Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bakegyamon Ayakashi Fighting

In an alternate dimension, an oddly apportioned creature known as Gyamon invites young fighters from Earth to battle in monster-charged contests. The lead character is an excitable lad named Sanshiro Tamon who starts his adventure aboard a ferry with a friend when they're attacked by ne'er do wells. After being saved by a mysterious girl, Sanshiro is inducted into the world of Bakegyamon. Each fighter is given control of a monster which fights on the behalf of the hero inside a 3D arena. Cards are used to imbue special attacks. Beasts include a birdman who wields a sword, a creature who's body is made of twisted snakes, a demon with spiky wheels for feet, and many more. The Story Mode features a unique drama which applies to each fighter as he/she goes through the ranks of challengers. »

Super Robot Wars W

Banpresto's mightiest franchise reaches the Nintendo DS this week with a new edition powered by stylus poking action. Squads of squat robots are marshaled and mobilized on the touch screen where they attack enemy units in fluid animated fighting sequences. Watch in amazement as robots charge and slash like miniature killers. The overall game is very dynamic with spot animations, excited voices, and interactive sequences. To move around on the map, tap and drag on the touch screen to check out the quadrants. Commands are simple to execute by using the stylus to ignite attacks against enemy units and move units around. New series robots featured in the game include Detonator Orgun, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed X Astray, Tekkaman Blade II, and Hundred Beasts King GoLion (Voltron). »

Unou no Tatsuhin! Soukai! Machigai Museum 2

Stare at an image located on the top NDS screen and then stare at a similar image on the lower NDS screen. With cunning accuracy, tap on the differences shown on the bottom image to proceed to the next image. A series of images are shown in sequence and your job is to discern differences within the time afforded. Some differences are apparent such as a Buddha instead of a baseball catcher but others are subtle and not as easy to ferret out. Some puzzles features obstructions such as leaves or clouds which must be scattered by blowing on the NDS mic. A number of mini-games may be enjoyed where player mimics the nature calls of an animal shown on screen by bellowing into the mic and a sliding puzzle game where an image is reconstructed from scrambled squares. «more»

Gundam Musou

Rocket onto dusty battlefields inside a sporty Gundam RX-78-2 and swing a laser blade to blow Zaku soldiers off their feet. Couple the sword slashes with gunfire to mix up the action and you're a veritable one man army capable of tackling entire legions. In our test play this morning, we noticed that the Zaku armies are fairly subdued and generally stood around waiting for death. Koei's W-Force had improved the AI of their recent Sengoku Musou games where warriors collectively charged in for the kill but in Gundam Musou, the mech enemies hang around at the periphery without offering much resistance. One or two enemy mechs might swing and shoot but the entire gang should all engage at once like a rabid pack of wolves. There were many times where our Gundam could have been shot or slashed but we plowed through the Zaku troops without much adversity. Perhaps later levels will prove to be more of a challenge. That said, the feeling of Gundam movement and booster flight is satisfying. There's a solid resistance to the Gundam as it moves around the battlefield. «more»

Champagne Gold PSP

Midas, Goldfinger, Donald Trump, and Johann van der Smut are only a few notables who are attracted by the glitter of gold. Add the crowds of speculators betting on bullion futures and it's safe to say that a lot of people love gold. With that in mind, NCS imports the Champagne Gold PSP console for general sale. Pricing is set at US$215 and preorders will ship today. New orders are welcome.

Densha de Go! Sanyou Pack

Take control of a Shinkansen bullet train and ferry passengers between Shin Osaka Station located in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka and Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Eschewing the film footage used in the recent PS3 Railfan, Wii Densha hearkens back to the series' roots and features classic graphics that will be familiar to anyone who's played a PS or PS2 Densha game. To help players guide a train properly, the Densha de Go! Sanyou Pack includes a train controller for an almost authentic recreation of Shinkansen operator controls. «more»

Monday, February 26, 2007

Aria Company Toy Set

In the year 2301, a young girl named Akari Mizunashi immigrates to Mars. The planet has been transformed into a water world now known as Aqua where travelers enjoys the sights of Neo Venezia by way of gondola. Akari aspires to become a professional gondolier and to that end, gains employment with Aria Company which provides tours throughout the city.

