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I'm a serious video game collector who focuses mainly on RPGs. My favorite console is the SNES, but that doesn't stop me from playing modern games, thankfully.
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I have quite the fondness for the Power Rangers. It was the first science fiction show that I ever got into (I was like six, shut up) it brought some of my absolute best friends together when we were in first grade, all of which I still consider friends and talk to on a regular basis, as well as my introduction to my life-long love of the Tokusatsu genre. Now, as I grew up, my opinion on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has evolved from it being the greatest thing to grace a television set to horribly Americanized, watered-down and a slightly preachy rendition of Super Sentai created by who many have called a racist, but that doesn't stop me from watching it from time to time, buying the higher quality toys that come from the shows and getting stuff signed by former actors when I go to a convention. With all of this in mind, I've decided to buy, play, and eventually review every single Power Rangers game to come out on consoles in the United States. Except for the one on kinect. Screw the kinect. This might take a bit, since I recently decided to do this, as in today and I only have three of the games so far. So yeah, this is going to be a harrowing ride through some absolute amazingness and absolute garbage.

It's pretty sad that licensed games have been given a bad rap as of recently. Back in the 16-but era, there were a lot of really good ones, and when you mix the coolest kids TV show of the 90's with the coolest video game genre of the 90's (fighting) with the coolest video game console of the 90's (Super Nintendo) into one, you will probably come out with an awesome result... and it was! Bandai didn't take the easy way out of this game and just make all of the power rangers playable characters with some enemies thrown in. You play what is arguably the best two minutes of every Power Rangers episode, the Zord scenes. In Story Mode, you play as either the Thunder Megazord or the Mega Tigerzord as you fight through giant sized monsters, and sometimes other Zords, for whatever reason. The game is pretty easy, for the most part. I got through most of the enemies with hitting one button over and over again without much thought. That is until I got to Lord Zedd, which made me think slightly, but wasn't much of a hassle.  After you beat Lord Zedd, the game is ov- NO WAIT, NOW YOU HAVE TO FIGHT IVAN OOZE! Yeah, that's right, the REAL end boss is the lamest antagonist from the lamest Power Ranger movie ever. and he is THE WORST! Seriously. After about fifteen tries, I couldn't even beat him in one round. It's not fair in the slightest. I hate Ivan Ooze. Apparently if you beat Ivan Ooze on Hard Mode, you can unlock him as a playable chaacter.  Screw that, and scew Ivan Ooze.

Trial Mode is kind of cool. You get to pick from eight characters and fight said eight characters at random, but this time you only get one round to beat them and they are much harder this time. They finally learned how to block and jump and stuff. It's fun for a bit, but from my experience it seems that the Zords are way more powerful than the enemy monsters, giving this mode a bit of a balance issue.

Fighting Mode is pobably the best pat of this game. It's what Versus Mode is called in every other fighting game to ever come out in the histoy of video games. You and a friend get to pick from one of eight charactes and fight it out. Again, it seems that the Zords are way more powerful than the enemy monsters. I mean, my girlfriend was destroying me as Tiger Megazord without any effort while I played as Goldar, and this was her first time playing the game. As long as you both pick goodies or both pick baddies, this mode is well balanced and fun, and if you really don't care, well... just have fun for a bit.

Graphically, this game is great. Huge sprites, sparks flying when characters get hit, absolutely no slowdown and really cool backgrounds. This game has it all for a 16-bit fighting game. The only thing that I don't like are the character pofiles in both bottom corners. They can be a bit distracting, but it's not so bad really. The music? Oh man, the music. Power Ranger epicness/horribleness in all of its chiptune glory. Honestly, if you wanted a really good review of the soundtrack, I'm not the one to give it. I know it's bad, but the music is just so ridiculous and nostalgic that I have to love it. It really fits the mood of a fighting game where you play as people dressed in either giant robot or giant monster suits and fight in miniaturized settings.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of figthing games. They haven't really ever appealed to me that much and I'm horrible at them, which may be caused by my dyslexia. Either way, out of all of the fighting games that I have played on the Super Nintendo, this has to be my favorite one. It has a theme that I actually give a crap about, the graphics are great and the music is fun. The gameplay might be a bit unbalanced and wonky from time to time, but it gives it character. Like a nerdy gang member with a scar across his face. It's also cheaper than a lot of SNES fighting games. I got mine complete fo about 50 dollars, but I've seen the cart go for about ten at retro game stores and conventions. It's totally worth picking up.

