guilty gear judgement

Guilty Gear is an awesome series of fighting games that I am a huge fan of. They’re great, frenetic fighting games that reward you for paying attention and sometimes operating outside of the box. I love playing them. I love their mechanics, I love the character designs, I love the music, love it all. Even if the series’ plot is a jumbled up disaster that I cannot figure out, even after watching the four hour movie that’s included in Strive, I still love it.

There have been a few spin-offs of and mechanical off-shoots to the Guilty Gear series. One game in particular is Guilty Gear Isuka. Isuka attempted to take the one-on-one fighting game formula and turn it into a combination four-player fighter/side-scrolling brawler. The result was an absolute nightmare to play, and your time would be better spent immediately turning the game off and going back to Accent Core+R. But hey, at least it gave us A.B.A.

Arc System Works would try to make another Guilty Gear brawler, resulting in Guilty Gear Judgement on the PSP. Unlike Isuka, which was an exercise in futility to play, Judgement is really good. I don’t even mean that in a backhanded way; this is legitimately a really fun PSP game.

The thing about Judgement is that the developers didn’t attempt to jury-rig the preexisting mechanics of Guilty Gear into a different genre this time. Rather, they reconfigured how GG’s intricacies work in a different context. Gatlings (GG’s fancy word for basic combos) now work similar to the classic “punch-punch-big punch” combos in something like Final Fight. Special move inputs have been simplified to a degree; charge motions and half-circles have been replaced with quarter-circles and dragon punch motions, also getting rid of Isuka’s Turn Around button and letting you change direction with the D-Pad like a normal person. Roman Canceling is in this game, letting you chain special moves into other special moves and even Overdrives, assuming you have the meter for it (and there is rarely an occasion where you don’t), and all you have to do is input the command for a special move while doing another special. You spend less time fighting with the controls and more time fighting the hordes of enemies.

sol badguy’s move list, as an example of how things are different in judgement

If you were wondering if Judgement would help to explain any of Guilty Gear’s meandering story, don’t worry: it doesn’t. A guy named Raymond is doing human experiments on an island that all of the Guilty Gear coincidentally land on at the same time, and brawler hijinks ensue. Dialogue tends to be your character saying something like “there are enemies over there and I am going to fight them!” Sometimes, you might run into a different character, and the two of you talk as if they were a guest character on The Simpsons. “Wow! It’s Venom from Guilty Gear X2 #Reload! What are you doing here?” That sort of thing. Which I’m glad for; we don’t play GG for its plot, we play it because it kicks ass and has sick music. Don’t need lots of bull shit text getting in the way of me doing Stun Dippers and EXE Beasts on giant bugmen.

Fighting game spin-offs tend to be absolute dogshit more often than not, so it’s cool that Judgement is as good as it is. If anything, I would say that this is the most worthy successor to Guardian Heroes. A lot of games have tried to replicate it (Code of Princess, Streets of Rage 4, even GH’s terrible Game Boy Advance sequel), but Judgement nails it moreso than any other game. The only thing it’s missing is having co-op be more than two players. Like, I was legitimately shocked at how good this game was. A true “Hidden Gem” if there ever was one. My only real complaints here would be that the music is inconsistent. There’s a couple of good tracks, some generic guitar riffs, and really abrasive garbage. This is the one Guilty Gear not composed by series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari, and it shows. I’ll chalk this down to time, as the composer for this game, Kennosuke Suemura, has done other soundtracks. He’s done the SNES port of Fatal Fury 2, Rumble Roses XX, the Playstation horror game …Iru! and Battle Fantasia. He also did Samurai Shodown V…which means that he also…made…this. The worst song I’ve ever heard in a fighting game. Okay, I take back any compliments, fuck this guy, he’s history’s greatest monster.

My other complaint is that game can be overly tough at points. PROTIP: Luckily, there’s a code you can do that gives you infinite lives. Pause the game, then press Select to make the pause menu disappear, then press Up, Up, Down, Left and Start to give yourself one extra life. You can repeat that up to 999 times.

