I think Kazuya was onto something when he threw Heihachi off that cliff

Dan Schneider would have loved this one

I don't normally write reviews for games I'm not interested in, but briefly watching Cr1TiKaL's stream of the game and witnessing it crash when he had to do a brb says more than enough, this is da future of gaming and you will kneel, give us your money while we shove our hecking wholesome VTubers and content creators in your face

first we start with the original, then we move on to the sequel, and now, we get the prequel....

wait that’s Castlevania

I thought Neptunia was impatient when it came to remakes, but only three games in and they’re already remaking FE1. well at least with Fire Emblem the remake’s on more powerful hardware, plus there’s an entire other game in it as well!

FE3 is divided into two sections: Book 1 (a remake of FE1), and Book 2 (a continuation of the events of Book 1). most of this review will be about Book 2 but before I move on to that I’d like to briefly talk about Book 1 and its changes. Book 1 has 20 Chapters compared to FE1’s 25 Chapters which means a shorter campaign as well as character recruits being moved a Chapter or two earlier or later. normally this would be a bad thing because “REMOVAL OF CONTENT” but for this case I’m actually okay with it and that’s because all of the five Chapters that were cut weren’t that fun to begin with so it’s more or less trimming the fat away. The Wooden Cavalry is a funny meme and I wouldn’t mind that one staying though considering that Ballisticians were reworked into stationary units it probably wouldn’t have worked. a few characters were cut as well but like with the Chapters most of the cut characters were pretty filler so it’s no big deal. the Vulnerary you get in place of Wrys in Chapter 1 is unironically more useful than Wrys himself, imagine. the items you get in armories and vendors have changed a bit as well. the Bowgun which offered high crit chances and Hammers which destroyed Knights can no longer be bought or are even in the game at all so bow units and Fighters have been nerfed a bit. Rapiers have also been moved to a single Secret Shop so Marth needs to work on conserving the Rapier he begins with. while we’re talking about weapons, Javelins got a nerf as well as their weight have been increased dramatically, making follow up attacks with them impossible, though at least you can still buy them by Chapter 13 this time around. storywise, the narrations that occurred every so often in the beginning of some Chapters now all occur before every Chapter of the game, with a map showcasing the world of Akaneia to boot. some Chapters also get new added dialogue as well, my favorite example being Chapter 11 (Land of Sorrow) where the boss of the Chapter has an argument with his lackey when he calls the rebels “the allied army” and then throws a hissy fit when he finds out the reinforcements he requested are only a bunch of pegasus knights, good stuff. there’s also animations for some of these cutscenes too like in Chapter 6 (Lefcandith Gauntlet) where Minerva flies over to the boss, dismounts off her wyvern and has a conversation with them before she hops back on and returns to her original spot, you even see the wyvern sprite next to her while she’s dismounted, very nice attention to detail that I appreciate. lastly the indoor maps have their own tilesets now and they look way cooler than the originals, mmm just look at that purple. that said I can NOT forgive this game for redesigning my favorite map into this much more generic layout, I don’t care if the tileset is cooler the smaller size removes most of the tension and you finish it in a lot less turns than the original, what a downgrade. that said Book 1 is a more polished experience of FE1 and is a great way to experience Marth’s first adventure (or rather first war), however if you can put up with the slow pace and admittedly horrible inventory management of FE1 then I’d still recommend to check the OG NES version, now then time for me to move on to Book 2.

after the events of FE1 now known as the “War of Shadows”, with the collapse of the Dolhr/Durhua Empire, Akaneia/Archanea is now able to thrive as its own empire thanks to the efforts of Hardin, now referred to as Emperor Hardin. of course since this is a fantasy work: empire = bad. a rebellion occurs over at Grunia/Grust led by General Lorenz, you know that General from the first game that you get in Chapter 20. when Marth is sent to put an end to the situation by force, he finds out Lorenz was protecting the Grunia heirs from Lang, a corrupt general hired by Hardin who has brought a bunch of suffering among the residents of Grunia and plans to execute the two young heirs, basically he’s evil irredeemable bad guy. after being sent to “resolve” another situation at Macedon, General Lang returns to order Marth to recapture and hand over the Grunia heirs who managed to get freed. knowing how much of an ass this guy is, Marth refuses. as Lang informs Emperor Hardin of Marth’s betrayal, he ends up invading Marth’s home turf Aritia/Altea in retaliation, leading to the beginning of the “War of Heroes”. all it takes is one Chapter to realize that the stakes in this game are much higher and darker than probably anything in FE1. not all of Marth’s previous allies are around, some end up being captured, some now side against him, and Chapter 1 even ends with a former ally killing himself after receiving fatal wounds, Mystery of the Emblem means business. so that’s the basic summary, I’ll actually talk a little more about what’s going on later but for now it’s back to the gameplay as well as the overall changes that were made.

wow, there’s a lot of QoL added. moving a unit shows you their movement range which is highlighted in green, the same applies when you view your enemy which means it’s a lot easier to plan your movements and lure your enemies. Priests can actually gain EXP now by using their staves so they no longer die in one hit anymore, they now die in two hits! playable Manaketes have also been reworked as while dragonstones now have durability like traditional weapons, using a dragonstone lets them transform into a dragon during the map for a total of five turns, Tiki’s Divinestone also gives her increased movement range while she’s transformed and on top of that, if you can find and have access to a secret shop in her Chapter recruitment, you can buy Magestones which make her immune to magic and Flyingstones which gives her the best movement range in the entire game, TL;DR, Tiki is OP in this game. what’s not OP though is that mounted units like the Cavaliers and Pegasus Knights are now restricted to only lances and can no longer be mounted indoors and they’re now forced to dismount which forces them to use swords (Awesome!) and have their stats temporarily lowered (Not awesome!). this isn’t too much of a problem in Book 1 but with Book 2’s abundance of rough terrain and indoor Chapters in the latter half this means Cavaliers and Paladins aren’t as amazing as they were in FE1, Pegasus Knight and Wyvern Riders are still great though since their movement is not affected by rough terrain, just make sure they get close to bow units. Item wise, the Hammerne staff no longer fixes staves so Warp cheesing will be less useful, not that it matters though since your only Warp staff isn’t until Chapter 14. continuing with the nerfs, Xane no longer copies the HP of who he’s transforming into, and his default HP isn’t that great so he becomes a glass cannon clone of who he transforms to if you don’t give him stat items that boost his HP. now this is something I learned after finishing FE1 but in that game, the AI has a tendency to attack Marth if they are in his range, while normally this would result in more game overs, you can use this to your advantage by having Marth shield some nearby units who are low on health so he can soak up the damage in their steed, from my experience this no longer works in FE3 or at least they don’t always target Marth anymore so you can’t really pull off that strat.

for buffs though, items and weapons get separate weapon slots now so units can hold four weapons and four items, Xane really benefits from this as now he can carry four different types of weapons or tomes as well as having staffs in his item slots, giving him a versatile amount of classes he can transform to right on the spot, this in turn also buffs anyone that is or can become a Bishop. the supply convoy has also been reworked as instead of going to a tile in the map and slowly store and retrieve items, Marth instead carries everything now so he’s basically a walking inventory, combine that with a proper trading system between units that doesn’t use up your unit’s turn and now Marth is OP in a different kind of way. as for class changing it works the same way it did in FE1 (get your unit to Lv. 10 then use a promotion item), however this time Knight’s Crest has been updated to also let Knights promote to Generals making them slightly less lame and Orion’s Bolt also being able to promote Hunters to Horsemen so now Kashim/Castor is suddenly the best bow unit of the game, maybe now he finally get that gold for his mother. for some reason Marich/Merric has his own unique Bishop sprite during maps and battle and I’m not sure why, I’m not complaining though because it is a nice looking sprite. lastly, the popular Support system Fire Emblem is well known for makes its debut, though it functions a lot differently here than it does later on. all it is in this game is a hidden system where if a character has connections to another and they’re within three spaces of each other then they get a +10 to their hit rate, critical chance, evasion, and critical evasion. for example, Marth and Sheeda/Caeda get Support boosts from each other since they’re in love, Minerva gives a boost to the Pegasus Sisters since they all look up to her, Tiki gives a boost to Banutu/Bantu since he’s Tiki parental guardian and he could really use all the help he can get, and Cool Dude “Tuxedo Mask” Sirius who’s definitely not a previous FE character in disguise gets a boost from Nyna because he had a really nice thirty second conversation with her. other than the boosts that’s really all that Support does in this game so unfortunately no face rubbing or giving your favorite girl a child, I’m sure a lot of you FE enthusiasts are very disappointed.

I’m combining the character discussion with some story discussion as well so there’s going to be spoilers of a 30 year old game from here on out; beware ye who tread any further

Book 2 of FE3 feels like a sneak peek of what this franchise will become later down the road as there’s more cutscene dialogue in Chapter 1 than there is in a majority of FE1. while FE1 only has one lengthly lore dump during the end of Chapter 7, in FE3 you’re getting lore dumps much more often, though a majority of them are when Marth has to make a detour to Anri’s Way during the middle of the game. this affects a lot of the characters too, as a good portion of the returning characters get more dialogue and/or backstory here. Kain/Cain and Abel actually get to speak and Abel in particular has a relationship with Est now. Jeigan/Jagen has become too old to fight so he’s now Marth’s personal tactician and advisor. Astria/Astram remains loyal to Emperor Hardin and is thus an antagonist during most and potentially all of the game. Boah DIES, Arran is on the verge of DYING due to an illness, and Lorenz JOBS. you remember Xane the funny dude who can transform into other people? turns out he’s a Divine Dragon! White Sage Gotoh/Gato? he’s a Divine Dragon too! Tiki being a Divine Dragon isn’t much of a surprise, but she’s also the daughter of Naga who’s basically the ruler of all the Divine Dragons, plus she will degenerate and become capable of destroying the world if the Binding Shield is not put back together, the Binding Shield is also the complete Fire Emblem, I think we might have let Kaga cook a little too much. now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I do enjoy the extra characterizations and backstories quite a bit it helps give them some more depth and that’s A-OK, though a small part of me misses how I was able to characterize them however I wanted in the first game, some of the imagination is….disappearing I guess? I know the later games are going to continue with this route and I’m well prepared for that and even welcome to the idea if the story continues to be fascinating like it was here, it’s just an interesting observation I’ve noticed while going through Book 2. fun fact: magazine surveys were taken during FE1’s heyday to determine which characters were fan favorites and the top two were Hardin and Lena, which is made all the more interesting considering their fates in this game. what’s that, you like Hardin? too bad, he’s an evil emperor now! what you like Lena? she’s abducted now, and you won’t see her until the end of the game! it’s a great subversion considering that it’s very likely that Lena would have been your main healer as well as Hardin being one of your main Cavaliers in the first game, that’s a really cool nod to the early days of the fanbase.

FE3 has an interesting enemy progression. it starts off what you’d expect in Chapter 1 with the Thieves, Archers, and Brigands (basically mountain Pirates), then all of a sudden Chapter 2 introduces the Wyvern Riders before Pegasus Knights even show up, granted there’s only three of them you should have 2-3 bow units at that point but still. Chapter 3 already has fort reinforcements though they’re not as annoying to deal with as in FE1, plus some more Wyvern Riders, hopefully you’re training your bow units. for a while it starts to calm down a little bit until Chapter 7 when Astria and his Hero army shows up, and never before have I been more frightened of a former ally, well I’ve probably have but not in recent memory. if one of your units ends up getting too close to the Heroes standing by the forts, all of them will start going after your army and someone will die so you’re better off going through the forest so they don’t go after you. in Chapter 8 not only do you start fighting promoted classes as regular enemies now but in a couple of turns, Astria and his Hero army emerge from the previous Chapter and starts chasing after you with a thrist of blood, on top of that Emperor Hardin is waiting for you at the top and will begin to go after you with the Gradivus, the endgame weapon once in possession of Camus during FE1, though thankfully you should make it to the seize point before he gets too close. now at Chapter 9 Marth and the gang sail to Khadein at by then you think you’re safe but UH OH Khadein views you as an enemy too but that’s fine Mages and Bishops are no big deal, but then a couple of turns later ASTRIA AND THE HEROES SOMEHOW MAKE IT TO KHADEIN AND CONTINUE THEIR ASSAULT THEY LITERALLY SWAM ALL THE WAY TO KHADEIN JUST SO THEY CAN KILL YOU. there’s not much things in video games more terrifying than seeing the message “Akaneia arrived!” during the beginning of an enemy phase, I didn’t realize I was playing through a horror game. back to enemy progression, once you arrive Anri’s Way in Chapter 11 not only are you away from civilization which means no shops of the secretless variety but you’re now up against Barbarians which are basically Brigands on steroids as well as a variety of dragons showing up as regular enemies; Fire, Ice, Flying, all here in Anri’s Way. except they’re not all here because in Chapter 20, there’s a lone Earth Dragon in the southwest corner of the map. once again heading to spoiler territory here; it all comes together in the true final Chapter in the true final map (it’s divided by into three separate maps) as you once again face off against Mediuth/Medeus, and they must have saw what I typed in my FE1 review because Mediuth has been resurrected as a proper Shadow Dragon this time around and he’s HUGE not even the small sprite ratio on the map can contain his size, that said it would have been a lot cooler if the box art and title screen didn’t already spoil his new transformation. what’s even cooler (and probably frightening) is that Mediuth’s allies during this final battle are more Earth Dragons. you thought you were hot stuff killing an Earth Dragon as a final boss in FE1? well now they’re regular enemies during the final map! the downgraded final boss trope is so kino

soundtrack appreciation time; Book 1 still uses the same couple of tracks that FE1 did but they’re not restricted to an 8-bit sound chip so they’re more pleasant to listen to this time around. Trouble! is a nice remix of the original version though it’s missing the second half from the original, wish they kept that. Under the Flag is a more mature and militaristic remix of what it originally sounded like and probably won’t drive you insane after almost 20 Chapters. Battle is a fine remix of this nothing too special, however the remixed version of the original enemy battle theme which I have not listened to more than the first twenty seconds of before typing this is an excellent track what an improvement, but the remix is also missing its second half which kinda sucks, I wonder if there was some soundtrack limitations for this game. unfortunately the remix of Gato’s theme isn’t as cool as the original IMO, it’s still good but a lot of the mystique went away in the transition to the new sound chip. I don’t even know what happened here, lol. okay I’m listening to the last part of this theme for the first time and wow that’s some Mother type beat right there, anyway the remix, don’t know which one I prefer but both have their merits. onto the Book 2 tracks, Off to War is a big contrast to the original’s traditional cutscene theme as this one sounds a lot more serious, that coupled along with the new intense map and battle theme that plays now. this was the original village theme in Book 1 but here in Book 2 they added a new one to go along with it specifically called “Sad Villager” because now the villagers are even more sad than in Book 1, war never changes. oh yeah here’s the Fire Emblem theme I forgot to show earlier, apparently the track’s name is “Together We Ride!”, don’t know if that’s official. Book 2 has a more subdued version though the Book 1 version still gets used on occasion, I prefer the Book 1 version more but this one suits the overall tone of Book 2 more. Conspiracy is the second cutscene theme and just know stuff is going to go down here, nothing good every comes out of this whenever this track comes on. this is just a Super Metroid track, it’s also the map preparation theme you hear around the second third of the game, you know when Astria and the Heroes are trying to hunt you down, are you sure this isn’t a horror game? OH MY GOD A SECOND MAP THEME THAT DOESN’T PLAY AT THE VERY LAST CHAPTER. epic and based. this is a downgrade from the first two map themes lol. and here’s the new Mediuth theme and yeah it’s kinda catchy, I think I still prefer his first theme but this is nice too, especially the beginning that’s a good buildup.

