Play This Set

This month, Play This Set is having a Developer Special! All ten featured write-ups have been submitted by their achievement developers, sharing an inside look on what makes these games so special. Thank you to our amazing developers for all your hard work!

Whether you’re an achievement developer looking to promote your work or a player wanting to spread the word about your favorite hidden gem, we’re always looking for new Play This Set submissions. If interested, submit your write-up as a private message to RANews RANews.

Big Ol’ Bass 2 | Fisherman’s Bait 3 | Exciting Bass 3 (PlayStation)

Game Console Genre
Big Ol' Bass 2 | Fisherman's Bait 3 | Exciting Bass 3 Big Ol’ Bass 2 | Fisherman’s Bait 3 | Exciting Bass 3 PlayStation Sports - Fishing

Everyone, right after you finish the spot the difference section of RANews, please pick up and TRY Big Ol’ Bass 2. This is not your average fishing game.

This is a game where you catch insanely large monster fish that swim around freely after an apocalyptic Global-Flood. Countries have dissolved, many people have been eaten, picnic baskets stolen, while a Pop Icon keeps literal dinosaurs as pets in his several underwater safari parks that YOU have to catch.

There are also two demons raised by the devil himself that act as color commentators who yell how great (or terrible) your fishing skills are.

This is chaos, this is Big Ol’ Bass 2.

Standard gameplay is you select one of many lures, pick a good spot, cast, and try to appeal to the fish below. This is also unique because at any given lake there are 30 fish swimming about, which makes for a pretty cool atmosphere and makes the fishing way more dynamic. It’s not very long but it’s fintastic fun, and I hope y’all enjoy getting all the achievements for it!

Also there are jumpscares. You have been warned.

This is a highlight of the fishing game genre, and I wish Konami kept producing more wacky fishing adventures.

Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PlayStation)

Game Console Genre
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill Duke Nukem: Time to Kill PlayStation Third-Person Shooter

When you think of Duke Nukem, your first thought probably isn’t a third-person shooter, but here we are. Commonly referred to as “Duke Raider” for its style of controls, Duke’s first outing into 3D isn’t glamorous or intense, but it sure is charming. You take control of Duke as he travels through time in the eras of his ancestors, stopping alien punks who are trying to rewrite time in order to make you disappear. Jokes and one-liners are a constant and must-have; Duke will say a quip after kills, as well as remark on his current state whenever you enter a new level, and you certainly don’t know what he will say next. While the gameplay and the music are weaker than other Duke titles, I think you will find Time to Kill an enjoyable experience, even without achievements.

The set I’ve created for this game plays to its greatest strengths, its humor and quirkiness. Part of Duke’s charm is the constant barrage of movie quotes and one-liners, so every achievement I’ve created either is a reference to a movie, game, or quote directly from Duke. The set revolves around the player having a firm grasp of each level they are in: finding every available weapon, finding every secret, and completing every challenge stage.

The game will test your skill in navigating mazelike levels, all the while entertaining you with every step you take. I would recommend this to any PlayStation fans, as well as any fans of the first/third-person shooter genre or Duke Nukem fanatics, as it provides the player with the option to explore everything this game has to offer. Now pick up your controller and go kill some alien scum.

Power Rangers S.P.D. (Game Boy Advance)

Game Console Genre
Power Rangers S.P.D. Power Rangers S.P.D. Game Boy Advance Action

“Power Rangers S.P.D.” is a side-scrolling action beat ‘em up game released for the Game Boy Advance which was developed by Natsume and released in 2005. Natsume was also in charge with the development of the Super Nintendo versions of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie”. If you enjoyed playing those games or are a fan of this season of Power Rangers (or even Super Sentai), then I think this is a set for you.

The levels in this game are mostly based off the first 12 episodes of the show and are divided into different chapters. Every level you get to play as a different power ranger and each of them also has different powers that can help you progress. Most levels are your straightforward “get to the end and beat the life out of the enemies in the last screen”, but some of them may also involve a boss fight and finding things like stolen diamonds, toxic chemicals, and hostages. The game also has levels where you get to control the Delta Runners. There’s one where you prevent missiles from hitting buildings like its Missile Command, as well as levels where you get to drive them to the very end of the level while avoiding obstacles before the timer runs out in Mode 7 (which I find pretty cool but can be annoying). You even get to play as the Megazord against giant versions of the villains in a 1-on-1 bout.

The soundtrack for this game is one of the better listens in the whole GBA library in my opinion, as it somehow sounds decent considering the hardware limitations. The music features these upbeat rock tracks which are different for each ranger and type of level. Even the title screen theme rules by itself.

If I would choose between all the Power Rangers games released for the Game Boy Advance, this would be my recommendation as it has a good variety of levels and a soundtrack that I found enjoyable to listen to in the GBA library.

Pyramid Magic (Mega Drive)

Game Console Genre
Pyramid Magic Pyramid Magic Mega Drive Puzzle

Pyramid Magic is a very simple puzzle game, you just have to open 3 boxes and reach the end of the room. The mechanics are also simple: carry, drop and kick boulders. The early levels do a good job in helping you understand the depth of the mechanics.

