Gaming Challenges and Goals

I figure this can be a bit of a catchall for talking about and showing off progress/accomplishment of different gaming challenges and setting game-related goals that aren’t covered under the umbrella of the speedrunning and high scores threads. The weirder, the better. I’m gonna assume this thread will be niche, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I don’t mean to possibly step on any toes I know there’s the old Favorite Self Imposed Rules and Challenges topic, but I felt this wasn’t a fit cause I want to talk about the processes and all aspects of the challenges, not just simply what our favorite challenges are.

I’ve always liked playing under leveled or trying to do low-level games in RPGs because it usually brings to bear most all the mechanics in a game. Progression walls become puzzles that need to be solved with all the available tools at your disposal, as opposed to grinding your way out of a difficulty spike.

My challenge for myself right now is to complete a low-level run of Breath of Fire II, but don’t really want to clutter the currently playing thread with large posts so here I am. I tried doing a low-level run of BoF2 a handful of years back, but petered out pretty quickly. Maybe documenting things will make me stick to it this time.

I think it’s going to be doable for me to beat the game fighting just the mandatory enemies, but from experience and the looks of things this will be a bit of a pain to get through. For a good chunk of the game I’m going to be relegated to constantly fishing and hunting so that I can maintain the best possible gear and keep a huge stockpile of much needed consumables. Boredom is as likely to kill my play through as any boss. I don’t know if I’m going to go for the bare-minimum amount of experience by killing off all my party members save for one every boss fight, might be more hassle than I want to deal with. I know the game pretty well, but I will refer to this big fella some:

Mostly just for mundane stuff like shop prices, so I know how much fishing to do. Though it’s got a list of all the enemies stats, so I might use it for that.


If the UI and text seems off in the screen shots it’s because it is. This time through I’m trying out some retranslation hack and it seems to have made a lot of minor changes to the UI and stuff. I guess Bow is now Bosch for one. Herb is now Healing Herb, so I’ve been robbed of the slight amusement of seeing the battle text of:


I don’t know how well I’m gelling with the new translation. The original is one of the worst translated games I’ve ever played, but I’m not really digging all the additional characterization. They made the hermit Nero talk like an annoying prospector. Most everyone now seems at least mildly dog-racist towards Bosch. Given the annoyingness of the text and how there’s a decent bit more of it now I get the feeling this translation is just someone taking a lot of liberty with the text, but I don’t have a clue. Anyway here’s how things are going so far.

So far in my play through I have become painfully familiar with this screen:

Second most annoying thing to see:

I’ve died a couple times to laziness on my part when it comes to healing and just flat out failing to run from enemies like eight times in a row. The high counterattack rates in this game are also an annoyance. Sometimes during those marathon sessions of failing to escape I just end up oopsing my way to a victory courtesy of the counterattacks, so I have to reset the game.

First Boss Battle:

Not starting off too hot. I died here twice, before I realized that the harpies exclusively attack Ryu. Once that finally sunk into my head I switched him to the back of the defensive alignment to mitigate damage and everything went fine.

Second Boss Battle:

Not much to see here. Just trading hits back and forth. One result of playing under leveled is that I actually have to take consideration of battle formations and actually switch them in battle. When healing I switch to the more defensive “normal” formation, when attacking I’ve been swapping to the offensive “scramble” formation.

Now, time to hit the ole fishin’ hole for umpteenth time again.


Progress update:


I’ve been digging back into the Happy Home Paradise DLC in Animal Crossing: NH recently. Before I reset my character I designed 16 of the 30 total homes but ran outta’ steam when some dumb horse’s only inspiration for a new home was “circles”… >:(

But now, I’m already back up to 11! It’s still a lot of fun, and I’m pretty surprised I haven’t had any repeat themes yet. I will get to 30 this time!

Here's a bunch of pics if you want to see some of them

A ceramic studio for Billy.

A gym for Rio.

Curly’s tiny bedroom at his Mom’s house.

Animal Cottage: New Bear-izons for Poppy

A music venue for Katt

And a robot factory for Sprocket


I sure did accidentally follow this challenge for what felt like weeks when I first played this game. At least that’s what it felt like. BoF2 was probably stepping right up to the line of games that were too hard for me. Took a long time to get comfortable. 7th Saga though that was way over the line used to rent it and never get past the first fight against another player character, if I didn’t get stuck on the first boss before that fight.

I haven’t played much 7th Saga, just never really clicked with me. I’ve seen some stuff on it’s difficulty. If I remember right it’s one of those games where the developers decided to blast the difficulty up for the Western release and the scaling of bosses punishes you for grinding. Very cool.

In my warm and otherwise kindly-decorated home I have dedicated a single room to the spheres. There is hardly any space to move around and the lights are always kept off (though the effect is lessened during the daytime). I never tell my friends about my magnificent circle room before they visit my island, so it usually freaks them out… I think the horse wants a frightening home.


Haha, maybe I just needed access to more - Unsettling circle horror, is definitely the right direction. That well says it all.

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I love the circle room. That is fantastic.

I really like arcade games, so it’s my dream to 1CC a game one day. I think the best chance I have is the first Metal Slug. I can get through the 3rd level on one credit. I dunno how anybody manages after that.


