6130 reviews liked by MobileSpider

This game makes me miss that era where every single dev just threw whatever batshit insane idea they had at a wall even if it didn't work. This game is oozing with style, and the baseball motif is really entertaining. Stages are fun enough, but this game is kinda rather basic. Felt like it went on a little too long and I was kinda bored by the end. Neat to play once, but not really worth coming back too.

I feel so indifferent about this game because while it plays really well, something about the experience feels off. I know this series doesn’t have the best track record with quality control with some of the earlier games but for 1995, I expect better from Konami. Akumajou Dracula XX is like this weird version of the PCECD game where it tries to have the characters and setting but retcons some plot elements and completely changes the level design. It reminds me a lot of Super Valis which changed a lot for the worse compared to the PCECD game Valis IV. The game is really nice graphically, the music is pretty good, and again it has good controls. There’s just something about it that feels odd to me.

Maybe it’s the level design? It’s not offensive but I don’t find it as fun as the PCECD game. It still has alternate stages but the first one is more treated as punishment. The game doesn’t let you save so there’s no reason to even do every stage. Maria is no longer playable which is a damn shame, she’s only there for not getting the worst ending. They also made this awful design choice of needing a key from the end of stage 3 and then surviving all of stage 4 with it to save Maria and then go to the correct stage. Die once and you gotta use a password for stage 3 to get the key again. I don’t get it, the PCECD got the key stuff right, what happened here? Why are sub-weapons also up and attack again? I could get it for a controller with two buttons but this system has four buttons and two triggers.

Idk, I don’t feel like going in depth about this game, maybe in the future. It’s a good game but I just wish I enjoyed it more. I wish the SFC got another game that took more advantage of the system, I’m not saying I want it to be like Akumajou Dracula (Super Castlevania IV) but I want it to be more like Vampire Killer (Castlevania Bloodlines). That game felt like a really cool evolution of the 8-bit games while still feeling very mechanically similar. You should still try this game out as it’s not a bad game but since it’s pretty easy to play the PCECD game nowadays, I doubt many will want to.

Also can someone explain to me why this was in the GBA collection? That still makes zero sense to me. I swear Konami did that so they had an excuse to not put it on NSO.

beautiful. watched a friend play this for a while, and i will absolutely be buying it when i can. and i think my rating could go up to 5/5 as more props and features are added. no goals, no management, just a megastructure garden to cultivate and vibe in. brilliant.

[Average Reading Time: 4 Minutes]

We don't talk about what happened to the Killer6.

As always, I will be avoiding story spoilers, but I will be speaking vaguely about it to give you an idea of what to expect.

Killer7's story does a lot of unique things I rarely see in games. Each stage has you taking down a specific target, but how you do it and the events that lead up to them do a good job of making you think about the situation you're in, along with whether or not you should be completing this job. Aside from that, you're seeing all these cutscenes and talking with other characters who describe the current state of the world to you, give you details about who you're hunting down, and also talk about their own experiences, shaping their characters more and more as you progress.

When you first boot up the game, you're thrown into the first stage without too much plot given to you. You can talk to a weird ghostly character dressed in red and they'll give you some info when you see them, but it's a slow burn to get to the meat of Killer7's plot. When I first played this game years ago, I didn't latch onto it since I didn't really have motivation and didn't quite understand the mechanics. Killer7 is a game where you need to give it a fair amount of time before you can really sink your teeth into it and enjoy what it's offering to you.

Killer7's gameplay is just as unique as the story is. It has a rail-shooter vibe to it due to how you aren't moving your character in a traditional way. You hold down a button to move on a set path with another button allowing you to turn around. When you approach doors and forks in the road, you then tilt the analog stick in the direction of said fork/door and hit a button to enter. It takes a little getting used to, but after a while it feels natural for this game's structure.

Aside from moving, you'll also be shooting. Killer7 has the player facing off against a bizarre group of foes referred to as Heaven Smiles. You'll mostly face ones that walk slowly towards you before exploding. However, the further you get, the more variety in foes you'll face. There will be ones that roll and run towards you. There will be giant ones. There will be ones that can only be taken down with explosions. Some you'll face periodically throughout the journey, while others you'll only face once. There's enough variety here to keep you on your toes throughout this adventure.

Each enemy is also invulnerable and partially invisible until they are scanned, which is thankfully as easy as pushing a button (literally). Doing so will also revel a weak point, which will instantly fell an enemy if shot. Shooting this weak spot is also how you'll be getting two types of resources: thin blood and thick blood. Thin blood can be used for charged shots that deal big damage, character abilities to solve puzzles, and to heal. Thick blood is used to upgrade characters.

