hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

FRESH MEAT  
|   FROM OUR COMMUNITY BLOGS

Passionate Styos's blog


12:54 PM on 03.31.2008

Musical Attack Monday: Zelda Reorchestrated.



Video games and music has always formed a great union, classic melodies and incredible compositions has been one of my favorite things on gaming. On Musical Attack Monday I will present people who do covers and remixes from video game music and I hope you enjoy it. If you have any suggestion or any idea to improve this series, just let me know.

[embed]78639:9806[/embed]

First of all, I'm really sorry to use Youtube videos and not Mp3 widgets as the last time, because eSnips is being really lame lately and can't upload without getting a denial, so if anyone knows a good mp3 widget for dummies, let me know please.

Now, for my second entry of MAM it will be about the Zelda Reorchestrated team, or Z.R.E.O. As the name implies, this team arranges many songs from most of the Zelda games and make them fully orchestrated, giving this songs a more realistic sound than the games counterparts. It's a big project, but they don't seek any profit for it.

[embed]78639:9807[/embed]

The project started on 2004 by FireGS, and as time passed, more people joined the Staff such as Enzuru and FruityFire. Even though the orchestra sounds real, it isn't. All the songs are first created on MIDIS and then the sounds are re-created on various sequencer synthesizers to make the sounds realistic. Some of the songs have been redone and called "Redux". This was done because of the re-open of the website after a dark time that it had in 2005.

[embed]78639:9809[/embed]

I've started to listen to ZREO since last week, and I have been really impressed. Even though it's not a real orchestra, they still have done a incredible job to recreate this songs and started to be one of my favorite music remixers. They have won some awards (not real awards per se). Many of their songs have been noticed to have too much reverb (reverberation), but it has been really well explained on their web page, and it's also one of the reasons why many songs have been "redux".

The web page of this project is here, and their MySpace here. Even though you can download their songs, they have a special page to listen them immediately thanks to their flash player, which is over here.

Hope you enjoyed this one, it's not that much, bur I hope for the next time I have a proper mp3 widget.   read


4:03 PM on 03.25.2008

Ninja Review: Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword.

After more than 15 years since the last debut of the Super Ninja on a Nintendo system, Team Ninja has delivered some love to the fans and creating Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for the DS. The control scheme has caught the attention to many, since the gameplay is solely based on the touch screen of the NDS like in Phantom Hourglass. Not only that, but you also must hold the portable like a book, like in Brain Academy or Hotel Dusk. Will the new control scheme succeed? Does Itagaki & Co. deliver the same frantic hack 'n slash as in the X-Box games? Let's find out.



The game centers 6 months after the events of the first Ninja Gaiden for the X-Box, and starts telling how the Dragon Sword was created and that how it's passed from generation to generation. It also tells the tale how the Dragon Sword destroyed the Evil Dragon. After that, the story continues when Ryu and Momiji, a kunoichi, are training on the rivers, near their village. For a action game, the story is OK, but not as great as the past games, but it works well for a portable game and after all, it's a action game. The way the story is presented is in form like in a Manga book, giving it a different style but fitting, for this game.



Now here comes the important aspect of the game, that is, the gameplay itself. Somehow Team Ninja managed to fit most of the things that makes the past Ninja Gaiden games great, it's fast paced and really brutal. All your actions is solely driven via the touch screen, you drag your stylus to make Ryu run, point at a enemy various times to throw his shurikens or arrows and you literally slice the DS to attack the enemy. The control scheme works almost perfectly on the DS, since doing this actions are forgiving, specially trying to do specials like Izuna Drop or the Flying Swallow techniques. The buttons or the d-pad is used only to block, and START to open up the menu to see your stats and abilities. There are some flaws of course, specially trying to jump it's a bit hard, it feels kinda stiff and hard to pull it at the first time, but nothing that practice can do. Another thing is throwing the shurikens, sometimes you feel it doesn't go where you want to throw them, making it a bit hard to hit the enemies. Also added is to use Ninpo magic, where you use Ninja Spells to kill enemies more efficiently or to simply resolve a puzzle. All this, the gameplay is really fun, and it's one of the strongest aspects of the game.



Graphically the game is just beautiful for a NDS game. Sure, the background is pre-rendered, but it does a good job to barely notice it since the game runs in a incredible 60 fps, making it as fast as the other games. Also, this pre-rendered backgrounds helps the game in another way, that it would be that the graphics wouldn't be so choppy. Even though the backgrounds are pre-rendered most of the time, in boss battles it will be full 3D with constant changing the camera angle to look always at the back of Ryu, and works really great. Again, there are some faults though, one is that sometimes you can't see Ryu and what's attacking him when they are out of focus in parts when Ryu is trying to get to the next area, but this is just sometimes so don't worry. It doesn't have videos, but as I said before, the Manga style fits really well to the game, since you are holding the DS as a book.



