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Below, you can see the 20 most recent posts in the forums, starting with the most recent post first and working backwards. Signatures, avatars and other related information have been stripped so that the page will load quickly. Each post contains a link to the thread where it was posted so you can click to see it in its original context.

Thanks for the commentary and typo catch! One thing: There is a menu showing all those bonus modes and what level you have to be in order to unlock each of them, so I did get to read the brief synopsis for them, so it wasn't just me guessing they're all variations of the base game. I did know what I was talking about on that front (in theory)!

I'm happy to see Retro back contributing, and to see Flob on the podium again. Thanks for the win. I knew the Lizardcube bit was going to seem crazy, and I don't blame you for finding fault with it. Also, good job getting the topic up so damn fast! You're the anti-Masters.


NOT VACANT - Golden Axe: The Duel [ARC]CptRetroBlue


Blue wastes little time laying into The Duel, picking fun at its dubious links with the main series and its lack of creativity. Pointing out some of the names was a good tactic -- this guy’s a plant so we’ll call him GREEN. We’ll just call the end of game boss GOLDEN AXE because, why not? Also, giving examples of why the AI is cheap was well advised.

There were a couple of points that the brevity of the review seemed to work against though. Filling your power meter by walloping the original game’s mana thieves sounds like a unique idea and a clever callback, so, if it doesn’t work, it would have been a good idea spending a little more time on why it turned out to be a bad idea. There’s also a paragraph that basically says “The background art is rubbish. The background art is great. Who plays games for background art?”. You argue with yourself and then make the point null anyway. There’s certainly a better way to make that point.


THIRD - Resogun [PS4] Overdrive


“When I started my lifetime of gaming with the Atari 2600...” starts ths review, and you know you’re about to be Rob’d. But it does actually set up a discussion of the game this is the spiritual successor to, even if you do try your best to invalid it by saying you didn’t put a lot of time into it because the port was kind of crap. I think you do a good job talking about what is, essentially, a pretty simple game that lasts five levels but, a little like Retro, I think you dig your own pitfalls with some of the arguments you make. For example, talking about how there’s a host of extra modes you have to grind at to unlock, and then seemingly admitting that you’ve only really unlocked one , but base all the ones you’ve not played on the same theory that they’re slight deviations of the base game at best. Or the line in a praise review about how you’re only bothering with the game because it’s on subscription and you’d not want to spend dedicated funds on it; it seems a little off.

Typo:

”could easily be described as aa modern re-imagining of Defender”



SECOND Max Payne 2 [PC] Flobknocker


The first line about losing images isn’t a great start. It’s certainly ideal when you supply your own screens but, if you need them, just ask here. We’ll (and by we, I of course mean I) can probably provide the PR released screens every other sites uses; it’s probably better than nothing, but you certainly don;t need to apologise for a screenless review. The site ran that way for most of its life! I remember the first time I used screens in a review body, Jerec knocked me down that week’s RotW because he considered it cheating!

ANYWAY!

I’m glad you got your weird line break thing in check, almost enough to let the awful “read on to find out!” trope slide. The best aspect of this review is that the author genuinely cares about the series, and I think that something you, as a writer, tend to communicate really well. I remember thinking the same back when you wrote Trackmania and ONRUSH that these were games that clearly meant a lot to you. The downside to writing passion projects is that you tend to gloss over fundamental information and sometimes work on the assumption that your reader is as well informed as you are. This review does suffer from this at points; there’s bits where you reference the first game which makes no sense outside the context. It’s not all bad, though; for example, the monkey paw wish swapping the baby maze for escort missions was great, even if it relies on prior knowledge. Just as well I have prior knowledge, then.

Typo:
and It has full controller support Errant caps


WINNER Streets of Rage 4 [PC] Masters


I should dock you this place for being so bloody late. He’s a little insight into the Gary & Marc review corner, kids; every day I’ll get “I’m absolutely going to do X today”, and then abject failure, and then the cycle begins anew. It’s exhausting! But it’s almost always worth the wait. I suppose this one isn’t so bad.

