Aaron's A-Z Game Challenge 2

This was the second run of my A-Z Game Challenge. I tended to pick longer games this time and did tend to enjoy the whole episode more when I could sit down and work through titles without feeling like I had to blast through them in record time.

Aaron's Game Publisher Year System Completed 
AWESOME Psygnosis 1990 Amiga 11/15/12 
Review Impression : Good variety of gameplay, too easy to end up in impossible-to-progress situation

For this list I am tempted to say this is one of the weakest. I remember being blown away by the demos back when this was new and I loved the fact it had so many different modes of gameplay in the same game, but past the impressive graphics (the soundtrack was pretty good, too) the game was frustratingly hard as per typical Psygnosis fashion of the time. As you progress out of the solar system, you have to manage your resources and plan carefully how long you stay on any one planet to use as little fuel as possible to get to the next planet(s). The problem is unless you micromanage everything you are easily in a situation where you have to restart the game. Add this to the frustrating crashes the game has (even the original game on a real Amiga crashed all the time) and it is more frustrating than enjoyable to finish, and even then you only get a few second animation at the very end.
Blast Corps Rare 1997 N64 11/24/12 
Review Impression : Highly enjoyable destruction

I had a number of suggestions for this title before I even knew what it was. I like the variety of vehicles and ways you can demolish things to clear a path for a nuclear missile carrier gone awry to drive by. Some missions are more frustrating than others but at least I don't remember any controller-breaking ones (Edit> At least until after the main story and when you get into things like platinum challenges). Very original combination of puzzles and everything blowing up. The music is decent, too.
Chocobo no Fushigi Na Dungeon Square 1997 PS1 / Wonderswan 2012/5/12
Review Impression : Bosses are just too tough, but as a dungeon romp this is great fun

I love dungeon romps akin to Rogue. This was a game I remember seeing in early 1999. I played it for a while but got frustrated at the boss fights and this one was left by the side for years. I finally picked it up again and played it through to the end. Unlike the 2nd entry after this, there was no durability meter for your claws or armor, so rest easy on that. The biggest issue for me was the boss fights. They just have way too much HP, as in more HP than all of the enemies up to that level combined in some cases. The graphics are very nice, better than the sequel, and the music was nice, if not memorable.
Dynamite Headdy Treasure 1994 Genesis 12/8/12 
Review Impression : Fun platformer. Colorful and fast paced.

I liked the theme of this platformer as all happening on some elaborate movie set. I think I have been burned out by platformers and/or they just aren't my bag but I still got some quick amusement from this. The graphics and sound are all solid and the difficulty isn't too high. There is an alternate ending you can get as well but even meeting the requirements for that isn't too bad. I don't swear by this game like some others do but It's still a good one.
E.V.O. Search For Eden Enix 1993 SNES 12/12/12 
Review Impression : Addictive and fun combination of action/adventure game with some RPG elements.

I found the combination of action with the RPG elements of evolution a nice twist and incredibly addictive.  The overall atmosphere of this game felt a bit like some of the earlier Square titles like the Prehistoric era in Chrono Trigger and parts of Secret of Evermore. The game proceeds through phases of the game in eras and it is nice to see your character evolve as well. I enjoyed the sense of progression and accomplishment.
Final Fantasy Adventure Square 1991 Gameboy 12/27/12
Review Impression : The original Seiken Densetsu. Impressive that all this fits and works well on a Gameboy.

There are so many Final Fantasy titles and offshoots I wasn't sure if I played this or not. Fortunately, much like how SAGA was renamed Final Fantasy Legend in the US, this is actually Seiken Densetsu 1. This was an incredibly fun little (?) action/RPG and I'm surprised it all fit and worked well on an original Gameboy. There was a remake years later called Sword of Mana on the GBA. It expanded on the dialogue and story which was, in this original version, sorely lacking, probably due to space limitations.
Gargoyle's Quest 2 Capcom 1992 NES 12/29/12 
Review Impression : All right adventure platformer. Not bad but nothing terribly special.