One of the things I noticed from reviews from other pages, is that they don't or barely mention the music and sound effects, since personally, I think it is also one of the strongest points of the game. I simply just loved the music, it's great as most of the other Ninja Gaiden games, it has a arrange from orchestral, bit of techno, rock and of course, some Japanese folklore, it wouldn't be a ninja game without the folklore style. Most of the tunes are really catchy, and every boss have their own song, which makes the soundtrack even wider. The quality of the music can be expected as games as Elite Beat Agents or Taiko no Tatsujin, which is using almost at full power the sound chip. Most of the sound effects are recycled from the Xbox games, like Ryu's cry attacks, grunts and the slashing and blocking. Also, there is no full voice overs, just some words and names that are said, and it could have been even more epic.



For a Ninja Gaiden game, must of the "purists" will feel the game easier than the NES or the Xbox versions. It is indeed a bit easy, specially the boss battles, and maybe you will have some rough time with them and even more because there are many save points to refill your life bar. But what is a Ninja Gaiden without selectable difficulties? After Normal mode, you can get more settings that is beyond hard, so for you gamers that is seeking for a challenge, this is it. There are many other things unlock, but I won't spoil it. The game also has a leaderboard via Wi-Fi connection, a leaderboard for each difficulty settings, and don't get surprised if the leaderboard is hacked, since nobody can get over trillion of Karma in just 2 hours. The games is a bit short, from 5 to 6 hours, but then again, the difficulty settings and the stuff to unlock makes for it, and maybe you will play this game more than short sessions.

Other than that, the game is great, it is also a great achievement made by Team Ninja, they did something that many developers don't, making the game from scratch to create a new and exciting form to play Ninja Gaiden. Please, buy the game so we can get more Ninja goodness for the DS once more.

Score: 9.0

BUY IT

I hope you have enjoyed mi first review on Dtoid, haven't done one in a while so I hope this is good.   read


11:34 AM on 03.25.2008

Japanese killed 2 people because of..Ninja Gaiden?

Or at least that's what Fuji TV says. Following the trend as the Americans, Fuji TV tries to link the murder with the last game of Team Ninja, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword. The suspect, Masahiro Kanagawa, has murdered 2 people.



There is one problem though, the game was released the 20th of March, and his first crime was on the 19th, killing one civilian. On the 23th, he stabbed 8 people, killing one in the process.

Hmmm, this guy is surely a wacko, but since Jacko can barely work on the US now, He should move to Japan, maybe he can trash talk on Fuji TV!

Source: Kotaku.   read


10:45 AM on 03.24.2008

Musical Attack Monday: Goat.



Video games and music has always formed a great union, classic melodies and incredible compositions has been one of my favorite things on gaming. On Musical Attack Monday I will present people who do covers and remixes from video game music and I hope you enjoy it. If you have any suggestion or any idea to improve this series, let me know.

[embed]77348:9573[/embed]

Welcome, to the first episode of Musical Attack Monday, a take similar to Art Attack Friday, only about video game music (duh). For this episode I will talk about Goat, one of my favorites remixer out there.

Goat is known at VG Music and at OC Remix for his metal renditions of Castlevania songs, particularly the NES ones. His style ranges from Progressive Rock to Heavy Metal, since his influences are from Metallica, Megadeath, Pantera and Sepultura. Not much is known from him more than he's from Texas and that he's "A guitar playing Goat".

[embed]77348:9574[/embed]

Although he can make great Rock remixes, he can also make beautiful sounds like in this remix of the Prelude theme from Final Fantasy IV, where most of the song is accompanied by a harp and then the orchestra kicks in, with of course, a little bit of guitar which it's his favorite instrument. He has also collaborated with Stemage and Dan Taylor to the metal rendition of The Tunnel from Metroid 2, you can here it here.

One of his first projects was "Unchosen Paths", were it was the Rock and Metal renditions to the NES Castlevanias games, specially Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse. One of my favorite songs of this project was "Creeping Dusk", which was a medley from all the songs of Castlevania 2, most of the song of Castlevania 3 and some songs from Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness with a little easter egg from Dracula X: Rondo of Blood. To view his full project, you can go here.

[embed]77348:9575[/embed]

If you want to listen to more of his songs, like songs from Metroid, Kid Icarus, Contra, or even Ninja Gaiden, you can go to his Home Page or just go to OC Remix and listen to the tracks at his page.

I hope you've enjoyed my first entry of Musical Attack Monday, and there will be even more for the next week, so check it out.

Thanks to The^Loner for the mini banner, you rock.   read


2:25 PM on 03.18.2008

My life in gaming and how it inspired me to the future.

I was reading Phoenix Gamma's and Nessie's blogs, it got me the inspiration to write about how was my life as a gamer and how much has it changed thanks to it. I hope you enjoy this.

As same as Phoenix, when I got to study over here in Norway, many asked how did I decided to be a English teacher. I boldly respond "Because of Video Games". The same people look at me weird, but then again, most people would do that but I really don't care. Why because of gaming you say? Well, let's start from the beginning.