It’s a retrospective look at a retrospective game, holding it up to previous versions, meaning the review will suffer a bit if you don’t have prior knowledge, much like with Flob’s effort. The blow is lessened here, though, because the game is custom built for a returning fanbase (and considers picking up new fans a happy bonus), which leaves Marc free to billow up, dropping praise on both the game and it’s developers at whim. Some killer lines included, like labeling SoR4 exactly what SoR2 would have been if it was released today -- it’s a powerful statement to the right crowd. It was also a very good idea to talk about the levels of accessibility, letting people just brawl brainlessly if they’d prefer, to the other side on the spectrum offering counter combos and knuckling down to really learn each character to get the best out of them.

I’m not as enthused with the weird Lizardcube paragraph were they’re damned for making impossibly faithful and ridiculously fun retro revivals -- that’s got to be considered harder than floating your own IP with all the ravenous fanbases out there -- but I take your point, even if I think it’s out of place. Now go finish the other review you owe, slacker.


TAGLINE OF THE WEEK

Flobknocker says: "Prescription Painkiller Boogaloo."

Thanks, EmP! All I have left to address now are pages that only I ever see and use, so it's a relief to have the site back to what it was.

I did learn some stuff during the process--useful stuff--and I will try to apply some of that new knowledge going forward. Also, because the site is now designed around a much newer version of PHP, any big changes that might happen in the future will be MUCH easier to fix.

We shouldn't see any future outages of an extended nature, or on a site-wide level, barring unlikely scenarios such as a server move. This is a change that has arguably needed to happen for some time, and the timing just sucked. But the timing for such things always sucks, and I guess it was especially fitting that things should get so rough during this crapfest of a year that is 2020!

Great work in bringing the site back from being 2020'd. I know you put a lot of hours get this place back up and running; I hope, at least, you've learnt a few useful things during that time. I don't think you often get the props you're due for your works on the digital guts of this site, and you've done a hell of a job this time around. I'll say something nice about a Nintendo franchise at some point in your honour

Appreciate the nod; it was a curtailed week after the site went all 2020 on us, but all is well again now! Roach was a real slog for a short game, but it's over now. On to the next one.

Props to Mariner and Rob. Thanks for the comments, Joe.

Take that, nobody else!

My initial plan was to sit on the Inside review so I had it in the pocket when the Horrorrush starts in a few months, but it seemed a decent test subject once the site found some stability again. Inside is good stuff, even if I gave up on Limbo years ago. Thanks for reading!

Mariner: yes, writing it at one setting probably helped with flow, and brevity is always best.

Joe: no problem. Although to be honest, I don't think I'll do this kind of thing again, with the critiques for every submission. It's a lot of work, and I don't think people care very much.

Flobknocker: it's nice to see you post. I understand your explanation -- it makes sense. Maybe a line like what you've written here inserted into the review would help? My two cents.

It's been quiet around here ever since Jason broke the site.

We are all healing right now, and slowly, reviews are returning. But this topic is about the activity -- or lack thereof -- from two weeks ago. (But I'm doing the RotW, so you knew that already, didn't you?) And so, we have a single review, 'in the running.' Ha. It's Emp versus no one.

Emp wins this one.

To be fair, with a review this good, he'd have actually beaten a few people, had any showed up. But they didn't, so he has the ignominious distinction of calling in an airstrike, Modern Warfare style, on no target at all.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Inside by Emp

The review starts with a punny tagline, as always, which is surprisingly on the nose and kind of bad, but in a way that made me legit LOL for both of those reasons.

From the silly tagline, things get quite a bit more serious, as Gary manages a masterfully short rundown of this absurdly sinister and violent game about a boy who must... run to the right. He does a fantastic job of giving you the feel of the game: death is constant, nothing is explained, things get puzzly, still you must press on and you'll want to. It's tough to explain a game like Inside without ruining it or feeling as if you've avoided ruining it by saying nothing at all. Gary achieves a fine balance.

Kudos on beating... no one.

More kudos still on writing a review that would beat most... anyone.

And with that, I'm out. I hope not to be late next time. But you never know.