Other than those two things, Judgement is well done, doesn’t go on for too long, and has all of your favorites from GG X2. Unless your favorites include Killf Undersn, Robo-Ky, or Justice, in which case it doesn’t. Once you get tired of beating up insects, there is a survival mode that kicked my ass the one time I tried it. And hey, it also includes GG X2 #Reload, so there is a mainline fighting game you can play as well. I will complain about this though, as Japan got X2 Slash, an upgraded revision, and we didn’t. Also, the screen is really zoomed in. Extremely zoomed in to the point of pixellation, which hurts the visuals a lot.

But hey, it’s still Guilty Gear, and the zoom is its only issue, though in this day and age, you probably won’t even be messing with this particular port, and sticking with AC+R on PC. Might still be worth checking out at least once, as you can unlock slight variations (in terms of move list) of each characters (except for the ones I mentioned above) once you finish the second level in Judgement with them.

Anyways, Guilty Gear kicks ass, and this is a damn good game for the PSP.

Site Restructuring

Hey everyone. It’s that time again where I thought I would do some behind the scenes work on the site, and change things up again. The first, and most obvious, is that this blog is no longer confined to a sub-directory. This is where all the updates happen anyway, and I was getting less and less thrilled with my woefully out of date front page, so I put this front and center instead. I’ll be adding some of the things from the front page to its own “Bonus/Omake” page eventually, once I’m done going through and figuring out what should stay and what I should trash.

That’s also another reason: cleaning up. Thought it would be a good idea to delete old shit that I don’t like anymore, for various reasons. Stuff that I changed my mind on or didn’t age well, like, “Life is Strange is a good game,” “I can’t believe AEW hired Nyla Rose just to bury her,” and “Zoe Quinn is a decent human being.” Stuff that I didn’t think was all that good when I hit publish. Stuff that I reread and decided was too mentally ill to stay up. That sort of thing.

Now, while I’m still going to be doing reviews and short stories and very slowly making games (took a couple weeks off for what should be obvious reasons), I plan on being a lot more self-indulgent. I’ve found that I have become less of a people person as of late, and while I’ve definitely taken the steps to keep my popularity to a small audience of weirdos that society pretends to tolerate, I really want to double down on this. During my small break, I’ve been using the Wayback Machine to look at old sites I would read in my early-20s, or even in my teen years. A lot of these were not all that popular, and I only found them through a stroke of sheer luck during a Google search, before Google went to shit. It was a nice reminder of what I want the internet to go back to being: dudes (gender-neutral term) posting things they like on a space that they carved out for themselves for the love of doing it, not for any kind of “clout” or some shit. If I’m going to be a recluse that thinks people around are stupid as shit, I may as well be a relic in other ways, as well. So expect even more “uh idk here’s some stuff” posts that don’t always use a lot of big words.

Anyways, that’s it. I’ll have something up soon for the Patreon folks, which will then show up here in a couple days. I will also be going through and fixing a couple of broken links that have appeared as a result of me moving things around. Update your bookmarks and RSS readers accordingly.

RIP DJ

Yesterday, my cat DJ passed away at the age of 20. She was my grandfather’s cat, and I adopted her after he died back in 2020, and I wasn’t about to dump her at the side of the road or leave her at the pound.

A couple days after taking her in, I was in my kitchen. I grabbed a pair of scissors out of a drawer, because I needed to cut something. Of course, I didn’t close the drawer, since there would be no point to opening, closing, then opening and closing a drawer again when I only needed to make a single cut. When I turned around to put the scissors away, I see a wide-eyed DJ hanging off the side of the drawer. She must have assumed that the drawer was a platform for her to jump on, and found out the hard way that it wasn’t. In that moment I realized that DJ was a perfect fit for me and my dogs; she walked around with this air of superiority, despite being dumb as shit. Despite being in a precarious situation where she could have been hurt, she was really unhappy about me pulling her off the side of the drawer and putting her back on the floor.

she once pulled her bed off the little ledge it was kept on. instead of waiting for me to put it back up, she simply crawled into her crooked bed and slept in it.

