Virtua Fighter 2 (PSP): COMPLETED!

Sort of prompted by the Virtua Fighter article in the current issue of Retro Gamer, when I opened up Mega Drive Collection for the PSP – on my Vita – I decided to play this.

It’s crap.

No, it’s really pretty awful. The animation is terrible, the controls are unresponsive, and the implementation of the game on the Vita/PSP is woeful, with horrendous slowdown and sound syncing issues.

It looks nice. But then everything moves and you wonder what the hell Sega were thinking when they thought the Mega Drive was a good fit for a Virtua Fighter 2 port. It didn’t have the oomph to push enough polygons, so they rendered the animation frames with sprites instead. Leaving a poorly animated version of the game and awful sprites that are laughable beside Street Fighter II or even Eternal Champions.

I completed it as Jacky, by the way.

Street Fighter II Champion Edition (PSP): COMPLETED!

Yeah__but_you_re_wearing_cauliflowers_in_your_hair.__t_httpt.coP1EYxoWhEuAnother game from that Capcom Classics compilation I bought a while ago, although infinitely better than the terrible Exed Exes. But then, most things are.

Usually, when I play Street Fighter games, I pick Kenneth. He’s the best, of course, and his blond locks are far more enticing and suggest he’s far more fun than boring Ryu. I mean, Kenneth drives fast cars and loves the odd drink, but Ryu spends his evenings meditating on the floor of his bedroom while his parents wonder what’s wrong with their special little boy. Kenneth, man.

But this time, I chose Boring Ryu. I’m not sure why.

What a struggle. Sure, I’ve never been the best Street Fighter player. I’ve only clocked it a couple of times in the arcade, and tend to only beat those players who haven’t really played fighting games before, but this… this was hard. I must point out that the Vita’s analogue stick (yes, I was playing the arcade game included in a PSP game pack on a Vita) is useless for Street Fighter. And the d-pad is terrible for dragon punches. In effect, I was playing with one hand behind my back.

Which is why Chun Li beat me 18 times straight.

And Zangief gave me Zangrief 12 times.

And Bison double perfected me 5 times before I even got a single hit in.

But! Eventually, I prevailed, and Boring Ryu walked off into the sunset, heading home for a glass of milk and a digestive biscuit, while Kenneth and his bevy of ladies partied at Spearmint Rhino for the entire weekend. Oh Ryu.


OK, so technically it’s on the Vita, and really it’s an arcade game (it’s on Capcom Classics Reloaded), but since it’s a download for the PSP I’m classing it as a PSP game. I think that’s in line with my usual logic for the likes of the Wii U Virtual Console. Not that it really matters. As an aside, the game looks pretty poor on the Vita screen, regardless of screen size option. I don’t think PSP games look very good on the Vita generally, but a game that’s resized to fit one screen then that is resized to fit on another? Horrible. The text on the menus and options are barely readable.

The reason I bought Capcom Classics Reloaded is because it’s cheap, and the reason I chose Exed Exes to play is because I’ve not played it before (although I think I have the Famicom version), it looks like Xevious, and Retro Gamer did a feature on shoot-em ups this months and I fancied a go on one.

Oh my god should I have not bothered.

Exed Exes is TERRIBLE. I know it’s about 30 years old and I know I’m not a massive fan of the genre, but still. It’s tedious. It’s repetitive. There’s no variation in the enemies or the landscape. The music is an awful dirge. The enemies are uninspired and take far too many hits to destroy. The bosses are all virtually identical, just progressively larger, and are basically simple symmetrical shapes with gun turrets on top. It’s really hard. It’s sooooo slooooow. The power-ups don’t affect your weapon in any real way (you shoot three bullets instead of two, but the power doesn’t increase so it makes no difference) and the smart bombs only damage enemy bullets, not enemies.

And it’s so, so boring. After four stages I wanted to claw my own skin off, but I stuck with it for all 16 and after the final fanfare and a load of bonus points, stage 17 started – which was just stage 1 again. No. I’ve had enough.

Then I started Vulgus and it’s the same damn game only with crap metal baddies instead of crap insect baddies. OFF!

Outrun 2006 (PSP)

Yes! I bought a PSP game! Mainly because I saw it in a bargain bin for less than three quid, and I quite like Outrun 2006. And I quite like this too.

It’s not without fault, though. Firstly, there’s the save game bug. Like some other early (and mainly Sega) PSP games, the game won’t recognise there’s any free space on memory cards bigger than 4GB. Mine is 16GB, with 14.5GB free, and Outrun said there wasn’t enough space for it to create a 1600KB file. Oops!

Luckily, a downloaded-from-GameFAQs Outrun save solved that, and I deleted the licence info from it, and it’s all working now.

