Archive for the Best / Worst Category

Ys II: Completed! Thoughts

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Ys on September 20, 2017 by slateman

Ys Books I & II remains among my favorite games ever. That’s partly tied to the time of my life, about 13. However it is also tied to its innovation, its technological prowess (CD quality!) and its music, which is still remarkable. But now having finished the remake of Ys III and my save game but a few hours into Ys II, it was time to complete this retelling. And now that I’m done, I realize…It’s dated.

The game was still great, with the familiar faces of Feena and Reah bringing a smile to mine. However, its source material is almost 30 years old and it shows. The labyrinthine level layout was needed with limitations of the ’80s. Now it just feels empty and repetitive. A guide helped me through this journey and I’ve no shame in that. In addition, Felghana’s remade soundtrack may very well be superior to the PSP iteration of Ys I & II. In fact, the former may be the best the series has ever seen.

As Ys VIII hits shelves this week, my return to Eresia will have to wait. Until then, here are some snapshots from the last hour or so of Ys II – spoilers, quite obviously!!!

Ys II: Hello Zalem!

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Ys on September 17, 2017 by slateman

This is a totally unnecessary post – but I found it humorous. Having gone back to beat The Oath In Felghana, I figured why not polish off Ys II as well. I abandoned that title at around the same time as Felghana. Well, once you land in Ramia village, you can go upgrade your equipment by meeting Zalem. Well, turns out if you talk to her before trying to do any business, then give her three herbs, then visit her bed, you’ll be given an option to join her there. It’s entirely juvenile and silly, and I certainly don’t recall this option back in the TurboCD days!!! In any event, here’s some visual evidence. Warm and sinful indeed.

Ys: The Oath In Felghana – Revisited!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Ys on September 15, 2017 by slateman

After putting in 15+ hours in early 2014, I abandoned Ys: The Oath In Felghana, the remarkable remake of the legendary Ys III: Wanderers From Ys. The latter, a game I played waaaay back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, was an amazing game with an even better soundtrack. Just why I quit is unclear and returning to games, especially any type of large-world titles, is never easy. However, after doing book research and poring through the excellent Castlevania book I have, I was inspired to return to the other excellent game, Symphony Of The Night. I tinkered for a bit before pondering that very question of why I bailed, more than three and a half years ago.

And so here I sit, at the very end of the game, in the very week that Ys VIII ships. Reviews are positive and of course I’d like to pick it up. But now isn’t the time. Hell, if I could wait almost four years to finish this, I’m sure Lacrimosa Of Dana, which itself is over a year old, can wait a bit longer. Come to think of it, I never finished Ys I & II Chronicles on the PSP either. Backlogs aren’t so bad, maybe! For now, a pretty decent screenshot of Adol before the setting sun in anticipation of that annoying-as-hell Chester fight.

SFV: Abigail Vs. Zangief

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Street Fighter on August 7, 2017 by slateman

The 8-foot-tall Abigail joined the SFV roster two weeks ago and his size is almost a joke. While Hugo already dwarfed the rest of the cast, Abigail’s inclusion tops even him. Why not compare him to the quaint size of Zangief. Funny shit.

The Golden Age Of Television

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Lists, TV on August 3, 2017 by slateman

I can think back to when I was a kid and TV consisted of Family Ties, The Wonder Years and Cheers. The ’90s brought Seinfeld and Friends, the ’00s shows like 24 and The Sopranos. But since cutting the cord, it should be difficult to keep up on the new shows, but clearly it isn’t.

I’ve spent more time since Erin and I moved to Sweden than I did in the decade before it. As we start a new show, Ozark, I recalled the countless shows before it that we’ve binge-watched over the last half-decade. The quality varies, of course, but a number of them can live up to the Seinfelds of the past. I thought I’d try to reflect on this fact, partly for my own posterity, really. Asterisks denote completed shows.