After I’d overfished to the point of causing irrevocable damage to the fish population and economy of Home Town I went off on my adventure to find the bat-winged burglar girl, in order to clear the name of the assumed criminal, Bosch, my dog buddy.


Crossing into the new territory was a rude awakening. I died a handful of times just trekking to the nearby town of Coliseum and the close by Tag Woods. I grabbed a gold coin in Tag Woods, so I could fish for the Manillo merchant near Coloseum. His items are very powerful for this point in the game, so it should make the next several areas relatively easy.

With my new equipment I continued on to Tag Woods to talk with an arena combatant, Bunyan, who my new buddy Rand told me is getting ready for a match with a female fighter that I assume to be the bat-winged girl I’m searching for.

After some literal back and forth trading of blows with Bunyan he gave me his axe so I could take his place in the arena fight. I guess weapons double as a form of ID in this world.

I made way to Coloseum, pretending to be Bunyan. Before the fight I had to meet with the director of HR for an interview.

I assume this is what the interview process is like at Riot Games:

After the interview I met with the arena head and obvious bad dude, Argus. He informs me the match is fixed and my opponent will be killed with poison arrows. I then talk to Rand about the scheme to kill my opponent, the definitely not bat winged definite cat girl called Lin. Due to sitcom levels of failure to communicate I have to chug a bunch of antidote, beat up Lin and protect her from poison arrows.

Just more trading blows:

Get down madame president!:

After recovering from the barrage of poison arrows Lin and I went to confront Argus in his office, meeting Rand there. Of course it turns out Argus is a demon, who tells us about the big boss boy demon he’s trying to usher in. Not much to say about this fight, Argus can nearly one-hit K.O. Ryu and kills Lin or Rand, but it was pretty manageable.

Inexplicably Rand offers to do construction work for the friend of a guy he just met, so I drop him off to Bosche at Township. Lin goes with me to find the bat girl. We stop by Home Town to find magic-bird-girl Nina being accosted by gang members. The Joker gang members have taken her sister, Mina, hostage so Nina goes with them. Lin and I pursue them to their hideout.

The fight with Joker was even easier than the previous boss fight. He just has a solo attack that does moderate damage and a group attack that does moderate damage. My damage output is starting to become a problem. Ryu and Lin’s attacks were hitting for like 10-12 damage, this guy had a hp pool of 600.

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The latest Hardest Boss thread sent me down Ninja Gaiden (2004) memory lane, so decided I’m going to challenge myself to beat it again, and play/beat Ninja Gaiden II after that for the first time as well. Ninja Gaiden Black is probably in my top 3 favorite games, definitely top 5, and the most proud I’ve been to beat a game given how challenging it was. (That being said, I recall spamming a combo for the most part and having no issue disposing of most enemies with my weapon/combo choice for the latter half of the game. So we’ll see how it holds up in that regard.)

I’ve already started with level 1, and it instantly reminded me how the action, violent animations and progression system are all superb. You start off feeling like a bad ass, and only get more bad ass from there! The story is so-so if I recall correctly, but I believe there are some epic scenes to look forward to. Just a great all-around classic video game. The game was hard, but you were rewarded for overcoming the challenge in an intrinsic way that doesn’t feel as present in modern gaming. Last of a dying breed, before the online-ization of games occurred I guess.

I heard NGII is extremely bloody/violent, so I’m looking forward that and to see how the game evolves in the sequel. Unfortunately, never played it. By the time NGII was released I was half way through college and would go on to barely touch video games for about a decade, outside of the occasional multiplayer session with friends. But I’m back now and having a blast being able to catch up on everything I missed from that era.

(From NGII cover story in EGM #222)


I’ve been plugging along on and off with Breath of Fire II. I had some more stuff typed up, but I forgot to screen cap some important stuff and sorta lost interest in documenting things. So I just continued on and finished the playthrough. I did have to save state pretty hard in the later dungeons to preserve my sanity, but luckily I didn’t have to do super scummy stuff like farming stat-boosting items.

Here's some random screens:

Barubary ended up being tough as nails. Throughout the play through I diverted all of my gained experience to one of either Sten, Rand or Ryu, while Spar just tagged along. I hinged my whole plan on power-leveling Sten to try to reach >90 agility, so that I had one party member who would move previous to Barubary. If all my party members moved after him the entire fight would be a guessing game and a big RNG mess. I got him to 91 at the tail-end of the game. It doesn’t come any closer.

I finished with an average level of 10.5. I could’ve finagled things around with breakpoints to get the average slightly lower, but the last few fights would come down to RNG if I did that. Final Roster:

In the off chance there’s anyone out there who’d consinder playing this game low level, I’d suggest against it - or at least not bare minimum exp. The game is just not that accomodating to the play style. It became less of an RPG and more of a fishing and cooking game and those two activities aren’t strong points for the game at all. There’s also the issue of RNG being a huge factor later on in the game. Trudging through the final dungeons would be near impossible without save stating. The closing boss fights did end up being relatively fun match ups, but it just wasn’t worth the time investment.

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