So this past month I've been playing an awesome game, Namco x Capcom. And in my gaming high I got the idea to share my thoughts on the game. But first some basics: Namco x Capcom is an "action RPG/tactical RPG hybrid" for the Playstation 2 made in 2005 by Monolith Soft. As the name suggests it features characters from both companies battling in various settings. The game was only released in Japan but there is a translation patch made by Transgen. I got the obsolete version of the patch by mistake and I've been subject to many grammar mistakes. Don't know how correct the latest version is.
First let me just say that this game is pure fanservice, maybe even at the expense of the story. Is there even a crossover game with good story? I could even say that with this game the story doesn't even matter. All that matters is that you get to battle with your favourite characters accompanied by amazing music. I'm easily entertained. The battles are very easy, or have been atleast to where I am now (chapter 16). I've only had one character die in battle. Now that we've got the critique done with, let's get to the praising.
From the first minute you pop in the game you are awed by the glorious opening animation done by studio IG. Who knows how many times I've watched it. This acts as a teaser to the characters as you are presented with a fairly big cast from the beginning, but there are still surprises to come. You'll be waiting for your favourite character to appear and don't know when that happens. Small hints whether it's the stage you're on or the enemies you are fighting act as a preview of things to come. Can't wait for the next fight to see "him".
Speaking of characters there have been many times when I've been presented with one that I don't recognize. Then it's time to browse through the wikis and say "Oh, he's from THAT game". Playing as new people really get's me fired up to try their respective games. I have to admit when King came up at first I thought that he was from Darkstalkers, not that I wouldn't recognize King but I had no idea of such game titles as Tekken making an appearance.
The fighting system is very interesting, almost like a minigame where you are rewarded for chaining your attacks from which you can get item drops. By getting enough attacks done and depending on your level of defense you fill up your meter and you can do a special attack plus with with some characters you can do combo attacks. Here's a video showcasing some of these said specials. *youtube*
Hopefully this game proves to be as entertaining as it have been to this point and I get to meet many interesting new characters. If there's one thing I'm waiting for it's Mr. Driller.
So it has now been 3 years since the first episode of RetroforceGO! was posted on Destructoid and to commemorate that I made a poster in honour of the most entertaining podcast involving retro video games. Finally something to put on my empty wall. I'm not leaving RfGO! alone just yet, there's still one more project that I have developing in my mind involving a certain shoop I made loong time ago.
So about the making of this poster. The first idea I had was to have the whole thing split into 2 posters. This was because of my limited use of printing solutions at first. But soon after finding out that making A2 prints in the university print was rather cheap that changed things. I even had it laminated. Choosing what showpost pictures to use was a struggle in itself so I ended up with three different designs. One with the original pictures, the second with some pictures traded with their "recording" counterparts, and the third with the FFIV picture switched because of visibility issues. If you still want something changed, leave a comment. You can download the posters at my pics account or at my mediafire folder:
After finishing the poster project it was time to look at history what had happened / what games came out on this glorious day of May 17th. With some browsing on wikipedia here's what I found:
Bonanza Brothers (Genesis); May 17, 1991 (JP)
A shooter, platform game where two brothers are robbing people of their possessions while avoiding guards moving stealthily in their homes. In the western versions they were changed from thieves to "security system testers".
Fuzzical Fighter (Famicom); May 17, 1991 (JP)
Now this is an interesting one. A side-scrolling shooter with rpg elements. In between stages you are in a town where you can upgrade your ship, buy items or warp to different stages. The ingame portraits are hilarious and the first boss was cool. Might play later further than the first stage just to see what kind of crazy things await me.
Palamedes 2 (Famicom); May 17th, 1991 (JP)
A puzzle game where the objective is to pick the correct dice in a set before the evergrowing stack reaches the top.
Road Rash 2 (Genesis); May 17th, 1992
A racing game with soundtrack by Rob Hubbard. I found it rather enjoying to crash and then having to run back to your bike instead of respawning back onto the road.
YES! THAT'S RIGHT!
Flipper was released in the movies on May 17th, 1996. Can't be a coincidence. This could make for a great summer movie with some pizza rolls and a slurpee to wash it down with. Now if only I could get either one here in Finland...
