- Gungriffon (Saturn)
- Victory Road | Dogou Souken (Arcade)
- ~Homebrew~ Ultima III: Exodus (Game Boy Color)
- Pagemaster, The (SNES)
- Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman (PlayStation Portable)
- X | Lunar Chase (Game Boy)
- Mortal Kombat: Deception (PlayStation 2)
- Road Rash (3DO Interactive Multiplayer)
- ~Hack~ SMB Extended (NES)
- Vanguard Bandits (PlayStation)
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!
- Write-up by: Sines
While at first glance Gungriffon might look like the Saturn version of “We’ve got Armored Core at home”, I can assure you it’s not like that at all. Even if both games are made by Japanese studios, Gungriffon plays and feel closer to the traditionally bulky European/US mecha games than the usual sleek and speedy Japanese games. Most often you will be thrown in a map full of enemy mechs, tanks, helicopters, and other nasties that just want to destroy you. Your first instinct would be to dive in, be the cool action guy; that would be a mistake, as you’d learn very quickly. Here, positioning and target prioritization are the keys to victory! For example, if you leave the air superiority to the enemy, you won’t be able to call in a supply helicopter when you run out of ammo, and at that point, good luck staying alive…
It’s a more slow and methodical approach, but it’s helped by the tight control scheme. It’s not the most obvious at first glance, but after a few missions you’ll get the hang of it and everything just clicks into place, becoming second nature. While not the prettiest game to look at from still images, when you’re in control and everything moves, man does it feel great! Movement feels weighty, as it should when talking about piloting a giant hunk of metal. It was a new IP at the time, and while future entries would refine and tweak the gameplay elements, the first game is more than worthy of a RA set.
Victory Road | Dogou Souken (Arcade)
|Victory Road | Dogou Souken||Arcade||Run & Gun|
- Write-up by: freezestar
Victory Road is the sequel to Ikari Warriors and was released in 1986. It plays very similarly to the first one - you play as one of the Ikari Warriors as you run and gun through environments with your weapons, but there are a few differences. First off, the game immediately starts you with a flamethrower rather than a machine gun so you can start blowing things away. Instead of the tank, you get power armor which serves the same purpose, giving you more powerful shots and some extra hits of damage. Another difference is the environment - rather than jungle environments, you are placed in what I could best describe as hell environments, including lots of temple areas, weird glass surface lakes, and even traps that send you into red environments you have to fight big stone monsters to escape from. But one of the biggest new things this game has is voice synthesis, which allows for lots of voice lines and screams from the enemies.
When I first played this game, I was immediately floored by the intro, in which you get screamed at by a giant rock monster to “Show Some Guts”, that “You Can’t Escape Them”, and to “Come get them if you can” before it flies off laughing. This game takes what Ikari Warriors did and turns it up to 11, becoming a ride of chaos, fire, and lots of voice samples. It’s chaotic and can be difficult (it is an SNK game after all), but it’s still super fun to throw a bunch of quarters for a good time. Would love to see this and Ikari Warriors get sets one day (and I guess Ikari III, but that one isn’t as fun). SHOW SOME GUTS and enter Victory Road today!
~Homebrew~ Ultima III: Exodus (Game Boy Color)
|~Homebrew~ Ultima III: Exodus||Game Boy Color||CRPG (Western RPG)|
- Write-up by: TheMysticalOne
Ultima III: Exodus was my first personal experience with the Ultima series. While at the time, I had previously seen or played the fourth game on both NES and the Amiga, Exodus on NES was the first that I’d owned and played and beaten myself, with a little assistance from a generic hint book my dad bought me that had included tips for it and other games. This is the final game in the original “trilogy” of Ultima and the first to have a party system. Your party makeup is highly customizable, allowing a choice of races and classes, although some of them are not very useful. There’s overhead map travel, dungeon-crawling, and a very open world. You’ll want to get out a notepad because you’ll be relying on clues and mapping to get through this one. It is my personal opinion that one of the coolest gaming moments comes when you realize just what kind of foe you are up against.
