Wednesday 28 December 2022

Androgyne's 2022 Games and Toys in Review

Feel pretty good about this year. Played more of less purchases overall I think.

I'm going to include links to pics so people know what I'm talking about too. Some might be links to stores, but there's no commission here just first google result kinda thing so cut me some slack!

Tomica & Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Fast & Furious '95 Mazda RX-7

Didn't expect to find this and while i expect Tomica will eventually get to this model as well, I couldn't resist. While the car is clearly just a repaint of a regular RX-7 (it doesn't have an accurate to the movie wing), I like the decals and it fits decently enough with the Tomica F&F cars I have.

Tomica Premium Ferrari FXX-K

Continuing the Ferrari collection, this was a must have. Although it doesn't fit in with the rest so well (which are street cars), it looks great. It is oddly a bit on the light (weight) side though which was a bit disappointing. 

Tomica Premium Unlimited Detective Conan Mazda RX-7

On a bit of an RX-7 high, i picked this up after initially being disappointed with the official pics. In person, I liked the contrast of the white and black plus it looks good with the previous Premium Savannah RX-7. Nothing outstanding but god damn the RX-7 was hot!

Tomica Premium Toyota Supra

This one and the 300ZX below were restocks at TakaraTomy Mall, of cars I missed out on prior to really getting into Tomica. The Supra is a favourite car design of mine. Back when my friend had a Nissan Skyline, I dreamt of owning a Supra with the Ab-Flug body kit. Anyway, this is a nice version. The red seems a bit dark but I like the wheels.

Tomica Premium Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX Twin Turbo

This one looks like a black version in official pics, but in-hand it's a midnight purple that looks awesomely speckly. Great wheels and just a great looking car. Also has an excellently long name.

Tomica Premium WRX Type R STI

Finally a Premium WRX. Of course they've done lots but this was the first Premium release of a street model since I started, so it was a quick decision to nab it. The 2 door variety, in speckly WRC blue, it looks great, but I had to black pen the inner parts of the gold rims so they looked cooler.

Tomica Premium NSX R

Another model I was hoping they'd release. This time it came in black and white versions, both looked cool but white just seemed to work best with the red interior and black roof and wing. Again, I had to do up the rims with black pen; they're getting cheap with this!

Hot Wheels TV Series Batmobile (chibi thing)

Random find and insta-purchase! Great paint, awesome wheels, chibi madness.

Tomica Premium Unlimited Back to the Future Delorean

I already have the Dream Tomica Delorean from Part 3, this one is from the first movie. I prefer it as well, it has a subtle gold colouring and the car seems more accurate - flatter than the previous. Bring on Part 2!

Tomica Premium Unlimited Fast & Furious BNR34 Skyline GT-R

I avoided picking up the Dream Tomica version of this, hoping it'd release in Unlimited, and it didn't disappoint. The silver is super bright and the decals crisp, the wing is nicer than Dream Tomica as well. A nice touch is the silver nitrous tank inside the car!

Tomica Premium Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI

I've been waiting for this model for ages as I used to have a poor man's regular Lancer in real life! I still love the simple design of the car. This one came in white and blue and though my original lancer was white... i eventually opted for blue, as blue seemed to be the original colour for the Evo IV. However the toy is more of a purple, and it's glossy rather than speckly. It still looks good but I was a little disappointed.

Hot Wheels TV Series Batmobile (not chibi thing)

Again, I had no idea this was coming out and just saw it one day. I swear Hot Wheels seems to have new shit out every other week. Like the chibi version, it's painted great and looks the part. I love it! I don't even think i'll feel like replacing this if ever Tomica does a version.

Tomica Premium Unlimited Fast & Furious Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII 

Really pleased that they've kept up with some F&F Tomica this year. This one didn't disappoint. Speckly light green/yellow Lancer Evo with great decals made up for any disappointment I had with the Evo VI.

Tomica Premium Type-R 30th Anniversary Set

I bought this set somewhat reluctantly as it meant i'd have 2 NSX's. But I really wanted the Civic and Integra in these colours, as the regular white versions of those didn't do much for me at all. I figured I can sell the NSX that i like the least... but turns out i like both and can't decide... for now. The other 2 are great but really, really needed the black pen on the all white rims.



