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Skeletons are awesome

Undertale on TV photo
Undertale on TV

Undertale is too demonic and evil for the 700 Club

Sans has been giving people a bad time
Nov 03
// Ben Davis
[Header image by Nibroc-Rock.] Undertale, one of my favorite games released this year, made a very unlikely appearance recently on the 700 Club, a Christian television program hosted by Pat Robertson. The show received a ques...
Skulls of the Shogun photo
Skulls of the Shogun

Nerdist's new Skulls of the Shogun cartoon debuted today

'That's why they call this a cold open'
Aug 11
// Darren Nakamura
This is a little surprising. Skulls of the Shogun was a great little game that suffered from a rocky launch and never saw widespread success, even after breaking out of its Windows 8 exclusivity. So for Nerdist to pick up the...
More Dying Light photo
More Dying Light

Dying Light dev cancels dark fantasy tale Hellraid

To make more Dying Light content
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Hellraid was announced as a Dead Island follow up in 2013. We finally got a good look at it late last year following a delay for current gen and PC exclusivity. It was meant to come out this year, but that's not happening, H...

Dem bones: The best skeletons in video games

Jan 29 // Ben Davis
Mr. Grimm (Twisted Metal series) One of the main recurring characters in the Twisted Metal series, Mr. Grimm is a Grim Reaper who usually rides a motorcycle into battle, and is known for having particularly powerful special attacks. I'm most familiar with his Twisted Metal 2 incarnation, where he joins the Twisted Metal tournament in the hopes of feeding off of the souls of the other contestants, and bringing doom and destruction upon the world. He's pretty hardcore. Matador (Shin Megami Tensei series) There are tons of cool skeletal demons in the Shin Megami Tensei universe, mostly in the form of Fiends. White Rider, Trumpeter, and Mother Harlot are some of the coolest Fiends, but the best of the bunch has got to be Matador. While he's usually a relatively low level Fiend, he's got plenty of style to make up for it. His most notable appearance is probably in Nocturne, where he appears as a boss that you must defeat in order to reach Ikebukuro. Many people say he's one of the most difficult bosses in the game, if only because he's the first boss that really requires you to think carefully about your strategy if you ever hope to win. I'd say Matador is the boss that really teaches you how to play the game. If you can beat Matador, then you've got what it takes to beat Nocturne! Carlos Calaca (Guacamelee!) Calaca is the main antagonist of Guacamelee. He sold his soul to the devil in order to win a competition, but was dragged to the World of the Dead before he could enjoy his victory. He has a penchant for turning people into chickens, including the protagonist, Juan, and even the devil himself. I'd also say that he has the best hat out of anyone on this list. Igos du Ikana (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask) Igos and his two servants are the boss of the Ikana Canyon castle. It's a pretty difficult battle, and he may seem kinda scary at first, but he's actually a really cool dude. After he's been defeated, Igos reveals that he is ashamed of what his kingdom has become, and teaches Link the Elegy of Emptiness to help him bring light back to the kingdom of Ikana. The elegy creates those creepy, dead-eyed statues of Link that you've probably seen before... *shiver* Thanks for the nightmares, Igos! The Sanbone Trio (Gitaroo Man) The Sanbone Trio is a group of sweet-looking robo-skeletons that attack with percussion-based powers. Their designs are so damn cool. I mean, look at their pelvic bones. Their pelvises are Playstation controllers! They play the song "Born to be Bone," which narrowly beats out "Bee Jam Blues" as my favorite song in the game. It's super hard, but so much fun to play! Dry Bones (Super Mario Bros. series) Everyone knows Dry Bones. Dry Bones has been a Mario staple since Super Mario Bros. 3. These bony Koopa Troopas are difficult to defeat, since they're able to reattach themselves and rattle back to life (undeath?) after being jumped on. There's also a Dry Bones version of Bowser, who first appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Dry Bowser is pretty terrifying! Dry Bones even appears as a playable character on occasion. You could play as one in a couple of the Mario Party and Mario Kart games. I love playing as a Mario enemies, so I've chosen Dry Bones plenty of times. Sir Daniel Fortesque (MediEvil) The story of Sir Daniel is an interesting one. He rather shamefully falls in battle to the very first arrow fired by the army of Zarok, an evil sorcerer. The king of Gallowmere decides to make Sir Daniel out to be a hero, altering the truth so that Sir Daniel's name goes down in legend. When the sorcerer returns, Dan gets a second chance to live up to his legend, as an undead warrior. I love Sir Daniel's design. He's missing the eye where he was hit by the arrow, as well as his lower jaw. This causes him to mumble all of his dialog, which I always find humorous (I'm finding it really hard not to steal Hansen's puns right now). He can also detach one of his arms to use as a weapon, which is awesome. Emil (Nier) Emil is one of my favorite video game characters of all time, so of course I had to include him. Emil begins the game as a kind-hearted, quiet young boy with the power to turn things to stone with his eyes. That power is a source of major turmoil for him, and because of this, he wears a blindfold to keep his power in check. About halfway through the game, it's revealed that he's actually an ancient weapon created through magic, and he's transformed into a somewhat grotesque skeletal being. The poor kid can't seem to catch a break! But the rest of the party reassures him that they don't feel any differently toward him now that he's been transformed, so he grows to accept his new appearance. Emil's personality and storyline really speak to me. I found that I could easily relate to his character while playing the game. You'll always have a place in my heart, Emil! Manuel "Manny" Calavera (Grim Fandango) I'm only just now playing Grim Fandango for the first time, but I can already tell that Manny Calavera is one of the best video game skeletons around! To pay for his sins in life, Manny has to work as a travel agent for the dead, which basically means he's a Reaper. He's sarcastic, witty, and highly competitive, making him a very fun character to get to know. He also seems to enjoy stuffing his suit full of bread and balloons and all sorts of weird things. Seriously, where is he keeping all this stuff? Gravelord Nito (Dark Souls) Let's talk about how badass Gravelord Nito is. He's a powerful skeleton with dozens of other skeletons draped around him like some sort of enormous skeleton cloak. Who did all of these skeletons belong to? Were they important people he killed, and now he's wearing their remains like trophies? He seems to control an endless army of undead soldiers, and he wields a huge, nasty-looking blade, which also happens to be made out of skeletons, because of course it is!  Nito's skeleton motif is so over-the-top, but I can't help but marvel at how awesome he looks. He is without a doubt the greatest skeleton in video games!
Skeletons photo
Bad to the bone
I've been playing tons of Grim Fandango ever since the remastered version came out a few days ago, and it's left me with skeletons on the brain... and in the closet. This led me to thinking about more skeletons in games. Ther...

