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About
Thanks kindly for paying my blog a visit.

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.

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'Magnet School

Introduction

Curriculum: Puzzle Games

Course 1: Ochige 101
Course 2: Tossology
Course 3: Ochige 201
Course 4: Phys. Ed
Course 5: Ochige 301 (Adv.)
Course 6: Free Elective
Course 7: Ochige 401 (Hon.)
Course 8: Extra Credit
Graduation Speech

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Reviews/Impressions/Rants/etc.

King of Fighters: Orochi Saga
Ar Tonelico II - Part 1 and Part 2
Prinny and Street Fighter IV
King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
Nintendo DS
*King of Fighters XII
How-To: Atelier Annie
How-To: Mushihime-sama Futari

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The Forgotten Essentials

Part 1: RPGs
Part 2: Shmups
Part 3: Fighters
Part 4: Puzzlers

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The Obscurer Tribune

EXTRA! EXTRA!

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Monthly Musings/Writers Wanted

The Fear: The End
*A Time to Destroy: I Cast Thee Out
*Expanded Universes: Triple Triad X
*Those About to Die: Nocturne's Demons
*Untapped Potential: The Second Dimension
*I Suck at Games: and I'm Here to Help
*The Forgotten: Real Life
*Love/Hate: The Weirdo, The Wall, and The Beast
*The Future: A Refreshing Cup of Hemlock
*More Than Just Noise: Digital Cheese LIVE
East vs. West: Where The Old Gods Dwell
Resolutions: Fresh Flowers
Collaboration: IF Only...
Violence: The Gatekeepers

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Assorted Ramblings

Why Am I Here? (intro)
Non-Portable Portable Gaming
Hating the Unhateable
*Soul Bubbles, Mickey Mouse, Journey of the Self
Dreamcast: The Other Shmup Machine
One-Year Anniversary Reflections
Shmups: Gaming's EOE

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Non-DT Writing

Racketboy

Saturn Shooter Rundown
PS1 Shooter Rundown
PS2 Shooter Rundown
Shmups 101
Shmups That Defined the Genre
"Hidden Gem" Shmups

HG101

Deathsmiles
Espgaluda
Shadow Hearts

Misc.

Unofficial Shmup Glossary (shmups.com, WIP)
My Backloggery (Warning: Inherent Shamefulness May Be Too Intense for Some Readers)
Player Profile
Follow me:
BulletMagnet's sites
Badges
Following (28)  




You’ll have to pardon me for this week’s issue coming off the presses a few hours late – as you’ll soon see (assuming you bother to keep reading), it’s the biggest one we’ve had of late. That being the case, I’ll step aside and let you dig into the weirdness of the week:

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There were indications that Cave was working on a new arcade title, but now we’ve got some details: according to the Japanese-literate shmuppers at the forum, this next game will be a side-scroller with a “retro-mech” design sensibility, different attack modes, a varied cast of characters, and a summer/fall release date. Off the cuff it almost sounds like a spiritual sequel to Progear…more info as it comes!

Cave’s “Asada blog” also has a few screens of the upcoming XBLA “remix” of former arcade exclusive Guwange – now let’s get some videos up there! Especially considering that, yes, it will be localized and translated into English, so don’t worry, Cave still (kinda) loves you!

Recently you got to see a shortened and goofily-censored Western version of the first Otomedius Excellent trailer – now you can ogle at the full-sized (in more ways than one) Japanese version.

Looks like we’ve hit the jackpot on early videos of homebrew Neo-Geo shmup Fast Striker – footage has been posted for the entirety of “Maniac” mode. Here are links to stage one, stage two, stage three, stage four, stage five, and stage six. Moreover, while the above videos are “whatever” credit-feeding plays, if you want some demonstrations of how the game is supposed to be played, check out the following movies of the first, second and third levels. Apparently even more on this game is coming in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned…

If you’ve enjoyed Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype, you ought to be happy to hear that soon you’ll have the chance to acquire more of it – an expansion pack for the game, simply titled The Final Chapter, will be making an appearance sometime during the fourth quarter of this year. Its features include three extra stages, a new ending, a remixed soundtrack, and another added difficulty level: no price tag as of yet. (DToid coverage here.)

Hot on the heels of last week’s trailer for The Flying Hamster, Siliconera posts a pair of video previews of the first two levels. To me, the gameplay looks “okay”, though I still like the theme…whether or not the latter makes up for the former will have to wait for release, I suppose.

