2232 Reviews liked by HylianBran

Spotting an arcade cabinet of Time Crisis 5 was like spotting a unicorn in the wild for me, and as such, I immediately felt compelled to run through the whole thing. I imagine that the devs must have been just as excited as I was to try out their new toys (in the form of the Unreal Engine), because that would be the easiest way to explain the drop in depth from previous installments. The dual pedal system sounds great in theory (switch perspectives on the fly to target covered enemies from their weak points while dodging more threatening attacks), but it makes the game somewhat of a breeze, because you can switch pretty quickly with no limits and enemies take a few seconds to refocus their attacks towards you, not to mention that you can dodge every bullet your way by doing so. You're heavily conditioned to do so anyways, because the animation for ducking back under cover has been slowed in comparison to how quickly red-highlighted bullets can be spotted and then damage you, so it's much harder to dodge without outright switching with pedals. Besides that, there's a lot less incentive to mess around with your other weapons, because there aren't quite as many yellow grunts to attack to farm extra ammo: not that you'd really need to anyways, since the unlimited handgun deals enough quick damage to dispatch practically everything with ease. The game also feels a bit more gimmicky this time around due to all the other sections that detract from Time Crisis's signature cover shootouts. There are a few quick time events that require you to press the correct pedal to avoid damage, a single sniper section that has you headshotting foes to avoid detection (unlikely anyways since they die to two body shots and you'll usually fire fast enough), and some "break the targets" quick time events that become simple enough since you're provided with unlimited ammo during these moments.
I do have to admit that at the end of the day though, it's still Time Crisis despite the obvious lack of focus, and it's still got many of the hallmarks that got me so interested in the first place. The light gun aiming feels pretty responsive and satisfying due to the vibrations and fantastic visual/audio feedback, there are some pretty intense railgun sections that actually prompted me to really keep an eye on both perspectives with the pedals, and the story still makes absolutely no sense at all with some of the laziest voice-acting imaginable. I can't help but grin though, as the campyness of the franchise, with all its exaggerated boss fights and gratuitous explosions, has always been a big draw in its memorability. As it stands, it's definitely the weakest of the Time Crisis games I've dabbled with, but I'm glad to have finally found and conquered another installment. The search shall continue until I've beat them all...

It’s just your average, run-of-the-mill, cel-shaded resident evil bomberman game. Wait, what?
So you wake up as a test subject in a strange facility, with no memory, but you have the power to summon bombs out of thin air like Gambit or something.
The original Resident Evil games are a clear influence, as the game involves running back and forth through a large facility, unlocking doors, reading sinister lab reports, repairing power generators, interacting with computer terminals, that sort of thing. The first level in the sewer is not so bad, but the map gets much more complex in the laboratory proper, and you can only view the map at certain locations.
You also collect biochips that affect your attack attributes, and when equipped in certain combinations, also grant new abilities like a dash and a wall climb.
The overall concept is not bad, but it’s no Resident Evil.
Not only are the story and voice acting terrible, the combat is hot garbage. Aside from a weak melee attack, your basic weapon is a bomb, and in true Bomberman style, your own bombs will hurt you, and you have to constantly be on the move unless you get damaged by your own attacks. You can also find various limited-use guns and melee weapons.
But all of this is pointless, because you quickly realize that there is simply no reason to fight the enemies at all. They’ll just respawn anyway, and considering the huge amount of backtracking you have to do, the best strategy is to just run by them.
Expressing my thanks to this Youtube walkthrough which helped me get through the more difficult sections: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0jciOZeBl6IHqOFeaVMU10F29q1sjtMD

Feel like I’m slightly ill-equipped to really talk about this, given that Shinobi non Grata owes so much to Ninja Spirit, but I’m a mark for ninja games and boss rushes, what can I say?
Think the biggest issue here is that it’s frontloaded with its most compelling ideas: Stage 2 has a cool gimmick where you’re managing enemies on three different levels, with the ground floor being especially hazardous thanks to endlessly respawning enemies. Navigating through the densely-packed environments is a lot of fun, and had me cycling between weapons to find the best balance between screen-coverage and single-target damage, but later stages rely a lot on “assault” sections, where you’ll need to kill a certain number of enemies to progress. These have really conservative quotas, and so actually end up being much more manageable, tepid encounters than the chaos of the early levels- and the same could be said for the trajectory of the boss fights as well.
Fights in the first half of the game tend to be more dynamic, such as a centipede that can alternate between a number of different screen-covering attacks that force you to consider your positioning, while the fights latter half have more rigid, predictable phases- the final boss in particular feels surprisingly simplistic, cycling between a few telegraphed attacks that are far less organic weave between and compelling to plan around. My gut reaction upon completing my initial playthrough was to say it’s “too short,” but that’s maybe incorrect; more that it’s incomplete.
Part of that is the scenario design (an extra phase on that final fight would go a long way!), but more surprising is the lack of any extra difficulties or modes upon your first clear of the game. I can admire the spartan charm of it, and it’s sort of reassuring that the appeal that’s kept me coming back is mostly intrinsic, but it seems like a title that could benefit a great deal from pushing its mechanics a little farther.
Much of the distinction between weapons can go mostly unnoticed when playing through it normally, but if you were considering the ammo economy and your limited health more frequently, those unique qualities might become that much more apparent- weighing the coverage of your shurikens against the defensive utility of chain-and-sickle, while conserving enough meter for the upcoming boss. Not entirely absent as-is, as mentioned above, but surprisingly infrequent. (An arcade mode with continues and/or a hard mode that limited your health and ammo seems like the obvious additions here, and would likely add the needed pressure to make the game really shine.)
I have my reservations with this, but it’s got enough of a pulse that even some of the early bosses still throw me off, even multiple runs into the game, and it’s been seriously tempting to return to it in the hopes of getting a 1CC. Maybe not an unambiguous classic (yet), but hopefully this gets the extra support it needs to round out the experience.

Are You Ready Come on! It's Party Time!
step into the ring; IIDX enters its bling era. though the series had evolved into a bastion of capital-h Hard Dance throughout its run, Gold pulls back in the cheese. we're talking old-school rave shit, with gaudy pitch-shifted samples, hoots and hollers, and fat kicks. from the opening shot of your 24 karat gold-plated arena comes an infectious chant from Michael a la mode: "Make it make it money!". elsewhere the artists dip into their goofy side: see dj yoshitaka's ghostbusters remix complete with his own vocal stylings, or kors k's supersaw-laden FIRE FIRE, a veritable pop trance anthem. perhaps the most telling is that this game's VIP ROOM boss song deviates from the usual hardcore, drum 'n bass, and RENAISSANCE to give us a pseudo-remix/sequel of 3rd Style's Sense in Sense 2007, replete with late '80s orchestra stabs yet punctuated by a mid-song shift to dance floor R&B. perhaps the most eclectic entry out of the named styles on ps2.
this is also the first title I've gotten some serious 10* clears on! my DistorteD review was somehow from a year ago? and it makes it painfully clear how steep the difficulty curve is; I had rocketed up to 8* in just three months of regular play and then took the next year basically just to get a handle on 9*. much of it has to do with simply reading the charts more quickly, as the density of later charts (especially once you hit 10*) becomes egregious to the point that lower scroll speeds make the appearance muddled. unfortuantely, while I have ~6 10* clears on this disc, I haven't quite been able to replicate that amount on my other discs... but all things with time. one of the best ways to learn the more unorthodox chords of 10/11/12* is to start playing lower difficulties on random, and I've admittedly been too reluctant up to now to do so. also just like DistorteD CS this release got some lovely home-exclusive collaborations, this time pairing old-school beatmania and DDR composers with IIDX mainstays.

The significance of music is truly something I could never speak highly enough about. It comes in so many flavors and moods, and in such different styles that I find it hard to imagine anyone could possibly be grouchy and curmudgeon enough to go, "man, I fucking hate music. Get that shit out of here".
Sure, it's an old version of Tetris with the usual endearing clunk to be expected from it's day, perhaps even slightly more so going off the poor emulation I was using, but with someone like me who's too foolish to focus on the gameplay aspect, I could only find myself in a permanent state of zen thanks to the musical contributions of Jim Andron and the scenery of our beautiful planet. Even with the awful control scheme I had to use with my mouse and arrow keys, I didn't mind a damn thing, because I was happy as can be. Heartwarmed as always to find the wholesome comment section on Youtube of all places for Tetris CD-i's OST with Jim Andron himself there thanking everyone for enjoying his work so much later after the CD-i's demise.
I may have said it before already elsewhere, but I do truly love composers who put the work in no matter what game or system they're on task for. They're among my favorite people ever, and I couldn't possibly thank them enough for making video games even more memorable. Thanks to them, this particular version of the classic did indeed become a legend....

Sonic can't breath underwater, but can in outerspace? Immersion shattered. -1 star.

Much more a playground than a game, Jumping Flash! demonstrates that 3D traversal is itself a joyous experience, and that the journey is more important than the destination. Pure unadulterated joy.

Link tearing through the lands of Hyrule on the shit that killed Shinzo Abe

Igniz is another arc finale letdown(fitting for this game), nowhere close to the badassness of either Krizalid or Zero.
Don't get me started on the shitty headswap of Zero they put in this game and tried to pass off as the "real" Zero.

In every single waking hour of the days that make up the gregorian calendar, I think to myself about how much I absolutely detest the woefully pathetic image of your existence.
If every atom within every universe inside every multiverse on the planes of reality within every timeline were accounted for, their paltry numbers wouldn't be enough to fill a single angstrom of the colossal monument that is my hatred for the knowledge that your presence is within any of my six senses. A single syllable of your title brings about a swift malevolent annihilation of which the likes no one has ever seen or heard of before in reality or in legend.
For you, mild resentment.