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I got Game Builder Garage and did a few of the tutorials (platformer, tag, marble maze/teleport). Not sure how much I'll even be into this game but it might be fun. I don't yet know what kind of game(s) I plan on making. I'm pretty much used to creativity with constraints while this seems more open ended (tho much more constrained than actually programming). Spyro the Dragon is currently more engaging.


Also just got a HP Reverb G2 VR headset and setting it up was kinda frustrating (to the point where I almost began to wonder if I should have caved in and gotten a Quest 2 instead) cuz I kept getting a 7-14 error, which got resolved when I ordered a PCI-e card with USB 3.0 ports and plugged the headset into that (one of the most common suggestions ppl gave for fixing that when Googling that error). And then I only had half of the required amount of RAM and wondered if I need to order yet another thing until I realized that one of my memory sticks hadn't even been inserted correctly. Apparently my graphics card (which is a GTX 1060) is the bare minimum of what's required, which is fortunate cuz of scalpers/crypto miners/ the pandemic induced shortage that would make it literally impossible to get a better one. I pretty much have to be content with what I have for now since I have no intention of paying thousands of dollars to scalpers for a better graphics card.
One of the first things I did was play No Limits 2 roller coaster simulator in VR. Normally I don't get motion sickness when riding real roller coasters or any of those spinning or looping flat rides, but riding virtual roller coasters in VR is disorienting and makes me feel like getting motion sickness might actually be a possibility if I don't take breaks. Maybe I just have to get acclimated. Kinda makes me feel like I'm actually riding it. I had downloaded a recreation someone made of Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (a ride that rockets you 120 mph up a 420 foot tower) and it was faithful enough to the real-life counterpart to give me flashbacks of having gone there a couple years ago.
I also kinda wanna try Subnautica in VR mode. My sister's been playing the Switch version and I caught some glimpses of it and it looks prettyful, and Half-Life Alyx is taking a hella long time to install (a little afraid of how demanding it'll be tho).
I didn't want a Quest 2 if I could help it since that requires linking a Facebook account, and I heard recently that they'll start putting ads in some games.

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Completed Panzer Paladin just now (accidentally posted my last post in the Bar & Grill).

To shortly recap, it's a Mega Man-like game with a focus on collecting weapons and using their unique abilities.

The game was a lot of fun to play, and the difficult felt just right for my taste on Normal mode (not frustratingly difficult, but still challenging so that most bosses took me at least a couple of attempts).

It was only after completing the game that I discovered its coolest feature: You can draw your own pixel-art weapons to use in the game. You have a very basic pixel editor with four colors (very similar to the icon editor in Mario Kart DS), and you can customize the properties of the weapon. You can even decide to upload it, which can make it appear as random drops from a certain boss in other people's games.

I already liked the game before, but this feature honestly makes it so much cooler. Wish I had known about this before, I might have played the game online, just to see a few cool weapons.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Originally posted by Sokobansolver
and Half-Life Alyx is taking a hella long time to install (a little afraid of how demanding it'll be tho).

After over a year of it having been out, I've now finally gotten to play that, and it didn't melt my GPU. Altho mods have certainly helped tide me over, I still missed the experience of playing a Half-Life game from Valve for the first time. Moving around feels kinda awkward especially when I'm used to traditional flat-screen first-person games, and rather than reloading by pressing the R key, I now have to press one of the controller buttons to eject the round, grab another one from over my shoulder, and manually place it into my firearm, and press the other button to load it, which is kinda hectic when I'm surrounded by headcrab zombies. Kinda reminds me of "you are now breathing manually." It's still hella fun tho. Like the gaming equivalent of a page-turner. The graphics still look good even when I can't take advantage of the full resolution. The barnacles (or pretty much everything really) are more nightmare fuel than in the normal flat-screen games. Just like normal Half-Life fashion, there are numerous puzzles to complement the shooter elements, and I like how so far there seems to be more variety than the typical "find a lever somewhere" or "find a plug and then find a socket somewhere."
Had I played it last year, the chapter called Quarantine Zone would probably have felt a little too real. In fact, right before opening the hatch into the titular Quarantine Zone, they even mention the etymology of the word quarantine. I doubt the timing was intended since this game has likely been in development well before 2020.

