1:42 PM 2 comments

The River City Revival Hits Xbox in Downtown Smash Dodgeball

 

Normally I don’t copy-n-paste others blog entries, but when I noticed this game on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace under the ‘Indie Games’ banner and later this blog entry from 1UP’s Retronauts blog by Ray Barnholt, I thought I could do it no better justice other than the re-post.  It is an interesting read, especially for those who played these Kunio games back in the day.  Enjoy the post, and if you pick up the game, let me know what you think.  -SG

Did you like Super Dodge Ball on NES? I mean, really like it? Would you believe there's a small group of Japanese gamers who feel the same way? A couple of years ago, those gamers formed the company Miracle Kidz, and went ahead and made an unofficial remake of Super Dodge Ball for PC, and just recently brought it to Xbox 360 via the Indie Games program, where it's known in English as "Downtown Smash Dodgeball." You can find it there for 800 Microsoft Points. Keep in mind that the game explicity takes after the original NES game, and not the later sequels for Neo Geo, Game Boy Advance, and so on. Aside from a higher color palette, you're getting graphics, gameplay, and other elements straight from the 8-bit version. In that regard, it's actually rather well-done, and is worth checking out if you want to see what a widescreen, flickerless version of the game would be like.


"But it's 800 points," you say. "That's ridiculous for an XBL Indie Game!" Well, I don't have much of an argument there; it is way higher than the other titles in the Indie catalog. Fact is, Smash Dodgeball is a "doujin" game from PC, and doujin games are more aspirational than the typical notion of an "indie" game; they're often made by larger groups of people (a "circle") and sold in physical form -- discs and fancy manuals and so on. In other words, this isn't a typical XBL Indie Game, where it's rarely more than one person making the thing -- Smash Dodgeball is a concentrated semipro effort that has a higher degree of polish, and probably a higher degree of passion behind it as well.
Besides, being a very blatant "homage" to the Technos classic, Miracle Kidz would have trouble getting the game on the more legit Xbox Live Arcade. Putting it on Indie Games, where releases are governed by Microsoft's community of outside XNA developers, makes it easier to get a game that is already considered a "rip" out the door... even if it is full-price.


It's clear Miracle Kidz loves the games in the River City Ransom/Kunio-kun "universe." In fact, I wasn't entirely honest in calling them mere gamers. Though their productions aren't officially endorsed by the current Kunio series rights holders, the group was started by Mitsuhiro "Yoshimitsu" Yoshida and Hiroyuki "Mokeke" Sekimoto, who were key members in the production of many of the early Kunio games, particularly the NES/Famicom ones. The fact that the men behind the original games can't let go of them is a strong testament to the undeniable charm of those games, and their intention to accurately reproduce them on modern platforms is mighty appreciated. I'm not demanding you buy Smash Dodgeball (even though it is just 10 bucks...), but it wouldn't hurt to consider where it comes from, and maybe show your support one way or another.

10:03 AM 0 comments

Virtual Steelers on the road to Greatness !

 

504x_steelers

I started  off my franchised mode with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Madden 10 with a controversial loss to the Tennessee Titans after the officials called  for a review from the guys upstairs in the booth. After reviewing  my amazingly acrobatic touchdown catch by Heinz Ward the “guys upstairs” in the booth felt the need to over turn my touchdown which would have tide the game at least sending it to overtime.

That's the NFL for you my friends and just like real life even in the Madden 10 sometimes you need to cures out some bad calls made by the officials. From there the rest of the season has been flawless After going down to the Titans 17-10, I was able to rally the troops back for 3 straight victories in a row. With a record or 3-1 this is what it looks like so far.

  • Titans     17-10  L
  • Bears       28-7   W
  • Bengals    31-3   W
  • Chargers  42-24  W

After one bad call and 3 straight wins the road to the Superbowl seems pretty bright for the my Steelers. Madden my be a game that gets a lot of criticism for being the “same” every year, but for me I've only owned the game twice in the past 6 years or so and find it to be a real treat to play.

-TX

10:31 AM 1 comments

The Return of the Playstation Brand

 

182688-1-1 Ok those of you that know me know that I've bought some things then turned right around and sold them shortly after. Examples would be the PSP, Wii and PS3. Don't ask why I do these things because I really couldn't tell you. Call it a case of trail and error.

