Initially released in 1990 by Telenet Japan, Valis III is a CD-ROM-only platform game for the PC Engine. It was released for the TurboGrafx-CD in North America in 1992.
The 1988 sequel to Mega Man, Mega Man 2 is more of the same rock-hard platforming and shooting action on the Nintendo Entertainment System (aka the Famicom).
Your six major protagonists this time are: Bubble Man, Air Man, Quick Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Metal Man, Flash Man, and Crash Man. And – as usual – each has their own themed level which you can choose from in the opening menu.
Developed by Sega and released for the Megadrive/Genesis in 1990, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a masterpiece platform game that has stood the test of time extremely well.
Okay, so I couldn’t just leave it at that with regard to Dragon Quest VIII, so here’s another set of screenshots showing later in the game. In particular: the Dragovian Trials – an unlockable quest in which you take on a series of ever more powerful dragons, for unique rewards at the end of the game.
There is no doubting that this 2004 release from Square Enix is the best JRPG on the PlayStation 2. At least, in my mind.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is a colourful and detailed re-imagining of the Dragon Quest franchise, with Cel-Shaded graphics and tons of monsters – many of them familiar – to fight it out with in turn-based combat.
Arx Fatalis is a 3D Role-Playing Game developed by French company Arkane Studios and first published by JoWooD Productions in 2002.
Konami released Arumana no Kiseki in Japan in 1987. It is an action platformer with a cool rope mechanic that you use to climb to out-of-reach platforms.
First released in 2015, CD Projekt Red‘s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a third-person, open world Role-Playing Game that is based on a series of novels by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
Obviously it is the third instalment in the series (and last, according to the developers), and in it you play a monster-hunting detective badass called Geralt – a Witcher; a carrier of two swords (one steel, for killing humans, and one silver, for killing monsters); and a superhuman solver of problems with acute senses and no emotions.
One thing that immediately becomes apparent, when playing this game, is that it is a VERY adult game – it is not for kids. Which is a good thing, in my opinion, because video games have incorrectly been labelled as “for kids” since the dawn of time. The Witcher 3‘s dialogue is peppered with laugh-out-loud humour, profanity, and great characterisation. There are sex scenes, but these are not gratuitous – they actually add to (and change the course of) the story. And, of course, there is violence galore, with both monsters and people being hacked-up in the most gruesome manner (again: not gratuitous, but relatively realistic).
The second thing that becomes apparent when playing The Witcher 3, or at least it did to me, is the fact that this game is VASTLY better than Skyrim. A game I love to be honest, but one that seems second-best when compared next to this. Comparing The Witcher 3 directly to Skyrim is not entirely fair as there are a number of years between them, and developer CD Projekt Red have openly admitted to loving Skyrim, but not wanting to make the same mistakes that Bethesda did in making that game. And – on the whole – they have succeeded. There are less game-breaking bugs in this, less illogical paradoxes in the script, and the story and dialogue is a DAMN SIGHT better than Skyrim‘s. In fact: I might have to say that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is arguably the best-written game of all time. Not to mention fantastic to play on all levels… The combat; the quests; the side-games (I’m not particularly fond of Gwent, the in-game card game, but I can at least see it is a sound creation, if a little difficult without a decent deck) – it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into how the game plays.
And it certainly looks amazing too. The environments, weather and light modelling, and all the models and animations are – quite frankly: amazing. It’s an incredible piece of world-building.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t perfect. I could give you a list of ten things that bother me about the game, but at the same time I could give you a list of a hundred things that are absolutely great about it. And – on balance – this game is certainly one of the best games ever made.
There are no two ways about it: if you like story-driven, single-player RPGs, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a MUST PLAY game. If you don’t yet own it: wait for the next Steam/GOG.com sale and get it bought; get it played; and let it own you.
Note: I have filtered out all the swearing and nudity from these grabs, because that’s not what this blog is about. Although I very much love the profanity and humour in this game I wanted to keep this post relatively clean. Profanity is not “bad language” – as some people like to argue – but is a colourful and common form of language use.
Seiken Densetsu 3 was released by Squaresoft in 1995 and an English fan translation came out in 2000. Only five years after the game’s original release there was a fan translation… That’s unheard of. And there are various translations available now, including German and French.
Seiken Densetsu 3 was clearly at the top of many people’s translation lists to have been ‘done’ so quickly, and the fan translation is generally excellent, although the story overall is a bit dry. There are some nice bits of humour. Not as much emotion as in the Final Fantasy games, but I think Seiken Densetsu 3 benefits from that. It’s quite dark, with a surreal, cartoony edge. There’s a bit of a Luke/Darth relationship storyline going on, but it’s hardly Shakespeare, so doesn’t resonate hugely, but neither did it bore me. It’s a solid Japanese RPG storyline with cute dialogue. Made even better by great character designs, and an unusual approach to character classes. You can “Class Change” twice during the game, and it really opens up your party’s abilities. It’s an interesting concept that I’m not sure if I’ve seen anywhere else.
Another great thing about Seiken Densetsu 3 is the “party of three” system. You begin the game with one character in your party, and eventually two more join, making three in total. You choose which three you want, from a pool of six, at the start of the game, and cannot change them. Each have different abilities, as you’d expect, but your choice also affects the direction of the game at certain points in the story. So if you choose Duran and Angela (as I did), then the game would branch off in a different direction to Carlie and Kevin’s story. In reality there are only three different branches, but the final boss battles are different in each, and there are unique places on the map you can only visit if you’re playing a certain party, so Seiken Densetsu 3 has a lot of re-playability value. If you want to see everything the game has to offer: you really have to play through it three different times.
Which is no bad thing… Actually, I’m already thinking about my next play-through. Now that I’ve beaten Seiken Densetsu 3 once, I’m ready to truly kick its arse with my new found understanding of this classic retro game.
Remember: a game is for life. Not just for the Nineties!
Seiken Densetsu 3 Week
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 1]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 2]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 3]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 4]
Seiken Densetsu 3, Super Nintendo [Part 5]