Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Recently I have been in a shmup mood. I mostly been playing Sengoku Ace and Dragon Blaze ( aka hardest game ever) on my PS2, and it made me curious to see if there were any Psikyo games I may have missed. After searching I found about this little shooter called Pilot Kids. This game was released on the M2 arcade system, the same system used for Daytona USA. For some reason or another, the game never recieved a home console port...so thank heavens for M2 emulation.
Pilot Kids doesn't really hold up to the crazy bullet hell stuff that Psikyo is known for but it still provides a nice (albeit short) ride. The game stars a boy riding in a tiny plane through his house and lawn. The set pieces are cool and the wacky enemies are hilarious like an angry garden gnome statue or a giant Bruce Lee action figure. Your plane has a normal shot and a lock-on attack that kills enemies very quickly... almost too quickly as it makes many bosses too easy.
The graphics are mostly great and hold up even today. Some ugly blockiness appear in enemies but the enemies are such a delight it is easy to overlook the occasional crappy looks. The music is mostly drowned out by the action, but the last stage's tune is eerie and fitting. The game's big downfall is it's shortness. Even for an arcade the game is too short, and the difficulty is cake. Only the last boss cranks up the difficulty playing like a true smhup boss. These faults may have been the reasons this game never recieved a port to any system. I would assume the Saturn would have been the top choice for the port; but by the time this game released it was already entering it's demise. Psikyo must have said screw it and moved onto Dragon Blaze's development.
This game is a fun little diversion and makes a good addition to a shmup fan's library. I have no idea what the PCB sells for on this one, but the rom is easy enough to track down along with the m2 emulator. This game should have been put on one of Psikyo's collection discs; but sadly it remains forgotten in the realms of obscurity. Be sure to give this old game a look.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Yesterday I picked up the new DS game, Scribblenauts. The whole premise is solving puzzles or small action sequences by writing anything (not copyrighted) into a pad and watching it materialize. The game is very addicting, and long-lasting with tons of levels and possibilities limited only by your imagination. The game also allows you to build a level for your friends to play with it's level edit option.
I think I spent my first thirty minutes with the game just writing anything that came to mind to see if it appeared on the title screen. I summoned a lawyer, a mop, a Spartan with a spear, and even the Invisible Man. After fooling around with this I started to play the game and found that the game really gives you a lot of freedom in solving it's puzzles. Want some wings to fly over something? Go ahead. Want to summon a Cyclops to fight for you? Just write him in. I tried Hitler out of curiosity ( I was going to send in God to beat him up) but he was not available. For the most part anything you can think of is in this game.
My only complaint with the game is the control. The D-pad is used for the camera, and the touchscreen controls the rest. I have died several times due to the touchscreen's inaccurate precision in flying over an obstacle or navigating enemies moving faster than your character. The control is workable but is a definite flaw.
Overall the game is highly enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone with a DS. Here are a few of the wacky things I have found so far:
- You can write in a shrink ray to shrink objects or yourself (if you reflect the shot.)
- Want to kill a shark or other violent sea-life? Try dropping electronics in the water like a toaster.
- If you write in rally car you will get a race car with the developer's logo on it.
- Want to fly but you're tired of using wings or the jet pack? Try summoning Pegasus, the flying horse.
- Wanna look like a Jedi? Write in robe and laser sword. May the force be with you.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
A couple of days ago the Dreamcast's 10th anniversary marked a strange day of nostalgia for long time Sega fans. Many great games defined the system such as Skies of Arcadia, Shenmue, and the Power Stone series; but many more obscurities exist that I remember just as fondly like Blue Stinger and Chu Chu Rocket. The Dreamcast was Sega's farewell to the console wars, and marked their emergence as a third party developer. Some say the PS2 killed the system before it even had a chance; but I think rampant piracy also played a good hand in the Dreamcast's demise. The piracy thing is actually strange to me as the Saturn's game discs were almost impossible to copy. All rambling aside here is my personal top ten Dreamcast games:
10. Powerstone 2 - The perfect party game with insane characters and trap filled stages. Also did I mention there are hundrends of items scattered around each stage?
9. Sword of the Berserk - This game's story takes place after the Berserk anime as Guts searches for a cure for Caska. This is one of the goriest hack and slash games for any system, and the story rocks.
8. Marvel vs. Capcom - Everyone loves Marvel vs. Cpacom 2 since it has a million characters; but for me this is the better game... plus the music doesn't suck horribly like the sequel.
