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    Thread review
    tomman Super Nazo Puyo: Rulue's Roux

    Turns out that there is more puyo beyond Puyo Puyo. Enter the Nazo Puyo series, where instead of getting your ass served in a plate by non-human Japanese bots playing with friends or being beaten by some unfair AI, you're instead supposed to complete quick puzzles with puyos. Easy in principle, yet the execution is all around, from deceivingly simple puzzles to complete mindbreakers.

    In other words: goddamned puyos!

    You gotta be very creative when solving most of those puzzles: I spent like 30 minutes stuck at a "clear all puyo" puzzle, just to have the answer reveal before my tired eyes: I had to draw a goddamned H pattern with 3x 2-red and 4x 2-yellow puyo in a garbage-filled base pattern! ARGH!

    All of this because Arle wants to eat curry, yet all she knows is how to solve problems with puyos. Flawless plot!. And in the good ol' fashion of Madou Monogatari series of RPG games featuring our puyo-obsessed heroine, you don't get a health bar/indicator - instead, you get to look at Arle's face: the more desperate she gets (oh boy, you just don't make cute RPG protagonists cry!), the nearest you're from a game over. Fortunately, real game overs don't really seem to exist in this game - it tracks your progress with its battery-backed save RAM, and you just get to redo the set of puzzles you missed. Each successfully solved puzzle helps Arle level up, which also helps her stand some more abuse.

    (BTW: that's the only user-translated Nazo Puyo entry out there - there are like 2 SNES and 3 Game Gear titles released only in Japan)
    kode54 Minecraft. Bedrock edition, which I own for Windows 10, care of the mojang account license, iOS, and Android on Google Play. The latter is useful for running it with the MCPELauncher for Lummox. Alas, there’s really no equivalent for macOS yet, until ARMac comes out, then you can just run the iOS tablet version on Mac desktop.
    Kawaoneechan Who knows why there's none in the screenshot.
    Posted by Kawa
    It's a Gals Panic clone. Only thing that seems to be missing is the opponents.
    A Qix clone with no qix? What's even the point?
    Kawaoneechan It's a Gals Panic clone. Only thing that seems to be missing is the opponents.
    tomman What the hell, let's try Vivid Dolls - it's one of the smallest Aleck64 games at 64Mbit, so I can afford the download :P

    Yes, it's a H-game indeed... albeit a very very cheesy one. Did really Nintendo let Seta use their platform for this junk!? The gameplay is nothing special - I think I've played this kind of "draw lines to uncover stuff while avoiding hazards" in older dumbphones years ago, with the difference that I didn't uncovered half-naked girls on those. With or without T's & A's, these kind of games end getting awfully boring after 10 minutes.

    Pick from eight girls, each one has 3 stages, where your pick loses some clothes on each successive stage. Curiously enough, for a game made in JAPAN for SALES AND USE ONLY IN JAPAN, all the models are westerners! (hell, the entire game IS IN ENGLISH!) Bunnysuits, cheerleaders, nurses, all the usual (Western) fetishes are mostly covered. Pretty girls, sure... but these ones don't satisfy my particular taste, sorry.

    The music is meh, while the sound effects are possibly the worst part of this game - the only effects here are "generic Western sexy moan #23", "generic Western sexy moan #27", some warning alarm, and "generic explosion #15", basically. Guess what effect you get when you coin up... yes, a "sexy moan". Gross.

    Arousing factor: approaching zero. The only "wood" you should expect from this game is the one from the desk/table where your computer sits over. Play a couple stages, have some good laugh, then straight to the Recycle Bin. WTF Japan, you can do better than this! Where is muh J-J-JAM IT IN arcade!?

