688 Reviews liked by rapid_progres

Perhaps the funniest conclusion any videogame ever, is humanity in it's entirety, acknowledging that you were such a fucking force of nature dispatching the aliens (only after the 1cc), that despite winning the war, they should collectively abandon ALL use of all technology, afraid of ever reaching a point in which something like you could happen again and rebel against them. Ted Kaczynski would be so proud.

As much as I have to begrudgingly thank this game for giving DMC5 certain ideas that would blossom into great mechanics, enemies, bosses, etc. later on, I also gotta say: fuck this game.
Just, outright. Think of any glaring problem with a game from the 7th gen - mechanically, in presentation, narratively, thematically, in interviews - and it's probably either in this game or is brought up in other reviews here. This isn't just a bad DMC game, but a bad game in general; the dated tone even for 2013, the lacking gameplay feel, the shallow (shallow =/= simple, this however happens to be both) general story, the honestly disgusting character writing, the tedious enemy and boss design, even the concept of Capcom asking Ninja Theory to make an "Americanized DMC" because DMC4 didn't make incredible bank (aka: RE-level, since DMC4 sold 5mill which is not bad at all). This is an absolute snapshot of what the medium was like back then, and it isn't a pretty one.
edit: okay this game's sole good aspect is the combichrist music, "what the fuck is wrong with you people" has been stuck in my head since I finished, but that is the ONE inch I will give this game and even then that song is not in the best place in game

One of the best run n guns of all time, particularly as it does a great job blending traditional shmuppage. Genuinely at a loss for words this exists on the SNES and runs at a solid 60 FPS https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1048770623805079633/1058586639141716011/Rendering_Ranger_R2_Japan_En_-_Snes9x_1.60_2022-12-30_21-14-54.mp4

GGA3 is just lovely. I know that sounds dumb, but I really think it's the best way to describe this, frankly, terrible idea that the 4 devs somehow presumably convinced M2 was commercially viable. Granted, it helps that said 4 devs are industry veterans behind some of the greatest STGs ever made.
And it shows, though not quite in the ways you'd expect, particularly from staff who have worked amongst Raizing and Cave's intricate and wack STGs. GGA3 follows the Aleste series in general in being extremely simple to play, and amounting to little more than holding down one button, dodging, and picking up items. But what GGA3 really brings is polish and the knowledge of 25 years of games development progression to this very rudimentry, classicly made game.
In particular, there's a real eye for presentation here. The sprite art is fantastic, as are the backgrounds, and there's particular attention paid to the pacing of levels, particularly when it comes to integration with it's music. Stage 5 is clearly the standout here, the stage starts with a foreboding track in a base before you take off and dogfight around the scrolling exterior of a ballistic missile nuke to an amazing, upbeat track, the destroying it and facing a rival boss fight with another banger track - it's very comparable to Stage 2-3 in Zeroranger or Stage 3 in eschatos - you know, two of the best STG stages ever made.
The music in general is great - Manabu Namiki, legendary composer of battle garegga, ketsui, DOJ, thunder dragon 2 - is both the composer and (weirdly) director of this game, and he puts in a great shift here with the ancient game gear sound hardware. Hacking Storm, Dogfighter, and Zero-G Tears alone are probably worth the price of admission.
There are issues. It's probably a bit too long - I feel stages 3 and 4 probably should have been consolidated to one stage, for instance. This is only made worse by it's rough performance on original hardware, which legitimately lengthens the game by 15 minutes on special mode due to all the slowdown. Fortunately, this can be turned off in the Switch and PS4 versions of the game, which I would say is an outright neccessity unless youre a complete purist and makes the game a lot more fun, particularly in special mode. I think it's also fair to say there's a bit of a lack of depth - but that's also just a standard of the series and clearly not what the game is going for. Much like Zeroranger, this is a shmup focused on it's presentation much more than it's scoring or gameplay, and as that, it really works.
There really isnt much to GGA3, truth be told. But that's fine. It amounts to 4 industry veterans making a simple old compile-styled shooter imbued with the 25 years of progression in game design and presentation built up in that time and a bunch of passion and respect for the original games. And the end result is really just a lovely time.

I'll never forget the first time I started up this game on N64, whenever that windy atmospheric music track starts playing all the memories I used to have playing this for that brief period of time come back.
