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  1. A dump of some recent acquisitions. Charity shop finds - a bunch of King Crimson, and Bowler Hat Soup by Kiran Leonard. King Crimson are one of those bands I knew by reputation, but had never heard. After listening, I think I prefer Fripp as a seasoning than as a main course. The Kiran Leonard is fun, Marc Riley used to play Geraldo's Farm a lot. Some trades from another forum. All three are great! The H17 and Blue Nile both have Pre-Emphasis, despite Hats being from 1989 - very unusual. The PCO disc is a compilation from the mid-90s that seems quite nicely mastered, would be a good one stop shop if those were your tastes (I'm going to chase down all the albums, though). The kittens in the background love Hats, it just blisses them out and they go to sleep. A random selection from the car boot. Somehow I've never owned any Royskopp - fun to hear Karin Dreijer from The Knife pop up on one track. Help was an interesting nostalgia trip for 50p, but won't be sticking around. Pleased with Siamese Dream, which is a nice old Nimbus disc. A bunch from Music Magpie with a 20% off voucher. Dare! sounds fantastic, although it has pre-emphasis again, so caution. The Blondie is one of the favoured mid-90s UK remasterings which are moderately hard to find. The Ultravox! (Jonh Foxx era) is an original Island Master disc, but it's on UK PDO and is a bit of a worrying colour - still playing OK right now, though. It's fantastic, IMO! So different from the Midge Ure era, and yet it has that same driving drumming. The last car boot of the season. Royskopp's debut, a very early Rolling Stones CD with MFSL mastering, and what looks l like an early 2000s re-issue of A Secret Wish by Propoganda, which nicely puts the cap on a seaon of synth pop exploration - the ultimate fusion of Dusseldorf and UK sound. It's very good, and seems well mastered for the era. More stuff from Magpie on another 20% off, cost about £9.75 the lot. All original masterings and sounding great. Having heard post-split Human League and H17, Travelogue is fascinatingly different from the resultant halves. Not sure Up Tight is for the ages, but it was the last Booker T & The MGs album I was missing. The PCO is wonderful, and Robert Cray is reliably excellent.
  2. Any idea if MonolithSoft were involved in this at all? I know they lent a hand on BOTW, Sw/Sh and Arceus, and generally have a rep as being Nintendo's technical fix-up crew, particularly for open world stuff. I'm wondering if they were too busy on Xenoblade 3, and Sc/Vi demonstrating the impact of their absence. Although the posts about a windmill make me laugh, given as the only really noticeable frame-rate drop in Xenoblade 2 was that flipping windmill in the middle of Torigoth. Avoid moving windmills at all costs!
  3. I absolutely rinsed FFIV about 20 years ago on emulation, but keep meaning to replay it on the Super NT. It seems there’s a translation fix-up/bugfix patch for it now, by the same people who did the excellent Final Fantasy IV Namingway Edition. These keep the character of the original translations, but fix up some mistakes and minor mistranslations, while also fixing heaps of bugs and adding a few optional QoL improvements. Problem is, I have a backlog of stuff to finish on Switch already, and I’d probably get more out of playing Xenoblade 3 for the first time than replaying FFVI. Perhaps if I ever get an Analogue Pocket…
  4. Quaxly and Sprigatito are both great. But my kids have already bagsied them, which means I get left with the ugly fire thing, Cacafuego or whatever it's called. Ah well, I got Scorbunny last time, so can't complain too much.
  5. I'd say the SMS Power 2.0 translation is better, and you can draw your own maps like nature intended. It is the best 8-bit RPG though, by a long chalk. I just wish they'd retranslated it for the Ages release, it would be an instant purchase.
  6. We traded Pokemon locally in Pokemon Sword using the Pokemon Home app. I could take mons out of the box on my save and put them in a box on his save. It's not a terribly well advertised feature, but was very useful for rounding out his Pokedex. Probably going to get this at Christmas for the kids, hopefully it'll have had a few performance patches by then.
  7. Found a decent list on TV Tropes of all places: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DifficultyByRegion
  8. Quite a few games had the difficulty ramped for the western release, presumably so people couldn’t beat the game during the duration of a Blockbuster rental. Off the top of my head: Contra Hard Corp Dynamite Heady Wonder Boy in Monster World (end boss is a ducking joke) There are more, and even more again on the Mega CD (anything Working Designs touched, for example). Most of the worst offenders have patches available on Romhacking.net to undo the changes.
  9. Don't forget the Wonder Boy / Monster World / Monster Boy series. Always felt the name Metroidvania was very US/NES-centric (much like its progenitor, Jeremy Parish, as much as I love his work), and Monster World really should have been part of the portmanteau. Wonderboy 3/Monster World II is astoundingly modern in retrospect. On current platforms, you've got: Wonder Boy: Dragon's Lair - a beautiful looking/sounding remake of Wonderboy 3 on the Sega Master System by Lizardcube (the SoR4 guys), which barring a few QoL improvements is pretty much identical in terms of mechanics. It doesn't feel creaky at all, which really emphasises how much the original got things right. Fairly short play time, can probably be had for pennies these days. Monster Boy & The Cursed Kingdom - a proper, huge modern Metroidvania, again with great graphics and sound, and heaps of personality. It manages to be both a love letter to the series and totally original. I enjoyed it a lot more than Metroid Dread TBH, which sucked at player communication. I'd avoid the Monster World IV remake, as it's apparently pretty mediocre.
