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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Well, after being addicted to Clubhouse Games for a while now, I'm discovering that the AI is pretty weak in many of the games. More of a problem with the all-skill games, of course. Especially a problem for me, though, since I only play single-player games. It's a good package for casual entertainment and staying in practice, though.

    I switched back to Age of Empires yesterday and failed once again in the third scenario of the Minamoto campaign. Don't know if I'll ever win that. But I also played my first "empire map" game and won. It was fun but ran a little long.

    Today I loaded up Advance Wars and picked up where I left off (scenario 15 of the campaign). Pretty cool game. Game length and unit density are just right. It's sometimes puzzle-like, but there's just enough strategy and tactics to keep it interesting and make it seem vaguely realistic.

    Got burnt out on Puzzle Quest. It just gets old doing the same kind of puzzle over and over and over again.

    I'll get back to Steel Horizon one of these days.

    Just heard Chessmaster was recently released for the DS. Might be worth buying, though I already have a fine chess game (HIARCS) on my Palm PDA. The chess game in Clubhouse Games is so wimpy that even I can beat it. But the DS is trouncing me in Shogi (japanese chess); if I lose enough, I may eventually learn to play that game.

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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
    I think Clubhouse Games was my second purchase.

    None of the games will blow you away with how magical they are, but the purpose of a hand held game in an adults usage, is to fill in those dead spot moments in your day at any rate. So a quick game of backgammon is essentially just fine for that purpose.
    The game would have been perfect if it had had a basic version of Tetris included Or possibly a simple version of Battleship. Or maybe a simple crossword function. Or lastly something from the old arcade classic releases.
    Actually there is "a simple version of Battleship"--if you mean the pencil-and-paper "Battleships" game. I think it's called Grid Attack (something like that).

    I completed the "stamped play" series on Easy level last night -- a fun way to try all 42 games and unlock a few. At the end, I wondered if I'd ever complete the Escape puzzle, but somehow I managed.

    I'd like to see a couple more deep-strategy games in the mix -- namely Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and Go. The latter is available separately for the DS (at least in foreign countries; don't know about the U.S. market). But as far as I know, Xiangqi is not. Shame, because it's one of the three great versions of chess (the other two are in Clubhouse Games -- international chess and Shogi).

    Now that I've tried all 42 games, my only complaints are: (1) I could do without the children's card games, (2) it's cruel to include hard-to-decipher Japanese games like Shogi and Koi-Koi, and (3) there are too many four-player card games and games (like poker) which are only satisfying when played against other people.

    I just contradicted myself: arguing both for and against Shogi. Maybe tough games like chess, checkers, and bridge should be left out of Clubhouse Games altogether and packaged separately (along with Go and Xiangqi). Then I could buy the other game cartridge too and be completely happy.

    Oh, and I guess I can also complain about the annoying prompts that pop up on the screen all too often and get in the way. I'm trying to study the board and think about my next move, and here comes a stupid bubble to cover up some of the pieces and tell me to make a move. I'd like to be able to turn that feature off.

    Clubhouse Games includes one game I've always hated: Reversi (Othello). It goes by a different name, but it's there. For some reason, I've always sucked badly at that game, and I just can't get the hang of it -- and don't want to. It's the most maddening game I've ever played. Really goes against my grain.

    I discovered I suck at Chinese Checkers too.

    But all in all, it's a great game collection with several cool features thrown in. So it's a winner.

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  • LRB
    replied
    I think Clubhouse Games was my second purchase.

    None of the games will blow you away with how magical they are, but the purpose of a hand held game in an adults usage, is to fill in those dead spot moments in your day at any rate. So a quick game of backgammon is essentially just fine for that purpose.
    The game would have been perfect if it had had a basic version of Tetris included Or possibly a simple version of Battleship. Or maybe a simple crossword function. Or lastly something from the old arcade classic releases.

    Speaking of old arcade classic compilations, I have seen the one called Retro Hits, it was dreadful, the people that released it obviously didn't care if the controls were functionally useful or not.
    But there is a game inside the Namco Museum called Xevious which looks worth the cartridge. A top to bottom scrolling game where you are a flying craft that can shoot flying targets of ground targets. I loved that game at the arcade.
    But you need to be VERY cautious of the old arcade game releases for the DS. Often the original console controls simple don't translate onto the DS at all.

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  • Waltz
    replied
    Yeah I have that one, it's a fun distraction there will always be something you want to play in there.

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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Now I've appropriated my wife's Clubhouse Games. Great little game collection! And it includes some neat features for encouraging you to try all 42 games. Right now I'm working my way through the "stamped" games, where you play all the games in series (more than once if you lose), get credit for games played, and unlock special features.

    Most of the games are relatively light and fun, but a few are deep and challenging. Last night I found myself playing shogi -- Japanese chess. Quite a learning curve there, and I'm still on the steep beginner's end of it. Hard enough just getting to where you can recognize the different pieces, much less make logical moves.

    I can think of some games I'd like to see in this collection, and some that are there I could do without -- but overall it's a lot of fun.

    Leave a comment:


  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Age of Empires, Steel Horizon

    Played AoE several times on Saturday; kept losing -- failing to have Minamoto take over the castle. It got frustrating after a while (long game, and pointless to continue once you know you're beat), so I quit.

    Sunday I switched to Steel Horizon. So far the campaign scenarios have been cakewalks. A pleasant enough game to play, but the AI is really stupid, at least at this stage. Maybe it'll become more challenging. I'm hoping the game is designed to be merciful to newbies. (The campaign story line is ludicrous too, but I don't mind that; it's all in fun.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Originally posted by Waltz View Post
    Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.
    Guess I've reached that point now. It's maddening to bump up against monsters too strong to beat, then have to run around fighting orc after orc before you dare go for the big guy again. And it bothers me that it's the same stupid puzzle over and over and over again.

    But as I said last time, I think it'd be great if a game like checkers replaced the puzzle. Because you can pretty well keep developing checkers skill all your life and never exhaust the strategic/tactical challenge. It can be a lifelong game.

    Apparently someone tried to do a similar thing with Majestic Chess -- but it's evidently designed just for kids. It's a clever way of teaching kids to play chess -- by having them go on a quest, fight monsters, win treasure, and so forth, learning and playing chess all the while.

    Wish someone would do something like that for adults. Because as much as I admire chess (and checkers), my interest always dries up before I get very far. In Chessmaster 9000, I can play in tournaments and try to up my rating. But the AI players are just faces on the screen, and the rating is just a number. There's no story line -- no monsters to fight, damsels to rescue, treasure to find. Nothing to get my imagination involved.

    Back in school, I didn't mind learning math, but I much preferred "word problems," where my imagination and logical skills both came into play. I hate seeing great games like chess and checkers degraded to stark logic contests.

    Well, just a thought.

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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Originally posted by Waltz View Post
    For the DS it's All about advanced wars.

    I got a load of AoE but I find it's rather boring after playing duel strike.

    Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.
    Advance Wars is very good, it's true. Guess I'd say it's the best thing on my DS at present.

    But OTOH, I love the concept of Puzzle Quest. Only problem, to me, is that the "battle board" is just a puzzle, not a real game. I'd like to see "Chess Quest" or "Checkers Quest" -- a game just like Puzzle Quest, but where the player has to win games of chess or checkers (at varying skill levels, strong monsters playing better than weak ones) to advance through the quest. Chess and checkers engines are currently capable of beating the strongest human players in the world, but they can also be dumbed down to where anybody can win sometimes. It'd be great to enjoy "Chess Quest" just for fun, all the while improving my chess skills as well.

    I wonder if anybody has produced such a game. Seems like a terrific way to package a "chess mentor" program.

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  • Waltz
    replied
    For the DS it's All about advanced wars.

    I got a load of AoE but I find it's rather boring after playing duel strike.

    Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.

    Leave a comment:


  • LRB
    replied
    Resistance is futile, you will be one with the DS

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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Whew! I sure hope this turns out to be just a passing phase. I spent most of this past weekend -- or a sizable portion of it -- sitting in a chair playing games on my DS. Mostly Puzzle Quest, which I find can be especially addictive.

    I'm reminded of a Star Trek TNG episode where aliens presented the starship crew with a toy -- a portable game (it was worn over the eyes, IIRC). Whatever the game was, it was so addictive that soon all the crew members were shirking their duties and just playing the game all the time.

    I need to snap out of it and get back to real life!

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  • LRB
    replied
    100+ DS game reviews later

    I have been going through a site that has all of the games all sorted out in multiple methods, by number and region etc.

    And every time I thought oh that looks at least interesting, I would then type in the name, add DS and reviews into the google search field.

    In most cases I stuck with Gamespot just for ease and consistency.

    I noticed a few key important details.

    First, every single DS game has a really cool cover picture just in case the customer was silly enough to buy something based just on a nice picture. I really think this is the case.

    Famous names. I have noticed fully 50% of DS games having a well known video game name, are complete garbage all the same. In some cases it is shameful and irresponsible behaviour by the game maker too.

    Famous game clones. I have found that some games are rather disgustingly just copying something else that was already a success. Although unlike with other games on PC or console, they are often just make a quick buck garbage. Be careful to avoid clones.

    Class of game. I have found that there is no reason to believe in oh they couldn't screw up this sort of game. Apparently they can. Games as well done as adventure types are still be botched, and titles that seem entirely basic, can still be ruined.

    What I have found amusing is there are a lot of games out there getting high ratings, and you would never suspect the title was a lurking gem of a game.

    A common flaw in the turkeys appears to be oddly enough, the game creator simply refused to acknowledge the DS has a small screen and work accordingly, and that it uses a touch screen, but the touch screen is not magic.
    We need to be able to enjoy the game on a small screen. Too much detail is just as bad as too little.
    The touch screen is just what it is. But some game designers seem to think it will work magic. And oddly enough, some game designers don't seem to understand it has limitations.

    I am now of the opinion, that before ANY purchase of a game for my DS, I will required seeing it reviewed.

    I thought Heroes of Mana would be a fine game for instance. The review totally kills the ability to want it though. In a nutshell, the game is said to have about the most worthless pathfinding possible. All of the other features of the game are a total write off when the pathfinding problem effectively destroys the game.

    I saw several titles I thought would be easy grabs rendered worthless all because of some element that in retrospect, should have never been possible.
    In effect, there are enough games that are duds for the DS, that claims of it possessing X games on the market, should be reduced by 50%.

    Today when I went in to the local store, I looked at several titles on the shelf with a new insight.

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  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    Top 100

    Top 100 DS games:
    http://us.gamestracker.com/ds/top-games.htm

    Leave a comment:


  • Patrick Carroll
    replied
    A DS game I'm still not sure about is Puzzle Quest.

    I bought it for my wife, since she likes puzzle games as well as fantasy-fiction. But she didn't take to this game, so I've been trying it myself.

    However, I've never liked puzzle games. I don't know why -- they've got the same kind of thinking challenge as games like chess and checkers -- but for some reason they just go against my grain.

    This one's been addictive, though. I keep telling myself I'll get the hang of it pretty soon, so I'll try just one more game. And at the same time, I want to make my way through the series of quests and all that.

    Yet, I get frustrated, losing as much as I win and despairing of ever becoming a skillful player. And all the while, I'm wondering why I even care about this stupid puzzle game anyway.

    But I still kept the cartridge in my DS and brought it with me to work, just in case I want to try again at lunchtime.

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  • LRB
    replied
    That Tank Beat review is likely not far off.

    I think in my case I am biased.

    And your assessment of your own skills likely means we both would call it a challenge even if everyone else calls it bland

    I suppose the key detail is do you want to fiddle around driving a tank about having some fun shooting stuff up occasionally?

    It's not really a genuine tank sim, but I doubt the DS is up to that realistically.

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