It was a summer of 1990, my first time I hold a NES controller and I was just 3 years old. Me and my mother where exiled from Chile because of the political problems over there, and we got to live in Norway. I was invited to one of the neighbors house, and in there there was a girl 2 years older than me, and she wanted me to play with her. The first game was Megaman 2, then with Castlevania 3 and to finish, a bit of Super Mario Bros. That day we became the best friends for a long time and she was like a "Master" for me in gaming. Not only that, little did she know that she would change my life thanks to that.

As I got 5 years old, I learned to read almost by myself, since my mother was never at home. A day when I want to her house to just play as always, I tried to figure out what I was reading in The Flinstones game. It wasn't Norwegian so I was completely lost and then she told me that language is English. It was pretty weird for me, but as I got older, I got more into it and started to say the same things as in video games and some movies. Dunno why, but I was really attracted to that language that wasn't Spanish nor Norwegian so I decided to read more in English.

A faithful day, and I got my NES, but at the same time she got the SNES with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was the first game where I tried to use as much I knew in English but it was still not enough, I was just 7 years old by that time. Still, we played it and decided not to use the Official Guide, since it would ruin us the surprises. Sometimes when we played Street Fighter II (she handed my ass a la oránge in a silver plate), many of the kids thought that "KO" was just "OK" backwards. It was kinda hard to try to explain that it really means "Knock Out", but for them it was just "OK".

Back to my Homeland.

I was 10 years old, and my mother decided that we would live at Oslo, the capital of Norway. My grandmother thought it was a really bad idea that I should go with my mother so both decided that I should live in Chile again with my grandma. Both of the options was bad for me, because I wouldn't see my best friend again. What happened to her you ask? Let's just say that she is happy in a better place. Anyway, as I got to the land where I was born, the first thing I did was to plug my NES because thankfully, someone really nice decided to change my PAL NES for a NTSC one. At the same time I decided to save money to get a SNES, since they were cheap because of the new generation of consoles. It was 1996 when all this happened.

I got my SNES as I desired, plus a Sega Genesis with some great games, and was really hooked, not just playing, but try to read even the instruction manuals that came in the package. I got into school already and I was a bit surprised that they didn't have English classes until the last two years of school. I was a bit disappointed, but I got to knew other persons and got to love science somehow.

The last years in school was coming, and I was 14 years old. At that time I still had a Genesis and my SNES, plus all the Game Boy's until Advance and a PC that I used a lot. Many had Play Station One at that time, and the next-gen was coming and I was always going to gaming places, just to look at the games or to play any console paying 400 pesos for hour. Since I had good grades in school, my grandmother gave me money so I can buy anything. My PC had a PS1 emulator (I know, sad), but I saw a game that I really wanted and wanted it original. That was Castlevania Symphony of the Night. I played that games for HOURS, never getting bored of it and I still have it as my most cherished game.

At the ceremony, I was surprised, I won a medal for the best English grades in the school in years. The funny thing is that I never studied for English.

As came high-school, still gaming and I was confused, since the last two years you have to choose if you want to be in the section of Spanish and History, or in Science, with different sections, that is, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I choose Biology, since I was starting to like it a lot, and at the same time I had English, so I wasn't going to lose.

Many has problems in English in this country, and in many other Latin American countries. So I decided to perfect it in a British Institute that the city had, and it had a direct connection with the Cambridge University. On the three years I've been studying in that institute, the three exams, KET, PET, and FCE were all pass with merit. I was really surprised that I was achieving so much just because what I have been learning from Video Games since my childhood.

I have seen many people with English problems, and as English is integral to get a good job position, I decided to be a English teacher. Also, in all that time, I have been working in many Latin American web pages as the Gaming guy, but all of those communities weren't that much fun.

Now, I'm back here at Norway, studying what I want to do and trying as much as I can to get a scholarship so I can study in England, hopefully in Cambridge.

Thanks to video games, I have learned the language that I love, meted many great people, formed clubs, to meet my fiancé, and to do many other things, as to get over here at Destructoid.

I may be new on the community, but I have met awesome people over here and on the IRC Cartel, this is the first time that I really like a community and that is thanks to Video Games and English, I'm here right now and want to be for a long time.

I hope you enjoyed this piece, a bit to personal maybe, but I really wanted to share this with you guys. Cheers for this awesome community, because it's helping me a lot to write better things and to practice even more my English.   read


11:52 AM on 03.16.2008

My salute to Niero and Destructoid.(Edited)

I know it's not that much, but something is something. Sorry for not being a full high definition blue-ray vhs video, and it was all improvised (you just can see how many times I said "thank you" or "ahmm").

[embed]75851:9250[/embed]

One thing that I wanted to say but didn't want to sound so emo, is that since I have been here in Norway, I always come to this place to have a good time and to make friends when I can't communicate with my girlfriend.

I thank you very much to Niero and of course the staff of D-toid.

Thank you!

(Again, sorry if it isn't so much).

Edit: Here's a link to download it for those who can't play it (sorry because it's Rapidshare @@)

You can do it here.   read


5:21 PM on 03.12.2008

SNK Neo Geo:The Legacy (Part 2 and Final).

Wow, I didn't expect that the first part would have a good feedback and I never intended to make a second part, but some people liked the idea showing another games from Neo Geo. Anyway, if you haven't read the first part and would like to, just click here.