  • Americans, The (5)
  • Big Little Lies (1)*
  • Boardwalk Empire (5)*
  • Bloodlines (3)*
  • Breaking Bad (6)*
  • Catastrophe (3)
  • Fargo (3)
  • Game Of Thrones (7)
  • Homeland (6)
  • House Of Cards (5)
  • How To Get Away With Murder (3)
  • Leftovers, The (3)*
  • Mr. Robot (2)
  • Narcos (2)
  • OA, The (1)
  • Ozark (1)
  • Sherlock (4)
  • Stranger Things (1)
  • Taboo (1)
  • This Is Us (1)
  • True Detective (2)
  • Vikings (4)
  • Walking Dead, The (7)
  • Westworld (1)

Several are in a strange “is it over”? stage. But that’s a good listing of shows, some can stand up with the best shows ever IMO, like Breaking Bad, the first season of True Detective and early Vikings.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Wishlist

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Street Fighter on July 31, 2017 by slateman

It feels as if it were only yesterday I imported Hyper Street Fighter II as part of the series’ 15th anniversary. It later came to the US with SFIII: 3S as a pretty sweet package. As 2017 is now more than halfway done, I remain curious as to how Capcom plans on celebrating. News started to surface this week that an anniversary collection might be coming.

As exciting as it might be, a wishlist of what could be should be reality-checked. Does anyone remember the Street Fighter Collection from back in ’97? After months of hoping for a complete compilation of SFII we ended up getting two games rather than one. Surely the arcade ROMS couldn’t fit in one collection?

That may be unfair, as we later got the excellent Fighters’ Generation / Alpha Anthology which showed Capcom could do it right. But while I should really be cautiously optimistic, I’m going to throw that caution to the wind and express my excitement over the possibilities.

With Ultra Street Fighter II newly-on shelves, I’m not sure that’ll be part of this package and they can’t realistically put out the HD Remake if USFII is already out. Hyper Street Fighter II may be more likely, but both games are just broken from a competitive standpoint. However, either game would be great for the collection and USFII may be the easiest to port over. I think a form of SFII is almost required for the 30th anniversary.

As for SFIII, a collection of all three versions would be sexy as hell, but I think a 3S Online Edition translation would suffice for most purposes. It could be done easily enough as they’ve brought Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Ultra Street Fighter IV over to the current-gen systems.

Speaking of…I wouldn’t expect any original SF or SFIV games to be involved.

So what are we left with? Oh…just my favorite Street Fighter series of them all. The Zero/Alpha games launched as I got into college and the animations, style, sound effects, roster and overall feel remain the best of them all. They hearken to a different time of my life, of gaming, that whole thing. I remember going to the mall to play as Adon in SFA. I bought my first Playstation alongside a fight stick and SFA2. I imported SFZ3 and my fascination turned into an obsession. The aforementioned collection of Zero/Alpha games is so utterly spectacular and complete, I would do anything to have those games playable on the PS4.

However, that may be a bit too optimistic. That’s an awful lot of upgrading, but I truly don’t think a 30th-anniversary collection would be complete without the Zero/Alpha games. I’m not sure precisely how they could work them into this collection but I think it has to happen. It’s entirely possible we just get one game and as Zero 3 really encompasses everything the series stood for, with its Isms and vast roster, you then wonder what version of SFZ3 they’d include. The GBA and PSP versions are the most complete, but with a max resolution of 480×272, it’s simply unacceptable on a big screen. That’s a dilemma. I’d prefer not have an incomplete collection all these years later, but a full one might require too much work. Oh, if I could just get Z2A/A2G, I’d be so friggin’ happy.

I think we’re above a anything would be better than nothing. We’re a far cry from the bare-bones ports and translations of the mid-to-late 90s. There’s no reason this shouldn’t be a kick-ass collection. Having bought so many versions of SFII (no fewer than 6), SFIII (maybe 2?), SFIV (vanilla, Super, AE, Ultra, Ultra on the PS4), and now SFV (base game + 2 seasons of DLC). Please don’t fuck this up, Capcom. The 30th anniversary should celebrate US as much as it should celebrate SF.

Street Fighter EX Collection Wishlist

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Street Fighter on July 31, 2017 by slateman

With Arika moving forward to release a new fighting game next year, we’re set to see Kairi, Skullomania, Garuda, Darun and Hokuto return to the ring.

