Play This Set

Play This Set is a showcase for our passionate community members to write about the games and achievement sets they love. 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.

Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei (PlayStation Portable)

Game Console Genre
Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei PlayStation Portable Adventure, Visual Novel

Hello. Are you into… despair? Are you interested in seeing a bunch of anime kids murdering each other for the sick, twisted amusement of a psychotic teddy bear? If so, then look no further than Danganronpa! With despair, anime high-school kids, despair, murders, despair, logic puzzles, despair, dating sim-like elements, despair, CLAAAAAAAASS TRIALS, despair and oh, did I mention despair?

The rules for them are simple. Someone kills someone else and has to try to get away with it. If they get caught, they die. If not, EVERYONE else dies! To showcase how a trial works, there’s four minigames among them, besides all the talking and choices you need to make! Such as shooting people’s words with words! Shooting at letters to form a word! Play a rhythm game to make your opponent shut up! And drawing a manga to show how everything in the case happened! Aside from all that, you can hang out with all your friends and soon-to-be murderers or victims! Form bonds with them and then cry your heart out when they inevitably die and let the despair pour out!

Enjoy your stay at Hope’s Peak Academy… you’re gonna be here for a while… Puhuhuhuhuhuhu.

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Nintendo DS Visual Novel

Those of you who’ve played Ace Attorney games before may love them, but sometimes want the formula to be shaken up just a little. Outside of a crossover with a certain puzzling gentleman, this is the best fulfillment of that dream. Here you play as Miles Edgeworth, only this time he gets the chance to catch the RIGHT culprits for the crimes! But to do that, he has to find and piece together every clue he comes across, as well as deconstruct all the opposing theories that others may present to him. Yes, we don’t actually go into the courtroom this time, but we still get all the crazy character interactions and mysteries that make this series special!

The only thing I can add is… why doesn’t the sequel have a set yet?

~Hack~ Legend of Zelda, The: Master of Time (Nintendo 64)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Legend of Zelda, The: Master of Time ~Hack~ Legend of Zelda, The: Master of Time Nintendo 64 Action-Adventure

Alright, I’m gonna open up this recommendation with some brutal honesty: this game is just about everything wrong with ROM hacks. The story is absolute edgy nonsense, characters swear like sailors, and the subject matter is often questionable at best. The endings (yes, there are multiple) are a special sort of awful that need to be seen to be believed. For my cringe connoisseur brothers out there, I’ve already sold you on the game. You don’t need to read any further. Everyone else, please bear with me.

Under its rough exterior, Master of Time hides a full, genuinely cool Zelda experience. The world is expansive and every area is brand new, and a lot of them are very nice to look at if you’re into the N64 aesthetic. The dungeons in particular look fantastic, and are loaded with some actually kind of cool puzzles. It’s a minor thing that not everyone will agree with, but I appreciate that rather then waste your time with boss fights that we’ve all fought a hundred times (or worse, place them in janky environments to make them more difficult), dungeons are punctuated with either important items or some sort of story progression, making the experience just a tiny bit tighter.

At the end of the day the game isn’t for everyone, not everyone can look past the dumpster fire writing or often-disgusting presentation and that’s fine. However, I honestly think it has a lot going for it and passing on it means putting its cool visuals and new ideas to waste. And if you do play the game, please check the inaccessible extra endings afterwards, they’re a real treat.

~Hack~ Paper Mario: Pro Mode (Nintendo 64)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Paper Mario: Pro Mode ~Hack~ Paper Mario: Pro Mode Nintendo 64 RPG

Did you ever feel that Paper Mario was a little too easy? Well, I’ve got some good news for you. Paper Mario: Pro Mode is designed to give players a more challenging experience through the memorable Nintendo 64 RPG by bringing in new badges, new enemies, harder boss refights, new boss moves and new bosses, and a full-game challenge that changes the formula.

Of course, when it comes to hacks that increase the difficulty, there’s the fear that the challenge becomes so unfair that only the die-hard fans can stand a chance of beating it. Pro Mode thankfully strikes a good balance when it comes to the difficulty in my opinion, as my run of the game had me use more of the available moves that I barely touched in the original game, like the star power that lowers the attack power of enemies. This hack will definitely test how well you can use everything at your disposal, especially when you have a great advantage and disadvantage…

So, what’s this additional full game challenge? Why, it’s the Luigi Challenge! By activating this at the start of the game, all badges only cost 1 BP to equip, and you have a total of 64 BP! But here’s the catch: you cannot gain star points, meaning you’re stuck at level 1 for the entire game. While this means that you’ll have a multitude of customization options for each situation, you have to manage your limited HP and FP to use those badges to their full potential.