Minecraft map photo
Minecraft map

You can explore Dark Souls' Lordran in Minecraft

Praise the sun!
Jan 23
// Ben Davis
Minecraft user Davweed is currently recreating the world of Lordran from Dark Souls, block by block. If you've played Dark Souls, you probably know how crazy this is. Lordran is full of grandiose locations that interconnect a...
Hellraid photo

A bunch of skeletons explode in the first 20 minutes of Hellraid

Footage of the hack-and-slash title running on a new engine
Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
Techland's decision to delay Hellraid and move it to PS4, Xbox One, and PC seems to be paying off. That said, you may want to skip the first half of this 20-minute video -- it begins with the first level, which is slow to ge...
Ghosts 'n Goblins Online photo
Ghosts 'n Goblins Online

Lucky Koreans: Ghosts 'n Goblins Online beta videos

Why are all the MMOs I'd actually play stuck in Korea?
Jan 31
// Tony Ponce
Show of hands if anyone remembers that a Ghosts 'n Goblins Online Korean MMO was unveiled back in 2010. I figured it would have be cancelled by now -- I'm still bitter that Rockman Online was silently shut down. But nope! De...

Review: Dokuro

Oct 19 // Chris Carter
Dokuro (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Game ArtsPublisher: GungHo Online Entertainment AmericaReleased: October 16, 2012MSRP: $19.99Dokuro is a Vita-exclusive puzzle platformer that gives off the aura of an Edward Scissorhands-era Tim Burton film (you know, when Burton was good), which is simply mesmerizing to look at. From the bondage-heavy conniving demons that inhabit the Dark Lord's castle, to the creepily cute Dokuro himself, I couldn't help but fall in love with the game's art style. The premise is fairly minimalistic, yet gripping: a princess has been captured by an evil Dark Lord, and Dokuro, a simple skeleton servant, has a change of heart and decides to rescue said princess. There's only one problem -- the princess can't actually see Dokuro in his normal form -- he has to drink a potion that temporarily turns him into a prince for him to be visible.Obvious social commentary aside, this has a really cool effect from a gameplay standpoint. As you lead the princess through each stage, Ico style, you'll have to make the decision to switch between Dokuro's nimble, yet invisible skeleton form, and his physical prince form, which is more combat capable, and can actually pick up the princess and move her out of harm's way. With the simple touch of a button (or the touch screen), Dokuro can morph into the dashing prince for a limited time, which limits his ability to double jump, but increases his combat prowess tenfold, and allows him to manipulate the princess either out of harm's way, or quickly get her to the exit. You obtain the Prince Potion fairly early in the game, and it recharges constantly, so there's no issue of being completely shortchanged should you decide to switch.The princess herself moves automatically, usually with mixed results and some frustration. For starters, she can't fall even one simple step on her own, and if she falls too far (which is a very small window, by the way), she takes damage. Heck, fairly consistently, she'll walk on spikes if you're not careful. If  pretty much anything happens to her, she dies, and the level completely restarts. [embed]236838:45486[/embed] I feel like I also have to warn you before you get too far into the review: if you're looking for a challenge, look no further than Dokuro. Although it's never impossible, I was stumped more than a few times throughout my playthrough, to the point where a number of the game's 150 levels took me at least thirty minutes to figure out. One perfect example is levels involving explosive barrels. In some stages, these can be lit by torches on the wall -- but others, inferno enemies have to meander into them -- leaving you at the mercy of the AI to complete a required puzzle in the level. Everything needs to go right to complete some of the later levels in Dokuro, and it can get pretty frustrating when you set up a grandiose plan for ten minutes, only to be brought back to the very beginning of a level, back to square one (there are no mid-level checkpoints).Boss fights, like the rest of the game, are also puzzles, and are easily the best part of the experience. An army of fiendish, terrifying ghouls and demons seek to end your quest, and, as is the case with most of the game, they're just as fun to fight as they are to look at. I don't want to spoil anything, but you'll easily have your best "eureka!" moments during these, which is how the rest of the game should have felt like.Level design issues aside, one of the coolest things about Dokuro from a gameplay perspective is that there's no "level complete" stat screen -- after reaching a flower at the end of every stage, you'll see your clear time at the end for a second, and the next stage will begin instantly. Every ten levels, you'll advance the story, and come across a new gameplay concept to integrate into your memory banks. There's also optional collectable coins to grab in every level -- some of which are fiendishly hidden. Touch screen controls can get a little dicey, even if they're barely used. You'll need to touch the screen to use chalk, which is one of the major puzzle solving elements the game has to offer. Utilizing white, red, and blue chalk, you can connect objects, light fires, and create water respectively. While it's a cool concept at first, you'll quickly become frustrated due to how finicky the actual connections can be. If you want to connect an object or create a fuse, you pretty much have to be spot-on perfect with your drawing -- and even then, you could end up spending a while on some puzzles. One level in particular featured a number of cannons that needed to be lit by a red chalk fuse -- on a number of instances it took me at least four or five tries to get the object to interact with the chalk correctly. Thankfully, you can customize the hero switch ability to trigger with the simple press of the R button, leaving chalk the only other touch screen function. Dokuro is also exclusively a digital game, with no physical release in sight. While a $20 pricepoint may seem ballsy, keep in mind that this was a full retail release in Japan -- and for good reason -- it's long.There are 15 worlds with 10 stages each, which equates to 150 levels. A lot of stages can take as little as thirty seconds, but as I stated previously, some puzzles are so vexing that you could spend the better part of an afternoon on them. You can skip up to 10 stages, but given the sheer amount of them found in the game in total, you may find yourself "saving" them for a rainy day and using them more sparingly.Dokuro is a frustrating, and occasionally fantastic game. It's a shame that there are a number of levels that felt phoned in and the touch controls are so off and on, as the art style and character designs do a great job of drawing you in.
Beautiful, but bare-bones
Princesses, Dark Lords, menacing castles, dashing Prince Charmings -- you've seen it all before, right?But what if I told you the dashing prince was actually a skeletal servant of the Dark Lord, who, after a moral conundrum, decided to save the princess himself, and turn into a Prince Charming in the process?Enter Dokuro -- a wholly interesting concept for the Vita with a few mechanical problems.


E3: Gilius Thunderhead & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Jun 06
// Tony Ponce
This is not an announcement that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is being renamed Gilius Thunderhead & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I wish, because Gilius Thunderhead is the greatest Sega character of all time, ...

Tim Schafer is Scrooge McDuck

Mar 10
// Tony Ponce
With a mere three days left before donations are no longer accepted, Tim Schafer's adventure game Kickstarter has accrued over $2.6 million. That's well beyond the stated goal of 400 grand. What's a man to do with all that ex...

Unholy horrors! 1000+ Skyrim warriors go to war

Feb 09
// Tony Ponce
Rolling 2500 cheese wheels down a mountain? That's old hat! When it comes pushing what mods can truly do, you can't get any more intense the ballet of ultra-violence seen above. YouTuber Tyrannicon assembled 500 Draugr, 200 ...

Modded Skylanders toys are even MORE awesome

Nov 21
// Tony Ponce
I haven't gotten around to playing Skylanders yet, but I dig the concept. You collect little figurines then zap them into the game? Brilliant! And when you aren't playing the game, you can play around with the figures by them...

Dungeon Siege III DLC 'Treasures of the Sun' out now

Oct 25
// Maurice Tan
Liked Dungeon Siege III well enough to spend another $10 or 800 Microsoft Points on it? DLC is your answer! Dungeon Siege III: Treasures of the Sun is now available on PC, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It's set in...

Report: Nintendo reveals system seller 'Girls RPG'

Sep 13
// Maurice Tan
An anonymous source close to the Internet has revealed to us that Nintendo is publishing what is sure to be the biggest new IP to grace the 3DS to date: Girls RPG. Cliff Bleszinski has been overheard talking about the upcomin...

Dark Souls brings skeletons, dragons, bug-things, YES!

Aug 17
// Jim Sterling
Here's a new trailer and some cool screenshots for Dark Souls, full of so many jacked-up monsters that you won't be able to stop giggling in anticipation of some serious hardcore combat.  From dragons to gigantic bug cr...

SEE Virtual Worlds gets rights to Total Recall and more

Aug 12
// Jordan Devore
Would a massively multiplayer take on Total Recall be crazy enough to work? Hell, it couldn't be any worse than the classically laughed at licensed NES game. Planet Michael publisher SEE Virtual Worlds has obtained the necess...

Even more skulls in this Darksiders II extended trailer

Jul 19
// Maurice Tan
Hamza's preview of Darksiders II left me pretty excited with all that talk about RPG elements and a lack of QTEs, but I noticed that at least one of you thought this game needed more skulls and bones. So here's an extended trailer for Darksiders II that has skulls, bones, and an all-new voiceover that explains what the hell is going on. No Crips or Illuminati though.