Book 2’s maps bring me pain. they’re not even bad maps they can just be a bit frustrating to go through at times. Chapter 2 looks alright but there’s a bit of an annoying Thief placement where he’ll run off to the north where all the dangerous enemies are while carrying a Lady sword and that Lady sword is pretty good at this point of the game so you’ll have to risk sending a unit with great movement to go after the guy (Arran and Katua/Catria are your only options here) and hope the enemies don’t gang up on them. Chapter 3 lets you let you two paths. do you lower the bridge and get your ass handed to you by the enemies up close, or do you go around and slowly lure the enemies in your path one-by-one, how you suffer is up to you! Chapter 5 is a cool one since it gives you a great opportunity to put Doga/Draug on the bridge in the southeast and let him go loose, though the Thief at the beginning can be annoying if you haven’t learned about unit placing since that Thief is Rickard and you need Julian to go after him before he runs off the map, damn you Rickard the item you carry is more useful than you are, I know he shows up in the next Chapter if you don’t get him here but I’m still going to call him out. Chapter 7 is a genius map design because there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here. you have the Thieves going after Nabarl/Navarre in the forest as well as Feena/Phina who’s able to give him a turn refresh with her Dance ability, then there’s a cave in the southwest where you can lure a fire dragon out to get EXP as well as find a hidden Physic staff in front of the cave, then there’s the easy boss in the northeast who calls you a murderer when you kill him, and of course to the west you have the more fearsome Astria and his army who won’t hesitate to chase after you if you get too close to all of them, very cool. Chapter 8 is another great one because not only is it a map from the original, but instead of starting at the top and making your way down, you start in the middle and have to make it to the top left while making sure you don’t go down because Akaneia will arrive. Chapter 10 is neat because all of the enemies are going after you while a potential anime battle between Marich and an edge lord can go on in the center of the map, but if you can get Wendell to knock some sense into the guy trying to kill Marich, he apologizes and all the enemies will stop attacking you, at the same time Chapter 10 sucks because I didn’t realize there would be a Thief with a Silver Card in here and I then proceeded to miss out on halved shop prices for the rest of the game, missable content let’s gooooooo. speaking of missable content, you have to collect twelve Astral Shards throughout the game so you can repair the Starsphere which helps you get the Binding Shield which in turn lets you enter the endgame Chapters and if you miss a single Shard then no true ending for you, LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! skipping ahead to the last one I want to talk about, Chapter 17 has an interesting mechanic where the tough Akaneia soldiers are here to carry the inexperienced Gra soldiers. if you can make it to the boss of this Chapter without killing any of the Gra soldiers she’ll actually join your army, but if you decide to kill a single one then she’ll get pissed and try to kill you. thankfully the Gra soldiers refuse to fight you back out of fear so it’s really easy to keep them alive unless you’re intentionally going after them and by that point the bloodshed’s on you. anyway, new hardware means all new battle animations, but the really cool part is there’s proper battle backgrounds now, epic! there’s some really smooth battle animations here like the Pegasus Knight’s attacks as well as Knights slowly inching their way toward their opponents to then stab a lance through them, the Starlight tome even gets its own spacelike battle background when it gets used which makes sense since it’s the plot important spell that helps you get the Falchion. although there’s quite a visual improvement here, there are a few battle animations that I preferred in the NES game, Thieves don’t hit the same when they aren’t floating towards you with their capes covering them. I forgot to bring this up in the FE1 review and while this isn’t a battle animation, I also miss how the Generals in that game looked like they were in mech armor and had giant scimitars as weapons, at least they have shields this time around. lastly, the Falchion animation is a full on downgrade here because Marth no longer performs his cool backflip after he attacks with it why would you take away the backflip you just doN’T TAKE AWAY THE BACKFLIP BACKFLIPS ARE COOL WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME KAGA, 0/10 BAD GAME WOULD PLAY AGAIN

Fire Emblem is evolving, I’m not sure if I’m ready for Fire Emblem’s evolution but I’ll still go through with it since I enjoyed my time with FE3 along with the new changes it brought to the table. from what I’ve heard a lot of people consider FE4 to be the best one, and while that’s cool since that’s the one I’m going through next, at the same time having your franchise apparently peak at 4/17 mainline games is a very concerning sign for me. but idk if it’s really all downhill from there then I suppose I’ll strap in and enjoy the potential train wreck I’m getting myself into. okay that’s a little harsh but that would be a bit funny. surely one of these future games has to be peak media, which one will it be? who knows? oh right there’s a remake of this game on the DS, one that also didn’t get an English release, lol. from what I know, the cut characters from the original are implemented back, there’s some new classes your units can turn into, some parts of the storyline are rewritten, and there’s a self-insert character that everyone kneels to like the Second Coming. I don’t know why there needs to be another main character to share Marth’s spotlight, but people must have enjoyed it since there’s been self-inserts in almost every game since. idk maybe it’s better but I just don’t really care at the moment, though if Marth can do a backflip with the Falchion then I might be interested.

take a shot every time I mention FE1 in this review

she Fire on my Emblem till I Gaiden

recently I've learned that in an old interview with Shouzou Kaga that the first Fire Emblem sold poorly originally until a Famitsu article praising the game was written by someone who goes by the name of Nakaji, so if you're wondering why there's so many people online who are down bad for characters like Camilla, Corrin, Alear, etc., you have Nakaji to thank for that. it's not all bad though, without that article we wouldn't have Fire Emblem Gaiden, which is UH UH UH....kino

(since I played an old English translation I'll list both the translation and localized names for the characters and setting, I'll probably do this for a lot of the earlier games too)

instead of Archanea from the first game, this one instead takes place in Valentia, a neighboring continent. in the past two sibling gods by the names of Mila and Doma/Duma used to rule together, however like all siblings these two kept bickering and bickering until they decided to split Valentia into two different nations: Sofia/Zofia the peaceful one down in the south, and Rigel the militaristic one up in the north. eventually Emperor Rudolf of Rigel begins an invasion which is followed by General Dozer/Desaix killing off most of the Sofian/Zofian royal family. in a village down in the very south, Lukas/Luka tries to enlist the help of a former Sofian general named Mycen, however since he believes war is....LE BAD, his grandson Alm chooses to go in his stead. over on the other side, Celica is wondering why the crops haven't been growing for the past three years, so she sets out to the Temple of Mila along with her mage buddies so they can seek help of the goddess, all while she goes up against a bunch of pirates and eventually not only crossing paths with Alm but also getting involved in the war herself. so yeah Fire Emblem 2 has two main characters that's pretty cool. "but what about the other on the right of the box art?" oh that’s just Valbo or Valbar as the cool kids call him, don't mind him bro thinks he's a main character

since there's two main characters, this means you actually get to manage two different armies! you start off controlling Alm in Chapter 1, then Celica in Chapter 2, then both of them at the same time during Chapters 3 and 4. unlike FE1 where a Chapter is a battle on a map, FE2 goes for a more traditional JRPG approach and has them take place in different sections of an overworld. the overworld isn't as in-depth as you'd expect, you kinda just keep going up during the whole thing and occasionally you go inside a village or castle, though they're usually only a single room with not much secrets to find. during your travels in the overworld, you'll run into enemies that'll send you into an "encounter", which places you in a familiar environment where all your units go up against the enemy team in a map. just like in FE1 you got your classes, your movement, your critical hits, you get the idea, though there are some changes this time around. weapon durability is GONE, though from what I know it doesn't last after this game so, rip. for now though each character comes with their own default weapon whether it'd be swords, spears, or tomes, and they will never break and fall apart so attack to your heart's content. an interesting thing about magic users however is that all their spells cost them HP to use (Fire uses up 1, Lightning uses 2, yadda yadda) so you'll have to be wary about where you place your magic users later on in the game when they start getting more HP draining spells, speaking of HP draining, Nosferatu AKA Robin Down B is introduced here, it's the only spell that cost no HP as it instead absorbs enemy HP, it also gives Clerics a way to fight back so they're not completely useless in combat anymore, I better see this spell in the next game. the item system has also been redone and it’s much better than it was in FE1. although your units can only carry one item at a time rather than the four they could hold previously, you can now freely swap items with each character anytime in the overworld, no more constantly managing items after clearing all the enemies, though swapping items during battle still takes your unit’s turn so we can’t have everything. you can also transfer items between Alm and Celica’s armies though only through an NPC in villages that delivers them to the other army, how this NPC is able to cross a landslide presumably on foot with no combat experience I will never know.

promoting units got changed a bit too. instead of having a promotion item and using it on a unit once they’re Level 10, you’ll now have to visit Mila Shrines throughout the overworld which are pretty much mini dungeons, then at the end you go up to a statue that lets you promote your unit if they’re a high enough level. Mercenaries, Cavaliers, Soldiers, and Archers promote at Level 7, Mages, Clerics, and Pegasus Knights at Level 12, and Female Mages at Level 20 (WHY). a few promoted classes can even get upgraded to a third tier class, wow Pokémon really did rip off Fire Emblem. Myrmidon (Mercenary) promotes to Dread Fighter, Paladin (Cavalier) to Gold Knight, Knight (Soldier) to Baron, Sniper (Archer) to Bow Knight, all at Level 10. while Gold Knights and Barons seemed like straight forward upgrades, Dread Fighter get a huge buff in magic defense and Bow Knights get their movement speed increased dramatically, you’ll probably won’t reach these third their classes normally but if you have the time and patience to grind some levels in the dungeons then they will be a big help. Speaking of grinding, did you know there’s a secret option before you select your file that lets you access an easy mode that does nothing but double all the EXP you get in the game? all you have to do is press A while holding Start and Select when selecting a file and get the option to do so! I did not find out about this until Chapter 4 so I had to grind out Alm’s army with very little EXP gains! unironically play Easy Mode, it’s not even easier it’s just more convenient. back to the units, there’s also a special Villager class that can choose between becoming a Mercenary, Cavalier, Soldier, Archer, or Mage after only reaching Level 3, Alm gets a couple of them in his journey while Celica only gets one. for some reason Dread Fighters can promote to a Villager when you get them to Level 10 so in theory you can do an endless loop of Villager —> Mercenary line —> Villager and potentially create a god unit with insane stats, though I didn’t do it myself since that’s a lot of patience. another thing about the Villagers is that if the statue asks if you want to promote them and it’s a class you don’t want them to have, just choose “no” and talk to it again to cycle for a different class change. I assumed it was like Final Fantasy III where different shrines offered different classes but no it doesn’t work like that so I accidentally ended up promoting most of Alm’s Villagers into Mages which sort of handicapped his army until they got promoted to Sages and better units arrived. another thing about shrines and a few other areas is there’s these lion heads that offer a limited amount of stat boosts to any unit you choose. what’s interesting however is that at least one shrine in Alm and Celica’s path offers the ability to revive a fallen unit, which I’m assuming is only possible in this game and the remake. But get this, not only do you get to cheat death a few times in Fire Emblem, but if a unit dies in one army and you go to revive them with the other army, then they will join the army that revived them instead, which means you can transfer some units over with this method. I actually did this myself by intentionally killing Jesse in Celica’s army so I can bring him over to Alm’s army because he was severely lacking in Mercenaries due to my earlier mishap with the Mage promotions (Celica has three Mercenaries on her route SHE DOES NOT NEED THAT MANY), I have no idea if this unit transfer thing is an intentional feature or not, but either way that’s pretty cool.

like in FE1 the characters you recruit in this game are pretty simple in that they become silent protagonists once they join your team so you’re left to fill in the blanks and flesh them out yourselves. this is more of a me problem rather than the game itself, but I didn’t get as much cool or funny moments with the characters this time then I did with FE1, which is odd since each army only gets about 15 or 16 characters (the smallest FE cast afaik) so you’d think they’d be more moments for them to shine and do crazy stuff. well I’ll give the game this in that I can actually use all three Pegasus Sisters (three out of the four characters who return from FE1) at the same time since unit management for the maps isn’t as prevalent here, they were basically the monster cleanup crew since the Falcon Knight promotion lets them deal great damage to monsters often one-shotting them, yeah monsters are in this game couldn’t think of an opportunity to bring them up until now. while the Pegasus Sisters in Celica’s army were being janitors, the Mage Brothers (Robin/Tobin, Cliff/Kliff, and Ryuto/Luthier) over at Alm’s were hurling their magic at Knights and Barons as well as getting some last minute chip damage. Teeta/Tatiana mostly chilled out in the sidelines while she provided Physic and Fortify healing to the Alm gang while Silk/Silque healed her up as the magic spells drained Teeta’s HP, they probably brought some popcorn during the battles as well. Celica and Jenny/Genny had a similar thing going on since Jenny often had to use the Dear/Expel spell whenever there were too many monsters on the map and that costs a hefty HP so Celica had to stick around to heal her sometimes since as we all know in RPGs….mages have bad defense. then you have Dyute/Delthea who kinda started off as a liability early on but then when I took the time to raise her levels (all 20 of them) then promoted her into a Priestess, all of a sudden she was one of the best members in Alm’s army, maybe the best idk but she definitely starting carrying a bit. powerful Black magic, some White magic to heal up, a physical sword attack to not use up HP, okay I’m starting to understand why this class isn’t accessible until Level 20.

