Tag Archives: Shadow Complex

Removed two more games from my Xbox 360

BGAE HD beat again copy

The title of this post says it all: Beyond Good and Evil HD and Torchlight got removed from my Xbox 360’s hard-drive space to help make room for future games and content I’ve already paid for, such as the remainder of Telltale’s second season of The Walking Dead, if they ever get around to releasing another episode. I think I ended up freeing around 2 GB of space, but I plan to tackle some more arcade titles I have sitting untouched for awhile to see if I can polish them off enough for me to consider to removable. Previously, I polished off Shadow Complex and then immediately uninstalled it. We can all blame this on my neurotic nature to use every oodle of storage space I have to its full potential.

For Torchlight, though I had long beaten the game back in 2011, I was sitting pretty at 11 out of 12 Achievements. The last one to unlock was called “Superstar” and requires you to “achieve maximum fame.” You mostly earn fame by defeating unique enemies in dungeons, and you can always tell these apart from regular grunts because they have names like Moggath the Dragonkicker and Sh’gorl the Darkstink. In short, you probably need to kill around 200+ unique monsters to hit this target, and my saved game showed that I had only killed, at that point, around 125. And so I grinded, which was not the most exciting task, but it was mindless enough, and I had plenty of potions and healing spells to keep me going. Only took a few hours of going at it and ignoring picking up new weapons, enchanting gear, and worrying about what skills to enhance and so on.

This also served to remind me that Torchlight II is much better than Torchlight, especially because I built a range character there with the ability to create random chaos whenever making a critical hit. It was much more taxing to grind as a melee character for the “Superstar” Achievement because it meant getting in close and taking more HP hits. Though I do like the idea of these “clicky” action RPGs on consoles; maybe I should look into Diablo III one of these days.

Next, I moved on to Beyond Good & Evil HD. Now, I played and completed the original Beyond Good & Evil on the PlayStation 2 a long time ago; in fact, it’s one of the first games I wrote about back when I got into writing about entertainment media on the side, over at my stupidly named Blogger site Game Beliefs. In 2011, a Cyber Monday sale for XBLA had the HD version of the game priced at $3.00, and I happily paid for it a second time, fondly remembering how many photos of strange wildlife I snapped during Jade’s journey to stop the DomZ from stealing away the inhabitants of Hillys. I played a little bit of the game then, and then nearly finished the whole thing a second time in June 2012 when I was permanently stuck on the couch for an entire weekend with really bad back pain. I got all the way to the end section and…well, just stopped. Not really sure why, but I guess my back got better and I was so excited to leave the couch that I just dropped everything off my plate and went elsewhere.

Anyways, the last section of Beyond Good & Evil HD basically involves some “reflect this light properly to open the door” puzzles, a spat or two of direct combat, some flying-but-on-rails ship battle, and a surprisingly difficult final boss. I don’t remember the final fight being so difficult last time, but I suspect the fact that I went into the fight with only a small number of health-healing items played a major part in its difficulty. Without spoiling what happens, the controls for Jade during combat get reversed, and you basically have a split second to hit the boss and/or dodge out of the way, and the reversed controls take some time to get used to. Took me several attempts, but I did it; I saved Hillys all over again. I missed unlocking four Achievements, but they didn’t seem like any fun–more grinding, and not in a do-able, mindless way–so I just watched the credits, appreciated the soundtrack once more, and removed the game entirely. Oh well. Bring on Beyond Good & Evil 2; that was a joke, by the way. That game is never becoming a real thing.

So that’s three games now played and polished off enough for me to feel okay with uninstalling and never looking back. I’ve got more to go after, but for now I at least have enough room for the next episode of The Walking Dead, which I think drops sometime in March. Whew.

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My serious complex with Shadow Complex

ocd shadow complex final achievement

We all have our neurotic moments, and one of mine took place over the weekend. See, I am still operating under the very same Xbox 360 that I pinched pennies for and bought way back in 2008/2009. That 360 came with an internal 20 GB hard drive, which, thanks to downloadable games and saves and countless patches, has been filling up over the passing years at a steady clip. It’s nearly full, and I’ve had to reformat an external hard drive I wasn’t using to be able to download some other stuff. That “Gaming With Gold” program has steadily provided me with a new free game every two weeks now, and some are big boys, ranging from 6 to 8 GBs. The point is this: there are several games in my collection that I am done with–or nearly done with or haven’t touched in years or don’t even remember or can confirm in my brain that they were a once and only once kind of experience–and to make space…well, it’s deleting time. See ya, Limbo, Bastion, and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom; it’s been real.

