Pocky & Rocky 2
(Completed on 2 Aug 2023)

  • This was the first Pocky & Rocky I had ever played - apparently the original is also on SNES, and there’s a GBA one called Pocky & Rocky With Becky. Odd that I don’t hear much about these games, but this one at least is really fun.
  • The setting, artwork, and colors are really captivating, it’s very easy to get into the whole Pocky & Rocky world.
  • There are some pretty fun mechanics in this game such as knowing when to use the wand vs throwing projectiles, when to pick up items because you need them vs using an ally to pick them up for more score points (every 10k score points grants an extra life)
  • The health and lives system were very inscrutable to me at first, even after having read the manual. I think I had a hard time seeing when I got hit, not having a “health bar” threw me off. The whole system does actually work well though, once you understand what’s happening.
  • I don’t think I have ever seen a game with a steeper difficulty ramp. The vast majority of the game is a fun little cute-‘em-up. I was even able to finish some of the much later levels without using a continue. The final boss, however, was an absolute nightmare. The level is a nightmare, everything you have to do to get to the final boss (including a mid-boss) is annoying, and you have to do it from the beginning of the level every time you lose. Eventually I figured out a system, but the last 5% of the game probably took me more time than the earlier 95%. It was such a slog.

Ninja Gaiden
(Completed on 2 Jun 2023)

  • Another one which genuinely feels like a big achievement. Beating this takes a ton of work, but the payoff feels so good.
  • When it came to the final boss gauntlet, I did get smart and choose NOT to walk in until I could get there with a Spin Slash equipped, but for my first try, this didn’t help at all. The first phase of the boss went down easily, then I proceeded to get annihilated on the second phase. This booted me back to 6-1, where I was extremely mad about having to fight all the way back.
  • After a while though, you do kinda get into a ‘rhythm’. I would bet that despite some of the levels in stage 6 being the hardest ones in the game, I am better at getting through there than I would be at some of the earlier levels. You just kinda memorize it and get used to it.
  • Since I always play these games as closely as possible to original hardware as I can get, I did not attempt to reset or walk back any progress after losing to one of the 3 final bosses. I just fought all the way through 6-1 through 6-3 every time I failed. This did not feel good, but maybe it’s character building.
  • I really like the controls of this game and they feel amazing once you get used to them. Movement and jumping and combat are really fluid.
  • Obviously the music is some of the greatest ever made for a video game; nothing else really needs to be written about this, everyone knows it’s great because everyone who has beat this game has spent A LOT of time with it.
  • I absolutely now want to play the sequels to this game, and maybe even come back to this one in the future. The difficulty does NOT make it un-fun.


Super Mario World
(Completed on 3 Apr 2023)

  • Another childhood favorite, which I’m not sure I ever finished as a kid?
  • It is cool to see how many of the mechanics which were invented just for this game, have carried forward into even today’s 2D sidescrolling Mario titles. This one really is the template for all else.
  • I had forgot just how many secrets are all over the place in this game. It is covered in them, and they are so much fun to find.
  • Absolute stone cold classic; like other stone cold classics, it is impossible to write anything that hasn’t already been said.

Leged of Zelda: The Minish Cap
(Completed on 22 Mar 2023)

  • This is the first GBA game on the site which I finished on something other than the Pocket. Not sure why I went with the Switch version. D-pad controls definitely would have been better, but this game isn’t anywhere near hard enough for that to matter
  • Maybe I live in a bubble but this game seems underrated?? It’s perfectly casual friendly, there are tons of secrets to find, the game play is awesome, the world is exactly the right size, and this era of “wind waker style” artwork was awesome.
  • Speaking of casual-friendly, it might be a little too casual friendly. After I finished, I found myself wishing there was a second quest or ‘hard mode’ like in other Zelda games.
  • I was able to finish this one without looking anything up, and as a result, never fully pinned down how the Kinstone system worked. This is a really good thing, because the mystery of it kept me doing every Kinstone fusion I could find. I was never sure what the reward would be- I still don’t know how to predict whether you’ll get a small treasure (like rupees) or a big treasure (like another bottle). That made the system really fun.
  • SO. MANY. SECRETS. Not just from Kinstones; the overworld is absolutely covered in stuff to find.
  • The equippable items available in this one are some of the best in any Zelda game. The lantern is back and works identical to the NES original. Roc’s Cape is here, but not Roc’s Feather. And most items remain useful for the entire game, including up to the final boss, so you’re never carrying around something that feels like it was just for 1 dungeon.
  • Interestingly, this game makes reference to SO many other Zelda games (Farore, Nayru, and best girl Din are even here!) but no reference at all to the Master Sword. I guess they were really trying to make the Four Sword thing happen.
  • Overall, I’d recommend this game to anybody. There is no focus at all on hardcore level design or brutally difficult boss fights, just pure fun.

