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Gran Turismo 3 (PS2) 

 

As I've said a good few times, this is by far my most played game of all time. I got it on PAL launch (day before, technically) and have been playing it off and on for the last 21 years. Mostly "on" for the early 2000s.

 

I always used to play it with a Dual Shock, though, and have only relatively recently played it with a wheel - a Logitech Driving Force GT. Which has a massive effect on the game, its clearly the way its meant to be played. 

 

So I decided a few weeks ago to start a new game using the wheel from the start. Not least because I've always loved the early part of the game. 

 

I initially had a bit of a wobble and thought that this could be the world's worst rose tint moment. Viewing the game through 2022 eyes, and having played a lot of Forza, has really highlighted the faults with the game. And the faults are many. The interface is horrendous for a start. The most egregious example of this is that if you finish a race and want to restart it, it takes 12 button presses to go from the end of one race to the start of the next, 15 if you don't know you can press triangle to exit one screen, rather than going across to exit and hitting x. That's the worst, but there's loads of little examples of "why did you think that was a good idea?". Like the fact you basically have to quit out to the main menu to save or that it launches into a replay when you finish which requires you to hit start, select exit and then confirm your choice to quit out of. Lots of little niggles. 

 

Then there's the actual racing which also has big problems. The AI just blindly follows the racing line so, if you happen to be on it, it will just drive into you and punt you off the track. And there's the thing I remember the Edge review being very critical of: its hard to get a good race. There are five AI cars. Four are generally well matched. The fifth is the problem - because there aren't any horsepower (which the previous entry had) or performance restrictions, it could be a knife in a gun fight or a gun in a knife fight. And you don't know which it is until you get into the race. I had a really good example of this where I ran the same race twice with the same car with the same set up (a Dodge Viper GTSR). First time, car five was a Pagani Zonda and I lost by 10 seconds. Second time it was a Dodge Viper and I won by 30 seconds. If you happen to have the same car as the AI, you can have a good race with it, but that's more luck than skill.

 

Oh and licence tests. Why licence tests? Surely no one thinks these are fun to do? 

 

And yet, through all these faults, I'm really enjoying playing it. Especially playing with a wheel. While it leans towards understeer, the way the cars handle is great. The tracks are well thought out and fun to drive (I miss the days of all fantasy tracks, real world one's just aren't as interesting). So just driving around these tracks in one of the multitude of cars is a real joy. You can see why the Gran Turismo series has always been touted as "driving simulators" and not "racing games". Great driving, racing less so. 

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Playing my Sega Astro City, I learned something today.

 

In Altered Beast, I thought the game went on indefinitely if you never powered up to beast mode.  But while Neph will give you a few chances, eventually he'll fight you even if you are still human.  It's doable on the first level but thereafter it's pretty much guaranteed death.

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I finished Paper Mario (N64) last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. That was my first play through, started it at the same time I started Chrono Trigger a couple of months back and have barely touched the Square game since so I can get back to that now. Enjoyed it and excited to play the GameCube sequel I've got lined up already but I did have a real issue with some of the attack commands (I have nerve damage in my hands and can't mash buttons or flick the stick rapidly) so hopefully it cuts that shit out a bit. There were probably two-thirds of the attack commands in that game I just couldn't do!

 

Nintendo are still bad with accessibility issues even now, it's a strange weakness for a company who lean on the all-inclusive family issue so heavily.

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I'm playing Banjo Kazooie on the Switch.  I remember liking this when it first came to the N64, but being rock hard. The emulation on the Switch is pretty good.  Everything is bright and crisp.  The controls are fine on the pro controller. The addition of save states has taken the edge of the difficulty, but its encouraging me to explore more. I'm doing about a level a night at the moment.  Getting to the end now just opened up Click Clock Wood.  But I'm sure there's a level I've missed in the water area. 

 

Here comes a controversial opinion. I prefer this to Mario 64. The controls are spot on,  there's more variety in the world's and the moves available trump those of its predecess.  The hub world is great too. So there. I'm having a blast.  Really hope they bring Tooie to the service. 