Speaking of characters, there's a good few you'll be playing as here. You have a few personas that you can switch between from the pause menu, each with their own stats and abilities. You have a character that can turn invisible. You have a character that's a wrestler that uses exploding shots. You have a woman who uses a scoped weapon, allowing you to hit specific parts of distant foes easily. You also have a character that picks locks and yells this every time he shoots an enemy weak spot (I played as him the most). I don't think there's a character I disliked out of the cast. Each one served a unique purpose, and I got use out of all of them throughout my playthrough.

The presentation is where the game shines very well. The graphics have a cell-shaded look to them, and the environments are drawn out in a way that makes the whole experience feel straight out of a comic book at times. There are also a good amount of anime-style cutscenes that caught me off guard with their quality. Sadly, with the rerelease of this game on Steam they didn't try to remaster these scenes, so they're kinda low-res compared to the rest of the game. They're still very viewable and enjoyable, though!

Thankfully, my list of issues with this title is small, but there are some things I wanna address. Firstly, there are some instances where enemies can get some hits in on you quickly when exiting a room. I remember one in the third stage where I would be quickly ambushed by three foes and lose a ton of health or die because of it. There's also this issue where the camera will get locked in the wrong position if an enemy hits you while you try to turn around, making it impossible to see what's ahead of you while moving unless you enter and exit a room.

There will also be instances where you are nudged in the direction of using a specific character for certain situations without being given a heads up. For example, the second boss you fight is far away from you, and you're required to hit a small part of their head to defeat them. Of course, this is a job for the persona with the scoped gun. However, when entering each stage, some personas are locked out until you defeat enough Heaven Smiles. After that, you have to manually awaken them in a room where you can upgrade your personas in order to make them selectable. I didn't do this for this character by this point, and I could not leave the boss fight to go perform this action, so I needed to restart the game in order to feel like I had any chance of winning.

These issues aside, Killer7 is a really cool and unique experience that I highly recommend. A fun and interesting world full of unique political situations, weird characters, and cool gameplay await you here, and you owe it to yourself to dive in.

In the name of Harman...


I think it stands as a testament to the strength of Shin Megami Tensei's creative vision, that despite it feeling like a game that I had to tolerate for most of its runtime, I was completely unable to put it down despite that.

What makes the classic Shin Megami Tensei games a lot more deeply alluring than their modern incarnations, is their place within the RPG landscape at the time of their relevance. Shin Megami Tensei exists as a counter cultural consolidation of the Ur-JRPG school of design; in which while not every single one of its conventions is directly opposed, they are twisted and contorted enough to resemble something of an antithetical. Technological occultisms, urban wastelands, alignment systems rejecting simple notions of good and evil, friends willing to spill blood over those ideals, and party members defined by their disposability and lack of longevity. All of these facets of design are complimented by a first persion perspective adorned with legacy computer aesthetics, resulting in something profusely alienating that denies the attraction provided by conventional fantasy. When witnessed in it's entirety, it's almost impossible not to fall for Shin Megami Tensei's gaze, for better or worse.

This also might be the only videogame where you go to Tokyo Disneyland Destinyland just to have your friend greet you at the front gates and open a conversation about how he's joined the side of chaos to overthrow God's order, while also holding hands with his new girlfriend. If there's any others, I'd really really like to play them.

One of the things I love about backloggd is finding out about different games I've never heard of. Whenever I have some spare time I scroll through the reviews here to see peoples thoughts on various games and have expanded my wishlist and backlog from other peoples experiences. Shin Megami Tensei: Syncronicity Prologue is one such title I saw someone had played. I initially thought is was some mobile game which is why I didn't know about it until looking further and finding out it was a Japanese only release Metroidvania set in the Shin Megami Tensei Universe. First launched as a free title for a limited time to promote the release of Strange Journey it has of course been patched by fans in English to be fully playable since.

The game's cover does what it says on the tin staring both Jack Frost and Pyro Jack. Both of them are after Black Frost who seems to have gone a bit mad. The story is fairly threadbare with a lot of the bosses across the game's 5 stages mostly laughing at you for trying to chase Black Frost when you are weak demons as the main plot point. There is a little more running in the background which I presume ties into Strange Journey I won't spoil with a true ending available for collecting all the collectables.

The game is fairly short at 2-3 hours which is to be expected for a free promo release but the gameplay aspect is fun. Taking Frost and Pyros elements as key aspects of the gameplay as you can swap characters on the fly to deal fire or ice damage as well as defend against it due to their immunities. Use Frost to take the hit of an incoming ice attack not only defends against all damage but also then charges the characters MP to allow for more magic attacks of various elements against their weakness. It fits thematically with the Shin Megami Tensei turn press system but is also fun mechanically. It's also a system the developer Team Ladybug would expand on in a later title of theirs I have played, Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth.