(Completed on 12 Mar 2023)

  • Having just finished this game, the thing that still stands out the most by a LONG shot is the music. If this game had been made by Nintendo or Rareware, people today would say it has one of the great soundtracks.
  • Most of the rest of the game doesn’t feel very remarkable to me, but I also know nothing about the beat-em-up genre and I am really bad at them.
  • That being said, the progression and difficulty ramp feels very fair. The continue system is also extremely generous. You do NOT have to re-do an entire level if you die on a boss. You can repeat just the boss fight as many times as it takes.
  • The enemy variety is huge, the levels and set pieces are unique, there’s always something different to look at; at no point does the game feel repetitive or boring.
  • I did this run entirely as Kamaitachi. Did not even try out the other characters. Having a choice of 3 is pretty cool though; some time in the far future I may play this again with one of the other fighters.

(Completed on 11 Mar 2023)

  • Every review you read repeats the same complaint about how this game is ‘short’, which is true, but that does not mean it’s easy. Yeah there are very few levels but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can get brutal. There are platforming sequences which are very frustrating.
  • The things about it which are easy are (1) most of the bosses, including the final boss and (2) the extremely generous continue system. Basically the amount of lives you have doesn’t matter that much. Once a level is complete, it is complete even if you run out of lives.
  • There is a boss gauntlet at the end like lots of other games from this time, but they give you health and magic powerups between each one???
  • I really love this graphical style, and might put Hook on the list since it’s made by the same people?
  • Same goes for the soundtrack. It is really disappointing how boring the ending screen is, considering that everything else looks and sounds incredible.
  • The controls take some getting used to, and aren’t really as fluid as everyone says. It can be a huge pain when you stick to a wall and didn’t intend to.

Final Fantasy
(Completed on 5 Mar 2023)

  • Though this disc contains remasters of the first two Final Fantasy games, the goal was only to complete the first one. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back for the second one. FF1 is probably my favorite in the whole series.
  • I am not an expert on all the different remasters of the original NES games; the criteria I was selecting for was:
    • As close as possible to the NES original, but with bug fixes.
    • I don’t want the game to be any “easier” or need it to “appeal to modern players” or anything, I just wanted the spells to work.
    • No romhacks of the original. There will never be a romhack in this section of the site. Real games only.
  • From my research, it seemed this remake was about as close as you can get to the original, with bug fixes and graphics updates only, and hasn’t been molested in any other horrible way (like switching to an “MP” system for spells or something)
  • All that being said, this is the first time I have beat any version of the original Final Fantasy. Over the years, I’ve probably started this game 10-15 times, and never bothered to finish it.
  • It does feel good to have sat down and pushed through ALL the boring parts to accomplish showing the ending screen.
  • I made a pathway through the game which never really required me to do any grinding (maybe a little bit in the early game) so thankfully it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
  • Though I don’t think any sound or graphical upgrades are needed, they are very welcome. Especially playing this using an original controller and an emulator, with the sound coming through really nice headphones. It is very immersive.
  • Because this version is almost completely unmolested, you can even use the manual or strategy guide for the original game and everything makes sense. I never checked what is in the manual for this specific version.
  • Everything about this game holds up today. If you really like RPG’s, there’s nothing in here which would confuse or annoy you. As a bonus, this one has a legitimately coherent story line, unlike almost every other Final Fantasy!

Final Team:

Knight, Master, Red Wizard, Black Wizard


Metroid Prime Remastered
(Completed on 18 Feb 2023)

  • Gets to count as “retro” because it is very damn close to the GameCube original. Not much different than playing Final Fantasy I on the PlayStation
  • It’s just like you remember it, but in HD. For the first time, I think I “got” what people used to talk about when they recount seeing Mario in HD for the first time. This was my version of that; I love Metroid and love this game.
  • For not having played this game in 15 years or so, I was shocked at how much I remembered.
  • Everything about it is amazing. Everyone knows it. There’s not much else to say. I am just so glad this port exists at all.

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