Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What's In A Title

After watching Dead Leaves the other day, I was kind of left wondering what the titles had to do with the anime at all. A 50min OVA produced by Production I.G. for Magna it's one very strange show. For some reason I thought it was going to be more than a story about two crazy ex-spies who have lost their memories end up being caught by the police and end up trying to escape from jail. True there is more to the story, but most of it is Pandy and Retro leading the other prisoners to freedom.

It's only a couple of years old but the animation looks really rough, I don't know if it's because I watched it after watching a few episodes of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex (which looks very slick). The problem is that Dead Leaves just looks a little washed out and just rough. Maybe it's the creators intention, because it is a very out there show, with plenty of mad action scenes and huge explosions.

In the end it's not a bad show, even though some of the jokes are a little low brow at times, and I'm not prude.

On another note, Eurogamer posted up this great review of Ridge Racers for the PSP. Just a bit more info than most of the other reviews I've read.

The Intersection

It's funny that such a simple thing, like destroying cars and creating pile-ups can give you such great pleasure. I've never played the Burnout series before, I don't really know why, it's just something I wasn't interested in. But today I decided to check out Burnout 3 for the Xbox. I've always wondered why everyone raved about it, and know I know. Destroying cars to earn medals and unlock faster, bigger, and more awesome cars is just really satisfying. Though trying to unlock something like the Semi or Firetruck is going to take a bit of time.

I got a load of new anime lately, things like Texhnolyze, Ghost In The Shell: SAC, Dead Leaves and some more Initial D, so I'll post up some impressions of those sometime soon.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Coming Soon

I've got a few weeks free from work, so I'll try and update the site once a day, just with what ever. At the moment because of Christmas and the time of year, there really isn't much going on the gaming community, so there isn't too much to comment about.

I haven't picked up anything new recently, so no thing new on that front. Finally got around to watching the bonus DVD that came with Halo 2, which includes a load of behind the scenes and making of footage. It's really quite interesting to watch how a game of that size comes together and is designed and made. The only thing really is that it could have been a little longer and maybe gone into a few more thing, but it's a nice bonus.

Game wise I've just been playing a bit of Halo 2 and also finally managed to get passed that goddamn boss Alma in Ninja Gaiden, Christ they couldn't have made that more difficult, maybe if I had of had more elixir but still.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

¥50,000? Get Outta Here!

After recently thinking about getting a PSP from Japan, and then upon reading this article, I some how don't think it's going to happen. I'm still considering it, I don't mind waiting a few months for one, but Ridge Racers keeps calling too me.

If your as obsessed with Namco's Ridge Racers as I am, then you might want to check out some of the wicked wallpapers they have on their site.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sega History Collection Complete!

Finally it's done, I now have a complete set of Sega History Collection Gashapon. As they said they would Play-Asia sent me the right ones free of charge and they arrived yesterday. It's great to see that some companies still care about their customers and will do a little extra to make sure they are happy. So I'll defiantly be buying from them again, especially with the PSP being multi region. I'll post some pics of the complete collection in the next few days.

The other thing I've been thinking about it importing a PSP. Now I was willing to wait, however one of the guys I work with is going to Japan for a few weeks. So I got to thinking, if he can find one (which he might not because of the shortage) do I get him to pick me one up at the retail price, and a couple of games. Or do I take the easier and safer route and just wait till the domestic release. The last import system I bought was the Dreamcast, and only because I was able to get it at a decent price. The thing that concerns me with the PSP is first of all and defects, including dead pixels and also the warranty. I don't want to end up with a $300 paperweight. There might even be issues that haven't become apparent yet, no one ever knows with first gen hardware.

The other thing is I also kind of feel compelled to purchase the domestic release of the PSP. I complain enough about titles not getting released here, so I should at least buy the unit locally and support the local market. Plus this is a blog about gaming in Australia, not one about gaming in Japan. Maybe I'll just leave it, then I can do a full review on the day of the PSP launch.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Heaven or Hell - Lets Rock!

I haven't played a Guilty Gear game since GGX on the Dreamcast, so a fair bit of X2 is new to me. Now I knew that the PS2 version of Guilty Gear X2 #Reloaded would look good, but goddamn. It's once of the most vibrant looking 2D fighters I've ever played. Everything in the game just looks so crisp an clean, from the detailed backgrounds to the bright effects. All in 60Hz goodness.

It's still the same old Guilty Gear that we know and love, except with X2 Reloaded it has a few more extras added that X2 didn't. Some of the modes are interesting, Arcade mode is still as challenging as always, super hard bosses still intact. Mission Mode is a nice addition, basically is just matched with set conditions, it's challenging but not too hard. Another Mode Medal of Millionaire or M.O.M, in which you fight an opponent and collect medals they drop, to me it just seems like a kinda of survival mode, but with a medal gauge. I'll play it more and see where it goes. Other modes like survival and training are also there. There also seems to be a fair amount of extras to unlock, and a whole gallery mode to view them in.

Using the PS2 controller isn't bad. The D-Pad works well, but after a while my thumbs tend to hate me. You can turn the analogue stick on, it works great for doing quarter and half circle moves, but for moving in general it's a little strange and movement seems to get a little disjointed.

Overall it's great, nice to seem that PAL territories are getting these releases.

Oh, and I pre-ordered a PSP at my local Electronics Boutique.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Crazy Japanese Ads

For some reason I have a real addiction to Japanese gaming ads. So when there is something that I just can't get enough media of like the PSP, and you combine it with say something like an advertisement of a Japanese nature, you have, well something no to be missed.

PSP.IGN.Com have a load of the latest PSP ads up at the moment, and you can check them out right here. Some of them are quite good, but most of them just make me want a PSP and a copy of Ridge Racers even more. But as soon as my local EB starts taking pre-orders, I'll be there, cash in hand.

Speaking of my local EB, I called them today and found out that they had 2 copies of Guilty Gear X2 Reloaded. So I'm picking that up tomorrow night and if I get time I'll post some impressions of it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Sega History Collection Update

Well my order arrived from Play-Asia, but it wasn't what I was after. I received a Sega Saturn but no a Dreamcast, so I've hit them up about it and will see what happens. So here are a couple of pics of it sitting atop my own Saturn.

I still can get enough of any PSP info. I devour each new video and screen like some kind of addictive digital eye candy. Ridge Racers just looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, it just doesn't look real. I can't wait till this thing gets a PAL release, and I just hope to the Gaming Gods that it's region free.

Apart from me drooling over the PSP, I've been trying to get hold of a copy of Guilty Gear X2 Reloaded on the PS2, Christ what a mission. I might pick it up from Special Reserve, that is if they ever answer my god damn email.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Portable War

I can't believe is rained pretty much for 2 weeks and then Yesterday and Today are two of the hottest days I can remember. I went out to do a few things on my car and it was just unbearable. Anyway enough of my bitching.

Today the PSP launches in Japan, and a new portable console war begins. The Nintendo DS and the PSP will now go head to head in a market that for years has been dominated by Nintendo. Is there room for two portables in the market? Sony seem to think yes. As a gamer you can't not get excited about this sort of thing. A now hardened console veteran going up against the king of handhelds, it's what makes gaming so exciting.

I for one can't wait, I would have purchased an import PSP but my funds are kind of low with Christmas and all. However if the gaming press are right and the launch date for the PSP in Europe/Australia is March 25th, well it's not all that long away. Just 3 months, probably the shortest time between a Japanese launch of a console and a domestic one.

I haven't been so excited about a new console in a while and I really think Sony are on to a winner here, well as long as the battery life is ok. The thing with the PSP is, it offers so much and yet doesn't cost a fortune. I'm willing to drop $300 - $400 on a portable game console, if it's decent, and the PSP seems to be shaping up that way.

I'll be honest, I haven't owned a portable game console since the very first Gameboy, yeah the brick one. The Gameboy Colour and Gameboy Advance just didn't do it for me. I nearly bought a Gameboy SP because it looked great, but still I don't want to drop that kind of money on a handheld just to play games with SNES graphics.

Now you have the Nintendo DS, which to be honest just seems like a gimmick. The games look ok, but all have to be designed to include another screen and at times the touch feature, which I can't help but think is strange. Sure it's different, but just doesn't seem right. Plus from what I've read regarding both of them, aren’t really implemented very well. If you don't need two screens for a game why have them? I don't have anything against Nintendo, but I think they have become a little lazy.

The other strange thing is that Nintendo keep stating that they don't see the PSP as a threat to their handheld business. Why then do I see an article nearly every few days about Nintendo harping on about something or just bashing the PSP. Shit I just checked Evil Avatar and saw this, crazy.

Maybe it's that Nintendo have been on top of the handheld business for so long now that they think they can say anything. I just think they might be in for a shock. Look what happened when Sega with the Saturn went up against newcomer Sony back in the day. Sure the Saturn was going well in Japan, but just got washed out everywhere else (Mostly fault of Sega America and Sega Europe).

I know the above may seem like I am very anti Nintendo, which is quite the opposite. I have much respect for them as a game company. Through everything they still carry on, they still have a game console on the market, which is more than Sega. Plus they have a thriving handheld market and many, many loyal fans.

But Wipeout Pure does look the business.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Retro a Go

I don't know what it is lately, but I've been wanting to get back into some retro games. I got my Saturn out and set it up next to the Dreamcast, I couldn't stand it being unseen in the box any longer. So finally after a few years it back out again.

I don't know if I'll pick up any Saturn games, I wouldn't mind playing Nights again or Guardian Heroes, but they are pretty hard to get hold of these days. I could pick them up from eBay, but I'm still not sure.

I've got some stuff about the new Sony PSP I want to put up so I'll do it tomorrow.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Sega History Collection Saga

I finally managed to get a decent pic of the Mega-CD from the Sega History Collection. I don't know if it was the camera I was using or because it's fairly low res but I couldn't seem to get it to focus right. I'm unsure photography is not my thing at all, it may have been a combination of trying to take a close up shot of such a small item, lighting condition and the camera. Anyway it's not too bad, I'll get a better camera and take some other photos soon, once I get the other systems anyway.

Which is another interesting story. Because I needed the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast to complete my set I decided to buy them from Play-Asia. So I email them and ask if I could buy two of SHC and if they could be the two systems that I need. Anyway I get a fairly quick reply saying maybe but they can't guarantee it, I just have to place an order and then email them right after asking them to note the request (being a Saturn and Dreamcast) on it.

So I thought about this for a while and then today placed an order with them and right after sent and email with the request. I didn't hear any more about it until I get home tonight. I find I have an email telling me that the items shipped before the request was placed on the order, Bloody Great! So I email them again and ask that if I get two of the ones I already have could I exchange them? I get another reply a bit later saying that they understand and that if I don't get the items I want they will send the right ones free of charge! Bargain! It's a win/win situation. So anyway this is a free plus for Play-Asia who have blood excellent customer service and are a pleasure to deal with.

So as it is, once I get the Saturn and Dreamcast models I'll take some pics and post them.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Where It All Started

Well it was 10 years ago that the original Playstation was released, and for some strange reason I know it's been that long but it doesn't seem like it. My first memory of the Playstation is that one the guys my dad worked with had imported one. He took it into work and hard it up and running on a projector, and the original Ridge Racer was playing. I was in awe of this arcade style game and still remember it to this day.

