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10:44 AM on 02.12.2010  

Goodwill Hunting Episode 5: Rare Pokemon



Today's Goodwill Hunting involves a 64-bit system, a photography simulator, and a couple Rare games that aren't too hard to find.

A Nintendo 64 system, Pokemon Snap, Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark have all been spotted and purchased by myself at a local Goodwill. A nice catch, I say. A nice catch indeed.



Pokemon Snap

System: Nintendo 64
Developer: HAL Laboratory, Inc
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 1999
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $8.00

Pokemon Snap is a photography game that's played kind of similar to an on-rails light gun game. You ride around in a cart whiling aiming your camera around trying to take the best pictures of the various pokemon in the level. It was developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc, who have made a ton of games, but you may now them for the Mother and Earthbound series.

Game play in Pokemon Snap mainly consists of you taking photos and using a selection of three items to interact with the pokemon. By holding down the Z button you aim your camera and then press A to take a photo. When not holding Z the A button throws an apple, the B button throws a Pester Ball, and the C Down button plays a flute. All of these items have to be unlocked and do various things to catch the Pokemons' attention or make them act differently. You are scored based on the size of the Pokemon in the photo, if the Pokemon is centered, the pose of the Pokemon, and how many of that Pokemon that are in the frame.



I went into Pokemon Snap not expecting much. I knew a little about it and I've never been impressed with any console Pokemon games. I was wrong. This game is really fun. The feeling of seeing a Pokemon quickly peek out from behind a bush and quickly snapping a perfect photo is rewarding. Also, the interactions with the Pokemon and environments using the various items makes for some fun "I wonder what this will do" moments. Throwing an apple at Charmander causing him to fall in a lava pit and burst out as Charizard is one of many examples.

There are a couple downsides to the game. For one it only features 63 of the original 151 Pokemon. It's kind of disappointing that many people will missing out on seeing some of their favorite Pokemon. The game is also very short and can be beat in a couple hour sitting. There are seven levels and they only last a few minutes each. Factor in the amount of Pokemon and you'll probably be done with the game after replaying each level a few times.

Overall, Pokemon Snap is a fun and unique game. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Pokemon or just a unique take on a on-rails "shooter". I haven't played a Pokemon game since the original game boy and I still had fun so being a diehard Pokemon fan is not a requirement. You can also purchase the game on Virtual Console for $10 if you don't own a Nintendo 64.



GoldenEye

System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 1997
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $13.00

Oh, GoldenEye, do I even need to explain you? An extremely popular FPS for the Nintendo 64 developed by Rare. It's also based on a Bond move, or so I've heard.

By now, most people have played this game or know what it is. I've never owned a Nintendo 64 so my experience with the game is limited to playing multiplayer with friends a couple time. I've never played the single player so this is my first experience with that.



The game is still fun today, although, being used to high-res graphics and dual sticks does make it a little harder to enjoy. I do believe Rare did the best anyone could possible do with FPS controls on the Nintendo 64. They kept the controls fairly simple and I started to move around fairly naturally after getting used to the strafing and movement control layout. The best thing about GoldenEye has to be it's level design and objectives. The majority of first-person shooters at this point were shoot everything, get keycards, and get to the exit door. GoldenEye gives you several goals per level and lets you accomplish them how you want. The levels themselves are all unique and interesting and it's fun finding your way around while silently picking off the enemies one by one.

The only negatives to the game are the primitive controls and graphics. When turning corners or aiming up or down a staircase I would often become disoriented for a few seconds. Many textures are so muddy that it can be hard to tell what you're looking at up close and the controls certainly don't help the situation. The game does seem to understand that it can be hard to aim, which, is why there is the auto-aim option making the game a little less frustrating for those who have trouble. Also, the mission goals are sometimes a little vague and I failed quite a few times because I got to the end of a mission but missed talking to one person or doing one little objective.

Overall, GoldenEye stands the test of time. If you don't own it and have a Nintendo 64 I would still recommend it. The single player and multiplayer modes are still fun and enjoyable and it's a great piece of gaming history.



Perfect Dark

System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Rare & Nintendo
Release Date: 2000
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $8.00

Perfect Dark is Rare's "spiritual successor" to GoldenEye. Using what made GoldenEye so great and updating it with better graphics and more advanced game play, Rare tried to improve on their original formula. Whether or not their attempt was a success is debatable.

The main difference between GoldenEye and Perfect Dark is the setting and Perfect Dark's stronger focus on stealth and gadgets. Perfect Dark also required the expansion RAM cartridge for the game to be playable. Overall, the two games are very similar with the same control setup and similar single player mission structure and multiplayer.



To me GoldenEye does a better job on the single player but Perfect Dark adds some really inventive and fun multiplayer modes to the mix. Let's talk about the counter-op mode! Why don't more games have this?! What it is is one player plays the main character and plays the single player mission as they normally would alone. The second player controls the enemies in the level. His goal is to stop the first player from completing the mission objectives. It's extremely fun and addicting and I don't know of a single other game with a mode like this. Perfect Dark also adds a co-op mode, which, GoldenEye lacks.

The big downside to Perfect Dark is slowdown. It seems Rare tried to push the Nintendo 64 hardware too hard and even with the expansion RAM there are moments in levels where the frames-per-second get pretty low. This is especially true in multiplayer. It also suffers a little from poor controls and some muddy graphics at times just like it's predecessor.

Overall, I would recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of GoldenEye or wants some interesting multiplayer gaming. It's a little harder to play now because of the slowdown issue, but I was still able to enjoy it. Luckily, an XBLA port is coming next month and I'm going to guess that it won't have the same issues. It might be the first time Perfect Dark will actually be played the way it was meant to be played.

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9:50 PM on 02.11.2010  

Making Bayonetta B(ayon)etter

Released last month, Bayonetta, appears to have been a big success for Sega and Platinum Games. This is really good news, especially, for a new IP and it's very likely that a sequel will be developed.

Bayonetta, was an excellent game and easily one of the best action games I've ever played. This does not mean it was a perfect game by any means. In fact, there are quite a few ways I feel Bayonetta could be improved. With the following design changes Sega could make Bayonetta 2 not only the best action game ever made but the best piece of digital entertainment ever conceived!

Just a note there may be mild spoilers in this article. If spoilers scare you in any way and you haven't finished Bayonetta continue with caution.



First off, I'm a firm believer that game developer's should avoid using cutscenes at all costs. If they are used they should be so amazing that it feels like a reward when you get to view one. Most games don't do this. I"m usually impatiently waiting for cutscenes to end to get back to the game play. It's especially jarring in Bayonetta because the game play is so fast paced and frantic that the cutscenes take away all the momentum. I don't mind the occasional choreographed fight scene but hearing generic characters talk about a plot I'm not interested in is not my idea of fun. The strange thing is Bayonetta has some breathtaking interactive moments (like the opening scene) that many developers would have created a cutscene for. Why they decided to put so much effort into all the cutscenes is difficult to comprehend.

