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Namakubi: The Legend Continues

Civilian Name: Zach
Age: Old Enough
Location: The Pac-Nor
Wii Number: 2792-7530-0497-7848
Brawl Friend Code: 4488-0808-3270
Mario Kart Wii Friend Code: 2234-8528-1071

Currently Playing:
Muramasa The Demon Blade
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Will Always Be Playing:
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Bros. 3
Castlevania 3
Mega Man 2

Favorite Games:

Kid Icarus
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Metal Storm
Castlevania 3:Dracula's Curse
Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden 2
Ninja Gaiden 3
Kid Niki
Clash at Demonhead
Mega Man 2
Shadow of the Ninja
Gargoyle's Quest II

Super Mario Land
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Bionic Commando
Ninja Gaiden: Shadow
LOZ: Link's Awakening
Wario Land
Gargoyle's Quest

Wonderboy in Monster World
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Chiki Chiki Boys
Streets of Rage 2
Gunstar Heroes
Comix Zone
Rocket Knight Adventures

Super Mario World
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Castlevania IV
Super Ghouls N' Ghosts
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Kirby Super Star
Super Street Fighter II
Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim 2
Final Fantasy III
Super Metroid
Super Mario RPG
Demon's Crest
Super Star Wars trilogy
Chrono Trigger
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

LOZ: Ocarina of Time
Super Mario 64
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Jet Force Gemini
Pilotwings 64
Castlevania 64
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Goemon's Great Adventure
Mischief Makers
Star Fox 64

Final Fantasy IX
Omega Boost
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysey
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy Tactics
Parappa the Rapper
Metal Gear Solid
MGS: VR Missions
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

Last Blade 2
Skies of Arcadia
Soul Caliber
Tech Romancer
Jet Grind Radio
House of the Dead 2

Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner
Katamari Damacy
We Love Katamari
Shadow of the Colossus
God Hand
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
Maximo Vs. The Army of Zin
Persona 3
Persona 4

Ninja Gaiden
DOA2 Extreme
Evil Dead: Regeneneration

LOZ: The Windwaker
Viewtiful Joe
Resident Evil 4
Metroid Prime
Alien Hominid
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Skies of Arcadia: Legends
Killer 7
F-Zero GX

New Super Mario Bros.
Contra 4
Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
Tetris DS
Advance Wars DS
Advance Wars Days of Ruin
Space Invaders Extreme
Chrono Trigger
Metal Slug 7
Retro Game Challenge

Xbox 360
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Shadow Complex
Castle Crashers
Alien Hominid HD
Street Fighter IV

LOZ: Twilight Princess
Super Mario Galaxy
No More Heroes
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
House of the Dead: Overkill

Following (30)  

There are those games that defined a generation. Mention Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid and any gamer worth his salt will know what you're talking about. There are also the titles that are so horrendous, so three week old carton of milk bad, that any gamer will cringe at the mere mention of a title like Shaq-Fu, Bebe's Kids, or Deadly Towers.

But what about the games that are neither? What about the titles that may have been good games, even great ones, but due to unseen circumstances never caught on like they should have, resulting in full bargain bins around the country? This is the column for them: The Island of Forgotten Games.

Strider 2

There's been much talk since Street Fighter IV came out about which series Capcom should resurrect next. There are many people pushing for a new Strider game, but what's strange is every time I hear somebody say they want a new Strider game, it's "I want Strider 2. They should make a Strider 2."

Most people don't even know there was a Strider 2, which is bizarre. In fact, there's technically been TWO Strider 2's.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For those not in the know, Strider was a fantastic single player arcade action game developed and published by Capcom. In it, you play the title character, Strider Hiryu, a mystical ninja of the far off future under the dominion of the evil Grandmaster Meio, an Emperor Palpatine / Darth Sidious wannabe. Hiryu must fight his way through multiple levels on every continent against the hordes of enslaved minions of Meio, and encounter giant bizarre bosses along the way.