The promised patch for Vampire Rage is on its way to the final review process: in the meantime, check near the bottom of this page for a list of included changes and (most importantly) a peek at the new box art. On a kinda-related note, a free demo of Icarus-X is now available if you want to try before you buy.

Continuing along that vein, this week’s edition of “random homebrew stuff that the shmups.com forum is talking about” begins with Packito: Lost in Space on XBLA Indie Games, a side-scrolling puzzle shooter where you need to use different-colored bullets to get rid of various types of space garbage. It’s available here for 240 points. There’s also Crossfire, another “Space Invaders with lots of neon” project, but with the unique ability to “jump” your ship from the ground to the ceiling, to attack enemies from both sides (DToid coverage here). Finally, if you kept track of the IGF competition you might remember Zeit Squared, a side-scroller with a time-shifting mechanic: now you can keep an eye out for it on PC and 360.

French-speaking shmup fans in particular might want to keep an eye on this contest from fan site XBLA360: they’re going to offer an opportunity to win a whole bunch of XBLA shooter titles. Anyone can enter, but a bit of knowledge of the language certainly couldn’t hurt.

The folks who brought you Zombie Panic in Wonderland are currently at work on a WiiWare rail shooter called Horizon Riders, in which you take control of Guy on Hoverboard and shoot Things. Wonder if they…felt inspired by Sin and Punishment 2 (which, by the way, has received yet another review)? Speaking of rail shooters, After Burner Climax (among others) is discounted this week, so make sure to snag it quick if you haven’t already!

All we have at this point is an ESRB rating, but I just had to mention Paul’s Shooting Adventure, which sounds like a run-n-gun starring a baby. Hopefully we’ll get a better look at this game soon.

Gamer Limit has posted a late review of PSP Mini title Stellar Attack, if you’d like another take on that title.

Neonie’s latest episode of Shrine Impulse is rather Touhou-centric in nature, so fans of ZUN’s games might want to have a listen.

C-blogger peachboy turns our attention to a weird little indie title called Action Turnip – your character/vegetable runs and jumps (and shoots), but constantly moves forward automatically, as sort of a crossover between a run-n-gun and a “pure” shmup.

About two weeks ago a c-blogger posted a review of The Red Star for iPhone – more recently the front page has caught up. Also, it’s a bit too late to get Warblade for free at this point (sorry!), but you still might want to check it out anyway.

Tomopop offers its own look at the DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou “Type B” model first showcased last week.




Do you like Super Street Fighter IV? So does the game’s producer, we assume, but nonetheless he assures us that SSF4 is “nothing compared to what’s coming”. Wonder what he could mean…dare I name-drop Pocket Fighter 2? (DToid coverage here.) As it happens, Capcom Europe was crowing about something too…In the meantime, here’s a quick look at SSF4’s arcade version.

Mortal Kombat big cheese Ed Boon lets us know that the upcoming series reboot will be more focused on pleasing “hardcore” fighting fans than previous entries…though he worries that this move may hurt sales, at least in the short run. Do you think tourney-type fighting game players will give this new MK a fair shake…or that the game will have anything of real value to offer them? The dangerous dance of fan and franchise continues…

Until I read this review by Herr Sterling I honestly had no idea that 3D Wii fighter Tournament of Legends even existed – well, I can now consider myself informed, and so should you! Joystiq and Kotaku, on the other hand, have a…different take on the game.

The Revolution might not be televised, but this year’s Evolution fighting tournament will be. G4 will not only stream the event live as it happens on its website (you can also check in on the action here), but a week or two later (July 20th, to be exact) they’ll devote an episode of X-Play to it: yeah, it’s G4, but still, you can’t argue with a bit more exposure (DToid coverage here). By the way, while not too many will be surprised to hear it, Daigo will be there and so will Yoshinori Ono, aka “that Capcom guy who’s going to be announcing something” from earlier on in this issue – can’t wait to read the blogs from folks who make it to the event!

Outside of EVO, things suddenly got active on the local tournament front – aside from the usual updates from nilcam on the “PS3 Fight Club” (Puzzle Fighter tiem! Though might I suggest Puzzle Arena Toshinden for the next one?), Jimbo, thanks to having recently acquired Tatsunoko vs. Capcom decides to put on a “Wii Fight Club” of his own. Somethin’ just got real, son!

Not like they really needed to explain their decision to most fighting game fans, but here’s Ignition’s official word on why they dropped Samurai Shodown Sen and went running for the hills. (DToid coverage here.)

