I'm Tenro, currently a college student in training to be a teacher, though it very rarely feels like it. Though I love games, comics will always be my true passion in geekdom (and most other things), and I often look for games that reflect some of the things that I appreciate in the comics I read. I (sort-of) maintain a comics-based blog that I try to update weekly.
Also, I'm a lucky enough man to have an equally geeky girlfriend, who can be found here on DToid as FlonneMcNinja
When it comes to games themselves, usually I'm more of an RPG guy, but my first gaming love was the 2D fighter, and I'm the faithful sort. Also, the Devil May Cry/Godhand kind of 3D beat-'em-up often calls to me.
Since my old one broke, right now I don't own a PS2, but I still have all of my considerable stack (and occasionally add to it), and many of my all-time favorites are in that pile. I became a Nintendo guy when I wasn't paying attention, as I own both a DS and a Wii. I'd be perfectly happy with this setup, but I have the sinking feeling that I'm going to have to buy a 360.
Got-damn I got games right now. Final Fantasy IV, TWEWY, Guilty Gear Accent Core for Wii (better than it sounds in theory), Blast Works, and Samurai Showdown on VC (finally!) seem to be the big ones.
Looking forward to: Force Unleashed, Ghostbusters, TNA Impact and Perfect Prosecutor, and waiting on my Disgaea DS preorder.
I have an addictive personality. I'm willing to guess that more than a few of you out there do too. This means that when I like a game, I really like a game. So I want to play more of it.
This is all well and good with my big-time JRPGs and other sidequest-heavy epics where one can willfully extend the game, but often I get hooked on something with a set end and concrete levels (remember when games had levels? I kind of miss levels). In No More Heroes for example, I wasn't done cutting bitches in half and suplexing goons when the game told me it was done. Therefore, I told the game to shove it with it's "ending," and kept right the hell on playing (okay, New Game+ helped, but still). I wanted more of the game than I was given, so I took it.
With Metal Gear Solid 2, I found myself doing so well at the climax that I felt cheated when the experience ended right after that. I was better at the game then when I started, so I needed to start over and annihilate beginning to end. If I was checking for cameras in real life (which I still do, goddammit), I might as well keep doing it in the game.
Then again, most of the time, I keep hacking away at a game because I know that there's more content just waiting for me. This game I can't get enough of has... more! And my favorite way of getting more is with extra characters. Done well, as in Viewtiful Joe, it keeps the same great gameplay intact, but adds some twists that keep the player interested (a little more story is always nice too). Once in a while, you can start the whole cycle over in the same game and get months out of your money.
In the end, for me replay is like buying the DVD of a movie you like; sure you saw it once, but wasn't that once great? Don't you think it can stay great? For me, it's not every game, but let's put it this way: I've probably played MGS2 5-6 times.
I'm not going to call this a review, because to review one would have to be somewhat unbiased. I, on the other hand, have been waiting for this game for months and love it without question. So I can't review it with a level head. What I can do is this; I can tell you, dear Dtoider, why it's the most original game this year so far, and why it's almost worth owning a DS alone.
Okay, so the characters may not be the most original on their own merits. Neku, the main, is cut from the same majestically uncharismatic cloth as Squall, but does show some interesting vulnerability. Shiki, your first partner, is classic "sweet young lady who is obviously the love interest from the first time you see her," but she doesn't talk much. Beat and Joshua are the two classic "rival" archetypes. However, the story is more interesting than the 15-year-olds living it.
It's an unfolding mystery/drama involving a secret city within Japan's Shibuya called the UG run by the mysterious Composer. In the UG, the "Reapers" run their game, hunting kids with psychic powers with everyone's existence at stake. I'd say more, but even though the plot moves forward at a truly blinding pace, I'd hate to spoil it.
The real reason the game stands out is the gameplay. Specifically, the battle system. Neku attacks and moves (his only way of avoiding damage) with the stylus. Equipping a number of pins (pictured above), you use a variety of stylus techniques to use Neku's vast psychic powers, with hundreds of pins (though they fall into some vague categories). Controlling all of his skills, each with their own meter, evading, and keeping track of all of the enemies in the arena proves difficult, but you get the hang of it soon, and is deeply satisfying. That's just your right hand, remember.