And I was almost ready to remove Shadow Complex without blinking before I realized that I was just one Achievement away from having unlocked them all. According to the “Serious Complex” Achievement, all I had to do was level up to 50. Hmm. That sounds easy enough, and I wondered why I hadn’t, as, during Shadow Complex‘s time, I ate that game up. Pretty sure I completed it at least three times. After loading up my last save, I discovered I was sitting pretty at LV 45 and playing on Hardcore difficulty. That meant…well, only five more levels to go. Totally do-able. I could totally do that, I told myself rationally, and then I’d have all the Achievements and could erase the game from my 360 knowing fully that I experienced that game fully before it disappeared. Remember, I owned up to all this crazy at the start of this post: my neurosis.

It was not an easy climb to the top, surprisingly. But I guess it never really is. Shadow Complex‘s Hardcore difficulty means you lose a lot more health when shot by enemy soldiers and don’t gain back as much from health packs. I don’t have to worry about ammo as I have a lot of infinite perks already unlocked. It took me a while to get used to the controls again, as well as reacquaint myself with the sprawling, color-coded map. There was a lot of wandering to and fro, finding unneeded collectibles and some boss encounters and remembering how fun it is to run super fast from one side of the map to the other. I died a lot, and I gained a trivial amount of XP along the way. Like, pennies and nickels. That is, until I found an exploit, which helped me gain the final two levels in maybe 15 minutes or so.

At the top of the map, a little ways off from where you fight the final battle, you can gain a MAX BONUS for XP by punching seven or eight soldiers in a row and then exploding some kind of war-robot by launching a missile up its metallic butt. This nets you a really good size chunk of XP, and there’s a Save Room right near the area. So what I did was make my run, get the XP, save, reload my last save, and do the run again, save, reload, and so on and so on. It’s simple and boring and kind of has to be perfectly timed, but it worked and was a better XP guarantee than just plodding around, room to room, popping a soldier here and there and watching that XP turtle forward.

And then the Achievement popped, allowing me to add Shadow Complex to my list of green-starred names over there in sidebar county. I exhaled, checked a few things…and then deleted the game from my hard drive. It was fun going back for a bit to this modern Metroidvania, and the game still plays fantastically, but at this point, I’ve now seen nearly everything from the game. I beat it with 100% of the items and with 13% of the items. I beat it fast, I completed it slow, I unearthed everything. I played with the hook-shot and found ways around enemies, I kicked a lot of spiderbots, and I tried out all the golden weapons. This is just basically me justifying to myself that I did all that I could with the game, and that there was no reason to keep it on the system, when other games, like Clash of Heroes, needed the space.

I suspect this sort of OCD is going to come into play with a few more titles on my Xbox 360, such as Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge and Torchlight, as they both only have one Achievement left to unlock, both attainable, but, just like with “Serious Complex,” might take some time. Some pre-planning. We’ll see when I turn neurotic next.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Wild 9

Wex Major is out for revenge. Makes sense. His team of ragtag teenage freedom-fighters, known as the Wild 9, was attacked by Lord Karn’s Elite Shock-troopers. Some heavy damage was done, and six members of the crew were captured to be experimented on. Now it’s up to Wex (and his cohorts B’Angus and Pilfer) to save them, as well as kill as many of Lord Karn’s goons as cruelly as possible. Thank goodness he has the RIG, a high-tech weapon that shoots out an energy beam, which Wex can use in multiple ways: grabbing enemies and throwing them into deathtraps, picking up objects, using it as a grapple-swing-thing, and so on.

Wild 9 was an impulse buy. That much I remember. I was looking for something to play, and here was something to play. And from the makers of Earthworm Jim, too. Platformers don’t get kookier than that one. I assumed that their latest offering would be much of the same. I don’t recall getting very far in Wild 9 though. I think the torture aspect lost me, much like it put me off in Bulletstorm. When the RIG hits enemies, they moan and scream loudly, clearly in pain. Not my thing. I don’t want “bonus points” for dangling an enemy over spikes before finally dropping him to his death. I want to save Wex’s friends, and that means killing efficiently, progressing left to right, our destination always ahead. I might’ve stopped playing after the first boss chase sequence.

But Wild 9 has personality, and that’s the main reason it has remained lodged in my brain all these years. Loading screens contained some original artwork of the Wild 9 crew in amusing moments, and the art style and animation is clearly taken from the very same pages of Earthworm Jim. That’s not a bad thing, as they nailed something there and knew it. There’s some decent animation work too, in that Wex reacts to what you’re doing. Use the RIG to grab a crate, but accidentally drop it on your foot? Yup, he’ll hop about in pain. Really evokes that sensation of the Sega Genesis and SNES days where game characters were that–characters. However, his walking animation is trollish and clunky, but don’t tell him I said that.

Like Klonoa and Viewtiful Joe, Wild 9 helped usher us into a new form of platforming, that which is known as 2.5D. Yup. 3D graphics (as in polygonal), but still a side-scrolling action title. The camera angles could get a little jarring at times yet it was still a neat effect, especially when some levels have Wex is way up high with a gorgeous backdrop that seems miles away in the distance. Games like Shadow Complex will use this look to great success many years later.

