Saturday, August 9, 2008

Classic Gaming, STG High Scores and FF Tactics A2


For the past two weeks, I have been fully absorbed in Crystal Castles and a bit of Mushi Futari, but also a couple of really good console titles, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and Mana Khemia - The Alchemists of Al-Revis, a seriously under-appreciated PS2 title that's got me seriously addicted.

On the classic arcade gaming front, I have spent my time working on a few boards in Crystal Castles and not really going for a high score, so I haven't had to post anything new to increase the size of my classic gaming e-penis, but I have been busy gaming on it nonetheless.

The October CAGDC tourney ( - for those who've never been there - go!) should happen and I want to post an 850K score, which means I'll need to really work some of the level 8 boards, namely 8-1 and 8-2, the Cross Maze, which is a bitch, and working to max the life bonus, which is worth an extra 60K. I have been able to add another 20K to my score, snagging some gemeaters and getting the extra gems, so I should be on track to do well, but as I have enever broken 800K on CC, I know I have some work ahead of me.

This morning, I was on track to beat the holy hell out of my high score, reaching 9-4, Bertilda's Fortress with the short tower and four guys in reserve. As I started the board, what had been an overcast day turned into an obnoxiously bright one, casting some serious glare on the arcade screen. I died five times trying to finish the stage, unable to see the board or the killer balls. I should be depressed, and I am, a bit, but I'm still stoked that my skill set is building quicker than ever and I am really excited to see what lies ahead.

STG-wise, I have been working Futari's Maniac stage 2 with some success, but the counter maxing is tricky and is taking some time to get use to. The game is a hella lot of fun, but really spanks you when you mess up as most of the time its due to waiting too long to max the counter before cashing it in for double the gems, rather than just working the shot and collecting the base amount. The graphics and music are amazing and I always pause to marvel at what Cave accomplished with this one. I'm hoping to see 200K soon, but I also have DOJ here after Dave left it a week or so ago and its starting to call to me. And hell, I still have to work on the ESPrade clear. And maybe another Ketsui high score...


A while back, Mana Khemia came out and garnered some luke-warm reviews as another ho-hum JRPG, but the more I read about it, the more intrigued I was. I bit the bullet and picked it up one week while driving home from work, passing one of the five Game Stops in my area. The day I opened it up and started playing, I was immediately hooked. It combins the best elements from previous NIS titles, namely a fun story and simple but deep menu layout and adds a dose of FFX, but with layer upon layer of depth. I have about 35 hours into it and am just finishing up with chapter 7 out of 12. The graphics are a bit bland, especially after viewing some Vanilleware titles who take 2-d sprites to a whole new level, but you quickly forget the simple graphics when you are cycling through all the wonderful menus. Addictive and fun with a pretty good story and suprisingly good voice acting (Vayne is voiced mny the same guy who did Akihiko from Persona 3).

FF Tactis A2 is jst super fun. Way too addicing and more refined than previous FF titles. I have been pouring in hours playing this and even though it lacks some of the depth of Disgaea, its is a very fun and interesting Tactics title. The auction mini game is typical of the FF franchise, simple and fun and adds a good break to the game evey few hours of battling and grinding. The added character classes are fun and I have found myself doing the 'one more battle' thing too much when trying to walk away to play or do something else.

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