Sunday, February 27, 2005

MEGA Game Haulage

I took a trip down to my local Games Wizards today, I wanted to check out their Gamecube section and see if they had a copy of F-Zero GX. Which they didn't, plus their Gamecube section was very limited.

So after looking around for a while I wander to the rear of the store and suddenly notice that a few games were $10 each, mainly some Xbox Classic titles. Now $10 for a game is a win, so I kept looking along the shelf. As you can see from the picture I ended up buying a few games, but they weren't all $10.

I picked up 6 games in the end which included:

Project Gotham Racing (Xbox Classics) - $10 - I picked this up because it was only $10, I usually don't buy "Classics" games, but hey when they are say under $15.

Rallisport Challenge (Xbox Classics) - $10 - Again cheap at only $10, so I thought why not! I don't currently have any rally games, and arcade style rally is always fun.

R:Racing (PS2) - $10 - Now I thought about this for a moment when I was in the store, I hadn't read anything great about it, but the cover art is slick so I picked it up. It's not a Ridge Race game so the racing is very different, and it has a fairly realistic physics engine. I haven't played a great deal of it, but it's not awful, and it's quite playable.

Beyond Good & Evil (PS2) - $10 - As soon as I saw this I grabbed it. I've heard people say that it was a great game but ignored it as just being another "adventure" style game. At $10 I thought what the hell I'm going to see for myself. Well, it's a pretty fine game. The action component of it is great and combat works really well, you're also encouraged to explore more and analyse creatures with a camera which you can use to take pictures of living things for cash. The game as a whole is just very well done, many of the sequences from gameplay to voice action and cinematics just work very well. For anyone into action type games this is highly recommended, even if you do pay more than a tenner ;)

Shenmue II (Xbox) - $30 - I have no idea if I will even like this game, but I just picked it up because I'm tired of seeing it around and not having played it. Plus it's a nice addition to my collection either way.

Project Gotham Racing 2 - $35 - This wasn't so cheap, but I like the game because it's just so slick. I know you can pick it up for $44 from DVD Crave but hey it was just there and I wanted a copy anyway.

So in the end I spent just over a $100 for 6 games, which I thought was quite good. There were quite a few titles on sale but most of the others didn't interest me or I already owned them, though they did have OutRun 2 on Xbox for an amazing $20. Games Wizards do have the best sales, I'll give them that. I have contemplated going to another GW that a little further away from me, though I don't know if they are open on a Sunday, and I also don't know if I want to spend any more cash on games this week.

Your probably wondering about the F-Zero GX in the picture, well I actually ended up getting it in Target for $50, I would have picked it up in EB but they manhandle their stuff at times and the case was all rough.

I tried a little of F-Zero, but because I currently don't have a memory card or the component cable I only played one race. Anyway it's a slick looking game, even from bootup it just has that arcade feel to it, which I would say SEGA would probably be responsible for. I can't wait to get into it as it seems like a really decent racer. Though I must say, I never did think I would see that day that a SEGA logo came up on a Nintendo console, makes me a little sad really.

Friday, February 25, 2005

It's Not Broken

Well this week has finally come to an end, I was wondering when it was going to happen, especially since it seemed to insist it was going on indefinably, I don't think the lack of sleep helped.

So what's new, well the Gamecube is still sitting here not being used. Why? WHY! you ask? Well I'm still waiting for things to be deliver, I recently ordered a component cable from Nintendo, the woman who I spoke to and took my order was lovely, so I can't put down Nintendo's customer service. Though I did order it on Wednesday and she told me it would ship Monday at the latest, which does seem like quite a long time. Though it doesn't matter because I'm also waiting for my 1019 memory card anyway.

Luckily I managed to pick up a couple of games I was after from eBay UK. They just happened to be the Limited Edition Zelda Wind Waker, the one with the bonus disc, and Metroid Prime. They cost me $60 including shipping which I thought was quite a bargain, especially since the SE Wind Waker goes for over $50 on eBay AU quite often. They both came from the same seller so it worked out quite well.

