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LONG BLOG

The Obscurer Tribune # 36

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Maybe it’s just a particularly good time for offbeat news items (or I’m just getting less picky about what I’ll recap here), but this week’s issue is a doozy – definitely one of the longest put together so far. As such, heed the call of the noble Viking driving that old beat-up car, and feast!

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Did you know that March is Intergalactic Shmuppreciation Month? If not, now you sure do – so take a bit of time this month to indulge in gaming’s purest and first true genre (i.e. blow stuff up), join some other shmup fans in the official forum thread and elsewhere, and just plain remember what it feels like to have no more than two buttons and three lives to keep track of (well, that and a zillion bullets). Happy Shmupping!

Official pleasantries completed, it’s time to start tallying up the Shooting Festa announcements – first, despite their near-ruinings of two previous titles, 5pb is working on a new 360 shooter to release sometime this year. Here’s hoping for a better outcome this time…

Meanwhile Cave, as expected, confirmed that Guwange would be coming to XBLA, and will include two new modes. Giant mutant babies and spiders with kitty-cat heads, here I come! (DToid coverage here).

Also as expected, DeathSmiles II is set to release on May 27th – the arcade version wasn’t received as well as its predecessor, but the port will include new stages, bosses, playable characters, and other extras which will hopefully sweeten the pot. Check out a pair of fuller write-ups on the Festa here and here, the latter of which features some art and a trailer for DeathSmiles II.

It would (I hope!) appear that they’re finally serious about getting Ketsui X onto store shelves, as Famitsu has a trailer up for it. It appears my “Longest Pre-Order Delay Ever” streak over at Play-Asia is about to end…

Holy Toledo, a Touhou post in the Tribune that covers something other than figurines?! Yes, thanks to Diverse, we have confirmation of Double Spoiler, entry “12.5” in the series – wait, “point five”, you say? “That can’t possibly mean…” Oh yes it can – it’s a sequel to Shoot the Bullet, and according to ZUN it’ll be even tougher than its predecessor! It’s out by the middle of this month, so make sure to mark your calendars!

You probably noticed that Sony recently filed a trademark for “Arc”, which is rumored to be the name of its upcoming motion controller. Why is this item in the “shmups” section? Because Konami has filed its own papers for something called Gradius Arc. While there’s no concrete information available yet on just what this might be, the prospect of a shmup with waggle controls doesn’t exactly get my blood pumping (at least, not in a good way), so let’s hope that’s not it.

A small update appeared on the official blog for Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype earlier in the week, whose main attraction is another sampler of the soundtrack, which will be available separately from the game.

As this thread on the shmups.com forum displays, someone’s working on an English translation patch for Ketsui Death Label on the DS – stop by to check out some preliminary images and spreadsheets for the project.

For any of you looking forward to the Armalyte remake, check out this early review.

The Red Star tends to make sporadic appearances around here, and here it is again – as rumored, the Filthy Communist Action-Shooter is headed to PSP and iPhone sometime this spring. I wonder if it can also enact meaningful health care reform? Though in all honesty this one is a lot more likely to actually kill Granny. (DToid coverage here.)

Here’s an interesting discovery by someone on the shmups.com forum – a certain mobile publisher claims to have obtained the rights to pretty much every Toaplan game in existence, many of which never saw a home console release. Considering that the company has been defunct for over 15 years now it’d certainly be nice to see their stuff make a reappearance, though mobile phones wouldn’t be my first choice of format.

In case anyone’s interested, this week’s Monday Mind Teaser features a flash shmup, namely Starmageddon.

Do you remember time-travelling undead-killing PSP downloadable title Age of Zombies? No? Maybe the protagonist, Barry Steakfries? Oh, right, THAT Age of Zombies. Anyways, Herr Sterling has a review up on the front page.

All of the caricatures found in this blog are pretty great, but shooter fans should be particularly fond of Chad Concelmo in a Gunstar Heroes getup, not to mention Uncle Topheruga!

Another week, another “Reserve or Regret” segment at Tomopop, another Touhou figure featured therein, another link from me. Although, as it turns out, that figure is only the beginning.

OH COME ON. The Asteroids movie deal was bad enough, but apparently still not sufficient for Hollywood – looks like Space Invaders may be next. I know the old “there are no truly original ideas” maxim as well as anyone, but SERIOUSLY?

Remember that Metal Slug contest where one could win, among other things, a pair of boxers like those of the captives you free in the game? Well, someone from here is now proudly sporting those regal drawers!