The story itself was way too complex and Bayonetta could have benefitted from a more minimalist approach. Look at games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. They aren't filling your head with all these names and plot points and they're story is much more affecting then Bayonetta's. Leave the player to start to question and try and develop what's going on rather than have them get confused and frustrated because they aren't understanding everything that's being told to them. I for one barely understood what was going on. Bayonetta has you killing off all these majestic angelic beasts and it is kind of interesting as to whether you are actually the "good guy" or not. The potential for the player to try and figure out the story is there.



A lot of people complained about the various minigames in Bayonetta. I agree with the complaints but I also loved the random nods to various Sega titles. The motorcycle (Hang-On?) section and the bullet riding (Space Harrier) portions went on way too long but for the first couple minutes I loved them. They felt like a little reward that broke up the gameplay for a little bit until diving back into the intense action. Unfortunately, there were only those two moments, which, actually made them feel kind of out of place with the rest of the game. There's so many interesting things they could do with the idea that I hope to see more if a sequel is developed. A 2D sidescroller like Shinobi? An arcade driving portion like Outrun? Streets of Rage? Virtua Fighter? Sonic?

Get rid of Angel Attack though. That was lame.



The store in Bayonetta felt unnecessary. I never used the weapons I bought as they felt underdeveloped when compared to the default weapons. Usually, I would stock up on the extra life item and some potions and occasionally buy a new move. I bought the same things almost every visit. The thing is all of the items and techniques the store offers could be integrated into the gameplay.

Collecting halos would be entirely for unlocking new techniques. Similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum when you obtained enough halos you'd be able to go into the upgrade menu and select what new move you'd want to learn.

The potions and extra lives could all be found in the environment, rewarding exploration. I liked the herb mixing element of Bayonetta and if all items could be obtained by different combinations of herbs it would give the player the choice of what item they wanted. No more going to the store and buying one of each before entering the next level.

I would remove the ability to buy and equip new weapons and accessories entirely. This would give the developers the ability to focus all their attention on making the default weaponry as good as they can. Keep Bayonetta's ability to temporarily obtain enemy weapons, though, as they were a little more powerful and added a little strategy when deciding how you used them. Plus, some of them just looked cool.



The torture attacks in Bayonetta are fun to watch the first few times you see them but, when you've seen the same attack over ten times it starts to slow the action down. Part way through the game I started intentionally not doing the torture attacks sometimes because I didn't feel like watching the same animation everytime and repeatedly pressing a button.

A better solution would be to give the player some choice in the torture attack that gets performed. When the player hits the buttons required to start a torture attack give the player a limited amount of time to enter a sequence of buttons. Depending on the complexity of buttons and what moves the player had unlocked a quick torture attack would be performed. The more complex the attack the more halos the player gets out of it. Remove the mindless tapping of a single button completely.

The final hair attacks during boss fights could also be improved. They all look amazing but the fact that your interaction with them is hitting Y as fast as you can seems to ruin the potential. Even something as simple as guiding their mouth, talon, fist, etc., similar to guiding the bullet at the end of the game would make the player feel like they were actually doing something. The reward of defeating a boss as Bayonetta and then temporarily gaining control of this giant hair beast would give the player a much bigger sense of accomplishment. The game would acknowledge the fact that you've mastered the techniques needed to defeat the boss, and in return give you control over a creature who's only purpose is to destroy the boss in the most satisfying way possible.



Two of my favorite parts of Bayonetta were moments when I didn't even expect to be interactive. Controlling the bullet to finish off the final boss was extremely cool. Then, during the credits little scenes in the background would randomly become playable. I wasn't even holding the controller at first and quickly grabbed the controller after I noticed that Bayonetta was getting the crap beat out of her. If the developers are able to think of more creative moments for interactivity and game play the game will be that much more memorable. Of all the moments in Bayonetta the bullet scene will probably be the one that sticks with me the longest.

And Sega, don't release a sloppy port.

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11:17 AM on 02.10.2010  

Destructoid Community, Make This Podcast's Name Good!

So, Destructoid, I need your thoughts and suggestions. A Sega-themed podcast is coming in March and a name is being chosen.

The name being contemplated right now is: SEGAddicts



What do you think of the name? Does it work? You like?

If you don't like or you have some other ideas for names please post them in the comments. If we like it we may choose it and you'll go down in podcast history. Your kids may learn about you in school one day. You want to make them proud, don't you?

Other suggestions are welcome as well. What you'd like to hear about in the podcast: topics, segments, etc.

Also, if you know a lot of Sega things and want to be a member of the cast or a possible guest member someday just mention it in the comments. Right now, I might potentially have a full cast but there may be a time in the future when I need to find a new member.

To end this post I will reveal to you the greatest podcast name ever conceived. It was too good though and be warned it has caused certain people to throw up all over their hands and computer desk without warning.



Thanks for all your help! It is appreciated!

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9:36 AM on 02.10.2010  

Massive Alien vs. Predator Developer Q&A



Sega of America has posted a big Q&A with Rebellion on their blog. All of the questions came from the community and it makes for a good read if you have any interest in the game. I'll paste the text into this blog but if you want to visit the original post go here.


"AlienTechProductions - Will you make more classes or is there just a standard class for each faction?
Tim Jones- We’ve focused on balancing each species/faction so that each one has a fighting chance in a one-on-one grudge match against any other, so we have no immediate plans for more classes.

Filthy Blood Junkie – Does AvP3 use ragdoll physics in multiplayer?
Tim Jones- Yes, ragdoll physics are very much in evidence when you die in multiplayer.

VEF214 – Will marines have access to any kind of “equipment”? (Sentry turrets, barricades)?
Tim Jones- There are a number of sequences in the single player campaigns where Marines will be using Sentry Guns to defend themselves. Some of the other “equipment” the Marines get to use include their torch, flares, hacking tool, Motion Tracker, and of course the Smart Gun which automatically targets enemies and tears them apart with ammunition at the push of a button

Leventa – The whole game just screams AvP, from the font of the letters denoting the various colony blocks, to the sounds of the doors and pulse rifles. Even the elephantine shrieks of wounded aliens. I even noticed the amazing detail paid to the translucent head on the Runner aliens shown in the Survivor mode promotion video, and all the creepy details beneath it when the light hits it just right.
All this in mind, I’d like to ask you this Tim: How much of a labor of love is this game for you and your team?
Tim Jones- Well I think you just answered that question yourself! This game has been an obsessive passion for us and we constantly strive to make it as authentic as it can be. It’s a genuine thrill when fans like yourself pick up on the love we’ve poured into it!

Uyuyuy – will be future missions as DLC ??? Does the game support split screen ?
Tim Jones – AvP does not support split-screen but you can expect further Survivor Mode missions as DLC.

Blooddrunk – Does the Smart-Gun have the same sound like in the movie, because in trailers I saw it sounds completely different?
Tim Jones- Well spotted! We have updated the sound of the Smart Gun, so you are right – it isn’t exactly the same as in the movies. We gave it a heavier sound – a little more like the Mini-gun in Predator.

xXMinionXx – How will the weapons be implemented into the multiplayer in modes like predator hunt or infestation?
Tim Jones- Marines spawn with Pistols and Pulse Rifles in their inventory. Other weapons, they have to find and pick up around the Maps as they play. In Predator Hunt, the Predator player spawns with just Wrist-Blades — they have to seek out the more powerful weapons like the Plasma-Caster or the Smart Disc if they really want to dominate the hunt!