Sin & Punishment 2 for Wii

One of those games I've been hunting for a while. Originally played it back in the "download everything and play it for 5 minutes" period of Wii ownership. It's a really good quality game with excellent visuals and great controls. You move with the stick and aim with pointer which is one of the best control methods to come out of the Wii Remote. How they never made a Starfox with this method is beyond me. It also would have worked wonders in a Panzer Dragoon!

Magnetica for Nintendo DS

I think like a lot of people, I first played a game like this called Zuma on the PC. It turns out that was a blatant rip-off of a late 90's arcade game called Puzz Loop, of which this game is a successor of. The low resolution of the DS hurts it and there's not a whole lot of meat to the game modes or stages, but it plays well with the stylus.

Power Smash 3 for PS3

I have Virtua Tennis 4 on Vita and enjoyed it A shop near me has had Power Smash 4 for PS3 in disgusting "best price" packaging forever, and so giving up on that, I picked this up instead. There's basically no difference between all the Power Smash/Virtua Tennis games anyway, not that this is a bad thing, they play very good, probably the last good tennis game since it's not like any are made these days! It also looks exceptional for a PS3 game, running in 1080p and smooth as silk. I played a bit before revisiting Virtua Tennis 4 on my Vita instead though!

RayStorm for PS1

Years ago i passed up a dual pack RayStorm and RayCrisis for PS1. I still kinda regret it as it was going for a good price. But it was also in hideous "The Simple Series" packaging, so i'm somewhat justified. Anyway, I finally found one of them in original box so it was a no-brainer pickup. I like but don't love RayForce (Layer Section/Galactic Attack) on Saturn - Love the pixel art but not so much the dual-plane gameplay, which i felt Soukyugurentai did better. This sequel is in full 3D so no pixels, but it looks rather cool still. The game becomes rather difficult to see as lasers become big trails that clutter the screen. They've since announced Ray'z Arcade Chronology for next year which has all 3. I really don't need it I really don't need it...

Toaplan Arcade Garage Ultimate Tiger Heli 

Despite enjoying all the M2 ShotTriggers prior, I was a bit hesitant to pick this up. It only really has 2 games and they're ancient, known for high difficulty bullshit. But i eventually succumbed as it didn't seem to sell all that well and was fairly cheap. I mostly played Twin Cobra (the sequel) on easy mode and that was good fun. The gameplay mostly relies on memorizing where things will appear, so it's doable if you put in the time. But it's also 10 long stages so it can drag a bit. It's also frustrating that a lot of power-ups are really just "haha try surviving with this shitty weapon!". You really want to dodge most of them. The 1st game, Tiger Heli, i played all the way through on arcade challenge mode. This one is very old but only 4 stages so the memorizing is more manageable, and it was also fun. Not the best ShotTriggers but still worthwhile.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts for Super Famicom

One that's been on my list to find in a box for a while... i eventually gave up. See, I have this on the SNES Classic Mini thing so spending even 3000y on a box seems pretty stupid. I just wanted to have it again as this was one of the first Super Nintendo games I owned as a kid. My dad picked it out for christmas, which was I think the only time he ever did that. And I liked skeletons 'n shit so it should be great right? WRONG! Played and died played and died. Years passed and occasionally my dad would ask about it and i started to feel real bad that the one game he picked, I hadn't enjoyed. So I eventually sat down and made it through the entire game... once. Then i dropped it so hard when I realised you had to do it twice with the ring item. Still, i love this series if sometimes only for the music and graphics.

Super Bomberman for Super Famicom

If you've been paying attention, you'd know this was the last of the Super Famicom Bomberman games I needed. The first one I had a kid, I wanted ye' old box bad, but then decided hey I have the other 4 cart only, what's the big deal. I'm sure a lot of it is nostalgia, but I still feel like this was one of the best games in the series. There's just the right amount of items and cool abilities. Punching a bomb to the other side of the maze to trap someone never gets old. Very happy to complete this set!

Panzer Dragoon for Nintendo Switch

When this came out there was a lot of talk about the visuals missing the point of the Saturn original, and you know, it's not that long/much of a game these days, so I waited until this was crazy cheap before getting it. I actually liked the visuals though they're a bit soft on Switch. The atmosphere is a bit different to the Saturn one but you know, they've gotta fill them stages with something. Gameplay wise it seemed easier as I was actually able to finish it. I think the rate of fire is faster or something. Not a bad purchase for the price but not a lot to bring you back either. Hopefully they remake 2 and RPG one day.

