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Thursday, February 23, 2017


Some of you might remember waaaaay back FIVE YEARS AGO...
... I played Phantasy Star IV for the Year of Retro Gaming. And I liked it. A lot. It was probably my most pleasant surprise in the entire Mega Drive library. I had no idea Sega's machine had a genuinely great R.P.G... I got about half-way through the game and then shelved it so that I could move on to the next week's games. (Playing R.P.G.s takes a lot of time, y'know...)
Well, it's taken a long time, but I finished it yesterday! (Woohoo!) I started the game from scratch. Look, as R.P.G.s go, it's not a super-long game. I've seen it estimated at 25-30 hours. But it's a good length.
I love the manga-inspired cutscenes. I don't think there was anything else like that in other 16-bit R.P.G.s, and it really makes the game stand out. The story is good, although it does change its direction a bit. The opening hours of the game felt really quite refreshing to me, taking the characters into situations I'd rarely seen. But by the end it does move more into the "destroy the ultimate darkness" cliches, and I must admit my interest in the plot waned towards the end.
The battle system is perfectly fine, but for 95% of the game, I found spamming the "Everybody Attack" macro worked fine, with very little reason to experiment with all of the different skills and techniques.
As I said in the video, the naming of all of these skills is ridiculous. I would hope if this ever got a remake they would give them proper names. Every spell and ability in the game looks like it's being presented in a foreign language, and you're supposed to memorise them all. Did my head in!
But all up, it's a really good 16-bit game. Recommended! :)

Monday, February 20, 2017


I am loving the pants off Mark Brown's Zelda videos on YouTube. If you want a THOROUGH investigation on how Nintendo builds the dungeons in Zelda games, watch his "Boss Keys" vids. They are brilliant. This is his latest investigation, looking at what makes the very original Legend of Zelda great.