Now, with that done, let's continue with some other franchises and games from the greatness that was Neo Geo.

Franchises

Fatal Fury




The first series of fighting games for the Neo Geo, the Fatal Fury series is noteworthy because of it's legacy for other games by SNK, it's also called Real Bout in future games. The first one was released in the arcades in 1991 and you could just take control of 3 characters, which were the Bogard brothers, Terry and Andy, and the muay-thai specialist Joe Higashi. As the series continues to spawn more games, you got to choose more characters. Many were attracted to the game because of a unique two-lane system, which gives the gameplay more of strategy depending which of the two lanes the character is standing. To be the first Neo Geo fighting game, it was pretty well done and graphically was really rich for it's time. So far the series has 9 games, ending in Garou: Mark of the Wolves. And of course, it ate a lot of quarters.

Did you know?: Two producers from Street Fighter 2, Takashi Nishiyama and Hiroshi Matsumoto, went to work in the series since Fatal Fury 3.


Art of Fighting




The second series of fighting games for Neo Geo, this franchise was not as unique as other ones. There are some things that makes it stand out though, for example the control scheme, where one is punch, another one for kick, the third for changing between punch, kick and throws and the fourth one was taunting. Also first, is the "zooming", where if the characters were standing far from each other, the camera starts to focus from far. The first game appeared in 1992, and graphically was a bit superior to the first Fatal Fury, but in terms of sound, it really did a better job.

Did you know?: The same Hiroshi Matsumoto created Art of Fighting. Also something weird, the character Dan Hibiki from the Street Fighter Alpha series, is a parody of Robert García, and it's even more clear since Dan have some of the moves of Robert in SVC Chaos.


King of the Monsters




Now this is a interesting series. Even though there is only two games from this one, both of them have different gameplay. The first King of Monsters, released in 1991, it's a fighting game with some wrestling rules, were you use monsters to fight against other monsters while you are destroying the city. The second one titled The King of Monsters: The Next Thing, was released in 1992, with a twist. This time 3 monsters from the original act as heroes in a beat em' up game, while doing the same, destroying anything around you. It was simple and fun, but the second one was hard as hell. Graphically, both have great graphics and the soundtracks pay tribute to old Japanese monster movies.

Did you know?: I have nothing for this one?


Magical Drop




Developed by Data East, Magical Drop was a fast paced puzzle game which is pretty similar to Bust-a-Move. Something interesting is that you can choose a character, kinda like Super Puzzle Fighter by Capcom. The rules a simple, you shoot a bubble with the same color to another bubble, and if it ads 3 or more colors, you do a chain, and making even more, you can counter-attack your opponent. Also, depending the character you are using, the columns descend differently in your pile and in the opponents, making it something good or bad for both of the players, adding a bit of timing and strategy. Even though only two games were for the Neo Geo, it's well worth any penny, or even rom (oh snap!).

Did you know?: Most of the characters are based on Tarot Cards?


Unique Gems

Waku Waku 7




Personally one of my favorites, Waku Waku 7 wasn't that fast paced compared to other fighters in the Neo Geo, but it had a charm that made this game really fun. Developed by Sunsoft, WW7 had 7 characters to choose, hence the name of the game. Each characters has a orb that gives them special powers and to get the others is to beat the crap of each other so one can make a wish (Dragon Ball anyone?). As in Garou, each characters are fun to use, since they are so unique. The gameplay is like any other normal fighting game, but, it had a lot of set of specials and extras for normal moves. Graphically it was OK for 1996, but it had a really beat up soundtrack. And of course, it has Bonus-Kun!


Blazing Star




What a terrific shmup, Blazing Star is really fast paced but it's a bit hard. BS (no pun intended), was one of the first Neo Geo games to use 3D like graphics but totally made with just sprites. Also, it's the spiritual sequel to Pulstar. In terms of gameplay it's pretty simple, with the A button you can shoot and charge up, how much you can charge up depends how many power ups you've got. While charging if you press B, instead of the gigantic laser, you will shoot a spread all around the screen. There are also many characters to use. Graphically, is really good as I mentioned before, with some anime cut-scenes and a good techno soundtrack.


Magician Lord




At last a Platformer! Magician Lord was one of the early games for the Neo Geo, released in 1990 and developed by Alpha Denshi. As the title implies, you take control of Elta, a Magician who is in the quest to destroy the God of Destruction (oh the irony). The gameplay is standard as most of the arcade platformers, you jump and attack and have to stay alive. What made this game unique is the many transformations that Elta had, from a Shinobi to a Samurai, or even a Dragon Warrior. It would be really dumb to talk about the graphics, since it was one of the first games to be released, but it was still impressive for the standards, and it had some good music. You can find id now on Virtual Console, so what are you waiting for?