Return of Double Dragon for Super Famicom

I noticed this seemed to dive in price so nabbed a copy online. I hired it way back in the day as Super Double Dragon, but had mostly forgotten how it played. It's rather slow but still pretty fun. I especially like the settings and cool holds and grabs you can do.

Solar Striker for GameBoy

All of a sudden I had an urge to track down portable 2d shooters. I think I was playing Aleste Collection's GG Aleste 3 and thinking about them. This one is a common one from Nintendo themselves. Apart from Starfox, they haven't really made many shooters, much less 2d ones. It's pretty simple stuff, but well designed in the sense that, the GB screen was so bad you wouldn't want to do too much or else you couldn't see. It plays mostly like a Galaga-esque game except it scrolls. Lots of repeating patterns of enemies. I kept dying to a few bosses on original hardware so eventually plugged it into my Super GameBoy and played all the way through on the TV. A great little shooter!

Quarth for GameBoy

Continuing, this is a shooting.... puzzle game. You shoot at tetris-like block formations coming down the screen, to make squares and rectangles to clear them. And that's basically it. It's fun enough but a little tedious.

Parodius for GameBoy

Continuing again! I went out looking for Gradius but only found this. It's surprisingly competent. You'd think there'd be heaps of slowdown but no, it plays well. They've limited some stuff like number of options you can have, but visually it somehow stays clear while looking good, and has a decent difficulty compared to the console releases. I was pleasantly surprised and hope to find more of the Konami GB releases in the future.

Ninja Warriors Once Again for Nintendo Switch

Ummed and ahhed on this ... for what, years? Eventually bought digital in a sale after annoyance at no physical release in Japan and stupid changed name elsewhere. Man I can be picky. Anyway, Tets didn't like this one much so I was doubtful i'd enjoy it even after I'd bought it, but I actually found it pretty great. I was worried I wouldn't like the single-plane gameplay, but while it can take a bit to get used to, the whole game is designed around it so it's nothing to really worry about. I ended up playing through with every character in a couple days. Some were more fun than others - they're mostly designed around giving you a different gameplay experience, which is good... but by the end I kinda wanted a super character to steamroll everything. It has a few frustrating moments - the last boss comes to mind, where for some characters it's just way harder than it should be, because of their weird throwing arc. I loved the pixel art and music, overall presentation was great.

Dead Dance for Super Famicom

One of the first gaming magazines I had as a kid, had a feature on this game - called Tuff-E-Nuff outside Japan. So you know I always wanted to try it back then, at the height of Street Fighter 2's popularity. It was supposed to be a decent clone. But it's ... not really. Just too slow to play with not much variety. One cool part is the character's getting bloody as they fight though!

Puzzle Bobble 64 for Nintendo 64

I just want a good version of this game. I got one for Saturn years ago but it turned out to be a weird Seganet version with missing regular modes or something. This one was also weird. The graphics are ugly realistic scans of stuff and I couldn't figure out how the hell the game was progressing. It seemed to jump from world to world, retry would take you to different levels ... eh i'm probably just missing something cause of the japanese text but whatever. I sold it and the search continues.

Kirby's Pinball

I like pinball, I like kirby, yet somehow I hadn't picked this up yet, so I rectified that. It's ok but I didn't find it all that special either. 

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined for Nintendo Switch

Something i'd been waiting for eagerly after Wild Guns Reloaded and Ninja Warriors Once Again proved this time are masters at pixel art. The Super Famicom releases (1 and 2) both go for obscene amounts of money and are basically unobtainable. This is kind of a mix between remake and sequel but everything is redone so it's basically all new. I admit though, I thought this was a bit more shmuppy than it actually is. Kind of obvious really, it's more of a run and gun. The visuals and sound don't disappoint and neither does the gameplay. There's a good variety of characters and they're all fun. The perspective can sometimes be a pain as can avoiding certain moves, but once you realise you're mostly supposed to reflect instead of avoid, it becomes more manageable. Only problem is, it's all over pretty quickly, and I wasn't able to get much out of the 2 player option as it was a bit hard for the wife and kids.

Bare Knuckle IV for Nintendo Switch

Decided I wanted this on Switch instead of PS4, found it cheap and that was that. It seems virtually identical, maybe a fraction of slowdown. But it looks incredible on the OLED screen!

