Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gemfire (#4)

Wow, after beating Gemfire (thanks to GForce and his hex skills!) I only have one Koei game left to finish, Uncharted Waters. Not sure if I will finish that or Silent Service first. The Miracle Gorilla Teaching System will definitely be last.

I was talking with my cousin Garret at Aquaboggan, one of the local waterslide parks, the other day and he got me thinking how much I used to love playing RPGs for the SNES. Breath of Fire (1 & 2), Lufia, Final Fantasy III, Soul Blazer...that system had it all. When I got on the net back in '95 I went on a spending spree on newsgroup auctions/sales, then eBay when it first came out as well as email auctions that various sellers would have and amassed quite a collection of games for NES, SNES, SMS, Gameboy, etc. I sold most everything I had, but for some reason kept the SNES RPGs like Robotrek, Tecmo Secret of the Stars, Final Fantasy II and a slew of others for that proverbial rainy day way off in the future. That day may not be so far off, so it seems.

However, I will definitely try and knock out those last 2 emulated NES games and then get off my lazy ass and finally hook that damned piano up. If you would have told me in January that I would have knocked 8 games off my list I would've thought you were crazy, but miraculously here I am.

I'm not at my creative best right now and if I started in with my usual profane rants I'd probably go to a place that I'd regret with it, so I'll just leave you with this:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nobunaga's Ambition II (#5)

Life often catches you unprepared for certain things. Let's just hope I recover better than Nobunaga did in this campaign.

He did a lot more in 50 years than most people do in...I don't know, 60?

So another one falls by the wayside. With all the shit going on lately in my personal life, I still find time to knock out one of the final 5 (thanks to Rey, again). I won't get into details about my problems, but let's just say knocking off another one of these was cathartic for me and that I'll have a lot more gaming time to myself soon enough.

If only you could make hex codes to modify things in real life.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Romance of the Three Kingdoms II (#6)

My day started by dragging my sick ass out of bed for a long day of work. I had slept the previous 31 out of 35 hours after getting some kind of flu/fever combination and after about 30 minutes at work I threw in the towel and called someone in to cover me. I had the cold sweats and my valiant attempt at fighting them off ended with me right back in that bed, searching for the one spot I felt comfortable in.

By afternoon the fever was gone and even the aches and pains started to abate. I had to pick up the kids at a house I had never been to before (friend's birthday party), so I was trying to gather the energy to get up and shower. I made it through the shower without getting dizzy and picked the kids up without incident (though the parents at the party probably thought I was a zombie dad, as I weaved through the kids to gather my own and hustled them out rather quickly).

The wife gets home a bit later and tells me the kids are having friends over for the night and if I want to go to my mom's or something to escape the bedlam, it might be a good idea. *Click* "How 'bout I just shut myself up in my den and you all pretend I'm not home?" Somehow this logic worked with the wife and I figured I would finally have a solid chunk of time to knock off one of my 6 remaining games.

Good ol' Rey had posted some codes for Romance of the Three Kingdoms II at recently, so I might as well go after that one. I had no idea how long my energy would last and I assumed that at the first sign of game failure I would just slink into the bedroom and get another 15 hours of sleep before work tomorrow.

2 hours (and a shitload of rice codes) later, Romance II finds it's way off the "Games Left To Beat" list. I'd love to say I beat this game fair and square, but since most people now view my quest as null and void since I have used cheat codes and emulators to beat games over the last several years, my goal now is to just fight my way to the ending by any means necessary. There are now only 5 US released NES games that I have not seen the endings to.

Miracle Piano Teaching System
Nobunaga's Ambition II
Silent Service
Uncharted Waters

A few months ago, Koei was my worst enemy. Now with 3 of the Koei games off the list, the remaining 3 actually seem friendly compared to the Miracle Piano gorilla and that pesky little submarine game. It's too bad Konami/Ultra decided to put a sub simulator out for the NES, rather than a cool sub game, like that one for the Sega Master System. Oh well.

I'm glad your journey is over friend. Mine still continues on....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pirates! (#7)

This isn't a really satisfying victory, as there is no ending sequence or credits when you achieve the best score (or any score for that matter). Your name goes into the Hall of Fame and then you can actually continue your game if you feel like sailing the high seas for more adventure.

I'm glad this wasn't one of my last couple of games because of the lack of that definitive ending. It seems like Silent Service has the same deal going for it as well, as from what I have read you just get ranked based upon how well you do in the game but there is no ending sequence, so maybe I should take my medecine and tackle that one next before the 4 Koei games. As much as I rag on Koei, at least they have ending.

As for Miracle Piano, I'm pretty certain there is no ending to it, like if you pass all the lessons or even beat the sub games they throw in for fun, but that WILL be the last game I tackle. It has to be. None of the other 5 games remaining on the list come even close to being as infamous as the piano game. Like I teased in my last post, the unit has been rediscovered in my garage attic. I didn't even look inside of it, I just gingerly placed it back on top of the boxes it slid down from. I'm hoping I was smart enough to put the loose cartridge in the box though. You see, I had the loose cartridge first and then I won the unit on eBay WITHOUT the cart, which worked out fine since I had it anyway and is probably why I got the high bid on it. Hopefully it has the manual/book with it, but at least some masochist at nintendoage scanned the whole f'ing thing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

L'Empereur (#8)

Let me just get this out of the way. ReyVGM is one persistent motherfucker. I went on indefinite video game hiatus a month or so ago for several reasons. I was a lazy no good around the house when it came to chores, most likely because I was up to 2am in the morning beating these bottom of my crusty video game barrel games trying to knock the final 11 off my list. Usually I would have to wake up for work several hours after going to bed or spend the day taking care of my twins, which sometimes can be harder than work depending on how much energy they have that day.

So Rey, who unfortunately will be retiring from the NES video gaming scene once he procures the few remaining ending pics he needs, keeps churning out codes and info on various games and now decides he's going after Koei's ball bag. Without getting into specifics he not only figures out how to hamstring opponents in these games by setting their food supply to ZERO, making any opponent instantly ineffective, but he figures out that each land (there are like 40+ lands in L'Empereur) has their own individual codes for everything: food, gold, soldiers, prostitutes, boats, name it. He spends what must have been hours posting this shit to for the gaming community's disposal and gets rewarded with little fanfare, other than the usual praise from me and grand master G-Force (who may end up beating all the games before I do!). Years from now some dude is gonna wonder how the hell he can beat L'Empereur and will stumble across the hundreds of codes Rey made for this and will wonder who this code king was.

By the way, Rey, don't die on us before making Gemfire codes. And don't forget to thank the mods when they get around to adding the codes to the site or they will become angry and self-righteous even though you are the one fueling their site with your body of work ;)

I forget where I was headed with this shit...

*looks back at 1st paragraph*

Oh yeah, so anyway, in true Godfather fashion, I get pulled back into the video gaming zone. For a good month I was getting 8-9 hours of sleep, being a great dad, getting shit done around the house. Gutters got cleaned out, got a guy to put in a garbage disposal my wife's been begging me for, went through my closets and drawers and got rid of about half of my clothes I'd been hoarding for over 10 years that no longer fit because I am getting fatter and older (37 fucking years old!?!). I even found the cool shirt stuffed in the back of the dresser that says PLEASE TELL YOUR TITS TO STOP STARING AT MY EYES! Now that's fucking class right there I tell ya! I've had a ton of energy at work and just basically have been getting it done and making the wife happy.

So thanks Rey for sucking me back in and turning me into the sluggish zombie I was a couple months ago. I owe you one buddy! Honorable mention goes out as well to the aforementioned GarrettForce for the occasion gaming related email that I take way too long to reply to, yet keeps me anchored in the gaming zone.

In all seriousness, I'm down to 7 games left to beat because of Rey and he has my eternal gratitude for making this 20+ year quest to see every US NES game ending a reality, even though I have to cheat like hell to get through these last few games.

Sorry Austria.

Oh yeah, I was putting stuff up in my garage and a long, heavy box slid off some boxes and landed at my feet. Miracle...Piano...Teaching...System...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Been too lazy to blog anything substantial this month, but I wanted to put something on here. The USA and Japanese versions of Hatris seem the same, but are different. I recently beat both versions and put the endings in my NES endings guide but haven't submitted the latest update to gamefaqs yet, so if you are curious about the 2 Hatris' endings, read on:

HATRIS (Bullet Proof Software)
-This is a neat Tetris style game where you have to arrange falling hats in order of what type they are. I enjoyed the game quite a bit, but it seems to get a bad rap for some reason. At the beginning of the game you can select which Shop and Stage to start on. There are a total of 6 Shops (0-6) with each Shop having 9 Stages (0-9). Every time you beat the last stage of a shop you will get a quick intermission scene and it will go on to the next shop. When you finish Shop 5, Stage 9 (it says Shop 59 on the screen) it will show the two characters from the game (Alexy Pajitnov and Vladimir Pokhilko, the programmers) on the bottom of the screen. Alexy takes off his Abraham Lincoln top hat and pulls out letters and throws them into the middle of the screen to spell out GREAT GAME. He then floats up and bumps his head on the letters and his hat falls off. Alexy and Vladimir then proceed to run back and forth across the top and bottom of the screen. You can watch this for awhile and see both a smiley face and a bunny chase them at various points. Anyway, when you press A it will go tot he High Score screen. Enter your initials here and press start to return to the title screen. That's it??? Actually, not quite. You may have noticed on the High Score screen that it lists the Shop and Stage that the High Scorer's reached. Some of the Shop numbers have a T or an N in front of them. I wasn't sure what this meant, so I found the manual on line and discovered there is a Turbo mode to this game! At the title screen you can press DOWN and Start at the same time to trigger Turbo-Speed Mode. It won't seem like the code worked at first, but when you choose your Shop and Stage and start the gameyou will notice the word TURBO at the bottom right of the screen, above Vladimir's head on the wall. Unfortunately, you will get the same exact ending when you beat the 59 stages in Turbo-Speed Mode, so the ending to this game can officially be described as lame.

...and now for the Famicom version:

HATRIS (Bullet Proof Software)
-Wow, I wasn't expecting this. This game is made by the same company that made the USA NES version of Hatris (BPS) but even though the game looks similar, there are a ton of things different. Your helpers Vladimir and Alexy aren't in the Famicom version. You have a score instead of $$ cash. The intermissions are totally better and there is a cool ending here. I wonder why they butchered this game for the US?? The Shop/Stage layouts are kind of similar. Assuming you started at the beginning at Shop A0, you have to complete 9 stages before moving on to Shop A1. When you beat Stage 9 in Shop 0 you get an intermission showing the BPS Orchestra with a conductor but only 7 musicians in the orchestra. Now play through the 9 stages of Shop A1 and the intermission will have 11 people in the orchestra. As you keep progressing, more musicians are added to the BPS Orchestra during intermissions until you finish Shop A5, Stage 9, which is the last stage of the game. It will show a full BPS Orchestra (with 28 musicians) playing a nice little tune. It will then bring you to the High Score screen where you can enter your initials. When you do this it brings you to a screen that shows you a beautiful view out the window of a beach and ocean with a hot air balloon floating by. The credits will flash by at the bottom of the screen. As the credits roll the sun will set, butterflies will fly across the screen, a dog will walk by (and stop to scratch at fleas), the moon will go across the horizon while a volcano erupts in the background. Basically youjust get to see a bunch of cool sunsets, sunrises, lightning storms and even a rainbow. Eventually seagulls will flock across the screen and a cool sailboat will float by. It then repeats it all over again until you press reset. You can also play a Turbo-Speed Mode by pressing Down and Start at the title screen but it will not say TURBO on the screen when you start playing, but you will know it works because the Shops all start with the letter B instead of A. You do get the same exact ending that you got when beating the regular game though so this is only for people who love the game. This version of the game definitely should have been released in the States.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


What the hell is up with these guys?? Let me start by saying I loved the game Alfred Chicken. In fact, I even wrote a guide for it.

