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Old 12-26-2003, 03:11 PM   #421
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You forgot the PC titles....i actually thought call of duty and a lot of other PC games that came out this year were equal (if not better) then zelda: the wind waker.
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Old 12-26-2003, 09:22 PM   #422
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I didn't forget them - I don't really play PC games much as they mostly consist of FPS and strategy (sometimes semi- or pure-RPG) titles.
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Old 12-31-2003, 01:49 AM   #423
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An epic for all generations

Contra - NES - Rating 7
This is the Konami I know and love. Their ability to establish their own series of classics is something to be admired and examined, especially if you're a game developer investigating winning formulas. Why were they so successful? How did they think of games that exuded great excitement and yet harbored a detailed, often didactic study of what defines good game design? The Konami brand, particularly during their earliest forays into the world of gaming (with Contra being one of their bearings of 1987) were showcases of deep insight into themselves as they tried to interpret themselves in a sensible and yet sociable manner. And what exactly is a 'classic game'? While that is open to personal interpretation I think it is safe to say that titles like Contra, Gradius, Metal Gear, and Castlevania proved that classic gaming is very much a psychological occurrance which is best and most felt during the time in which it first occurrs. The reason this is so is because there is a sense of diminishment once the surroundings increase in content, at least visually and otherwise, even if none of the fundamental qualities are actually advanced in any particularly noticable way. It is something always felt by the individual and, although related logically/psychologically, the individual that had the good fortune to experience such a thing at what might be considered a very important time, shall we say, and when these happy memories are stimulated in the future and cause one to recall, faintly or greatly, that enjoyable moment it is often referred to in psychology as free-association (or an achor). This is where a lot of the new gamers (speaking particularly of the younger crowd) fail to grasp exactly why it is that many of us older, more experienced gamers can appreciate things that are now considered 'dated' and won't always conform to the new trends and supposed-breakthroughs of this day and age - because we can see through a facade and focus on what exactly the game really is. But there's more to the definition of 'classic game' than just a psychological occurrance, is there not? The fact that the game works on all levels - gameplay, stage/character design, memorable soundtrack, etc. - is a very important factor that contributes to this very special attribute that defines the game as truly being a classic. Case in point - did anybody reading this experience the Sega Master System incarnations of Hang-On and Space Harrier when first released? Didn't you get a special vibe that has stuck on you and remained to this very day?
Contra delivered excellent one/two player co-op excitement for all NES players and was also in the arcades. You take control of a soldier with unlimited rounds of ammo and just run forth blowing away anything that crosses your path. You move, duck, jump (extremely high I might add), and blast through all sorts of on-coming aliens and robot baddies, collecting power-ups along the way like Rapid Fire, Laser, and Spread Shot. If you have a rapid fire controller for your NES it only makes it that much more easier (not that the game is a cakewalk, mind you). The graphics are excellent for an NES and have a character to them which I could only describe as being Konami in character as it is a trait unique to them and them alone. The NES is limited to 16 colors on-screen at once and perhaps nobody besides a select few like Sunsoft, Capcom, and of course Nintendo ever made it look as good. There are two types of stages in Contra. The first is the standard side-scrolling action that everybody knows by now. The first stage is a typical example of what's to come. It's a tropical forest with various foot soldiers and gun turrents until you make it to a 'boss' which isn't too impressive. And the second type of stage consists of moving into the screen, destroying security walls blanketed with enemy fire and stuff like canisters rolling at you. You still move left/right on the screen until you begin moving forward (though you can shoot into the screen). There are 8 stages total. The game isn't really difficult but if you're having trouble then just use the famous 30 lives code -- at the title screen press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.
The controls are excellent and everything moves very smoothly on-screen, though there are occassions of flicker and some slowdown, particularly in two player mode which is good but chances are you'd be better off playing it solo. Some of the bosses are pretty cool but some of them can be killed before they even get the chance to pull off much in the way of offense. That's a problem for some, including myself because the game demonstrates most of its challenge during stages and doesn't reward the efforts thoroughly enough with some of these rather tame bosses. You can rush through the game with no trouble if you know what you're doing.
The NES only has 4 channels of sound and so it is no small feat to consider that Konami pulled off one of the most memorable and fitting soundtracks ever. I'm not saying that it's the kind of stuff I want to stick into a CD player but it has character to it, certainly moreso than most all of what is being produced lately. Sound effects are very good for an NES and even if I hadn't heard the game in 10 years I'd still be able to hear the sound effects and know they're from Contra.
Why not an 8 or a 9 for such a 'classic game'? Simply put: Konami improved on this game in every way with sequels like Super C (NES) and Contra III ~ The Alien Wars (SNES). I recommend grabbing a copy of the original Contra if you don't have it, but only Contra completists need apply here. If you're new to the Contra experience I'd suggest you grab copies of the latter two titles I mentioned, as well as Contra ~ Hard Corps for Sega Genesis if you're looking for a ridiculous challenge.

