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Just a guy who loves to talk video games a lot. I try to be funny and fail a lot, but I swear I'm worth having around.

I'm an older gamer (read:30) and I like to look back on all the good (and bad) that I played through in the before time.

I don't game as much thanks to my 2yr old daughter, but I do keep up on the latest things. As far as she's concerned, well she likes to hit the buttons a lot, which means she could win a few rounds of DOA.
Following (23)  

Alright everyone, welcome to week 2. We had 2 hours of good clean fun last week. So we're gonna do it again tonight at 10PM EST.

What do you have to do? Join us! Multi player challenges and stupidity await us tonight. Just look for CronosBlade and send me a friend invite, or use your friend of friend ability to find me off of someone, and prepare to cause some havok tonight.

Our current roster is:

A special invite is open to our original gang of street miscreants in the hopes they may join us.

And as always, people are free to drop in and out if needed, there's always fun to be had. So come, join us, and prepare to freeburn the city and smash your friends.

Picked one up over at Best Buy for $39.99. As soon as I got home (and got the obligatory cut on my hand from the clamshell packaging). I sat down to put it through its paces. I'll break down my thoughts on each individual game below.

Initial Impressions - As you can see above, the pad is beefy, but not uncomfortable. The D-Pad is squishy and the buttons are very nice. You have a switch underneath that allows you to set whether the D-pad is acting as the left stick, right stick, or D-Pad of a 360 controller. After over an hour of gaming, my thumb was not bleeding red or seriously hurting, which is a good sign.

So onto the games:

Street Fighter HD Remix - Immediately from the start, I feel like I have a problem jumping. It looks like Ryu is taking a step backwards and then jumping. In training mode, I test it out and sure enough, I've got to put a little more effort into a diagonal to get a jump out. I was initially disappointed, but then had an idea. I set the switch to act as the Left Stick, and maybe I'm crazy but I feel like I got better response in that setting. The other thing to get used to is that since the D-Pad itself is bigger, I had to adjust mentally to making sure I was performing motions correctly. So, let's talk some specific examples:

Ryu/Ken - No issues from the 1P side doing any move. On the other side, I have difficulty getting things out 100%. Again, a switch mentally in how my thumb is on the pad and it being bigger. 5 minutes later, issue resolved.

Guile/Vega - YAY! I'm able to charge without accidentally jumping. Again, due to diagonals, I whiff supers a few times, but after 5 minutes I'm pulling them off repeatedly.

Zangief - Holy crap, I just pulled off a standing SPD. This pad gets points for that alone. And I get it off 8/10 on the first try with no retraining. This was the classic command, not the remix command.

I go into arcade mode, and the pad never causes me grief to where I feel like I'm fighting it for control.

Pac Man CE
No issues with turning and getting Pac Man to go where I want him to. In fact I set a new high score for myself in the process.

Streets of Rage 2
At this point, I'm comfortable with the way the pad acts and have no issues moving diagonally onscreen. Specials (f,f) are coming out easily.

Poker Smash, Puzzle Quest, basically all puzzle games
Again, no issue of getting the cursor to go where I want.

So to sum up, the pad is lightyears ahead of using a 360 controller, but may not meet everyone's expectations. If you do jump in and get one, you may need some time in training mode to get yourself used to it before actually running out into the wild. For anything else though, the pad is awesome, and with Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection dropping today, should be getting plenty of use tonight.

Overall Grade - B+

That's right ladies and gents. With the recent price drop and the influx of new fresh meat, I figured we should get a nice weekly run going. For those of you who weren't involved with the original FNF runs of Paradise,. it was epic loud fun for over 4 hours at a time. So we're gonna recapture that loving feeling tonight at 10PM EST.

What do you have to do? Join us! Multi player challenges and stupidity await us tonight. Just look for CronosBlade and send me a friend invite, or use your friend of friend ability to find me off of someone, and prepare to cause some havok tonight.

Our current roster is:
Hitogoroshi (maaaybe)

A special invite is open to our original gang of street miscreants in the hopes they may join us.

And as always, people are free to drop in and out if needed, there's always fun to be had. So come, join us, and prepare to freeburn the city and smash your friends.

I figured I’d just make my way through the games I picked up with my Saturn which if you didn’t read about that, you can read up here in my blog. The next game let’s talk about is Street Fighter Alpha, or as my copy says, Street Fighter Zero.

I remember when this game came out in the Arcades. It was in 1995, I had just graduated high school, and I was spending a majority of my summer in an arcade with my best friends who were all fighting game fanatics. Imagine to our surprise as we walked in one day and there in the corner was this new shiny game. We walked up to it in awe and watched the (at the time) epic attract screen of Ryu and Ken throwing fireballs at each other. What kind of game was awaiting us? I played my very first match of Street Fighter Alpha against my best friend, and as is customary on every new SF game, the first fight was Ryu vs Ken.

In the time line, Alpha happens before Street Fighter II. Everyone here is younger, as seen in the art for the game.