Japanese manufacturer Organic has started preorders for an Aria Company toy set which features the building that houses Aria Company in all its 13cm tall glory. The set also includes 4cm figures for Akari Mizunashi, Alicia Florence, and a 2.5cm figure for Aria Pokoteng. Alicia's the most popular gondolier in Aria Company's staff of two and Pokoteng is the feline mascot of the business with blue eyes and a portly stature. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late March 2007 at US$75 per set.

Black Lagoon Shenhua Figure

In the Black Lagoon animation, an average salaryman is recruited into a mercenary group which tackles hairy missions in Southeast Asia. Supported with work from the Russian mob known as Hotel Moscow, Black Lagoon runs into a motley assortment of killers and professional assassins in their travels. One of their more memorable counterweights is a Taiwanese assassin named Shanhua who slices and dices with blades.
Max Factory celebrates the svelte silhouette of Shenhua with a 1/8 scale PVC figure which measures 21cm or 8.26" tall. Shenhua holds two Khukuris in her hands and two sets of throwing knives may be observed lashed around her thighs. The assassin wears a flowing red number which is tight on top and curiously billowy on the bottom. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late June 2007 at US$68 each.

Mylene Hoffman 009-1 Figure

Sometime in the far flung future in an alternate reality version of Earth, the Cold War never ended and the world has been divided into two partitions - the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc. A semblance of civility is maintained by the ruling powers but underneath the surface, snappish gamesmanship and subterfuge are afoot. Then there are the threats of nuclear bombardment. The agents who carry out the dirty work outside of the big bomb are female agents that look like transplants from the disco era of the 70s.
One of the agents is a female cyborg named Mylene Hoffman who wears a blonde pageboy and clothing that draws inspiration from the decade of flower power and free love. Mylene carries a raygun and possesses extremely pendulous attributes. Organic has started preorders for a 22cm tall Mylene Hoffman figure which ships in mid-late March 2007 at US$65.

Shining Tears Mao Figure

Xion was the hero in Shining Tears but it's Mao we remember. Slight of frame and willowy, Mao is a Quarterbeast ninja with a pair of pronounced ears above her head. In the game, Mao provided comedic relief as well as a reliable sword hand when the occasion called. In addition to swords, Mao also threw knives in battle like a seasoned carnival performer to smack foes in the distance.
Following their Shining Tears: Blanc Neige and Shining Tears: Elwyn figures, Max Factory has started preorders for a 1/7 scale Mao figure in an orange bikini. Mao wears a collar as cats are apt to do and hides her hands behind her back whilst tilting her hips to the left. Mao's bright crimson eyes match her two-piece and a cat's pawprint is stamped on the right side of her bikini. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late June 2007 at JPY4600 or US$49 from NCS.

S.S.G. Arcadia Weathering Spec

The Arcadia is the mighty battleship guided by the swashbuckling Captain Harlock. A number of toys based on the Arcadia have been released throughout the years and manufacturer Aoshima has started preorders for another one. Limited to only 500 units, the green Arcadia measures 33cm from stern to bow and is mounted securely with four struts on a pedestal. The jolly roger is imprinted on both sides of the ship and the construction is a mix of diecast and PVC.

Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late April 2007 at JPY13000 or US$175 from NCS. Pricing takes into account the hefty shipping and handling fees from overseas into the United States.

Import Outlook

NDS Super Robot Wars W and PS3 Gundam Musou lead preorders.
NDS Bakegyamon: Ayakashi Fighting Takara

Lise no Atelier: Ordre no Renkinjutsushi Gust

Lise no Atelier: Ordre no Renkinjutsushi Premium Gust

Super Robot Taisen W Banpresto

Unou no Tatsuhin! Soukai! Machigai Museum 2 Namco
PS2 Interlude BEST Interchannel

Interlude Pandora Box BEST Interchannel

Relakuma: Ojama Shitemasu 2 Shuukan Best Interchannel
PS3 Gundam Musou Bandai

Gundam Musou + PS3 60GB Console Koei
PSP DJ Max Portable 2 Pentavision
Wii Densha de Go! Shinkansen EX Taito