Capcom has officially confirmed Super Street Fighter IV’s 40-buck price point, and also assures fans who bought the first iteration that they’ll be able to access something extra, though they kept mum on exactly what that might be (DToid coverage here). Gamestop's already tossing in some extras, offering a random 2-pack of "thumb fighters" with PS3 and 360 pre-orders. Meanwhile, Alfarin’s blog mentions one possible clue as to the final character reveal, but if you look around a little bit there’s more to (again, possibly) be found.

In case anyone’s interested (they aren’t), the original Street Fighter IV is now available as a Games on Demand title for 360, not to mention that the PC version is down to 20 bucks through Monday. I’m not sure how many fans wouldn’t rather just wait for a physical copy of Super, especially since it’s only ten bucks more, but there it is.

“There’s a *WHAP!* For that.” Capcom has finally released an official trailer for the game’s iPhone port. It’s not likely to remain lonely for long, though – nothing straight from the horse’s mouth yet, but it looks like Tekken will be making its own appearance on Apple’s gadget.

Looks like the rumors regarding what would be included in the Japanese BlazBlue: Continuum Shift limited edition have pretty much been confirmed: fork over the extra cash and you get a Noel Nendoroid figurine, script replica, art book, picture label, and extra packaging. Reserve the game in advance (regular or limited edition) and you’ll also score a drama CD. Wonder what Aksys has planned for us over this-a-way?

Tecmo just keeps on rolling out the Dead or Alive Paradise videos – this one’s exactly the same as the rest, except that only Kasumi is in it. Check her out wishing on a falling star at the end – “Could somebody out there PLEASE get me a freakin’ cover-up?” Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at the Japanese “Secret Paradise Box” edition (the one without the figure). Oh, and, um…also this. Not to mention, of course, that while Itagaki gets his new company started, he continues to assert that Dead or Alive is the greatest fighting series ever and that the genre is at a “dead end” without him. We love you too!

The Neo-Geo turns 20 around now, and to commemorate the occasion SNK is not only resuming repair services for the original system, but is slashing the price on a six-game set of its PS2 fighting compilations by nearly half. If you’ve been planning to import a whole lot of those at some point, now might not be a bad time to do it (though I’m not sure if amazon.jp ships internationally…). Also, in case you don’t already own the game on PS2 or elsewhere, Fatal Fury Special is now on the Virtual Console.

I coulda sworn that the Tribune had just reported on a similar price reduction, but apparently it’s happening again – either way, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is (was?) on sale for 5 bucks on PSN.

I’m not much of a TV watcher, especially when it comes to “reality” shows, but I’m half-tempted to tune in if well-known tournament fighting gamer Ivan Kim, aka Kryojenix, manages to make it onto Survivor. Have a look at his video submission if you’d like.

The fact that I got a good laugh out of this comic strip about the legal wrangling over the rights to another Mortal Kombat movie ought to show how stupid my sense of humor is, but I’ll share it anyway. Also, in case you’re interested, the first movie can now be streamed via Netflix. But that’s not all

Speaking of MK, it’s not the sort of figure you’d expect to see in the “Fighters” section, but this chibi-Raiden is pretty cool, and the article links to a chibi-Kitana by the same guy.

Also, Makoto fan art.




Destructoid! Front Page! Atlus! First Look! Persona 3 Portable! Hexyz Force! MULTIBALL MADNESS!!

Speaking of Hexyz Force, the official site is finally up in earnest, as is the third Official Blog, which covers several topics under the vague subheading of “polish”. The game is also finally up for preorder at Gamestop. DToid offers a bit of additional coverage here.

Agent North already gave readers an early review of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey last week – this week, he’s got an official trailer for us. Make sure you’re packing Life Stones and snow shoes, it’s almost here!

As one questionably-translated RPG villain once said, “GRRRRR-BAAAAGH!” Unbelievably, Sakura Wars: So Long My Love has been delayed yet again – on the bright side, it’s only for one week, but still, after the near-half-year of pushbacks we’ve endured already up to this point, it’s still kind of annoying. (DToid coverage here.)

I’m still not sure which section to put items for Last Ranker into, but anyways, have some screens.

Is anything truly “exclusive” once it hits the internet? The front page sure thinks that its latest Spectral Force Genesis screenshots are – either way, stop by and have a gander at ‘em.

