For most of my playthrough I had mixed feelings about Illusion of Gaia, and ultimately by the end I felt it was an underwhelming experience.
Gameplay, Dungeons:
Illusion of Gaia's strongest aspect is certainly its solid gameplay and well designed dungeons. The game primarily focuses on the dynamic between Will and one of his forms, Freedan the Dark Knight, when it comes to progressing dungeons and solving various puzzles. The strengths and skills of both characters are to be kept in mind to ensure thorough exploration and clearing of enemies, and I appreciate that one form doesn't necessarily make the other useless for that reason. The game also does not have a typical leveling system, instead encouraging the player to beat all enemies in an area to gain stat upgrades. I found it to be a good system that also ensured the player gets a good grip on combat and handling of the various enemies, and because of this system, exploration of dungeons also feels more natural. This way the player is both rewarded with stat upgrades and various treasures found through exploring.
Dungeons were probably my favourite part. I appreciate the variety in both aesthetic and enemies, keeping the experience fresh, and each dungeon has its own puzzle gimmick as well, none of which really frustrated me. The Sky Dungeon is definitely my favourite~
Boss fights tend to be on the difficult side, although the challenge certainly isn't consistent. That said, I found them fun, but there is a focus on pattern memorization that may lead to more trial and error than necessary with them. I also wish that there were more bosses, but ah well.
Shadow is the second form you obtained, and while he is fun to use, I do wish he could be obtained earlier. His lack of skills aside from the Aura (why it's used as an item, I have no idea) compared to Will and Freedan's rounded out repertoire also makes him feel more underwhelming than needed.
Story, Characters, and World:
The weaker aspects of the game relate to its story and characters mainly. It's just....kind of boring, honestly. There were a lot of interesting plot points the game explores, and there's a focus on the theme of light and dark as well the coming-of-age of Will and his friend group. It was handled in a way that didn't really keep me engaged; progression felt more abrupt than natural and some things just kinda happen, really.
I think a big part as to why I felt this way was that the characters themselves are for the most part, uninteresting too. Your group of friends show promising potential for character growth, but it never really gets explored or its just the bare minimum. It really just feels like they're there for plot progression only, sharing almost no interesting insights on what occurs around them nor do they seem to feel any sort of impact from them. Seth probably gets the worst of it. The most interesting I found were Lily, due in part how often she accompanies you in your journey, and Kara, the main heroine who actually does have decent character growth, and a developing relationship with Will. Overall, they're probably the most underwhelming aspect of this game.
What the game does better however is its world building and it's relation to the "dark" and "light" sides of human society. No two locations are the same, allowing us to see a variety of different aesthetics and cultures to each city. It helps that they tend to be interesting settings, such as the floating rafts of Watermia or the underground homes of the Angel Tribe. Most of these settings also show a "dark" side to them, which is to the evils or misfortunes of society. Slavery, Cannibalism, Suicide, stuff like that. It can come across jarring, going from more of a peaceful happy tone to this darker sad tone abruptly, but I feel that was the intention and as such, I appreciate the idea.
Other Notes:
The game is super linear and doesn't allow for much backtracking, however I believe there's an extra dungeon and bosses if you get all 50 red jewels. I didn't get them all, so I can't comment on it unfortunately.
If I were to recommend Illusion of Gaia, it would be primarily for its gameplay really. The story and characters are unimpressive to say the least, so don't expect much in that regard.

Bastard!!'s quite the unusual fighting game for the snes. It certainly makes quite the first impression: the visuals are really awesome, levels are like 3d fighting arenas, everyone's cursing here and there (they say "bastard" about 4 or 5 times btw), a lot of destructive spells filling the area, yadda yadda.
Unfortunately, when you actually play this game the problems with it become immediately apparent.
Bastard!!'s gameplay isn't particularly that fun as much as the visuals may want you to believe. It mostly boils down to using your basic projectiles to hit your opponent according to the direction they're moving towards. But by God is it actually hard to hit them. Characters usually move fast enough to avoid getting hit by most projectiles, so trying to only use the basic projectiles in a fight would probably take more time than necessary (I remember as a kid it would take me about half an hour to finish each fight in story mode lol).
What you really need to do is use your special spells to beat your opponent. A few are kinda useless but for the most part they do a great deal damage to end a fight in about a few minutes. You can also try doing a melee attack by moving to the other side and hoping you come across the opponent, and yes its not really easy to do. Sadly, as good as the spells are the button inputs for most I found way too complex for my liking. I'm not particularly great at fighting games, so perhaps more experienced players would be better able to handle them, but personally I just opted to use the Easy Spell Input hack, which makes it easier to activate spells. Regardless, depending on how skilled you are this game will take you like 30 minutes at least or 6 hours at most. Bleeeghh
When it comes to the story, this game provides minimum details. It's not a big deal considering the main focus is the gameplay, but if you do want to experience a more detailed story then I would suggest the manga or animes. The dialogue does come across quite funny though, considering all the cursing and lack of much context.
As said before, the game looks visually impressive. This extends to the portrait art and out of battle sprites as well, all of which look good. The font of the english fan translation I found a little hard to read, but no doubt it fits with the aesthetic of the game and series in general. Music's also great, a lot of tunes I found really catchy.
Overall, Bastard!!'s worth a try if you're interested in checking out more unique or unusual fighting games, or are a fan of the series.

The red balls, beware of them.
Brain Lord’s an action rpg with a heavy emphasis on puzzles (hence, the title). Clamoring for something like that but you’ve already played every other popular snes action rpg? Brain Lord’s worth a shot.
Story, Characters, and the Vibes:
Brain Lord starts off on a bit of a serious note. Your dad’s journey to find a dragon seems to be in vain as he’s implied to have died, so now it’s up to you to complete the task and continue the dragon warrior bloodline.
But, for the most part? This game actually seems to have a rather laid-back, inviting tone to it for the most part. Your primary objective is to still find a dragon, but you and your tight-knit group of friends still wanna take part in dungeon-related jobs and get that sweet, sweet, reward money. There’s really not much to say about the story, you explore each dungeon for specific reasons, with things getting more serious by the end and requiring you to beat some demon lord. There’s a very explorative atmosphere to it, which made me feel encouraged to inspect every nook and cranny of dungeons.
What really shines is the cast of characters. Your group of adventurer friends are a good bunch, providing nice exposition and hints surrounding each dungeon and town, and NPCs in general are pretty friendly. Sounds rather simple, but what I especially enjoy is how not just you but the world around you is also progressing forward. Your friends take initiative to explore the dungeons themselves, and you’ll often be speaking to them as you progress through various enemies and puzzles.
As such, I found myself quite liking the support cast, especially your group of adventurer friends who felt alive and charming on their own. It helps that the dialogue itself is quite decent and funny at times.
Battles, Puzzles, Dungeons:
While Brain Lord isn’t particularly ambitious or revolutionary in what it sets out to do, it feels disciplined in its mechanics. The gameplay is fairly solid and the game takes no time in making you familiar with how it works.
Fighting is fairly standard, with some nuance provided through a variety of weapon types, each getting the job done and providing for a playstyle that suits you best. Like something strong with some range? Morning Stars sound like the best for you. Want something long-range and fast? Boomerangs! Fairy Jades, little companions you can find or buy that help you out, also add more fun into the mix. There’s about 9 types of fairies, each with their own abilities, such as healing or shooting projectiles, so trying them out and seeing what suits you best (or switching them depending on the situation) is quite fun. Finally, magic is another important gameplay element. Most focus on attacking, though some provide an additional effect or have a different purpose to begin with. It’s a nice addition to make fighting less frustrating.
Puzzles are the meat of this game, so much so I’d say that fighting takes a backseat in this game. While they start off simple, like say moving a rock to a button, they get more complex the more you progress and will certainly give your brain a jog. Of course there’s some frustrations, annoying gimmicks, and a few instances of backtracking, but generally, the puzzles are pretty solid (as they should be for this game anyways, gotta make the title of Brain Lord have meaning!). I should also mention that platforming is also an important aspect to this game, and mainly why you’re given a jump button to begin with. It can be a bit off-putting at first due to the bird’s eye perspective, but it shouldn’t take too long to get used to and master platforming.
While it may be disappointing to know at first that the game has only 5 dungeons, each one is gigantic. With a good amount of floors, puzzles, locked doors and keys, most of your game time is spent in dungeons. As much as I like this structure, it does become apparent that dungeons start to feel like a slog at certain points (shout outs to the ice castle, with its massive amount of loops and backtracking). Gets more frustrating if you don’t like certain gimmicks or puzzles (Dark Zones gave me a headache). I appreciate that each dungeon is distinct with its own sort of atmosphere, supported further by what your objectives are in them and what your friends are doing. For example, the Ruins feel very explorative, with your objective mainly being finding various treasures and such, meanwhile the Ice Castle is filled to the brim with traps as you try and rescue hostages.
Other Aspects:
Brain Lord isn’t visually outstanding (though you may notice some similarities with how The 7th Saga looks. Makes sense, both are by the same creators.), but the main appeal I found was the music and sound design. It’s just really good in the ears, man. I love the music especially, lots of good catchy tunes that stick in my head for days.
While there’s some world building here and there, you’re mainly occupied with two towns, a few roads, and the dungeons. It’s a bit of a shame, as I would have liked to know what this Ouk tribe was or find out more about the Abell civilization. But regardless, I can’t say I dislike what we did get to see of the world at least.
