In the 16-bit era, shoot-em-ups were enjoying their new found technological freedom. As technology stepped up, so too did the amount of enemy ships trying to blast you out of the air. Levels lengthened, enemies took on a wide variety, and bullets split the sky in various patterns. I was in heaven.
In the 32-bit era things went decidedly differently. Perhaps this was due to the continued decline of arcades and the inherent arcade nature of shmups. Polygonal hit boxes and the commonly low budgets for shmup developers (things that are still true today) clearly had an impact as well. Most great shoot-em-ups of the 16-bit days either went dormant, or stuck with the tried and true gameplay of their past iterations. New shoot-em-up franchises you say? Maybe in Japan, but even with the PSX being the money maker it was, publishers rarely cared to put in the comparatively minimal effort needed to bring them stateside.
Then Square stepped up to the plate by releasing Einhander in the US in 1998. Perhaps feeling cocky by the release of FFVII they were translating and releasing everything they could develop searching for their next big hit. Even things that were not RPGs were getting developed by Square, practically unheard of today.
Not only did Sony bring shmups into the polygon era, they nailed it on the first swing. Large bosses, huge variety of guns and strategy to using them, great music, amazing graphics. Any criteria you could use to judge whether a shmup is good or not (meaning don’t judge it on the story whatsoever) was impressive. I still go back and play this game when I want to blast hundreds of generic enemy ships into oblivion.
I, as I am wont to assume, believed that this was the beginning of an incredible series, rather than a one off experiment. Evenually other companies dragged shoot-em-ups new and old into today, but Square was so far ahead of the curve it is truly surprising that they didn’t capitalize on it. Square never saw fit to develop a sequel, nor any other shmup game ever since. Even worse, they are too lazy to let me download the originalon PSN, even though it is available on the Japanese PSN!
Oh Square-Enix, finding the dumbest ways to try and take my money while simultaneously finding other ways to keep me from throwing money at them.
Now FFIX is a Damn fine game in many respects. The weapon synthesis system is nowhere near one of the best aspects of the game.
Imagine you stop at a fast food restaurant for a quick bite to eat. You order a delicious hamburger, and prepare to hand over the cash, but not so fast!
The restaurant employee informs you that they don’t have the buns or meat to make your hamburger. Looks like you’ll have to find them yourself, and then he will take your ingredients, still charge you, and make you a burger.
What the H!?
The issue becomes even more ridiculous if you imagine that the burger joint is located right next to a supermarket.
This is exactly what the synthesis shops do in FFIX!
Why doesn’t the synthesis shop just buy their own weapons to combine and sell? The weapon store is literally right next to you! You could build a fucking door between your stores! Don’t act like you don’t have an ax in your weapon shop! Why don’t you and the weapon shop just merge into one store!?
But then where would all the meaningless fetch quests come from? Not to mention the fact that I can’t sell any weapons ever again since you might need them for future synthesizing!
So there I am on an island no one knew about for centuries, in a place no man has set foot on in hundreds of years. I’m fighting a cunning group of thieves out to kill me and steal the treasure I came here to retrieve for probably more noble purposes I guess.
I am crafty enough to steal a Jet S- WaveRun- AHEM ‘personal water craft’ from the villains, and I set a course upriver. Unfortunately, the enemy knows I’m on the way. Suddenly they begin to toss dozens of barrels into the river. Oh no! They are full of oil, and explode violently!
This is the part where I pause the game and take a deep breath.
Hold on a minute now Uncharted.
Oil prices are in the range of a hundred bucks a barrel, and these henchmen are just tossing it into the river like it’s worthless. These guys wouldn’t need to steal such rare things if they were just more careful with how they use their money and supplies.
Did they really bring hundreds of drums of oil to just throw into a river when they got here? And if not, then what were they intended for? Because you sure as hell can’t use them for that when you are throwing them in the fucking ocean!
But before we can even worry about that, we have to ask the underlying question, how exactly did you get all that oil here? You can’t just pick up some oil drums from the local supply store, and fill them up at the uncharted gas station. These barrels had to be carried onto a boat, likely by the same henchmen that are chucking them out like expired food as we speak. If you factor in the cost, as well as the fact that a giant cargo ship docking anywhere and buying hundreds of barrels of oil and weapons, landing in any port anywhere not exactly being inconspicuous, I can only conclude that at the very least, these thieves need to hire an accountant.
Oh Uncharted, you had me going there for a moment, but you burst the reality of my experience like an exploding barrel blows up a personal watercraft.
I am halfway through the story mode of Persona 4 finally. So much reading. It’s been getting more and more interesting though as you play through each character’s perspective. I definitely enjoy the way that little pieces are revealed through each fighter’s story. Not to mention the way each character reacts to the same situations, large and small.
Right now I can only speculate at who’s endings are accurate, and which are not. Also got to love those alternate endings I’ve run into once or twice. I wonder if I have to see all the side endings to get 100% story completion? Well, I guess I will find out once I finish up these final storylines.
Oh, if you play Persona 4 Arena on PSN. my PSN name is ‘genoboost’ Add me and let me beat you up.