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    Apr 6th, 2007 at 02:46:01     -    Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation (GBA)

    Well, I finally beat my first run through SRW: OG1. Ironically, the final boss was easier than the boss right before her, since she had more people to kill (and therefore more chance to build up Will) and they were easier to kill. I still had to spam EN Draining stuff to get her barrier down so she couldn't knock 2000 HP off my every attack and use her most powerful attack against me, and I still had time to nearly completely drain her ammo before bringing her down. Stupid "more HP than the numbers can show" bosses... Even still she felt easier than the boss right before, mostly because I had time to bring up Kyosuke's Will so I could spam Rampage Ghost from the beginning instead of having to eat several attacks, replenish, eat several more attacks, then only get in a couple shots at the end.

    All in all, it was a pretty satisfying experience. An especially nice touch was when each character fight the last boss for the first time they said a little spiel, a little like FF6's last scene against Kefka, but with more badassery. These are robot pilots we're talking about here. It did lack the brilliance of "You all sound like pages from a self-help book!", but it had one of the characters hitting on the final boss. I can live. I am kinda sad I played the last bit over with friends so I couldn't listen to Trombe! override Marionette Messiah, but I ended the battle with Sanger anyway, so it ultimately doesn't count either way. (TROMBE!)

    Now I just have to decide between running through the alternate route real fast and getting all the extras I missed the first time around or just going straight to Original Generation 2. I mean, I didn't even fight the *real* last boss...

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 19:08:11     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    Well. After another hour of playing, I completely failed to get past Water Land. I have been made weak by RPGs and today's soft games. Gah. As a result, I also failed to get to my favourite world, Giant Land, and failed to get to world five and Kuribo's Shoe. The shoe is lost to me forever now. I hate world 3, especially stages 2 and 3, with a BURNING PASSION now. A burning passion even greater than my burning courage, but I'm going to blame that on my roommate being around, thus preventing me from being able to yell. Victory comes from courage, and courage comes from yelling. Obviously.

    That said, world 3 is well put together, if frustrating. This is where the game really gets difficult, after the easy first two worlds. And, you know, I hate water levels. The combination of Cheep-Cheeps and complicated jumping is just something I can't do very well, and I had to continue several times just to get all the way to stage four, but then made it all the way to seven with no real incident. Four isn't even all that hard, it's just two and three. I do have to admit that the rising and sinking of the airships and certain water levels is an nifty idea, and one that should be ripped off more often. It can create some very interesting applications of physics in using the movement of hte level itself to get to inaccessible places, and creates and added element of danger.

    One thing that happened to me after I beat the castle on my first trip through (due to my good stock of lives I was able to make it through all the way to the castle, then died horribly with no remaining lives), where I got a white coin ship. I had never been able to get one of those before. It promptly fled off past the screen to where I couldn't get, and I was forced to continue several times. Amazingly, though, it hung around, and eventually moved to where I could get to it, scoring me three extra lives and a hammer. In all my years of playing Mario 3, I've never managed to get one of those before, so finally seeing one was...impressive, and pretty fun. It's good to know that SMB3 can still surprise people with what it has.

    Since this was a rather short (in terms of new game uncovered) session, I'm not entirely sure of what to say. Except that despite playing them over and over again, I never got better at the first two stages. Curse them.

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 17:56:10     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    In according to the requirements, I began to play Super Mario Bros 3. I decided to play this as straight as I could, with no warping right to world 8 from the start.

    I used to have the Nintendo Power guide for this game. I'd read it all the time, probably more than I actually played the game. I don't exactly recall every secret by now (I think I spent most of my time looking at the maps anyway), but every stage of Grassland has passed into the general gaming unconscious by now anyway. As a result, there isn't much to say. I finished the first world and beat Larry with 20 lives to spare. The only secret ending I used to get out of a stage was getting the Warp Whistle in the first castle, since I hate that bit with the lowering spikes. And I didn't play stage 4, since I've had an innate hatred of auto-scrolling stages since childhood. I can beat it easily now, of course, but that's NOT THE POINT.

    Grassland does provide an excellent learning ground, though. There are plenty of secrets, especially in the first stage, for getting tons of coins and 1ups. Nearly everything is placed to guide you along a path, with enough hints to the secret objects that you can find them by yourself without being told. It makes for a nice prelude to the more complicated stuff of the later stages instead of hiding blocks with 1ups right at the start, like SMB1 did. It's an extremely well put together first world, even with all the tricks unveiled by 17 years worth of constant playing by near every gamer.

    Sandland was next, and for the most part, it's as well-known as Grassland, so I got through with no major problems (though there was one secret I forgot about...the pipe with the P-switch in Stage 2. It was amusing finding it again) until...the sun. Luckily I had played the stage recently enough that I remembered how to get past the whirlwind, but the sun would not die to kicked Koopa shells, and I got killed by it a few times; once, most frustratingly, just as I got into the end of the stage. The worst part, though, was how the Hammer Bros chose to hang out right on top of my respawn point, thus dragging me into an instant battle as soon as I came back. They were actually harder than the sand stage itself, and chewed through at least five of my lives before I beat them. And my reward? A damn music box. Who the hell even uses those? After that the rest of the world was easy, and I beat up Morton in one try. Stupid Morton.

    I continued to play through the first stage of Waterland before calling it quits. I have an irrational hatred of Bloopers ever since Japanese Mario 2 (THEY LIVED IN THE AIR WHAT THE HELL), so world 3 is far from my favourite. Overall, though, the first stage of Waterland is just a re-introduction to the swimming mechanics that have basically remained the same since Mario 1, so there's not much to tell, but that I've now been listening to the overworld music for twenty minutes now and I think it's driving me insane.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 14:06:47     -    Final Fantasy Tactics (PS)

    Gamelog for Friday, February 06, part 2.5

    Because it was late last night when I was doing my second entry, I couldn't talk as much as I'd like. Please consider this part of the second entry, just time-delayed a bit.

    Anyway. I told how I got to Dorter and beat the heck out of everyone, even if Dracula died to a knight in the process. And Delita wasted a Potion on Algus, of all people. I was kinda annoyed about that, so I'm thinking of taking Item off of him. A lot of my strategy to get my people up to speed is to kill my Guests so that the real characters can farm for EXP and JP without a Guest ending the battle by killing that last critical guy. Since I can't quite one-shot Delita yet, he has the tendency to use my potions to heal himself and Algus. On one hand, it's semi-decent AI, which is a rarity for FFT. On the other...die, damnit. (guests don't crystallize, so you can kill them with no consequences)

    One thing I mentioned was farming for EXP and JP. One of the things I rather like about FFT is the EXP system. You get a set amount of EXP and JP per action, instead of per fight or kill like in the rest of the series. As long as the action works, you get points. Now, the Squire class has two very useful abilities to take advantage of this, namely Throw Stone and Accumulate. Throw Stone tosses a rock at an enemy up to four squares away, for minimal damage, usually 6-8 max and often 3-4. This is the first long range attack you get and while it's terrible for killing things, it's excellent for sitting around throwing rocks at enemies/your team for minimal damage (thus you need more actions, getting more points) while staying out of range of counters and the like. Accumulate just adds +1 to your physical attack, which means it can't miss, doesn't do any damage, thus not ending the battle faster, and by the time you stop spamming it it's pretty easy for even a mage class to do significant damage against an enemy. Combined with the Squire's gained JP up it's pretty easy to get 300 JP in one fight, assuming you have the patience. This is, of course, breaking a system that actually makes quite a bit more sense than the typical FF system, but hey. FFT was made to be broken.

    Dorter is also where the story starts picking up. The first bits are mostly background (Fifty-Year War, brothers, et cetera), but with Dorter you get your first glimpse of the Death Corps (your random human encounters for the rest of the game, even though you make their leader run off to join the church before the first chapter ends) and your first hints that the guy you saved at Mandalia Plains, who in just about any other game would turn out to be a useful friend turns you to be a horrible, peasant-kicking jerk in just about every sense of the word. This is why I didn't want Delita wasting potions on him. (spoilers: you don't have to hang around him forever) Though the first chapter in general is rather slow and sets up the political drama that really doesn't matter to Ramza in the end, it does give a lot of useful character development. If, you know, you can understand it.

    I keep talking about how the localization for this is terrible, but it really really is. Ls and Rs are mixed up in different places (so the enemy Zalera is also Zarela), dialogue is stilted and awkward, and let's just not talk about Daravon in the tutorial or the Brave Story. (The Brave Story is a good idea though, and one I wish more RPGs would use. You can see profiles on every character in the game, even ones that never appear on-screen, rewatch old cutscenes, and get information about artifacts you found on dispatch missions. It's a little like a proto-FFXII bestiary) FFT's story is confusing enough without adding sub-SNES localization to things. It's like they didn't even bother to edit it at all, and I really wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.

    I'd like to have everyone where they're going by the end of chapter one (excepting Germain's equipment requirements), so I should do a few more random encounters before steamrolling over the last few battles. As I am right now I'd have a fairly easy time of it, by the end there shouldn't be any problem at all. The challenge should pick up around the middle/end of chapter 2, assuming a minimum of grinding after this.

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    1Final Fantasy Tactics (PS)Playing
    2Final Fantasy XII (PS2)Playing
    3Kirby's Adventure (NES)Playing
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