JaHawk – Can you choose the killmove initiated or is it determined by a random generator?
Tim Jones- You have a certain amount of control over how you finish your enemies: if you initiate a finishing move from behind, it will be a stealth kill – i.e. silent and unnoticed by other enemies unless they see it directly. If you initiate a finishing move from the front, while your opponent is stunned it will be… not so stealthy! The exact finishing move animation that you see is randomized. Of course, you always have the option to finish your enemy with standard melee strikes, which is faster and involves less risk to you as a player.

Wraith King – Will you be able to use the Alien Queen in multiplayer?
Tim Jones- No, sorry!

emc – How do TK’s work in MP? Are they easy to pull off? What happens when two people TK at the same time? Is there a mechanic?
Tim Jones- TK’s? Do you mean finishing moves? They are initiated in exactly the same way as in single player: from behind, or from the front if your opponent is stunned or knocked-down. You are vulnerable to attack during a finishing move so you have to pick your moment carefully!

Wicked Sick – Why the decision to remove player controlled facehuggers (aka Lifecycle) and Predaliens from the game? These two classes put the Alien in Alien vs. Predator.
Tim Jones- Creating a compelling experience for each of the three main species (Marine, Predator and Alien) is essentially like making three very different games at the same time. If we were to make the Face Huggers and Predaliens playable with the same attention to detail (that they would deserve), it would be like adding another two game types to what is already an ambitious project!

JAGX – How will Aliens work given that they have only skins and no classes?
Tim Jones- Aliens have the advantage of superior speed, agility and melee strength. Trust me, it’s a new kind of experience but it’ll make sense when you play it!

bent toe – Will there be a lobby where you can set up map rotations, invite friends, talk before the match start, set all options etc… AND, will it be MATCHMAKING or SERVER BROWSER?
Tim Jones- There is a lobby where you can set up the game details and collect your friends before starting the match. We use a combination of matchmaking and server browsers.

Nosugora – The addition of Corporates as a playable faction in Aliens vs. Predator 2 added a whole new aspect to the multiplayer. Corporates vs. Marines servers were quite common. Can we expect any form of Human vs. Human game modes besides standard deathmatch?
Tim Jones- We have no immediate plans for Human vs. Human game modes.

Che_Guevara – What prompted you to decide to downgrade the movement speed of the Xenomorphs as seen in AVP 1999?

Tim Jones- We have upgraded the abilities of the Xenomorph to include a higher level of fluid, graceful agility and variation in realistic movement speed consistent with what is seen in the movies. The Xenomorphs in AvP use a combination of movement speeds – from slow, sneaky prowling to rapid sprinting to lightning fast pounces. This is true for both the computer controlled AI and for the player Aliens.

dchalfont – My question: Why were bots not included, and will we ever see them in AVP. For people with slow internet, or who do not like to play online they would have added significant replay value.
Tim Jones- The Aliens in online Survivor Mode are essentially “bots” and those without an internet connection are able to play this mode in Single Player too.

ORCA_DA_BOMA – one of the things that some of our members were wondering about is how you balanced the stealth kill system?
Tim Jones- Every species has the ability to spot the other species if they keep their wits about them — the Marine has the Motion Tracker, the Predator has his Vision Modes, the Alien can sense pheromones — if someone manages to exectute a stealth kill on you, it is because you weren’t paying attention!

predpwnage - how many species will there be during deathmatch team deathmath etc….?
Tim Jones- All three species will be able to play in Deathmatch and Species Team Deathmatch modes.

lessthankiwi - Will trophy kills be blockable in multiplayer, like they are in singleplayer?
Tim Jones- Every species is able to block or counter melee combat moves in multiplayer if they react fast enough…

no1phil - How many players will each game support and what modes will be included in multiplayer?
Tim Jones- Multiplayer supports up to 18 players in a game at one time. The exception to this is Survivor mode which supports up to 4 Marine players. The multiplayer modes include are: Survivor, Infestation, Predator Hunt, Domination, Deathmatch, Species Team Deathmatch, and Mixed Species Team Deathmatch.

AdamXENO - I would like to ask if the Survivor Edition/Hunter Edition multiplayer maps will be available later in the future to those who buy the Standard version?
Tim Jones- Yes they will, as Downloadable Content.

Theo - Do you intend to include more skins for multiplayer use?
Tim Jones- No current plans for further multiplayer skins, but you can unlock quite a variety by playing Ranked Matches and working up your XP.

Nathan J – Will there be Play Against A Developer Day?
Tim Jones- Maybe… we’ll look into it.

Maxwell - What skins will we see in multiplayer?
Tim Jones- There are a variety for each species, and one or two surprises for fans of the AvP movies!

PredatorWorld - Will Rebellion create Female Predator skins for multiplayer in the future?
Tim Jones- Never say never…

Jonas – Just wondering if it will be possible to enter vents as the alien without having to press a button to do so? Like you can run into the vent like it was an open door (how I personally think it should be). And can you enter vents as a marine?
Tim Jones- You have to actively choose to enter vents as an Alien – we did this to make it easier for the player to navigate the environment smoothly, so they can run straight over a vent without entering it if they want to, and also we can ensure they are facing in the right direction when they actually do deliberately enter a vent. The Marine will find themselves in all sorts of unpleasant places in the single player campaign…

Doc Mesa – How exactly will the ìInfectionî game mode work? I understand that it begins with one Alien vs. 20ish Marines but what stops those Marines from bunching together and creating an impenetrable wall of lead for the Alien?
Tim Jones- Infestation Mode starts with everyone as Marines. One player is picked at random to be an Alien. When a Marine is killed, they come back as an Alien. As a Marine, if you find yourself as the last man standing, you may be lucky enough to find a Smart Gun and take down a bunch of the Aliens before you finally buy the farm… A well-organized team of Marines may be able to defend themselves for a while against the first Alien, but sooner or later, someone always makes a mistake and gets picked off…

Tony – will the PC version be any different in terms of Alien control? IE, will free crawling be possible, or will we have to use the transition button every time?
Tim Jones- There is an option in the controls menus on both console and PC to “free crawl” and remove the need to use the Transition Button.

DJ Fob Fresh – How are the three species balanced for multi-player play in the various game modes?
Tim Jones- Each species has their own advantages and disadvantages which all help balance the experience: The Alien lacks ranged weapons but has speed, agility, melee strength and powerful senses; the Predator has lots of gadgets, jumping ability and melee strength but lacks rapid-fire ranged weaponry; the Marine is least agile and lacks melee strength, but has the Motion Tracker and powerful rapid fire ranged weaponry.

Bob – Is AVP focus more on the console pr pc version??? And which version is better
Tim Jones- Every format of AvP has equal care and attention given to it to make sure it is everything it can be. It’s up to you to pick the version which suits your set-up… you won’t be disappointed!