Super Bomberman 5 for Super Famicom

Wait. Didn't I say the original Super Bomberman was the last one i got to complete the set? Shit, scratch that. I got 5 last. Too many of these damn things. It's Bomberman, it's good. I remember it being pretty tough with the bosses though!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge for Nintendo Switch

I was quite a bit hyped for this. Unlike Streets of Rage IV's first showing, visually this looked great from the beginning. You could tell there was a great attention to detail in the animations and it looked fun as heck. I'd convinced myself that it was going to be at least equal to SoR4 and perhaps even better. Upon playing it however... something is not right, like the game is less than the sum of it's parts. I feel like the hype was through the roof and reviews were incredibly positive, which maybe contributed to me being a bit underwhelmed. But I think mostly those reviews were probably enamoured with the visuals more than anything.

I should point out i'm only playing 1 player which probably skews my viewpoint too. I'm sure multiplayer alleviates some of my complaints. The visuals, sound, presentation are all excellent. I will say the sprites however, don't much remind me of the cartoon or the Konami games, which I feel captured that look better. But when it comes to gameplay... i'm just gonna rattle some stuff off. There's too many levels, the flying levels suck (why are there 3!), the bosses all feel kind of samey (you can just get away with spamming them most of the time), some moves like air attacks and uppercuts feel like shit, slide attack is probably too powerful, charging rock soldiers suck balls and fuck stupid mouser grabs. I need to give it another crack post-patch as some of this stuff has been changed since. For me, it was good but didn't hit a home run like SoR4 did and I kinda just dropped it after finishing it instead of playing through with the other characters like i did for Ninja Warriors. I also noticed a lot of the animations were from old Capcom games... at first it seemed kinda cool but then I think some of them might even be straight up traces, which is kind of lame. I guess if you're gonna copy something that'd be what you'd copy from though!

Shindou Super Mario 64 for Nintendo 64

A collection-filler, this version has rumble and a nice new box!

Quake for Nintendo Switch

At an insane price of like 500y, this was a completely spur of the moment purchase and hoo boy what a good one it was. Of course, I played this back in the day though if I remember correctly, not when it first came out, maybe a few years after. I remembered a couple stages as I was playing it again but not a whole lot. I was really into PC FPS back in the heyday of Doom but dropped off mostly due to switching to Mac. I'd convinced myself console FPS wasn't for me cause i was a mouse/keyboard snob and games gradually shifted away from maze levels to sandboxes and cool monsters to realistic war shit. However, console FPS has gyro controls now and this makes a freaking massive difference to how well you can play on a controller. I just devoured the content in this game and there is a shitload of it. The main original game and a bunch of expansions, there must be over 100 levels. After a few days i picked up a Pro Controller and that made it even better. I even realised this version supports mouse/keyboard! But that's not so comfy in my living room so I stuck with the pad. Remembering how good old FPS used to be was a treat. Firstly, the speed and ease with which you walk around. Forget realism, it's so much better to be able to move around at speed. Secondly, the brilliant level design. I counted 1 level that was a bit annoying, the rest are brilliant. Finding secrets, finding the way through, the carefully designed combat encounters. Thirdly, the weapons. There is nothing more satisfying than watching the guts of a zombie or 3 scatter from a grenade launched into the pack (bounced off a wall!). It's just so damn good I felt like everything i loved about FPS came flooding back to me and I wanted more more more! The Switch port is also fantastic, heaps of graphic options (to disable for better performance and more retro look!). Only a couple of the expansion levels that push the geometry beyond the original game had a touch of slowdown.

Doom for PS4

This is where the more more more lead to. I had this and sold it but I found it again for cheap so I bought it again. The game is good, no doubt, but I have my problems with it. For one, it's a little too intense. You have to be on the move the entire time as the monsters chase you down. The levels are so detailed it can be easy to get lost, moreso when you're losing your place running away constantly! Often, backing away, you'll back into a corner and get stuck on some geometry too. It gets really hard as it goes on as well, where ammo and health is at a premium. You have to do a close-up kill to recover health so while you want to stay away you can't really. I don't really like that you have to play it like that. It looks awesome though and I hope to finish it one day.

Unreal Tournament 3 for PS3

Another 'more'! I played the hell out of the original Unreal Tournament, but was off of playing PC games by the time this (or any other sequel) came out. It was fun seeing similar but different weapons in this later iteration. UT always had some of the coolest weapons. Being that it's deathmatch only, and only with bots these days... i didn't play it all that much. It also seemed to be pushing the PS3 pretty hard as it looked kinda low resolution and muddy at times.

