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Zapp Branniglenn

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About Zapp Branniglenn

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    That archer you benched

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    SoCal

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  • Favorite Fire Emblem Game
    Sacred Stones

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  1. This week I played Shinobi for the PS2. It's the same classic arcade series whose third installment on the Genesis I may have declared to be "the best Genesis game ever" many years ago . I don't think I can stand by that comment, but it is a must play for Genesis enthusiasts. This is one of the first Sega published games following the sinking of the Dreamcast, and was developed by the team that pumped out Skies of Arcadia and the Sakura Wars series. Wow, and they managed the R&D transition from that to a 3D action game? For the most part it was an uncharted genre unless you were willing to fall back on being a Mario 64 or Zelda clone. Shinobi released after the original Devil May Cry, and I think that game comes out as the better white knuckle action game with its stellar combat variety. What this game can boast over Devil May Cry is a 360 degree camera control and freer air movement and combat. And both games have oppressively edgy/angsty protagonists whose story you will not care about. Shinobi's most vital mechanic is this chain system where the game keeps tracks of how many enemies you've killed recently and ramps up your damage exponentially in order to finish off everything else for a cinematic, synchronized blood explosion. It didn't take long to discover a fool proof strategy for every boss fight. Run around and wait for them to spawn a bunch of small enemies, engage your invincibility power so that you can't be interrupted. Chain as many of them together as you can before turning on the boss for massive damage. Some bosses become invulnerable the moment after they're hit, but it's not much of an issue. You can indeed one shot almost any boss in the game with a chain of 8 or 9 kills in my experience. It's a pretty unique battle system, but there's no other viable alternative that I can think of. Trying to evade and counter attacks doesn't get you anywhere fast since your base damage is so pitiful. And that's really my only issue. The game's only about five hours long, but it doesn't have the combat variety to warrant even that much time. Most of my moment to moment gameplay was alternating the dash and slash buttons while holding down the lock on button, in order to safely approach and kill targets for my combo chain. In Shinobi, the only way they shake things up is having a string of enemies over a bottomless pit. Hitting somebody while airborne refreshes your air dash, so you can cross these gaps the same way Sonic can with his homing attack in his 3D games. Wall running is pretty fun for traversal too, until a random camera shift botches your next air dash and sends you in the wrong direction to your death. It's pretty obnoxious to die to a bottomless pit in a game with no checkpoints until you reach the boss. But I guess I should be grateful that the game has no extra lives to worry about.
  2. The manner by which you accumulate support points is the same as previous games, but they toned down the amount of support chains that advance just one point per turn. In Sacred Stones there is only one conversation that progresses that slowly (Tethys x Rennac), compared to the ludicrous 23 of FE7 and 62 of FE6. Trust me, you will feel the difference. I actually had no idea that FE6 even had supports by the end of my first casual playthrough 10 years ago, because they're so slow. Sacred Stones is also the only FE game I can think of where you can finish the entire support library in a single playthrough. It's an open map game with multiple save slots and no route split-exclusive. So what you would do is initiate the support conversation in say the first floor of the Tower, grind up the next stage of the conversation and finish the map. Continue until you reach A, all the while saving that game to a second save slot in order to "record" that conversation to your support library. Return to your first save slot and repeat for the next pairing. As long as you avoid initiating any A rank conversations, you can do this at the end of any playthrough in order to earn that sweet sweet 100%. That's a breath of fresh air compared to attempting to finish the support library of FE7 over 10 or so careful playthroughs, but still it's a process that will take you many hours of mindless grinding.
  3. What...? Lyon's already in the game - oh. It's...err I know his name was onscreen but I already forgot it while typing this. Hey, this means better odds for the Echoes DLC characters doesn't it? Heck they've been posted far away from the "It'll never happen" Tier since TMS was added.
  4. As dire as the consequences of this election are, it's refreshing to remind yourself that the person that gets the most votes wins. Nobody's going to stop and say "okay, but how do the Dakotas feel about Newsom...? And Iowa?" It's only the part 2 of the recall that's totally unfair. Since democratic candidates cannot enter into the race without directly sabotaging their incumbent. Seriously, this recall process needs to be looked over one of these days. At the very least, the recall election, and election of a new governor should be two separate elections. Suffice to say I'm not worried. And Elder should stick to his day job as a podcast host or whatever he is. The first time I heard his voice was in a TV ad where the first words out of his mouth were "do I LOOK racist to you?" and then it hard cuts to his unrelated rant about Newsom. And it's not the first time I've seen a black conservative use that folksy preface to explain that systemic racism is a myth. During one of the 2020 presidential debates, the official GOP post-debate response speech had a guy with the same schtick. That probably plays well here in California. We're prideful of our multiple cultures, and like any Liberal can be self conscious about trying to be "one of the good ones" wherever possible. But how about the rest of the country? Is there always a baseline of people who care enough about the black experience to fall for such tokenism?
  5. Excuse me while I search my brain in vain which particular game this one was just based on the title... Okay, but that one's not fair. It had essentially zero time and resources, and was pushed out by Capcom to prove to their investors that fighting games are out and they should poor all their resources into survival horror and other Western-focused titles. As that video explains, Virtually all of the development time and budget went towards a 3D Capcom vs SNK game that was finished yet never released. We don't talk about Capcom's (or SNK's) Dark Ages when comparing to the modern day. Obviously when I say they should make a Capcom vs Capcom, I expect that to be the game they set out to make from the start. Reused assets can be fine, especially if this hypothetical game ends up being a 2D fighter instead of 3D, but nobody's suggesting literal copy and pasting from previous titles with zero updates or revisions.
  6. I am the man with no name I just didn't realize I could change it until now. Much more up to date with what I've been calling myself since 2014.
  7. You should probably specify a single game that's bothering you. This conversation can take as many forms as there are video games. And maybe multiple forms within the same game too. In Single player pokemon, The player will always favor offense, because taking less damage from attacks doesn't count for much if healing at the pokemon center is free. Every time you score a knock out, the game alerts you which opponent is next and you earn a free switch opportunity to press your type advantage. The player also has the (nearly) unique ability to use health restoring items when they're in trouble. But if we look at multiplayer pokemon, these advantages are stripped from the player and moves geared towards defense or stalling are suddenly viable. In competitive fighting games though, it's tough to lock down what counts as "offense" or "defense". If we're in neutral, and I'm waiting for my opponent to throw something out that I can whiff punish, is that offense or defense? It's reactionary, but I didn't block anything, I just watched my spacing and expertly timed an attack. Defense is more than just the one option, I'd hope. Similarly, using moves on an opponent that are safe on block. Is not committing to anything offense or defense? Is lobbing projectiles from a safe distance offense or defense? Is successfully reading and countering your opponent offense or defense? Nobody who plays these games use such basic terminology.
  8. Five years is a long time. I feel like she overstayed her welcome, though not as much as Brock certainly. Misty's asperation to be the best water pokemon trainer didn't differentiate her much at all from Ash, especially when she almost never battled or was given any development toward that goal. All the while she's shirking her duties as a gym leader, and we even see how the gym falls into disarray when her siblings take over. Her dynamic within the group just never served a purpose beyond "girl", and I think the point of Ash having companions is exploring what other things people could do in the world of pokemon that isn't battling, gym challenges, basically the Red/Blue experience. I'm aware the biggest offender here is of course Ash, the ageless boy who routinely ditches his teams and has to look up pokemon in his pokedex that he absolutely has encountered before. But changing up Ash's companions is one of few decisions that salvage the watchability of a cyclical series like Pokemon. If they had the sense to put together a completely new cast for each generation, that would be ideal.
  9. Crash is 25 years old today. Not only am I older. I am significantly less successful career wise.
  10. I immediately interpreted this as some sort of Crash Bash remake/sequel announced at tomorrow's Sony State of Sony. Ugh, but do we really need to be reminded that Crash Bash was a thing? Of course the internet sees only Smash in this tweet. What if...playstation All Stars got its sequel announced and Crash was one of the first confirmed fighters!? I think I will board that hype train instead.
  11. Hey man, play how you want to play. It's a one player game so the only person whose enjoyment matters is you. You think us old school types didn't hit the 2x speed throttle and drop save states on our emulators? We did and we'll do it again.
  12. Most of it made it in. The challenge modes have different gimmicks and progression just to shake things up. That database where you see enemy stats, bios, and weaknesses is not in either of those two. The Zero collection may have benefited more from that, since elemental weaknesses are largely unknown from my experience looking up guides of those games. X's gallery is the only one that includes trailers, as well as that Day of Sigma short film. It's also got screenshots of physical paraphernalia associated with the games, but you can't zoom in on those pictures like you can on concept art images. I wouldn't be surprised if the pictures in question were lifted off old magazine scans or from the Wayback Machine. If all you have is a low resolution photo, then zooming into it is going to look very ugly very quickly. Still I doubt all of them had that particular issue. Zero has a unique feature where the game awards you bonus cards for completing achievements across all six games. These bonus cards can be turned on and off to change a lot in Zero 3, from cosmetic changes to adding NPCs to powering up your weapons. They represent the E-reader content that was published post launch for that game, and it was really cool of them to incorporate such obscure stuff into the game, while also turning it into unlockable content. They similarly incorporated the Link battle bonus content in ZX that you would have unlocked by having Zero 3 or 4 in your DS's GBA slot.
  13. Over a month ago Blaster Master Zero 3 released, but I unceremoniously kicked it down the road in favor of the surprise release of Axiom Verge 2, and later No More Heroes 3, among some other spur of the moment backlog dives. I was similarly surprised to hear that Psychonauts 2 was released to extremely high critical acclaim. And with Metroid Dread coming out in a month, I figured it was time to finally play the finale to this trilogy before I've forgotten about it entirely. Spoilered for length, not because of plot spoilers. Unlike the X and Zero collections, which were developed in-house at Capcom, the Classic series collections were made by Digital Eclipse. A group that have been publishing retro collections of video games since the mid 2000s (they were called Backbone entertainment in the PS2 era). In recent years they go as far as they can in acquiring old artwork scans to pack into their release. And if you've ever seen their SNK 40th anniversary collection, some games even have multiple different versions you can try out, not just the "best" one or most well known release. They are serious game preservations over there, and are closely affiliated with the Video Game History Foundation, so that should explain the extras you're seeing.
  14. If all you want is girls like Tifa, then you'll find most of them in fighting games. Tekken especially where there's very little in terms of slinging fireballs and magically/elementally enhanced moves. I guess it's not that common in RPGs is it? Most cases are simply unequipping your weapon, which is seldom viable in terms of gameplay balancing, or changing your class to a fist fighting one. Ayla from Chrono Trigger comes to mind, but she fights more like an animal than a martial artist. She's as much of a brawler as the Laguz units in Fire Emblem. Dragon quest 4 has Alena who definitely fits the bill despite her conspicuous mage attire, and DQ11's got a martial arts girl too right? Haven't played it. Shining Force 2 has Sheela and Karna once she's promoted to master monk.
  15. While I can't imagine somebody terminating a pregnancy for a non medical, non-criminal reason with only a few weeks to go, it's really none of my business in the first place. That's not my body. And before you throw that "what if YOU were the father" hypothetical at me, it's a pretty disgusting notion to say that the father should be allowed to force an unwanted pregnancy. If I'm hellbent on having a kid, then finding somebody willing to make that happen is my responsibility. I've ended relationships over less.
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