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7:14 PM on 01.31.2008

Time for more 2d action: Arcana Heart coming stateside

I don't know how many people have played Arcana Heart (the following is a bit niche, to say the least), but Atlus is keeping the 2d fighting genre kicking here in the US by bringing the title to these shores in April. Gamasutra has the news:

"Publisher Atlus has announced it will be continue to support the still-strong PlayStation 2 by bringing 2D all-girl fighter Arcana Heart to the North America this April.

Sporting four different modes including arcade, story, versus, and training, as well as an unlockable extras gallery, the game centers around elemental spirits from called Arcana which particular humans can call upon.

Atlus says the game, when it launches in April, will feature 11 female fighters with customizable attack and defense skills, as well as "11 different Arcana to pair with your fighter." It also notes that the game features "huge battle maps" for vertical fighting with "air dashes and homing techniques to create devastating aerial combos."

Though some will inevitably be turned off by the all-female cast, AH provides a lot of depth if that's your kinda thing in a fighting game. As for myself, I've had the chance to play AH, and while I don't think it's fantastic, that may be because I've been told the character I want to play is about the hardest execution-wise in the game. The game itself also seems to play a bit slower than Guilty Gear and even old Super Turbo, which I'm not a fan of. However, if the game is priced affordably when it comes stateside (under $50) I'll probably pick this one up.

For those who've never seen the game in action, check these youtube videos (they're from SBO, the biggest tournament in Japan):   read

12:47 AM on 01.31.2008

The picture says it all

Contra 4 and I have a love/hate relationship. On one hand, it's one of the most old-school, twitch action games I've played in a long time. My thumb is actually raw from playing the game, which takes me back to playing my NES when I was like six. This, in case anyone was wondering, is the awesome thing about the game.
On the other hand, however, the game is a bastard that loves to cheat you out of your powered up weapons during the most integral parts of the game, leaving you to die 5-6 times simply because you now have jack shit in terms of firepower.

I put the game down roughly around the beginning of December (I think), after beating Easy (wow it's easy) and getting about 15 of the missions done (wow they're not easy). I had yet to conquer normal, but I felt like it was inevitable given I had already made it to the last level.

I picked it back up a few days ago (in an effort to do a spring cleaning-type deal where I actually finish all the games I've bought) and tonight I one-credited it on normal, and only lost about six lives the entire time. This is what I miss from most of today's games; this sense of accomplishment you get from beating them. Sure, the game's ending was cheesy, but who expects a Contra's ending to be good. In fact, the only reason I watched the credits is because I was half afraid they were going to throw another boss battle at me.

So that's it in a nutshell. Fuck you Contra, I win.

Now, one of these days, I'll have to put myself through the run-n-gun hell that must be hard mode. Fuck.   read

9:06 PM on 01.28.2008

EA/Marvel deal cancelled; can we have MvC3 now?

Given the horrible piece of crap that was Marvel Nemesis, it doesn't surprise me too much that EA and Marvel have parted ways. OK, strike that, it actually does, but only because EA likes to have a death grip on licenses regardless, at times, of the quality that comes out of them. So in this case it seems that perhaps Marvel pursued the end of their relationship, which can only be good news in the long term, considering the rather vague quote by the company that the move "will not affect Marvel's ongoing plans to release fighting games based on the Marvel properties in the future."

Wait. Marvel is going to shop around and still try to make Marvel fighting games? If so then let me be the last to say that it's time Marvel and Capcom had a reconciliation. When Marvel left Capcom for EA in 2004 it made perfect sense, as the studio had given up on the fighting game business. In the meantime, Arc System Works has proven the market for 2-d fighters is still there, even going so far as to recently announce the follow-up series to Guilty Gear, Blazblue (pics included). Now, with SF4 finally in development and on the way, maybe Marvel is looking to give the MvC series another shot if Capcom wants to.

Is it likely? Nah, probably not. But would it make sense? At least in America it would. MvC2 is still one of the most popular fighting games in the US, with hardcore followings on both coasts and competition that can only be considered ridiculous. If you've never seen high-level MvC2 play, check out Yipes v. Justin Wong or really, any of the related videos. A Marvel vs Capcom 3 would be the second coming to some of these people if it was done right.

But if Marvel doesn't court Capcom once again I'm not really sure who they'll look to to develop a fighting game. Hopefully they will at least find a developer who's solid in the genre, as picking EA didn't work out for anyone.

Thanks to Maho on Shoryuken for the Blazblue scans from Arcadia.

peace   read

6:47 PM on 01.13.2008

How far is it to Toronto?

It's the question I had to ask myself last night when i found out that Toronto got a Tekken 6 setup. For anyone who's keeping score, I live in the Midwest.

