Holy crap, Lois! This is like that time I played a mediocre licensed game during the 16-bit era!

Something that my friends know all too well, but I haven’t really talked about publicly, is that I have this ironic appreciation of Family Guy. Since at least 2016, I have been entertaining/alienating my friends by speaking in a half-decent Peter Griffin voice.

Family Guy is this weird thing for me. It’s not actually all that funny; it’s a show that tells 100 jokes, and 1 of them might land. Family Guy is completely abhorrent in its depictions of minorities. Is Family Guy incredibly racist? Oh yeah. Is it very homophobic? Of course. Is it extremely misogynistic? Definitely. Is it wildly anti-Semitic? Absolutely. Is it terribly ableist? For sure. Is the episode where Quagmire’s dad transitions into a woman the most transphobic thing I’ve seen on film that wasn’t amateur footage of a literal hate crime? Oh brother, you better believe it! Now, to its credit, Family Guy does punch up as well. Though the punching up is like more of a light jab, whereas the punching down is more like curb-stomping a dead body while the recipients family is forced to watch.

Family Guy is a show that me and my pronouns should absolutely hate, and yet, I find myself strangely compelled to keep watching “Family Guy Funny Moments” compilations during my downtime. There is something about this show, with its lack of real humor in favor of nonsensical cutaways also mostly lacking in humor, that causes the Quality Needle to break and wrap all the way back around. This is not a good show by any stretch, but I also cannot bring myself to dismiss it.

The Family Guy PSP game, on the other hand, is a lot more cut and dry. Cut and dry in that it sucks. It starts out boring, then becomes unplayable pretty quick, just like that time I played Konami Wai Wai World on Famicom.

“so you’re saying i gotta go into different konami worlds and rescue their intellectual properties? sweet. will a punch with a reach of roughly two pixels do the job?”

Family Guy is one of those multi-genre games that were all the rage at the time. Peter walks back and forth punching children and the elderly like he’s in a side-scrolling brawler. Brian has to sneak around and avoid being detected, since dogs need to sneak, I guess. And Stewie shoots and does precision platforming. There might be other characters to play as, but I don’t know, I could not actually finish this game. Yes, I’m admitting it here: I was not up to the Family Guy challenge. Peter’s second brawler phase proved to be way too unfairly difficult for me to want to continue. It an arduous task that takes way longer than it really should. It’s like looking at the back of the box of one of those RPGs that were all the rage in the PS2 era bragging about its 80+ hour play time.

ah great, now a bunch of weirdos on twitter are going to tell me that kanji’s not really gay

This is a difficult game because 1) the controls are terrible. Jumping, sneaking, punching, all a bunch of shit that barely works. Stewie misses platforms with the greatest of ease and trying to pull off Peter’s 3-hit combos are a headache. 2) Enemies tend to move faster than you, and during Peter’s level, have no hitstun. A brawler where all of your attacks are unsafe on hit, as you can eat a whole combo despite landing a heavy attack beforehand. The enemies in Brian’s stealth levels are completely blind, or can see you through walls. The point I gave up was having to fight wave after wave of bumrushing children and cops, only for a man in a clam costume to completely kill me.

Somehow, this isn’t the only time I’ve had a hard time fighting a clam in a game. Remember that time I had to fight a giant clam in Suikoden 1?

somehow, this clam was a harder fight than the literal armies i had to take on beforehand.

As much as I would like to write this game off as mere mercenary work, I can’t. The parts where I have to play the game are heinously bad. However, there was a genuine effort to try and make this like a playable episode of Family Guy. It definitely nails the “100 jokes, 1 of them actually good” style of humor the show has; the very first joke you hear is Peter referencing the time Mr. Belvedere sat on his own balls. It has dated references, like the line, “I’m going to do you what life did to Dana Plato!” which is very Family Guy-esque. There is a significant lack of joking about rape or racism, which I will chalk down to a publisher decision, as I imagine 2k is a bit more strict about that than the Fox network. But it still tries to maintain Seth McFarlane’s…uh…humor. Yeah, sure, we’ll go with that.

The one actual good thing about the Family Guy game is that the cutaway gags are represented as mini-games. That’s an actual good idea! If you succeed at them, you get a bonus that will help you out in the main game, like refilling health, gaining meter for special moves, or turning Brian invisible for a time (this one doesn’t actually work though). And the mini-games are just as nonsensical as the show. Why is Brian having to dodge an angry Abe Lincoln? Why is Stewie imagining a construction worker shooting another with a nail gun? Why does Peter have to shit in a port-o-potty in a Simon Says manner? Who cares.

