Now Playing: October 2014

Well, folks, it has been a fun and enjoyable October. This’ll conclude my 5th Annual Halloween Gaming Event where you voted on what games I’d play. This year it was all about the Castlevania series (and I do like my Castlevania games). I played two of three of the top vote getters and they were Order of Ecclesia (update 1 and update 2/finish) and the vastly underrated Dracula X on the Super Nintendo.

Even prior to the event starting I’d played through another Castlevania game, namely the classic Symphony of the Night. It was also talked about at the beginning of episode 51 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast along with more discussion of it within the series as a whole on episode 52.

In addition I also performed a speed run through Hotline Miami. The total time, including all of the bonus levels, was 1 hour and 49 minutes. As I’ve very likely said before, it’s definitely one of my new top favorite games in recent memory.

Finally it wouldn’t have been Halloween without at least one run through of the TG-16 classic Splatterhouse! I did play it last year too, but this time around my skills were very rusty. I even lost a life on the very first stage and this is coming from a guy who previously had one credit cleared it on the secret Hard difficulty. I was able to finish the game before all of the credits ran out, but it was close.

Last year for November, besides voting, I played a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games dubbed #TMNTNov. Because I already have interest shown for something similar, I’ll be doing #RatchetNov. I’ll be playing as many unplayed Ratchet & Clank games I currently own. I’ll be starting off with ebbderelict’s choice of Ratchet: Deadlocked on PS2 and then move onto Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction on PS3 as picked out by SonicHomeboy.

Thanks for reading!

Halloween Gaming 2014 – Castlevania: Dracula X

After playing Order of Ecclesia, I started up the second most vote getter in Castlevania: Dracula X.

Most people consider this game to be the Super Nintendo’s poor man’s version of Rondo of Blood from the PC Engine. Think of it as you will, but I think it plays perfectly fine. It sounds great and, in my opinion, looks better than its PCE counterpart.

Regardless of any of that I was always hesitant to play Dracula X because of the difficulty of these older style of Castlevania games. As it turns out it wasn’t all that bad. Sure it was definitely challenging, but nothing I couldn’t eventually overcome. The password system in the game would even bring a rare smile to the face of the Angry Video Game Nerd.

I will admit I did you the Game Genie, but only for infinite lives. I was still going to get punished in many other ways. One of those ways was the amount of invulnerability after getting hit. It wasn’t much at all. In fact, it was much too little. The overall difficulty of the game was based on the types of enemies and their placement within the levels. The amount of enemies on a given screen is always sparse, but where they are makes all of the difference. I must say Dracula X has expert enemy placement!

Where there’s a Castlevania game, there’s subweapons. Let’s touch on those. All of the usual assortment can be found here. The worst being the stopwatch. It doesn’t actually stop anything. It simply slows enemies down. It’s not exactly what I would call helpful. The knife becomes plural because you can throw three at the same time. The cross does it’s boomerang thing, but it doesn’t travel as far out. It’s still useful in certain situations. The axe is the overall best. It travels further horizontally than in other games with roughly the same height as before. It has great screen coverage. Holy water creates a trail as in a few of the other games, but is also thrown out further than before.

I’d recommend playing Dracula X even to those Rondo of Blood purists who insist that game is superior. I think you’ll find enough differences here for it to be worth your time.

*****

HART & USAGI PODCAST #54 – October 19th 2014 (@HartandUsagi)
HartKnight, usagi704, and ebbderelict chat Tetris movie, Vib Ribbon, GameSpot’s 10/10s, Used DLC, and more.
http://mjkurtzman.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/hart-usagi-podcast-54-higher-energy/

SUBSCRIBE!

SPACE SUPLEX #12 – October 23rd 2014 (@SpaceSuplex)
HartKnight and 24bitAJE chat Raw’s buildup to Hell In A Cell, the recent two Monday Night War episodes, and Bound For Glory.
http://mjkurtzman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/space-suplex-podcast-ep-12-glory-in-japan/

Space Suplex Podcast Ep. 12: Glory In Japan?

This is the one and only Space Suplex podcast! 24bitAJE and I chat about the upcoming Hell In A Cell 2014 along with the Raw shows of October 13th and 20th. We also go into talk about Bound For Glory 2014 and the recent episodes of the Monday Night Wars.

Enjoy and don’t forget to follow our Twitter account, @SpaceSuplex, and please subscribe via RSS or, as it is now, our newly minted presence on iTunes.

TOPICS:
* TNA Bound For Glory 2014
* Upcoming WWE Hell In A Cell 2014
* RAW 10/13 & 10/20
* LAW Oct. 22 Update – Cesaro: “Sick of Seeing Cena vs. Orton”
* Monday Night Wars – Cruiserweight Division & Goldberg

Listen or Download (1:07:11)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Space Suplex at the Internet Archive

Anthony: @24bitAJE | ++Good Games

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

@SpaceSuplex

Hart & Usagi Podcast #54: Higher Energy

We return with a new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast and are joined by ebbderelict discussing a possible Tetris movie, Vib Ribbon’s North American release, and Turtlevania. Then I regulate on GameStop, CBS commentators, and Polygon. All this and more so turn in now!

