I never really sat down with any of the Castlevania Gameboy titles before past or present, so I figured October would be a good time to round out playing all the CV games between the console, Gameboy and the gba titles, I had done the Nintendo console titles as a Castlevania Retrorevisited, streamed the gba titles to show them off, and did full reviews of them last year. I tried out Castlevania Adventure 1 and 2, the often hated Castlevania legends, and the spin-off Kid Dracula.
All games played with normal SGB color enhanced improvements on Retroarch. It’s worth noting that in Europe the GB Konami Collections vol 1 and 4 had Castlevania Adventure 1 and 2 in full color. For the sake of the reviews I played the normal versions, but at the end of these mini-reviews, I’ll show some screencaps of the ports for the Konami Collections.
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.
Continuing my Castlevania theme, I decided to try some Castlevania hacks. Not like the Bisqwit one, the kind that really change the nature of the game. inspired by some friends, I found some neat ones I tried out on stream for the 3 NES titles, and after some searching, found ones for Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow even! I really enjoyed trying these out and going to revisit them! I’ve never been into hacks that increase the difficulty of games, some of these do, but it’s not a major difficulty spike that feels unfair.
Night of Shaq Fu was a channel point redemption challenge that got filled out awhile ago on my stream. I said I would play all 4 of these miserable games, so I did. These 4 games came out in 1994 for the Genesis and SNES, and 1995 gave us the Game gear and Game Boy editions. All games are 2D fighters staring basketball great Shaquille O’Neal. The plot follows Shaq as he finds himself in a mystical and magical realm, taking down fighters to stop the evil mummy Sett Ra in Second World. These are known as some of the worst games ever made. Even with the digitized graphics and sprites and decent music, the play control of the games were awful. Games have a story, duel and tournament modes, except the GB port. Normally I wouldn’t give mini-reviews a rating, but these were so bad I kinda felt I should.
So I’m a big Spider-Man fan from the comics and various movies and cartoon shows. When i came up with the Theme Night ideas, doing one of various Spider-Man games throughout the years was one of my first ideas. I started reading Spider-Man on and off as a teen when the infamous Clone Saga was revving up, and later officially added the book to my comic pull list when the Big Time arc started when Brand New Day was winding down. I think my fav Spider-Man movies are the 2 MCU films, the animated into the Spider-verse (I’m also a big fan of Spider-Gwen), and Spider-Man 2 of the Sam Raimi trilogy. Kinda a tossup between my favorite cartoon series of the Fox Kids 90’s Spider-Man, and Spectacular Spider-Man (a show cut off prematurely in its prime). I’ve enjoyed the later animated series since marvel took over to a point. I like what they’ve done adapting classic stories and making new ones, but some of the animation and gags are really lame. So this is gonna be me trying out 10 various games across systems, including Spider-Man the arcade game.
amazing spider-man (gameboy)
spider-man web of fire (sega 32x)
spider-man vs kingpin (sega cd)
spider-man lethal foes (super famicom, translation patch available)
spider-man return of sinister six (nes)
spider-man the movie (gba)
spider-man & venom: maximum carnage (snes)
ultimate spider-man (gba)
spider-man 2: enter electro (psx)
I’ve loved the Zelda games ever since playing the 1st one as a kid! I’ve only played most of the older titles up to the 2 N64 titles, and having recently finished GB Link’s Awakening DX via emulation and needing to finish GBA Minish Cap. I still have my copies of Zelda 1 and 2 for the NES, Ocarina of Time for N64, and Link to the past for SNES! I could never quite get into N64’s Majora’s Mask sadly. I figured for the series 35th birthday this year in 2021, I’d write out my thoughts on those 4 titles i still have, and some thoughts on Link’s Awakening and Majora’s mask as well! One my next goals is to finally play the Game Boy Oracle series since those are the last of the older games I haven’t sat down with. In the future I may finally give Majora’s Mask another try and try Wind Waker via the Dolphin emulator if my pc can handle it! At the end of this post will be a few snapshot of pages from the Nintendo Power comic trade, and the Hyrule Historia to share.
zelda 1 and zelda 2 for nes
link to the past snes and ocarina of time n64
hyrule historia book, and trade for the nintendo power lttp comic, and link figma
NOW ONTO THE GAMES!!
