Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow (GBA) Review

Aria of Sorrow is the 3rd Castlevania game released for the GBA. Another Metroidvania style game, this one takes place in the future 2035, where Dracula and Castlevania were trapped forever in a solar eclipse in the aftermath of the Demon War of 1999 where the current Belmont, Julius, as a hero of. Soma Cruz finds himself trapped in Castlevania with his childhood friend and discovers he can absorb the souls and abilities of enemies in the castle. Aided by Genya Arikado, Soma discovers the truth behind his abilities and meets others trapped in the castle and one trying to revive Dracula himself. Aria has an amazing soundtrack and graphics and plays like the previous titles, and has a Pokemon aspect to it with collecting souls to gain different defensive and offensive abilities. Finishing the game unlocks Julius mode (who is a total badass!!), a boss rush, and a hard mode.

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City Connection (Arcade/NES) Review

City Connection was a platformer arcade game released in the 1980’s by Jaceco, and ported to a number of consoles. You play as a driver who stole a number of paint cans and traveling the world to paint the streets. Enemies include cop cars and a darn cat that shows up out of nowhere and the occasional road spikes. You can cause the cop cars to spin out by shooting oil cans at them and knocking them off the screen for points. You can’t stop, but you can jump and make fast 180 degree turns to avoid the police and jump to the next part of the roads. I never played the arcade game or NES title, so after the suggestion of a friend, I gave them a try on stream one night.

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Castlevania – Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) Review

Release in 2002, this is the second of the GBA Castlevania trilogy and another metroidvania style game. Telling the story of Juste Belmont (next Belmont after Simon) who with his friend Maxim, infiltrate Castlevania to save their kidnapped friend Lydie. As the plot moves on, you discover there are 2 castles, one harder than the other that you can switch to via warp rooms. Sporting a great soundtrack and a different style of graphics than the previous game. Juste has access to use all the normal sub-weapons, gaining levels and new abilities, and using magic books based on the elements to augment the power of the sub-weapons. A 2nd mode letting you use Maxim and a boss rush opens up when you finish the game with one of its 3 endings.

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RPG Hack Showcase: FF2: Threat from Within Part 1

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream or play on my own.

FF2: Threat From Within part 1 is a hack that has been in the making for a long time. The first part of a 4 part(?) series, this one takes place 40 years after the events of FF2/4, and 20 years after the events of The After Years, in a time where the crystals lost their power after Zeromus was defeated and the second moon left Earth’s orbit. In the years since, King Edge has been rebuilding Eblan and established the Royal Eblana Mercenary Army (REMA), a ninja force for hire, to help with problems around the world. Edge’s son Furio is about to set off on his first mission, which will set off a chain of events that will endanger the entire world, yet again.

More information from romhacking.net: The gameplay will be familiar but the story is brand new and there are many new gameplay mechanics, including:

  • Limit Breaks
  • Hirable Mercenary Characters
  • Chocobo “Hunting”
  • Epic Choices – Decisions the player can make to alter how the events of the game play out

… And more!

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RPG Hack Showcase: FF4 Darkness Within

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream or play on my own.

Darkness Within is a FF4 hack by Rynzer completed in 2019. This hack starts out very dark where Palom and Parom are killed by baron soldiers and Cecil is killed during the assault on Mysidia for the crystal there. You end up in the underworld doing tasks for the King of the Underworld to restore your soul. From there the plot proceeds partly like it would in the vanilla game, but in a different order, just like you did the underworld missions when you started. Party members you know and love will join at different times and sometimes have a new ability than the original title with a number of other twists.

With a revised plot comes new dialogue and other changes to the gameplay and other mechanics. Some spells that you could target on all enemies can now only target one enemy, different consumables replace some from the original, and now you only have to buy 1 arrow and you’ll not run out! Enemies were rebalanced or nerfed depending on where you are in the story, and this hack can be hard! Especially in the beginning when you’re still doing the underworld stuff. Continue reading

TMNT Rescue-Palooza Fangame Review

TMNT Rescue-Palooza is a fangame released in 2019 using the OpenBOR engine. Sporting over 60 playable characters as you unlock them and over 17 stages this game is a love letter to anyone who grew up watching any of the TMNT cartoons, and/or played any of the brawler arcade or NES games. You can play this as a single player or up to 4 players! The latest version of this game was released in July 2019 and is version 1.11.

You can download this game here.

Stats:
– 60 playable characters
– 17 stages
– 4 Bonus stages
– 4-player local coop
– Improved graphics
– Voice clips from the TV show
– Rideable vehicles
– Countless references to the original TMNT cartoon and toyline!

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Monster Party (NES) Review

Monster Party came out in North America in 1989. An obscure platformer game with a cult following, this game tells the heartwarming story of a winged monster named Bert enlisting a young boy named mark to help rid his world of evil monsters with just his baseball bat. This game parodies horror movies with the look of enemies and various bosses. This game can be downright weird at times. A canceled prototype of this game was discovered in 2011, and a dump of the unreleased Japanese Famicom edition was released in 2014. A hack made converting the NES edition to the unreleased prototype can be found here.

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