I enjoyed the original Gameboy Gargoyle's Quest and I played Demon's Crest on the SNES and really enjoyed that so I wanted to finish the game in between them. It wasn't bad by any means but after playing Demon's Crest I had a hard time really getting into this. However, the game was quite short and it looked and played well so I have no regrets. I guess it really didn't stand out to me.
Half Minute Hero XSeed 2009 PSP 2001/9/13
Review Impression : Hit and miss with some of the modes, though the incredibly fast paced action is addictive.

This game actually has a few different episodes which change the gameplay completely. I enjoyed the traditional RPG done up like a speed round the most and honestly that is the most memorable to me. The purposely-retro and pixilated look adds to the atmosphere but it also helps make things easier to see when everything is zipping by so fast.
Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures Lucasarts 1994 SNES 1/13/13 
Review Impression : Standard action game. Not terrible but I can't think of much to recommend it, either

I was having trouble finding an "I" game that I hadn't already played and stumbled upon this. It was an average action game that did have some nifty 3D stages. It did get a bit difficult at the end but cautiousness can usually get you through this all. For me, the best part was inadvertantly funny; when Donovan drank from the wrong grail. Instead of crumpling up and disintigrating like in the movie, he turns into a super skeleton monster and fights you. I wish that was in the movie.
Jeanne D'arc Sony 2007 PSP 1/25/13
Review Impression : A really well done turn based strategy with lots of replay value

I enjoy Final Fantasy Tactics and related turn based strategy games. This game took a stage or two to get into the swing of it but there is a lot of content in this title once you get into it all. It combines the history of Jeanne D'Arc with some random fantasy BS but it all does work together. My favorite part is that your thief (Colet) can become a one-man power house, which is a nice change from the stereotypical thief character being significantly weaker than the other characters.
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Nintendo 2004 GBA 2002/11/13
Review Impression : Standard fun Kirby game. The muliple Kirbys are neat but doesn't affect the game so much.

I never really played any Kirby games until many years after they came out but I did enjoy what I played. This iteration is colorful and there is a lot to see and do and I like the exploration part or the game with multiple paths, though having the right ability when you need it is sometimes frustrating since you need to traverse several screens before you are in a place to use it effectively. The difficulty wasn't exceptionally high and it was a fun romp while it lasted.
Link's Awakening Nintendo 1993 GB 2/28/13
Review Impression : Classic adventure game.

This game is a well known classic but for whatever reason I had never sat down and played it from beginning to end. I did enjoy this one quite a lot, which tells me that this game has aged very well. In retrospect I wonder if I should have played the Gameboy Color remake but the game was still great. I can't think of too much wrong with this game and if you haven't played this one yet for whatever reason, it is definitely worth checking out. I am tempted to suggest the Gameboy Color remake as the defintive version, however.
Metroid : Zero Mission Nintendo 2004 GBA 2003/6/13
Review Impression : Much improved version of the original NES release with a new chapter addon

Just the fact there is a map to use helped me to enjoy this game immensely. I was hopelessly lost on the NES version, even trying to write my own map. Anyway, the game is the same as the NES version but graphically updated with new music/sounds as well. The extra chapter was interesting, as it seemed more like a stealth operation than to gun your way through. The game still holds up today but the enhancements do increase the enjoyment of it that much more.
Need For Speed Carbon : Own The City Electronic Arts 2006 PSP 3/14/13 
Review Impression : The story is questionable at times but it was a fun little racer in spurts.

The NFS series hasn't been at its glory days for a while and I have read rather negative reviews of many modern NFS titles but I heard this was one of the later enjoyable (or at least, playable) games in the series, so I went on a tangent and picked the PSP version. I found the story cliche (not such a surprise I guess) but the racing was broken up into managable segments with a small variety of events. The difficulty scales up fairly well though the rival AI is questionable at times. Your wingman AI is also questionable at times, as are the physics, but still, it was all right as a racer.
Omega Boost Polyphony Digital 1999 PS1 3/26/13 
Review Impression : 3D masterpiece on the original Playstation but quite difficult near the end.

This game has a reputation as a classic but I never got a chance to play this until years later. I really liked the look and feel of this game though I did find it got pretty difficult really fast. I was finally able to beat it after many attempts and it was rewarding to finally do so. This was a very immersive experience from a gameplay point of view though the story is...well, not much to write home about. For a 3D shooter though, and I can see why this was labelled a masterpiece.
Pokemon : Red Rescue Team Nintendo 2006 GBA 4/20/13 
Review Impression : Surprisingly good dungeon romp that incorporates the Pokemon characters and moves well, though progress takes time

I had played Chocobo Dungeons earlier and as I mentioned there, I like Rogue-like dungeon romps. I did quite enjoy the random nature of the Pokemon you start as (and with) at the beginning and it definitely adds variety. You can pick up new Pokemon along the way to help and there are an infinite number of mini-quests you can do. Although there is a main story that has its challenging moments (partly because the length between save points is sometimes long) including the boss fights, but it was a very nice, simple romp that can be enjoyed in bits at a time. Much like the main Pokemon series, you could try to "catch them all", though I don't quite have the patience for that. The controls and interface does get clunky at times but you can get to the options you need the most fairly easily
Qix Adventure Taito 2000 GBC 4/22/13
Review Impression : Odd updated version of the original Qix game with a story mode. Fairly easy but there are multiple collectables from the enemies to get

This was one game for which I couldn't find an online FAQ or guide so I was quite literally on my own for this game released only in Japan and Europe from what I understand. It is basically Qix done in stages across a large overworld map. In each round you can trap enemies and chests to get collectible treasures. There isn't too much else to say. It was a cute little game that was probably overlooked by many but is still a worthy try if you enjoyed the original Qix or the old classic arcade age in general.
R-Type Delta IREM 1999 PS1 5/2/13 
Review Impression : One of the better shooters on the Playstation IMHO. Colorful and grandiose while still maintaining the old R-Type feel

The original R-Type(s) up to III were classics in my eyes. I really looked forward to this and I wasn't disappointed. This was a feast for the eyes and ears and along with Einhander and Thunder Force V this makes one of my favorite side shooters on the Playstation. The gameplay is similar to the original R-Type wth the orbs and powerups though this time you can choose from a few different ships and attached modules which affects the behavior of the powerups and adds variety. In this version your module charges itself as it gets hit and you can unleash it in a screen-destroying array of 'splosives when fully charged. I really enjoyed it and the challenge is definitely there. It is challenging but fair.
Snatcher Sega 1993 Genesis (Sega CD) 5/11/13 
Review Impression : Very well done adventure that stands on its own despite borrowing heavily from other pop culture/movie and story references.

I knew this was a Sega CD cult hit but knew nothing about it. What I got was an amazing adventure game that I wish I knew existed when I was into the whole Lucasarts and Sierra adventure phase. The voice acting is good and the story works very well on its own despite being a blatant rip-off of Blade Runner and Terminator mashed together (with some artwork from Dune). I was surprised at the graphic violence for a Sega game but it all added to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
TV Game Exam Bandai-Namco 2008 NDS 5/20/13 
Review Impression : Unique idea and the retro content is very nostalgic. Moves just a little bit too slow paced for my tastes but still a good title

I wasn't sure under which letter to put this. Although the title in Japanese is "Boku no terebi geemu kentei", I have only ever seen this game filed under "Te" (T) with the "Boku no" (My) in small print.

In any case, this is a series of mini-games featuring retro Namco games. As you pass each of these challenges you can take an "exam" to level up and get access to harder challenges. By the time you hit the higher levels, they start getting ridiculously hard but they are doable. I like the idea and execution though the transitions between screens and games/events could have been made quicker and more snappy to be better. If you like retro gaming, this is one worth checking out. There is some reading ability required to understand the challenges which might put off the foreign base interested in this. I wonder if there is a fan translation patch. Like Qix Adventure, there are no English FAQs on this, either.
Untold Legends : Brotherhood of the Blade Ubisoft 2005 PSP 5/31/13 
Review Impression : Another dungeon romp, though this one is in 3D. It has a simplistic charm as an early launch title

Yet another dungeon romp. It has a simplistic charm and it looks good on the PSP despite being an early title. Having your character on-screen reflect the equipment you have was a nice touch for the time. There wasn't too much challenge in this game and any problem can be solved by hacking up more enemies but it was fun for a portable Diablo. Not too much else to say on this. The quest length was acceptable but the story was forgettable.
Vice : Project Doom Sammy 1991 NES 6/1/13 
Review Impression : Surprisingly good mix of Ninja Gaiden, Spy Hunter and Operation Wolf in one title. Looks great, too.

I learned about this one by random chance. I was immediately blown away for a Nintendo title despite the silly name. It steals from Spy Hunter, Ninja Gaiden and Operation Wolf though not as hard as the games it borrows from (except for the Operation Wolf part). However, it all comes together with a bizarre story to make for an enjoyable and memorable experience. The Ninja Gaiden parts in particular look very nice and really showcases what the NES can do. The controls are alright overall except for the damned Operation Wolf part, but I was terrible at that. Once you know the boss patterns, the game wasn't too bad but it was definitely challenging at times.
Wonder Boy in Monster World Sega 1992 Genesis 2006/3/13
Review Impression : Fun action adventure, if not completely original

I had really only played Wonder Boy in Monster *Land* in the arcade and enjoyed that. I started this and liked it enough to play it to the end. The basic formula is the same and my only real gripe is that the overworld map and how all the locations connect to each other is confusing at times. There are just too many random doors that lead to other random parts of the world and it makes it all feel like a fragmented world at times. Still, the game flows well and I think the challenge comes more from endurance between save points/inns when you are in dungeons as well as some of the later boss fights.
Xevious - Fardraut Densetsu Namcot 1990 TurboGrafx 16 6/5/13 
Review Impression : Fairly short story mode but brutally hard. The powerups and multiple ships were anice touch

There is a story mode in the updated release for the Turbografx-16 version of Xevious and covers the development and progress of the Fardraut project. There are different ships and upgrades in this mode as well. It is only 4 stages but they are all brutal. Furthermore, there are some branching paths depending on how/if you finish a stage (particularly the 2nd). Nice touches, though the bosses were all bases as opposed to the flying Xevious bosses from the original.
Yoshi's Cookie Nintendo 1993 Gameboy 6/7/13 
Review Impression : Puzzle game that is good in short bursts but never truly gets really hard.

This was a fairly easy puzzle game. It was neat at first but got stale fast. The basic pattern is the same and once you get the hang of it you can just keep going. There are key "end" points that result in animations and credits played but there isn't any great variation in gameplay other than being faster.
Zero Wing Toaplan 1991 Genesis 6/9/13 
Review Impression : A fairly standard side-scrolling shooter

I actually played the arcade version of this when I was younger before it became an internet phenomenon for the intro to the Sega Genesis edition. I wanted to go back and beat it, so I did. It was a fairly standard shooter with some hidden upgrades but they don't affect the game much. The confusing endings (there are 3 on the Genesis, 1 in the arcade) almost make it worthwhile, though. There is some challenge in the later stages I guess but overall it is pretty average
999 : Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Aksys Games 2010 NDS 6/14/13
Review Impression : Amazing adventure game with puzzles interspersed. It's like if Michael Crichton wrote Saw

I was introduced to this later on in this challenge and I'm glad I played it. I loved the puzzles mixed with the story of the 9 characters trying to get off a sinking ship. Even when you figure out the puzzles there are multiple paths you can do to get different endings. There is replayability here to get them all and it plays very well and is definitely addictive and gripping story-wise (and surprisingly the dialogue is very well written). I look forward to the sequel, actually. I never really got into the Professor Layton series but maybe I just needed a more gripping story like this. Everyone that likes adventures should check this out.

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