I remember that he later sold the import machine and bought a domestic model. He took this into office one day and I remember spending a good deal of time playing WipeOut on it.

At that time I was into gaming and owned a MegaDrive and Mega-CD. I couldn't afford a Playstation at it's release, being about $800 - $1000 it was extremely expensive for a game console. The Sega Saturn wasn't any better and it was a similar price at launch. Being a Sega fan I ended up buying a Saturn when it dropped in price to $400 and a copy of Sega Rally. I picked up a Playsation a while before Gran Turismo was released.

I still have my Saturn, all in it's original box, it doesn't get used much anymore but I keep it for sentimental value. I kind of wish that I still had my original Playstation. Not to use it, but just to have it sitting around. It just has a lot of great memories attached to it like the Saturn does.

Anyway enough of that, I picked up King Of Fighters 2000 & 2001 for PS2 today. I've never really had a chance to get in to the KOF series before, and my only real exposure to the characters has been from Capcom Vs SNK. Both games seem like great conversions from the Arcade and the PS2 pad works a treat. I'll post some more up on it at some point.

More Is More

A lot of titles have been released recently and it seems I picked up have more than my fair share. King of Fighters 00/01 for PS2 was released today, I'll pick it up in the morning and post some impressions of it maybe Monday. I did think about getting the Xbox version but the controller is just a crime against fighting games, and I don't want to make my RSI any worse. Also it isn't getting a release till 2005 plus I've picked up a lot of Xbox titles of late, time to add a few more to my PS2 collection.

Ninja Gaidne arrived today, it's such a fine game. Hope the sequel does justice to it.

Apart from that I'm just waiting for Guilty Gear X2 #Reloaded to get a PS2 release, I'm really dying for a bit of Gear action, I haven't played a new Guilty Gear game in years.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sega History Collection

I finally received my various Sega History Collection miniatures today. Out of the 6 in the set I received 4 different ones, and a few extras. I know they are a random assortment of 10, but I was expecting to at least get 5 of them.

Problem is now I have to try and source a Saturn and Dreamcast, that I need to have a complete set. So what I have is, Sega Mark II, Sega Master System, Sega MegaDrive and Sega MegaCD. It's not so bad having extra MegaDrive ones I suppose, because I can then set up the MegaDrive by itself, MegaDrive with 32X and Megadrive with MegaCD. So it's not bad.

I'll post some pics when I get home. They are great looking miniatures with a lot of detail, and hopefully I can get the 2 others I need.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Chock Full 'o Sprites

Finally after years SNK arcade games are finally getting mainstream console conversions that they deserve. Sure SNK games have been getting converted to the Neo-Geo cart system for years, but they are hardly affordable or easily available. Metal Slug 3 on Xbox is a testament to this. It’s one of the finest looking 2D based games around, it’s a perfect arcade conversion. The graphics are crisp and clean and the audio is clear and sounds excellent. It’s quite a hard game; the first few levels are quite short and easily played through, however the last one really throws you into the thick of it. You have limited continues on the Xbox version however, making it more challenging than the PS2 equivalent.

I’ve read comments from people saying that they purchased the PS2 version because they prefer the controller for this game. For a simple 2D arcade shooter like Metal Slug, I really can’t see the PS2 controller promoting anything over the Xbox one. For a game like King of Fighters, sure I’ll purchase the PS2 version because the Xbox controller is utter shite for fighting games. With Metal Slug however it makes no difference.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Gaming of a Budget 5

Another bargain, this time from the crew over at DVD Crave. This time the must own title Ninja Gaiden for about $43. Which is a steal of a price for such a great game. But using the $20 cash back voucher from Microsoft that came with my recently purchased second Xbox is knocks it down to a tiny $23!

I'm still waiting for my Sega History Collection items to arrive from HLJ, there probably still in customs being extensively prodded. I guess that what you get when you select super long happy shipping method.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The JS 965

As promised here is a pic of the JoyTech AV Control Center, or the JS965 which sounds like some sort of vehicle from Star Trek.

It's not the best picture, and doesn't show up the four blue LEDs it has on the front, which indicate which source is currently selected. As you can see from the Toshiba sitting on top of it the JoyTech unit is the same width, which is great because it doesn't look out of place with other gear in a entertainment unit. It's about a deep as a standard DVD player as well.

It also comes with a small credit card remote to select the source, but I don't really have much need for it.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Hit That Switch

I forgot to mention that I recently purchased a Joytech AV Control Center. I used to have a single switch and the optical cables going into a splitter/joiner, but it was just rubbish and messy. This unit puts it all into one tidy unit. It's essentially just a switcher, but it supports up to 4 S-Video and Optical, SCART and Composite connections, so it's a great all in one unit and looks the good as well. I'll post some pics in the next post.

I finally managed to order a copy of Metal Slug 3 for Xbox, so I'll post some impressions of that once I get it.

I was going to mention something else but now it's just gone, so for the moment I'll leave it at this.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Aww The Waiting Game Sucks

It's been a week or so since CD-Wow said they would have Metal Slug 3 on Xbox in stock, and still no joy. After a few emails with one of the very helpful support staff, their stock is expected to be with them in the next day or two, yay. Apparently it's some customs delay.

I'm also still waiting on some Sega History Collection items from HLJ. Which I'll post some nice detailed shots of when they arrive.

I'm expecting Metal Gear Solid 2 to arrive this week sometime as well.

Apart from that, I'm waiting for King of Fighters '00/01 for PS2 to be released, as well as Guilty Gear X2 for PS2 due out Friday in the UK.

As always nothing happens and then it's all at once. I'm not complaining though, it's all good, and on the upside I'll have plenty to keep me occupied.

Oh as an update to Viewtiful Joe and unlocking Dante, he rocks. Capcom went all out with adding him as a playable character. You actually use your sword to attack, and if you punch while in the air you use his gun to fire shots at enemies. He also has some other neat little additions, one being when you double jump a little pentagram appears below you. He also has his own sort of storyline, which is very strange. Anyway a great addition to the game.

I would have posted earlier today, but I remembered about it then went and got lunch and didn't think about it until I got home. So it's a late update ;P

Monday, November 22, 2004

Gaming on a Budget 4

Well another day another bargain. This times it's the long loved franchise Metal Gear Solid. The bargain, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance for the Xbox. Price payed: $36. A bargain indeed.

Now I know that MGS:2 is a fairly old game, and MGS3 is due out here in a month or so. But I don't have it in my collection and have played it but never finished it. Plus Substance comes with a load of extras which I would like to check out, and with MGS3 being available soon, I want to at least finish MGS2 first.

I'm not one of the Old Skool players of the MGS series who have been into it since the NES days. I originally picked up the import for the PSX back in about '98. I've got some fond memories of playing though that game and finishing it, all in Japanese as well. Plus I don't know if I prefer the MGS series over something like Splinter Cell, but I really love the feeling and atmosphere portrayed in the games. Good times.

Friday, November 19, 2004

When To Take Notice

When Viewtiful Joe originally appeared on the Gamecube I took little notice of it, not because it didn't interest me, but because I didn't and still don't own a Gamecube. I will pick up a Gamecube at some point they are only $115 anyway.

Though I remember many people commenting on Viewtiful Joe and seeing a fair bit about it, and also a lot of comments on the great but fairly hard gameplay. Luckily for me it's been released on the PS2 and I picked it up as soon as I could.

Viewtiful Joe is pretty much what everyone else has said it is. A great 2D/3D side scrolling cel-shaded platformer. It's simple yet addictive gameplay that everyone should really check out. I picked it up for $40, and at that it's a real bargain. Plus with Viewtiful Joe 2 coming soon, you should really check out the first one now.

The PS2 has a few extra features, one being the ability to play as Dante from Devil May Cry, which you unlock after completing the game.

The game has that great Capcom style to it and while at times can be a little difficult, plus I don't totally agree with some of the play aspects in it. These would be having to purchase extra lives in the store, but the price goes up each time, making it more difficult to afford another like especially after a very difficult section in the game. Another being at times the lack of direction the game gives you while solving a puzzle or navigating a level.

But these are little things and the style and substance of the game more than makes up for most of the frustrating aspects of it. Also it's a game you won't to play through again just for some of the cool things you can do.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I haven't posted anything in a month, and I don't really have an excuse for it at all. But from now on this site will be updated a the very least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I'll have more game write-up's and the such as well since I've been picking up a few more titles recently.

I also had to buy a new Xbox because mine was just giving me far too much grief, after taking it apart 3 times and adjusting the DVD-Rom, it just wasn't reliable enough. So traded it in at EB and picked up the new Ultimate Entertainment Pack, not a bad deal, and now I finally have a reliable Xbox.

Anyway onto the fun. Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for the Xbox. I had pretty much forgotten about this getting a PAL release until there was some news around about the region free Japanese version.

Apart from being ridiculously hard or harder than I remember it's nice to be able to play Street Fighter II again, and get a chance to play Street Fighter 3rd strike which I didn't get around to picking up on the Dreamcast.

I'm fairly sure the difficulty is related to playing the game with the Xbox pad, I really can't get used to it. You have to use the Black and White buttons, and they just aren't accessible enough when playing something fast paced like SF3:TS.

There isn't the depth present in the recent SNK vs Capcom series. The game it's self is pretty shallow, and probably only worth about $50 for a quick thrash. Nice to go back to everynow and then, plus it has Live support, oh and the Street Fighter Animated Movie, even if the quality is pretty shite.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Upgrading Nostalgia

Ahh nostalgia, something that is treasured by every gamer. It's a funny thing, not something you earn or create, it just seems to happen, the fond memories of the past only coming back now and then when a certain event triggers them.

Now you can look at OutRun 2 in a few different ways, cashing in on nostalgia or introducing the classic OutRun formula to a new breed of gamers. I lean more towards the later, simply because I think Sega Ages 2500: OutRun is a better candidate to cash in on the past.

Either way, OutRun 2 is a welcome addition to the current generation of games. Brandishing new looks with old skool gameplay, OutRun achieves what it sets out to do. Now most gamers today are older, have a full time job and little free time. They you don't always have a lot of time to sit down and play a really involving game or just don't always want to. OutRun 2 is a real winner in this regard, you can play for half an hour and really get a kick out of either Arcade Mode or Challenge Mode. Plus being an arcade game, the whole feeling of it is conveyed much better in small doses.

The addition Mission Mode in this type of game is a very welcome one, adding may more hours of gameplay and interest to the title. Completing differnt missions to unlock new content is always great and really adds to the whole experience.

Sorry for the delays in updates, I've been kinda busy of late buying a new car and all. But check back soon for more regular stuff.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Gaming on a Budget 3

I recently picked up another wicked gaming bargain from the lovely people over at CD-Wow. This was my first order from these guys, and they provide a bloody great service. Anyway with a bit of strategic barganing I managed to pick up Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution for a tiny $32. The great thing about CD-Wow is they post free worldwide, and most of their games are PAL, so for people in Australia and the UK it's a great place to check out.

On to Virtua Fighter 4:Evo though. I haven't really played a VF game since Virtua Fighter 3: Team Battle on the Dreamcast, and that was pretty lacklustre anyway. I had thought about picking up VF4:Evo before now, but just hadn't gotten around to it. Though now I'm really glad I did. This has to be one of the most polished fighting games around, and is up there with Soul Calibre 2.