This homebrew port of Exodus is based on the Commodore 64 version and somehow manages to stuff a pretty faithful menu system to replace the keyboard commands of the source. A nice detail is that all the menu options mimic one of the keyboard keys, so it still somehow feels like you are entering single-key commands. Overall this stays true to the originals, meaning that from the beginning you’ll have the potential to encounter some nasty foes and you’ll have to talk and manage your resources well. The graphics are a little rough, but they are fitting a lot of content into a small resolution and it somehow all works. I’d love to see this get a set so players can experience something similar to the Apple and other computer-based Exodus versions. As a bonus, the author has added an extra scenario that takes place after the end of the game and this is one of the true reasons this version needs a set: unique content available nowhere else.
Pagemaster, The (SNES)
- Write-up by: Sutarion
I watched The Pagemaster as a kid more times than I can remember. I recall seeing the game at the toy store and wanting it pretty badly. Despite being a 90s licensed game, it is a pretty good game. You play as Richard Tyler as he travels through a variety of worlds based on his Book companions in the movie: Horror, Adventure, and Fantasy. Each world features a variety of platformer levels and even has branching paths. In fact, the very first level is set in a torture chamber. Pretty grim. Between each world you play a travel mini-game similar to the Gummi Ship in Kingdom Hearts (or, more accurately, surfing in Mario’s Time Machine). Movement is a bit floaty, but the game does feature wall jumping which allows you to find secrets everywhere. The main downside is that it doesn’t have any boss fights, which is disappointing for an SNES platformer. While far from being a classic, this game deserves the love of a good set.
Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman (PlayStation Portable)
|Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman||PlayStation Portable||Roguelike|
- Writeup by: heintsi
Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman, or Z.H.P for short, is a unique game that blends the visual style of Disgaea, gameplay of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, and random Nippon Ichi humor with Japanese pop culture references. Unlike Disgaea, Z.H.P is not SRPG where you control multiple units. Instead, you control a single hero character as you battle your way through randomly generated dungeons filled with a variety of enemies and bosses. With over-the-top skills and skill animations, a wide range of equipment, and an insanely high stat cap, it’s basically a Disgaea roguelike. Fun fact: Z.H.P was actually Nippon Ichi’s first roguelike-type game.
So you can probably guess that the story is pretty random and funny, knowing NIS. Basically, the original hero is trying to prevent the apocalypse by planning on having a epic final confrontation with Darkdeath Evilman, but he never makes it to the final confrontation, because:
- His mom didn’t wake him up early enough
- Because he now has to hurry, he gets hit by the car.
So on the brink of the death, he hands over his super powers to a random boy who happens to pass by. And that random poor soul becomes the main character of the game with an impossible task of trying to defeat Darkdeath Evilman.
Although the game doesn’t take itself seriously at all, it still has an interesting and engaging story and gameplay, making it a great game to check out if you’re looking for some different kind of RPG. With its amount of content and developing your characters in a different way, I could really see a potential in having a set for this.
X | Lunar Chase (Game Boy)
|X | Lunar Chase||Game Boy||First-Person Shooter|
- Writeup by: bigdud24
X is a Japanese exclusive Game Boy title that you might not have seen nor heard of before - even by the name of it’s cancelled North American release, Lunar Chase. That’s usually because it is often overshadowed by the game that this developer, Argonaut, is best known for: Star Fox!
Before Argonaut was breaking boundaries on 3D gameplay technology on the Super Nintendo, they were doing it on the Game Boy. Believe it or not, this is a full 3D first person space combat simulator with full range of motion. That sounds like something that would be a disaster to get right on such a simple piece of tech, right? But what you get is a surprisingly workable combat system with controls that accommodate the type of game that it’s trying to be.
Gameplay revolves around completing missions to fight off aliens while taking orders from a floating head of vectors. Sounds very Star Fox. If you’re into Star Fox or that type of game, this might be worth at least trying out. It is a bit of a challenging game, and the tech behind the gameplay alone is quite impressive. This game deserves a set for that novelty alone.