Now let's look at the list of NES games released by them in 1990:

-Miracle Piano Teaching System
-The Last Starfighter
-Mad Max
-Gauntlet II
-Days of Thunder
-Dirty Harry

Now if you remove the best game of the bunch (arguably RoadBlasters) and the worst game of the bunch (arguably Days of Thunder) you still have some pretty shitty games here.

RoadBlasters is fun for awhile, but gets extremely repetitive. This is one of the few games my sister would actually play back in the day, so I have somewhat fond memories of it. And this is the best game of the bunch.

I wrote a guide for The Last Starfighter, but for a game that looks like a shooter, it's more like a strategy game. One that isn't very fun. One hit deaths and not really having control of your ship make for one hell of a rocky experience.

Dirty Harry has one of the coolest endings in any NES game, as it is a completely digitized vocal monologue from Dirty Harry himself. However the other 99% of the game is just dreadful.

Gauntlet II has no ending to speak of, as the game just randomly starts generating levels after awhile. How the hell can a quest game that came out in 1990 just keep you endlessly looping??

Mad Max...I rented this several times back in the day and it gave me fits. You can't even use the final password, as you need the crossbow from the previous fucking level to beat the final boss.

Infiltrator isn't that bad...unless you are in the flying segments. I had to use one of Zach Meston's NES strategy guides to even have a clue to how to navigate these areas of the game and even then I was almost clueless.

Loopz is a decent puzzle game, though it gets nearly impossible as you go on. M.U.L.E. is an old computer simulation game. I've never really heard anyone talk about this game in NES circles, so I guess it falls into a niche category, kind of like the Koei games.

Don't even get me started on Miracle Piano.

Has any company ever had a worse lineup than this for a whole calendar year of releases???

At least they redeemed themselves in '91.

Oh wait. No they didn't.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I suppose you'd look like you were squeezing out the biggest turd of your life too if you were shot out of a Mayan temple all the way up to an island in the sky.

Can anyone think of an older main character in an NES game other than Stanley?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Game endings

So as most of you know, my main reason for beating games is to document the endings. If you haven't seen my NES game endings guide, it is here.

I don't think you can direct link to a particular FAQ on that site, but you'll find it there regardless.

I started working on that guide almost 10 years ago. It was first submitted to gamefaqs in November 2003. I beat a ton of NES games before that time and unfortunately only wrote down the endings in a notebook, but I've been enjoying going through a lot of them again and for a couple of them, like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, there were actually multiple endings, some of which I didn't get the first time through.

Also, some of the games I put endings for when I first started the guide are really skimpy, so I've been going through several games a 3rd time just so I can rewrite those endings and flesh them out a bit.

There are also a ton of Famicom endings, as well as endings for the Famicom Disk System, PAL NES games, pirates, homebrews and those wily Sachen games, that nobody seems to be able to concretely categorize. If anybody doesn't see an ending in the guide that you would like to know about, please let me know. My ultimate goal is to get EVERY NES ending documented. It will get done, assuming I don't perish in the next 10 years or so.

Anyway, here's a sneak peak at some of the games that will be included in my next update:

-Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Dragons of Flame (J)
-Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance
-Bandit Kings of Ancient China
-Bonk's Adventure
-Captain Comic, The Adventures of
-Castle of Deceit
-Cobra Triangle
-Deep Dungeon (FDS)
-George Foreman's KO Boxing
-Kalin no Tsurugi (FDS)
-Legacy of the Wizard
-Locksmith (Sachen)
-Lutter (FDS)
-Orb 3-D
-Pipe 5 (Sachen)
-Panda World (Pirate)
-Penguin & Seal, The (Sachen)
-Rock 'n' Ball
-Roger Clemens MVP Baseball
-Rollerblade Racer
-Terminator, The
-Terminator 2 - Judgment Day
-Thunderbolt 2 (Pirate)
-Ultima: Warriors of Destiny
-Valkyrie no Bouken (J)
-Ys (J)
-Ys II - Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter (J)

I usually update twice a year: once in June and once in December. If I get another 10 games beaten in the next month I may update it in sometime before June, but then again I always want to keep beating "one more game" before I update and just keep pushing back the date.

If you are an ending freak like myself, I suggest you check out this page:

ReyVGM supplied most of those visual ending pics, which are much more stimulating to look at than my crappy descriptions. He hasn't updated since the Patriots won their last Super Bowl, but he has assured me he has one monster update left in him at some point down the line.

If anyone knows what this says, I'd love to know.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lutter my blog that is.

ArnoldRimmer83 recommended this FDS game Lutter to me in the comments section of my last blog, so I figured I'd give this a try tonight. I played through Castlequest for the NES a few months back so I could record the ending for my endings guide on gamefaqs...actually, shit, I think that was more like a year ago. Someone asked me the other day if I ever the hell is that spelled?? Anyway, I replied "I went about 10 years ago, my freshman year in college." They looked at me funny and then I thought about it for a second: my freshman year in college was '91-'92. Let's try 19 years ago! Am I losing my mind?? Has time really gone by this Fu**ing fast?? So yeah, keep this in mind the next time I tell you that I played through a game a year or so ago, in case you know it was more like 5 or 6 years ago. Just don't want you to think I'm lying.