Time for another installment of “…oh, Japan” – behold homebrew masterpiece Man vs. Woman, which features two digitized characters grabbing each other’s naughty bits to cause damage.

Technically an RPG, but whatever - c-blogger odber posts a short write-up about his experience playing a fan-translated edition of Namco X Capcom, which really should have been localized but never was. AwesomeExMachina, in the meantime, has somehow gotten his hands on a copy of Ken Masters’ resume.

If you enjoyed the fan-made short “Street Fighter High”, which depicts some of our favorite fighting game personalities in a high school setting, rejoice, as they’re working on another one, and someone from Capcom will be making a guest appearance alongside some new characters: check out some preview photos of the second “episode” at that link. Will Blanka ever get over being a…ginger? Hopefully we’ll find out! (DToid coverage here.) Speaking of interpersonal relationships, this chart should help you keep track of who’s pals with who in the Street Fighter games themselves.

No, your smile will never be as brilliantly sparkling (and maniacally creepy) as that of Street Fighter’s M. Bison (or Vega, if you prefer), but for a hunk of cash you can have a mini version of those pearly whites in your home, and as a bonus you get the rest of him too! (Front page item here.)

The most recent Weekend Destructainment features a silly video of cats fighting (as opposed to a non-silly one, I suppose), complemented by Street Fighter sound effects and (of course) Guile’s Theme. Also, consider this video a seven-minute reminder that Zangief can grab you out of anything. ANYTHING.




We’re still waiting for a concrete official release date for Atelier Rorona, and for its official English site to go up (NIS promises it’s coming soon), but honestly I’m already excited for Atelier Totori – play-test summaries like this one on Siliconera are not making the wait any easier.

More screens ahoy for Neptune: most of them offer a closer look at some of the mix-and-match stat-altering outfits and accessories you can equip the characters with. Also check out this video showing some actual in-battle footage: it’s sort of tough to tell how the fighting system works from here, but it appears at least somewhat similar to Trinity Universe off the cuff. On a slightly disappointing note, the Japanese release of the game has been delayed by a few weeks – hopefully the developers use the extra time wisely.

If you want a look at how map movement and battles work in Fate/Extra, check out the video over here – it looks like you can stun wandering enemies while walking around, while battles (I think) appear to revolve around both you and your enemies setting up several moves in advance to counteract each other, sorta like the “ship battles” in Skies of Arcadia. Then again I could be totally wrong, so don’t quote me on that!

Western Ghibli fans can (more or less) stop worrying – while we don’t know when yet, it looks like Ni no Kuni will be coming to the USA and Europe at some point. Now to hope that the thing plays as good as it looks…

Just in case you were worried that the Record of Agarest War sequel might lose its, um, edge, fear not, for even its minigames are true to the series’, uh, legacy: in one, you adjust the temperature of the bathwater while your gal takes a soak, and in another you increase her stats by giving her a massage. Look sharp, Ar Tonelico – sounds to me like you’re being called out!

A new trailer and a few screens have arrived for Blue Roses, possibly the only SRPG to reference The Glass Menagerie (or not). Quite a few bits borrowed from other games seem to be in here, from relationship-building to team-up attacks to button-pressing exercises…hope it all comes together okay.

Mognet Central links us to this selection of The 3rd Birthday screens – it’s the same batch as was featured here last week, but contains more than the previous link.

Well, wouldja lookit that – a trailer for The Last Story, with a couple of gameplay clips, even! From here it looks very action/RPG-ish, which doesn’t innately appeal to me, personally…I’m still seeing the same clunky movements and juddery framerates as usual, but hopefully those are ironed out in the finished product. (DToid coverage here.)

More possible good news for PAL gamers – the PSP version of Knight in the Nightmare has been rated by Australia’s Classification Board, so chances look good that you guys down under will be seeing this game eventually; hopefully by then we’ll know how the thing plays without a touch screen.

Persona 3 Portable is on shelves by now, and a whole bunch has been written about it up until now – one aspect of the game (kinda) which has been somewhat under-covered, however (Agent North excepted, of course), is the pre-order Junpei hat. Never fear – this article has more than you probably wanted to know about it. Not to mention, if you forgot to pre-order, you could have always won one, like these guys did.

More spoils are coming to the Atlus Faithful – if you pre-order Etrian Odyssey III at a bunch of participating retailers you get a 60-page artbook titled “Forests of Eternity”. Click this link for a preview of its contents, though you might want to beware of a spoiler or two. (DToid coverage here.)

On the NIS side of things, if you tried to order Trinity Universe from their online store and found that it was sold out, the company is currently taking back orders for the game and should be restocked in about two weeks. Also, they apparently still have some of the artbooks available, so you can still order the package which includes both it and the game.

Odd how Irem seems to be getting more and more into strategy-type games lately…Hototogisu Tairan for the PSP, an expansion of a previous game of theirs, takes place in historical Japan and adds a “card” element to the formula, so fans of these sorts of mish-mashes might want to keep an eye on it.

Ever wished you could get experience points and other guaranteed rewards for doing “real-life” work, like you do in RPGs? Epic Win, an iPhone app, has the power to make your dream come true! (DToid coverage here.)

Not a fan of the “Answer” portion of Persona 3 FES? C-blogger pedrovay2003 makes an attempt to change your mind.

Once Upon a Pixel is always worth a watch, even if you don’t play the games featured, but seeing as the newest short features a Prinny doing a public service announcement, I had to link it.

Want more pics of those two Super Robot Taisen OG Saga figures featured recently? Tomopop has them. Also, everyone’s favorite “Not Really a Disgaea Character Though She Might As Well Be” Plenair has a new figure too, though something tells me she herself would be happier with a new pair of pants.




A new trailer for puzzle-platformer Ilomilo showcases a bit of the game’s quirky music – at that same link, you can click over to the developer’s site and download a couple of complete tracks for free. (DToid coverage here.)

Another bit of possible good news for PAL gamers – at the recent “Japan Expo” in France there was a French-language demo of “Project Coda”, which is actually none other than Solarobo, the spiritual Tail Concerto sequel. No official announcements to this end so far, but one is quite likely on the way!

Been too long since you last had a new Castlevania to play on your DS? Maybe Soul of Darkness can tide you over ‘til the next official entry. If nothing else, you shouldn’t have any complaints about sprite recycling!

Dr. Nick recently got his mitts on a playable demo of Limbo, and has some impressions for us. In the meantime, you might want to check out Coma, a Flash game with a somewhat similar aesthetic: a full-screen version is here.

Princess Crown still refuses to grace gamers outside of Japan with its presence, but you can check out Gamer Limit’s review of Princess Fury for the iPhone – it’s probably about as close to a localization as we’re gonna get. On a sorta-related note, Vanillaware is looking for a new programmer for…something.

Some of you might remember Reaper, a PSP side-scroller featuring a scythe-wielding character: these new screens will hopefully get the attention of the rest of you.

It’s not my style of game, personally, but it’s just so odd I had to share it: behold Nimble Strong: Bartender in Training, whose kooky atmosphere borrows from Phoenix Wright, except here you’re mixing drinks for people instead of trying to get “not guilty” rulings for defendants. Pick it up on the iPhone for five bucks: if the official site is correct, you might even gain a bit of actual bartending know-how in the process.

Is there anybody out there who HASN’T done an Ivy the Kiwi?-themed interview with Yuji Naka yet? Well, in any event you can definitely cross Siliconera off the list: they even had to split theirs up into two parts.

In case you’re wondering what sorts of games new publisher MonkeyPaw has its eye on, two of ‘em have been confirmed: the first is Magical Drop F, a (former) Japanese PS1 exclusive puzzle game with an RPG-ish “quest” mode, and Blockids, a “brick breaker” game with 3D graphics and a “tilted” perspective (which, oddly enough, was already localized during the PS1 era). Having played both I’m more excited for the former than the latter – why not get one of the Block Kuzushi games or something instead, guys?

European gamers might also be interested in this interview with the product manager of Rising Star Games, regarding the company’s plans now that they’re separated from Marvelous Entertainment. On a related note, publisher Ghostlight is taking suggestions on what titles they ought to bring to Europe next, so if you’ve got something in mind shoot them an email.

A quick item on the WiiWare version of La-Mulana details some of the changes made to the menu interface.

Stevil’s Monthly Musing wonders what the real world might be like if the “Trotmobile” pseudo-mechs from Steambot Chronicles made an appearance here…according to him it would somehow involve Rosario Dawson in a whipped cream bikini. So, do you need any more reason to read this?

One of the bloggers over at Tomopop created some nifty Okami and Okamiden sculptures, and was promoted to their front page: be sure to check them out over there (or on DToid’s front page).

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On a final note, a big “thank you” to whoever decided I was worthy of the “legendary” forum badge, especially since most of the site has no idea who I am! To everyone else, thanks as always for reading, and keep gaming obscurely.



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