Monday, January 10, 2022

Cheap Cheevos #1 - Easy and (mostly) Quick Games to Master!

Feeling down? Haven't scored in awhile? Need a quick boost to make you feel better? Don't worry fam.  Us here at Emerald Rangers have got all of you trophy and achievement hunters covered.

A lot of us gamers like unlocking stuff. It's just human nature. Sadly, not everything is easy to unlock, leaving us a little bit desperate for some satisfaction in our gaming lives.  Thankfully, there are a lot of games that have easy to master achievement and trophy sets. You just have to know where to look.  Well, you're looking at the right place.

This new column will teach you all about the easy stuff to 'cheeve.  From consoles such as the Xbox systems, the PlayStation systems, to PC based stuff like Steam, GOG, and even Retro Achievements.  If it has achievements that are all easy to unlock, you can read about them here. 

I'll be showing off five games with each article.  All of the games in this series have all been personally achieved by me, giving this more of a personal touch. So if I've missed something obvious such as Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth, it's because I haven't played it. Yeah, I know. It's sad that I've played a lot of easy to master games, but hey, it makes for great articles.  Now let's get scratchin'. (Click on "Read More" to read the full article). 

ZJ The Ball (All Five Episodes) (Playstation 4)

Now here's a series where you can score five platinum trophies by doing nothing but basic platforming and mini-game playing.  This is ZJ the Ball.  He is a Christian ball (you read that right) out on an adventure to buy his mother a gift.  I don't know why a ball would feel the need to have religious beliefs, but moving on.  Gameplay consists of you trying to get ZJ to the end of a stage.  The gameplay is very average, you are just jumping around, collecting coins, while trying not to get hit.  He does have a gimmick.  He can bounce higher by just repeatedly hitting the jump button.  Yeah, it's not much of a gimmick, but it's there.

At the end of each stage there'll be a boss.  A robot that has a crucifix for an antenna.  He kinda looks like the guy from the church in Phantasy Star.  The boss fights aren't your typical ones.  They tried to go for originality here.  For you see, the bosses are Warioware-esk micro-game conversions of some of this devs (they being BreakThrough Gaming) other games.  More specifically, games from their BreakThrough Gaming Arcade series.  These games play like Game & Watch games, but with more animation. 

These boss levels will have you be leaping over things, skateboarding, climbing up, shooting at invaders, etc.  I'd like to go into more detail about these boss fights, however you'll be seeing some of the full versions of these Game & Watch inspired titles in future installments of this series.  So, if you feel a little confused about the details then that's my fault for covering this series first before the other BreakThrough Gaming games.  Oh well, sh*t happens.  Moving on.

The huge downside of this series (other than playing these games) is that you get only one level per game.  Yeah, what a total cheapskate series.  But let's face it.  Casual gamers are not buying this crap.  You, the achievement hunter are.  So, in this case, it's a good thing.  

All the player needs to do to get those five juicy platinums is to collect coins and beat the level.  Very little skill is needed to do this, but I do have some tips to give nonetheless.  First of all, you'll have to collect all of the coins on the first few levels. You don't need to do this on the last few.  However, I'd collect all the coins on all stages because once ZJ gets hit, he'll lose some coins.  Secondly, some coins in levels two and three are missable.  Just barely missable though.  Some levels may take a few plays to get all of the trophies, however the levels are very short.  They'll take five to ten minutes to complete.

Overall, you'll be spending less than an hour on this series and be rewarded with five platinum trophies in the process.  Are these games good and worth the one buck a piece? Hell no! These games are terrible.  Gameplay is bland, level design is lazy, story is tacked on and so are the biblical messages.  It's a cheap cash-in to make a quick buck out of us trophy hunters. You know what? It worked.  But do we care? No. Not at all.  Avoid this if you don't want to earn some easy platinums.

Note: This series is also on Xbox One.  They don't have achievements.  Avoid that version if trophy/achievement hunting.

Undead Legions 2 (Steam)

I was going through the brilliant "For Achievement Hunters Only" curation page on Steam (follow it). It was during this time of pleasuring my eyeballs that I found a message in a bottle from our MIA Ranger, Orange Scarab.  He was telling me about a top-down twin-stick shooter called Undead Legions 2.  I decided to go and scope out the crime-scene to find something interesting.

