Thursday, September 28, 2006

Japan Kanji Test DS

In 2005, over 2.4 million people took the Japan Kanji Aptitude Test which is the only kanji test authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Since the learning of kanji can be a life-long endeavor, Nintendo helps learners along with Japan Kanji Test DS. Based on the structure of the tests administered by The Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, the software includes 6,000 kanji characters to learn which covers all 8 levels of the official test. For example, if you're somewhat familiar with roughly 600 kanji characters, you're at the beginning level of 7. If you're a wizened kanji comprehending master who grasps the complete dictionary of 6,000 characters (JIS Level II), you're a level 1 professional and would «more»


When the Book of Happiness is torn asunder, a sullen pall of despair descends upon the land. Without happiness to goad the masses along, industry and commerce falter. To bring everyone's spirits back up, a hero or heroine must venture forth and reassemble the Book of Happiness and bring joy back into the world.
Remindelight is a conventional RPG which makes full use of the stylus for attacks, defense, and spell casting. For example, to attack a crab creature, simply poke at it and damaged is impacted. To defend, push left on the d-pad and then move the shield around to block attacks. When casting a spell, flames encircle a rock-like sphere on the touch screen. By deftly swishing the stylus and dragging all of the flames into the sphere, it «more»

Joushiki Nanmon no Shou

Targeted at the junior high school demographic, Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru: DS Joushiki Nanmon no Shou gathers together 8000 questions where arithmetic and numeric calculation are in play. The Study Mode throws a series of questions at the math practitioner to wade through and be judged. To answer a problem, the touch pen is used to scribble answers to the equations and questions on screen. An "adventure mode" features mathematics challenges while the player wanders around Japan and is presented with adversity in the form of math problems. Two competitive games are available where two players link up and solve math problems to determine who's the quickest draw.

Kanji no Shou

To help children and child-like adults hone their kanji reading and application skills, IE Institute releases a kanji learning program which features roughly 6,000 questions and tests at the elementary school level (Japanese grades 1 through 6). Tests require reading comprehension skills where a passage is read and a question asked. Three choices are then listed for answer tapping. To practice kanji writing skills, test takers may neglect the multiple choice selections and actually write out the kanji answer on the touch screen slate provided. A quiz mode in the game features a trip to planet Mars where aliens (who are apparently kanji experts) test the player with kanji characters quizzes.

Keisan no Shou

Less focused than the other two Shikakui Atama releases for this week, Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru: DS Keisan no Shou tests gamers on an assortment of subjects including the Japanese language, arithmetic, modern Japanese society, and science tidbits. Two levels are testing are available on the card which caters to junior high school students and a higher level which tests adults with more difficult questions. Test takers may also tackle light or intensive exercises. In addition to the test taking study mode, an adventure mode features space themes where planets provide the backdrop. A versus mode is also available for two wireless gamers tackle each other by calculating problems as simple as 1 x 1 = 1 to 19 x 19.

Pokemon Diamond

Pokemon games have sold over 100 million copies in the 10 years that Game Freak and Nintendo have collaborated on the franchise. Starting with Pokemon Green and Red on the original Game Boy, Pokemon went on to become a multi-billion dollar brand with movies, television, a theme park, merchandise, and even food stuffs.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl continue the winning tradition with a new crop of Pokemon led by Naetoru, Hikozaru, and Pochama. Also in tow are new trainers, a new world, and a multi-player feature where up to 16 participants may engage. What's not new are the familiar fighting sequences where Pokemon face off on screen... «NCS Game Notes»

Pokemon Pearl

Pokemon games have sold over 100 million copies in the 10 years that Game Freak and Nintendo have collaborated on the franchise. Starting with Pokemon Green and Red on the original Game Boy, Pokemon went on to become a multi-billion dollar brand with movies, television, a theme park, merchandise, and even food stuffs.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl continue the winning tradition with a new crop of Pokemon led by Naetoru, Hikozaru, and Pochama. Also in tow are new trainers, a new world, and a multi-player feature where up to 16 participants may engage. What's not new are the familiar fighting sequences where Pokemon face off on screen... «NCS Game Notes»

.hack//G.U. Vol. 2 + Bonus Storage Box

The Player Killer Killer named Haseo was able to survive the trouble with the rampaging Player Killers in .hack//G.U. Vol. 1. Early in the first game, Haseo was completed dominated by the PK known as Tri-Edge but over the course of the adventure, Haseo rose up and eventually gained enough moxie and power to destroy his oppressor. As the story in .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 begins, two members of the Azure Knights named Balmung and Orca conspire to resurrect Tri-Edge.