Mortal Kombat: Deception (PlayStation 2)
|Mortal Kombat: Deception||PlayStation 2||3D Fighting|
- Writeup by: Enagonius
Looking back at my childhood, playing alone at home or hosting gaming sessions with friends, visiting cousins and colleagues, sharing cartridges (later CDs and then DVDs)… having fun. All of that brings back sweet memories of easier times of undisputed leisure and that sense of wonder while discovering new games; that doesn’t mean we were exempt from frustration even in the hobby as an early gamer, as there are genres, styles or specific titles where we are simply not good at. Fighting games were my Achilles’ heel when it came to being plainly straight bad at. I was stubborn, and spent entire afternoons in videogame renting places trying a bunch of SNES fighters, only to be utterly destroyed by both the AI and all my friends – it always felt weird because I liked to think of myself as a “complete” (or simply eclectic) gamer, savouring and mastering skill-based stuff just as much as I engaged and evolved in more strategy-centered things. Then why couldn’t I do infinite combos in Mortal Kombat or skip-break those frames in Street Fighter?
My first positively progressive experience with fighting games was Tekken 3 on PS1… A 3D fighting game. Even though I had already played titles like Bloody Roar and the like, it was that more tactical-oriented maneuvering and the satisfaction of seeing limbs dodge really close to the polygons of an adversary in tridimensional fashion (specifically while playing wiith Hwoarang) of Tekken that allowed me introduce myself to combos and the like; not that I was oblivious to all that before, but in some cases I couldn’t wrap my head into the mindset a game required (King of Fighters felt like a chore to learn as a kid) or simply couldn’t make myself care to learn (robotically memorizing combos for Killer Instinct was so boring to my younger self). Today I appreciate all that and I know it was just not the right time for me to enter that world of punches, kicks and grapples, but it was that spinning and twirling stravaganzza from Tekken 3 that made my eyes open wide and shine in front of the screen because of what I saw, did and accomplished in it.
I had a lot of fun in Mortal Kombat II on my old SNES with my friends and cousins. I felt accomplished to finally beat Shao Kahn by myself in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. But when I bought Mortal Kombat: Deception – and I hear it was more popular here in Brazil than other titles that were huge breakthroughs in the foreign market – it created some kind of reverse psychology in me. I remembered how I liked Tekken (from 3 to 5) because of the tridimensional movement, the cadence that followed blows when they landed onto the adversary, the sparse use of grapples and throws amidst hits etc., while it also made me appreciate more the classic 2D fighting games, probably out of nostalgia and remembrance (and I attribute all those feelings to the interest I gained years later to more deliberately frenzied battles, such as Guilty Gear… but that’s a story for another time).
So yeah, my love for this game wouldn’t be this huge if it wasn’t for such a trajectory I faced in the whole genre until I came to use Deception as the divisive point being a complete layman and then becoming a fan of a multitude of fighting games. But I can’t leave this text without a brief review of what makes me appreciate the game for itself…
The interaction with the stages made the tridimensional movement even more strategic, since now positioning meant a lot, since traps that dealt more damage while changing arena (which was possible in earlier 2D MK games in a much more vague and generic way in each level) or even insta-killing places that caused pure dread to both participants when the fight was moving near it. The stage was also sometimes filled with weapons that you could grab and use against your foe, and this kind of beat-em-up mentality was full of risk-and-reward when it meant sacrifice mobility, damage or reach for another of these attributes. Speaking of weapons, almost all characters have one sort of weapon among their fighting styles, which you could change at any moment during the fight, and it was much more than simply entering or leaving a stance, but it is almost like playing a different character entirely (yet it fits the overall theme and personality for each of them). Since I already touched upon the subject of characters, I find it impressive what they did with all of them here – new and old – reimagining classic entries of the franchise with a fresh makeover and making an impressively good presentation to unknown additions; that together with a fun story full of lore and plot twists makes for an unforgettable experience. An experience I hope we all can live with achievements.
Road Rash (3DO Interactive Multiplayer)
|Road Rash||3DO Interactive Multiplayer||Racing|
- Writeup by: amine456
Road Rash is a 1994 racing and vehicular combat video game originally published by Electronic Arts (EA) for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer.
This version of road rash is the pinnacle of the series, not only better than the rest of the 32-bit ports (Sega CD, PS1, Saturn and Windows) but this is, in my opinion, the best Road Rash game ever, bar none. Racing and beating up your opponents is super fun. The game also makes great use of FMVs and has a fantastic licensed grunge soundtrack. This is most likely the best game on the 3DO, and one of the few games that made owning a 3DO at the time worthwhile.