Brain Lord has some good, has some bad, but its strengths definitely outweigh its weaknesses. It’s a good time, so give it a shot if you’re looking for some snes games to try.

Breath of Fire 1 review:
Note: This is mainly a review of the War of the Goddess hack, which is mostly a script rewrite with slight other changes. 2x exp and zenny were enabled (yet the game still proved to be challenging so lol). There shall be spoilies:
Breath of Fire is rather rough around the edges, but its ideas and creativity still make it fairly enjoyable for an rpg of its time.
Story, Worldbuilding, and Characters:
The story wastes no time in getting you started on your journey and is relatively straight forward. The protagonist, Ryu, has to make his way to the Dark Brood’s kingdom, Scande, all the while collecting seven Goddess keys to prevent the unsealing of the Goddess Myria. As such, events typically relate to retrieving these keys or having to overcome an obstacle blocking the way forward, and for the most part they’re pretty fun. Most of them tend to have their twists and turns to stay memorable while others use more creative ideas with objectives or dungeons. Good examples are when you take control of the 2nd party member, Nina, instead by the time you reach Wyndia, or dungeons such as the stone golem or Mogu’s dream world. In relation to this, the worldbuilding is rather strong in this game. The game tends to be creative with its environments, accompanied with different kinds of races such as the Fae or the Wolba, making the world exciting and fun to explore. I also like how the 7 keys lend themselves to this worldbuilding too, with something like the Day Key making the city of Auria remain in constant daylight, or the Sky Key affecting the weather of the town Spring. The day and night system adds a little more flavor, I find it neat.
Characters are also fun, with the War of the Goddess hack adding some more richness in their personalities with some basis from the manga. All eight party members are also a different race from each other, and with some added gameplay quirks such as their overworld skills and generally nice character design, they end up feeling distinct and unique.
Graphics and Music:
The visuals in general are pretty great in this game, with well-done sprite work of characters in particular with an appealing enough overworld and dungeons. The battles especially look great: the isometric perspective it takes on and how both party members and enemies are portrayed makes the rather simple turn-based battles feel more exciting. The menu UI is rather simple looking though, but it does its job; the UI is more interesting in battles.
I absolutely love the music in this game. There’s almost zero tracks I can think of that sounded bad or annoying, and none of them ever really got grating to hear; they fit the situations they’re used for as well. It’s quite distinct as well, and as such makes it easy to tell apart from other jrpg soundtracks. They tend to be short loops, but again, it never got to a point that any track in particular sounded annoying. My favourites definitely include the 2nd overworld theme and the underwater world theme.
Breath of Fire’s turn-based battle system is fairly simple, becoming a little more interesting as more party members join. A lot of enemies typically just need to be dealt with physical attacks while bosses are the real challenge, requiring you to use your magic and items carefully to beat them. The original game as I recall was rather grind heavy as well, especially early game, but the 2x exp and zenny patch does ease that frustration a bit. Still, even with the patch, a lot of battles tend to be challenging and so caution must still be taken in new areas and dungeons.
There’s a wide variety of enemies but typically the variety of enemy attacks is mostly physical attacks with some magic here and there and some status effect skills. Bosses I usually found more interesting due to their designs and attacks, and magic and items being more worth using in these situations.
Party members generally have some sort of skill set both in battle and overworld to make them stand out more from each other and to ensure they remain useful. Usefulness of each character varies as the game progresses but each one is needed at some point or another. It helps that swapping party members can simply be done through the menu, and members not in use still gain exp which helps to not have to play catch-up. Speaking of which, characters seem to level at different rates, so don’t worry too much if someone seems to be lacking behind in levels or is leveling too fast.
The menu is simple and easy to work with, but item sorting can be a bit of a pain as there’s no auto-sorting of any kind.
Battles can become repetitive, especially with the encounter rate, but at the least you can buy smoke (marbl3 in the original) to prevent encounters for a while. The original game is also rather grind heavy early on, while mid-game tends to feel a bit too easy.
Dungeons can be a little frustrating due to the way they’re structured, requiring a lot of walking around for the potential of treasure while also having to deal with enemies. From early to mid-game, dungeons can also feel rather samey.
Item descriptions are simplistic but to the extent that any effects a piece of equipment has is not listed either. This can be a bit of a pain seeing as some equipment like the Wolfgod helmet (WolfHT) apparently makes the wearer take extra damage from magic, and so I kept having doubts about other equipment and would often check online to make sure. Magic doesn’t get any descriptions but the names are typically simple enough that you can make a good enough guess as to what they do.
Npcs would often share the same dialogue which is rather annoying as talking to an npc is sometimes required to progress the story, and there also tends to be unnecessary empty space in towns mainly. Different tracks from the town usually play inside houses, so the constant music changing can be a bit frustrating.
Debo’s rather useless in the original as it can only be used underwater, and by the time you get this fusion you have almost zero reason to traverse the underwater world, nor are there any water dungeons ahead (the hack switches Shin and Debo’s placement so you get Debo first, which gives it more use as you need to traverse the ocean floor by that point of the game). Similarly Gobi tends to be a bit more useless among the party members, due in part his skills can only be used underwater.
Type bonuses aren’t usually that clear so you typically end up just using whatever strongest magic you have.
why do you get the Emperor Sword so late oh my god
Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this replay, more than I expected to. The hack does a good job with it’s script rewrite and the game itself wasn’t as rough as I remember it being. I definitely would recommend it if you feel like playing an older jrpg, it’s a pretty fun time.

Zero 2 review:
This reivew will be based on a recently finished replay:
I’m not really sure why, but Zero 2 really hit me hard this time in the feels. My original sentiment of it being a considerable improvement to 1 still stays true for me, and I feel I come to appreciate its story and characters even more now:
Introduction stage:
Ok, first off, I have to mention the introduction stage, Sand Wilderness. It's probably one of the best starting levels I’ve ever seen in a megaman game, and I even want to say any platformer I’ve played really. Continuing from the ending of 1, we see a now weak Zero with his weapons at the point of breaking and his skills all but gone, amazingly represented through the now worn-out sunscreen from Zero 1; he needs to find the Resistance to have any chance to survive and to find a new purpose. The stage is good at allowing the player to become familiar with the platforming basics and to become accustomed to the Z-saber and Buster quick, with two mini-bosses and one final boss. After the stage, you’re now at the new resistance base, fixed up and with a new subscreen, allowing for a good transition from “old” to “new”.
The major appeal of this stage for me probably has to be the music: the stage theme, Departure, is absolutely beautiful, giving a sense of hope and letting you know that even in his current condition, Zero is still a badass. And I absolutely love the Crash remix they used for the scorpion boss of this stage; it's a bit funny, with how it sounds like it has a banjo incorporated into it now, but it's still a bop to listen to.
Honestly, I’m not sure what else to say about this level: it’s just one of the most incredible opening stages I’ve seen, especially for a sequel.
Gameplay is solid as usual, similar to Zero 1. Fast paced with the mission requirements for A or S rank providing further incentive to improve. Some new features and changes were however introduced to further enhance the gameplay:
Firstly, the upgrade system of weapons was reworked a bit, with most of the upgrades being related to providing a charge attack and increasing the speed of it.. These aren’t too difficult to obtain depending on how frequently you use these weapons.
Forms were now introduced, each one improving aspects of Zero or providing new skills at the expense of something else being decreased. I find this feature to be great, as it can easily work into a playstyle you’re attempting to achieve or enhance the kind of weapons you typically use with Zero. The X-form for example improves the buster’s damage output while the Active Form increases Zero’s speed and gives him two Z-Saber skills. You do have to work to obtain these forms, usually some form of requirement that needs to be completed by the end of the stage to obtain it. With multiple forms you’re also able to switch between to better fit the situation you’re in during a level.
EX-skills were now also introduced. These are skills you obtain from bosses when you beat them at A or S rank, and can be activated from the sub screen. Another great addition, as it further provides motivation to improve your rank and adds more variety to the gameplay.
Cyber-Elves are the same as they were in Zero 1, with some new cyber elves and others being replaced. The biggest change is that the Energy Crystal requirement was significantly lowered for evolving cyber-elves, making it easier to utilize their help.
There’s better level design generally as well as better level gimmicks compared to Z1, making it really fun to go through them and get to the boss. Difficulty I feel also has increased but aside from a few specific cases the game provides a satisfactory challenge.
Mission structure and World:
Unlike Zero 1, Zero 2 opts for a mission structure more similar to the X and classic games. You’re provided a set of 4 missions to complete each time, with the boss icon, boss name, and area name being shown.
Further significant changes relate to the game world in general: in Zero 1, most areas were connected and so you could traverse them outside missions (with Trans Servers acting as fast travel). Here, you’re only able to explore the resistance base outside missions, with the Command Room allowing you to go through levels you’ve already done before by speaking to the operator to use the Trans Server. I prefer this new change, as I usually didn’t have much incentive to explore outside the resistance base in zero 1 anyways aside from crystal hunting. As such, the resistance base is the main area you can explore outside missions, allowing you to talk to old and new faces since the first game.
This removal of an interconnected world also means that each level acts as its own area with its own unique stage theme, which I personally prefer more. Some stages technically share the same area as a previous level, but you usually explore a completely separate part of that same area that the level still remains unique. The main exception are two forest levels that share the same stage theme, for whatever reason.
