Monday, November 30, 2009

Awesome Game Fan Art Part IV

More art to peruse.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Top Ten PSX Games

The original Playstation was a great machine. I still remember it being my first CD based system, and being amazed by the graphics. It seemed leaps and bounds ahead of my SNES and Genesis. In honor of this wonderful little system, I am going to count down my ten favorite games for the system.

10. Final Fantasy 7 - This is an essential edition to any PSX library. It is a great game, and has lasting appeal. Cloud and his crew stepped up the RPG experiece unlike any other title at the time. I am no fanboy for this game (my favorite Final Fantasy is still 6) yet it keeps a warm place in my heart for its rocking soundtrack, cool characters, and retro 3-D visuals. Too bad every other Final Fantasy 7 project has sucked with the exception of Crisis Core on PSP.

9. Ridge Racer - This game really shows it's age when compared to modern racing titles; but it still rocks. Ridge Racer brought the 3-D arcade racing experience home for an afforable price. The game only had one track, and a reverse version of it; but the racing stayed intense. One neat little trick I figured out for this game was removing the game CD after initially loading allowed you to replace the game with your own music CD. This is an early version of the custom soundtrack feature found in most games today. Also the "Devil car" you win on the last race is so damn fast it can hurt your eyes ( I love it)!

8. Lunar 1 & 2 - I know I am cheating with two; but the Playstation had so many great RPGs. These games were ports from the Sega CD, but the original Lunar received a massive overhaul in visuals and some plots modifications. Lunar 2 didn't need the huge update, but still received some updates to visuals and music. These games are some of the best classic roleplaying games ever, and the packaging for both games are beautiful. I hope we see a Lunar 3 someday( farewell Working Designs).

7. Metal Gear Solid - If you know who Solid Snake is, you can thank this game. The Metal Gear series started out with the MSX and NES; but the Playstation made this series what it is today. The game revolutioned cutscenes, credible voice acting, and tactical stealth gameplay. Any fan of Hideo Kojima's work should own it.

6. Resident Evil 2 - Resident Evil was my first survival horror game, the sequel is the one that still drags me back to the console however. This game had some truly "shit your pants" moments from things jumping through windows to weird stuff coming out of nowhere. The game featured a cool split experience where you could play as Leon the cop or Claire a student. This game has been ported several times, be sure to get this one or the updated Gamecube version.

5. Final Fantasy Tactics - I reviewed this game earlier this month, and I recognized it for being a wonderful game with a great soundtrack. This is one of the best strategy RPGs no matter if you care for the Final Fantasy series or not.

4. Suikoden 2 - Konami needs to make more games like this! Suikoden 2 is the awesome tale of a young man gathering 108 others to battle his best friend and nemesis to end a deadly war. The graphics are among the best 2-D on any system. The soundtrack is beautiful. The story also (while badly translated) is top notch. The villain, Luca Blight, is so freaking evil. This game goes for alot on eBay these days, but it is well worth every penny. Too bad no one released the PSP port outside Japan.

3. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment - I know another RPG, but bear with me. This game gave US role playing fans a dark world filled adult themes. The original Persona was so butchered it is not worth mentioning, but the sequel was left intact. The difficulty is brutal, so the game is very challenging. Also you don't have the poppy music or social links present in Persona 3 and 4. What you do get is a cool RPG that is for the hardcore crowd unlike any other on the American PSX. I say that because the Japanese had a prequel called Persona 2: Innocent Sin, that was left untranslated till very recently by two fellows named Tom and Gemini.

2. Einhander - Square decided to stop RPG desgin to experiment with different genres for awhile and made an unique shooter that is still wonderful even today. This game is the best space shooter on the original Playstation and that is saying alot considering the competetion. While it is a short game, the replay is good; and every true shooting fans replays his favorites many times. Why Square never made a sequel to it is still a mystery to me.

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - The best game on the Playstation takes the 2-D Castlevnia formula, Metroid, and laughable voice acting then throws them all in a blender to make a classic now known as Metroidvania. Where to begin with this game? The graphics and animation are insane, even the Saturn port couldn't do the stuff the PSX version was doing. The soundtrack is brilliant, I have the CD on my iPod which says alot. The gameplay and item collecting mechanics feed on your need to see every inch of the castle and reverse castle defeated. This is truly the shining star for this console, and possibly the best game ever made!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mushihimesama Futari Tested, Region Free is a Go!!!