  10. Prepare for some vivid dreams! About the strongest sense of place I’ve ever got from a book.
  11. I'd guess because Space Harrier 2 is a Mega Drive exclusive. All the other games have superior arcade originals or better ports available elsewhere.
  12. As mentioned on the Bargain Finds thread, I found a copy of Fort in BHF for a fiver yesterday, and played it last night with my 10 year old daughter. I was really impressed by this one. The theme is that each player is the leader of a gang of kids trying to build the best fort; to do that, you recruit kids from the park to help you out. The artwork by Kyle Ferrin is great, and has a lot of personality - my daughter absolutely loved it, and it's not at all twee either. It has nice chunky player boards and little wooden pizza/toy figures, and generally all feels very well put together. In terms of the game itself, it's a deck-builder. Every turn you draw a hand of 5 kids; at the end of your turn the kids you've played with (those which you used that turn) go into your discards pile, while the kids you didn't play with stand in the yard outside your fort. When recruiting new kids, you can either take one from the park (a TTR style draw pile), OR from your opponent's yards. This is both thematically excellent (kids might leave if you don't play with them), and adds some crunch to what actions you take, as you may not want to risk losing a particularly powerful kid. The exceptions are your "Best Friends" - two cards you start with, who will stick with you whether you play with them or not. Each kid card has a private and a public action they can carry out, which do things like gather resources (toys & pizza), upgrade the fort, recruit more kids, score VP, or move resources/kids into special stores. It's not unlike Race for the Galaxy in that sence, and like Race it largely communicates in heiroglyphics which can be a bit intimidating at first, but you soon get the hang of it. Public actions can be "followed" by any other player who has a card of the same suit, which is a nice way of making turns more interactive, and not just be a multiplayer solitaire. There is very little in the way of attack cards, though - I think I saw one kid with the ability to trash a card in your opponent's yard, but that's about it. The other bit that really impressed me is the asymmetric elements that get introduced. At first, everyone is playing by the same rules, but when you build your first fort upgrade, you take a Made Up Rule from the pile - this is effectively another scoring rule that only applies to you. Made Up Rules are public once drawn, so you can see what your opponents are aiming for. For example, my daughter had one called Sleepover, where she gets 8VP at the end of the game if she has more kids in her deck than any other player. When you build your second fort upgrade, you select a Perk, an extra ability that applies only to you. My daughter got Birthday Party, which let her recruit an extra kid from the park in every recruitment phase, meaning she could grow her deck hugely and achieve her Made Up Rule goal (although at the cost of having any kind of defined engine). Anyway, thoroughly recommended for anyone with kids in the double-digit age range - I'd happily have paid £20 for it.
  13. Are the new titles on here capable for of being extracted and run on genuine MD hardware? Or are they cheating a bit and using the hardware natively?
  14. I found a copy of Fort in BHF for £5, thought I’d give it a punt. Looked unplayed. My daughter loved the theme/art and insisted we play it this evening. It’s really good! I’ll stick a post in the Now Playing thread tomorrow, but suffice to say I’d be very happy with it if I’d paid £20 odd for a new copy.
  15. I was sad to read this on Twitter this morning. Her games meant a lot to me, particularly Phantasy Star 1 & 4. Back in my youth, we got a second hand Master System which came with Phantasy Star and Spellcaster. For a Spectrum owner it seemed right out of the space age. While I never beat Phantasy Star legitimately back in the day, I'm fairly sure I saw the end credits thanks to a leftover save from a previous owner just before the Dark Force fight, and there was "Total Design: Phoenix Rie". I did legitimately beat Spellcaster though (thanks in a great part to a guide in an old copy of S Magazine that arrived with the console), and there again was "Phoenix Rie" (and also, if my memory serves me correctly, someone going by the pseudonym "Sexy Dynamite"). I knew it was a name to look out for, even though I didn't know who Phoenix Rie really was! Phantasy Star 1 was my first ever RPG, and it gave me a party consisting of a female lead, a talking cat, Dolph Schwarzenegger and a non-binary wizard. That's how you do it! Amusingly, while Kodama's original intent of having Lutz be non-gender-specific was abandoned, the shoddy English translation managed to give Noah a mixture of male and female pronouns. Found in translation! Phantasy Star 4, which Kodama directed, was one of the gems of what I think of as my emulation era, discovering all the great 16-bit JRPGs I missed out on via emulators like KGen96 and Snes9x. It's a perfect capstone on a series, generously embracing everything that had gone before, including the distinctly black sheep that was PS3. I've always been bewildered that no-one copied its anime-tile cutscene style, which along with the party-talk mechanism did so much to bring the characters to life. To my great shame, I've never played Skies of Arcadia, although as a Phantasy Star fan, I was really excited when it was announced. I really must get a modded Dreamcast at some point and remedy that.
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