Thursday, November 30, 2006
To attract the audience of Puricure, Bandai releases a collection of over 40 mini-games where the heroines, rodent-like aliens, and characters of Pretty Cure act out in stylus tapping action. The games make use of the shifting transformations of the two heroines and portray the characters in mundane as well as exotic exercises. «NCS Game Notes»
Ertain's Kokoro ni Shimiru collects the poems of Mitsuo Aida and uses them in calligraphy lessons where players trace out words with the NDS stylus. By skillful application of virtual ink, entire phrases are written out and dabbed on the touch screen. «NCS Game Notes»
Tendou's alter-ego is Kamen Rider Kabuto and he teams up with Kamen Rider Gatack to defend the planet from the assault of the alien Worms. The PS2 game follows the story and major battles of the television series closely. This is in evidence upon starting the game which recounts the events of the first episode of KRK where a squad of Zectroopers battle a group of Worms in an underground garage. The first level of the game puts the player in control of one member of the Zectroopers while the others are controlled by the COM. For a while, they'll just stand around but after a few seconds, they get down to business. «NCS Game Notes»
KOF Neowave follows traditional KOF gameplay conventions where teams of three challengers bout it out against other teams. What isn't traditional KOF however is the control scheme which now uses 5 buttons instead of 4 - the fifth button is used to turn on "Heat Mode" which is essentially a berserker toggle which allows a fighter to impact more damage than normal on an opponent but also lowers defense and health. For gamers who are hankering for some versus action against a human player (but no one else is in the room), the network mode hooks fighters up for online bouts.
The Best version of King of Fighters Neowave is a lower-priced re-release of the game. Nothing's been changed except the game packaging insert.
In NCS' game test this morning, we chose Rai and watched as the too-young-to-be-an-innkeeper hero greeted a couple of friends who called upon him. The three decide to take a short trek in the western part of their village. Underneath a shining moon and glittering stars, the trio witness a shooting star which crosses the heavens and lands with a tremendous thud. Running over to investigate, they discover a crater with a shining egg in the center of the blast radius. The party is fearful at first but they soon get over their emotions and stay around to watch the egg hatch into a gleaming baby dragon...
Summon Night 4 follows the strategy-RPG style of the early games where players guide a party of adventurers into battle against opposing parties. The first challenge occurs shortly after the baby dragon hatches and the controls are intuitive with simple commands for moving, attacking, using items, and guarding against enemy attackers. «NCS Game-Notes»
As the story begins, a lad named Stahn Aileron is hitching an unauthorized ride on a stone dragon-shaped ship called the Draconis. He's discovered on board and is mistakenly suspected as being after a special weapon on board. The crew corners him but before they can do much more, the Draconis is attacked by winged creatures who invade the ship and attack the agents on board. With the guards preoccupied, Stahn makes his escape. Later, when confronted by feral creatures, Stahn runs into a room and meets a sentient sword known as Dymlos. «NCS Game-Notes»
Two years after the death of the devil king, the Netherworld became embroiled in chaos, full of devils that had designs on the throne of the devil king. Just woken from a deep slumber, Laharl did not even know of his father’s death, and had to join in the battle for the throne with his numerous subordinates.
Amongst them, there was the angel-in-training Flonne who once had her mind on assassinating the devil king, but was now exploring the devil nature and thus tagged along with Laharl, as well as the servant of the dead king, Etna, who seemed to have her own motives. The struggle to become the rightful successor to the throne started to expand from the Netherworld.
Power Stone is an outrageous beat-'em-up style game where players go head to head against an opponent in best of three round match ups. Arcade mode allows a single character to put their skills to the test against a lineup of computer controlled opponents. Unlimited continues are available and successfully defeating all enemies will unlock a variety of bonus features in the "Power Stone Collection" including weapons, characters, galleries, additional modes and more. In Versus mode, two players pick their character of choice and battle it out. The PSP system edition includes an improved user interface which features a new, easy to see health meter as well as a radar to represent the location of the power stones more intuitively. As an added bonus, the four additional characters from Power Stone 2 have been made available for Power Stone, bringing the total to 15 playable characters.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Borne from the fiery loins of the devil, the main character of Makai Senki Disgaea is literally a lil' devil. When old Beezlebub croaks, the path of ascension is unclear and Satan's spawn Laharl must prove himself by taking on all rivals and pretenders to the throne.
Designed similarly to games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, and Hoshigami, characters battle in 3-D isometric tactical theaters. Conventional weaponry as well as magical spells may be used in the course of war and two comrades watch your back - a wispy devil girl named Etna (complete with forked tail) and a demon penguin named Plinian (aka Prinny) join your party at the outset of the game. Additional soldiers and fighters may be created with Nippon Ichi's Free Character Creation System.
Similar to the USA situation, supplies of Wii accessories in Japan are dismal and our vendors have not received any extra nunchuks or the component video cables yet. We'll continue to check for available stock but please note that supplies may not be available until the second week of December. We'll monitor the official launch in Japan over the weekend and post a full update on Monday.
A largish shipment of new Japanese import software that was scheduled to arrive this morning appears to have been misrouted. It's been a year since something like this has happened so we're not too disappointed but it is inconvenient since there's another large shipment scheduled to arrive tomorrow. If the misroute is re-routed properly later today, we'll update our website but as of this morning, we expect every new Japanese import to arrive on Thursday morning.
The highly desired Aquapict product from Bandai has been delayed from November 30 to January 25, 2007. Apparently, the jellyfish aren't ready for primetime yet. NCS will keep all preorders on file and an email update has been sent to customers to notify everyone of the delay.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Good Smile Company releases a 1/7 scale Mizuho Kazami figure where the buxom educator lounges on a chair in a lime green bikini. She holds a drink in her right hand while her right leg is hiked up on the seat in dainty fashion. Good Smile could have sculpted a lewdly positioned leg but they went with dainty and tasteful. Kazami measures 170mm or 6.69" tall and is made of PVC plastic which seemingly glows with Mizuho's inner effervescence. Or something like that.
The full name for this product is: Onegai Teacher: Mizuho Kazami 1/7 PVC Figure. Pricing is set at US$68 and all orders will ship today.
When breaking down Mario's apparel into pieces, there are four primary components as follows:
1) The dumpy hat
2) The cornpone overalls
3) Brown shoes
4) Mickey Mouse gloves
To help Mario aspirants, Banpresto gives cosplayers one of the four Mario defining pieces of clothing - the dumpy hat in Mario red or Luigi green.
The Mario Hat measures 35cm or 13.77" across which makes it oversized and exaggerated. When wearing it on the street, tilt it rakishly to the side and draw stares as well as quizzical glares. The kind where the person's face looks dumb and dumbfounded at the same time. Pricing is set at US$29 per hat and preorders are scheduled to ship in mid-late April 2007.
As you know, there is a Law for the toy gun in USA. Due to the Toy / Imitation Gun Laws, it is illegal for any business or individual to import the MP-05 Megatron because it does not have a blaze orange safety tip on the end of the barrel.
We will modified the Megatron. We will glued a orange tip to the exterior surface of the barrel, covering the circumference of the barrel from the muzzle end for a depth of at least 6 millimeters according to the Toy / Imitation Gun Law.
Since different suppliers sent the same exact text, we're guessing they got it from a single source. Other than the Namco Guncons we imported a few years ago, NCS hasn't dealt with toy guns in any other capacity so we looked up the "Imitation Weapon Safety Act" which states the following:
Certain Replica, Toy and Imitation Guns Restricted.
It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer to sell, possess either concealed or unconcealed, use, attempt to use or give away, any replica, toy or imitation gun which substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be an actual gun, including, but not limited to, toy guns that have been altered to look like actual guns, unless:
(a) (i) the entire exterior surface of such replica, toy or imitation gun is colored white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern;
(ii) such replica, toy or imitation gun is constructed entirely of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the replica, imitation or toy gun's complete contents; and
(b) the barrel of such replica, toy or imitation gun -- other than the barrel of any such replica, toy or imitation gun that is a water gun -- is closed with the same material of which the replica, toy or imitation gun is made for a distance of not less than one-half inch from the front end of said barrel;
Due to the law, NCS will only import the vendor modified version of the Masterpiece MP-05 Megatron. It's unclear if the glue they're using will create a super-strong bond with the gun but we're guessing they'll be using the Japanese equivalent of Elmer's and not Super Glue. The vendor modifications will also potentially leave unsightly fingerprints, smudges, and smears on the toy. Sadly, with the current U.S. law in place, there isn't a workaround unless Takara takes the initiative and manufactures the toy with the orange safety tip already on the production mold which is still a possibility.
Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late March 2007.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Koyori wears aviator goggles atop her head while perfectly arranged strands of blue tresses stray downwards. The interpretation of Koyori's face in this particular sculpt is robust with our favorite Sengoku-era maiden looking slightly chubbier and perhaps healthier than her Sengoku Cannon turn. Her familiar teardrop-shaped necklace finds a comfortable resting place as it dangles below her chin. Koyori's clothing consists of a pair of tabi socks and a kimono which appears ready to be shucked entirely. Her red hakama is gone with the wind for this particular sculpture. Measurements of the figure are 210mm × 230 × 250mm or 8.25 x 9.05 x 9.84" LWH.
Succinctly then, Alter's rendition of KOS-MOS is exquisite. Measuring 21cm or 8.26" tall, the translucent blue-haired android features soft lines, the right curves, and a risqué pose that allows for viewing parts of KOS-MOS' front and back at the same time. The paint is applied cleanly and free of chips or cracks. We also observed KOS-MOS' garter to make sure it was free of imperfections as well as her fingers... which are individually sculpted and discernible from each other. As an added bonus, KOS-MOS' neatly painted fingernails are colored the same hue as her flailing hair.
Wii Price $395
NCS originally started preorders for the Wii at US$295 but that won't cover the current price of the unit that is being offered. Then there's the overnight shipping costs from Japan which is roughly $50 each. Based on these two variables, NCS is adjusting pricing for the Japanese Wii to US$395. We'll contact customers on our preorder list today to reconfirm.
NCS Calls for Restraint
We consider the price too high and NCS encourages our customers to wait about 2 weeks for the prices to drop to "normal" levels. There isn't any shortage of Wii stock in the Japanese distribution channel and the higher pricing is the usual launch hysteria and histrionics that has become part and parcel of the business we're in.
There is no shortage of Wii consoles in Japan. The current offer price of US$395 is a temporary gouge from suppliers. NCS advises customers to wait it out for ~2 weeks upon which time prices should drop lower.
When April 2007 rolls around, the exploitation of Bomberman is complete with the Bomberman Bakudan straps. Four varieties are on offer:
Red Bomber | Blue Bomber | Black Bomber | White Bomber
Each Bomber is trailed by a quartet of bombs with lit fuses. The tops of the bombers' heads are also linked to a cellphone strap. Pricing is set at US$4.25 each and preorders are scheduled to ship in mid-late April 2007.