Super Dodge Ball




Oh yeah, another favorite, made by the late Technos Japan, and based from the characters of the all time classic River City Ransom, Super Dodge Ball for the Neo Geo is one of the many incarnations that has had since the days of the NES. The gameplay is really fun, you can jump, shoot, evade and, why not, taunt. You choose a team with 3 characters and one of them is the leader. Each leader has 2 special attacks and 1 Ultra attack where you use your teammates for this one. A neat addition is that when you defeat one of the teams, you can choose if you want to take the leader with you or not. It was a really fun game and it's worth checking out by any means, because, it did eat a lot of quarters from me.


SVC Chaos: SNK vs Capcom




OK, I said in the last entry that I didn't like so much this game, but I have to say that I hate specifically the 1 player mode. Anyway, SVC Chaos is a good game still, and it's really fun to play when it is with somebody else, the only problem is that to get the ending is to be really fast and it did feel a bit of to much for me. With that said, the gameplay has a bit of both from SNK and Capcom, you don't run, but you do little dashes, and you can do a grab with A+B or C+D. Compared to other crossover fighting games, here you only choose one character, including classic ones as Ryu, Ken, Ryo, Kyo, Terry, Chun Li and other ones, plus newcomers as Zero from the Megaman Zero series and Mars People from Metal Slug. This game with Garou and KOF 2003, pushed the board to the limit, some of the SNK sprites are the same from other games, but most of the characters are very well polished, and the soundtrack wasn't so bad. Again, this game is really enjoyable with a 2nd player, but if you like a time attack already on story mode, give it a go.


Special Mention

Dreamcast



Why is the box of dreams doing in this list you say? Have you aver played any SNK game in PS1? Long loading time eh? And the gameplay was really choppy. Well, besides that the AES System obviously, the Dreamcast had a huge array of Neo Geo titles, ports from the arcade and really good ones, and short loading times and the gameplay that you really expected. Not only that, but it also has better music and a lot of special features. That's why the Dreamcast has a little spot in this list, because we could play great Neo Geo ports without buying the AES.

Well, that's it, I hope you enjoyed this final one. I would have wrote more but I'm really tired now and thanks for the feedback from the previous post.

And remember, "The Future is Now!"   read


4:31 PM on 03.09.2008

Retro Review: Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse.

Again, another retro thingy article, I should start doing about newer games and in-game or culture related, but oh well, "Qué sera, sera".

This time is about one of my favorite games for the NES. Many of you should have noticed already, I'm a huge Castelvania dork *snort*, whatever if it the old-school classic style or the Metroidvania gameplay, I just love this series, and I want to talk about the first one I played and was also one of the games that made me into a hard passionate gamer.

Now let's get busy!

Title: Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

Developer: Konami.

Year of release: 1990 in America.

System: Nintendo Entertainment System.



Story:

Nothing that we haven't seen before. The story kicks in 100 years before the adventures of Simon Belmont. Enter Trevor, a Belmont who was exiled from Warakiya because the people feared the powers that had the Belmont's. Now as the ol' Drac rises again as every century, the church calls Trevor to defend his homeland with his trusty whip Vampire Killer and put Drac to sleep for another 100 years.





Graphics:

Graphicaly it was a bit superior to the other installments for the NES. The game never get's slow because of the good frame rate it has. Also, it has some details to the backgrounds, specially in the Forest and the Haunted Ship parts, with some effects to try to respresent mist. Many of the sprites are re-used, like many enemies and Trevor's which is just a bright brown version of Simon. For it's time it was pretty good for a game that came out one year before the SNES would appear.



Sound:

One of the great things that the Castlevania series is so well known, it's the music, and in this case it's great as it should ever be. Maybe for you little whipper snappers it's just bleep & bloops, but those bleeps sounded really great in your TV. How can't you forget the triumphant entrance of Trevor and then the song "Beginning" kicks in when you start the first stage? The sound effects are pretty good, specially when you use the whip and hearing Trevor doing the "umph!" thing. There is also some screams when you kill some bosses.



Gameplay:

In terms of gameplay, it left behind the RPG system and the travelling town to town and returned to what is good about Castelvania, a great Action/Adventure platformer whipping your way by the beginning to the stage to the end and defeat the boss, and it's damn good. Comparing the gameplay with the first one, nothing has changed, you still can't change the direction of your jump mid-air and still you get knocked back if you get hit, being really troublesome in higher stages and in cliffs. As the others Castlevania, be prepared to die a lot of times, not because your bad, but because the game is really hard some times. One of the thing that was introduced for the first time though, is to choose your next level, making it to have many branch points, leading you to different places.

Also, know you can have a companion with you when you rescue them. One of them is Grant DaNasty who is a acrobatic pirate that can jump really high, ledge into walls and ceilings and use knifes....wait a moment....a pirate ninja?! Then you have the wizard Sypha Belnades, who is really weak physically but have powerful magic spells to help you out. Then you have Alucard, who can shoot fireballs and turn into a bat. You can choose only one of them if you encounter with any of them or you can simply play the game just with Trevor. All this add a good value for the game, making it significantly big.



Legacy:

Thanks to this game, many ideas that have been brought here has been used in other games of the series.

Castlevania Symphony of the Night: You get to use Alucard as the central character of the game, and in a part of the game, you have to fight against zombie versions of Trevor, Sypha and Grant.