Everything you need to know to win the game on a stage by stage basis (includes tons of screens). Great site ~ http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~tdemores/f...ra/contra.html
To see more on Contra series go here to the Contra HQ (another great site) ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/contra/...robotector.htm

I bid you farewell

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Old 12-31-2003, 05:42 AM   #424
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I remember playing this on the NES for the first time and how much it rocked (2P especially). Unfortunantly it wasnt called Contra in PAL and instead was Probotector. It was still an awesome game though.
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Old 12-31-2003, 08:42 AM   #425
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Konami were and still are to an extent supreme masters at game design and functional gameplay. Often, this leads to some memorable experiences that cannot be grasped by means of any conventional description. The first time I played games like Track & Field II, Gradius & Life Force, Sunset Riders, TMNT, etc. was incredible and helped keep myself busy with so much fun when I was a kid, the actual feeling truly cannot be conveyed accurately via means of psychological survey. In fact, only those which had similar experiences can grasp the meaning of what I'm saying. And for the investigator, the one whom wishes to devote themselves to the creative aspects of game design, Edgar Allen Poe says something of worth ~ "The neccessary knowledge is that of what to observe." --excerpt taken from 'The Murders of the Rue Morgue'

I take every aspect of gaming seriously, particularly after I've fully experienced what a title has to offer. If you observe how many game designers fashion their works they tend to select a typical genre such as shooter or FPS, place a theme around it (sci-fi, etc.), and then try and sell the product as a new game by means of graphics, online capabilities, and hype. Back then, you went from what friends said about games and/or what you'd see in a game magazine and go into the store only to wind up staring at a bunch of back covers to games, uncertain what to buy, even if you had heard great things about one or two titles alone. That's because back then you truly didn't know what to expect - most experiences were firsts. We all have our firsts, no matter who we are or when we entered gaming. It all boils down to personal satisfaction on a game-by-game basis because then and only then can we better learn to grasp the concepts which constitute the quality from the crap/rehash; the more previous experience the better. Yup, that's most often the way it works.
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:11 AM   #426
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System Analysis and Review
Super Famicom(Japan)/Super Nintendo(US/UK)
Released on Nov 21st, 1990 in Japan/Late 1991 in US/UK