Densha de Go! Shinkansen EX Bundle Taito

USA Release Outlook

There's no preorder leader for the week but there's scattered interest for the USA version of PS3 Formula 1 and NDS Meteos: Disney Magic.
NDS Meteos: Disney Magic Disney
PS2 Lumines Plus Disney

Major League Baseball 2K7 2K Sports

MLB 07 The Show Sony

Samurai Warriors 2 Empires Koei
PS3 Formula 1 Sony

Major League Baseball 2K7 2K Sports
PSP Chili Con Carnage Eidos

300 March to Glory Eidos

Major League Baseball 2K7 2K Sports

Marvel Trading Card Game Konami

MLB 07 Sony
XBX Major League Baseball 2K7 2K Sports
X360 Bullet Witch Atari

Major League Baseball 2K7 2K Sports

Samurai Warriors 2 Empires Koei

Friday, February 23, 2007

Combat Rations Gashapon

Way back in 1998, NCS bought into the whole Y2K disaster scenario and made plans for a post-apocalyptic planet. We explored buying a ranch somewhere in Colorado, stocked up on MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat), and obtained firearms. Y2K passed with nary a whimper...
The ranch purchase fell through, we got rid of the firearms, but we still have boxes upon boxes of MREs. Packaged in thin cardboard boxes and labeled with the name of the entree on the outside, we have stacks of Chicken Tetrazzini, Chili and Macaroni, Beef Enchilada in Sauce, and many more. Some of the kits we purchased are complete meals with a fruit cup, a bottle of water, crackers, and condiments in addition to the main entree. We even got a few boxes of flameless ration heaters which are activated by water and create a steamy miniature "oven" to heat up the meal.
We were reminded of our Y2K preparations when we saw Boford's Combat Rations gashapon offer a few days ago. A total of 8 rations toys are featured in the set along with 1 secret ration. Boford supplies this item in factory sealed boxes of 9 toys (3x3 arrangement in each container) and we'll post big photos once the rations arrive. Preorders are welcome.

Dragon Ball Z Toothbrush + Case

Dental hygiene is an important part of life and kids have to learn early that brushing and flossing are necessary routines. To trick young'uns into brushing their teeth instead of playing video games, hand them a fun-looking toothbrush with battery-powered head and tell them that Goku will cry like a little girl if their teeth aren't clean. Or something like that. Three styles are on offer - red toothbrush with Son Gokou case, yellow toothbrush with Shenron case, and a blue toothbrush with a Son Gokou VS Vegeta case. Pricing is set US$12.50 per brush and preorders ship in June 2007.

SIFEX The Oneechanbara 1/6 Scale PVC Figure

When NCS first played the original Oneechanbara game (Simple 2000 Series Vol. 61) in 2004, we were astounded. Other than Lara Croft, women warriors were rare in the testosterone-fueled arenas of action games. But there she was, decked out in an outfit that barely covered her attributes. In addition to being nearly naked, Aya swung a sword into zombie flesh with the abandon of a banshee. Every stroke lopped off limbs and sent splashes of blood into the air. The zombies were simply no match for a wild woman with bad taste in clothes. Indulge us because it bears repeating - we were astounded.
Japanese manufacturer Yamato has started preorders for an 29cm tall fixed-pose Oneechanbara Aya figure which is mounted on a circular disc. The feather boa that normally slings around Aya's shoulders is gone but we'd recognize that cowboy hat and tacky ensemble anywhere. Pricing is set at JPY6800 or US$65 + shipping from NCS. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late June 2007.

Transformers Music Label Earphones

Hot on the heels of the Transformers Sound Label toys announced last month, Takara has started preorders for Transformers Frenzy & Rumble Earphones for use with the Sound Label music players. In their normal form, the earphones appear to be the normal bud-style type which plug into your ears. When it's time to transform, the buds shift and pop parts to become Frenzy and Rumble. We don't expect these to set the world on fire but they should prove to be interesting additions to any Transformers fan's collection. Pricing is set at JPY3800 or US$35 from NCS. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Simple 2500 Portable Vol. 9: The My Taxi!

