Amazing VGM: World Map Themes (Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line)

Dragon Quest I & II | Boxart

Yeah I kinda fell out of the habit of making Amazing VGM Pieces haven’t I? The last one I did was for The Dark Colossus Destroys All from NieR and that was back in October. Perhaps I should capitalize on the game I just reviewed then? Dragon Quest II it is! Particularly I would like to go with the two world map themes and their variations. The first of these tracks is titled “Distant Journey” (Also sometimes referred to as “A Lonely Youth”) and plays on the world map with an incomplete party and is thus the first one you here.

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Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line (NES/MSX/SNES/GBC/Mobile/3DS/PS4): A JRPG Codifier (Detailed Review)

Dragon Quest II | jp box art

Dragon Quest II is often glossed over when discussing the legacy of the series. While Dragon Quest I is noteworthy for being the first game in the series and Dragon Quest III is noteworthy for being motherfucking Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest II just seems to be known as “that one that’s really really hard and comes between Dragon Quest I and III.” I often see people act as if Dragon Quest II is completely unremarkable and that is just not the case.

Dragon Quest II is a pretty badass game when you get right down to it. I should note that I have not played the NES original this time around and am thus only familiar with it from a lets play I saw years ago and from what I’ve looked up about it. From what I can gather the later versions definitely seem more polished and well structured, that is unless you are playing and English fan translation of the super famicom version that is. Read more

Dragon Quest (NES/MSX/SNES/GBC/Mobile/3DS/PS4): A JRPG Pioneer (Detailed Review)

Dragon Quest | jp box art

Given the niche of people who read my stuff, I am sure most of you are aware of the impact the Dragon Quest series has on JRPGs as a whole. There is a strange sense of disconnect when thinking about how popular the series is in Japan when comparing its overseas releases. While the series is moderately popular in the west, the Dragon Quest series is pretty much mainstream in Japan. Today I am going to look at the game that started it all.

Prior to about a month ago, I have never played the first three Dragon Quest games (and still have not played the third as I am writing this). I beat the first Dragon Quest a few weeks ago and am very close to completing Dragon Quest 2. For the sake of context, the version I played through was the SNES version but I played a bit of the NES version until my emulator went kaput and made me lose all my progress. I plan to briefly talk about each version though and this piece is meant as a critique of the game overall. Read more

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

Quick Review: Legend (SNES/PC)

Legend | Boxart

Legend is a 2 player beat em up released originally on the Super NES in 1994 in North America and Europe, and re released on Steam in 2015, which is how I came across it. It looked like an interesting beat em up that I picked up during one of the many Steam sales and decided to play recently. I haven’t played too many 2D beat em ups so I’m not in the position to judge how it stacks up to Final Fight, Streets of Rage, or Golden Axe, but I can certainly say I had fun with it despite a few minor gripes. Read more

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: Battle 2 (Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest)

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest | Pazuzu

Admitting that you like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest… is kind of like admitting you are sexually attracted to trans women. A lot of people will strongly and adamantly deny it to save face… but everyone secretly likes both and it’s more cool to admit you do than to deny it…

…it’s a joke…

…no I don’t support lesbian erasure…

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Amazing VGM: Megalovania (Halloween Hack/Homestuck/Cognitive Dissonance/Undertale)

Mother: Cognitive Dissonance | NALT Giygas

Note: This was originally written as a DeviantArt journal entry on October 21st of 2016 with some edits made.

Major spoiler warning for Halloween Hack, Mother: Cognitive Dissonance, and Undertale.

It is about time I get to another entry on a video game song given how long it has been since the last one. As such, I’m going to structure this one similar to when I covered the eight melodies in that this will include multiple renditions of the song across multiple sources. Of course, some people who discovered this song through Undertale may be somewhat surprised to hear that it was not originally from there. It’s first appearance was in an Earthbound romhack that Toby Fox developed when he was 16 known as “The Halloween Hack“.

Halloween Hack was pretty impressive when one keeps the context of which it was made in mind. It is a game that has a lot of its own original content such as sprite work and music, and the game even makes use of mechanics that were under utilized in Earthbound. So it was definitely a well made Hack from a technical perspective, but other than that it falls flat. Read more

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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