31 Posts

Will_Ball gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Will_Ball gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
I recently decided to jump back into the Kingdom Hearts world with Re:Chain of Memories. This was originally released as Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories for the Gameboy Advance (GBA) in 2004. The GBA version was a 2D role-playing game and card game mixed into one. Re:Chain of Memories is a 3D version that was created for the Playstation 2 in 2007. It contains the same core gameplay, but rather than being in a 2D world, you are playing it in a 3D world, using much of the same assets from the original Kingdom Hearts. The version I played was an updated Playstation 2 version that was made for the Playstation 4.

Chain of Memories is a very interesting game. It takes the Kingdom Hearts gameplay, restricts the game world size (more on that in a bit) and introduces a card game for the battles. The battles are really different. You still have the 3D movement along with jump and roll from the first Kingdom Hearts game, but to do actual attacks/most of the defense, you must play a card. You have different types of cards. There are magic cards, attack cards, item cards, character cards and monster cards. Each card has a number between zero and nine. Both the monsters and you play cards to attack each other. When a card is played there is a very small window for someone else to play a card. If the second player (you or the monster) plays a card that is a zero, equal to, or higher than the original card, the original card is thrown out. If a zero card is played first, it is the lowest card, but if it is played second it is the highest card. Zeros can break anything (this too will be explained in a bit). If the second player plays a card with equal value, the other player will be stunned. If they play a card higher than the first player, their card will also be acted upon.

On top of playing one card at a time, you can queue up three cards for a combined attack (their value is the total value of the cards). These three cards will do different things depending on what cards you play. If you play the right combination of cards you can act out a Sleight, which will do a special move. Only zero cards and a combination of three cards with an equal or higher value can beat a player playing three cards. This is where zero cards are really useful. They are quicker to cancel out three cards than building up an equal or higher amount of three cards to defeat what was played.

For creating decks, you have a certain amount of CP (I assume this means card points). Each card costs a certain amount of CP, so you have to try to maximize the usage of your CP to the best of your ability. When your character levels up, you have the chance to increase your CP by a certain amount. You can create up to three decks. Some deck builds work better than others for certain enemies. In the end I had to modify and create new decks on occasion to move past monsters/bosses.

Each character has a certain amount of hit points (including you). You end up winning battles when all the monsters have been defeated. You lose when all your hit points are gone. This is standard game mechanics here.

Overall the card game was hit and miss for me. On one-hand it was unique. On the other hand it moved too fast for me. It was hard to take in the battle field, where you are in your deck and what cards the monsters are playing. A lot of the time I felt I did not have enough time to respond to a monster’s play. For the most part, I would just put a decent deck together and spam the monsters with cards (and sometimes Sleights). Later in the game you really have to put more thought into what cards you play and the order you have them in your deck in order to get past some of the monsters and bosses.

In between battles you traverse rooms. These rooms are not all that big and get a little monotonous after a while. You do have control over what rooms you see though. As you exit each room, you are allowed to play a room card, which in turn determines the type of room you will see next. This was a cool gameplay mechanic that opens up replayability.

The story is the best part of this game. Chain of Memories picks up right at the end of the original Kingdom Hearts. Sora, Goofy, Donald and Jiminy run into a mysterious stranger. The follow this stranger into a castle and learn that their memories aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. The end result is a game that plays upon the character’s memories and really does a great job telling this story.

As for replayability, I feel this game has a lot of it. From the way you can define a room to the secret character that is unlocked at the end of this game, I could see myself revisiting it. The strong story helps too.

Overall I would recommend this game. It is a lot of fun to play. I am also curious to see the GBA version in action. I might end up tracking down a youtube video of the gameplay to see the differences. The Kingdom Hearts world definitely grew for the better with this game.


Back this on Kickstarter!
Micro Mages is a new NES platformer that supports up to 4 players at once. This game looks awesome! Morphcat Games (the developer) wanted to challenge themselves to fit this entire game into 40 kilobytes (the size of the original Super Mario Bros). They have a great video on how they compressed some of the art assets to get more out of the game with a limited amount of space. Their kickstarter says that they have the game completed, now they just need to make the physical assets. Their plan is to release the first batch of games in April and the second batch in May. You can pledge for just a digital copy of the ROM or for a physical release.


Will_Ball gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Will_Ball gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
When I first heard about Telltale taking on the Batman mythos, I thought it was a weird match, but I was intrigued to see what would become of it. Over a year later, I would be giving it a go on the Nintendo Switch.

Batman: TTS is labeled an adventure game, but I would not call it that. I would end up calling it an interactive graphic novel. There are very little adventure game portions to this game. When you do run into a traditional adventure game area of the game, there is so much hand-holding, that not much thought is needed to figure out the puzzles.

What drives this game is quick time events (QTE). Batman: TTS uses these to a fault. Sometimes they can end up with you losing the game and other times they are used to change the narrative of the game.

Along with the QTEs, the game is also driven by the branching story. This is very much a Choose Your Own Adventure Batman. The decisions you make during the dialogue portions of the game will change the outcome of the story down the road.

So how is the story? The story is very good. This is a grounded Batman universe, not a cartoon one. Telltale takes some big chances with the Batman mythos here, and I feel they did a great job. That being said, I could see the changes they made with the mythos not gelling with some Batman fans.

I am not going to spoil any of the story here, but if you are a Batman fan, I would recommend checking this out. If you are not a fan of Batman, I would tell you to skip this game.

This game is getting a Rad, because I am a Batman fan. If I were not, it would be a Meh.


Oceanhorn is very much inspired (some reviewers argue to a fault) by the Zelda series. There are a lot of similarities here: swords, bombs, action-adventure game, magic, etc. Personally, I don't mind how much Cornfox & Bros (the developers) have borrowed, or been inspired by, from the Zelda series, this is a fun game.

The story starts out with the hero's father going to fight the monster Oceanhorn. Soon after the beginning cinematic of the father's fight, you take over as the hero to search out three emblems and defeat Oceanhorn.

The world you traverse in, is very much inspired by Wind Waker. As the hero, you travel to various islands (levels) via the sea using a boat. While you are traveling on the boat you can shoot down monsters, mines, crates and barrels and collect experience and money.

The game plays out using an isometric camera angle. The visuals are really good. Cornfox & Bros definitely put a lot of time into the art. The controls are very similar to the controls of a Zelda game, so people should have no time picking this up.

I have been enjoying this game so far. That being said, I have run into a few bugs and have a nitpick with the character's voices in the game.

The first bug I ran into was: one cinematic did not run to completion. It started up and then all of a sudden ended and cut to the next interactive part of the game. This is not a huge problem as you can replay the cinematic from the pause menu, but it did take me out of the game for a second.

The second bug I ran into was the game crashing. I have only run into this once, but the game crashed out to the switch menu. This was disappointing, but luckily the last save that happened was pretty close to the crash, so I could continue on with my adventure without too much backtracking.

My nitpick with the character's voices is that they seem disconnected from the characters of the game. They come across more as voice over than characters speaking. To me this doesn't kill the game, but it is something I wish the devs spent more time on.

Overall, despite the few issues I have had with the game, I am quite enjoying it. To me this game reminds me of a indie take on the Zelda series (which it is). The game itself is very laid back and fun to explore. I look forward to finishing the game.


Metal Jesus posted a review of the RetroTINK 2x today on his youtube channel. This little device will take Composite/Component/SVideo input along with audio and convert it to 480p and output it over HDMI. All for $100. Compared to the framemeister and OSSC, this seems like it is a good affordable solution to get your old consoles up and running on modern TVs. To me it also seems easier to use, which is a bonus. I ended up pre-ordering one of these after watching Metal Jesus's review of it. What do you all think?


Back this on Kickstarter!
I just discovered this great kickstarter for the Nintendo Switch:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fangamer/flip-grip/

With Ikaruga recently hitting the switch and several other games out there that use a vertical display mode, this seems like an awesome accessory to have.

At $15 (base pledge + shipping) and with Fangamer behind it, this seems like a no-brainer.

Now everyone put your money in so this gets funded! Me want!


Will_Ball gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Will_Ball gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
The team at Powerhoof was kind enough to send Cheerful Ghost a download key for Crawl for the Nintendo Switch. After watching the trailer, I was ready to download it and give it a go.

Crawl puts you in control of a person trying to escape a dungeon, slay a beast and, in the end, freeing yourself. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well it is not. On you journey to free yourself, you are surrounded by three ghosts, who also want to make it out. Their goal is to kill you, regain human form and then try to free themselves. There can only be one human alive at one time, so not only are you battling the beasts of the dungeon, but you are battling the ghosts. Did I mention that each ghost/person can be controlled by another player (or AI)? Well it can. Welcome to Crawl!

Crawl is a hard game to explain, you must see it in action. It is a dungeon crawler/gauntlet-type game.

As a human, your goal is to defeat monsters, level up, get gold, upgrade your weapons, and make your way to the final boss.