On to other news however, NewsCorp buying Edios, it's just not a good thing. Let me try and explain why I think so. Game developers are businesses and thus need to make a profit, right. However at times they might want to go out on a limb and be creative with a title they know may or may not sell well, but are willing to risk it. Think things like Rez and Ico. Sure neither of those games probably sold in huge quantities, but they gave the developers a lot of respect from gamers. Now think of EA, there not half as bad as NewsCorp are when it comes to things. But NewsCorp would run a game company like EA does, based on pure profit margins. Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money from a business, but at the cost of polluting a creative industry is where I draw the goddamn line.

You just know what they are thinking, just churn out what the average teen wants, to achieve maximum profit for the share holders. The industry doesn't need another EA, it really doesn't. Hey maybe NewsCorp will be different and put to use the creative talents of Edios and bring out some amazing games, after all a company the size of NewsCorp can afford to takes risks, weather they want to or not is another thing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Games Get!

These all turned up in the post yesterday, which I was very happy about. Being curious I played a bit of Ridge Racer V, just to see how it compares to Ridge Racers on the PSP, it doesn't. Ridge Racers is such a smooth, playable and enjoyable game it makes RRV seem like you are driving bricks around, I couldn't believe how bad the controls are in it. I do really love the presentation of it which is excellent, very Designers Republic.

ICO, well it's the rare classic that everyone raves about. I only played till the first save point, mainly because it was late and you never know how far until the next save point. Any way I'm sure I'll put plenty of time into it this week, or on the weekend.

Gitarooman, probably one of the strangest, most colourful yet frustrating games I've played in a long time. I was only on level 3 and wanted to throw the goddamn controller. It's beatmani style, so timing is important, though this game has no room for error, if you miss time a few things, this game will end you! It's bloody hard is all I can say. Though it's great looking and the music in it's great, so I can't wait to see the rest of the levels. A little more practice and I should be fine.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Small, Square and Silver!

Sitting here listing to my puter server up random music to me, I'm in quite a good mood strangely. Maybe because I am now the owner of a shiny new Gamecube Platinum, yay! Though I don't have any games, a memory card or a component cable isn't an issues, because I'm sure I'll sort it this week. I mainly picked up a "Cube" to play Resident Evil 4, which everyone is raving about. I'll pick up a copy of Wind Walker this week, the Limited Edition one, that has the extra disc with Ocarina Of Time, I just have a urge to play it.

Now I could of saved myself some cash and just picked up a copy of RE4 for the PS2, but I don't really feel like waiting a year to play what is probably going to be an inferior port. Also there is the new Zelda and all that, so yeah a Cube was needed. Plus the platinum cube does look quite nice, all the grey marries quite well with the silver.

On the Phantom Brave side of things, I've put about 10 hours into it now and up to about Chapter 6. Now the box says it's 20 chapters game to I'm about 1/4 into it, which isn't a great deal. The main thing I have found is that you really do need to level characters quite a bit so you don't get mashed in a new chapter. But having a decent team is great because it makes those chapters much more enjoyable when you don't have to play them over again. I actually quite like doing the random dungeon thing, since you get more cash, extra items, loads of experience plus you get titles which you can assign to your characters and weapons to upgrade their stats. The only problem is once you complete a dungeon, you always feel like, ohhh ok just one more ;)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Pretty Cover Art

Sorry for the recent lack of updates to anyone who might read this on some kind of strange regular basis. It's just with work and a few other things it's been quite hard to get around to posting anything especially once I get home.

