I'm currently looking for paid writing gigs, so if you might want anything written shoot me a message (craighats at hotmail dot com).
In case the contents of this blog don't make it obvious enough, I have something of an affinity for slightly "offbeat" titles, so if there's something out there that few others cover, there's a fair chance I'm at least somewhat up on it.
If there's any sort of (reasonable) inquiry you'd like me to address, please don't hesitate to be in touch.
Below are a handful of recaps and other links (oldest listed first by section), in case you're interested - asterisks mark promoted articles.
Well, obviously the “New Thing” I was hoping to release this past week needed a bit more time – however, now it is (almost) totally ready to go, and will DEFINITELY be launched this coming week. Keep your eyes on this blog space – or, more likely, since you don’t read this at present, turn your gaze to this blog space for the first time! For the moment, at least, here are this week’s obscure gaming news briefs:
Aksys’ official page for their localization of DeathSmiles is up – for some reason, despite the game’s “T” rating, you still have to input your age before visiting (though the link provided above should bypass that – guess this wasn’t a top priority). Anyway, there’s a nice amount of info and media there, including the official trailer, which can also be viewed here – I must join my shmups.com fellows, however, in raging at the GT commenters who say this “should have been a downloadable title.” LISTEN UP – This game was MORE than worth the 70+ bucks I paid to import the Japanese version, and that was BEFORE Aksys added in the DLC content and LE stuff, AND reduced the price! Anyone who still insists that DeathSmiles “should have been on XBLA” or some other crap like that, SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTH, OR I WILL FIND YOU.
If you (like me) picked up DeathSmiles IIX for the 360, you might have noticed that upon beating the game you got a stupidly large clear bonus – this is a bug, according to Cave, and a patch should be on the way. Gee, where have I heard that recently…
Another gameplay video of Strike Witches for the 360 is up, and the Achievements list (in Japanese) is here if you want to try making some sense of it. Anyone out there a big enough fan of the series to pick this up?
Here’s a trailer for NeoGeo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting which I don’t THINK the Tribune has linked to yet.
Kotaku posts a video sorta-review of Topsy-Turvy Life: The Turvys Strike Back, a shmup in which you hold the DS upside-down and control the enemies instead of the “hero” ship (though of course you can also have a second player do that).
Gundemonium Collection’s release appears to have been delayed (it should have been out by now), but in the meantime check out new batches of images and videos – Rockin’ Android assures us that more news is forthcoming. Some additional vids are on GameTrailers – start with this one and the rest should be relatively easy to find.
A new video is also out for Duality ZF, showing off G-MODE, where you control two linked ships at once for double the firepower. It might seem a bit ho-hum at first, but wait for the later bits, it gets a ways more interesting.
Some time back the Tribune previewed a promising-looking doujin shmup called Hydorah – I’m a ways late in reporting this, but it’s out, so give it a try! Prismatic Solid, which was featured here recently, also just came out.
You might have already tried it, but a free Flash shmup based on Psikyo’s Strikers 1945 is available – it mainly just takes the game’s visuals and puts them on top of a pretty basic shooter, as the charge shot and gold collectibles from the original are both gone, but there are definitely worse time-wasters out there. A bunch more Flash games based on old arcade shmups can be played here – be sure to try out Nostradamus, a personal favorite!
Gamer Limit posts a late review of Raystorm HD – it’s probably pretty much what you’d expect at this point. If you still want to play, though, here’s a useless code which changes the 1P player’s ship color to blue, but disables your ability to pause for some reason. Huh?
The front page has had plenty of features on downloadable portable shmups (and sorta-shmups) of late – Stellar Attack, a PSP Mini, is a recent addition to the roster (a trailer for the game is here.
Well looky here, run-n-gun fans – what’s this Hard Corps Uprising that I see? You guessed it – it’s a “spiritual sequel” to the Treasure-developed Contra: Hard Corps on the Genesis, though this time Arc System Works (the Guilty Gear guys) are working behind the scenes for Konami. Look for more info at E3, and for the game itself this winter on XBLA and PSN! (DToid coverage here.)
Mr. Holmes posts a new Sin and Punishment 2 video, which includes commentary from several of the people who worked on the game – definitely give it a look.
Heads up, Crystal Method fans – trippy PS1 “tube shooter” N2O: Nitrous Oxide (whose music was provided by the aforementioned group) might be lurking around the PSN, waiting to be plugged in and paid for (though probably not in that order).
Yeesh, they’re not wasting any time, are they – hot on the heels of a retooled version of Alien Breed: Evolution being announced, a full-fledged sequel, Alien Breed 2: Aassault, is rated by the ESRB. Expect a movie spinoff and an exclusive iPhone side chapter sometime next week! (DToid coverage here.)
It’s not a shmup either, but I’m sure that some of you will still be very happy to hear that Wild Guns is now available on the Virtual Console.
This is more of a concept in development than an actual game, but still kinda neat – the Space IncadAR application for the Android is able use the device’s camera to recognize 2-D imagery (in this video’s case, a photo of planet Earth) and render it in animated 3-D (like a spinning globe), then paste a game on top of it. The simple shooting game displayed here isn’t much, but I figured it was still worth showing off.