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On 26/02/2022 at 10:22, ScouserInExile said:

Gran Turismo 3 (PS2) 

 

As I've said a good few times, this is by far my most played game of all time. I got it on PAL launch (day before, technically) and have been playing it off and on for the last 21 years. Mostly "on" for the early 2000s.

 

I always used to play it with a Dual Shock, though, and have only relatively recently played it with a wheel - a Logitech Driving Force GT. Which has a massive effect on the game, its clearly the way its meant to be played. 

 

So I decided a few weeks ago to start a new game using the wheel from the start. Not least because I've always loved the early part of the game. 

 

I initially had a bit of a wobble and thought that this could be the world's worst rose tint moment. Viewing the game through 2022 eyes, and having played a lot of Forza, has really highlighted the faults with the game. And the faults are many. The interface is horrendous for a start. The most egregious example of this is that if you finish a race and want to restart it, it takes 12 button presses to go from the end of one race to the start of the next, 15 if you don't know you can press triangle to exit one screen, rather than going across to exit and hitting x. That's the worst, but there's loads of little examples of "why did you think that was a good idea?". Like the fact you basically have to quit out to the main menu to save or that it launches into a replay when you finish which requires you to hit start, select exit and then confirm your choice to quit out of. Lots of little niggles. 

 

Then there's the actual racing which also has big problems. The AI just blindly follows the racing line so, if you happen to be on it, it will just drive into you and punt you off the track. And there's the thing I remember the Edge review being very critical of: its hard to get a good race. There are five AI cars. Four are generally well matched. The fifth is the problem - because there aren't any horsepower (which the previous entry had) or performance restrictions, it could be a knife in a gun fight or a gun in a knife fight. And you don't know which it is until you get into the race. I had a really good example of this where I ran the same race twice with the same car with the same set up (a Dodge Viper GTSR). First time, car five was a Pagani Zonda and I lost by 10 seconds. Second time it was a Dodge Viper and I won by 30 seconds. If you happen to have the same car as the AI, you can have a good race with it, but that's more luck than skill.

 

Oh and licence tests. Why licence tests? Surely no one thinks these are fun to do? 

 

And yet, through all these faults, I'm really enjoying playing it. Especially playing with a wheel. While it leans towards understeer, the way the cars handle is great. The tracks are well thought out and fun to drive (I miss the days of all fantasy tracks, real world one's just aren't as interesting). So just driving around these tracks in one of the multitude of cars is a real joy. You can see why the Gran Turismo series has always been touted as "driving simulators" and not "racing games". Great driving, racing less so. 

Agree with all of this! Though the licenses are by far my favourite bit. There's something arcadey / top score about them. You cant fiddle with you car to just make it faster, it's pure skill.

 

You are totally right about the tracks. Watching the gt 7 launch trailer explain it had loads of real world tracks left me wondering if the old classics are in there. The real tracks are pretty dull. Doubt I'll buy it for the PS4 haven't bout one since gt4

 

Also I ruined GT3 for myself by upgrading some piece of crap until it could only run in straight lines but was 500+ bhp. No driving skill required to win a pike of races, got bored very quickly.

 

The the wheel force feedback?

 

Also gt4 was s grey somber experience compared to GT3. GT3 was like a sega am2 game in comparison.

 

I keep going back to gt1 on retro arch. With all the fancy options it looks like a Dreamcast game. Keep meaning to play gt2 instead. There's videos of GT3 looking astounding in emulators.

 

Fuck it I'm buying a wheel! Well maybe not but I'm going to look!

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On 26/02/2022 at 10:22, ScouserInExile said:

Gran Turismo 3 (PS2) 

 

Was that the one with the stinky 'burnt rubber' disk, or was that 2?

 

I've liked all of the GT's, I really need to source a PS5 for the new one.  