My copies of Space Channel 5 and Jet Set Radio arrived today. I didn't bother booting up JSR, I've played it plenty before, though I did open it just to check out the manual. Space Channel 5 on the other hand I did have a bit of a play with, and discovered that I am fairly crap at it. It's quite a hard game at first but after a few tries you get the hang of it. I've played plenty of music/rhythm games before, but SC5 is even hard than some Beatmania stuff I've played. I put it down to the Dreamcast D-Pad and the fact that the game commands some kind of wavering demonic beat. I only played it a couple of times and then decided I wasn't in the mood. On the upside I only payed $3.99USD for it, and I'm sure I'll get into it at some other time. JSR cost me $8.99USD, and was worth every cent, for some reason just finally owning a copy makes me feel more complete. Now that Japanese Dreamcast games are so cheap I might add a few more to my collection, I really love JPN DC games for some reason.

I'm definably going to pick up a Gamecube this week, and you can be sure it's going to be a Platinum one, wether or not it's a US or Australian model is the deciding factor at the moment. I'll have to wait and see.

Apart from that I'm going to try and put some decent time into Phantom Brave this weekend, as I haven't had much time with it recently.

There are some news articles I want to discuss but not right now as it's jus hit midnight. I'll grab some RedBull tomorrow and post something up then.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


I managed to put a few more hours into Phantom Brave, not many but enough to discover classic Nippon Ichi goodness. In the game you get access to certain more characters after you beat them in a battle. A couple of interest are the Dungeon Monk and Titlest. The Dungeon Monk will create random dungeons similar to the item world in Disgaea. The dungeons have so many levels and enemies up to a certain lv., this makes them ideal for levelling characters and earning extra monies. With the first few levels I was having an issue with lack of funds especially after completing a battle but taking a beating, usually the cost of healing all my characters was more than what I gained from a battle. So the random dungeons really make the game much easier if you are in a bind. So for anyone who enjoyed Disgaea, Phantom Brave is highly recommended, it's a very different game, but also a very enjoyable one once you get into it and realise what there is too it.

I also FINALLY managed to get hold on the highly regarded and very sort after ICO. I've only ever played a demo of this and with NICO coming out in so many months I really want to experience the full game. So I picked up a copy and will post some impressions of it here for anyone who has never had a chance to play it. I also managed to pick up a copy of Gitaroo Man, for anyone wondering what the hell that is, well it's a Beatmani game, sort of rhythm/music style. I've never played it so I have no idea what it's like, but after watching some videos of it, I just had to have it. So impressions will get done as soon as they arrive.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

So Many Changes

I picked up a copy of Phantom Brave today and managed to put a few hours into it, after that I needed a rest. I haven't really payed that much attention to Phantom Brave's release, for some reason I was more interested in La Pucelle Tactics and forgot that it's release was so soon, so I didn't really know much about the game. I'd read a few impressions and some reviews and knew it was different to Disgaea, but this is a very different game, and I mean very.

If you think Disgaea is hard or complicated, it's a proverbial walk in the park compared to this. It's not that Phantom Brave is particularly hard or complicated, it's that it involves such a different strategy from Disgaea that at first it seems overwhelming. The one aspect I find that is responsible is the "Confine" mechanic. In Phantom Brave you have to confine your Phantoms to certain objects on the battlefield, yeah sure that's easy right, Wrong! First off, each object on the battlefield has different stats and thus effects your characters stats. Secondly, certain objects can add extra benefits if you confine a phantom to those. Lastly, and this is the one to really watch for, a phantom can only be confined to an object for so many of their turns, once they are all used up, they disappear and can't be used again. So you really have to be careful not to waste a turn and use A LOT of strategy while keeping all that in mind. After all it is an SRPG. Though there is a lot more freedom for movement now, your not confined to just squares and can more anywhere in a certain radius.

Overall the game is really good, it's just very different from Disgaea and takes a bit of getting used to. I actually like the change, and am glad that it's a different game to Disgaea, there wouldn't be much point if it was the same. I'll put some more time into it and see how it fairs, for the first three episodes it wasn't too hard, but that could all change.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Semi Retro

I've been doing a bit of eBaying recently, trying to pick up a few games for my collection. I haven't had a great deal of luck, esp. with being sniped and outbid on items. You can find a lot of rarer item on eBay UK, only problem is with the pound against the dollar items can quite easily cost a bit, plus with extra shipping costs it gets quite expensive.

