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    jp's Boktai (GBA)

    [May 13, 2005 10:35:03 AM]
    I've kept on playing because there is apparently a secret dungeon somewhere. (also, I was making time for a bunch of new games I knew I was getting...)

    Starting the game over is a bit annoying because I wanted to go straight to the tree (where you can plant fruit and stuff).. to get there I had to clear a bunch of dungeons again, kill a vampire..again. An so son. However, I enjoyed the dialogue a whole lot more.. I don't know if it is even the same, but knowing the end of the game gave me a whole new look on it. It's sort of like when you watch a movie for the second time and you notice all the little details that make sense due to the ending.

    Anyways, it is a cool game, despite its flaws.
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    [May 11, 2005 10:40:25 AM]
    At last! I finished the game! The last fight was pretty hard...until I figured out what I had to do. It also cost me most of my supplies.

    When you finish the game you get a special code to input in a Konami website (that no longer works...) You also get a breakdown of your stats, so here goes:

    Playtime: 16:23:20
    Being Found: 505
    Continues: 96
    Charge Energy: 87
    Cleared Dungeons: 26/29
    Rank: C+

    Oh well. I guess I'm not an uber-Boktai player. I do think I'll go back to the game just to check out some of the missing dungeons.
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    [May 5, 2005 09:28:23 PM]
    Saved game is a little over 15 hours.

    Good news: I'm ready to fight the final, final boss.
    Bad news: It's been cloudy and sunlight is essential.

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    [May 4, 2005 01:19:55 PM]
    Weirdest thing ever.

    I'm currently fighint the (might-be) last boss of the game but in order to get to him I had to solve some pretty neat puzzles. What is really weird is that I cleared the first one by mistake and without doing anything special. Really weird.

    I used a "reveal" grenade to see if there were any hidden chests and yes, there was one. But then, when I went up to the room where I had to enter some numbers...the numbers had already been entered! Really strange! So, I just walked through the previously closed gate and kept on going. The next puzzle was similar and harder and I was only able to solve it because I knew the answer to the previous one, even though I never figured it out!

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    [May 2, 2005 11:27:47 AM]
    An "Aha!" moment. The stupid puzzle turns into a sneaky clever puzzle and the clues were there, in front of my eyes. (I also did a little experiment which confirmed my intuitions... and, they were right! I don't really want to blow the solution here, but if you're really interested feel free to drop me an email.

    After solving the puzzle I headed "up the stairs" to take on the boss. I though I had already killed this one! I mean, wasn't that the whole point of using the piledrivers and blah, blah, blah? Well, here we go again...dodging and weaving.

    I tried to to get him 5 times in a row, and failed miserably each time. I wasn't trying THAT hard (ie, not using all my items) but his special attack (a grab, hug, and bloodsuck that has the boss recover life) was getting annoying. I put the game down and picked it up 30 minutes later. This time I nailed him on my first try with nary a scratch. Isn't it funny how those things go? Sometimes you try, and try, and try, and try and fail. Then, you take a break and it works. Uncanny.

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    [April 30, 2005 10:40:55 PM]
    I'm trying to get past a stupid floor "puzzle". There are 10 digits and you have to "type" the correct code (walk over the right numbers). The code changes all the time and so far I've realized that if you are spotted by an changes. So, I carefully made my way to the beginning (where the code is written down) and then carefully back...and the stupid code didn't work. Bleagh. Stupid puzzle.
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    [April 29, 2005 10:50:44 AM]
    I've spent the last couple of sessions wandering around aimlessly. I didn't know what to do so I started to clear little zones here and there. Once again, aimlessly. (I couldn't see any obvious signs on the map of where I was supposed to go next.

    Anyways, there were 4 little zones in the top-left corner and I cleared them all. But, they seemed rather pointless. In fact, the rewards for taking out the boss at the end of each zone were pathetic to say the least. I mean REALLY pathetic. I didn't know what the point was... in fact, I even thought that I might have finished the game already (without noticing!).

    Well, fortunately that was not the case. I think that by clearing those levels I activated a "warp thing" on the floor between them. I'm not really sure. It might have been there beforehand. Well, I'm on to the final (?) part of the game... Yay!
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    [April 27, 2005 10:31:44 AM]
    Saved game is a little over 10 hours now and I've defeated 4 vampires, one for each element (hmm... how original). The funny thing is, I don't really mind. I'm willing to let go of my jaded cynical opinions and just kick back my legs and enjoy.

