Backslide? What backslide?

July 28, 2007

Okay, so as detailed in my last post, I backslid (backslided?  backslode?).  My completion of Final Fantasy Tactics last week was supposed to put me at 13%, but instead I ended up at 12.8.  This is not news (unless you didn’t read my last post, in which case: get thee to the archives!).  What is news, however, is that the backslide has been erased!  It took a mere week to complete Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and bring the percentage up to 14.1%, skipping over the cursed thirteen entirely, not unlike some sort of game-finishing skyscraper.

As an added bonus, with Aria of Sorrow done, I have now finished all of my outstanding GBA games!  In all fairness, that should have been the case last week, when Final Fantasy Tactics Advance crumbled before my sustained assault, since Aria of Sorrow technically wasn’t an outstanding game of mine.  I never actually began playing the game and set it aside as I did with the rest of the games on this list, so this completion was start to finish.

Now that the GBA slate is clean, I believe I’ll be moving my focus along to the DS pile.  I quite obviously make a lot more progress on the portable side of the equation, what with being able to play during lunches and breaks at work.  With that being said, I could focus on the DS or the PSP at this juncture.  I’ve decided to go with the DS for now because I expect there to be less swearing involved with it.  On the PSP, I’m currently embroiled in Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (well, I was when last I played anything on it), and while the game is good (it’s frickin’ Ratchet & Clank, of course it’s good!), there’s a nasty little hoverboard racing mini-game that they force you to play to advance the plot at a certain point.  Given a real controller with a proper analog stick, this would be no problem: I’ve successfully passed all of the similar racing sections in the previous R&C games.  The difficulty arises, then, with the thrice-damned analog disc/nubbin/torture device that Sony decided to use for the PSP.  Personally, when I’m playing a game with a proper analog stick, I find that while my thumb rests directly on top of the stick when not in motion, it actually pushes the stick from the side when I want to move.  The PSP’s analog control does not allow for this, as it doesn’t tilt around a fixed point, but instead just slides around, keeping entirely level the whole time, thus requiring you to keep your entire thumb on it at all times.  Anyway, if you’ve used it, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, count yourself lucky.  All of this is to say, if I attempt to pass the racing section of Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters while at work, there’s a good possibility that words of the utmost NSFW-ness would issue forth from my maw, rendering me jobless.  This is unacceptable.  As such, my immediate further ministrations will focus on the DS.

On the home console front, I threw in Sly 2: Band of Thieves the other day, and man, can you start to suck at a game if you haven’t played it in a couple years!  I finally started to get the hang of it after a while, but the first hour or so (I’m not really sure how long, actually… we’ll say an hour, but it was probably closer to the “or so”) I was terrible.  At least it didn’t take too long to get back in the groove enough to make it through the game.  This was a game that got shelved when I became overwhelmed with trying to collect every last doodad (“clues,” I believe they are in the Sly series) scattered throughout the game.  No more, I say!  As is the entire purpose for this blog’s being, I will attempt to merely finish the game now, doodads be damned!

Good news and bad news

July 20, 2007

I return from my two-week-plus hiatus with news both delicious and dire. On the positive side of things, I have finally completed my original listing of GBA games (notice the careful wording there… one could probably call this foreshadowing and not be too far off the mark). Yes, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has finally fallen to my superior skills plodding patience.  This particular news should have been posted a few days ago when I idiotically stumbled into the final battle completely unprepared and proceeded to have my digital rear end handed to me.  A few days of levelling and a series of all-powerful Totema attacks made a world of difference, however, with the finish tonight being quite easy indeed.  So, while it has been some time since my last update, I’ve not been entirely unproductive in the interim (despite the best efforts of a few days’ vacation and a newly-acquired, wretchedly addictive rhythm game).   The score, then, becomes 10/77, for a completion percentage of 13%.

Notice, however, that the sidebar shows a slightly smaller percentage.  This is not an error, but is, in fact, the bad news.  During the vacation mentioned earlier, I had a chance to discuss this blog with my brother, whom I was visiting, and as loyal readers may have noticed is my wont, the conversation got Castlevania-y.  In particular, I related to my brother that I only had the first two GBA Castlevanias (Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance) as a result of my getting stuck on HoD.  The story went that after getting stuck at almost the very beginning of HoD, I decided to swear off Castlevania altogether, and thus skipped right over Aria of Sorrow.  Needless to say, this only lasted until Dawn of Sorrow hit the DS, which I picked up to pad out my library for the system, which was rather lacking in quality titles at that time (okay, I picked it up because I couldn’t stay away from the Castle, I’m weak!).  It followed, then, that I began to crave the chapter I skipped, but it was no longer being sold.  Later, Konami published the Castlevania Double Pack, including both Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow on a single cartridge.  I intended to pick this up to complete my collection (even going so far as to put it on my wishlist), but had never actually made the purchase.  Hearing my tale of calamity and tribulation, my brother informed me that he had, in fact, purchased the Castlevania Double Pack, had played through both games contained therein, and expected not to need the cartridge any further.  As you may suspect, the game pak accompanied me home from the vacation, to become my first incidence of backsliding.  Aria of Sorrow has joined the list as game number 78, forcing the current percentage down to 12.8% (10/78), instead of the 13% it would have been at otherwise.

I’m the best at what I do*

July 3, 2007

Take a look at the list. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Notice anything different? If not, you’re either reading this from the archives — thereby rendering my message untimely — or you’re new here (or you’re just not paying attention, for which you cannot be blamed). I’ve completed my first game for the Wii. Not just since I began this project, mind you, but altogether. When I started this blog, I had not actually finished any of my Wii games (unless you count Wario Ware Smooth Moves, which is a rather ridiculous notion). So, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance gets to lay claim to the distinction of my first completed Wii game. How fancy!

It’s nice to finally finish another game, as it’s been almost a month since the last one. It’s also very nice to finish up a game on a home console, instead of a portable. As I’ve discussed before, my portable progress is outpacing that of the home consoles. While on first glance they look about even (5 portable games finished versus 4 homebound), those numbers are a bit misleading. I finished the first three home games (Castlevanias Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness, and Final Fantasy XII) very quickly. The Castlevanias inspired the project altogether, and so I was already a goodly way into them before I even began keeping track of all of this. For Final Fantasy XII, I had a saved game at the final dungeon, so an hour or two’s playing finished it up. Today’s completion of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance was the first full-on project I tackled on a home system for this blog. Meanwhile, in portable land, only Klonoa: Empire of Dreams and Final Fantasy III were short playthroughs, and in the case of Klonoa, I still had to play through about half of the game (it’s just a very short game, making that second half a relative breeze). All of the other portable games that have been completed I had to spend significant amounts of time on.

Moving on! Work continues on Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, although I believe I’m coming up on the ending with it. My mission total is somewhere around 200 now (201, I believe), which would indicate that I’m 2/3 of the way through, but as noted before, the 300 mission total for the game includes every side quest, which I’m not going to bother with. Perhaps I’ll be able to finish it up and cross it — as well as the GBA altogether — off of my list during my flight out west tomorrow (the wife and I are heading out to Oregon and Washington to visit my brother around Seattle and attend a wedding around Portland). I haven’t yet decided which console game to play next as a follow-up to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. I do believe it’s going to be a platformer of some sort, however… maybe Ratchet: Deadlocked, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, or Jak II. The PS2 section of the list could certainly use the trimming down!

(* – I’m not, really.)

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance: A Play in One Act

July 2, 2007

Aboard a CAPITAL SHIP of the Shi’Ar Empire, DAREDEVIL, DEADPOOL, MS. MARVEL, and IRON MAN race to confront DEATHBIRD, who has already set in motion the SHIP’s self-destruct sequence. As precious time slips away, the heroes come across the recently-deposed Empress, LILANDRA, who is quite conveniently being held captive in the hallway the heroes must traverse to reach DEATHBIRD.

DAREDEVIL: Empress Lilandra! How fortuitous that Deathbird chose to imprison you in this particular hallway, instead of in the brig! Hold still while we smash up this computer console, thereby setting you free!

DAREDEVIL begins to punch and kick the CONSOLE, which is reluctant to give way. On the other side of the hallway, a couple of SHI’AR SOLDIERS appear on the other side of a FORCE FIELD, and begin firing upon the heroes. The FORCE FIELD blocks all of the SOLDIERS’ attacks.

DAREDEVIL: Criminy! This computer console is tough! Could I get a little help over here, guys? Maybe if we all beat on it together we can destroy it and free Lilandra with enough time to still stop Deathbird!

DEADPOOL, MS. MARVEL, and IRON MAN all run to the other side of the hallway and attempt to beat on the sequestered, harmless SOLDIERS to no avail.

DAREDEVIL: Okay, guys? We’re seriously running out of time here!

DEADPOOL: So leave her there! It clearly says that saving her is an optional quest.

DAREDEVIL: An optional what?! We can’t just leave her, we’re heroes, saving people is part of our job description!

DEADPOOL: So is beating up inconsequential bad guys!

DEADPOOL continues his vain attempts to beat up the inconsequential bad guys on the other side of the FORCE FIELD.

DAREDEVIL: I knew we shouldn’t have brought the insane guy along… Iron Man, Ms. Marvel! Please, help me free Lilandra so we can continue on our way to stopping this entire ship from exploding in one minute!

MS. MARVEL and IRON MAN remain next to the FORCE FIELD, trying to attack the SOLDIERS with DEADPOOL.

DAREDEVIL: Okay, now this is just uncalled for! You think just because I’m blind I can’t tell that you guys are ignoring me? I’ve got sonar sense! Hello!? We’ve all got about 30 seconds left to live now, because you guys won’t help me out! Come on, Iron Man! You’re supposed to be one of the smartest men on Earth, are you seriously not able to figure out that you can’t harm those soldiers through the force field? Ms. Marvel, you have super strength, you could have beat this computer into scrap in about 5 seconds!

The TIMER ticks to 0:00, the SHIP’s corridors fill with ominous red light, and the deck begins to rumble violently beneath the heroes’ feet. DEADPOOL, MS. MARVEL, and IRON MAN continue their assault upon the FORCE FIELD while DAREDEVIL sits wearily down, his back against the computer console that has thwarted him.

DAREDEVIL: I survived having radioactive waste splashed across my face. I overcame a handicap to become a lawyer and one of the world’s premier superheroes. I’ve fought the Kingpin, Bullseye, and the Punisher… and this is how it ends?

DAREDEVIL takes one last “look” at the other heroes, as they batter themselves against the FORCE FIELD.

DAREDEVIL: Apparently with great power comes great stupidity.

The SHIP explodes. FRED throws his CONTROLLER across the ROOM and SWEARS like a SAILOR.