Turok 2

The 'more' is starting to run dry. I finally bought a cart of this to sit unplayed alongside my unplayed Turok 1 cart. I gotta admit i'm mostly just curious to see how low the framerate can go!

Alien Isolation for Nintendo Switch

Jesus, 4 FPS in a row. Well, this is not so much an FPS than it is FP-Horror. A fellow Alien-loving friend had sung its praises to me many a time but for some reason the PS4 version is a pricey mofo here so I never bought it. But newfound interest and all that, an apparently very good Switch port and i figured now is the time. Glad I did as it was excellent. There's a good game here but it's elevated massively by the license. The atmosphere from the visuals/setting and especially audio really made me feel like i was in the world of Alien. You wander around a space station and have to keep it quiet or else bam Alien is there and you're dead. It's really unnerving and I had more than few legitimate scares from playing it! The game is rather slow paced (running will make more noise so it's not encouraged) but for me it didn't feel like it dragged, even though it's also quite long too. My only real complaint was that eventually, i started to rely on the minimap a bit too much which hurt the feeling of exploration. That's on me, but it was a factor of the dark world making it difficult to discern where to go, plus some similar environments making it easy to get lost (even though it's mostly linear, the game locks you out of places). It felt a bit like a PS3 era game (cause it is), with some QTE's and such... but at the same time it all seemed to fit the theme well so nothing felt too forced. Definitely enjoyed my time with it.

Ogre Battle for Super Famicom 

A cheapy purchase of a boxed copy pretty much just so I can do a nice little Ogre series display on the shelves. It's all Japanese, I have the Saturn version already etc... Maybe i'll play it one day through questionable means as I am curious about it.

Final Fantasy Tactics for PS1

An even cheapier cheap copy pretty much just to say I have it :D Eventually I might want to give it a go, as there's supposed to be a remake in the pipeline that I plan to get, and I'll want to see how much changed. 

Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age for Nintendo Switch

So these RPGs etc seem like they came out of nowhere right? Tactics Ogre Reborn was announced around now, which led to the above silly purchases. With nothing new to play until it released, I decided to finish (by starting again) my copy of Final Fantasy X HD on Vita. Miraculously, i actually did! I wasn't burnt out either so I wanted more. I was a little hesitant as this one changed things up quite a bit from traditional FF, but it was well regarded so it seemed a safe bet and I was keen to get something on Switch. The main difference in this version comes from the battles. There's no random battles, you see all the enemies on the field and can avoid them if you want. You also don't stop for the battles, you can keep moving around, although there's not much point to doing so. You don't even choose from a list of moves and take turns (although I think you could if you wanted to). The way this one works is, you set up all your characters with commands that trigger in order or in certain situations. Once you unlock a lot of 'slots' for adding more commands, this becomes really fun to play with, then you set your team to AI and they go nuts destroying everything in sight. It's almost too easy, and once you put this port's fast-forward feature on, almost too fast as well! I noticed I don't take in the surroundings that much and don't remember many of the encounters cause they're all over so quickly, but god, i couldn't play the game at normal speed now, that's for sure. I've never been much for letting the AI play for me, "what's the point?" i'd think. But in this, it feels like i set it all up and is rewarding when you succeed. It's not that hard to just adjust a few things on the fly in the heat of battle when you notice your team not really working well too. This can feel a little cheap at times though, and makes it seem like you're strategy isn't that important. You can kind of brute force a lot of battles. I got about 2/3 of the way through this before Tactics Ogre came out so I have to go back to it at some point, but I've enjoyed what I played so far.

Doom Eternal for PS4

And we've reached the point of buying stuff straight into the backlog. I'm excited to see the visuals of this one but I've read it's even harder than the first so i'm a little scared!

Final Fantasy XV for PS4

I'm the very definition of biting off more than I can chew, it seems. Don't really know what to expect with this one either. 