What do all games with amazing music have in common? Or at least they should have. A soundtrack to put on your shelf! Cave Story is no exception to this. So I took it upon myself to create such a thing for you because that is just how much I like Cave Story.
ME AND CAVE STORY
Now that I've got your attention I thought I'd first tell my tale of me and Cave Story. The first time I heard of it was a year back in IRC when a friend began furiously posting comments of his attempts at Hell. A month ago by some idea I downloaded Cave Story and at the end of the day my first playthrough was done. Soon after the very same person who I first mentioned played CS in his livestream account with hilarious and insightful commentary. Then began my journey in Hell. It was a week or so struggling to get past the middle boss. Ballos came down fairly easy after extracting my skills learned by watching speedruns of said boss. Currently I'm in the middle of playing the game with various achievable weapons.
After finishing the game itself I've been obsessed with everything related to it. Listening the soundtrack daily, downloading remixes and browsing through countless pages of fanart. I look forward to the corrected version of the wiiware iteration coming to Europe this summer.
Last year I developed a habit which is evident of my post from december. I like to give something back to people who keep me entertained. And this project was not an exception giving me the spark to truly start on this. I have already mentioned this person a couple of times. Just recently he finished his 3hp run in CS and before that we got to marvel him mastering Super Ghouls'n Ghosts obtaining the true ending. He will soon get this in the mail along with another item pertaining to his hobbies.
Finding source pictures for the covers was not a hard task as Pixel made the game's image files readily available in the 'data' folder. The back picture was extracted from the bgm player and the inside text was modified from the one found at Miraigamer's Cave Story site. Pixel logo on the cd was found on an older version of his site. What was the hardest in this was to place Ballos as close to the center of the cd as possible. But after many versions it's pretty close. For the cover of the actual cd I first envisioned to use the colour scheme from the logo but it soon became apparent that making a sticker label would not be the smartest thing. So I settled to use the LightScribe option. In the end I'm very pleased with the outcome of this project.
As for the music I couldn't find a proper collection of it. What I did find was a lot of music recorded from the game itself as shown by the fading out of the previous track in song #2 found in many existing ones floating around the net. So I downloaded a program to convert the .org files from the game to .xm and from that to .mp3 and finally on to the cd. You can download my rip of the music here.
And finally here you go. The files to print your own Cave Story cover art. Alternatively you can get the files here
[warning, the following is by an avid ps2 pop'n player who hasn't played the wii version]
Pop'n Music is one of those games that is identified by the controller. And the most fun part of the game is to smash away at those huge colourful buttons. Whether it's a Konami official controller, pop'n minicon or a homemade controller (mine on the right) it's a must have to fully enjoy the game as intented. I mean we get dance pads for DDR and guitars and drums for Rockband. Why not for this one? Waggle away says Nintendo. I for one thought Nintendo would be all over this one. Another plastic casing to stuck your wiimote into.
Here are some picks from the NA songlist: It's raining men, ABC and Ace Of Spades '08... At a glance the list amounts to somewhat 3/1 ratio with american songs outweighing the original japanese ones. Okay, I enjoy some of the song choises but as I looked at the ones previously mentioned I shook my head in disappointment. To look for something positive at least the dlc so far has been superb (let's just hope we get it too)
There's a second problem I have with the music. It's not keysounded. As with guitar hero you complete the song by pressing the correct notes as instructed. Otherwise you'd be listening to a bland background track. Instead what you get here is an added sound effect of a drum being hit or some similar sound as you would get when playing Taiko No Tatsujin or Donkey Konga. THE SAME SOUND EVERY TIME
Gone with the old classic pop'n skin and in with the new abomination. Pop-kuns surely get lost in this mess of a "stage". Miis dancing in the background *shudders*. Further making this purely into a party game is the fact that there is no scoring. Just three trophies: one for passing, one for 100% bar and one for full combo. And why is it that pop'n wii must have the same wii-like menus every other game has?
So a while back in December I sent the Destructoid HQ some christmas presents (see previous post). And among them were five audio cassettes for the RetroforceGO! crew. As I am unsure of whether they will be delivered to the hosts I decided to expand my explanation of the project here and to shed some more light on my decisions.
jump to the end if you just want to look at the pretty pictures
Why compact cassette?