Castlevania Rondo of Blood: The idea of alternate pathways is evolved in this game. You have to find them through simple secrets.

Castlevania Portrait of Ruin: In this game has another touch from Dracula's Curse. Here you can use two characters, whatever if you spawn between them or using both at the same time.



Final Veredict:

This game has stood the test of time. Maybe it's easy to say since I'm a fan, but I can tell you with confidence, that you will have a good moment with this game. If you ever get the chance to see this game in cartridge form, buy it, you will not be disappointed, also, I hope to see this on Virtual Console some day.

Buy it!

I'm really sorry for doing another of this retrospective thing, but I really wanted to shear one of my favorite games of all time, since it's a breakthrough for me, since it made me into a gamer, but I really hoped you enjoyed this little article.

Good Night, and live it with passion.   read


10:54 AM on 03.08.2008

Snatcher has to be one of the best games I have ever played (also, what games are you playing for the weekend).

Taking a break in writing my next articles (follow up of the Neo Geo Legacy and some other stuff), I decided to talk about the games that I have been playing. Also I want to know what you guys are playing this weekend.

Snatcher is now one of my favorite games of all time. I just got it for Sega Cd by..other mediums..but after playing great part of the first chapter, I really want to buy this game.



Snatcher is a adventure game, a la Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle but with a Cyberpunk theme. As one of the first games by Kojima, you will notice high production values and a incredible story, with interesting characters and many twists, and of course, the 4th wall is broken, again and again. Oh, and for it's time, the voice acting is pretty good. The Sega CD version is the only one that came state-side, although you know the failure that had Sega with the 32x and Sega CD, so finding this game is a rarity.

I will make a review for this game, but that has to be when I'm finished with it. Now, how to get a copy without paying over 300 dollars..


I have also been playing Patapon and Metal Slug Anthology.

Metal Slug Anthology is awesomesauce, It has 7 games and the price tag is really great, and I got it for half price. The controls are great (in PSP Slim) but man..the loading times is a pain in the ass. Do you remember when you played Metal Slug X in the PS1? Yeah..kinda like that, but at least it's only when you are changing games.

Patapon was also really cheap, it's just mindless fun, and anyone who has a PSP, should get this game, even if Mr. Sterling hates it. My only complaint is that when one of your units has come to the max capacity, and you want to make a new one soldier you can't, you need one of the soldiers dead forever for that..meh.

So anyway, what games are you playing this weekend?   read


1:07 PM on 03.04.2008

SNK Neo Geo:The Legacy.



We all know Shin Nihon Kikaku (New Japan Project), aka SNK, we all remember how well spend were all those quarters in our school days, how much fun were those games from that company based on Osaka. Wherever if you liked pure 2D fighting, fast paced action and shumps or fantasy adventure games, SNK had always something for you in the arcade. I'm here to talk about the games, franchises, and legacy, that made this company and arcade system one of the most beloved ones in the gaming community.

But first, let's do a flashback, shall we?




SNK was founded in 1978 by Eikichi Kawasaki. In that year he included the development of coin-op games for the arcades. The first two games were Ozma Wars (1979, a basic shoot 'em up) and Safari Rally (1980, which is a maze game, even though the name can make one belive it's a racing game). The game that made SNK under the flashlight was Vanguard, another shmup where you can fire at four directions at the same time, also, making this game a precursor of games like Gradius and R-Type. After that, they started only to focus to do arcade games like Athena and Alpha Mission. One of the bigger hit was Ikari Warriors, it was very popular that was ported to many home consoles with 3 sequels. Another game that was highly acclaimed was Crystalis, a action/RPG game (with a remake for the Game Boy Color). After many games released for home consoles and more arcade games, in 1990 the Neo Geo Arcade System was born.

At the same time, it was released as a highly expensive home console, called AES (Advanced Entertainment System) and the Arcade Machines were known as MVS (Multi Video System), both were practically the same.



Both of them was practically a beast, compared to other arcade cabinets and home consoles of that time, and the most impressive thing is that both systems used the same cartridges. Even though the home system failed because how expensive the console and games were, the coin-ups machines was having a huge success, with their great array of games available.

Enough of boring history lessons, let's get to the fun part, the games.

Franchises

The King of Fighters




What do you get when you make a fighting game, toss some characters from Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Athena and Ikari Warriors, plus some new cool characters? Well, you get King of Fighters. For it's time, the first one caught the attention of many in 1994 how fast paced the game was, how rich it was in terms of audio and visuals, and how fluid the controls was. With a innovative dodge system, battles based on teams 3 on 3, flashy specials and high competitiveness, KoF was here to stay for many, many years.

So far, SNK's stellar franchise have 12 main games, divided in Rugal Saga, Orochi Saga, NESTS Chronicles and Ash Tales, with the last, King Of Fighters XII coming soon to the arcades and home consoles. Also it has inspired many spinoffs, like card games, 3D series and vs series with Capcom.