The goal of the game is to advance through five levels set in California by finishing in third place or higher in five races on each level. During a race, you can attack your opponents as they can attack you back. The racer uses punches and kicks by default, but weapons are available by stealing them from the opponents. The opponents become faster and harder to beat after each race; to make your life easier, you start with a certain amount of money and you get cash prizes for each successful race, which you can then use to buy better bikes.
In the main mode of the game called “Big Game Mode”, you choose one of a selection of characters, each with different statistics and different amounts of starting money. Some characters are for example faster but weaker, while others are slower but have stronger attacks. All of this adds depth to the game.
This is a great game that was released on a dead on arrival console. I hope it gets a RetroAchievements set someday.
~Hack~ SMB Extended (NES)
|~Hack~ SMB Extended||NES||2D Platforming|
- Write-up by: diablo666
Why would I like to see this get a set?
Although I have tried it for a long time, replaying it now, I understand that this is an underestimated hack that exists among the community (not only romhackers, but players).
It’s a full-fledged experience to feel new, but also similar to Mario 1.
There are three patches - one main and two additional ones. A full-fledged experience for this creation can be made by combining: “original hack” + “graphic and music changes” + “introduction of character selection (i.e. of two brothers)”.
I just want to test myself once again, but in a serious way to earn the mastery and give others the same experience.
Vanguard Bandits (PlayStation)
- Write-up by: Alarju
Vanguard Bandits (originally called Epica Stella in Japan) is a Tactical RPG developed by Human Entertainment and released in 1998 for PlayStation 1. Its story takes place on the continent of Eptina, in a middle ages themed era, where the war between the Junaris Empire and Pharastia Kingdom is currently happening. For a war in medieval times most people would probably imagine knights with sword and shield and armies fighting in melee combat. and they would probably be right, except for the fact that in Vanguard Bandits the swords and armor are not held nor worn by soldiers, but rather piloted by them.
The main aesthetic difference is probably the contrast of presenting a story in a medieval world at war, however, with soldiers piloting giant mechanic robots in combat, how could it even be possible? It’s not left without explanation (I’ll not spoil for you), and there’s no intuitive one. There’s no modern setting, Eptina really is a piece of land quite inspired in medieval Europe, and the characters live the same way intended, with no overlapping fantasy nor steampunk features, so the contradiction ends up making the identity of the game. The ATACs (as the giant mechas are called in game) feature a so important role in the aesthetic that, for a mostly 2D game, all of their attacks receive a 3D animation which is the only moment 3D animation happens in this game, showing off the ATAC with visual details and fluid movements.
The battle system, which is the main mechanic of the game, really extracts the most of the Tactical RPG sub-genre; it DEMANDS the use of strategy and tactical positioning in order to win, which makes battles no walk in the park. For comparison purposes, the style is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, so battles are played on an isometric grid where each character is positioned in one square, taking actions like moving or attacking. The comparison ends right there, though - Vanguard Bandits measures how much you can move and attack by the AP bar (Action Points), and each type of attack or even terrain where your ATAC moves consumes a different amount of AP. Added to this there is still the FP bar (Fatigue Points), which increases more or less depending on which attack your character performs OR receives. If the FP bar is filled, your ATAC freezes, not only losing one turn but leaving you completely open to enemy attacks. Of course, the same rules apply for enemies as well, which can be exploited by the player.
Finally, a set for Vanguard Bandits would certainly have plenty of content for completionists. The story is linear to some extent, making it perfectly possible to build progression achievements, but it splits into 3 branches at some specific moment, leading to completely different story paths, companions in your party, and game endings, with one of these branches being a bonus, unlocked only after closing the game in the other two, with a total SARCASTIC and non-serious content. There’s still lists of ATACs met to fill, unique abilities characters can learn, missions to complete, and more. Being a strategy game, I still think there’s plenty of room for challenge for any creative dev. Vaguard Bandits is not the most innovative game in the Tactical RPG genre, but not always the innovative can be positive, sometimes working with what is known delivering a quality product has the same or better result, and this game can pretty much be an example of that.