Bits and Bobs: Tobidase Doubutsu no Mori Flyer (AKA Animal Crossing: New Leaf)

You never quite know what’s going to arrive when you order a game from abroad – sometimes you get a little “thank you” note, or a sticker, or even 400,000 Japanese Kit Kats (slight exaggeration, but I am still munching away at Kit Kat mountain even now). I also end up with a lot of flyers; most get shoved away somewhere (and some simply end up in the bin) but every now and then one catches my eye, like the lovely Animal Crossing booklet in the title.

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Ultimately it still has exactly the same goals as every other piece of advertising out there – to get you to buy their product – but this one has a very fitting style and spends more time showing you the things you actually want to see instead of going for the more direct HERE’S THE BOX! HERE’S THE RELEASE DATE! PREORDER NOW! approach.

In any case it definitely got me to think about buying the game and I thought there were enough images to make it worth a look for everyone else, so here’s the complete set of scans.

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A Little Look At… Sega Rally 2006 (kind of)

A few years ago (please don’t tell me you can’t work out when), Sega finally released an oft-delayed Sega Rally sequel on the Playstation 2 in Japan. I’ve scanned the outer box so you can see exactly the blandness you need to be avoiding -

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Precisely zero stuffs were given, and even the normally excitable Famitsu gave it a middling score. The game would quite rightly be forgotten if it weren’t for one rather neat bonus….

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That’s right, for some reason Sega decided to just pop an arcade-perfect port of the original (and best!) Sega Rally in there! This disc alone completely justifies 2006’s existence, they even bothered to include force-feedback wheel support for the total arcade experience. I suppose if there’s one downside to this release it’s that it’s literally arcade perfect, which means no split screen play. Options are also rather thin on the ground, although you do get to choose between three screen resolutions and get access to the difficulty and timer settings so there’s really not much more you could as from them. As the game didn’t get a Sega Ages series release (why?!) and it’s not been announced as part of the new digital Model 2 Collection this is the closest you can get to the real thing without either buying an arcade cabinet or doing some legally questionable downloading – brill!
 
PCSX2 does emulate the game although there are some texturing errors here and there (nothing unplayable, just occasionally ugly) that aren’t present when played on proper hardware, so if you see any issues in the screenshots below blame the emulator!
 
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I do love it when Sega do “pointless” things like this that perhaps aren’t the most sensible use of their time, this freebie is probably one of my most played Playstation 2 games!

My Top Ten SNES Games (terms and conditions apply)

This post is the second part in my not-so-epic trilogy of 16bit top ten lists (you can read the previous Mega Drive list here if you like), and was actually pretty tricky for a Sega lady like me. In any case, I hope you enjoy my picks and I’m sure anyone that doesn’t will leave a comment to let me know ^^~

As before I’ve given myself a set of three rules to stick to:

  1. The game must be an original SNES game. It doesn’t matter where it ended up, but it must have started life on the SNES.
  2. Only games I’ve owned are eligible. It’s very easy to gush over legendary £200+ rarities you can only dream of having but I’d feel a bit insincere doing so.
  3. Nothing really obvious! It’d be easy to fill this list with games like Yoshi’s Island and Super Metroid but what’s the point in that? Is there really anyone out there that still isn’t sure if Final Fantasy VI is considered a good game?

One last thing – this list is alphabetical; I’d be here all day if I tried to actually rank these against each other.

Assault Suits Valken

The SNES may be famous for its RPGs, but when it wanted to it could put out some really exciting action games too. Valken (AKA Cybernator) is stuffed full of giant explosions, intelligent gameplay and varied levels that do far more than simply change the scenery.

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Bahamut Lagoon

I do like SRPGs, and this is one of my favourites -absolutely beautiful to look at and unmistakeably 16bit Squaresoft in style! Dragon raising offers players some nice diversity and there are some wonderful special touches that make a real difference to how you think – need to cross a river? The freeze the water with an ice spell! Brilliant!

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Clock Tower

Not just a terrifying point and click adventure but one that’s just as scary the second time around too! Certain key rooms are in different locations every time you play and Scissorman might pass by your hiding hole… this time. All this means you’ve got an adventure game that still requires you to think on your feet instead of playing through in a mechanical manner.

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FEDA: The Emblem of Justice

This is what happens when the Shining Force team split up – FEDA bears more than a passing resemblance to their previous work but leans more towards the darker side of fantasy and has a very neat alignment system too; act like a straight-laced obedient soldier and that chaotic character might not find joining your party a very attractive offer…

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The Firemen

This one actually had an official European release, but I’d honestly no idea until a couple of years ago when I checked online. This is a surprisingly tense adventure – they could have easily done nothing more than make the player a glorified watering can but a lot of time is spent navigating through smoke filled rooms or avoiding collapsing floors and robots that have gone mad. It’s not a very long game, but there’s really not much else like it on the SNES or otherwise.

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Majin Tensei

This is the last SRPG on my list - promise! I really couldn’t ask for much more, it’s an official Megami Tensei SRPG! The modern-world-with-demons theme is still there, just wrapped up in a turn based strategy game. Some beautiful spritework too!

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Super Aleste

This is one of my favourite 16 bit shmups; it makes good use of the SNES hardware (particularly the space station level that zooms and rotates around you), has an amazing soundtrack and is a heck of a lot of fun to play –perfect! Released in the US as “Space Megaforce”.

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Super Gussun Oyoyo 2

Cutesy puzzle-platformer by Irem. Your job is to guide the little chaps safely to the exit, but the problem is you only have control over Tetris-like blocks that fall from the top of the screen. You can also play this one cooperatively with another player - if you think your friendship can survive the puzzles!  What’s really nice is if you find a level too frustrating you can squash the smiley little guys flat and relieve some stress ^^~

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Tetris Butou Gaiden

This is regular Tetris with the addition of an odd cast of characters and their own strange special skills. Makes for a nice twist on a very familiar game and a great game to play with friends.

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Umihara Kawase

Simply a classic – visually it’s not much to look at but the line/lure mechanic is so satisfying and fun to use it honestly doesn’t matter (and in fact they plain graphics help you concentrate on why you’re really here – speed running!). The game encourages creative play with rarely a single “correct” route through any level; if you try just one game on my list, please make it this one!

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Screenshots pinched from GameFAQs – naughty!