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.