A shame. I never want to go into these hating a game and stopping early, but I have no choice here. Family Guy is a terrible game that can’t even be enjoyed ironically, like the show. This is not freakin’ sweet, Lois. I’m holding out hope that we’ll finally get a good digital representation of the Griffin family once all those Family Guy skins get added to Fortnite. It’ll be a weird, yet fitting crossover, like when Negan was in Tekken 7, or when they added Mario to Super Smash Brothers!

Class of Heroes

I wanted to do a second PSP month this year, seeing as I had a lot of fun doing it last year. Getting to cover unique games on a system that kind of gets the shit end of the stick in retrospectives is something that appeals to me. People are more than aware of my current gimmick of loving dungeon crawlers to the point of mentioning Wizardry in seemingly every post I make, regardless of the subject actually having anything to do with Wizardry.

Class of Heroes is, as you’ve no doubt already gathered, a dungeon crawler on the PSP. It was a game I actually started playing at the end of July, wanting to give it some time before sitting down to write about it. I need you all to know that Class of Heroes is so fucking bad, I nearly scrapped doing this whole PSP-themed month. I was struggling, contemplating dropping the whole idea and writing about fighting games or New Vegas or something much more enjoyable.

Class of Heroes was made by the same developers as the Wizardry Xth series, and is technically an unofficial third entry in the series, much like Elminage being an unofficial Wizardry Empire. I have not played any of the Xth games, but based on what I’ve seen here, I have missed out on nothing. The game was recently remade for the Nintendo Switch, with a PC release on the way. No idea if the remake will actually make the game any good, but I’ll keep an eye out.

What makes Class of Heroes so bad, you may be wondering. The thing about dungeon crawlers is that they are repetitive. Not a bad repetition, mind you, more like a loop. In games like Wizardry and Elminage, you explore a dungeon, fight enemies to get stronger and find better equipment until you have cleared the final floor. While you do this, there is always some semblance of progress being made. It doesn’t matter if you explore an entire floor, or you stop and return to town after mapping out two squares, something happened. This is a genre about slowly but surely hacking away at this seemingly insurmountable challenge. It feels rewarding to completely map out a floor, or to easily defeat an enemy that gave you trouble an hour ago, or to find an extremely rare weapon, or to get the stats necessary to change into a Samurai or Ninja. The secret to the dungeon crawler formula is that stuff happens even when it doesn’t appear like anything is actually happening.

CoH does not have this. CoH is a game about spinning your wheels. Experience is slow to earn, with characters taking a very long time to get from level 1 to level 2. Enemies either do hardly any damage, or have attacks that can completely one-shot a character. Weapons in the shop, even the most basic of swords, costs hundreds of gold and you only get about 5 gold per battle in the early going, if you get any gold at all. So instead of buying weapons, you have to take part in the game’s crafting system, and make better weapons yourself. Except that getting the right parts is still a gamble, so you have to run around, get into battles in a game with a fairly low encounter rate, and hope you can get the parts to make a slightly better dagger so your Dwarf Fighter with a high strength stat will do more than a single point of damage, if they can even land a shot at all. Oh, and I should also mention that the dungeon layout changes every time you enter. Now, while the changes are limited to a few layouts that remain mapped out when you return, you still can’t make any real plan of attack insofar as finding crafting materials or key items because you don’t know what layout you’ll be in next time. Doesn’t really help that one of these layouts, on the very first floor, mind you, has over a dozen warp tiles behind over a dozen doors that send you back to the entrance of the dungeon, so you have to go back and forth finding the right door that doesn’t send you back. Wizardry has repetition, Class of Heroes has tedium.

I never made it past the various permutations of the first floor of the game’s “Novice Dungeon.” I didn’t want to. I was so tired of navigating tedious dungeons that constantly shift, fighting tedious battles with up to nine enemies at a time doing no damage to them (or else end battles quicker by completely exhaust my magic supply immediately), looking for the one Torn Rag or Broken Twig that will give my party is a slight advantage when they aren’t dying of poison or electrified floors. It doesn’t feel like anything is happening in Class of Heroes, other than wasting my time.

the 434 gold is AFTER pooling the entire party’s money together, all for a starter weapon that will be quickly replaced.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is finally a dungeon crawler I’ve reviewed for this site that I don’t like. Never thought it would happen, but here we are. It’s a shame. Class of Heroes was bad enough that I stopped playing, loaded up Traveler’s Property, and ended up finishing it. A much better use of my time.

ClaDun X2

Haven’t been in the mood to really write anything this week, for a whole number of reasons I don’t feel like getting into. But, I am in a much better mood tonight, and I wanted to post something before the week was out.

