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Tenro's blog

6:23 PM on 08.22.2008


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.   read

9:09 PM on 07.01.2008

World Ends With You: One of a Kind

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.   read

6:36 PM on 06.17.2008

Oh, by the way, I'm... (quickie NVGR)

...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.


5:36 PM on 06.17.2008

The Start of the Affair: Darkstalkers

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.   read

4:46 PM on 06.04.2008

Games I'd Play the Hell Out Of: First Installment

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? I am Power! Men call me Magneto!   read

8:55 PM on 05.07.2008

The Great Ones: Back in Business

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.   read

8:58 AM on 04.03.2008

PxP: The edition with me in it!

As with previous weeks, the time has come for probably the only video game related radio show in Maine. The main man is ZeroTolo, under the name The Glyph, Mecha Jesus, under the same name, and I'm filling in as The Professor.

We're still banging out the details, but we'd love to have any Dtoiders that are free to listen in. If you go here, and "Listen Live" from 6-8 tonight, you can hear everything we've got for you, and we'll have phone and AIM lines open to anyone who wants to contribute. So please, have a listen. I'm fairly sure you won't regret it, and it'll help prove once and for all that me & Mecha are two different people.   read

2:29 PM on 04.02.2008

My Party Set-Up (after my buddy Mecha)

As you may have read in my pal MechaJesus' Blog, he's had a great idea for designing the perfect party, and I think it makes a great thought experiment. Since he outlines the rules fairly well, I'll just jump right into my team with the explanations.

Dan McNinja

Granted, his son may be the nicer guy, but don't tell me that Dan with his Mustache of Power isn't the better fighter. Added bonus: he once lit himself on fire to evade capture. We'll need that kind of lateral thinking when we get in a bind.

Kol Skywalker

You may be thinking, "There are better Jedi to pick," and you'd be dead-ass wrong. It took about a dozen Sith to kill him with Force Lightning, and that was after he'd been shot in the heart. And he was already on top of a mountain of dead Sith and Stormtroopers when that happened. Added bonus: Force Healing powers and the sweetest sideburns this side of our own ZeroTolo.

Thomas Jefferson

One of the finest minds ever produced by the Western world, Jefferson has the ability to plan around all kinds of problems that we'll encounter. I would've gone with Ben Franklin, but there's that pesky pacifism to deal with. Added bonus: he's a good enough leader and people-wrangler to get the Founding Fathers to agree, so he could solve all kinds of inter-personal issues.

Iron Fist

Don't know who he is? JFGI; I don't care, he's my all-time favorite super hero. Aside from superb martial arts skills, recent issues have had him discovering new depths of power. Added bonus: he's a multi-billionaire, and one of those new powers is even more healing for the squad.

The Ninth Doctor

I know we're all biased towards our first Doctor, but come on. Force of will, as smart as anyone in the galaxy, and willing to dismantle an entire army if he doesn't like it. Besides, we need someone else who'll understand Jefferson's plans. Added bonus: the TARDIS is pretty much the ultimate party vehicle, especially with its built-in Bag of Holding.

Phoenix Wright

Do I need to explain? He can get us out of all the trouble we'll get in from local authorities, and maybe even talk our way out of a boss fight. Added bonus: observational skills make for epic looting.

St. George

Dude fought a dragon. Naked. And won. That gets left out of most versions. Long version: George knew his armor would do nothing against a dragon, so he melted it down and prayed, putting all of his doubts into the box made by the melted armor. The dragon was so stunned by his audacity and will it let its guard down, allowing for the killing blow. Added bonus: he's a saint. Could come in handy.

Stephen Fry

As bards go, you could do a lot worse. Fry is a modern-day Oscar Wilde; gay, brilliant, and good at things most people don't even learn in college. Added bonus: he's friends with all kinds of people. His hookups could be our gateway to all kinds of awesome side quests.

Hal Jordan

Much like Mecha and his Batman inclusion, this one is so overpowered it feels like cheating. He's Hal F**king Jordan, man. Even if the ring runs out of juice, he's still got the meanest right cross in history. Added bonus: as a pilot and military man, who knows what kinds of toys we find he could use?