The thing about DJ is that she has always been a grouchy, ornery motherfucker. There are friends of mine that have been in Discord calls that can attest to how mad she could get. I don’t have a family to sit around the table and eat with, so I tend to eat my meals at my desk while working on projects, watching a show, or some other activity involving a computer or my TV. If I was eating something DJ liked, she would make sure to let me know by jumping onto my lap and trying to climb on the keyboard and onto the desktop. I would discourage her from doing this by doing what every cat owner does: using the back of my forearm to gently nudge her backwards and say “no.” Most cats tend to ignore this, and keep trying to get your food. DJ would respond to this by growling at me; a big angry MROOWWWWWWwwwwwww. After a few nudges, she would full-on hiss at me, then growl again before jumping down and leaving in a huff. It was always loud enough that my friends could hear her over my headset. She would never bite or scratch, only yell. DJ’s grumpiness was just a gimmick.

WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING ME FUCK OFF actually wait i kind of like this

That was kind of her whole deal. She definitely used to bite and scratch at me or my dogs when we would come up to visit my grandfather every few weeks. My poor dogs had the fear of god put into them by her, giving her a wide berth when walking past her, right up until the end of her life. Then when my grandfather died and she became part of my family, she warmed up to me, but still had to keep up appearances and be a big angry jerk. Towards the end of 2021, and the first half of this year, she chilled out considerably, actually laying on my lap and licking my face for reasons other than to wake me up at five in the morning to say FEED ME FEED ME RIGHT FUCKING NOW YOU SON OF A BITCH A FULL BOWL OF DRY STUFF ISN’T ENOUGH I NEED ANOTHER HALF A CAN OF FRISKIES.

she once walked through the handloop of a plastic bag, and kept walking away when i tried to pull it off of her

That’s just how it was with DJ. She was a pain in the ass, but she was my pain the ass. She would break stuff, she would growl at you for walking too close, she would eat your food if you had to get up for a minute, do all types of headache-inducing shit. But she would also snuggle and purr and forget the tough girl act sometimes.

I’d like to think I handled the stress of the last month of her health deteriorating in a well-balanced, mature way. But I’ve also spent the last few weeks going to YouTube and watching numerous Family Guy Funny Moments compilations, so uh, maybe I haven’t been handling it well. At least she’s in a better place physically now, and I’ll eventually be in a better place mentally. Thought I would write some words about her, because she had made herself known in various Discord calls and a couple of Twitch streams and ended up being something of a character to a few of you out there. I’ll be sure to ask “hey DJ, how’s the weather down there?” on your behalf. Of course, I’ll still be keeping her in my Twitch intro, assuming I ever get the time to stream again.

Anyways, here’s some more pictures of DJ to close this out.

a random deposit of screenshots

Way way back in “The Day,” when I was running my blog on long-dead domains that proceed this one, I would post all the fucking time. These would be posts along the lines of “work sucked today” or “I just bought [Game] and here is my Nintendo DS Friend Code for it” or whatever. Sometimes, I would simply post “here’s a bunch of screenshots that I took while playing some ROMs.” That used to be a thing that people would do with their web sites, now that sort of thing is what social media and microblogging are designed for. But fuck all that, I should pollute my own site with that shit instead. Every so often, I’ll remember that I’m trying to use this as more than a “please look at all my words” platform and sprinkle in posts of big butts and a couple MP3’s. Today I’m going to go back to posting screenshots, because sometimes I will save stuff, even if I end up never writing about it. In some cases, I have a bunch of leftover shots I didn’t end up using in my posts. I’ll give the game titles and systems in the captions.

astro boy: the omega factor (game boy advance)

fallout: new vegas (pc)

noctis (dos)

space mouse 2 (pc)

breakdown (xbox)

shin megami tensei v (switch)

sasuke vs commander (arcade)

rough ranger (arcade)

bit generations: dotstream (game boy advance)

bit generations: boundish (game boy advance)

moon landing

For many people in this era, their dream is to float amongst the stars. To drift in space, going from planet to planet, exploring a potential beyond their own earthbound existence.

On Earth, on a long stretch of the Arizona desert, a man sits on the hood of his car. He sits amongst nature, a nature that is disturbed only by the open road and the power lines, and stares up at the sunset. A gorgeous evening in the middle of June. The kind of moment captured in photographs and paintings. Thomas (Tom to his friends) Fitzgerald, a newly-dubbed “Astronaut,” contemplates his life. To be the first man to ever set foot on the moon is an honor and a privilege, and it also a massive burden as a representative of humanity. In one hour, the sun will completely set, leaving the moon to illuminate the world. In one week, Tom will be on the surface of that moon, fulfilling his dream and the dream of billions.

Tom is out here in the desert to be alone. Alone with his thoughts. A place to be away from the petty internal and external politics exploiting his dream. Ever since he was a young boy, Tom wanted to be amongst the stars. His overactive imagination that was egged on by the stacks of pulp and superhero comics he read each month, and the radio programs he listened to each week, filled him with visions of rocket ships and stars and the possibility of alien life. Captain Astro, The Crab Monsters From Planet X, and Mad Scientist Comics were his favorite. A love of science fiction that he would continue to have in his teenage years, when himself and other boys his age were called to serve in the war. Five long years would pass, and Tom would return home, given a lavish welcome and labeled a hero, a title that follow him well into adulthood. A title that he never truly wanted.

The thing about war is that, despite what you’ve heard on the radio, read in the papers, or seen in movies, there are no heroes. A brave man charging headfirst into enemy gunfire to fight for his country’s honor is a myth. War is nothing more than a bunch of terrified boys hiding behind cover, firing their guns wildly into the air, not caring if they hit anything, just shooting until the other side stops. Most of the survivors will go back home and spend the rest of their lives on a street corner, enslaved by a chemical that takes the memories away. Society will not call them heroes, they will call them bums. “Thank you for your service” becomes “get a job.” Some of these survivors will become something worse: a politician. Tom just wanted to go home and become a writer; maybe work on some of those sci-fi movies that were becoming all the rage. The kind with aliens and vampires and things that weren’t a glorification of the suffering he witnessed.

Fate had other plans. During his time overseas, Tom found that he had a real knack for machinery. He could fix and maintain any vehicle, weapon, or radio he could get his hands on, becoming the most sought-after engineer by the US military. Hollywood wasn’t returning his phone calls or responding to his letters, so he went back to the service, building computers and communication tools at an overlooked research center. Tom figured that he could make a living building these machines, and writing scripts in his spare time until a big-shot producer took notice. Many years have gone by, and an unfinished draft of his first script still sits in a typewriter tray.

However, because of his skills, his physical fitness, and his perceived ability to maintain a cool head in an active war situation, Tom’s superiors approached him with an offer: undergo a radical, rigorous training regiment for three years, and be the first man on the moon. Of course, this would all be top-secret, and telling anyone about this mission would be considered treason. Tom agreed to the proposal before he was given the usual spiel about “doing his country proud.” To him, it didn’t matter why he going, only that he was getting to go in the first place.

Three long years go by. Tom is trained to withstand zero-g gravity. He learns the ins and outs of the programming language that will get his ship into space. He has the names and birthdays of every member of Ground Control memorized, and maintains a casual first-name basis with all of them. This is the fun part. Then comes the agony. Politics. Nationalism. The realization that his dream is nothing more than a cynical exploitation to beat the Russians to the Moon; making him nothing more than a prop in the Cold War.

Now, in the Nevada desert, Tom sits, and continues to reconcile his dream with his reality. Space was his dream. Is his dream. But the horrors of war turned him into a man that only supports America because he has no choice. Coming home from Japan, Tom was not the same man he once was. Witnessing his brothers-in-arms, boys no older than sixteen, mutilated beyond recognition by bombs and machine gun fire. Tom lost his pride in his country. What was there to be proud of? His post-war engineering was nothing more than a way to pay bills. At least, that’s what he told himself. The moment he was approached to enter the space program, that hatred subsided quickly. Tom would never admit it out loud, but being a puppet of America was a small price to pay to live out his dream. Even if, after three years, he grew to resent that something as sacred as the moon, which belonged to the artists and the poets, was taken and perverted into an act of war. There was another thought that Tom had been grappling with: what if, maybe, he still loved America? It could be a lifetime of propaganda newsreels at the movies, or the drills he went through in the service, but there was still some sliver of hope that there had to be something more. Maybe the people; the ones who aren’t making the rules. The strange people he would meet at bars, cafes, concert halls. The kind of people that have public service announcements made about them. Maybe these were the kind of people Tom stuck around for. Wanted to make stories for. Wanted to go into space for. Or maybe this was all a coward’s coping mechanism.

