Monday, August 22, 2011

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Final Fantasy X International

Bad Box Art of the Week: Rock N Roll Racing

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Games for the Hardcore

If you are like me, then this Summer has been kind of a drag for new Japanese games. Sure we got Catherine and Super Street Fighter 4 Mega Hyper Arcade Fighting Lord edition, but I can't recall much else. In the coming weeks and months, there is some hope on the horizon. Here is a list of games to consider purchasing if you are fucking hardcore:

Solatorobo is a Mega Man Legends-esque action RPG from CyberConnect2. The company worked for nearly 10 years on this game, as a follow-up to the obscure PSX classic, Tail Concerto. Why should you care? This maybe the last good Nintendo DS game that hits American shores. Everyone who has played it says the game is pretty great including 1up's perpetually bitter, Jeremy Parish. Pre-orders get a soundtrack, which is also pretty nifty. The game is coming out 9/27/2011.

Persona 2 Innocent Sin will finally reach the US in the form a PSP remake. The game was originally released in the late days of the PSX, but some issues such as a homosexual party member, kept Persona 2 in Japan, with the US only getting it's follow up Eternal Punishment. If you ever questioned what the hell is going in the back story of EP or simply wandered why Tatsuya is so damn emo, then get this game. The game will be released 9/20/2011.

 The King of Fighters 13 is finally coming to consoles after rocking Japanese arcades for the past year. After the abysmal KOF 12, I wasn't sure what to think, but I have heard only good things about this sequel, so I will give SNK one more chance. The story finishes the Ash Crimson arc for people who actually follow the story in fighting games (all two of you.) The pre-order offers an amazing bonus, a 4-CD soundtrack spanning the history of the KOF franchise. Get hyped. KOF 13 is coming 10/25/2011.

 El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron looks insanely cool. The graphics are sort of in Okami's style, but instead of medieval Japan, you go through different angel's versions of an ideal earth, all of which are visually striking. The combat seems lacking from the demo I played, but something this beautiful can't be ignored. El Shaddai arrives 8/16/2011.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Top 25 Games of All Time

As an avid game for over 21 years, I have often pondered what if I could only play 25 games for the rest of my life. The list is a tough one, as I have played thousands of games. However, certain great games to come to mind almost immediately. Here is a list of my favorite 25 games of all time, in no real particular order.

25. Dynamite Headdy (Sega Genensis)  Crazy Treasure developed platformer that is too weird not to love
24. Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Arcade) Great brawler, like Golden Axe on steroids
23. Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2)  Metal Gear + the Cold War = one brilliant game
22. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis)  The best Sonic game ever also has a wonderful soundtrack
21. Street Fighter 3: Third Strike (Arcade)  Still stands as the best 2D fighter, seems to be made for combo and parry experts
20. Super Street Fighter 2 (Arcade) Almost as good as Third Strike, great for nostalgia
19. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)  My favorite game as a child that made me a gaming nut for life
18. Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX)  Maddeningly deep strategy RPG with an epic story and great cast
17. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX) Greatest Castlevania game, Alucard is such a badass
16. Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)  Excellent Final Fantasy with some of the best graphics on the Super Nintendo
15. Chrono Trigger (SNES)  Great story, beautiful music, cool bosses, and plenty of replay value
14. Mother 3 (GBA)  Quirky game with an oddly compelling storyline and many emotional moments
13. Mushihimesama Futari (Xbox 360)  Bullet hell shooter from Cave, masterful stage and boss design
12. Mega Man 2 (NES)  Tough as nails, but so satisfying...I also love this soundtrack for some reason
11. Marvel vs. Capcom (Dreamcast)  The original one felt so perfect and kinda balanced, I still love the graphics
10. Gunstar Heroes (Sega Genesis)  The greatest run and gun shooter on the Genesis with a unique sense of humor and a flare for the dramatic
09. Powerstone 2 (Dreamcast)  One of the best multi-player games ever mad, so many items to be crafted
08. Guardian Heroes (Saturn)  Beat-em up with multiple endings and tons of characters to choose from
07. Earthbound (SNES)  The precursor to Mother 3, hilarious and endearing plot, another 16 bit triumph
06. Super Metroid (SNES)  The best Metroid with one of the greatest final battles of all time
05. Mega Man X (SNES) The natural evolution of Mega Man 2, the perfect Mega Man game
04. Persona 4 (PS2)  Teens going inside of a television to find a mad serial killer, count me in
03. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)  Life on the frontier was hell, but man was it pretty, best video game ending ever as well
02. Super Mario World (SNES)  The Mario game that introduced Yoshi and the cape, it has so many secrets
01. Final Fantasy 4 (SNES) The first real J-RPG in my opinion, a classic in every possible way
Honorable Mentions: Suikoden 2, Lunar Silver Star Story, Persona 3, Snatcher, Policenauts, Sonic CD, Ninja Gaiden, Shenmue, Crazy Taxi, Final Fantasy 7, Deathsmiles, Sexy Parodius, The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Mass Effect 2, Valkyria Chronicles, and Gitaroo Man.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Random Screenshot 35: Akumajou Dracula X Gekka no Yasoukyoku