As far as it being a Metroidvania goes though it's extremely basic with only a couple of abilities to open up areas to traverse as the map is very small and they are collected early on. I'd hesitate to call it a true Medroidvania, maybe a Metroidvania-lite. One of the stages does do some neat things with switches and floors disappearing and reappearing to make it feel less like a basic corridor run though. The visuals for these stages and the characters are really good. Team Ladybug is known for their excellent sprite work and though only their second game at time of release it really shows with great animations, details and colour. It's not the best looking title I've ever seen but it's still enjoyable aesthetically and has a good little soundtrack to go with it.

Overall this is a fun little spin off title you can beat in an afternoon and was a pretty cool promo idea. The developer would take this and go on to greater heights making more Metroidvanias so being able to see some of their early work is always a fascinating experience for me. If this game has taught me anything however it's that I would love a bigger more fleshed out Metroidvania experience based on Shin Megami Tensei.

Recommended. Hee-ho!

+ High Quality for a free promo game.
+ Nice sprite work and excellent music including some series remixes.
+ Nice to see some of Team Ladybug's earlier work having only played one other title of theirs so far that clearly built on mechanics here.

strapping a bomb to my chest and breaking into Stagger Meter Headquarters to make things right

A week ago, fellow Backloggd user and great friend Angel Arle DMed me on Discord that the next RPG she was going to play was Final Fantasy III - that is, the original on the Famicom. I was always aiming to do this, but then I remembered that I haven’t truly beaten the DS remake of this, always loathing how much ire it incited upon my younger self and for years since. With a long break ahead of me, I decided to go back and rescind that and see where I stand now… on the Steam port I snatched totally paid money on, due to convenience and its February 2020 update largely giving it parity w/ the PSP port prior.

Before heading back in after several years, there’s a specific memory I had developed of facing the Land Turtle, the very first boss, and being a 50/50 shot of either defeating it, or getting killed. It turns out I was a really dumb kid and just never bothered to use the surplus of Antarctic Wind in order to whittle down the Genbu wannabe with ease. In fact, the stretch from the Wind Crystal quarter all the way to the end of the Fire Crystal quarter was so breezy I could barely feel it until Salamander breathed heavily, delving into a retry where my setup went more smoothly. Djinn was another early roadblock I had, but utilizing Blizzard, the aforementioned Antarctic, and Princess Sara’s RNG coming in with an Aero meant I had succinctly bested him before he even had a chance to do anything; Nepto’s Temple, one of the game’s infamous dungeons due to being forced into a Mini state with a full party of Mages, was way less daunting to me now that I had been itemizing Refia’s Fire Staff to give proper damaging utility as a White Mage, Luneth on Red Mage for both offensive and defensive duties, and made Arc and Ignus briefly picking up slack with temporary study of the Black Magicks while hurling some leftover attacking items onto the Giant Rat and the entourage littered before him; Tower Of Owen mainly had Medusa as a moderate obstacle, but a well-trained powerhouse of a Monk and an Advancing Warrior took care of the threat real quick. I was taking notice of how many off-beaten paths and crumbled ways gave way to goodies long before this became a requirement in a few dungeons, which in turn made upcoming hurdles easier to overcome. Of course, a lot of this had been thanks to age bettering my skills, a lot more exposure to RPG titles to develop more staying habits of what (not) to do, the fact I still had my old copy of the BradyGames strategy guide to manage side content and item pickup with its StrategyWiki page as extra coverage, but this is where the mechanical part of the game comes into play.

If there’s anything FF3 is known for, it’s the implementation of the Job system - more specifically, its (pejoratively) deigned nature as a Proto-Final Fantasy 5, one of my favorites in the series. While there’s definitely some truth to it, I do find myself believing this is but an oversimplification, since the two ideas share differing end philosophies. For one thing - and this is something I’ll have to credit Alex Donaldson and Adam Vitale of RPGSite when gathering brief info on the Pixel Remaster's changes - 3’s dungeons and job layout are more ‘lock and key’ puzzle designs by comparison. Nepto was a good example for reasons given, but there’s also Hein’s Castle where a Scholar or a White Mage knowing Libra are key to figuring out his new weakness after the Barrier Shift move, a fair number of places containing locked doors that a Thief can pick without any cost, and Cave Of Shadows’ gimmick of dividing enemies swiftly nulled by having a Dark Knight on hand with their ability to wield Katanas and access to the Souleater ability to highly damage all enemies at the cost of ~10% HP. While this certainly gives them an identity, all this really amounts to are hit-and-miss qualities that pave the way for future entries to go and have their own quirky conundrums. Anyone familiar with this game in any form would immediately point to Garuda, but truthfully? I think he’s one of the better designed puzzles - sure, it’s rather funny that the game prods you about how a Dragoon is a good idea with numerous Lances and Dragoon armaments to freely obtain within Saronia’s walls for the preparation of 3 or maybe a whole squad of them, but so long as you’ve prepped up three of your members of a specialty, be it before the Goldor assault or even way back since Djinn’s demise, you can get by just fine with only having one doing the typical Jump routine. The CoS, however, is something that I don’t share the intrigue on; tapping into the game’s penchant of secret walls for exploration is an exciting idea, and I do dig how the Dark Knight operates, but the whole “dividing enemy” gimmick is easily overcome by just simply using an already powerful one in the same field (such as, say the Dragoon from earlier, a Viking, a Knight, hell maybe even the Warrior, Thief, and Ranger), or once again incorporating spellcasting into the mix with the Staffs/Rods, Black Magicks, the Geomancer’s Terrain ability, or even the Summons (especially due to Odin, Leviathan, and Bahamut becoming available at this).