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Tetris feature film will be a ‘sci-fi epic’
* Pong The Movie?
* Vib Ribbon Finally Releases in North America Tomorrow
* Turtlevania: On the Non-Linear Design of TMNT: Danger of the Ooze
* GameStop Wants to Sell “Used” Console DLC
* Louisiana Tea Party Candidate Blames Atheism and Video Games for Sandy Hook Shooting
* CBS Commentator Urges Gamers To Go Play The Real World
* ‘Call of Duty’ ex-developer wants to ‘brainwash’ Americans to accept soldiers in schools
* Looking Back On All Of GameSpot’s 10/10 Reviews
* Destiny
* Deadpool
* Minecraft
* Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Listen or Download (1:36:18)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

Steve: @ebbderelict | Blog at ipernity

@HartandUsagi

Halloween Gaming 2014: Order of Ecclesia Update 2

Another just over two hours of game time in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia since my last update on the game and I can call it. Dracula has been defeated.

Dracula himself was a super easy battle as long as you knew what to equip and how you use it. You know, just like how his boss fight was in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. Those items to equip are the Death and Judgment rings along with Melio Falcis, Nitesco, and Dominus Agony glyphs. Once in front of your nemesis keep holding Up and pressing the attack button. A huge downward arcing sword striking version of the beam attack you see in the header graphic above is the result. And along with Dominus Agony activated, a large amount of damage is dealt. At 9,999 HP, Dracula only took about five hits to defeat.

It’s not over, however. To truly finish Dracula off you need to equip all three Dominus glyphs (other two being Anger and Hatred) and perform a Glyph Union (the Up + Attack from before) while he’s getting ready to unleash an otherwise unstoppable screen filling attack. And by unstoppable I mean once started he doesn’t stop…ever. So get him before it begins.

Final game stats are as follows:

Lv. 61; Exp. 733003; 31h57m; 92.9%; 13400 Kills

Halloween Gaming 2014: Order of Ecclesia Update

I’ve added another 14 hours of game time to Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for my Halloween Gaming Event. In this amount of time I made it to Dracula’s Castle. It’s by far the largest level in the game. However, this isn’t the reason for the majority of the extra time put into the game. It has been for the grinding of gold. I need my health potions and they’re expensive! I was going between two candles at the beginning of the Somnus Reef level which are on opposite sides of a screen transition. This has been time consuming and I instead equipped two thief rings to get the more rare drops out of treasure chests and then sell those items at the shop. It helps increase the gold amount a bit, but is still slow going.

The boss battles before those within Dracula’s Castle were fairly simple to understand and beat. However, in the castle it hasn’t always been straight forward. Wallman was the first one I came across. I thought I had to knock the health potion out of his hand before he used it, but this wasn’t the case. All you have to do is to find an opening and take his glyph.

Blackmore was challenging simply by the amount of damage received if hit. It turns out a villager quest gives you an Onyx pin which means taking a bit becomes manageable.

Finally Eligor is one of those tedious multi-part bosses, but despite a towering presence, as long as you’re well equipped with the best glyphs this boss will eventually take a dirt nap like the rest of them.

Previously I forgot to mention a pretty cool addition to the game. There’s these Records numbered 1-8 and when you use them they change the background music to some of the 8-bit classics for the stage you’re currently on. It’s probably my favorite little extra about the game that I wish was in a few of the other Symphony of the Night style games.

My current stats: Lv. 57; Exp. 589775; 29h28m; 82.5%; 12469 Kills

Halloween Gaming 2014 – Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

In the past week the Halloween gaming has commenced with the winning vote getter, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Here’s my thoughts on it so far.

This is definitely the Symphony of the Night experience we’ve come to expect since 1997. This means that the basics are there with a few new ways to do old things. Subweapons? Nope. Souls? Nah. This time weapons coming in the form of glyphs and use a magic meter to attack. This goes for both elemental and physical attacks. You can also have three loadouts of three abilities, one with the Y, X, and R buttons. Pressing up on the d-pad while attacking gives you a stronger attack at the expense of hearts.

When I was a little bit into the game I was surprised that the beginning bone-chucking skeletons were still not being defeated in one hit. Order of Ecclesia does have some level grinding I felt I needed to do. Another thing I noticed is that the same weapon isn’t always the best for every enemy. An example is a sharp weapon only does single-digit damage to skeletons (all types) and this includes a strong version of it. For them you need a blunt weapon like a hammer. It’s a strange thing to have this in the game as previous titles didn’t do it.

Another big addition is going on quests for villagers to get the shop to stock items you may need that can be helpful. The usual quests normally involve a certain number of items. Abnormal quests consist of taking photos or recording audio of certain enemies and drawing a landscape scene.

The latest level I’ve traversed is Oblivion Ridge. My current stats are as follows:

Lv. 36; Exp. 154161; 15h20m; 52.2%; 6830 Kills

It’s pretty clear that Aria of Sorrow is still going to remain my favorite of the series, but Order of Ecclesia is still a fun one to pickup and play.