Sega has released a (real, presumably) trailer for Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, which consists pretty much entirely of in-game footage. Think there’s any chance it’ll ever come to home consoles?
Two items of interest on the downloadable front: first, the XBLA release of NeoGeo Battle Coliseum has received an exact release date of June 9th, at least for Japan. Also, quick, someone alert megaStryke – Fighter’s History Dynamite is coming to Virtual Console sometime this month as well! (DToid coverage here.)
Have another look at the Limited Edition of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift being released in Japan, and hope that Aksys does something similar for the US version (or at least lets us get it for 40 bucks a la SSFIV).
Just in case the price of the retail version hasn’t dropped enough for you by now, Soul Calibur IV for the 360 is now available via Games on Demand.
Super Street Fighter IV is getting an arcade version after all, and Capcom is looking for ideas to use for an advertising catchphrase. If you live in Japan, submit an entry beginning with the phrase “Someone stronger than me…” and you can win some stuff, as well as a mention in the game’s credits.
I’m a ways late in linking to this, but Kid Fenris recently posted an interesting writeup about Darkstalkers and its semi-infamous pseudo-theme song.
The latest Podsumaki episode tries to make some sense of Capcom’s “Versus” series – hmm, maybe there IS something scarier to tackle than Street Fighter’s storyline.
Rule One: Always report the latest set of updates for nilcam’s PS3 “Fight Club”. Rule Two: Do it again next week! The fellow also offers us another helping of fighting game philosophizing.
Elsewhere on the c-blogs, Alakaizer is the latest to say, to himself and others, “Hey, fighting games are kinda cool, I think I’ll play ‘em some more.”
“Sundays With Sagat” returns, and it’s a bit less stupid than it was last week, so I’ll link it again…for now.
On the figure front this past week’s “Reserve or Regret” at Tomopop features both last week’s newly-revealed Mai Shiranui figure and a separate black-outfit one which is just as NSFW, if not more so. Tomo also announces pre-orders for a new sculpt of Kasumi from Dead or Alive.
You might have heard of a real-life wrestler whose moves in the ring are inspired by those of various [i]Street
Fighter[/i] characters – here’s a cheesy video of him doing his thing, but you only need to watch the first 35 seconds or so, since the rest is just the exact same sequence looped over and over again. Seriously, who put this thing together?
On a final note, run for the hills everyone – the Street Fighter characters have discovered Facebook!
If you’re like me, you tried to pick up Hexyz Force last week, but GameStop didn’t seem to have it – according to what I’ve heard there was some sort of shipping glitch which affected a few titles, and the game actually came into stores this week. So in case you were wondering where the bugger went, you should be able to get ahold of it by now – I just secured my copy up a few hours ago. As if to mark the occasion, Atlus has put out a walkthrough video for the game. (DToid coverage here.)
If you reserve Neptune in Japan, you get a 40-page artbook – in the meantime you can check out a few samples of the main characters in “human” and “console goddess” forms. A couple more screens over here offer a preview of the transformation sequence.
Yet another Atelier Totori trailer has appeared – it doesn’t show too much that hasn’t already been seen in one form or another, but you know I’m going to report every last tidbit about this game no matter what, so just go with it.
Not long ago we learned that a bunch of Falcom PSP games, Ys 7 among them, would be headed Westward – now it’s announced that the aforementioned game will have a Collector’s Edition available, which will pack in a soundtrack, cloth map, and artbook for an extra twenty bucks. Moreover, while a release date hasn’t been officially announced yet, Amazon is tentatively listing it as August 31st – finally, Xseed is giving fans a chance to have their names pasted onto NPCs in the game, so Facebook followers ought to check into that. (DToid coverage here.)
I’m always both happy (because of all the new stuff and refinements) and depressed (because I’m buying the darn game for the third time) to hear more about Persona 3 Portable – anyways, Siliconera has a write-up about their experience with the Japanese version of the game and its changes from the original(s).
On a related note, as it turns out, some of the characters of Zero no Kiseki will actually be appearing in Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki before their own game is even out – here’s a look at two of ‘em.
If you’ve been looking forward to The Last Story, it appears that your wait will be a bit longer – while no concrete release date was ever announced, Producer Sakaguchi has said that the game would be entering “extended production” and would take longer than expected to finish. Make sure you get it right, guys! Well, at least these scans will make the wait a bit easier.
Siliconera splits an “Iwata Asks” interview with a pair of Xenoblade’s writers into two parts – in one the game’s original idea (and how it first came to be) is discussed, while the other goes into how the protagonist was developed. Xenoblade also proves once again that all you need for a workable commercial in Japan is 1) A female, and 2) Mech parts. Nothing else even remotely matters, including any real relevance to the thing being advertised.
Euro-gamers, it looks like you’ll be getting DS RPG My World, My Way this fall – it might look like it’s aimed at young girls, but in truth it’s better-suited for hardened RPG veterans who know all the tropes and don’t mind mocking them. It’s not a spectacular game, but you might want to give it a go one the price drops, just for the theme.