Back to the sequel talk. The first (and un-official one) was published by U.S. Gold and licensed by Capcom, and only came out for the Sega Genesis. The second (and official) Strider 2 is what I'll be covering in this column.

Strider 2 came out at a VERY good time for Capcom when it came to 2-D games. The Darkstalkers, Street Fighter Alphas, and VS. series of games were essentially the pinnacle of 2-D sprites and animation in video games by the late 90's, and Strider 2 is no exception. All the character art is accomplished through Capcom's accomplished art team, with beautifully animated characters and lightning fast gameplay. The kicker is that all the backgrounds and vehicles in this game were created with 3-D graphics. It's quite a site to see these anime style characters running around in 3-D areas, the effect is sometimes jarring, but completely unique and effective, you won't forget the look of this game anytime soon.

The action in this game is fast and effective. Gone are the beast and bird sidekicks of Strider 1, now Strider Hiryu must fight on alone with his awesome double jump flip and amazing sabre attacks. This game can be hard, and by hard, I mean "arcade machines were made to eat your quarters" hard. If you have the Playstation version, make sure it's at an adequate difficulty setting, just know if it's too easy, your balls will never drop, this game will make a man out of you.

Plus, the variety of awesomness in this game is staggering. Take the Siberia level for example, it features a cyborg resurrected Woolly Mammoth as the opening boss. Did you understand that? a CYBORG RESURRECTED WOOLLY MAMMOTH. If that's not one of the most awesome things you've ever heard of, you must have problems. Mental problems. Plus, as anybody who read my Metal Storm review knows, gravity-flipping is super sweet, and it is in this level. Mammoths + gravity flipping = full of win.

Why Didn't it Catch On?

Because people are stupid, that's why. people are really fucking stupid. The game received decent scores from most of the major game publications, but the game slipped by unknown to most at retail. And for all the people shouting for a Strider sequel, Capcom would be smart to re-release this on PSN or XBL and feign ignorance about this not being a new game, most people would fall for it.
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10:12 PM on 03.01.2009

After my Hagane review from last month, I realized that all the up-coming articles I wanted to write were about games starring or featuring ninjas, so it's been decided that this blog, for the next month, is ninja-gaming HQ!

Awesome AND totally sweet.

Every Island of Forgotten Games, Late to the Party, retrospectives and my new columns, Awesomely Bad and Only in Japan, will feature games by, about, or starring ninjas. I'll be covering the usual titles, like Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden, favorites of mine like the Goemon (Mystical Ninja), as well as the rare, the obscure, the weird. So stick around for the next month, I'm hoping to have 2-3 new articles a week, so stay tuned for MARCH OF THE NINJAS!!!

Ryu is watching you poop.
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There are those games that defined a generation. Mention Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid and any gamer worth his salt will know what you're talking about. There are also the titles that are so horrendous, so three week old carton of milk bad, that any gamer will cringe at the mere mention of a title like Shaq-Fu, Bebe's Kids, or Deadly Towers.

But what about the games that are neither? What about the titles that may have been good games, even great ones, but due to unseen circumstances never caught on like they should have, resulting in full bargain bins around the country? This is the column for them: The Island of Forgotten Games.

Hagane: The Final Conflict

Quick, name a popular ninja franchise that got three games on the NES, and absolutely no sequels in the 16-bit years? If you said Ninja Gaiden, you'd technically be right (Ninja Gaiden Trilogy doesn't count, doods.) But there was a game that took up the mantle, and not only did what the Ninja Gaiden series did, but also gave a 16-bit taste of what the future had in store for our stealthy friends.

The plot is your typical clan versus clan story, with the bizarre addition of the Holy Grail to the story. But that doesn't really matter, what really matters is that this game OOZES style thanks to designs by creature designer and film-maker Keita Amemiya, responsible for gonzo Japanese cult film Zeiram.

