It's that time of year yet again! Now to copy over this post from ludist210...
Backlaugust: The Official Negative World Month for Decimating Backlogs!ô is back again for more action! So start looking through your backlog and get started! The idea is to finish games during the month of August.
Here are the "rules":
Games can be on any system, not just Nintendo systems. I know we're a Nintendo fan site, but most everyone here is a multi-console owner. So play a game on any system you want.
Let us know what you're playing. Mostly just so we can cheer each other on.
Play games you already own. A lot of people tend to buy a game then not play it, or play it for a significant amount of time and then put it down. This is what we're aiming for. Games that launch in August don't count.
Try to pick up games you aren't actively playing right now. Games you're currently playing can be allowed, but in the spirit of Backlaugust, let's try to make them games you aren't playing at the moment. Make it a game you haven't touched in a month or more if possible.
When is a game done? That's up to you! Mark a game off your backlog when you've seen the ending or end credits, or once you've seen enough of the game in a game without a "proper ending" (like an arcade-type game). You don't have to do or get everything unless you want to.
Finished games will be posted in the OP. Because everyone likes to see their accomplishments recognized. Just post when you're done and I'll try to update daily.
Last year, we finished a whopping 23 games. That might be a tough number to top, but if everyone pitches in, I think we can do it!
THE FINISHED PILE: 1. Katamari Damacy Reroll - Xbone - Mop it up 2. Mega Man X - SNES (NSwitch) - Mop it up 3. Banjo-Kazooie - N64 (Xbone) - TheBigG753 4. Mega Man X2 - SNES (NSwitch) - Mop it up 5. Mega Man X3 - SNES (NSwitch) - Mop it up 6. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow - DS - Stan McStanly 7. NEO: The World Ends with You - NSwitch - Hero_Of_Hyrule 8. Castlevania: Bloodlines - Genesis (NSwitch) - TriforceBun 9. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe - NSwitch - nate38 10. Mega Man X4 - PSX (NSwitch) - Mop it up 11. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon - GBA (NSwitch) - TheBigG753 12. Mega Man X5 - PSX (NSwitch) - Mop it up 13. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles - NSwitch - Stan McStanly 14. Frog Fractions: Game of the Decade Edition: Hop's Iconic Hat - PC - pokepal148 15. Mega Man X6 - PSX (NSwitch) - Mop it up 16. Super Metroid - SNES (NSwitch) - Stan McStanly 17. Mega Man X7 - PS2 (NSwitch) - Mop it up 18. Lost Judgment - Xbox S|X- PogueSquadron 19. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance - GBA (NSwitch) - TheBigG753 20. Mega Man X8 - PS2 (NSwitch) - Mop it up 21. Banjo-Tooie - N64 (Xbone) - TheBigG753 22. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance - 3DS (PS4) - PogueSquadron 23. Chex Quest HD - NSwitch - Mop it up 24. Super Bomberman R -NSwitch - Mop it up 25. Pokkťn Tournament DX - NSwitch - Mop it up 26. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - Wii - TriforceBun 27. Donkey Kong - Game Boy - GameDadGrant 28. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow - GBA (NSwitch) - TheBigG753 29. Halo 2 Anniversary - PC - Brick 30. Conker's Bad Fur Day - N64 (Xbone) - TheBigG753 31. Castlevania - NES (NSwitch) - Mop it up 32. Castlevania: The Adventure - Game Boy (NSwitch) - Mop it up 33. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge - Game Boy (NSwitch) - Mop it up 34. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest - NES (NSwitch) - Mop it up 35. Hades - Xbox S|X - Mop it up
I just finished Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. 99.4% completion, so I missed a few breakable walls...
This was the best of the three GBA games, but it's hard to really look at the three games as any sort of trilogy. Despite having the same general look and feel, all three games are very different in so many ways. The magic/spells/sub-weapon/sub-ability system is radically different in each game, certain status effects like Curse behave differently in each game, etc. Hidden breakable walls (a feature of Metroidvania games which I don't particularly care for) were grossly overused in Circle of the Moon, completely absent in Harmony of Dissonance, and they return in Aria of Sorrow but aren't nearly as prevalent.
The overall design aims of each game felt very different as well. CotM felt like they wanted to make more of a classic Castlevania game using the Symphony of the Night template, HoD felt like they really just wanted to make SotN again, and AoS (developed at the same time as HoD) felt like a much more sensible response to CotM's shortcomings than just "making it more like SotN." Overall, it is the most balanced and accessible of the three games, and most of the changes they made were improvements over at least one of the other games, if not both. AoS has easily the best map of the three, and late-game backtracking was much less frustrating and time-consuming as it was in the other games.
I'll hopefully be able to finish Conker by the end of the month. I feel like I'm into the last act at this point.
Hidden breakable walls (a feature of Metroidvania games which I don't particularly care for) were grossly overused in Circle of the Moon, completely absent in Harmony of Dissonance, and they return in Aria of Sorrow but aren't nearly as prevalent.
I like finding breakable walls in most games, but in Castlevania it's not as fun because it just throws $2000 and some obsolete equipment. It's fun in 2D Metroid games because you'll ender a seemingly pointless room and then drop a power bomb and get another upgrade.
Shovel knight was a nice one for secret walls too.
I just don't like missing something because I didn't hit every single wall (or the case of something like Super Metroid, not using the X-ray scope on every wall). It's just not fun to me, and whenever I find one it feels more like an accident. I prefer when games don't hide the hard-to-reach areas and allow you to figure out how to get there. I'd rather be stumped by a puzzle than just happening upon something I didn't know was there (or just never happening upon it at all! )
Im on the final boss(es) of mm X2. Im annoyed that you have to fight zero and sigma one right after another without healing.
@TheBigG753 Yah missing stuff for reasons like that is pretty lame. The first time i beat Metroid Fusion i only had 8/20 energy tanks. My 'intuition' for Super metroid was good, i got most E tanks and 50%+ other stuff. I almost never used the X ray. Power bombs are faster. Castlevania DoS had a nice puzzel where the last three digits of your money had to match up with a number on a door. SotN had one where you hit gears and dodge enemies untill a door opens.
@Mop It Up Haha i figured. Thank you.
X6 was the only MMX game that i ever beat a boss in before i started X2 I currenrly have several mosquito bites from mowing the lawn and i still feel better then when i played 10% of X6.
Conker's Bad Fur Day is done. I'm gonna get tanked tonight!
Easily one of the strangest games I've played. I found myself really enjoying it despite most of the game not being something I'd describe as "fun". Many of the quests eventually come down to trial & error and being able to overcome the game's own shortcomings. There were four really infuriating segments in particular (Caveman race, Escaping the zombies, Laser hallway, Final boss) but I powered through 'em. My biggest gripe is the ridiculous fall damage and lack of i-frames. The cynic in me believes this was driven by the developers wanting to be edgy - "let's see the cute squirrel get dismembered over and over!" - but it loses its edge after a few times. Especially when death and dismemberment is the result of the camera or level geometry letting the game down.
I'm glad I didn't know a whole lot going in. I knew about its very R-rated theme, but I figured it was largely a 3D platformer in same vein as DK64/Banjo. Conker is a verrrrrrrrrrry different game as it turns out and that was for the best. Without that unorthodox structure it's a pretty mediocre platformer, albeit one with a very sharp sense of humor. But because it breaks from so many of the conventions associated with mascot platformers - usually under the guise of poking fun at them - the adventure remains unpredictable and fresh throughout.
Good stuff this month, I liked everything I played. Thanks @Mop it up for running this again!
Continuing with this classic games binge, I next booted up the Castlevania Anniversary Collection. This series really knows how to make me hate stairs, it must be sponsored by the EAA (Elevator Association of America). This compilation has save states at least so that helps... or a save state, I guess, woulda been nice to have more. I've never played most of the games in this so now's as good time as any to dive right into the series starting with the very first. And I've gotta say...
...The original Castlevania doesn't hold up at all! Slow, clunky, enemy-spam are the three words I'd use to describe this game. What's that? I used four words? Try re-reading them, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Castlevania: The Adventure - I wish I started with this one as it has other problems on top of the ones above! There's a lot of slowdown in this game which can result in dropped inputs; I'm pretty sure this is just how the game is and not a fault of the emulator, as the second included Game Boy game has no such issues. Good thing it's short, at least. Didn't they remake this for WiiWare? Too bad they didn't also include that version. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge - I liked this one better than those first two, the level design starts to get more interesting and it generally feels less cheap. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest - Now here's where things start to get interesting. I've tried to play this game before as a kid, but I never managed to figure out where to go after the first mansion. I had a guide handy fully expecting to be referencing it often, but I actually only used it a couple of times, including just to figure out the function of an item (I wonder if this is one of those games where having the manual was a big help in knowing how things work). A couple of things I also recalled from memes, such as the kneeling at the cliff with the red crystal for the warp tornado to appear.
The main source of difficulty in this one is exactly that as well: figuring out how to progress. The general combat feels easier than the three prior games I played, in part because Simon gets pretty powerful with upgrades and some sub weapons have infinite uses. Most enemies just bumble back and fourth and there are few bosses throughout the game. It's also surprisingly forgiving especially as an NES title, as upon getting killed Simon simply respawns on the most recent piece of safe ground touched, so the only incentive to play well is to avoid a loss of currency and EXP which isn't that big of a deal.
This game overall isn't all that obtuse, but since those couple of moments totally stall progress then it's easy to see why it gained such a reputation. To be fair, it's difficult to strike a balance with any kind of puzzle, providing just enough clues to figure it out without flat-out spelling it out, but in this case I think it'd just take a little bit of rewriting (or hiding a few more) clues to make this game work. I still liked it the best of the bunch so far, however I don't think it stands up to its contemporaries like Metroid and Zelda II.
Hades I completed this last night right at the buzzer, so there was no time to write about it before now. But I've still gotta say...
...It's a clever way of entwining the roguelite setup into its story and theming! The writing has a good sense of humor while still taking its story seriously, a rarity for indie games. It all goes a long way to help contextualize the game and makes for nice incentives to keep playing, as there's lots of little details everywhere to discover based on the player's actions. There are a wide variety of modifiers to unlock and augments to find that allow for different kinds of playstyles and helps keep things interesting, at least for a while.
The gameplay itself however, feels a little shallow. For some reason I was under the impression that this was more of a dungeon crawler, but it's actually just a series of rooms full of enemies that must be defeated to open the entrance to the next room full of enemies. The camera doesn't do a very good job of keeping enemies on screen, instead showing a focus on the protagonist and often making visible far too much of the out-of-bounds areas. Each weapon has few moves at its disposal. With how many runs it takes to complete the story, much less everything else on offer, it starts to feel repetitive sooner than it should for this type of game.
Because of the above, I don't think I quite understand all the accolades it had received. With that said, at least conceptually, it sets a new gold standard for how to handle a roguelite game. I just hope the next one is built upon a better gameplay foundation. Overall, I'd probably call this a solid 8/10 game, maybe 8.5 on a good day.
@Mop it up I kind of get the accolades for Hades but it didn't super click with me personally. I probably played it 10 hours or so before falling off of it. I never officially gave it up... it's still on my "playing" list here and in my "playing" list on my Switch... but I haven't actually touched it in a year or so.
I think I'm just not really a huge fan of top down action games if there isn't much else to them. I did like Unsighted, but not for the battle system, more for the Zelda / Metroid like elements. Same with one of the all-time great top down games, Link to the Past... I couldn't imagine getting that into a Link to the Past action game that's just a string of rooms.
Wait, WHAT?! What did I just read? Oh my goodness, I could not disagree more. That game holds up so much better than 90% of all other NES games, and is still rather unique in its gameplay.
Itís not slow or clunky, itís deliberate. It doesnít spam itís enemies, they are actually expertly placed so you must be tactful when engaging them.
Controls are some of the tightest and most responsive of all time - impressive, since this game came out in 1986! Hit detection is also incredibly well done; I would say pixel-perfect. And címon, the soundtrack is stone-cold classic!
Castlevania is one of the GOATs, IMO. Iíll admit Iím a bit bummed you didnít enjoy it!
Gonna have to agree about the original Castlevania...
...Agree with @GameDadGrant, that is! It's a super tightly-designed game that does what it sets out to do extremely well. It's tough but fair and every song is a stone-cold classic. It's one of my favorite games in the series for sure.
While it's too late to count it now, since I had started Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse before August ended, I decided to still finish it up. It's a bit of a mixed bag, but is overall an okay game, and better than the three linear Vanias I just played (though the original and The Adventure are both low bars to clear). A nice variety of stages including neat visuals and music, and branching paths at a couple of points which I guess was their way of mixing Simon's Quest with the regular Castlevania formula, and different characters to try out. The game generally feels better balanced, at least until the last few stages which become pretty questionable yet again. I still don't care for the stiff and limited movement and general gameplay flow though.
There are now three games left in the collection, one of which I've played and completed before in Super Castlevania IV, not sure if I'll play it again or not. I don't think this series is for me, the games just don't feel good to play, but either way I probably won't talk any more about this series since I don't wanna upset the fogeys any more than I already have.
And with that, Backlaugust 2022 is now complete! A big thank you to everyone who participated, I think we had a better turnout than the last couple of years so that's nice. I myself was also really in the zone this time, with 17 games in the bag, goes to show what one can accomplish with a little determination! And a lot of insomnia...
@Brick Oops, I'm sorry, I don't know how I missed your first post! Corrected!
@Mop it upDonkey Kong on Game Boy lives up to its reputation, that's for sure. Great game, and some pretty creative level design. Guess maybe I should tackle Mario vs. Donkey Kong on GBA next?
With the original being fresh in your mind, yeah, probably as good time as any to try out Mario vs Donkey Kong so you can compare and contrast the differences. Myself, I didn't think it was anywhere near as good as the original, but perhaps you'll feel differently.
@TheBigG753 Glad you still seemed to like Conker's Bad Fur Day overall! I'm actually a little surprised they made the game as difficult as it is, since with all the movie references it feels more like it's targeting a more casual crowd. With that said, this is one of those games that I feel is better on replays, since knowing what to do and how to do it certainly makes a lot of the segments significantly easier. For example, out of the four trouble spots you mentioned, the only one that I still tend to struggle with is the laser hallway segment. The rest of them I can usually handle fine now that I know how they work. Though I think when I first played it, the water section in the vault gave me more trouble than those other three spots you mentioned. The section near the end which spoofs The Matrix can also be a pain sometimes, since either I haven't figured out exactly how it works, or it's pretty finicky.
Are you gonna go back to try out the various multiplayer modes? There are bots available so they can still be played with a single player. If nothing else they're at least a fun curiosity to try out.