Skulls of the Shogun is heading to Xbox Live Arcade

Jul 16
// Maurice Tan
Microsoft Studios is publishing Haunted Temple Studios' Skulls of the Shogun and bringing it to Xbox Live Arcade later this year, Gamasutra reports. The lovable and charming turn-based strategy game with undead samurai has be...

D&D: Daggerdale's Fighter really hates skeletons

Apr 04
// Maurice Tan
Look at this guy. He just runs around and kills skeletons, who are already dead! Not only that, but this He-Man wannabe also really hates, HATES, people who slide across the ground when they are doing a walking animation. Ev...

Preview: Skulls of the Shogun

Mar 30 // Maurice Tan
[embed]197597:37354[/embed] Skulls of the Shogun tells the story of a Japanese warlord in medieval Japan who, after almost realizing his dream of becoming a Shogun, gets stabbed in the back. Literally. When he arrives in the afterlife however, he is royally pissed off at having to wait in line for what seems like an eternity in order to actually enter Samurai paradise. In a series of humoristic plot developments, the fallen warlord does not stand for this outrage and gathers a small force of disgruntled undead soldiers to claim his rightful position, and to enjoy afterlife as a proper general should.Any turn-based strategy game needs a good and balanced combat system to work, and from what I've played, Skulls of the Shogun does not disappoint. Instead of the grid-like movement you may be used to from similar games, every unit can move however they want within a certain range -- indicated by a circle -- and do one attack per "order" (action). If at any point during a unit's order you decide that you'd rather have that unit positioned at another spot, you can just move it around regardless of whether or not it attacked -- removing that "Argh, I should have..." feeling you probably have experienced before in this type of game.Units come in three basic classes: hard-hitting infantry, ranged archers, and fast cavalry. Throughout the game, you'll also be able to recruit three types of monks for things like healing and elemental attacks. That might sounds like only a few units, but they are actually more than enough thanks to the way combat tactics and strategy play a role in Skulls of the Shogun.While every unit has its typical Attack and Hit Points indicators, winning a level goes far beyond just sending your troops in and killing your enemies before they kill you. A number of tactical elements come into play that you'll have to get a hang of. First of all, the basic units have their specific strengths. Infantry units do standard melee damage, but they also knock opponents back. If there happens to be a chasm or a pond behind them, knocking back your foe instantly kills them. Cavalry units are more mobile for hit and run attacks, but don't do as much damage nor knock back units as far as Infantry units do. Finally, Archers do a lot of ranged damage, but they are vulnerable to counterattack -- especially if they attack other ranged units.To defend Archers from counterattack, and to block key passages, you can move any group of two or more units next to each other to form a defensive "spirit wall." No enemy unit can run through units that form a spirit wall, and archers behind one of these can fire without being shot in the skull. Furthermore, the type of terrain itself -- grass, bamboo, trees -- gives units different bonuses with regards to hit chance.In order to succeed in a battle, you have to take your units' strengths, the terrain, and turn-based positioning into account. But that doesn't mean you can just slowly steam-roll your way to your opponent's army.If you think you can act like a slowpoke, think again. Rice paddies and shrines litter the battlefield, which can be "haunted" by a unit. This ends your unit's order and takes one turn to do, but in return the rice paddies provide you with resources that can be traded in for new units at a shrine. Some specific shrines give you a specialized monk support unit if you haunt them, which may or may not be worth the cost depending on your strategy.Killing an enemy undead soldier crushes its body, but leaves its skull on the ground. Because it makes perfect sense to do so, your units can eat that skull. Eating a skull adds +2 to its maximum hit points (the default HP for a unit is 6 HP at the time of playing), and eating three skulls turns the unit into a powerful "demon" who can attack two times.Because you get a limited amount of orders (indicated by scrolls) per turn, and because you usually have more units than you have actions to perform, you have to plan your advance strategically as well as taking the aforementioned tactical elements into account. When you combine all of these elements, Skulls of the Shogun shows a surprising amount of depth without requiring a huge amount of different units to do so. And when you factor in 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 battles, and local and online multiplayer, the range of strategies and tactics should last you quite a while.Haunted Temple Studios uses a cartoony art style for the game that is inspired by '60s Japanese movies, classic anime, and modern urban vinyl characters. Regardless of whether that excites your lower regions or not, it's very pleasing on the eyes. With a lengthy campaign, a storyline filled with humor, multiplayer, accessible but deep gameplay mechanics, and an interesting, more action-oriented take on the turn-based strategy genre, Skulls of the Shogun is something you'll have to keep an eye on. It's one of those little games that are easy to get into, but make you forget the time until you hear birds chirping outside. Now if only there were undead birds to dispatch of...Skulls of the Shogun is currently finalizing publisher negotiations and Haunted Temple intends to launch it on a number of digital platforms that will be announced at a later stage. In the meantime, the game's website has a lot of stuff to hold you over.