    The craziest thing that has happened recently is that my sidekick (a weird floating flower-like thing whose name I can't remember) died. Really. I guess it was kind of sad, but mainly it was surprising. I actually felt it was a good thing since his "helpful comments" were starting to get annoying (because they weren't helpful). I guess I think he'll be coming back since he was the one that summoned the piledriver (which is where you kill the vampires for good). Maybe I'll have to get an item to do that? Who knows...
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    [April 21, 2005 11:06:58 PM]
    Ok. It turns out I was only half right with my last entry. I wasn't stuck, I had just failed to notice the exit. (my fault, not an interface fault)

    On the other hand, that whole section of the game was a lot easier because I wasn't in the sun. It turns out that sunshine = high winds in this particular section of the game. So this supposedly really hard part (you don't want to get blown of platforms) was really easy....hehehe.

    Another think I'm starting to like is the fact that the different gun "accesories" you find serve different purposes other than increase firepower. So, there is a wee bit more gameplay than is initially apparent...though it has taken 8 hours to find out.
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    [April 21, 2005 03:34:40 PM]
    My saved game is a few minutes shy of 8 hours and I have to confess that I am becoming marginally interested in the story/world. Marginally as opposed to totally disinterested.

    Part of this might have to do with the fact that the gameplay is so... standard. There isn't much in this game that is exciting or fresh, and as I've commented on previously, the whole sunlight component is more annoying than cool. So, I guess that leaves me wondering about the setting, characters and world, right?

    Another "funny" (read: annoying) sun-related thing happened this morning. I've started exploring a city in the clouds and have reached a dead-end. I was playing on the train which means that there is no real sunlight and wandered everywhere I could go. And, I think I've really hit a dead end, unless.. and here's the catch, I need to play this part in the sun. Sigh. I guess I'll have to wait and see, right? Sigh. Again.

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    [April 17, 2005 01:35:54 AM]
    Mr. Kojima? Would you please step up please so I can slap you around a bit.

    In the words of Ernest Adams, BAD DESIGNER! BAD DESIGNER! No twinky for you!

    If you've been reading this, you might be aware that I have had some trouble with the weather (at the time I can play). Basically, no sun has meant no chance of making any progress. The next to last time I played I had defeated a vampire and dragged his stupid coffin all the way back (through much pain and little glory) to the piledriver. You HAVE to have real sunlight to start the piledriver. Have to.

    So, I saved the game until a better day. That day turned out to be yesterday. Ah! Here I am with 5 minutes in the sunshine, ready to start up the piledriver and get a move on with the game. I boot up, and the coffin isn't there! Huh? Silly me, I must have loaded the wrong saved game. Re-boot. Huh? What the... you mean...


    The coffin was all the way back at the vampires hideout. I had to go all the way back to get it and then drag it all the way back to the piledriver (this time with a little less suffering, but nonetheless).

    It's a cute trick when you are playing the game and the coffin jerks and tries to wiggle its way back. It kind of forces you to be on your toes and pay attention. But when you've saved your frigging game only because you couldn't play only because there was no real sunshine?! Give. Me. A. Break.

    Here's a little reality check for Mr. Kojima. The game is for a hand-held device. Get it? People want to stop playing and save anytime. People want to be able to pick it up and play it for a little while. People don't want to replay entire sections of the game without saving because that might take longer than the can play at a time. Get it?

    You bad, dad designer, no twinkie!
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    [April 5, 2005 11:42:12 PM]
    Before you begin to wonder...yes, the whole sunshine thing is still pretty annoying. The time of day during which I can play doesn't help much, but at least we set our clocks forward an hour (so I can get some early morning sunlight). To make matters worse, there seems to be a problem with saving your game. I've, sometimes, started up the GBA only to take advantage of a little sunlight to charge up my batteries. Since I can't actually play when I'm doing this, I just save the game and switch it off. (that way, when I CAN play, at least I'll start off with full sunlight in my gun). No such luck. It seems that sometimes, even though you do save, it doesn't maintain the state of the gun's batteries. So, I boot up... itching to go. And pffft.... out of energy, thank you very much.