I would definitely recommend this set for those who like to think hard on their puzzles. After 10 or so levels, it becomes somewhat hard to see the final solution since you have to move lots of things. Thinking about the player experience, this set comes in groups of 5 levels for each achievement and allows you to take your time and continue when you’re feeling like it, while also bringing some harder achievements demanding continuous play. There’s something for everyone, except if you don’t like puzzles… in that case I don’t really know why you read this far, but would you like to try some cool puzzles? =3

42 All-Time Classics | Clubhouse Games (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
42 All-Time Classics | Clubhouse Games 42 All-Time Classics | Clubhouse Games Nintendo DS Card Game, Board Game

The 2006 Nintendo DS game “42 All-Time Classics” (or “Clubhouse Games” in America) was not actually known to me until after I’d picked up its 2020 sequel, “Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics” for Nintendo Switch. So, from my perspective this is a bit of a “demake”, but 42 All-Time Classics truly pulls of a lot within the confines of the Nintendo DS hardware - though that shouldn’t really be much of a surprise for a Nintendo-published release. This is part of Nintendo’s “Touch Generation” series of games, indicating that it can be played solely with touchscreen input. I recommend using either a mouse or a touchscreen & stylus to play this set, as a few of the games within require fairly precise input (such as Bowling, Darts, and Balance).

As for the games themselves - as the title suggests, there are 42 classic games hailing from different places around the world and different points in history. What I really like about this series is that no matter who you are, this compilation is likely going to contain a mix of familiar classics that you grew up playing as a kid, and unfamiliar games you’ve never tried and possibly never even heard of, making it a great learning experience if you want to try everything on offer. It’s probably fortunate that this was published after the turn of the century, given how reluctant the Nintendo of the 80s-90s was to expose western gamers to the likes of Shogi and Mahjong… it probably also helps that this wasn’t a Game Boy cartridge that could only hold one or two such games, but could instead bundle those staples of the Japanese handheld market together with sure-fire western crowd-pleasers like Billiards and Texas Hold ‘Em (because what American doesn’t learn to play Poker around the time they learn to walk?).

Designing an achievement set for this game was fairly straightforward when it came to progression through Stamp Mode and Mission Mode, but I also wanted to include additional “Hard mode, 1st place” type challenges for as many games as possible - mainly in light of the fact that you can technically progress through most of Stamp Mode without winning 1st place in pretty much anything. Some of these challenges will be harder than others, especially depending on your familiarity with the games in question, so know that mastering this set will require becoming something of a renaissance player for all of the games contained within (and might also require a little bit of luck… I wish you the best with Mission Mode #10). I’d still recommend trying this out even if you just want to revisit a handful of your personal favorites, though, as there’s definitely a pick-up-and-play, short-session-friendly handheld design ethos at work here. There are quite a few leaderboards to compete on too, if you’re into those.

I hope to be able to develop achievements for the Switch version of Clubhouse Games when we get Yuzu integration sometime around 2030. Until then, enjoy this DS classic!

~Hack~ Super Mario World: Remix (SNES)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Super Mario World: Remix ~Hack~ Super Mario World: Remix SNES Platforming, 2D Platforming

A rather classic hack with a fitting name. By “remixing” original game elements in an interesting way it manages to feel like an expert mode of Super Mario World.

There are 32 exits to find in the nonlinear overworld. The levels are playful - sometimes perplexing - and so are the achievements. To beat the game you will need to escort fireballs, sacrifice Yoshis, look for impossible secrets, solve puzzles, avoid collecting coins and so forth.

There is nothing much more to say. It is a minimalist hack with a minimalist write-up and a not-so-minimalist set. If you enjoy Mario games, you will enjoy this hack. But I feel like I should still issue a warning to those short of patience: I have been told that this is not the easiest set to master.

~Hack~ Final Fantasy IV: Unprecedented Crisis (SNES)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Final Fantasy IV: Unprecedented Crisis ~Hack~ Final Fantasy IV: Unprecedented Crisis SNES Role-Playing Game

Here we are again, another boring vanilla plus hack that only changes a few character abilities including Cecil’s dark wave and Rosa becoming an archer… Through Mist, through Damcyan, through even Mt. Hobs and Fabul. Time to sail to Baron but get dunked on by Leviathon. Wait… what? We successfully made it to Baron?! How does Cecil become a paladin then?

This is the kind of hack Unprecedented Crisis is, turning the narrative on its head by letting you complete the story as Dark Knight Cecil if you want to. The story past Fabul is not the same either; the hack creators re-wrote the story from then on in their own image and added new areas and branching paths for each character. You can end the game with any characters you want: Palom and Porom? Sure can! Cid and Tellah? Why not, go for it!

There are even multiple endings on offer here with the option to even solo the final dungeon and boss as Dark Knight/Paladin Cecil. A last little thought, how does Cecil win against Zeromus if a being of darkness can not use the crystal?

