Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Zealand Story DS

Way back in 1988, a doleful sneaker-wearing kiwi bird named Tiki waddled across platforms in a quest of epic proportions. As the story goes, an evil leopard seal has kidnapped Tiki's kiwi pals as well as his girlfriend Phee Phee. That won't do. By using jumps, arrows, and bird skills, Tiki scales challenging stages, mounts obstacles, and vanquishes a motley assortment of enemies to save his kinsmen. In the NDS version of the game, Tiki can now perform a double jump to grab more air and unleash a power-up attack to smack enemy agents. New to the NDS remake of New Zealand Story is a collection of mini-games which require touch screen tapping and stylus swiping motion. A VS Mode allows up to four players to engage each other in competitive action. «more»

Simple DS Vol.14: The Jidoushakyoushuujo

Obtaining a driver's license in Japan is sort of like getting one in the United States. First, there's a test to check your knowledge of the road and your understanding of the various signage that appears on highways and streets. To help Japanese citizens prepare for the new licensing system that will be implemented next month, D3P releases an NDS software tool that contains 4000 questions that'll test one's road ken. Ten types of vehicle licenses are supported by the software including the necessary training to help a driver get a passenger license for a medium-sized auto or a large-sized auto, a motorcycle license, a tractor trailer, and more. In addition to the testing regimen, users can also learn how to roll by using the rudimentary driving simulator included in the software. «more»

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core

When the Naomi version of the GGXX Accent Core kit was released in December 2006, NCS filled a healthy amount of preorders at US$1850/pop. More orders flowed in afterwards but by that time, our coin-op vendors were already sold out and no stock was forthcoming. Less than six months after hitting Japanese arcades, Arc System shows love to the GGXX elite by releasing a faithful conversion of the game on the humble Playstation 2 for a measly US$49.

Built on the Guilty Gear XX game engine, Accent Core may be considered the latest and greatest tweak/upgrade of the original game. The cast of 23 default characters all have new moves as well as specials and many of them control differently. The engine also features EX moves aka Force Breaks, Throw Breaks, and Parrying which radically modify the way the game played by seasoned GGXX fans. Arc System also throws in new stages, new character and announcer voices, and new character artwork.

Casual gamers may look at the past few GGXX updates as minor in scope but the system updates made in Accent Core are significant and greatly enhance the gameplay experience for the hardcore fan.
Early preorders will include a bonus solar-powered Guilty Gear AC strap.

S2000 Vol. 118: Ochimusya - Dokakubu Samurai

Originally under the employ of Oda Nobunaga where he ascended to the rank of General, Akechi Mitsuhide was an educated warrior who had a falling out with his former liege. Mitsuhide eventually marched against Nobunaga and forced Oda to commit seppuku.

In D3P's latest Simple 2000 game, Tamsoft revisits the story of Mitsuhide where the shiny-pated warrior faces off against hordes of swordsman all by his lonesome. Think of it as D3 Publisher's interpretation of Sangoku Musou... without the Musou. At the outset of the game, Akechi is alone but two objects on the map may be visited and shattered to reveal the bonuses within. Soon afterwards, menacing samurai appear with swords drawn and everyone seems to have a yen for Akechi's blood. Our hero is armed with only a sword in the beginning but he may upgrade to dual blades, a spear, or a club by taking them from defeated enemies. Projectile weapons are also available to use including a rifle with a freakishly elongated barrel and a bow to hit foes lumbering in the distance.

The enemy AI in Ochimusya hearkens back to the later Sangoku Musou games in that the crowd is fairly aggressive and attack in concert whenever Akechi draws near their ranks.
This makes for a challenging game. «more»

Minna no Golf Ba Vol. 1

Hit the links with Sony's Minna no Golf Ba which plays a satisfying game of golf and serves double duty as a digital caddy if you're actually at a golf course in Japan. PSP owners living in Japan armed with the GPS Receiver and a copy of the game can visit one of 31 golf courses in Chiba Prefecture and play real golf with a virtual caddy. Chiba Prefecture was once called "the Golfers' Ginza" because of the surfeit of courses dotting the landscape. The game package includes two UMDs - the first UMD contains recreations of golf courses that are located in southern Chiba while the second UMD hosts courses from northern Chiba. When choosing which course to play on either UMD, a map of Chiba is shown and the location of the golf course is highlighted when you scroll through the different venues to play on.

Old hands to the Minna no Golf franchise will find a friendly game interface manned by affable characters as well as a challenging golf simulation. Select one of four possible virtual golfers (2 guys and 2 girls) to use as your onscreen agent and modify their appearance with different hairstyles, clothing, and accessories such as glasses or bows. Players may also decide to play on a sunny course or a rainy one to mix up the atmospherics. Once the golfer has been created, mosey onto the golf course and swing your way to eagle or maybe just bogey. For players who utilize the virtual caddy GPS function of the software, the distance to a hole may be calculated in real time to determine which club to use.

Biohazard 4 Wii Edition

Leon Kennedy sits in the back seat of a vehicle as it speeds through a forlorn looking road somewhere in Europe. In the front seat, two local policemen banter a bit as they motor towards their destination. Leon has been given an assignment to locate the President's daughter who has been kidnapped. Unsure of what awaits him, Leon carries a gun as well as a communication device to receive intel from a fellow agent named Ingrid Hunnigan. Once Leon reaches the target village, gamers will notice that the police aren't too anxious to investigate with him. That should be the first clue that something is amiss...

The Wii version of Biohazard 4 features nunchuk + Wii remote control which makes for a new interactive experience. Early in the game, Ingrid sends Leon a communiqué which contains a few pages of Wiimote controller functionality to shoot, kick, and otherwise beat back enemies in expeditious fashion. The first house that Leon visits where the guy tending the fire suddenly plays the role of maniacal killer will have you aiming the Wiimote feverishly to blast him away. Occasional Wiimote wagging is also required of the player where the remote must be shaken from side to side to break free of the grip of an enemy or to run from a large boulder ala Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Aliens Power Loader Box Set

Remember when Ripley went back to get Newt in the Aliens movie? That supercharged sequence showed Ripley's mothering instinct - sort of like when a mama bear does whatever it takes to protect her cub. Ripley also showed off her honed warrior skills where she destroyed bunch of slavering Warrior Aliens as well as hordes of Alien Queen eggs.

In the climactic final battle, Ripley suited up in a Power Loader and faced off against the Queen herself. With deft skill and the power of mechanical arms, Ripley defeated the Queen and the movie ended with a happily ever after conclusion.

Medicom celebrates the Aliens movie with a set of figures which may allow fans to recreate the final scene of the movie. There's Ripley in the Power Loader, then there's four Alien Eggs, three Warrior Aliens, and the Queen Bee. According to the preorder solicitation, the figures measure between 6-10cm each and will all be packaged in a window box. Preorders ship in Sept 2007 at US$95 per set.

Zelda no Densetsu: Link L and S Plushes

Link has been a hero since 1986 when he starred in The Hyrule Fantasy. In his debut, Link battled the forces of Ganon and rescued Princess Zelda from Ganon's clutches. Since the early years of the franchise, Link has gone on to feature in over 20 sequels, adjuncts, and related games. Link's up there with the likes of Sonic and Mario for the most recognizable characters in gaming.

Japanese manufacturer Sanei has started preorders for two Link plushes which are scheduled to ship in September 2007. The "Large" Link plush measures 32cm or 12.59" tall while the "Small" plush measures 18cm or 7.08" in height. Both plushes feature the same design however where Link seemingly looks to the heavens and his arms are lifted to the side. Sort of like a bird about to take flight. Preorders are welcome today.

Spongebob Squarepants Plates

When it's dinnertime and krabby patties are sitting on the grill, forget the fine china and bring out the Spongebob plates. Shaped like sponges and imbued with the spirit of the maniacal undersea miscreant, each plate features a unique Spongebob expression. There's one where pearly whites are gleaming but we like the dish on the lower-left where Sponge has his tongue flapping. Each plate is colored a bright yellow hue and measures 12cm square or 4.72" on each side.
Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late September 2007 at US$7.50 per Spongebob plate.

Large Character Towels

Beaches are made of sand. On that sand, people play and sit. When people sit and play beneath a blazing sun, sweat and dead skin cells tend to drip and drop onto the sand. Multiply that by a million people and by a few years and that's a lot of sweat and dead skin mixed into that sand. That's one scenario where a big towel proves invaluable and handy. NCS recommends a big Sasara Kusugawa Towel where the blonde maiden dresses up in a maid's outfit or maybe the Shakugan no Shana Towel where lead heroine Shana poses in a frilly two piece bikini. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late July 2007 at US$49 per towel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Samurai Spirits: Nakoruru 1/6 Scale Figure

The sprightly Nakoruru originally captured the hearts of fighting fans in 1993 where she slashed and stepped her way to the top of the Samurai Spirits hierarchy. Over the years, NCS has peddled assorted Nakoruru figures including one with shabby hair and a wooden plank posture. Some were good... and others like the aforementioned doll were lacking.
Come September, Lilics unleashes a dynamic Nakoruru figure which depicts the warrior woman in mid-slash whilst stepping lively in mid-air. Her red and white ensemble catches the eye and the roiling robes beneath her body evoke visions of crashing waves. Or something like that.
The Lilics Art Storm Nakoruru sculpt is made of PVC and is a 1/6 scale figure which measures 20cm or 7.87" tall. The figure is pre-painted and fully assembled for immediate display. Preorders ship in mid-late September 07.

To Heart 2: Tamaki Kousaka 1/6 Scale Figure

In the To Heart 2 game and subsequent OVA series, Tamaki Kousaka was an interesting character with depth and complexity. She had poise, she played the piano, had female admirers, and could cook up a storm. Normally garbed in a school uniform or casual wear, Wave's upcoming Tamaki figure does away with outerwear and features the redhead in a black two-piece bikini. She's also positioned in a compromising and vulnerable pose instead of a de rigeur stance. Two words might explain Tamaki's awkward aspect: Fan Service.
The DreamTech Tamaki Kousaka 1/6 scale PVC figure is sculpted by Tomoki Maeda and measures 255mm in length which is approximately 10" from top to toe. Pricing is set at JPY5800 or US$60 from NCS. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late September 2007.

Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 - Restock

Orders are welcome again for Hori's third (canonical, not chronological) Real Arcade Pro Joystick which uses the same form-factor and case of the other Real Arcade Pro sticks. Similar to earlier HRAPs, the new stick uses actual arcade buttons and a clicky Sanwa lollipop-style joystick to give gamers an authentic coin-op experience at home. A heavy duty base completes the package to give the controller a weight of nearly 6 lbs or 2600g.

The RAP3 features the same button arrangement found on the RAP2 with the eight standard buttons (face and trigger) in red and the START and SELECT buttons in a bright yellow patina. The RAP3 does away with the row of slide levers on the upper left corner of the stick which controlled rapid-fire on the RAP2. Hori uses a more elegant solution this time around and adds a "PS" button. The RAP3 connects to the PS3 by way of USB cable and the analog thumbsticks on the SixAxis controller may be emulated by toggling a slide lever which switches from D-pad, L-analog, or R-analog control.

Due to the dimensional weight of the HRAP3, NCS recommends only shipping by UPS Ground within the United States.

Super Mario Bros Stamp Collection

One of our suppliers in Japan was able to get their grubby hands on approximately 50 sets of the SMB Stamp Collection a couple of weeks ago. The stamp sets are new and apparently purchased from a Japanese collector who wanted to free up some cash flow. We weren't able to snag them all but we got a good chunk of them in today. The stamps were originally released in the spring of 2006 and were only sold through May 31, 2006 by the Japanese Postal Service.

The Stamp Collection consists of 10 stamps valued at JPY80 each with dot-graphics artwork of Mario, Princess Peach, Goomba, a Koopa Trooper, and others. The sheet of stamps is protected by a transparent wrapper so you can look at them without getting them oily or dirty with your fingers. Upon opening the binder that holds the stamps, the first page lists every Mario game as of the Spring of 2006 from the Famicom, Disk System, Gameboy, Super Famicom, Virtual Boy, Nintendo 64, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo Gamecube, and Nintendo DS. That plumber's been working hard these past 2 decades. The second page of the binder features Mario and Princess Peach together while two fireworks blow up in the background and the following words are listed: «more»

Japanese Import Outlook

NDS New Zealand Story DS CyberFrt

Simple DS Vol.14: The Jidoushakyoushuujo D3
OST Shining Wind Music Collection Sega
PS2 Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Sammy

River Ride Adventure featuring Salomon Red

S2000 Vol. 118: Ochimusya - Dokakubu Samurai D3
PSP Minna no Golf Ba Sony

Minna no Golf Ba + GPS Receiver Sony
Wii Biohazard 4 Wii Edition Capcom

USA Release Outlook

The USA version of PS2 Odin Sphere was originally scheduled to ship this week but we received a partial quantity of the game last week and some preorders have been filled already. The remainder of the game is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.
GBA Surf's Up Ubi Soft
GC Surf's Up Ubi Soft
NDS Pony Friends Eidos

Surf's Up Ubi Soft
PS2 Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm NIS