Zelda 1 I received with my NES and other games in 1989(?) I think I had played it briefly before with friends, but after receiving it I was able to get down and dirty and discover everything this quest had to offer. I loved it! I loved figuring things out with and without maps from Nintendo Power for both quests, and learning a few little tricks here and there, and making up a few of my own to nail down how i would play both quests! Finishing both quests as a kid was a big accomplishment to me! I wanted to try something more, so I tried runs through both quests getting only the White Sword and the Blue Ring, not bothering with the Master Sword or the Red Ring in Death Mountain. Took many many lives but i did it, and did this feat many times before. Earlier in 2021 I finally did a 1st quest run with only the White Sword and Blue Ring, and as of this writing, prepping for a 2nd quest run in the same way!
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.
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.
Circle of the Moon is the first of the GBA Castlevania games which follow the Metroidvania formula established and popularized in SOTN. Taking place in 1830, Morris Baldwin leads his son Hugh and student Nathan Graves to Castlevania to stop Camilla from reviving Dracula earlier than expected. Morris is captured and Hugh and Nathan are forced to find their way through the castle to fight Dracula. You take the role of Nathan, who carries a whip that can also be spun around and used as a shield against projectiles and kill weaker enemies. Dracula’s castle holds many secrets in its various areas and you need to use all the skills you have to find your way. The DSS cards you find from enemy drops give you different offensive and defensive abilities when used together. Each of the action cards is based on someone from Roman mythology, while the attribute cards take from Greek and Roman names. This castle holds different areas than what other Castlevanias have, including a Battle Arena. This game was eventually taken out of the main Castlevania continuity.
So to keep going on my Ninja Gaiden kick, I decided to do a couple of streams playing the other NG games for the arcade, Gameboy, Game Gear, and Sega Master System. They were fun streams and decided to do some short reviews of the four as well!
ARCADE: The arcade game is quite janky. The game stars The Ninja, later retconned to be Ryu, traveling from Japan to stop the cult of Bladeadomus (I’m not making this up). You travel through different cities to get to their lair, fighting about the same 3-4 types of enemies in each area, just palette swapped. One the goons include guys in hockey masks like Jason Voorhes! You only have punches and kicks as your attacks, along with a weird jumping neckbreaking move that’s hard to pull off. You can hang off signs and attack enemies, and breakable objects scatter the landscape, only breakable if you’re thrown or an enemy is thrown on them. The controls are still and jumping and hanging from ledges takes getting used to. In the arcade there was a button on top of the joystick to hang on objects. The graphics are very pretty and sound is good, the cinematic scenes at the end of the levels are worth seeing, especially with Ryu wearing his mask in a suit playing the tables at Vegas! You can get overwhelmed by enemies very easily and you can’t break their combos when they begin attacking you. I give this 3.0 out of 5 ninja stars!
The NES and Gameboy Who Framed Roger Rabbit games were released in 1989 and 1991 as tie-ins to the Disney Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie. Rare programmed the NES game and it was published by LJN, the Gameboy title was designed by Capcom. Both game play differently through the events of the movie. The NES game taking control of Eddie Valiant to solve the mystery of Roger Rabbit, the Gameboy title you take control of Roger himself to fight the Weasels and then confront Judge Doom. I’ve recently played and finished the Gameboy title for the first time and revisited the janky NES game after not playing it since I was a kid. Mistakes were made.
GAMEBOY ROGER RABBIT: The Gameboy Roger Rabbit has you playing as Roger trying to figure out who killed Marvin and get the deed to save Toontown from Judge Doom. Each chapter of the game has you solving a puzzle or 2 to get items to fight one of the 4 weasels. You’ll meet up with other people from the movie who help you out, and your life consists of 3 hearts. Losing all 3 hearts mean a game over and you start over at the start of the chapter again. Carrots are found around the overworld which will restore a heart, but they don’t regenerate until you game over and restart. Graphics in this game are very large and well-drawn and the music can be annoying at times. Controlling Roger can be janky sometimes, but other than that Roger will do what you instruct of him. This game is actually fun! Each chapter is a bit different with a puzzle or gameplay element, from shooting weasels with a toon gun to driving Benny the Taxi. Judge Doom’s warehouse is a maze to solve before fighting Judge Doom at the end. Graphics when you finish a chapter are vibrant and resemble a comic book or cartoon. It’s not very hard, but getting to the end of a chapter by finding the right person or item to get can be annoying and involve a lot of backtracking. A password is given when you finish a chapter for continuing your adventure. Losing to a weasel at the end of a chapter means restarting the chapter from the start, but each chapter isn’t very long but going from point a to b to fight the weasels can be annoying.