If you’re looking for a reason to play this game again, or just want an added challenge, this is a great entry point into the harder hacks of Paper Mario.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (Game Boy Advance)

Game Console Genre
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 Game Boy Advance 2D Platforming

When I first started creating achievement sets, I always wished I could’ve taken a shot at any of the Mario games we have on the site, and when I mastered the Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 set on RetroAchievements I realized that the base game was missing and only the e-Reader levels were included. Once we separated the two, I, along with the developer GalacticSpear GalacticSpear, combined our efforts into bringing the base game of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 to RetroAchievements - but we didn’t just stop at that. Not only did we create a massive set, but we also included our very own custom “Hard Mode” alongside bringing back Luigi’s Mario 2 physics, thanks to a patch from SporyTike SporyTike.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 had e-Reader cards released for it which changed things about the base game, which includes things like extra lives, giving the player power-ups, adding new levels to the e-Reader worlds, and several changes that make the game tougher. These include modes that make bosses have double their normal HP, regular enemies are replaced with harder ones (Spinies replace Green Koopas for example), and a “two-hit” death mode, where Mario will die in 2 hits versus the normal 3. Thanks to these changes we were able to create a well-rounded as well as challenging set.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 (or Mario 3 GBA as I refer to it) was actually my first experience with 2D Mario. The only Mario games at that point that I played were Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario 64 / TTYD, and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, so actually being able to start playing the legendary Mario 3 on my GBA felt amazing. This version of Mario 3 has changed graphics from the All-Stars version released on the SNES, as well as voice clips for Mario and Luigi! A lot of people look back on these voice clips with disdain as the GBA speaker is not the greatest, but for me there is just so much charm in hearing Mario say “Just what I needed!” after picking up a mushroom or Super Leaf. The charm that is flowing from this game is immense, from the colors to the sounds, it’s nothing but an enjoyable Mario experience. Because it’s a remake, Galactic and I wanted to try and shake things up from RA’s release of the original Mario 3 on NES, so we have some differences, including one of my favorite challenges, “No Touchie”, where you must beat every level in World 1 without touching a single coin or power-up. It’s quite a fun challenge! Overall, this was one of my favorite projects to work on; both as a sole developer and in a collaboration with the amazing GalacticSpear GalacticSpear. We put in a lot of love into this set, and I hope you all have fun with it!

Legend of Spyro, The: A New Beginning (PlayStation 2)

Game Console Genre
Legend of Spyro, The: A New Beginning Legend of Spyro, The: A New Beginning PlayStation 2 3D Platforming, Action-Adventure

Since the PS2 support just released, I’m gonna talk about a game from it, and a very cool one from my childhood!

This is the Sierra reboot of the Spyro franchise. The game is completely different when compared to the classics, but that doesn’t means it’s bad! Here, Spyro is a special dragon from a prophecy and must stop Cynder from awakening the Dark Master. During the adventure, Spyro will discover he has hidden powers like: Fire (first level), Electricity (second level), Ice (third level) and Earth (fourth level), and will finally fight against Cynder in the fifth level. You also can upgrade each element and special move in the Level Up screen, so you will have some feeling of progression along your journey. After beating the game you are allowed to play in New Game+ with all the elements + upgrades from the very start, so you can collect more points to upgrade what you were missing (which you will need to do, since even if you kill every enemy and break every crystal, you won’t have enough points). It’s a very simple (but fun) beat ‘em up with platforming.

While the game doesn’t have too much to offer, the set does, and the challenges are very fun. I definitely had a good time while playing this set since isn’t too challenging, but not a walk in the park either. Also, the devs encountered a lot of challenges during the making of it, so this makes me appreciate it even more. If you like beat ‘em ups, this game is a must.

Silver Surfer (NES)

Game Console Genre
Silver Surfer Silver Surfer NES Shoot ‘em Up

Silver Surfer for the NES is surely a kind of legend, well known for unforgivable difficulty and unfair gameplay. But I don’t think that’s a fair judgement. Of course, the game is tough and can be a demotivating experience for players who aren’t familiar with other shoot ‘em ups from the 80/90s like Gradius or Abadox. I would like to say: give the set a chance. The game deserves it.

The player starts on a stage selection screen where he may decide in which order to defeat the foes. I’m not familiar enough with the Marvel-universe to know about the character attributes or their relations, but that’s not necessary. Each stage is divided into three sections - one vertical and two horizontal shooter levels, while the third one is the shortest. Even if you lose the last life in section 3, you may start in this section again in case you have a continue left. That’s quite fair. For every section, just follow the three rules: shoot, shoot, and shoot. Avoiding enemies is more difficult than defeating since the patterns are weird sometimes. Some upgrades help the Surfer to avoid a miserable fate. The music is a big plus, while the graphics are 1990s standard.