Surf's Up Ubi Soft
PS3 Surf's Up Ubi Soft
PSP Crush Sega

Surf's Up Ubi Soft
X360 Forza Motorsports 2 Microsoft

Monster Madness Battle for Suburbia Southpeak

Shadowrun Microsoft

Surf's Up Ubi Soft
Wii Mario Party 8 Nintendo

Mortal Kombat Armageddon Midway

Surf's Up Ubi Soft

Tamagotchi Party On Namco

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hoshigami + Bonus Visual Book

The Valaim Empire is on the warpath and their actions rouse resistance from two neighboring countries. The protagonist is a mercenary named Fazz who's services have been employed by the Nightweld Empire to guard the Tower of Wind from attack. From a simple assignment, Fazz eventually goes on mission to save the land of Mardias from utter cataclysm. Originally released on the Playstation in 2001 to mixed reviews, Hoshigami on the NDS is an overhaul of the original which makes for a more enjoyable gaming experience. The game features updated graphics, new missions, a new character named Kasha who looks like Fazz but with red eyes, three difficulty levels including an Easy Mode, multiple endings, more save spots, and complete stylus control if desired. «more»

Kurikin: Nano Island Story

Wee beasties are on the rampage and it's your prerogative to make sure they are marshaled properly to destroy other wee beasties. In the early missions, players control masses of nano creatures known as kin that look like dispersions of dust on the touch screen. The top display features a magnified examination of the kin, some of which look like paramecium. To send the beasties into war, scribble a circle around them and then swish the stylus in a direction to mobilize them against enemy forces. When two opposing groups meet, the attack is shown on the top screen where the enemy beasties are devoured and destroyed by fevered gangs of your little kin. Groups may be divided intro smaller attack forces to perform a two-pronged attack or even quartered to swarm the enemy. «more»

Bleach: Heat the Soul 4 + Bonus

The latest and possibly greatest Bleach: Heat the Soul on the PSP features a sizable roster of characters, a new Soul Blaze system, and new special attacks for all of the participants. At the outset of the game, players may opt to transfer data from Bleach HTS 1-3 which unlocks main characters and partners in the game. If you don't have any Bleach data to convert, you'll have to unlock the characters and partners on your own. At the outset of the game, only 16 playable fighters are available but there's a total of 51 playable characters and 17 partner-only characters for a total cast of 68 fighters.

Game Modes
Character Master
/ Choose a champion and 2 partners; battle the ranks
Mission Battle
/ Engage opponents where conditions must be met
/ Battle the CPU in Time Attack, Survival, 100 Survival, Free Battle
Soul VS
/ Wireless versus play against another player
Training / Practice with a fighter and 2 partners from 16 available choices
Appendix / Sound Mode, Gallery Mode, Movie Mode, Convert
Option / Game Setting, Sound Setting, Key Config, Save/Load

All preorders shipping today will include a bonus file folder which features colorful Bleach artwork. The file folder can be used to hold a few sheets of paper, currency, or anything else that's thin enough to slip inside. Sadly, we don't have any extra file folders for new orders that are submitted today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shining Wind Kureha 1/7 Scale Figure

Max Factory has started preorders for a 1/7 scale PVC figure which features the willowy form of Touka Kureha from the Shining Wind game as well as the Shining Tears X Wind animation serial. In the television series, Kureha is transported along with Souma Akizuki to a land known as End Earth. Although Kureha is an average student, she serves double duty as a shrine maiden and works with Souma as well as Kiriya and Seena while stranded on End Earth. Kureha is also one part of a love triangle where she has strong feelings for the aloof hero Kiriya while Souma has unrequited love for Kureha.

The Shining Wind Kureha figure is set at 1/7 scale or 25cm which converts to 9.84" tall. Her eyes are hazel, a lavender bow adorns the top of her head, and a flower-like bloom billows out from the back of her outfit. Kureha's weapon of choice is a long bow which she tucks behind her right arm. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late September 2007.

Samurai Shodown Iroha 1/5 Scale Figure

If a crane ever morphed from avian frame to human form, you'd get something that looks like Iroha. Decked out in black and white duds which flow like airy gossamer, Iroha is a study in contrasts. Her face is sweet and unassuming but she carries two killing blades named Hourin and Ousai. Iroha is seemingly childlike but her body is that of a woman. The winsome maiden first made her appearance in Samurai Spirits: Tenkaichi Kenkakuten and toy sculptors have served up a steady supply of Iroha renditions ever since. The latest incarnation is from Good Smile Company which clocks in at 1/5 scale or 30cm (11.81") tall.