There is no official tie to Street Fighter EX just yet and it may remain that way. However, it seems evident that Arika and Capcom have
some open relationship going, as EX characters appeared on the CFN portal.

It’s never been a viable topic to even imagine an EX collection, but with the new changes, one might wonder: could this actually happen? Certainly I am not the only person who would be elated if Fighting EX Layer (unofficial working title) actually turned out to be SFEX4, however it is ultimately extremely unlikely. The small Japanese team was taking input from people at SDCC which means they don’t have the big backing Capcom would offer, particularly with the name Street Fighter affixed. However, one could just imagine the possibility of a collection of the first three SFEX games actually coming to be.

They would likely have to come to the PS4 only, as the trio of games never appeared on any other home console. And while the first two games had basic arcade version that differ from the final ports, it seems unlikely those versions would ever be playable. The only real issue would be the requisite online play. Outside of that, the remainder of the games could truly remain the same. From the great trials to the training mode to the arcade options, it could be a very straightforward game. I don’t need enormous major changes. Just a nice game choice splash screen and the full games ported over. However, maybe I’m being na├»ve. Perhaps it’s not quite so simple without fully remastering them. If it were possible, I would gladly plunk down the cash for:

  • Street Fighter EX + Alpha (PS1)
  • Street Fighter EX2 + (PS1)
  • Street Fighter EX3 (PS2)

How sweet would that be? As usual, the sheer awesomeness is directly proportional to the unlikeliness of it actually happening. *sigh*




Netflix’s Castlevania: Slow Start – Great End!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, TV with tags on July 31, 2017 by slateman

The animation in Castlevania is remarkable and the short, four-episode series simply looks great. Each of the roughly twenty-minute episodes is over as soon as it begins, but the series takes a little while to really get rolling. I know setting backstory is important, but I was, quite frankly, bored halfway through the second episode. Trevor, my favorite Belmont for obvious purposes, seemed more annoying than genuinely vested in the task and dialogues just went on forever. However, as the end of episode three leads into the finale, the story takes shape. The final battle sets the tone for what should be a very exciting second, eight-episode season two. However, I should be wary to note that the shortcomings of this season are likely going to return. The fitting end to this season was particularly special, especially for anyone whose favorite of the original Castlevania games was number three, which, truly, is a vast majority of classic fans. I don’t know if we’ll see Grant’s return, but as is, the three protagonists are diverse, strong and well-voiced. Richard Armitage does a spectacular job and I look forward to the second season’s arrival. It should be fun.

Fargo Binge: Over!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, TV on July 30, 2017 by slateman

I watched the film back when it was new, but I’d heard good things about the FX TV show. With my wife and I running out of things to watch, why not try something new? And after just a few weeks, we’ve binge watched all three seasons and the film itself. It’s pretty look to see all the nods to the movie in the show, but it was clear: the first season was the best.

The show was quaint and entertaining, but the TV show is when it came into its own. And each season had a standout actor or actress: Martin Freeman and Billy Bob in the first, Kirston Dunst in the second and Ewan McGregor and the slimy antagonist from the third. And Dunst was spectacular. I’d highly recommend watching the first season and maybe even the second, all while remembering the latter’s finale was rather weak. In the end, a very entertaining show and now the wait for a possible fourth season begins!

New 4×4 Record!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, Cubing Records, High Scores/Accomplishments with tags on July 27, 2017 by slateman

On the same day that Feliks broke the 7×7 world record, with a 2:08 showing, I managed to shave four seconds off my modest 4×4 personal best. A 2:14+ time may seem quaint to these speedcubers, but it’s the best I’ve ever done. My newest cube, a stickerless QiYi MoFangGe Snow Leopard, isn’t really great. It’s exploded several times and I am pretty sure I lost a record just in trying to keep it from doing so again. However, a parity-free run this morning yielded a pretty good time. While I don’t think a sub-two-minute run is ever to be in the cards, I’ll remain humble with this new record.