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[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep26 – Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.

ARCADE GLORY

As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.

FISH GRAVY

What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.

AN ENTIRE LEGACY

Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.

KING OF THE ARCADE

Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.

YOUR PERFECT CABINET

The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.

THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE

One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!

DARIUS, THE OG

Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.

SILVER HAWK

Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.

THE FISH

The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.

THE COINS

What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!

DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS

Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.

I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI

One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.

DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING

Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.

TRUE POWER

One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.

YOU’RE MINE NOW!

New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!

A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA

There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.

TOP 3

My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.

THE RANKING SO FAR:

  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

Hi r/shmups! I'm currently on a project where I try to review every shmup on the Switch, so I thought I'd share my reviews here! Here's the 26th entry: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.
ARCADE GLORY
As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.
FISH GRAVY
What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.
AN ENTIRE LEGACY
Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.
KING OF THE ARCADE
Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.
YOUR PERFECT CABINET
The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.
THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE
One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!
DARIUS, THE OG
Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.
SILVER HAWK
Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.
THE FISH
The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.
THE COINS
What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!
DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS
Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.
I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI
One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.
DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING
Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.
TRUE POWER
One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.
YOU’RE MINE NOW!
New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!
A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA
There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.
TOP 3
My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
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2064: Read Only Memories: Full Review on Switch. (No Spoilers)

TLDR; 7/10. It has a pretty good story, great visual style, decision making that will alter the ending, and it is also LGBT friendly. However, it has some pacing problems, it can get tedious near the end, and there is a random factor to some of the puzzles that may require extensive trial and error. Some of the voice actors also could have used more direction. If you are a fan of point and click adventure games, check this out! Also, it has voice acting from tons of celebrities/Youtubers.


Welcome back to yet another review.Been a while since i've done one. Today we are looking at 2064: Read Only Memories, which is currently on sale for a LOT. Had some left over bucks from picking up Assassins Creed 3 (Will review that later) so picked this up.

This game is a cyber-punk, point and click adventure game set in the future, with lots of themes of identity and life and all that good stuff. Is it worth your time? Lets' find out.

Quick Disclaimer: there are no spoilers in this review:

PREMISE


The plot takes place, as you'd expect from the title, in the year 2064. You play as an (initially) nameless protagonist, working as a freelance journalist reviewing products on the "Mesh." (Internet) In this era you live in, the world is run by a mix of humans and robots, as well as "Hybrids," People who have infused their DNA with animals. One day, a robot by the name of "Turing" enters your home out of nowhere with a message: an old friend of yours, Hayden, has gone missing. Hayden is the creator of Turing, who says that their creator has been kidnapped. Turning is unique, in that they have a personality component unlike any other ROM in the world.

It's up to you to investigate his disappearance, and figure out what is going on: who kidnapped him, and why? What's the deal with Turing, and their unique abilities? From there you investigate areas, talk to people, make decisions and dialogue options, as well as solve puzzles. The plot starts simple, but quickly gets more dark and thematic as you progress.

So, a few things to note. First, this game is suuuuuuuuper heavy on social political stuff. I'm talking gendeidentity, sexuality, etc. There's a lot of little things that you'll find: First, you eventually get to name the protagonist (who is never shown by face) and you can chose pronouns (he,she,they) that you want to go by. So if you identify as non binary, or anything like that, there are options for you. Next, there are several gay/lesbian characters you will encounter. Finally, to go back to the "Hybrid" individuals, these can basically be seen as furries. If any of this bothers you, you may not like this game, but I believe the game is not particular "social justice" or "woke" about any of it: the main story is not really about these things, rather these are sub elements of the world around you. It never bothered me personally, nor did I ever feel that the game developers were trying to shove a message in my face. It didn't feel forced.

So besides that, one important thing to note is that this game has dialogue options and multiple endings. Different outcomes will happen depending on what dialogue options you've chosen. You can choose to be really nice, neutral, or an asshole to everybody. These will all affect the ending later. So the game has replay value in that regard, which is nice. There are also some branching paths in which you can do things in a certain order, or do one thing instead of another. I got... an alright ending? I was nice to everyone but I made some incorrect choices in some areas, so I got the second best ending I would say.

So now that you know all this, is the story good? Yes, honestly! It has lots of twists and turns, the dialogue is pretty good. There's mystery, murder, drama, tension, big reveals, all the good stuff a visual novel/point and click game needs. It's also pretty funny and made me laugh more than once. (Let's just say spoiled milk is the best item ever.)

However, I did have a few small gripes with the story and characters (and no this had nothing to do with their identity or sexuality) First, the story could have been paced a little bit better. There's a lot of... "Busy work" where a character wont do something for you unless you go on some kind of fetch quest for them, or help them with some kind of problem. The story basically just halts here whenever that happens, and it started to annoy me near the end. Sometimes in my reviews, I say that some of these indie games could be longer. This game is actually pretty long, especially for the price (about 10 hours) but it could have been trimmed down in a way that would have benefited the story.