7. Sonic Adventure 2 - The last good Sonic game in my opinion. No werewolf Sonic bullshit here.
6. Skies of Arcadia - A beautiful RPG about sky pirates. The graphics are great, it has a memorable soundtrack, and cool skyship battles. It is way better than anything Square has done recently.
5. Bangaio - One of the wackiest and most fun titles for the system courtesy of Treasure. What other game let's you fill the entire screen with missiles?
4. Street Fighter 3 (series) - The Dreamcast remains the only system to have all three versions of this game. 3rd Strike was great...but checkout Hugo's stage in Double Impact, it is awesome.
3. House of the Dead 2 - This was my first game for the system and it is still one of my favorites. The game has some of the worst ( and funniest) dialogue ever record. It is a perfect port of the arcade game, so grab a buddy and kill some zombies!
2. Last Blade 2 - One of the best fighters for any system that no one has ever heard of. The game has nice 2-D artwork, and a great battle system. I wish this would get a port to Xbox live...
1. Shenmue (series) - The Dreamcast's finest hour, sure people may mock the game these days (where can I find some sailors?) but the storyline is epic. One of the most detail infused games I can think of, I mean what other game lets you work a job, talk to every townsperson, and drink a Coke afterwords? Too bad this series seems to have been put on indefinite hold to many fan's chagrin.
That's the list folks. Maybe one day Sega will get their shit together again and give us a new system. Till then I will only imagine the awesome launch titles they could start with : Shenmue 3, a Sonic sequel that doesn't suck, and Panzer Dragoon Saga 2 (I know that's from Saturn but a man can dream.)
One last thing: Support indie Dreamcast development! Checkout http://www.wind-water.net/
Friday, September 4, 2009
Today I am going to review a PC ero-title called Sengoku Rance. Before you run away, this isn't your typical " get the chick in the sack and then her sister too" type game. Instead the game focuses pretty heavily on tactical army battles like a console strategy RPG... this one just has some naughtniess thrown in for good measure. This game was released only in Japan, but Yandere tanslations recently released a nearly complete English patch for the title.Sengoku Rance follows a warrior named Rance as he travels to Japan during the warring state era. He then meets Nobunaga Oda, who places him in charge of his army. From there the game follows Rance on his conquest of Japan and it's women. The story is often light-hearted with Rance being a huge pervert; but sometimes the game can be touching, such as when Nobunaga's young sister has to confront her own destiny.
The tactical game mechanics are highly addictive. The objective usually rest in conquering each family house of a certain state on the map. The family houses all have a leader that usually serves as a boss battle to conquer their state. The battles are fun and easy to learn. Some of the battles late in the game become very difficult but usually with perseverance your groups can take the remaining houses.
The game has well drawn graphics for the battles. The animation isn't very good but it is not overly noticeable. The music is pretty well done as well. Some of the hair metal boss tracks had me rocking out.
Minor RPG elements exist such as dungeons, a friend/ love system, and recruting missions. The dungeons are straight forward but often reward your group with rare equipment or items. Rance can gain the trust of his allies and increase their strength; for female party members he can usually romantically persuade them toward love for stat bonuses and upgrades. Rance can also recruit former enemies from the defeated houses which gives you strong allies and some unique abilities.
It easy to feel overwhelmed when initially staring at the map screen. You have plenty of states to conquer and time plays a big factor on if you will be able to conquer everyone. The game comes to a conclusion on the main route after a certain amount turns (there are other routes which I will discuss later.) The game becomes so addictive that it can be distracting when the storyline forces you to fight another house instead of the one you are currently attacking.
Through certain actions the game can follow multiple routes. This gives you plenty of replay oppurtnities with diferent endings for each one. The difficulty will also re-adjust on certain boss encounters if you are willing to admit failure, which I think is a nice feature seeing as how you will be underleveled in your first playthrough. anyhow Sengoku Rance is pretty lenient on the main route as long as you admit defeat.
Hentai elements are present throughout the game such as when you conquer the states, Rance usually beds down the princess or commander from that nation. The anime artwork is nice and the sex scenes are easily skipped through if it isn't your thing. The Rance games are Japan's premier ero series so everything is top notch in presentation. Be aware that this game can be very dirty as in foul language as well.
I enjoyed this game and hopefully this review will make some of you track this one down. It is a great strategy RPG with a fun story and some dirty elements. Sengoku Rance beats the hell out of every hentai game on the US market as far as gameplay and actual storyline go. Be sure to check this one out and get the translation patch as it is nearly finished.
- The game's translation: http://yandere.gray7.com/?page_id=90
- A walkthrough is avaiable here: http://alicesoft.wikia.com/wiki/Sengoku_Rance:Lore
- Video of gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4TgO35BiZs