- Chronicle of the Radia War | Radia Senki: Reimei Hen (NES)
- Star Wars - Episode I: Racer (Nintendo 64)
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 (PlayStation 2)
- Looney Tunes Collector: Alert! (Game Boy Color)
- ~Hack~ Super Mario World: Learn 2 Kaizo (SNES)
- ~Homebrew~ Sir Ababol Remastered (NES)
- LEGO Racers (Nintendo 64)
- ~Hack~ Hellfire Saga Series (Mega Drive)
- Live-A-Live (SNES)
- Blast Corps (Nintendo 64)
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Chronicle of the Radia War | Radia Senki: Reimei Hen (NES)
|Chronicle of the Radia War | Radia Senki: Reimei Hen||NES||Role-Playing Game|
This is an Action RPG for the Famicom that feels a little ahead of its time due to its use of cutscenes and great music. If you want a visual of what the scenes look like, and don’t feel like them looking up, think of Ninja Gaiden (the same company put both games out). Chronicles of the Radia War (Radia Senki: Reimeihen) came out in 1991 making it very late in the life of the Famicom, almost a year after the launch of its Super successor. It is a shame it never got a next generation sequel or attention in the West.
You play as a guy who wakes up in a fantasy world and doesn’t remember where he is from or where he is. You are then rescued by a wizard before you get eaten by monsters and go on to get involved with saving the world, like you do. The story is fine but really is just a justification to go from points A through Z. There are some twists, especially towards the end, that make things interesting and should hold the attention of most.
More unique is the battle system. Typical for JRPGs of that era, when you walk over the land and in dungeons you will periodically run into random encounters. Unlike most JRPGs these encounters do not lead to looking at some pictures while you mash the Fight command (and if you’re like me, hit Fast Forward). Instead in this game the fights happen in real time.
You control your main character Hero Guy and walk around the battlefield swinging your sword, killing bad guys. At the same time all of your party members are walking around also killing bad guys. Their AI does not seem to be the best, and they won’t usually be able to win the day without your help, but it does make it so that every battle does not play out exactly the same way.
Most of my problem with turn based JRPGs is that the random encounters all play out exactly the same. You’ll roll into a dungeon and there will be about half a dozen of the same encounters over and over again. Once the optimal solution to how to get through Battle Types 1-6 is determined, you’re on autopilot. In Radia the action and different ways your companions will spread themselves out keeps things fresh. You can also use spells and abilities to even the odds if things get out of hand. Sometimes walking around in the game itself feels slow, which is a great time to hit Fast Forward.
The set itself does a good job of showing you everything the game has to offer. Everything is clearly laid out as to what you need to do. There are some unlabeled missables as the game has points of no returns (hope you got the so and so ring beforehand), but this is a small quibble. Most players should have no problem mastering this game in one play through.
It’s an impressive game for the Famicom, but not iconic or universally appealing to JRPG fans as something like Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior. Chronicle of the Radia War is a quintessential hidden gem for the system which I had never heard of before I played it on RA. And now I’ve heard about and done everything there is do to in this relatively obscure game thanks to the set made for it by televandalist.
Star Wars - Episode I: Racer (Nintendo 64)
|Star Wars - Episode I: Racer||Nintendo 64||Arcade Racing|
You’ve got boost power… but something seems wrong here. For you see, this is Podracing.
Star Wars – Episode I: Racer was one of three racing games I remember growing up with on the Nintendo 64, and was one of my favorites. If you enjoy high speed racing games like F-Zero and don’t want to worry about the RNG from items, then I can’t suggest this enough.
So what is podracing? When Star Wars started the second trilogy of movies back in 1999 (yeah 24 years ago… I might contemplate that later…), one of the story beats was of a high speed vehicle race since the protagonists needed the prize money to get off the planet. Destruction was everywhere, racers having to dodge both the terrain and other racers, along with having to keep their vehicles from falling apart, it’s not surprising video games were made based on this part of the film. So how does it play?
Similar to what was said in the original Super Mario Kart commercial, there’s fast, and then there’s way too fast. Your worries during the races won’t be hazards from other racers, but rather how well you can control your vehicle on the many tracks with their twists and turns as you go at high speeds. If you were to imagine how much traction a floating vehicle would have, I think you can understand why that would be a challenge as you try not to damage your vehicle. Oh yeah, your vehicle can get damaged. While this isn’t normally an issue, your vehicle can only take so much of a beating before it rips itself to shreds. This is where the repairing system comes in. While you’re driving, you can repair damaged parts of your vehicle to try keeping the vehicle explosions to a minimum, but you’ll slow down when repairing. Do you try repairing whenever needed, or hold off to get a faster time? Just make sure not to crash into an oncoming wall if you don’t want to wait to respawn!
Thankfully, you can always buy new parts for your vehicle to increase stats like acceleration, traction, turning, braking, and top speed if you want to be really dangerous. But where does the money come from for these purchases? Why, the races of course! Depending on how good you place in races will give you more money, but you can change how much money the better placed racers receive, including all or nothing to get the most money if you can get first place. This risk reward system can put your skills to the test (or you know, reset the game I guess). Another reason to win the races is to unlock more characters. If you don’t like one of the starting racers, you might find one later on that matches your preference.
With multiple planets to race on, each with unique environments, I’m pretty sure players can enjoy the sights as they race in the galaxy far, far away…
Happy racing, and may the force be with you.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 (PlayStation 2)
|Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2||PlayStation 2||3D Fighting|
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2. The often overlooked middle-child of the Budokai trilogy. This game is often less talked about than its two counterparts for several reasons. Perhaps because Budokai 1 was the first DB console game to release in over five years and generated excitement (I still remember it), whereas Budokai 2 released very soon after (albeit to significant excitement as well). Perhaps because there was a decision to implement a board game type gameplay to the story mode. Perhaps another reason being that it is completely overshadowed by the superior Budokai 3 that released less than a year later and became an instant fan favourite. Or perhaps even because when the 2012 HD re-release “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection” came out, Budokai 2 was excluded.
In any case if you are a DBZ fan, and especially if you are fan of the one or both of the other Budokai games, this game is well worth your time. Firstly, the graphics and character design (just the visuals of the game in general) are leaps ahead of Budokai 1 - it really does feel like you jumped into the future. The combat system is also tremendously improved from Budokai 1, which made the most difficult enemies more dependent on skill as a factor, rather than just RNG.
As previously mentioned, the story mode adopted a board game system, which may seem a little convoluted at first, but it does enable you to actually have several different paths/outcomes in which fights you take part in and which items you get based on where you decide to go on the board. You can also pick from a variety of characters to bring in once you have unlocked them. The story itself shares many big beats with the original DBZ story, but makes some changes. The closest way to describe it is the same events but in an alternate timeline/alternate universe.
The world tournament is also improved, adding the possibility of playing a tournament in couch multiplayer with several people selecting several characters (a feature that wasn’t available in the previous game) as well as the addition of a physical wall on one of the 4 sides of the ring, which is a feature I thought was welcome. Additionally, there is a new mode called Babadi’s Spaceship which is a collection of four “mini-games” within fights where you can earn points to unlock several things, including characters and capsules.
Delmaru’s set for this game covers all the bases, ranging from completing each mode, to unlocking everything that the game has to offer (characters, capsules, stages, fusions), to obtaining all the breakthroughs for every character. I had played this game many times before when I was younger but the set really let me discover it in a new way, trying to see all that the game had to offer. The whole thing is packaged with some tasteful (and sometimes very funny) achievement names and some nice achievement art.
Do yourself a favour and play this set, it’s definitely over 9000! Or rather before I get called out by the purists out there, over 8000 ;)
Looney Tunes Collector: Alert! (Game Boy Color)
|Looney Tunes Collector: Alert!||Game Boy Color||Action-Adventure|
Hello everyone, today I’m going to recommend you a hidden gem I found for the GBC - Looney Tunes Collector: Alert!