I’d never heard much about the Metal Max RPG series from data East until recently – this might be because it never left Japan and last saw daylight in the 16-bit era. Well, it’s apparently coming back on the DS, caught up in the recent Data East mini-revival – think it’ll follow the path of [i]Glory of Heracles[i] and be the first of its kind to be localized? A teaser site with a short trailer is here, while a few screens can be viewed over here.

Most of the “professional” reviews so far for Ragnarok DS haven’t exactly been glowing, but if you’re still interested then maybe Siliconera’s take or Gamer Limit’s review will be of interest to you.

For my part, I’m still torn on whether or not to give Mimana Iyar Chronicles a chance, though some of you might find the ESRB write-up for it interesting.

So, uh, remember the new Super Robot Taisen OG Saga game, whose preview images, videos, and, well, everything have followed a certain…thematic thread? Well, the official advertisements certainly didn’t miss that memo. If this comes here I wonder if they’ll dig up the same guy at the ESRB who wrote the infamous “creepy” descriptor for DoA Paradise?

On a similar note, Tecmo’s not the only one attempting to put a slightly less controversial spin on its depictions of the female form – check out this bit of rather amusing censorship connected to the European release of Glory of Heracles. No butts please, we’re British!

Check out the pretty cool Limited Edition box art for Absolute Hero Modding Project over at Siliconera.

In case you’re interested in the recently-announced Zenonia 2 for the iPhone, there are some relevant character profiles available for your perusal.

Over on the c-blogs Handy was caught off guard by the latest Valkyria Chronicles DLC release (see what happens when you don’t read the Tribune?), but redeems himself by offering a quick rundown of what’s included.




Order up – the latest “walkthrough” video for Trauma Team is hot out of the proverbial oven, and gives you an idea of what to expect from the First Response sections. Siliconera also has its own preview of the Diagnostics portions, which will comprise the next and final official video.

More SNK news, down here in the “Misc.” section – nothing’s officially confirmed yet, but there are signs that PSN users will soon have the chance to purchase Neo-Geo titles from there. Dare we hope that they eventually release, y’know, the GOOD ones? (DToid coverage here.)

By the time you read this a demo for Patchwork Heroes should be available for download to your PSP – anyone have impressions to offer? (DToid coverage here.)

‘Fraid we’ve hit a rough spot in this case, dood – the American debut of Disgaea Infinite has been pushed back about a month, to June 10th.

A bit more info has come to light regarding the Project Diva sequel – most of the changes, for their part, appear to be cosmetic, along the lines of new costumes, characters, and “duet” songs. Still wouldn’t mind a localization though.

So, those lovely nutcases over at Valve apparently applied an…interesting update to the PC version of Portal, which adds a bunch of seemingly-coded messages to the output of the radios found throughout the game, along with an extended ending. What exactly are they kinda-trying to tell us? That Portal 2 is coming? Maaaaybe! (DToid coverage here, here, here, here, and here.)

If any of you (like me) are not exactly thrilled to see more and more noteworthy titles going the digital-only route and leaving us physical-media dinosaurs in the dust, take heart, as there are occasional signs of hope in the other direction – Suzak, which has put out a whole bunch of DSiWare titles from puzzlers to shmups, is releasing a cartridge-based compilation of pretty much all of them in May. Let’s hope that more such releases are in the works!

Acclaimed PSN “brick breaker” Shatter is coming to the PC, and will feature some new stuff – moreover, the extra content will also be available at its original venue, though at this point it’s unclear whether players will have to fork over any extra cash for it or not. In other “kinda like Breakout” news, here’s the front page’s preview of Space Ark.

Want a couple more screenshots of Mirror’s Edge on the iPhone? ’Course ya do. Oh, and a brief preview too.

There’s not a heckuva lot there as of yet, but Diverse still lets us know that the dev blog for The Witness, aka “The Next Thing By The Braid Guy”, has opened up. (Front page item here.) He also urges you to check out the indie fund (Front page item here).

Not to be outdone, moshboy bestows a really long list of indie games (complete with links) that he considers underrated upon us – oughta keep everyone busy for awhile!

Speaking of which, you might need to follow the video link in here to recall puzzle-platformer Limbo, as there’s been little information put out on it of late, but however it turns out the bugger’s coming to XBLA this summer, so hopefully we’ll be trying it for ourselves before too long.

Here’s one I found via random YouTube wanderings – those more in the know than I am might have heard of platformer Castle of Magic when it released on the iPhone, but apparently the bugger got a DSiWare release a few months ago. I haven’t played it, as you might expect, but it looks nice from here – can any of you guys offer some firsthand impressions?