The winter season is not a time for me to find much free time, and now with my amiibo obsession taking up a lot of my days off, I haven't had much time to play games at all. Thankfully, I made myself sit down and play Eath Denfese Force 2025. I'm really glad I did. To be honest, this is my first experience with the Earth Defense Force series, and I wasn't expecting much from it. I know it's a well-loved series, but a Japanese thid person shooter that started out on a budget series? I was expecting some over the top action, and not much more. A good few hours of gameplay and then it will sit on my shelf for a while before I pick it up again. For a lack of better words, I was wrong.

Earth Defense Force might have graduated from its budget title beginnings, but it still has that budget, or indie feel and it really capitlizes on it. Conceptually, it's just a basic sci-fi third person shooter with a ridiculous concept of the world being invaded by both giant bugs and aliens. You are a member of the greatest army of all time: Earth Defense Force and your mission is to kill every giant bug and asshat alien out there. You get to pick one of four classes, two weapons, you armor color and then ROLL OUT! It's time for you to blow up some alien bug scum! As far as classes go, you have your Ranger, a typical foot soldier. You also have the Wing Divers, an all-female class armed with jetpacks. You also have the Fencers, who are your basic tank class, and then there are the Air Raiders, the support class, which lay down turrets and stuff. I've only played as a Raider so far, and it's been really fun so far. You get to pick two weapons, run aound and shoot everything that might be bad. It's fun and it's so, so satisfying. The difficulty is ridiculously easy for the first few stages, and then the learning curve goes through the roof. The fast-paced action and the over the top enemies make me wonder if this is the best third person shooter ever made, but it really can't be.

While the gameplay is really, really fun and addivtive, it does suffer from a lot of faults. I'm not going to blame the developer for the awfully ridiculous story. I mean, come on. I'm playing a game where aliens are dropping giant ants from flying saucers. The game is supposed to be ridiculous. The graphics? Yeah, they'e petty awful especially for a game that was released in 2013, but I doubt this game has a AAA-style budget so I'm not going to point fingers thee. I will say that the programming can be a bit shoddy here and there. The AI can be a bit atrocious. I've seen many NPCs just shoot randomly into the air for no reason because there were no enemies around, and sometimes shoot at a building when an ant is hanging out on the other side. Oh, and the enemies? Sometimes it seems like they forget their own size and will get stuck in tight areas, or fly into each other. I mean, it's not really bad. I've definitely have seen worse, but the game's AI seems to be stuck in the PS2 era. At least it brings some comedy! What I was really impressed by though was the music. They didn't seem to go budget title there, with hiring Masafuni Takada, the same guy who composed music for Killer7 and God Hand.

All in all, this game is very enjoyable. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a refreshing take on the sci-fi shooter genre, or anyone who likes weird games to be honest. I was going to write a conclusion with all kinds of tie-ins to Halo and the Alien series, but honestly I just want to go back to playing this game, so play it. EDF! EDF! EDF!

PLEASE NOTE: I have only played this game for two hours and with the Persona 3 team, so keep that in mind.

Well, getting this game was a fun-filled ride of garbage. I originally pre-ordered the premium editon at Gamestop, despite me really not liking to use them if at all possible.  A few days later, I saw it was available at Best Buy, so I canceled my original pre-order then pre-ordered it at Best Buy. Then a week later, I got a call from the gaming supervisor at Best Buy saying that the pre-order changed from the premium edition to the regular edition and he was not sure if they will be getting the premium edition in. So, I canceled my pre-order at Best Buy and pre-ordered it at Gamestop again. A few days after that, I got a call from the gaming supervisor at Best Buy saying that the pre-order for the premium edition is up so I canceled the pe-order at Gamestop and pre-ordered it again at Best Buy. Needless to say, the only person that I have ever seen working in that Gamestop probably thinks that I'm out of my mind, but Gamer's Club Unlocked giving me 20% off of new games and then getting Reward Zone points on my purchases on top of that makes it to be worth the hassle.

Was the game itself worth the actual hassle? Well, yes. While I am a huge fan of the MegaTen series, I am not the biggest fan of the Persona sub-series. It's just such a huge departure from the mood of the original series that it just doesn't feel like a Shin Megami Tensei game at all. They're too light-hearted for my taste for being a part of the massive MegaTen series, but that doesnt stop me from liking the games. This one is certainly no different. I purposely didn't watch or read juch of anything about the game after its initial announcement since I really wanted to be surprised. It was nice that they let you pick which game's team you would like to start out playing with, but I really hope that you get to use both teams in your party eventually.

The music? Standard Persona music, so basically it's pretty good mix of Jpop with rap and fits the game incredibly well. I just wouldn't listen to it outside of the game ever. Now one thing that I've always loved about the MegaTen series is the first-person dungeon crawling gameplay and this game brings it back to the Persona series, which I absolutely love. It really helps the feel of the game and feeling constantly lost, which I always loved about the first-person MegaTen games. My only major complaint; why do I have to draw my own map? It's absolutely pointless. It just slows down the exploration for me. I'n constantly stopping and drawing walls and putting down icons for certain things, then drawing more walls, all while looking at my side-menu to see how close I am to being attacked. It's just too much and I honestly don't see the point of it. Maybe there is a point and because I purposely didn't read or watch anything about the game, I'm missing something here, but whatever. I still find it annoying. Overall though, I'm having a lot of fun and I'm really glad to see yet another MegaTen game on the 3DS. It's such a great platform for these types of games, and I hoestly hope to see more soon.

Recently, I've gotten fed up with the prices of Super Nintendo games. I've instead have been trying to buy Japanese imports instead, so long as it's easy to play without knowing Japanese. They're usually a fraction of the price, and usually not much more to get them complete with the box and manual. I've been getting a few of the more expensive SNES games on SFC, like Castlevania: Dracula X, but I'm always trying to find a few games that never saw a release here in the west. While looking for good Super Famicom beat 'em ups, I've stumbled upon The Great Battle series. A crossover beat 'em up with Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Gundam and an original character that actually looks cool, all in super deformed style? Yeah, I'm sold.

While researching The Great Battle games, I found that it's a part of a pretty expansive Banpresto-developed series, called the Campati Hero Series, which ranges in different genres, to RPGs, sports, and of course, beat 'em ups. I couldn't find a lot on the games themselves, other than a few gameplay videos here and there. I ended up buying one of the cheaper games on ebay on a whim. I was pretty excited to get it, but I wasn't expecting much in the way of quality when it came to this game. Banpresto is a huge hit or miss in my opinion, especially with their licensed crossovers, but at the same time, they're mixing three of my favorite shows together!

When I popped the game in I was kind of surprised by what I was playing. The game can be played with either one player, or two players. I've only had a chance to play in one player mode so far, and well... it's pretty different than what I was expecting. In most beat 'em ups, there's a weak attack, a strong attack that usually damages you when you use it, a jump button and a limited number of screen-clearing super special attack. In this game, there's a punch button, a kick button and a jump button. The placement of the buttons is a little different. A is punch, B is kick, and Y is the jump button. That takes a bit to get used to, but after that, it works pretty well. In one player mode, you can change through the four characters with the select button, but quite unexpectedly, all four share the same health, so there's no strategy to changing characters, especially since they are just as strong and fast as each other. It's just an asthetic opinion.

The game is actually quite difficult, which I mostly blame on the fact that your character is short and squat, having not much of a reach. While the enemies are the same way, a few have projectile weapons and can be really fast, so some can be annoying. Speaking of enemies, it seems that most, if not all are from Gundam, Kamen Rider and Ultraman, which is pretty cool. Most of the basic enemies are well, basic enemies in the shows, like Vagans and Shocker Grunts. Bosses in the game look really great, with their huge, animated sprites, but the actual fights are pretty lacklucter. Every single boss that I got to, I beat with just smashing the punch button. I've actually got hurt way more by single Shocker Grunts than I have by any boss in the game so far, but I haven't beaten the game so that might be why. Graphically, the game is alright. The sprites are AWESOME. They all have a lot of personality, but the backgrounds are pretty lackluster. I guess the sprite work makes up for it.

The music is pretty bland, nothing really stands out, but that's alright. I kind of wish they used music from the shows, but oh well. Banpresto doesn't really seem to like doing that. All in all, it's a petty fun game, minus some complaints. If you're looking for an amazing, groundbreaking Japanese exclusive game, this isn't it, but if you want a fun beat 'em up that's pretty cheap and you like Tokusatsu and Gundam, it's worth getting.

Now, I did not play this game when it first came out. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until a few years after it was released and I never owned a Playstation 1. I first heard of it early in my 9th grade year. My best friend was obsessed with the anime Hellsing, which he kind of pushed me into liking as well. It wasn't hard to do that, but it's definitely nothing that I would consider a favorite ever, but it was certainly enjoyable. His long-distance girlfriend at the time had Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and told me about how awesome it was. The last time I played a Castlevania game was Super Castlevania IV through emulation on the probably not completely unused ZSNES. So, now that I had something that could play PS1 games, I just had to get this game. The main character of the game had the same name as the main character in Hellsing and I got to play as the half-vampire son of Dracula and I get to kill Dracula? It was everything that this fourteen year old anime-obsessed goth kid wanted in life. Although, back then I was really fickle with money. I basically wanted to spend every cent of my pretty limited money on anime, anime conventions, and PS2 RPGs. I would see the game at places like Funco Land and at booths at anime conventions, but I had no interest in paying a whole 35 dollars or more for an old game! Who in their right mind would do that?  IT'S OLD! Nobody wants old games anymore. except for me, obviously.

Finally, two years later in 2003, I was in a Costco's with my dad and was looking in their video game... aisle, if you could even call it that. I saw a bin of greatest hits PS1 games, and while I was sifting through the numerous copies of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, and Tactics, I found one lonely copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Brand new. For $17.99. I couldn't help it anymore. I had to have it. I bought it without a second thought. I couldn't wait to get home to play this game. Two years of waiting came down to this fifteen minute car ride. It was probably the longest fifteen minutes of my life. It felt like a year, I feel like I could count the blades of grass as we drove home.

Now, for those of you who do not know anything about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, it's an action platformer set in 18th century Transylvania (currently called Romania) where you play as Alucard, the son of Dracula who woke up to save Richter Belmont, the current generation of the long-living Belmont clan who have the job of trying to kill Dracula whenever his castle, Castlevania appears. This time when Castlevania appeared, Richter is nowhere to be found. This game is a huge departure from the series, which was known for being a high-quality, yet difficult straight-forward action platforming series. This game adds in a lot of exploration, inspired by Super Metroid, as well as RPG elements with leveling up, hit points and changing equipment. Instead of using a whip like in almost every other Castlevania game before it, you had a variety of weapons to choose from, as well as having the option to use a shield at the same time to help protect you as well.

Now, back to my first time playing the game: As soon as I got home, I ran into the living room, ignoring my father's yells to help him with the groceries, ripped off the plasic around the game so quickly, I thought I broke the case at first and popped the game into my PS2. I didn't even sit down at all. I just stood there, mear inches from the screen as I listened to the haunting vocals that is the start screen music. It didn't even confuse me one bit that the game's save file started at the very bottom first. I just selected the first square, selected my name as Alucard, and started playing. The first thing that I really noticed about the game was the music. It completely blew me away. The mix of classical music with elements on modern electronic and metal music reminded me of a band that I was obsessed with at the time (and still am, honestly) Malice Mizer.

The gameplay, and the game overall felt so familiar, but completely new at the same time. The game can be fast-paced and very action-oriented, yet at the same time it requires some calculation, from strategies to beat bosses to what type of weapon to use against which type of enemy. I was completely hooked. I played for a while, beat the first boss, found a save point and then... I realized that you can't use PS2 memory cards to save PS1 games. I didn't care. I was going to try to go as far as I could until I died. I did this daily for about a week until I could get a PS1 memory card. Since then, I have beaten the game numerous times. I own it on every platform except for Sega Saturn, and I try my hardest to play it at least once a year. At this point, I can get basically run through the game and get to Dracula in a few hours, and every time it brings me back to my awkward, gothy anime-obsessed teenage years, reminding me that not much of my character has really changed. I just grew up a bit.

Level-5 has made some great games over the years, from Dragon Quest VIII and IX, to Ni No Kuni, Dark Cloud, Professor Layton and the White Knight Chronicles games. They really have a way of making a broad spectrum of types and genres of games, with different tones. It honestly has impressed me. What has really surprised me though, is how many of their games have never left Japan. Youkai Watch came out in Japan in 2012 and kids ate that game up.  It's basically Pokemon, but with ghosts and you use a watch to find, fight and sometimes catch them.

For those who don't know anything about the games, here's a trailer:

The games, and everything else revolving around it has sold like crazy. There have been lines outside toy stores to get a raffle ticket to get a chance to buy the very sought-after watch toy. The games themselves have sold over a million copies each- all while staying in Japan only and the large majority of the audience being young children. The games, while geared towards children, actually look good and really fun to play, and now that Level-5 has finally announced that the games will be released outside of Japan sometime in 2015, I'm pretty excited about this. The more Level-5 games that get localized, the better for me.

What I did find pretty interesting is how the differences between the Pokemon and Youkai Watch fanbases in Japan. Before it was official that the west were getting these games, I stumbled upon an article about Youkai Watch and why all these kids like it so much. One kid admitted that they like it more than Pokemon because adults don't know about it. That's completely understandable. I mean, if I was a seven year old Japanese kid, I wouldn't want to have to compete with adults for games, and toys and stuff on a daily basis, and having my parents creeped out by the number of people there significantly over the age of fifteen.

I kind of wonder how well this game will fare in America, especially with children. I guess we'll have to see how it goes next year.