Next, I take issues with Jess, a "Hybrid" character who has the appearance of a cat. This did not bother me, rather her attitude towards the protagonist. Basically, when you meet, you are given dialogue options, and you can choose to be an asshole and make a bunch of cat puns, essentially mocking her. She gets justifiably angry with you for doing so.

But I DID NOT do this, and Jess was STILL angry at me for no reason, she began saying "all you care about is making fun of me," or "you dont care about Hybrids or our identity" when I NEVER DID ANYTHING OF THE SORT. This seems more like a development oversight, like you were expected to be rude to her, but I wasent.. I literally picked every single nice option. so it made Jess seem more like a jerk than anything else. I didnt like her character because of this.. They later explain why she has this attitude, but this shouldnt have happened in the first place if I was never rude to her.

Don't miscounted my issue with Jess to the other characters. They are all interesting and have lots of little quirks that make them funny, or unique. I especially liked Turing, and some other characters (more on why later.)

The worst character, however, is YOU, The protagonist. You are a pretty blank slate if i'm being honest: And I understand why: they wanted to create a character that could identify as any gender (or no gender) so they had to write them in a way to make it super open ended. However, you are the least interesting character in the whole game, and you're more of an observer to the events around you. A part of me wonders if Turing should have been the main character...

Those are really my only major gripes with the story. It's a good narrative, it's a good length, it has lots of mystery and narrative grip, and tons of replay value.

GAMEPLAY:


This is a point and click adventure game where you navigate screens and click on objects. You can interact with the object in many ways, such as using an item on it, interacting with it directly, or speaking to it (which usually does nothing.) You will encounter many puzzles, in which you must use items or pick the correct dialogue to complete it. For the most part, the game is pretty easy: it's clear what you're suppose to do most of the time and it never felt convoluted.

There are some puzzles that have a random generator to it. For example: there's one at the end of the game involving a maze. So it will be different for every player. This is cool, but it's a timed mission, where if you mess up, you have to try again from the beginning. This feels... Unfair, because it's random, and you have no control over how the maze is layed out. However, for the most part it is streamlined and to the point.

As I mentioned earlier, different decisions in dialogue will result in different outcomes. a character may be less willing to help you if you are mean to them. Decisions matter in this game, which is nice.

I don't really have too much to say otherwise on gameplay, because it's pretty simple. Some of the controls for unique sections (like in the maze) can be confusing because the game dosent tell you what button does what, but for the most part it is easy to pick up and play! If you are a fan of older point and click adventure games, or TellTale games (more on that later) you might like this one!

VISUALS, AUDIO, ETC


This is the look and feel of the game. 2064 has a pixelated style to it (which you can see from screenshots) LOTS of Indie games do this, but it works for this one. It compliments the Cyber Punk setting very well. The animations, while limited, are good. Character models are expressive and detailed. The environments look great! Good mix of colors and building structure.

The music is also pretty great, it's atmospheric and well composed. The sound in general is very nice, there's a lot of different effects and things to hear.

I want to highlight the voice acting in particular. If any of you have played Telltale games you might recognize some of the voice actors, mostly from "Walking Dead," such as Melissa Hutchison, who played Clementine, or Adam Harrington, who played Bigby Wolf in "Wolf Among Us"

There are also several Youtubers who lend their voices to this game. NateWantstoBattle, ProZD, and Jim Sterling, among a few others, can be heard voicing the characters. This game did not initially have voice acting, but the Switch version is an updated title to the game that includes it. You can turn off voice acting if you want. Oh, before I forget, in terms of the game on Switch, it crashed on me once randomly, but otherwise I had zero issues in terms of the port.

My only gripe with the voice acting, because mostly everyone does a great job, is the direction on some characters like Lexi. Lexi has a good voice actress, but the way she says her lines is... off. I don't think she was given clear direction on what she was saying. There's a few characters like that. Otherwise, everyone does a good job, both from the professional actors and Youtbers. Nate in particular was pretty funny.

Uhhh what else... There are extras you can view. Concept art, trailers, music, etc. Which is nice.

Annnd I think that's all I have to say:

FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a pretty good game. For 3 bucks, it's a really good deal, especially considering the replay value and content given. The story was really good and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked most of the characters. It looked great, it sounded great, it has replay value... There's a lot to like here. If anything I said interests you, check this game out!

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

Thank you for reading! Check out my other reviews down below!

Resident Evil Revelations 2
Resident Evil Revelations 1
The Coma: Recut
This Is The Police
The Banner Saga Trilogy
Hard West
A Case of Distrust
The Long Reach
No Thing
One Night Stand
Return of the Obra Dinn
Assassins Creed: The Rebel Collection
Ace Attorney Trilogy
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20 Point and Click Games You Should Play Right Now!

1. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
Monkey Island 2 follows Guybrush's continuing adventures some time after defeating the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. His arrival on Scabb Island was in pursuit of the legendary treasure of Big Whoop. LeChuck's Revenge plays like most SCUMM-based point-and-click adventure games. Actions and dialogues are depicted on an Animation Window which covers the top of the screen; verbal commands are listed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, while Inventory items are shown as icons on the lower right-hand corner. A Sentence Line is located below the Animation Window and serves in describing the actions of the player.The game was one of the few adventure games that offered the player a choice in levels of puzzle difficulty. In some versions, before starting the game, the player is prompted to choose between regular version and "Monkey 2 Lite", a relatively stripped-down experience that bypasses many puzzles entirely. On the back of the game's packaging it is (jokingly) stated that this mode is intended for video-game reviewers.
2. Day of the Tentacle
The game, a loose sequel to Maniac Mansion, is focused on Bernard Bernoulli — the only one of the three playable characters that was featured in the first game — and his friends Laverne and Hoagie, as they help Dr. Fred Edison using a time machine to prevent Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. The game utilizes time travel and the effects of changing history as part of the many puzzles to be solved in the game. Day of the Tentacle follows the point-and-click two-dimensional adventure game formula, first established by the original Maniac Mansion. Players direct the controllable characters around the game world by clicking with the computer mouse. To interact with the game world, players choose from a set of nine commands arrayed on the screen (such as "pick up", "use", or "talk to") and then on an object in the world. This was the last SCUMM game to use the original interface of having the bottom of the screen being taken up by a verb selection and inventory; starting with the next game to use the SCUMM engine, Sam & Max Hit the Road, the engine was modified to scroll through a more concise list of verbs with the right mouse button and having the inventory on a separate screen.Day of the Tentacle uses time travel extensively; early in the game, the three main protagonists are separated across time by the effects of a faulty time machine. The player, after completing certain puzzles, can then freely switch between these characters, interacting with the game's world in the separate time periods. Certain small inventory items can be shared by placing the item into the "Chron-o-Johns", modified portable toilets that instantly transport objects to one of the other time periods, while other items are shared by simply leaving the item in a past time period to be picked up by a character in a future period. Changes made to a past time period will affect a future one, and many of the game's puzzles are based on the effect of time travel, aging of certain items, and alterations of the time stream. For example, one puzzle requires the player, while in the future era where Purple Tentacle has succeeded, to send a medical chart of a Tentacle back to the past, having it used as the design of the American flag, then collecting one such flag in the future to be used as a Tentacle disguise to allow that character to roam freely.The whole original Maniac Mansion game can be played on a computer resembling a Commodore 64 inside the Day of the Tentacle game; this practice has since been repeated by other game developers, but at the time of Day of the Tentacle's release, it was unprecedented.
3. The Secret of Monkey Island
It takes place in a fantastical version of the Caribbean during the age of piracy. The player assumes the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a pirate and explores fictional islands while solving puzzles. The Secret of Monkey Island is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Via a point-and-click interface, the player guides protagonist Guybrush Threepwood through the game's world and interacts with the environment by selecting from twelve verb commands (nine in newer versions) such as "talk to" for communicating with characters and "pick up" for collecting items between commands and the world's objects in order to successfully solve puzzles and thus progress in the game. While conversing with other characters, the player may choose between topics for discussion that are listed in a dialog tree; the game is one of the first to incorporate such a system. The in-game action is frequently interrupted by cutscenes. Like other LucasArts adventure games, The Secret of Monkey Island features a design philosophy that makes the player character's death nearly impossible (Guybrush does drown if he stays underwater for more than ten minutes).
4. Loom
Loom is based on a serious and complex fantasy story. With its experimental interface, it eschewed the traditional paradigm of graphical adventures, where puzzles usually involve interactions between the game character, the environment, and items the character has in their possession. Loom's gameplay centers instead around magical four-note tunes known as "drafts" that the protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare, can play on his distaff. Each draft is a spell that has an effect of a certain type, such as "Opening" or "Night Vision." Some drafts can be reversed by playing their notes backwards, so the "Dye" draft played backwards becomes "Bleach," while others, such as the "Terror" draft, are palindromes (e.g. C–E–E–C) and so cannot be reversed in this manner. Bobbin can learn drafts by observing an object that possesses the qualities of the desired draft; for example, by examining a blade while it is being sharpened, Bobbin can learn the "Sharpening" draft. When the game begins, Bobbin is only able to play drafts using the notes C, D and E, limiting his ability to reproduce more powerful drafts. As the game progresses and additional notes become available, so his ability to play new drafts increases. The game can be played at three difficulty levels, each differing in how clearly the notes being played are labeled. For example, the "Standard" level indicates the notes on a scale below the distaff, while the "Expert" level shows no notes and must be played by ear. In the original release, expert players are rewarded with a cutscene that does not appear for the other two difficulties. The later CD-ROM release, however, shows an abridged version of this scene to all players.
5. Beneath a Steel Sky