Take a small team of former AAA developers turned independent. Add two parts of tactical turn-based combat. Add one part of arcade action. Now flavor it in a cute style of generals, demons, and undead warriors who can eat the...


PS3 and Xbox 360 get Operation Hastings in BFBC2 Vietnam

Jan 02
// Jordan Devore
Well, this is awkward. PC players unlocked the "Operation Hastings" map in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam recently by performing a combined 69 million team actions. Console players, on the other hand, aren't quite there y...

One of the biggest surprises for me at PAX Prime was Bethesda's Hunted: The Demon's Forge. The game caught my eye only very recently, sparking an interest thanks to its modern fantasy aesthetic and elven boobs. Gameplay ...


2K Boston changes its name back to Irrational Games

Jan 08
// Brad Nicholson
2K Boston? Fughedaboutit. The studio formerly known as Irrational Games is now once again Irrational Games. Game Informer reports that the studio discovered that its original name carried weight with people, registered on som...

Def Leppard to be in a game

Jan 04
// Brad Nicholson
Fun fact: Def Leppard is not a cat. Fun Fact: Def Leppard is slated to star in a videogame.Reuters is reporting that the band has penned an agreement with Primary Wave -- an interesting move for two reasons: (a) no one under ...

LBP: Water and Pirates DLC hitting December 22

Dec 15
// Brad Nicholson
It’s almost time to get wet in LittleBigPlanet. The oft-teased Water update and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" content are scheduled to hit PSN on December 22nd.We should add that these two bits are intertwined, a comb...

Call of Pripyat gets dated (for real this time)

Dec 15
// Jordan Devore
Last time we checked in, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat was given a release month: February. Seeing as how that announcement was sent out, what, less than a week ago, today's "news" that the exact North American launch date ...

Oh, the horror: This year's Spike VGAs won't have a host

Dec 08
// Jordan Devore
While far from perfect, the Spike Video Game Awards are pretty much all we've got these days for our mainstream game award show coverage. People have been quick to point out how silly the show is, but personally, I wouldn't h...

Skeleton confirmed for Tales of Monkey Island chapter 5

Dec 04
// Brad Nicholson
The Tales of Monkey Island series is rushing to a close December 8 with the release of “Rise of the Pirate God,” the fifth and final installment. No doubt some MI fans are experiencing confused feelings about this...

Roman Dirge hard at work on Vampire Puff Puff for iPhone

Nov 25
// Topher Cantler
If you've never heard of Roman Dirge, you're about to. He's the creator of the brilliant comic book series, Lenore. Roman has been delighting the masses with his brand of spooky cuteness for years now, and he's about to grace...

Square Enix set to work on the cinematics for Deus Ex 3

Nov 24
// Brad Nicholson
Eidos Montreal isn’t working on Deus Ex 3 alone. In a recent conversation with Edge, studio GM Stephane D’Astous revealed that Square Enix Tokyo is planning to handle the CGI cinematics for the upcoming follow-up ...

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