Friday, September 29, 2006

General Bemani Update

The Konamistyle limited edition of Pop 'n Music 13 is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday of next week and an initial shipment of the PS2 Guitar Freaks Arcade Style Controller should arrive on Monday. The remainder of the ASC controllers are expected to trickle in over the course of the next week since orders and shipments had to be staggered from the Konamistyle website.

As mentioned before, NCS recommends only shipping the Guitar Freaks ASC by UPS Ground within the U.S.A due to the dimensional weight and size of the item.
Emails will be sent out to customers when their Guitar ASC ships and we expect to be able to fulfill everyone's order by the end of next week. That is, barring any import shipping and procedural delays. Thanks.

.hack//G.U. Vol. 2 Memory Card

A kicked up version of Haseo appears on the face of the .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 Memory Card where the Player Killer hefts a barbed and gnarly looking sickle. In addition to the 8M card, a metal .hack//G.U. memory card case imprinted with a silhouette figure of Haseo and a set of character stickers are included in the cardboard-backed blister pack.

Japanese memory cards work with USA, European, and Japanese PS2 consoles and USA/JPN/EUR save data may be mixed on the same card. Preorders have shipped as of yesterday and new orders are welcome to ship today. Pricing is set at US$35 per card.

Quartett! The Stage of Love

Originally released on the PC as an eroge game for mature audiences, Quartett has sold over 40,000 copies since 2004 and groomed itself as a contender for eventual PS2 conversion. That happens today with an updated Quartett game which adds voice actor and actress vocals to the interaction where there was once none. Players adopt the role of a high school student named Phill Junhers who is a naturally gifted violinist. Despite his lack of formal training, Phill plays like a virtuoso and is recruited by a professor at the Magnolia Music Institute into a string quartet. The game follows the drama and events in the 84 days leading up to a classical string competition where 24 quartets play and one team wins. From there, the members of the winning quartet may go on to enjoy fulfilling lives as musicians in traveling troupes, backyard barbecues, or grand orchestras.

Phill's collaborators in the quartet are Charlotte Francia - first string, Juni Argiano on the viola, and cellist Li Shuhua. As the story develops, Phill may find love as well as adversity among members of his group. Quartett! is a beautifully rendered visual novel which uses a stunning art style powered by Floating Frame Director. The game is viewed like a manga with spot animations and speech bubbles that appear as the characters speak.

Quartett! The Stage of Love LE

The Magnolia Music Institute is a prestigious school which attracts the brightest musicians from across the country. To ensure that the students are able to concentrate on their music, the school offers amenities such as dormitories and personal guidance for exceptionally gifted students. As the game begins, a gifted violinist named Phill Junhers is recruited into a string quartet at the school. Phill's team consists of three attractive girls:

» Charlotte Francia plays first string and is reticent about romance
» Juni Argiano plays the viola and has bubbly personality
» Li Shuhua is a cellist who is quiet and reserved

The game follows the events in the 84 days leading up to an important music competition where 24 quartets play and only one wins. The quartet that wins top prize is essentially guaranteed a ticket to fame and success as musicians. The limited edition of Quartett! includes a bonus art booklet which features artwork of the main characters, Phill's sister Lina, and the players on the main rival quartet: Mai Argiano, Gizelle Stolzenberg, Signina Vinothek, and Hans Crowbar.

School Heaven Okawari!

Keita Ito is a recent transfer student at the Bell Liberty Academy and has survived the shenanigans in the first School Heaven game. His good fortune has held up... until Keita finds a cursed ring that robs him of his luck. The ring also can't be removed from his finger. With uncertainty suddenly surrounding him like a vise, Keita rallies his classmates to help rid himself of the impending misfortune that waits right around the corner...

The boys from the first School Heaven game return in Okawari! including Kazuki Endo, Koji Shinomiya, the broad-shouldered Niwa Tetsuya, and others. Keita may choose one boy from the group to concentrate on which affects the outcome of the story. Multiple endings are possible depending on the boy chosen and the actions that are taken during the course of the adventure. Similar to the first game, the scenario plays out in bouts of interaction and multiple choice selections which determine the next sequence of events. Special activities also pop up from time to time where mini-games are played to help move the story along to the climactic conclusion. NEC adds atmosphere to the game by using a somewhat sedate soundtrack and full voice acting for all of the boys in the game.

Eiyuu Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki FC

Eiyuu Densetsu VI was originally released for the Japanese PC in the summer of 2004 where it went on to sell over 200,000 copies. Falcom expands the audience for the game a little wider this week with a PSP conversion which adds voice acting to the battle sequences, a bestiary for monsters that have been defeated, and other features.