I find myself liking a lot more of the tracks here than in the previous game, there’s still a couple NES soundtracks that I prefer more, but I’ll say everything here is better than hearing FE1’s map theme on 4x speed during item management. Opening sounds like your typical Fire Emblem marching theme, at least I think it sounds typical I’m really only two games in. now this is Where the Wind Rustles which is the Chapter 1 overworld theme and this is fine, nothing too amazing it’s a catchy and upbeat track nothing wrong with that. but then you get to Chapter 2 and hear The Ark of Dawn for five seconds and go “damn….this is pretty good” like this track is 👌, it sounds like an NES Final Fantasy track and that is a compliment, very nice and tranquil. March to Deliverance is Alm’s battle theme and this is neat I like it a lot more than the FE1 map theme, it has that good old JRPG battle theme vibes. then With Mila’s Divine Protection comes on and all of a sudden you get so pumped up and want to kick the opponent’s ass, looks like Celica gets her second point and Alm remains at zero. also hey this is another Smash track, I didn’t even recognize it at first because of the 8-bit composition. bro that part at 0:48 is so good it made me go “OH I RECOGNIZE THAT”, I want more moments like these the further I get into these games. back to Gaiden, What Lies at the End is Alm’s near victory theme and this is alright, the beginning’s slightly rough but the latter half picks up the slack. then Celica has The Sacrifice and the Saint and damn, Celica’s got Alm beat again with the music, don’t worry though Alm’s way cooler than Celica at the end of the day. I think this guy here can describe this track better than I can: “This is the best near-victory theme in the series, because it actually makes you want to keep pushing towards the finish line, while most of them just kind of sound out of place when there's still some fighting left. Like, this is a theme that sounds like you're routing the enemy.” ~ @givecamichips, YouTube comment section. some of the non battle stuff like Melody of Water is nice too, this one sounds like yet another old FF track and it’s a pretty chill tune, not to mention this plays whenever when you get to a statue and that’s always a good thing. I don’t remember where Song of Peace plays (yes I know I just played the game, it happens) but this is another chill and relaxing track and acts as a serviceable break to all the action. the music is good.

the graphics also got a bit of a glow up this time, this is another good thing. there isn’t just one type of tileset anymore so the game can have more variety of locations then just castles and….outside. you got grassy plains, underground shrines, pirate ships, red mountainous areas, graveyards, sloppy swamps, giant towers, it’s really a sight to behold after being used to FE1’s samey looking areas. the map design on the other hand….leaves a bit to be desired. what. is. going. on. here. seriously. these look like something I’d see if I sorted by “Recent” in a Fire Emblem Maker game. Alm actually gets a lot of these boring grassy maps compared to Celica who gets the visually distinct ones, though this one near the end of Chapter 4 looks neat and is more in line with FE1’s maps. at the same time though, Celica gets a fair amount of wonderful maps such as Sloppa and Sloppa 2: Electric Boogaloo. you see all that goop in the map? that goop not only uses up your movement spaces but it all slowly chips away at your HP. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also these enemy exclusive Shaman classes that randomly summon a bunch of monsters and if you don’t have the Dear spell (which you likely won’t when you first get here) then you have to deal with all that as well. here I was thinking it’d be a walk in the park with forts losing their enemy reinforcements, but here comes Gaiden with its own reinforcement alternative. you better hope no Zombie Dragons show up on the Sloppa 2 map because there’s a good chance they’ll quickly fly over to one of your frail units and kill them before you’re able to send backup to assist them, definitely didn’t happen to me haha…. Alm isn’t getting out of this scot-free though because he gets to experience Sloppa 3 & Knuckles. now this map actually looks pretty cool, but the main problem is the Zombie Dragons. the first time there’s only a few of them and at that point of the game when you get to this map Zombie Dragons aren’t too much of an issue, but yes you heard me, first time because you need to go through this map another few times before you can more on and each time more Zombie Dragons are added to the picture and at that point they become a problem again. if you still don’t have that Dear spell, be very wary. on to something more positive, the battle animations are still top notch and a bit cleaner this time. a lot of them are reused from FE1 which is acceptable because those animations were nice but the newly introduced classes have some new animations they are pretty clean. the Dread Fighters in particular do this Dragon Ball teleportation technique when they try to attack you and that transition is….everything!!!1!!!11!! shoutouts to the final boss this time around which somehow manages to make Medeus look like a baby lizard in comparison, I’m not going to spoil too much about that dude’s deal, but he’s basically an eldritch abomination and I’m all for it. now that’s the final boss I was expecting, kino ending cutscene as well.

so yes, FIREEMBLEM 外伝 is good game. very flawed of course like damn what are some of these maps, but I still like it and there’s enough gameplay improvements to where it’s technically better than FE1, but idk I think I prefer that game slightly more despite the jank. honestly FE2 feels like a companion piece to FE1 rather than a full sequel to me, I mean Gaiden does stand for “side story”. I kinda also see it as a different take on what Fire Emblem should be, kinda like Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II. if you wondering what’s with all the Final Fantasy comparisons in this review, it’s because Shouzou Kaga is actually a huge Final Fantasy fan. remember that interview I mentioned back at the beginning? in that interview another guy in that room was none other than Hironobu Sakuguchi, the original creator of Final Fantasy, and the two spent their time praising each other’s work. I’d like to assume Kaga took inspiration from the Final Fantasy games that were out at that time and used them to help create Fire Emblem Gaiden, that or he just felt like adding some more traditional JRPG elements and this whole section is made pointless. back to what I’m saying, Gaiden is a neat and unique experience, though unless you really want to experience the original intention and/or experience everything in release order like what I’m doing, I’d probably recommend to play the remake on the 3DS instead, I mean have you seen some of those character redesigns? woooo, but it also seems to be a more refined experience and there’s also some new classes than characters can promote to so there’s some more gameplay freedom, also voice acting if you don’t feel like imagining the characters’ voices yourself. anyway that’s it for me, took me less time to complete this one than FE1 did, I hope the later games become faster paced as well because there’s still a lot more I need to go through. expect FE3 in the future which is apparently the FFIII of Fire Emblem from what I know, the Final Fantasy comparisons will never end.

of all the NES “2” games, this one gets an easy S tier

I don't have the time to write a full review right now but I've had a change of heart, this game's actually based

Huge Fire Emblem Hater Excited to Play It for First Time

well I don’t hate Fire Emblem, more so the fanbase that’s associated with it, said fanbase in particular turned me off from the franchise for nearly a decade, whoops! however there’s a time where you need to put your pettiness aside and not judge a book from its cover, so I decided enough was enough and chose to play my first game of the franchise: Fire Emblem……….

Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light

alright so there’s this dude named Marth, he’s the prince of Altea but he’s not really there since his kingdom got taken over a few years ago so he’s moping about in a smaller nation named Talys. one day though some pirates from another place named Galdar attempt an invasion, but since they’re pirates Marth and his small gang of allies have no issue defeating them and saving Talys. meeting up with the king right after, he gives Marth the A-OK to venture beyond Talys so he can gather up an army that’ll stand up to the Dolhr Empire, a powerful nation that has a stronghold on the majority of Archanea, the setting of the game. as the game goes on Marth takes on more enemies as he gathers more allies whether they be from villages or held prisoner or even wanting to switch sides. Marth’s ultimate goal is to stop Medeus the Shadow Dragon, the main guy in control of Dolhr, as well as obtain the Falchion, the only weapon capable of defeating Medeus. that’s just the main summary but the game has a fair amount of cutscenes at the beginning and end of each Chapter as well as in-between with character recruitments, though not as much as the later games from what I’ve seen.

since this is my first Fire Emblem the comparisons to the later games will be kept to a minimum since my knowledge of them is pretty minimal, though I’ll still bring them up whenever I feel like it. so this is a SRPG, here all your characters or units are placed in an overworld map per Chapter and you control each unit one-by-one. your characters all have different classes that determine their stats, movement, weaponry, etc. for example Marth is a Lord who’s somewhat of an all rounder and the only one who can use Rapiers, then you have Caeda who’s a Pegasus Knight and she has a fair amount of movement in the map and can go over water and mountain tiles with ease as well as being able to use swords and lances, however Pegasus Knights have a great weakness to Archers who are able to take them down in only about a hit or two. as for the Archers like Gordin, not only are they good against Pegasus Knights but they’re also able to hit foes from a distance, the downside being that their movement isn’t the greatest and they can’t attack up close. then there’s Cain and Abel who are Cavaliers AKA horsemen and these guys are really good, their movement is great, they can equip swords lances and javelins to hit from a distance, and have really good stats, I think their only real problem is that they can’t really do much against Knights. Knights like Draug have really good defense meaning they can take on a fair amount of enemies types as well as being able to hit back decently hard, however not only is their movement bad but they have a big weakness if either the enemy uses Armorslayers or Hammers on them or is a magic based class like the Mages. Mages like Merric have fast speed which means they’re able to make follow up attacks in battle, tomes are also their main weaponry and tomes have a fixed set of damage which is helpful for taking down bulkier classes, but like every other mage in every other RPG they’re really frail so they can go down pretty easily if they’re a lot of enemies to fight against. so you kinda get the idea it’s like Pokémon’s Type system, however there’s also a promotion system where some classes can upgrade if they use a promotion item if they’re at least Level 10 or higher. Cavaliers become Paladins which are an upgrade in every way, Pegasus Knights become Wyvern Riders which while they gain a weakness against Wyrmslayers they otherwise become more bulkier and powerful. Archers become Snipers which have greater attack and speed as well as more movement on the map, and both Mages and Clerics can promote to the Bishop which can use both healing magic as well as offensive magic so they’re pretty much the DQ Sages of Fire Emblem. oddly for some reason there’s a few classes that can’t promote at all. something like the Lord makes sense but then you have Knights which are unable to promote even though there’s another class in the game called Generals that are a complete upgrade yet the two are entirely separate classes here, looking at the Wiki page it seems they change that as soon as the third game so they probably knew they screwed up. now there’s one last class I want to bring up real quick because I think it’s really fascinating. very late into the game, you’ll be able to have Marth recruit a character named Xane. Xane is the sole character of the franchise that’s apart of the Freelancer class. Xane is able to transform into any unit on your team that’s next to him, even copying their level and stats so you don’t even need to level up the guy, all you need to do is provide him with the weapons of the class you want him to be and you’re all set. there’s no other character like this dude and Fire Emblem Heroes doesn’t even his default self in that game because of his unique ability, the game that has every other playable character in the franchise from what I’ve heard, that’s pretty crazy.

now onto the other stuff, the weapons in Fire Emblem have a durability system in which there’s a limited amount of time you can use them before they break and you’ll have to use a new one, so basically Breath of the Wild. the weaker weapons like the Iron weapons tend to have more durability but the stronger ones like the Steel weapons have less of that and will break apart sooner if you aren’t good at conserving them. of course you can always buy new weapons at an armory on the map but sometimes they won’t have the weapon you’re looking for. for example there’s a good portion during the middle of the game where you’re unable to find armories selling axe weapons so your Fighters which exclusively uses axes (they don’t attack with their fists surprisingly) will be at a disadvantage if you’re using up their weapons a lot. Javelins are a strange case as they’re a common item in armories during the early game, however after Chapter 9 they never appear in armories again, 9/25 btw so Javelins are pretty much gone after the first third of the game so make sure you stock up on them, don’t stock on them too much though because you have a limited inventory. a character can only hold up to four items at a time so you’ll have to use the storage often which also has a limit of 40 items that can be held. on top of that you can’t send items to storage when you’re visiting shops, once you buy your 4th item your character’s turn is used up. if that wasn’t enough, throwing away items or even giving an item to another character takes up a turn as well, inventory management in this game is a slow hassle.

Fire Emblem also has a terrain system that plays a part in both the overworld and in battles. plain tiles don’t do anything but give you a 5% evasion during battles, forest tiles take up an extra turn of movement but provide you with an 15% evasion bonus, indoors pillar tiles function the same way as forest tiles, mountain tiles take up a lot of movement unless you’re a flying unit but in turn they also give you a small defense boost, sea tiles are only crossable by a few units and take up lots of movements but Pirates and flying units have no issue going through them, desert tiles are similar though Mages and Clerics can traverse them easily instead of Pirate, and lastly fort tiles not only boost defense but also heal a little bit of HP at the beginning of your turn. fort tiles also have a secondary effect in that sometimes after enough turns, some fort tiles on the map will begin spawning enemy reinforcements for a set amount of turns, thankfully you can minimize the damage by having your units place themselves on one of these tiles which prevents the enemies from spawning until you remove your unit or wait until the later turns where they’ll cease to spawn. if you don’t pay attention of the forts though, these reinforcements will quickly take over the map and kill your team members which leads me to my next point.

if all your unit’s HP is depleted, they’re gone. dead. terminated. there’s no way to revive them or have them come back the next Chapter, if their HP goes to 0 then they’re out for the rest of the game. Pokémon fans may refer to this as Nuzlocke rules, but Fire Emblem has been doing this while they were still Capsule Monsters. I think FE12 was when they introduced Casual Mode where units simply retreat when they lose all their HP and apparently in those later ones some plot important characters aren’t able to be killed off, however this is the first game so anyone is fair game. Caeda in particular can get you the bad ending if she ends up dying at any part of the game, leaving Marth maidenless and unable to score. permanent death was added because Kaga (the FE guy who I will probably learn more about in the future) wanted people to feel attached and care about the characters you use, incentivizing you to keep them alive, but for me the reason I want to keep them alive is because then I’d have to replace them with a low level unit who will probably die even quicker. on top of that if you lose a unit that’s in a certain class then there’s a good chance you’ll be waiting a while before you can recruit another unit of the same class. for example if you let Caeda die to something like an Archer in Chapter 1 well bad luck for you because you won’t get the chance to use another flying unit until Chapter 10. so yeah keeps your units alive.