    Word of warning: On Mupen64Plus, Angrylion's LLE video absolutely hates this game: even with cxd4-sse2 RSP LLE plugin, the game will hang with a blackscreen past the Aleck64 bootsplash (the coin switches AKA C-Up/C-Down won't do squat). GLideN64 will work, albeit with graphical glitches. CEN64 also wants nothing to do with this game - it rejects the ROM due to an unknown CIC type and refuses to run. Amusingly enough, stupidly cheesy games require horrible plugin choices - good ol' brokenass Rice Video + HLE RSP does manage to deliver! FWIW, Zoinkity's ROM hacks and conversions are confirmed to work on hardware - be glad your emulation choices are broken enough/not that broken to protect you from suck)
    tomman The platform had only 11 games released (including the cheap porno one, Vivid Dolls, and a sequel for Hi Pai Paradise that it's not listed there), plus at least two known unreleased protos (Rev Limit and Variant Schwanzer, and while there are a ROM dump for the latter, it's in the hands of a collector that most likely won't be releasing it anytime soon)

    Despite being built on the ever-popular powerhouse of the N64, Aleck64 never caught on and by 2004 it was essentially gone.

    BUT! Not all hope is lost, if you want to testdrive those unique games: since the hardware is exactly a N64 (I'm not even sure on how much RAM it packs, all I can find is conflicting numbers - some sources claim it has as much RAM as a stock unexpanded N64; others pull figures up to 144Mbit which is double the standard N64+Expansion Pak - remember that the N64 uses some weird 9-bit RAMBUS), the very same guy that hacked up all those locales into Puyo Puyo Sun 64 and made an Aleck64 ROM cart out of it also managed to "reverse-port" 6 of those Aleck64 games so they can run on a vanilla N64 with nothing else but your favorite flashcart AND the Expansion Pak. Oh, a standard controller would be nice to have, too. Save your quarters for something else.

    Yes, Vivid Dolls is too on the list of "ports", if you're that desperate for pornless porn :P

    UPDATE: Someone at the Everdrive forums dropped a 4shared folder with prepatched "consolized" Aleck64 ROMs, including some extra games that aren't listed in the site I posted earlier (they all come from the same romhacker - Zoinkity really loves the Aleck64!). The entire Aleck64 library is now yours to enjoy on a retail N64 (or your favorite accurate emulator).

    Here is the full game list supported by MAME, straight from the aleck64 driver:
    GAME( 1998, 11beat,   aleck64, aleck64, 11beat,   aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Hudson",            
    "Eleven Beat", MACHINE_IMPERFECT_GRAPHICS ) // crashes at kick off / during attract with DRC
    GAME( 1998, mtetrisc, aleck64, a64_e90, mtetrisc, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Capcom",
    "Magical Tetris Challenge (981009 Japan)", MACHINE_NOT_WORKING|MACHINE_IMPERFECT_GRAPHICS ) // missing E90 gfxs (playfield)
    GAME( 1998, starsldr, aleck64, aleck64, starsldr, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Hudson / Seta",
    "Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth", MACHINE_IMPERFECT_GRAPHICS )
    GAME( 1998, vivdolls, aleck64, aleck64, vivdolls, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Visco",
    GAME( 1999, srmvs, aleck64, aleck64, srmvs, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Seta",
    GAME( 2000, mayjin3, aleck64, aleck64, aleck64, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Seta / Able Corporation",
    GAME( 2003, twrshaft, aleck64, aleck64, twrshaft, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Aruze",
    GAME( 2003, hipai, aleck64, aleck64, hipai, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Aruze / Seta",
    GAME( 2003, doncdoon, aleck64, aleck64, doncdoon, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Aruze",
    "Hanabi de Doon! - Don-chan Puzzle", MACHINE_IMPERFECT_GRAPHICS )
    GAME( 2003, kurufev, aleck64, aleck64, kurufev, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Aruze / Takumi",
    GAME( 2004, hipai2, aleck64, aleck64, hipai2, aleck64_state, init_aleck64, ROT0, "Aruze / Seta / Paon",

    All of those have patches available for turning them into retail N64 ROMs.
    The platform never left Japan, yet several of those games are already in English!
    CaptainJistuce I've never heard of the Aleck64 before.