Actraiser Renaissance for Nintendo Switch

After the original took my top Retro Game of the Year for 2021, you'd think I'd have bought this sooner. But i'm cheap so i waited for a sale. It also irked me they didn't release a physical copy cause it has such nice artwork. So i made my own box dammit. Anyway, reviews for this were also kind of middling so I was overly hesitant as well. But, reviews ere wrong and this is great. People get so hung up on graphics which I think is what happened there. But, even the visuals are good. No, they're not gorgeous pixel art like the Tengo Project games (man, that would have been good). But, they are nicely designed rendered sprites that animate very well. The backgrounds especially, are pretty damn nice. The soundtrack is incredible, really gets you going in the action stages. Those are vastly more fun than the original due to an expanded moveset and better mobility. They're much easier - the original following more of a Castlevania style approach where positioning is very important - this one you can brute force through. So that's one thing I can see people not liking as much, if they prefer that. I think both are good and as a modern game this feels like the right thing to have done. The town building stages are similar but expanded with basic tower defence style moments. I've admittedly not played many tower defence games so I'm hardly an expert on them, but these were enjoyable enough and not frustrating like i imagined. I worried the extra time spent in town mode would detract from the pacing of the game (the original was paced perfectly, and lots of reviews mentioned this being a problem), but actually I found the pacing remained excellent. People complained about the 'sealing the lairs' sections where you just have a couple of action screens and simply have to destroy an enemy blob - said they could have been expanded to full levels. But although I prefer the action stages, I think expanding these would have been detrimental to the pacing. Like the original, nothing really overstays its welcome. An extra area is added at the end of the game and there's some replayability in finding scrolls you might have missed throughout the levels too. I felt like it was basically a perfect remake made by people who really understood the appeal of the original. I'm hoping against hope that they can remake Actraiser 2 soon. And also that I can find a copy of that on Super Famicom one day...

Tekken Dark Resurrection for PSP

I've had a demo UMD of this forever. I feel like I got it through some kind of Sony registration process back in the day. Though I don't much get into Tekken - i've never been very good at it - I was like most, super impressed with what they pulled off on PSP back in the day. It still holds up imo, even compared to Tekken Prime on 3DS that came out much later. So I mostly got it for comparison's sake. Plus, nice box art ;)

Mega Drive Mini 2

I wasn't expecting this but i'll take it! I feel like i've probably reached my limit on these minis now. I have the 2 MD's, PCE, SFC and they look great together in front of my TV, and there's a shitload of great games between them for when the urge strikes. I was toying with the idea of getting Astro City Mini V (with them shooters!) instead... but since it wasn't M2 doing the emulation, I knew it'd be middling. Such a shame as the lineup was gold. Anyway. It came out and then so did Tactics Ogre Reborn a couple weeks later, so my time with it has been pretty minimal. Brief thoughts on the games I played:

Space Harrier 1&2

They cheat and beef up MD's specs to give a good playing version of these. Shockingly better than the version on MD Mini 1, i actually had fun!

Puyo Puyo Sun

A new port ... I have this on Saturn though. It looks nice and plays like Puyo Puyo :D

Fantasy Zone

A new port ... this one is also impressive. I still suck at Fantasy Zone. Curse that moving camera when you change directions!


Always curious about this on Neo Geo, since I played Zaxxon many moons ago on a friend's Colecovision. Needless to say, there is a reason why there aren't many isometric scrolling 2d shooters. It's about as good as it could be, but the view ... point, is just inherently flawed for this kind of game unfortunately.

Star Mobile

A new game where you balance stars on weights. About as fun as it it sounds

Robo/Dennin Aleste

This was one of the main reasons for picking up the machine. I wasn't expecting much as people say it's not the best in the series or anything. I haven't finished it yet but I got fairly far into it and enjoyed what I played.

Ninja Warriors

Nice to see where the series came from but boy has it come a long way cause this is rather jank. The music stands out as so outrageously better than anything else at least.

Final Fight CD

I had one of those annoying Mega CD owning friends who went on and on about how much better this was than the SNES port. And yeah it's pretty good but it's not arcade perfect like they'd say back then! Soundtrack sounds great as well, glad to have this version.

Night Striker

Should be called Pixel Striker. Impossible to see anything properly due to incredibly low resolution.


A 2d shooter with polygonal graphics that's a bit like Galaga, you fly on a kind of semi-into-the-screen kind of angle that can make dodging a bit harder than it should be. Nothing spectacular, but decent.

Sonic CD

I like this game but if i'm gonna play it now it'll be the widescreen version. Levels are too big for the restricted view I think.


I was curious to try this as it was also one of the first PS1 games, one I haven't managed to find yet. It's a rail shooter so you just have to focus on aiming, but with the dpad that's a rather big ask. It's quite difficult to shoot down stuff fast enough to survive after a few sections. The presentation is pretty cool though, flying through space and around ships and stuff

Ecco the Dolphin CD

Played the original once out front of a Toyworld for 5 minutes. Played this version for a bit longer. I can see the appeal but I think i have to be in the mood for the non-hand-holdy type of gameplay. Love the look and atmosphere though.


