The Ultimate Just Got Better: Minty on PS2

A little over a month ago, I started keeping a journal of my adventures through the history of the PlayStation 2. Since there’s no sign of stopping now, I figure I’ll keep these posts in a dedicated thread. I’ll keep a table of contents updated as I go along. Thanks for reading!

Intro

Spring 2000
Evergrace
Fantavision and Ridge Racer V

Summer 2000
Evergrace pt. 2 and Armored Core 2
Dynasty Warriors 2
Orphen: Scion of Sorcery and Tekken Tag Tournament

Autumn 2000
Sky Odyssey
Silpheed: The Lost Planet
Aqua Aqua and Wetrix
TimeSplitters
Ring of Red

Winter 2000/2001
Shadow of Memories
WinBack: Covert Operations
The Bouncer and Technictix

The unchosen

Eternal Ring
I.Q. Remix+: Intelligent Qube
TVDJ
BCV: Battle Construction Vehicles
Surfing H3O
Dance Summit 2001: Bust A Move
Midnight Club Street Racing
Smuggler’s Run
SSX
Unison: Rebels of Rhythm & Dance
Ikuze! Onsen Takkyuu!!
Kengo: Master of Bushido
Rayman 2: Revolution
Tsugunai: Atonement

Newest Poll! Closes 11/29

27 Likes

Shadow of Memories

From the makers of Twinbee RPG and Kensei: Sacred Fist comes an adventure game like no other.

First off, there’s one thing I need to get out of the way. I hate how people talk in this game. I don’t think it simply comes down to localization woes either. You play as a mind-empty wanderer who is always several steps behind you, the player, in realizing what’s happening. Half the time, he just says “uh,” “what?” “huh?” He’s also the most trusting and naive character I’ve seen in a story. Other characters aren’t much better, so conversations feel unnatural and stunted. Here’s an example.

“Here. You forgot this. It is yours, right?”
“Huh?”
“It’s such a gorgeous stone, like a jewel or something…It gives me a funny feeling to look at it. If you make it into a necklace, I bet it would look great on a lot of girls.”
“Well, ah–this isn’t mine.”
“What?”

The game actually keeps track of conversations that you’ve heard and encourages you to find them all. Sorry, I won’t.

It’s a shame about the writing because the plot is pretty fun time-traveling pulp. There’s a unique Faustian flavor to the typical time-travel cliches that makes the Germanic setting feel appropriate. A tremendous amount of detail can be seen in the architecture and decor. The city has a strong character to it and its fun to see it change through time and take on different color palettes.

The act of playing the game is not too different from the typical Japanese adventure game as it mostly boils down to being at the right place at the right time. I had a rude lesson in how to progress right at the beginning: I am trying to avoid being alone at the “fated hour” of my death. I travel back in time to see if anyone wants to meet me. The first person I talk to says yes. I travel back to the present and there they are. Wow, that was easy. I look at the clock and there are still 20 minutes until the fated hour. Talking to the woman moves the clock forward 30 seconds. I do this forty times. At the fated hour, I die. Oops! Turns out I’m meant to get three people to hang out with me instead of one. Time jumps forward automatically once you’ve met these conditions. I learned my lesson. I became a good actor and followed the script until the very end.

I got ending D by the way. It seems pretty clear where I can change things since my character stops and thinks to himself, “this is important.” Before I move on, I think I’ll play through it once or twice more to see what those or like.

13 Likes

Wow, I’m bad at WinBack. I’m still going to write a big post about it, but wow.

2 Likes

looking forward to this post! it’s one of those games in my sphere of interest but not in my sphere of action, so i would not play it myself lol

1 Like

I played a bunch of the original N64 version renting it again and again from Family Video, thought it was great, and tried the PS2 port a few weeks back and found it absurdly punishing. I need to verify with the original, but I didn’t remember it like that, at all…

By the way, WinBack 2 is Cavia-developed, completely different except in theme, and rad as well

3 Likes

Yeah the N64 game wasn’t very hard

This is good to hear because I like the general idea of the game. It just makes me feel dumb when I play it.

When I beat Shadow of Destiny I got ending C, where the protagonist returns to the present day and is so happy to be alive that he lies down in the middle of a street to admire the stars and is promptly run over by a drunk driver.

Maybe the most fitting possible end for one of the lamest heroes in vdieo game history.

12 Likes

imo this ending redeems any faults with the writing

5 Likes

WinBack: Covert Operations

Positive reinforcement is what drives me. Thank you, Steve, I appreciate the recognition.

So I haven’t gotten much better at WinBack but I have defeated the first boss. Let me go into why this is so hard. This is one of the first attempts at a cover-system in an action shooter. To encourage use of this system, the developers have made Jean-Luc very vulnerable to gunshots. You’re about as vulnerable as any of the goons that fan out from the many warehouses and trucks that populate the levels. Health packs are sparsely spread out and you get a score penalty from using them. Checkpoints also feel spread out. Typically, I had to survive eight good minutes of fighting through various waves and layouts to meet a new one. The level design is also tricky since you have no radar to aide you in spotting the enemy. They can hide just as well as you can. I learned to wait for the gaps in the burst fire to take people out. I started counting the enemies shots to know when they would reload. Movement between cover became more and more useful.

I like the level design. The decoration is bare but the various situations stand out in my memory. There’s a park that is intersected by canals. You maneuver around the shrubbery on land and eventually climb down into the narrow waterways below. Another level contained large warehouses with conveyor belts carrying boxes, some breakable some not. It gels well with the gunplay as you are mostly constrained to three weapons: a pistol with unlimited ammo, a submachine gun with long range and quick fire, and a short-ranged, powerful shotgun. There’s just enough thought put in to make encounters feel tactical though I’m a bit worried that the bland settings might drag on across the 25 or so levels.

Incidentally, WinBack is the last game ω-Force made before they invented musou. They invented musou, didn’t they? That would explain why Cavia took the reins for the sequel. I’m very excited to see the genre grow over the course of the system’s life.

10 Likes

counterpoint: this is good actually

300px-Ryo

3 Likes

It often is so bad that it’s good! The main thing that bugged me was talking to a random townsperson and hearing them say, “What? Why are you talking to me?”

1 Like

If any game is worth playing more than once to see the different paths and endings, it’s Shadow of Destiny. There are significant parts of the story that you won’t see on your first time through, and it’s an interesting story.

I lent the game to a coworker many years ago, and he got the ending that HOBO did. He returned the game the next day and told me he didn’t like it very much. I tried to convince him to try it again, but I knew it wasn’t going to work.

I can’t fault my coworker for that, however, because he had lent me Metal Gear Solid 2 and I didn’t even get through the introduction before I gave up. I kept dying on a boat and I didn’t know why.

4 Likes

was it the stupid bomb part

I’m thinking about adding preview material to the polls so people don’t have to search for things themselves. What would people prefer?

  • Commentary-Free Longplays
  • Screenshots from MobyGames
  • Boxart
  • Magazine or TV ads

0 voters

Box art or screens for sure. Well, EU/JP box art I mean.

1 Like

I’m going to go with box art because it’s the easiest to collect and put into a unified format. Basically, it’s the cleanest option. Plus, it adds to this simulation of going to a Gamestop or Blockbuster and scanning the racks. My screenshots are better than anything you can find on MobyGames anyways :happig:.

2 Likes

The Bouncer

I’m disappointed with my pictures this time. There are reasons for that! I may have delayed this post out of shame, bringing even greater real shame.

One reason that I love this project is that I get to delay my gratification in a way that resembles what it was like back when these games were first coming out. The Bouncer simulates this feeling perfectly. I remember anticipating this game back in 2001, knowing that it was from Square. After almost 20 years of not playing the game and barely thinking of it, I was ready to dive back in.

Like with Tobal No.1, Square has once again left it to Dream Factory to break into Sony’s new console. The game even has a similar fighting system as Tobal’s with attacks being arranged into low, medium, and high inputs. Toriyama has been swapped out for Nomura and I am going to defer judgement on whether this was a good choice. I will say that I have respect for Nomura because he has a fashion designer’s fearlessness in pushing what many people would see as stupid looks. I want the confidence necessary to stand behind a design like Kou Leifoh’s. Okay, I legitimately love how Volt Kreuger and Dominique Cross look. Have you noticed the names that I’m writing down? Are you as jealous as I am?

Unfortunately, far too many resources were spent on cutscenes at the expense of a cohesive experience. The rhythm of the game is incredibly disjointed. While the game is set up like a 3D brawler, the action sequences aren’t often stitched together by moving through the world on your own, rather, they are intercut by clips of plot. In practice, this creates a routine where you watch 3 minutes of a cutscene, beat up a handful of people within 1 minute, and wash that down with another 2 minute cutscene. This would be an all time great if you could just simply walk around, open doors, talk to people, and sit on benches, but I suppose this is what you get early in a console’s life. That said, I am here for the plot which involves microwave transmitting satellites and bio-engineering humans to transform into big cats.

Technictix

This is the first Japan-Only release in our little series and a very good one at that.

In an odd way, this game feels very similar to Fantavision. That is, my brain is doing the same work of trying to visually organize a field while keeping up with the game’s rhythm. This game is more complex however, and it surprised me with its variety. I wish I could read the tips because I’d love to know the secrets towards getting a high score. Perhaps I’ll find out when Technic Beat comes around.

Put simply, you must stand on a ring and press a button when the ripple meets the edge of the ring. With the first characters you unlock, you can pick up the ring and link it to others in order to cause a chain. You can also try to stand inside multiple rings in order to play a chord. This all means that the song can sound very different depending on how you play. It’s a much more improvisational experience than DDR. The complexity comes from the variety of characters, as each character has their own ways of carrying the ring. I really love how these abilities help characterize each person. A snorkeling platypus can dive with the ring in tow. A dog can pick up the ring but you must hold the pick up button or it will fall out of his mouth. The ballerina cannot pick up rings at all; instead, they swell in size whenever she stands within them.

The music is phenomenal and hits a wide range of genres. I would post highlights but really just listen to all of it.

I really like this game and I’m very tempted to buy this shirt from their official website. I can’t wait to see what Arika has next for the PS2.

9 Likes

Oh and while I’m playing through Shadow of Memories again, here’s the poll for the rest of Winter 2000/2001.

Winter of 2000/2001: Group 2
  • 7 Blades
  • The Adventures of Cookie & Cream
  • Dark Cloud
  • Choro Q HG
  • Oni
  • Onimusha Warlords
  • Truck Kyousokyoku
  • Victorious Boxers Ippo’s Road to Glory

0 voters

2 Likes

the HG stands for HIGH GRADE

1 Like