    Arcade N64 with more RAM, looks like. Still uses ROM carts... and has a smutty Qix-em-up?!?! Platform of the year!!!
    tomman Today I've found this translation patch for Puyo Puyo Sun 64, which is not just your average translation patch:

    - Voiceovers! The original N64 game lost those because carts are expensive and Compile was cheap (and soon after that in the verge of bankruptcy). This patch borrows the original voiceovers from other Sun ports (mainly from the PSX port), and the price you pay in exchange for fully voiced cutscenes is a 128Mbit ROM (original game was half that).

    - It is Real Hardware Compliant™. This is *not* a PJ64_v1.x "ROM", but it has been tested on real consoles using actual flashcarts (although it may not work on specific Everdrive versions due to implementation bugs in those)

    - The same guy walked the extra mile (or a thousand of them? HA!) and brought another patch that will turn any stock Sun 64 ROM into an Aleck64 arcade ROM with Japanese/Korean/English localizations, and voiceovers in two of those languages. For extra lulz, said conversion has been actually proven to work in an actual Aleck64 arcade board (and considering that MAME support for the platform is sketchy at best, you really have no other choice if you want a playable experience but to shell out some Federal Reserve Notes for arcade hardware). Pretty cool, huh?

    To be fair, it seems that Sun is the least loved Puyo version out there (the N64 version is particularly annoying as it does not support the analog stick, and the default Mupen64+ d-pad keyboard mapping is very awkward for me) - I still am waiting for a Puyo Puyo~n patch (now that we actually have graphic and RSP plugins that allow the game to run with pristine video), but as good ol' Vectorman used to say, "I'll take that".

    Satan exploits global warming to turn the island into a tropical paradise so he'll be swimmin' in women. Cut a swath of Puyo genocide across the land and put an end to his lecherous scheme.

    This is an Oscar Award winning plot, right there.
    Why Sega is not making a Puyo Puyo movie yet!?!??!?!
    funkyass thats it.
    Screwtape I remember playing Mille Bornes under Win3.1, but it wasn't a VB app and it definitely wasn't 34MB. I poked around in a backup of my old Win3.1 box I had handy, and I found a MB.EXE... but sadly the file-size was 0 bytes; apparently it got corrupted somewhere along the way.

    Luckily, it looks like somebody uploaded it (or something like it) to the Internet Archive, and at 28.6KB for the .ZIP download, it might be worth checking out.
    funkyass wow, Mille Bornes. I remember playing that in win3.1
    Posted by tomman

    If only we could get those Unlimited Gas safety cards in real life over here...
    Ain't that the truth.
    tomman It seems my pointless quest for dumb AKA "taking apart abandoned ancient VB3 shareware with a decompiler" led me to discover a rather cool card game I didn't knew it existed: Mille Bornes (that's French for "thousand milestones"), a game created by a Frenchman that actually was born in Ecuador (!!!), based on a even older "car card game". Apparently this game was somewhat popular in the 70s at some places, and it's still in print to date, both in actual cards and versions for computerizers.

    Needless to say, I got hooked. The game is that simple, even simpler than UNO, you'll quickly learn the few rules in no time. Seriously, that Frenchman that turning something as boring as a car trip into a card game just nailed it.

    Since it's obvious that my chances of getting my hands on an actual card deck (and the required flesh'n'bones friends) are ZERO (it seems there is a Spanish version but since this doesn't use a poker, Spanish, or UNO deck, noone has ever heard about it over here), my only options are the digital versions. Turns out the options I've found so far are a mixed bag:

    - Road Trip (Carcajou Software): The original VB3 shareware that started this trip (pun not inteded!) for me. Uses custom card designs which are not that bad despite being postage stamp sized .BMPs from 1996 (one of the Remedy cards has a hilarious spelling error). Unbalanced as hell - the AI is simply a RNG gone mad (according to the dissasembly it's a hodgepodge of redundant copypasta code): let's say the computer plays an Accident hazard card on you... and you won't be getting that Repair remedy card you need, EVER. Or you will be suddenly full of every single Out of Gas card in the deck that you can't play on your foe because the computer has protected itself with the unlimited gas safety. Rarely you get a really head-to-head close game - most likely you've lost the game before playing your first card :/ Apparently they didn't addressed any of those bugs (among others) in the second (and final) VB4 release, yet they were planning to add online matches. Other deviations from the original game are:
    * No counter attack (coup-fourré) implemented, which seems to be the signature move of Mille Bornes. If you get slammed with a Hazard card, no matter if you have the matching Safety card in your hand, you can't counter the hazard, wasting one precious turn.
    * No 700/1000-mile limit: you just keep racking as many miles as possible (assuming the broken AI doesn't shut out you first!). Game ends after the draw pile is exhausted and both players play (or discard) all of their cards.
    * No 2x200-mile card play restriction. Although the Safe Trip bonus is implemented, this is neglected by the fact you can play as many 200-mile cards you draw.

    - This one-man software shop made a more modern PC version for all the relevant desktop platforms (Linux and fruity designer machines included, 64-bit ONLY) in some hipster bloated crossplatform framework (seriously: it's a 20MB download while Road Trip was barely over half a meg; the bulk of the install is a single 34MB framework .so in the case of the Linux version). This one uses actual copyrighted graphics from the real deal (it's amazing that in this lawsuit-happy 'murican society that Asmodee hasn't C&D'd this guy yet), albeit at reduced resolution (which could be a problem for those on HD/4K hi-rez displays). The AI on this one is pretty much the same "you already lost the game" affair as Road Trip, although this game offers both aggressive and defensive game styles. Still, this one is very playable... if you can cope with a couple minor but potentially game-breaking UI bugs:
    * At some point in game, the engine starts discarding every card you choose to play (you're supposed to discard by right-clicking the target card, which opens a context menu). This becomes VERY ANNOYING, leading to botched games if you don't get used to using the context menu to play your cards! Because there is nothing more infuriating that discarding that 200-mile card you just needed to clear the goal.
    * The game may refuse to exit sometimes (or throw weird exceptions at exit), at least under Linux. Be prepared to Ctrl+C/kill the executable when you want to quit playing.
    * There is a Spanish translation, which is pure rubbish. Fortunately the game features a language editor, so this is not a big deal :)

    But enough about computerizers for us dinosaurs! The PC is dead, so what about cellphones? Card games and cellphones have been proven to work since some Anonymous Coward managed to get Klondike running on those early Java phones. There is nothing at F-Droid, and a search on the Play Store through Aurora returns four candidates:

    - The official Mille Bornes app by Asmodee's digital arm. Not free (costs $2,99), and it's a bloaty pig (104MB!!!). NEXT!

    - Two adware crapps, possibly sending all your dick pics to Chairman Winnie Pooh at the CCP, BCC'd to the FBI/NSA/CIA/Jeff Bezos' secretary. Fuck no.

    - Road Rally 1000, the only one that it's completely free (but only as beer, not as freedom), and tipping the digital scales at 466KB, it won't be breaking your data plan. In exchange for a tracker-free app, you get a very barebones implementation of the original games. Card artwork are the SVGs from the Wikipedia article, for crying out loud! At least this one got the game rules right (including coup-fourré), and it automatically knows when to play or discard (unlike ExpressShare's Xojo version). I can't believe that this is the best digital version I've found so far despite its very simplistic UI, and it had to be a version for smartdevices :/ Yes, the AI is actually not broken on this one, with the expected EASY MODO/balanced/you've-already-lost-the-game settings that NONE of the PC versions bother implementing!

    If only we could get those Unlimited Gas safety cards in real life over here...
    Nicholas Steel A crazed maniac has done it! You can switch between Kongs on-the-fly in DK64 with the mod depicted in this video:
    Screwtape A long time ago, near the tail-end of the Nintendo DS lifespan, Square Enix released an unusual RPG called The World Ends With You. Instead of medieval fantasy, it's set in modern-day Shibuya (for values of "modern day" that include flip-phones); instead of chain-mail armour and long-swords, your characters have to equip the most stylish clothes and pins available from the various (fictional?) fashion shops around the place. It sounded pretty interesting, and apparently had a novel combat system, but I wasn't in the mood so I didn't pick it up.

    Later, a friend was getting rid of their DS games and happened to have a copy of TWEWY, so I got a copy for free, but I wasn't in the mood so I didn't start playing it.

    A few months ago, a YouTube Let's Play channel I watch suggested they might be playing TWEWY soon. I like watching Let's Play series about games I've played, or games I'm very unlikely to ever play, but watching a series about an unplayed game on the shelf within arm's reach seemed a bit much, so even though I wasn't in the mood, I dug it out. I admired the intro cinematic, the urban art-style and the music, and played through the tutorial. I proceeded to the second mission, which started off OK, but I couldn't figure out how to trigger the boss fight at the end - I just sort of wandered about, clicked on things, and sighed. Later that day, before I went to bed, I looked up a walkthrough to find out how to progress, but I'd had my fill for the day so I set it aside.

    Today was a pleasant afternoon and I didn't have anything else planned, so I decided to take a second crack at it. It took me a couple of goes to get the instructions in the walkthrough to work, but eventually they did, and I got my boss fight. It took me a couple of attempts at the boss fight to admit that I really didn't remember how combat worked, and then a few attempts to find the in-game tutorials so I could review them. After that, I actually managed to beat the boss.

    And then the post-fight cutscene dumps you into *another*, harder fight without a chance to save. *That* fight took me half a dozen more attempts, and for each attempt I had to beat the first fight again to reach the second. I spent more time reviewing the in-game tutorials, making sure I had the in-game difficulty settings as low as they could go (the level-slider adjusts *your* level, not the level of enemies) and eventually I managed to make it through to the third mission.

    The third mission moved me to a different part of Shibuya, introduced food and clothing shops, and a bit more world building. I was starting to have a good time, but when I reached the first story battle, once again I had my ass whooped almost immediately.

    Maybe the game expects you to grind a lot for XP between moving the plot forward? Maybe the game expects you to grind to increase the player's skill, rather than the character's level? Maybe I just suck horribly? But man, I feel like basic combat is fiddly and unforgiving, and the game keeps trying to pile more fiddly and unforgiving layers on top to spice things up.

    I don't have the time or patience to hundred-percent games or S-rank everything, and I'm OK with that. On the other hand, I'd like to think I'm skilled enough to at least experience the intended "fun part" of any mainstream game, so this experience is very frustrating.
    kode54 I may give it another try some day, since I already have the game anyway. I'll have to give it more patience if I want to give it a proper go.
    Posted by kode54
    Also, for what it’s worth, I never even made it to the first dungeon in DQ8. I was still in the process of being banished from the intro town by the time I got annoyed that the game wasn’t going anywhere and stopped playing it. Also everyone seemed to really be enamored with the cockney accents in use by the completely voice acted dialogue, but all it did was annoy me.

    The king and Yangus are the really good ones, but that won’t become apparent until later on. If the accent really bothers you, you can turn the voices off and play it like a classic game. If you’re automatically adverse to the game, though, I won’t force the issue.
    kode54 Also, for what it’s worth, I never even made it to the first dungeon in DQ8. I was still in the process of being banished from the intro town by the time I got annoyed that the game wasn’t going anywhere and stopped playing it. Also everyone seemed to really be enamored with the cockney accents in use by the completely voice acted dialogue, but all it did was annoy me.
    CaptainJistuce For what it is worth, after the two-hour wall o' text, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet becomes an entertaining, if not exactly great, semi-shooter.
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