Another main reason for this purchase. Plays good but is pretty hard, I need to give it more time as I bounced onto trying other stuff.


No reason to play this over the much better ports on 3DS or Switch etc. Runs like poop why didn't they fix it like Space Harrier!

Thunder Force IV

Typical that they'd put this on there just after I got it on Switch. Alas I still haven't played it much to get a handle on the busier graphics.

Ex-Ranza/Ranger X

Another game I was really keen to try. Remember this from an old CVG magazine I used to have. The graphics are really impressive and the gameplay is unique, to this day I think. You're a robot that can fly but your robot has a little buggy thing too, which you can hop in and out of. The controls take some getting used to but the pace of the game seems well matched to them. I need to play it some more but liked what I saw so far.

Virtua Racing

After the Switch port this is totally pointless now, but hey, it's nice to have. Can see the Mega Drive doing it's best, which is still pretty remarkable even considering the SVP chip it had to help.

Fatal Fury 2

Seems like a surprisingly decent port. I'll have to get out the Super Famicom version for a comparison one of these days.

Super Street Fighter 2

Glad to have this as now I can compare all the SNES/MD versions. I still maintain that the SNES versions are best overall. The music sounds so bad in this one i don't know how anyone can prefer it.

Alien Soldier

A very impressive showcase for the hardware that I was really looking forward to playing. But it kinda kicked my ass and I need to figure out how the hell you're supposed to play it cause whatever I was doing wasn't really working, until it did and i destroyed some boss with a single move. Where's the manual!

Tactics Ogre Reborn for Nintendo Switch

I've had this thing since getting Advance Wars on GBA, where I cannot for the life of me get into strategy games. That game reviewed so well, some even calling it the best game on GBA, it pisses me off no end that I just can't seem to get into it. I've restarted it so many times I lost count. I always get through the training missions and then i've forgotten what the units do and i'm pretty much exhuasted and drop it. Not only that, this fascination has extended to 2 of the other Advance Wars games (the DS games), at least 3 Fire Emblem games, and even that random Codename STEAM game on 3DS. Nothing clicks! 

Tactics Ogre is one i've often wondered about too, as if you go looking, the game caused quite a stir when it first came out on Super Famicom. I do recall the PSP version getting a lot of buzz as well, I don't know what I was doing at that time though. It's another of those games where everyone says it's great so it must be great right? Eventually I got the PSP version on my mem stick and played it. I thought wow it looks crisp and it feels nice to move. Seems like you'd have to play it a lot, seems overwhelming. But I did a few stages and being that it was obtained questionably, my curiosity was satisfied at the time and i dropped it. 

This year they announced this remake and I was curious again, but I know me, with my hoards of unfinished strategy games. I thought, "I should play the PSP game if i want to play it. So i did, and with a sense of motivation this time, actually got about 10 battles in before realising fuck, this game is pretty damn good. I read about all the convenience and other improvements being made for the new version and it quickly became apparent that it would be the definitive way to play. So, i dropped the PSP version and lay in a preorder! 

Over the next few months leading up to release i started to doubt myself again. Did i really enjoy it? Was I just setting myself up to drop it again? I didn't think so but worse case, I thought it's only 4500Y, and i can just sell it. So i get the thing and i'm pretty worried still. Almost afraid to turn it on lol. But I do, and quickly get up to the where I was on the PSP version. It's seeming like it'll be fine, I'm enjoying it.

Fast forward to 2 months later as i'm writing this and still playing the damn thing. I can't think of any game that has grabbed me let alone kept me playing for this long, for a very long time. You know as you start to get older you think "is it me? have I changed?" or "are the games just not for me anymore?" etc etc... Sure, I find stuff I like still, but even then i tend to have my fill pretty quickly and move on. Maybe my time is poor, maybe my attention span shorter. I'd pretty much convinced myself the days of childhood where i'd play a game inside out were long gone, for whatever reason it might be. But nope, they weren't. It was the games, not me! 

It made me feel somewhat justified for continuing to buy games for what at times, seems like 20 years past when I should have stopped buying games. This is THE reason why i do it, the hope that you'll somehow find another something that is "your game". A game that gets to your best of all time list, and all that hyperbole. When you've been playing games for so long, it seems everything is "well, it's not this thing i liked more" and its all disappointing one way or another. They don't make games like they used to and so on. 

