- Policenauts (PlayStation)
- Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (NDS)
- Mega Man the Power Battle (Arcade)
- Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
- Beetle King (NDS)
- Hack - Samus Goes to the Fridge to Get a Glass of Milk II (GB)
- Heiankyo Alien (GB)
- Innsmouth no Yakata | Innsmouth Mansion (Virtual Boy)
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Anybody remember that scene from Metal Gear Solid that randomly cuts to some other game’s cutscene while Otacon is talking about Japanese robots? Well, Policenauts is that game. From Metal Gear creator, Hideo Kojima, Policenauts is a point-and-click adventure with a few light-gun shooting scenes scattered throughout. If you played Snatcher, it’s very much a spiritual successor to that. The inspiration from Lethal Weapon will be very apparent to anyone who’s seen the movies, but it’s not merely Lethal Weapon in space. It has its own story and setting with some unique takes of its own. The story has you taking on the role of Jonathan Ingram. A former policeman and astronaut, (hence, Policenaut. Get it?) now private detective. An accident left Jonathan stranded in space for 25 years in cryostasis. The incident leaves Jonathan suffering from Cosmophobia and a failing career but that changes when his ex, Lorraine, shows up on his doorstep to hire him to find her missing husband who has gone missing on the space colony, Beyond. Jonathan must enlist the aid of his old friend Ed, and meet some of his other old friends as he goes to find out what happened to Lorraine’s missing husband. Policenauts is an interesting mystery plot with a fun cast of characters and a great story. Anyone who enjoys a good story and a good adventure game will enjoy Policenauts!
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (NDS)
|Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride||Nintendo DS||Role-Playing Game|
- Set and Writeup by blendedsea
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is an RPG developed by Chunsoft and published by Square Enix on the Nintendo DS. In fact, this release was the first time Dragon Quest V made it to the West.
My first time playing Dragon Quest V was actually when I picked it up to create this set, and I’m honestly glad I did. The story, which is split into three different Eras (Child, Teen and Adult), had absolutely captivated me. There’s reasons the story splits into Eras, and because of the events that took place; I was always concerned about some of the NPCs, wondering when or how their problems would be resolved. During the Teen Era, your Hero is tasked with a big decision; yep that’s right, marriage. There is no wrong choice in who you marry (unless you chose Nera), the games story will play out as it always does. The Nintendo DS version of the game introduces a new woman you can choose too, Debora, who focuses on physical attack and making sure you don’t feel good about yourself in how she speaks to you, real sweet I know. If you’re currently in the mood for an RPG with a fairly challenging set then Dragon Quest V is for you.
Dragon Quest V will be like any other RPG you’ve played with one exception; your main character can recruit certain beasts to the party. This makes available party members go from a typical 7-8 main characters to a staggering 76+ main and side, and you can have 8 party members with you at any time. This had made party building fun, deciding on which beasts I should be using going off of their base stats, which weapons and armours they can equip, what magic they can or can’t use. It was a little bit like Pokemon, honestly. If you’re ever struggling with a boss, chances are it might not be your levels; but the fact you decided to bring 3 Slimes with you instead of beasts that can take a hit!
Something the game has to offer may keep you occupied for a while, and that’s the Minigames. To start with the simple ones, there’s some basic Casino gambling - Roulette Wheels and Poker. In Mostoferrato, there’s a Whack-A-Mole minigame called Bruise the ‘Ooze - finally you can whack those Slimes. Lastly is the T’n’T Boards (Treasures and Trapdoors), a dice-roll board game (Think Pachisi from DQ3 if you ever played that). On the boards there are Shops, Encounters, Buffs and Debuffs, Warp Zones, Dungeons, Treasures and of course, Trapdoors. Hopefully you don’t pull your hair out trying to reach the end of these things.
Dragon Quest V was definitely an enjoyable experience to both play and work on. A captivating story, loveable cast of characters and even replayability for choosing a different “Heavenly Bride”. The set has 80 achievements which consists of Progression, Challenges, Completion and a couple of extras like minigames and easter eggs. If you want a fun RPG with a well covered set, then you should Play this Set.
Mega Man the Power Battle (Arcade)
|Mega Man: The Power Battle||Arcade||Action|
In the mood for some good old fashioned jumping and shooting, but don’t have a lot of time? Mega Man: The Power Battle has you covered. Power Battle takes the heart-pumping action of Mega Man’s boss fights and lets you skip straight to the good parts, bypassing the hassle of traversing an entire stage to reach them. Power Battle is easy to pick up and great in short bursts, but the achievement set is fairly substantial and highly rewards skilled play that adds a solid amount of longevity. This makes it a nice title to keep in your back pocket when you don’t want to start anything major. Still can’t get enough Mega Man action? There’s also a sequel and a surprisingly well-crafted Neo Geo Pocket port that are both absolutely worth a play and highly recommended.