Tekken 6 is a game that I thought was going to be complete garbage as information kept coming out on it. The bounce system that lengthens combos,which already do a ton of damage, and the rage system that jacks up the already-insane, almost tekken 5.0 levels of damage led me to believe the game just couldn't be fun in any way, shape or form. Well, from the videos that have come out, i'm dead wrong.

Sure, rounds and matches are fast, but then anything is fast compared to Tag, with its hyper-turtling and strict juggle system. T6 almost looks a bit slower than DR does, but I think that's because right now people are still getting used to all the new move animations and readjusted move speed. People are still debating, to some extent, whether all jabs are 10 frames or not, but even if they are it hasn't seemed to hurt many characters that much (except for maybe Julia, but she got nerfed anyway). The new characters seem ok (if a bit goofy; thanks for bob, Namco) and the whole system looks polished.

I play the Animal Planet (Roger and Kuma) and both seem to be powered up in this game. Roger got an insane wall game, along with some safe mids to beef up the buffer into giant swing or tombstone, and Kuma got a hellsweep and twin pistons. He also got a three-hit mid -mid-high(?) string which is useable to combo into after CH111 so his damage is a bit more reliable. All good things.

However, it is still really early and there could be some insanely broken stuff nobody has found yet. Law and Nina already have touch-of-death combos that are really situational but should still not be in any game people want to play competitively. Thankfully, Namco has been updating the game via TekkenNet in Japan so most of the bad stuff has been removed; I just wonder how long it will be before we see this one stateside. People have been saying late spring or so, but damn that's a long time. Toronto may not be too far away after all.


here's some T6 vids for anyone interested:

photos are from   read

8:16 PM on 01.09.2008

Soul Calibur IV: color me skeptical

Ok, so now that everyone has watched the video, I have a couple words to say about the inclusion of Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV, but first I have a couple caveats: if Vader and Yoda have the same size hitbox (which I doubt) and the exact same moves, or if there is an arcade version which has neither of them or both are eventually playable on both systems, then disregard this entire post. However, if not, then well fuck Namco.

Exclusive characters completely mess up the balance of fighting games. Most of the time they are shoehorned in after the main game's design has been completed, so they are not factored into the selection of characters and thus either end up way too strong (ie. gamebreakingly broken) or way too weak. Sometimes they even cause glitches in the system if they were designed too late in the process. But let's assume for the moment that's not the truth, and that there are no inherent problems in the two characters' designs.

The other problem is that there will be two versions of the game, leaving tournament organizers completely screwed when it comes to which version of the game to run. Half the players will have Yoda and the other half will have Vader, and there will undoubtedly be people who will use those characters as the main character they play. In fact, I would almost assume that some people will pick up a competitive interest in SC IV because of those characters. So what we'll have is a divided scene, which given the relatively small size of the fighting game community in America will only create smaller tournaments, or half the players will be forced to switch, possibly rendering the version of the game they have no help in figuring out matchups.

SC II and the previous Guilty Gear games—hell, even Tekken 5:DR—did it right: make an arcade version of the game without special characters, then add them in the home versions. That way, casual players will be able to play the cool new console-only guys, like Link, Heihachi and Spawn (also Necron), but they will be banned in official tournaments which are run using the arcade rules. If no arcade version exists, there is no standard with which to judge new characters.

Now, I may be getting way ahead of myself, as an arcade version could come later (like with SC III), but it's still a bit frustrating to say the least.   read

8:45 PM on 01.03.2008

Time to clean up the garbage: Trashday is coming

I don't know, to be honest, how many people on D-Toid are into fighting games seriously (and by serious I mean serious enough to travel for tournaments), but another big tournament is just months away. Trashday 4 will be taking place in one of my least favorite cities in the union—Houston, Texas—on April 12, 2008. But it's still more than worth going. One of the big tournaments for Tekken since its inception, there will be a cool grand going to the winner of the Tekken 5:DR tournament.

There's also going to be a lot of 2d tourneys as well, including Guilty Gear, Marvel, 3S etc. The only downside is that it's in Houston, which may be fine for some people but wow I don't like that town. However, I'm planning on going anyway, because Texas has a good scene for the game and a lot of big-name players are going to be there. It'll be my first Tekken major, and although I'm probably going two and out tournaments are always fun. Plus, the University of Houston has a nice campus with a decent arcade (at least it was decent a couple years ago when I was there Texas Showdown).

Here's a link for anyone who's interested:
Tekken Zaibatsu

Here's a quick list of the games being played: DR, Soul Calibur 3, MvC2, CvS2, Third Strike, Guilty Gear AC, Smash Bros. Brawl   read

10:19 AM on 12.24.2007

(In-game advertising) What is it good for?

Maybe Scotland has that figured out. With the BBC reporting that the Scottish government will be spending 10,000 pounds (roughly 20 grand American) on in-game advertising focused on anti-drunk driving messages, I'm a slight bit more positive about the whole concept.