Shinobi (Arcade)

Game Console Genre
Shinobi Shinobi Arcade Arcade, Platforming

Shinobi is undeniably one of the most influential platforming arcade games of the 80s with its unrelenting action and sharp gameplay. Fling shurikens at foes both military and mystical, earn extra lives in a ninja-styled shooting gallery, and jump and slash through five missions to bring down the terrorist organization kidnapping innocent children! What Shinobi lacked in depth of story it made up for by being one of the most fluid, challenging games of the era on Sega’s nascent System-16 hardware and it’s no surprise that this was one of the games that seemed like it was in every arcade.

This game wastes absolutely no time throwing you into the action. Every mission in Shinobi briefly shows your assassination target and the route to get there before throwing you in. In every round your goal is to save the captives and make your way safely to the end while armed only with your blade and shurikens. Some enemies have armor that will resist your ranged attacks, but with a power-up picked up from a captive you can punch through their shields. Once per round, you can summon your own mystical ninja power and clear the screen of enemies or dish out several points of damage to a boss.

Your offense is great but at the cost of your defense; a single enemy hit will defeat you! You can jump between back and front planes both to reach necessary captives and to escape attacks. In the boss stages you’ll face larger than life enemies like Ken Oh flinging fireballs in the back alleys of the slums or the Black Turtle helicopter whose only weakness is, conveniently, shurikens. The end of the mission stamps a satisfying “Erased” in kanji on the portrait before moving on to the next target, all the way up to the Masked Ninja behind the whole organization. Between missions a bonus game offers the player an extra life if they can defend against an onslaught of approaching ninjas - but miss even one and the reward is nothing!

One of the reasons Shinobi has endured as an arcade game is not just because of its crisp gameplay but the built-in challenges that it offers, which is something the RA set highlights. A coin counter on the high score table dares players to get as far as they can in fewer credits, and completing a round without using magic or ranged attacks each provide significant point bonuses to the player. Even players who can complete the game on a single credit can find new challenges and riskier ways to play for more score, and that’s one of the features that made Shinobi one of the early greats. If you like your games and your sets tough, Shinobi delivers on both. Give this classic a play today!

Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Dreamcast)

Game Console Genre
Rayman 2: The Great Escape Rayman 2: The Great Escape Dreamcast 3D Platforming, Collect-a-thon

Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a classic collect-a-thon style 3D platforming game. Rayman sets off on a journey to save the mystical land of the Fairy Glade from the menacing Admiral Razorbeard. Along the way, Rayman can collect up to 999 yellow lums and 80 cages to achieve 100% completion.

This game was very well received for its gameplay, graphics and charm. So well received that the game was released on 8 different platforms. Each level provides a new challenge and a different gameplay mechanic to master. The dialogue and interactions between characters is very humorous and keeps the player entertained. There are also many optional minigames and secrets for the player to discover!

Many consider the Dreamcast port to be the definitive way to play the game, even over the PlayStation 2 version of the game (Rayman 2: Revolution). This version introduced many new things including: Globox Village (a new area in the Woods of Light), 5 minigames, an enemy variation, and a cutscene of Rayman freeing the prisoners (which was previously cut due to time constraints). To this day, the Invade minigame remains exclusive to Dreamcast.

As for the set, I have included achievements for every aspect of the game, as well as leaderboards for all playable minigames. Unfortunately, the Menezis minigame was only available on Dreamcast as a VMU download, which is no longer available.

If anything I’ve said has interested you, give the game a shot and let me know what you think on the game wall!

Momotarou Dengeki | Momotaro Thunderbolt (Game Boy)

Game Console Genre
Momotarou Dengeki | Momotaro Thunderbolt Momotarou Dengeki | Momotaro Thunderbolt Game Boy Action

This game is one I doubt many people have heard of or played outside of Japan, but I am really glad to have discovered it, because it’s now one of my favorite Game Boy platformers!

The game is loosely based on Japanese folklore, in which a hero is born from a giant peach, and with the aid of his animal friends, saves an island from a band of demons. In the game, this translates to you being able to toss peaches at your enemies - always fun - and being able to obtain power-ups that allow you certain animal abilities! With your monkey, cat, or bird abilities, you can jump higher, run faster, or glide across the screen! Personally, I preferred to stay with the bird as much as possible - saves a lot of trouble with some of the trickier platforming - but there’s definitely situations where each can shine!

There are six worlds with different themes, each with eight stages - typically, six platforming stages and two boss stages. These stages aren’t all that long usually, though, so the pace keeps up pretty well, and the bosses are fun and creative! On top of this, I haven’t yet even told you about the massive treasure hunt going on in this game - every platforming stage has anywhere from 2-5 treasure chests scattered throughout! Some are obvious, but many are less so, and encourage you to really explore each stage and try things out - some you can only get to when you’re using certain abilities!

If this stuff sounds like your jam, I highly encourage you to give it a try! As a fan of platformers, I was really happy to be surprised by this relatively obscure gem!