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The Good old days when (western) box art was largely unconnected to the game itself. But Japan was more on the money... Anyway, at time of writing I'm an hour at most away from the ending. So I should probably give some indication I've been playing anything at all for the past few weeks. Fun fact: I played this upon it's original release (1994) but never played the original game until the 2004 GBA remake. As you can imagine, I have a natural bias to the sequel. I still adore this game. Mostly I find the "jank" is associated to the control scheme. You have to pull up a menu to do just about everything. Every character can only hold four items (one of those is typically a weapon) and it just generally slows the whole process down. Funnily enough I've found the game wide secret largely on my own. Mithril. You find pieces of Mithril on the world map and in hidden treasure chests. There are fifteen in all. But there is an early point of no return in the game that means you can miss three of them. Those ones I always miss. Jump through a few hoops later and you reach the Mithril Blacksmith. Get ready to save scum if you want the best aka Ultimate weapons, though. The RNG is abysmal. The cast is quite expansive in this game. Which is quite standard for an SRPG. By the same token, a fair few aren't worth even using in your team at any point (points to Skreech, Birdman number two). You'll note from above some have alternate portraits. Due to the class promotion system in this game. There are also secret added items that grant some characters a new class promotion. For example, Kazim (sixth portrait on the top row). He can be promoted from Mage to Wizard at level 20. However, if you hold off on that for a town or two. You find a Secret Book which can make him a Sorcerer instead (this games Summoner). This applies to several classes of character. But you don't need to fret over it if you miss these items. The ultimate class promotion of the Centaurs is Pegasus. If you miss the item in the Centaur town. The Pegasus Jaro (the blond, seventh from the end on the bottom row) joins you by default later. Naturally, these characters won't be as strong as your initial characters would be in these classes. As an aside, much like the first game. I really don't get the fixation these games have with the Centaur class. There are five of them in this. Six or seven in the first game. There is very little between any of them. So yeah, on to my last two bosses of the game - Odd Eye and, King of the Devils, Zeon. I remember the latter being a chore. I've set the game to Hard mode. The 'Super' and 'Ouch' Modes beyond that seem really unnecessary to me. Since it isn't like you get anything extra for the added struggle.
This has been added to Nintendo Online on their Mega Drive collection and I played it for over an hour and I want to give it a bit of a shout out because it's definitely a cool game. So, on the Mega Drive there were a bunch of games that were taking some inspiration from Zelda, specifically Link to the Past. There were a few of them, maybe Landstalker is the best known, if any are at all since none of them popped off in a way that put them in the gamers conscious. I'd say despite how it looks, and you walk around going to dungeons, defeating bosses and getting new abilities and spells that help unlocking the rest of the world, Beyond Oasis is mostly an action game. Almost like if you gave Streets of Rage Zelda's structure. There aren't many secrets and exploration is less of a priority but it puts most of its focus on the combat. It has some neat ideas where you can do quick stabs, or hold the button for a big swipe, you can sprint into a strong attack and you can jump attack and there is also a decent selection of enemies that encourage different approaches. You can also duck by holding the jump button weirdly, and in a tutorial they explained you could use this to avoid some attacks, I've not managed it myself but that's cool and I just like the idea even if it's unfortunately easier to play by just knocking enemies down and hitting them again as they get up. There are often lots of enemies but they're not smart enough to need to play like that, as cool as it is in theory. There's different, more powerful weapons to, but they brake (!) and I've just used them for bosses so far. It moves along at a quick pace, though. The short time I played it I got through two dungeons and I think I was starting a third when I put it down. With the game being what it is they're pretty combat focused with some kinda action puzzles, though puzzle might be generous. But I find myself wanting to look around because it is pretty beautiful. It's a late era Mega Drive game and the pixel art is really nice so it does feel like a bit of a shame you're mostly sprinting around from place to place, and despite looking like a Zelda game or RPG in general you don't really have access to interiors in towns and stuff sine in reality its not that kind of game. I had fun with it though, and I'm gonna play it some more. It is a 90s game and has some control issues like there is a really powerful move you can do and I've only managed to do it by accident in combat and I have a really low success rate on purpose because I think you have to be really accurate with the inputs. But I think it's mostly just because it's an unusual and interesting game I've been enjoying it. Weird aside, and it made me think of Streets of Rage and realise this is a brawler at it's core when I thought further, is that the sound effect that it plays when you cancel out of a menu is the eating sound from SoR when you eat chicken from the bin (or a sound a lot like it). It's really weird and I keep thinking I've accidently consumed an item. What an odd choice by the sound guy for this game.
All these years later, and I finally get to play this, after coveting the super expensive MD cart when it came out. I never played it in the arcade or on an emulator, so the Switch version is my first experience of this. Firstly, really impressed with how it runs. I've heard that this 60fps was not on the arcade original but it's bloody smooth as silk. I was expecting it to look really old but it actually looks really stylish and I could imagine someone making a new game in this style and it looking equally great. The only time it looks bad is when you change the view to cockpit view and the amount of frames of animation for turning the wheel is comically low. Only 6 quid as well. A reasonably priced port that they've done a great job with.