Missions Off The Grid – Game Boy Color – Resident Evil Gaiden – 2002

REGaiden Title
Resident Evil Gaiden

Game Boy Color
Capcom / M4
Genre: Action Horror
2002 (2001 in PAL region)

I missed out on the Game Boy Color for the most part so a lot of the games that were designed for the system are still mysteries to me.  Somewhere between the Game Boy, the Super Nintendo, and the Super Game Boy, this little handheld slipped right under my nose while I moved from console to console.  When I find games that would have snagged my attention back then in the current day, I immediately try to jump on them so that I can see exactly what I was missing.

Having loved Resident Evil since my friend described it to me on the original Playstation years ago, I spent hours with Chris and Jill on their flagship venture through the Spencer Mansion.  Resident Evil 2 also became and continues to be a favorite of mine.  I remember briefly seeing something about a Game Boy entry of the series in some magazine, but I couldn’t tell you which magazine it was or how deeply the article explained it.  I never saw it on the store shelves so it slipped from my memory pretty easily, especially since it had come out in the PAL region before coming over to the US so I had no idea if I would even see it.

The next time I ran into Resident Evil Gaiden was on a random shelf at a Wal-Mart down the street from my house well after they had stopped selling GBC games.  I didn’t pick it up then, either, but I was always curious about it. Part of the Resident Evil experience had to do with the scope and the narrative, both of which were things I hadn’t experienced on the Game Boy.  Having the chance to play Resident Evil Gaiden recently, I finally got to see how I would feel about the ‘lost’ chapter of the series.
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Responding to My Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine-blogger-award

In a strange and stunning turn of events, I was nominated for another award recently by Red Metal over at Extra Life Reviews.  While I gather my thoughts on some more games, work on my piece for the Games That Define Us collaboration, and piece together some more collection gushing, I thought it could be fun to respond to this!

As usual, I want to give a special thanks to the person who sent this my way.  Red Metal’s been around since this blog started, and his blog has been a bit of an inspiration for me and how I’ve been working to improve on 3PStart here.  He also just recently put up another piece in his series on The Legend of Zelda series (this one on Breath of the Wild which I’m still reading through), and he always offers up interesting background information and cool insights on the games he writes about.  Head on over and check out his stuff- once you’re done here, of course!

With that said, onward to the always thought-provoking questions!
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Adventures in Collecting – Atelier Lise -The Alchemist of Orde-

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Here we are with yet another one of my ‘adventures’ in video game collecting, so buckle in and-


Okay, well- the story behind this one isn’t super interesting so far as how I discovered it, especially since it’s part of the series I’m specifically seeking entries out in.  In my earlier days with the Atelier series, my husband had gone out and picked up a copy of Atelier Annie for the Nintendo DS.  Mind you that Annie is the only Atelier game on the DS that made its way over to the US and it was such a deviation from the Iris and Mana Khemia series on Playstation 2 that it kind of scared me and had me addicted simultaneously.  While later entries like Rorona and Ayesha would follow along in the same gameplay aspects regarding time management and exploration, it was a whole new world for me back when I started playing.

As I played through the game, my party came together as one would expect in a JRPG.  The knight who’s a bit too stuffy joined up. The perky but easily upset restaurant owner joined up.  Even the strong woman who eats and drinks all the time came into my ranks. One character, however, seemed a bit different- a young woman who was set for adventure with a bag full of bombs and a penchant for riches.  This character, a grinning girl with vivid red hair named Lise, quickly became a mainstay in my party, mostly due to seeming like she had a bit more depth than the other characters. The reason?

Well, she has her own game in the series right before Annie!

This was how I learned about Atelier Lise: The Alchemist of Orde.  Much like the main Atelier series, the DS games actually form a trilogy of separate but entwined games, of which Atelier Annie: The Alchemist of Sera Island is actually the middle of.  The first game in the series on the Nintendo DS follows Lisette “Lise” Randel, the youngest member of the Randel royal family.  Upon finding that her kingdom essentially about to be foreclosed upon due to her father’s habit of taking out loans to improve their homeland, Lise heads off to the kingdom of Orde to earn money and keep the Kingdom of Randel up and running under its current monarchy.  There are a number of ways to do this, resulting in multiple endings for the game, but ultimately the plot is not terribly different from Atelier Meruru from the get-go.

Atelier Lise establishes the cute anime art style that Annie continued, and the gameplay stays roughly the same.  Alchemy is a bit different than past games as you can pointedly assign traits to items, weapons, and armor that you make.  Battle takes place on a very simplified grid where characters are situated in the front, middle, or back row. Unlike past games, certain skills will take a certain amount of rounds to pull off, however, and they can only be used a limited amount in each battle.  It sounds like combat is a bit more important in Atelier Lise than past titles, as well.

What’s so special about Atelier Lise in the grand scheme of the series?  A fun fact about the game is that is has earned the nickname “Atelier Freeze” among the community.  Look no further for an answer. Apparently, in the first run of the game, it was so buggy that it was near impossible to complete.  This was so bad that Gust, the company that develops the Atelier games, issued a recall and ran a second version that was actually functional.  It also made some balances to the gameplay that apparently were sorely needed. The main difference that is apparent to tell whether you have a first run or second run copy?  The color of the case and the cartridge, both of which were white in the corrected version and red in the original.

Looking at the pictures, I’m just about 99% sure I have a first run copy.  While this is pretty neat, it’s sort of a strange bittersweet kind of neat.  In my searches on the internet, I can’t seem to find any trace of the ‘white case’ so either it’s incredibly rare or I’ve run into some misinformation.  Given that it’s a pretty text-intensive game, however, and I can’t read Japanese, I’m going to chalk it up as a score!

With that, Atelier Lise becomes my first imported Atelier game.  Sadly, it doesn’t actually count toward the mainline nineteen games of the series as Gust considers them the ‘DS’ trilogy (which probably also means we won’t see Lise, Annie, or the third of the series, Lina, appear in the upcoming Atelier Nelke game coming out) but it still holds a bit of my collector’s heart with it.  I also got to learn some neat history regarding the game and Gust’s practices in general.

See you next time, folks!

– Matt (a.k.a. The3rdPlayer)

 

Nomination for the Super-Specific Liebster Award

liebster-awardRecently, I was nominated for a “Super-Specific Liebster Award” by Matt over at Normal Happenings!

“Why did you put that in quotes?”, you might ask.

Well, something I’ve noticed about Matt’s question style is that he enjoys asking fun and, as the title would suggest, super specific questions in response to these awards.  While he nominated me for another of these a while back, I sadly had some issues in life and missed the first train to respond to- so I’m making an effort to respond to these wonderfully ridiculous and thought-provoking questions in this post.  I mean, I think we all need a little levity and my posts don’t tend to veer in this direction, so I’m glad to try something new!

Before I start, though, and speaking of something new- I met Matt and encountered Normal Happenings when he posted a search for contributors to a project he wanted to put together about Games That Define Us.  I’ve been wanting to contribute or work on a project with some folks so I held my breath and sent an e-mail.  Ever since, this guy has been super supportive and pleasant to chat with, and he and his wife, Nikki, write some great pieces involving video games and life in general.  The project debuts in November, so keep an eye out for a bunch of pieces from some pretty amazing bloggers!

With that- on with the amusement!
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Case Study in Fading Magic – Nintendo Entertainment System – Hydlide – 1989

Hydlide1Hydlide
Nintendo Entertainment System
T&E Soft Incorporated/FCI
Genre: Action RPG
1989

Tracing any genre back to its roots is difficult, though you can usually find a batch of games that are clear frontrunners in innovation.  Mechanically speaking, there are a lot of games that owe their predecessors for concepts that were not quite perfect when they appeared but have since been worked to impressive precision.  For better or worse, Hydlide was one of those frontrunners.

Originally released in 1984 for computers in Japan, the game worked to present a fantasy role-playing game like no other, though it was joined by Falcom’s Dragon Slayer series at about the same time.  Both are action RPGs and while Dragon Slayer still comes up pretty frequently in my studies on video games and history, I’d only heard of Hydlide in passing once or twice before I found a complete-in-box version at my local gaming store.

There had to be some reason that I had heard so much about one series and not the other, I figured.  Looking into FCI, the publisher, I noticed that they had some hand in helping the Ultima and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games make it over this way, and I’ve enjoyed what I played of those.

Let me recount my journey for you, then, of how I felt about Hydlide on its own merits, historically and playing through it in the year 2018.

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