Nintendo hit gold with the Super Nintendo, the successor to their tremendously popular Nintendo Entertainment System. When the SF launched in Japan it sold over 350,000 units within three days. Nintendo Power, EGM, and the rest of the publications were alive with amazing coverage, often mentioning how much more powerful the SNES was than its 8/16-bit counterparts: Sega Genesis and NEC's TurboGrafx 16 which released a year earlier in the US/UK. Sega tried to steal some of Nintendo's massive launch which featured such titles as Super Mario World, Pilotwings, F-Zero, and, after a short period, Actraiser, R-Type, and Final Fantasy II(IV). The game Sega chose to do this with was none other than the blue blur Sonic the Hedgehog, which became Sega's flagship series. It was interesting how they came up with the character - Sega held a contest in their offices in Japan to create a character that would have worldwide appeal. Out of over 100 characters they wound up choosing two - the blue hedgehog and none other than Dr. Robotnik (called EggMan in Japan). Just think: Robotnik was originally designed to be the protagonist! Sega changed their system pack-in from the arcade conversion of Altered Beast to Sonic and this proved to be a very successful strategy as system sales went through the roof. Its key selling points were its use of 'Blast Processing' (a semi-fictional feature that the Genesis supposedly housed) and of course the colorful, entertaining game itself. One of the commercials which aired during late 1991 was one where some kid was trying to decide between SNES/Mario World and Genesis/Sonic. The salesman was trying to sell the SNES with such lines as "Just look at all these amaaazing colors!" and the kid interprets that as meaning the Genesis - "Wow! Sonic's fast too!" "But kid, that game there..." "I'll take Sonic and Genesis." (Personal note - I actually taped all of those game commercials. I know - I'm a retard. ) The SNES hardware itself could perform better special effects and output quality arcade graphics which neither of the other two could muster. Rotation, zooming in/out, background scailing, mode-7, etc. were its foremost effects in the special effects department, and the SNES could display 256 colors on-screen at once vs only 64 for the Genesis. TG16 could display 256 on-screen but its color palette of 512 colors couldn't touch the SNES's 32,768. Although Sega had a year start they couldn't do much damage to the SNES launch.
The console race really took off in 1992 when each company would do their best job to try and outperform one another. Sega had released their magnum opus RPG Phantasy Star II back in 1991 and this was practically all they had to go up against the newer SNES RPGs like Arcana and Final Fantasy II. Personally, I consider both PSII and FFII to be about on par with each other. Nintendo would release Zelda ~ A Link to the Past on April 1st and had many more titles in the works. Third parties supported SNES and Genesis on a steady basis, but the lonesome TG16 was having a hard time competing with games like Impossamole, Shape Shifter, and Bonk's Revenge - none of which could compare with the often-great new SNES/Genesis software. However, it was a completely different story in Japan where NEC's PC Engine was #1 for quite some time (because they had tremendous third-party support). Most of the great software for the TG16/CD would never make it outside Japan, unfortunately. Nintendo had Konami, Capcom, Sunsoft, Square, EA, Hudson Soft, and a slew of others supporting them. This led to some the most memorable moments in gaming: Super Castlevania IV, Gradius III, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Final Fight, UN Squadron, Super Adventure Island, Axelay, John Madden Football, Contra III ~ The Alien Wars, Populous, WWF Wrestlemania, Out Of This World, etc. etc. Meanwhile, Sega had titles like Sword of Vermillion, Valis ~ The Phantasm Soldier, Splatterhouse 2, Shadow Dancer, Midnight Resistance, Shining in the Darkness, etc. The big event for 1992 was the arcade conversion of Capcom's Street Fighter II for the SNES, without question. Midway was hot on their heels with Mortal Kombat, and SNK wasn't going to be outdone and released Fatal Fury II and Samurai Shodown shortly thereafter. The 1992 holiday season was in full bloom, and gamers had a huge library of titles to choose from. Joe Montana NFL Sportstalk Football and Sonic 2 were two of Sega's key titles to help sell their system for Christmas, but Nintendo fell back more on the games released during the course of the year for the most part, although Super Adventure Island did well (featuring a hip-hop soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro) and Sunsoft's Road Runner showcased the SNES's ability to display colorful cartoon-like graphics. Nintendo also had Mario Kart to help boost sales, and did so exceptionally well.
1993 was when things would really begin heating up. Taito added themselves to the RPG list with Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, Konami saw it fit to launch a new series called Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and Capcom rolled out the red carpet for the debut of the blue bomber with Mega Man X in which the series took on a new look (most would argue for the worse). Squaresoft got busy translating Capcom's Japanese RPG Breath of Fire, which proved to be quite a success. Enix got busy creating the sequel to Actraiser 2 which dropped the sim elements from the previous outing in favor of the action aspect. Sega wasn't going to be content sitting by letting Nintendo have their way and we saw some powerful releases on their part. Shinobi III proved that Sega still had their magic touch. Though Yuzo didn't work on the music (he was busy doing Actraiser 2) Sega wouldn't fail to give it a memorable soundtrack of their own. Some of the developers at Konami left to form their own company Treasure which released Gunstar Heroes, an incredible action/shooter in the vein of Contra and bears more than a striking resemblance to the Capcom arcade Three Wonders. On Sega CD Working Designs kicked into high gear with a humorous translation of the GameArts epic Lunar which has developed a cult following and for good reason - it's one of the better RPG series around. Silpheed was chosen to take on Nintendo's FX Chip-infused 3D space shooter Starfox but had to fake the 3D backgrounds with FMV, a fact which, oddly enough, nobody pointed out until much later. Starfox still outsold Silpheed, thankfully; it's a much better game. Sega also followed up their Final Fight-inspired Streets of Rage and brought back in Yuzo Koshiro who was in high form here. A new magazine came out around this time called Diehard Gamefan, and its leader Dave Halverson had a bias towards Sega that could be felt throughout the magazine, particularly in their reviews which were always busy trying to justify why Sega Genesis games deserved higher ratings than SNES releases, particularly when it came to games available for both platforms. EGM was still #1 and would compete by filling their magazines with as many pages as possible (much of it was advertisements). And GamePro, well... haven't they always sucked? Gamefan was always making fun of EGM which is rather unamusing when you consider the fact that if not for EGM allowing them to advertise in their magazine - back when they were called Die Hard ~ The Gamer's Game Store - they probably wouldn't even have had the money to get off the ground. And talk about uneven reviews: one of the biggest crimes was giving ClayFighter and Jurassic Park (both for SNES) higher ratings than Secret of Mana!! ...Good call guys. :cool guy: Very professional. Super Mario Collection gets dumped by the reviewers because they're 'too old', even though all three games were redone completely and Nintendo even included Super Mario Bros. ~ The Lost Levels (known as SMB2 in Japan). Amazingly, even though this game got slammed by Gamefan and others, when Super Mario 3 came out on GBA it got nothing but praise and super-high ratings. Why the glaring inconsistency? If a game is great then it's great no matter what, right? EGM, while not exactly even themselves, were certainly more professional when it came to reviewing software. :cool guy: However, nobody could touch Gamefan when it came to Japanese coverage and great layouts. Nobody.
Nintendo developed a reputation of being family-oriented and still maintain this status to date, even though they've somewhat changed their opinion about violence in video games. It started with an arcade game called Mortal Kombat. Parents didn't want their kids being exposed to a fighting game where the purpose was to kill your opponent, and Nintendo moved in their favor by forcing Midway to omit the blood from the SNES conversion. Pretty stupid when you consider how much violence they see on TV, much of which is real. Also, any kid with a few quarters could waltz into their local arcade and hook up with a MK arcade machine if they so desired, could they not? Eventually Nintendo gave in to the demands of the gamers and allowed Midway to do things their way (here's a hint - Nintendo saw MKII for what it really was - $$$ - and wanted a part of the action, as well as to steal Sega's thunder).
Come 1994, Nintendo still had Square in their corner and would play this card very well - Final Fantasy III(VI). Need I say more? It quickly became the most popular RPG, and Sega, unfortunately, couldn't find the same level of success with Phantasy Star IV, a game that magazines would give great coverage to while still in development, even back in 1993. With Sega's failiure to lure in the RPG crowds came their disdain for the genre, in America at least. This meant that we would miss out on some great titles like Monster World games, but Sega fans still had Working Designs in their corner. In Japan RPGs flourished and this was true on every platform, perhaps most especially on the PC Engine (Super) CD and Super Famicom. Lufia II was being prepared, Enix had Dragon Warrior titles coming out (most notably VI which outsold FFVI) and Nintendo, wisely, translated Enix's Illusion of Gaia for US shores. One of their better moves. Nintendo had acquired Hal Laboratories to be an in-house developer a couple years before, and they have remained a major player in Nintendo's success. After Hal created the Kirby series Nintendo used them to keep making more and more of them ever since. Why must they be restrained from making other titles like a sequel to Arcana or something new? Do we need 500 Kirby titles? I think not. Kirby's Dream Course (SNES) is very fun, I must admit. Anyway, Capcom had been moonlighting with Sega and NEC with their Street Fighter franchise and would continue to release semi-sequels without actually counting to three. As a result, Super Street Fighter bombed on Genesis/SNES and EGM let Capcom know it. That hurt their reputation as EGM was usually SF crazy and Capcom pulled their advertisements from the magazine for awhile to 'teach them a lesson'. I must commend EGM for their heroic deeds. Why pay $60 over and over again for the same game with a few new features? (:cough: :cough: EA Sports :hack: :wheeze: ) Speaking of sports games, while EA did dominate the Hockey and Basketball fields of sports gaming, Tecmo kicked Madden's ass with Tecmo Super Bowl (and Super TSB). Sega was no slouch at sports titles themselves. Most notable were their Joe Montana titles, except for on Sega CD where it just sucked. During 1994 the Sega CD began to die out due to lack of support. Sega had little to show: Final Fight CD (the best conversion, period), Popful Mail, Lunar, Sonic CD (thank you Sega/Spencer Nilsen for destroying the original soundtrack ), Snatcher (severely underrated) and not much else, at least outside of Japan. But then what else is new? NEC was dying out and kept releasing crap like Air Zonk. Of all the titles they could've ported (Dracula X, Street Fighter II CE, Fatal Fury II, etc.) they choose Air Zonk. AIR ZONK!
Contemplate that one, if you dare...
However, they did show unusual taste with the release of Lords of Thunder - one of the greatest shooters ever made. But one game just isn't enough. Ys never found its rightful success because nobody would give it coverage, and games like Forgotten Worlds were, well, forgotten. Strider should've been a decent candidate for conversion (despite no parallax scrolls), but no. We're stuck with Air Zonk and Impossamole. As a direct result, NEC soon fades into the horizon.... due to stupidity....
The real war is between Sega and Nintendo. Takara is busy outdoing themselves with conversion after conversion of SNK arcade games for the SNES/Genesis. Because of this, we got treated to many fine titles which otherwise would never have been released - Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury II & Special, and Art of Fighting. Konami released Batman titles based off the films and cartoon, as well as Sparkster, their attempt at a new mascot. They also had previously released arcade conversions of games like Sunset Riders, though they never bothered to convert the 6-player X-Men ~ Children of the Atom or even The Simpsons 4-player arcade beat-'em-ups, sadly. Capcom kept churning out Mega Man X titles, Mega Man 7, Final Fight 2, and arcade conversions of titles like Knights of the Round. And for the second BoF Capcom decided to do their own translation - which had the worst translaten an RPG ive sean my entier life. :thumbdn: Ok, maybe not THAT bad but close enough. Meanwhile, we begin to miss out on so many great Japanese releases such as Seiken Densetsu 3 (all because of Square USA's ego trip with the shoddy Secret of Evermore - God forbid you let Square Japan outshine you with SD3, right guys?), Final Fantasy V, The Creation of Heaven & Earth, Fire Emblem, and too many others to go into. Sega tries to get hardcore on Nintendo's ass with releases like Virtua Racing, Streets of Rage 3, Dynamite Headdy, Castlevania ~ Bloodlines, Earthworm Jim, and Contra ~ Hard Corps. Nintendo fired back with Super Punch Out!!, Super Metroid, Earthworm Jim (minus one level - Dave Halverson probably got in a word with Shiny/Dave Perry to have this happen, knowing him. Like the SNES is incapable of handling it.... please God, make it stop), the excellent Demon's Crest, and Donkey Kong Country which destroyed anything else that holiday season, even though the game is little more than a graphics showcase (and not one I'm particularly fond of).
1995 was the last major year of 16-bit gaming as the newer 32-bit systems like Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn were making waves. It was a great year nevertheless. First, Square releases Chrono Trigger which was marked with greatness from the beginning and features one of the best RPG soundtracks ever done courtesy of Yasunori Mitsuda. Miyamoto/Nintendo break new grounds with Super Mario World 2 ~ Yoshi's Island, which is one of the greatest video games ever made. Tecmo releases Ninja Gaiden Trilogy which compiles all three NG titles. Konami gives off a faint glimmer with the Super NES interpretation of the PC Engine Dracula X. Shiny tries to surpass EWJ with the sequel but fails. And DKC2 eventually is released to much success. (Graphics sell. Just look at most of the software today.) 1996 isn't half as good as 1995 for SNES, though Super Mario RPG keeps gamers glued to the tube and then, shortly thereafter, the SNES dies down and the N64 takes over from there in Nintendo's bid to defeat Sony and Sega. They don't succeed.