You can see why this game has had so many rave reviews, there is just so much in it to do. Plus the fact that this game looks great for a PS2 title really helps, very clean with some pretty decent audio to boot.

It's not an easy game and will really test your patients at times, as it can become frustratingly hard in Quest Mode. Though this just forces you to become a better player, though in a harsh way. However as you do play though you notice that you start to use differnt tactics and moves as you up the ranks and take on tougher opponents.

The Quest Mode is huge, allowing you to take each character though it, conquering arcades and colleting items and status to become the champion. There are a heap of items for each character to collect, plus a load of other great stuff!

To complete this game 100% would take far too many hours, I think I'll just stick to my favourite characters and see how far that takes me. Though for $32, it's a lotta game!

Friday, August 20, 2004

I As In Ninja!

Ahh Ninja Gaiden, the game that is said to be extremely hard. But with good reason, because the game is pretty goddamn difficult.

However Ninja Gaiden must be one of the few games that is very challenging but also so rewarding and great fun. Sure you die a lot, have to replay certain areas of the game over and over, and have to keep trying to defeat a certain boss, but when you do, you feel like you have really accomplished something.

Plus the strange thing is that you never seem to get frustrated with the game. It's hard, but not "I'm going to put this damn Xbox controller through the window" hard. I think the only time I really got angry was at the beginning of the game during one of the first boss battles, and I had already taken the boss on 4-5 times, and then died just before I defeated him. But I learnt what I did wrong, and next time round I kicked his arse!

The other thing you remember when playing the game is that it is hard, and getting pissed at it isn't going to help at all. The best thing to do is to just keep at it, plus having to replay certain areas isn't a chore it's great, you improve you skill and get to behead strange creatures.

Though the thing that simply impressed me the most when I first battled an enemy was simply how fucking solid this game is. The gameplay is simply some of the greatest ever. It just feels great, this is how an action game should feel SOLID!

Even the controls for simple movement are great, though a few things can be a bit tricky and the camera at times can do a few strange things, it's still one of the best out there. But the range of moment and action you can perform are just insane.

The gameplay is just fantastic, and the other things like the weapon upgrade system, magic and additional weapons just add the proverbial icing to the cake.

TeamNinja this time have really out done themselves, the only thing that could top this would be a sequel with more of everything!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Escape From The Bay

Well after a bit of a delay I finally managed to check out Riddick for the Xbox. Now I haven't really seen a bad review about this game, and for the most part with good reason. One of my favourite sites because of their fair reviews, NTSC-UK hints at most of what isn't so hot with the game, but are still partial to it, fair enough.

First of all Riddick has what I believe the Beastie Boys would say "The skills to pay the bills", which in essence is very true. This game looks bloody fantastic, thanks in part to the power of the Xbox and of course StarBreeze who put it all together.

I went into Riddick with high expectations, and when this happens you are usually disappointed. The problem being I had read a few reviews and was sort of caught in the hyped about it. How can you not be, when you have so many people saying something is great, well you kinda believe it.

Riddick is a FPS, but it dose bring a new feel to a worn genre and a few new things. Though I'll say it out right, I don't like stealth in my FPS's, I play MGS, Splinter Cell and Thief for stealth, I don't want to have to fucking sneak about in a game when I can just shoot people. Since your in prison in Riddick, you don't have a gun, and even when you finally do all the work to get one it gets taken away from you. This is where things went sour for me, no gun, having to use stealth and having to fuck around to complete vague objections.

That is my other main gripe, if you get lost in Riddick, you aren't given a hint or any help. This game isn't hard, but with all the vents and locked doors you can get lost and end up wondering what the hell you are doing.

It may seem I am very down on the game, and while I didn't like all the vent crawling and stealth palava, when you do get a gun it's a great game. The sound (loveley 5.1), graphics and atmosphere are top notch and everything just looks great. Also one of my favourite little additions are the cigarette packets you can find to unlock hidden items, very nice.

I would have to say that the main problem is I wasn't into Riddick expecting something it wasn't. For some reason I imagined more Half Life and less Thief, where I ended up with more Thief. Defiantly worth a rent, and if it's $50 pick it up.

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Delay of Sorts

With all the talk about Doom 3 lately I though I would post something different. The fact that I don't currently have a PC that will run Doom 3, and won't until I've bought a car, doesn't factor into it. Though I very much want to play Doom 3, I can wait. Plus I'm looking forward to Half Life 2 much more. Which by then I hope to have said PC.

Anyway onto more pressing issues. The other day as I was reading the usual sites I read on a daily basis and I came across this interesting article. Lost among the mounds of Doom 3 news posts, I'm fairly sure many sites dismissed it. What caught my attention though was the mention of a completion percentage of GT4. Now I'm sure with GT4's imminent release status many people would assume that GT4 is almost complete, as did I. However the article quotes Yamauchi as saying that GT4 is currently only 75% complete, which really thew me. 75% isn't a very comforting number, its a whole 25% away from 100%, which is exactly one quarter. Now this really doesn't fill me with confidence, especially for a release this year.

Maybe it's possible (a release this year), maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill, and maybe 75% to Yamauchi is a lot closer to 100% than I'm thinking. But this game has been in the making for a bloody long time now, and I just keep seeing delays. I was hoping that they would be at around 95% now and just finalising little things and fixing bugs.

I guess we will just have to wait and see, after all there are 5 months left in this year. This isn't a rant about Polyphony Digital or GT4, as it's one of my most loved gaming franchises, it's just an observation. I would rather wait till next to play a perfect version of GT4, it being everything I hope it will be, and not some buggy rushed version. I'm sure many fans of GT4 will agree, as perfection is what makes GT4 a great racing series.