a thing I find fascinating about FE1 is how they handle the characters. from what I know in some modern Fire Emblem games like let’s say Fates, a lot of the characters are simple in that have a singular trait that’s exaggerated to the point where it can be hard to take them seriously (feel free to prove me wrong my Fates knowledge comes from the internet though I’m not interest in starting a FE war in the comments). FE1’s characters are simple in a different way in that you know almost nothing about them since they’ll most likely only get a chance to speak when you recruit them, some of the beginning characters like Cain and Abel don’t even get dialogue at all. I guess in a way this isn’t too much different from the modern games but what makes me appreciate the simplicity here is you’re the one that’s supposed to fill in the blanks. the game doesn’t tell you how these characters are supposed to act, that’s up to you, the player. maybe Draug is the quiet type who only speaks during unexpected or important events, or perhaps Cain and Abel have a rivalry and are constantly typing to one-up another, or maybe Gordin is the guy who comes into clutch when the team needs him most, that’s how he felt to me. a personal favorite of mine is Beck the Ballistician who in the Chapter you recruit him in he’s unable to go down the mountains of the village he’s hiding at, yet he’s able to destroy the enemy Ballisticians nearby him in one hit, so I imagined him as the one dude who always go “DON’T WORRY GUYS I GOT THIS” but due to his abyssmal movement it often takes him too long to get into the actual battle, but when he actually gets to land his attacks he absolutely destroys everything in his path and is able to turn the tide into our favor, okay maybe I do care about the characters. in this game you have to use your imagination and I think that’s cool, you don’t really get the opportunity to do that in a lot of video games in our current day.

something I also appreciate about this game is the ascending enemy progression throughout. you start off having to face against Pirates at the beginning, but then you’ll move up to facing against Archers and Cavaliers, then Knights are added to the picture as well as Generals as bosses, then Mages are added as well as Wyvern Riders, it then tops off with Manaketes as bosses which are basically people that can transform into dragons, then after that eventually you get to the point where Manaketes become regular enemies and by then you’ll probably be shaking in your boots. there’s something so satisfying about heading deeper into the depths of the Dolhr stronghold while at the same time Marth’s army’s grows more powerful as well. all that accumulates to Medeus the Shadow Dragon himself, though that’s actually false advertising since he’s actually an earth dragon but I don’t care because the earth dragon design is dope he looks like a giant komodo dragon and I think those guys are awesome. I also think it’s cool that the “Shadow Dragon” is really just a title it’s a pretty neat subversion of your expectations, if only the actual fight was challenging since he goes down in three turns with the Falchion and he can’t be damaged any other way.

this is the part where I talk about the music but not really since the music’s one of the weakest aspects about the game IMO. there’s about twenty or so tracks in the game which is respectable but most of the time you’ll hear a few of them for most of the gameplay: the one during the map, one when your unit attacks an enemy, one during your enemy’s turn, one when they attack your units, one when most of the enemies are defeated, and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll sometimes hear that one theme from Smash that might be the best track in the game. otherwise most of the soundtrack is serviceable but hearing the same music over and over throughout 24 Chapters gets pretty old, to the point where I was shocked when I suddenly heard a new track after finishing a late-game chapter, great track too. there was a point when I discovered you could disable the music in the menu options and I just ended up playing Arcana and Alcahest music in the background during the last couple of Chapters. thankfully the final Chapter actually plays different music both for the map and when the enemy attacks as well as when fighting Medeus himself, I almost thought they wouldn’t do so.

if you thought hearing the same five or so tracks were repetitive, get ready to see the same set of tiles for the entire game! visually the game’s pretty samey, however the map layouts help make each Chapter stand out sometimes. Chapter 1 is just a really small island which is what Talys pretty much is, very good first map. Chapter 3 has a bunch of tall mountains everything so it gives off the look of a mountainous range, I also appreciate the detail of the two new recruits being nearby an enemy fortress to make it look like they’re running away from it, which they are. Chapter 6 is the first of many chapters to use brick and pillar tiles to simulate the look of an indoor castle. Chapter 13 uses a lot of forest tiles which makes it look like those hedge mazes and Chapter 15 in a similar manner does the same with sand tiles to make it look like a sand oasis. then you have Chapter 23 my favorite map layout. there’s that makeshift courtyard you start off at in the beginning, then you move up those big stairs, and then after that you slowly move your units up an ascending steep pathway to reach another set of stairs that takes you up to the roof of the castle, now that’s how you use your limitations. according to Kaga, FE1 was meant to be a fun passion project which is why the graphics are the way they are, so that’s all the more impressive how the team was able to create some cool looking maps with what little they had. oh yeah the battle animations are really great too. I’ve seen a lot of praise over the GBA battle animations and while the ones in this game aren’t as amazing as those they’re still neat regardless. I like how Marth has a unique animation for when he’s about to land a critical hit so you can go “OH THERE HE GOES” whenever he starts dashing over there. then when you give Marth the Falchion, stars get absorbed into the blade before he rushes over to land a hit then he proceeds to do a Richter Belmont backflip right after, kino. also shout out to Medeus’s transformation into an earth dragon as it starts off with a bunch of rubble followed up by a dragon claw popping out before his whole big ass sprite appears, the sprite is badass to which only makes me more mad that he dies in only FOUR HITS.

somehow this janky 30+ year old game made me interested in Fire Emblem and not the 30+ million people shilling the franchise, sometimes you got to do things yourself. I don't know bros I was planning to give this game a 5/10 but it started growing on me during the halfway point and then right now I decided to skip the 6/10 together and instead go for a 7/10, is this what they call the Fire Emblem brainrot? nevertheless if you don’t mind old NES games then give this one a try, though you’ll probably have to find an English translation since Nintendo took down the official translation from the eShop a few years ago, but hey if Nintendo doesn’t want you to play the game legitimately then maybe you shouldn’t wink wink. I guess if you’re still getting filtered then there’s also a SNES and DS remake that’s probably better even though I’ve never played them, though there’s also a GBA hack that I played for about twenty minutes so I can recommend you that if you know where to find it, it also uses the official translation so get BTFO’d Nintendo. so yeah my worst fears have been realized: I’m now a Fire Emblem fan, though I don’t care because it actually seems kind of cool and I am now very upset that those kinds of Fire Emblem fans made me avoid this franchise like the plague. anyway I have another 16 Fire Emblem games to play through, I wish all Fire Emblem Heroes fans a very “my favorite character did not win Choose Your Legends”

I kinda wish my first SRPG was Super Robot Wars though, it has Getter Robo

fascinating version of Tetris for the controls alone. the down button rotates the pieces while the A button hard drops them, there's no soft drop at all in this version so you really have to pay attention to make sure you don't drop your Tetrominos in the wrong spot while may be annoying for some people, I think it adds a neat way to strategize as well as forcing you to pay attention to what's going on. after you get used to the controls it's actually a pretty easy version of Tetris, you have a set of Lines to clear and everytime you do so you get a score tally for a breather then when the gameplay begins again everything is cleared, at least until the later levels where they drop some blocks you have to clear but it's not that much. on top of that Level 0 is very slow and the later levels aren't as fast as you'd expect them to be so I'd recommend just starting with the max Level if you're already familiar with Tetris, yeah the speed's that slow. cool version, not sure if I'll be visiting it again often but it was a neat experience.

shoutouts to Technotris and its weird buzzing in the background, has some good remixes as well

played using a fan translation of the Famicom version

someday I'll write a more detailed review but for now I'll just mention that this game's influence cannot be underestimated. without Dragon Quest I don't think we'd see a lot of JRPGs as we do nowadays, plus the game's pretty fun and the short length really benefits it. you can really beat it in just a couple of hours and that's enough to warrant a great recommendation from me. you can also complete the game just fine without a guide as talking to NPCs gives you valuable information that allow you to figure things out and progress, something later Dragon Quests are known for as well. the only real negatives I can think of at the moment is the grinding takes a while to the point where it'll take up a lot of the game time so you should be prepared for that, the other being that some of the enemies in the final dungeon are a little too tough to the point that they're more difficult than the final boss. but yeah some good old fashioned kino, the Famicom sprites elevate that vibe even further, the redone sprites in the NES version are technically better but the simplistic Famicom ones that only have front facing sprites are so goofy I can't help but prefer them. so yeah you should check the game out, maybe get an EXP and Gold patch if you want to save some time or showcase the game to some friends.

also it has Slime, peak character design

I knew I was in for a concerning time when I didn’t hear the SEGA logo scream out, “SAYGAAAAAAAAAA”

get yourself a beverage and a meal this is going to be a long one

real quick I want to mention that despite everything I will say later in the review, I do think Sonic Superstars is a good game, I had a fun time with it for the most part. is it a great game? if it had spent a little more time in the oven then yeah for sure. however as it is right now it’s still pretty alright, but of course there’s a lot of flaws holding it back. with that said though, I’d be lying if I said I’m not eager to tear this game a part or two, because wow there are tons of questionable decisions in here that I want to complain civilly discuss about.

alright let's start with the story, people play Sonic for the story right? so in the intro cutscene, Dr. Eggman has kidnapped some big chunky critters to power up his robots again, though this time he's assisted by Fang the Sniper Nack the Weasel Fang the Hunter who probably just escaped from jail a day prior, and along with them is a new character, Trip the Sungazer, who is definitely evil and is not a reluctant member whatsoever. suddenly Sonic and the gang show up on Eggman's monitor heading to a new destination and thus the game begins. yeah that's all you get in the actual game for the most part, though that's fine since 2D Sonic games aren't focus on being story driven, that said this aspect does come to bite the game in the butt later on so I will actually continue on this later on the review so look forward to that.

I'm happy to say that the physics are faithful from the previous Classic games like Sonic Mania so you won't encounter some goofy stuff regarding it like those short clips you see about Sonic 4 all the time. a lot of things are also accounted for like the Bonus Stages at the Goal Posts, the Special Stage Rings, and uhhhh....actually, I think it'd be easier for me to talk about the stuff not here, yeah here we go. first off, the Elemental Shield are absent. the Flame Shield, the Thunder Shield, the Aqua Shield (I'm just now learning it's not called the Bubble Shield), all uncounted for besides the original Blue Shield which is a bit lame since not only does Sonic loses out on the attack and movements options he'd get with it, but the Elemental Shields were already in Mania, along with the original Blue Shield, so not having them here kinda stings, but after thinking about it I might understand why they're not here which I will discuss later. oh yeah the lives system is gone too so you can just die all you want without much consequence. now this doesn't bother me as much as others since Sonic 2 is the only Classic Sonic I've played where I have trouble managing lives, but the option to use the old system would have been nice. this also means that the score system is useless now and while that's still in the game, it might as well not be there because now it does nothing. you can't even see the score while playing Acts, you can see the 100, 200, etc. pop out of Badniks after defeating them but you can't see the current score at the top left of the screen....unless you pause. the score only shows up when you pause. this is no accident, they knew what they were doing. you know what is in this game though? the Sonic 1 Special Stages!!!

like how Blue Spheres were made into Bonus Stages in Sonic Mania, here the same applies to the Sonic 1 Special Stages. the problem with that is Blue Spheres is actually fun, I don't think anyone is jumping up and down to play Sonic 1 Special Stages, actually knowing the Sonic fandom there has to be at least one guy so ignore what I said earlier. now I'll give them this, the stages here have more interesting things going on with them than ones in Sonic 1, but at the end of the day they're still the Sonic 1 Special Stages. instead of getting a Chaos Emerald at the end, you rather get a Medal for completing a maze, three of which you'll go through with each Goal Post. now you may be thinking "ooo medals that sounds interesting do they do anything cool???" no not really lol. the only thing you can do with Medals is purchase parts for your customizable Metal Fighter in Battle Mode. the only thing you can do with Medals. I'm not even going to discuss the Battle Mode because I only tried it once and and I'll say you're not really missing out, so instead I’ll leave you off with this, this is all you will get. back to the Bonus Stages, although I think they're better designed than the originals, I feel like a lot of the tension has gone away. in Sonic 1 if you were going for all the Emeralds, these Special Stages were a matter of life and death. the serene music, the 80's CGI background, it's simultaneously soothing yet frantic at the same time. if you failed to get the Emerald and fell into one of the Goal Blocks, you had to go collect and maintain 50 Rings all the way to the end of an Act to get another shot, and you could only do this ten times so you have four rooms of error (kinda weird how Sonic 1 only had six Emeralds). in Sonic Superstars, not only can you encounter them all the time with the Goal Posts, but the rewards you get for them aren't even that special so it turns what was once a tense journey to escape Hell into a boring waste of time.

what about the actual Special Stages are they any better? I guess? once again you're sent into a 3D purgatory but this time you have to swing around the Blue Spheres (cool to see them being a reoccuring object) to reach the Chaos Emerald which is constantly moving around like in Sonic Mania, though there's also obstacles like the spike bombs from the Sonic 2 Special Stages (which you can use as a small boost if you let go of the button immediately) and these giant crystalline walls which will stun you briefly if you bump into them, but there's also springs and boosts that'll help you reach the Emerald and of course Rings to increase the time ticking down. the first two are really easy, to the point that'll you get the Emerald without even knowing what you're doing yet, the next two are more about what you expect, then the fifth is insanely annoying to chase after for some reason, then the last two are fairly challenging but not nearly as crazy as the fifth, did they mix up the Special Stage order? once you collected all the Emeralds, you'll still be able to enter the Giant Rings and go through them all over again, though this time the award you get is....Medals!!!!!!!!!!! after going through them again whenever I found more Giant Rings I kinda got used to how they worked so all in all I'll say that the Special Stages here are mostly inoffensive, of course they'll never top Blue Spheres or even the Mania ones.

can you believe I've gone this far without mentioning how the characters play? well not me because you should know how these characters play like. Sonic's the one with emphasis on speed thanks to the Drop Dash, Tails is like Sonic but instead of the Drop Dash he can fly around with his tails for a set period of time which also acts as an upwards attack, Knuckles sacrifices a high jump for gliding and climbing walls as well as not needing to Spin Dash through breakable obstacles, and Amy has a longer ranged jump attack with her hammer, can use the hammer for a brief time after landing, and even a double jump--damn Amy pretty's good, all she's missing is an infinite hammer bounce. they control well, but unfortunately Sonic does not have the Super Peel Out from CD or the Insta-Shield from Sonic 3 which makes sense since they're not in his default Mania moveset, but Mania at least let you obtain this moves as unlockables which this game does not, once again would have loved the option. also Knuckles's glide does not get faster the longer you use it, I have no clue what happened there. granted I don't play as Knuckles outside of his Sonic 3 campaign since I'm not a huge fan of his lower jump height, but that alongside something else I'll discuss later (I will get to these points trust the plan) makes Knuckles not that fun to play as in this game. well 3/4 ain't bad.