Overall, the new mission structure does give off more of a professional or organized feel now, relating to the new and improved resistance base.
Music and Visuals:
My complaint with Zero 1’s music was that in general most of its tracks were good but rather unmemorable. Zero 2 rectifies that issue, with most of its soundtrack being quite memorable and with the change in mission structure providing more focused pieces for specific areas. It hits hard and each track fits the situation they’re used in.
Visuals are mostly the same from Zero 1, sprites and backgrounds are all appealing to look at. A significant change they did do however was change the text box and decrease portrait size, which was for the better and allowed for easier reading.
Story and Characters:
The zero series continues to provide more of a focus on its story and characters, with Zero 2 providing an enjoyable, decent plot with compelling characters and villains. Zero’s a badass, Ciel’s sweet, the remaining Guardians are still interesting, the bosses are cool, the resistance members are all likeable; I especially love Elpizo, the initial resistance leader turned main antagonist. Suiting an awesome design, Elpizo is just a really fun character for me, a person who desires power and eventually becomes corrupted by his desire, realizing how truly pathetic he was. I love him aaaaa
The story also furthers the overall plot, and leaves at a cliffhanger that left me with the urgent desire to immediately start replaying Zero 3. It’s good stuff.
Again, I think the upgrade system could have been removed entirely, but it's less of a hassle in this game I find. The Chain Rod I unfortunately don’t think was a good enough replacement for the Triple Rod. It feels underutilized, and I can only really call using it for really specific situations. I really think they should have implemented it in a better way that allowed for more usage of it.
The forms system, as cool as it is, does feel unbalanced. Some of the requirements for them feel like you can only accomplish through only certain stages or to really commit to it at the possible expense of affecting your rank. Furthermore their usefulness compared to each other feels unbalanced, and made me feel less incentivized to try certain ones out e.g. Active Form felt better to use than say Erase or Power form; admittedly though this I think this also depends on your own playstyle and what weapons you typically use.
NPC dialogue doesn’t seem to advance as much as it did in Zero 1, so for several missions they’re usually stuck with the same dialogue. This is more of a nitpick though I suppose.
While I like the difficulty, there does seem to be some inconsistency with it between levels and bosses. Seriously why is Phoenix Magnion so ruthless lmao. Regardless, I feel it’s more of a nitpick on my part yet again.
Other Notes:
I absolutely love love LOVE Elpizo
Awakening Will as the credits theme was SUCH a good choice.
Overall, Zero 2 is a considerable improvement over 1 and I think is where the series really started to get its fame of being absolutely great. It's a blast, and if you liked 1 then you’ll definitely love Zero 2.

Being familiar with the Mega Man X series beforehand as well as being a fan of the character Zero, I was excited to get into the Zero series and experience what many told me was a fantastic series of action platformers. And they were right: Zero 1 is a solid entry of the Zero series that got me invested into its world and made me want to experience the rest of the games, to see how the story progressed and enjoy the awesome gameplay along with it.
Now, having experienced all the Zero games and the ZX games by this point, this review will be based on a replay I did of Zero 1 on Normal Mode:
I don’t typically pay too much attention to the story of Mega Man games, but Zero 1 immediately got my interest since it hits you with the questions of what happened to the world, what happened to X, e.t.c. It deals with it pretty well overall; more interestingly, I feel it’s also clear that the game is setting up for major events later down the line, which helped to keep me engaged for the sequels. Ultimately, it’s a story about an old “legendary” robot getting back into action to help out reploids being treated unjustly, as part of the resistance base.
This ties into the gameplay structure: typically Mega Man games have you select which areas to go to and defeat a boss, but here there’s usually an ulterior objective to fulfill with the bosses simply being another obstacle in the way, such as escorting a fellow resistance member or deactivating bombs. It gives an idea of what kind of missions the resistance base has to do while also letting you feel like you’ve become a full fledged member of the team.
More into the gameplay: If you’ve experienced the X series before, in particular the games where Zero is playable, then the gameplay here should feel familiar. It’s fast paced and fun, and you got your buster and Z-saber. Of course, there’s some additional features, namely that Zero has access to two more weapons in the form of the Triple Rod and Shield Boomerang. And while you don’t get any skills by beating bosses, you can level up your weapons to unlock more abilities, such as the Z-saber combo or extending the triple Rod. Furthermore, you have access to elemental chips that are great for beating bosses with an elemental weakness. As a result, the game provides plenty of variety in how you want to approach levels, allowing you to develop your own kind of playstyle even; I personally would use the Z-Saber and Triple Rod the most and try to go through stages as quick as I can, but of course someone else could have a different approach. There is a ranking system in the game as well that can motivate you further to not only improve your skill but develop your playstyle as well.
Another major feature introduced in the game are Cyber-elves. They act as additional help in case you’re having some frustrations or difficulty, divided into three types (Nurse, Animal, and Hacker). The variety of help includes healing some HP or saving you from pits; the cost of using them is that you lose a few points in the ranking system but regardless they’re good if you’re in a bind.
Other details I want to put attention to: the characters are mostly likeable, with Ciel being particularly notable. You feel sympathy for them, Cerveau is daddy. The visuals are good, and I love the artwork in-game and official, its a really nice style that while different from the regular X style fits the tone and mood of the game really well and is just appealing to look at in general. Speaking of the tone, the game also has a generally “dark” or “moody” tone, which I love since it fits perfectly into the current situation you find yourself in. Some of the soundtrack is also really good, I especially adore the boss battle theme, Crash. Most of the areas aside from I believe two are also interconnected, so when you’re not in a mission you can freely explore them and active transers in the meantime too so you can reach them quicker.
Onto some of my frustrations with the game:
I think the weapon level up system hinders playstyles a bit too much than needed. It takes some time to upgrade every weapon to max and this game isn’t particularly lengthy either, so unless you’re partaking in grinding or just exploring the level you may find yourself finishing game soon without having say upgrade your Tri-Rod or Z-Saber to max. Its a bit annoying since it lessens some of the variety you can have while playing.
The cyber elf system also suffers similarly to the weapon level up system. Certain elves require you to feed them energy crystals before you can enjoy them. A neat idea in concept but in execution the amount of energy crystals you need ends up being a bit too much overall that you likely won’t be able to upgrade many elves unless you grind. Of course, the game does provide you areas with free E.C. for the taking, but even then its not nearly enough I found, and making a trek to these areas constantly does become tiring eventually.
This game also seems to lean hard into having a lot of insta kill moments. Could just be what I felt but a lot of spikes and bottomless pits can be found that can really screw you over.
A final few notes:
I think this game does suffer from “first game syndrome”, but I don’t think its severe enough that you can’t go back to it and not enjoy. Not to mention it still has its own unique features that one may like, such as the connected stages you’re free to explore outside missions.
I personally didn’t find the soundtrack to be too notable. A few tracks stand out, but nothing else really stuck in my head. I don’t really count this as a negative however since the general soundtrack does sound good and it fits with the game. I just think most aren’t that memorable.
The designs of characters are really cool in this game. The four guardians in particular I’m so fond of, they really stand out as a formidable force. My favourite design-wise would definitely be Phantom in this case.
Overall, Zero 1 is good, solid entry into an amazing sub series. I would definitely recommend people to try it out, especially if you enjoy the X games. It’s a good time, and it’s fun to learn the ins and outs of it to get better and achieve a solid rank throughout the game.

A rather short experience, A Mortician's Tale focuses on a mortician, Charlie, as she does her job while also providing players a glimpse into the funeral industry.
Its a good experience! The visuals are cute and the music quite calm and pleasing, fitting the general vibe of the game. Game progression is typically reading your emails and then preparing a body for burial, and then attending said burial to pay your respects.
The gameplay is for the most part simplistic, with the game providing you instructions each step in regards to its main gameplay, that being preparing deceased people for their funerals. The main appeal of the game I personally found was its story and the information it provided about the funeral industry. Its rather interesting, what Charlie goes through as a mortician, the different types of burials, exploitation within the industry, how the people related to the deceased grieve and handle the situation.
My only major problem with the game really is that its quite the short experience; I believe I was about done in less than an hour. It was expected, but it does make me wish for more. It also makes part of a story segment feel a little too sudden than needed.
Overall, its a nice short experience I'd definitely recommend, especially if you're interested in the funeral industry and want to have a little glimpse into what its like. Even if the experience was short, I do think it was a memorable time.

Bust a Groove 1 review
Time to get your groove on and Bust-A-Move!
Bust a Groove is a typical rhythm game with some added elements taken from fighting games. The gameplay mainly involves around the beat of the song, requiring the player to match the inputs on the screen every fourth beat; you can also perform a “Jammer” attack on your opponent to interrupt them, and similarly you can also avoid their attacks as well. The gameplay is overall fairly simple to learn: aside from what was mentioned above, arrows corresponding to the directions on the D-Pad may also need to be matched before every fourth beat, alongside having to decide what dancing “paths” for further inputs you want to take. but mastering may require more practice; while matching inputs every fourth beat sounds easy on paper, each input becomes increasingly more complex the more you get correct, you need to decide on a dance path on the fly, and you also need to get a feel of the speed of the rhythm of each song. Thankfully there’s a practice mode, so that helps. You also need to avoid attacks from opponents, lest you want your ongoing combo ruined. The game provides more motivation to replay the game in the form of unlocking the secret characters and the dance routines for the character you play as.
There’s a total of 10 characters to choose from alongside four more secret characters, each adopting a specific kind of dancing style. This, and their designs, I feel manage to make the characters a fairly memorable bunch, whose attacks and stage music give a better sense of their personality as well. But even wackier are their backstories: I assume more detail is given in some manual or such for the game, but what’s present in-game definitely can come across as quite odd. Its namely conveyed in the form of CG ending cutscenes each character has, revealing some aspect or backstory of their character.
The main appeal of the game is very clearly the music. The entire OST is honestly just such a banger and makes playing to the rhythm of the beat super exciting. It's easy to find yourself picking a favourite among them, and the distinct style of each song and how well they complement their respective character’s dance routine also helps them to stand out from each other. I definitely find myself coming back to the music every now and then, so even if you decide the game is not for you I would still suggest checking out the soundtrack at least.
The game has its rough spots. The most major issue is certainly not being able to tell if you’ve inputted the arrows correctly: they flash with each beat, but aside from that it's a bit of guesswork to know if you managed to do them correctly before the fourth beat comes around. For me personally, it also made it a bit hard to keep track of what arrows I’ve done the input for so far as the dance paths become more complex. You go through all 10 characters as well as 2 of the secret characters each game session, which can be a bit exhausting for some. The game provides a visual indicator of which beat you’re at in the top left and right of the screen in case you lose track before the next input, but personally I didn’t find it that helpful as my attention was mostly directed towards the inputs shown on screen, and these indicators also act as the number of attacks you have left and disappear once used anyways.
Overall, Bust a Groove’s a simple, fun game with banger songs. I definitely suggest giving it a try if you’re itching for a rhythm game.
Some extra notes: the english localization changes a few things, the most major being that about four songs were re-recorded in English. They still sound great like the originals personally, so I’d say pick the version of the game that lines up most with your preferences.

Having played this game extensively back in early 2021, and finished replaying it just recently, JSR solidified itself as a comfort game for me, and I would even say it's one of my favourites by now.
With its cool cel-shaded look and funky beats, the game really goes hard with its stylish look and aesthetic. It’s easily identifiable and makes the game stand out among others, from the world to the characters to the graffiti itself.
Then there’s the gameplay, where you typically skate around performing tricks and doing graffiti to piss off the police and claim your territory, with some occasional racing and tagging others. It can be a bit hard to master at first, especially more complex moves like wall grinding, but with practice and eventual familiarity with the surroundings of each stage, the gameplay becomes incredibly satisfying. The ranking system furthermore adds motivation to perform better in the game. Each stage is also quite distinct from each other, typically with their own aesthetic and unique level layout. Mastering these stages is key to do the best in gameplay, so thankfully none of the stages I found to be boring or a chore overall.
The story is fairly simple, but entertaining for what it is. And while this simplicity does extend to most of the cast, as they typically only have 2-3 lines, each character’s design is stylish and makes them stand-out from each other. Furthermore, with playable characters each have different stats in Technique, Graffiti and Power, so that adds to variety and allows you to see which character suits your playstyle best.
Having said all that, JSR is still rough around some edges. The controls can be a bit frustrating due to either the camera not cooperating well enough or when you get stuck grinding a rail really slowly. Doing graffiti can also be considered as tedious, particularly as the inputs for it can be more complex depending on the character you’re playing as, having to keep in mind the amount of graffiti cans you have, and also needing to consider nearby enemies coming up and attacking you. Again, practice makes perfect, but this can easily make the whole experience more frustrating than needed.
Each stage bar Bantam Street and Grind Square also have some parts that I find unusually more frustrating than needed, mainly due to the way they’re structured. While they don’t sour my experience with the overall stage too much it is a bit of a chore to go through them, such as the Sewage Pipe and Playground in Shibuya-cho. Bantam Street and Grind Square are exceptions since they aren’t separated into sub locations, and thankfully what is there I find to be quite fun.
This is more of a nitpick, but I also wish that for the extra modes for stages you were able to select what music you could play. The choice of song being random each time you do those modes means you can go quite a while without hearing a few particular tracks. I distinctly recall most of the tracks that play in Chapter 2 never playing afterwards for example. Another unfortunate part about this is that only one song will play on loop in these extra modes instead of the smooth transitioning between songs that occurs within the main levels.
Overall, I think Jet Set Radio is easily one of the most fun games I’ve played. Despite its issues, I find the gameplay satisfying to the point that these complaints hardly matter to me in the end. I definitely recommend giving this game a try, and then if possible later, its sequel Jet Set Radio Future, which I heard is a great improvement to the original.

Mega Man 3 is what I consider to be a step up to 2 without all the weird gameplay decisions that made 2 a rather underwhelming improvement to 1.
Introducing several aspects that remain present in the series later (such as the Rush items, Proto Man, and Mega Man's iconic slide), levels are generally really solid with a challenging yet satisfying difficulty for the most part. Controls feel rather tighter this time around which I appreciate, and the addition of the slide makes maneuvering levels and avoiding attacks more interesting than in the previous 2 games. Furthermore, the Rush items were introduced which I would consider an improvement to the items in 2, as they're generally easy to use and levels seem to lend themselves well to utilizing them for the most part. Bosses this time around are also fairly challenging. While they lose invulnerability to most weapon like 2's bosses, their weapon weakness this time around doesn't completely obliterate them with one or two hits.
After the eight robot masters the game has an additional eight more bosses, 2 in 4 stages each. These are the "Doc Bosses", and are basically reused bosses from 2. While I don't mind this part of the game, as the levels and bosses I found enjoyable, I do feel it wasn't really necessary and the game could have skipped us directly to Wily's Fortress after beating the eight robot masters. Weapons this time around I also didn't think were as interesting as those of 2's, but this is more of a nitpick I suppose as you can still utilise them well enough against bosses and during levels.
Story is present in the game, however I assume you need the manual yet again to fully understand the context as most of it is only just before the wily fortress section of the game and after the final boss. Visuals are as usual good and I found the soundtrack to be more memorable than in the previous 2 games.
Now, onto my major complaint with the game: the slowdown. The slowdown in this game is far more notable than in 1 and 2, being present most of the time in almost every level and during most boss fights. It makes the game needlessly more difficult than it needs to be and can easily sour the whole experience. While I personally got used to it for the stages, it was a major annoyance in boss battles as it made avoiding their attacks and aiming with your weapons at them more difficult. I highly suggest that if you give this game a try, it should be through the legacy collection as I heard it has a "Turbo Mode" that lessens/removes the slowdown. Alternatively, if you're using an emulator, check if it has an overclock feature and see if that helps.
Overall, Megaman 3 is a fun time and a generally great improvement to the previous two games. The slowdown is really just my main issue with it, as my other complaints with it are not really enough to ruin my enjoyment with it otherwise. If you enjoyed any other Classic Mega Man game then I definitely recommend to give 3 a try.

2 can be considered an overall improvement to 1, bringing in some changes that become common in the series later, such as there being 8 robot masters this time and its style of doing a boss rush for the final stage.
The game is fairly solid with its levels and there's plenty of visuals I found quite pretty. Levels are definitely more interesting compared to 1 and as such are more memorable. The game also introduces E Tanks which really help out in case you're low on health and perhaps have low lives. There also now items such as a jet that are primarily used to help with platforming.
Unfortunately, I'd have to admit that I enjoyed 2 less than 1. There's a lot of strange decisions and wily fortress in general really soured my opinion on the game:
Bosses are rather strange, as they're invulnerable to most weapons. However they're quick to be beaten by their weapon weakness. Speaking of which, weapon weaknesses for bosses have also been strangely decided upon. About three bosses for example are weak to the same weapon meanwhile another weapon is strong to basically no one. As a result, bosses are generally easy.
Wily Fortress is particularly frustrating: often or not you require the use of the items you have but if they run low on energy you're basically stuck. The worst offender about the fortress is probably the final two bosses: The Boobeam Trap and the Alien. The former can only be defeated using the Crash Bomber, and you can effectively get stuck if you don't use it wisely (as the room the boss is in also has walls that can only be broken with the bombs). The Alien can also only be defeated by the bubble weapon for some reason. If you hadn't saved uses of the bubble up to that point, consider never being able to beat the game.
Overall, Mega Man 2 is what could have been a general improvement to megaman 1 had it not enforced some rather strange decisions and were its final stages not so frustrating.

I wasn't really expecting much, going off what others said and not being too keen on NES games in general, but to my surprise the game's pretty fun for what it is.
Unsurprisingly as the first game in the series, its fairly different from later games in the series. Lack of sliding, no charge shot, only 6 robot masters, and score count are among some of the differences it has. This might seem initially off-putting for anyone who's played the later games, but you can quickly get used to it at least. The difficulty is also fine, I didn't really find it to pose much of a challenge.
There's no notable story in-game, I assume its mostly in the manual.
My major complaint with the game would be that you require a specific weapon to progress at one point. The issue is that said weapon is treated as optional and you can easily miss out on it depending on the order you deal with bosses and whether you try a level again.
Overall, its a decent game. I wouldn't really recommend it to someone as their first Mega Man game, but give it a try if you've got some experience with Mega Man already.