In regards to class composition, it’s somewhat lopsided for physical prowess, even when accounting for the changes the 3D remake implemented when compared to the Famicom original (and now PR). I wouldn’t exactly declare all the Black Magicks useless, but even during Mini instances, I can’t say I was hankering for them like I was for the other titles. This is largely due to Physical-oriented jobs being handed numerous elemental-attuned weapons to strike onto any foes affected by them, with the (near) ultimate weapons cropping up later on and performing far better, and once again White/Red Mages using the Staffs/Rods as items in order to cast Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder magic for moderate damage. As a result, supporting magic weighs far more favorably than offensive ones with one exception… that you first have to wait a long while for. Despite just mentioning them as an alternative prior, Evokers, the initial Summoning Job, is something I’m straight up baffled by; by compartmentalizing as one of the rare instances a Summon’s given ability is random, it in turn means that there’s a 50/25/25 wheel of helpfulness, unnecessary waste, or even outright detrimental if they match the same elemental entity within a fight. It’s a class that has no concrete benefit to its name, and once you obtain the Earth Crystal and receive a proper Summoner, plus the Sage with its access to all three, it becomes obsolete for good. Regardless, there’s still a lot of good I was able to pick through nice and easy, disregarding the usual friendly faces and perusing ones that are even friendlier, or are unique in their application here. I feel like Dragoons’ appearances have a rather mixed batting average, but here they hit grand slams, having access to some high end gear rather quickly, Jump being able to skip by a full turn of damage with a 1.5x-2.5x modifier in tow, and always being a consistent force of prowess the moment they enter; White Mages are always a given for party comps, but in this game they’re always able to keep everyone’s morales up far longer than usual until perhaps endgame, mid-high Agility stats meaning they always come in second or first in party order to help with setup or cleanup, and need I mention once again Staff/Rod item usage? Even when Devouts come in with their LV8 spell arsenal, it’s kind of hard to not shunt them in favor of what’s already a beefed up flag carrier; I don’t really have much to say about the Monk/Black Belt and Scholar classes, cause it’s a “what you see is what you get” scenario: the former a CQC artist that can be able to deal great damage especially compounded by the upgrade’s two-cycle Boost prep, and the latter’s a more niche class that, while frail, can eke out a weakness and/or void out any status boosts, as well as dish out the missing magic damage by not only doubling an item’s output, but by stacking this weakness-matching kits for quad damage.

The formula and internal changes the remake made also comes in handy when dissecting the two classes I’ve grown to enamored the most during this replay: the Bard and Viking. See, the remake altered the Bard’s Sing ability so that different harps are able to invoke a party wide effect of four different support spells and one damaging attack, those being Protect, Haste, Requiem, Paeon, and Elegy in order of obtainment. The formula for them is a smidge complex, but generally speaking you’re seeing 10-29% of a boost applied to all of these. What this effectively means is that, at a mid-high Job Level, one party member is able to get back a chunk of their HP, or invigorated attack, or bolstered defense, and cinch victory from a tough battle ever closer. It might be a lot of menu fiddling, but it’s well worth it to keep everyone and everything in check while you prep for better strategies - like, say, a Provoking Viking with two shields equipped, front lining or backlining, and soaking up a whole heap of damage everyone, then charging right back in triple, hell maybe even quadruple the numbers with their Hammers and Axes. This is a strategy that works for numerous bosses, and when you couple this with the fact that there’s a formula that reduces the opposition’s defense, it meant I humiliated not just Odin, but Bahamut as well. As a result, the “difficulty” aspect this remake - and I assume, FF3 in general - is known for largely comes from improper Job management. This isn’t like how it is in FF5, where it's contextualized as a growth period up to and including the endgame for the Freelancer and Mime classes for the betterment of the group. Instead, it’s a lot better to make strong commitments to one, perhaps two Job archetypes early on and start tinkering together a general party layout, something that comes pretty naturally when you just go straight from Point A to Point B over to Point C and finally meet Asshole Z over at Point D. I know the validity of my sentiment is majorly crumbled, due to freely admitting I was using two different guides, but trust me when I say there were only three different periods I had purposefully level grinded: a brief stint before tackling Goldor, a bit of Dragoon warmups, and most extensively, getting Arc to a Thief JL of 71 because for some reason Odin’s an asshole by hogging Gungnir all to himself and won’t share until I have a sliver of a chance at that point. Any other grinding times weren’t for raw power, but for something far more fruitful in my endeavors.

Actually, on that note, I hypothesize a major reason people have criticized this aspect to begin with is largely due to overlooking the Job Level numbers in favor of the standard Character Level - don’t do that! JLVs, which increase the effectiveness of both damage/support potency alongside an individual’s special ability, play as much of a factor into strengthening your team coordination as CLVs, perhaps slightly more so due to the method of turn accumulation being faster; there’s a hidden value of Job Points garnered after each round of action, and starting out from JLV1 through 14 you’ll take up to five of those rounds (essentially, a typical battle phase), and from thereon each Jobs have different numbers of passing (generally 7-8, but some are lower like Scholar and higher such as the hidden Onion Knight) to reach that level. Prioritizing when and where you spend the few extra minutes to beef up your four people’s class is far more lucrative and successful than simply trying to obtain a Big Character Number. The Odin and Bahamut clips I’ve shared express this greatly, since despite being around the same level as those guys to begin with, grinding out the Thief to JLV71 meant everyone else, in turn, were hovering around 50s-70s (with the thief eventually maxing out at 99!), leading to high quad-digit afflictions while still being within the CLVs of 40-45. Cloud of Darkness, which I’ll talk about later, is similar: 5 CLVs lower than her, she was still able to be bested mostly thanks to decent JLVs and a fair bit of planning… among other things, but I’ll save that for the end. This was a prospect that I had gotten into way after the fact, so if you’re curious about the nuances and the system going on, check out penguin_knights’ Job Stats FAQ. The only other note of Jobs to comb over is the Job Adjustment Phase, a different take on the transitory period of new duds that overtook the Capacity system from the Famicom, where you’re encumbered with halved stats until a certain number of total battles have passed. While I have no frame of reference as to how it was handled there, I do have supremely bitter memories of this mechanic, since it was the biggest bane of trying to optimize and complete runs… which is funny looking back now, because I end up forgetting this is even a thing until the next Crystal nab. There’s like, a whole other hidden formula working underneath, but a general rule of thumb is what I had alluded earlier: stick with who’s gonna be your offensive, supportive, and amorphous role filler, never change jobs unless absolutely necessary, and you’re not really gonna face that many trepidations with it. I wouldn’t exactly describe its execution as perfect cause of this, since 2-4 battle phases effectively hampers nothing, 5-7s means you’re doing very slight extra work, and 8-10s are only daunting if you somehow have this happen to like, half the PMs and need the work of the lower phase guys to pick up the slack... but I can’t help but admire the intent to intuit a form of careful consideration and planning nowadays.

As far as overhaul regarding the actual enemy encounters and boss design go in this remake, I’ve become a lot more intimate with now than I ever had before. Likely because of being the first showcase of the engine on the DS, each battle now consistently comprises 2-3 enemies in a line, singular opposition mostly reserved for the larger and tougher fellas in that dungeon or overworld area, which you can feel slowly taking over. The plus side is that damage values the PMs can deal have also been adjusted accordingly, meaning it’s not uncommon to start dishing close to or exactly 1k damage by the time you hit the halfway point. Due to this, every single attack/HP value have been beefed up considerably, and XP, Gil, even item pool rates have been overhauled - I’ve rarely gotten any sort of attacking tool from an enemy drop, but I did get several hundreds and thousands of XP just from battling two kangaroo lookin fellas with a conniving magician of a cumulative 3kHP total in one of the regions of the Surface World. The results end up being that bosses become injected with such an influx of HP increase, it’s rather comical comparing them to their base appearance. From what I’ve briefly gathered and gleaned, the most bosses have changed is being able to attack twice (and near the end, thrice) in one turn, but this effectively just means RNG getting in the way - positively or negatively - of your given strategy, and rarely has anyone/anything ever deviated too greatly from their initial behavior offset. Still, I had a bit of a good time facing them, and seeing them within the contextual confides of the narrative, such as Doga and Unei being counteropposing while Xande tries to blend the phys/mag format or the long since mentioned Giant Rat expose, did end up making this roster (in regards to the remake, anyway) rather thrilling than they otherwise would’ve been. Though this was developed by Matrix Software, Kazuhiko Aoki and Hiromichi Tanaka, two people that were involved with the original FF3 and its battle system, return as supervisor and director respectively. Though I’m unsure as to the extent of their involvement here, their original foundation and philosophy are still intact despite all that’s changed in the decade and a half passing by and with some new sprinkles on top. One last thing to note is that, while reiterating that beelining onto each required spot is indeed doable, the encounter rate is one of the more bizarrely implemented I’ve come across in an RPG. The step increments can vary wildly, wherein one moment you get a reasonable distance in, the next you immediately face a battle after taking 5 or so steps, and sometimes you can clear not just a whole floor, but that dungeon in its entirety. I’m genuinely curious as to how all this operates, cause it’s so bewilderingly captivating to me. As far as the final dungeons are concerned… that’s where things get peculiar.

Crystal Tower, combined with the World Of Darkness, are some of the most known final dungeon gauntlets of any RPG, no matter the version. While I acknowledge that I’m someone that’s done almost every single side content in the remake (excluding the Iron Giant fight, for reasons obvious to anyone who’s played this), and thus am not someone that’s done either half or even none of it whatsoever, I will say that it’s handled rather decently nonetheless. There’s definitely a line of intention drawn in making this a back-to-back endurance run, what with being near the end and Xande and Cloud Of Darkness amassing so much power that you have to dedicate yourself into wiping them from existence, which is why there’s so many endgame equipment and Elixirs littered about and corralling the last remaining Phoenix Downs left, as well as Eureka being the last bastion for not only more high end paraphernalia, but more palatable fights to contend with until you’re truly on your way to climb the place. Jury’s out how this operates under the PR, but for this version I find that ‘incorporating’ more save points or what have you undercuts the disposition of tension and attrition brought about with easy gauges as to whether one can handle Xande with considerable grasp - especially since by this point, the player really should just make use of Teleport and/or Ottershrooms to leave and recuperate accordingly (doubling back on Ancient’s Maze isn’t that daunting) before locking in to WoD. This place largely operates under that same mentality; tough battles, even tougher bosses that ‘mirror’ each other (as well as the start of the most changes in behavior when compared to the original’s routines), and one final call of Elixir chugging and Job finalization before facing the Cloud herself. It’s here where things, finally, get… odd. The remake added in two tentacles - the left a magic-oriented Lightning spammer that’s weak to phys, the right the inverse as they cast buffs and deal a bit of damage - and also made it so that there’s a threshold match to stop it from spamming Particle Beam (or Flare Wave, as was originally fanTLed as) nonstop, thus properly utilizing its normal bitch slaps as attacking moves. All sound great, and I imagine takes steps necessary for some needed excitement, but I can’t help but feel as though there wasn’t enough done to mitigate the tedium. Even keeping in mind some of the earlier Crystal jobs, the setup remains the same: everyone on the back row, someone on support duty, one or two people to deal with the left tendril, and the remaining number(s) spamming their best ability possible - so, say, a Viking Provoking the number as everyone else does their thing, Bards being able to use all the harps, even the Requiem, to keep the pace up, Dragoons and Black Belts being Dragoons and Black Belts, the tried and true “I use my Ninja to throw Shurikens like a boss!” formula… despite the wiggle room available, I just end up feeling like I’m funneled down into two or three specific routines. There’s also the Bad Breath attack to contend with, but considering you can obtain a full set of Ribbons beforehand, it translates into being a breathing room move before you go back to doing the same things again, which says more about the limitations of the Job system here than anything else. This also isn't getting into two specific Earth Crystal jobs that essentially carry the fight with ease: Devout, thanks to essentially full curing the team with Curag(/j)a and outright receiving 0 damage from Lightning, and Summoner who can do Bahamut -> Leviathan spams if obtained naturally or bought from Eureka at a supreme price that deal high damage on the right tendril and the Cloud herself. Not that it isn’t engaging regardless, but it doesn’t tickle my fancy the way that the freeforming and strategy mindgame Exdeath offers, nor is it a constant check and balance approach like Braska’s Final Aeon or even Necron handle. Aw well, you win some, you lose some.

All of that aside and said, I ended up becoming surprised by my takeaway this time around. For what once was something I gave immense scorn over, for what had effectively halted my mainline Final Fantasy journey until picking up FF5 on a whim, I found myself largely appreciating and liking this entry in the series at long last. I do want to try out the original someday for myself, see how it compares/contrasts and all that, but for being one of my initial exposures in the series, it feels oddly fitting to see some of the hallmarks in their near-crystalized formation despite the at-the-time fresh paint: journey around the world with episodic landscapes, metatextual elements imbued within the mechanics’ essence and functionality, and a sense of wonder stringing you along every step of the way. Plus, it made for a good throwback of childhood times, huddling around this dinky, worn out guide for all the goodies while I go out of my way to make sure I don’t pay too much attention to its outlines that I lose any sense of thought in the process.

Additional notes:

- I didn’t have much to talk about regarding the holistic value of the DS’ new presentation approach, but overall I’m a fan. I know some people aren’t necessarily into the Chibi format of the characters, and there’s a bit of bias due to growing up with this, but I feel as though it’s one extension of the format expressed in the older titles.
- The battle speed, on the other hand, is something that's more evident of a first outing on new hardware. I’m pretty much used to it, and it’s not like there’s an abundance of overtly long animation cycles, but I will admit that I occasionally used the Auto function the PSP version added (which the PC version later got in that big update) less so because my current strat was set in stone, and more because it got things over quicker. I estimate its speedup is about 30-50%, so CT+WoD taking me ~4 hours on two attempts likely would’ve been 4.5-5.5 normally as one example.
- As neat as it is to see the Warriors Of Light here have proper backstory, I can’t help but wonder if it was an unneeded addition, due to the original consisting of blank slates with a handful of speaking lines. Luneth, Arc, Refia, and Ignus have basic personality types, and their pressure on different plot beats end up meeting halfway in some regard. Still, it’s a much better attempt at slapping a physical speaking character from initial blank spots than I would’ve thought.
- Perhaps it’s from no longer chained down by the DS soundfont, but the rearrangements found here I ended up liking a lot as well. The Doga’s Manor music evokes a strong sense of mysticism and “calm before the storm” feeling befitting the place, Falgabard’s got a wispy feeling to it that’s rather soothing, if rather inquisitive, to listen to, and the Cloud Of Darkness’ theme here might go down as an all-time fave. Definitely another aspect of the game I’ve grown to appreciate far more now than back then!

This game sucks. I don’t even know how you can make something as awful as Megaman X6. The sheer lazy and terrible game design, as well as having the most rushed feel to a Megaman game probably since Classic Series’ 3. This analysis probably won’t be nearly as long as my X5 retrospective, and it’s probably because THIS GAME IS BAD and MERELY DISCUSSING IT FRUSTRATES ME. But I guess I’ll be polite and address the very few good things this game does.
Da Good Stuf
I. Art Direction
I guess this is a no brainer, but most Megaman games have a pretty solid art direction. Haruki Suetsugu, the character artist from the previous two X installments on the PlayStation, has returned once again to offer some incredible artwork. One thing of note is that this seems to be when Suetsugu began to give extremely ridiculous proportions for the X series. Compare any X4/X5 art piece to X6 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I believe he also drew the illustrations for the cutscenes in this game, which are a visual treat.
The one thing we all can universally agree on for this game is the soundtrack. Absolutely fantastic, and it consists of so many bopping tunes all the way throughout. It makes me wish that a better X game received this soundtrack.
III. The Opening Stage
The only level in the game that is good. Short, but sweet, and a fine enough opening boss. The good and atmospheric music piece accompanying the stage is also much appreciated.
That is where I stop being positive about this game to be honest. Because everything after this pretty much SUCKS. So strap in.
The Lasting Legacy of Suckiness
I. The Story.
I know that the X series has a stupid plot in a lot of cases, especially X4, but…. Lmao this story sucks. Doesn’t help that this game’s opening already provides A CONTINUITY ERROR before the game even actually starts. This game’s story seems to be… a mesh of the events of both the good and bad endings of X5, as the space station still crashed on earth, but X still has his memories and Zero never went maverick. Now you could say “well maybe it just implies that the space station’s remains crashed on earth” but that isn’t exactly the issue. The problem is that this game takes place three weeks after the events of X5, and X’s good ending in that game was three YEARS later, so I have no idea what’s up with that. It could be a translation error (???) but I honestly don’t care about this game enough to research that.
As for the rest of the plot, it’s just really dumb lol. The game tries to build up Gate, who seems to be a new and original villain for this franchise, but for whatever reason, he resurrects SIGMA again even though it was implied he finally died in X5 but apparently not I guess. Then again, Zero comes back in this game, but that’s a whole other can of worms to get into. Alia gets a tragic backstory where she committed war crimes with Gate, which is pretty cool I guess. Shame that Alia’s only interesting development is stuck in this turd of a game. Dynamo is just kinda… here in this game, as an optional side boss you can encounter, for some Nightmare Souls (more on that later).
I’d be lying if I said most of (if not all of) what little enjoyment this game offered came from the hilariously awful English translation of this game. I’m not really gonna quote any of these lines here, since they’ve been talked to to death online before, but for a lack of better words, it’s really bad lol. Capcom has been infamous for terrible translations in the past, but this one is just God tier awful. Also, the cutscenes in this game have full voice acting, albeit only in Japanese. However, since I do not speak Japanese, I cannot judge the quality of this dub.
II. Level Design
Megaman X6’s stage design feels like a bad Mario Maker level. Randomly placed enemies spammed all over the place? Check. Inconsistent level of difficulty? Yep. Outright unfair and game design that only masochists would enjoy? Uh huh. This game’s enemy placement is so absolutely horrid that I just started tanking damage and abusing invincibility frames to get through. Yeah. Most stages are just unfairly punishing and difficult, probably to artificially pad out the game. Instant kill spikes are EVERYWHERE in X6, it’s ridiculous. Like I said, most stages just have enemies sporadically placed everywhere and it’s super irritating. Nothing feels cleverly placed and only feels mindless.
For this review I will bring up just a couple specific levels to show how awful this game’s design is. Firstly, Blaze Heatnix’s stage. The devs here thought that placing the exact same donut miniboss everywhere was clever. Yep, that’s the gimmick here… spamming the same miniboss every few rooms. Nothing of substance here, only pointless donuts you gotta kill which is ESPECIALLY painful as X.
Rainy Turtloid’s stage has this super stupid gimmick where there’s acid rain constantly draining your health ON TOP of the bad enemy placement constantly screwing you up the anus. The enemy type choice isn’t very good either, as it mainly consists of these robots who can be impervious to attack unless you WAIT for them to lower their guard. You know, as if you weren’t pressured for time enough as is with your health CONSTANTLY DRAINING.
Most of the other levels are stinky too, like Metal Shark Player’s stage having this absolutely stupid crusher gimmick, or the RNG routes of Ground Scaravich which hold key items. And while I could go into depth with those… I just don’t really care. This review is already going on long enough.
And then of course. The Godfather of this game’s awful stage design… Gate. Stage. 2. HOW DO YOU EVEN. MAKE. A LEVEL. THIS BAD. This level is just the epitome of all the problems this game’s stage design has. It’s got the sporadic enemy placement, the absolute OBSESSION of spikes put everywhere, and if you’re playing as X, ANOTHER ACID RAIN SEGMENT. What’s worse is that this stage drags on and on. You have to fight BOTH High Max and Gate in this stage, which is just… why??? And to add onto that, you know that acid rain segment X has to deal with? Well, if you don’t have the right armor and/or parts, YOU ARE STUCK and have to LEAVE Gate’s fortress to equip the right stuff, then go ALL THE WAY back through Gate Stage 1 and then the first half of Stage 2 just to make a SINGLE unreachable gap in the second half. ??????? You know what, I’m done talking about this moronic level design. Let’s just move onto the nightmare sy- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Part III. The Nightmare Effects and Parts System.
Man, remember the mechanic in X1 where playing certain stages would affect the other ones which would shake things up? That was so cool, huh? I mean X3 did it too but it was sorta convoluted and didn’t really matter. What’s that, X6 does this too????? And it’s completely detrimental???? Wow!!!!!!! So cool!!!!!!!!!!!1111oewkoqwpjfoi2qt3nkohgoh
The nightmare system is legitimately one of the worst mechanics I have ever seen in a video game in my years of existing on this planet. It is actually jarring how completely moronic and stupid this idea of a game mechanic is, to the point that I am suprised that Capcom allowed this game to even be published. I am not going to explain all of the nightmare effects, but the point I will make is that ALL OF THEM SUCK. None of the nightmare effects are helpful in the slightest, and instead they PUNISH you for visiting certain stages. I think the most infamous nightmare effect is “darkness” where you basically are completely blind except for the VERY SMALL amount of light surrounding the player character. I am actually frustrated even THINKING of this awful game design idea.
Moving onto something not as bad, there’s the part system, which is actually unironically better then the parts system in X5. you get access to equip the parts by gaining nightmare souls, which can be obtained by killing the nightmare virus enemies located in most stages. However, to get the parts themselves, you must save the specific hostage reploid located in each of the main 8 stages and their side routes. But of course nothing in this game can be cleverly executed, so they decided to make a catch. If a nightmare soul gets anywhere CLOSE to a hostage reploid and touches them, it will possess that reploid, and now that hostage is considered dead, meaning that if they had a valuable part on them, it’s gone for good. To make matters worse, some parts are REQUIRED to obtain if you even want to finish this game with certain armors on X, notably the “jumper” part. So let’s say, if you happen to accidentally let a nightmare virus kill that reploid with the jumper part, it is now IMPOSSIBLE to finish the game as normal/shadow armor X. Absolutely horrid game design that I CANNOT accept.
Anyway, that was my Megaman X6 rant review. I didn’t cover everything in this game, and that’s simply because I don’t care. Do I not sound mad enough to you already? X6 had a couple good concepts, and if the game was given actual time to exist in the development studio and wasn’t a cash grab, it could’ve been actually good! But at the end of the day, that didn’t happen, and instead we got a soulless, pointless, and insulting game that has left a lasting dent on the legacy of the X series.