- SpongeBob’s Truth or Square (PlayStation Portable)
- Mega Man X: Command Mission (PlayStation 2)
- WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth (PlayStation 2)
- In the Groove (PlayStation 2)
- Sabre Wulf (Game Boy Advance)
- Drakengard (PlayStation 2)
- Dual Hearts (PlayStation 2)
- GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2 (Nintendo DS)
- Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PlayStation 2)
- Lumines (PlayStation Portable)
Wish This Set is a showcase for our passionate community members to write about the games they love that aren’t yet represented on the site. Is there a game you’d like to see receive an achievement set? Let us know by sending a private message to RANews. We encourage you to explain what makes the game so special to you, and you may be featured in a future issue of RANews!
SpongeBob’s Truth or Square (PlayStation Portable)
|SpongeBob’s Truth or Square||PlayStation Portable||Action|
- Write-up by: LimeJinjo
A mostly forgotten licensed game from 2009 based on a mostly forgotten SpongeBob TV special. Truth be told, it’s simply alright. Unknown to most, this game was developed by the same studio that made the now cult classic SpongeBob games, Battle for Bikini Bottom and The Movie Game. Unlike its older brothers, however, Truth or Square chooses to mostly forgo the collect-a-thon nature of its predecessors and instead focus on a more linear level design. Although the PSP version of Truth or Square is not as good as its console counterparts or Battle for Bikini Bottom, it still has its own charm. It still has its SpongeBob humor and at times can be mindless fun. An ideal set for this game would probably be just to 100% it, maybe an ambitious developer could add time challenges or no damage boss fights.
Mega Man X: Command Mission (PlayStation 2)
|Mega Man X: Command Mission||PlayStation 2||Action, Role-Playing Game|
- Write-up by: Chauckles
Though not the first time the Blue Bomber has taken on an RPG role, Command Mission goes in a much more traditional direction. Follow X and Zero on their trip to the artificial island Giga City, where they’ll investigate reports of a Maverick uprising and discover a new type of robot-enhancing technology, taking on foes both familiar and new in tactical turn-based combat.
What I really like about Command Mission is both the interesting ways it integrates features common to the Mega Man X series into a classic-style RPG while also introducing its own spin on the genre. Along with your primary weapon, each character can equip two “sub-weapons” that act as skills that can be used (Or tactically not used) on their turn. There are quite a few of them, making for some neat customization. Instead of collecting potions or herbs, you’ll use an expandable, refillable (and environmentally friendly) Sub Tank that the whole party shares. Each character has a special attack that’s accompanied by a Mario RPG-esque minigame. Instead of armor, you’ll equip Force Metals that enhance robots in incredible ways but give them robot cancer. Mechanically, there’s a lot going on and I love it.
Naturally, there are a ton of unlockables, secrets, and other extras that lend themselves to cool achievements. There’s a robot recruitment system where you’ll repair busted-up worker robots to send on scouting missions, a vending machine that spits out figurines, a number of superbosses, and all the usual collectable garbage you’d expect from an RPG. Overall it’s a really cool game, and I think it deserves a set.
WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth (PlayStation 2)
|WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth||PlayStation 2||Wrestling|
- Write-up by: MrBird
Shut Your Mouth is the second PS2 Smackdown game and the first to use the WWE name since they had to change it thanks to being sued by the World Wildlife Fund.
This game improves upon Just Bring It! by having a much more in-depth Season Mode where you are drafted to either Raw or Smackdown (this was around the time the Brand Split started) and compete for 2 in-game years. You can also walk around between matches to talk to other wrestlers to build friendships or make enemies, or you can just explore not only the Arena, but also the areas outside, like
Paramount Theatre The World (which was a restaurant, nightclub, and retail store) and Times Square.
I could go on about this game’s other improvements from JBI, but really the main reason I want to wish this game specifically, is so a new generation can be introduced to the greatness that is… Reverend D-Von. GO ON, TESTIFY!
In the Groove (PlayStation 2)
|In the Groove||PlayStation 2||Rhythm|
- Write-up by: TheNegativeIon
With Dance Dance Revolution games seeing more achievement sets as of late AND with the birth of PlayStation 2 compatibility with RetroAchievements, I believe that this opens up a great opportunity to add a set for games that play similarly to DDR without actually being DDR. One of the most worthy contenders of this honor is RoXoR’s In The Groove. Now at first glance, this may just seem like a lazy, yet pretty looking, DDR clone. However, upon further inspection, you’ll notice that there are actually a couple of things that make rhythm game veterans prefer this over the franchise that inspired it.
The average difficulty of the stepcharts are exponentially higher than most DDR entries. Just imagine the song list, but half of it is about as hard, and even harder, than The Legend of MAX from DDR Extreme. Hell, even songs like VerTEX and Pandemonium could give Pluto Relinquish a run for its money. In addition to the stepcharts, the average song length is about 1:50 - 2:00 as opposed to DDR’s 1:30 - 1:40. I’m sure the few masters here would be thrilled to master an achievement set like this if it ever came to fruition.