The new Iroha figure is fixed pose where she perches on her right leg (note the thick meaty thighs) while her left leg is lifted up. Cranes and flamingos generally perch like that. Similar to other Iroha figures, the posture is fairly relaxed and she looks like she might be out for a Sunday stroll. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late September 2007.

Ghost in the Shell Nendoroid Tachikoma

Good Smile Company's line of Nendoroid toys such as the Sabre (Fate Stay Night) figure and the Mesousa set invariably feature rounded sculpts and big heads. There's a Death Note Yagami Nendoroid figure shipping this summer which sports a huge melon head. The company has recently started preorders for a 130mm Nendoroid Tachikoma which represents the first mechanical construct in the product line.

The new Tachikoma features the rounded proportions that have come to define the Nendoroid line but neither the pod nor the body are exaggerated in size. The four legs are stubby and are fitted with wheels while Tachikoma's pincers are functional and may be opened and closed to grip the Eneuron Organic canister included with the toy. The default weapon that is affixed to the undercarriage of the mech is a grenade launcher but it may be swapped out for a gatling gun. A sheet of decals is also included to paste on Tachikoma's body. Preorders are welcome to ship in Oct 2007.

Samurai Spirits Zero Mina Majikina 1/4 Scale

Japanese toy manufacturer Daiki Kogyou originally released the 1/4 scale Mina Majikina toy in resin kit form last year and buyers flocked to it like chickens to cracked corn. After selling out of the kits, Daiki Kogyou rewards patient collectors with an assembled and fully painted figure which ships in October 2007. The toy is limited to only 3000 units and pricing is set at JPY23,100 or US$289 from NCS.

The figure is sculpted to 1/4 scale or 45cm tall which converts to a magnificent 17.71" from blue tabi socks to the top of Mina's flowing silver tresses. Although the product photo doesn't show the full expanse of her bow, the
Chinsei Hachijou in her left hand spans 50cm or 19.68" in length. In her right hand, Mina grips three arrows which are pointed downwards and a green quiver is lashed to her back. Champuru is missing but we imagine that the little demon is out gathering berries. Or squirrels.

Please note the packaging for this figure will incur dimensional weight shipping charges. It's a big one. As such, NCS recommends only shipping via UPS Ground within the United States. Preorders are welcome today.

General Updates

Imports Tomorrow
All of this week's new import shipments are scheduled to arrive tomorrow and preorders for PSP Bleach: Heat the Soul 4 will ship on Thursday.
Japanese Console Restock
Another batch of Japanese Wii consoles are expected tomorrow and all backorders will ship on Thursday. Slim Japanese PS2 consoles will also be restocked tomorrow.
USA Wii Consoles
Since we receive many inquiries: Distributors in New York are still trying to get US$350 for USA territory Wiis. NCS isn't stocking any at that price but we'll add the consoles back to our shop when prices are more reasonable.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Biohazard Umbrella Aluminum Case

e-Capcom has started preorders for an aluminum case decorated with the Umbrella logo, a Biohazard marker, and text which reads, "Potentially Infectious Waste." In addition to the aluminum case, a pair of keys, yellow-colored Biohazard caution tape, and two warning tags are included. Pricing in Japan is set at JPY3675 but due to the dimensional weight of the item, shipping costs will be lofty and the product is priced accordingly. The aluminum case measures (L) 214mm x (W) 359mm x (H) 191mm (8.42 x 14.13 x 7.51") and is segmented into three portions inside which can hold up to 20 DVDs or roughly 30 CDs. We're thinking of storing all of our Biohazard and Resident Evil games from the PS1, PS2, and Gamecube in there. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid June 2007.

General Updates

Mario and Luigi Cap Cushions Restocked
All backorders for the Mario & Luigi cap cushions will ship today and new orders are welcome. Pricing remains at US$29 + shipping.
Mario Stamp Set
One of our vendors was able to locate a batch of Mario Stamp Sets which were issued in 2006 by the Japanese Postal Service. We may receive them this week and we'll post an update once they're in stock.

Japanese Import Outlook

NDS Hoshigami AS Netwks

Kekkaishi: Karasumori Ayakashi Kidan Bandai
Kurikin Nano Island Story Nintendo
Osawari Tantei: Osawa Rina - Season 2 1/2 Success
Puchi Puchi Virus * [Delayed to June TBA] Keys
PSP Bleach Heat the Soul 4 Sony