Back to Lutter. Mix Castlequest with Lode Runner and add a pinch of Hydlide's battle system to the concoction, then sprinkle in some Gradius/Silkworm style bosses and you have Lutter. When I played through Castlequest last week (???) I wondered how I had the patience to beat this back in the late 80s. I ended up using codes for infinite keys and stuff to get through the game so I could record the ending. That was last month (!!!). Tonight I felt the same inadequacies trying to play Lutter. The first castle wasn't too bad and I got through it in a decent amount of time, but the 2nd castle kicked my ass. Like in Lode Runner, you cannot jump and if you get stuck in a hole you are fizucked with no way out. I tried to play through this legitimately, I really did, but these puzzle games just require hours of concentration, memorizing and experimenting, something I just can't dedicate to such a game.

That being said, the game is really good for an old FDS game. The boss battles let you move anywhere on the screen to fight the bosses, hence the comparison to the 2 shooters above. There are a total of 6 boss fights. You fight 2 of them in Level 1, 1 each in Levels 2 & 3, then 2 more boss fights in Level 4. The boss fights in Level 4 are technically the same boss, just two different forms.

Beeton's fiery dragon form, the final boss of the game.

Along the way you can actually beat enemies Hydlide-style (running into them and hoping you make the damage instead of taking it) to get experience points and gold. Get enough exp points and you will level up, increasing your strength, speed and several other attributes. There are also sword, shield and armor upgrades to be found in chests scattered throughout the game's mazelike levels. Seriously, if you have the time and like this sort of game, the game really has a ton of good features. A translation patch by Mute was made for the game, which lets you understand what the random people scattered throughout the game are telling you.

Now that I'm playing through FDS and Famicom games for their endings again, I don't really feel like going back to trying to beat those 8 NES games that are dogging me. Valkyrie and Kalin, you tempted me with your 8-bit goodnes. Labyrinth and Herakles, you taunt me with pleasant quests and the promise of a good time. I shoulda just kept grinding at those other games while I was in the mood. Now it might be awhile before I try to deflower Gemfire or Silent Service.

No, this is not from Lutter!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kalin no Tsurugi

Quick write up on a really cool game nobody knows about, Kalin no Tsurugi for the Famicom Disk System. The title means 'Sword of Kalin' I believe, which is the weapon you must find to battle the final boss.

I really enjoyed Valkyrie no Bouken for the Famicom, but Kalin was actually more enjoyable for me because it felt like an old school 8-bit NES game, like a mix between Zelda and Hydlide...well, if Hydlide didn't suck.

There is a decent sized world to explore with several towns and castles and people to talk to, who will give you items and clues on where to find them. You go from place to place looking for things, trying to collect the 5 idols along the way. Eventually you will collect an amulet, that lets you visit the World of Len, where there are several caves you have to go through to find stuff, including the Sword of Kalin. Get the sword, get the crystal which freezes the lava flow so you can walk across it to the final cave and defeat your foe to get what was a really, really surprisingly good ending for an FDS game that was released in 1986.

The game has leveling up through experience points, as monsters defeated give you gold and EXP points. You actually have to do this, as you cannot get the Book of Spells unless you are at least up to Level 30. There are several sword, armor and shield upgrades, as well as items and potions that help your HP and MP. The game had pretty much everything you could expect from an adventure RPG and I'm actually very surprised I've heard so little of this game over the years.

There is a translation patch done by KingMike, so you don't have to worry about any language barrier here (unless you don't speak English or Japanese...but then you wouldn't be reading this shitty blog then, would you?). I highly recommend this game to any 8-bit enthusiast looking for a good roll in the hay with a poor man's version of Zelda.

Glad I could keep my head out of the slums long enough to get this one under my belt.

"I'm coming for you asshole, these guy's ain't gonna stop me"

"Did I not tell you I was coming for ya, beyotch?!?"

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Valkyrie no Bouken

Ahh, nothing like taking a break from that nasty batch of games I need to finish and delving into a nice, Zeldary-type game that not too many people know about.

Valkyrie no Bouken was released by Namcot in 1986 and is like a poor man's version of Zelda, but is fun nonetheless. I will post a couple ending pics below, so if you don't want the ending spoiled, stop reading.

Anyway, there are great Zelda clones, like the 2 Neutopia games on the Turbografx and Golden Axe Warrior for the Sega Master System and a really cool one for the Genesis called Crusader of Centy, that I really enjoyed for some reason.

There are also shitty Zelda clones. Not sure if Hydlide is considered Zelda-like, but if it is, it's definitely shitty.

Valkyrie no Bouken falls somewhere in the middle. Because of it's age you can't really expect too much for it, but Namcot grinded out some early Famicom games with a ton of hidden stuff in them (Tower of Druaga menacingly pops to mind).

There is a fan translation patch for the game available, which I happened to play through, but it garbled the ending message. I finished the real version of the game and got the ending message, which was actually in English. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I do recommend this game to anyone who likes Zelda, but I'll warn you that there are several areas in the game that, unless you are using a guide like the one I used (found here: ), you might have no clue as to what the hell you need to do, kind of like kneeling down with a crystal selected in your inventory in Simon's Quest. One of these areas in Valkyrie involves you chopping down a tree to stand on a weird looking patch of grass and staying there until it changes to night and then back to morning (which is pretty cool for a 1986 game to have night and day). If you do this while fending off enemies and also happen to have the Magic Ship in your inventory, a rainbow bridge will magically appear and carry you over to the final continent in the game. Not sure I would have discovered that in a million years.