Jay223 – About having Hicks and Hudson in multiplayer ñ will there be taunts? I would love to run around as Hudson saying game over, Man
Tim Jones- You are free to taunt however you choose over voice-coms!

Franco Roman – And are there going to be any new things you can do in AvP 3 that you couldn’t do in AvP 2.
Tim Jones- There are, of course, countless improvements across the board, but a few highlights include: We’ve added significant depth to the melee combat for all species, the Predator has considerably more agility than previously, and the Alien has the ability to sense its victims through walls.

Josh – will the x and y be balanced this time and will we have a numerical value for the level of mouse sensitivity (PC)?
Tim Jones- We’ve put a lot of effort into tuning the camera movement to be accessible and responsive for all players. There are options to adjust it to your preferences so I hope you will be happy with the results.

Genozide - I saw in a recent vid the smartgun targeting system looks very innovative.. But with a keyboard and mouse how do you move and turn if mouse is in the smartguns small box or is that area autoaiming?
Tim Jones- The box indicates the autoaim area for the Smart Gun — you can still turn and move (though you can’t sprint while using it). You can also toggle the auto-targeting function off with the secondary fire button.

$t@ti© – Will you be able to play a Team Deathmatch with Aliens, Predators, AND Marines on the same team against another team of Aliens, Predators, and Marines?
Tim Jones- Absolutely – we call that more Mixed Species Team Deathmatch.

Professor Pickle - How much does this game harkens back to the originals?
Tim Jones- If you loved the originals, you should love this one!

Lasse – How is death handled? Will the player stay dead for the rest of the game or will he respawn? If so, when?
Tim Jones- In most modes you respawn after a couple of seconds, though in Infestation if you die as a Marine, you will come back as an Alien… In Survivor mode, if you die, you remain dead until the end of the round.

Kontra Komando – Will you be able to have multiple teams duke it out for supremacy in online team deathmatch? i.e. 4 teams of 4 players each.
Tim Jones- Species Team Deathmatch allows up to three teams to battle it out simultaneously.

Lord Daxtrovian – My question is the following: Weíve seen many modes in multiplayer, but will there be special options to play to our preference? For example, I dunnoÖ maybe disable 1 hit kills, or predators starting with a certain range of weapons.
Tim Jones- The host can adjust a number of settings, depending on the game mode – map choice, score limits, time limits, player limits and friendly fire etc.

XxDarkspacexX – when you kill a alien when you walk over it will you still get damaged by the acid?
Tim Jones- Yes you will!

James - Will the PC version allow for the use of say, an Xbox 360 controller? I know the mouse and keyboard set up is better etc etc (before I get flamed), but sometimes after 10 hours of work behind a PC using a mouse and keyboard, it’s nice to use a controller. Thanks.
Tim Jones- Yep, Xbox 360 controller is fully supported on PC.

Randy K – I see a lot of finishing attacks being performed on humans in the videos I’ve seen, where the predator or alien are the executors, giving me a feeling that the colonial marines are squishy and non-threatening, What would by my incentive to actively play a human character? what’s the trade-off?
Tim Jones- The Marines have a formidable arsenal, and there are few things more satisfying than tearing apart an Alien or a Predator with a Pulse Rifle!

Nathan – I hope this works. but I wanna know how leap attack works. does it just do damage or does it cause anything special for aliens
Tim Jones- It will do damage, and if done over a long enough distance, you will knock your target to the floor too, leaving them vulnerable for a few seconds…

Robert – How many Predator weapons will we have access to?
Tim Jones- The Predator has his Wrist Blades, Shoulder Cannon, Smart Disc, Throwing Spear, Proximity Mines, Vision Modes, Distraction Mode, and Zoom — plenty for you to play with…

Anna – Will people without the 4 exclusive maps be able to play the maps if they’re playing with people who do have the maps?
Tim Jones- You will have to have the maps if you are to play them. They will become available to all players as downloadable content in the near future.

Tyler – Is this game going to be tied in the movie series’?
Tim Jones- The story is consistent with the continuity established in the movie series — it takes place around 30 years after the events in Alien 3.

Peter – How often will Skins in Multiplayer be unlocked and will any Skins be unlocked in campaign and or survivor?
Tim Jones- Multiplayer Skins are unlocked through progress in Ranked multiplayer matches and increasing your XP level.

Daniel – How much dx11 features is in the game? Like is everything using tesselation and how does it affect performance if using a radeon HD5850 Card?
Tim Jones- DirectX 11 has dynamic tesselation on the Aliens, full-screen anti-aliasing, numerous performance benefits and support for multiple monitors amongst other features. It’s a great way to show off the power of your state-of-the-art PC setup!

Alex – Even though you’ve said there will be no predalien in the game, will there still be a predalien skin in multiplayer?
Tim Jones- I’m afraid no Predalien in multiplayer, but he makes a significant contribution as a formidable enemy in the single player campaign.

James – Is the campaign mode co-op? Or any hint of Co-op at all?
Tim Jones- The campaign is focused on a single player experience – it’s the best way to maintain the atmosphere and tension in the narrative for AvP. You can, however, play cooperatively with up to four Marines online in the Survivor Mode against waves of AI controlled Aliens which a truly nerve-wracking experience!

David – will the focus leap for the Aliens be similar to the predator setup? if not how does it work?
Tim Jones- Yes – it’s very similar to that for the Predator so the controls should feel intuitive. Of course, the Alien is able to do it from any angle!

Scabs all over - how many different alien and predator types may I play as? Is the “Alien/predator” from AVP-R in the game? How about Bishop?
Tim Jones- There should be plenty of variety of skins in multiplayer to keep you entertained — fans of the Predator in AvP-R should be particularly pleased!

theramsfan39 – Why is there no ability for iron sights for the marine players?
Tim Jones- It’s a feature that we found players just didn’t make much use of against the kinds of foes we have in the game. We do however have a Scoped Rifle for the Marine which offers similar functionality."

Source: SEGA America Blog

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2:52 PM on 02.09.2010  

First Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Badnik Revealed

The official Sonic the Hedgehog 4 site has revealed the first enemy that will be in the game. I guess, they're called "Badniks", which, I never knew. Have all the Sonic games called the enemies Badniks?

Anyway, the enemy is the Motobug, the first enemy type Sonic meets in the original game. Although, I was disappointed at first when I saw the new Sonic was using 3D models, I really like the clean and sharp-edged look the Motobug model has. I think 3D is going to be alright after all.

It's going to be interesting to see the rest of the enemy models that get revealed. Head to the website to see the model in motion.


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9:05 AM on 02.09.2010  

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing: Demo Impressions 4 Life



I download the Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing demo today.

It was over 1 GB and took forever. I did stuff as I waited.

Then it was complete. 7:30 PM, my brother came over. The demo was started.

AND WAS ENJOYED BY ALL!

Now, it's not without it's flaws and the game was specifically designed to please Sega fans, such as myself, but I can tell a crappy kart racer when I see one.

