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    Mar 7th, 2008 at 05:44:35     -    Touhou 10 - Mountain of Faith (PC)

    GAMEPLAY:

    I spent a few more hours with the game. It is utterly addictive in its way of gameplay, even if the levels are practically fixed. The enemies always comes from the same location and fires the same way, with the only different being when I kill them. This game relies primarily on the concept of a “bullet-hell” style. This is a style in shoot ‘em up games where the screen is filled with numerous bullets and the player must navigate through these bullets to safety. With the amount of bullets that are thrown at you, it would be nearly mind-numbing to try to memorize all the patterns even though it can be done.

    The game can become frustrating at parts, especially with the sometimes ridiculous waves of projectiles that the bosses throw at you. These ways often require concentration to avoid, especially since other waves overlaps and pass through other projectiles, creating an intricate moving network that required me to constantly have my finger on the slow button. But with the harshness of the game, I found Touhou to be a very fun shoot ‘em up to play.


    DESIGN:


    The characters and bosses in the game are primary magical girls that seemed to be under ten years old, with the main canon fodders enemies being angels that fly across the screen. The game is a vertical shooter with a bit more than the left half of the screen being used for the flying and combat. The right side of the screen contains the statistics that include the score, lives, and the power-up value. The power-up value is different from other games, in that when you pick up the red cards that are dropped by enemies, the value increases for a small decimal number. Whenever it reaches a whole number, your character gets an increased firepower to use. Every time the character uses a bomb, the power-up value decreases. This makes strategy somewhat important as the power-up value combines increased firepower in relations to bomb-usage.

    The backgrounds are absolutely beautiful, with three dimension clouds passing by on the first level. There is even land far below that is viewable. What makes the background even more interesting is that when boss fights occurs, a new background overlaps over the original background. One particular example was a wooden screen with Japanese characters carved out of the wood to create holes that you can see the previous background of clouds and landscape moving past.

    The bosses each have their own health bar that decreases rapidly at first, but as it goes further down, it takes more shots to damage the boss. After the boss reaches the small black portion of the bar near the end, the female magical girl that the boss portrays changes her attack waves to a more difficult style. After the bar completely empties, the magical girl changes style again as the bar refills. This repeats for a few times before the boss finally dies, but it is a new style that I haven’t seen on other shoot ‘em ups besides the Tohou series.

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    Mar 7th, 2008 at 04:58:17     -    Touhou 10 - Mountain of Faith (PC)

    SUMMARY:
    Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith is the tenth game in the Touhou series that has built a large following as great shoot ‘em up games. Supposedly, the game has a great storyline, but unfortunately, I have no learned Japanese so I can’t tell you anything about the story.

    GAMEPLAY:
    First off, I have played the other games in this series and I love the series. I may be biased for the series, but it’s justified in the fact that they tend to change the formula around at least a little bit with every sequel they create. The previous series included a shoot ‘em up with a rival opponent on the other side of the screen in their own box, advancing through their level in the style of Dr. Mario or versus mode in Tetris. Another of the games had a mechanic where you take photographs of the enemy boss to damage them. In any case, the game series thrives on the uniqueness of each individual game in the series, while staying true to its main storyline and concept.

    Anyways, I started playing this game with great expectations. More or less, it didn’t quite exceed my expectations. In fact, I would say I was a little disappointed. The mechanics were pretty much the same, though now they changed the power up meter. Just like all the other Touhou shoot ‘em ups in the series, there is the shooting button, the bomb button, and the slow button. The gameplay is pretty standard, yet still has the refreshing adrenaline rush to avoiding all the bullets that are coming at my character.

    I played through a few levels with great satisfaction to the numerous patterns that the bosses were able to fire out. The intricate bosses and their style from previous games remained the same, including the ridiculous health bars that these bosses have.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 04:21:58     -    Gradius (NES)

    GAMEPLAY:

    Well, my opinion is reaffirmed. This game is absolutely abysmal. If I have to play another hour of this game, I might have to destroy my counter. The ridiculous gameplay mechanics with the unbalanced difficulty makes this an infinite chore to go through. I can’t even get past the first level. They only give you about four lives to survive on, which is truly not enough.

    The odd thing about the music is that at the beginning and at checkpoints where they start playing this odd blend, you can’t hear the sound effects no matter how much you shoot. Only when it is playing the regular music can you hear the sound effects. This is probably a limitation of the Nintendo, but it is such a relief to get away from the sound effects which are just loud pinging noises in its different variations. Sadly, this is the only good part about the game.

    DESIGN:


    The game throws you into the ship with four lives to count on. Unfortunately, your ship might as well be made out of junk. It flies like a rock, and requires that you are forced to spend your first power-up on speed, regardless of your skill level. First of all, the power up system is a unique system that is only used in the Gradius series. There is a bar at the bottom with several power-ups that you can choose to activate, provided you have picked up enough power-ups. This would have been a supposedly good system for this game, if it weren’t for the fact that the enemies were incredibly difficult.

    The enemies are much, much quicker than your ship, able to fly across the screen at speeds that are hard to keep up with, especially when your own ship flies like a giant rock in space. Often times, I found myself killed by the enemies ramming their ship into my ship. Even their own gunfire is much slower than they are, so much so that it will leave you wondering why they don’t just fire ahead of their ship and rush into it to kill themselves. It would have made a much more satisfying gameplay than this. Your extremely slow rate of fire allows the enemy to also be able to just gang rush your ship. The fact that they are able to gang together and rush at your ship in a straight line while you are constantly firing and still kill you leaves me mystified. What’s even more annoying is the jumping ground units that somehow even faster than the ships, and can jump through the landscaping such as mountains that, somehow, have a tunnel through the middle.

    You are given four lives with absolutely no continues, making it important that you stay alive. Each time you are killed, you start back at the checkpoint with only a single power-up to spend before you are faced with an onslaught of speedy enemies. An odd part of the landscaping is that if you go to the top of the screen, you are okay, but if you touch the landscape at the bottom of the screen, you will be killed.

    There is not much else to talk about since I can’t much further. My final opinion is…I hate this game.


    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 21st, 2008 at 04:25:47.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 04:01:53     -    Gradius (NES)

    SUMMARY:
    Gradius is a shoot ‘em up that takes place in space with the player as a spaceship and loads of enemies appearing.

    GAMEPLAY:
    I came into playing this game with not much expectations for it. Even though it is considered one of the “great” games, it is still a dated game on the Nintendo. The first thing that hit me when I started playing the game is the complete lack of premise or storyline. It just sent me straight into the game without any kind of introduction to some dull storyline. That alone dimmed my expectations of the game by a lot, because I was expecting at least some kind of motivation for playing this game, but it’s only purpose seems to be that of a coin-eating arcade game.

    My play through for this first hour left me with a feeling that I was playing pong instead of a shoot ‘em up. The dull graphics were a pain to stare at while the sound effects were just plain annoying. The constant pinging type of noise for the shooting and the explosions grated so much on my ears that I had to turn off the sound. The music wasn’t bad at all, and it would have been much more enjoyable if there was a way to shut off the sound effects. The gameplay itself is dull, consisting of only shooting enemies, which are ridiculously fast for the slow rate of fire that your ship has.

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