura Burst. In fact, I do not even really remember what prompted me to buy it. I do enjoy a lot of the lesser known niche titles and I probably just decided to support this one due to no one else bothering, but normally I tend to prefer JRPGs and Visual Novels as opposed to action games. That being said, Senran Kagura Burst is absolutely superb. Senran Kagura is a game that at first looks like a rather simplistic Beat-em- up with a silly fan-service driven plot, and technically it still is. It should be known however, that Senran Kagura Burst is more then it appears.

What seals the deal for Senran Kagura Burst is the fact that it is actually two great games instead of just one. One of the two separate storylines you choose at the start of the game is actually the entirety of the first Senran Kagura game, while the second storyline is an all new adventure. Senran Kagura Skirting Shadows alone would have been worth the thirty dollar price tag in terms of both quality and content, but the fact that you have a whole other game of even higher quality is what really brings this package up. While I probably would be exaggerating if I said that the total package was worth sixty dollars, I still would have felt as though I got my money’s worth if I paid that much. Read more

Amazing VGM: Celadon City (Pokemon Red & Blue)

See, I told you I would go with something happier than last week’s VGM… although I could probably upload the sound of dying kittens and it would be less depressing to listen to then “Sayo-nara” was. But anyway, since the last track seemed to take heavy influence from the “Lavender Town” theme, I decided I would go with the song that plays in the next town in the game; “Celadon City.”

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JRPG Update Pro: December 2017

JRPG Update logo

It has been a while hasn’t it? Well, here it is, the return of JRPG Update. As I have stated in my Update of JRPG Update, updates will new be split into two separate subseries focused on professional releases and indie titles respectively.  They are also going to be monthly instead of weekly, as it was way too taxing to do so weekly and it got in the way of my regular content. Additionally, I am only embedding trailers that are in English now as to reduce the lag that greatly obstructs progress during editing. If you want to see the Japanese trailers then click the links provided.

Anyway, starting the JRPG releases since last update, we have seen the release of Xenoblade Chronciles 2 (Switch), Tokyo Xanadu eX (PS4/PC), Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope – 4K & Full HD Remaster (PS4/PC), Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis (PS4/XBox One), Romancing SaGa 2 (PS4/Vita/Xbox One/Switch/PC), World of Final Fantasy (PC), Omega Quintet (PC), Elminage Original: Priestess of Darkness and The Ring of the Gods (PC), and Yodanji (Switch/PC)

Anyway, now for the news.

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