I would compare the game and the stories behind it with a math lesson in school. Many kids think that math is bad and difficult and not worth putting effort into it. The reasons behind this behaviour are often the parents who tell their kid that math is difficult, other kids who fail for the same reason, and even media. You can find similar behaviour related to Silver Surfer. Many players have seen the famous AVGN video who freaked out while playing (hey, that’s how he made money). Maybe you’ve seen many top-10 lists of the most difficult games with Silver Surfer at top position (next to the infamous Battletoads) and accept the assessment after a few tries. “Yes, they are right”.

So, dare to put some effort in it, and you will see, that the game is not that horrible. Like in other Shmups, the goal to success is memorization and patience. Even the set increases the difficulty just a bit without any incredible challenges and just asks you to give the game a try. It’s not just about the points, it’s more about the sensation and the visible proof, that you were able to beat a level after another in one of the most notorious NES games.

MediEvil (PlayStation)

Game Console Genre
MediEvil MediEvil PlayStation Action-Adventure

Welcome to the Kingdom of Gallowmere, where being dead is the least of your worries. In this game you control Sir Danial Fortesque, a hero across the land known for giving his life to defeat the evil sorcerer Zarok… in legend. This quick lipped chap actually was the first casualty to an arrow volley, and every other dead hero knows this. So now, being revived a century after his death to destroy the recently returned Zarok, Daniel must not only save the land from certain disaster, but prove himself worthy to the hall of heroes. The adventure overall feels like a subversion of some Zelda tropes, with some witty dialogue to fit into the bleak and harrowing atmosphere.

In this set, you will have to visit each area not only for each grail if you want to master it, but each area also has a side mission for you to do in the achievements. Progression is scarce so it’s best to go for these when you can. Holy Grails themselves can be used to get access to new, powerful gear as well as simple bonuses. Mastery is highly recommended.

Coraline (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
Coraline Coraline Nintendo DS Action-Adventure, Action, Minigames

As the fall season slowly approaches the end I often think about all the different things related to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and fall in general. One of the things that crosses my mind is the movie Coraline. Some may say it takes place before or after winter, but I always think of it as a Halloween movie. Believe it or not, Coraline was made during the time when most children’s movies got their own video game adaptation; that being said, I can confidently say Coraline for the Nintendo DS is my favorite movie to video game adaptation.

This adaptation doesn’t build off of the original movie like other movie to game adaptations, but actually recreates the whole movie in a visual novel, 3D point and click style. You play as Coraline as she struggles to adapt to her new life in Ashland, Oregon. While exploring her new home, the Pink Palace Apartments, she meets some bizarre people and a mysterious small door right in her new living room. Throughout the game, you will come across several different minigames, each playing out a scene within the movie, several unlockable outfits, several movie dialog conversations, and all the while walking around in a fully 3D explorable movie set. The style of the game almost reminds me of playing an old PlayStation game as well, along with the original soundtrack for the game it can totally give off a creepy feel, just like watching the movie for the first time. The overall length of the game is pretty short, If you have a pretty good understanding on how the movie plays out, you will have no problem finishing this game within the time it takes to watch Coraline.

Even though it might be nostalgic to rewatch Coraline, why not give the DS game a spin? Its almost exactly like the movie, but in a completely different form!

Soulcalibur (Dreamcast)

Game Console Genre
Soulcalibur Soulcalibur Dreamcast 3D Fighting

I recently went back to this game after not playing it for almost two decades. Sandwiched between the playable but awkward Soul Blade and the critically legendary Soulcalibur II, my brain just overwrote how solid this game is. Soulcalibur’s base gameplay is a fighting game but every character has a unique weapon, each of them with their different weight and attached to a different game style.

There are around 17 characters to experience and the beauty of this game versus a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter is ANYONE can pick this game up and play it. There are more complicated aspects to it, but if you are familiar with Tekken you can kinda imagine the pick up and play. It’s just that the focus is on those weapons instead of fisticuffs (though Yoshimitsu is in both games, so uh maybe the difference isn’t too far off).

Aside from the Arcades, Survivals, and Time Attacks are standard fighting game fare, but the twist of a mission mode is something we take for granted now that was highly unique back then. Way before Smash Bros would have Event Mode, this game presented a series of fights with strange effects thrown on them like: mice in the background bite you, only can die via air combos, or the floor is made of lava! There are actually quite a few differences that each location of missions feels really unique. There’s also this big involved background story revolving the evil sword of the games focus. But hey, if that’s not your thing it’s completely skippable.

While the PS2 is out and the focus is on the more famously loved Soulcalibur II or its weird cousin Soulcalibur III, you shouldn’t overlook the first true outing on Dreamcast; it’s still a masterpiece.