I have completed Cosmic Star Heroine, which is a fairly short game, but I’d only been playing it on and off. I think I played it on the second easiest level, although I can’t remember for sure. It was challenging in spots, but never all that frustrating. I made it through the multiple final boss fights without much trouble. Like the original Phantasy Star, you explore three different planets in the same solar system. Araenu is where the capital city is located, and has a cyberpunk sort of aesthetic. Rhomu is largely jungle on the surface, inhabited by the insectoid Scimerex, while the humans live underground in Old Western style towns. And Nuluup is inhabited by people who die and become ghosts as part of their normal life cycle. The game has quite a few playable characters, most of whom aren’t developed all that much, but they do have unique abilities in battle, and each one specializes in a particular element. I wrote about the first few before. Others are Arete, the leader of a rebel faction who uses robots in battle; Finian, or Finn for short, a police officer and relative of Alyssa’s; the Scimerex Psybe; and Orson Bolibar, a private investigator on Nuluup you hire when you’re falsely accused of poisoning the mayor. When given the choice, I liked to use Chahn and Sue, the former for her flamethrower and the latter for the ability to counterattack. After you beat him, it turns out that the mind-controlling Lumina device has also driven Arete crazy, so she leaves the party and you have to fight her. Strangely, you still get items for her after she leaves the party. X’zorv does join permanently, however. The final boss, Eternity, is fought in several stages. There are also support characters you can recruit, but I’ll admit I didn’t experiment all that much with them.
Several sidequests that personally involve specific characters, like Finn fighting zombies in a police station, the gunmancy test at the temple for Chahn, and Sue rescuing a friend from the abandoned Zanzaran Mines.
I had to look up how to access these quests, but once I started them, they were pretty straightforward. I never did try to beat Cthulhu, though. I understand he saved the world in another game by the same developer.
I wrote earlier about how I’d started Final Fantasy VIII, but I feel like I’m essentially stuck. I’m in the part where I’m trying to liberate Balamb from the Galbadian invaders, and Fujin and Raijin are able to kill me pretty quickly. And since I’ve saved, I can’t leave the town and do something else. Maybe there’s some way to use the Junction system to my advantage, but it’s too complicated for me. I guess it’s another game I’ll set aside until some unspecified future time that might never arrive. At least I have some idea what the game is about. There are both books and games I feel I should read or play because they’re relevant to my interests and can improve my fandom literacy, but they sometimes turn out to be tedious. I started Live a Live (although I’m not sure how to pronounce it), and I downloaded a Zork collection, so we’ll see how far I get with those.