did you guys know each character has their own special move, but only if they have the 7th Chaos Emerald? Emerald Power time! yeah I know smooth transition haha anyway the Chaos Emerald are actually useful individually as now for a brief time limit they give you temporary Emerald Powers useful for combat and speed purposes which can be refilled upon reaching a Goal Post, I guess this explains why Elemental Shields aren't here. the 1st Emerald gives you Avatar which sends a bunch of clones of your characters across the screen, hitting any enemy they come in contact with. the 2nd Emerald gives you Bullet which turns you into the Burst Wisp a fireball that lets you launch yourself in any direction which also functions as an attack. the 3rd Emerald (Vision) lets you see hidden platforms, the 4th (Water) turns you into liquid to traverse through waterfalls and water sections easily, the 5th (Ivy) lets you create a vine that you can climb, the 6th (Slow) slows down everything except you and the 7th (Extra) gives your character a unique move. Sonic gets the Homing Attack (well now we know how he perfected it), Tails gets a small tornado, Knuckles gets a Hadouken and Amy can throw her hammer in an arc. now you may be thinking that these Emerald Powers are really awesome and cool, and a few of them are, but a lot of them are pretty situational. Avatar is useful to get some easy hits on the bosses but besides that it's not too important unless there's an area with a bunch of enemies you want to get rid of. Bullet is really good no complaints here, maybe too good. Vision lets you see hidden platforms but there's not a single point where you ever need to use it. Water seems cool since it makes water sections less annoying, until you realize there is only one Act in the game when you can actually drown, not kidding. Ivy is good for reaching high places, until you remember Bullet already does that and more, Ivy's your reward for the annoying 5th Special Stage btw, they really should have switched these two around. Slow is another one I have no complaints about, there's a lot of moments in the game where it's pretty useful. Extra is another one good for the bosses, though Sonic and Amy's are more useful for dealing with the many airborne bosses in the game. so there's two really great ones, three situational ones, and two really underwhelming ones, but hey I'll take that over nothing. if you have all seven Emerald you can go Super like always, however only Sonic gets his traditional Super form, the other three only get a glow filter added to their model which is pretty lame since previous games like 3 & Mania gave them new color palettes, I'm just saying I need my Pink Knuckles man.

as a callback to my Sonic 1 review, I'm going to discuss each Zone one-by-one and have a personal ranking at the end of it all.

Bridge Island: no way "Bridge"? that one Zone from MS Sonic 1 with the really good music??? anyway this one's cool not much to say here, a solid beginning Zone that kinda reminds of Seaside Hill visually and I like Seaside Hill so I like this Zone, the Act 1 boss isn't really a boss though it's just a really easy chase sequence.

Speed Jungle: probably my favorite Zone gameplay wise which is not a good sign lmao but yeah the vine rails are awesome and the jungle aesthetic is based, though the vines that bounce you upwards can kill the pacing a bit and the dark section in Act 2 that limits your vision is a bit questionable.

Sky Temple: for some reason some Zones only have one longer Act which is fine I guess sure why not and Sky Temple's one of them, I don't have much to say about this one it's okay it looks like Windy Valley from Sonic Adventure and I like Windy Valley so....yeah I'm reusing a joke but what's there to say about Sky Temple

Pinball Carnival Zone: Act 1 is pure pinball kino and Act 2 is more of the same except with a spooker aesthetic than I wish they went all the way with, though the sections where the fast moving platforms and bottomless kinda sucks , the Act would have been better without them.

Lagoon City: another solid Zone and the only one with the underwater section though the Water Emerald Power takes care of that, it also has an exclusive Act with Amy featuring a based moment where she helps out Trip in her time of need, oh yeah each character get one exclusive character Act, didn't mention it until now though because they're not too special and Amy's is the only one where something cool actually happens.

Sand Sanctuary: Sandopolis Zone but only one Act, which automatically makes it more fun, though the desert aesthetic here is not nearly as unique as Sandopolis, but the Zone's fun to go through which is a rarity for desert levels that I go through.

Press Factory: here we go time to get more vocal. Act 1 has a mechanic where the platforms bounce you up on occasion, it's not nearly as schizo about it as Wacky Workbench though so it's mostly harmless. then Act 2 introduces a mechanic where if don't land on these cool down buttons, the entire Act burns up which instantly takes away a life. now once you figure this out it's no problem, but damn they're a lot of insta-death stuff here, something that this game has a hard-on for and will not be going away from this Zone onward.

Golden Capital: this Zone's cool because there's kind of a weird moment that takes place here. in an in-game cutscene of the Knuckles Act, he finds a room that would have the remaining Emeralds, the next cutscene has him chuckling with the Emeralds before Fang appears and snatches them up for the time being. however as I had all the Emeralds already, in my eyes Knuckles found a empty ass room, then later on decided to leave all the Emeralds out in the open for no reason just so Fang can take them. I can understand leaving them out if we just found them, but we've had these Emeralds for a couple of Zones now, it just makes Knuckles look like a dumbass, they really should have made a different cutscene for this. oh yeah I'm supposed to talk about the Zone, it's like Pinball Carnival Act 1 but with a bunch of rings and some lava pits here and there, neat.

Cyber Station: I don't care if you only have one Act or have a similar aesthetic to Techno Base from Sonic Advance 2, you might be the worst Zone in the game. in this Zone they're sections where you transform into a virtual squid and virtual mouse to traverse through segments, the problem is that the squid controls janky especially if you're moving left or right so you're bound to get hit by those annoying electric barriers. the mouse segment where you have to travel up the wires is trial and error. oh you got hit by the enemy? back down you go try again. you got hit by the electric barriers at the end? should have went to the right path try again. not good.

Frozen Base: I'm not sure what to think about this one. for some reason you can skip Act 1 entirely and go immediately to the Tails Act which I didn't even ponder at the time so I missed out on Act 1 on the first playthrough. Act 1 is a snow level with some conveyor belt platforms while the Tails Act focuses more on the industrial side with a bunch of spikes and insta-death crushers, awesome. Act 2 throws away the "Frozen Base" and turns into a Fantasy Zone level, which while it's a cool reference, it's not a very interesting Act and it ends far too quickly. that said while I didn't notice this at the time, depending on which character you choose, you ride the Egg Mobile from the game they debuted in. Sonic gets the Sonic 1 Egg Mobile, Tails gets the one from 2, Amy gets the one from CD, and Knuckles gets the 3&K Mobile, now that's a based callback.

Egg Fortress: Act 1 is at least eight minutes long, Act 2 is even longer due to the final boss fight, you could speedrun Sonic 1 before you finish this Zone. Act 1 incorporates everything wrong with this game's level design: insta-death sections, abundance of spikes, checkpoint starvation, there's even two sections where you have to slowly traverse through laser beams in zero gravity, fun game design. Act 2 is an interesting case though. rather than going through a different level, Eggman reverses time so now you have to go through Act 1 backwards. I actually think this is a cool and nice twist, I even find Act 2 more fun than Act 1 since it's easier to traverse outside of one or two sections. unfortunately this means you still have to put up with all the BS that Act 1 gives you, and that includes going through the slow laser sections again, as well as two auto scroll sections with fire bursting out of the walls, so that's eight boring sections all in one Zone, lol.

Speed Jungle > Pinball Carnival > Lagoon City > Golden Capital > Bridge Island > Sand Sanctuary > Sky Temple > Press Factory > Frozen Base > Egg Fortress > Cyber Station

and now the moment most of you have been waiting for....it is time to discuss the bosses. now Classic Sonic bosses aren't too extravagant or anything, most of them are fairly short as their invincibility frames go by very quick so you can just brute force a lot of them if you want to, however the ones in this game function a lot more differently. when a boss appears, you'll be able to land a hit on it, however the invincibility time is greatly increased and instead you will have to wait for the boss to give you an opening before you can land another hit on it, this is made clear by the very first boss that takes place in Bridge Island Act 2. every boss fight in the game functions like this which is fine at first since while they take longer than most of the old Classic bosses, it's not too much of a pace breaker. however overtime, they go way overboard on this "wait for an opening, attack then wait again" mentality. to give you an idea of what I mean, there's a boss in Kirby Triple Deluxe called Pyribbit. normally Kirby bosses are well paced and you'll usually not spend more than two minutes dealing with one, however Pyribbit is often found moving around to the background during many of his attacks leaving you unable to deal damage, sometimes he even reappears in the foreground for a second or two before jumping back to the background. if that wasn't bad enough, he has two moves in his second phase where he does nothing but attack you from the background, the former lasting almost 30 seconds and the latter lasting 13 seconds before he immediately goes back to the background for another 13 seconds then he does it AGAIN for 13 seconds before he starts doing something else, clock in almost 40 seconds. that is the average Sonic Superstars boss. if there's anything good I can say about Pyribbit is that at least you can always deal damage to him whenever he's in the foreground, yet here's Sonic Superstars deciding when you can get the chance to land another hit, you have to play the waiting game.

Sand Sanctuary's Boss gave me a huge sense of déjà vu, as if I was back in Endless Explosions dealing with Pyribbit's BS all over again. Eggman is out in the background, he sends these blocks out towards you which I thought was an attack at first but it doesn't actually hurt you they're just there to cover up the sand you're standing on. now he slowly sends enemies toward you, now you need to wait for a certain one to pop out so you can send it back to him, alright that's one hit down. now he spends a good couple of seconds emerging into the foreground, destroying some platforms and giving you access to another hit. now repeat this process for another two cycles before he switches from emerging from the sand to blasting out of it leaving you unable to attack him that way and having to wait the other way to deal damage, well you might be able to attack him here with an Emerald Power but I didn't think of it at the time and I'm booting the game up again to see if that works. two cycles later and you finally end a boring process that takes just as long if not longer than Pyribbit, they get even longer than this btw. welcome to Golden Capital Act 2. while on a floating platform that follows your movement you now face off Fang and are able to get a hit on him that's cool. oh okay now he's going to move to the background and shoot lasers that sends lava popping out, this takes about 12 seconds before he comes back so you can land another hit. now he's back to the background and you now have to traverse through some autoscrolling rooms where the walls spout out fire on occasion and sometimes lava is dumped that you have to steer clear off, all while Fang sits in the background leaving you unable to engage him as he gets his vehicle repaired, THIS WHOLE SEGMENT TAKES 50 SECONDS. after that you can finally land another hit on Fang before he goes back and covers himself in hexagonal barriers that you need to break so you can hit him again, do it fast because if you don't then uh oh he goes back in the background for another few seconds before you get another shot to hit him. after that you have to go through ANOTHER AUTOSCROLL SEQUENCE then after that Fang shoots missiles at you from the background before he returns to the foreground so you can get another hit, a full minute of nonsense. I don't even want to talk about the boss fight anymore it's so bad yet it's not even the worse one in this game. real quick I want to mention the Cyber Station boss fight and how it's cool that the Metal Fighter you have is what you face against here, meaning that you have a customizable boss fight in the game, at least visually. I mean the boss fight still kinda sucks though not to the extent as Golden Capital's but I appreciate that I have to option to face off against a Metal Tails or Metal Knuckles or even a Metal NiGHTS. Egg Fortress Act 2 has the final boss of the Main Story. a giant Eggman robot sits in the background, he sends you missiles at you, the blue ones let you hit him but only if you travel behind him and send the missile that way something that isn't telegraphed well. he sends out some electric orbs that you have to avoid that goes on for like 20 seconds, wait for him to send the blue missiles again so you can hit him from behind, there's also these giant barriers he sends out on occasion another time waster, wait for the missiles again yada yada tell me something new. after six hits minutes the robot falls apart but not before Eggman reverses time again (does the game even explain how Eggman can reverse time I don't think it does) and now WHOOP DE DOO THIS BOSS FIGHT NEVER ENDS because now you have a second phase that likes to destroy the ground you're standing on and if you lose a life here TOO BAD back to the first phase with you HAHA. this is still not the worst boss fight in the game, but if I want to discuss that one then I need to get into a bit of spoiler territory.

SPOILERS FOR SONIC SUPERSTARS but really who cares this game's been out for months now at this point

after defeating Fang in Golden Capital, Trip retrieves the Chaos Emeralds from him which turns her into a golden dragon. why does she turn into a dragon? idk but I guess that's cool. she then defeats Fang and switches sides to help Sonic and the gang. after you defeat the final boss, you then get the option to not only play as Trip in the Main Story, but you also unlock Trip's Story which is similar to Knuckles's campaign in Sonic 3, except not really. Knuckles's campaign was cool because if you didn't get the Super Emeralds during Sonic's campaign then you see an Eggrobo emerging out of the rubble after the credits, and that same Eggrobo is the one that antagonizes Knuckles and pilots the Egg Mobiles that Eggman used in Sonic's campaign. likewise in Trip's Story an Eggrobo shows up and Trip goes out to stop off, but like there's no reason why there's an Eggrobo out there it just is, wouldn't it make more sense for Fang to be the main antagonist? idk whatever let's talk about Trip. Trip is really good, she has a long range jump attack and can double jump just like Amy and can interact with walls just like Knuckles, though instead of slowing climbing them up she sticks to them in a spiky ball form and is able to freely move on them all at a fast pace, her existence makes Knuckles and Amy obsolete. well at least with Amy she has the hammer attack and hammer throw with the Extra Emerald Power, Knuckles has nothing that makes him better than Trip, dude was done dirty in this game. Trip also gets a unique Extra Emerald Power which has her spit out fireballs Super Mario All Stars SMW Luigi style, and on top of that she has a unique Super Form that transforms her into a golden dragon with a different gameplay style. while in this form she can fly around freely with the d-pad/control stick and every Badnik she bumps into is automatically defeated and she can even breathe fire with the jump button though the range sucks and she can already just touch Badniks to defeat them so there's not much point there. somehow despite turning into a shiny gold dragon, they managed to make it lame. Trip's controls while she's in this form is a bit jank. sometimes she gets "stuck" on the ground so you have to press the jump button so you can move around freely again, she's also not too agile or fast in her Super Form which is crazy to think about, she also can turn into a golden light when interacting with speed boosters or loops but trying to get to do so with the loops feels a bit inconsistent to pull off. I have no clue what's up with this form, it's unironically more fun to just play Trip normally, that's how jank her Super Form is.