Remember Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble? Well, the latest entry in that series has topped the sale charts in Japan this week, so apparently lots of folks love their high school punk eye-lasers! In other areas of interest, right behind it in the top ten is the new Super Robot Taisen OG Saga, while the Lufia 2 remake, BlazBlue Portable, and ESPGaluda II all debut between the 10th and 20th overall spots.

A bit after the fact, but what the heck, give xandaca’s review of Muramasa: The Demon Blade a read. There are a couple of nice art pieces in there, if you need some additional motivation. It also made me look up what “lissome” means.

While not all if any) of the art therein is based on obscure properties, you should still check out the front page’s item on the upcoming “Game Over” art exhibition, which has a link to some of the pieces being shown. The Gauntlet and Altered Beast illustrations are my personal favorites. Into the Pixel will also be showing some of their stuff soon.

Locally, there’s some more art, specifically related to Cave Story, on view via the c-blogs, and a linked interview to boot.

In a similar vein, Puyo Puyo is one of the less-obscure puzzlers out there, but there’s no way I couldn’t link this video of a guy dressed up as Suketoudara (aka the fish with arms and legs) flailing around like there’s no tomorrow and generally being weirdly entertaining.

On a final note, disappointed as I am that my Gamestop-strippin’ efforts didn’t win me that limited edition Wii, I still offer a hearty congratulations to the victor of that contest – heaven willing, one day all of the entrants need to get together to shoot a dance video or something. It will be glorious.

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Hopefully I’ll have managed to delete all of this week’s info off the article template in time for next week’s post! ‘Til then, thanks for reading and keep gaming obscurely.
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About BulletMagnetone of us since 9:04 PM on 10.04.2008

Thanks kindly for paying my blog a visit.

I'm currently looking for paid writing gigs, so if you might want anything written shoot me a message (craighats at hotmail dot com).

In case the contents of this blog don't make it obvious enough, I have something of an affinity for slightly "offbeat" titles, so if there's something out there that few others cover, there's a fair chance I'm at least somewhat up on it.

If there's any sort of (reasonable) inquiry you'd like me to address, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Below are a handful of recaps and other links (oldest listed first by section), in case you're interested - asterisks mark promoted articles.

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'Magnet School

Introduction

Curriculum: Puzzle Games

Course 1: Ochige 101
Course 2: Tossology
Course 3: Ochige 201
Course 4: Phys. Ed
Course 5: Ochige 301 (Adv.)
Course 6: Free Elective
Course 7: Ochige 401 (Hon.)
Course 8: Extra Credit
Graduation Speech

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Reviews/Impressions/Rants/etc.

King of Fighters: Orochi Saga
Ar Tonelico II - Part 1 and Part 2
Prinny and Street Fighter IV
King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
Nintendo DS
*King of Fighters XII
How-To: Atelier Annie
How-To: Mushihime-sama Futari

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The Forgotten Essentials

Part 1: RPGs
Part 2: Shmups
Part 3: Fighters
Part 4: Puzzlers

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The Obscurer Tribune

EXTRA! EXTRA!

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Monthly Musings/Writers Wanted

The Fear: The End
*A Time to Destroy: I Cast Thee Out
*Expanded Universes: Triple Triad X
*Those About to Die: Nocturne's Demons
*Untapped Potential: The Second Dimension
*I Suck at Games: and I'm Here to Help
*The Forgotten: Real Life
*Love/Hate: The Weirdo, The Wall, and The Beast
*The Future: A Refreshing Cup of Hemlock
*More Than Just Noise: Digital Cheese LIVE
East vs. West: Where The Old Gods Dwell
Resolutions: Fresh Flowers
Collaboration: IF Only...
Violence: The Gatekeepers

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Assorted Ramblings

Why Am I Here? (intro)
Non-Portable Portable Gaming
Hating the Unhateable
*Soul Bubbles, Mickey Mouse, Journey of the Self
Dreamcast: The Other Shmup Machine
One-Year Anniversary Reflections
Shmups: Gaming's EOE

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Non-DT Writing

Racketboy

Saturn Shooter Rundown
PS1 Shooter Rundown
PS2 Shooter Rundown
Shmups 101
Shmups That Defined the Genre
"Hidden Gem" Shmups

HG101

Deathsmiles
Espgaluda
Shadow Hearts

Misc.

Unofficial Shmup Glossary (shmups.com, WIP)
My Backloggery (Warning: Inherent Shamefulness May Be Too Intense for Some Readers)