Summer Games

well, after a very rough and busy semester, coming back home was a bit different. so much free time. nothing to do. so i finally got plenty of time to play a bunch of video games. and a bunch of video games i have played.. most of the bad. some of them VERY good. here we go, in order of recollection:

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence - Domestic Playstation 2 - Adventure

Sigh.. Konami cannot make a good 3d Castlevania. It's setup very good. the maps are designed as well as Symphony of the Night in a 3d Atmosphere. But the gameplay is so unrefined. Jumps are jadged, attacks are stoic. it's just bad.. the story seems pretty mediocre. you are trapped in a castle and dracula is taunting you. "he's playing a game".. too bad it's as bad as the actual game. the cutscenes add to the boredom with slow and drawn out dialogue. overall, not the good. 1 out of 5

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow - Domestic Gameboy Advance - Adventure

3D is not Castlevania's Cup of tea, but it absolutely excels at 2D. Aria of Sorrow is everything a new Castlevania game should be. It derives from the regular recipe. It takes place in 2035, 36 years after Dracula's death in 1999 (i'm not sure what storyline this follows). At this time, several people have climbed to a shrine to view a lunar eclipse. as the eclispse occurs, Dracula's castle emerges and those at the shrines are transported to the castle.

You control Soma Cruz, one of these people, who has an uncany ability to control slain monsters. anyways.. Aria of Sorrow perfectly emulates the gameplay of Symphony of the Night and adds the abilties of slain monsters. It's very good. A must own for fans of Symphony of the Night. 5 out of 5

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon - Domestic Gameboy Advance - Adventure

although, Castlevania doesn't always do 2D correctly. well, not consistantly anyways. the gravity of Circle of the Moon is very low as it seems belmont has difficulty jumping. slow on the up-sky, fast on the down-sky. it's really annoying going from Aria of Sorrow to Circle of the Moon. I'm not sure why, but controlling someone other than Belmont makes for a better game, but story-wise and gameplay-wise. the old Belmont versus Dracula is so old. it's more interesting when different. anyways.. 1.5 out of 5

XGRA extreme g racing association - Domestic Playstation 2 - Futuristic Racing

i ended up buying this game since Extreme G3 was pretty decent afterall, even though Acclaim makes horrible games. i guess they just got lucky once with Extreme G3, unfortunately XGRA tried too hard. Career mode begins with a gigantic learning cliff. XGRA is pretty fast and intense, but you can hardly see the track. you can't turn precisely enough to make the turns and always knock yourself into walls. although, that's not to say the game is difficult. it took me 10-15 seconds to figure out R1 is the accelerate button, and i eventually caught up to other bikes and took 1st place on a 3 lap race, even with hitting the walls continuously. well it was the first race in the game. the music selection in the game is releatively poor too. way too much BT and not enough underground hits as with Extreme G3.

overall, the game was pretty disappointing, but Extreme G3 isn't perfect either. i think i should probably give the game a second chance, but i think i'll need to emerse myself in it to start liking it. at the moment 1 out of 5

Stella Dues - Domestic Playstation 2 - Strategy RPG

this was the first game over the summe that i actually decided to put alot of time into (i ended up giving up this game for Castlevania Aria of Sorrow). As read in the previous thread, Stella Dues is quite a game. It features beautiful artwork and compelling gameplay, although the difficulty brings down the game. It's not the type of hard where you die all the time, it's the type of hard where you have to pay attention to everything you do during battle. Battle complexity can make regular encounters last 30-40 minutes, which is annoying. I want to progress in the story and not have to spend my time in battle all the time. Plus the sub-par voice acting begins to loose its appeal, along with the uninspired story. overall 3 out of 5

the next 3 games are all developed by famed cult favorite Treasure.

Sin and Punishment - Import Nintendo 64 - Rail Shooter

Sin and Punishment is considered one of their best games ever created, however it couldn't have been made on a worse console. I can't play this game. it's just a horrible presentation. if the revolution can play this game with crisp graphics and a controller that features naturally gameplay, i'll be able to give it a better review. but i cannot control the character with my thumb and press the Z button to fire at the same time. um.. come to think of it, i could change the controls (at least i think i can).. hrmm.. maybe i'll do that and try again. nothing can save the blurry 15 fps, though. at the moment 2 out of 5

Stretch Panic - Domestic Playstation 2 - Platformer

as i was sifting through games in the cheapy bin at wal*mart i found this little game. a treasure game for $15? .. sign me up. Stetch Panic is pretty interesting and quite unique. you control the character with the left stick and with the right stick, you control stretch, a shadow light hand which grabs parts of enemies and the enviroment. it's a unique concept but you need to have a game to compliment your game engine. all you do is walk around stretching and snapping enemies with no idea why your shadow can stretch things, nor what you're doing defeating these big breasts enemies. what the hell? 1 out of 5

Astro Boy - Domestic Gameboy Advance - Action

Treasure has been disappointing so far. although both the previous titles have their good attributes in other genres, Treasure excels at side-scrollers and shooters. the 2D monolith and Astro Boy is gloriously 2D. Astro Boy features a variety of different attacks you can use on your enemies like punching, kicking, and finger laser. punching is your basic attack, while kicking will topple enemies into each other. the laser will pierce enemies hitting a whole row of baddies. As you progress through the game you can power up aspects of Astro Boy to be more offensive, defensive, or aware of secrets. It's $20 well spent for your gameboy advance library. sometimes the play control of the gameboy gets a little awkward. i could probably have a better time with the game on a gameboy player 4 out of 5

Contra Shattered Soldier - Domestic Playstation 2 - Action Shooter

As mentioned in the deal thread, i picked up a copy of Contra Shattered Solider for pretty cheap. This game is fricken tough. Jesse and Zach don't lie. You have 3 lives to clear a level, during which they are thousands of way to die by accident. and overall you have 3 or 4 continues that which to beat the entire game. i have no idea how many levels there are. this game takes a bit of time to learn and master, but it's all very systematic. enemies and obstacles all appear in the same spots each time, so eventually knowledge can master Contra. but it's an intense ride. and the game has a story too. (very little of which i have been able to see, as i have only been able to beat the first level). overall 3.5 out of 5

Lately i've been playing a lot of shooters. I've bought a couple and also played a couple arcade roms as well. in particular, one series that is very good is Vasara.

Vasara - Arcade - Vertical Shooter

The story of Vasara is set in the Waring States Period of Japan as Nobunaga has begun has conquest/uniting. you take control of one of 3 characters to battle the armies of Nobunaga. stage by stage you destroy his forces and in the final showdown fight Nobunaga himself. the gameplay is quite solid, as it provides difficult and unique arrays of bullets, while having the perfect sized hit box to dodge them with. The main controls are fire and bomb. you can hold down the fire button to charge a slash attack which deflect bullets. Throughout the level, when you kill enemies your Vasara bar fills. When it's full your normal charge slash becomes a Vasara slash, which is about 3 times your nomral shot. 3 times the size, the power, and the duration. it's what you use against the boss ^_^.

On top of that, the added challenge is to kill named soliders of the war. These soldiers are usually regular enemies in yellow, mini-bosses and regular bosses. Probably names of actual samurai from the past. Each level has 20 regular samurai, plus 3 for the miniboss and boss.

overall, Vasara is quite challenging and has more to it than just shooting down everything, although that helps too. 4 out of 5

Vasara 2 - Arcade - Vertical Shooter

Vasara was pretty unique and fun, and Vasara 2 actually adds to the experience with more options and added more challenging level of difficulty. you can choose normal or hard. Normal is about as challenging as the first game, whereas Hard steps it up a notch with twice as many levels, more bullets, and tougher bullets.

Vasara 2 refines the named Samurai system as well. Everything level has exactly 20 regular samurai, 4 mini-bosses and 1 boss, so you actually know what you need to kill.

Vasara 2 also expands on the Vasara system. You can now stock up to 3 Vasara, and then use the bomb button to activate them, rather than your regular charge shot. This makes normal really easy because you'll always have one ready to take out a mini-boss when you encounter one, rather than taking an entire level to charge up one and only one Vasara.

Vasara 2 is a beatiful sequel, and i play it much more than the original, even though the were released less than a year apart. I guess the developers really wanted do more with Vasara after they released the first one, and then quickly refined it ^_^. 4.5 out of 5

Mars Matrix - Domestic Dreamcast - Vertical Shooter

Another shooter i've gotten into is Mars Matrix by the good folks at Capcom. Mars Matrix is pretty intense. tons of enemies, tons of bullets. much like Vasara, your charge shot deflects bullets, which is extremely useful in many cases. Enemies attacks have a good variety of random and structured shots. Bosses can be predictable, but most enemies will sometimes throw you for a loop and have you dodging constantly to the point you are amazed you didn't die ^_^. i love hitboxes.

Mars Matrix has the added system of experience. everything you kill drops a golden cube and when you reach certain amounts your attack becomes more powerful. this has you running after golden cubes, while dodging bullets and shooting down enemies. you are always moving around, and always have you keep track of bullets. it's pretty intense ^_^

Near the end of the Dreamcast's short life, It was released over here in the states and was pretty hard to track down for a decent price. thank god for game crazy. overall 4.5 out of 5

Zelda: Oracle of Seasons - Domestic Gameboy Color - Adventure

After completing Castlevania, i wanted some more gmaeboy games to dive into. Zelda Minish Cap is on the list, but i don't want to pay $30 and i hadn't played Oracle yet, so i decided to spend $10 at my local gamestore and purchased the red version of the game.

It's pretty good, though still restricted when compared with A Link to the Past. Oracle of Seasons is quite linear, but it hides itself well. it takes a little bit to figure exactly what to do and where to go. It's pretty solid, but not very ground breaking. maybe if i start playing the blue version, something interesting will come out of it. 3.5 out of 5


so this is where i'm at for the moment. I'm currently in level 7 of Zelda battling my way through those annoying knights. After which i'll be down 12 games so far this summer with a number of others on my plate. After Zelda i'll probably start playing Metroid Zero Mission on the gameboy, and then maybe start in with Shadow Hearts.

Though there are plenty of games i want to play too. like Metal Gear Ghost Babel for the gameboy color, Zelda Minish Cap on the gba, Mekai Kingdom coming out in about a month, In the Groove which comes out by the end of the week, Metal Slug Advance on gba, and maybe even Metroid Fusion if i like Zero Mission.

what games has everyone else been playing lately? .. any good ones? post your thoughts ^_^