Introducing Mines! These do damage to your dance meter if you just so happen to have your foot on the corresponding panel as it passes through the cue row. You won’t see them in a lot of stepcharts and, even then, they’re mostly not very prevalent. But when they’re there, they feel like they have a purpose.
This game has a BUTT load of arrow mods! You can alter the scroll direction in more ways than two, manipulate the scroll path in weird ways, and even change the number of arrows in more ways than just a Little mod. Plus, thanks to the arrows being 3D models, the mods can even change things on a Z-axis. Now some people may just turn a blind eye to this feature and just play normally, but that brings me to…
The nonstop courses utilize these mods in very clever ways. Not only are they different in each individual song in a course, but they change multiple times within the songs themselves. That way, you’re not just playing a list of songs back-to-back, but there’s a challenge in reading the charts as well. This game actually makes nonstop courses fun! How cool would it be to have achievements based on clearing courses like these?
There are a couple of other small differences as well, but In The Groove truly felt like a natural evolution of the Dance Rhythm game genre. It’s something that you just have to at least see in action in order to better understand how some would even consider this to be better than DDR. If someone were willing to make an achievement set for this game, I believe you could even present this as a holy grail of sorts on your profile!
Sabre Wulf (Game Boy Advance)
|Sabre Wulf||Game Boy Advance||Platformer|
- Writeup by: WarioFan63
Sabre Wulf is a name that likely means different things to different people. If you’re a fighting game fan, you’re probably familiar with the Killer Instinct character. If you’ve been gaming for a long time or check out Rare Replay, you’re probably familiar with the 1984 ZX Spectrum game. If you’re a Nintendo 64 fan, you’re probably familiar with the Sabreman cameo in Banjo-Tooie. Sabre Wulf for the Game Boy Advance stars the old timer as he appeared in B-T’s Hailfire Peaks, in a new adventure after 20 years.
Sabreman has been forced out of retirement by the Mayor of Blackwyche Village, as a new villain has popped up and released Sabre Wulf from imprisonment, where it’s begun to harass the villagers, thankfully not by mauling them, but by stealing prized possessions. Entrances pop up one after the other on the overworld that take you to the game’s levels. In these areas, you’ll find that the game plays like a puzzle platformer. Peppered throughout these levels are various creatures to collect that are used as tools to get around. Platform just out of reach? You can use the bouncy Blubba to get up top. Large stone with an imposing face in the way? Easily solved with the bash-happy Clubba. Jumping enemy giving you a hard time? Slap your friend Sticky on the ground and it won’t be jumping much longer. The creatures you find become a permanent fixture of your inventory and also a limited resource within that level, so if you find that you used up all your Blubbas and can’t go on, it’s easy enough to exit the level and give it another go.
The end point of these levels are to make to Sabre Wulf’s lair where the treasure is. Once you do that, the Wulf gives a howl so powerful it destroys friend and foe alike. That’s when the second half of these levels kicks in with Sabre Wulf chasing you back to the starting point. Racing back to camp with the treasure isn’t the only time sensitive thing going on though. Getting to the Wulf’s lair quickly is a challenge in it’s own right with treasures degrading in value over time the longer you take. Chances are you won’t get the gold on your first run through, so you’ll be replaying levels to figure out the fastest route. Time doesn’t stop while you’re selecting a helper to bring out, so you’ll need to be quick on the draw for who’s best to use and where.
But the speedruns don’t end there! Every time you go for the gold in the main game, it adds that level to Challenge Mode. Here, you really will have limited resources for the creature buddies you can use and even tighter time limits to beat. The level also ends as soon as you touch the treasure, so you won’t have to worry about saving time in the race back to the start. Even if you get the gold in Challenge Mode though, there’s still more work to be done! Rare have their own in-game records to beat, with times that will be asking for perfect runs. Truthfully the game doesn’t clue you in on what exactly those times are, but you’ll know you’ve beaten their best when you pick up Rare’s iconic R from Sabre Wulf’s lair.
Between the game’s unique levels, the animal inventory system, the speedruns on top of speedruns, and even a few game-length sidequests in the main game, I think there’s plenty of content to keep people busy with this delightful entry from Rare’s GBA output.
Drakengard (PlayStation 2)
|Drakengard||PlayStation 2||Role-Playing Game, Action RPG, Hack & Slash|
- Writeup by: AssClownKing
I place within you, dear reader, a mental quandry: can a fundamentally flawed game still be considered good, or important? In the grand scheme of things, the first game released under the watchful gaze of Yoko Taro is a mashup of flight sims and Musou style hack and slash. And it does neither of these particularly well. The game has random slowdowns, the translation can be muddled, the story while definitely interesting and dealing with topics that even modern games won’t touch is told in a jarring, almost painful way, and the music… well, calling it noise clashing with pots and pans mixed with a toddler screaming at the top of its lungs would almost be a compliment to what it actually is.