What I found was a game that was surprisingly not bad.  Granted, far from being a AAA title, not only because it's not a wrestling game, but it's also a B title game.  The game looks cheap and cartoonish like a flash game, however the gameplay is quite functional and even fun.  It's something to play if you've got five to ten minutes of office break time.  However it's not good enough to warrant paying full price considering it's not just basic, but it's also an abandoned Early Access game.  When it's on sale for about a buck or below, it's a good little filler title for your ever-growing Steam collection.

Now, we all know that this game isn't on the list because I liked playing it.  That's a neat little extra to make the time go by a lot easier.  What this is really here for is because it doesn't take long to unlock all of the achievements... Or achievement in this case. Yup, there's only one and it's also a great example of how quickly that this game got dumped.  All you need to do is kill five zombies. Yup. That's right.  So just play the first level and it'll unlock after beating it.  Once you've unlocked that, you'll have the biggest distraction gotten rid of and now you can just enjoy the game.

Alien Hominid (Game Boy Advance) (Retro Achievements)

Retro Achievement set:

Okay.  When you picture this classic indie run 'n gunner, you do not picture quick to get nor easy achievements to unlock.  You'll think bullets, baddies, blood, guts, gore, and aliens.  It's quite intimidating even thinking about trying to master this cartridge of chaos.  After hearing from some word of mouth (or letters of text in this case) about how crazy easy this set was to complete, I decided to man up and give it a go.

They were right on the money.  This game is very quick and easy to unlock all of the achievements.  All you need to do is beat the game, pick-up each power-up, and get certain scores on the mini-games. Typically, this game is really chaotic, but this port tones a lot of that down.  Keeping a track of who to shoot won't be a problem.  The boss characters will be the ones causing you the most troubles but they have easy to figure out patterns.  What makes this even more easy is that your lives and credits will reset on each level.  That's five lives and three credits for each level, giving you plenty of space to rule this game.

If you're still not sure about your skill, you can play most of the levels on medium difficulty, where you are given a shield.  However, you'll need to beat the final stage on hard difficulty to unlock one achievement.  Don't worry, you'll have plenty of lives to work with.  Even if you somehow get a game over, there's a level select where you can just pick up and continue.  Collecting the power-ups will come naturally while playing through the game.  

The mini-games are the toughest part of mastering this game, even so, they are still easy.  There are three mini-games you'll unlock by playing through the game, but you'll only need to play two of them.  Chicken Lickin' has you hitting a falling chicken with a baseball bat.  Hit the chicken twelve times and bloop.  It may take a few tries to get a good streak going, the hit detection isn't very good.  

The second mini-game you'll need to play is called Super Soviet Missile Master.  In this you'll guide a soviet missile to blow up the USA.  Don't worry! It's a very tongue in cheek approach to it and isn't as nearly as dark as it sounds.  For this you'll just need to get a score of three-thousand to unlock everything you'll need for this mini-game.  It's a very slow mini-game to play. You'll find your five minutes on it to be a bit of a drag.

A crazy easy set for a very crazy game.  I did have a lot of fun playing this along the way.  It's very interesting seeing how this game got ported to the Game Boy Advance since it's quite a flashy game.  For the most part this port got a lot of the game right.  Smooth animation, lots of chaos and baddies, and very solid gameplay.  The backgrounds and cut-scenes are toned down a bit, so a lot of the stages look very empty.  

The sound quality is a bit on the crunchy side but it's mostly fine.  The challenge was the thing toned down the most.  This port gives you way too many lives and credits to make this game a challenge. I only recommended this port for achievement hunters and for those who are curious to see how this runs on the GBA.  It's still a very fun game, but I recommend playing the console versions over this portable oddity.

Gauntlet IV (Sega Mega Drive) (Retro Achievements)

Retro Achievement Set:

Much like Alien Hominid, you aren't thinking of easy achievements when you think of this game.  Imagined how surprised I was when I found out that Gauntlet IV is an easy achievement set to beat.  Going around those deep, dark, dangerous dungeons.  Fighting off hordes of enemies.  Struggling to find food, only to accidently destroy it.  Yeah, it's not an easy game... Until Gauntlet IV came along.  