Game play-wise, this takes a lot from it's ninja action fore bearers, particularly Ninja Gaiden, but ESPECIALLY Shinobi and Strider. This game plays like a whacked, cracked-out version of Shinobi. The move list for Hagane is INSANE, he not only does the usual jump and sword attacks (which look suspiciously like Strider's sword swing) but he has some crazy flipping and dodging moves, as well as some awesome elemental Xi-powers.

Let me just get this out of the way: This game is HARD. HARD like rocks being shoved into your boxers and ground against your nuts hard. But what makes it rewarding is actually learning Hagane's moves and the timing it takes to pull those moves off effectively. Once you have a decent grasp of Hagane's mechanics, the game feels much more fluid, much like the X-Box revival of Ninja Gaiden, it rewards the player for knowing how to BE a bad-ass ninja instead of just slamming buttons.

Why Didn't it Catch On?

I honestly have no idea. Maybe the game was far too difficult for the average ten year old of 1994? I'm sure Hudson didn't advertise this game adequately, as I never heard of this game until a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend. Nonetheless, this remains a buried gem on the SNES, and deserves to be found by the hardcore looking for a challenge. Used copies usually go for between fifteen to twenty five bucks, so keep your eye out and grab it if you find it, it's well worth the play through.
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11:45 PM on 01.28.2009

I was a Nintendo kid growing up. To be honest, most of the kids I knew growing up were Nintendo kids, owning the original NES and SNES, swapping games like Super Mario Kart and Donkey Kong Country. I think I only knew one kid that had a Sega Genesis in Elementary school. And I have no regrets about it. I'm PROUD that I grew up with Nintendo in the house instead of Sega. But for years, it was always in the back of my mind that someday, SOMEDAY, I would pick up a Genesis when the time and price was right.

Cut to 15 years later.

After the utter bombardment of quality titles that hit this past holiday season, January has looked pretty dry. February and March will have some crazy good games coming out, to be sure, but this past month has been slow. I realized my monthly budget for new games was collecting dust, so I thought it might be fun to pick around in a few pawn shops for a weekend. What did I find in the first one I went to? A Genesis 2, all chords and controller, for fifteen bucks. Sonic 1 and World of Illusion with Mickey and Donald, both a dollar each.

It was more than I could bear. I walked up to the front, handed the guy the merchandise, and bought them all for under $18. I then pilfered a few more pawn shops and used game stores, coming up with this list of merchandise:

-Sonic 2
-Sonic Spinball
-Castlevania Bloodlines
-Contra Hard Corps
-Comix Zone
-Ghouls N' Ghosts
-Adventures of Batman and Robin
-Vectorman 2
-Dynamite Headdy

I'm really excited, I'm getting to re-live an entire console's library, all for the very first time. So far, these are the titles I haven't bought yet but am guaranteed to eventually:

-Rocket Knight Adventures
-Gunstar Heroes
-Sonic 3 / Knuckles
-Streets of Rage 2
-Shinobi 3

So I now turn this to you, fellow D-Toiders, what other titles should I pick up? I'm thinking more hidden gems than the former AAA titles, any suggestions? And lets keep this at Genesis exclusives. If it's good and multi-platform, chances are that I own it on my SNES already.

There are those games that defined a generation. Mention Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid and any gamer worth his salt will know what you're talking about. There are also the titles that are so horrendous, so three week old carton of milk bad, that any gamer will cringe at the mere mention of a title like Shaq-Fu, Bebe's Kids, or Deadly Towers.

But what about the games that are neither? What about the titles that may have been good games, even great ones, but due to unseen circumstances never caught on like they should have, resulting in full bargain bins around the country? This is the column for them: The Island of Forgotten Games.

Omega Boost

Omega Boost is one of the best action/shooter games on the Playstation, and nobody knows about it. Developed by Polyphony Digital (the Grand Turismo team), it's one of the only games to completely capture the Macross mech feel and style for a console game.