Anyway, this game had a couple things in common with Ultima: Warriors of Destiny. The whole night and day thing was present in both games, but played more of a role in Ultima, as you needed to reach the Shrine of Spirituality by taking a moongate anytime between 11pm and 2am and also people you talked to in that game where in different places at night than they were during the day.

The other thing the 2 games had in common was being able to hold a limited amount of items, hence having to juggle items and try to figure out what you really needed to advance. Ultima let you carry 36 items and I never really ran into a problem with item management until the end of the game, but was saved when fighting the Shadowlords took away 3 gem shards and 3 horns out of my pack, freeing up 6 spaces. In Valkyrie you only have 8 spaces to play with and you absolutely need items like the Blue Mantle, Blue Helmet, a Sword and Marco the Whale to beat the game, but also need Keys, Axes, a Ship and several other items along the way. At one point I read ahead in the walkthrough and thought I was finished with the axe, only to find out I needed the fucking thing in the last castle...needed it to get to another item I thought I was done with, the Sandra's Soul item. Juggling definitely came into play in Valkyrie no Bouken more than it did in Ultima: WoD. Improper juggling meant having to leave the last castle, going back to a merchant and selling off what you no longer needed, like your old sword when you got a new one.

Anyway, I'm glad to get the opportunity to play these rare Japanese 8-bit Famicom games that never got released in the States. It was cool when I got my first one, Konami World, in about 15 years ago (those of you born before 1980 might know what that is) and it is still cool now, finding great games like this, Super Star Force, Aigiina no Yogen, Don Doko Don, Getsufuu Maden and the countless others that have happily kept me from my real quest of beating the US NES library.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ultima: Warriors of Destiny

The shit stain is gone!

I posted this morning saying how I thought I was past the halfway point in the game. It was more like 75%. Luckily I got more time to play than I thought I would and even with an anxious moment at the sparkly wall, I was able to plow through the final dungeon, Doom, and get the ending.

Just like the previous 2 Ultima NES games, there was no final boss. Use the sandalwood box on the mirror in the final room and you magically get the ending.

If anyone decides to play through this game, I gotta tell you, it's not nearly as bad as it seems at the beginning. Once you know what the hell is going on and what you are supposed to do (thanks again Schultz for that great guide!), the game actually has a certain charm that I never thought it would have.

You can actually avoid 95% of the fights in this game and don't really even need to use the spell book. I don't want to say the game is easy, as there are still a lot of areas that will kill you instantly, like if you aren't quick enough using the shards on the Shadowlords, but if you can get used to the shitty controls, you might actually end up liking it like I did.

Towards the end of the game, after slogging through the dungeon Shame and coming out in the Underworld, I ran into this sparkly wall. The guide says to use the Amulet on it. I did, but nothing happened. I walked along the whole length of the wall, using the Amulet often, but nothing happened. I even took time out to kill monsters and raise my level to 8, as you must do in the pc version to access Doom, but this didn't work. So what was the problem? After you use the Amulet on the wall, GET ON THE CARPET! I got on the carpet and rode right through the wall and down to the entrance of Doom.

This game actually has a satisfying end, unlike Ultima: Exodus. Quest of the Avatar is still the best Ultima game for the NES by a long shot, but Warriors of Destiny deserves a little love. It falls into the same category as Super Pitfall. VERY HARD to get into because it just seems like you are in a large world with no clear cut idea on what to do, but if you can get past some of this crappy stuff at the beginning, you might actually like what is underneath. Guys with fat girlfriends probably use that analogy a lot, but it really does apply to these games.

8 games left, but 5 of them are Koei. Will probably take aim at Nobunaga 2 next...once I get the stomach for it.

Progress on the battlefront!

Thanks to Andrew Schultz's guide, I'm plowing my way through Ultima: Warriors of Destiny now. Once you get used to the controls and the general layout of the land, this game isn't so bad. I dreaded it for years, but now that I've gotten into it pretty far, most of that fear is gone. It also helps to have a great guide written for it that lets you know where stuff is, otherwise I would probably still be clueless.

So I'd say I'm over half way through this right now. I've collected almost, if not all, of the mantras and words of power. I've gotten 2 of the gem shards that help you defeat the Shadowlords. The bulk of this I have done between last night and this morning. This is not your typical RPG, where you need to constantly defeat monsters and level-up. In fact, it is more of a scavenger hunt, where you have to talk to people to open up other conversations elsewhere. You just need to know who to talk to and where to find them.

Also, you don't need to keep upgrading your weapons, as there is one place in the Underworld where you just come upon this huge stash of the most powerful weapons in the game. If you know where this is, it helps save you a ton of Gold, since you can just pick these up and equip your characters with them. Gold is another story, as you do not get it from defeating enemies, but must find it lying around, mostly in dungeons.

Not your typical RPG at all. I can see why I never read reviews or anything about this game, as it is so hard to get in to, but once you have a sense of what the hell to do, thanks to Schultz's guide, the whole world opens up to you. I remember feeling this sense of being lost in the game Super Pitfall, which is why I decided to write a guide for that years ago, but that game was an action platformer and was 10x easier to FAQ than Ultima: Warriors of Destiny must have been.

If I continue to get time to play this, it could go down in the next couple days...I usually jinx my ass when I say something like that, but looking ahead in the guide it looks like I only have to worry about which gem shard to use on a particular shadowlord (they are all titled 'gem shard' even though they look different from one another, but you have to use the right one on the right shadowlord) and also have to worry about which items to drop from my inventory, as you can only carry 36 items (non-equipped items), which seems like a lot, but there are a ton of different items in the game that are useful. I figure if I carry enough reagents to make spells, I can get rid of some of the potions, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

With any luck, I will be down to 8 games left very soon.....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Okay, who brought the dog?

Gotta love finally deciding to go after those last 9 games and having ZERO time to do it the last couple days...kinda kills the buzz. Like when you are rolling along in Phantom Fighter thinking to yourself "Wow, this game's great, how come I never heard of this before?" then you get to the part where that little pygmy beyotch starts following you around and you can't get rid of him, like that snot you can't flick from your finger.

Maybe I'll have time tomorrow.

Last out, anyone who's able to beat Overlord or Magician without using codes, feel free to comment below.

That's what I thought.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Quest

Hello, my name's Adam and I'm an NESaholic. I've been a NESaholic since Christmas 1986 when my mother got me an NES. After 23 years or so of being a NESaholic the keg has almost run dry and I'm scrounging the stale dregs at the bottom of other people's bottles in hope of downing every last drop of NESahol that I can possibly find.

It started out innocently enough. I had the Intellivision and Colecovision when I was younger and played games like any other child would. The Nintendo came out in '85 and a few kids in my school were lucky enough to get one. I recall not having much interest in it at the time. I was heavily into Star Wars, GI Joe and Transformers toys at the time, so video games were in the background. Then came the birthday party.

About 10 of us were invited to a friend's birthday bash. We watched him open his toys while we kicked back and had a few...chocolate milks or something. It was his last gift that hooked me. Was that the new Nintendo he just opened? Why does it come with a robot? His dad hooked it up and we instantly became swallowed up by Super Mario Brothers. The birthday party became less about Dennis (the birthday boy) and more about who's turn it was to play. I got to play as the green guy (Luigi) and suddenly I knew I needed to have this.

It took almost a year but I finally did get it for Christmas in '86. I spent hours playing and beat Super Mario Brothers the 3rd or 4th day I had it. I remembered being amazed that the game had an ending message. I had never seen one of those. The other 3 games I got, Baseball, Gyromite and Duck Hunt were all ok, but SMB was simply amazing. I played the hell out of the game and didn't get another game until the summer of '86, when I saved up enough money from my job bussing tables to purchase Ikari Warriors. I played the hell out of it, using the ABBA code to infiltrate deep into the game, but was stopped short of getting a satisfying end by some zombie looking dude sitting at a desk with missiles raining down on me. I died there because the game doesn't let you use ABBA at that part of the game, but I knew there had to be more...there had to be an ENDING!

Years go by and I get games for my birthday and buy a few myself, including Legend of Kage, Legacy of the Wizard, Rygar, Milon's Secret Castle, Blaster Master...the list goes on. Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy suck me into the RPG genre and one day at Toys R Us a cool looking "RPG" shows up called Nobunaga's Ambition. It retails for around $70, the most expensive game I've ever seen, so it must be good! I save up the $$ and make the proud purchase, only to get home and find's different. I try to like the game but can't. Peasants revolt, plague strikes my prefecture, I get wiped out in battle... I paid $70 for this?? This is my Chinese water torture and that, my friends, was my first experience with Koei.

Towards the end of high school and into college I rented games at an alarming rate and finished most of them. I'd get coupons for the local video store where you could rent 3 games for $5, almost always beating the trifecta, except for the random Dragon Power or RoboWarrior debacles. Every time I beat one I would write it down in my notebook and also write what I did to beat the game (ie "Killed Dracula" for Castlevania). Yes folks, the social life wasn't exactly blooming in those days, though college did break open my social life.

College ended in 1995 and I still enjoyed playing the NES after almost 10 years. I had gotten a SNES and Genesis and enjoyed those games a lot, but the NES still felt like home. The games were simple and didn't blow you away, but man were they fun and had a ton of character. However, I started paying more attention to the 2-bit ho's than the 8-bit games and eventually I got married in 1999 to my beautiful wife Amy. After 5 years we were finally blessed with twins, Ava and Aidan. My gaming time in this period dropped considerably for obvious reasons, but every once in awhile I would find time to get into a new game when everyone was asleep and I found myself with some rare free time.

At the end of '03 and beginning of '04 I had made my last big dent in the list and beat several of the NES games that had been raw dogging me, like Black Bass, Blue Marlin, Might & Magic, Magician, Overlord, Star Trek: The Next Generation and several others. The drought began right after that, as I decided these games weren't fun to me and wanted to take a break from "The Quest." I kept beating PAL and Famicom games when time permitted, since I got to pick from a whole new library of games, but I didn't beat another US title until January of 2005 when I finished Tombs & Treasures. Championship Pool came next in March of that year then finally Wario's Woods in November.

2006 came and went without a single game being knocked off the list. The remaining games seemed like less fun than getting wisdom teeth removed, so I just simply avoided them. In April 2007 someone on a Gamefaqs message board said Overlord was impossible to beat. I had never actually tried that game but knew it would be a pain in the ass. Using codes I got lucky and beat it in about 2 hours. I know I cheated, but there was still joy in seeing the ending to a game that pretty much everyone thought was unbeatable. If you've beaten this legit, please comment.

F-117A Stealth Fighter came next in May and then I went nearly 3 years without tackling a US NES game. The drive simply wasn't there. In the back of my mind I knew someday I would revisit those remaining dark games, but for some reason it just wasn't a top priority.

Then, a few weeks ago, after plodding through games like Deep Dungeon for the FDS and several difficult Famicom games, I realized if I am now toiling in the Famicom slums I might as well try and knock off at least one of the remaining 11 NES titles, so I broke out Pool of Radiance and actually enjoyed it tremendously. One of the first areas in that game, cleaning out the slums, made me think it was a sign that I needed to clean out the slums of my games remaining list. I took out Bandit Kings a week later, suffering substantial psychological damage in the process (see last week's blog), so here I am, taking another look at the 9 games that laugh at me from afar and taunt me with their sinister black-toothed grins.

That murderer's row consists of:

-Miracle Piano Teaching System (wtf??)
-Nobunaga's Ambition II
-Romance of the 3 Kingdoms II
-Silent Service
-Ultima: Warriors of Destiny
-Unchartered Waters

If you are familiar with the movie Pulp Fiction, by looking at this list you can consider me to be Koei's gimp. Miracle Piano will no doubt be the last on this list to fall. I do own the game, keyboard and I think the foot pedal, but have no desire to get into it and hook up an actual NES, especially after looking through the nearly 200 page manual. Plus, my kids will probably destroy the keyboard and color all over it before I get a chance to finish it.

You will be reading more about these games in the coming months. Hopefully the news will be good, but I know there are still several sodomy lessons ahead for me here. As much as I want to get into Pirates, which seems like the most pleasant of the bunch, I need to thin out the herd of Koei games first, but those fuckers are like toxic waste to me and I need to find a good helmet and a pair of hazmat gloves before I go after them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Give and Take

I promised I'd mention the 9 games that I have yet to finish. I want to save that for when I have more time.

Right now I'll mention the 2 I've had flirtations with in the last few days.

First, Nobunaga's Ambition II.

I started getting into this, figuring I'd strike while the iron was hot since I was used to that Koei feel from slaying Bandit Kings. The good news is that the game feels pretty much the same so far. The character set-up is almost identical and the general feel of the game is very similar to BKoAC. The bad news is that the whore froze up on me again when I was creating codes for it.

Luckily I learned from my mistakes with Bandit Kings and wrote down the codes as I was making them. The only problem is that I should have stopped after 10 codes but tried for 12 and that's when FCEUX decided to seize up. So now it's personal with Nobunaga's Ambition II. You have drawn first blood and are no longer just another title on a list. It will be all the more sweeter when I get around to kicking your ass...or I will just be in line for even more heartache and gray curlies.

The other game that inspires a bit more hope in me is the insipid Ultima: Warriors of Destiny by FCI.

I started playing this a couple weeks ago using Andrew Schultz's FAQ. If you don't know Andrew he is an RPG guru...and puzzle game wizard...screw it, the guy can break down pretty much anything we find difficult and make it seem easy. Anyway, he wrote a pretty straight-forward guide for Ultima: WoD. I had played this a bit years ago and couldn't get past the crappy controls in the first hut.

This game became like a shit-stain in my favorite boxers to me. You want to wear them because they were cool but now you don't really want to don them because of the evil skid mark that won't wash out. You also don't want to throw them away, so you just keep them at the bottom of the rotation and whenever you get close to having to wear them it triggers the alarm to do more laundry.

But I digress. The game stayed at the bottom of my games-to-beat mental list, being replaced by various Famicom, PAL and Famicom Disk System games that were a hell of a lot funner to play than the double handful of American NES games left to beat. So when I tackled Pool of Radiance a couple weeks ago I made the decision to attack Ultima: Warriors of Destiny.

Again, I started by making a few codes for it. The usual, infinite health, infinite items...I wanted to set myself up for as smooth a gaming experience as I could. It took me a good 10 minutes to actually get comfortable with the controls and then using Andrew's FAQ I made some pretty good progress, making it to Lord British's castle. Wow, I'm actually making progress on scrubbing the shit stain out! Let's work on the edges first then go for the heart!

Went through the castle and found the magic carpet, which the FAQ says is a really nifty item. Cool, can't wait to use it. Raid the rest of the castle for stuff, visit a few scum bags in the jail then head outside to test drive the carpet. OK, the FAQ said to put it in my visible item spot on the screen, but for some reason the screen keeps saying NOT IN COMBAT. C'MON MAN!!! WTF?!? I can't equip this fucking rug to save my soul, so I do a "magic carpet" word search through the entire FAQ and it seems like this is the 1 indispensible item you need to get past many areas later in the game. You have to use it so much in this game the word probably turns up more in the "Control F" search than the fucking word AND. Argh.

I try everything and nothing gets it to work. Finally a guy on one of the code boards I go to tells me I should turn off all the codes, die, then try to use the carpet. Yeah, like that's gonna work. I try it and....HOLY SHIT I'M RIDING THE FUCKING RUG LIKE ALADDIN!!!

Ok, now I'm excited. I am officially on board for Ultima: WoD and if I can figure out which cheats were preventing me from using the carpet I can progress further. Maybe I will just play through it without cheats. We'll find out, but now I can get back to rolling in Ultima: Warriors of Destiny and possibly wittle the games left to beat list down to 8.

On a related note, the wife knows I am back into hardcore NES gaming. The day I had the Bandit Kings migrane I was supposed to do all kinds of laundry and shit but I created a blog and watched Notorious (Hitchcock version, not that hip-hop shit). She assumes my current lethargic state is from staying up all night playing video games, so she tells me I need to stop. I shouldn't be wasting my time with stupid shit like this. "But you should be excited, I only have 9 left to beat!! I've been working on this since, like, long before I met you." Bad choice of words. The rest can be left to your imagination, but needless to say I need to lie low for awhile then strike again. Damn you Bandit Kings for kicking my ass and blowing my cover.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bandit Kings of Ancient China

You don't judge the Evil Gao Qiu. You just don't.

I'm gonna save you a long explanation and about 15 years of on and off again frustration and give you the highlights of my 6 hour marathon with this "game" from last night/this morning.

It took forever to make cheats for it. Yes, I use cheats to beat games now, especially dickhead games like this that try to grab you by the balls like an ex-wife grubbing for child support. I never stated I was beating all these NES games fairly. I have a wife and 2 kids who monopolize my time (rightfully so), so I get scraps of playing time when they are either sleeping or off doing things because Dad is "too tired." Anyway, back to the cheats. I literally felt like Koei put a little devil bitch inside the ROM to bat away at EVERY SINGLE FUCKING EFFORT of mine to make a cheat or do anything right. I'm usually pretty good at finding the correct addresses to manipulate, but trying to make cheats for Bandit Kings was like a 3-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond (see: Beavis & Butthead).

Whipon at discovered that his published cheats for this game were no good because he found out that the game's hex addresses change with every new game, so you have to make them special for each game played. FCEUX's normal cheat search simply did not work for ANYTHING on Bandit Kings, so I had to use the debugger, which was new to me and involves looking through thousands of hex addresses for the one value you are searching for.

After an hour or so I found the Popularity address!! You see, the only way to defeat the Evil Gao Qiu is to raise your popularity over 250, which takes forever because you get slaughtered before you can kill enough rabid wolves to raise it.

So, when Popularity gets past 250 and January comes around again the pussy Emperor gives you the Imperial Edict, which says you can now go after the Evil Gao Qiu. If the Emperor wants this piece of shit killed so badly, why do you have to waste time killing fucking wolves to get it?? The Emperor needs to get a set of balls, so it seems.

OK, we got the Edict. Now we can go into the Evil Gao Qiu's prefecture, kill him and get the ending. I'd been waiting 15 years for that Edict, now the fun part comes and I can slay that son of a bitch once and for all, right?. Nope. When you attack Gao Qiu in his prefecture he slips out at some point in the battle, but you still need to beat down his forces, as you will just have to fight them again in another Prefecture anyway. Battles take forever. Once you win you have to find him in another Prefecture, then he does the same damned thing again. He's more slippery than shower jizz.

About 3 hours into the marathon, FCEUX decides it's gonna freeze up and crash. When I reload the game all the cheats are gone (I managed to find values for strength, wisdom and all that crap only by checking the addresses near the popularity address). I almost gave up at that point but I said screw it and soldiered on.

I finally corner the cockbag in this one Prefecture only to discover that the one guy in my army that I managed to make a somewhat stable infinite troops code for (Welcome Rain) cannot pass over the water sections of the map because he doesn't have a boat, therefore I can't get past the water to the bad guys. I had to go back to my last save state from 30 minutes before and it took another 10 minutes to figure out I can have a guy make a boat and give it to my main guy.

The peasants revolted at one point because my loyalty value dropped to 0 and I wasn't paying attention. These peasants are a fucking nuisance. Just ask the two survivors at the end of Shichinin no Samurai. They should be grateful I'm protecting them from this asshole Evil Gao Qiu. Also, we get the point that he is Evil. Was he born Evil? Was he an Evil baby? Did he suck milk out of his mom's teat viciously while leering at her out of the corner of his eye? He must be destroyed!

Just when I think I have everything figured out, during battle my main squad (the one I made the workable code for infinite men) "gets tired" and can't fight for about 3 rounds. If you don't win the battle in 30 rounds you lose. Which one of the 45 fucking icons do you need to boost to keep your guy from getting tired? This is ridiculous. Whoever made this game was a worm.

The fucking wolves attacked my prefecture around 2am, so I had to waste a turn fighting them off. Every time you think you are ready to go in for the final battle and try planning ahead, some damned ridiculous thing like this goes down.

When I FINALLY got that little beyotch Evil Gao Qiu cornered between 2 MOUNTAIN RANGES, he manages to escape. I chased the asshole into an adjacent prefecture and he hopped back out into another one after one quick round of battle. I thought I was NEVER going to beat this.

Finally, during a battle I only brought Welcome Rain's troops into a prefecture to bait him out and managed to get into battle with him. When I got his forces down under 100 (the number turns red), he disappeared out of the prefecture again!!! I went back to the battle save state and figured "why not try the useless duel command" which worked on nobody during the entire game. It fucking worked!!!!! I finally got the ending after all these years and got to see one of the most elusive, hard-to-kill bad ass characters ever get beheaded.

I'm sure I missed a bunch of other annoyances in this game. I played the game on the hardest difficulty (5) because if there was a better ending than the youtube video I wanted to get it, but it was the same (other than the character you use and the date you capture Evil Gao Qiu).

I played this from 9pm to 3am and when the phone woke me up at 9am I had the worst migraine I've had in years and my vision was blurred, but it's worth it for finally knocking this piece of dogshit off the list. I was ready to give up several times but thought of the few people that have actually beaten this without cheat codes, so I kept going. I think it may have been so evil because the difficulty level was at 5...I don't know. I'm naming my next grey pube after the main programmer, by the way.

Now that Evil Gao Qiu has been vanquished in my gaming universe, he automatically gets first ballot honors into my badass Hall of Fame, along with such nasty scum like Mike Tyson, that dish rag slunt Dark Queen from Battletoads and the fucking Grumpasaurus from Muppet Adventure.


There's nothing really important here.

Just wanted to keep a personal written record of my thoughts on NES games as I play them since:
(1) old age is setting in and I don't remember half the games I've played and
(2) I play a lot of obscure old NES/Famicom shit that most people won't touch ("Tales from the videogame slums" one of my friends told me when describing one of these wretched games to him).

I'll look back at old NES titles I beat and make comments on the progress of the 9 US released NES games that continue to be the bane of my existence. You bitches know who you are. You lure me in with the hope that you will give it up, only to mentally blue ball me just about every time in the end.
In fact, my first entry will be about a game I just finished at 3:30am this morning that had been using and abusing me for the last 12 years or so. If you are one of the 3 people reading this, stay tuned...