Though I did manage to pick up 2 bargains, Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5 for the Dreacmast. It cost me $30 for both including shipping which was great. I've never played any of the Space Channel games so I'm interested in that, JSR however I have played to death but wanted it for my collection.

If I manage to finally get any of the other items I'm after, I'll be sure to post some info.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Delay To Remember

You've all no doubt seen the bad news about a possible delay of the PSP in Europe territories. As disappointed as I am, I really cannot say that I am surprised. Sony sight it as not being able to produce enough of certain components, which I can see happening, especially as demand in Japan, the US and Europe grow.

It doesn't really annoy me, besides not being able to buy games locally it's not a concern. I can even buy games from the US for $39, so it's not even that. I just can't really see why Europe gets the ruff end of the stick again. Sure the US is a large market, but then again so it the Europe/PAL regions, and they could be larger if games companies stopped this current trend of treating us as second rate gamers. Why games still don't get released here is a total goddamn mystery to me, it sure as hell isn't for lack of a profitable market, and yes I am aware of any localisation costs, issues and the rest involved.

Though the PSP doesn't require anything to be changed for different regions, except maybe just firmware to alter the region coding on movie and music UMD's and any extra language's to be added for the menus.

Who knows, maybe the extra factory that Sony has opened with be able to produce enough parts to stem any shortage before they start.

Next post I might bitch about next gen consoles and any region coding that they might be burdened with. Oh, and I haven't heard back from Nintendo, yeah they really care about their consumers.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Limited Edition Goodness

On one of my daily treks to various gaming related sites, I stumbles upon this tasty morsel of goodness. It is a Limited Edition Resident Evil 4 Platinum Gamecube, quite a mouthful. The thing that makes it so good, is it's getting a Europe release, which would make one believe that it is also going to receive an Australian release. I've emailed Nintendo Europe regarding it, so I'll see if I get a reply.

It's set for a price of £89, which you can't really translate into Australian dollars (poor exchange rate), but it's something like $200. At the moment you can buy a Gamecube in EB for $137, so even at $200 it's not a bad deal. What would make it boss, would be if it also included a memory card, but it doesn't.

It's dated for March 18, which isn't quite far away, though I do have a dilemma of sorts. I recently made my mind up and was going to just buy a black Cube and be done with it. However, now I'm thinking about waiting for this to be released and to see if it's released in Australia. At the moment I only really want a Cube for RE4 anyway, so it's not too much of a problem. I'll wait and see what Nintendo have to say.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Making Things Hard

It looks like SCEE have announced another release date for the PAL release of GT4, it's now scheduled for March 9th. As always with dates for GT4, it's hard to say if they are going to stick, even though the game is only being translated now for various European languages any number of numerous delays could push it back. But here's hoping that the date is the final one, after reading about the Japanese version of GT4, I'm quite keen for it.

With Resident Evil 4 soon to be released here and the new Zelda on the horizon, I've been thinking of picking up a Gamecube. I was thinking about maybe the Platinum version or the Black, but the colour isn't that important. One of the things that's been putting me off is the lack of hook-up options for the Gamecube. Now most people know that the PAL GC doesn't support S-Video, I have no idea why, even the Sega Saturn had an S-Video option for it. This creates a sort of dilemma for me, I can only run the Gamecube Composite of Component. Composite makes everything looks like arse, so it's going to have to be Component. Problem there is I would then have to buy a component switcher, because my TV only has one set of component inputs and my DVD player currently uses them. So that just creates more expense, especially when I have a perfectly good S-Video switcher. I could just run composite an save myself a lot of hassle but, it just looks nasty.

Apart from that the audio options on the Gamecube are also pretty average, with no optical out, the Gamecube is again an effort to hook into my current set up. It's as if it was made to not integrate into my set-up. A right effort if ever there was one.

Anyway, I think I'm going to wait for the moment and see if Nintendo bring out any sort of package with RE4.