As the story goes, the Bright family is made up of father Cassius and his children Estelle and Joshua. The three are members of a guild of hired hands known as "Bracers" who take on odd jobs and assignments for dosh. One day, Cassius receives a letter and heads out to a nearby town to do some work. While he's gone, Estelle and Joshua resolve to handle any of Cassius' Bracer assignments and their first mission is a trek to Perzel Farm which is to the southwest of their town, Rolent. Once the business at the farm is taken care of, more missions are handed out by Scherazard at the guild which eventually lead the pair to a land spanning adventure steeped in intrigue and a pernicious conspiracy. Along with missions from the guild, many unique and interesting side quests are available in the game which allow Estelle and Joshua to level up their Bracer rankings and their hoard of gold. Unlike the early Legend of Heroes games, EDVI features a 3D world with a friendly camera that may be manipulated freely. The battle system allows the use of weapon-based attacks as well as special techniques for magic use and special attacks.

Bruce Lee: Game of Death

Nearly three decades after the Game of Death splashed across movie screens, Japanese manufacturer Enterbay has started preorders for a "Real Masterpiece" figure based on Bruce Lee in the film. Measuring 30cm or 11.81" tall, the figure features an articulated body which may be posed and modeled in various kung-fu stances and attack postures. Bruce's body is also ripped and chiseled for an authentic look.

Pricing is set at JPY35000 or US$335 from NCS. The high cost appears to indicate that products with the words "real masterpiece" in the title have to command a sweet premium. Preorders are expected to ship in late November 2006.

Macross Plus YF-19

In the Macross Plus storyline, the YF-19 Advanced Variable Fighter was an entrant in the Project Super Nova contest administered by the UN Spacy group. After a few mishaps, accidental deaths, and an unauthorized trip, the YF-19 was eventually chosen as the fighter model to replace the VF-11 Thunderbolt as regulation issue fighter for the UN Spacy.

Yamato has opened preorders for a reproduction of the 1/60 scale YF-19 transformable toy where the mech changes from battroid to gerwalk to fighter mode. At 1/60 scale, the YF-19 measures 30cm or 11.81 tall and weighs 2500g or 5.51 lbs. The mech features an off-white patina with red trim and is constructed of die-cast metal and ABS plastic. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late December 2006 at JPY18800 or US$179.

Nanase Koi PVC Figure

Koi Nanase hails from the Yakin Byoutou (Night Hospital) OVAs where she was experimented upon by a crazed doctor to create the perfect sex slave.
Earlier this year, Toys Planning shipped Koi Nanase pillows and pillow cases which sold very well and all stock is gone. For their encore, the company has announced a PVC figure where the nurse lies prone as her hands seemingly frame her bosom. For an added bonus, Koi's nurse uniform may be "opened" to reveal her bressessess (self-sic) below. Ms Nanase measures 20cm or 7.87" long and preorders are welcome to ship on or around November 23, 2006.

Culdcept Saga Preorder

After a hiatus of four years without a new Culdept game, Bandai has started preorders for Culdcept Saga which is an original release for the Xbox 360. The visuals don't look much improved over the Dreamcast or PS2 versions of Culdcept and the game play won't differ radically from the earlier games. In Culdcept, players throw a sort of "die" to determine range of movement and then traverse a play board while picking up and using cards. New to Culdcept Saga is an online mode where 4 players may challenge each other in card battling action. Preorders are welcome to ship on or around November 22, 2006.

Super Robot Wars XO Preorder

The original Xbox never reached the critical installed base for Banpresto to consider producing an exclusive Super Robot Wars game for the console. The PS2 currently holds the honor of platform of choice for new SRW development and has been the recipient of the last few games. The Xbox 360 still hasn't reached the critical installed base either... but that won't stop Banpresto from rehashing the Gamecube version of SRW on the console. Although it's not a first run release, the appearance of a Super Robot Wars game on the X360 is something of a coup. It's not on the scale of a Dragon Quest game appearing on the X360 however...

The GC and soon X360 version of Super Robot Wars features mechs from six Gundam series' including Zeta Gundam and Char's Counterattack. Other franchises represented are Mazinkaiser, Shin Getter Robo, Metal Armor Dragonar, Zettai Muteki Raijinoh, and others. New mechs in the X360 version include Saikyo Robo Daioja models and a few new robots from the Gundam realm. Improvements in the X360 version of the game consist of updated attack animations, new combination sequences, and an Xbox Live online component. In our opinion, SRW/XO won't goad many Japanese buyers into finally picking up an X360 console but the game's sales will determine if more SRW releases reach the X360. Preorders are welcome to ship on Nov. 30, 2006 at JPY6980 or US$65 from NCS.

Sale of the Day

PC-Engine Multi-tap: New and boxed official NEC multi-taps in crisp and clean factory boxes. Some of the boxes may have slight imperfections from decades of storage but are in excellent condition. Each multi-tap is also wrapped in the original blue factory bag and includes a sheet of decals and user instructions.

Pricing is set at US$26.50 per multi-tap which includes USPS Priority Mail shipping anywhere in the contiguous USA. Priority Mail normally delivers in 2-3 days. Please note that our shop does not process transactions in real time and orders will be charged US$26.50 only.