Thanks for the kind words, Joe. Yeah, you NEED to play this one. The only real question will be if you feel like trying to stick it through to get better than the easiest (lol...) ending to get. Like I said, the game might not grab you initially, but after you beat the plot-important boss of Greenpath (the second real area you get to), things get super-good real quick. I legit feel this game does deserve being put up there with the greatest metroidvanias and credit for that goes to both the great design and the fact this game is TOUGH. I had that "KING OF THE WORLD, BAYYYY-BEEEEE!!!!" feeling more than once after getting through something here and the great thing was that it never felt like pulling teeth to get through those tough parts. I mean, I died more times than I'd care to admit, but it was in that "Lemme at 'em again!" kind of way than a "No, not cool..." about every time (with those "beat to get other endings" fights being the ones to hit me like that).

At least if our tastes in good gaming are as similar as I've gotten the impression they are. And I hope so, because in the (random year in the) future, I likely will play Risen 3 as its enhanced edition is a PS Now freebie and you made it sound better than anyone else has with your "yeah, it's fucked up in ways, but if you like this kind of thing, it'll give you the goods!' review.

sorry for being so late to the party, but thanks for the kind words, and love to all the folks here. Even though this is weeks old at this point, I get your point about the score for Max Payne and I'd like to clarify my thought process for it. I actually loved most of my time with Max Payne, but I decided that due to the game needing "community IT support" it shouldn't ever get anything over half marks, because that sort of thing is a total deal-breaker for a lot of people. Add to that a few further detractions and it wound up at two stars. Were it not for the heinous technical issues, I'd probably have rated it somewhere around 4 or 3.5.

I really get your point and it seems odd from the outside, but I thought I'd explain my somewhat arbitrary score. Thanks again for taking the time to read my work and provide feedback, it really helps.

Three reviews to do this week, including a holdover from Rob's week. This should've been done almost immediately, yet somehow I managed to put it off for a long time. Hey, I get a pass, as I did recently move. The relocation itself wasn't troublesome at all because we hired movers. The tough part was putting everything back together: re-establishing internet connection (I needed to have someone actually come over to do this, since the previous occupants had a really weird setup), mounting TVs to walls, mounting heavy furniture to walls because one of my kids is a climber, redecorating, assembling yard toys (swing set and trampoline)... At least it's all done.

I've only made a little game progress over the weeks. I've gotten pretty far in Grandia HD, having recently recruited Liete. I decided to try out the Tower of Temptation, since I didn't even know it existed the first time I played through the game. The enemies there are quite tough, as they're apparently immune to swords and strong against most other weapon types (not whips, though).

I also tried out 1000 Heads Among the Trees, which is a cheapo Steam horror game that's actually pretty decent. No, seriously. Though it uses the familiar rough presentation seen in so many asset flips, it offers a pretty intriguing experience where you walk around Cachiche, Peru and snap photos of ghostly activity, then show your pictures to locals so you can get the backstory behind the phenomena. The only thing stopping me from turning this into an actual project right now is its stability issues, where the game often crashes when you open the map. The last time I did that, I actually had to restart my computer. Neat ideas or not, I don't have the patience for that kind of nonsense right now.

I also tried out 1406, which is another Steam horror game published by Epic. It's visually appealing so far, but it's the kind of game I'll need to play in a single sitting one night, rather than in little spurts here and there.

As for movie viewings, I caught the '80s The Exorcist knock-ff, Mausoleum. This one is pretty standard in regards to plot, where a woman becomes possessed by a demon sealed away in her family's mausoleum. After reaching adulthood, the creature decides to unleash its fury upon any random bit role that comes close to her. The movie wasn't really well-received back in the day, and it certainly hasn't aged any better. It's reached nearly comical levels of badness, where you don't even need MSTK3 to ridicule its content. I mean, her family's name is Nemod? What the hell kind of Troll 2 shit is that? On top of that, the demon's suit is inadvertently hilarious, resembling a henshin villain from the '70s. She even has monstrous faces on her breasts, which only adds to the accidental comedy. Ultimately, it's a campy and fun movie, but definitely not one to be taken seriously.

