Friday, October 27, 2006

Lode Runner

Lode Runner appeared on the Famicom 22 years ago courtesy of Hudson. Before that, it was a popular game on 8-bit personal computers such as the Apple II+, Atari 800, the MSX, and the Commodore 64 where creator Doug Smith made his mark. Going further before that, Loderunner was a project on a VAX 1 mainframe. The NDS reincarnation of the game is based on the Famicom version where a elfin adventurer hunts for gold ingots and blasts away platform segments to corral pursuers. The play mechanics are simple but when a gang of goons are hot on elf's heels, things tend to get a little unsettling. In addition to the game, a level editor allows players to create an endless assortment of stages. «Game Notes»

Negima!?: Chou Mahora Taisen + Bonus CD

The Negima! Magister Negi Magi manga has sold over 7,000,0000 copies since debuting in 2003. As with any popular franchise, the Negima characters have made their way into numerous merchandising opportunities including figures, posters, mugs, and high profile video games. The latest of the latter reaches market this week with an interactive adventure + battle sim where players take on the role of Negi Springfield who looks after an entire class of 31 female students. To interact with students, the touch screen is tapped to talk and engage in lengthy bouts of interplay. After interaction, battles may be triggered where enemies are encountered and fought in tactical grid-based arenas. «Game Notes»

Pinky Street: Kira Kira Music Hour

BabySue's popular toy figure series finally expands beyond the world of PVC constructions and into the virtual realm of rhythm action. Ebullient girls dance and pop to the 35 music tracks which include selections from J-pop, Hip-hop, Rock, and the Classics. To reassure the legal eagles out there, Dimple doesn't infringe on any Bemani intellectual property and the game is free to expand and grow if Pinky Kira Kira catches on. Gist: the stylus is used to poke at three sections of the touch screen as they light up. For example, if the top section is lit, tap it as quickly as possible to register the groovy rank of 「RAINBOW」. If the middle section glows and you're a millisecond too slow, you might get a 「KIRA2」... «Game Notes»

Shinseiki GPX: Road to the Infinity 3 + Bonus Art Book

Touma Mikami, Rei Kanna, and Mio Maihara of Phoenix Japan Racing are joined by old faces and new racers in the third Shinseiki GPX game. The default game mode is "Grand Prix" where players may race on the 11th Grand Prix all the way up to the 18th Grand Prix. Similar to previous Shinseiki GPX games, the vehicles are sleek and gaudy looking affairs which motor on the race tracks with smooth sailing motion.

The controls are responsive with cars that respond to slight controller tugs and pulls obediently. For drift racers, the game features a drifting mechanism where players may tap the brakes lightly and then swerve the vehicle to match the curve of hairpin turns. If the other racers try to muscle your vehicle out of contention, there's always the Aero Boost which throttles the car to maximum speed for a few seconds until the booster gauge dwindles to nothing. In addition to the Grand Prix mode, the other game modes include GPX 19th, Free Run, Time Attack, and Versus which splits the screen horizontally and allows two players to race simultaneously from their respective perspectives. A Gallery contains a massive amount of artwork, cinemas, voice samples, and car info. «Game Notes»

Utawareru Mono

Originally released on the PC in 2002 by Leaf, Utawareru Mono undergoes a few updates and is reissued on the Playstation 2 to reach a wider audience. The PS2 upgrade of the game features full voice acting, a new battle system, a new character, and new visual events have been added for good measure.

The storyline centers around a series of wars set in ancient times and the ascension of a hero named Hakuoro. As the story begins, two young sisters named Eruru and Aruru are foraging in the forest when they stumble across a wounded young man who is wearing a mask. The siblings decide to bring him back to their village. With the help of their grandmother Tusukuru, the family eventually nurses him back to health. From humble beginnings, Hakuoro eventually leads a rebellion against the oppressive emperor of the land and becomes the king of a new country that he names Tusukuru, after the grandma and village elder. Once on the throne, Hakuoro soon learns that running a country is hard work and wars are inevitable. As his renown grows, he attracts like-minded peoples and supporters from surrounding countries who join the kingdom of Tusukuru's sphere of influence. Utaware Rumono mixes interactive sequences with tactical battles which «more»

Spectral VS Generation

Ten generals from the Spectral Force and Generation of Chaos games eschew the tactical shenanigans and jaunt to another type of battlefield for 1-on-1 bouts in 2D arenas. Razor-edged bruisers such as Erile, Earth, and Wells face off against each other in fast paced action and they're pretty much evenly matched in terms of speed and power. Then there's the dainty and delicate Mayura who not only looks fragile but her moves are more like gestures or cheerleading moves than attacks.

The ten fighters featured in the game are:
Hiro / Scythe wielding lassie who wears a demon gauntlet
Wells / Adventurer who battles for pleasure and sport
Orochimaru / Blonde samurai warrior with an enchanted sword
Roze / Demon girl who vows vengeance against mankind
Krayce / One-eyed master swordsman with flaming red hair
Ryuken / Martial artist who looks down upon those who use weapons
Erile / Redheaded knight who is protected by guardian spirits
Jadou / Purple haired demon with tentacles emanating from his back
Mayura / Human and demon half-breed who wishes to be human
Earth / Controlling angel of Neverland

A total of eleven stages may be fought upon. «Game Notes»

Doko Demo Gal Mahjong

The lovely virtual idol Riho Futaba leads a trio of gals in swimsuits into another one-on-one mahjong game. Shuffle the tiles, slaps on your poker face and put the gals to the test with all of your mahjong skills. Just like the original Simple 2000 Love MJ games on the PS2, the gals are inclined to play mahjong in nothing more than swimsuits which do little to cover up their assets and impressive attributes.

Locations to play on include a mountain waterfall, a balmy seashore resort area, hot springs, rocky crags, and leafy jungles where the girls cavort in their luminescent bikinis and glowing skin. During a match, a gal like Riho will study the table like a hawk as she throws out tiles and makes matches. When a mahjong match is won, players may view movies of the action and zoom in on a gal's body to inspect the curvature, hillocks, and other geography. New bathing suits and costumes may also be unlocked as matches are won so the gals can flaunt themselves in different types of bikinis.

Along with the mahjong action, mini-sequences such as the Limbo may also be played which place the gals in compromising poses and situations. The sequences are appropriately called "Service Time" for the fan service that they perform. Illustrations of the girls that are unlocked may be saved to memory stick for viewing at a later date.

General Updates

All of our import shipments were delayed today but we received them at about 11:30AM EST. For a while, we weren't expecting them to arrive at all since that's the usual outcome if shipments aren't delivered early in the morning.

We were able to get most of our play testing and write ups done but we've shifted some of the work to Monday. Games that are in stock and shipping to preorders today but not written up yet are:

NDS Pinky Street Kira Kira Music Hour Limited Edition
NDS Tales of the Tempest Accessory Set
PS2 Memories Off #5 Togireta Film - Superlite 2000 Series
Ryu Ga Gotoko - The Best
PS2 Utaware Rumono Limited Edition
PSP Heaven's Will

We'll post updates for these six items on Monday.