Hit the streets in a squat yellow cab and earn your keep by shuttling passengers from point A to point B. Although the PSP Taxi game takes place in a modern metropolis, the streets are eerily barren of crowds. While driving through silent city canyons, you'll see more cars than people. Sort of like L.A. When a potential fare is spotted, sidle your taxi next to him and he'll scoot in. An arrow then pops up on screen which guides you to the desired destination.

Different passengers expect different levels of service. For example, some riders must get to their destinations quickly while others aren't as as hurried.
Some passengers will request an interim stop so they can pick something up before going to their final stop. Other customers may get carsick easily so you'll have to drive carefully. The longer a trip takes, the more you'll earn but it's not advisable to take circuitous routes since a fast fare will earn the player a bonus score multiplier. For example, bring a patron to his port quickly and you'll earn the fare plus a 3X multiplier. The key to earning big bucks is fast and direct service. As your repute spreads, the area that you may drive around in expands along with your working hours.

The player's cab may be customized with over 100 different parts and upgrades which enhance performance. A souped-up cab is more likely to navigate through the city like a banshee than a regulation issue ride. In addition to upgrades that boost the capabilities of the taxi, there are also cosmetic additions which essentially pimp out the cab. «more»

Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan DS

The Air Traffic Controller line of games have sold remarkably well in Japan over the years with a total of 350,000 copies sold. The Nintendo DS version of the game looks to expand the total sales numbers by a good margin thanks to the immense popularity of the NDS in Japan.
Take on the role of a ATC who works in one of five available airports - New Chitose, Fukuoka Airport, Kansai International Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, and Tokyo International Airport. Your job is to guide planes in and out of an airport efficiently and safely. If two planes meet on a runway, your job is pretty much over. Adverse weather conditions present special challenges while queues of anxious planes overhead foist additional adversity on an ATC to manage and persevere through. «more»

Lupin III: Lupin ni wa Shi o, Zenigata ni wa Koi o

When Fujiko is abducted by fiendish thugs, Lupin and Jigen rush off to the rescue while Goemon waits in the wings. Although Lupin plays the hero at the outset of the game, he quickly becomes the victim when he's afflicted with a life threatening internal injury. With only three days to live, Lupin and friends rush off to find clues that will cure Lupin of his ails.

Taking a departure from previous Lupin III games, the latest PS2 offering features an engaging 3D action-adventure that's peppered with quick one-button-press interaction challenges as well as more involved gaming sequences that last a few minutes each. The games are linked together by cut scenes starring Lupin and crew as well as 3D exploration and discovery sessions. In an early level of the game, Lupin beats up a member of the police corps and takes his uniform. He may then skulk around the grounds partially disguised while collecting clues and hints. However, since Lupin's face and manner are so distinctive, the other cops are sharp enough to discern him from one of their own if they get close enough to examine him. Once the jig is up, Lupin will have to do some running and Dual Shock wagging to knock tackling cops off his limber frame. «more»

General Updates

Import Restock
Second shipments of PS2 Fatal Fury Battle Archives 2 and PSP Monster Hunter Portable 2 arrived today and any remaining preorders, backorders will ship this afternoon. Please note the version of MHP2 that arrived today is the Japanese version which does not include the bonus Ailu strap. For reference, only the Asian version of MHP2 included an Ailu strap with game in 1:1 ratio.
Another batch of Banpresto's jellyfish aquarium is scheduled to arrive on Monday or Tuesday of next week. All backorders will ship once the stock arrives. We can accept new orders today to also ship next week.
Final Fantasy Trading Arts III
A batch of the FFIII toys^ arrived this week and some preorders have been processed and shipped already. The remaining stock will arrive next week and we'll fill all remaining preorders upon arrival. We may be able to accept new orders for complete factory sealed cases of the toys and we'll post an update once we know for sure.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trigger Heart Exelica

NCS started preorders for the Naomi version of Trigger Heart Exelica in early 2006 and found exactly three international players willing to pay US$1750 for the disc and dongle. Those orders were fulfilled in late May 2006. Fast forward to the beginning of 2007 and Warashi recoups some more of their Trigger Heart development costs by way of the defunct (?) Dreamcast. With a relatively small print run for both versions of THE, NCS expects a short retail lifespan since some suppliers in Japan have already sold out of their stock allocation.