The other main problem is the controls. The analogue “nub” is useless, and the d-pad doesn’t give enough control, what with being digital and all. Combined with the whatever-the-left-action-button-is-called being used as brake (rather than the right action button), it made drifting a bit hard. I’ll probably get used to it, I suppose.  Unless I just put my PSP away again (which is likely).

I did manage to complete an “Easy” route on the Outrun 2SP course, though.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

I spent ages just wandering the map today, fighting random battles along the way, trying to find where I’m supposed to go next.

Then I spotted a new, red, location on the map. Gah.

But by then my PSP’s battery was almost dead – again – so I didn’t actually reach it.

Echochrome (PSP)

After trawling the Playstation Store (now available on the PSP itself, meaning I can actually use it) for a while, it became clear there was nothing on there I really wanted. So I bought Echochrome.

I’d played the demo before, and wasn’t that impressed, but for £4.99 (or rather, £5 – you have to buy money in the store to spend in the store, which is stupid) I thought I’d try it again.

I’m still not really impressed. It seems that to complete many of the levels you have to rely on luck, trial and error, or what feels like kludging the system. The button to “snap to” the grid rarely works, and even when you’ve managed to join two platforms, sometimes the man fails to walk across them. The jumps and drops are a nightmare as it’s impossible to tell if they’ll work as you’ve laid them out – jumps especially.

But I’ve completed all of the A levels, and two of the B levels. Then I got annoyed because even though there is no on-screen clock, and the game is played against the clock (so you can beat your best times), you can still run out of time, as I did. Which is stupid.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

It’s been a while since I last played this, yes? About two months, in fact. But Fallout 3 happened, didn’t it? That’s right. Blame everything on Fallout 3…

I’d forgotten where I was in the story. Not that it matters, as the story lost me a long time ago anyway. It’s so bloody complicated, and there are so many factions and people working for other people on behalf of other people without realising other people are pulling the strings and, in fact, they’re working for other people disguised as other people. Or something. I don’t even know what side I’m on any more.

But today I went back to see one of my brothers, and was attacked whilst leaving by a priest or something who called me a heretic. Well, he had to die. And did!

Now I haven’t a clue what to do next. I don’t know where to go (no new routes have opened up), which is odd as it normally makes it quite clear for you.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Well, it seems to have got much easier now. I had a fight against the Cardinal (or rather, a demon-fused version of the Cardinal) which was alarmingly easy. He cast Doom on three of my characters, but since I killed him in just two hits (my White Mage’s “Holy” spell did over 300 damage!) that wasn’t a problem.

He was a sort of end-of-chapter boss, as I’m now onto Chapter 3, and am about 20 hours into the game. Of course, I’ve spent nearer 25 so far as I had so many failures (mainly on the hangman’s noose level) and retries that don’t count towards that time.

I’ve started swapping some jobs around too, with my White Mage becoming a Mystic, and my Squire becoming a Knight. I have a Monk too, but she’s useless.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Bah. It would appear that the next fight is a bit hard too. And it didn’t help that, once again, I picked my really weak female knight instead of Agrias (or whatever her name is) as they both look so god damn the same. I ask if they want ice cream and they both say yes.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Oh. My. God. I finally, finally, managed to beat Gaffgarion at the hangman’s noose. Only just though! I realised my magic users are mostly useless, as they couldn’t attack without causing friendly fire, and couldn’t survive more than two hits, so I sent them up out of the way to kill off the two Mystics and lay into select enemies from a distance. Phew!

I’ve only spent 10 hours on this one battle, you know.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Just one battle played (and won) today. I went back to the only place on the map I can currently reach where random battles can occur, in the hope I could play and bump up my stats a bit.

Killed all the baddies bar one, and got him stuck in a corner while I hit him with as many non-HP-reducing attacks and spells as I could, until he decided to attack me, and I countered, killing him. Sadly, nobody went up a level in the fight at all. I have, however, gained more JP so hopefully that might help.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Grrrah! This hangman’s noose trap level is bloody hard. I’ve tried six times now, and failed. It didn’t help that I chose an underpowered knight accidentally for one try.

And because I’m cut off from the main bit of the map, I don’t really have much chance of going away and levelling up.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Well would you have guessed it. It seems the Cardinal is a traitor too. In fact, since everyone seems to be on the wrong side, but somehow, the same side as each other, it would appear that Ramza is actually the evil one causing unrest. Or something.

I’ve managed to rescue Mustadio (or whatever his name is) today, then rescued Agrias, all without too much difficulty. They’ve now joined my party “proper”, rather than just be uncontrollable guest allies.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)

Is it me, or did this get “wicked hard” since I last played? I failed twice at the level where you rescue the machinist, and then failed (really, really failed) twice at the level afterwards. I didn’t stand a chance against an archer who could do 50+ damage each go, and a pair of summoners who could do 75+ damage to pretty much my entire party every round. I think I need to go and level up a bit…