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
|Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete||PlayStation||RPG|
When people think of JRPGs, they typically think of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. It is not surprising, as they form the typical origin story for many concerning the genre. However, for me, it is a series that has been lost to the sands of time. That series is none other than Lunar. Released by Game Arts in 1992 for the Sega CD, Lunar The Silver Star was one of the few lauded titles on the console add-on. The game and its sequel, Lunar Eternal Blue (also on the Sega CD), was my introduction as a young boy to the fun characterization, engaging storytelling, and beautiful music that form the bedrock for how a great JRPG comes together. I was taken in by the relationships and adventures that the main characters experienced, and from then on that would form the basis for how I’d measure such games.
After experiencing Final Fantasy VII and other games on the PlayStation, my uncle brought to my attention that Lunar The Silver Star had been remade for the system as well. Putting in the first disc, I was blown away by the new animation and music that played in front of me. Gone were the still frames and limited animation that embodied the Sega CD version, and in their place were more fleshed out story elements and cutscenes that brought the world of Lunar together in a manner that the previous version couldn’t match. It was a demonstration of how advances in technology could provide a deeper and richer experience for games from our childhood in ways never before possible.
On the surface the story and gameplay might seem simplistic, very much a coming of age tale mixed with rescuing the maiden in distress. However, it is how those circumstances are handled, with banter between the characters and turn-based combat mixed with range management, that make the adventure a fun time from beginning to end. It is not uncommon in this game to find oneself talking to all the NPCs in various towns and seeing what each of them have to say. To this day, it is very rare to find a game that has such personality among NPCs…making it seem like one is traversing an actual world with its own identity. Combine that with the subtext and moments which concern the main characters and the villains they must face, and the game is full of engagement. That kind of attention to detail is emblematic of how Lunar shapes its story, and provides an experience that is unforgettable for any player who is lucky to experience it.
The set for the game follows like many on Retro Achievements: progressing the game alongside particular challenges. Be sure to hold on to specific accessories that can give benefit to stats and protection, as well as taking advantage of the battle tactics that the game has. There are also items & collectibles that have tight windows to be unlocked, and require the player to be attentive to…in most cases…either talking to a particular NPC at a certain point in time/s or backtracking to a town/place before moving on to another area. Therefore, always have backup saves on hand in case of missing something. Such a set compliments the game by providing a challenge to both casuals and veterans, being a good basis for seeing all that the game has to offer.
So, if you look for a good story in your JRPG, memorable music, and a fun world to traverse and discover, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete for the PlayStation is a game you definitely want to check out. What are you waiting for? Play the set and experience the best that the genre is known for…from a game and series that sadly has been missed out on by so many. May Lunar never be a story forgotten.
Beetle King (NDS)
|Beetle King||Nintendo DS||Life Simulator|
- Set and Writeup by SporyTike
Many people grew up with Pokémon, which nowadays is one of the most popular game series in the world. But, did you know what inspired the game developers to create the first Pokémon game? The idea was inspired by a very popular activity of children in Japan, the capturing of insects in the woods. Children would go into the forest with a net and start catching cicadas, locusts and other insects for fun.
Beetle King is exactly about that. The game features over 400 different insects, including butterflies, locusts, crickets, bees, stick insects, dragonflies and many more which you can find and capture in the forest. To do that, the game uses a timing mechanic in which a hand moves around the insect and you need to touch the screen at the moment the hand overlaps with another one. Each newly captured insect gets registered in an encyclopedia which gives some information about the insect and also allows to watch it closely in a 3D model viewer. As you capture more specimens, you can unlock more items to create new items that make catching easier. There are also quests which allow you to make specific insects appear more often or which advance the woods so you can travel to another location. Another interesting gimmick is cross-breeding. Using a special machine, a player can crossbreed two insects of any kind to make bigger insects, create other specimens, or even create completely new species which never existed before. Releasing these new creations in the woods allows them to breed. After a while, the player can find more of them in the forest.
However, there is one problem with the game and that is the translation. This game has an English release which allows to understand most of the game. Unfortunately, the translation team didn’t do a great job as the game has many typos in the dialog. As well, information such as the controls get lost in the translation, causing players to figure them out on his or her own. However, after a while you get used to it and have a fun little adventure in the forest. I definitely recommend this game to players who love games with a lot of collectibles.
Hack - Samus Goes to the Fridge to Get a Glass of Milk II (GB)
|~Hack~ Samus Goes to the Fridge to Get a Glass of Milk II||Game Boy||Action-Adventure|
How do you create a sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful video games of all time? Samus Goes to the Fridge to Get a Glass of Milk II does the impossible and improves upon perfection. I could throw out any number of buzzwords to try to describe it, but the likes of “iconic”, “genre-defining”, and “a masterclass of game design” fail to come even remotely close to giving this game the amount of praise it deserves. Samus Goes to the Fridge to Get a Glass of Milk II should be made a part of school curriculum worldwide; it’s THAT good.
Heiankyo Alien (GB)
|Heiankyo Alien||Game Boy||Maze|
- Set and writeup by Etron
Heiankyo Alien, also known as Digger in North America, is a maze chase game that was developed by the University of Tokyo’s Theoretical Science Group (TSG) in 1979. While Heiankyo Alien is a somewhat obscure game, it has historical significance as it was released before Namco’s famous maze chase game Pacman gave everyone Pac Fever in 1980. The game also started the “trap ‘em up” or “digging” genres which includes classic titles like: Lode Runner, Dig Dug, and Space Panic. If you’re into classic arcade titles with simple mechanics and yet a surprising depth which requires strategic thinking and planning then, you should Play This Set!