 

I liked the driving tests!  ☺️

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8 hours ago, bplus said:

You are totally right about the tracks. Watching the gt 7 launch trailer explain it had loads of real world tracks left me wondering if the old classics are in there. The real tracks are pretty dull

I have a couple of thoughts around this. Real world tracks are constrained by FIA regulations around safety, whereas fantasy tracks can have exciting but seriously dangerous elements. I also think needing to work around hardware limitations can lead to some seriously creative layouts and stuff like big elevation changes. 

 

8 hours ago, bplus said:

 

Also I ruined GT3 for myself by upgrading some piece of crap until it could only run in straight lines but was 500+ bhp. No driving skill required to win a pike of races, got bored very quickly.

The lack of constraints makes this very tempting. Especially when it comes to wanting to beat a race just to get a car for a race you actually want to run. Getting the Escudo from beating all the rally races suddenly makes any race you can use it in very easy - it's something like 1600bhp and 4wd.

 

11 hours ago, bplus said:

the wheel force feedback?

Yeah, it's actually a PS3 wheel, but works great on ps2. Completely changes the game, imo. 

 

11 hours ago, bplus said:

keep going back to gt1 on retro arch. With all the fancy options it looks like a Dreamcast game. Keep meaning to play gt2 instead

GT2 is by far the better of the two ps1 games. They're very similar in terms of look and feel, there's just more actual game in GT2. It was pretty much the first game I played on my Series S... 

 

10 hours ago, Mitchell said:

Was that the one with the stinky 'burnt rubber' disk, or was that 2?

That's was 2, I think. 

 

10 hours ago, Mitchell said:

 

I've liked all of the GT's, I really need to source a PS5 for the new one.  

I fell out of love with the series after 4, though I have 5 and 6. Forza Motorsport 4 is a much better game than the two PS3 GT games, but I found that series went downhill after 5 as well. The push for realism has sucked a lot of the fun out of them, imo. 

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3 hours ago, ScouserInExile said:

I have a couple of thoughts around this. Real world tracks are constrained by FIA regulations around safety, whereas fantasy tracks can have exciting but seriously dangerous elements. I also think needing to work around hardware limitations can lead to some seriously creative layouts and stuff like big elevation changes. 

 

The lack of constraints makes this very tempting. Especially when it comes to wanting to beat a race just to get a car for a race you actually want to run. Getting the Escudo from beating all the rally races suddenly makes any race you can use it in very easy - it's something like 1600bhp and 4wd.

 

Yeah, it's actually a PS3 wheel, but works great on ps2. Completely changes the game, imo. 

 

GT2 is by far the better of the two ps1 games. They're very similar in terms of look and feel, there's just more actual game in GT2. It was pretty much the first game I played on my Series S... 

 

That's was 2, I think. 

 

I fell out of love with the series after 4, though I have 5 and 6. Forza Motorsport 4 is a much better game than the two PS3 GT games, but I found that series went downhill after 5 as well. The push for realism has sucked a lot of the fun out of them, imo. 

That's interesting about the track design.

 

What model of wheel do you have?

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Majora's Mask (N64), take 3. Tried it on the Wii VC and completed one dungeon I think, managed two on the 3DS remake before I tapped out and now I'm playing it on Switch. If only the people who love this could be a little less effusive and convincing about it I could just shrug it off and say "not for me!" but I'm weak to suggestion. I'm hoping that the ability to play it on a TV will make up for the rough edges compared to the 3DS version - I miss a lot of the quality of life stuff but I find a lot of the environments so... busy and oddly and unintuitively designed in a way I can't articulate that the big screen helps compensate for the framerate and lack of camera control.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Yasawas said:

Majora's Mask (N64), take 3. Tried it on the Wii VC and completed one dungeon I think, managed two on the 3DS remake before I tapped out and now I'm playing it on Switch. If only the people who love this could be a little less effusive and convincing about it I could just shrug it off and say "not for me!" but I'm weak to suggestion. I'm hoping that the ability to play it on a TV will make up for the rough edges compared to the 3DS version - I miss a lot of the quality of life stuff but I find a lot of the environments so... busy and oddly and unintuitively designed in a way I can't articulate that the big screen helps despite compensate for the framerate and lack of camera control.

 

 

I just found it obscure and couldn't be arsed with it. Too much running around talking to people, which is the least fun part of any Zelda game.

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I've had a really fun few hours this afternoon, playing a couple of cheap Megadrive games I picked up from a Facebook group.

First up - Rolo to the Rescue! This is a beautiful puzzle platformer by Vectordean, the people who made the James Pond games. Just like those more famous games this has a similar child friendly look combined with a pretty challenging difficulty level.

The main gimmick of this one is that Rolo the elephant has to rescue various animal friends on each level, each of whom posses their own special skill. Rabbits jump high, beavers swim, squirrels climb, moles dig etc. Using these skills, you have to rescue all the animals, avoid the hazards and reach the exit. It's nothing groundbreaking but they've set the charm levels to maximum and there's some great level design. Just a lovely, very cute game (though if you want to play it, it's definitely worth checking the manual, as it doesn't explain how the various powers work in-game).

 

After Rolo, I changed pace with the pretty frantic Psycho Pinball from Codemasters, which is frankly amazing!

I think this is every bit as good as Dragon's Fury/Devil Crush, though with a very different feel.

There are 4 tables in this game. Horror, Undersea and Western themed tables and then the Psycho table which acts as a sort of over world connecting the other three. All tables are available to play individually but if you're good enough you can play the Psycho table and transport your ball to the other tables during the game. There are also little bonus video games you can access for huge bonuses if you hit the right criteria on the table.

This is just dangerously addictive and a fantastic package.

They actually released this on a multicart with Micro Machines at one point. What a great cart that would have been to open on Xmas day!

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I managed to find £4 and bought three months of Switch online.

 

I had a hankering to play Punch Out.

 

Honestly, I think it’s pretty much a perfect game. I never really played it on the NES much, but fondly remember the original arcade game, PLUS Frank Bruno’s boxing on the Spectrum, so I kind of knew what I was going to get.

 

And I’m not disappointed :)

 

I especially like my coach vigorously jerking you off when you hit select.

 

By contrast, Super Punchout seems to have completely lost the charm.  

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Punch Out! is definitely one of my favourite NES games  - such great playability. One thing I don't think gets enough praise is the sound design, which is just fantastic.

Super Punch Out! is also excellent and certiainly has some charm in its own right. The character designs on the whole are brilliant but Little Mac looks awful and it was a real shame to cut out the coach.   

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2 hours ago, Camel said:

Super Punch Out! is ace. wtf.

 

I haven't really played it much to be fair. It's just I love all the little details that the NES version has - the coach, the chat between rounds etc. It kind of feels there's some sort of little tale being told in between the bouts, which seems lost in the SNES game. 

 

I did see a speed run of the Wii Punchout though, and that looks much, much better than I'd have thought a 3d version would be! Wouldn't mind seeing that come to the Switch in some form.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Think I’m gonna draw a line under Undeadline 🤦‍♂️

 

I’ve been playing on and off since Elden Ring landed, and actually ended up moving the save states to help get through. 
 

I think I can complete the 6 main levels okay (with a bit of luck) but stage 7 is brutal and this is a game where you’re basically playing 1 life - game over as once you die it’s pretty much impossible to get back up to full power.

 

I haven’t been able to get enough consistency on the final stage and it’s harsh to basically play the whole game, fuck up stage 7 in the opening 30s and have to play the whole game again!

 

At one point when I was practicing the 7th stage I thought even with flash saves I wouldn’t be able to finish it! The last boss is so tough I actually resorted to watching a YT video to see the final phase pattern as I couldn’t figure it out. Once I saw it I was able to recreate it within a few tries but the idea back in the day you got your 3 hit points (which literally disappear in seconds) to figure it out otherwise it’s essentially game over is super tough.

 

I understand why it commands a high price these days. I think it’s a hard core shooter fan’s dream, it’s very fast paced and reactionary, which is really exciting for fans of the genre. It’s right up my list of favourite games on the system now, but see that it might not be for everyone.

 


Edit: Watched Shmup Junkies video on top MD hardest shooters and he covers Undeadline first.

 

Listening to his comments we’re pretty much in sync, especially with the as you get used to it, it really starts to come into its own and is a blast! He also calls out the last boss final phase LOL! It does appear impossible until it’s figured out.

 

 

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Saints Row IV : Re-elected, on the Switch, it's just absolute fun, I am so over powered after a few hours and tearing up the city at speed, on foot, leaping tall buildings etc, causing carnage... mindless enjoyment, all for less than £3 on the e-shop a couple of weeks back.

 

The " Enter the Dominatrix" DLC stuff was really fun also, a nice nod to the behind the scenes stuff that was originally planned .

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Fixed up an old PSX and R-Type Delta has its claws in me.

 

I can't get beyond stage 4 though (default settings) these days, and it's a scrappy journey there.

 

I just wish there was an option to reduce the s/fx volume as I find myself playing pacifist mode so not to drown the soundtrack out.

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Still messing with model 2 emulation. 

Playing indy 500 for the first time. It took me way too long to figure it out and win the basic Indianapolis circuit. Not as simple as I expected. Gonna have a go at the next race this weekend. 

I don’t see a lot of love for this game, but I’m having great fun with it so far.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Currently playing The Immortal on the MD.

 

Got to say, I’m REALLY enjoying it.

 

I remember it getting good scores back in the day but I never owned it and random rom hoping sessions always lead me to believe some reviews that it was too hard for it’s own good (mainly because I’d get chinned by the first goblin I ran in to).

 

Playing Elden Ring made me think of this game again so I decided to properly sit down and figure it out.

 

To start I actually read the instructions and understand what options were available in a fight, and it’s changed everything. Now I understand the opponents and my own life and stamina bars. Couple that with how you attack and importantly, how you dodge and this game has well and truly clicked into place.

 

Now I’m wasting goblins and trolls with relative ease and the puzzles themselves are very logical and satisfying if you just look and read what you pick up. Take for example the invisible holes that lead to instant death, that a lot of people say is just a case of trial and error. It’s actually possible to find a map that gives your their locations, you just have to pay attention to the map.

 

I’m up to stage 4 now, and it’s on my mind as I can’t wait to see what the next level brings. I also think the story is interesting and again like Elden Ring it’s leaving me with questions as to what is going on (which I hope get answered).

 

I was reading up on the game on Sega Retro and there’s a ‘clue book’ pdf on the page. Not sure if this came with the game or was separate but having a read it’s actually a neat little book, it reads like a story basically telling you what to do. Using the map example.

 

”I took advantage of the new light to check my map for pitfalls. 5 of them logically spaced throughout the room, I would need to hug the right wall in get by”

 

Thought this was a great idea.

 

I started playing the rom but I’m now on the look out for the full game as I need it in the collection.

 

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I've never played The Immortal. I've been curious about it but never picked it up because of its reputation as being a trial and error chore-a-thon.

You've really made me want to play it now!

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What with the rerelease, and having just fitted a modchip to my old slim PS2, I've just played through Chrono Cross on the PS1 having started it over 20 years ago and got 2 hours in in that time. Very enjoyable up to the last couple of hours at which point it starts to grate a bit, and the chance of working out the "good" ending without reading a FAQ is miniscule. 20 year old Square RPG mechanics not too annoying either for the most part.

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I've just started a playthrough of Metal Gear Solid on the PS1.

I played this at the time, though never completed it (not sure why. I was poor student and I think I had to sell my PS1) and then never played another until the last one (which I also never completed, though I thought it was really good).

I have a loose plan to play through the series, or at least try them all out.

I'm a few hours in and absolutely loving every minute of it. The quality of this title is still immediately apparent. The presentation, the voice acting, the music are all on another level to that of most games from this generation. The sound design in particular is terrific. It's better than you get on a lot of modern games.

The controls initially felt a bit clunky from a modern perspective, but they soon clicked and I'm having a blast with it.

 

 

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