Did you know?: The tournament was named after the same tournament in the Fatal Fury Series and in Art of Fighting 2? Also, that the character K9999 is highly based on Tetsuo from the movie anime "Akira"?


Metal Slug




You know this one. Frenetic run and gun gameplay, shooting hordes of wannabe Nazis, dodging bullets and "ROCKET LAUNGER!", it's the comical crazy hyperactive brother of Contra. The first one debuted in 1996 as "Super Vehicle 001 Metal Slug" (or is it the other way around?). As said before, it's a run and gun game with some mischief humor. Introducing a melee on hit kill against simpler enemies, over powered weapons, a extra button to throw grenades and using a tank, it's pure bliss in action platforming. What makes the games great is the multiplayer (or getting pissed because your friend got the weapon or the tank before you). So far it has 6 main games on the arcades and Metal Slug 7 coming to the DS and many, many ports.

Did you know?: Fio, one of the female protagonist appears in KoF Maximum Impact 2 as a playable character? And that General Morden, looks a lot like Sadam Hussein?


Samurai Showdown




Known as Samurai Spirits in the land of the Rising Sun, Samurai Showdown is considered by many as the granddaddy of weapon play in fighting games. When it was released in 1993, it was as a response to Capcom's Street Fighter II, trying to gain the same popularity, and well it did (at least in Japan). One of the things that was noticed was the "zoom", depending how far away were the characters from each other, blocking in a split second would gain advantage, letting the opponent open for a attack and characters that have animals to help them (as Galford). The gameplay was great, with a button to do a dodge and near the opponent you could fip to his back. In most games, you could choose beginner, medium, and expert, changing the way of playing character different. Also, you could choose between Slash and Bust, changing the style and moves of the character. In contrast with other SNK fighting games that were more offensive oriented, this one is more defensive, you had to know when to attack or to block. Like Jonathan Holmes said, it's like comparing Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter 3. So far, the series have 6 main games in the arcades, one 3D games and many spinoffs as RPGs.

Did you know?: Even though that the games are called Samurai Showdown/Spirits, none of the characters are one, except for Jubei Yagyu, who is loosely based on a real samurai that worked for the Shogunate. Nobuhiro Watsuki, the author of Rurouni Kenshin, designed the new characters for Samurai Showdown V.


Last Blade




In 1997, another sword fighting series was made, that was Last Blade, known as Romance of the Bakumatsu: The Swordsman of Moonlight, since the setting of the game was at the end of the Bakumatsu era. Both games were polished really well, the controls were excellent and the most noteworthy, the music, which was rich and beautiful. The gameplay is almost the same as in Samurai Showdown, where you could choose between Speed and Power Mode, where Speed is to do more combos and fast attacks, and Power is for concentrated and powerful attacks, sacrificing some speed. There was also a Special if one input a special code. One of the new things to see was the Cancel Mode, which was the fourth button. One can successfully cancel a enemy's attack by pressing the Cancel button at the precise time. Also, as in Samurai Showndown, one had to know when to attack and when to defend.

Did you know?: Daisuke Ishiwatari, the creator of Guilty Gear, was one of the designers for this series. Something really note-worthy, was that the Last Blade was inspired by Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin, since the characters art had an air as his drawings, and many characters of the game had attributes from R.Kenshin. It was this, because Watsuki was a big fan of Samurai Showdown, and many of the characters in his series was based from the SNK game. It's like a "thank you/thank you" thing.


Sengoku




Sengoku...I think that many of you have at least played one of the 3 games. Released in 1991, Sengoku was a beat 'em up where you had defeat legions of undead soldiers from the Feudal Civil War in Japan. What makes this mini series note-worthy, is the insanly great gameplay that it had. In these games you could gain power ups and transform into something more powerful (Altered Beast, anyone?). Also, was the special moves that one can input, like in a fighting game, and if you were really good, you could do combos until the end of the stage (or area). It was very fast paced and many consider that the second one is the best, since in the 3rd, many things were removed.

Did you know?: That I have nothing interesting here?


Unique Gems

Garou: Mark Of The Wolves




I know what you are going to say, this game is part of the Fatal Fury series. I know that, but I want to put this one as a stand alone, since it's just so marvelous in every sense. Garou it's like any fighting game, but when it was released in 1999, for us it was beyond that. This game took the Neo Geo arcade board to the limits, making one of the most beautiful fighting games in 2D and the music was pretty good. The sprites was so well drawn, animated and polished that you had to be amazed. Gone is the two-plane system from Fatal Fury, and in the old school fighting style. It was one of those games that even though you could have mastered ages ago, it's still a blast to play again and again, and the competitiveness was really high. One system introduced here (and gone), was the Just Defended, where if you defended yourself in the exact moment of the attack landing on your character, you could counter attack with anything and you will regain a bit of health. Also was the T.O.P, where you could use a powerful attack, depending where did you put the 1/3 red part in your health bar. The list of characters wasn't big, but each one was really entertaining to play with, so it was easy to find the one that suited you best. Overall, it's a great gem that anyone should play.