With your left, you control one of the three partners mentioned above. The d-pad controls jumps, blocking, and opens a combo chart for attacks. These attacks gain points which can be used to activate the uber-powerful Fusion skills. If it proves too much (which is nothing to be ashamed of), the computer will take over for you and is fairly competent.
Last but in no way least, the impeccable style of World Ends keeps you hypnotized. The unique design of Kingdom Hearts has been unleashed, and reigns without any established characters to hold it back. From the five-minutes-from-now-on-Mars fashion sense of the characters to the "graffiti" look of the monsters and power effects, the look is bold and alive. The music is a Japanese hip-hop blend that works so much better than it has any right to, and hooks you in so far that I can't play this game without my ear buds.
Also, this game actually has me addicted to not playing it. Because of all the different ways to get experience for your psychic power pins, sometimes you're required to let it sit and reward you in a few days with delicious free experience upon your return. This game is definitely something special, and Square-Enix's new more "mainstream appeal" direction practically ensures we'll never get another. Make a statement. Buy it new. Mess with their numbers. It's already enough of a cult hit that some incredible human being has begun making replicas of all the game's pins (which I want so deeply it feels funny when I blink):
P.S: Be back to my new original series soon. Wanted to do this before it was super old news.
...21 now! Look, I drink now too. I may occasionally make a Drunktoid post about playing Tekken or somesuch, but I'll try to keep it under wraps. So come, son of Jor-El.
In any case, I turned on the 14th, and I wanted to say something here. I'm not fishing for congratulations or anything, just felt like making another post, and felt that my Monthly Musings entry would cancel out a possible Failtoid post. Either way, here is one of my favorite pictures as a thank you for reading this far.
I'm a fighting game aficionado (or at least that's what I like to think, with my collection and all). Not only do I love the actual gameplay of the genre (the absolute purity of it), I've noticed a tendency for the story and character concepts/designs to embrace a ridiculousness not found elsewhere; a certain kind of character emerges in a fighting game that you pretty much can't find in any other kind of game. To me, the Darkstalkers series is the god-king of this phenomenon. Sure, it traces back to Street Fighter and its world warriors, but where Street Fighter was content to have national and racial stereotypes duke it out, Darkstalkers took the basic concepts behind classic Universal Studios-style monsters and went nuts with it.
I remember being in a local arcade as a child, wandering around, and seeing the Darkstalkers machine in a dark neglected corner, the demo blazing. I'd played Street Fighter II before, but it never held my attention. Here, I was transfixed. I saw some sort of monster samurai slashing at the only vampire classier than Dracula, and something went off in my head. I had to play this game. I had to learn these moves. I wanted to make the karate werewolf move and fight the way a character that cool deserved. Is that a bad reason?
In my mind, this game perfected what all games seek to do: give me a compelling reason to keep playing and trying all the characters. I sunk in quarter after quarter and token after token wherever I could find a machine that carried my game of choice. What's more, in those dark corners of the arcades and kid's centers, sometimes I could find other games that scratched that same Darkstalkers itch.
It's because of Darkstalkers that I played Samurai Showdown. King of Fighters. Guilty Gear. And I revel in every time that I've ever played any of those games. I even wound up going back to Street Fighter, and messed around with Third Impact and the Alpha series to great satisfaction. This was truly the start of my fighting game affair because every single time I've played a fighter, it's because of Darkstalkers.
Among all the properties that have emerged over gaming's history, I will always think of Darkstalkers as unique. The quirky systems, the way-out-there design, and the inescapable mood of the games is impossible to overlook, and that's why references to it keep popping up. While I wish the references were more fleshed out (why is there never any Talbain?), they'll keep me hoping for a new one (I don't own a PSP and the PS2 collection was Japan-only). In the meantime, I'll have my copy of 3/Vampire Saviour for the PSX to console me, and my arcade memories. Damn, I'm sad.
Okay, so either the idea was not strong, or I need to spend more time on making the write-ups more interesting, because my first attempt at a personal theme got a lukewarm reception at best. Granted, I still think there's a valid thought behind "The Great Ones," and I'd like to try it again later, I think I'll hold off on it for a while at least.
Moving on, I've got a new concept that I'd like to wax about; games I'd personally love to play that will never, fucking ever get made. Maybe it's because the licensing involved would never happen, maybe it's because no company with the power to make it happen would sign off on it. Either way, I've got some concepts that always sound kick ass, and I'd like to share them. So, first installment:
I understand that with the Magneto spinoff movie coming in the next three years or so, there may soon be a Magneto-centric game coming. However, as I am a fan of the X-Men comics, I'm less than thrilled with the films. So this idea is sort of a "What If" version of the comics continuity.
The Story: You play as the man himself, and the game works through a modified version of his career, with one major difference from the comics; in this version, Magneto comes out on top a lot more. After defeating various teams of X-Men and Avengers, a conspiracy of major Marvel villains forms to prevent Magneto's inevitable takeover, culminating in a handicapped battle against Apocalypse and Doctor Doom.
The Gameplay: The biggest thing in this game shoud be the magnetic powers. I imagine new ones could be introduced every so often, like a magnetic shield or flight, but standard grab and lift powers would be your bread and butter. On the 360 and PS3, I figure the main use of magnetic powers should feel like a modified version of "Destroy All Humans'" Psychokinesis, with a little added influence from "Psy-Ops." A potential Wii version could be modeled more on the Wii version of "Force Unleashed," to prevent motion tracking problems. With the use of these powers, there would be no "concentration meter" to slow you down, better simulating the level of power from the comics, and meaning the challenge would be less artificial.
For the standard intro level, I see a scene from the days when Magneto hunted down Nazi war criminals, giving you a minimal challenge. From there, it's battles based on classic X-Men or Avengers teams, fighting more and more of each team at one time as the game goes on, eventually fighting full rosters of eight or so superpowered heroes. These fights could be spaced out with combat against human military forces, which would allow the player to slam tanks and helicopters into one another with ease. The key idea throughout would be a balance of incredible power and the need to use it sensibly.
Bonuses: Other than a slew of unlockable costumes (I admit, I'm a sucker for them), I'd love to see mini-scenarios replicating more specific moments. Imagine an "Age of Apocalypse" survival scenario, capped off with a fight against a much stronger version of Apocalypse. An "Ultimate X-Men" fight on the White House lawn against the X-Men with waves of Sentinels coming in every so often and a skirmish with the Ultimates. Yes, even a few movie scenarios, where the player can rip the Mary-Sue-Wolverine in half and drop a bridge on Shawn Ashmore for fun. The possibilities are practically endless.
So: thoughts on this idea? On the article concept itself? I'm always open to suggestions, so feel free to hit me with a pitch to play with. Thanks for putting up with the long-winded post.
I've been a slacker lately, but I suddenly had an epiphany regarding my personal feature. That being, I don't necessarily have to pull from semi-current games. I can do what I want, especially considering the recent wave of revamped series. Here's some Great Ones who make their game what it is, and deserve to be brought back as more than an in-joke in WoW.
The Lost Vikings Just about every "classic" console, and the GBA to boot.
Part of what made Lost Vikings so compelling was the three-character setup; you had sway over all three Nordic madmen, each with their own moves, and used their talents in turn and tandem to complete the levels. If you lost one of them, don't expect to be beating the level.
For starters, you have the unofficial leader, Erik the Swift, who was the only jumper, moved faster, and could break things when he ran. He's the redhead. Then you've got my favorite, Baelog the Fierce, who had a sword and a bow, and was your personal Swedish Murder Machine and distance switch-hitter. The sword was more fun, but the bow had pretty infinite range, so that was essentially that. He'd be the super ugly one on the far left. Lastly there's Olaf the Stout, whose shield made him invulnerable from one direction at a time and capable of gliding. By process of elimination, he the fat one on the right.
It was a brutally hard action/puzzle/platformer game, with a lot of character stemming from the dialogue between the Vikings at the start and end of levels. It also remains pretty much my only hardcore gamer claim to fame that I've beaten this game.
There was also a sequel:
It was a good romp, and added new abilities and powers, but never really felt as... incredible as the original. Still, worth playing when you can find it.
In the mean time, I'm pulling for a VC release, or in a kind and just universe, a revival. Unfortunately, Blizzard is now Microsoft's dancing pony and too busy raking in those sweet WoW dollars to bother with this franchise. In my mind, however, these three will always be among the Great Ones.