Then of course there are times when I repurchase the same product all over again. Like I said don't ask. That brings me to the title of this post “The Return of the Playstation Brand”.

Im referring to the PS3 making its way back to the TormentX home front. Not only that but the PS2 will see its way back as well thanks to Sony not having backwards compatibility in the PS3. Again Im sure your asking yourself why. That I can answer.

Now more then ever it makes total sense to buy PS3 for the Blu Ray. At $299 its a no brainer to a have a high def movie player that also plays games. Well what about the PS2, what's the sense of buying a system over 10 years old ? Ill tell you…..

20081029_playstation-2-sony I guess I should mention first that something has to go before I get all of this. It wouldn't be me if I didn't. Yes you guessed it…. the Wii for the second time will be leaving the house. Why would I get rid of it again you ask ? Well two reasons.

One lack of use. Although I think EA Active is awesome my foot still hurts and it will not allow me to use it to its fullest potential (plus I'm hoping for a better Natal version). Two ……my kids hardly touch the darn thing. Not to mention that my 4 and 1/2 year old still doesn't get that he needs to point the damn remote at the screen to play it. So Wii is out….. again !

Now the PS2 part of the whole deal is so that my young one can get the Dora's, the Diego's and the Sponge Bob type games without the motion control gimmick not to mentions so many other games on the cheap !

It will be a good couple of months or so before it all goes down , maybe even after the holidays. I think the Playstation brand may stick around a bit longer this time around…..maybe a just a bit.

-TX

10:19 AM 0 comments

So What's in a Price Drop ?

 

x360-white-elite-bob The next wave of price drops are soon to hit us for the 09 holiday season. So there's no better time to jump into the High Definition gaming platform ……or is it? While Sony has already announced its new PS3 Slim with a price drop of $299, we are still awaiting the “official word” from Microsoft on the “new” Elite SKU of $299.

So now you can get a Xbox 360 top of the line Elite system for just $299 or can you ? Like Sony before it the new 360 SKU comes with more the just a price change. It also comes with a bit of a down grade. Yes you still get the Black Xbox, 120 GB HDD, headset and Ethernet cable, but the one thing you don't get that is the HD component cables which now need to be purchased separately. Instead just “standard” A/V cables are packed in. 

What's the big deal you ask ? Well for anyone using an HDTV set it would mean spending more money to get the true next generation experience. Now a days a simple $10 HDMI cable will do the trick so the cost isn't that bad. My biggest problem here isn't the added cost, but the fact the average consumer may  not even know that that they would have a choice to maximize their gaming experience. Here's to hoping that most people are educated in the world of High Definition. Folks gaming on a normal TV set would be good to go.

On the brighter side of things the price of gaming is coming down at a time when the we are in a economic state of BLAH which is great for the industry going into the holidays season. $299 for a High Definition gaming system is a great deal. And as always there's still the $199 entry level Xbox 360 Arcade unit and the $250 Nintendo Wii.

-TX

12:00 PM 0 comments

Because You WANT to see more FORZA 3

 

-TX

7:05 PM 2 comments

In The Mail Today

 

Courtesy of NeoGaf:

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- Schu

3:14 PM 1 comments

Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition: The Great Debate

 

modern-warfare-2-prestige-edition1 I have been having an internal debate as of late in regards to the recently announced Prestige Edition of the Modern Warfare 2 package that will be hitting retail this November.  With three SKU’s on the books, gamers once again are going to have to decide how ‘big’ of a fan they are of their beloved franchise.  Two years ago I declared myself a huge fan of Halo by spending the big bucks on the Legendary Edition of Halo 3.  I do not regret the purchase, but had I waited a few months I could have saved big time on the ‘cat-helmet’.  So once again decision time will be rearing its ugly head, this time for the Call of Duty franchise.

Initially I was stoked about the package as I have always wanted to own my own pair of night vision goggles (even if they are just a low-grade version).  That and the whole box and collection looks very cool.  Then I began to look at the slew of Fall releases leading up to Christmas and began to realize that spending $150+ dollars for one game and no game-related peripheral probably is not the best idea.  It is a rare occasion when I come to my senses and think responsibly when it comes to game purchases and Collector's Editions.  I wouldn’t come away empty handed in this situation.  The Hardened Edition still comes with all the really cool stuff like the download code for the first Call of Duty and a Modern Warfare art book.  Not a bad haul indeed.

I was pretty comfortable with the decision I had made until Robert Bowling, Infinity Ward’s community manager had to open his big mouth.  Robert went on the record and said that the Prestige Edition would truly be limited, and once the game launched, no more of this particular edition would be produced.  That tugged at the collector heart-strings in me and once again made me second guess my choice.  Now I should not put too much stock into that statement, I happen to remember Bungie stating the same thing two years ago with their Legendary Edition.  Too this day you can still find it at a greatly reduced price.

In the end I believe common sense will win out, not because I am smart, but rather I am poor. Between all the cool other games, guides, and extras I plan to pick up I will need every last cent.  So I think the debate just may be over…for now.

Modern Warfare 2

-SG

3:02 PM 2 comments

LTTP: Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

Text Adventure: So Schuey, what were your initial thoughts going into Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, which was originally released in November, 2007.

Schuey: Uncharted in my mind had a lot to live up to. Not only was it my initial foray into the PS3 landscape, but Uncharted in many people’s eyes is still regarded as one of the top titles for the system. Going into the opening sequence of the game you are treated with a well put together opening cinematic, which shows of the solid animation and voice acting in the game, which I will come back to later. Into the first jungle level proper though, I felt a little underwhelmed by the graphics.

TA: Underwhelmed, how so?U3

Schu: I guess it was probably the jaggies. With the jungle environment being pretty busy, it seemed to be more noticeable.

TA: Did you opinion change on the graphics change as you proceeded to play through the game?

Schu: Most definitely. The jaggies become less noticeable and the subtle details started to show themselves from the swaying of branches in the wind, the movement of the grass, to solid texture work and lighting on the rocky surfaces. However the thing that stood out the most was the animation, which as I said earlier is not only great in the story sequences, but also in gameplay. From Drake’s little stumbles while running, reloading of guns, melee combat and grasping at ledges after a big jump, Uncharted is beautifully animated.

TA: How does the animation compare to other games in the genre, like say Tomb Raider or even Gears of War?

Schu: Very well, actually much better in fact. Not only were animations well done and varied, the controls still felt responsive. The fact that Uncharted 2 is supposed to surpass the first game on many of these fronts, it bodes well for the sequel.

U2

TA: Speaking of controls, what did you think? Many of the gameplay/control conventions seemed to be stripped right from Gears of War, especially the cover system and gunplay.

Schu: Your right. Gears was clearly an influence, from the one button cover to the over the shoulder gun play. The shooting and cover mechanics were solid enough, but not quite as polished as Gears in my opinion. I’m hoping that U2 improves on this. At times it took too many shot sas well to take down your enemies. This seemed to be mentioned a lot by others after its initial release.

TA: Moving on from the controls, how did the story hold up for you?

Schu: I really enjoyed the story, even though it kind of stuttered a bit near end. Playing Nathan Drake, who was modeled to be somewhat of an every man, who can make mistakes from time to time seemed very believable. Not only Drake, but the supporting characters around him stood out as well. Give me Drake and Elena every time over the tired Lara Croft!

TA: Uncharted has only one game still remember, there is still plenty of time for Drake and co. to become tired!

Schu: True. I’ll give you that. The new leading lady in U2 looks very interesting as well. Hopefully the characters will continue to evolve and be given more depth.U1

TA: How long did the game take to complete?

Schu: Oh, I would say about 8 to 9 hours, which felt like the perfect amount of time. The fact the I was motivated to beat the game very quickly after getting it shows that it was able to draw me in.

TA: So it’s safe to say you will be picking Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, after your experience with Drake Fortune?

Schu: Most definitely. It is easily one of my most anticipated games in the Fall line-up, 360 or PS3.

TA: What’s next for you on the PS3?

Schu: I’m already into Valkyria Chronicles, which is a tactical strategy game set in a WWII setting, with a Japanese take. So far I think it’s fantastic.

TA: How about for the Xbox 360?

Schu: Just working on my backlog until the Fall onslaught with some Battlefield 1943 thrown in as well.

TA: Well that’s about it, thanks for your time Schu.

Schu: Your welcome…………Playstation 3!