Whatever it was, Tom couldn’t linger on this thought for much longer. The silence of the desert was interrupted by a motorcycle engine. Its rider was a man who had clearly never even heard the word “subtlety,” let alone lived up to its definition. Five o’clock shadow. Black beret. Long trenchcoat, in June. Black boots. Black shirt. Black gloves. Tom had always been warned about spies before. The Russians, Tom had been told, were so hell-bent on ensuring that America didn’t beat them to space that they were willing to kill him. This was definitely a spy. Stepping off the bike, the spy approached Tom, not saying a word the entire time. Not only was it obvious that he was a spy, but it was obvious that he had bad intentions.

Tom was a three-time amateur boxing champion. One championship won when he was fifteen at a neighborhood gym, and the other two during his army days. So he could handle himself in a fight. The strategy here is to get the first shot in: land a shot so hard it’ll knock this guy’s dick stiff. Maybe lead in with a jab if necessary. He had to be quick, just in case his opponent had a weapon. You can never be too careful with government spies. Guns, knives, bombs, poison claws underneath a fingernail. These guys are armed with all types of conventional and non-conventional weapons. Just so long as this guy can’t reach for whatever it is.

Tom threw a right hook. With movement faster than any human Tom had ever seen, the spy had done a backwards handspring, evading the attack. Tom could just barely evade the spy in return, as his shirt got torn by the spy’s outstretched hand. He went with the poison claws, it seems. Tom was smart enough to know that while he couldn’t outpunch this guy, he could go on the defensive. Poisoned claws can pierce human flesh, but a well-placed kick with a pair of steel-toed boots will break them right off. Eventually. While Tom’s expertise was in a standing brawl with his fists, he had recalled seeing some fighters overseas using kicks to push an opponent back, creating distance between them. A push kick with the left foot, followed by a hopping kick with the right. The spy is springing to attack. Tom pushes him with a stiff left to the ribs, and gears up for the next kick…

It doesn’t work. Multiple attempts are made. Kick, and a miss. Another kick, and Tom has only succeeded at pissing this guy off. Time for Plan B: Run.

Tom begins sprinting, leading the spy to give chase. Finally, Tom has run out of breath, and collapses, propping himself into a sitting position on the stump of a power line. Finally breaking the silence of this fight, where the only sounds these two men had made previously were grunts and curses, Tom admits defeat.

“Alright, alright. You’ve got me. Just…just make it quick, will ya?”

The spy, relishing his opportunity, dramatically lunges his hand directly at the neck of Tom. This is it, the end of the dream. The end of America’s hope. The legacy of Thomas Fitzgerald ending as a corpse in the desert. The odds of being on the moon first is now firmly in Russia’s favor.

Except that it isn’t.

A last second dodge literally saves Tom’s neck. The spy’s clawed hand is stuck in the wood, and he’s desperately trying to pull it out. A well-placed ground kick to his ribs causes the spy to recoil in pain, which then causes the claws to be violently ripped from his fingers, spraying blood in a nauseating display. The spy is the next to break the silence with a heavily accented “FUCK” as he holds his bloody hand.

“Tell me,” Tom asks, “why are you trying to kill me!?”

“Because you need to die! Your death marks the end of two hundred years of unearned exceptionalism!” The spy responds, still visibly in pain. “You Americans! You exert your will over the world; putting it on your death parade called Capitalism. We could have just as easily killed your spineless leader like the snake that he is. But, we realized that your leaders can be replaced. Presidents have no real vision; they get elected, break all their promises, kill innocent people in ‘enemy’ countries, repeat. Heh, just look at what’s going on in Vietnam. No, if the Motherland is to win this war, we need to kill the people’s spirit. That’s you. Without you stepping foot on the moon, the people have nothing to believe in, nothing to live for. And for that reason, you need to die.” He then sprang to life once again, throwing lightning-fast punches. Tom manages to dodge some of them with footwork that would only be surpassed by Muhammed Ali, and responding with blows of his own.

The two men continue to clash in this epic struggle with the strength, speed and stamina of comic book heroes and villains. Eventually, Tom gets the upper hand. Punch. Punch. Punch. Hook. Uppercut. Knee to the sternum. Point of the elbow to the back of the neck. The spy lies on the ground, beaten but alive. Tom looks down at his beaten foe.