As for the reviews:

Mariner reviewed Kakuro Magic for third place, and it sounded pretty awful. Kudos for not assuming your audience is familiar with Kakuro and actually filling them in with the relevant details. A game like this really shouldn't be any worse than average because there aren't many places for it to break. Obviously, as you gave this game a 1/5, it had to crack somewhere, and you did a fine job pointing out where the rift starts. The review is well done, but the subject matter doesn't really stack up to the other two on offer this week. Such is typically the case with puzzle game reviews.

Hollow Knight always sounded like a game you either love or hate, and Rob is apparently in the former category. He also takes you second place. This is a good, detailed review that doesn't give away any of its game's surprises. It also drops enough info to make the game sound interesting, giving me a reason to move it a little higher up on my priority list. Were it me at the keyboard, I probably would've bantered about so many specific moments that I wouldn't even realize I was spoiling the game for others, so you did a terrific job there.

EmP takes Review of the Week with Journey of a Roach, This review is both efficient and nuanced. It shows us the glaring flaws, but also discussing other smaller points without making those thoughts feel like clumsy asides. It's also fairly short, but doesn't feel abbreviated or cranked out. It's all one quick, nicely flowing piece, coming to a logical conclusion that's very well supported.

---

That's all I got.

Well, everything falling apart like it did certainly didn't improve MY year, but I'm glad I've been able to bring everything back and keep the site going without an even longer interruption than has been necessary.

Thank you for taking the time to critique everything I submitted. I felt bad dumping that much stuff all at one time, and I'm grateful you went through it.

Working on ROTW. With the move and the site being down, I got sidetracked for a little bit. I'm also hopelessly drawn to Grandia, so that hasn't helped.

All good news. It would have just added to the whole "2020 is a pure shitshow" vibes if, after getting way into PS Now's library, the site self-terminated and I lost my outlet to write about all the wacky stuff I'm playing.

I've removed the notice about site construction that was appearing on most pages of the main site, even though construction still isn't quite finished, because it's at this point close enough to done that a lack of messaging shouldn't cause anyone too much concern.

Blogs should be back at 100% now, including game collection management tools. Next up, I'll target a few incidental pages around the site, then some staff tools that only I ever use, and then I will be ready to start improving things again and gently polishing rather than scrambling to address a crisis. Thanks for sticking around through the chaos, and enjoy the site!

golden axe the duel

arcade

sega, 1994

Added.

The site is almost completely restored, and for most folks, it might as well be. This weekend was rough, with severe plumbing issues taking up most of my available time, but this afternoon and evening (Monday into very early Tuesday morning) I was able to get some important staff tools added AND was able to restore blogs almost completely.

What's left to do? I need to add tools to manage game collections and the RSS feeds and sitemap. That'll finish up blogs, and I have a few pages around the main site. From there, all that's left to do is fix some staff tools and then the site will finally be back to normal. It's possible I will be able to do most or all of that tonight (Tuesday), though two full days may wind up being required. Anyway, for now it's time for me to get some sleep.

As always, thank you for your patience as I finish this process!

Tonight/this morning (all depends on your time zone) has been productive, so I have a few updates to share.

Users who may have logged out of their accounts should now be able to log in again. If they've forgotten their password, they can reset it. If they never had an account in the first place, they can create one. Features to modify your account (and to update your avatar) are now fixed. It's also possible to submit a site contact to staff. And anyone who is signed into their account can now use HG Mail again, with all functions working.

If you have a different experience than promised with any of the above things, please let me know so I can fix anything that may be broken, though I've done what testing I can myself and encountered no issues.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is my Friday this week, and after work tomorrow evening I hope to add staff tools so we can view site contacts and process them. I also hope to add tools so staff can submit and modify game profiles again, which will be nice because I have a bunch of Switch games to add and we'll want to be able to add other listings as news coverage resumes next week. Once those tools are added, then I'll likely be prioritizing the Reviews, News and Guides pages linked from the top bar on the site, and then I'll be going through to tend to a bunch of less commonly accessed pages. Blogs and game collection pages will likely come somewhere in the middle of that, hopefully by Monday evening, and then we should be basically back to normal except for any bugs you or I might discover along the way.

When posting, please keep the guidelines outlined in the forum help file in mind at all times. Disruptive posts will not be tolerated. Let's all try to have a good time and keep things civil.


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