= That's an easy question. Since we are dealing with a podcast of retro video gaming It was obvious that CDs were out of the question. Besides I still use cassettes to record stuff from the radio. I also collect old VHS tapes as I like the artwork.
= All of the hosts have their own likes and quirks so it is only right that the covers represent that also.
= I tried to put everyone's favourite game music and also some of my favourites on each tape. Granted, I don't remember all the episodes by heart so there might be some major misses on my part. But that's why the labels format is RFGO-XX. Who knows, maybe there's a sequel to this... I also tried to put the songs in release order but I didn't bother checking it very thoroughly as there wasn't much time so that I would meet my deadline of december 10ish. Donkey Kongs, Mega Mans, other legends and the not-so-known Live-A-Live are heavily presented in all tapes. All the songs should be from retro titles but I did allow myself to cheat with some of the picks. As soon as I completed this tens of songs came to my mind that I forgot to add. As said in previous blog. Making this introduced me to many great never heard soundtracks. Among others: Nights, Klonoa and Thunder Force.
Dyson and Metroid just go hand-in-hand. That's a definite choice. That is also represented in the cover. Nice and simple for the great ringleader. After the obvious pick "Theme of Super Metroid" I started to draw a blank. Delving more deeply in the shows would have surely filled the list more accurately but I just chose to fill it with generally awesome songs. Some special selections of mine include the theme of Mine Bombers (Finnish made bomberman like game with wide arsenal) and the first appearance of an awesome artist, Saitama Saisyu Heiki (S.S.H) in the remix of "Decisive battle" from Final Fantasy 3.
Chad's personal track is the song he opened RetroforceGO! episode #6 with. The opera song from Final Fantasy 3 on the SNES. The cover also simply details this wonderful moment in SNES cutscene history. Notice the Epoch flying just below Concelmo. I included some disney songs in there also. Special choices on this include the Metal Gear Solid theme from beatmania GB and a remix of Big Blue by S.S.H
Then we move to the shmup expert whose cassette starts with Ryu's stage music from Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. When I added this I just had to add Dj Sharpnel's version of it also. Now this was a fun cover to make. At first it was a simple idea of a shmup of sorts but soon more and more stuff got added. Beedog, the Ikaruga warning, slurpees, Miku and the Konami score. I tried to pick shmup songs in particular but only managed so few with other great songs taking their place. Special songs on this are S.S.H remix of Try To Star from Gradius III and the final boss' theme from Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith. I kinda got carried away with Thunder Force 5 (but the soundtrack is soooo gooood).
We start this one off with the Chocobo song from Final Fantasy 5. Colette's love for chobobos extends over to the cover also. Depicted as a white mage summoning(?) Chad to destroy an enemy cactuar with airborne dolphins. Sounds illogical but it was too good of an idea not to do. On this one I preferred rpg songs over others. Special selections include the danger song from Clocktower on the Super Famicom, Rhythm Tengoku Gold remix 10 and theme music from Puzzle Quest as suggested by doifX.
Lastly we come to the youngest member of the show and start of with a yet another SSF2 Turbo song, Chun Li's stage. Same as with Topher, the Sharpnel remix just begged to be added. Since the Street Fighter stage picture was so vertically limited I added an extra touch to the otherwise boring black background. Mister Destructoid as Q is just a given with the SF theme. I should have searched more puzzle game songs on this one. Special song is the hilarious title theme from Ballz 3D, fighter on the genesis. (subtle detail in all the insides, I added Stella to the rubik cube)
Merry Christmas, Destructoid people! Hope you received my package in time. For Niero I got an eerie looking robot decoration. For Anthony and Ashly a Doctor Who dvd. For the RetroforceGO! crew I made each their very own mixtape full of retro video game music (okay, there are a few remixes and a couple recent songs included on there as well). The songs are mainly from SNES games as it's my favourite gaming console. This project introduced me to many new soundtracks that I had never heard before. To mention a few: Thunder Force V, Klonoa and Nights.
My christmas was not very fruitful on the video game side of things but I did start playing 'Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater' today. That should keep me entertained for a couple of days.