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Sequels, Spin-Offs and Remasters – Heavenly Guardian, Under Defeat HD & More / MY LIFE IN GAMING

Coury and Try pick four games that they’d consider “Hidden Gems” and talk about them. Games covered are Heavenly Guardian on the PlayStation 2 and Wii, Under Defeat HD, Ninja Ryukenden 3 and Castlevania 64.


Featured Gear (Amazon & eBay Affiliate Links)

► Heavenly Guardian PS2

► Under Defeat HD PS3

► Ninja Ryukenden 3

► Castlevania 64


► Episode Game List and Notes


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Coury Carlson
My Life in Gaming
P.O. Box 72172
Newport, KY 41072

Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson
My Life in Gaming
P.O. Box 2684
Indian Trail, NC 28079




My Life in Gaming makes documentaries, deep dives into retro console hardware, and more.

Video transcription:

[ TRY ] We often find ourselves wondering
what great games might’ve come and gonewithout making much of a splash.Games that might not be especially well-known,
but are actually surprisingly good.Others might be hidden in plain sight… disliked
or overlooked games in popular series thatare actually much better than popular opinion
gives them credit for… at least to somepeople.A list of hidden gems might not be anything
all that original, but a lot of people haveasked us for it, and you know, we thought
it’d be a fun way to talk about some gamesthat we haven’t had a chance to discuss.So here’s a look at four games that we consider
to be hidden gems.[ MUSIC: “Principle” by Matt McCheskey
][ COURY ] Heading into this list, I had a
hard time at first – what justifies a “hiddengem”?Well, its a term that I think can be applied
in different ways.This time around I’d say my choices fall
under a more traditional meaning of the term.Anyway, let’s get started[ GAME AUDIO ]Heavenly Guardian was released nearly simultaneously
in 2008 on both the Playstation 2 and NintendoWii, and began life as a sequel to Pocky and
Rocky from the Super NES.Unfortunately the developer, Starfish SD,
lost the rights to the name so instead ofscrapping the whole thing, they re envisioned
it more of a spiritual successor.You play as a snow goddess named Sayuki who
is in love with a boy that she seems to be…stalking.One day he isn’t at his normal place, and
she goes and peeks into the windows of hishome.Turns out, he’s been cursed and it's up
to Sayuki to save him…of course that's goingto entail blowing away tons of demons and
stuff.[ GAME AUDIO ]Heavenly Guardian is a mashup of cute em up
and an overhead run and gun.Hey, that sounds pretty cool, huh?You run through seven levels destroying everything
in your path using various types of waterbased elemental attacks.Different style attacks are represented by
multi colored crystals.If you pick up several of the same color in
a row, your attack power will increase.This little creature follows Sayuki on her
quest and that shoots ice attacks that’llfreeze enemies in place, but you can also
let loose an icy wind attack that’ll freezemultiple enemies at once.[ GAME AUDIO ]And last but not least, you have a dodge roll
for when you find yourself in a situationand you need to make a quick escape.Early on, you can die pretty easily but as
you pick up life extenders you can just tankthrough your hits due to the liberal dispersal
of health items.This is one instance where the game becomes
much easier as time goes on and you becomemore powerful while enemies generally stay
the same.Overall, Heavenly Guardian is an old school
style game with some nice sprite work anda pretty catchy soundtrack.And yes, there is a two player simultaneous
mode that not only has a completely differentstory, but also adds a little bit of friendly
competition to the mix.[ GAME AUDIO ]If I had to pick one really annoying thing
about this game is that the levels themselvesare way too long for their own good, sometimes
lasting well over 15 minutesI paid 8 dollars shipped for the PS2 version
on eBay and the the Wii version runs a prettysimilar price, but that version shoehorns
in some pointer controls and I have no interestin that..If you absolutely have to play it now, then
it can also be downloaded as a PS2 classicon Playstation 3 for ten bucks.[ GAME AUDIO ]Under Defeat HD is an overhead shooter where
you take command of a high powered attackhelicopter and blow up some bad guys.Released originally in the arcade, it was
then ported to the Dreamcast in 2006.Yes, the 2006.It made its way to HD systems in 2012 with
lots of bells and whistles.[ GAME AUDIO ]You’ve got two main modes to play.Arcade mode which sports the zoomed out vertical
layout that most arcade shooters tend to have.And New Order mode which redesigns and zooms
everything in so it fills out the full 16by 9 aspect of the screen.This is the way to play…unless you can be
bothered to rotate your monitor.Your chopper is equipped with the usual shoot
em up fare – a rapid fire machine gun, screenclearing napalm bombs and finally, an Option.There's three different kinds of these – vulcan,
cannon and rocket.If you refrain from attacking long enough
for this gauge to fill up, the next time youshoot, the option will fly out and attack
until the meter drains.[ GAME AUDIO ]You’ll need some fancy flyin moves while
you wait for that option gauge to fill upbecause things will get crazy and with that
insanity comes tons of slow down.Apparently this version added a bunch of slow
down to make the game more manageable butit just look bad at times.I mean hey, the Dreamcast version barely had
any – at least make it an option to switchon or off.Since you’re in a helicopter, you have a
bit more freedom to move around.You’ll make use of the entire screen real
estate as you weave through bullets.There's various methods of control you can
