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Title: Final Fantasy I & II - Dawn of Souls
Genre: RPG
Platform: GBA
Price Paid: $29.99 new
Would Pay: $34.95 (for the cartridge)
Complete: Sort of. Final Fantasy I complete

As someone who's played RPGs for the last 20 years or more (Temple of Apshai, Bard's Tale, Dragon Wars, Eye of the Beholder,...), Final Fantasy was not something I could turn down. it's the quintessential console RPG.

Ultimately, it's a hack and slash. The story is near non-existent. It's barely enough to get you from point A to point B. There is a nice little twist at the end however, not one I expected. But this game isn't about the story, it's about the level grinding and trying to mop the floor with the next boss.

This is actually my second attempt at Final Fantasy. I also purchased the equivalent game for the PlayStation, Final Fantasy:Origins. It's a toss up which is better, because each has it's pluses and minuses. The PS version has new, nicely rendered cut-scenes. It also has a checklist of the treasures, so you know what you've missed. First and foremost, the GBA version has portability and save anywhere, giving it a bit of an edge. It also has several new dungeons. The dungeons are a nice touch, with the bosses being bosses from later Final Fantasy games. The difficulty of these are insane, as I got my ass handed to me by a couple of these bosses and I was somewhere around level 80. The payoff for these dungeons, especially without the checklist, is rather small, so after trying a couple, I just wrote off the others.

On to Final Fantasy II. From the first hour and a half, this is what began the tradition of the Final Fantasy's being different. It is much more story driven, with more strategy in the character leveling.

This was a busy weekend (for various values of "busy"), I finished another game as well and will try to get that review up sometime soon.
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Title: The Legend of Zelda : The Minish Cap
Platform: GBA
Genre: Action/Adventure
Complete: Yes
Price Paid: $0.00 (Borrowed)
Would Pay: $29.99

Yup, it's a Zelda alright. You can see the influences of Wind Waker in the graphics, although the story line does not seem related to it. It's an overhead view instead of the 3D that Wind Waker is, but despite those differences, the same feel is there as well. Lots of wandering, finding little side quests, and plenty of puzzle solving in the dungeons. For the first time I've seen in Zelda, there's a new ability - jumping. It's not perfect, since you can't jump over little rows of rocks, but you can somersault over enemies, simplifying some of the battles.

So far, I think I've had better luck with value on the GBA games (this, Golden Sun : Lost Age, not yet reviewed) than anything on the full sized consoles. At least here I'm finding things that I feel are worth the prevalent list price of the platform. Still looking on the others.

This and Wind Waker have gotten me psyched up for Twilight Princess on the Game Cube, and I just restarted Ocarina of Time, the prequel to Twilight Princess in order to be ready for it.
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Title: Broken Sword : Shadow of the Templars (aka Broken Sword I)
Genre: Point and Click Adventure
Complete: Yes
Price Paid: $16.99
Would Pay: $19.99

Third times the charm. After breaking down and buying an SP, I could finally sit down and play this game through. Good old fashioned point and click with a sense of humor and a save the world story line. The interface was changed slightly from the PC version, but that is to be expected for the input device differences.

Unfortunately, "third times the charm" is actually incorrect, it's closer to "fourth times the charm". This game is buggy and I had to restart to solve the problem. I also had a crash, near the time that God Of War crashed for [livejournal.com profile] jenbooks, she must have cursed it on me :D

With this and Broken Sword III finished recently, I'm going to have to try to dig up the second one and see how well ScummVM works on the Mac with it.
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I'm going to try to give brief reviews of the games I finish when I finish them. Considering how consistent I am with doing anything in my journal, I don't give much hope of it lasting very long.

Name: Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem
System: GBA
Type: 2D Platform
Price Paid: $4.99
Would Pay: $2.99

This is a completely mediocre platform game whose sole distinguishing characteristic is its license. Nothing very memorable about it, and each of the five levels follows the same pattern - find clues, rescue member(s) of the gang,ride a rail, boss battle. Some slight variation of where the clues were with respect to the ride, but not much more than that. It's enjoyable for a couple of save points, but not for any extended play.

There was one inconsistency that bugged the heck out of me. Shaggy's main weapon is only effective against ghosts, a point which they drive home during the first boss battle. Then at one point you need to use it against a non-ghost portion of the environment to solve a puzzle. I was trying various jumps with no success, and as a last resort before going to a FAQ, tried the weapon and it worked. Is it that hard to keep the rules consistent?


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April 2009

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