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I completed the Stranger of Paradise demo on PS5 today, and I really liked it. From what I understand, this trailer was really unpopular and people are making fun of it. I don't quite understand why, though? Like sure, the writing in the trailer sounds a little bit cheesy (very Nomura-style), and granted, the trailer doesn't exactly scream "Final Fantasy 1 spin-off". But the reactions to the trailer still seemed overly harsh for me, like people were picking it apart for just one or two minor issues.

For me, the trailer immediately looked intriguing, so I gave it a try, and I wasn't disappointed. I love the Souls games, and this game definitely feels like one, alright. From the core gameplay, all the way to the bosses being extremely challenging, yet rewarding. Really had a lot of fun with the demo boss. The game is not just a mere copy, though. It has its unique elements and nuances that make it fun to dive into. It actually feels a lot like Sekiro, but also has elements that are very Final Fantasy, like magic or different classes.

While I liked the demo a lot, I did have a few minor issues with it. The placement of healing potions on the D-Pad was less than ideal. It requires lifting the finger off the left stick to use, which is always a huge risk in Souls-like games, even for just a few seconds. From Software games do this right by placing healing items on a face button. Another problem was that the game supports switching between multiple classes/equipment sets dynamically, but this kinda didn't work reliably for me. It only worked when I was doing absolutely nothing else, but mid-battle, it seemed to only work at random. Maybe some simple input buffering would fix this - just have the class change at the next possible occassion. Also a few things felt less intuitive than in the Souls games I know. In Dark Souls, when you are knocked to the ground, to get up quickly, you simply have to press the dodge button. This didn't seem to be the case here. Apparently, you have to press backwards and dodge to get up in this game. I didn't know this for a long time, so my character just kept lying on the ground after being knocked down, which usually just meant certain death, because the enemy kept attacking.

All of these issues are definitely fixable, and I hope the developers will do that. I also hope future trailers of the game will be more well-received and people who reacted negatively to the first one will still give it a try. Since the game is really a lot of fun, I don't want to see it fail.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Completed Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut today on my Switch.

I hate this game, it's absolute trash. I know I've been negative quite often in here lately, but this is one of those games that, in my opinion, don't deserve being defended by anyone. In fact, I already knew I hated this game beforehand, because I completed its DSi version back when it was brand new. I only bought it on Switch so that I could, at some point, own the entire Shantae series on Switch. However, since I bought it, and since I knew it was as short game, I thought I'd give it another try to see if it's really as bad as I remembered it being. This is also the Director's Cut version of the game, so I thought maybe they made some notable improvements to the game.

Notable improvements my ass. The game is every bit as horrible as I had remembered, if not even worse, and the Director's Cut version barely changes anything about it. In fact, there's only a single gameplay improvement in the entire game, and while it does help, it doesn't even scratch the surface of the game's many problems.

To state how bad the game is, I simply have to mention the following: my playthrough this time around took me a total of only 5 hours, of which 4 were complete padding - and of the remaining 1 hour, only like 30 minutes were actually somewhat fun to play.

Basically, Risky's Revenge is what I imagine might happen if someone tried to design a Metroidvania or Adventure game while entirely missing the point of either genre. In these games, world design is pretty much the single most important aspect, yet in Risky's Revenge, it's completely arbitrary. Everything is just placed in random locations, there's no notable landmarks that remind you of important places to return to, fast travel teleporters are never placed conveniently, and items that are crucial for story progression are just placed in random caves all throughout the world without any indication. I posted something about a game called "Chasm" some time ago here, which was essentially a Metroidvania with a randomly generated world - yet despite that game's world being randomly generated, it never felt nearly as arbitrary as Risky's Revenge does throughout its entire play time.

The entire game is literally built around you not knowing where to go so that every time you want to advance the story, you have no choice but to first traverse the entire world again, searching for caves or other places you might have missed - all just to give the impression of being a five to ten hour game, when in reality, the game hardly contains even one hour of content after removing all the padding and pointless backtracking.

