Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Hard Brain (Playstation)

This was just going to be part of another Net Yaroze round up (and I do still intend to do one of those in the near future), but I totally fell in love with this game and thought it deserved more than a single paragraph. It's a cyberpunk-themed turn-based strategy game, and though it's entirely in Japanese, it seems to be about a small gang of three guys either raiding some high-tech offices or escaping from some high-tech offices that are under siege.

Mechaically, it's pretty simple: to win, you pretty much just have to try and avoid letting any of your guys get surrounded by the enemy, and keep an eye on their HP so that you know when to heal (every one of your characters has one spell, which is for healing, and plenty of MP to use it whenever it's needed). It's also only a few stages long, which is a shame, as it has enough charm in its aesthetics alone, and it'd be nice to see more of the great sprites and character portraits.

It feels, however, that the creator had to cut a lot back in creating the game, since as I'm sure you're all aware, Net Yaroze games had to fit entirely into the Playstation's tiny RAM. There's a bunch of options that are never used, as well as spells for each character that are, as far as I can tell, permanently greyed-out and unusable. I managed to find the creator's website on the internet archive, in the hopes that they might have made a lengthier, more fleshed out version for PC or something, but all I found was the download for this version.

Hard Brain is a game that's definitely worth playing, especially since it'll only take up about 15 minutes of your time for a full playthrough (of which i've had a few at this point). People hold up Team Fatal's Terra Incognita as the Yaroze game that's closest to "commercial quality", but look at the screenshots for Hard Brain and you can't deny that at least in terms of presentation it could stand alongside the likes of Breath of Fire III or Persona and no-one could tell it was the work of a solitary hobbyist.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Yukawa Moto Senmu no Okatara Ikushi (Dreamcast)

This post can't really be called a review, sincwe to be honest, there's no good reason to play this game unless you're in Japan with an internet-connected Dreamcast during March and April 1999. That's because it was given away free with Dreamcasts back then (or sold for a low price), and it's part of a competition to win real prizes.

You play as the eponymous Mr. Moto, and you roam around a small island digging holes. In those holes, you find sixths of various photos of SEGA and Dreamcast-related items. You get 100 chances to dig, and as far as I can tell, the pieces you find are totally random. The point of the game is to take your 100 chances to dig and hope that you find the right pieces to make full pictures. Apparently, you could then go online to win the prizeswhose pictures you'd filled in.

You can play more than once, but the pieces you find don't carry over through multiple playthroughs. Apparently this was a pretty high-stakes game, since one of the pictures is of a car key, and I read online that there was also a large cash prize too. (Though, doesn't Japan have really strict anti-gambling laws that ban cash prizes? I don't know.)

Like I said, there's literally no reason to play this anymore, but it stands as a piece of SEGA ephemera, and yet another item of proof that for everything else you could accuse them of, you could never say they were ever short on ideas.