“Go home. You and I aren’t heroes here. We’re both the same: tools of the government. You hunt and kill people your leaders tell you to. I used to do the same, now I make machines that are probably doing a better job of killing than me or any other American could. Every morning, I would wake up, hating myself. Hating what I had become. To be building these bullshit machines because I need money to live. To go every day of my life being called a “hero” because a bunch of blood-thirsty power mongers put a gun in my hand and told me to shoot someone I had never met in a country I couldn’t even point out on a map. Worst of all, I hated that I had grown used to it. Grown used to it, and maybe even liked it. Others didn’t matter to me, because my life was stable. It was simple; I didn’t have to think about the greater scope of things.”

The spy manages to weakly mutter, “so then why do all this? Why go up there?”

“To be alone.”

“Huh?”

“The day I was approached to go out into space, it was as if every moment of my life had lead up to this point. I came out to this desert to be alone, which is why we fought out here, and not in my home. Out here, nobody will bother me. Well, in theory, anyway. I have these memories of my time in the war. All the blood and violence. The sounds of gunfire and screaming. Walking seventy yards to pick up another piece of a man I shared cigars with the night before. No matter what I do, or how much time has passed, I can never forget these things. People call me a hero for going through all of that, which I’ve always hated. In a week, they’ll call me a hero again, and I’ll hate that even more.”

Between the fighting and now, the sunset gave way to the night sky. Tom had sat down next to his defeated opponent, who made no effort to rekindle the battle.

Tom pointed to the sky. “You see that? I’ve wanted to go up there ever since I was a little boy. I was so willing to take this journey, that I didn’t stop to ask why. My government wants to colonize the moon. I’m supposed to run tests to see whether not the planet is habitable. Beyond that, I don’t know what they’re planning. I can imagine that they’ll want to send the most powerful up there if it’s hospitable. If it isn’t, then they’ll probably send the ‘undesirables,’ the people we’ve criminalized for looking and acting different. Tell your leaders that I have no intention of telling the truth when I get up there. I’m not doing this for America. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing this for Russian, either. Not any nation, for that matter. I want to go to the moon for the same reason I come out here: I can forget. When I’m alone out here, I’m at peace. But it’s not enough. I wish to experience a solitude no man has before. This might be the only way I can ever truly heal.”

“Best of luck then, Comrade.” The spy makes those parting words, before getting back on his bike, speeding away into the night.

One Week Later

Thomas Fitzgerald is ten seconds away from making history. Strapped to the pilot’s seat of his rocket, he steels himself for what lies beyond our atmosphere.

“…and in ten

Nine

Eight

Seven

Six

Five

Four

Three

Two

One

Lift off! May God watch over you, sir!”

The rocket blasts off in a violent roar. It’s finally happening, the stars are within reach! It’s hard for Tom to hold back his emotions; his excitement, the tears of joy forming under his eyes. Tom watched the blue sky get darker and darker, as he got closer and closer to the cosmos. Almost instantaneously, he was no longer in Earth’s atmosphere, drifting amongst the stars.

Tom was now safe to get out of his pilot seat, which he jumped at the chance to do. He looked out his cockpit window, the small window on the exit hatch, any view he could get. What a view it was, the beauty of the void stretching into infinity. It was perfect. The many stresses of Earth became so insignificant so quickly, with the planet becoming a tiny speck light years away. Tome was content with this, floating all alone, accompanied by the hum of his machinery. He could never go back home.

A starmap had been prepared prior to the mission, and all Tom had to do was tune his navigational instruments in the direction of the moon. Soon, one man would greatly expand the knowledge of humanity in one fell swoop. America would be able to beat its chest in a display of national pride for generations to come. The discoveries made here could benefit science, or would benefit the military. Tom did not care about any of these things. This was a man willing to spill his guts to a Russian spy who tried to kill him, as if here were a therapist and not an assassin. All that mattered was the mission.