The game is a top down adventure obviously inspired by the likes of Zelda, in which you play with different Looney Tunes characters, from obvious ones likes Bugs and Daffy to ones you’d never expect, like Witch Hazel and Penelope. Each character has his own ability which is needed to progress in the game. Bugs, for instance, is the only one capable of jumping and getting in and out of the rabbit holes, Elmer can shoot enemies, Sylvester can kick boxes, and so on. There are a total of 14 playable characters and a gallery, where you collect pictures of the non playable ones. You can save anytime you want, you have an inventory, and you can change characters anytime outside of story moments.
It’s a really enjoyable playthrough if you have the time. There aren’t any masochist achievements like “beat the game damageless with your eyes closed in under 10 seconds,” but I wouldn’t call it free points either; the set is simple and straightforward.
Marvin finally has what’s necessary to blow up the Earth, but K9 (his dog) lost the teleporter. Bugs finds out, but he can’t stop Marvin on his own. So with the help of the Looney Tunes, the planet must be saved.
The game looks pretty good for the GBC. It starts with an animated intro telling you the plot of the game. There’s also a variety in the scenes, from forests to castles. The character animation is really good for what it is, and unlike Crazy Castle where you have to fight the same color swapped enemies many times, there’s a decent variety in here.
Some tunes are catchy, but it can lacks some sound effects. Some songs may sound like Looney Tunes cartoon rip-offs, but they are enjoyable in general. The GBC is known for having games in which the “music” drills your ears to the brain, but this is not the case here.
The set feels seems incomplete; for example, only the first two bosses have damageless cheevos.
There is a decent amount of post game, including unlockable characters, portraits, and mini games, but it requires a link cable, so the “why can’t I have a Gengar” feeling is here, but is more like “why can’t I have a Lola Bunny” instead.
While the graphics are nice, I think the palette may have a “too much brown” syndrome. It doesn’t kill the game, and it make sense since you spend time inside the rabbit holes, but it wasn’t necessary to put brown in the forest.
This is a game made by people who know their source, so it feels like a game with character rather than a quick cash grab as many licensed games are.
I really like the dogs when you get to the city. At first I thought they were enemies, but they are just there to make the city looks alive. It reminded me the dogs from the market in OOT.
Special mention to the Mot’s part - It’s like Metal Gear Solid but with a baby alien, and it really gives variety to the gameplay.
~Hack~ Super Mario World: Learn 2 Kaizo (SNES)
|~Hack~ Super Mario World: Learn 2 Kaizo||SNES||[Kaizo: Light / 69 Exits], 2D Platforming, Educational|
You’ve probably heard of Super Mario World. Who hasn’t? It’s one of the most defining games of the 16-bit console era. If you stumble upon someone talking about the SNES, you’re bound to hear about it in passing. It’s a pretty standard game with a good amount of variety to its levels and enemies. The music is catchy, the graphics are pleasing to look at, the game feels nice to play, and there is a bit of challenge to it depending on what you want to accomplish in the game, but what if you want something more difficult? If you’re knowledgeable about Super Mario World hacks, you’ve likely heard about a type of hack that people refer to as kaizo, and though they will provide a much harder experience than the original, these hacks have a reputation of being absolutely brutal. Without complete knowledge of the game, these hacks are pretty much impossible to complete for newcomers. Well, that is until you play Learn 2 Kaizo.
Learn 2 Kaizo is a beginner course for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of kaizo hacks. Don’t think that this’ll be easy, though. You’ll die, and you’ll die a lot. This hack focuses solely on teaching the player how to do difficult tricks you’ll find in standard kaizo hacks. It features a series of challenges in which you either perform a single trick or complete a short challenge level. Every tenth level is a test that combines some if not most of the tricks you’ve learned along the way, showing what a real kaizo level might look like. The challenges and tests will become more and more difficult the further you get into the game until the last test, where you’ll have to use the hardest tricks in your arsenal to finish the game. Most tricks come with an explanation and deaths restart you at the beginning of the level, so you can get right back to it. There are no gimmicks. Everything done in this hack can be done in the original game, but you’ll really only see these tricks done in kaizo hacks.
