At long last, I completed Etrian Odyssey. This is my first DS game actually finished. Completed, in this case, is only a technicality, since the main game and it's narrative end with the boss at the end of the 25th floor. As I've mentioned before, there are still 5 more floors left to map with the difficulty level ratcheted up a few notches. I want to see through the mapping at least; we'll just have to see about the bonus bosses. This game has been quite long and satisfying enough without having to grind, grind, grind, to reset and refine your characters' skill point allocations. That said, my party is very well-rounded, and took down the 'last boss' at level 61 all around with no trouble at all. I could probably handle whatever the 6th stratum has in store.
In another effort to down the Pile, I've picked up Shadow of the Colossus, concurrent with the same effort by the guys on the new 1UP FM podcast I picked up. This game is incredible. I've taken down 7 of the colossi so far, and each battle has been absolutely epic. In all my years of gaming, I've never seen anything like this. The colossi are enormous, and their efforts to shake you off as you scale their giant bodies looking for their Achilles' heel have you with a death-grip on your controller, thanks to the clever decision to have the 'hold on' button set to R1. I kind of wish I had a Dual Shock 3 to see how much rumble would add to the experience. The flying and swimming colossi battles I've seen so far were just awesome.
An interesting contrast to the battles is the world itself, which is the definition of tranquil natural beauty. You have all manner of terrain with expansive vistas and soft ambient lighting that makes it seem like there's a light mist over the land. There's hardly anything at all happening here outside the passage of time; water flows, birds fly, lizards crawl, and cyclopean golems slumber.
I tracked down a near-mint copy of MGS3: Subsistence, and spent a couple of hours last night playing the original 1987 Metal Gear for MSX2. It's cool. It's pretty hard, though; it really takes patience, because Snake hasn't learned to move in more than 4 directions yet, and his bullets only travel about 20 feet before disappearing into thin air. Thankfully, there is a save game feature in the emulated ROM for PS2. I want to get through both this and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.