for Trip's Story instead of getting unique pathways like Knuckles did in Sonic 3, Trip just gets the same Acts but with a bunch of added spikes and enemies everywhere, she also has to do the character specific Acts which were normally optional in the Main Story which also have added spikes and enemies, have fun. I'll at least acknowledge that at least you start off with all the Chaos Emeralds so you don't need to go through all the Special Stages again, and you'll need the Emerald Powers if you want to have an easier time, some sections even has blocks that need to be destroyed with Assist or a fast door going up and down that you need to use Slow on. you remember how I spent a big ass paragraph complaining about how slow paced the bosses were? they're given more hit points in Trip's Story, bumping them from six hits to nine, more than the regular bosses in the previous Classic Sonic games. after a few hours of hearing the Ring spill SFX on what seems like an infinite loop, you return to the end of Egg Fortress Act 2, but instead of Eggman or the Eggrobo you face off against Fang in what is probably the worst Classic Sonic boss in the franchise, well idk I haven’t played something like Sonic Blast that might have some worse stuff but we’re not here to talk about that.

the Fang final boss functions a bit similar to the Eggman one in the Main Story, in that he camps around in the background most of the time and gives you an opportunity to land a hit on him once per century. Fang sends out a bunch of missiles, which not only do none of them can be sent back to him to counter-attack, but you can just double jump to easily avoid them, you don't even need to move left and right just keep double jumping so that's about 15 seconds down the drain. then he comes into the foreground and starts throwing these insta-kill spinning lasers at you, though surprisingly they're not difficult to avoid if you follow the pattern, but that makes it all the more embarrassing if you do get hit by them, which I did once. if you want to make it even more easier, you can just spin dash under him before he starts throwing the lasers and you can just get an easy hit on him from behind, he doesn't even turn around he just keeps throwing at the same direction like a dumbass. after that he goes back to the background and shoots more boring ass missiles for a while, then he does this illusion thing where copies of him start diving down but only one of them is the real one so you have to hit the right one which is easy as well since the fake ones are in a transparent purple color scheme. after this the pattern keeps looping: sending missiles from the background, throwing spinning lasers at you, sending missiles from the background, diving at you with illusionary copies, repeat until you get enough hits in, this can take at least three minutes or even longer if you miss some hits. this isn't even hard and it's actually really easy once you figure it out which only makes those 3+ minutes even more aggravating. but of course this is Sonic Superstars so we have to have a second phase and in here he uses the giant Fang robot that he tried to use at the Golden Capital ending cutscene before Trip destroyed in her dragon from. because the plot demands it, Trip can't just transform again and destroy the thing so we have to deal with another couple minutes of nonsense. like with the Eggman robot, Fang sends out a bunch of Badniks that you need to use to hit him from behind which is actually better telegraphed than the Main Story one since he raises his arms to shield itself right after he does that, probably the only thing this fight gets right. after you get a hit on him, he sends these electric webs at you that you ABSOLUTELY need to avoid because if you do he fires these giant corks that get ready for this one....instantly kills you! you can escape out of them by button mashing but I was never able to do so myself because he sent out the giant corks immediately even though in other videos I've seen online you at least have a second or two before he does that so I have no clue what was going on with my version of the game. then he sends these bouncing bombs that you also have to send out from behind which is near identical to the Badnik attack, then he starts shooting the webs again--oh how fun. send out Badniks, shoot out webs, fire corks, send out bombs, shoot webs, fire corks, rinse and repeat until two hit remains then he does a funny move when he smashes the left and right sides of the platforms with his arms then does a headbutt to destroy the center which you will most certainly die to on your first try, it's basically a "haha get trolled" move. I should also mention that dying to the second phase of any boss in this game does not return you to that phase after a death so you need to do all of it again until you win so have fun with Fang's boring and tedious first phase. it is here where I confess that I did not beat the Fang final boss. you see, Sonic Superstars has a few goofy bugs, some were patched but some are still in the game, you can probably find the whole list on a Sonic wiki or something. while I didn't encounter any game breaking bugs, my game unexpectedly closed after I completed a Trip Act one time but that's besides the point I don't want to go too off-topic. there's a glitch you can perform in both versions of Egg Fortress Act 2 where if you stick high in the walls with Trip & Knuckles during an auto scrolling segment then start using Bullet as the platform is about to stop moving, you can go out of bounds and keep going left with Bullet, then if you land near a countdown timer in the background, you'll hear and be able to destroy an Egg Capsule if you jump at the right place, this not only counts the Act as completed, but it also considers the whole story mode as completed, which means you get access to Trip's Story and Last Story without engaging the final boss, here's a video on it if my explanation is a little complicated. while I didn't do this for the Main Story, I did do this for Trip's Story and I have no regrets, yes I'm marking this game as Mastered even though I didn't beat the Fang robot if you don't approve of what I've done you can go file a complaint at www.kirbdoesnotcare.com.org

so yeah you'll have noticed that there's no Super final boss fight until now and that's because it takes place in Last Story, though Last Story is a bit misleading it should have been called "Last Battle" because that's all that really happens. Last Story begins with a realistic looking dragon, going by the very original name "Black Dragon", emerging from the Northstar Islands so Sonic becomes Super Sonic to fight and seal it back from where it came from, that's it. okay so, what the hell is the Black Dragon, where did it come from, and why was this thing barely foreshadowed during this entire game? now there is one moment in the opening cutscene where it's foreshadowed, and it's when Eggman shows off a poorly made scribble of the dragon to Fang, holy crap that has to be some of the worst foreshadowing I've ever seen in a video game, what am I supposed to make of that? you want to hear of a game that does better foreshadowing without any dialogue? Sonic 3. in Hidden Palace Zone while fighting Knuckles, there's a mural on the wall that showcases a glowing creature facing a robot with the Master Emerald. when you get to Doomsday Zone later on, you're playing as Super Sonic who at the end faces against Eggman's robot that's holding the Master Emerald, that's how you do it. back to Superstars, you can actually get a little more backstory on the Black Dragon during the end of an official web animation "Trio of Trouble" where Eggman discovers a mural featuring the creature, however not only is this still pretty vague but it's not even in the actual game, granted all you need to do is go on YouTube and watch it there, but having it as an in-game unlockable after finishing either story mode would have been good. also I don't know about you but if I need to read or watch supplementary material to at least get a vague idea of what's going on in the game, then you're not doing a very good job with the storytelling. also Eggman's completely absent here I'm not sure why since apparently he was going to try to control or use it like he does for a few other ancient deities such as in Adventure or Unleashed, but yeah he's just not here, what was he crying in the shower while all of this was going on?

okay as for the actual fight, this is probably a hot and surprising take, but I actually kinda like it. of course I didn't start off with this opinion, as there's three problems I have with it, and the first one is that the game does not make it clear how you're supposed to go about the fight. now it starts off with the dragon sending red and blue meteors down at you, and it's pretty obvious you're supposed to send the blue ones back, but then it switches to the Doomsday perspective and now you're chasing after it while it sends black holes at you, if you get sucked into them you're insta-killed, black holes once again prove to be Sonic's greatest adversary. you can actually escape from them by pressing the action button to boost out, but the game doesn't tell you that. you can also boost at any point of the fight but for some reason it quickly drains out a lot of rings whenever you do it even though it didn't in Sonic 3 or Mania, so don't even bother using the boost unless you get sucked in a black hole. now when you get close to the Black Dragon you'd assume you're supposed to hit it in the face....WRONG it's the chest, once again this isn't made clear outside of the face sending you back a bit. don't mess though because if you don't hit the chest in time the dragon flies back in the background and you need to wait for it to use the meteor attacks again, oh yeah sometimes the blue meteors crash down too far to the point where you won't be able to see them so lol. once you figure this stuff out the boss fight actually becomes alright and the second phase is not only pretty similar but it's actually more enjoyable since the black holes are replaced with non lethal fireballs and there's less time wasting moves then there were in the first phase, that is until the very end. near the end the Black Dragon sends homing meteors toward you and you have to time the hits exactly right to send them back, and while they give you a reticle that closes around the meteors, it's still not clear when exactly do you need to dash into them, Rings don't spawn during this and due to me not knowing the timing I ended up having to restart this 10 minute battle, fun. and that's the second complaint, this goes on for way too long. now this wouldn't be a problem if there was more engagement with the Black Dragon, but a lot of time like every other boss you're waiting for another chance to land another hit while it spends a lot a time using attacks that you can't use against it when coincides with my last complaint: the Ring spawn is somewhat miniscule. now this isn't as bad as the first two complaints, but there is a surprising lack of Rings to collect, meaning your Ring count will be pretty low especially if you aren't able to manage them properly. thankfully this is mostly remedied by Tails & Knuckles dropping by every now and then to drop a good amount of Rings and Amy and Trip if you manage to avoid getting hit for about a minute which I just learned by looking it up right now, thanks Sonic Wiki. once you know all of this, the Black Dragon fight ends up being alright, though the slow pace is not something that you'd want out of a Super Sonic battle.

before I talk about the graphics and music, there's a few other minor complaints and nitpicks I want to bring up real quick. why does the game never explain why Trip works for Fang and Eggman? I think it does get explained in a promotional comic but once again, why do I need to read supplementary material for something that should be in the actual game? why do I need to subscribe to a newsletter just so I can get access to a cosmetic Amy skin? why do I need to pay actual money for LEGO skins? if only there was some in-game currency I could use to unlock these things....oh yeah why are there LEGO skins? why do the LEGO skins use the Modern Sonic designs, I mean I guess it's funny that they look so out of place but still. why can I not use my Metal Fighter for the main game even though they control identical to all of the main characters, maybe make them unlockable after the Cyber Station boss fight come on that's a missed opportunity. why does all the Metal Fighter parts cost so many Medals to the point where you'll need to grind out Bonus and Special Stages to purchase what you want? why does the spray paint item get used up after one use? why is there no unique drowning animation yes you thought I wouldn't notice even though there's only one drownable Act BUT I DID. why are the credits ten minutes long? why does the credits theme loop about three times? why are there no proper Zone transitions even though Sonic 3 was able to do so ALMOST THIRTY YEARS AGO? (man I feel old saying that) forget it let's just move on.

I've briefly touched on this in my Klonoa 2 review, but there's a certain style some games (usually ones on a budget) have nowadays that I like to call the "3D Mobile Game Aesthetic", and Sonic Superstars is one of them. now if I had to place it on a hypothetical tier list, it'd probably be a low A. this is definitely one of the better ones out there, but I'd be lying if I said some of the Zones looked pretty uninspired, notably places like Sky Temple, Sand Sanctuary, Press Factory, the Tails Act in Frozen Base. with all my gripes about Cyber Station aside, it's probably the best looking place in the game, I can just feel the Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 vibes. everything else I haven't mentioned looks fine, overall the visuals get the job done, but there was definitely room for improvement.

as for the music, before I continue let me list off all the composers who made music for the game according to the credits sequence. Tee Lopes, Fumio Otah, Satoshi Oike, Takahiro Kai, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Hideaki Kobayashi, Hidenori Shoji, Rintaro Soma, Iono Takashima, Yasuyuki Nagata, Ryo Fukada, Mitsuharu Fukuyama, Tae Fujimoto, Tatsuyuki Maeda, Kenji Mizuno, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, TORIENA, Yuzuru Jinma, and Jun Senoue and Teruhiko Nakagawa as Sound Director and Assistant Sound Director respectfully, yeah that's a lot. listen I'm sure everyone listed here are all great people, and I'm happy they all had a chance to compose Sonic music, but this might be a bit much. I'm not sure if a Sonic game really needs this many composers, Sonic Mania's music was solely done by Tee Lopes and his work there turned out excellent so I wonder why they didn't have him do all the tracks here, idk maybe he was busy you never know. speaking of, the tracks he composed here such as Speed Jungle Act 1 and Sand Sanctuary are probably the best ones in the game, Lagoon City Act 2 might be the favorite for me, it sounds like a water area I'd hear in a hypothetical Super Monkey Ball 3. speaking of Super Monkey Ball, why don't we talk about the actual composer because they got the man Hidenori Shoji himself, I know he's composed more Yakuza nowadays but for me he'll always be the SMB 1 & 2 guy. nevermind Speed Jungle Act 2 is the Super Monkey Ball 3 track, it even takes place during a jungle! another notable composer is Rintaro Soma who composed both Pinball Carnival, I actually thought Act 1 was a Tee Lopes until I listened closer, the Tee Lopes vibes are there but he also has his style going on here especially with Act 2, his Lagoon City Act 1 is nice too. Yasuyuki Nagata composed Frozen Base Act Tails and he seems to compose a few Virtual Fighter and Shining Force stuff but I wouldn't be surprised if he was a 3D Blast composer because that's the vibe I get. not only is Frozen Base Act 2 a Fantasy Zone reference but it also has the same composer on it (Hiroshi Kawaguchi), this Act may be a little boring but the references are top notch.


what the hell I thought I was going to complain about how inconsistent this game's music is, and while it is a lot of these tracks are actually A-OK. okay elephant in the room time, Jun Senoue's compositions here are....better than I expected. I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon on how he can't compose or anything because the dude is good he has talent, a lot of his compositions in the game are fine it's just that the instruments he uses (Vaccum VST presets according to a YouTube commenter that knows what they're talking about) sound like....this. now that's a bad pick if you want a better one than here's Golden Capital Act 1. the melody's actually nice but I feel it'd be a bit more lively had he just used actual instruments. Frozen Base Act 1 fairs a bit better with that Genesis sound but like with Golden Capital the instruments hold it in better. intererstingly though, I feel the instruments actually enhance both Press Factory Act 1 and Act 2, the industrial theme actually suits Jun's style very nicely plus these track's are just really nice, well done Jun you made the instruments work.

nevermind I take it back

yeah this is the worst track in the game, not only is it associated with this most of this game's terrible bosses, but it's only about 50 seconds long before it starts looping, but really it's 25 seconds long because the second half is identical outside of that last second before it loops. this song is stuck in my head and I WANT IT OUT. also the Bonus Stage music puts me to sleep, but I guess it's chill.