The story occurs in Japan during the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD) during an alien invasion in the capital city Heian-kyō, known today as Kyoto. You play as a Kebiishi, a Heian era police officer, who must defend the city from the ravenous aliens that will devour anyone they find. Armed with only a shovel in hand you dig holes around the city to trap the aliens and once trapped, you have a limited time to fill in the hole, burying the alien alive. If another alien bumps into a trapped alien they instantly free the trapped alien. Once all of the aliens in a stage have been buried the next stage begins with more and faster aliens.
This set is for the Gameboy port of Heiankyo Alien which has both an Old game mode based on the 1979 original release and a New game mode which is a 1989 remake with improved graphics and varied level design. As such the set has very similar achievements for both games with some differences noted below. Aside from basic stage progression achievements the set includes challenge achievements that require you to beat a series of stages without dying. Since the games primary mechanic is digging, achievements were added to track how many holes were dug and special hole patterns. The smaller hole patterns aren’t too difficult to dig however, the larger patterns are more challenging since the aliens are trying to eat you and the patterns can only be dug in certain locations.
The Old game mode is for the hardcore gamers out there. You move at the same speed as the aliens and the holes take longer to dig or fill in. Each stage is semi-randomly generated and the stages cycle every 20 stages. What really cranks up the challenge is that each stage has a hidden time limit to prevent you from playing too conservatively. After the time limit expires a large scale alien invasion occurs where extra aliens are randomly spawned on the map and the game speed increases dramatically. This mechanic was presumably included to kill the player off so they pump more quarters into the arcade however, it is possible to survive the onslaught. This set includes a challenge achievement “Independence Day” if you’re able to survive the alien invasion and move on to the next stage.
The New game mode is the easier of the two since you move faster than the aliens, dig/fill in holes quicker, and it has a definite ending after 12 stages. For some variety, a new enemy type, the super alien, was added to this mode. The super alien is smarter than your average alien since it will actively hunt you down instead of wandering around aimlessly. Stage specific achievements like “Light a Fire Under Kebiishi” and “Kyo Ferry” can only be achieved in certain locations on the stage. The New game mode is a great place to jump in and is ideal for speed runs due to the finite number of stages. So grab your shovel and start digging this game!
Innsmouth no Yakata | Innsmouth Mansion (Virtual Boy)
|Innsmouth no Yakata | Innsmouth Mansion||Virtual Boy||Survival Horror|
Disclaimer, if you dislike the survival horror genre then Innsmouth no Yakata is unlikely to win you over. However, if you don’t scare easy and like fast-paced first person shooters then you should Play This Set. I first played Innsmouth as part of The Unwanted competition and enjoyed the initial playthrough well enough. Then I kept returning to attempt a complete run every couple of days. Before I knew it, Innsmouth no Yakata had its insidious hooks in me and I had to master it!
Innsmouth no Yakata is a Japan exclusive, console exclusive game for the Virtual Boy released in 1995. As such, it never received much notice outside of Japan and remains an obscure title to this day. You play as a 1920’s detective hired to retrieve the Necronomicon from inside the Innsmouth Mansion. Once the book was opened, fishlike monsters suddenly appear while the mansion layout warps and changes before your eyes. Terrified, low on bullets, and health you must escape with the book to prevent awakening the slumbering god Dagon. The red monochrome Virtual Boy screen suits the dark Lovecraftian art style of Innsmouth better than any other game on the system. Notably, Innsmouth no Yakata is considered to be the first game that uses a dual stick control scheme common in modern consoles today.
What makes Innsmouth no Yakata such a fast-paced and intense game to play? The game has the usual survival horror game tropes of being trapped in a mansion full of monsters with a limited ammo supply that forces you in a flight or fight decision with every confrontation. The maze-like corridors all look very similar so it’s easy to get turned around and lost. Scattered throughout the maze are doors blocking your view so you never know if a monster is waiting for you on the other side. The 1~2 minute timer ratchets up the tension as you need to run through the mansion frantically looking for the key to the next floor. If you’re going for the best ending, “Ending A”, then you need to complete most of the levels in half the time with a deathless run.
The set has progression achievements for each floor and one for each of the possible endings. Each time you exit a floor the game gives you a password to continue from if you die however, continuing on later levels is difficult since you start with a limited number of bullets and health. The real challenge comes from the deathless run achievements for each of the four endings. The set also includes achievements for tracking how many magic orbs and ammo clips you collect. Collecting all the orbs proved difficult as you need to collect 12 out of 13 orbs possible without dying. Similarly, collecting 9 ammo clips is challenging since you need to conserve your ammo while not getting cornered by gothic horrors. Overall, this set was a blast to play, and I enjoyed exploring the different floors as well as attempting challenge runs for all the endings. Hurry to Play This Set, the slumbering god stirs!
Protip: Press select to pull up the auto-map, it pauses the action and allows you time to reorient.