Sure, I still think that in-game advertising is a exploitation of a captive audience, which also furthers some people's hatred of corporate culture and the rise of multinational corporations. It manages to take any realism it could have added to a certain title and flushes it because I'm pretty sure Brand X doesn't own every billboard and signage in major metropolitan areas.

I'm also pretty positive that no one here in America or in other countries really pays attention to the anti-drunk driving message. For years America (and other countries) has been using scare-tactic advertising to sell teens and adults on the merits of avoiding drunk driving, but while I don't have numbers to back up the assumption that it really isn't helping, the amount of people I have known since my early days in college who drove drunk is (to my mind) fairly astounding.

However, this new campaign seems like a fairly decent idea on the government's part. In an ever-changing technological world where governments and political action groups seem more and more disconnected from young gamers (and, really, teens and earlier adults in general), somebody finally had the bright idea to meet them on their own terms. Sure, I bet many gamers will be annoyed by the loss of the new Brand X ad from Need For Speed: Carbon, but to my mind lessening the consumerist bent that's being put into games these days is a good thing. Plus, maybe one or two people will make a better choice from it.   read

6:24 PM on 12.11.2007

Gamestop opening tournament stores; trade in your used plasma TVs for credit!

You'll get $20 toward the purchase of Metal Gear Solid 4 when it comes out for 360.

In the realm of true, GameStop is opening a 4000-foot tournament-focused store in San Jose. The first tournament will be Madden, and take place this Saturday with the grand prize being a $1000 GS shopping spree.

That's a hell of a haul for being good at Madden, but this seems nothing more than another big business attempt to crush local businesses (in this case gaming centers) at worst. At best, it's a good PR move by a company that no one believes cares about its customers.

According to the blurb on Gamesindustry, "the local tournament events will occur most weekends, with system-wide tournament finals occurring at least once a quarter."

What that means in terms of format is anyone's guess. Obviously the giant prize for this first tournament is a one-time offer, but I wonder what kind of prizes will be handed out in subsequent tournaments. Will it continue to be worthwhile prizes, or something ridiculous like $5 coupons to GS (shit better not give them ideas). A better question, I think, is what kind of entry fee GS will be charging for these tournaments. If they have any kind of decent prize support it's not going to be worth it to GS unless money is coming in, whether in one way or another.   read

6:58 PM on 12.06.2007

Street Fighter 4 is ugly, but 2d

That's my impressions from the news and rumors of the day. While I'm excited about the prospect of another 2d SF game, the graphics in the screenshot(s) are nothing that special in comparison to Street Fighter 2: Turbo HD. Is Ryu a skeleton or something in that picture? Because I can't figure out how else anyone's chest could have nothing but muscle and bone. No skin definition, nothing. The background does look nice though.

As for the game engine, if Blogeek is right I'm excited about a game without parries. A lot of people like parries, but I for one hate them. I think they're a bad thing for several reasons, actually, but most of all because liking them or hating them has squarely divided fighting gamers into two distinct camps. Thus, if parries were/are included, I know there are some people who simply will not play SF4 (and I might be one of them if they aren't changed from how they functioned in Third Strike).

I'll be interested to see how many characters this game ends up having, because Tekken 6 is already going to boast the largest roster in fighting game history (I'm pretty sure at least) and I don't think Capcom would try to challenge them. However, it would be nice to see some more classic faces (Guile etc) mix it up with characters from games like 3S.

As always, we'll just have to wait and see.


1up Wow is the cover of the new EGM ugly as shit.
Blogeek   read

9:35 PM on 12.04.2007

New Twisted Metal coming = A good day

Amidst all the rumors and hearsay surrounding the Gerstmann controversy, David Jaffe brightens my day by announcing a "new" Twisted Metal game. Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition is more than simply a port of the PSP game that all of seven people played when it released two years ago. Instead, Jaffe hopes to make it something special:

"But then we started talking and thinking and wondering: what if we could make it so much more? What if we could just stuff the thing to the brim with bonus features and new levels and updated graphics and really give the Twisted Metal franchise a fantastic send-off on the PlayStation 2? And when we thought about it like that, we got really excited.

And so that became our mission, our goal. And while ya’ll will - as always - be the final judge, we feel we’ve succeeded."

Featuring four levels from the unreleased Twisted Metal: Black 2, along with updated graphics and a new level for the original Head-On and cool bonus features like a documentary and never-seen live-action end movies for the original Twisted Metal, Head-On: ETE sounds like it could be everything TM fans have been hoping for.

As a fan of the Twisted Metal series, I'm pretty happy. I haven't played a TM since Black, which I think is an underrated game, and since I know very few other people who own a PSP, let alone TM: Head-On, that's been a no-go as well. Hopefully this will fill the Twisted void in my soul come Spring.

photos up on Flickr

Paul   read

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