Let's start with the good, eh:

The main thing that Sumo Digital got right with SSASR (I'm not going to type that name everytime) was keeping it simple. Three buttons, that's all. Go, drift, and use item. There is barely any learning curve besides understanding the powerups and memorizing the tracks. The first race I did with my brother was instantly fun and neither of us experienced any frustration or confusion to lessen our enjoyment. This is incredibly important in a game designed for players of completely different skill levels. It's going to be easier to convince your non-gaming friends/significant others/family to play with you if that first minute of play is easy to understand and fun.

Another positive game design choice was the lack of a brake button. Instead of slowing down you have to figure out how to drift around the twists and turns keeping the speed of the game up. It's similar to Sumo Digital's Outrun 2 but to an even greater extent. Outrun 2 had some moments where braking was necessary, SSASR does not. It gives the player one less thing to think about and makes the game more exciting in the process. What's more fun: braking or drifting around corners and instantly boosting into the next straightaway?

Keeping with the simplicity all the power-ups I've found in the game have been easy to understand and use. Rockets shoot, bombs get thrown and blow up, traffic cones are basically banana peels, etc. A couple power-ups take a couple uses to understand mainly because they aren't something found in other games but after one or two uses you'll be able to properly use any item.

The game also has Ryo from Shenmue. He hasn't aged a bit since Shenmue 2. Maybe a little more polygons but that's all.



For the Sega fans, it seems that Sumo Digital has found a great assortment of characters many, of which, I'm sure we don't know about yet. The Sonic level in the demo is great, as well, and hopefully the variety of levels are as strong as the one level in the demo.

Now the not-so-greats:

Since when did Billy Hatcher become a staple Sega character?

Also, do we really need so many side characters from the more recent Sonic games? Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Robotnik are understandable but Amy and Big the Cat? That's two characters that could have been removed to provide space for some Sega characters from games that didn't get any representation. It would have been really interesting to have someone from Altered Beast, Phantasy Star, Bayonetta, Virtua Fighter, Yakuza, and the list goes on and on. One of the best aspects of these mashup games is seeing characters from completely different games together. Ryo from Shenmue is a great start but the majority of the characters are very brightly colored and cartoony. I want to be a muscular homoerotic male whose special ability is turning into a hairy manbeast racing against a monkey with a square head who plays maracas!

I'm also worried about the track selection. In the demo most the locked tracks seem to be from the same handful of games. I can understand having a bunch based on Sonic levels but we don't need several levels based on Billy Hatcher. Hopefully, in the full game we get some Shenmue, Crazy Taxi, Alex Kidd, etc. The House of the Dead levels should be interesting though.

The last thing I noticed was the opponent's AI seemed way above average. I played several matches and rarely came close to first place. Maybe I just suck but something never felt quite fair to me and the AI didn't really make for a great opponent. For a multiplayer based game this isn't a huge deal and the full game could fix this with different difficulties but it's worth mentioning. Especially, since to unlock everything you'll probably have to play through the whole single-player campaign.

Update: Sega has announced that by default the demo is automatically set to Advanced difficulty mode. So, that's why I always lose. I'm not advanced enough. You can go into the options and change the difficulty if you desire to.

Overall, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing seems like it will be a great kart racer. It's easy to play, fun, and addicting and also throws in a lot of fan service. Now I'm off to find an extra $50.


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5:45 PM on 02.08.2010  

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: 1996? SNES? Gameplay Video?



Well guess what? We've been fooled. Sega's already gone and created Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and it was for the Super Nintendo! I thought Sega didn't make games for other systems until after the Dreamcast! Everything I know about Sega is wrong!

Actually, Sega has nothing to do with this game. It's a pirated ROM hack I found while searching around on youtube. It was created by a team called Twin Eagles Group and distributed illegally, mainly in the East. The game is actually Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos with Sonic sprites added in, which makes sense because Speedy Gonzales completely ripped off Sonic the Hedgehog. Speedy even eventually got his own TV cartoon just like Sonic! What a poser!



I wonder if the real Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will have Sonic rescuing Mario trapped in cages. It damn well better!



It appears that there was also a Sonic 6 released for the Game Boy. Just like the SNES game it's a hack of the Speedy Gonzalez game that came out for Game Boy. I'm not sure where Sonic 5 went though. Virtual Boy, maybe? But Sonic's blue not red so that can't be.


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9:32 PM on 02.04.2010  

The Introductory Post: One Year Late

So, I've never actually wrote an introductory post. After joining Destructoid last March I didn't even think about doing an introductory post and since then I've just been putting it off feeling it wasn't really necessary. But, now I'm thinking that it is necessary. People like to know something about the author of the blog or comment they're reading. I know I always pay more attention to comments and blogs posted by users that I recognize and know a little about.

So, here is my attempt at an introductory blog. Let's take a wonderful journey to the land of March 2009. It's was a different world back then. For one, Bayonetta was just a glimmer on the horizon and my hair was a little shorter.

Now close your eyes.

Take a deep breath...

and.....

...



Hewooo, mah names Alex! I like vidyagaimes! Wanna be frieends? Do you laike Teenate Munant Ninna Turles?




...


Whoops, sorry. I accidentally took us to March 1989. I guess my homemade TARDIS isn't functioning properly quite yet.

Okay, here we are.

Rather than this introductory post be a long winded autobiography about my entire life I've decided to do a list of quick facts and bits of information that may or may not be relevant to your interests. Plus, what would the ghost writer I hired to write my autobiography work on if I went and did it myself? You got to think about these things people!

Anyway now starts the listing:

- Most of my video game playing as a child was spent playing many of the early Apogee PC games. Mainly, Commander Keen and Biomenace. I liked them.

- I didn't own a console at home until I bought my Sega Dreamcast on launch day. Before then my parents felt I would play too many video games if I owned a console. So, I just played PC games all the time instead.

- I've always been obsessed with Sega since the days of the Sega Genesis. My parents would often let me rent systems for a weekend and I would almost always rent a Genesis with Toejam and Earl and the Sonic games. My brother would always rent X-Men. I got very sick of that game. It was hard.



- Since 8th grade I've been collecting Sega systems and games. In the last few years my obsession has grown and I now own a version of every Sega system and over 600 games for them.

- I tried really hard to enjoy Sonic Unleashed. Some of the Sonic levels are incredibly fun but there are so many poor design choices and crappy werehog stages that I can't finish the game. Get rid of the adventure portions, the collecting of the sun and moon tokens, and the werehog stages and a good 3D Sonic game you may have.

- I'm excited about Sonic the Hedgehog 4. (I know this is March 2009 but I'm looking into the future)

- Twinsen's Odyssey was the game that changed the way I looked at video games. I had never played a game before where the characters and environments where so engaging that I actually missed seeing them once I finished the game. I still replay it every once in a while and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in adventure games.



- I'm engaged to a lovely lady who likes to play retro games with me. Our wedding is in August 2010.