Beneath a Steel Sky is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player uses a point-and-click interface to interact with the environment and to guide protagonist Robert Foster through the game's world. To solve puzzles and progress in the game, the player collects items that may be combined with one another, used on the environment, or given to non-player characters (NPCs).The protagonist converses with NPCs via dialogue trees to learn about the game's puzzles and plot.Clues and other information are obtained by clicking on items in the inventory and on objects in the environment.Unlike in most adventure games at the time, the protagonist's death is possible, after which the player starts from the last save point.The player controls a character called Rob Foster. Rob was rescued by a tribe of bandits as a child after he was found as the only surviving member of a helicopter crash, on which his mother was also a passenger. He is raised by the tribe and comes to look upon them as his family, learning skills such as hunting and building himself a robot from discarded scraps found in local garbage dumps. They inhabit a barren wasteland known as "The Gap", a deserted area that was once part of the Australian outback, a harsh place where daily survival is a struggle.
6. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure
Last Crusade was one of the most innovative of the LucasArts adventures. It expanded on LucasArts' traditional adventure game structure by including a flexible point system—the IQ score, or "Indy Quotient"—and by allowing the game to be completed in several different ways.The point system was similar to that of Sierra's adventure games, however when the game was restarted or restored, the total IQ of the previous game was retained. The only way to reach the maximum IQ of 800 was by finding alternative solutions to puzzles, such as fighting a guard instead of avoiding him.This countered one common criticism of adventures games, whereby since there is only one way to finish the game, they have no replay value.Also, the point system helped the game to appeal to a variety of player types. Some of the alternative fights, such as the one with the Zeppelin attendant, were very difficult to pass, so the maximum IQ was very difficult to achieve.
7. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
The plot is set in the fictional Indiana Jones universe and revolves around the eponymous protagonist's global search for the legendary sunken city of Atlantis. Sophia Hapgood, an old co-worker of Indiana Jones who gave up her archaeological career to become a psychic, supports him along the journey. The two partners are pursued by the Nazis who seek to use the power of Atlantis for warfare, and serve as the adventure's antagonists.Fate of Atlantis is based on the SCUMM story system by Ron Gilbert, Aric Wilmunder, Brad P. Taylor, and Vince Lee, thus employing similar gameplay to other point-and-click adventures developed by LucasArts in the 1980s and 1990s.The player explores the game's static environments while interacting with sprite-based characters and objects; they may use the pointer to construct and give commands with a number of predetermined verbs such as "Pick up", "Use" and "Talk to".Conversations with non-playable characters unfold in a series of selectable questions and answers.Early on, the player is given the choice between three different game modes, each with unique cutscenes, puzzles to solve and locations to visit: the Team Path, the Wits Path, and the Fists Path.In the Team Path, protagonist Indiana Jones is joined by his partner Sophia Hapgood who will provide support throughout the game.The Wits Path features an abundance of complex puzzles, while the Fists Path focuses heavily on action sequences and fist fighting, the latter of which is completely optional in the other two modes.Atypical for LucasArts titles, it is possible for the player character to die at certain points in the game, though dangerous situations were designed to be easily recognizable.A score system, the Indy Quotient Points, keeps track of the puzzles solved, the obstacles overcome and the important objects found.
8. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Sins of the Fathers follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of a rare book store, and fledgling writer, as he investigates a series of local murders he plans to use as the basis for his new novel.Its story unfolds, mostly linearly, over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions which must be performed before proceeding to the next day. However, within each day, play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game, a running score is kept as new challenges, both required and optional, are completed.Unlike newer graphical adventure games using context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the Fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" so that the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on- screen object. The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: "WALK", "LOOK", "ASK", "TALK", "PICKUP", "OPEN/CLOSE", "OPERATE", and "MOVE". Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle.Also located on the "icon bar" are the "INVENTORY" and "RECORDER" buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the "CONTROLS" and "HELP" buttons. Clicking on the "INVENTORY" button will open the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use "READ", "OPEN", and "LOOK" commands with any inventory item.The "ASK" and "TALK" cursors differ in their functions. The "TALK" cursor functions as a short, general, interaction with most characters. The "ASK" cursor is available in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the displayed list. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists, while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the "RECORDER" button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code.
9. Full Throttle