In closing, I think this team could breeze past any challenge. I'd love comments on my squad, but for yours I recommend making your own post, I know I'd love to read them. Just give credit to Mecha, since it's his idea.   read

12:10 PM on 03.02.2008

Left 4 Dead... how is this a big deal?

Seriously, I'd kind of like to have that explained. I hadn't heard of it until Sterling posted earlier today, and after watching that video I can't imagine excitement about that game. Generic graphics, what seem to be loose controls, and it looks like it really wants to be scary, but it never will be. Not to mention that the whole "Zombie Mania" thing has got to run out of steam eventually. At least I hope so, because I used to like zombie stories, but now I'm just sick of them.

Once again, I'm not trolling here. I honestly want to know what about Left 4 Dead excites people; I don't see it.   read

1:26 PM on 02.29.2008

The Great Ones: New Entry & Explanation

I suppose I should start by making sure my intention isn't mistaken. I only called this "The Great Ones" because I thought it was a good name for the article. I'm only bringing up protagonists that I feel made an impact on the game in some way, to the point where their replacement would have hurt the game. Opinions abound, and I continue to ask for submissions. In any case... on to the article! This edition's character is:

The Hulk (Hulk: Ultimate Destruction for PS2, GC, & XBox)

Ever been playing a game and suddenly felt drunk with power? Like your character was suddenly a juggernaut who could shrug off anything short of a boss? In Ultimate Destruction, the whole game is like that. As Hulk in this version, even your jumps become shockwave attacks, and the run button can decimate.

The game wasn't a masterpiece; it was shallow, sometimes cheap, and had camera issues. But the the experience of playing as the Hulk was like going through an entire Dynasty Warriors game with Unlimited Musou. Some of the missions are hard no because the task is difficult, but because we as gamers aren't used to having this much power right from the start.

Of course the game would have been ruined without the Hulk, considering that it's a licensed game. But this is a game literally constructed around your sense of wonder at Hulk's power, and it's pretty good at bringing that out. I've never liked any other Hulk game, but Ultimate Destruction is an experience to remember, and in it the Hulk is a Great One.   read

9:50 AM on 02.26.2008

The Great Ones:The first of the best

I went a while without starting a blog here (or ever registering for that matter), mostly because I wasn't sure if I had anything to say. I'm not an inside man, I get all my gaming news from Dtoid. I often get games a bit after they're released, so reviews would be kind of stale. Then I figured, what the hell, most of these are anecdotal, and as an amateur writer, I tend to take a good look at story and character when playing a game, and I've got plenty to say about those.
Which brings me to the point. As you've already seen, I'm calling this piece The Great Ones, and it's a series of protagonists/heroes/playable characters/young spiky haired hothead swordsmen. At least, it's a collection of the ones that I feel made an impact on the story, or even the gameplay, that another character wouldn't have had. I'm open to suggestions, and I'll return to this series every so often because I've got tons of material. Anyway. On to the feature.

Viewtiful Joe

On another day, I would probably mention how I feel that Viewtiful Joe is one of the best superhero games of all time, but today I'm going to talk about why Joe himself is a top-class hero. In short, it comes down to him being a geek. A lifetime superhero film fan, Joe finds himself in the world of movies, able to manipulate the film for dramatic effect.
The thing most would focus on with Viewtiful Joe would be the Film FX powers, but to me, there's something special about the whole experience. Joe's fighting style was learned from watching movies, so when you're doing well, it really looks like an animated Power Rangers feature.
Outside of the gameplay, it's Joe that keeps the game interesting. His opponents are fairly ridiculous, but they're not funny until Joe starts in on them. His constant references to film and video game tropes keep the proper tone before and after boss fights, and the key idea for the character is that in spite of the world (and his girlfriend) being in danger, he's absolutely loving every second of the game. Combine this with the best "geek makes good" plot since Spider-Man, and Joe's a pretty likable guy.

A little rough, but that'll be the general style of The Great Ones. Thoughts?   read

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