Simply put: I think it's an absolute crime this game is sitting at around a 75 on Metacritic, with the worse DSi version even sitting at 85. People often act like a 70 on metacritic was a horrible score - and after playing Risky's Revenge, I think I kinda have to agree, because the only way I can accept a 75 for Risky's Revenge is if we establish that a score of 70 indicates literally unplayable trash. In other words, this is now canon.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Been playing even more of Half-Life Alyx as of late. It's one of those games that feels like a book I just can't put down. It also quite easily has the most nightmare fuel of any Half-Life game, and being a VR title might have a little something to do with it. You get to experience being eaten by barnacles, headcrabs jumping on you, zombies chasing and attacking you, Manhacks slicing you, Combines shooting at you, and standing at great heights all directly from Alyx's POV. And toward the end of chapter 3,
a train crashes not far at all from where you're standing.


I'm currently on chapter 5, and it introduces an enemy that terrifies me but in a good, fun kind of way.
There's a fast-moving electric enemy that Alyx says looks like a dog but I think looks more like a cross between a manta ray and a headcrab, and you need to defeat it to power up certain machinery. It never fails to jumpscare me when suddenly approaching me, and its attack paralyzes Alyx. During the second encounter it reanimates dead bodies and it's something like a mini-boss.
I am extremely thankful for that laser sight pistol upgrade. Even on potato settings this game still manages to look decent and be immersive, tho maybe I have nothing else to compare it to yet. Even if it's not Half-Life 3 it kinda seems like it might as well be. Just like with the other HL games, I expect to replay this one time and time again.
As much fun as this game is, I hope Valve isn't completely done with making non-VR Half-Life games, since more ppl would be able to play those, and it is kinda annoying when grabbing another magazine or clip by reaching over my shoulder isn't as responsive as it should be, particularly when there are Manhacks flying about and Combines attempting to shoot at me.

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So, I've been playing Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time lately, and I might just give up on it. It's uncomfortably difficult, and it gets absolutely ridiculous when you try to go for the gems. I wrote a full post about it here. It's honestly really disappointing that after almost two decades of no new Crash platformers, this is what we got. It could have been so good...instead of just being frustrating. And the cherry on top is that apparently, there are almost no other games that play like Crash Bandicoot. I already have Super Mario 3D Land and World, so I guess if I want more Crash Bandicoot or gameplay similar to it, and the latest one isn't good, I'm out of luck.

Also, to RPG Hacker: I hate the Shantae series in general. Admittedly, Risky's Revenge is the one that I have the most experience with, but Metroidvanias in general really have to do a lot right when it comes to QoL features for me to like them, and what I played of Shantae 1 and 3 didn't fit the bill either. I remember getting past the intro stage of Shantae 3, which included basically going from one point to another and then doing the same thing backward, and not having a clue where to go from there nor being able to figure out what to do next after exploring. Also, I can't stand how much they shove the sexiness in your face. No, I don't need to see Shantae's boobs every time she's in a cutscene. No, I don't freaking need to see the boss's boobs when I'm fighting her either. Why are people like this? Are the allosexuals okay?
I've only played the first Shantae game, weirdly enough. Never finished, but I had fun with it. I do like the setting, but yeah, I never played enough of the series to really have an opinion on it as a whole.

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Хуй войне!

桐生会FOREVER #ThankYouCoco / Rest in peace, Near, thank you for everything
The thing is that I don't actually hate any of the other Shantae games. 1/2 Genie Hero I feel very "meh" about, but I wouldn't say I outright hate it. It just had a lot of lows for me. As for the other games, I like the first one, and I think Pirate's Curse and Seven Sirens are pretty great. I agree that Pirate's Curse has some bad backtracking, but it's luckily always really short and the game is so quick to traverse that it didn't bother me too much. I even went through the game twice in a row on my first playthrough. Seven Sirens definitely was my favorite one, though. I feel like it's the one game in the series that gets the closest to the quality of a Metroid game (even though it still had some issues).

As for the sexualization, I can definitely understand being turned off by it. I'm not a huge fan of it, either, and they're definitely taking it way too far on the regular. Like, in some of the games, you literally unlock bikini pictures by getting a fast clear time, and I think we should be way beyond using sexiness as a game reward. Additionally, I can get that Shantae's standard outfit is somewhat revealing, because she's a belly dancer and, apparently, belly dancing outfits do look similar to that, but then they also regulary put her friends into even skimpier outits, which is clearly just eye candy. Some of those outfits are really taking it too far, they literally give off "slave Leia" vibes. Pirate's Curse was probably the worst game in this regard.

All of that being said, while it annoys me, too, it's never been enough to make me not enjoy the games. Once I'm playing, I hardly think about these things, and luckily these extreme instances tend to be rare and short. Aside from those instances where they outright shove the sexualization into ones face, my primal brain usually kicks in and I'm just like "eh, I guess these sprites are somewhat adorable".

So ultimately, when I dislike the games, it's usually because of their gameplay, and Risky's Revenge definitely feels like the worst offender in that regard, because it hardly offers anything of value. Even when the game isn't outright bad, it at best gets mildly enjoying.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Downloaded the Switch version of Zombies ate my Neighbors + Ghoul Patrol. Gonna take a bit to get readjusted to the muscle memory of switching special items and weapons vs. using them but at least I can actually save now. I remember it being the very definition of Nintendo hard, particularly with the titanic toddlers and Snakeoids, and rescuing certain tourist couples before they transform into werewolves (which is still a time crunch even with speed shoes). Still fun regardless, and the soundtrack is kickass, particularly this track, which I would totally wanna use in a hack if it was ever ported.

Now for a little mini-rant: Making you cycle through your inventory in real time and in only one direction makes it more artificially difficult than it needs to be cuz it's extremely easy to skip over the item you need right then and there, and then you gotta cycle thru all over again, and anytime I'm exiting a level right before one that features tourist werewolves and gives you a strict time limit to save them, I have to remember to cycle to the sprint shoes before going thru the exit door so I can just equip them at the start of the next level, and it'll usually take me a few tries to rescue them (and it pretty much assumes you know where they are and how to get to them and the game doesn't ease you into it). I could not imagine going thru this game savestateless. The giant spider boss in lvl 36 is tougher than nails and had to save just before entering the arena, and even then I got several game-overs on it, which is a non-issue here since I can just reload (I did eventually beat it), but if this was on the regular SNES I would have had to either start from the beginning or input a password, which isn't recommended cuz it would start me off with just water pistols and medkits (and I'm gonna have to fight it again in lvl 48). It's also kinda cheap to have neighbors die off-screen or literally as soon as you get them on-screen (looking at you, inner tube guys in levels that spam squidmen). Most of these victims are too dumb to live. Even with items and weapons laying about, they'd rather die than pick them up and use them, and you're the only one capable of doing anything while they're all too apathetic to even so much as lift a finger even while they're being hunted down by zombies, vampires, werewolves, chainsaw maniacs, etc.

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Legacy custom music

Just finished Half-Life Alyx. What a strange ending.
The G-Man was the one in the vault, not Gordon, and after you free him, he nudges the timeline by letting you kill the Combine Advisor so that Eli survives, and the post-credits scene is a sequel hook with the newly altered timeline, but with Alyx in stasis and from Gordon's POV. I gotta wonder, does the G in G-Man stand for God? Can we say Half-Life 3 actually confirmed now?
As much fun as playing in VR was, I hope Valve isn't done with flatscreen HL games (they did say there'd be more HL games).

Also, the last level kinda felt a bit too short, but it was kind of cathartic to act like a Vortigaunt to the Combine soldiers. Very much reminded me of HL2's Citadel level.


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More games I played and/or finished recently.









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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Some games I started playing recently:





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Legacy custom music

I just beat Super Metroid for the first time. Actually, I just beat a lot of metroid games, and Super was the last one that I hadn't played yet. I beat them in this order:

Zero Mission: I played it when I was younger, I don't remember much, but I did beat the game and see the credits.

Metroid Fusion: I got stuck in this game when I was younger. Last month, I finally picked it back up from the start on my modded GBA and beat it. I liked that the computer would tell you where to go, but sometimes it was too much, and I got stuck. Okay, where do I go? It turned out I HAD to go back to the computer for it to tell me what to do next. In some situations, I was bothered by the fact that to progress I had to bomb a very specific corner in an unassuming room to proceed. I'd expect secrets to be hidden behind such solutions, but not main game progression!

Metroid: Samus Returns: I think I was about 2/3 of the way through on my file on the 3DS before I stopped playing near the launch of the game, I don't remember why, I was enjoying the game, except I remember the Aeon abilities were tough for me to get used to. I picked it back up from where I started and it was thankfully really easy to get back into. I immediately recognized how good the game felt to control. Despite using the circle pad instead of a D-pad, the game felt smooth and I didn't feel like I was missing out. The final boss was difficult, but I think it was a really good final battle, in a game that had a lot of repetitive bosses. I also thought the final part was really cute.

Super Metroid:
I just beat this one an hour ago, I was impressed by how good the mechanics were. Only some things felt slightly worse than Fusion. for most of the game, it felt like a pure funhouse of exploration and finding new stuff every 5 minutes. That was great for the majority of the game, but near the end that feeling petered out as I found myself getting stuck a bit more, and resorting to some guides since the game wasn't telling me much and backtracking felt slower than the other games, I didn't want to deal with it. I got stuck at Ridley, I tried to beat him a bunch of times but he just wouldn't die no matter what I did. I had to go back to guides again and apparently, you need 30 super missiles to kill him. I only had 20, and even pumping as many of my normal missiles as I could, he wouldn't die. I had to go back and find more super missile expansions before I came back and killed him. (Canonically, apparently.) The rest of the game was straightforward and the final boss was way, WAY easier than ridley. I enjoyed the ending and overall it was a great game.

Final Verdict: They're all great games, but I feel like I enjoyed the castlevania games that I've played much more than them. I have only played Metroid Prime 1. I thought it was a masterpiece, but I played Metroid Prime 2 and couldn't stand the dark world mechanic. I haven't touched the series since and have no hype for metroid prime 4 as a result.
Fun Fact about Super Metroid: As far as I know, Plasma Beam charges are actually mower powerful than missiles, so a lot of experienced players don't even use missiles against Ridley, but go with charged Plasma Beams instead.

Just checked it over here. Especially the Ice Beam + Wave Beam + Plasma Beam combination deals 300 damage per shot, and a whole 900 damag eper charge shot, whereas missiles only deal 100 damage. So it really seems like a huge difference. Once charge shot to Ridley's face is basically worth 9 missiles.

Btw., I totally recommend giving Metroid Prime 3 and Metroid Other M a try if you can get your hands on them. I know they don't have the best reputation in the series, but honestly, I think people are unreasonably harsh to them.

Prime 3 is just a more stream-lined, more story-focussed Prime game, and I think at that, it's great. Especially if you disliked the dark world mechanic in Prime 2, Prime 3 might be a lot of fun for you, since it has none of that tedium.

As for Other M, it's honestly just a super fun and solid action-oriented game. I feel it kinda plays like a 3D version of Fusion (and even the story feels like Fusion 2.0). In my opinion, most Metroid fans just hate it because of its story problems and because it has less of a focus on exploration, but I think objectively speaking, it's still a really solid game, and I love it.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
I personally consider Prime 2 as one of my favourite and the dark world mechanic was quite fun to me (though mostly after you get the Dark Suit where you only take one damage per second). Part of that is because some of the bosses are quite cool but also because Prime 2 has got my favourite level design of all Metroid games (place 2 and 3 are Super and Prime 1, btw).

Originally posted by RPG Hacker
Fun Fact about Super Metroid: As far as I know, Plasma Beam charges are actually mower powerful than missiles, so a lot of experienced players don't even use missiles against Ridley, but go with charged Plasma Beams instead.

Just checked it over here. Especially the Ice Beam + Wave Beam + Plasma Beam combination deals 300 damage per shot, and a whole 900 damag eper charge shot, whereas missiles only deal 100 damage. So it really seems like a huge difference. Once charge shot to Ridley's face is basically worth 9 missiles.

Though you also forget the DoT factor since the charge beam is slow, taking up a whole second to charge. With a perfectly timed charge, you'd deal 900 damage per second. Contrast with Super Missiles which have a cooldown of 19 frames, meaning you deal around 947,35 with perfect timing. Add it with the fact that Ridley takes double damage from Supers, it's barely worth to use the even fully upgraded beam against Ridley unless you run out of Supers.
That being said, Missiles do get redundant quickly since Supers have got a surperior DoT and kill many of the stronger enemies in one hit and Spazer+Charge makes Missiles in many cases redundant as well.

Altogether, it's definitively interesting to see how each weapon is balanced in each game. Zero Mission, for example, has got a heavy bias towards the Missiles, especially since every boss allows you to replenish them, making the charge beam not even necessary for low% runs (contrast with Super Metroid where only four 14% (official low%) runs are chargeless [and all of them require glitching Draygon) and 12% always require charge).
On the other hand, each beam in Prime 1 feels quite balanced considering each beam has got a specific ad- and disadvantage (especially with Supers which are part Power Beam) and even without beam-specific enemies, it is worth to switch between each beam. That is, until you get Plasma whose charge beam can deal OHKO damage and even the shorter range isn't much of an issue while Missiles are too slow to be useful once you get Wave, which is probably one of the reasons why Prime 3 opts for Ice Missiles instead of the Ice Beam (the other reasons are that it would conflict with the fire based Plasma Beam and lack of Supers).
Fusion, on the other hand, has got a bias towards the beam, though it also seems to flip-flop between Missiles occasionally (I have a feeling the most recently upgraded weapon is the best weapon), not to mention it uses Ice Missiles as well (presumably for the same reason as Prime 3) which don't make missiles too useless as well.

I can also share some news as well. I have bought Baba is You two weeks ago and wow, I really love it, mostly because of the amount of shenanigans you can make with the phrases, though it also encourges to experiment with everything (for example, NOT can be used to
give everything some property but the object in the phrase
) to the point where I had to look up for a solution a couple times. I do try to finish the bonus missions and lettered levels without looking up the solution, though.

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Rest in peace, Near.
Baby is You is one of those games I definitely still want to play, but I've been waiting for a physical release all this time, which just hasn't happened yet. Quite surprising, because every game on the Switch that is even remotely popular has ended up getting at leasted a Limited Run release.

Originally posted by MarioFanGamer
Though you also forget the DoT factor since the charge beam is slow, taking up a whole second to charge. With a perfectly timed charge, you'd deal 900 damage per second. Contrast with Super Missiles which have a cooldown of 19 frames, meaning you deal around 947,35 with perfect timing. Add it with the fact that Ridley takes double damage from Supers, it's barely worth to use the even fully upgraded beam against Ridley unless you run out of Supers.


Yeah, certainly. That was the precisely the point I was trying to make, that charged beams are more efficient than regular missiles, not necessarily more efficient than super missiles. Since quizler mentioned not having enough super missiles, my point was to say that charge beams would have been a good alternative there.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
I was under too much pressure to try the charge beam. I had a feeling that it did good damage, but I was not good at holding the charge while holding R to keep myself angled towards ridley while also actually avoiding his attacks. It doesn't help that my primary strat was to just stand in the lava (acid???) whenever he got me in a corner and just launch as much missiles at him as I could while he stayed stationary at the cost of my health. I didn't have time to charge, literally.
I fully understand. It can be quite the hectic and scary fight when not being familiar with it. I think I usually use the Screw Attack to dodge many of Ridley's attacks, but that of course also takes some practice and can be difficult to pull off in a stressful situation.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
I've been replaying Mega Man X6 again. This time, I'm going through it with Zero, since I've never actually played the entire game (well, almost the entire game) with him. In fact, I don't think I've ever played as him at all. It's been an interesting experience, and it definitely changes the dynamics of the game compared to using X. It also means that I'm doing the stages in a different order from what I'd do with X; with X, I'd usually go Commander Yammark, Ground Scaravich, Shield Sheldon, Infinity Mijinion, Blaze Heatnix, Blizzard Wolfang, Rainy Turtloid, Metal Shark Player, whereas with Zero, I did Rainy Turtloid, Metal Shark Player, Shield Sheldon, Commander Yammark, Infinity Mijinion, Ground Scaravich, Blaze Heatnix, Blizzard Wolfang. Well, I haven't done Blizzard Wolfang's stage quite yet, but it's the only one left at the time of this post. Doing Rainy Turtloid first is actually fairly tough because of how small your life bar is at the start and how much of a pain his secondary area is to navigate with the starting abilities (seriously, it's by far the hardest secondary area in the game, unless you come to Commander Yammark's without the right abilities), but I still feel like it's the best choice for a Zero playthrough, because Ground Scaravich's RNG only gives you a 50% chance at getting the secondary area and getting his weapon first as Zero is a bad idea, the only other two secondary areas that can be accessed without additional powerups both add a Nightmare effect to Rainy Turtloid's stage (though at least Shield Sheldon's can be gotten rid of with his weapon), making it even harder to do early on, and the weapon Zero gets from him is one of the most useful. And Metal Shark Player is a good boss to to take on early because his stage holds the Shock Buffer part, which is very important for Zero. I actually probably could have done Blaze Heatnix earlier, since Zero seems to have an easier time with the giant donut robots than X if you can get the right positioning and aren't going for no damage (I actually beat the fourth one before even reaching the upper entrance to the shaft).

Some miscellaneous things that I've noticed so far:
- Zero seems to have noticeably worse controls in this game than he did in X4 or X5. Besides the aforementioned Ground Scaravich weapon, he tends to get stuck in place while performing most of his attacks, and he's terrible at hitting anything more than 2 blocks away while not on the ground.
- You don't need the Jumper to get to Metal Shark Player's secondary area with Zero; the Hyper Dash will work just fine, provided that Ground Scaravich's Nightmare effect is active. On that note, that puzzle to get the block to the edge of the pit is a lot more annoying for Zero because he can't just dash into the pushable crates; he actually has to use the dive-bomb, which tends to destroy brown crates that you don't want destroyed. Also, there is actually a difference between the black crates and the blue ones; the black ones will slide only 1 unit at a time when pushed, while the blue ones will slide all the way to a wall or ledge. I'm also pretty sure that it's impossible to take the Ride Armor all the way to the end of the secondary area if the crates are there, because there's a part near the middle where there are 3 brown crates on the conveyor belt and not enough vertical clearance to get over all of them, and it's almost impossible to rescue the Reploid at the end of the area without a wide-range special weapon.
- Commander Yammark's stage can have both the most and least threatening Nightmare effects, which are also the only ones that cannot be nullified in any way. Also, for as pathetic as Rainy Turtloid's Nightmare effect is, it actually does become a problem in the secondary area if you don't have the Mach Dash or the right parts, which is kind of an issue for my stage order. I did get through that secondary area with Zero and no relevant parts for mobility, but I had to do it in the dark.
- On that note, every secondary area (so far) will always have the stage's Nightmare effect if there is one active. Notably, it's impossible to check if this is true for Shield Sheldon's effect in Blizzard Wolfang's stage, because it's impossible to get into the secondary area without having Blaze Heatnix's Nightmare active instead. I'd be curious if Shield Sheldon's actually does appear if you somehow hack your way into that secondary area or erase the cracked walls, but I have no way of testing that.
- Some Nightmare effects are a lot easier or harder in some stages than others, or even some sections of stages. I've had to deal with Metal Shark Player's metal blocks a lot in this playthrough, and they're definitely worst in Ground Scaravich's stage, particularly the two rooms with the dinosaur background, which contain 5 and 6 blocks respectively. They're less of a problem in Blaze Heatnix's stage; the only non-donut part of the level has 5 blocks but more space than Ground Scaravich's stage does (though the path to the secondary area spams them like crazy, with 10 blocks just in that little area), and they're practically a non-issue in Infinity Mijinion's stage.
- Metal Shark Player's stage actually isn't that bad from a design standpoint. It's hard, but I feel like it comes a lot closer to actually earning that difficulty than, for instance, Blaze Heatnix does.
- I don't know what I did to Commander Yammark, but apparently, just standing there and triple-slashing him to death works...he didn't even seem to try attacking me.
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