    I'm still trying to play this though. I've recently passed the 4 hour mark on my save game and I have yet to take out 2 vampires that are "waiting". I've done ALL the intermediate zones in hopes of picking up some items that are apparently very important (namely, a fire lens or an ice lens). Well, I didn't find either so I thought I might as well go for the Vamps. Sigh.

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    [March 31, 2005 02:32:58 PM]
    I'll have to start calling this game "Boktai: The Accursed". Whenever I want to play gest cloudy, or it rains, or there is an eclipse..or...well, you get the picture.

    So, my saved game is at a little over 3 hours at the moment and I feel like I've made no real progress. However, the game has "opened up" a lot in terms of areas to explore/clear, which is nice. This is definitely closer to an RPG than what it seemed liked initially.

    I kind of like many of the little "puzzles" the game has. Sure, they are mostly sliding crates (think Sokoban) or Metal Gear Solid stealth (think VR Missions) but still. I do kind of enjoy them anyways. I'm not sure if other people think the same or whether they go "Crate puzzles? Geez Hideo...What were you thinking?!?".

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    [March 21, 2005 02:43:17 PM]
    What I feared has happened. I spent half of my commute staring at the ceiling because I could not finish the vampire on the piledriver. You see, there was no sunlight to turn on the machine. Stuck. Useless. Sigh.
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    [March 18, 2005 11:45:09 AM]
    I'm pretty close to finishing the second vampire and I've come to realize something. Thanks to crappy local weather (it's been dark, cloudy and rainy for the past 4 days) I've had no chance to get any real sunshine. As you probably already know, this game has a little sensor that measures sunlight. The sensor ties directly into the gameplay since it charges up your "Sun Gun" (or whatever it's called) which is your primary (only?) weapon against evil beasties.

    This is all fine and dandy. Having gameplay elements tied to a gimick piece of hardware is ok. Other games have done it in some way or another. For example, many of the Pokemon games have certain Pokemon that only come out "at night" (according to the clock) so you'd have to stay up late if you wanted to get them all. Other games have also played with the "Sometimes you have to wait, in game, before doing something". I like to think of Shenmue in this way. There are times when you have to meet someone at 8PM and it is only 7AM... That sounds like a real drag...but actually it isn't. You see, the killer detail is that in all the other games I can think of, you, the player always have an alternative thing to do which is fun, and helps you make progress in the game. (or at least in your mind). In Pokemon you can catch other Pokemon, train the ones you have, etc. In Shenmue you could practice your fighting moves, play arcade games etc. In other words, none of these games leave you stuck with nothing to do. This almost happened to me in Boktai.

    When you capture a Vampire and defeat him you then have to drag his coffin out to a special place called the piledriver. Once there, you HAVE to have some amount of sunlight to switch the thing on. This is the killer. No sunlight and you're stuck on the piledriver twiddling your thumbs while the stupid coffin tries to run away. (it kind of jiggles..). Bad, bad mistake.
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    [March 15, 2005 11:15:15 AM]
    Before I get into my first impressions I have to say that I have my doubts regarding whether or not I'll be able to play this game at all. You see, my GBA playing schedule is basically when I commute: early morning and late afternoon. Since this game relies on a sunlight sensor to charge the main characters weapon...well, it just seems like things might get a bit too much difficult for me in this arena. Additionally, and this is purely hypothetical from my part, I'm using a GBA-SP. This is relevant because (as opposed to the GBA) the cartdridge (and sunlight sensor) face downwards when you are playing. I would assume that this would make it even harder for the whole sensor thing to work...but I could be mistaken.

    I'm currently halfway through the first mission. (Fog Castle?). I've already run into some issues that I hope have more to do with my learning the game than actual gameplay. I was dragging a coffing back through the castle when suddenly (I was distracted) it disappeared! Huh?!? I trekked back through a few rooms until I found it again... My impression is that it disappeared by a software bug as opposed to some gameplay thing. A little later on I also lost the coffin. I couldn't find it anywhere anymore... Are these bugs in the game? I don't know..I hope not.
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    jp's Boktai (GBA)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 15 March, 2005

    GameLog closed on: Friday 13 May, 2005

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Some serious design flaws, but it grows on you the more you play.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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