Haseo returns to "The World R: 2" in another "online" romp where the battle system has improved and new powers are available to Haseo and crew. At the outset of the game, a cinematic sequence plays where a blonde moppet name Atori wakes up @HOME but she's unable to log out of the game world. Haseo and friends then bear witness to a dramatic sequence of events... Battles run similar to the first .hack G.U. where the player has full control of the hero as he hacks and slashes along with dash attacks where swords light up with trailing effects. The camera keeps a tight cover over the action as Haseo runs and motorbikes around the world. The motorbike can be summoned simply by pressing the "SQUARE" button. One moment, hero is standing around and the next moment, he's on a hog. «NCS G-Notes»

Pop 'n Music 13

Nyami and Mimi get into a carnival kind of mood by donning jester costumes and hamming it up for the thirteenth Pop 'n Music game. Three new mini-games which reflect the circus atmosphere are included which feature flapping/parachuting, the flying Hamanov, and the Synchronized Hamanov. Performing well in the mini-games will unlock songs to flesh out the music library. The CS version of Pop 'n Music 13 features 15 new tunes (9 available at the outset) in the expansive library of 114 tracks. A fair number of songs from Pop 'n Music 12 make the transition to 13 but there's enough variety in the music to keep even the most demanding Bemaniacs happy and perhaps even jolly.

Songs include "Butterfly (Delaction Mix)" by Hime Trance 1, "Jewelry Girl" from Jun, "Infinity Blue" by Reiji Sakurai, and many more. Music from animation, J-pop, and games are included for a diverse jam. Standard modes include Arcade Mode, Enjoyment Mode for beginners, Battle Mode, Expert Mode, and a Super Challenge Mode. Similar to earlier Pop 'n Music games, players may view portraits and animations of the characters featured in the rhythm action and learn a little more about them in a more sedate setting. An internet ranking mode keeps track of the Pop 'n elite.

Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 28: Tetris Collection

The phenomenally successful Tetris brand has endured for over 2 decades and has appeared on nearly ever gaming console from the Famicom to the Xbox 360. When the Wii and PS3 are entrenched in the market, Tetris will conquer two more consoles. The game was conceived by Alexei Pajitnov in Russia way back in 1985 and NCS recalls an early licensed version on the C=64 and shareware on the PC. The rest is history.

Sega Ages 2500 includes three Tetris games and variants which were originally produced between 1988 and 1990. A new version of the game designed for the SA2500 release called Tetris New Century which is based on the System-16 version of the game. On the main menu, players may select from the following Tetris variants:

» Tetris - Classic version from the System-16, System-E, and Megadrive.
» Flashpoint - System-16 arcade version from Sega
» Bloxeed - System-18 arcade version from Sega
» Tetris New Century - New techniques to learn and master «more»

Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan: Airport Hero Naha

The Airport Hero line of games on the PC, Gameboy, Playstation, and PSP have sold a total of over 300,000 copies since 1998 while the cellphone version has been downloaded 150,000 times. It's been a successful series for Sonic Powered.

As exemplified by the games, the life of an air traffic controller is a stressful one. Sitting at the control tower and holding the lives of thousands of passengers in his hands, the controller makes critical decisions which affect the direction, heading, and passage of planes. One mistake ruins lives and destroys entire families. Take on the role of a air traffic handler who manages the comings and goings for Naha airport in Okinawa, Japan. When a plane enters your airspace, your job is to direct it to a landing strip and make sure that it won't bump into an outbound plane. As more planes request landing instructions, the stress level rises as one has to figure out where to put all of the big metal birds.