A user on Youtube named shinshaobaka posted a video today where he tests Mushihimesama Futari on a non - Japanese Xbox 360. The results: It really is region free. CAVE and STG fans rejoice.
Here is a nice wallpaper of Reko to celebrate this great occasion.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Awesome Game Fan Art Part III

More game art from PIXIV to enjoy...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Marvel vs Capcom Stick Impressions

Today I bought the new Tournament Edition, Marvel vs Capcom Arcade Stick for my Xbox 360. I had a normal fightstick but this one is much sturdier, and heavier. It feels really nice as well. The stick is really great, and I didn't miss a beat playing Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Street Fighter IV earlier. What makes this stick unique is the nice art featuring many of the coolest characters from the Marvel vs. Capcom series. This is by far the best looking Mad Catz product yet, even beating out their recently released Femme Fatale stick.
The stick will set you back 159.00 at Gamestop ( I loathe that store, but it was the only place near my house selling it.) I am pretty certain these sticks are a limited run and should be bought quickly if you intend to buy one at normal price. I know the scalpers on eBay will have most of these in due time and the results will not be good for late buyers. From my experience with it so far the stick is top notch, and is a must have for comic and fighting game fans.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Final Fantasy Tactics Review (PSX)

Final Fantasy is one of the great RPG series of our times. In the 90's a great little title was released for the Super Famicom called Tactics Ogre. Squaresoft soon hired the genius behind it, Yasumi Matsuno, to craft a similar game for the Sony Playstation. The result was the strategy RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics.
As a strategy game, FFT will push your brain to find new tactics (no pun intended) for winning certain stages. Also, since it is a Final Fantasy game, the story is top-notch, although badly translated. This game has always held a warm place in my heart for these reasons. However, FFT was released in 1998, how does it hold up today?
Graphically the game looks like it belongs on PSP or DS ( I know there is a PSP port, I will go into that later) yet that is not a bad thing. The animations for each character is great, and it is rivaled only by the mighty 2-D RPG Suikoden 2 as far as this issue goes. Spell effects are a little cheesy, but no one wants to wait thirty minutes for a CG summon in a strategy game. All in all, the graphics are very good especially since the Saturn was supposed to be the 2-D powerhouse of the 32 bit era.
The music is incredible. This is one of my all time favorite game scores. From the sweeping melodies of the random field battle to the intense track played for battles with Zodiac demons, each song makes you love the game even more. Sound effects are cool, you will hear a little scream when characters are killed, and certain moves have cool and unique sounds like Night Sword. Squaresoft outdid themselves on this one, I would as far to say this soundtrack ties Final Fantasy 6 as all time best RPG soundtrack.
Strategy games most important ascpects are the gameplay and strategic conditions, and this game does not disappoint. Each character can change to a unique job such as knight, bard, samurai, and many more. You will need a varied army to tackle the difficult stages in the game. Grinding is advised in this game to gain better jobs and abilties, but it never feels like a lame chore to advance further. Stage maps can either be to your advantage, or disadvantage depending on your character's job.
Characters in this game are easily some of the best of the "tactics" genre. You will meet heroes, traitors, and evil scoundrels throughout the game's lengthy quest. The story will follow your character, Ramza, from being a teen soldier to being a general of his own army. Along the way Ramza will be branded a traitor, heretic, and savior in his mission to stop the destruction of Ivalice and save his loved ones.
Some gripes about the game do exist. The translation is not the greatest, but the PSP port did remedy this. Also some battles were unwinnable if you saved in the dungeon before that, not on the map, you may have to start all over with a new game to make a better team or Ramza. Also once you get the character, Orlandu, late in the game; winning becomes way to easy since he is basically a killing machine.
Oddly the PSP port did fix the translation; but did not fix the Orlandu thing or level the end game diffuculty. If anything Square-Enix made the game easier by adding two new characters that are in the same tier as Orlandu. Two new job clases were added as well, Onion Knight and Death Knight; but of which are kinda lame. The PSP port added new videos to the game which look nice, and they even added audio for some of the characters in the videos such as Ramza and Delita. While I prefer the PSX port, the PSP port is not bad and is easy to come by for cheap these days.
FFT stands as one of the all-time great strategy RPGs. Many would follow such as Disgaea, Makai KIngdom, and even FFT sequels for handhelds. As fun as some of these games are none hold a candle to their predecessor. Someday I hope to track down Tactics Ogre for PSX so I can compare the two. Until then, long live FFT!