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Old 01-04-2004, 03:13 AM   #427
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Continued....
-- Notable Releases (Release Date: Japan/US/UK) --
Super Mario World (Launched with system in every country) - The beginning of great things to come. SMW showcased the platform's ability to deliver colorful, detailed graphics and once again Nintendo's incomparable abilities of stage design are present. We also see the birth of a special dinosaur - Yoshi! An excellent game.
Zelda ~ A Link to the Past (Nov 21st, 1991/Apr 1st, 1992/??, 1992) - One of the best in the series, yet it scored only modestly well in game publications (7's and 8's). The first action/RPG to feature alternate worlds that you could move between at will. LttP remains a solid adventure from start to finish, one which won't soon be forgotten. Also available on GBA under the title Zelda ~ Four Swords.
Super Punch Out!! (Mar 10th, 1998/Oct 1st, 1994/??) - The best boxing game ever made, SPO was unique in that it came out in the US well before Japan, where it wasn't even planned to be released. One question comes to mind - WHY? It's by far one of the more enjoyable games for the system and is the perfect sequel to (Mike Tyson's) Punch Out!!
Final Fantasy III(VI) (May 5th, 1994/Oct 12th, 1994/??, 1994) - The best FF besides VII, this is the game that sold the SNES to the RPG crowd, and for good reason. Boasting a quest that could easily allocate 70+ hours of your time, the best Nobuo Uematsu soundtrack ever, great graphics and an interesting relic/esper system, FFIII showed Square at their best. Anybody that claims to be an RPG fan knows this game inside and out. One of the best RPGs ever made. Also available on PSone under the title Final Fantasy Anthology.
Chrono Trigger (Mar 11th, 1995/Sep 27th, 1995/??, 1995) - Probably more popular with the RPG crowd than even FFIII, CT made a sensation when it launched to anxious SNES gamers. It featured art by Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z) and scriptwriting by Yuji Hori (Dragon Warrior series), as well as Hironobu Sakaguchi of Final Fantasy fame. Great presentation, interesting battle system and time travel, memorable music.... Call it dumb luck, call it a freak occurrance, but be sure you call it classic. (I personally don't care for this game as much as a lot of other people seem to, but won't deny it's a classic.) Also available on PSone under the title Final Fantasy Chronicles.
Donkey Kong Country (Nov 26th, 1994/??, 1994/??, 1994) - Rare rarely impresses me with their software and DKC is no exception. They're a Silicon-savvy development team in the UK that tries to mimic Nintendo's appeal but with limited success. Banjo Kazooie? Killer Instinct? ...No thanks. Goldeneye and Diddy Kong Racing are perhaps their two best titles. DKC, while extremely popular, cannot garner even 5 minutes of interest from myself. Also available on GB/GBA under the same title.
Street Fighter II (Jun 10th, 1992/Jul ?, 1992/??, 1992) - Capcom made a decisive decision to port their super-popular SFII arcade to SNES. 16 MEGS was considered very large for the time, and the game does a commendable job of trying to cram the arcade into a SNES cartridge. It scored perfect or near-perfect in every magazine, and it remains the father of fighting games as we know them today. Of course, the formula has seen much in the way of graphic advancements and better gameplay. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had in gaming.
Super Castlevania IV (??, 1991/??, 1991(?)/??) - Konami shows what it's made of with this installment in the legendary series. Huge sprites, excellent control, incredible music, and special effects galore... all crunched inside an 8 MEG cartridge! How'd they do that!? If you still own a SNES and have never played this game, there's something seriously wrong.
Super Mario World 2 ~ Yoshi's Island (Aug 5th, 1995/Oct 1st, 1995/??, 1995) - Considered by many to be the best in the series along with Mario 3, SMW2 epitomizes Nintendo's ability to create a timeless classic for all generations. Featuring some of the most vividly colorful graphics ever seen and some of the most inventive enemies and bosses you'll ever see, unparalleled stage design and super fun gameplay, this game broke ground and is better than most every 32/64-bit game ever made, easily. Own it, love it, cherish it. Also available on GBA under the title Yoshi's Island ~ Super Mario Advance 3

In closing, I'd like to say thank you to all the developers that really made these systems shine with such incredible software. They truly outdid themselves in every respect and we need more titles like these in order to make the new consoles truly feel special, let alone worth owning. Look at all the quality continually released for SNES and then look at GameCube and you'll see a huge difference. Where are the memorable titles like Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Demon's Crest, Axelay, Yoshi's Island, and Lufia 2? I'm not seeing it. We need more 10+ software and Nintendo must use its influence to try and make this happen not just with themselves but with the third-parties as well.
And BTW, it's already been a year since I joined Magic Box. Thank you all for your support. I continue to do it because I enjoy doing it. Hope you all have a happy year.

Special thanks to Moby Games for all the release date info. Check it out ~ http://www.mobygames.com/home/
Also, for Square release dates, I'd like to thank Final Fantasy Legends. Check out the site here ~ http://www.fflegend.com/site/misc/release_dates.shtml

Later
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:45 AM   #428
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Nice system analysis initially, but you sorta lost focus of it fairly early and it didnt end up covering that much about the SNES outside of the games.

And Creation of Heaven and Earth had a release outside of Japan. Its called Terranigma and was released in Europe.
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Old 01-04-2004, 04:11 AM   #429
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Quote:
Icarus 13578 wrote:
One of the commercials which aired during late 2001...
Do you perhaps mean 1991?

Also:
The SNES could not scale/rotate/zoom sprites, only background images (of which it could handle 4 at a time onscreen). Notice how games like Top Gear and other racers have chunky sprites as they animate from small to big. Even the opponent cars in F-Zero did this. No sprite scaling.

