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After all these years I’ve finally played through the original Legend of Zelda thanks to the Switch Online. I don’t tend to be a big fan of the original games because a lot of them don’t hold up for me but LoZ wasn’t bad. I would put it in the middle. I can’t imagine playing it without today’s modern features though because it seems like it would be an extremely long process without a lot of quality of life features. With the Switch Online enhancements it does help the game to an extent but I certainly am glad that the modern titles have added a lot to the experience.
The general plot is that it’s dangerous to go alone so Link grabs his sword. He has to stop the demon king and save the princess so he’s in for a busy day. To do this he will have to find all of the pieces of the legendary Triforce and only then will he be able to save the world. Don’t underestimate a hero that is on a journey! Link will never give up and never surrender until he has his day. That is why he’s so legendary.
The gameplay style uses the overhead format. For the most part you slice the enemies that get in your way but additionally you can also get other weapons later on like a laser blaster, arrows, and bombs. For the most part you don’t want to waste ammo so you’ll stick to the sword but the laser is an exception as the ammo is limitless. Using your gadgets wisely is the only way you can come out on top here because if you squander them then you will be easy pickings for the monsters. You have to be very careful because you take heavy damage just for bumping into them.
Also it’s easy to miss an item and have to backtrack a lot so watch out for that. This is definitely a puzzle game first and foremost, not to mention that it’s also an unforgiving one. If you don’t watch your step then that’ll be curtains for your time. It definitely took me several hours to beat this game because I would get lost a whole lot. I don’t know how you would be able to navigate the final dungeon straight through. That one is extremely long and filled with shortcuts. There’s no visual indicator of any kind on which walls can be blown up so I just had to try on all of them. Each room had at least 3 corners to try and there could be over 20 rooms so that was a lot of options. I should mention that you can only carry 8 bombs unless you find a secret upgrade so without rewinding to replenish your stock…that would have been absolutely brutal.
The actual combat can be fun but expect to get hit a whole lot. At times the game turns into a bullet hell title where everyone is blasting you at the speed of sound. There’s one particular enemy that is super tough to deal with because he emits a full barrier with a lot of little attack nodes that are super hard to dodge. If any of them hit you then they will deal an incredible amount of damage. I would avoid them when possible but a lot of times you would have to fight in order to move forward.
If I were to take a stab at trying to improve the game it would really boil down to one thing. I would add some kind of indicator that a shortcut was nearby like a crack in the wall or something. That takes the guesswork out which I think is a good thing. Why should you be wasting bombs everywhere when you can just place them tactically? There is a sort of map on the top right of the screen but it’s an empty void that only shows your location. I would put in landmarks and such so you at least know where you’ve been. It’ll be like Link was filling out the map along the way.
These quality of life updates are what I would add to the mix and I think it would work really well. Then you can focus more on the actual combat and just taking out the villains. I’d also say maybe they shouldn’t let you exit a dungeon without taking every key item there. It would help prevent issues like not taking the raft in world 4 and then having to search every dungeon until you find it. That’s definitely no fun because you never want to have to go back. It just isn’t fulfilling. The only time I really enjoyed backtracking is when there is a power up system so you get stronger or the levels are super convenient. Like going back in Shantae is fun enough because you get the ability to fly and do other kinds of things that makes the old levels a breeze. If you’re about the same level of strength then it’s just not quite the same.
The soundtrack really holds up quite nicely though. You hear a lot of classic LoZ themes that are still used to this day. Nintendo really never held back in this area and the graphics also look pretty good for the NES. It’s clear that a solid budget was put into the game for back in its day and it shows. Good effort never goes to waste after all and they can look back on that and be proud. We’ll see if the next Link game can match it in that respect.
Overall, Legend of Zelda ended up becoming a big thing so clearly the game succeeded. I can see the appeal back in the day in that there was so much to do so you could easily spend months playing this game and figuring everything out. That would definitely be a rewarding experience but I wouldn’t say it holds up quite as well nowadays. It can really toe the line between being annoying or being fun at times. Still, you can’t go wrong playing it for free on the Switch Online though. Give it a whirl and see what you think. Either way you get to experience one of Nintendo’s most historic titles so that alone should be an incentive to give it a whirl. That said, if you take the nostalgia goggles off, I would argue that Skyward Sword still leaves this one in the dust.
I was really satisfied with the first Breath of Fire and I can safely say that this one is a really good sequel as well. I wouldn’t quite say that it beats the first as it loses out on at least one big quality of life feature but it’s still a really solid game all around. To compensate for that it does have the better story here. Either way if you like RPGs then you will definitely like this game.
It actually starts off with some Undertale type vibes as the main character and his pal enter a dark cave and things get rather trippy. You have an evil eye that it always running around, a giant monster that murders them, and things like that happen. Finally, a few years pass by and Tery’s (That’s what I called the lead) best friend Bow decided to become a bit of a thief. He is going to help this one guy who was already stolen from so in a way it’s like payback but it backfires and now everybody thinks he is a thief. Tery must quickly come to his aid and prove Bow’s innocence. Additionally Tery must find out why nobody remembers him and why his whole family is gone. Does it have something to do with the main villain?
There are a ton of monsters in this world so naturally it is not quite the kind of place that you want to be when things get tough. Tery got to meet one of the more powerful creatures in the tutorial after all even if he isn’t sure whether it was a dream or not. There’s this whole emotional system too where talking to people will light up or darken your crystal but there didn’t seem to be much of a point to it. Perhaps it alters your ending but I would have liked it to have made a bigger difference throughout the game. I appreciated how the game would get rather spooky at some points but ultimately it’s more for show than anything else.
The game is fairly long and you can certainly expect to take many hours to conquer it. Unfortunately the game doesn’t track your play time but it has to at least be 25-30+ hours. There’s a whole lot to do here, villages to help and party members to recruit. Additionally there is no easy way to bypass minions. So in the first game you could buy an item that stopped them from appearing for about a minute or so. I would stock up on as many of those as possible and it was a great deal but that’s not the case here. There is an item that (barely) reduces how often they spawn but it can’t prevent it.
Half the time it feels like the item didn’t do anything to be honest so it was a bit of a waste. It’s too bad they didn’t bring the item from the first game back because it’s just so much more peaceful when you’re able to run around and don’t have to worry about minions attacking. You can explore to get treasure and all kinds of things like that. Trying to run is usually not going to work so you have to keep rewinding until it does or you could just fight every minion in your way.
It is good for grinding I suppose. Speaking of which, be prepared to grind a whole lot here because the final bosses suddenly jump up a bunch of levels. They were not playing around but I would expect nothing less from an RPG final boss. Those are the kind of opponents that you want to go all out. Show us why you are the demon king or whoever the final boss is. The final battles are really an endurance test so buy as many potions, revives, and MP items as possible. I had over 100 items when you add in the amounts for each and I still barely made it. That was definitely not easy in the slightest.
The game’s ending isn’t super satisfying though. You can’t help but feel that Tery made the wrong choice unless there is some kind of true ending here. He overthought things but it did work as an intense twist of sorts. The game always has that uneasy feeling thanks to the prologue which shows just how effective it was even if the rest of the game plays it straight for the most part. The story is really engaging so you should be having a blast from start to finish. Tery’s companions were definitely really good as well and if anything the toughest part is deciding who to keep home.
Each ally has their own special ability which you’ll need on the hub world. One can fly, one can swim, one can jump, etc. So there will be times when you have to switch companions and you just can’t worry about it. Additionally some characters have a 1 on 1 story fight that can’t be skipped so if they are at a low level then that’s game over. You obtain shamans to power up your fighters but one if missable which can be disappointing if you didn’t get him. So if you see a chance to donate some money later in the game, make sure you click donate 20 times. If you don’t do that then you won’t get him at the end.
That’s really my main tips here, you should be able to get through the game with no real issues. The graphics are real good here and some aspects of the game have aged extremely well with the visual style. For example there’s one boss fight where you’re falling off a tower and then there’s a scene where Tery is running through the flames. You don’t see a whole lot of cutscenes using the sprites like this outside of combat so I thought that was pretty cool. The soundtrack is also good although as far as RPGs go I wouldn’t say it stands out a ton.
This is the kind of game that just freezes once you beat it so that means there is no replay value. Fortunately the main campaign is so long that this really is not an issue in the slightest. You’ll get to have your full barrel of fun here. The cast is fairly solid and of course Tery steals the show even if he’s the silent kind of protagonist so you won’t really see him talk here. You just know that he has what it takes to win.
Overall, Breath of Fire II is a great follow up to the original. I would probably still learn towards the first game as a whole even though this one had the better story. Breath of Fire is certainly one of those games that could do well with a modern sequel or remake. After all stories about dragons are always cool and this one has plenty of them. It’s a very challenging game so you do need to keep your guard up but then making it to the ending is that much more satisfying.
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Rival Turf! is a fairly intense beat em up, but it’s the kind that forces you to start all the way from the beginning when you lose all of your lives. This is not completely unheard of within the genre but I have to say that I never liked this approach. To me, there should always be a way to continue until you get to the end of the game. There have to be checkpoints or some place to return to. Not including that feels like an unnecessary hurdle and it’ what keeps this game back.
It’s hard to say what the plot is here at all since there isn’t even an opening cutscene. You beat a lot of dudes up as you go through the game though so I’ll assume it’s your classic gangster story where a bunch of gangs have taken over the city and you have to stop them all. Either way the focus here is definitely just on beating everyone up and it’s fair to say that the villains made a huge mistake in going after the main character’s town. That’s going to come back to haunt them.
Each stage has you beat up a ton of enemies until you get to the end. At that point there is a boss that will show up to fight you in deadly combat. Don’t give the opponent an inch, just keep on going. Now this will be easier said than done though as each of the enemies do have some fairly good attacks to hit you with. One of the toughest kind of enemies to deal with is one that always approaches you with a big flying kick. The only way to effectively get around that is often to try and land the kick first or just stay out of the way.
Typically in games like this what I like to do is wait a little higher or lower than the opponent so when they walk over I get the first hit. In a one on one scenario this does tend to work but it’s hard to set up when there are a bunch of enemies rushing you at the same time. At that point you just have to fight hard and try hitting as many of them as possible. In a lot of ways it feels like a button masher so you just have to get in there and keep on landing blows as quickly as possible. If you get lucky or do really well then you may be able to beat the level without losing too many lives.
There are 6 levels here and I died in the 5th one. You get 6 lives and can continue 5 times so in a way you’ve got 30 lives. Typically I would lose 6 lives in each stage but that number kept increasing as I made it through the game. Ultimately that’s what got me here. The enemies were just too vicious and they really showed me what was going on. This is where I say there should be a way to continue the game from the 5th level. To me that makes sense so you could hat least see how it ends and go from there. This is the kind of game where even rewinding and restarting doesn’t help a lot because of how crazy strong the opponents are. Sure, with enough patience you could probably pull it off but it would take a long while which is probably not worth the hassle for this game. You would need something a lot more high end which should already have that feature anyway.
Aside from that one big feature not being here, the gameplay is solid. 2D beat em ups don’t tend to be my favorites until you reach the 90s and later on where they added a bunch of depth to it. Like I really enjoyed the X-Men GBA beat em up game because of how it incorporated all of the X-Men special techniques and powers into the combat. It wasn’t just any ole beat em up, it felt like a real X-Men game. For a game like this I know powers are off the table, but giving the characters more to do would really help it stand out. Of course this game is fairly old so that critique doesn’t apply as much but this game just doesn’t stand out.
I thought Double Dragon did a much better job of executing on this concept, not to mention it also had more of a plot. Considering that this game is for the SNES, I don’t think there is an excuse not to have some kind of story included in the game. At least if you ask me that seems like a reasonable request. Ah well, at least the graphics are solid, I do think the game still looks good all the way through. There are a good amount of level designs and they all look different so it’s not just reusing them.
Additionally, I would say that the soundtrack is solid as well. So the game does have some things going for it. There’s no real replay value but the game is difficult enough where that shouldn’t be a problem. Even though you theoretically can beat the game within an hour, the odds of you doing that are slim to none with how hard the game is. You really have to learn all of the villain patterns and movements to take them down efficiently. Additionally it’s hard to plan when so many of them are rushing you at once so good luck with that. A lot of it will come down to instinct.
Overall, Rival Turf is a game that has a good combat system but other areas of the game hurt it like the whole thing about not having a way to restart at a specific level. Going back to level 1 is something I never enjoy, it just feels way too harsh of a punishment if you ask me. You should be able to beat the game normally and if needed just have the extra continues destroy your score at the end or void it. Seeing the cutscene as the game ends is the important thing. Either way there are other titles you should check out within the genre for a better all around experience.
I was impressed by this game. Magical Drop 2 really ups the stakes both in quality and in general gameplay enjoyment compared to the first. I do want to say the first game was solid too of course but this one feels like it has more of a story. The graphics have noticeably improved as well and the character roster is impressive. You really can’t go wrong here.
I ended up choosing what appears to be one of the main villains as my character. In fairness I started with a different character but was losing a lot so it was time for a change of pace. As the game goes on you fight every other playable character in the series. After taking them down you go up against the true villain of the game and then get a character ending specific to the character you just beat the game with. Not a bad deal right? After all, this means that each character will have an ending now.
The game’s difficulty level is as high as ever though. Good luck even trying to beat the game on normal difficulty. I made it past a few levels to around 4-5 but then the opponent starts matching the gems quicker than you can even blink. Even using the rewind feature and trying tons of different paths is not enough to overwhelm the opponent. Trust me, you’ll be spinning your wheels in circles at that point.
The only possible way to get around the opponents is to lower the difficulty back a bit. It’s more accessible than the first game with the difficulty level which is nice. Even with this the final levels are crazy but you should be able to pull through if you try it enough times. There is naturally a ton of replay value here since you can try to beat the game with each character.
Additionally the gameplay is just fun. No matter how crazy strong the opponents are, it’s always satisfying to be building the blocks on your end. It’s essentially reverse Tetris as you grab blocks and fling them upwards as opposed to trying to get them to the ground. There are some interesting combos you can pull off like grabbing multiple blocks to pull off larger combos. It comes with a certain level of risk of course but a risk that seems to be worth it in this case. At least it always seemed to turn out for the best.
The graphics are pretty good. In fact, I would say they are considerably ahead of their time. The illustrations are on point and the stages are very vivid. The game does allow for a bit of fanservice though with one character jumping up and down the entire time you’re fighting her but fortunately that’s the only match that’s a bit suspect. The soundtrack is good too and you feel a sense of danger throughout. You know that any second now could be your last.
Overall, Magical Drop 2 is a good way to handle a sequel. Effectively it improved on all of the first game’s strong points while improving any weaknesses. I thought the gameplay was much more effective now and the fact that it has a real story is cool as well. There’s a whole lot you can do with this series so I’d like to see it return some day. The sky’s the limit for this and I would certainly like to be along for the ride. If you have the Switch Online service then definitely give this a download. The difficulty level is crazy but at the same time it just makes you want to keep on going for rematches.
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