The moon got bigger in the cockpit window. It was almost time to land. Voices on the radio relayed instructions and praise to Tom, who ignored all of them since he took off. Entering his surfacing capsule, he began the landing procedure. Landing gears extending. Thrusters launching and guiding the ship into position. Speed decreasing. Lowering. Lowering. Lowering. Lowering the small shuttle until it touched the ground. Tom sat still for several minutes, his eyes closed. This was it, his dream was coming true. A dream that began with a boy who loved comic books, and was being realized by a man who only wished to escape. He unstrapped the safety harness in his seat, and pulled the hydraulic lever that opened the door. All Tom had to do was take two more steps. He could feel the cold of the moon through his space suit. The absolute stillness of the atmosphere would terrify most men, but Tom felt at peace here

Two steps off his capsule onto the surface of a new frontier, a new beginning. Tom was going to fulfill his dream.

wizardry: traveler’s property

You might remember, back in December, when I covered the recently released Wizardry: The Five Ordeals. I had mentioned that the story text in the main game had yet to be translated, outside of a few of the curated fan-made scenarios. Well, the first of the five ordeals got an English translation last week, and I’ve been playing that.

The first ordeal, Traveler’s Property, is a bit of a basic one. The quest for this one is simple: find treasure. That’s it. There’s no big bad guy causing problems or an artifact that’s gone missing. Honestly, kind of refreshing just how simple this particular Wizardry is: Get That Money. Of course, the catch is that’s a ton of powerful monsters hanging around that will kill you before you can even blink if you aren’t careful, in addition to traps and cave-ins to impede your progress

Now, while the plot is simple, the game is anything but. This is a tough fucking game here, and it isn’t all based around the combat this time around. I’ve had a lot of moments where I’ve had to sit back, put my hand on my chin, and carefully think of my next move. Traveler’s Property is one of those scenarios where you are presented with a different situation on each floor, and the game plan is based around solving that situation. Navigating around cave-ins, moving switches in the right order to turn on abandoned machinery, exploring an entire floor covered in an anti-magic field that prevents you from healing or using your map, finding out how to enter a magic mirror, navigating a massive teleporter maze (though I felt a lot less intelligent when I figured out that the answer was to constantly hug the right wall (that’s your Protip for the sixth floor)), and so on. Of course, there’s still the old Wizardry standard of doing all of this while having to fend off large groups of Ninjas with a fondness for one-shotting you, or sorcerers with powerful magic that hits everyone at once, or big fuck off dragons that can turn you to stone, or large insects that can destroy your armor, and many other dangerous things that require commas.

murphy’s ghost even makes an appearance! i will forgive the fact that he is called “major ghost” here.

Traveler’s Property perfectly fits that Wizardry mold: it’s extremely difficult and immensely rewarding. Few games really nail that concept of slowly progressing through an intimidating structure. Solving a difficult puzzle and defeating strong opponents never really gets old. Plus, I’ll take any excuse to explore a black and white wireframe void.

Currently, I am on floor 7 (out of 10). My party has just killed two massive dragons, and I need to find an item to place on a pedestal so as not to trigger a trap that guards the item that I actually need. The 7th floor is also home to demons and giant elemental monsters who can hit the entire party for 30 damage every turn. My characters are all at level 11, and have reached a point where leveling up takes experience points in the hundreds of thousands. In any other game, that sounds extremely tedious, yet there’s this Wizardry uh, wizardry at work that makes this incredibly compelling

i appreciate that, despite being a japanese developed scenario, it still has the american sense of humor of the originals. “holey” armor is not a misspelling, it is actually really shitty armor that has a bunch of holes in it.

Because Traveler’s Property is even less interested in plot progression than any other entry I’ve played, it does that other thing Wizardry does well: the player’s ability to come up with a story and motivations for their characters. I still have not ever played a tabletop game, so this is the closest to roleplaying I get that doesn’t involve me doing sex work (yes, after I threw a big fit about quitting back in December, I made a return to Niteflirt because I wanted to get the money to order Forbidden Door). Why are all these people wanting to risk their lives and explore this mine for money? Why is the kingdom letting groups of ragtag adventurers explore, rather than using its own army and taking all the riches for themselves? What’s the deal with that? Just some blanks for the player to fill as they watch numbers go up. Hell, this game even lets you give characters their own birthdays, something I forget to do in all of these, so I have a bunch of 14 years olds running around that only age when they change classes or come back from the dead.

I’m looking forward to eventually finishing Traveler’s Property, and importing this party into the subsequent Ordeals once those have also been translated. I feel like that’s a bigger priority for the developers than the scenario editor right now, and that’s fine; I can wait. I’ll be here, ready to play and post about every new bit of content this game can give me.