The plot is a silly mish-mash of ideas about the Omega Boost mech going back in time to stop the super computer ALPHA CORE from taking over the world of the future (Seriously, what is with video games and giant super-computers? Three of my columns have games that feature evil super computers in their plots.) It also features one awesomely cheesy intro:

But the game itself? WHEW! Fantastic. Not only does this game show what the Grand Turismo team can do on a game that doesn't involve cars, but a big chunk of the Panzer Dragoon team, as well as lead programmer Yuji Yasuhara, also worked on this, and it shows. The combat in this game is essentially Panzer Dragoon with mechs, with the mech designs of none other than Shoji Kawamori, designer of the Macross saga, giving the game a timeless futurist look, closer to classic shooters like Gradius and R-Type than the sleeker world of Zone of the Enders, not to mention this is one of the best looking games on the PSX, with visuals that miraculously still hold up today.

The gameplay is fast and fun. Your mech can turn in 360 degrees in all directions during battle, as well as use it's back boosters to quickly turn in the opposite direction while firing. The game also has a lock-on system and shoot system, which then sends out a barrage of laser guided missiles, Macross-style, into oncoming enemy waves. The gameplay is fast and furious, and the frame rate never dips below 30 fps, making the game run as smooth as silk.

The game is not without it's faults, however. For one, it's too short. As good as this game is, you're left with wanting more, with only 9 main levels and 9 bonus levels, the game could've used a few more missions and zones. Also, this game gets extremely difficuly by Zone 5, separating the boys from the men, so don't go in expecting a cake walk, you really have to know the controls inside and out for this game. Nonetheless, it remains a riveting and wholly exciting last hurrah for the original Playstation.

Why Didn't it Catch on?

One word: Marketing. For a game being published by Sony in-house, you'd think they would've thrown their weight behind this game when it comes to marketing, not so. Omega Boost was plagued by negative media in Japan reporting the game gave players motion sickness while playing (pansies), which killed sales in the land of the rising sun, and was released with little to no fanfare in the U.S. I came across this game only because of a demo display that a local Target store had up for it in the summer of '99, and bought it as soon as I could.

Very few people know about this game, which is a shame, because it is definitely one of the best mech action games available for any system. It's too bad Omega Boost tanked so badly, now the development team is stuck making racing games instead of unique projects like this. I implore everybody who owns a PSX, PS2 or compatible PS3 to track down this title, new copies are available on for less than ten bucks, it's well worth it.
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Before I begin, I'd like the reader of this article to click the video below me, and just take in the visuals, take in the music, and let it transport you back to a time much simpler than today, to a time when 3D games were still fairly new, epic adventures were coming into their own, and we all took part in an epic adventure about a little boy in a green tunic.

Depending on when you're reading this, it is the day of or the day before the tenth anniversary of this historic game's release. We all have our stories of the build-up, the excitement, the joy at getting this game, and the amazing adventure we all collectively took part in Christmas of 1998, but I'd like to take a moment to tell my story, my story of the year that the corner-stone of video games turned forever, and how it affected me.

I was one of the lucky ones. The hype for the Nintendo 64 had been building in my brain for months, all thanks to the amazing propaganda whirlwind that was Nintendo Power. Nintendo fans were all anticipating the launch of the N64 as well as Super Mario 64, and there wasn't anything in the world that was going to keep us, or me, from getting it. I remember coming home from school Sept. 29, and immediately being told by my father
"Go to your room."
My heart started racing. I assumed I was in a heap-load of trouble for something I didn't even remember. My Mom and Dad both stood in the living room, looking stern. I was sure that it was a sign either I had done something or my parents were having a huge fight. I stayed in my room for fifteen minutes, occasionally hearing Dad rummaging around. What was going on out there? Finally, my dad spoke again:
"Okay, come on out."
From my room, the first thing that I would see as I came out of my room was the television, and coming from the television was the echoing sound of coins in the distance, then a shrill little voice that proclaimed "Itsa me, Mario!"