The two versions of Exelica are packaged in DVD cases similar to Under Defeat and the insert is different for each version. In the artwork for both covers, Exelica takes the foreground while Cruel Tear hovers in the background with a casual pose.

The protagonists in Exelica are two heavily armored maidens named Cruel Tear (pink hair and purple eyes) and Exelica (purple hair and blue eyes) who wing their way through metallic levels while weaving a swath of destruction. Despite their heavy armor and weaponry, both girls still manage to reveal a lot of leg.

Play mechanics at first glom appear routine where the gals blast away at their foes with standard vulcan shots and flit through mazes of enemy shots. That's not all however. Warashi adds the "Anchor Shot" to the game system where either Cruel Tear or Exelica may lash out a hook and tether an enemy ship. Once captured, the enemy vehicle may be launched like a projectile at other enemies for added scoring. An enemy ship may also be hooked and then used as a barrier against enemy shots. It's a new shmup wrinkle to explore and revel in. Warashi touts the V.B.A.S. (Variable Boss Attack System) where end-level gargantuans change their attack patterns based on the skill of the player.

New to the Dreamcast version of Exelica is a Story Mode, an Arrange Mode, and in-game voice samples which add to the atmosphere and excitement of the action.

Two versions of Exelica arrived today:
- Trigger Heart Exelica Regular Edition: US$53.00 (SOLD OUT!)
- Trigger Heart Exelica Limited Edition: US$73.00 (+OST and Booklet)

All preorders will ship today and new orders for the LE are welcome.

Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan: Airport Hero Shinsensai

When sitting inside the control tower of an airport and pushing tin any which way but loose, no one will fault you for getting frazzled. Scenario: Two departures are ready to taxi down their respective runways and three incoming flights are about to land. By using deft 3D spatial rationing, your job is to make sure arrivals and departures flow smoothly as the planes move in and out of the airport. Once the first batch of planes have landed or cleared for takeoff, more planes queue up for their turns. It's a tough and mentally taxing job that air traffic controllers contend with every day.

The latest version of Boku wa Koukuu Kanseikan puts players in the role of an air traffic controller who guides plans in and out of New Chitose Airport (新千歳空港 Shin-Chitose Kūkō) located in Hokkaido. The IATA Airport Code for New Chitose is CTS and it is the largest airport in Japan. The U-shaped design of the airport terminal building is recreated along with the surrounding barren landscape in the game for authentic visuals. Players get to guide aircraft during the clear skies of summer as well as the snowy conditions of winter where flakes drop in incessant waves. To clear the runways of frost, players can send snowplows out to do their jobs so the big birds can land safely.
Airport Hero Shinsensai features a special record and playback function which allows players to capture their gameplay to memory stick duo and then review it later. If you spot something amiss in your aircraft handling, you can make a mental note to improve in a later session. «more»

Fire Emblem: Akatsuki no Megami

In the previous Fire Emblem game (Soen no Kiseki aka Path of Radiance), armies from Dayne invaded Crimea but were eventually beaten back by fractious forces led by the Greil Mercenaries. As the story in Akatsuki no Megami begins, Crimea has begun reconstruction and troops from Begnion are sent to Dayne to ensure that the peace is kept. However, a group of young freedom fighters known as the Dawn Group disavow the sanctions imposed by Begnion and join together in the capital of Nevasa to plot an uprising...

Familiar faces from the previous Fire Emblem game return including Sothe, Elincia, Zelgius, and Jill. New characters introduced in the game include a silver-haired female mage named Micaiah, a blonde archer who answers to Leonardo, and a brown-haired sword handler named Eddie. The gameplay follows the conventions established in previous Fire Emblem games where player-heroes interact with cohorts and then engage enemy forces on a map. When it's time to move, the screen lights up with squares which show range of movement. Select an attack and the screen shifts to a 3D action sequence where blows are meted out in fluid motion. «more»