Akumajou Dracula X Gekka no Yasoukyoku (Saturn) Konami Nagoya 1998

The Saturn was a 2-D powerhouse, so it made sense to port Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which was arguably the PSX's best looking 2-D game, to the system. However, Konami farmed the work out to their less talented Nagoya branch and the results were a mixed bag. On the surface it looks and sounds like the PSX version, but that is where the similarities end. There is heavy slowdown through out the game which makes some boss fights very annoying. If multiple enemies surround your character there is heavier slowdown which can cause cheap deaths and frustration. Sound effects are also muffled for some odd reason. On the upside, Maria and Richter are immediately selectable. Maria plays like a mix of Richter and a fighting game character with command inputs for her magic attacks. She is an absolute tank that makes the game far too easy, but she still plays better than the version of her selectable in the PSP port. New levels and enemies were added, but both are lackluster and forgettable, as is the addition of some badly done remixes from classic Casltevania titles such as a version of Bloody Tears that sounds like it being played on a kid's Casio keyboard. If you love the PSX version, give the Saturn version a look. It is not a superior version of the classic game in any shape or form, but some of the wacky new additions are worth checking out if you are a hardcore fan or Castlevania guru.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

75,000 Hits

Thank you to everyone who gives this blog a look. It is now over 75,000 page views, which is pretty awesome. I am actually trying to decide on a contest for when it reaches 100,000. That is far away, but it will make this gaming geek a happy man to give back to his readers. Please leave any suggestions for a contest in the comments box. I look forward to reading your suggestions.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fan Art of Metal Gear

I am a big fan of Metal Gear. The series has a great plot (for the most part), amazing visuals, and tight gameplay. I still hope Metal Gear Rising turns out to be a good game, of course Raiden has much to prove since he was such a little bitch in Metal Gear Solid 2. Let's hope cyborg Raiden  is less whiny and more manly! Anyway, here is some fan art from Pixiv for this amazing series...

Here is one more picture for you Snatcher fans.

Random Screenshot 34: Queen's Gate Spiral Chaos

Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos (PSP) Namco Bandai 2011

Do you like Super Robot Wars? Do you like scantily clad women? Do you have a PSP? If you answered yes to at least two of these questions then consider importing Queen's Gate: Spiral Chaos. The game plays like SRW, but uses the characters from the Queen's Blade universe and various fighting game heroines instead. Notable guests include Mai from Fatal Fury, Cham Cham from Samurai Showdown, and Noelle Vermillion from Blazblue. The game could be written off as mere fan service since the goal in most fights is to shred the opponent's clothing, but there is some heavy strategy involved in the battle system as well. Sure reward videos do play of the girls frolicking in a lake and there is the all important hot springs okay the game is pretty pervy. However, that doesn't mean Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos is a lame game, with all of the cool crossover cameos and plenty of story routes, this is a strategy RPG for otaku and SRW nerds alike.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bad Box Art of the Week: Dino City

Awesome Box Art of the Week: Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles

A Big Book for Valkyria Chronicles Fans

For fans of the PS3 game,Valkyria Chronicles, Udon is releasing an English version of the Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive. The book is a whopping 400 pages of sketches, design details, and developer interviews. It is will be released in a few days, so get on over to Amazon and pre-order while it is still cheap. For those who haven't played this game, drop what you are doing and go get it. Valkyria Chronicles is the best PS3 exclusive and sports some of the fanciest graphics pretty much ever, I would say it is even in my top ten games of this console generation. Support good games and cool design books by ordering this gem, we don't get nearly enough of these in the US. It also includes bikini art, which should sway some of you who like anime T&A.