Also, while I will agree on the general ass-suckage of Tommy Tallarico, it was Spencer Nilsen who did the music for the US Sonic CD. His other credits include the Sega CD versions of Ecco the Dolphin 1 and 2 (amazing soundtrack), Spiderman for the Sega CD, Batman Returns for the Sega CD, and Sonic Spinball for the Genesis, as well as others.

Personally I think the reason that some reviewers didn't gush over Super Mario All Stars is because back then we were inundated with great 2D games already. So it just didn't seem as special, plus the fact that the games really weren't all that old... only from the previous generation. But now everything is 3D and we long for good gameplay. Here comes Mario on the GBA, almost identical to Super Mario All Stars and costing a whole hell of a lot more (you have to buy each game serperately). People love it because the gameplay is good... and even fun, something that doesn't happen much anymore.
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Old 01-04-2004, 06:10 AM   #430
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Magnus wrote ~ "Nice system analysis initially, but you sorta lost focus of it fairly early and it didnt end up covering that much about the SNES outside of the games.

And Creation of Heaven and Earth had a release outside of Japan. Its called Terranigma and was released in Europe."

What else is there to cover besides games? The only thing I didn't bring up was the Super Scope and Mario Paint. Then again, I couldn't possibly cover everything within a five hour time frame. Speaking for US gamers, we weren't blessed with that Enix title (lucky UK gamers) but likewise there have been titles that have come out in the US but not the UK.

Joe Redifier, yeah, I can't believe I missed that 1991/2001 in my initial proof read. Thanks.

As for sprite scaling, I could be mistaken, but in games like Mystical Ninja and Castlevania IV some boss sprites would rotate and zoom, wouldn't they? Spencer Nilsen.... Heh. Amazing that Sega allowed him to destroy the original soundtrack Sega of Japan intended for us to hear. SM All-Stars was just a jip in my book. True, Nintendo could've had a stronger showing that holiday season, but those games weren't exactly bottom-of-the-pit crap like Gamefan seemed to think. It all boils down to judging a game based on its own merits: is it a good game? Depends on who you ask. Is a game like Mario 3 any good? Stupid question - of course it's good. You might not know it from reading their review though. according to their ratings system, Silpheed is a better game than SMAS by a mile, and got perfect ratings! Nowadays, people are more receptive to these old titles because they provide hours of fun on their GBA. Not like they need any other reason.
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:42 PM   #431
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Those bosses in Castlevania 4 were programmed as backgrounds. They were not sprites. Programmers had to (and did) get creative. The Neo Geo could only scale sprites and not backgrounds (though it could have HUGE sprites). The Sega CD was the first system that could scale both backgrounds and sprites.
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Old 01-05-2004, 12:31 AM   #432
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Ah! That explains it. I guessed you would say that. Just comes to show you how smart Treas... errr, Konami were with the hardware.
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Old 01-05-2004, 02:06 AM   #433
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Yes. I don't think I've seen too many (if any) other developers pull off the "curved" background like that one tunnel level of Castevania IV. Those effects kicked my ass the first few times I saw it.
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:33 AM   #434
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Say "goodbye" to the quality Squaresoft of old and "hello" to the teeny-bopper commercialism of the new SquareEnix.