Friday, July 23, 2004

A console by any other colour

I was thinking about this on the way to work the other day. It's not really overly interesting or intriguing, but it made me think non the less. With consumer trends as they are at the moment, what colour are we going to see the Next Gen consoles in? I would say silver, to match the many similar coloured TV's, DVD Players and other various home theatre equipment.

When you look at the current consoles, the PS2 is black, the Xbox is black and the Gamecube is purple (yes, I don't know either). However each manufacturer has produced other colours of their console. Though in the Western World non can claim as many colours as Microsoft. It seems that they have to produce a new colour of their beloved Xbox with each promotion they do. Now this isn't a bad thing. So far I think I've seen, Green, Clear Green, Crystal and Silver, so you have a few choices and I'm sure I have missed some others. I don't mind black, it goes with all my other gear and looks fine. The thing is these other colours are only around for a limited time, and though you might not want a clear green Xbox, a silver one would be quite nice. Also in Japan Microsoft have produced a large range of colours for the Xbox that I can only assume is to try and gain more interest in their product.

Now with Sony, they have currently released a phenomenal  range of colours for the PS2 in Japan. This isn't anything new in Japan though, as the Gamecube enjoys as many variations to it's colour scheme also. There are so many variation to the colour of the PS2 in Japan it just makes the mind boggle. The strange thing is the only other main stream colour I can rammer being released in Australia is Silver. I'm pretty sure the US may of had other colour as well, I kind of recall something similar to the picture above.

The only company to offer a multitude of colours in their console at launch is Nintendo, with their Purple, Black and Orange Gamecube. Though these days I rarely see anything other than the Purple one. Also in Australia I'm fairly sure we didn't get the Silver model.

I don't think I have ever seem so many variation to a product, ever. Either way I digress.

Back to my original thought regarding new console colours, I would have to go with something that's sleek and sexy, probably silver. Something like the current Sony PSX (their hybrid PS2/DVD Recorder).  I'm sure we will still enjoy a myriad of colours from attention starved console manufacturers. However, I can only assume that companies like Sony and Microsoft who are trying to make their Next Gen consoles more Home Theatre integrated and become more of a main feature in the Home Entertainment realm with want the console to match all the current displays people are buying. This being things like plasma screens, the new LCD TV ranges that are appearing, silver coloured TVs and also a lot of other silver coloured appliances.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

No more black boarders?

With SquareEnix's recent announcement regarding their expansion into Europe, I'm still left wondering about the quality of their up and coming releases. Now SquareSoft/SquareEnix, have made some really great games and some not so great, but for the most part they are up on top.
Now I'm not really talking about the games themselves, because games like Final Fantasy XII are just destined to be great, it's their thing, it's what they do. No I'm talking about the PAL conversion, ahh yes. My main concern being the black boarders that Square, nay the companies that are responsible for the conversions love to lump on us PAL users with.
Now I don't pretend to know what goes into the process when converting a game from NTSC to PAL, I have a basic understanding of what's involved, but I would say for the most part it could be fairly complex. However, it's always amused and shocked me that such large ranking games like the recent Final Fantasy X-2, have an immence amount of black. This was expectable with the PSX, but it's really not with the PS2 and especially this far into it's life and development cycle.
Now I know many people have complained about this time and time again. Especially with Final Fantasy X and X-2. But this isn't a rant about those games, that's in the past and nothing can be done about it. What I hope SquareEnix will do now that they are focusing more on the European market (that includes Australia) is that they really try hard to make the conversions of up and coming games the best they can.
It obviously can be done well, as the recent release of Disgaea is a great conversion with no boarders at all. I just hope SquareEnix have learnt from passed experiences/releases and really do improve on future PAL releases.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Next Gen

I've decided to start writing up a few comment on the gaming news, instead of just writing up game impressions, simply because I don't have a new game every few days to write something up about. So basically I'll just put some news up about a game that interests me or some news that's interesting.   So to kick it off I thought I would discuss the current state of the next generation consoles.  
Now I'm sort of torn between feelings for the news of the PS3. While it's great that Sony have announced their plans to show their new console at E3 2005, I can't help but feel it was what I was expecting. As most people have been assuming a 2006 launch for the 3 next gen consoles, it makes sense that Sony would show it a year before at one of the biggest electronic based expos. I think I'll wait until E3 2005 to get excited about seeing it, it's still a year away after all.   The other thing is now though, because of all this news surrounding the PS3 that Sony have pushed onto the press, making the PS3 the most know and talked about next gen console. Microsoft have come out guns blazing making more statements that, while maybe achievable should be something they should be aiming for in the future, not second gen.  
You just have to look at what happened a few years ago in the console market. Sega and Sony were head to head with the Saturn and the PSX, Sony won it big time and had themselves a big portion of the videogame market. This allowed for some great things. Nintendo was there with the N64, but only in the background.  So for a long-time you just had the PSX doing it thing in the console market and Sony built a huge reputatition and fanbase. Now you have the console wars back again, minus Sega, but being replaced with Microsoft. I think it's great! I love a good console war, and I'm not biased either way. Microsoft like they say have come a long way, considering the competition, plus they have built the best online gaming service to date, and kicked Sony's arse doing it. Though not surprising, Western gamers have accepted online gaming faster than Japan, we have just had it a long time.
Now Microsoft want to win the next gen console wars. They want to beat Sony, who are in Japan, the country that has supported the console market for the last 8+ years. Maybe Microsoft can do it, with the right developers and a console this time that doesn't look like something a VCR just gave birth too. Microsoft really have to win over Japan this time, they will need companies like SquareSoft to make decent exclusive Xbox games. I'm talking Final Fantasy 13.
Though the console and gaming market in general is a fickle one, you can never quite tell who is going to what. Something like Microsoft buying out SquareSoft could arise. Hey, it would be a better investment that Rare.
All in all I like Microsoft and the Xbox console, I just have one final thing to say regarding XboxNext. I just hope that Microsoft learnt some very valuable lessons with their first Xbox and make the hardware for the second one goddamn well work. I don't want to be sending back a 2 month old Xbox Next because it won't read games or have problems with it later down the track. (Yes my Xbox still crashes during games, it's the only thing that disgust me)

Monday, July 12, 2004

More Hours of Darkness

After spending nearly the weekend with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, I can honestly say that it is one of the most addictive RPGs I have every played.

I think it's mainly due to a combination of things, one of them being that the game is never overly hard. This is helped by the fact that it's so easy to level up characters. You can either choose to go back and replay a mission that you have already done, which is a great help as some levels contain areas that allow for bonus EXP. Or you can choose to enter the item world. Each item in the game can has it's stats increased by travelling into the item it's self and completing 10 lvs at a time. The levels for each item are randomly generated but the best thing about it are the bonus items acquired.

The game has a bonus meter, when this is filled to the next level you receive a bonus be it an item, HL (money) or bonus EXP. The great thing is you can obtain items in the item world that would cost a fortune from the shop, or ones that are marked rare or legend items and cannon be bought.

It's not hard to pull of giant combos to gain bonuses on many of the levels in the item world, thanks to special geo markers around the levels. These markers add certain attributes to a square that you or an enemy are standing on. However if you destroy a blue marker on a yellow square, and the blue has the "change to" attribute, then all the yellow markers become blue. If another geo marker it hit during the combo, another colour combo is set off. So you can see where this is going, and believe me there is nothing like pulling off a 1000+ combo and filling that bonus meter all the way to 9!

One of the other great things about the game is the sheer amount of characters to unlock, as well as enemies that can then be created and added to your party.

At the end of it all you have a game that is just a joy to play and with it's great anime styling there is never a dull moment.

Oh and one of the best things, that is so minor but I just really love it, is that when you equip a human character with a weapon, it is actually different on screen. It's just great to see a character brandishing a new sword on the battle field.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Many Hours of Darkness

It's been a while since I last posted, and that's only because I wanted to have sometime with Disgaea before I did post anything. The problem was finding sometime to get into it, since I knew it would be a game that would consume time like some sort of magical time continuum. It of course dose.

When I first started thinking about picking up a copy of the game, I was sort of worried it wouldn't gel with me. I'm a huge RPG fan but not so much of the strategy league. But after playing it for a few hours, I now can't wait to get home and start levelling up all my new characters, earning extra HL, and of course buying new gear so they go back into battle and really show how things should be done.

The only thing I find is that I'll play the game for maybe an hour or so and find I've achieved only a few things, which isn't a bad thing, it just really surprises you.

I'm only a few hours into it at the moment, so I haven't really started kickin' it. But I'll post some more impressions as soon as I can.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Disgaea: Woo, Woo Indeed!

Well my copy of Disgaea: Hour of Darknes just arrived, after I get some time to play it I'll post some impressions.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Disgaea Discontinued in Australia

After receiving a newsletter from GamesMarket saying that Disgaea: The House of Darkness had been discontinued, I began to panic.

After emailing then and asking what was going on, I've found out that in their wisdom EA Games the distributor, decided to only bring in 1 shipment, and no more.

Now maybe it's just me, but I would have thought that a title like Disgea, even though it would have only a small sell through, you would import more than 1 shipment, because there is going to be a demand for it.

Either way, I just ordered mine, I wasn't going to get it right now but considering the circumstances I had to. If you really want it, try some stores, I know many of the online Australian game stores are already listing it as "Discontinued"

I'll post my thought on it when it arrives next week.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Spys will have their trinkets...

After playing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for an hour or so, it seems very similar to what many people have said about it in numerous reviews.

Since I've just been playing the original Splinter Cell I guess it makes it easier for me to compare the two. First of all, Pandora Tomorrow is much harder than the original right off the bat. The second level alone requires you to use many of your skills just to do a few simple things. There seems to be more lights to shoot out this time round which can make it easier to go undetected. However, the AI has been greatly improved and now guards are alerted to gunshots and lights being shot out much easier, especially if a guard is already on alert and another light is taken out. This alone adds to the difficulty, or can work as an advantage as it provokes guards to move over to a certain area.

With regards to the graphics, they have been improved over the original, there not as ground breaking as the original SC but the lighting is now much smoother as well the environments having more character and detail. One this though, I can't get over this weird effect that you get when Fisher is in a dark area, the light on the back of his suit creates this weird distortion. It kind of looks like low quality video, when MPEG-2 video breaks up. It's really the only thing that ruins the great looking graphics. Though the guys at Gamespot also noticed it, so it's not just me.

The audio is a delight in Pandora Tomorrow and Dolby 5.1 shines as always. One thing you notice now is that everything seems to make so much more noise. Wooden stairs creek as you walk down them and broken windows are something to avoid.

A few other smaller additions to the game that a nice are the inclusion of a meter showing you when a body is well hidden. The alarm meter, this shows you how many more alarms can be set off before mission failure, and a little notice at the bottom of the screen telling you when you can use lethal and non-lethal forces.

After just playing a little of Pandora Tomorrow you really get a feel for what's improvements have been made to it.

I'll play through some more and write up anything else I find that's interesting.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Gaming on a Budget 2

Well on the weekend I buckled under the pressure of the giant EB sale. I picked up Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and MechAssault, and for a song at that.

Now you're probably thinking, "What you never played MechAssault !!!" Any you would be right too. I just never got around to picking it up, plus I wasn't sure if it was my kind of game. Though since I have always wanted to see what all the commotion was about I grabbed it. Blowing stuff up is fun!

I've always enjoyed mech games, Armoured Core being a personal favourite of mine. I've only played a few levels but it seems great. Now I really want to see what MechAssault 2 is going to offer, since the articles and interview about it make it seem like it has a lot to offer.

As for Splinter Cell: PD, I'll check it out and write up some impressions soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Gaming on a budget

Well with all the talk about Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow around the traps I decided to go back to the original that I never finished. I remember playing to about the 3rd mission within the CIA, but I got frustrated and gave up.

Well as luck would have it our good friends over at The Games Wizards were having a sale and I picked it up for a measly $14 on the Xbox. Yes a bargain indeed. But, and this is the best part, being a re-released "Xbox Classic" title it came with a second disc, including the 3 new maps available over Live and some behind the scenes movies. Considering I don't yet have Live, this was a great bonus. So I'm still currently involved with the classic Splinter Cell, and even though it's a few years old now it still looks great.

And yes, it has re-ignited my interest in SP:PT, which I will defiantly have to pick up in the future. (Not necessarily when its $14)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Prologue

Paying for a demo of a game isn't something I would normally do, or even condone. I simply think it's a waste of money that could be put to better use, e.g. buying more games. Plus I never understood why people bought a game just to get a demo of say a new Final Fantasy title that was coming out in X amount of months, maybe it's just clever marketing. But alas I have fallen on my own sword an done the unimaginable. Gran Turismo 4: Prologue was far too much gaming goodness than I could resist. While the wait for this game has grown and grown, peoples interest in a title will start to feign. GT4:P is a great way to say "Hey, It's still coming, just a little longer". Plus it came with a bonus DVD, how can you go wrong.

For the record I'm talking about the Australian version if anyone is wondering.

First of all if you are a fan of the GT series and don't get excited at the opening of GT4:P, you are dead inside! I'm not kidding, the goddamn intro is worth the price of admission alone!

As you would have read, as I did, the game is comprised of a "School Mode" and "Arcade Mode". The School Mode is 46 lessons, and are similar to the Licence Tests undertaken in the GT series. Though they have now changed, and for the better. First of all there is a lovely voice over from an English lady, who takes you through the test and give you tips about what you must do. This is similar to previous GT games where you could watch how to do a certain test, but now it's just a lot nicer. The tests vary in difficulty, and while passing them isn't really hard at all, getting a gold on certain tests can be quite a challenge. After each test is passed, the car used in the test is awarded for use in Arcade mode. Nice!

Arcade mode is really just 5 tracks and all your cars, that's it. 1 track is a rally track and 2 are city/street and one circuit. Though it's nice to be able to test out the cars you have unlocked on a full track, though with limited in laps.

The DVD included with the game is great. A little short but great. It's got a main feature called "The making of a driver" which is 30mins long and very interesting, with a great deal of excellent footage. Then there is another section called "Behind the scenes", this however is only 2mins long?! I have no idea why it's so short, there must be so much footage from the making of GT4 its not funny, yet that's all there is.

Prologue is what it is, and nothing more. It's a glimpse at GT4, and to keep fans entertained until November. It dose it, and dose it well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Innocence It Is Not

After playing through about 60% of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence you sort of get the feeling you have already been there. Even though this game has gotten some pretty favourable reviews, you can't get over the feeling that its just a few monsters connected via a lot of hallways and big rooms. That's pretty much all you do, run down a hallway, which leads to a room, which contains a few monsters, this then leads to another hallway. Repeat.

Though the other thing that really got me, is at times in the game you might go though about 15 rooms and you think your going to get some great item at the end of it all. Sure you get an item, but it usually doesn't do much of anything.

At times its fun to explore dungeons, kill monsters, and collect treasure, but this just got repetitive and boring. The monsters just keep respawning, all of them! Plus you don't even get anything for all the work. You might get some useless trinket at the end, woo!

If you were a Castlevania fan, you might want to run though the game once and collect the keys that open up other areas on certian maps to possibly collect decent items. But even then, it's not even "Diablo II" cool when you kill something.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Sequel

Well it finally happned, Square Soft now Square Enix did what everyone wanted. They released the sequel to a Final Fantasy game. That games happens to be Fianl Fantasy X-2. For the most part people seem to like it, and I am one of those people. Which is funny really because I wasen't a huge fan of FFX. I just didn't get into the whole story and the water thing bugged me.

I think what makes FF X-2 such a pleasure to play is the whole light hearted story line and the fact that there isn't a real whole feeling of impending doom you tend to get with FF games. With the main characters being 3 girls, it just makes the game that much more fun. Also the addition of the new battle system and dress spheres makes for much more fast paced gameplay, which is different in a FF game. Accept when your trying to get too many commands out at once and hit he wrong one. But that dosent happen often. Im glad the Square Enix decided to change the sequel a bit, you dont want to spent $100 and play the same damn game again. Hi Capcom!

I checked out Castlevaniva: Lament of Innocence on the PS2 the other day, which I will post some impressions of later in the week.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


This Blog is still alive, I know it hasn't been updated in months and I feel really bad about it. I really wanted to try and start a decent gaming blog. Also after reading this article in Wired I thought I better start it up again. And put some damn effort into it...

Anyway, I've just been kinda busy. Which I know isn't an excuse but I just haven't had time or effort or something.

Also Final Fantasy X-2 just got released here and a few other decent looking titles like Kill Switch, which I hope to have some play time with soon.