Mario was mine. One of the best days of my childhood.

Then, a month or two past, I was enjoying Mario 64, Pilotwings, and the occasional rental of Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey, but I didn't know how much longer my interest in the large black console would hold up. But then Nintendo published a new interview with The Wizard himself, Shigeru Miyamoto, published alongside this image:

I immediately knew what this was: Zelda, in 3D, like Mario. The possibilities went racing through my mind. What would it be like? Would it be top down, like Link to the Past? Who's that shiny knight looking guy? Will the Triforce be in it? But of course, the biggest question of all:

When can I play it?

The article gave the release date of Winter 1997. My brain immediately made a note of that. "Brain, remember, Zelda 64 is out Winter of 1997, be ready." Mario Kart 64 came and went. Star Fox 64 came and went. Goldeneye came and went. Winter of 1997 came and went. No Zelda, and very little in the way of media. There was one little taste that Nintendo gave us in that time, and it was this video:

Now, the word was that the game would be the Spring of 1998, and more screenshots started to come out, and the frothing anticipation for the game continued to grow.Soon, new info began to come out about the plot, describing it as the first game in the Zelda canon. Many a schoolyard discussion was made about speculating on the details of this new Zelda quest.

And just as Winter of 1997 came and went without Zelda, so too did Spring of 1998. The game, now subtitled by Nintendo as "Ocarina of Time" was now GUARANTEED a Holiday 1998 release. All Nintendo gamers hunkered down in their bunkers, waiting for the Holy Grail of games that this was appearing to be. Every piece of new media that came out about Ocarina of Time continued to make the game look bigger and bigger, nobody in their right mind thought that all the little details being talked about being in the game could ALL be in there.

September of 1998 hit, and we finally had a concrete release date for the game: November 21, 1998. The sound of a red marker circling that date on millions of calendars nation-wide was heard. Of course, when news came out about preordering the game, I made SURE. my Mom made it to Funcoland (R.I.P.) to preoder my copy, as well as guarantee that sweet t-shirt and guide!

Then, October turned personally bad for me. My sister came down with Chicken Pox, and as I was in close proximity to my sister as she IS my sibling, I ALSO came down with Chicken Pox. I was out of class for weeks, but it ultimately was no matter to me, as Nintendo Power released their special Ocarina of Time issue, self-declared as it's "Biggest Issue Ever!" I poured through the magazine. It seemed every waking hour was spent absorbing and re-absorbing each piece of Zelda knowledge. It got so bad towards the end, I actually had DREAMS I was playing the game, running around in the Lost Woods with my trusty bow and arrows.

Finally, after not weeks, nor months, but YEARS of waiting for this game, it was finally only a few weeks away. It promised to be big, grand, epic. It wasn't. It was MORE than that.

I would argue that the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time made games come of age. Video games no longer could be ignored as cheap time-wasters by the general public. THIS was the game that made the mainstream stand up and take notice of video games not just as entertainment, but also as a story-telling medium and, dare I say it, a field of expression. Ocarina showed all the people that doubted that a game could enrapture us just as much as any great blockbuster film could.

This was also a communal celebration by fans world-wide. There wasn't a person on my block who didn't get Ocarina of Time either the day of release or for Christmas who owned an N64, and we all played it. And we would all go over to each other's house and play it. We'd play it together and be up until four in the morning trying to get through the stinking Water Temple!

We all played it, and we can all look back fondly and remember our favorite moments: The first time Link stepped out of his tree house, or the first time Link stepped out into the open world of Hyrule Field, or our first Hyrule sundown or sun-up. The first time we played Zelda's Lullaby, when we all collectively rode Epona to freedom. All these moments shared by all of us, as gamers, and all of us taking on the role of a young boy in a green tunic.

Thank you Nintendo, for ten years of wonderful adventures, and amazing memories. And thank you, everybody who played it that first holiday season, for sharing in the experience.
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