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  1. #1
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Opinions on poorly documented imports

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    Hi, I'm new as a member to this forum, but I've been gawking at StealthLurkers awesome stuff for years as well as having enjoyed Steven's RVGfanatic site for quite some time as well. That said, I'd like to wholesale rip Steven off and post some opinions on some import games I have that don't have a lot of documentation online. I own several hundred imports and a couple of thousand games, and I got to a point where I tend to buy games more because they seem different than because they're rarities or collector's items, as I like to play what I buy and try new stuff.

    So, first off, Blade of the Darkness, or Kuro no Ken, for PS1. It's a traditional JRPG with a somewhat cliche anime style, but some unique twists to the combat system that made it fun.

    The game seems like standard turn-based fare in line with the likes of earlier Final Fantasies, but the way special techniques and Magic are used is the biggest twist. Your party regenerates Magic and Technique points every single round of combat, and hit points/MP with every step in the overworld/in dungeons. These techniques aren't particularly overpowered, but this system does a lot to actively encourage the player to use your full range of combat options in every encounter. This makes the random encounters considerably more fulfilling than in other games such as Paladin's Quest, in which you feel like every battle is costing you resources more than testing your thinking ability. As such, battles revolve more around deciding when and how to use your abilities instead of grinding for resources to sit on healing items and restoratives.

    The pacing is fairly quick, and the game is modestly linear, which in the case of an untranslated import to an English speaker is somewhat of a blessing; it limits the trial and error and keeps the story progressing.

    The menus aren't overly cumbersome, and I was able to figure all the basics of the combat and status menus without much effort. The enjoyable combat, dark fantasy theme, and pacing kept me enjoying it quite a bit. I'd really recommend it to anyone who is wanting to test the waters on untranslated RPGs and see if they can take them on. It's a great starting point for that purpose and an enjoyable game with nice 2D sprites, average music, and good cutscenes, and it costs next to nothing. I don't have a capture card, but I'll try to post some pictures of the case/etc. if anyone wants to see them.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 03-10-2016 at 10:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Solo Crisis

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ID:	7961Next is Solo Crisis for Sega Saturn. The game is by Quintet, best known for their Soul Blazer/Blader Heaven and Earth trilogy with Illusion of Gaia and Tenchi Souzo/Terranigma, as well as the ActRaiser games.

    The game is definitively a strategy game, but it is a strange amalgamation of Tactics Ogre and Populous. You move characters around a grid-based map, upgrade classes, grow your army, and combat enemy soldiers. At the same time, those characters are also used to build buildings and other structures that are used to fortify your areas and yield bonuses and resources. The Populous part comes in where you can terraform the map as well in a god-like fashion, causing rises in elevation, formation of canyons, brush fires, etc. Where this really gets crazy is that the map has a top-side and a bottom-side, forming sort of a light/dark, yin-yang setting, with portals and the end of the map to allow transportation between the two sides. However, not only can you move between the two, the acitons on one side affect the other. For instance: raising the elevation on the top side of the map will cause a recess to form on the bottom side in the corresponding location.

    The game is broken into several levels/maps, in which you much achieve goals/cleanse each world. I am still figuring out much of the game's systems, but it's definitely intriguing. You have god-like powers very reminiscent of the Master in ActRaiser, such as lighning strikes and falling meteors, yet individual characters to move around, level up, and strategize. The options menus are in English, but the in-game menus are mostly icon-based with descrptions in Japanese. It is not immediately accessible at all, but sweet lord is it interesting to try to play. On the whole, I wouldn't recommend it to most players, as it's just a whole lot to figure out if you can't read the language, like me. However, if you can read Japanese or are willing to put a lot of time into understanding the game, it doesn't cost much of anything and is a pretty unique amalgamation of styles. I kinda dig it.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 05-12-2015 at 07:04 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Downtown Nekketsu Koushin Kyoku: Soreyuke Daiundokai

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ID:	7962So, that title's probaly butchered. I'm on vacation this week and my wife's on a work trip for a couple of days, so sorry if I go overboard. I have a few years worth of nonsense most people in my real life aren't overly interested, but I really like to talk about. So, yeah, this one's not as obscure, but it's one of the lesser-known Kunio-kun titles, and one of the best that gets overlooked. So, Downtown Nekketsu Koushin Kyoku: Soreyuke Daiundokai for the PC Engine CD.

    I think to the US audience, most people who love the Kunio franchise have probably already played Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge and know it as a Downtown Nekketsu take on the established Track and Field button mashing formula that can be fun with other players, but is horrific agains a computer opponent. That game is a sequel to this one, which was never properly localized. This game, however, is no Track and Field clone!

    The huge difference between this game and Crash 'n the Boys is the way the game controls. This game is NOT played by alternately pressing buttons rapidly or jamming on one button to fill a gauge and then pressing the other. No, no... This plays with the exact same control you'd experience in River City Ransom or Kunio-kun Jidaigeki-it plays like a beat 'em up. You double tap a direction to run, you pick up items and use them... but in an athletic multi-sport interschool contest!

    There are four events: Cross-Country, Obstacle Course, Ball Breaking, and Fighting. Cross-Country and Obstacle course play the same-run from screen to screen, beat 'em up style. You can run, jump, climb, punch, and kick, as well as grab weapons to beat on rivals or throw at them, as well as energy drinks to refill your health. You can KO your opponents or race to the end, but you are awarded bonus points for attacking and using items, as well as by your finishing place on each screen and the race. The racer with the most points wins the event. Health matters, as only a small amount regenerates between events, so using characters in their best events is important, especially if you set each event to multiple rounds. The Obstacle Course mixes things up by throwing in environmental hazards, but functions identically.

    The Ball Breaking event partners two schools against the other two. The goal is like a wrestling ladder match, but instead of grabbing the belt, you punch a ball at the top of a pole repeatedly. The team that breaks the ball wins, and point are also awarded for violence. The last even, Fighting, is exactly what you think-a free for all four-way brawl. Points for attacks and knockouts.

    The game changes significantly if multiple rounds are selected, as conserving health and using characters strategically is a big deal, as some characters are SIGNIFICANTLY weaker than others. Sacrificing a round to save a big hitter becomes as important as beating your opponent over the head with a stray tire.

    This game offers 4 player simultaneous play, and makes for a phenomenal party game. Beating a good friend's ass with a pipe during a foot race is hilarious, and the comfortable beat 'em up controls make the game a blast to play, as opposed to the exhausting button mashing similarly themed games present. The PC Engine version offers voiced cutscenes and interludes with intros for each school and joke cheerleader competitions like tug of war add to the festive atmosphere. The game is also on the Famicom and Game Boy, though from what I gather the events are different on the GB version. If you like the Kunio games, competitive party games, or want to try a track event game that is way over the top and doesn't wear your wrists out, I can't recommend it enough. This is not Crash 'n the Boys. It's a lot more fun.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 05-12-2015 at 07:05 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Kickball

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ID:	7963For years, no console featured a take on the playground classic, Kickball. In Japan, though, the PC Engine got a mascot-themed Kickball game called, innovatively enough, Kickball!

    Mascots you say? Oh, yes, but not mascots that most people have any familiarity with at all. Most notably featuring Shockman/Schbibinman characters, in this game you choose team comprised of copies of one character and pit them against similarly goofy teams. Some of the teams are: Shockman, whatever the girl from Shockman is, a weird bodybuilder/wrestler, dolphins, sumo wrestlers, and so on. There are multiple terrain types, ranging from grass to ice, and different teams perform better on their preferred turf.

    For the most part, this is a bare-bones kickball game that plays very similarly to most early baseball games such as RBI Baseball. However, each team has 10 power pitches to use in any contest, which differ by team. Sumos and Wrestlers throw super fast, Shockman and Shockgirl's disappear, the dolphins zig-zag. The batter/kicker can use an unlimited supply of power kicks as well, but the timing to pull them off is extraordinarily challenging. Four strikes or fouls and you're out... but if you kick the ball in play, that's where the game gets fun.

    There are no home runs. The ball will always bounce back in play, and once you've fielded it, you have two options. One button throws to the base with a corresponding press of the D-pad. The other button throws at the runner running to that base. The throws at the runner are MUCH faster, but the runner has two dodge options-duck or jump. If they dodge successfully and the throw is not online with a base, it will go wild, and they will get extra bases. However, if you play the angles right, throwing at a runner that will be cut off by a fielder standing on a base can help you get force outs.

    The game is basic, but it can be a lot of fun for two players or a tournament. Given that the game is by Masaya, I'd have loved to see some Adon and Samson from Choaniki to go against Shockman, or maybe a Langrisser team, but it's still a decent game. In retrospect, this game, while fun but unimpressive today, might have had a chance at resonating in the US on Turbografx had it been given a chance. Sports games were big then with just about all players, and Kickball was a mainstay with the target demographic here... Eh, who knows. Today, though, it can be had for dirt cheap, especially for a loose HuCard, and if you have someone to play it with, can give you a fun afternoon.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 05-12-2015 at 07:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Bakuiden: The Unbalanced Zones

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ID:	7964I've spent a lot of time in recent years taking chances on PC Engine and PC Engine CD games with little foreknowledge on what I was getting into. Awesome sites like the Brothers Duomazov offer some comprehensive information on the console, but it's still been a wide open frontier to me when running across games to try. Bakuiden: The Unbalanced Zones is a direct result of taking a blind chance on something without a lot of good info available.

    The game prominently features the J-Rock band Bakufu Slump, known for... something, I suppose. That's a cultural gap I haven't crossed. However, cartoon representations of the band crash into the game's main character's room while he is playing video games and send him on a quest. What quest? Good question. I'll let you know if I ever figure it out.

    What I CAN say about the game definitively is that it is meant as a comedy experience, and not as a challenge of your reflexes or thought processes. No, this is a direct take on the model set forth in games like Sega's Panic! for the Sega CD (which somehow got remade for PS2, but with more poop...). You find yourself on a screen with an absurd situation. You click on things and cause various comical situations to unfold. Choose incorrectly, and somethine really weird and usually humiliating will happen. Choose correctly, and... well, something humiliating will usually happen, but you'll get to move on. The goal appears to be to complete these "challenges" presented to you to please the toga-clad band members so that they will bless you with their rock and roll awesomeness. To be clear, this is not so much a game as it is a comedy experience, much like Panic!, and is meant for the fans of Japanese-style potty humor, such as Crayon Shin-Chan. You play it to see something stupifying and laugh about it. If that doesn't sound like fun, and I assure you that to most people it is not, then I'd stay away. Far away. If you loved Panic!, though, and have been wondering when someone would pick up its mantle and run with it, well... I'm sorry, and enjoy!
    Last edited by celerystalker; 05-12-2015 at 07:10 PM.

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    Default Treasure Strike

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ID:	7965Treasure Strike for Dreamcast is a real sleeper from KID. The game is a 3D platformer designed with 4 player competitive multiplayer in mind, and it's a wild one.

    For starters, you create your character, and it's a handful. Gender, height, weight, eyes, mouth, nose, skin and hair colors, hair style, and so on... and you start with the most basic equipment. You then begin your character's campaign. In this mode, you meet the monarch and get sent on treasure quests against rival treasure hunters, and that's where the basic gameplay model presents itself.

    Each hunter starts at their own starting location, and goes into the ostensible arena with the primary goal of discovering the target treasure, which is hidden in a chest in the environment. It is a 3D platformer like Super Mario 64, but there are three colored keys scattered throughout the level. The keys open chests of the corresponding color, and multi-colored chests require keys of each color to open. Brown chests require no keys. As you begin opening chests and collecting treasures, you will encounter your rivals, and try to take their keys and treasures by hitting them with melee and projectile weapons. Your initial weapons suck, but you can upgrade in between missions. If you manage to KO a rival, they return to their spawn point and drop all of their items. Once a character finds the target treasure, an alarm goes off, and everyone swarms to them to try and steal it before they can return to their spawn point. Successfully returning the item to the monarch results in a monetary reward that can be used to purchase new clothes and weapons at the shop... and even better, you can use the other treasures you found at a workshop to create bizarre new weapons!

    The single player campaign is essentially a window to character development and customization so that you can then bring it on your VMU to play against other humans, which is where the real fun kicks in. It is an absolute riot to blindside another player with an entirely unknown weapon you built that can't be purchased and see their reaction. The treasures gained in multiplayer tend to be better, and you don't have to give the valuable ones to the monarch. Creating and unweildly blue-skinned bunnyman with a chansaw hand and homing rainbow gun is absolutely priceless when warring against a friend's bald, cross-eyed warrior with a bomb launcher and machine gun. If you can convince other people into playing the game with you and taking the time to make their own characters, it is tremendous fun. Finding four people willing to muddle through the Japanese menus to make this happen is the biggest challenge. If you have friends up to the task or who will at least play with characters you make them, it sure is a blast. The multiplayer is where the money is at, though, so I wouldn't expect to be thrilled playing alone. I love this one, and my brother and I sure shot the crap out of each other a few times. For the record, he was the asshole with the rainbow gun, and I'm still jealous.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 05-12-2015 at 07:12 PM.

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