Final Fantasy X-2 - PS2 - Rating 0
So this is what we've come to, is it? Square's lame and constant attempt at trying to find the perfect formula for commercialism is their downfall. It all starts with the opening cinema which is the prelude to the first mission titled "Luca" after the location. Watch as 'Yuna' dances around singing an English adaption of some cheesy J-Pop song in a concert - the one hear when the FFX-2 commercial played for the 1,002nd time -
"....Now, I know
That forward is the only way
My heart will go,
I won't give in to it...."
You quickly find that it's not really Yuna but an imposter that has stolen her dressphere (more on that later). Rikku and Paine both chase down the imposter, fighting a few weak monsters and then the imposter herself to get the Songstress dressphere back. When this happens and Yuna equips it she transforms into a somewhat-cute dress and begins dancing around beyond her will. You'll also have a short battle with Ormi, Logos and Leblanc, all of which look very annoying, which is fast becoming a Square tradition. The game's second mission takes you to Mt. Gagazet where Yuna and company go in search of a treasure sphere - which includes another dressphere, Black Mage - and this also allows you to view FMVs of stuff that previously happened by talking with Shinra aboard the deck of the airship Celsius. Of course, you'll have to run into a huge boss before obtaining it. After all, what's a Square game without 70 bosses in it? In order to keep you interested they keep splicing cinemas (mostly real-time) into the gameplay. This means that you'll be running along and at certain pre-determined locations a cinema interrupts. Thankfully it never becomes too much of a distraction like in Xenosaga, mainly because they don't run for 20-30 minutes each.
The game is split into different chapters, each one requiring you to accomplish several tasks before proceeding to the next. After you've accomplished your second mission in the game you can begin to explore the world of Spira, the same world as in FFX albeit changed quite a bit and with added locations. The way it generally works is you'll be presented with Hotspot locations on the map and it's up to you to decide whether you want to just rush through things or take time to explore. Right off the bat you can access most every location. However, some areas are best left unattended as the enemies are simply too hardy to compete against in combat. As you continue to make progress new areas open up in different locations. The main objective is to complete 100% of the story and make all the right decisions so that once you've completed the game you'll get the best ending.
Dresspheres are the primary new addition that affect gameplay. Here's how it works: You have at your disposal something called Garment Grids (GG for short) in your main menu. You place dresspheres into specific nodes within each GG, then equip a GG to a specific character of your choosing. While a GG is equipped you can transform using any dressphere you've placed in that specific GG. As you battle and use the dressphere of your choosing the character will gain new unique abilities by tallying up AP. You can also perform a sphere change during combat, which means simply that you transform from one dressphere to another, but you're restricted to whichever dresspheres are placed on the GG at that specific point. There's a bit more to it, but I'll spare you. It's Square's newfangled attempt to try and goad us into believing there's depth where there really isn't.
The game is split into five chapters, and, all things considered, should last you a good 40+ hours. The graphics have good detail and the animation is improved in some ways from FFX, in others not so much. Characters now move around much more freely in battle, and everything seems more rapid-paced. The character designs look awful gaudy even on things that don't really need to be. One of the most annoying characters in video game history is Brother. Oh man... I cannot stand this character. He's just a hemmorhoid and whomever it is at Square that designed him should be dragged out into the streets by an angry mob of people that are rioting all across Japan because of his horrendous Al Bhed-speaking character (that awful language from FFX where Square just changed around letters in the alphabet to some jumbled mess that doesn't sound convincing in the least). Also annoying is the voice-actor for Shinra as performed by... well... his name shall not disgrace my reviews section. Just know that I muted my stereo everytime I had to talk with him.
There are some good things about this game. The bosses are impressive and are masterfully rendered. Truly, Square has outdone themselves again so far as graphics are concerned, though some of the areas look like they were ripped right out of FFX. Also, the initial 'wow factor' that titles like FFVII embodied is no longer present. I got a kick out of some of the dresspheres such as the Lady Luck ones, but once you've removed all the gimmicks you begin to see how sappy this quest actually is.
The music is a mixed bag. Much of it is cheesy pop tunes and some of it has a techno feel to it. It doesn't sound really anything like previous FF titles since Nobuo Uemtasu wasn't working on this soundtrack (he's busy with FFXII; exactly where he belongs). I enjoyed some pieces here and there, such as the song whenever you're victorious in battle, but it doesn't touch older FF titles like II(IV) or III(VI). Not that I was really expecting it to.... The sound effects are good and the voices on the girls have that cutesy kind of touch to them, save for Paine (who may as well be called Lulu because of her moody disposition towards everyone). Some voice acting is just painful though (see Brother) and sometimes the characters look like something George Lucas thought up while snorting crack.
In the end, this game sells because of who made it and what it's called. That's just all there is to it. Lord knows that no damning review by such a person as myself will ever hold any influence over the mass herd of sheep that take delight in anything with the name Square involved. It may as well be this way as it is; let people learn the hard way that if you don't want to support great RPG companies like Atlus, Falcom, or GameArts you may never play an RPG from Japan that's actually good. And until you teach Square that lesson, teach them that you expect a lot more from them, you'll never get more than what you've bargained for.

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Old 01-15-2004, 01:51 AM   #435
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While i enjoyed final fantasy x-2 quite a bit, i didn't find it as good as part X. They were both in my opinion, very very good games and i play a lot of good games. A problem that square has though is that they really don't have any competition to drive them to do "better" then the "other company releasing so and so game". Sure, some say xenosaga, sukiden (sp wrong i think), tales, and others match up to final fantasy easily but in reality while the game may stack up to a square game quality-wise it doesn't share the mass appeal that final fantasy or dragon quest does. To say that final fantasy and dragon quest outsell there competition is a understatement. They literally blow the competition out of the water in terms sales which everyone knows, is the most important thing for a business no matter if it's square, konamii, or namco.
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