I guess it's somewhat funny then that this is a game from the "like they used to" time and it just somehow slipped out of sight for me, for 25 years. But there's no denying the game has also been modernized perfectly. It's so comfortable to play, the idea that I was scared to turn it on originally is mind boggling now. For the last month it's been the total opposite, i've been switching it on every chance I get and I have no clue when or even if i'll get bored of it. The only complaint I can level against it is, i haven't felt like playing anything else since!

I'm not even going to talk about the gameplay. It's good, I think you get it :D

God Eater Resurrection for PS Vita

This was a purchase on clearance for 110y!

God Eater 2 for PS Vita

So was this! I actually played this one years ago and i'm replacing an ugly "greatest hits" box!

Star Wars Battlefront for PS4

And this! I played this briefly at a friends house years ago and remember thinking it looked insanely good so I mainly got it for that reason.

Professional Baseball Spirits 2019 for PS Vita

And this! The last version of this for Vita. Figured it'd hold back any temptation to get it on Switch. Great series but I kinda had my fill and feel satisfied with any version really, so nice to have the last one.

Nioh for PS4

And finally, this. Back of the backlog for ye!


Transformers Legacy TL-02 Drag Strip 

Took a while for my first TF to appear this year. Not much was interesting me so after much thought i decided I could go all in for Menasor. I've not actually got any modern combiners. Their gangly appearance and wobbly limbs, not quite G1 apperance didn't really do much for me in the past. The new Menasor however looked bulky, sturdy and accurate. Dragstrip didn't impress me all that much initially as I thought it looked too plain, all yellow. In hand, it was even more yellow as they cut some red paint apps from the promo pics, ugh. But, as a transformer it's very good, 2 great modes. I added some stickers to liven him up

Transformers Legacy TL-07 Wildrider

My favourite of the original stunticon cars, I was impressed mostly by the vehicle mode here, it looks great with the evil red windows. His transformation is pretty basic but decent enough for a combiner limb. For some bizarre reason they decided to split up his hood into 3 pieces into some kind makeshift 'cape'. It looks so bad but thankfully you can keep it together and just rest it as rather inoffensive kibble. Should have spent that budget on ... hmm could have been a lot of things but i'm gonna go with, a new mold for Breakdown.

Transformers Legacy TL-13 Motormaster

Menasor takes shape! I had a good feeling about this one and it turned out even better than I thought. Motormaster looks good in both of his modes. There are a few odd plastic colour (truck has an odd chunk of white) and deco (cut stripe on trailer) choices but nothing that takes away from it being by far the best looking update of the character to date. It's hard to imagine it looking much better short of being in Masterpiece. On top of that, he forms a solid brick of a torso for Menasor that is so satisfying to see come together, looking nothing like his robot or truck. It was very clearly designed with stability in mind like combiners should be. It's a slight shame that part of his trailer is left hanging unless used as a piddly defence canon His weapons are under or oversized depending on the mode. But that's pretty understandable and easy to forgive I think.


Tomica of the Year 2022

Got quite a few this year didn't I? Think i'll probably have less of interest next year but we'll see. It was hard to place these!

  1. Tomica Premium Unlimited Fast & Furious Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII
  2. Hot Wheels TV Series Batmobile (not chibi thing)
  3. Tomica Premium Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX Twin Turbo

Honorable mention to Chibi Batmobile. Deserves higher but it's chibi so it can't reach.

Games of the Year 2022

Lumping retro and modern together this year cause I forgot about doing that until half way and damned if i'm going back to change it.

  1. Tactics Ogre Reborn for Nintendo Switch
  2. Quake for Nintendo Switch
  3. Actraiser Renaissance for Nintendo Switch

They're all retro but not retro anyway! I thought Quake was gonna take it but it was really no choice by the end there. 3rd position was a tougher call, honorable mention to Alien Isolation. A Nintendo Switch clean sweep for 2022.

Transformers of the year 2022

Is a top 3 really warranted when I only got 3? Hell yes it is.

  1. Transformers Legacy TL-13 Motormaster
  2. Transformers Legacy TL-02 Drag Strip
  3. Transformers Legacy TL-07 Wildrider
Honorable mention to MP-56 Trailbreaker who is stuck in the void between 2022 and 2023.





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