Marvel Ultimate Alliance (360)
Yeah, not only did the new year not get off to the good start, but this was the first (and currently only) retail game I went through on my second 360 after the first RRoD'd. This is basically X-Men Legends, only covering the whole Marvel universe. The game actually starts out fair enough, even if the first mission is a bit too long. The next few missions are decent, and the boss fights with the Kraken and Mandarin are interesting. And while Murderworld itself was totally bizarre with set pieces like playing Pitfall with your character badly photoshopped in to get Jean Gray's consciousness out of the cabinet, or unlocking Blade by getting him out of a crane game, starting with the completely asinine fight with Arcade the game loses all steam and becomes a total slog. Also, the plot with Dr. Doom stealing crap so he can steal better crap got pretty old after a while.
Demon's Crest (SNES)
Years ago I made a stab at this game, but all I could do was fly around and try to battle bosses I couldn't beat, and it just sat in the drawer for years. There was a time when everyone at Flying Omelette's was playing this, so I decided to be a lemming and jump on the bandwagon. I finally beat it, including the secret boss. It's... not bad, but feels terribly unfinished. The graphics are awesome and the music's decent, but the game seems to be built around finding all the trinkets than having challenging levels and bosses. Also, the secret boss is a battle of attrition, and anyone who says it's impossible needs to find a new hobby.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (DS)
It's more of what you expect from Phoenix Wright, which you may have guessed this being a Capcom game and all, but I personally felt this to be the weakest game in the series. It's not bad, but the new Logic mode is finicky ("I don't see a connection between those two." "Well, I do! Screw you, Edgey!") and it has some of the worst screw-ups in the series so far. This is the first time I ever had to go to GameFAQs in this series, and the answer was so incongruous to what the characters were discussing that I don't know how I ever would have gotten it on my own without trying all the evidence on all the statements. Two other people at Flying Omelette's had the same problem on the same testimony, so it wasn't just me. And the final witness just keeps GOING, AND GOING, AND GOING.
Sam and Max: Season Two (PC)
I loved Sam and Max Season One. I didn't care for this one. Although it has its moments I didn't find it as funny as the first game, and I guess when Tell Tale Games put in the hint system they felt they could stretch the logic of the puzzles to the breaking point. I actually wound up GameFAQing my way through the second half of the last episode because I was so sick of everything.
Dizzy: Fantasy World (Amiga via Emulation)
Could have been a decent puzzle platformer, but the jumping controls really suck! I realize they don't break the game, but even when you're not dying constantly because of them (and you only have three lives unless you savestate spam), bloody hell is it annoying trying to make some of the necessary jumps with them.
And that coin hunt after you save Daisy is bullshit.
Shadow of the Beast II (Amiga via Emulation)
Eh, I wasn't sure if I should have included this because I used an invincibility cheat and savestate spammed my way through it, but I'm not crazy enough to attempt it the "right" way. I have a fondness for Beast 1 despite it not being a very good game, but Beast 2 doesn't have the same effect on me. It's still really pretty, but it's even cheaper than the first game, the music's not as good, and then there's that "how are you supposed to figure out how to ask the guy about traps on your own???" keyboard input nonsense.
Donkey Kong 64 (N64)
A little thinned out, but not nearly as much so as Banjo-Tooie. Although I think even Grunty Industries was better than Diddy's jetpack controls.
(And sorry I stole the screenshot from you, FO, I was too lazy to hook up my 64 just to screencap from one game)
Shadow of the Beast III (Amiga via Emulation)
Beast 3 is by far the best Beast game. It's more puzzle based than the previous games and their cheap-hitting enemy spamming, and in fact much of the game doesn't have any enemies. Still, you only have three lives and often have to commit suicide several times to solve a puzzle you'll botch several times and not be able to continue, so I won't hold it against anyone who uses savestates to save some time.
I also didn't think the game was quite as pretty as the first two. It's still far and away better looking than just about any game released today, but the colors are more muted and it isn't as detailed as the previous two. It compensates for this somewhat with those bizarre giant man and monster statues everywhere, but it would have been nice to have those and the picture quality of the previous two games.
Eversion is more about the surprises than the actual game, and holy hell, this game is screwed up. And while the emphasis is on scaring the crap out of the player, the game itself is still quite solid, if rather short, and the Braid reference gave me a good, hearty laugh. So yeah, I likes it.
Peggle Deluxe (PC)
I slogged through this game. And then my computer crashed and took my save data with it. And I didn't care.
Final Fantasy (NES)
The very first Final Fantasy, and it's quite good! There's no sappy love stories, no spiky-haired guys with giant swords and amnesia and Oedipus complexes, it's just your four guys up against waves of monsters with a deliciously surreal atmosphere. Okay, some things about the interface bug me, like having to buy potions one at a time (all 99 of them), or the game kicking poisoned characters to the back of the party at the end of a battle, but these are just nitpicks.
Final Fantasy II (GBA)
So I tried my NES reproduction Final Fantasy 2 next, and like anyone else with any sense couldn't stand to play it for more than an hour. But the Dawn of Souls version is actually pretty okay! Leveling is rebalanced greatly, meaning you don't have to spend hours exploiting glitches and making your guys beat the stuffing out of each other to power up and can focus on getting through the actual game, and while the dungeons are still full of doors leading to empty rooms, the whole ordeal isn't nearly as dreadful as it used to be. If you feel like your life wouldn't be complete until you've beaten some version of Final Fantasy 2, this isn't a bad way to go about it.
Final Fantasy III (NES)
Think of it as the first game with the option to change your character's classes if you decide your Thief sucks, and many of the elements you'll see in Final Fantasy IV (Leviathan, Bahamut, going through an underground dungeon to get a bunch of super-weapons). The game is larger and better programmed than FF1, but there's some notable design flubs (the Cave of Darkness is not one of them, and in fact I think that place is brilliant except that the EXP you get from monsters there is crap). A couple of times you're really given no indication of where to go next (my attempt at the DS version ended when I got the Viking ship, couldn't figure out what to do next, and got sick of the encounter rate), and there's a couple spots where you can instantly die on the overworld. And the game doesn't do anything to keep you away from Dark Cloud until you've freed the Dark Warriors, not even a warning, which means you're first attempt at the Dark World will likely end in you running into her, getting annhialated, and having to start over from the base of the Sylx Tower. At least you should (hopefully) only fall victim to those things once.
LittleBig Planet (PSP)
My first thought after finishing this was "For its sake the PS3 game had better be a LOT better than this was!" but it sounds like it isn't. Most of the difficulty comes from trying to get the physics engine to work or trying to get Sackboy on the right plane, and when will developers learn that it's a very bad idea to play a 2D platformer with an analog stick? And while fighting with all that crap, you almost don't realize how bland the level design is. Almost.
And no, I never even touched the level editor. Unless there's a magic "Remove Suck" button to be found in the tools, somehow I doubt that would fix the main game, anyway.
Further evidence to my theory that with video games, "art" is synonymous with "crap". Ragey took the words out of my mouth regarding the "atmosphere", but I would like to add that when I first saw screenshots of the game I thought it looked like Braid converted to greyscale and viewed through cheesecloth. Some puzzles are okay, but most of them are only remotely challenging because you can't tell what the fuck you're looking at or the graphics have given you a splitting headache - something you can't tell from screenshots is that lighting in this game flickers like a bad neon sign, and when I was done with the game all I wanted was to take a couple aspirin and lie down.
Blaster Master Overdrive (Wii)
I already wrote a full review on this, so I guess I'll use this spot to complain about a recent headache Overdrive caused me that actually wasn't the game's fault. In December I got my own Wii, only to find out there's no legal way to transfer Virtual Console and WiiWare games from one Wii to another. You can move downloaded games to an SD card, but they're tied to the console they were originally downloaded to and won't work on any other, and there's no license transfer like the 360 has. I can live with Alien Soldier, Gley Lancer, and Sin & Punishment staying on the family Wii, and if I want to play them I can just nick the front room Wii and connect it to my Wii's cables in my room. But I really wanted Overdrive on *my* console, and while the game wasn't nearly as bad as my initial attempt led me to believe, I got the points for free, and I finally discovered the in-game manual and its hilariously retarded Story, I wasn't too happy about having to buy it a second time. Fuck you, Nintendo.
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS)
Yeah, considering how little I thought of the first game, I don't know why I got this either. It took me months of chipping away at Diabolical Box to finally finish it. Partly it was school, and partly it was the occasional "Fuck you and your game, Layton!" moments temporarily killing my interest in it. For example, there's this one puzzle with twelve faces, six male and six female, arranged in a circle. You start at one face, move either clockwise or counter-clockwise a certain number of spaces, cross out the face you land on, and continue until all the girls are crossed out and all the males remain, and it took me forever to solve because the directions forget to mention you're supposed to skip the faces you cross out. The plot is more of the first game's "withhold as much information from the player as possible so you can drop a bunch of big reveals at the end" nonsense, but hey, at the end of the game you get to see mild-mannered Layton show off some mad sword-fighting skills against a so-called vampire, which has to count for something.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
At least it's better than the DS game. There's some very tense moments, but I'm not sure if it's level design or that Mario hasn't been this small since Mario Land, and the game's busy graphics and lack of clarity left me struggling to decipher everything on screen. But despite all that I still beat most of the levels (and bosses) on my first try and completely forgot many of them afterward. Bosses are lame and almost all are fought the same way, and the only reason I didn't end the game with over 100 lives is because it caps at 99. And while it replaces that dumbass blue shell with a much more practical (and much cuter) penguin suit, it adds some new, very unpleasant ideas; whoever's bright ideas the blacked out levels were, particularly the one on the boat with the lamp you control by tilting the controller, needs to be strung up by their toes and beaten until candy comes out of them.
And a cheat code to play as Luigi would have also been nice.
Wario Land: Shake It (Wii)
If you've played Wario Lands 2 through 4, it's pretty much a hodge-podge of elements from the three of them with a really awesome coat of paint. You take control of Wario as he goes treasure hunting, and solve some puzzles to get at said treasures which sometimes involve setting him on fire and stuff, then when you reach the macguffin you have to race back to the beginning of the level. The treasure descriptions are as amusing as they were in Master of Disguise, the graphics kick ass, and some of the music is quite catchy.
Unfortunately, the game isn't as awesome as it could or should have been. There's the shoehorned motion crap that doesn't respond half the time (and yes, the slam gague IS full, thank you), those dumbass submarine levels, and the bosses kind of suck. Yeah, they look and animate beautifully, but aside from the first one which is just piss easy, they tend to be more irritating than truly challenging and the flower takes forever and a day to kill. Also, if you ignored all the side stuff and just went from the beginning of the level to the elf and back to the beginning, you could probably blow through the game in a few hours.
Holy Umbrella: Dondera's Wild!! (SNES via Flash Cart)
For Christmas I got a RetroZone SNES PowerPak, and gave it a test run with this. It's... not bad, but it really could have been so much more. You play as Ken, who's been warped to another world by a magic umbrella, where he teams up with a rolly-polly bird and a female ninja to take down the flamboyant Emperor Dondera and his army. If you're thinking "Wow, that sounds like a roller coaster of hilarity", aside from a couple of fourth wall breaking moments and a brief bit where Dondera joins your party after getting swallowed by his own henchwoman's giant whale, that's about as weird as it gets. The beginning is almost torture because of how sluggish Ken is, but things become more bearable when you get the Brooch that lets you run so Ken isn't slowly stomping everywhere while singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. Bonto and Saki have their own abilities to help Ken along his quest, but Bonto's attack power is very weak and he can't run, and Saki becomes completely useless once you get the Brooch that lets Ken climb walls, so you will be playing as Ken most of the time. The platforming stages are short and very basic, and the bosses take too long to kill, although I wonder how much of that is me missing Willpower Orbs. But still, the bosses all have very simple patterns and only two change their patterns after you knock off enough of their health. The final boss is almost impossible to hit without getting hit yourself, or dragging out the fight for half an hour.