  • The world of Ivalice, from FFT, is also the world another classic game takes place in... Vagrant Story.
  • <----- If you want to make the game even harder go here!
  • Cloud and Aerith from Final Fantasy 7 make cameos. Cloud is also plyable if you meet certain requirements!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Awesome Game Fan Art Part II

Here is some more great fan artwork courtesy of Pixiv:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday Gaming Madness -_-

I have never understood why game companies release all of the big titles during the holiday season. Gamers are left to pick only the titles they feel are most elite, and sadly many games get left in the dust. Huge launches for the new Call of Duty, Dragon Age, Left 4 Dead 2, and a new awesome Mario for Wii will leave smaller (albeit excellent looking) releases like Demon's Souls and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on shelves waiting for their eventual move to bargain bins. The holidays are fun, yet frustrating because of this crazy practice.
For a retro gaming fan like myself the holidays are equally frustrating for another reason. New "pretty" games make it almost hard to ask for a retro gift. Sure I would like to say," I have wanted Alien Solider for Megadrive for ten years," but I know if someone ask me for a gift I'd like to receive I will make it easy on them and say a game recently released. Sorry reto game collection, but I have to get some modern shit on the shelf...damn you fancy new consoles and your fantastic graphics!
I love to buy people games as presents for Xmas. Giving my sister a game we played as children together like Chrono Trigger brings nostalgia to the heart. I also like to get the girlfriend a cool little puzzle game or something, just to bring her into my little gaming world for awhile :-P. As cheesy as it sounds, giving can be as fun as receiving (especially when it means two player Magical Drop) .
The holidays aren't the only reason to be excited either. In January more huge titles release: Bioshock 2, Bayonetta (the demo is amazing btw), Tatsunoko vs. Capcom All Stars. and Mass Effect 2. Also in March for PS3 and 360 the much anticipated, Final Fantasy 13, finally arrives in the US. It is a good time to be a gamer...just not a poor gamer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is this dude the inspiration for Mike Haggar?

Many crappy violent manga and anime filled the 1980's. One example is the manga, Mad Bull 34. Mad Bull 34's title character, Mad Bull aka "Sleepy" is the guy with the mustache above. He is a hooker screwing, ultra-violent New York cop that's alway ready to remove his shirt for a brawl. This manga ran in Japan between 1986-1990, and Final Fight was released in 1989. Was this crazy character the basis for Mike Haggar?
Mad Bull looking fairly homosexual.

Mike Haggar being a true badass.

Both characters bare a striking resemblance. I have to wander if the designer at Capcom read this manga, and said, " This dude is awesome, let's design our main hero after him." It is very possible, or maybe he just thought his pro wrestling mayor would look really lame if he was a tiny guy in a suit. Either way, I think the resemblance is uncanny, and it is just a little funny that both Final Fight and Mad Bull 34 were released around the same time frame. Anyone know if Capcom used Mad Bull as an inspiration for Mike Haggar?

Mad Bull fighting in a subway like a certain level in Final Fight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pirate Megadrive Games from eBay

So I won auctions on a couple of odd titles for the old Sega Genesis the other day. One is a strange little game called Top Fighter 2005. It is a weird fighting game starring Goku (Dragon Ball Z), Ryu ( Street Fighter), Cyclops (X-Men), Michael Jordan (comically named Jodan), and a few more out of place fighters. It looks like a MUGEN game, but the controls stink. I may review it later on.
The other game I picked up is a bootleg of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker(complete with terrible artwork that makes no sense) . I haven't stuck this one in yet to see if it's just a simple clone of the original or a whole new hacked up game starring the King of Pop( my fingers are crossed for latter) . I will be sure to give an update on my findings once I play it.
Also here is a picture of my arcade machine running Street Fighter 2.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reasons to Buy Mushihimesama Futari for Xbox 360

Mushihimesama Futari is another awesome shooting game coming from Japan's shmup powerhouse, Cave. Five reasons to import this:

!. IT"S REGION FREE!! It will play on any Xbox 360.
2. Cave has very limited print runs of it's titles, so this will be a collector's item for the hardcore crowd.
3. The graphics are beautiful 2-D, and the soundtrack sounds pretty awesome from I have heard of it in Youtube videos.
4. Cave is making this game region free to see how large of a consumer base they have outside Japan. If more people import then maybe we will finally see international versions of Deathsmiles or Ibara.
5. The artwork is amazing for this game, if you are a dork for that kinda thing like me, then get this game!

Available at Play-Asia: