twiztor

What Retro Game are you playing now?

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about a month ago, i beat Donkey Kong Country for the first time. now, that game's not that difficult, but i didn't grow up with a SNES so never had long-term exposure with the game. I'd played it here and there at friends' or relatives' houses, but never was able to dedicate the time required to complete the game. So i plugged away at it, here and there, until i finished it. It was actually quite rewarding and brought a huge smile to my face. And the game is, of course, fantastic.

Fast forward to late last week, i ordered Crash Bandicoot (the original, for the PlayStation). it arrived on Monday, and i popped that bad boy in and beat a few levels on the spot. I had never played the game before, outside of maybe 5 minutes with a friend or something. I am, for all intents and purposes, a Crash Virgin. But i gotta say that i am really enjoying this one. It has just enough challenge (or "Frustration Factor") to keep me entertained, but not so little to let me beat the game in one sitting. I'm currently 16/32 levels completed. My goal is to conquer it before the new Zelda game comes out, because i am well aware that my backlog goes out the window when that happens.

 

So, now that you've heard my story, What Are You Playing?

 

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I started Might and Magic III for PC (not any of its crappy console ports) less than a week ago.  It's literally the first game I've played in over 6 months, but I've been meaning to play it, oh...for the past 25 years or so:).  I'm enjoying going at it old-school-style, taking notes with pen and paper in hand without the aid of any maps or walkthroughs.  It doesn't have much of a plot, but it makes up for it with depth of character customization and the complete non-linear freedom to go anywhere in any order.  So basically it's the exact opposite of a JRPG :lol: 

The only thing that I cheat on is that every now and then, I go into the game's folder and make a back-up copy of the save file, since you're only allowed one save slot.  I'd hate to save the game in the depths of some dungeon or whatever only to find out I was surrounded by powerful monsters and couldn't get out alive, forcing me to start over at the beginning of the game (or more likely, put my fist through the screen and have to seek medical treatment.)

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I'm mostly playing Killing Floor 1 on Steam. It isn't a retro game, but is relatively old. (It runs off the Unreal 2004 Engine, even though the game was released much later than Unreal 2004.)

The only truly retro games that I've played a bit recently were Silent Hill 1 for the PS1 and Max Payne 1 on Steam.

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TMNT for the NES. I've never actually beaten it. I remember getting right to shredder with one bar of health and one turtle left, and it didn't go so well! :)

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For me, retro games will always be something that I reach for. Right now, I'm going 8-bit with Faxanadu. Something about the simplicity of a more innocent time in gaming history that I will always enjoy. Also, the Guardian Legend. I love that first level music and I remember where I was when I first played it.

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48 minutes ago, AlidarJarok said:

Right now I am playing Breath of Fire II with the fixed translation. Such a good game wish Capcom would make a new one.

At this point, I think Capcom could safely rename themselves The Monster Hunter, Resident Evil and Street Fighter Company.  They have their cash cows, and they're sticking to them.

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26 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

At this point, I think Capcom could safely rename themselves The Monster Hunter, Resident Evil and Street Fighter Company.  They have their cash cows, and they're sticking to them.

Sadly this is very true. I miss old Capcom so much.

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One game I've really been playing is Power Strike for Master system. I love games by that company especially M.U.S.H.A for the Genesis. Excellent gameplay, long levels, and just the right difficulty make it one of the top two vertical shmups on Genesis.

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Final Fantasy VII on Switch, taking breaks with the SNK 40th Anniversary Edition Collection on PS4.

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After uploading a zillion Japanese Wizardry guides to the Internet Archive (with still more left to go), I finally decided it was high time I played through Wizardry I.  The only problem is that it's a crazy-masochistically-hard game from 1981 that wipes your saves upon party death.  Oh, and it looks like this:

wizardry1-ibm-2.png

Hey, it's 1981, remember?  Now, I'm no graphics whore, but come on...

So anyway, I saw that there was a translated version of the Japanese Super Famicom release of Wizardry I II and III.  Which looks like this:

wizardry1-snes-08.png

So that's what I'm playing.  And since it's a console being emulated, save states allow me to not worry about the game erasing my saves.

Anyway, the game IS difficult (though I suspect not as difficult as the original Apple II version), but damned if it isn't strangely addicting thus far.  In fact, it may well be the difficulty that makes it interesting.  Unlike easy-as-$#%^ JRPGs, you can't just cruise through battles hitting attack over and over if you expect to survive, so you're always on your toes and always engaged.  And every little tweak to your equipment or spellbook seems like a big deal, since it might just give you that edge you need to survive a bit longer (unlike games like FFVII, for instance, which had a rich and complex system of applying and upgrading materia to everything, and yet seemed ultimately pointless since the game could be easily beaten by ignoring all that and just smashing your way through.)  And of course, there's barely any story to speak of - it's the game itself that engages the player.

It's interesting to me how Wizardry is such a successful series in Japan, and yet everything about it is the antithesis of typical JRPG game design.  But then again, maybe that's not so different from how Western gamers grew up loving Mario games, and yet Western-developed Mario-style platformers are a rarity.

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Wow.

I'm...finished.

Wizardry I-II-III - Story of Llylgamyn (Japan) (NP) [En by Aeon Genesis v1.0]-0002.png

I can't believe how quickly I finished that game.  I played it pretty much all day long today.  Trust me when I say, I've NEVER done that before.  Not even as a kid.  Usually after an hour or so of any game, I get restless and turn it off to seek entertainment elsewhere.  And I did that with this game, too, except after turning it off, I'd get the urge to start it back up again 10 minutes later.

Granted, I was cheating by using save states.  But in a game when any of your characters can be killed in a surprise attack (or instantly beheaded - thanks, ninjas😒) no matter how high their level is, at which point the game immediately erases them from your save file, I think using save states to prevent having to start over at the beginning dozens of times is fair.

Interestingly, the end credits don't acknowledge the original American designers AT ALL.  Not even a "special thanks" credit.  If the end credits were all you had to go on, you would never suspect that this game wasn't a 100% Japanese creation.  Kind of a dick move there, guys.

Although I couldn't bring myself to play the original 1981 Apple II release (unfamiliarity with Apple II emulators and a need to be able to use save states being more of a deciding factor than the graphics), the Super Famicom version adheres very closely to the original's gameplay.  It's remarkable how many RPG mechanics still standard today got their start with this game.  In many ways, it's the protoform of everything that came after.

The following list is copied from the CRPGAddict blog, but these are all things that the first Wizardry did before any other game (once again - in 1981!!)  Many famous RPGs series wouldn't incorporate some of these features for years yet to come:

  • Multiple characters in a party
  • Experience points and levels the way we think of them in CRPGs today
  • Multiple foes at the same time
  • A complex magic system (on both the sending and the receiving ends!)
  • Separate spells for mages and priests
  • Tactical combat
  • Multiple types of items--weapons, armor, helms, accessories--that you can find and wield.
  • Items that must be identified
  • Cursed items
  • A full list of D&D-style races and classes
  • Classes restricted based on ability scores
  • Alignments
  • The ability to change classes

RESPECT.🤯

 

EDIT: I just noticed the typo in the ending screen.  "Proving Grounds of the Mad OverLOAD" 🤣 Because lord and load are written the same way in katakana...

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Congrats on finishing a game of Wizardry! I've tried multiple different versions (including that Apple II version from waaaay back in the day on my school's computers), and they've all managed to soundly hand me my ass enough times that I gave up. I wasn't using save states, so maybe that was the problem...watching the disk churn and eat a beloved party member eventually hurt too much for me to continue. :)

One of my go-to "I just want to play for an hour or so" PC games is "Dungeon Hack" for MS-DOS from 1993. I own the original game with the box, but for ease of use I bought the digital version off GOG, because that edition has the copy protection hacked out. Fumbling with the manuals was fun when I was a teen, but nowadays I just want to kill things, loot their bodies, and get to the next level. Anybody else ever play this one? :)

*huggles*
Areala

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10 hours ago, Areala said:

Congrats on finishing a game of Wizardry! I've tried multiple different versions (including that Apple II version from waaaay back in the day on my school's computers), and they've all managed to soundly hand me my ass enough times that I gave up. I wasn't using save states, so maybe that was the problem...watching the disk churn and eat a beloved party member eventually hurt too much for me to continue. :)

I suspect the number of people who beat the original game without cheating and backing up their saves was infinitesimally small. 

But what's really amazing is that the original release of Wizardry II couldn't even be played unless you had finished the first game.  Creating a new party wasn't possible - you HAD to transfer your characters from a special save file created after beating the first game. And the transfer process automatically deleted that save file, so it could only be done once.  If those characters ended up dying in the second game, you had no option but to create new characters in the first game, play the entirety of the first game again, and once again transfer those characters after completing the first game.

Imagine a developer trying that nowadays.  Selling a game that - straight out of the box - can't even be played unless you also own and have a completed save file from an earlier game.  And which would force you to replay that other game from start to finish any time your character(s) died.  Inconceivable. 

I'm playing the SFC version of the second game, The Knight of Diamonds, now - although in Japan the 2nd and 3rd games were switched, so it was actually released in Japan as Wizardry III.  It differs from the original Apple II release in that it allows for new characters to be created since it restarts even transferred characters at level 1, and re-balances the bestiary accordingly so you aren't slaughtered in your first battle.  So although I transferred my characters from Wizardry 1, they had worse starting stats than they ended that game with.  Still, doing so allowed me to start with my Ninja (a class that is impossible to create with initial stat rolls due to its super-high requirements and thus can only be obtained through a class change late in the game if your stats have increased enough...or by obtaining a incredibly rare treasure drop from a battle on the final level of the dungeon...)

Interestingly, although the first Wizardry seems to be extensively covered online, there is relatively very little information about Wizardry II or III available...in English, anyway.  Most of the useful information I've seen is only available in Japanese (including all of those guides I've uploaded).

 

Never played Dungeon Hack, but it looks very similar to Eye of the Beholder to me (I've finished the first two games in that series).  If I have to pick a permadeath RPG with randomly generated dungeons, I'd go with the classic of classics - Rogue.  I can't say I expect or even hope to ever finish it - death comes far too swift and unexpected in that game.  But it's still entertaining, even if playing it is simply a matter of "let's see how far I can get before dying." 

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I'm on a ROLL.  Wizardry II is in the bag (although in Japan this was known as Wizardry III).

Wizardry I-II-III - Story of Llylgamyn (Japan) (NP) [En by Aeon Genesis v1.0]-0000.png

This is what happens when summer vacation hits.  It's pretty much the only time all year I play any games.  Even so, I've spent more time playing these two Wizardry games over the past few weeks than I usually spend playing anything in an entire year.

The second game wasn't quite as good as the first, since it forced me to do something I hate - grind.  I reached a point where the only way forward was to teleport, but my mage hadn't learned the teleport spell yet, so I had no choice but to grind out levels till he did.  Usually I never have to grind in this sort of game, since I make a habit of exploring every area of the map, which usually means I've fought enough to be at an appropriate level.  Not so, this time.  Flashbacks of grinding in JRPGs giving me cold sweats....

Anyway, on to Wizardry III (or Wizardry II as it's called in Japan), in which I've already hit a small snag.  While in Wiz 2 you can transfer your characters directly from Wiz 1, Wiz 3 makes you to transfer their descendants.  So while my neutral thief in Wiz 1 had invoked the power of a special item to become a neutral ninja (normally ninja can only be evil), his descendant was apparently born a ninja (LOL) and thus can only be evil.  And since evil characters won't join the party of good characters and vice versa, I had to change the alignment of everyone else in my party to evil so that I don't have to kick anyone out.  Stupid ninja.  Makin' me be the bad guy...😒

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And with that, I've finished all three games in Wizardry I-II-III - Story of Llylgamyn, the Super Famicom ports of the first three Wizardry games.

Wizardry I-II-III - Story of Llylgamyn (Japan) (NP) [En by Aeon Genesis v1.0]-0001.png

It turns out that my previous concerns over party alignment were irrelevant, since the game actually forces you to either switch alignments mid-game or create two different parties, since certain floors can only be accessed by good characters, while others are only accessible to evil characters.  By attacking friendly encounters you can sometimes change your characters' alignments to evil, and likewise by ignoring friendly encounters you can sometimes change evil characters to good, so it's possible to use the same party throughout.

These three games are all very similar (the original Apple II versions of the 2nd and 3rd game were originally marketed as "scenario disks" for the first game, which was required for them to run.  So having them all on one cart makes sense (in addition to allowing for characters to be transferred between games.)

Still, I'm glad to have finally played through them and discovered where JRPGs cribbed all of their ideas from (at least until the visual-novelization of JRPGs came about, when developers started spending most of their efforts laying down railroad tracks for the player to travel in a straight line from story point to story point.)

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I imagine whoever here has a Switch must be loving all the retro games on there!  Tons of NES games on the Switch now. I don't have one yet, maybe I'll get one after the new Animal Crossing game on Switch comes out.

@nielse16 I never heard of StarTropics until now. Seems like the NES has a lot of hidden gems :) I grew up with the SNES, though I have played a few dozen NES games over the years.

I purchased a new battery for our old PSP and was playing Lumines (yes the original Lumines game!). Holds up very well and haven't sold our PSP because of Lumines and Lumines II. I know there's an Enhanced version on the Switch, though they don't have my favorite avatar on there (the Cube, which is my profile pic here).

Retro games are amazing. The crazy thing is I think Xbox 360 games are called Retro now too.... (where has the time gone?) We still play 360, tons of games on there (never upgraded to an Xbox One). Just got Family Game Night and Family Game Night Fun Pack (2 & 3) for 360. Glad they were released on disc form as they can't be downloaded now.

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I recently completed Dragon Warrior for the NES.  I have started and intend to finish Dragon Warrior 2 for the NES.  I would love to complete the series up through 6.

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2 minutes ago, consumer said:

I recently completed Dragon Warrior for the NES.  I have started and intend to finish Dragon Warrior 2 for the NES.  I would love to complete the series up through 6.

I would tell you to play the translations of the Super Famicom versions of Dragon Quest 2 & 3 since they're much improved over the NES versions.  But you might be going for the "full retro" experience, since you skipped the SFC version of the first game.

Personally, I've finished the original on the NES, Game Boy Color, and Super Famicom, and I finished DQ2 for the SFC.  I played DQ3 on the SFC as well, but lost interest halfway through and don't intend to ever finish it.  And despite owning some of the later games in the series, I've never actually played any of them.

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T'is good advice kitsunebi77.  I am mostly focused on a retro experience as you've suspected/suggested, however, since I played most of the way through Dragon Warrior III back in the mid 90's I am considering playing the fan translated sfc version instead.  Also, it appears as though Enix put a lot more work into DQ3 than into the DQ1+DQ2 cart....I'm playing them mostly in fast-forward, so perhaps I'll do both if I can find the time and sustain the interest...

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