The above text might seem contradictory–I love the style and personality of the game, but actually did not enjoy playing it. So, why would I regret trading in Wild 9? for some measly space credits that I don’t even remember spending? Well, I’d like to try again. As a youth, I did not have the attention span or devotion that I do now, and if a game didn’t interest me, it was off the list and over to the next. I feel like I gave Wild 9 a small amount of time and moved on to something else, eventually forgetting about it until the day came where I needed to trade in some games, and there it went. I’d just like to give it one more shot, to see if it will always be more unique than fun.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

Chomping and wall-jumping my way to fun in Monster Tale

My current stats for Monster Tale say that I’ve now played the game for three hours and five minutes, clearing 28.4% of everything. I think this is an excellent stopping point to hand out some free impressions about Ellie’s journey into the unknown. To start—it’s super fun. The story is light and bouncy, and kind of reminds me of a Saturday morning cartoon plotline: a bunch of kids leave home to become rulers of a foreign realm where they also enslave monsters to do their evil work. Enter Ellie, a young, spritely girl who stumbles upon a magical band (the thing you wear on your arm, not the thing you pay too much to see perform badly live) and an egg which hatches into a powerful monster. Jealous of her connection to Chomp, these unmanaged kids seek to steal back what they believe is rightfully theirs.

Much like how Shadow Complex was done in honor of Super Metroid, Monster Tale feels to be honoring the same game, as well as the Castlevania titles for the Nintendo DS. The overall aesthetic is friendly, with bright colors and cuddly enemy lifeforms, and I simply love that the save rooms are in libraries, and that to save you press up on the D-pad. It feels so good to save. Ellie can use either a melee attack or shoot balls of energy from her band; I’ve found that melee is most often the way to go, and the better your combo for killing, the greater your monetary reward is. Or sometimes you’ll get a slice of cold pizza. Win-win, really.

The platforming…it’s solid, but a little slow to start with. Thank goodness for the wall-jump ability, which makes backtracking and traveling in general smoother. You travel left and right, up and down, and there’s definitely obvious sections that will be accessed later after you’ve acquired the right ability. The usual platforming pitfalls prevail, too, with ledges that vanish upon touch, ones that bounce her high into the air, and others that move back and forth.

Chomp’s a nice addition to the party. He mostly attacks enemies on the top DS screen, and regains health on the bottom one, as well as devours food, kicks soccer balls, and learns new skills. The eating animations for him are made of pure smiles. So far, he’s learned several forms to evolve into, and the one I’m currently upgrading is called Wrecker, which means he enjoys exploding, meat, and exercise. That might sound silly until I tell you that his previous form loved ice cream. And here’s where it gets really RPG-like; each Chomp form levels up on its own, gaining stats from whatever you have him eat or how he attacks enemies; players can switch between forms on the fly, too, without the fear of losing all that hard-earned experience.

My only irks so far is that, on occasion, Ellie will roll forward when I actually want her to jump down to the ledge below. Also, the noise that plays when text scrolls along—does that have a name?—is annoying and not needed. Remember, silence is golden.

Boss battles are good, but I’m worried they are all gonna be too much alike, wherein Ellie fights one of the kids and a monster they control. Doesn’t take long to learn the patterns, and the toughest parts is just keeping Ellie’s health up as there’s no way to replenish it during a battle sequence. Regardless, I’m looking forward to giving Priscilla a smackdown. She reminds me of Darla Dimple from that 1997 classic Cats Don’t Dance.

But yeah, almost one-third of my way through Monster Tale and loving it immensely. It’s definitely proof that this pre-3DS system still has a lot to say. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Level up, level down, level me all around

Right. There’s a slew of games in my collection that are demanding I level up my character(s) to a set mark. Most of these are just to get Achievements, but they will also help bring about closure in my mind, as sense of completion, and then I can move these games aside and tackle other projects. Let’s take a look at few in my collection and see what they need of me…

Borderlands

There’s three checkmarks I need to hit by leveling up now, and they are Level 50, Level 51, and finally Level 60. It’s gonna be a slow climb, especially since I played some single player Knoxx DLC last night and managed to only go from Level 43 to a wee bit into Level 44. Might need some co-op help here. Hmm…

Shadow Complex

Gotta take Jason Whateverlastname up to Level 50. This one has been frustrating because it’s the last Achievement I need to unlock to get the full 200 Gamerscore. But I’ve played the game three times now and it’s just not as much fun running back and forth shooting the same dudes over and over and over…

Fallout 3

Besides one Achievement that puts me to the annoying task of finding 100 steel ingots (ugh), I also have to hit Level 30 with evil karma, and then play through the game a third time for the neutral karma Achievements set to ping at Level 8, Level 14, Level 20, and finally Level 30. I’m worried I won’t ever get the time and passion to do this. And I love Fallout 3. But it’s all about the time management right now.

Dragon Age: Origins

There’s three level-specific Achievements in this one, and I was lucky enough to unlock one of ’em during my first playthrough. The other two are for reaching Level 20 as a warrior and rogue. Considering how long the game is (and slow)…I just don’t know if this is feasible. Every time I think about having to do that Circle of the Magi loyalty mission again my body caves in on itself. Seriously, being stuck in the Fade for like three hours? Who thought this was a rockin’ good time? Speak up!

Mass Effect

A character–doesn’t have to be Shepard, I think, but most likely will be–still needs to hit Level 50 and Level 60. Hahaha. I think I’m somewhere around Level 40ish on a second playthrough that I walked away from some months back. There’s still so much I need to do in this game that it’s kind of crazy I even completed it once.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

In order to obtain extra side missions, I need to reach certain level checkpoints with specific vocations. It seems the sweet spots right now are for Level 15 and then Level 40. Got a ways to grind still. I don’t mind this for the vocations I currently am using, but the idea of switching jobs and resetting to Level 1…it’s not that the game isn’t fun, it’s just that that kind of devotion doesn’t exist inside of me. Same reason I’ve only collected 90 or so Pokemon in HeartGold; there’s playing a game and then there’s completely obsessing over obtaining every item, every spell, every skill, and so on. I used to do this (hello, Ratchet and Clank!), but can no longer…sadly.

Maybe this is my just desserts though for enjoying and playing way too many RPGs.

Shadow Complex supports minimalists

Taking a tiny break from Fallout 3 (please don’t die from shock at that statement; I haven’t yet), I’ve gone back into the thinly veiled world of Shadow Complex. Now, I’ve already beaten the game twice, once just going along with things, and the second time to collect 100% of the items on the map. I basically have two achievements left to get: Minimalist (Complete the game with less than 13% of items) and Serious Complex (Level up to experience level 50). Both are definitely an uphill battle, especially if you’re one of the types that grows bored playing the same game over and over and over…

Luckily, Shadow Complex is a blast.

And random, too.

Take, for instance, the following scenario. Sneaking down a set of darkened barrack-like halls, I ran into an enemy soldier. Since I was close enough for hand-to-hand combat, I jabbed him twice in the face and moved to the next room…only to die a quick death from many, many guns. Going back through the same room, I instead killed the initial guard with a grenade…to only die once again in the next room. The third time…I popped the soldier quickly in the head with my pistol and planned my subsequent moves much better.

I also completely forgot how stunningly beautiful and haunting the gameworld is, and yes, I’m talking about when whatshisname has to swim back through some previous rooms now flooded and there’s dead soldiers drifting in the water with this quiet, atmospheric piano in the background. So good, people. So spooky. Much better than a hundred retail games have ever gotten it. Quote me on that if you must.

But yeah…Shadow Complex is a game worth replaying and revisiting because it is never what you expect it to be. I won’t be going after these achievements simultaneously because it is nearly impossible to gain a ton of XP, but not explore and gather extra items. So first up is…Minimalist. I’m at 7% and doing well. Then it looks like I’ll be playing through for a fourth time, which I don’t mind one bit.

An update of sorts, mainly bits and pieces

battery-level-0

Hmm, it’s been a pretty busy weekend/week, and sadly that means I haven’t had much time for videogaming. Between the day job, revealing the website for my forthcoming comic Supertown, and the cursed return of all my favorite TV shows, I just haven’t had the (mental) energy to plop down and game the night away. Sure, I could watch less TV, but The Office and House are too good to not see.

Okay, enough excuses. Here’s some tidbits.

Bought Scribblenauts. It could easily be summarized as “a fantastic toy, but a flawed game.” The very first word I typed in was “LOLcat,” which did not work, but then I remembered I was thinking actually of “keyboard cat.” That did work, and I quickly summoned a dragon to eat it. Feel free to analyze that as you wish. The one nice thing is that you don’t have to play every single level, just a few to open up more, and then you can hop to and fro from the world map. The music is pretty fantastic though.

Beat Shadow Complex. For a second time. This trek though was to get 100% of items, and man it was a bit tricky. Sadly, I had to rely on a guide to get two or three of them, but once you have everything you totally feel like a badass walking into battle. Will probably play through one more time to get the Level 50 achievement, as well as the less than 13% items achievement (which I’m anxious to even try). All in all, a really fun game, and I generally don’t play ’em more than once so this is obviously saying something.

And I finished up the main campaign in Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. Did not take very long to knock Tezzeret on his butt, and I’m still unsure how I feel about this stripped down version. Sure, it’s a wonderful introduction to the trading card game, but man does it feel so empty.

Full reviews coming on all of these games. When? Whenever.