All this time, that's what has really stuck with me, the sound and visuals of this game were really something unique, the music (only in the N64 version) really nails the apocalyptic war theming the game has, yet it's juxtaposed with cartoon style characters and environments with goofy voice lines and comical weapons.
It's always been the identity of this game series, but Armageddon does this the best out of any of them.
Sometimes returning to something I haven't played in many years might turn out to be different or not nearly as good as I had thought, but this is one game where I enjoy it even more now. I think in terms of age it holds up alright.
(I'll get into that more later)
That intense nostalgic presentation, paired with the inviting art style and immersive catchy music makes this game relaxing in a way. It's easy to just jump into a quick deathmatch or random map and blow away some bots while taking everything in, it was great stress relief.
It would be easy to write this game off as mindless shallow fun, a disposable multiplayer game, just for kids, it looks that way on the surface but there's more to this game.
First of all there's a good selection of modes available, there's your typical mission based campaign mode, and several others for quckplay, or others that vary based on how customizable they are, there's a good selection of modes here and a decent amount of content to keep anyone playing.
The main 1player mode has good variety and is extremely challenging, it was mostly fun to overcome it and learn new skills to beat the game, the difficulty curve is all over though, and there will be missions that a player will get stuck on for awhile, then clear the next in just a few attempts.
There's a lot of weapons to use and they come in a wide variety, coming up with solutions with the tools given can be satisfying and fun, the destructible environments add a lot to the gameplay, players can dig through or destroy any wall/floor and hiding in them can be an interesting strategy.
The games biggest gameplay strength is definitely the variety of actions the player can take at any given time and paired with any map this can mean tons of possibilities, the weapons and maps aren't always balanced the best, but that's part of the fun of the game, sometimes you never know what situations you'll end up in.
The bot A.I. is not great but good enough to keep me entertained, they can be easy to exploit once their pattern is noticed, they can be unfair in how good they play as well.
It's best to play with the "retro" game style to keep it balanced.
Before getting into how the N64 verison plays I have to make it clear that I am reviewing the N64 port of this game, and it is the only version I have played at the time of writing (I should give the PC or Dreamcast versions a chance sometime)
The N64 port has several differences I think I prefer, and others that make it worse to play. I am not blinded by my nostalgia for this game, there are significant flaws here.
To start with positives, there's the soundtrack which was added for just this version, it's really good, but I've said enough about it already.
The game is lower resolution, in just about any game this would be a downgrade but (at least to me) it's more like a pixel filter, on PC it looks like random clip art and characters drawn in an old flash animation, when pixelated it has more of a hand drawn look, it looks more like a Video-game and less like an app played in an online browser or something.
There's more color and variety in the backgrounds than the blank ones in other versions, and some extra options like the map randomiser.
The game is a bit more zoomed in and that does cause some problems, while it's nice to be able to see my character more closely for platforming and aiming, moving the camera around is required much more than usual.
There's less options for multiplayer, and some others are locked behind completion, the game is a bit buggy too it can occasionally crash and if you beat the campaign and try to re enter it in the menu it will also crash the game, you can't replay it by normal means, there's a lot that feels unfinished in this way, and important progression info is not displayed on profiles or in the menu.
Completing the game was fun but frustrating
Getting medals in 1 player modes unlocks more weapons and gameplay modes for multiplayer but there's a big problem. You do this by getting silver medals or gold, but they way you get these is not told anywhere not even in the manual and you can't see what you have/haven't done it's not shown anywhere.
I assumed it would be based on turns taken, time used, damage taken, ect. but it's the number of times you've attempted the mission, it's nonsense. The player has to beat each mission in at most 2 attempts (resetting or quitting out still counts) and with how difficult and punishing the game is that is unreasonable.
This is so much worse because core multiplayer options like retro or all weapons are locked behind these medals, most players will likely never get to play multiplayer the more balanced or fun way.
What is also affected badly is controlling the game, the N64 controller is already more difficult to get used to, but in this version some button mapping makes no sense an is overcomplicated, I find myself pressing the wrong button and accidentally wasting my turn or throwing a grenade at my own character, worst is the flight movement is extremely sensitive, so much so that 2 levels built around it were cut from this verison, what is still there is nearly impossible to play, as just pushing left/right for one frame will nearly turn it a full 90 degrees, just passing the tutorial for the game was difficult.
This game is turn based and AI characters take more time to make their move in this version, it's generally a slow game when against a computer opponent.
So there's definitely a lot going against this game, but a lot I like about it, I can see why players would not prefer this port or find this game in general difficult to get into, but there's enough added to it.
If someone can overcome the difficulty and get used to the game is becomes very enjoyable, not to mention the multiplayer can be endlessly enjoyable, it's easily one of the best multiplayer games on N64 or any console it was on, and one I still return to once in awhile, the one player modes are varied, provide plenty of content, and can be enjoyable at times but are less consistent.
This is a very unique and ambitious game. It was clear that despite the N64 port having a limited and possibly troubled development, it had a lot of care put into it and is worth trying at least for the multiplayer. This is one of my favorite games of this generation in spite of everything.

El kinoscrimblo de un gato de devianart hasta arriba de speed

Oh, Sam, what have they done to you?
A friend of mine likes to argue that the seventh generation of video games was the worst of the lot. It’s been the source of a few debates about what came out when for what systems and how bad they were relative to any other generation, but he’s remained adamant that there is nothing, nothing at all worse than the games that were coming out while the Xbox 360 and PS3 were the most modern consoles. He’s a bit older than me, so these were games that I grew up with. I didn’t really get the chance to play most “old” stuff (read: PS2 and back) aside from what I could nab at garage sales and off of the Playstation Network, so I didn’t really have an idea of what games looked like before the seventh gen. It’s only been a fairly recent development that I’ve gotten harder into emulation and broadened my horizons beyond whatever I could pick up for sixty bucks at a Walmart.
The more games I play, the more I’m convinced that my friend is right.
The seventh generation had an obsession with “streamlining”. There was this conception that gamers wanted titles that were completely homogeneous and interchangeable. Call of Duty made money, so make your games more like Call of Duty. Rez didn’t make money, so make your games less like Rez. It was whatever the opposite of a renaissance was; the advent of stricter, hyper-focused market testing was incentivizing the abandonment of the niche title in pursuit of casting as wide a net as possible. Why try to make some money when you could make all of the money? The bottom was falling out of the AA market, and games needed to be bigger, more inflated, more hungry for your time and money. This reached its natural conclusion in the next generation with the creation of loot boxes and season passes, but the seeds of actively anti-consumer practice were starting to be scattered here. God, remember online passes? Second-hand games didn’t make enough money, so companies needed to wring an extra five bucks out of whatever poor sap didn’t bother buying new if they wanted to play multiplayer.
Anyway, one of the genres that got hit hard was the western-developed stealth game. Stealth titles were just too slow, too boring, too methodical. General audiences wouldn’t want to spend all of their time playing them when the new Black Ops map pack just dropped. So Hitman got Absolution, a title that basically forgot that it was originally an environmental puzzle game in favor of being a third-person shooter with “stealth elements”; Thief got THI4F, a game as bad as the title would imply; new games like Dishonored and The Last of Us were content to leave stealth as an optional little bonus to thin out a crowd before you went in guns blazing.
And Splinter Cell got Conviction, a game that watched The Bourne Identity too many times and decided that Sam Fisher really belonged in a commando sweater.
Where to even begin, with a mess this big? I feel like I’m looking into a condemned house and trying to figure out if I should start cleaning it by stripping out the carpets or scrubbing the mold off the walls. I suppose I can give the game a compliment before I start ripping into it: the sound design is pretty good. The directional audio worked consistently well, which is more than I can say for most games. It was easy to tell where an enemy was without seeing him so long as he was shouting some weird combat bark, which they did pretty frequently. Everything they wind up saying was goofy enough to get a laugh. It reminds me of the Ghost Tour bit in I Think You Should Leave. “Fuck, it’s fucking Fisher! How the fuck are we gonna kill this fucking guy?! Fuck!” Calm down! Like half of everyone’s dialog is just cursing. It’s silly. Honestly, it might be the only part of the game that I enjoyed.
Every part of the gameplay exists seemingly as a solution so in search of a problem that it needed to start inventing them. New to the series — and remaining a mainstay as much as you can call it one, since only one Splinter Cell game actually came out after this — is the Mark and Execute system, wherein you can tag a couple of enemies and then kill them all at once with the press of a button. You might be thinking to yourself that “tagging” enemies in a shooter to kill them later is a bit pointless; after all, if you have line of sight for long enough to hover your reticle over them and press Q to mark them, then surely you can just press left click and shoot them without needing to take the extra step. You would be right.
Well, you would be, but Sam Fisher has forgotten how to hit a target more than ten yards out in his old age.
The engagement range of all of your weapons has absolutely plummeted since the time of previous games. If Sam is crouched down, in cover, standing completely still, and holding his aim at a guy about thirty feet out, he’s probably going to miss. He’s going to miss a lot. Reticle bloom is absolutely massive, which really matters when the act of landing an instakill head shot is up to luck more than it is to skill; if the random distribution gods decide that your first bullet is going wide, then the rest of the magazine is going to follow behind it. By the time the enemies get helmets which render them completely immune to anything less than eight rounds in center mass, you have to give up on any pretense of stealth and just commit to playing a sluggish, boring cover shooter. It’s rough. The Mark and Execute system is still bordering on pointless in spite of this, since it requires a melee kill before it recharges. You can practically feel the game begging you to use it when they spawn an enemy with his back to the door, which then leads into a room with four guys standing around in a circle discussing how much they wish Sam Fisher won’t walk in and shoot them all in the head.
Not helping matters is the fact that your foes are dumb. They’re really dumb. The game informs you with a little ghostly afterimage of Sam where your last known position was, and enemies seem to just wander up to it in the hopes of catching you off guard. All you need to do to counter this is shimmy yourself a few feet in either direction and they won’t bother checking around to see if you’ve moved, nor will they organize a flank in anticipation of you doing so; you can just watch five guys sprint in a straight line down a choke point where you’ve planted a beeping, glowing landmine, and let it immediately clear the entire room of every threat before anyone's fired a shot.
It should go without saying that the story is dreck, but that won't stop me from pontificating about it anyway. What we have here is a cross between The Bourne Identity and Taken; a sad dad who is the greatest and most legendary super soldier to ever live mowing down as many people as he can while a shaky handheld camera follows behind him in his quest to get his daughter back. It doesn't even have the confidence that Kane and Lynch had of actually incorporating the shaky-cam into the gameplay to make the entire experience feel like found footage. Here, it's just reserved for cutscenes. We need to wiggle the frame all around while Michael Ironside grumbles about how he wants his daughter back and how pissed off he is. Because as we all know, when you think of Sam Fisher, you think of an angry dad. Oh, you don't? Huh. Well, you should have told that to Richard Dansky, who took over for the franchise starting with Double Agent and decided that that was going to be Fisher's character from here on out.
It's so stupid. The narrative really has zero respect for the player's intelligence, and I can prove it with the simple statement that the game keeps plastering keywords all over the environment so that you always know how someone is feeling. Grim (who is now a sexy spy babe whose tits cannot stop shaking whenever she's on screen) is revealing to Sam that she's been lying to him for three straight years about his daughter's death? Plaster the words ANGER, LIES, SARAH over the screen to make sure that we're keeping up. If you say that Max Payne 3 did this, I'll argue that it was at least trying to maintain the feel of the comic panels from the first two games. This is much more akin to DmC: Devil May Cry's level geometry being painted with the words "BITCH IS NEAR" when Kat is in the next room over. You even get a literal Press X to Hit Woman prompt three times in a row before launching your escape in the very first mission for the tacticool bro points. Equal rights, equal fights. Oorah.
The bad guys are running Third Echelon now (but they were the NSA before, so I repeat myself) with the help of/under the guise of being some mercenary group called Black Arrow. They're funded by some mystery benefactor called Meggido, and they've been developing EMPs to blow up all of the electronics in DC in order to take over the White House. This, as the plan goes, will then allow Third Echelon to not be defunded, so that they can continue putting a stop to terrorist attacks. Third Echelon is committing acts of terror in an attempt to demonstrate that the US needs Third Echelon to stop people from committing acts of terror. It isn't even a good false flag; Sam Fisher figures out the entire scheme because the two mustache-twirling villains have a meeting in broad daylight to discuss their evil plans, and Sam manages to capture the entire thing with nothing more than two hidden cameras that were already there by the time he showed up. The president is the one to tip Sam off that there's going to be a coup with the express goal of killing her to create a power vacuum, and she doesn't even leave the fucking White House on the night that everything is set to go down. If this sounds borderline incomprehensible, it makes even less sense while you're playing it. This is me recounting what happened after I've had a day to think about it and a Wikipedia plot synopsis to leaf through.
This is also a contender for one of the worst soundtracks I've heard in a game. Not only is it completely sonically inconsistent, but some of these songs are complete fucking garbage. Who's in the mood for some dead daughter electronic? No? How about some generic buttrock that sounds like it was pulled directly from a royalty-free library and dropped into the game without a single edit? Still no? Well, don't worry. We've got an inexplicable instrumental version of Building Steam With A Grain of Salt, and it fits about as well into the segment in which it plays as a round peg in a square hole. God forgive whatever Ubisoft employee who decided that this game needed to play a track from Endtroducing... in a sequence with infinite Mark and Execute that's more boring than it is badass. What an abject waste of a pull from one of the greatest albums ever produced.
Splinter Cell: Conviction is trash, but it's really nothing more than a collection of symptoms of the greater problem that games at the time were facing. It wasn't enough for this to just be a game. It needed to be a big, important game. It needed to rip off movie plots and hire Hollywood composers. It needed to have flashy graphics and new gameplay mechanics and appeal to as broad of an audience as possible in the hopes of maximizing the final profits. This has — thankfully — died down in recent years, and games like Hitman have come back in a big way with the realization that appealing to a niche isn't a death knell for your product. But I/O Interactive is a much smaller collective than Ubisoft and its many tendrils. It's been a decade since the last Splinter Cell game, and I struggle to imagine Ubisoft willing to settle for anything less than all of the money with their new games. Maybe if they can figure out a way to work live service into it.
They sent Sam Fisher to Iraq in this.

Believe it or not, I've had a cartridge of this game forever. I somehow accidentally inherited it during one of many moves from someone who also had Genesis games, part of me believes they planted it in one of our boxes since the game was probably cursed. I only vaguely recall booting it up, and I assume I just never played it since I have next to zero interest in Indiana Jones. A call to arms was issued, and I couldn't resist. It's been too long.....bad games.....
Little did I know that within this game is some of the most preposterously mean-spirited boring stage design straight out of shit like Bart vs. The World on NES. You're armed with an incredibly bad whip that animates quite nicely, but at the expense of the game commonly chugging as if Protoss Carriers are swarming a nearby base in a Texas Instruments calculator. It's hitbox also seems to be only on the tip of the whip itself, but even that is only a guess on my part, as I still find it commonly going through enemies and grapple points. You also have a limited supply of grenades and bullets for your pistol, with the number apparently dictated by the level of difficulty you select. Which means the difficulty select isn't actually a difficulty select, and you should just set it to easy to save yourself a migraine.
As I mentioned, the stage design is very boring and the developers recently played Ninja Gaiden and thought the birds were the best part of the game. As I stated about the whip earlier, it's hitboxes are mystifying and it seems to be very poorly coded as Young Indiana commonly teleports to random areas upon trying to use grapple points, and you can very easily drop through platforms. Now imagine trying to use your horrifically inept arsenal in areas that demand you go up 20 floors of the most dull clock tower climb you can think of, and at the end is some asshole boss in a trench coat who can apparently fly and tank twenty pistol shots to the chest. Why do the Germans need to bother stealing plans when their intel agents are jumping fifty stories into the air and eating hand grenades for breakfast? I'd imagine the actual foot soldiers are german suplexing elephants and shooting fire out of their asses.
The first stage of Egypt is woeful, easily the worst part of the game. It's just a flat stretch, like a crappy joke stage designed by someone who thinks Sonic is hold right to win. The catch here is that a sandstorm temporarily whips up to push you backwards into little trenches. Enemies respawn in this game and will juggle your ass like Kazuya Mishima, you combine both of these and you get one of the most annoying stages in recent memory. I actually got past this, but I couldn't figure out how to progress in the second section and made the mistake of resetting instead of consulting a guide and cheating with save states on my everdrive.
Funny Note: Using save states on the everdrive tends to fuck up the music selection, so I often got the typewriter music while I was cheating going through the England stage
I toughed it out for about an hour and a half, and with some more patience I could potentially bully my way through and read a guide, but I found myself tapping out to the very idea of trying to slog my way through the first Egypt stage again after I completed England and Tibet. Some of the ways Indy dies in this game are very funny to imagine, especially 15 years after the infamous refrigerator scene in Crystal Skull. Indy could survive that, but oh man, fish jumping out of an icey river in Tibet? He can't handle them!
Belgium intelligence are disheartened to report that Young Indiana Jones has died from losing their footing on Tower Bridge due to a rogue construction crew operating jackhammers. What a dork.

stealing this from jenny but it's awesome how the parappa universe just collectively hates joe chin

Golden Axe III was never really a game I was interested in playing for the longest time. I think a big part of it was because I disliked Golden Axe II and this game has a very polarizing reception. You can find many people who like this game and even argue it was one of the best of the beat em ups on the Mega Drive. Nowadays however it’s very clear people don’t appreciate it like it once was, while there are still enjoyers of it, I always felt like the negative reception has been more vocal. This game also back then stayed in Japan though it was probably meant to get a US release considering art for the cover was already made for the game but it was only released on the Sega Channel. It’s been almost 3 decades since this came out and it’s time to give my opinion.
This is a 1 or 2 player beat em up where you’ll go through 7 stages with a choice of four characters this time. No one from the past games is playable here though Gilius does show up in the beginning to remove the curse of the one you chose and he’s also at the end of the game. The first character you can choose is Chronos Lait who is half human half panther. Due to this, he uses his strengths of being part panther to use with some great speeds and has many good attacks with his claws. He was the character I chose for my playthrough. Kain Grinder is this game’s typical buff dude with a sword though for some reason he was my least favorite to use. I did only play the others for stage 1 to see how I’d feel about them, he was the one I just couldn’t get good attacks on enemies with. Sarah Barn is this game’s token sexy girl. She uses a shorter ranged weapon but makes up with it by using different moves to support her smaller weapon giving her more technique then Kain. Finally we have Broude Kragger who is the slow but powerful character kind of like Max from Bare Knuckle II. I almost went with him but I felt his slow speed wasn’t too good for this game but he’s probably fun to use if you’re doing 2 player mode.
One thing you’ll notice messing with the controls is that you have a lot more moves to use. While you obviously only have one button for attack, they’ve given it a lot more uses compared to the previous entries. I mean just look at this move list and be amazed at just how much you can do. It’s easily one of the biggest improvements this game makes compared to the previous game. You can feel like a badass just with the many options you have at your disposal, even stuff like grabs have more depth even if it’s still nothing major for the genre. There’s even a block function though you have to do back and attack to activate it which felt too unnatural for me to use comfortably. Magic sadly hasn’t been changed at all and in fact was made worse compared to II as that game didn’t force you to always use the highest level of magic which this game does. Characters in this game don’t even have their own max levels for potions you can hold at once, they’re all the same amount which is a weird thing to keep the same for each character. One other cool thing that I sadly couldn’t do is there are co-op attacks and even co-op magic attacks giving you more reason to play with a friend.
Levels haven’t really been expanded much in this title and still feel like stuff you’d find in the past few games in the series but that’s not really a bad thing. One cool thing however is the ability to take multiple paths to lead to different areas of the stage you’re in allowing for a lot more replayability. That said however it’s still the longest game in the series so you got yourself some time to spend on this before your journey ends. This game also makes you play through it with no passwords or saves and you have limited continues though for a beat em up this is understandable as the other games did it too. One odd thing I felt was it seems the game really tones down instant death as pits are a lot rarer which means you or the enemies won’t be falling too much in this game. Maybe they’re more common in different routes but I’ll explain later why I only did one playthrough. So with new move variety and lots of replayability, this sounds like it’ll be amazing right? Well about that…
Let’s talk about the enemy variety. It’s horrible. There is so little here and it just gets old after a while. Could the team just not put anymore enemies when making this game? It’s a shame because it hurts the combat for reasons I’ll explain in a bit. There’s also barely any rideable mounts with one being this weird snail thing that uses its tongue and fire breathing dragons. The enemies do at times try to change up their strategy which is cool but it doesn’t make up for having to fight the same dudes over and over again. Then you got the enemies with shields and this right here is one of the worst parts about the game. I get it, you can block so they should be able to as well but it basically ruins the idea of wanting to use a lot of your moves because once you find the moves they suck at shielding against, you’re going to spam them. In fact let’s get this clear rn, this game has a huge problem with basically relying on a couple of moves just to survive the later stages as you can get beaten to a pulp if you don’t play optimally. You do at least get health refills from the reoccuring elf thieves and you can even gain lives by saving 5 humans and best of all you can up your max health by collecting hearts. Still though at the end of the day, it’s going to feel draining and it hurts the combat when shields are mixed in.
The bosses don’t help matters as they can really be annoying unless you abuse their bad AI quirks. It’s either going to be you dying trying to be flashy or just spamming the same two moves as you may get hit a couple of times which is never fun. It especially gets bad when said bosses start just becoming enemies in the actual levels and sometimes it just annoys me to the point I said “Oh come! Enough with this!” Which made me pause the game and realize I wasn’t having fun anymore and got kind of quiet. This is when I knew the game was showing its flaws for me and this was the point I knew I wasn’t going to do more playthroughs.
I’m going to say it, this game is way too long for its own good. I’d argue this might be a me problem because the first game was pretty short but I rather take that then this which feels like it never ends. If they were going to make a game longer, they really needed to do more than just add branching paths, just something that isn’t fighting the same five enemy types. Maybe if the levels were a bit shorter or even had set pieces which the first stage did but I can’t think of other examples. I honestly would have played the game more times if it weren’t for how repetitive it can get and that’s such a shame because having a lot of replayability is cool. There is one more thing I need to discuss however which is the ending.
Okay so this game has two different endings and the way you get it is confusing. Apparently this game was infamous for not really being known how you truly get it. It does seem to be known nowadays (EDIT: Hey Arle here! What I'm about to say is actually wrong at least according to the site gaminghell so apologies for the misinformation with this section.) so I’ll just say the one I saw that seems to be right. One thing I didn’t mention about the bosses was you can actually fight the other playable characters that have been cursed as Gilius was only able to save one of you. Saving one of these characters will basically allow a continue. Now you may think “But Arle! You have 4 continues from the start!” Yes that’s true but let’s say you only save two but use three continues, you get the bad ending due to using more than you saved. Meaning all of that could be for nothing if you use too many continues. While I can’t confirm it, but some routes don’t lead to those characters though going down every time for me led to all of them so I’m not sure if I got lucky. Now if it was just for the good ending, I wouldn’t really care but you need to do this to fight the 2nd phase of the final boss so you’ll never feel fulfilled and why is it even so cryptic to begin with? At least you don’t have to worry about the difficulty selection gatekeeping the final boss like II did but this still isn’t much better in some ways.
Graphically, the game is kind of boring to me personally. This game came out in 1993 and there were many better looking games in 1993 or even before like Thunder Force IV, Gunstar Heroes, and Phantasy Star IV. I won’t say it all looks bad but I do wish the game used more than 8 megs. Even the magic isn’t all that impressive looking which is a shame, I was hoping it would look the best here. If you play in co-op this game also occasionally has slow down though I couldn’t test it out. The sprites are good and while some could have better uses of color, it’s a better use of the graphics in my opinion. The music is decent but there are some good tracks like The Vast Field and Ancient Mound (Wish I could’ve heard that one during my playthrough). Sadly the voices are still not good but that doesn’t surprise me.
I gotta say, I’m sorry to the fans who like this game that I gave it a hard time. I really do like things about Golden Axe III and would love to see another crack at it to improve it’s flaws in my eyes but sadly the series never got another entry like this with the next game in the series being an Arcade fighting game. I really want to like Golden Axe III as I’d argue it could be the 2nd best game in the series with some of the things I complimented it for but its flaws hurt it so much for me. I feel so bad having to give it this score because I almost thought of giving it a 6/10 and even a 7/10 earlier in my playthrough. Maybe it would be more fun for me if I played with someone else? I think you should try giving it a full playthrough if possible but I don’t blame you if you stop. I’ll give the game this, I liked it more then II because at least this had its good moments. I should probably end the review now before I get more sad about how this game ended up for me.
WAIT! I completely forgot about VS MODE! So it’s basically like the bosses where you fought the other playable characters, you can even play as the bird boss Eve. Yeah there’s really nothing else to say here, bye bye!