New to the Naha version of Airport Hero is the introduction of U.S. military aircraft and Japan Air Self Defense Force vehicles in addition to passenger airliners that dot the skies. With so much air traffic in play, directives and assignments must be carefully thought out and planned to avoid collisions or dangerous situations. For new players to the series, a training mode teaches the basics of the game along with proper procedures.

Boxer's Road 2: The Real

In 1995, Boxer's Road was released on the Playstation and NCS was stuck with roughly 500 copies of the game. DOA. Although the boxing simulator was very detailed, the pace of the boxing action itself moved like molasses and buyers went on strike. After a couple of drastic discounts, we shifted all of our stock over the course of 6 months. Despite our experience, Boxer's Road sold nearly 400,000 copies in Japan.

Eleven years later, Ertain has apparently learned a thing or two about boxing as the sequel is magnificently detailed and moves faster than the original. After the ding of the bell, two boxers saunter to the center of the ring and knock gloves before the feinting and dancing begins. The action is viewed from the side as a default instead of the "behind the boxer" perspective of the original and boxers may duck, sway, bob, weave, and punch - all controlled through rudimentary tugs on the d-pad or analog nub and the face buttons. If the player so desires, the action may also be viewed from a behind the boxer view where the body of the fighter is semi-transparent to allow for viewing the opponent. The action runs fast and vicious as the boxers knock each other around with a flurry of punches.

The routine of a boxer in training may be managed through Meals, Training, Calendar, and Staff. There's also an Easy Set Up for scheduling the meals and training. When selecting meals, choices include a slice of cake, French fries, a burger, and other things that a boxer in training probably shouldn't be eating.

Chronicle of Dungeon Maker 2

Most adventure games send players into pre-built dungeons where monsters are battled and treasure chests are jostled open. Taito's Chronicle of Dungeon Maker 2 twists it all around and presents a game that's somewhat reminiscent of Game Arts' Chaos Seed (Sega Saturn, 1997) where the player builds dungeons from scratch instead of spelunking within them. As a master architect and builder, the player erects the labyrinthine corridors of an underground dungeon and subsequently waits at least a night for it to be populated with monsters. Since beastly creatures are naturally attracted to dank and well designed dungeons, luring them doesn't take much effort. Once they're in and roaming through the halls, attack and destroy the monsters to abscond their treasures.

Personal dungeons may be traded with other players through ad hoc mode and the game features a simple attack scheme to send a sword swinging and magic blazing. When visiting a dungeon, players may choose the type of equipment and weapons to bring which affects the performance in battle. Traps may also be set to even out the odds against groups of monsters. As the fame of a builder grows, town folk will visit him and request certain items where the task is to design a dungeon that will attract the type of monster that would likely carry such an item. Creatures that venture into the dungeons range from feral wolves to massive dragons. The game features over 400 items that may be used and equipped such as suits of armor, gauntlets, leggings, and helms.

Project Sylpheed

Sylpheed has been around since 1985 where it first saw life on the PC with a little game called "Silpheed: The Super Dogfighter." From those humble beginnings, a sequel for the MegaCD was released in 1993 followed by "Silpheed the Lost Planet" on the PS2 nearly a decade later. The latest edition of the Silpheed saga arrives in shorter time and provides an exhilarating 3D space shooting experience where the 16 missions are viewed from a "behind the starship" perspective.

When an aggressive alien force attacks, the Delta Saber is scrambled to meet the threat. The cinemas of the game mesh seamlessly with the in-game action with stunning visuals and floaty fast action. The ship may be viewed in the camera at all times and targeting cursors are shifted around to shoot at enemies. As the enemy ships flit through the cosmos and become movable targets, the canopy of stars rotate and twirl time with the movement of the ship. Enemies counterattack with missiles and laser fire which blaze through the ether. A red -Missile Alert- warning flashes whenever you're locked on with enemy projectiles. Mission objectives are presented before each game and the feeling of flight and motion are well done thanks to the beautifully rendered visuals in the game.