The rundown of the cast is:

Street Fighter – Adon, Birdie
Street Fighter II – Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Sagat
Final Fight – Guy and Sodom
New Characters – Charlie (I prefer Nash) and Rose
Hidden Characters – Akuma, Bison, and Dan

The cast certainly caught me off guard. We had 4 returning characters. Charlie in terms of storyline is Guile’s friend and the reason Guile is after Bison in SF II, but plays like Guile. I was a huge fan of Final Fight, so there was indeed a really cool moment seeing Guy in a fighting game. Adon and Birdie were brought in, with Birdie getting an overhaul in terms of looks.

While some characters looked younger, others had some massive changes as well. Sagat for example is BUFF. Not the lean version that we see in SF II, he’s built like a truck. Bison got the same treatment, as his design makes him look very huge.

Now before I move on, I’ve got to discuss Dan. For anyone who’s not in on the joke, SNK has a fighting series named Art of Fighting and the main character is Ryo Sakazaki, who happens to look like a combination of Ryu and Ken. He also fights in a similar style with a dragon punch and a one handed fireball. Capcom of course decided to respond, and thus Dan was born. Dan throws one handed fireballs and looks like a cross between Ryo and Robert, the two main characters of the Art of Fighting Series. He’s typically more comedic in nature than the rest of the cast. His taunts are the stuff of legend (including a Super Taunt in later games!).

But back to Alpha. We had just been introduced to the idea of super meters and super moves in Capcom fighting games a year earlier with the introduction of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Alpha took this new idea and dramatically changed it. First, characters had more than just the one super seen in Turbo. Charlie actually has 3. Secondly, you could build up to 3 levels of super meter and choose to unleash specific levels of power. This was controlled by the number of buttons pressed. For example Ryu’s Shinkū Hadōken power was controlled by pressing one, two, or all three punches together during the motion. Each level did more damage and added more hits in the combo.

Another new feature was the Alpha counter. By making a joystick motion of B,DB,D + a button, a player could block an incoming hit and immediately do a canned counter attack. This takes 1 level of super meter, but really added strategy to the game and allowed players being pressured to create an opening to get a breather or go on offense themselves.

Alpha was also the first time air blocking was allowed. Again, adding a new dynamic to the fighting game genre, players could jump and air block a fireball rather than land on it and take damage.

One of the best known strategies in SF II was corner trapping an opponent. Alpha gave us a new mechanism to get out of the corner with rolls. Doing the alpha counter command as you hit the ground caused you player to roll forward. For example, a player being corner trapped could roll and even end up behind the opponent, reversing the corner trap.

Finally we have tech hits, which is escaping from a throw. You still take damage, but definitely not as much as if the throw had been completed.

The player goes through 7 stages, with the final stage being a boss specific to the character. Ryu faced off with Sagat for example. Over half the cast faced Bison however.

Now, the three hidden characters were not the only surprises, oh no. One of the biggest and coolest surprises ever was a hidden 2 player mode. To get to it, both players had to input specific commands on the character select screen. What happened next is a recreation of the final fight from the Street Fighter animated movie. Yes, it is Ryu and Ken vs Bison. Now keep in mind Dramatic Battle became a full fleged mode in Alpha 3, but at the time this was just awesome.

So how will it be remembered? Well in truth is it’s overshadowed by Alpha 2 and Alpha 3. However this game, much like the Darkstalkers series brought about change in other Capcom Fighting games. Playing this now, it feels very barebones compared to a lot of the games that came after it. But in reality, those games owe quite a lot to Alpha as it started a lot of the gameplay changes that became common in the genre.

Of course, those of you who want to play this now, you can get it off PSN for $5.99 or can find the Alpha Anthology for PS2 for less than $30.

1)I was engaged once before I met and married my wife.

2) During the 2004 Elections, my boss and I were traveling for business. in Tennessee. We crashed both the Republican and Democratic Parties in two different hotels by switching the buttons we were wearing. I was so drunk that I barely made it the next morning to lead the training classes.

3) I have a framed and signed photo of me and Lou Ferigno together.

4) For my job I stayed two weeks straight in New Orleans 2 months after Hurricane Katrina hit. It's an experience and a sight I will never forget, sadly.

5) My wife and I met online, she's from New York, I'm Texan. Here we are almost 7 years later.

6) I've made mentions to people before, but I was a Gamefaqs moderator for over 7 years. I don't know how I survived that place, but I ended up here.

7) Along with Item 6, I also used to write FAQs. I've got one of the largest Phantasy Star Online FAQs for the Dreamcast. I also co-wrote one of the biggest Gran Turismo 3 FAQs as well. If you find these, you'll find my original online name. (I became CronosBlade when I left GFaqs).

8) My favorite movies are mob movies. I can quote Casino and GoodFellas line for line.

9) Anyone remember when Blockbuster ran a video game contest? The contest was a timed run on Sonic 1 and two other games, with high scores advancing,I made it to the regional finals in San Antonio at Sea World before losing by 1 point in NBA Jam (when my player missed a layup with 4 seconds in the game).

10) I am almost legally blind in one eye.