The DToid community continues to mess around with the 3D Dot Game Heroes character creator – in this c-blog you can see Mr. Destructoid (hasn’t he been done already? Well, one more certainly couldn’t hurt), while on the forums you can take a gander at Conan O’Brien and Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Also Hardcore Gaming 101 is holding a contest for all you dot sculptors out there (the top prize is a copy of the Japan-only soundtrack) – even if you don’t enter, stop there at least once to see Vyse of Skies of Arcadia in all his blocky glory!
The plot continues to thicken (and become less and less transparent in the process) surrounding Beyond Good and Evil 2 – while rumors circulated last week that Michel Ancel had left Ubisoft, a French gaming site is reporting that he’s still with the company and the game is still being worked on. Neither side has been fact-checked too vigorously at this point, so I guess only time will tell…in the meantime all we can do is keep counting the flies we snort.
Hot on the heels of last week’s DJ Max Portable 3 announcement comes DJ Max Portable Hot Tunes, supposedly a “best of” compilation for the series, likely only to see release in the East. Rumor has it, however, that this is actually just DJ Max Fever repackaged for a different region – ‘til we see a track list we won’t know for sure, but one thing for certain is that it’s got a nice LE!
So you thought that No More Heroes and Lunar were the only games using fan-servicey pre-order bonus card sets to get people to buy them? Try again – the Japanese version of Trauma Team has officially jumped onto that bandwagon. (DToid coverage here.) If skin’s not your style, maybe these cute sprite versions of the game’s characters are more up your alley.
So we’ve finally got some footage of Earthworm Jim HD – how’s it look? Pretty good – though unfortunately the original voice for Jim has been replaced by a decidedly less-groovy alternative.
A handful of new screenshots for Lost in Shadow are floating around – have a look-see over here.
Some more screens for Reaper and Mecho Tales have also turned up on the front page – apparently a few are exclusives, so check ‘em out.
To hype up the possibility of an Ico/Shadow of the Colossus HD compilation, Eurogamer attempted to simulate what one might look like, with the help of emulation – there are several videos there to check out. Personally, while some of the visual improvements (most notably a frame rate bump) would be quite nice, I’m not completely sold…in particular, I’m not sure that Yorda would have the same unmistakably ethereal presence if her lines were cleaner. Guess we’ll have to see what the final results look like…if this thing even exists. Credit to Joystiq for the original link. (C-blog item here.) Over at Kotaku, a guest writer also wonders why we haven’t seen more games like Shadow of the Colossus.
The mental patients at Valve are up to something again – the June 14th event related to Portal 2 has supposedly been cancelled, and replaced with “a surprise”. Heaven only knows what they’ve got up the sleeves of their straitjackets… (DToid coverage here.) Also, while only marginally related, I couldn’t resist linking to this as well.
Some music from the redone WiiWare version of La-Mulana is available for you to preview, and compare with the original soundtrack if you so desire.
Flash-based rhythm game Ongaku looks headed for the big time – a full retail version is apparently in the works, featuring new songs, difficulty settings, and an editor players can use to whip up their own stuff. If you want to try the current free version of the game, there’s a link to it in the article.
I’ve honestly got no idea what to expect from Square’s recently-announced WiiWare game Kumanage, but when it’s billed as a “paper bear-throwing game” it’s kinda hard for me to ignore it altogether. As Siliconera notes, there were already indications that the game is slated for localization, which would be…interesting, that’s for sure. (DToid coverage here.)
NISA has cooked up yet another contest: if you enter “Silence of the Prinny” and do a bit of hopping around their site, you can win a copy of Disgaea Infinite if you get your entry in by June 8th.
Don’t you hate it when you pick up what appears to be a Japanese game, but it turns out to not be Japanese at all (no, it’s never actually happened to me either)? Well, just in case it has, new publisher Monkey Paw Games promises to bring over nothing but Real Japanese Games! Who knows if anything will actually come of this, but hopefully some interesting localizations are in the offing from them.
I didn’t think I’d have another piece of Katamari artwork to show so soon after last week’s bronze statue, but behold – Katamari on the Nouveau!
Fun Fact: Did you know that Costco sells full-sized pinball machines? Sort of – 16 stores across the US are being included in this bit of test-marketing, but unfortunately the machines are somewhat stripped-down feature-wise compared to their arcade counterparts.
Not obscure, but anything meant to bring a bit more attention to the continual, devastating leak of untreated crude laissez-faire capitalism into the Gulf of Mexico has earned a place for itself in the Tribune. (DToid coverage here.) On a related note, I’m a big enough fan of The Daily Show to also link to this and this.
Also not obscure, but still too notable a deal not to cover here: if you’re looking for a subscription to Nintendo Power, XBox Magazine, Playstation Magazine, or PC Gamerget to Amazon and you can snag one for all of five bucks. Be quick, though, as this deal is only for this week!
See you next week.
Oh, and thanks for reading, and keep gaming obscurely.