Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole Review

Landstalker and I have a storied history; if you’re read this site’s “about” section, you’re probably already aware of the fact that I used to rent this game on a regular basis when I was but a wee young’un, only to be beaten down every time by its relentless cruelty despite having help in the form of a neighbor who would come over to try and conquer it with me. We never managed to make it very far despite her and I taking turns at the controls, and having finally beaten the game, it’s no wonder—this game is intentionally designed to be as sadistic and unfriendly as possible. This is a game where the perspective is used to hide platforms necessary to progression. This is a game where late-game enemies teleport in front of you, making running away more or less impossible. This is a game where your reward for finishing one particularly annoying dungeon is another, even more lengthy and annoying dungeon. However, between its bouts of soul-crushing malice, Landstalker manages to be surprisingly charming, and save states make the game much more palatable than it would be playing on the original hardware. That doesn’t make this a must-play by any means, of course, but at least it evens the odds so that those masochistic enough to indulge the depths of its villainy stand a fighting chance. Read more →

Illusion of Gaia Review

Illusion of Gaia is a game I’ve finished only two times now, with my very first playthrough years and years ago not being a positive experience. Going through it again for this review, I couldn’t help but wonder why I was so opposed to it in the first place; apart from two terrible puzzles, the game holds up surprisingly well under modern scrutiny, combining Secret of Mana’s type of action-RPG gameplay with a system that eliminates grinding entirely. Add on top of that some vaguely spiritualistic themes (a trademark of developer Quintet, who made Actraiser, Terranigma, and other games that revolve around the conflict of a “good” deity and “bad” deity), and you have a genuinely unique game that manages to hold its own against even the best-known games for the Super Nintendo. Read more →

Comix Zone Review

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can’t beat Comix Zone, and liars. I suppose there’s a third category of those who have learned the game’s ins and outs well enough to make it to the end without cheating, but let’s be realistic—most of us aren’t that kind of person. This is a brutal, unforgiving game that just so happens to be wonderful despite some wonky design decisions that render it virtually impossible for the average person to beat despite its short length, but fortunately for us mere mortals, the game can be legally obtained on Amazon and Steam in an emulated form. This allows you to play through the game with save states, turning a game that would otherwise be maddeningly frustrating for most players into a feasible experience. Read more →

E.V.O.: Search For Eden Review

Before they swallowed my beloved Squaresoft whole and reduced them to churning out a million and a half remakes of Final Fantasy 3, Enix had a knack for publishing games that had really interesting premises while being let down by sub-par gameplay. Actraiser 2 and Illusion of Gaia are perfect examples of this, being interesting, but not quite to the point where they’re enjoyable games. E.V.O.: Search For Eden falls into that pattern perfectly, being a game where you have the freedom to evolve your character in multiple ways, but that’s ultimately tarnished by repetitive grinding and painful gameplay. Read more →

Megaman V Review

The Game Boy had some truly awful games, but hidden within those messes of poor hit detection and bad design were some incredible gems. Megaman V is, without a doubt, one of those gems. While previous games in Megaman’s Game Boy series reused elements from the NES games, V was the first to feature all-new bosses. Even better, they’re based on planets, so there’s none of the stupidity that brought about enemies like “Cut Man.” Read more →

Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind Review

Confession time: I actually like the first Bubsy game despite the fact that it more or less destroyed my entire life. Where once I was an innocent child too naive to know the meaning of failure, Bubsy came along, spiked my youthful joy to the ground, and rubbed my face in constant Bubsy-centric failures until I had been reborn as a jaded, embittered shell of who I once was. Read more →

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