Why are the achievements in this so easy? It's because there's a difficulty slider.  You know where I'm going with this don't you? Yes. You can set the game to the easiest difficulty and unlock the achievements that way.  This is your biggest (and only for some players) key to mastering this set.  There is another thing that I should mention that's odd about this set.  You can only unlock the achievements while playing as the Warrior character.  None of the other achievements will unlock for the other characters.

Most of the achievements will be unlocked without you having to force yourself to pay attention to little details.  Collect a key, a potion, armor, and getting to level twenty-five will just come naturally to you.  However, some achievements require some simple patience and inventory management. There are two achievements that require you to have a full inventory. One for having a full inventory of keys, the other for potions. This may seem tricky as both items are incredibly important and will be used a bit during gameplay.  Plus, you only have twelve slots in general, so items can mix 'n match with each other.

You'll need a little patience with those two, but not enough to where you'll become bored.  This is also why having the game set to the easiest difficulty helps.  Collecting potions is pretty simple and unlike keys, you can not accidently use them while rubbing up against things.  However, you may need to collect and use keys along the way to get to potions.  

Trying to have twelve keys at once is surprisingly more tricky than having the potions.  Sure, there are a lot of keys, but there are also a lot of doors and you'll need the keys to unlock the doors... Or do you?  Yes, there's a little trick that'll help you save on key usage. If you wait by a door long enough, it will open by itself.  Sadly, the cost of this is time itself and your health is dropping with each second.  This isn't that big of a problem on the easiest difficulty, but collect and use potions along the way to make that trip even more easier.

This door trick is also the secret of how to unlock the achievement to where you must collect two keys on the first stage.  If you didn't know that trick, you'd be using the first key in the level to unlock the door to get the second key.  However, if you can wait a minute after collecting the first key, the door will just open by itself.  This is also a great start for when you are going for a full inventory of keys.

The last achievement in this set could be considered hard because it is a mysterious secret achievement.  However, the name and achievement icon are clues to what you have to do.  Hue hue hue hue.  Thankfully, I'm not going to let you sort through that cryptic crap.  The way to unlock this is incredibly easy.  When you are selecting your character, highlight Warrior and mash away at the start button.  This will use your remaining credits to give you a huge health boost.  This will unlock this cryptic cheevo.  If you are worried that you don't have enough credits, just go to the options and set the credits to the max.

The game itself is superb.  A really fun top-down dungeon romper and also the best version of classic Gauntlet.  You'll feel like a complete bad-ass while fighting off hordes of baddies.  Level design is fun with each map feeling completely different from one another.  I liked how some of the levels contained multiple exits, giving you new things to discover with each play.  The battle system is very tight and responsive, meaning that any mistake that you'll make will be yours and not the games.  The graphics are awesome with plenty of crisp sprites flooding the screen.  You'd be forgiven for mistaking this as an arcade game instead of a Mega Drive title. Worth a play.

Spectrewoods (Playstation 4)

In Spectrewoods you're playing as a lesbian chicken who is about to get married to the love of her life.  Suddenly, weird stuff happens and now you are walking in a haunted forest while fighting ghosts with your six-shooter.  This game is a third-person shooter and not a very long one, with only three levels to worry about.  Level one and three are just simple walks in the park with no danger and can be beaten in less than a minute.  Stage two is where all of the action is with the killer ghosts who are spitting balls at you.

Gameplay and challenge aren't satisfying, but the controls are very smooth and responsive.  Graphics are beyond ugly with monstrous looking characters that will be forever a part of your nightmares.  With oddly portioned body parts and low detail, all while walking around a very dark and empty forest. Yeah, what's there not to love.  What I did like was that the devs added a filter that makes this game look like an FMV title from a Sega Mega CD game, but with actual gameplay.  None of this Prize Fighter fake Punch-Out BS.

I don't get why this has a platinum trophy, but every cheap hack game has one now, so why bother questioning that anymore.  The platinum won't take much to earn, with most of the trophies unlocking by going through the game normally.  There are two missables with one being to get killed by the ghosts, while the other is to beat the ghost level without taking damage.  Getting killed by the ghost is pretty self explanatory, just absorb those bullets like the sadist bitch that you are.  Beating level two/ghost stage damageless sounds more menacing than it is.  The ghosts are all very weak except for one..  Don't worry, they all have very easy to avoid bullets, so just dodge and shoot until the deed is done.  BAM! A platinum for the pile.

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