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7:47 PM on 02.04.2013

Okami's Toughest Challenge

Spoilers abound (for a 7-year-old game, but still).

I finished Okami last week! I loved almost every minute of it, and I can honestly say that it's one of my favorite games. The game is positively gorgeous (especially the HD port on the PS3), and it just oozes charm. It's also my first Platinumed game! I bought myself a PS3 for Christmas this past year, after having wanted one for a while now, and Okami HD was one of the games I had been looking forward to playing on it.

This was one of those rare games which had me wanting to do everything there is to do the first time I played it. Fishing, treasure-hunting, filling my bestiary, everything. What was the hardest part?

Was it finding all of the fish? No, that just took a while. I think I seahorses are now extinct in the Sea of Japan, considering how many of them I caught.

Was it beating Kai in a race in Yoshpet Forest? Not quite, though she can be quite aggravating. So many damned obstacles that get in your way and freeze you in your tracks while she runs ahead, gracefully dodging everything in her way.

Was it the Devil Gate trials, in which you have to fight enemy after enemy without leaving? Close, but not quite. Though I will say that the final trial took me a good 5 hours (died first time, accidentally left 3/4 of the way through second time).

Was it even the final boss, Yami? Nope, Yami was a cinch. Though I must say that Yami is one of the coolest looking final bosses I've ever seen.

No, the toughest challenge in all of Okami comes down to one enemy, tucked away in a corner of Kamui (Hokkaido):

Blockhead Grande.

(just imagine that he's saying Grande)

Blockheads are demons that look like walls, and in order to defeat them, you must find their weak points. Head butt them, and 4 points show up in rapid succession. You have to hit all 4 in the order they appeared with your paint brush to defeat them. If you fail, he mocks you and rains rocks down on your head. This can be a bit of a challenge, especially if your memory isn't all that great.

Now, as difficult as remembering four points can be, Blockhead Grande has eight. Eight that show up in about two second's time. This is incredibly difficult, even if you were to have a great memory!

I spent about an hour trying to do this with no outside help, growing more and more frustrated with each attempt. I spent most of my night at work trying to figure out how I was going to defeat him. My boyfriend had told me how much trouble he had had with Blockhead Grande, and that his efforts involved a friend, cut-up pieces of a Post-It, and eventually marker on his screen. During a slow period at work, I was looking through our pen and marker aisle, trying to think of what wouldn't leave a permanent mark on my screen, when it dawned on me: I have a camera in my phone.

I was excited for the rest of the night at work, and as soon as I got home, I sat down and booted up the game, ready to try my idea. With my phone's camera at the ready, I head butted Blockhead Grande, and recorded the points that showed up. Playing back the video, I carefully entered each point on the demon with my brush. And success!

One more Stray Bead was in my possession, on the way to collecting all 99 (100 if you count the bead you get after beating the game, but that one doesn't really count). A wave of relief and satisfaction washed over me as I reveled in my victory.

What about you? Any one else have a story of a particularly tough challenge from a game they loved? Other than Demon's/Dark Souls?   read

8:04 PM on 09.29.2012

Top 3 Games In My Backlog

ADHD is a fun thing. It's something I've been learning to live with my whole life. It made school challenging, it's made work interesting, and it even bleeds through into my hobbies.

Which brings me to the point of this post: I have quite the backlog of games that I have started yet not finished. Sometimes when I leave a game unfinished, it's because I got stuck at a point and get frustrated with it, but most of the time I'll see a new game that will grab my attention and start playing that one instead. It's a vicious cycle.

Here, in no particular order, is my Top 3 list of games I need to finish already for the love of god.

1. Earthbound

Let me start this one off by saying that I love Earthbound. The humor, the world, the characters, the simplicity of the battle system... all great. I can zone out while playing it, and I'll frequently watch a movie or listen to a podcast while I'm working my way through a dungeon.

This is one of those games that I'll stop playing because something else will grab my interest, and I've unfortunately had to re-start it a few times. I don't know if Destructoid frowns upon the practice, so let's just say that I'm not playing this game on it's original platform. I've had to switch... "systems" on which I play it a few times, and I never remember to copy over the save file.

And you can't go wrong with Mr. Saturn.

How can you not love that face!?

2. Persona 3

I want to love Persona 3. I really do. I love the idea of the game: go to school, hang out with friends, and hold a part-time job during the day, and then explore a dungeon and fight monsters at night. The music is great, especially the school and battle themes, both of which get stuck in my head for hours (Baby baby baby baby baby baby baby...). The style is awesome; the character designs are really cool, and the UI looks great.

The game play and the plot, though... *sigh*. I kind of enjoy the battle system, but exploiting an enemy's weakness and then ganging up on them with the whole party over and over gets old to me. I still love seeing everybody rush forward to pound on the monsters, though.

Maybe the fact that you're exploring the same tower that looks very similar from floor to floor gets to me, too. I'm also about 23 hours into the game, and there hasn't been much of a plot so far except for "go to school, fight monsters in a weird dungeon at night, and every now and then a boss shows up in the real world." But then again, I might be spending too much time in Tartarus (the dungeon you explore at night).

I'm hoping the plot will pick up soon. Maybe the fact that the PSP version mostly plays out like a visual novel unless you're expIoring Tartarus kinda turns me off, too. Instead of getting this:

You get this:

I still hope that I'll end up loving the game.

3. Cave Story

I am deeply disappointed in myself for not yet having finished this game. I have a few friends who list it among their favorites, and their disapproving stares pain me so.

It's adorable and incredibly fun. I'm a fan of retro-styled games, and the 16-bit look really scratches that itch. The character designs are great, too. The music is incredible, too; I used to have the Bushlands/Grasslands music as my ringtone.

Balrog's a fun character, and I love running into him.

And the monsters are so cute! I almost feel bad killing them.

The gameplay is great, too. Exploring the world scratches that Metroidvania itch. Finding life and missile upgrades always gives me joy. And I love scrambling for the little gems that drop from enemies that upgrade your weapons; I can't help doing it even when my weapons are maxed out.

The main reason I haven't finished the game yet is this asshole:

I have so much trouble with this guy! You have to avoid getting run over by him, and then avoid a crap ton of missiles that he shoots at you that home in on you. I usually get frustrated after a few attempts to beat him and put the game down for a while. And then forget about it.

So yeah, those are the 3 games that I most want to finish. Now that I've finished the Borderlands 2 main game, I think I'll devote my game-playing time to finishing these before I move on to another new game. Hopefully I'll be able to stick to that.

Let me know what games you've been meaning to finish! We can agonize together!

Honorable mentions: Okami, Aquaria, Lost Odyssey, Fallout: New Vegas, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.   read

2:35 PM on 08.24.2012

Okay, Let's Try This Again...

Nameís Scarritt. Iím in my early 30ís, working in retail. Started school at THE Appalachian State University, but, unfortunately, never graduated. Kinda got myself in over my head my second year trying to take on too many classes and had to withdraw. Iíd still like to go back to school at some point, but I still have no idea what I would like my major to be (I enrolled my first time as Undecided and never did pick one).

Iíd like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person, but sadly, I am far from a writer. Iíve been wanting to start a blog for a while now, though, and Iíve been dating a cool kid who happens to have one, so I guess he kinda inspired me.

I love gaming, but Iíve never really considered it as something you ďget intoĒ, much like I didnít ďget intoĒ reading or something like that. Iíve been gaming most of my life. Being born in the early 80ís, I started out playing on one of the Atari systems (canít narrow it down more than that, sadly). I can remember the first time I played an NES; I was hanging with my step-brother and a friend of his sometime after its launch, and I was blown away by Super Mario Bros. When I got a chance to play, I couldnít get past the very first Goomba because I thought you were supposed to press ďUpĒ on the D-pad in order to jump. Obviously that didnít work. My step-brother and his friend kept laughing and wouldnít tell me how to get past it, and didnít let me play long enough to figure out that pressing ďAĒ made Mario jump.

So that year, my mom bought me my very own NES (í86, maybe?). Soon after that, I was spending a weekend at my grandmotherís, and my mom let me take it with me and set it up on my grandmotherís TV. No idea why, but it ended up permanently throwing the channels out of whack (the kind of TV that had a channel dial; if you turned the channel to 5, it would be on 8).

Anyway, favorite game genres: action, RPG, puzzle, the occasional FPS and fighter. Recent games I loved are the Mass Effect trilogy, Fallout New Vegas, Borderlands, Fez, and Red Dead Redemption. Iím playing through Dark Souls at the moment (and loving it), along with Persona 3 Portable, Final Fantasy I on my Windows Phone, and Binding of Isaac.

So yeah, thatís me. Who knows how often Iíll update this thing, but I am working on a second entry (all right, third).   read

4:17 PM on 08.15.2012

Here Goes Nothin'.

Been meaning to start a blog for a while now. Been dating a real cool guy who inspired me to finally start one, and I thought I'd do it here.

Fair warning: I am far from what you would call a "writer", so who knows if this will be readable or not.   read

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