I’ve never seen myself as the type to play kaizos. Medium difficulty hacks gives me enough trouble as it is, but I’ve always wondered how people do it. Seemed like magic to me, but after playing Learn 2 Kaizo… it still feels that way, but now I know how to do what they did. Even if I never end up using what I learned, I still think Learn 2 Kaizo is worth the play. The challenges are short and fun and there’s not much more satisfying that getting a difficult trick down after dozens upon dozens of attempts. The set also includes achievements for collecting bonus items for a select few levels, but the main appeal are the challenges. It goes without saying, this is a difficult hack, but you’ll get better at the game by completing it, so if you’re like me and like playing Super Mario World hacks, and are okay with dying over a thousand times, I think you should give this one a try. You might come out a super player.
~Homebrew~ Sir Ababol Remastered (NES)
|~Homebrew~ Sir Ababol Remastered||NES||2D Platforming|
When I first joined RetroAchievements, I had barely heard of homebrewed games – I knew people would create games for retro platforms, but I only achieved a vague sense of awareness instead of full understanding of the scene surrounding such art. While starting to join the events in the site, I, like many others, encountered in Achievement of the Week my door to the organized play this community shares, and through the democratic approach of that event, this game was chosen to be featured in a week - to much dismay of many participants, since the very mention of the word “homebrew” induced panic on fellow gamers, who associate the term to half-games with subpar quality. I was one of those that frowned upon the choice.
And how wrong I was. I had so much fun with it and I would play it again even after mastering the set. The Mojon Twins did a great job in creating an experience that emulated the feel of games from the 3rd generation of consoles, with a simple gameplay loop that requires repetition and training to generate muscular memory, not unlike classic platformers like Mario and similar historical entries on the NES library. Beating it can be done in 20 minutes or less… If you know what you’re doing; getting to know what’s ahead of you is simply a matter of playing it over and over again so the player can memorize patterns of flying platforms and enemies going back and forth on your path. Such simplistic experience was common back in the day of the Famicom and seeing a modern game doing it right is refreshing and fun, specially with fair mechanics that make you feel like you’re the one messing up when you fail to progress correctly – except for the eventual weird hitbox on monsters, which can also be circumvented after replaying a bit so you can recall the pixel-perfect collision physics. The game is pretty linear but the fact that it depends on collecting items so you can finish the game when you get to the last room stimulates exploration, and that’s an important part to what could be just a “survive until the end of this corridor” experience.
The set itself manages to cover all important in-game unlockables while also adding some challenges, such as collecting extra keys (surpassing what’s necessary for a simple beat) and finishing the loop with a certain number of lives, essentially becoming a damageless run. It’s a challenge, but not beyond the boundaries of a core set.
Since playing it I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into the wormhole of homebrews and I don’t regret it. In fact, this game inspired me to start studying as a dev for making my own retrogames.
LEGO Racers (Nintendo 64)
|LEGO Racers||Nintendo 64||Kart Racing|
Do you like building things? Do you like going fast as well? Well, have I got the game for you! Lego Racers combines the famous blocks with racing. It’s a game I used to play a lot when I was younger, and it still holds up to this day. I played the PC version, though the N64 port is pretty much the same.
The gameplay is like your typical N64 kart racer. Race against 5 opponents and beat them on a 3-lap circuit. Along the road, you’ll come across different Lego blocks which serve as items. Green blocks for speed, blue for shield, red for a projectile, and the yellow ones to drop nasty stuff for your opponents. Similar to Diddy Kong Racing, these power-ups can be upgraded. You’ll need to collect white Lego pieces to improve them. This can be done up to level four, with every level containing its own unique effect. These items are vital for winning the race, as your opponents tend to spam them against you. As an example of how powerful these items are: a fully upgraded green block will put you in warp speed, warping you miles ahead almost instantly.