In short, the game is Chaos. Which is exactly the point.
There’s a certain kind of magic when it comes to art. Drakengard is faulty, no doubts there, and with a larger budget and some time there really could have been something special that resonated with a larger audience. However, I would actually argue that it would not be as well remembered by fans of the director if it was “Good”. But it is important. It’s important in the larger body of work by Taro himself, as well as a look back at a type of storytelling and gameplay that aren’t always well viewed upon. Even the music, in its own way, flows within the game in such a way that needs to be experienced to be understood. Drakengard is a game that should be remembered for at least trying, and achievements would help take this game and reach at least a different audience.
Dual Hearts (PlayStation 2)
|Dual Hearts||PlayStation 2||Action RPG|
- Writeup by: mountainmohawk
The PS2 library remains one of the most impressive and diverse libraries ever released. You could ask a dozen people what their fondest remembered games are, and you would get a dozen different answers. It was a different time, a time when a game’s budget wasn’t binary, “indie or AAA”. For every Final Fantasy, God of War, or Tony Hawk, there were hundreds of smaller games that may not have had the budget or marketing, but they still had heart.
And what game could have more heart than “Dual Hearts”! No relation to the Kingdom Hearts series. Developed in 2002 by Matrix Software (more on them in a bit) and published by Atlus in the US and Sony in Japan, Dual Hearts is an action RPG where your character ends up working with a weird dog/pig looking creature (which I affectionately named “Pigthing” when I played this game as a kid). The main premise is that you explore the main “real” world and interact with characters, and eventually enter their dreams. Once in the dream world, you complete various combat, RPG, and platforming challenges and gain new equipment much like a Zelda game. If the premise reminds you of Alundra, that’s because Matrix Software was responsible for those titles as well!
A set for Dual Hearts could have the standard completion goals for the main storyline, but it also has two difficulty modes, a journal that gains humorous updates as you progress through the game, a completion status percentage for each dream world that shows how many items you’ve found in each world, and mini-games to play as well.
Released the several months after the much more popular Kingdom Hearts, Dual Hearts was almost doomed to be overlooked from the start. But with PS2 achievement support, I think now is the time for the game to have a second chance. While it may not be a perfect game, breathing new life into this childhood favorite of mine would be a dream come true.
GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2 (Nintendo DS)
|GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2||Nintendo DS||Compilation|
- Writeup by: markdarkness
Let me tell you about “GameCenter CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2”, because this game stands for everything we appreciate over here at RetroAchievements. I was part of the fan translation team of this gem back in the day, and the amount of fun it packs in a single cartridge is astounding. It is a game with several games within it, but the entire experience connects in meaningful ways. It expands greatly on the first title by adding even more genres, and the player has opportunities to sample a little bit of everything retro gaming has to offer.
And it has great potential for achievements! There are so many different little systems in it that the developer can have fun with, from action games, to a full-fledged RPG, to a two-part NES-style murder mystery! It’s a set that won’t ever become stale, since it has all kinds of possibilities right at hand. To top it off, Game Center CX is a love letter to our retro gaming culture, that keeps this hobby moving forward and making new fans all over the world… it deserves our attention!
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (PlayStation 2)
|Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria||PlayStation 2||Role-Playing Game|
- Write-up by: Sines
Valkyrie Profile 2 is a strange sequel. It start as a VP1 prequel showing what happened to the youngest Valkyrie sister Silmeria and giving a lot of details on what happened to the Dipan’s kingdom, eventually leading up to some major events of the PS1 entry. After some point, however, the game also becomes a sequel due to magic and time travel shenanigans. The battle system shares similarities but is more action focused and requires players to navigate 3D environment and try dodging enemies’ area of effect. Overall, it’s much more dynamic and harder than the first game where you had access to absolutely game breaking and easy options before the midpoint.
For set design there is already quite a lot of things to implement for the basic progression: not all allies can be recruited in a single playthrough, the game is quite long, and you also have the traditional post-game dungeon to test your game knowledge. After that there are multiple possible arbitrary achievements that could be implemented such as low level, solo run or platforming challenges.
Lumines (PlayStation Portable)
- Write-up by: kewlpinguino
Oh man, do I love this game. The falling blocks puzzle genre by 2004 was well-established, and to some even played out — after Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble, Magical Drop, Puyo Puyo, and the father of them all, Tetris, what room is there for innovation?
Enter Lumines. While the basic premise is as familiar as it gets — blocks fall from the top of the screen and you need to have them land in certain ways to keep them from stacking up — Lumines uses a slightly different metric than Tetris. You make clusters of 4 or more of blocks of the same color, plus it’s on a more horizontal field and has a distinct atmosphere driven by very 2004 visuals and a selection of cool songs. It was made by the guy who did Rez (that makes sense once you’ve played it). Lumines was perfect as an early title for the PSP, and holds up today as one of the great games of the genre.