I've decided to start talking about fighting games again, so here's the links to the previous two of these I've done:

Round 1 - SNK Boss Syndrome
Round 2 - Time Killers

So being the fighting game fanatic that I am, I recently bought a Dreamcast (since mine is no longer with us RIP) and in the same vintage game store, found a Japanese Sega Saturn. If you aren’t aware, a ton of Capcom and SNK heavy hitters exist in Japan only format for the Saturn. Sure, some of them got US releases on the Playstation (and even US Saturn), but you wouldn’t want to touch those versions.

See, the Playstation versions suffered from multiple issues. Cut frames of animation plagued all of them. The Vs games didn’t have true tag team play because the PS1 couldn’t handle 4 characters in memory. Also, the load times were atrocious.

Now on the Saturn side of things, to help with the animation, Sega released RAM cartridges that plug into the cartridge slot of the Saturn. The most frequently seen one is the 4MB variety, as seen below.

There are two other RAM carts as well. One is specific to King of Fighters 95 as the 1MB RAM cart actually has the sprites and animation on it. The other is a standard 1MB RAM cart (below) that is used for almost all other SNK fighters. And that is where this gets tricky. For example, King of Fighters 97 will accept the 4MB RAM, but it seems to be the only SNK fighter that does. Likewise, Marvel Super Heroes will accept the 1MB cart, but oddly has some slowdown when using the 4MB cart.

Now the reason I went with the Japanese Saturn was my desire to play the import fighters. Sure I could get a ST-Key cart(region code bypassing) but that would then require me to swap the ST-Key and the RAM cart on the fly, and I’d rather not.

So in the same shop I nabbed the Saturn in, I grabbed X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes, Street Fighter Zero and Zero 2, and the true object of this long winded article, Vampire Savior.

Vampire Savior is the third game in the Darkstalkers series. The series as a whole never seems to have gotten much love. The path in the series is Darkstalkers, Nightwarriors(aka Vampire Hunter) and Vampire Savior. There are also some arcade specific games as well such as Vampire Hunter 2 (which just added in the missing original cast members) and Vampire Savior 2 (which added 3 more characters for a total of 18). The screenshot below is from the arcade Vampire Savior so it's short the added 3.

The Saturn version is essentially Vampire Savior 2 with the full cast of 18 plus a few other hidden secrets. The gameplay of the series was always slightly different than the other Capcom fighters. For example, Street Fighter 3’s EX special moves (the ability to enhance a normal special by using some super meter) was first seen in the Darkstalkers series.

The characters in the series are based in fairy tale, legends, and horror. Demitri for example is a vampire and Talbain is a wolfman. Victor is essentially Frankenstein, and even Sasquatch joins the fight. The cast is varied and all different, though I must admit BB Hood is probably the best character ever. Imagine Little Red Riding Hood whose family was murdered and so she becomes a monster hunter, equipped with missles, machine guns, and mines.

Vampire Savior eschews the standard round format for a more Killer Instinct style of rounds. Each player has two life bars. When a player is knocked down, the other player’s life meter remains the same. You win by essentially knocking the other player out twice before it’s done to you. Along with this was health regeneration (as seen in the Vs series of games). When you take damage, a reddish area remains that if you avoid taking damage can be healed over time.

Vampire Savior also allowed your super bar to store up to 5 bars. Along with this were some new abilities. The aforementioned ES moves (as called in this series) here use one full meter to use. EX supers are the super moves, with some supers taking 2 or 3 bars to activate. Finally quite a few supers in the game are of the Raging Demon variety (jab jab forward short fierce) which makes the game not so noob friendly. Even now I usually have to resort to FAQs to remember how to make Dimitri turn the opponent into a female (video below!)

Another feature in the game is pursuit attacks. When you knock the enemy down, you can input a command to jump on your opponent before they get up. The player on the ground has options such as sliding/rolling to the left or right to try to avoid this. Normally pursuit attacks are seen in 3D fighters (originally started in Virtua Fighter) but seeing this in a 2D fighter meant that you weren’t even safe on the ground.

Finally the Dark Force feature was included. By pressing a punch and kick of the same strength, the combatants are taken to the activating player’s “dimension”. The player then got some sort of advantage that lasts for a specific period of time. Some of these enhancements were flight, copies of the character that could attack from behind, an extra ally in battle (a bat, a cat) or in the case of Victor (the series’ Zangief) every punch became a grab.

The game has the player go through 7 stages. Each player has a sub boss fight before facing their specific boss (though over half the cast face the default boss, Jedah who is also playable).

So what has become of the series whose last arcade release was seen 12 years ago? Well with the exception of the well known and well drawn Morrigan, the rest of the cast has been left in the dust. Sure there were cameos of them in the backgrounds of Capcom VS games over the last decade, and Felicia is also playable in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, but none other than Morrigan have actually been playable (though Dimitri is playable in SNK vs Capcom Chaos from SNK).

Unfortunately, the Darkstalkers series never really achieved high levels of popularity in the US, and with the cast forgotten, my hopes of ever seeing part 4 will never happen. Funny enough Darkstalker did get an anime though and tons of cosplayers for specific characters. Oh and the millions of pictures of Morrigan and Lillith…..together…if you know what I mean.