A neat feature in this game is that most tracks have a shortcut that needs to be opened in one way or another. Sometimes it’s about using the right item, sometimes it’s about solving a color puzzle. It’s all different for each track.
What makes Lego Racers unique from other N64 racers is its building feature. You can create your own racer and your own kart. There are many themes to choose from, and each theme contains unique blocks. Note that this is quite limited when you first play the game, as most themes need to be unlocked first. The way you design your kart is quite important, as this affects statistics such as handling, acceleration, and maximum speed. You can either create a kart that’s optimal to your playstyle, or let your imagination go loose and create the most wacky racer ever. It’s all up to you how you want to play the game.
In conclusion, Lego Racers still remains a great game to this day, and I recommended it to anyone who likes kart racers or Lego in general.
~Hack~ Hellfire Saga Series (Mega Drive)
|~Hack~ Hellfire Saga||Mega Drive||2D Platforming|
|~Hack~ Sonic the Hedgehog in Hellfire Saga||Mega Drive||2D Platforming|
Usually one set is offered, but here is a special situation.
Let’s start not with a set, but with this project. These versions are separated by five years of development, but they have a few core features in common: “Diligence”, “Quality”, and “Going beyond the genre”.
The hero ends up in into a dark, scary, and unusual world thanks to our famous Doctor. Regular failures, disorders, and a decline in moral strength - our scientist did not come up with anything more brilliant than to send a hedgehog to a real HELL! The doctor gets “new powers”, and the hedgehog gets new problems, enemies he has never seen, and, of course, the main mystery of the disappearance of his friends and conspiracies against “existence in the world”.
These SETS not only fully reveal the full power of these hacks, the hard work of developers, but in their own way they fall in love (or frighten) into an unknown atmosphere of fear and darkness. And also - quite good challenge and a pleasant pastime.
|Live-A-Live||SNES||Role-Playing Game, Strategy|
A caveman, a kung fu master, a ninja, a cowboy, a wrestler, a punk, and a tiny robot walk into a bar. The bartender takes a good look at the crew and asks “What is this, a niche JRPG?”
Live-A-Live (Pronounced “Live-A-Live”) is a series of disconnected stories taking place across different time periods, from the era of dinosaurs all the way to the distant future, wrapped up in a neat tactical JRPG package. Battles take place on a grid where on each character’s turn, you can move around to reposition (At the cost of giving enemies time to counter-attack), or select from a list of skills that have different effects and ranges. Many skills take time to activate, meaning you have to carefully consider the enemy’s movement before initiating, and protect party members who are charging up.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is that each chapter plays out completely differently; most have some sort of gimmick or gameplay mechanic exclusive to that chapter, some are loaded with battles while in others you can count the number of fights on one hand. Everyone will have their own favorite and least favorite chapters, making your playthrough a very personal experience.
As far as RPGs go, Live-A-Live isn’t particularly long, but its charming cast of characters and memorable stories (along with a kickin’ soundtrack courtesy of the legendary Yoko Shimomura herself) will live in your heart til the end of time. The finale is pretty damn cool, too.
Blast Corps (Nintendo 64)
|Blast Corps||Nintendo 64||Action Puzzle|
Do you have a thirst for destruction? And want to not only stay on the right side of the law, but get paid for it? Then apply to Blast Corps today! We’re a government-backed department founded by Rare Ltd. (yes, that Rare Ltd.) that gets called upon when something absolutely needs to have been destroyed 3 weeks ago, let alone yesterday! This involves operating bulldozers, rocket-launching bikes, dump trucks, dune buggies, and giant and/or flying robots, all to turn buildings into fantastic explosions! Our job openings are limited, so don’t delay, apply today!