- Outside of video games I play and write a lot of music. I've been in quite a few bands and am currently in the band Murnau. I don't know how to describe our music. The last person who described it called it "Experimental Metal-esque". Before that I was in a band called Far From Words, which, was a little more accessible. More along the lines of the Cure or Smashing Pumpkins. All of the music recorded by both bands is available for free off of our website.

- I really wish Retro Game Challenge 2 would come out in the US.



- I bought a PS3 just for Heavy Rain. Omikron and Indigo Prophecy are two of my favorite games of all time. I had to do it.

- I don't like strategy games or turn-based RPGs. I try to play them but I have trouble enjoying my time with them. The only JRPGs I've ever finished were Skies of Arcadia and Grandia 2. I like exploring the towns in JRPGs and the story aspect of them but I get bored with the battles and grinding.

- I don't play games competitively very often. I love co-op games and the occasional casual competitive gaming but I don't ever play stuff online like Modern Warfare, Halo, etc.

- I love first person games with great settings and story. I sometimes spend long periods of time just walking around various levels and admiring the work and effort that went into creating the environments.

- I had a roast beef sandwich and potato salad for supper tonight.



- I listen to a lot of music. Current favorites are: Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Neurosis, Leonard Cohen, Katatonia, Talk Talk, The Cure, Rasputina, Daniel Johnston, and Warren Zevon.

- I think Virus mode in TimeSplitters 2 is one of the most addicting multiplayer modes ever created. Playing with no weapons is my setting of choice.

- I like old movies. Especially, German cinema like FW Murnau and Werner Herzog. I don't watch many modern movies and rarely go to the theatre. Netflix gives me enough stuff to watch.



- I just started watching Doctor Who after listening to Anthony Burch talk about it all the time. I found a guide on the Onion that gives you a rundown of what episodes to watch of the past seasons before watching the new Doctor Who series. So I've been following that. Here's a link if anyone is interested.

- I'm waiting for a survival horror game that is better than Silent Hill 2.

- Shadow of the Colossus was amazing. I didn't like Ico that much.

- Postal 2 is not a good game but I enjoy playing it.



- Warren Spector, Yu Suzuki, Yuji Naka, David Cage, and Frédérick Raynal are good game designers.

- I like graphic novels. Neil Gaiman, Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Craig Thompson, and Tony Millionaire are alright in my book.

- I found Destructoid by listening to RetroforceGo! through iTunes.

- I often wonder when RetroforceGo! will start up again.

- Indian food is delicious.



- Destructoid is amazing. Best online community ever. I don't post comments very often but I usually read every post on the front page and many of the community blogs.

- I also think Jim Sterling is a good blogger and reviewer. I enjoy his British accent and wonder if it will ever go away now that he lives with us Americans. Jim without an accent is like 7up without carbonation. Sure, it's the same ingredients but will it make you feel better when you're sick? The answer is no it will not because it won't make you burp.


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9:06 AM on 01.15.2010  

Goodwill Hunting Episode 4: Dreamcastin'



Welcome to Goodwill Hunting Episode 4! Today, we be doing it Dreamcast style.

3 Games: Crazy Taxi, Slave Zero, and Zombie Revenge have all been spotted and purchased at my local Goodwill.

Also, for those who may have missed it, the Episode 3 contest to win TaleSpin, Dragon Warrior, and Wizardry 2, all for NES, is still in effect until January 20th. You can find more information on how to enter at the original post here.



Crazy Taxi

System: Sega Dreamcast
Developer: Hitmaker
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 2000
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $9.00

Crazy Taxi is an arcade style driving game where the player controls a taxi driver earning some "crazy money". It was developed by Hitmaker who also developed many other popular arcade titles for Sega, such as, Sega Rally, Virtua Tennis, and Star Wars Trilogy Arcade.

The gameplay of Crazy Taxi consists of the player taking as many customers to their destinations before the timer runs out. If playing by the original arcade rules the timer can constantly be increased everytime a customer is dropped off within a certain amount of time. The Dreamcast version of the game also allows for the option to play a game of 3, 5, or 10 minutes where the counter cannot be increased and the game is over after the chosen amount of time. Along with the original city that was in the arcades the Dreamcast version also includes a second brand new city to play in. Another mode called "Crazy Box" is available where the player must complete a series of unique challenges.



I actually owned Crazy Taxi at one point, but had traded it away many years ago to a friend for the game D2. I often found myself wishing I still owned it as it was always a great game to play with a group of people and had a very pick up and play quality to it. I can remember times my friends and I would create little meta-games to make the game more interesting. For example, playing a 10 minute game where you try and obey the law as much as possible. No speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, obeying traffic lights, etc. Another one was just ignoring the game and trying to follow one car for the whole 10 minutes. It was a really great game to just mess around in and just seeing how big of a crash you could create could waste a good hour or so. It's ashame the sequels have never truly been as fun as the original was. Who thought it was a good idea to make the car have a jump button in the sequels?

As fun as Crazy Taxi is there really isn't much to do outside of the quick runs through the arcade mode. The "Crazy Box" doesn't take long to beat and that's all there is. Even when I first bought it for $50 years ago I didn't play it too often by myself. You just got to have someone with you as you weave in and out of traffic and perform the perfect drift to have you slide into the customers destination with mere seconds to spare.

Overall, Crazy Taxi is a great arcade game and I'm glad to finally have it back in my collection. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the style and genre and Sega has ported it to GameCube, PS2, as well as the PC so you can play it even if you don't own a Dreamcast.



Slave Zero

System: Sega Dreamcast
Developer: Accolade
Publisher: Infogrames
Release Date: 1999
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $5.00

Slave Zero is a third-person shooter developed by Accolade, which, takes place in a futuristic dystopian setting. What else has Accolade created? Why the amazing Bubsy games, of course. This game has to be good.

Slave Zero is an action game where the player controls a giant robot called "Slave Zero". The controls are similar to most first-person games on the Dreamcast where the can use the stick to look around and the four face buttons to move or vice versa. The right trigger shoots your main weapon and the left trigger fires a rocket. Up on the d-pad jumps and down makes you smash the ground. Gameplay is mainly just running from point A to point B shooting other giant robots on your way. Sometimes the level ends with a generic boss fight. There is also a multiplayer deathmatch mode that is played from the first-person perspective rather than third-person.



I've never owned the full game of Slave Zero but I did play the demo several times as a younger lass. Back then the game was entertaining for me. Now, it is extremely stale and outdated. The textures and environments are bland and full of grays and it also does a horrible job of making you feel like a giant robot running through a city. The developers did put little cars that drive around on the highways that you occasionally see but it doesn't help much with the sense of scale. The gameplay is repetitive as you go from enemy to enemy circle strafing until they die and then onto the next level. Sometimes the game will throw a boss at you that involves circle strafing for a longer period of time.

Then there is the framerate problem. When there are explosions or lots of enemies at once the framerate drops a lot making the game almost unplayable at times. I doubt it's completely the Dreamcast's fault since I've played games with more impressive graphics and the framerate stays pretty consistent. Sloppy programming that is. The multiplayer deathmatch mode is even worse than singleplayer suffering from framerate issues, muddy graphics, and being boring. I can't believe I actually used to play it sometimes on the demo.

Overall, I don't recommend this game to anyone except maybe collectors. The game was released for Windows and that version could possibly run a little better than the Dreamcast port. I doubt it would be much better though since the gameplay itself seems pretty stale. A smooth framerate won't fix that.



Zombie Revenge

System: Sega Dreamcast
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 1999
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $14.00

Zombie Revenge is a 3D beat-em-up similar in style to the other Sega arcade games like Die Hard Trilogy and Dynamite Cop. The game takes place in The House of the Dead universe and was developed and published by Sega.

Zombie Revenge is a 1-2 player beat-em-up where you get to punch zombies in the face. The controls are easy to use with the joystick or d-pad moving your character while the Y button attacks, the B button shoots, and the x button runs and blocks. Your character always carries a handgun he can use with limited ammunition. Scattered all over the environments are tons of melee objects and various types of guns that can be picked up and used temporarily. Game overs can result not only in your player's death but also if you are not able to beat the area in the given time limit. The game offers several game modes in addition to the basic Arcade mode. These include Original mode, which, allows you to adjust the effectiveness of guns and hand to hand combat, a one-on-one fighting mode, a boss fight mode, and even several VMU minigames.

There are many nods to the House of the Dead series in Zombie Revenge. At the beginning of the game an icon for the character "G" can be seen on the desktop of the female characters computer. The title screen for each level looks similar to the style used for The House of the Dead games. Zombies make the same sounds as they do in The House of the Dead. There is even a level based on the Curien Mansion from the first House of the Dead.



Zombie Revenge is a great game and provides a really fun co-op experience. I always enjoyed Dynamite Cop on the Dreamcast and this game is very similar, only now there are zombies. The graphics still look pretty decent today and the environments are interesting and scattered full of items and objects to interact with. Boss fights are very satisfying, with the first boss fight even allowing you to pull a metal rod out of the bosses' back and attack him with it. Plus, the addition of several different modes and VMU games definitely make it worth the price of admission.

Overall, I highly recommend Zombie Revenge to anyone with a Sega Dreamcast. It's a console exclusive so there's no where else to play it and it's one of the best 3D beat-em-ups I've played. For the going price of $14 it's definitely worth the money.

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1:19 AM on 01.14.2010  

Indigo Prophecy: Second playthrough and Heavy Rain



Man, I'm on a blogging kick tonight.

So, I've recently replayed Indigo Prophecy in preparation for Heavy Rain next month. In my memory it was this amazing cinematic game unlike anything released at the time or since. I can remember how excited I was when it was finally released last generation and I believe it was the first PS2 game I bought brand new. It left quite an impression on me and I often refer to is being in my top PS2 games. Well, I still believe it's one of the most unique games to come out ever but it's not without some glaring flaws that my memory and excitement were so kind to skip over. Heavy Rain can learn a lot from what Indigo Prophecy did right and what it did wrong.

First of all, the opening scenes of Indigo Prophecy are some of the best moments I've ever experienced in a videogame. Being put into the role of someone who has just killed someone in a small diner's bathroom and having to react quickly before you get caught is intense. The game gives you so many options on how you leave the bathroom and leave the diner that most people will finish the scene in at least a slightly different manner. Then the next scene has you playing the detective at the murder scene and you get to see how all the choices you made earlier actually impact the story. It uses the interactive medium of video games to tell a story the way only video games can. Hoorah!...



And then the rest of the game is so straight-forward with limited choices and outcomes for each scene. What can make Heavy Rain a success is having scene after scene where the player can see how little choices they made have affected what happens later. Even if it's as simple as they ate something in the fridge and later in the game that piece of food is gone where it would still be there if they hadn't eaten it earlier. These little touches will give the player the feeling that they actually have the power to affect and change the story of the game. Something Indigo Prophecy lacks. David Cage has stated that even if a character dies the game will continue and change to fit not having that character around. If this is true it's already in better shape than it's predecessor.

Another problem with the gameplay of Indigo Prophecy is that many of the scenes contain such little interaction that the use of the medium is marginal. Having a scene where you have to go to the fridge and pour two glasses of champagne and then do a long QTE dancing with your girlfriend is crappy gameplay. It's interesting to have your goal be have a romantic night with your girlfriend rather than shooting space aliens in a videogame but there is such limited choice that it could just be a cutscene instead. What would have been more interesting is the designers gave you the goal of creating a romantic night and you had to decide the music, the lighting, the food, the drink, the activities, etc. And you should have been able to fail and there would be consequences because of that. Instead, you're given the one option to pour the champagne and dance. If you don't the game doesn't continue. There is no other outcome.



The scene after that has you and your girlfriend making out while your co-worker is calling you on the phone. Your girlfriend begs you not to answer the phone. I didn't want to answer the phone, so I sat and waited... and waited. The phone kept ringing and the scene didn't progress. I had to get up off the couch and answer the phone, thus pissing off my girlfriend, something I wanted to chose not to do. What is the point of that being in a video game?! There is so much interactive storytelling potential in Indigo Prophecy it's mind blowing.

Another big problem with Indigo Prophecy is it's overuse of crappy QTE sequences. The twin stick QTE's first of all felt extremely disconnected from what was happening on screen. The few times it actually felt right where during the hypnosis parts where you were relaxed and trying to go back and remember moments from memory. Most of the QTE's feel long and tedious and they're just there to have the player do something while they're watching these long "action packed" cutscenes. You have no way to affect the outcome of the scene or interact with the scene. You either hit all the right buttons and finish the scene or fail to many times and lose.



The QTE's seem to be where Heavy Rain might have improved exponentially. During a QTE scene objects and actions throughout the environment have buttons hovering near them allowing the player to make choices and continue to interact with the scene as it progresses. Being grabbed by an enemy may result in you having the choice to grab between a frying pan or knife in the kitchen and using that to fight him off, for example. It should make the QTE's much more exciting and intense for the player as you're constantly on your feet trying to make the right choice. It could also be really frustrating if it's very trial and error with having the frying pan result in you surviving and the knife resulting in you dying with no clue as to which is better.

The last thing that Heavy Rain could improve upon is story. Indigo Prophecy starts off extremely interesting as you try and figure out what possessed you to kill a man while avoiding the police. Then it goes all sci-fi and Matrix-y completely changing and ruining the tone of the game. When I'd look back and remember how amazing Indigo Prophecy was all my memories are from the pre sci-fi moments of the game. It almost feels like the two halves of the game are separate games at times. Hopefully, Heavy Rain can keep it's story cohesive and realistic while remaining engaging.

With Heavy Rain only a month away it will be interesting to see how the game takes off critically and commercially. If it's a success it will be interesting how the industry reacts to a game not about non-stop action and space marines. I truly hope for the best and I'm sure it's been a challenge for Quantic Dream to pull this off. I did just buy a PS3 exclusively for it (and Yakuza 3) so I'm praying it's worth it.



P.S. - I still consider Indigo Prophecy to be an amazing if not extremely flawed little video game even if I just completely ripped it apart. And Omikron is awesome. How about a sequel Quantic Dream?


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11:42 PM on 01.13.2010  

DreamCast: The Sega Fan's Podcast Idea



I've been throwing this idea around in my head for awhile and finally decided to post something about it and see if there's any interest or not.

The Concept

A weekly or bi-weekly podcast about all things Sega. The outline being a first half discussing current news and releases of all things Sega with the second half being devoted to a certain game, series, system, etc. from Sega's past. It's kind of a mash-up of Podtoid and RetroForceGo!. It's got the old and the new, the sweet and the sour, the ugly and the beautiful.

What I would like to know is if there is an interest for a Podcast devoted to Sega. Sega is probably one of a few developers who has a large enough fan base and enough history to support a Podcast devoted to them exclusively.

To get this off the ground I not only need people who are interested to comment and show that this Podcast won't fall on deaf ears but I would like to hear from people who are interested in being a member of the Podcast. I'm looking to have a group of 4-5 people which means I need 3 or 4 of you who fit the following requirements:

1. Believes the Dreamcast is the greatest system ever (it doesn't have to be true you just have to believe it)
2. Owns at least 15 games that star Sonic in it somewhere
3. Always believes that the next Sonic game that Sega is going to release will be good and then even though its not plays through the whole game anyway and uses really bad reasoning to tell yourself why the game is good
4. Didn't pirate House of the Dead: Overkill for Wii
5. Owns a Master System, Genesis, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Gear (bonus points for SG-1000/SC-3000, Nomad, and 32x)

What can you do?

If you're interested in being a member, post below with whatever reasons you can find as to why you should be a member. I'll PM people who I think would be a good for the podcast to get some more information. Just remember I only need 3-4 people so if there's a big response I can only pick a few people.

If you're interested in hearing this podcast please comment below even if all you say is "This is relevant to my interests". Knowing a lot of people are interested will give me a lot more motivation to get this thing going.

Also, should it be called DreamCast? It seems so perfect but then it also doesn't seem perfect. You know what I mean?

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11:25 PM on 01.13.2010  

Goodwill Hunting Episode 3: Contest Edition!



Welcome to Goodwill Hunting: NES Contest Edition! Sorry for not updating recently. Me be busy recently.

A recent trip to my local Goodwill has resulted in three NES games being added to my collection. The problem is I don't own an NES and never will. Why? Maybe because the Sega Master System is infinitely better...

I kid! I kid! I have many fond memories of the NES, but I've never truly owned one. I feel that these games should be put into the hands of someone who will give them the attention they deserve.

What are these games that could be yours for the low price of free? Why they are TaleSpin, Dragon Warrior, and Wizardry 2: Knight of Diamonds. All the games are the cartridge only except TaleSpin, which, does have the manual.

Contest Rules

What would you get if you combined a 2D Disney Shooter, a 8-bit JRPG and a Dungeon Crawler RPG? By using screenshots of the three games discussed below create a concept screenshot of a game that combines elements from all three of the games at once. That's the only requirement. As long as the screenshot has elements or sprites from each game it will be accepted. If you wish to you can go a step further and explain your screenshot or even how the game would play.

Just add your screenshot to the comments for this post and I will announce the winner in a week on January 20th. I'll contact the winner afterwards by PM to obtain his/her address and ship the games to them free of charge! Awesome!



TaleSpin

System: NES
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 1991
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $6.00

TaleSpin is a 2D Shooter based on a Disney cartoon called... TaleSpin. It was developed by a little known company called Capcom. I think they're still around and make some games at times. This is probably their best game.

TaleSpin is single player only so no playing with your friends, grandparents, or parole officer this time. The game plays like your typical shooter, although, it adds a little "RPG"ness with your ability to purchase upgrades for your ship between levels.



Unfortunately, I can't say my personal opinion since I don't have system to play it on. Looking at the screenshots I do find the artwork interesting and unique compared to the more dark and spacey theme most shooters go for. This game definitely drifts towards cute-em-up territory with its bright colors and cartoony sprites. Also, Capcom is known for their great output of Disney licensed games in the NES days so I wouldn't be surprised it this is a pretty good game.



Dragon Warrior

System: NES
Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Nintendo (NA) Enix (JP)
Release Date: 1989
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $6.00

Dragon Warrior, AKA Dragon Quest, is a console style JRPG developed by Chunsoft, who would go on to make the first five games in the series. Dragon Warrior is often cited as being the first game to contain all the elements we see in JRPG's today. Although, Final Fantasy, was more popular in the West, the Dragon Quest games established the genre first.

Dragon Warrior contains all of the staples of the JRPG genre we see today. You start the game naming your hero and go on to save the world from "The Dragonlord". There is an overworld, towns w/ NPC's and shops, dungeons, turn-based combat, and leveling up. Sound familiar? One interesting aspect I've read about but cannot confirm is that the name you give your character actually influences your leveling up and statistics. It's a really cool concept and would give each player their own unique hero, although it could be a marginal difference.

There were some interested changes made to the game when prepared for a North American release. For one, the name was changed to Dragon Warrior to avoid legal trouble with a pen-and-paper RPG called DragonQuest. Also, the sprites were improved with the Japanese version only have a sprite for your character that faced forward. In the North American version the hero sprite could face in all directions. Most interestingly of all was a change to a female NPC who offered "puff-puff" to the hero in the Japanese version. In the North American version this woman offers tomatoes instead. What is this mysterious "puff-puff" and why can't we Americans have it?



My interest in JRPG's has dropped over time as they continue to rehash the same tired gameplay. The last one I actually finised was Skies of Arcadia for the Sega Dreamcast and I haven't played one since that I didn't lose interest in halfway through. It is cool to be able to play the game that started it off before the gameplay was stale and 21 years old. Yes, that's right JRPG's can finally legally drink in the United States. I'm sure the game is as dry and barebones as JRPG's get but it could be interesting for you JRPG aficiondos to see where you genre of choice started out.



Wizardry 2: Knight of Diamonds

System: NES
Developer: Sir-tech Software
Publisher: ACSII Entertainment Software
Release Date: 1991
Going Amazon Price w/ Shipping: $7.50

Wizardry 2 was developed by Sir-tech Software who is most known for creating the Wizardry series, as well, as the Jagged Alliance games. Sir-tech software continued to develop games up until 2001 when it finally closed up shop.

Wizardry 2 is a first-person dungeon crawler taking place in a typical Dungeons & Dragon-like setting. The player controls a team of up to six characters and they travel through a six level dungeon to obtain all the pieces of a legendary armor. The game plays and looks very similar to its predecessor and allows you start the game by using your characters from the first game. Interestingly, the developers originally made it a requirement to have a character save from the previous game to start Wizardry 2 at all, but eventually changed that when people starting complaining.



I'm horrible at dungeon crawler RPG's. I don't have the patience, strategic thinking, interest, to make it through any of these games. I owned Dungeons & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder for Sega CD and never truly understood what I was doing. The Wizardry series is one of the more popular series in the genre, which, might mean something to someone. For me, not so much.

Good luck to all those who enter the contest!

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