Set in the near future, the game's story follows Ben, the leader of a biker gang, who is framed for the murder of a beloved motorcycle manufacturing mogul and seeks to clear his and his gang's names. Players can move the player character to any place on the scene, interact with objects that are highlighted by the cursor, or leave scenes via exits - either on foot for most scenes, or via the character's motorbike, both types denoted by their own icon. As with other LucasArts graphic adventure games of the era, dialogue plays a large part in the game, presenting story elements and information necessary to advance, as well as fleshing out the characters. During conversations with other characters, several choices of dialogue are presented. The currently selected choice is highlighted, and once clicked, the player character responds with the selected choice. Choosing the correct response allows the player to advance the conversation and ultimately advance the scene.Following on from LucasArts' previous graphic adventure, Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993), which introduced a new inventory and interaction system to replace those of their prior games,Full Throttle continued to refine on the changes introduced in Sam & Max Hit the Road: Objects or characters with which Ben can interact are indicated by a red square appearing around the cursor's crosshairs when it is placed over the object. When this occurs, holding down the control on this causes a contextual pie menu to appear - designed upon the emblem of Ben's biker gang: a flaming circle topped by a skull and flanked by a boot and a gloved hand. The player hovers the cursor over elements of the emblem and then releases the mouse button to attempt various interactions with the object; for example, selecting the skull's mouth to speak to a character, its eyes to examine an object, or the hand to pick up, use, or pull the object. Right-clicking anywhere on the screen brings up the player's inventory of collected objects, which can be examined or dragged and dropped in order to use them with other items in the inventory, or with objects or characters in the scene.
10. Sam & Max Hit the Road
Based on the 1989 Sam & Max comic On the Road, the duo take the case of a missing bigfoot from a nearby carnival, traveling to many Americana tourist sites to solve the mystery. The player uses Sam to explore the pre-rendered cartoon environments of the game and solve a series of puzzles using a simple point-and-click interface.The game's puzzles have logical solutions, although a number of them have far-fetched solutions due to the game's cartoon setting. Players can set the game's cursor in a particular mode to designate how Sam interacts with the environment: Sam can walk around an area, talk to other characters, look at objects, pick them up or otherwise try to use them.The cursor's graphic changes when it is hovered over an in-game entity that Sam can interact with. When talking to another character, the player is given a choice of subject areas to discuss, depicted in a conversation tree as icons at the base of the screen. In addition to specific topics involving the game's plot, Sam can inject unconnected exclamations, questions and non sequiturs into a conversation.The game incorporates an inventory system for items that Sam picks up during the course of the game. Items can be used on other entities in the game world, or can often be combined with other inventory items to provide a new object necessary for solving a puzzle. Although Max's character will walk around the game's areas by his own will, Sam can also use Max at various points by using an inventory icon of Max's head on game objects—usually on characters where the solution to a problem involves violence.Sam and Max travel to different locations in the game using their black and white 1960 DeSoto Adventurer, which when clicked on in-game will present a map of the United States with all the available locations the pair can travel to shown. As the game progresses, the number of locations on the map increases.In addition to the main game, Sam & Max Hit the Road includes several minigames. Some of these, such as a carnival game based on Whac-A-Mole but involving live rats, must be completed in order to receive new items and further the game's plot, while others, such as a car-themed version of Battleship, are entirely optional as to whether the player uses them.As with the majority of LucasArts adventure games, Sam & Max Hit the Road is designed so that the player characters cannot die or reach a complete dead-end.
11. Simon the Sorcerer
The game follows a boy named Simon, who is transported to a parallel universe to embark on a mission to rescue a wizard called Calypso from an evil sorcerer named Sordid. As a point-and-click adventure game, the player controls Simon using the mouse.Gameplay involves moving Simon around and interacting with objects and other characters. The player can make Simon perform actions such as giving an item to another character, talk to another character, and pick up (add to inventory), examine, use, move, consume, wear, or open or close an item. Some actions are binary: they involve two objects and the player sometimes, after telling Simon to use an item, needs to specify what to use it with.A map that enables Simon to instantly transport to a major landmark (if it has been discovered) is provided.The postcard is used to load, save, or quit the game.The game includes parodies of various popular books and fairy tales, including Rapunzel, The Lord of the Rings, Discworld, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
12. Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe
The Evil wizard Sordid is brought back to life when a magic-book of his is set ablaze and thrown into the middle of a chalkboard pentagram by the father of Runt, a young boy wanting to become a mighty sorcerer. Sordid promises him that he can become his apprentice if he helps him exact his vengeance on Simon.Several months later, Sordid's Fortress of Doom is reconstructed and Sordid has a new robotic body. He sends a magical wardrobe to fetch Simon but it accidentally ends up on the doorstep of Calypso, the wizard Simon had to save in the last game. Simon then starts to look for a fuel called mucusade which he needs to power the wardrobe in order to get home.
13. Flight of the Amazon Queen
Flight of the Amazon Queen is a point and click graphic adventure game. It follows a pilot for hire named Joe King who is hired to fly a famous actress to her next job, but ends up in a lightning storm and crashes deep in the Amazon Jungle. In the jungle, Joe uncovers a plot by a mad scientist to take over the world by creating an army of dinosaur women created from Amazon women.
14. Dark Seed
Unlike most point-and-click adventure games, which give the player time to explore, many actions in Dark Seed must occur within precise time limits, or the game will end up in an unwinnable state. As a result of this, one must start over repeatedly to win without resorting to a walkthrough. Amiga Format, in its review, stated with regards to Darkseed's gameplay: "Too many things in the game need to be done within a specific time, or in a certain order, and you don't necessarily know when you've passed that 'critical point' after which you're fighting a lost cause. As a result, you often have to play the game several times over, going through scenes you've seen countless times before." Certain events/puzzles rely on the player dying and then learning from there what to do: for instance, on day two, police wait outside Dawson's house in the afternoon to arrest him if he steps outside the front door, with no clue as to their presence until it's too late, resulting in a game over. Similarly, the player must take a painkiller each morning in the bathroom or the protagonist continually complains about a headache after every line of dialogue; there is no hint or indication to do this.The player has three real time hours within which they must complete the game, which is the equivalent of three in-game days. Time can also be passed by using the in-game wait function, and the time can be checked by looking at Dawson's watch, or by inspecting the grandfather clock in the house. At the end of each day, Dawson goes to sleep and upon going to bed, each night he has a nightmare of the Dark World. Dawson automatically goes to sleep at ten P.M. each night, regardless of where the player is. If it becomes night while Dawson is in the Dark World, he will fall asleep and die, resulting in a game over. Dawson is able to access the Dark World on day two upon receiving a piece of a mirror in the mail and re-assembling it with the rest of the mirror, creating a portal to the Dark World. Every room, person and object in the normal world has a Dark World equivalent and this is often necessary for puzzle solving.When interacting with objects, the options available to the player include look/inquire, touch/manipulate, and move, denoted by a "?", a hand, and four arrows pointing inwards respectively. Looking at an object and manipulating an object are context-sensitive: the "?" becomes a "!" when the cursor is over items or areas of interest and the hand icon points upwards when the cursor is over items that can be picked up or manipulated.
15. The Dig
In the game, the player takes the role of Commander Boston Low, part of a five-man team planting explosives on an asteroid in order to avert its collision course with Earth. Discovering the asteroid is hollow, Low and two of his team are transported to a long-abandoned complex, filled with advanced technology, on a strange alien world. Low and his companions must utilize xenoarchaeology to learn how the technology works, discover the fate of the alien race that built it, and solve other mysteries to find a way to return home. The Dig is a point-and-click adventure game, where the player, as Commander Boston Low, uses the mouse cursor to point to people, objects, and other parts of the environment to look at or interact with them, collect and use items in their inventory, and talk to non-player characters. The game runs on the SCUMM game engine, and was the eleventh LucasArts game to do so. A minigame can be found on the communicator menu, consisting of "Asteroid Lander", a Lunar Lander like game. During development, there were plans to include role-playing game elements, but these were scrapped before the game's release.
16. Maniac Mansion
It follows teenage protagonist Dave Miller as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend Sandy Pantz from a mad scientist, whose mind has been enslaved by a sentient meteor. Maniac Mansion is a graphic adventure game in which the player uses a point-and-click interface to guide characters through a two-dimensional game world and to solve puzzles. Fifteen action commands, such as "Walk To" and "Unlock", may be selected by the player from a menu on the screen's lower half. The player starts the game by choosing two out of six characters to accompany protagonist Dave Miller: Bernard, Jeff, Michael, Razor, Syd, and Wendy. Each character possesses unique abilities: for example, Syd and Razor can play musical instruments, while Bernard can repair appliances. The game may be completed with any combination of characters; but, since many puzzles are solvable only by certain characters, different paths must be taken based on the group's composition. Maniac Mansion features cutscenes, a word coined by Ron Gilbert, that interrupt gameplay to advance the story and inform the player about offscreen events.The game takes place in the mansion of the fictional Edison family: Dr. Fred, a mad scientist; Nurse Edna, his wife; and their son Weird Ed. Living with the Edisons are two large, disembodied tentacles, one purple and the other green. The intro sequence shows that a sentient meteor crashed near the mansion twenty years earlier; it brainwashed the Edisons and directed Dr. Fred to obtain human brains for use in experiments. The game begins as Dave Miller prepares to enter the mansion to rescue his girlfriend, Sandy Pantz, who had been kidnapped by Dr. Fred. With the exception of the green tentacle, the mansion's inhabitants are hostile, and will throw the player characters into the dungeon—or, in some situations, kill them—if they see them. When a character dies, the player must choose a replacement from the unselected characters; and the game ends if all characters are killed. Maniac Mansion has five possible endings, based on which characters are chosen, which survive, and what the characters accomplish.
17. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel
In November 1888, Sherlock Holmes is engaged by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to help with the murder investigation of a young actress, Sarah Carroway. She was killed outside a theatre in the Mayfair area of London. Lestrade thinks the manner of her death shows that this is another strike by Jack the Ripper, but Holmes believes someone else committed the crime. It appears that the victim was killed with an unusual knife, one shaped like a scalpel but with a serrated blade.The investigation takes Holmes and Dr. Watson to many parts of late 19th Century London, including a perfume shop, the zoological gardens, the morgue, a pub, several dwellings, Surrey Commercial Dock, Savoy Street Pier, St Pancras Station, and of course 221B Baker Street. They encounter a number of characters connected to the case and also get assistance from Inspector Gregson, the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars named Wiggins, and the invaluable tracking dog Toby. The player moves around London via an elaborate overview map. Additional locations become available when Holmes finds additional leads. In each location, the player can select nine different verbal options to interact with objects or people. When accessing the inventory menu, the player has three different verbal actions to manipulate any items Holmes has picked up. When talking to people, Holmes has different dialogue options to gain information or try to get their cooperation. Dr. Watson can give his views, which may serve as puzzle hints. He may even help Holmes to perform an action he cannot do alone. Dr. Watson's journal also references the events in the gameplay.The graphics are VGA, with MIDI music and a few scenes with digitalized speech (in the intro and end sequence, and the cutscene at St Pancras Station. In the other scenes there are sound effects, but no speech). The player interacts with the characters through a command menu with verb icons that is intuitive for anyone who had played other adventure games of the period. The 3DO version consists of full voiced dialogue and the portraits of the talkers were replaced by clips with filmed actors, but also drops Dr. Watson's journal feature.In the video clips in the 3DO version, Sherlock Holmes was played by David Ian Davies, and Dr. Watson was played by Laurie Main.
18. Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
The story is set in 1997, 9 years after the game's production. The plot follows Zak (full name Francis Zachary McKracken), a writer for the National Inquisitor, a tabloid newspaper (the name is a thinly veiled allusion to the National Enquirer); Annie Larris, a freelance scientist; along with Melissa China and Leslie Bennett, two Yale University coed students, in their attempt to prevent the nefarious alien Caponians (who have taken over "The Phone Company", an amalgamation of various telecommunication companies around the world) from slowly reducing the intelligence of everybody on Earth by emitting a 60 Hz "hum" from their "Mind Bending Machine". The Skolarians, another ancient alien race, have left a defense mechanism hanging around to repulse the Caponians (the "Skolarian Device"), which needs reassembly and start-up. Unfortunately, the parts are spread all over Earth and Mars.
19. The Curse of Monkey Island
The game's story centers on Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who must lift a curse from his love Elaine Marley. As the story progresses, he must deal with a band of mysterious pirates, a rival stereotypical French buccaneer, a band of cutthroat smugglers, as well as his old nemesis Captain LeChuck. The Curse of Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game. The SCUMM engine was also used in this Monkey Island installment but it was upgraded to a "verb coin" (modelled after Full Throttle), an interface that consisted in a coin-shaped menu with three icons: a hand, a skull, and a parrot, basically representing actions related to hands, eyes and mouth, respectively. These icons implied the actions Guybrush would perform with an object. The hand icon would usually mean actions such as picking something up, operating a mechanism or hitting someone, the skull icon was most used for examining or looking at objects and the parrot icon was used to issue Guybrush commands such as talking to someone or opening a bottle with his teeth. The inventory and actions were thus visible on click, rather than on the bottom of the screen as previous point-and-click games by Lucasarts.The player controlled a white 'X' cursor with the mouse, that turned red whenever landing onto an object (or person) with which Guybrush could interact. Holding left click over an object, whether in or outside the inventory, would bring up the coin menu, while right clicking it would perform the most obvious action with this particular object. Right clicking a door, for example, made Guybrush attempt to open it, while right clicking a person meant talking to him or her.
20. Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango takes place in the Land of the Dead (the Eighth Underworld), where recently departed souls aim to make their way to the Land of Eternal Rest (the Ninth Underworld) on the Four Year Journey of the Soul. Good deeds in life are rewarded by access to better travel packages to assist in making the journey (such as sports cars and luxury ocean cruises), the best of which is the Number Nine, an express train that takes four minutes to reach the gate to the Ninth Underworld. However, souls who did not lead a kind life are left to travel through the Land of the Dead on foot, which would take around four years. Such souls often lose faith in the existence of the Ninth Underworld and instead find jobs in the Land of the Dead. The travel agents of the Department of Death act as the Grim Reaper to escort the souls from the Land of the Living to the Land of the Dead, and then determine which mode of transport the soul has merited. Each year on the Day of the Dead, these souls are allowed to visit their families in the Land of the Living.The souls in the Land of the Dead appear as skeletal calaca figures. Alongside them are demons that have been summoned to help with the more mundane tasks of day-to-day life, such as vehicle maintenance and even drink service. The souls themselves can suffer death-within-death by being "sprouted", the result of being shot with "sproutella"-filled darts that cause flowers to grow out through the bones. Many of the characters are Mexican and occasional Spanish words are interspersed into the English dialogue, resulting in Spanglish. Many of the characters smoke, following a film noir tradition; the manual asks players to consider that every smoker in the game is dead. Grim Fandango is an adventure game, in which the player controls Manuel "Manny" Calavera (calavera being Spanish for 'skull') as he follows Mercedes "Meche" Colomar in the Underworld. The game uses the GrimE engine, pre-rendering static backgrounds from 3D models, while the main objects and characters are animated in 3D. Additionally, cutscenes in the game have also been pre-rendered in 3D. The player controls Manny's movements and actions with a keyboard, a joystick, or a gamepad. The remastered edition allows control via a mouse as well. Manny must collect objects that can be used with either other collectible objects, parts of the scenery, or with other people in the Land of the Dead in order to solve puzzles and progress in the game. The game lacks any type of HUD. Unlike the earlier 2D LucasArts games, the player is informed of objects or persons of interest not by text floating on the screen when the player passes a cursor over them, but instead by the fact that Manny will turn his head towards that object or person as he walks by.[2] The player reviews the inventory of items that Manny has collected by watching him pull each item in and out of his coat jacket. Manny can engage in dialogue with other characters through conversation trees to gain hints of what needs to be done to solve the puzzles or to progress the plot. As in most LucasArts adventure games, the player can never die or otherwise get into a no-win situation (that prevents completion of the game).
submitted by YTWhiteWolf to GraphicAdventureGames [link] [comments]