As a ghost, your job is to beat up on the human, which you can do in multiple ways. One way to beat up on the human is to summon a monster from a summoning site. This is where you can do the most damage. Another way to kick some human ass is to possess some object, which causes a little damage. The final way make the human's day suck is to send slimes after them. You can accumulate slime like creatures by obtaining orbs throughout the game.

While your human levels up during the course of the game, your ghost can level up its monsters in between levels based on points you earn from humans leveling up. It is kind of confusing, but works once you play the game.

I love playing Crawl in spurts. It has a fun pixelated art style and a lot of character. On the Switch screen the gameplay can be quite chaotic, and sometimes you can lose track of where you character is. I have yet to play it on the TV, but it could help alleviate that problem. Even though it is chaotic on the Switch screen, it is quite enjoyable.

I could see this game being a great party game. If you have three other players going at it, there would be a lot of fun to be had. I originally thought the game had online support, so I could try multiplayer out, but it does not. This game is purely local multiplayer.

Overall, it is an enjoyable game, that can easily kill some downtime. I plan to keep playing this from time to time.

Crawl is available on pretty much every platform, so if you want to give it a go, you should have a computer/console ready to play it.


Will_Ball gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Will_Ball gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
In The Last Guardian, you, playing a young boy, awake to find yourself in a cave with a giant dog/cat/bird thingy (let's just call it Trico). With no way to escape this cave, and with Trico looking hurt, you sympathize with Trico and help him/her. After feeding Trico and tending to its injuries, Trico warms up to you like a wounded animal would. It ends up following you through caves and castles as both of you try to escape this world filled with danger around every corner.

Oh how I wanted to love The Last Guardian. The developer of this game made some of my favorite games (Ico and Shadow of the Colossus). But by the time I finished this game, I had mixed feelings about it.

The things that I love about this game are the environments, the story, and the bonding the boy and his Trico have.

The environments are grand. You really get a sense of the place this game takes place in. At times you can be in tiny corridors and other times you can be jumping and running around in big open areas. The designers did a great job designing this world.

The story and the bonding between the boy and his Trico go hand and hand. As you go through the game, not only do these two characters grow to feel for each other, but you do too. There is a great dynamic here. While this bonding develops you are also given some background on both the boy and Trico, not too much to overwhelm you, but just enough to fill in some backstory and draw you in a little more.

While all that pulled you into the game, the controls and frame rate pull you out of the game. This is what made me have mixed feelings about the game.

First of all, the controls are very frustrating. I found myself fighting the camera almost all the time. I also found myself having a hard time directing Trico. Maybe the developers were trying to be too realistic with how Trico responds to your commands, but for a video game it just does not translate well. You sometimes spend minutes trying to get Trico to do simple commands. It got to the point where you just hold down a few buttons for a while and hope Trico does what you want him/her to do.

As for the frame rate, it varies. Sometimes it is pretty smooth, but other times it gets very choppy. On a PS4 I would not expect this. It feels like the developer should have spent some more time here. I hear it works better on a PS4 Pro, so maybe they left it in as an upsell?

Overall this game had a lot of promise, only to let you down with a choppy frame rate and frustrating controls. I am on the fence between a Meh and a Rad, but will lean towards Rad as the environments and story made me finish the game and somewhat enjoy it.


https://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/1/15693/608631-ultima2_big_1_.jpg
Will_Ball gives this an unfortunate "Skip it" on the Ghost Scale
There are some major issues that may make it hard for people to enjoy this.
Will_Ball gives this a "Skip it" on the Ghost Scale
There are some major issues that may make it hard for people to enjoy this.
I recently finished up Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, so it was time to fire up Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress. I knew before starting this game that this is the weakest of the Ultima games, but given that I am trying to play and beat them all, I had to put myself through it. So what did I think? Read on and find out.

Ultima II is a role playing game that was developed for the Apple ][ and released in 1982. It has similar graphics and features to Ultima I. In it you explore Earth from an overhead perspective, explore dungeons from a first person perspective and battle a bunch of monsters. The version I played was released for DOS in 1983. It featured CGA graphics, which were standard for the time. When I tried to play this version through GOG and dosbox, I noticed some screen artifacts. I did some research and found a fan made patch that upgrades the graphics to EGA, fixes some bugs and turns off an autosave feature. I ended up playing the EGA version, which in turn looked much like the DOS port of UItima I, which was released for DOS in 1986.

Ultima II takes place many years after Ultima I. Over the years it is rumored that Mondain (the big bad you beat in Ultima I) had an apprentice named, Minax. After some time, time portals start appearing around Earth followed by monsters and darkness. Over time, the monsters and the darkness end up destroying Earth, so it is up to you to save it.

The first thing you notice when you read the story and play that game is that it does not take place in Sosaria (the location from Ultima I), but rather Earth. This is very bizarre. The game takes place in five time periods on earth. They are called Legends, Pangea, B.C., A.D. and Aftermath. Each period has a different overhead map that you traverse that reflect Earth in those time periods.

You end up spending most of your time in the overhead map battling monsters. There are a few dungeons and towers (another form of a dungeon), but these areas do not add anything to the game and you are not required to go into them.

The whole game is pretty much about resource management. You start with a limited amount of health, food and gold, which you must manage. As you move, you use up food. As you battle monsters, you lose health. The only way to gain more health is by buying it from Lord British. The only way to get food is either to buy it or steal it from some certain stores. The beginning of the game is all about a battle to survive.

After you get a good amount of food and health it is time to collect gold. You spend most of your time battling monsters just to get a little bit of gold. Out of my ten plus hours playing this game, the majority of it was going after gold.

Once you get enough gold, you can upgrade your attributes, get better weapons, better armor, better spells and finally be prepared for the final battle with Minax.

From this point on is SPOILERS. Scroll down until you see “END SPOILERS” if you do not want the game to be spoiled.

As I said earlier, you want to manage your health, food and gold. Your first priority is food, since this gets used up quick. I found the easiest way to get food was to steal it. Once I got enough food, it was time to get a boat.

The easiest way to not use up food is to get a boat. Boats do not use up food. To get a boat, you need to get a random drop of a blue tassel from a thief. Once you get this tassel, you need to wait for a random boat to show up, then you can board it. From here you can use the boat not only for movement, but also for attacks. This is the easiest way to get gold.

Once you can control a boat, the best place to gather gold is in Pangea. Since it is pretty much one landmass, you can just circle the continent with your boat and force the monsters to the shoreline. From there it takes a blast or two from your boat and you gather the rewards.

You will want to keep going around Pangea to gather enough gold (this will take several hours). Once you have enough gold, you can get more health from Lord British. You must also randomly update your stats so you can use the most powerful armor and sword.

Just like Ultima I you need to get the most powerful armor to go to space. Once in space, all you need to do is go to one planet and talk to a man. He does nothing beyond giving you his blessing to get a ring from a man in another time period.

You will also need the most powerful sword to defeat Minax. This can be gathered from a prison in the same time period where you get the ring.

Once you get both the ring and the sword, it is time to travel to the Legends time period to battle Minax. For this final battle, you need a lot of health. After defeating Minax you get a small amount of text congratulating you on defeating the boss. This was a let down compared to the screen of text you got at the end of Ultima I.

END SPOILERS

Overall this game was tedious and not really rewarding. The only reason to play this game is to say you have played all the Ultima games. I have to say that I did enjoy seeing the progress of the Ultima games. In this game you can see them start developing towns and castles, which they will use to better effect in future installments.

Next Up: Ultima III

Ultima I Review: https://cheerfulghost.com/Will_Ball/posts/3644/ultima-i-the-first-age-of-darkness-review


http://ultima1.ultimacodex.com/files/2012/05/ultima-1-title-screen.jpg
Will_Ball gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Will_Ball gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
I have toyed with the idea of sitting down with the Ultima games for some time now. I finally took the plunge with Ultima I.

Ultima I is a role playing game that was released in 1981 for the Apple ][. In 1987 Origin ported it over to the PC and DOS. This version came with enhanced graphics, more town and city variations, monsters traveling on the map, and some money enhancements. It is the 1987 version that I ended up playing.

You play the hero, who is given the quest of destroying Mondain, an evil wizard that has released monsters on Sosaria. This hero is customized at the beginning of the game. First you have to choose a race. The races consist of Human, Elf, Dwarf and Bobbit (think Hobbit). From here you pick a profession. You can choose from Fighter, Cleric, Wizard and Thief. After you choose your race and profession, you can upgrade some of your stats before venturing off into Sosaria. For this game, I ended up playing a Dwarf Fighter.

Once you enter Sosaria, you are presented with an overhead map that you can explore. The map is fairly big and easy to get lost in. I had to track down some maps to help me get around (and I still got lost from time to time). The main points of the map are castles, cities, towns, sign posts and dungeons. There is also the occasional monster traveling around that you can either ignore or fight.

When you go into a castle or town you are presented with a different overhead view. The design of the castles and town are very basic. Each castle has a king, a princess in a cell, a jester and some guards. Each town has a tavern, food shop, weapon shop, armor shop, transport shop and magic shop.

Overall there is not much to do in towns/castles. The castles provide you with some basic find/kill quests by the kings, while the towns are where you can get some hints/information and some of the items you need to beat the game.

When you go into a dungeon the perspective changes to a first person view. There is a wireframe feeling to this view. Each dungeon is a nine-by-nine grid. From what I read, they are randomly generated based on your character name. Every dungeon has multiple floors to explore. Given the number of floors, and how similar everything looks, you need to map these out as you go. I broke out some graph paper to help me through the dungeons, which in turn helped me navigate them fairly easily. The one negative thing about the dungeons, is you truly only need to go into one. Outside of layout and names, all dungeons are the same.

The overall gameplay has you killing monsters, leveling up your character, getting gold, buying food, weapons, etc. In the end it is pretty much a grind, until you beat some quests and are able to go fight Mondain.

Warning, I am getting into spoilers below. If you want to skip them, scroll down until you see "END SPOILERS".

SPOILERS

For the majority of the game, you go get quests from each king. You truly only need to complete the four monster killing missions, but you can complete the finding sign posts missions for some extra stats. After completing each "kill" mission, you are presented with a different color gem. Each "kill" mission has you killing a monster found in a dungeon on a certain floor.

When you go into a dungeon the first two floors are the easiest. These floors are a good way to grind for gold and experience. When you get enough experience, you level up, which unlocks various items in the stores.

There are two main resources that you are going to need to manage in this game: Health and Food. Health does not increase as your character levels up, rather it increases when you leave a dungeon (based on the monsters you killed) or if you buy it from a king. Food decreases each step you take (less so in dungeons and when you get different forms of transportation). If you run out of either health of food you die, loose all items and are resurrected with 99 health and food.

Your main goal at the start is just to increase your health, food and gold. Once you get some gold, you can get some armor, a better weapon and some type of transportation.

After you get some form of transportation that can go over water, you can really start exploring the map. You can pretty much ignore all dungeons and towns, you just want to focus on castles and sign posts. Sign posts not only complete some of the quests that you are sent on but can also up your character's stats. The nice thing about sign posts is that you can keep going back to them to up your stats. This in turn can make your character pretty powerful fairly quickly.

In order to figure out what to do to defeat Mondain, you need to buy ale at the tavern and talk to the bartender. On occasion, the bartender will drop a little nugget of information that will tell you what to do in the game.

In order to defeat Mondain, you must first get all four gems. Once you get all four gems, you need to gather up some gold, buy a reflect suit (armor) and buy a space shuttle. Once you get a space shuttle you can travel into space.

Once in space you change over from managing health and food to managing shields and fuel (which is pretty much the same thing, now that I think about it). Your first stop is a space station where you should transfer to another spaceship with better shields and fuel. You have a choice of a ship that is heavier on shields or a ship that is heavier on fuel. The goal of the space portion is to destroy twenty fighters and get "Ace" status. To destroy fighters you have to hyperspace into different areas of the space map. From there you chase around fighters in first person view and try to shoot them down. This game mechanic was a little annoying in the fact that you are always fighting to get your target over the fighter. It seemed more of a game of chance then skill.

When you have acquired your "Ace" status, it is time to return to Sosaria. When you return, it is time to rescue a princess. Each castle has a princess in a cell, and the jester in the castle holds a key. This was my other annoyance of the game. The jester holds a key to one of the two cells, but you will not always get the princess key. To get a key from a jester, you must kill the character, which in turn causes the guards to come after you. The guards (outside of Mondain) are some of the toughest monsters, so if you get the wrong key, you have to fight some guards, get to the cell, find out it is the wrong key and then leave the castle and start over again. These guard battles can be a real drain on your health. This mechanic had me restarting the game a few times just so I would not loose so much health.

After you save a princess, she will tell you that you are ready for the time machine. You have to go find the time machine in the map and then travel back in time. At this point you are put in an overhead map with Mondain. You must destroy Mondain and destroy the evil gem that is giving him power. Once you do that, you are given a nice little "afterwards" story to close out the game.

END SPOILERS

Overall I had fun with this game. It is not too long (it took me a little less than 10 hours to beat). It was something that I didn't have to think much about and could sit down and play in somewhat short sessions and make progress. All that being said, I would probably only recommend this game to people that want to play through all the Ultima games.

Next up: Ultima II.


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