I spent these past couple of days writing this review, what has my life come to

I'm not even a huge Sonic enthusiast compared to other Sonic fans I've seen online, well maybe I am considering how much time I spent talking about an average game that I will likely forget a few days after this, but idk I guess I just wanted better from this game. there's a good game in here I said that in the very beginning, but there's so many factors preventing it from reaching the top that I felt like I needed to acknowledge. I know Sonic Mania set a high bar and I'm not expecting Superstars to try and be the next Mania, but I at least want it to be an excellent Classic Sonic. I'll give it this though it's better than Sonic 1, maybe Sonic 2 as well but I'll need to do another playthrough of that one to see if that's true. I don't really know what else to say other than I'm tired. I'd still recommend this game, but only to hardcore Sonic fans, however I wouldn't recommend it right now since the price as of the time writing this review is $59.99. wait for the price to go down, anyone who says this game is worth $59.99 is objectively wrong, end of story.

the coolest thing about this game is that it was created because Iizuka and Ohshima had a drinking game on Zoom

playR.org bros where are you at

ok here's a more genuine review

I'll try to keep this one a bit shorter since I'm not exactly a Super Mario RPG expert, most of my knowledge is from my playthrough along with videos I watched about it on YouTube the original version has always been on my backlog but I just never got around it and I'm not sure why since the game's surprisingly short compared to most JRPGs I'm sure I probably could have completed it in a weekend or something. well eventually the remake got an announcement and I took that as a sign that "hey maybe I should actually play this game now", that and the constant shilling from a friend of mine (thank you for shilling the game btw) so I bought the remake and did everything I wanted to do. after finishing the post-game I've come to the conclusion that....I was indeed missing out.

I'm not sure why but back when I knew less about the game I was expecting SMRPG to have a bit more of a darker storyline along the likes of something like Super Paper Mario, I guess because Square was the developer for this game along with the menacing aura that the SNES boxart had, but no the game's not like that at all it's actually pretty damn goofy lol (good thing). I like how the first subversion happens right at the beginning of the game as the opening leads you to believe the game will be another "Mario V.S. Bowser" type of deal but right after you defeat Bowser (which happens about five minutes in) a giant sword falls from the sky and crashes into Bowser's castle, which blasts Mario all the way back to his house. when Mario goes back to the castle to find Peach, the sword claims the castle as property of the "Smithy Gang", who are the true antagonists of the game. the sword then destroys the bridge to the castle, leading Mario to instead venture to the Mushroom Kingdom to inform Toadsworth the Chancellor about the situation. upon getting there he meets with Mallow the Nimbus Frog who teams up with Mario to retrieve a coin that was stolen from him. once they defeat a member of the Smithy Gang attempting to take over the Mushroom Kingdom, the two travel to a few more locations before encountering a mysterious sentient doll in the Forest Maze. after defeating another Smithy Gang member, the doll introduces himself as Geno (his actual name's hard to pronounce) and reveals that the sword that crashed into Bowser's Castle also shattered Star Road in the process. without the Star Road and the Star Pieces, everyone's wishes will unable to be granted. it's here where the main objective is made clear: collect the Star Pieces to restore Star Road, and prevent the Smithy Gang from taking over Mario's world with weapons. okay the plot's actually a bit darker then the Mario games that came before but the story has a great amount of goofy moments. there's a Toad jumping on a bed who jumps at lightning speed once Mario agrees if he'll be able to jump as high as him someday, then there's another Toad who gets his wallet stolen and you can chose to sell it which will then make him pissed. in the next town Mario is knocked out by a kid playing with the Geno doll before it becomes sentient and when they return later and the kid mentions that Mario needs "all the help he can get", Mario almost goes over to punch the kid but Mallow holds him off so that doesn't happen, unhinged. of course there's Bowser, who's always entertaining whenever he gets to speak in the game. not only is this the first game where he gets to team up with Mario, but it's also the game that solidified his modern personality. nowadays Bowser acting like how he does here is pretty expected we're all used to this now, but before SMRPG he was mostly just "big bad Koopa" so I can imagine that back then this more fleshed out Bowser was a big deal. also shoutout to the fact that despite there being almost no voice acting, they still got Kenny James (Bowser's VA since Strikers/the Wii era) to perform some occasional grunts during Bowser's dialogue, love how his portrayal has become inseparable from Bowser.

I don't want to spoil everything about the story so I'll move on to how the game plays. you play as Mario who you'll be using during this adventure (yeah I'm shocked too). since this is a Mario game, you're actually able to jump in the overworld which I think is the first time you can do that in a JRPG outside of battles, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that. the jumping is cool because you use it to not only hit floating treasure chests with items inside but it's essential to traverse through this game's 3D isometric world. on occasions you'll do have to do some platforming segments, which can range from neat to admittedly a bit annoying, thankfully there's not too many of those sections and a few of them are optional. during battle Mario by all extension all of the playable party members (Mallow, Geno, Bowser, Peach in that order) have four ways to act: A which is the traditional Attack button, Y which is the Specials which use up the magic points, or Flower Points as this game calls it, X which lets you use your items (a lot of them can be used outside of battle as well), and B which you'll mostly likely use for either defending or fleeing from battles. new to this remake, the "-" button will let you perform a Gauge or Triple Move depending on how many active party members you have, though you have to fill the Action Gauge beforehand which is done by successfully pulling off Action Commands which I'll mention a bit later. a Gauge Move has Toad appear with a treasure chest that gives you a random item to support you in battle, while Triple Moves have all three of your active party members perform a special move with its own cool looking cutscene to boot. each combination of characters (with Mario because you can't switch him out) has their own unique Triple Move which gives you six different Triple Moves you can try out in battle. I didn't really use them much outside of a few postgame battles because the game isn't really too difficult for the most part but they're there if you want the extra help.

a thing that surprised me about this game is that it has Action Commands, which I thought were only in Paper Mario and M&L before I played this. when you perform an attack, regular or magical, you can time an A press to perform either extra damage or more healing and buffs if you're using a defensive Special move. some Special moves like Mario's Fireball or Bowser's Terrorize will either have you press the A button repeatedly or rotate the Control Stick or D-pad respectively to deal maximum damage. then you have Geno where you have to hold the A button until the Star Meter is full for a maximum Geno Beam or Mario's Super Jump where you have to keep timing your A presses to perform continuous hits, and that's not even mentioning that Action Commands are used for blocking certain attacks, with a good timing halving damage and a perfect one bringing it down to 0, okay that's a lot of mechanics for a mostly easy game. alright I guess that can be a nitpick about this game, it's pretty easy. now for me this isn't much of a problem since I can just chill out and relax while playing the game, but this will probably be a turn-off for people who want more of a challenge. it doesn't help that this remake introduced splash damage that regular attacks can do (as if regular attacks weren't already powerful to begin with). the icing in the cake is that instead of a proper hard mode, they instead made an easy mode instead, thank you game journalists! but yeah for me I don't mind the difficulty and QoL changes, the "!" symbol for when you need to do an Action Command is especially helpful and I will sorely miss that whenever I get around to playing the original.

okay now I'm going to go over the graphics and music and I'll say right here that expect nothing but positivity here but HOO BOY they did not disappoint in this aspect at the slightest. this game looks incredible, it really does. the graphics aren't a "Nintendo hire this man" type of deal, but instead it's a beautiful HD recreation of the original's art style, right down to the chibi proportions of the characters, which is even kept in the high quality cutscenes. some people say that the new visuals have gotten rid of some if not all of the charm, and I can't believe that they genuinely think that. the original SNES game doesn't look bad by any means, but if you had to ask me I personally think the remake improves on what the original game sought to do. the most notable thing I can bring up is some areas here were given full-on backgrounds where in the original places like Mushroom Kingdom had a blank blue void that made the place look like a debug area, the new backgrounds introduced here really helps everything feel like a real world. although I prefer the remake's visuals, I think it's perfectly fine to prefer whichever over the other, both the original and remake have their positives over each other so I won't fault on anyone for saying the SNES version looks better, just don't go saying that the remake is some soulless cashgrab or something like that because it's not. okay nvm I just thought of a negative, there's no sound effects at all during dialogue boxes (except for Yoshis and Bowser) which is more of a nitpick since the original game did that too, but all the new pre-rendered cutscenes have no sound effects either, which is especially jarring during the boss intros, I can't even say it's intentional since one boss intro does have a sound effect and it's the final boss, honestly an odd decision.

Yoko Shimomura moment

Street Fighter II, Live A Live, Parasite Eve, Mario & Luigi, Kingdom Hearts (best thing about Kingdom Hearts), Final Fantasy XV, her résumé is STACKED, Top 10 of my personal favorite composers for sure, probably even Top 5. okay enough shilling I'll go over the tracks that stuck with me, specfically the remake versions since that's the soundtrack I used, having the option to use the original SNES is based just wanted to mention. Fun Adventure, Cheerful Adventure is an excellent introduction to what exactly you're in for when it comes to SMRPG as well as being a cool roll call for the characters you'll be playing as, I also have to appreciate it getting more dramatic at the end just in time for the dramatic title screen. Bowser's Keep immediately gave me a sense of familiarity since I remember hearing the beginning part a lot during some old Mario Flash animations back in the day, notably ones that featured Bowser's Castle in some capacity. anyway, very menacing track, got some bias for it too. I'm an absolute idiot for this, but I did not realize Battling Bowser was a remix of his SMB3 theme until a random guy in the comment section of the link pointed it out, well I guess that means I like this track even more! the beginning of The Sword that Scattered Stars is so kino my god I had to kneel in my mind, also pretty sure I heard this in the Mario Flash animations too so here's some more bias. Danger Abounds on the Journey is definitely a Mario & Luigi track, yeah yeah same composer but I still wanted to make the comparison. Battling Monsters is the same thing to the point where I've used to confuse this with Superstar Saga's battle theme, I know better nowadays. Victory! is one of the best victory themes I've heard in a JRPG. I don’t have much to say about Battling Strongish Monsters, but it’s a pretty memorable boss theme and has a more sense of urgency than the regular battle theme. however Battling a Weapon Boss is even more up my alley. the whole track has a pretty groovy vibe which’s helped by those drums in the background that really make me want to dance, and those high notes right before the song loops are awesome, very nice climax. Elegy is that sad song you hear in a lot of videos and memes, not only is this made funny by the fact that it comes from this game, but it also plays during such a goofy and obvious revelation. GENOOOOOOOOOO!!!! this track’s good. JAAAAAAAAAAZZ!!!! for most people [Let’s Race] is the catchy track you hear while taking part in the Yoshi Races, but for me, it was the “Red Essence” theme song. This is Booster Tower, and this is a really beautiful track wow. this ain’t even Mario anymore we’re now in traditional fantasy JRPG territory and I am not complaining, which is made even more surprising considering who exactly owns the place where this plays. And That Makes Him Booster! a worthy theme for peak male Booster himself. I really love all the instruments used here especially the main one right when the track starts, straight up Khonjin House type beat. anyway that’s all tracks I’ll share song, if you want to hear more search them up online or even check out the game yourself.

very nice game, glad I finally got to play it. there were times when SMRPG reminded me of the Mario & Luigi games which is very much a good thing since those games are awesome. comparisons aside SMRPG still holds out as its own thing and has some cool original characters that are the perfect blend of Nintendo and classic Square. that's not even mentioning that there's a character that's a full-on Final Fantasy reference and is one of the biggest highlights for me since I really enjoy the early FF games, but if I talk about him any further you'll see him pop up in your YouTube recommendations so I'll stop for now. alright I don’t know how to conclude this, so go play the game if you haven’t and have a great time, it’s cool.

I’m starting to think that Mallow guy isn’t actually a frog….

♫Super Mario RPG♫
♫this is the game that's just for me♫
♫jumping around and getting Frog Coins♫
♫leveling up with the team all day♫
♫Mario, Bowser, Peach, Mallow♫
♫Geno Beam and the Geno Whirl♫
♫climbing the vine for the Lazy Shell♫
♫steamrolling the enemies in our way♫
♫Terrapins, Chaindeliers, Goombas, Paratroopas♫
♫Spikeys, Hammer Bro, Frogogs, K-9s♫
♫Croco, Shymores, Bodyguards, Claymorton♫
♫formally known as Mack the Knife♫
♫Smithy the Sword fell from the sky♫
♫"Uh actually, his name's Exor!!!"♫
♫don't care just wanted to reference that♫
♫okay now back on-topic we go♫
♫Mario has to gather all the♫
♫Star Pieces to fix up the Star Road♫
♫so he can restore everyone's wishes♫
♫wait a sec this is just a Kirby plot♫
(♫this is just a Kirby plot, this is just a Kirby plot♫)
(♫this is just a Kirby plot, this is just a Kirby plot♫)
♫I'm gonna be honest with you♫
♫I don't have any lyrics left♫
♫but that's okay and I'll tell you why:♫
♫you get to hear this violin solo♫

"Bro this game is so outdated!!! Just play Zero Mission instead and skip this!!!!!!!!!!"

why don't I skip over your bad takes how about that

shoutout to HPRshredder and his guide for getting me interested in playing Metroid 1 again as well as The Geek Critique for revisiting the game and shedding a more positive light to it. I haven't seen U Can Beat Video Games's video yet but his Castlevania II and Dragon Warrior ones were really great so this one's probably worth checking too, okay I'll actually talk about the game now

there's something about the original Metroid that has this cool...."uniqueness"? yeah I'm not sure what's the right word for it, but there's a unique feeling about this one that none of the later games quite have. now I agree that every other Metroid game I played is better than this one (every 2D one besides Metroid II GB, a decent portion of Prime 1), but I'd say that this is comparing a collection of gold trophies to a singular dusty gold trophy that could use a quick feather duster to shine again. what I'm saying is that this game's good

what's cool about the original Metroid's story is that there's nothing to precede it. none of the familiar lore of the later games is here so what we're given is in this one (which isn't much) (that's cool though) is all we really get. basically a powerful species known as "Metroids" has been captured by the Space Pirates, they're like criminals but in the space alien variety. The Federation Police sends out some bounty hunters to Planet Zebes, which is the Space Pirates hideout, to stop them from using the Metroids as a dangerous weapon however none of them were able to succeed. as a last resort they send Samus Aran, a cool cyborg dude (please don't get on my case I'll bring it up later) who gained a famous reputation for completely bounties most others thought would be impossible. naturally it would make sense for them to send the best of the best, so now Samus Aran must now traverse through Planet Zebes, explore and find the items and abilities left by it's previous civilization, defeat the two leaders of the Pirates (Ridley and Kraid), and eradicate the Metroids before they destroy the galaxy! for the first game, there's still a pretty decent amount of backstory and is still much more than a majority of games that came before it, so it's cool that there's a reason why you're there as well as an actual world you're in that isn't just a bunch of nameless disconnected levels, that's pretty nice for a game made in 1986.

Metroid is an exploration game, everyone probably knows it. what everyone always knows as well is that you're aren't just going right the entire game (cue a lengthy explanation on how a first-time player goes right until a dead end, only to go all the way back to the left and find the Morph Ball so they can go through the tiny corridor they couldn't before). your ultimate goal of the game is to defeat both Ridley and Kraid so you can access the final part of the game you encounter the Metroids as well as the final boss, however the way you go about doing so is all up to you, to the point where you can choose whether to face Ridley first or Kraid first. now you could immediately head straight for their hideouts and take them out as soon as possible, but an inexperienced player will no doubt get their ass handed to them, which makes sense since Zebes is a pretty hostile planet, so they'll probably want to stay around in Brinstar (the beginning section of Zebes) for a while and gather items to power up and prepare them for the tougher parts of the game. some of the items you can get are Missiles, which not only are a powerful offense, but can also help you open the Ketchup and Mustard Doors that can't be opened by regular shots. Energy Tanks not only increase your health by 100 but it also fully restores your health too, there's 8 of them in the game but Samus's health is maxed out after 6 of them, so it'd be a good idea to save the remaining 2 for when you need to regain some health quickly. now for actual upgrades, the Morph Ball (or Maru Mari as the cool people call it) lets Samus morph into a tiny ball to get through small passages, and the Bomb allows Samus to make bombs in this form to help defeat small enemies and get through blocks that otherwise can't be destroyed. the Long Beam makes Samus's shots long ranged which can be good for dealing enemies from far away, but it's not too important of an upgrade so you can to skip it if you want. the Ice Beam lets you freeze almost all the enemies in the game which also can turn them into temporary platforms before they thaw out which can helpful if you don't want to deal with them or if you want to do a few helpful skips, it can still be used as a regular weapon. the Wave Beam is a beam that pierces through everything and is decently powerful, however it overrides the Ice Beam which is needed if you want to defeat or get away from the Metroids in the final area so it's actually even more skippable than the Long Beam, if you plan to use this then make sure you pick up the Ice Beam again before you head to the final area. the High Jump Boots let Samus just higher, not much to say other then it helps Samus obtain the Varia Suit easier. the Varia Suit not only changes Samus's armor to a bright pink as a symbol of power, but it also halves all damage taken, making it very useful when it comes to traversing beyond Brinstar. lastly the Screw Attack, probably the best upgrade here, lets you perform a powerful shock whenever you diagonally jump, which instantly kills most regular enemies in the game, not only that but it's possible to get the item before you even face Ridley or Kraid, I cannot justify its power with what I'm saying here so you really need to get it yourself so you can understand what I mean.

once you're powered up and have defeated the two Space Pirate leaders, you can head to the upper left corner of Brinstar and gain access to the final area, Tourian, where the Metroids and final obstacle of the game is awaiting you, "Mother Brain". you better conserve your missiles for the end, and I don't mean just for Mother Brain, but to even get to her you'll have to destroy regenerating barriers that can only be damaged by barriers, they don't regenerate if you can manage to destroy them thankfully. the Mother Brain fight is weird, she doesn't attack you at all but the Rinkas (floating projectives that aim for you) and the cannons in the battlefield are very plentiful, so you'll be spending your time getting hit by those a lot thanks to your big hitbox, and whatever you do, DON'T fall in the lava in front of Metroid Brain, try to keep your distance by being on the right edge of the final pillar so you don't fall in the lava and instead land on the safe platform to the right of the pillar. after defeating Mother Brain you've now completed the ga-- SIKES YOU HAVE TO DO A SURPRISE ESCAPE SEQUENCE but it's kinda easy outside of the platforms being a bit small, the layout is also repeated a lot so it really shouldn't be a big deal once you memorized it. when you do that only then do you get the ending and here's when the fun part comes in. depending on how fast you beat the game, you might be able to discover Samus's true identity! if you manage to finish the game under five hours, Samus takes off the helmet to reveal....HE WAS A SHE THE WHOLE TIME?!?!?!?!?! yeah everyone and their mother knows Samus is a female nowadays (unless you don't so if this is how you find out then I'm terribly sorry), Nintendo themselves only kept it a secret for this game in particular, but for 1986 this was a pretty cool hidden twist, especially considering that Samus is one of the first female protagonists. yeah Ms. Pac-Man predates her by about four years, sorry Samus! if you finish the game in under three hours Samus goes down to a leotard which also lets you play as in that form after the credits (or by a password if you don't want to do all that), and under a hour has her go into a bikini. she must be the most cocky and confident bounty hunter ever if she's taking down an entire planet wearing nothing but that under her suit. if you didn't beat the game under five hours, you can always try again and see how faster you can become with more experience and knowledge of Planet Zebes. it's a pretty short game so that along with the incentive of getting to see Samus in a 8-bit bikini makes the replayability of the original Metroid pretty high.

Metroid's graphics are very simplistic, but I think this actually benefits toward the game's favor. normally having a black background for the entire game would be kinda lame, but for here it works. you're venturing inside a dark and hostile planet, if the background was blue or something then the entire atmosphere would be thrown out of the window. speaking of atmosphere, I think this is the first game in my opinion to successfully pull off a tense one. the realistic looking enemies compared to other games at the time having stuff like Goombas or Moblins makes you feel like your dealing with a much more genuine threat, though a lot of them are actually easy to face against especially once you have enough upgrades. all the dark scenery likes the faces you see next to the elevator that takes you to Ridley as well as the iconic face in the corridor just before Kraid's room makes you feel like you really don't belong here, thankfully you're playing as Samus though and no one is more capable for this job than her.

if you need something to boost the atmosphere, then the soundtrack's got you covered. the Title Theme starts off simplistic and foreboding but if you stick around long enough then it transforms to a much more hopeful melody but looping back to the menacing drones again. the Start Jingle and Brinstar continue this optimism with an upbeat and heroic tune before you end up wandering into a Secret Area that brings back the droning from the beginning of the title screen but with a more neutral and mysterious tone this time. if you're lucky and happen to come across the statues that grant you upgrades you get this Item Jingle to signal that not only did you gain a new ability but that you're on the right path to victory. though if you hear this near an elevator and choose to go down, you'll instead hear this foreboding tune of Norfair which while also signifies you're on the right part (to Ridley in particular), it also means the game's no longer messing around and you face a huge threat of getting killed if you haven't prepped up enough before. go down even further to Ridley's Hideout and get to even to hear this game's "you will die" theme. if you choose to go to Kraid's Hideout, you instead get this really rad and groovy ass theme that I can't believe was composed back in 1986. it's insane how bopping Kraid's theme is, it almost feels out of place in a way but I'm not complaining, this is the best track in the game and I will not be argued otherwise. once you face Ridley and Kraid or just venture into Tourian, you get this pretty threatening theme once you ignore the goofy bubble sounds that play during the whole thing. by the time you get to Mother Brain there are no more melodies, there are only deranged 8-bit noises to describe the terror that is Mother Brain, and by Mother Brain, I mean everything else that's inside her room. the Escape Theme starts off with a "you need to get out" vibe but after the first 30 or so seconds it insteads transforms into a "you saved the galaxy, just one more push!" vibe. then there's the Ending Theme which is a full on melody that goes from menacing to triumphant then just starts going all out after that first minute, okay this might rival Kraid's theme for the best track in the game.

so yeah Metroid NES is epic especially for its time and I feel the smaller majority that still thinks this game holds up, though it is rough in a couple of places I'll admit. lack of a map, similar looking rooms, enemies being able to hit you while you're going through doors, starting with 30 energy after a game over, the entirety of Mother Brain's room, it's a little rough to get into, especially on your first or second playthrough when you have no idea what to do. if you have the courage to come back to this game though and learn everything about it, it becomes much more enjoyable and dare I say....fun. even with Zero Mission being arguably a better Metroid 1 experience, I still can't bring myself to say this game can be easily skipped. Zero Mission may take place in Zebes, but otherwise it's a full-on remake with completely different room layouts as well as reworked bosses and gameplay elements, a very great remake I have to add, but I do have the courage to tell you that you will indeed be missing out if you don't give the original a deserved shot. despite all my praises, this is somehow still the weakest Metroid I've played but a 7/10 being the weakest goes to show the exceptional quality of the Metroid franchise, heck I might change my score to a 8/10 later down the line because that's how neat I think Metroid is.

so yeah that's it, play the game, git gud or something do people still use that phrase

this is the Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne of Pokémon

(Version played: 4.0 update, Hardcore Mode)

I'm not sure why I went back to this game since I was very mixed about it on my 3.0 playthrough, but I don't know I guess I really wanted to give the game another shot with a different perspective, that and hearing people seethe online about it, actually yeah those two reasons are why I went back to it. so yeah, I started the game, decided to go through Hardcore Mode this time, and made it all the way to the Indigo League. my thoughts?


okay maybe it's not peak but it's still really good

to be fair I did enter some in-game cheats at the beginning of the game that I couldn't have done Hardcore Mode without, and before you go "uhhhhh CHEATER you did not beat the game" first off yes I did not beat the game why do you think this review says "Shelved", second off the game doesn't penalize you at all for using the in-game cheats so as far as I'm concerned they're encouraged if you really want to go through that route, and lastly the two main cheats I used (free Rare Candies at Viridian, 100% successful catch rate on any Poké Ball) are more or less ways to make things more convenient for me so I can go "oh I don't have to spend time grinding anymore!" and "oh I can get my Pokémon right away now!", they're really huge time savers.

as for the actual game, this hack is a team builder's dream since every Pokémon to my knowledge has been spread out to the entirety of Kanto (that's pretty amazing shoutouts to the devs for pulling that off). by the time you get to Brock you'll already have a great variety of Pokémon to choose from and it'll only grow larger the further you go. add that along with the DexNav feature that lets you immediately find the Pokémon you want as well as the catch rate cheat I mentioned in parenthesis earlier and you should have no problem with finding and building your teams. certain items as well as moves and Abilities are taken from you in Hardcore Mode but the Nature changer in the Pokémon Centers are free in this mode so I'd say that's a worthy trade-off (you also get ways to change your Abilities later on thought I should mention). during the entire game you'll have Level Caps that prevent you from over leveling at a certain point (no easy Lv. 100 for you) and the Level Cap increases a bit after certain boss battles, and I'll say that even if you reach the end of the current Level Cap, the game will still be challenging.

now for that difficulty, this is very much a competitive oriented Pokémon hack. you won't see Brock using a Geodude that faints after one Water Gun, instead Brock is going to bust out a permanent Sandstorm with a full team of six, featuring a Sand Rush Cacnea with an Eviolite, a Lunatone with Ancient Power and Psybeam, and a Varoom with an Air Balloon to prevent you from exploiting it's 4x Ground weakness immediately, first Gym btw. now you may be thinking that this is ridiculous, but believe or not there's ways to go around it. remember you have a ton of Pokémon to choose from, so you can map things out like "oh this Pokémon took down two team members, I'll keep this one around" or "this one isn't able to do anything useful, I should swap it out for another Pokémon" and "this one's good but it's not doing as much as I'd like, maybe I should change up its moveset". for the most part I went into Gym Battles and others of the like by going with the team I was currently using for the first attempt, and then slowly I'd swap them out one-by-one until I found the (near) perfect combination of Pokémon that could reliably counter the team I'm facing as if I was putting together a puzzle. really Radical Red is a puzzle game: it looks overwhelming at first (and probably still will be after a while), but with enough time and patience you can start to figure it out and put everything together. I will say that though that at a certain point of the game I was able to gather a couple of really good Pokémon that could fit in most of the difficult battles afterwards so I wasn't swapping out my teams as much as I was before.

now is the difficulty "unfair"? no it's not, but I'll admit it does get a bit BS at times. of course, your opponents are going to have more options before you do; when you get to Lt. Surge bosses will start pulling out Mega Evolutions (something you won't be able to do until after Silph Co.), then when you get to Erika Ultra Beasts are brought into the picture, then when you face Sabrina (who is the 5th Gym Leader here) Legendaries and Mythicals are now on the table and they won't be dying down anytime soon. however I will once again mention that it is possible to overcome these crazy teams with enough time and patience, though that's not to say that I myself got into a "what do I even do here" moment a few times during the late game. the most well known example I think of is that at one point you're forced to go through two boss fights in a row, without healing. now granted it isn't two full six teams rather a five member team then a four member team right after, but this is Radical Red we're talking about here so they're still going to find a way to make it as difficult as possible. I could just manage to survive the first battle but then the second one immediately drops a Wailord with a Water Type equivalent of Oblivion Wing in Bouncy Bubble that I could not get pass against. this was one of the two times I conceded defeat and instead looked up another guy's team online to see what Pokémon they used for the battle and just copy what they did, hey at least you get some useful items after that.

now I'll give you three pieces of advice if you want your Radical Red experience to be more manageable. 1: get the Poké Vial. you'll have to do a puzzle battle at Viridian City to get it but once you figure that out you get an item that give you six free PokéCenter heals in the overworld and it refills whenever you heal up at a PokéCenter, you never need to purchase healing items ever. 2: get the Inf. Repel. I'm pretty sure this is an unskippable item in Viridian Forest, anyway when you obtain and enable it, random wild encounters are gone for as long as you have it on so you can just focus on venturing through the world without Wild Pokémon bogging you, another great time saver. 3: save and heal often. Gym Leaders aren't the only bosses here, certain NPCs that look like regular trainers will actually be boss battles (at least in Hardcore mode) with more dangerous teams than regular trainers, and you can be sure they become more common later down the line so make sure you prepared whenever that happens, also there are a few moments where you about to enter a new area only for someone to pop out and go "Hey, (player character) it's me, (important NPC)! Time for your 4 P.M. surprise boss fight, no you can't refuse!" so yeah have fun

alright you made it the end of my review and that's epic so your reward for reading all of this is me providing you the cheat codes I entered in the game console in Pallet Town down in the comments so you can have an easier time with Radical Red, that or you skipped all the way to the end which if you did, shame on you but I'll still provide the codes anyway. so yes Radical Red is GOOD maybe even GREAT and I feel like some people are just way too harsh on it. just be patient, collect a ton of Pokémon, and figure out which ones work for which situations. "OOOOH BUT THE DIFFICULTY OHH I CAN'T STAND THE DIFFICULTY" ok then bro why don't you go back to vanilla FireRed and find yourself a Kadabra to Calm Mind and Psychic through the entire game you big baby

there's a boss fight near the end that clowns on people that self-insert themselves into Pokémon hacks that was so based