Twinkle Star Sprites




A game so addicting that you will forget what the hell to do if I didn't study for the exam. This Puzzle/Shmup hybrid had really cute characters and cute story, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't kick you will using their specials. There are two attacks, normal and charged, also you could hold bombs in desperate moments. When you attack with normal attacks the blocks or enemies will come as Reverse attacks, and if you attack those, you could counter attack the enemy, even more if it is a huge chain.

Look, I could talk about this game, but Rider Chop explains it really well, so go to the link now!


I hope you liked this little article, leave so comments and tell me what did you like most of Neo Geo. Now, I know that I left many great games, like Baseball Stars 2, Aero Fighters, Blazing Star, Eight-Man and many others. Also, I left behind the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series behind because it's like a prequel to King of Fighters, but one day I'm going to cover these games in full, so bare with me please.

I would like to say thanks to Tactix and Tamz for the inspiration on doing at least a decent article this time, thanks guys!

The story of SNK was resumed from Wikipedia and puntodepartida.com.

Good Night and live it with passion.   read


5:07 PM on 03.01.2008

Ninja Gaiden DS Goes Gold.

[embed]73184:8672[/embed]

And this is it, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword is done, as the game has gone gold and ready to be released in March 25 for America and March 10 in Japan.

Also, there will be a launch party hold by Nintendo and Tecmo at Nintendo World Store on March 26 and it will start at 12 pm until 4 pm. No Itagaki though *sad panda*

I'm really hyped for this game, I played the demo and it was just fun, can't wait how the final version is!

Source: Gay Gamer   read


2:45 PM on 03.01.2008

Reinventing Franchises #1

Well, it's time that I do some good, or at least a decent article. Let's talk about trying to reinvent franchises, the ones who have managed to do it in one way or another, the ones who have failed, and the ones that should.

Reinventing a series of video game can be a very hard task, it's not about just changing some abilities or slap a couple of new extras, it's about changing the whole experience without losing the charm of what made the game before great and compelling. It's about adding the whole "oh snap!" to the gamer, and making him/her saying it many times.

Many times in the conversion from 2D to 3D, the whole gameplay and experience changes, but the harder task is to manage to have the felling that you are doing something familiar that should have in a old saga, making it look gorgeous, adding a whole new experience but making it fun, as every game should be.

Let's talk about some good examples how to make a good "renaissance".

Great Reinvention:

Resident Evil 4


The game of the year from 2005, has to be in this list, since the whole experience has been changed drastically in terms of game mechanics and mostly the controls, since the clunky controls from previous RE games is gone, in with more control to Leon and action commands in real time. The camera angle has been changed to the perspective from Leon's behind, making it a little bit more easy against the Ganados (just a little), the only bit of problem from this perspective is that sometimes they can attack you from behind, soy you have to be cautious . Though, the essence of trying to save as much as ammo and items as you can is gone in change for a more fast paced action game, but still has the felling on trying to stay alive since the enemy are more intelligent and brutal than previous games, making still a scary game.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night


We can't talk about reinventing without SotN, since the new team of Castlevania took over, this is a favorite among many gamers. We all know the glory days of old school Castlevania titles, clearing your way whipping and using weapons with a heart consumption and jumping in pure platforming goodness. In this game, the only thing that hasn't changed, was the platforming. Controlling Alucard is a blast, now for the first time in the series you can control a character mid air, not only that, Alucard has a huge array of spells, weapons, shields and transformations to add at the experience. The biggest change is that the progress is non-linear, and to get some parts you have to get a relic so you can continue on discovering the huge castle. This progression style is heavily based on Super Metroid, having various save coffins. Also, Alucard can gain experience points by defeating Dracula's minions. Alls this, and still having the Castlevania experience, that is, 2D Platforming. The only bad point? Is that the game is a bit easy.

Metroid Prime


As I said at the beginning of this article, trying to make a game series from 2D to 3D is a hard job. What do we expect when we see a beloved franchise to go 3D? We have fear of course, but Retro Studios took most of us by surprise with Metroid Prime. Many wasn't sure with the idea of a Metroid Game in First Person perspective, but the job was well done and still having the great things that makes a Metroid game, a great Adventure exploring game. One of the first things one can note when you are holding your GC control, is that you are inside the helmet of Samus, and how gorgeous the Space Station looks. The play mechanics hasn't changed at all. You still jump, shoot, get upgrades, explore, and destroying alien scum. One thing though, is the lock-on system, a system that we are familiar from Ocarina of Time, making it easier to blast your enemies. Also, the change of perspective when you transform into Morph Ball, and the huge use of it in many puzzles that have this game. Exploring Tallon can be a bit scary because of hove big it is, but the map system does help a lot in this game. In a nutshell, it changes many gameplay mechanics, but still have the basic actions that we are used to, making it a great Metroid Experience.


Phew! I did write a lot huh? This is it for now, I hope you enjoyed it. For the next time I'm going to see some games that haven't done well on trying to reinvent.

That, and I hope to see your comments. Did you like this list? Why? Why not? Would you add another one? Let your finger speak and write it down.

For now, good night and live it with passion.   read


  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter?
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -