Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat here: the game is pronounced “Twelve Zeal” not “Shi Zeal” as I pronounced it during the recording! Ack. Sorry, guys!
Anyway, XIIZeal is a new PC port of XIIStag, an arcade shoot ’em up that made its debut in Japan way back in 2002. Since then, the game has received several ports over the years, but this one, released on June 5, is the latest and most up-to-date. The music holds up very well and the graphics have a sleek look that still harkens to the late-1990s and early-2000s. The graphics are fully scalable on modern displays, too, so that really helps.
To me, the game was reminiscent of classics like R-Type, Xevious, and 1942 (and I’m sure countless other games along this vein), and it was a blast to play. It’s tough, though, so be warned! It’s also one of those games where once you get Game Over, that’s it – you have to start all over again.
The game is currently available on Steam for just $11.99 USD, and honestly, if you like these types of games I think it’s a good deal. I had a lot of fun with it, and I’m sure a lot of you will too!
It’s been a long journey, but here we are, at last, at the conclusion of Terranigma! For those that missed this game, it’s one of those real gems on the Super Nintendo that came out only in Japan and Europe in 1996 – a time when a lot of the world had already moved on to the Nintendo 64, PlayStation, and other newer consoles. Yet, Terranigma delivers an outstanding tale that continues the thematics and stories of ActRaiser, Soul Blazer, and Illusion of Gaia before it. If you haven’t played it before, you really should track down a copy to enjoy!
In this final outing, Ark and his friends head to Beruga’s Lab Tower to confront the mad scientist. After making their way all the way up to the top, Ark discovers that Beruga has taken off in an airship in an attempt to escape and continue his plot. However, the team manages to bring down the airship, and although Beruga refuses to give up, a rather unfortunate fate befalls him before he can escape. In any event, Ark finally returns to the underworld where he confronts Dark Gaia in an epic final showdown (though not so epic given our incredible stats) and defeats the being of darkness. Then…Well, it’s time for the ending.
I actually enjoyed the ending quite a bit for this game and felt that it was a worthy conclusion to the game. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say that if nothing else, it’s certainly worth watching.
Anyway, thanks for tuning in! If you missed any of the previous episodes, you can find them here, in this playlist! :)
Having taken down the robot masters in the previous video, I return to Quint’s Revenge to tackle the long and frustrating Dr. Wily stages. It’s here that the game departs from the source material and really shines in some ways, creating very difficult yet interesting challenges. The fortress stages feel inspired by both Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 (which does make sense), yet they offer their own series of unique obstacles to overcome and the final fight against Wily is very protracted.
In fact, the Dr. Wily battle is the thing that stands out most to me in this game. There is the expected battle with Wily at the end of the fortress that leads to his defeat and retreat to a space station up above the Earth (predictable if you played almost any post-Mega Man 3 game), but the fight in the space station pits you against three separate phases of Wily in one fight and, once defeated, a bonus area with one more crazy Wily Capsule battle.
And, to make it all worth-while, the ending is very nice and well done.
All said and done, Quint’s Revenge is an awesome experience. It really captures that retro feel and kicks it up a notch. The game is completely free, so if you are interested in playing it yourself, head on over to Sprites Inc. and give it a shot!
In my first session with Arcus Odyssey, I played through the first three Acts of the game, but in this video, I play from Act 4 all the way to the end. I’ll tell you right now – there are some very difficult and frustrating parts in some of the stages here. I did end up save-state abusing in places to conserve health, but in the boss fights I normally just toughed it out, loading only to start the fight over without redoing the entire stage. Just like with the stages from earlier in the game, there are some interesting mechanics in these ones, such as one that requires you to activate floodgates and destroy barriers so that water can flow and put out fires that block your path deeper into the dungeon.
What’s interesting to me is that the final boss, Castomira, isn’t really too tough at all. In fact, she’s very easy compared to a couple of the bosses that precede her, and honestly, her stage is harder than she is (designed, I’d guess, to weaken you prior to the final battle). Act 6 is pretty crazy though, as it is all an endurance challenge and some of the enemies you face there are simply brutal (like the four worm things that are on the same screen).
Anyway, I managed to finish the game, so that’s something! Pretty soon, I’d like to do a showcase (probably not the whole game, just a couple stages) of the prototype for the English Super Nintendo version of the game (from 1993), so that’s something for you to look forward to! :)
Until just a couple days ago, I had never heard of Arcus Odyssey. I came across the game completely by accident while reading about some relatively-unknown action-RPGs on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo but after doing a bit of research I realized it was the first (and only!) release in the Arcus series to get a non-Japanese localization. As a whole, the games are fairly varied (from dungeon crawlers to more traditional RPGs), but this game has somewhat of an arcade feel to it.
Arcus Odyssey was originally released outside of Japan in 1991 on the Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive. The intro sequence seems to recap events from previously in the series and the game picks up with the player entering a large underground labyrinth to put a stop to the growing power of an evil sorceress who was sealed away 1,000 years prior to the game’s events. The game can be played by up to two people and is fairly similar to Gauntlet in that you can play as one of four different “classes” and general gameplay has you trudging through different themed stages, wiping out baddies, finding treasures, and ultimately looking for the exit to the boss that protects the door to the next area. Yet, the game does have pretty cool graphics, a nice soundtrack, and each stage presents a new challenge (such as collecting magical swords to place in pedestals to open the way forward).
In this video, I play through the first three of eight total Acts, and I will soon revisit the game to see how it all wraps up. This was released in 1993 in Japan on the Sharp X68000 computer system and also as Arcus Spirits on the Super Famicom, but a prototype for an English SNES release does exist, which I may also record in the near future. :)
Lagoon is another one of those classic action-RPGs from the 1990s that I simply never got to play much of. Released in December of 1991 in North America, players take control of Nasir, the champion of Light, who is sent by his mentor to figure out why all the water in Lakeland has gotten dark and poisonous. The game is no stranger to RPG tropes of the time, but it handles alright enough. The playstyle seems like a hybrid of Zelda and Ys, with an experience and equipment system built in to add to the mix. The graphics are decent enough (though they feel a bit “zoomed in”) and the music is solid. An upgraded version appeared on the Sharp X68000 computer system in Japan (with better music, an expanded story, and animated cutscenes, but this was sadly never translated).
In this first outing with the game, we begin our journey in the town of Atland where, after talking to all the locals and to the town’s mayor, we find out that demons have appeared in the nearby mine (called Gold Cave) and one of the villagers is trapped deep inside. After gearing up, we head into the mine, bash a lot of enemies, find a few middling treasures, and eventually save the lost villager. Then, we are given a key to a room in which a powerful demon named Samson is sealed away, and after grinding out a level and having a frustrating affair with hit boxes, we finally bring him down.
This video is experimentally produced in 2560×1440 at 60 FPS, because 1440p appears (as of this post) to be the highest resolution at which YouTube will accept 60 FPS content.
If you enjoy this one and want to see me continue it, please let me know and I’ll be happy to do so!
While browsing IndieDB the other night, I came across a newly-released horror game from Undead Scout called The Clearing. The group calls the game their “game zero,” meaning that this was more of an experiment in game design and won’t be representative of their future first commercial release. That said, though, they said they had a lot of fun designing this game and wanted to share it with the general public completely free.
The Clearing tells the story of a young man who travels to a remote cabin in Montana to enjoy some peace and quiet and work on his first novel, following in his father’s footsteps. Yet, it is in this very out of the way setting that he learns about his father’s dark and sordid past, and uncovers more than he probably ever bargained for. The game features full voice narration, and all journal entries you find are also narrated. Yes, there is sort of a collection element to be had, but really the game is more about the atmosphere and what you uncover. It’s creepy and unsettling, and even if this video didn’t have too much in the way of “jump scares,” it certainly had its unsettling moments to be sure.
You can find the game completely free at Undead Scout’s main website, so please feel free to check it out! Oh, and if you want to see me try and finish it, please let me know!