Wow, I played a lot of really good games in 2019!

This took me longer than I intended, but I wanted to do my own write-up of all the games I beat in 2019, and I had a lot of fun remembering all of them - in fact, I was actually kind of surprised at how many of the games were really great experiences (though there were a few underwhelming ones, too). Since there are a lot, I categorized them by genre to try to make it a little easier to read. Some titles are hopefully familiar so you can also reminisce, but hopefully some new to you, too, that you'll be encouraged to play. So here goes nothing...

RPGs

Shooters

Large open world games

Side-scrollers

3D action/adventure

Point and click adventures

3D puzzle games

Stealth

Horrothrillemystery

Interactive movies

Walking sims

Visual novels

Mobile games

Freeware

So that's it for 2019! I think my main takeaway is that I need to play more RPGs for 2020, and I am kind of missing a good JRPG in particular, though sometimes those are hard to commit to because of the time involved. But I suppose it's not about the number of games we beat; it's about the amount of fun we have playing them, right? :)
submitted by connorcinnamonroll to patientgamers [link] [comments]

MAME 0.217

MAME 0.217

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new MAME release? That’s right – MAME 0.217 is scheduled for release today. Just a reminder, this will be the last MAME release that we distribute a pre-built 32-bit Windows binary package for. Compiling for 32-bit targets will still be supported, but you’ll have to build MAME releases yourself starting from next month. This will also be the last release with source code distributed in the “zip in zip” archive format. We recommend getting source code by cloning a tagged revision from one of our version control mirrors (GitHub, GitLab or SourceForge), or you can use the P7ZIP tools to extract the self-extracting 7-Zip source archive. For MAME 0.217, we’ve switched the Windows tool chain to GCC 9.2.0, and uploaded an updated tools package (the minimum supported GCC version has not changed).
With all the housekeeping announcements out of the way, we can get to those juicy updates. The most exciting thing this month is the recovery of the Sega Model 1 coprocessor TGP programs for Star Wars Arcade and Wing War, making these games fully playable. We’ve been working on Virtua Fighter as well, and while the graphics are greatly improved, there are still some gameplay issues as of this release. In other arcade emulation news, sasuke has been busy fixing long-standing graphical issues in Nichibutsu games, and AJR has made some nice improvements to the early SNK 6502-based games.
On the home system side, there are some nice Sam Coupé improvements from TwistedTom, support for Apple II paddle controllers, a better Apple II colour palette, and significant improvements to Acorn RiscPC emulation. TV game emulation is progressing steadily, with two Lexibook systems, the Jungle Soft Zone 40, and the MiWi 16-in-1 now working.
For front-end developers, we’ve added data to the XML list format allowing you to handle software lists enabled by slot card devices (there are a few of these for Acorn and Sinclair home computers). The minimaws sample script has been updated to demonstrate a number of tasks related to handling software lists. For MAME contributors, we’ve made save state registration a bit simpler, and more manageable in the debugger.
You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

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