choose from when starting a new game, so you’llhopefully be able to find something that suits
you.However, new to HD versions is a dual stick
control option, where one stick moves andthe other shoots.Once I realized this was an option, I never
looked back!With only five levels in total, the game can
be beaten fairly quickly.But it's certainly not easy.[ GAME AUDIO ]In the US, Under Defeat HD was released at
retail as a deluxe edition that includes allpatches and DLC on disc and a soundtrack CD
that contains the arranged tracks that areexclusive to this version.Under Defeat HD is also available for download
from PSN and Xbox live with all of the DLC,but if you want that soundtrack, you’re
out of luck.[ GAME AUDIO ]Whoa, I must have been in a overhead shooter
mood when I made my choices for this episode…Ididn’t even realize it til now.Moving on, let's check out Try’s selections[ TRY ] So I took a bit of a different approach
with my picks.These are games that you definitely know about,
but you’ve probably heard more negativitythan praise, so I want to challenge that view.[ GAME AUDIO ]Any idea what this is?Ninja Ryūkenden III – It’s the Japanese
version of Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Shipof Doom.Not exactly an unknown game, but not as well-loved
as its predecessors.[ GAME AUDIO ]
Even within a series that’s famous for itsdifficulty, Ninja Gaiden III is difficult
for all the wrong reasons – not only are Ryu’sdefenses paper-thin, but the infinite continues
that made Ninja Gaiden One and Two beatableare reduced to a handful of limited continues.But I want to suggest that Ninja Gaiden III,
or rather, Ninja Ryūkenden III, is actuallythe best game in the series.See, here’s the difference if you play the
Famicom version… enemies deal normal damage…you’ve got the infinite continues that are
a staple of the series… and Tecmo even addeda password system so you don’t have to leave
your console on overnight.And you’re gonna need it, because it’s
a tough game – maybe tougher than the firsttwo NES games, but it’s a better kind of
tough.One major improvement is that if you kill
an enemy, it will never respawn unless youdie too.Yeah, after dealing with birds constantly
spawning at the edge of the screen in NinjaGaiden One, you gotta admit this is pretty
nice.Level design and enemy placement is also a
lot more intentional.Sure, it looks brutal at a glance, but once
you start to figure out a level, there’sa great flow to it that the other Ninja Gaidens
don’t quite match.[ GAME AUDIO ]You’ll learn how to best dispatch every
incoming threat, and if you run across a particularninjutsu item, well, it’s not just there
for no reason… it might be helpful for thenext few jumps.Ryu’s most prominent new ability is hanging
from underneath certain platforms, which addsa fun bit of ninja acrobatics to the mix.Ryu’s jump is a bit floatier than in the
previous games, which I’d argue actuallyfeels a bit better.So yeah, if you always regretted that you
never finished the full Ninja Gaiden NES trilogy,the Japanese version is better and cheaper.Give it a try![ GAME AUDIO ]Castlevania just never got 3D right.Or did it?If we look at where Castlevania went through
the 2000s, we can look back on the earliestattempt at 3D Castlevania gameplay in a fresh
light.[ GAME AUDIO ]The game that’s commonly referred to as
“Castlevania 64,” is in fact just called“Castlevania.”It was released in early 1999, and admittedly
feels like a far earlier N64 game.But looking beyond the awkward button mapping,
troublesome camera, and slowdown, I thinkthere’s a game of some merit here.I mean, look – what other 3D Castlevania game
actually put in traditional platforming challenges?And believe it or not, I feel like this aspect
of Castlevania 64 actually works well.But it’s clear that the development team
struggled to execute their vision, and that’swhy at the very END of 1999, another Castlevania
released on the N64 – Legacy of Darkness.[ GAME AUDIO ]This is much less like a new game, and more
like a director’s cut of Castlevania 64…which was perhaps disappointing at the time,
but in retrospect, this could be the mostcomplete 3D Castlevania experience we ever
got.In addition to new characters, Legacy of Darkness
features the campaigns of vampire hunter Reinhardtand magician Carrie from the previous game,
along with smart tweaks to the game design,improved camera angles, and better-optimized
performance.Though I’ll admit that I did actually enjoy
Lament of Innocence and Lords of Shadow forwhat they are, the spirit of Castlevania is
expressed far better through Konami’s earliestfumblings in the 3D realm.[ GAME AUDIO ]The original version is very cheap and common,
and I think is worth giving a fair chance.Unfortunately, Legacy of Darkness is much
harder to find, and currently sells for around$50.But just think about what could’ve been
if the N64 take on 3D Castlevania gameplayhad been better-received.Instead of trying all sorts of ideas that
didn’t really feel like Castlevania, maybeKonami would’ve given us more of the action-platforming
that we expected.Maybe Konami wouldn’t have gotten the idea
that no one wanted Castlevania anymore, justbecause they gave us Castlevania games that
people didn’t really want.Maybe Konami would still be a company that
was interested in making video games… andit’s all because everyone mistakenly thought
Castlevania 64 was a bad game.Well… maybe.[ GAME AUDIO ][ COURY ] So, what did you think?Some of our choices might seem a bit unorthodox
when it comes to the term “Hidden Gem”but I think the general message comes across
– just because a game isn’t expensive orpopular, doesn’t mean that its bad.We’ve always liked going into games ready
to deal with whatever limitations they mighthave – and whenever you do that, you might
be surprised at what you find.


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