Keeping with the theme of PSP Month, I’ve been playing a bit of ClaDun X2. It’s a pretty fun, if maybe a little too grindy, Action-RPG. The big selling point here is its amount of customization through the in-game sprite editor: creating characters, weapons, armor, even the music. So I thought what I would do is upload some of the things I’ve made. All of these folders go into your PSP/emulators SAVEDATA directory on the memory stick.

Gilgamesh (Tower of Druaga)

As the self-proclaimed Number One Super Fan of The Tower Of Druaga, I had to put Gilgamesh in here. This zip folder contains two parts: a face edit, and an armor edit. I did not do any weapons or shields for this one, maybe I’ll add to this at a later date.

Download Here!!

 

The Sword of Moonlight

Straight out of every From Software game that matters (and even a couple that don’t), it is the ultimate weapon: the Sword of Moonlight.

Download Here!!

 

The Jousting Q-Tips from American Gladiators (Blue and Red)

Remember everyone: the Atlasphere is not licensed for street use.

The edit data here is meant to be applied to spears. Now, you can apply this to any weapon type in the game, but you should use it for spears. Both colors are included in this zip as well.

Download Here!!

 

Big Floppy Boy

It’s exactly what it looks like, a big floppy double-ender that I’ve seen in many a porn. This was also designed to be a spear because 1) thrusting LOL and 2) because my starting character used spears. But honestly, you could probably apply to this any weapon type. Maybe not bows or daggers, but the other ones could work.

Download Here!!

 

Slimegirl

Here she is, my most popular creation. I made her really quick, since I figured at least one person out there would ask about her. Like Gil, this is a two-piece face/armor set.

Download Here!!

 

That’s it for now. Get yourself a copy of this game and play around with my creations.

space invaders extreme

I love me some goddamn Space Invaders, there are no two ways about it. A timeless masterpiece that’s still fun to load up today. A primordial soup of STGs; the (get your groans ready, everyone) Wizardry of the Shooting game.

The thing about Space Invaders is that sequels and spin-offs and other games in the series have mostly been the same. Regardless of any additions, they’re all the same at a base level: you are at the bottom of the screen, you move left and right, shooting at lines of aliens that march towards you from the top. Sometimes you get an outlier, like Space Invaders Get Even or God Forbid, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, but Space Invaders tends to stick to what it knows. Extreme is no different.

Extreme adds some bright colors, dance music, and some new weapons. Nothing too out of the ordinary, and something that’s been done in other Space Invaders sequels. But what makes Extreme work in this instance is an even bigger emphasis on scoring. Points, I mean. It’s less about mindlessly shooting your targets, and more about carefully shooting them properly. Taking aliens out in in a vertical or horizontal line, shooting aliens of the same color or the same shape, shooting the UFO the moment it appears on screen, not taking too long to take out aliens, all net you bonuses. You need these bonuses, because you get rated at the end of every stage, and you want to get the highest rating possible, right? That’s how you unlock the extra stages! Going through life with a straight C grade is fine if you’re in school, but not for important shit like this.

Extreme is this addicting monster of a game that you hold in your hands. You are compelled to beat your high score. Grow and improve as a player. A run through every level is probably short enough to complete during a lunch break or a bus ride (depending on where you work or live, I guess). The kind of game to get in your head after you finish playing. It’s what Space Invaders does. The best kind of handheld game, really.

Yes, mechanics are solid and a great reason to pick this game up, but I’d be a fool to not talk about the aesthetic. Despite all the bright colors and droning EDM, everything is still so simple. The titular Invaders look the same in 2008 as they did in 1979. The backgrounds, while they are video files of things like cityscapes, are still dark and not so distracting that they couldn’t just be a flat black background. For me, that image of aliens moving from side to side while a single cannon fights them in a dark void is this eternally eye-pleasing one. Extreme is only a slightly flashier version of this, which I appreciate.

Due to its simplicity, I can really only say so much about it before I repeat myself too much. It is what it is: a fun, addicting game about getting as many points as possible that looks great and only adds a light flourish to an extremely retro look, as opposed to something completely out there like Infinity Gene. Maybe that’s the TV Game conservatism in me coming out; liking classic visuals and immediately selecting the wireframe dungeon, preferring things the way they were Back In My Day (or before, in this case). What can I say? I’m old.

While the PSP was home to a lot of fantastic RPGs and entertaining visual novels, it also did a great job of balancing things out with smaller, frenetic games like Extreme. The PSP did good by Space Invaders (to its credit, the DS did too, but this is not DS Month), for which I am glad.