Monday, December 31, 2007
Similar to G.Rev's earlier action-packed effort, Dokodemo Asoberu is a one-vs-one shooting game which takes place in cramped quarters. The analog controller on the Nunchuk is used for movement while the Wiimote is the weapon of choice. Fire by pressing the "A" button and aim that firepower by waving the Wiimote around so that the blue onscreen cursor targets the general direction of your opponent. A dash move is activated by pressing the "C" button on the Nunchuk to speed away from ordnance.
Three game modes are playable including a Time Attack and a Nonstop Mode but it's all one-on-one shooting hysterics. Later levels add wrinkles to the game play including independent gunners that shoot indiscriminately, bumpers that knock a ship away, and black holes that suck ships into their centers and hold them immobile for a spell. Along with the earlier Simple Wii games, Dokodemo Asoberu marks the fourth release in a row that's playable, fun, and somewhat addictive.
Transformers Encore 5 - Ironhide
In the G1 cartoons, Ironhide was a boxy robot who served as Optimus' bodyguard and served as security detail for the Autobots HQ on Earth. He looked like a normal robot so why does Ironhide's "robot" form in Encore 5 appear to be an abomination of disheveled plastic that got mashed together? Ironhide doesn't even have a helm and a flat screen serves as a sort of head to peer into. In vehicle mode, Ironhide shifts into a Nissan Onebox Cherry Vanette.
Transformers Encore 6 - Ratchet
While the rest of the Autobots went to war, Ratchet stayed behind to tend to the wounded and/or wrecked returning warriors. Ratchet was able to mend damaged metal and reactivate robots like a champ. His skills were so renowned that his services were sought by Megatron, leader of the Decepticons to revive busted up member of his contingent. Similar to Ironhide, Ratchet in robot mode is a mishmash of plastic with a windshield but he's an ambulance in vehicle mode.
Both toys are made of ABS plastic but the fender and bits on each robot's chest are made of diecast metal. Each package also includes with a card, instructions, three silvery missiles and a silvery cannon accessory.
In the Transformers Music Label Soundwave product, the Decepticon skips the CD-Rom generation and leaps right into SD Memory. Pop a 1GB (or lower) miniSD card filled with MP3s into the center slot and Soundwave will play them in either robot mode of cassette mode. The MP3 player will play for approximately 6 hours on a single AAA battery.
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III
Phantasy Star IV
Phantasy Star II Text Adventures (8 episodes)
Similar to other Sega Ages 2500 releases, a Gallery section on the CD includes scans of instruction manuals, artwork, and other presentations from the Phantasy Star historical record. A leaflet which contains information on the game will also be inserted inside every copy of the game. Preorders are welcome to ship on or around March 27, 2008 at US$28.90 per copy.
Months after the hiccup, Arc System finally "fixes" the problem with an append disc which includes new content to make it a worthwhile purchase. First off, two new characters rejoin the original roster - Kliff Undersn and Justice with their own unique storylines in the new story mode. Arc System touts that the spanking new Story Mode will feature voice acting and multiple scenarios which relay the unique tale of each GGXX fighter. A new Mission Mode has been added and the Gallery features one new cinema.
Please note that the GGXX Accent Core Plus Append Disc requires the original Guilty Gear XX AC game since it's only a data disc without the game engine. NCS is also accepting preorders for the full edition of GGXX AC Plus at a price of US$55. Both versions are scheduled to ship on Mar. 27, 2008.
» Raiden Fighters
» Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive
» Raiden Fighters Jet
For the uninitiated, Raiden Fighters is the natural progression of the Raiden series with new ships, powerful upgradeable weaponry, and the ability to use the mighty Judge Spear from the Viper Phase 1 game. The first printing of Raiden Fighters Aces will include a bonus "The Onslaught: Raiden Fighters Special Edition" Master Play DVD which captures the deft skills of a gamer who blows through the Raiden Fighters games with perfect precision and expert maneuvers.
Preorders are welcome to ship on March 27, 2007.
| One New Release |
Only one new import is expected this week - NDS Rune Factory 2 which is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday. No new USA software releases are on tap for this week.
Some Japanese toy shipments may also make it in over the next few days including the long-awaited Starwars R2D2 Speakers and the Starwars Room Light and we'll update accordingly once they arrive.
| New Year 2008 |
Another year's in the bag as of tonight. Looking ahead to 2008, soothsayers appear to foresee an increase in water-based calamity. As long as NYC isn't submerged under a tidal event, we should be okay. We'll post a yearly outlook on February 7 when the Lunar New Year hits.
NCS wishes everyone a Happy New Year - we'll be on hiatus tomorrow but normal trading will resume on Wednesday.
| Holiday in Japan |
Most of our suppliers and distributors in Japan started their New Year's holiday over the weekend and they'll be closed for business until January 6, 2008. We'll rely on a few hustlers in Japan and Hong Kong who work through all holidays and will be able to ship Rune Factory 2 to us on time and without delay.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Despite our protestations, the R2-D2 exploitation will probably never end so if we can't beat 'em, we join 'em. NCS shamelessly engages in the peddling of R2-D2 products and we're selling the soy sauce bottles today. Each droid holds about 4 oz of liquid. We tried water, milk, vodka, and soy sauce and everything poured out with ease. That is, until we tried olive oil which was too viscous to make it through the droid's pour-hole. «Photos»
» Chun Hyang from Legend of Chun Hyang
» Miyuki from Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland
» Utako Okawa of 20 Mensho ni Onegai! fame
» Takeshi Shukaido from Duklyon: Clamp School Defenders
» Fay D. Flourite from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
Aya scoffs at those pansies.
She goes to war wearing a two-piece bikini, a hat, and a pair of thigh high boots. Occasionally she'll throw on a feather boa to accessorize. In the case of the Oneechan Bara VorteX Aya figure, our idol also wears a beaded necklace and hefts two swords for that special dual slicing action.
The Aya figure is set to 1/8 scale and measures 20cm or 7.87" tall. Two color variants are on offer - a red bikini figure as shown in the product photo to the left and a black bikini version. Other than the color of the bikini and the shade of the tassels on her gloves, the two figures are identical. Aya also wears a hat which may be removed to reveal her hat-flattened hair. New orders are welcome to ship today. «Photos»
The Kanu Unchou figure measures 17cm (6.69) tall and sprawls approximately 9" from the tips of her manacled hands to the toe of her left foot. An extra hand attached to a flared sleeve and a staff are included inside the packaging which belong to Choukou, Kanu's oppressor in the Ikki Tousen storyline. The Kanu figure and is fully painted, assembled, and ready for display.
Please note the windowed box that holds the cold cast measures 16.5 x 12 x 9.5" and will incur dimensional shipping charges for UPS Ground as well as UPS Air. Preorders will ship today and new orders are welcome.
Xyanide Resurrection is a classic 3D shoot'em up game, where the player takes the role of Drake, a government executioner from the planet Mardar. Drake's mission is to capture the escaped evil witch Aguira and bring her back to the Judge.
Aguira uses the mythical power of Xyanide to transform worlds and create creatures and obstacles to keep Drake from capturing her. This game uses a technology never seen before on the PS2 - high quality interactive video backdrops, seamlessly integrated with the real-time game scenery to deliver breathtaking graphics and effects.
» 3 different 1P modes: Story Mode, Score Attack and Instant Action.
» 15 challenging levels spanning across 4 worlds.
» Over 20 enemy types and over 15 bosses, with adaptive behavior and individual fighting tactics.
» Innovative technology with fully interactive 3D levels in cinematic quality.
» Earn credits to upgrade your fighter with a wide range of weapons and ship improvements.
» Various special weapons and power-ups, from devastating rockets to even a black hole!
» Competitive Multiplayer Mode.
Ason de Wakaru from D3 Publisher features "realistic" casino action where the Wiimote is used to simulate the throwing of chips, placing bets on the roulette wheel, and other manual gambling actions. The games of chance featured in Ason de Wakaru are as follows:
Roulette / Pick red, black, even, or odd in a bid for winnings
Baccarat / The well-heeled casino game with the lowest house edge
Blackjack / Two cards are dealt; more may be secured for a total of 21
Poker / Create winning hands from a lot of five cards
... and derivations thereof. In addition to the normal game modes, variations are also playable for up to four players. A Wi-Fi opposition mode is also available so an online group of cardsharks may engage each other.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Booting up the game this morning, we checked out the "Special Menu" section first which contains an interesting Shuffle Battler card game where players pit trading cards against other trading cards in turn-based strategic battles. Despite the generally static nature of the trading card game, we had a blast with it nonetheless. The other sections in the Special Menu include an artwork gallery, short animation sequences, character profiles, and even data snippets from the Original Generations games.
Players who are familiar with the SRW game engine will find the format similar where simple commands for movement, attack, and specials are selected from a menu. The main SRW OG Gaiden game uses the Twin Battle System where two mechs can link up for a powerful cooperative attack on a single target.
All orders will ship with a bonus SRW OG Official Perfect File.
According to one of our Japanese distributors, Banpresto had a production problem when manufacturing the toy which led to a shortage of the product. The shortage led to higher prices from suppliers which in turn forced NCS' hand in raising the price from US$95 to the current price of US$118.50. We've sent out emails to customers who preordered the game to obtain their re-confirmations at the higher price. There were a few customers with Hotmail and Yahoo accounts who didn't reconfirm yet and we'll hold those orders for a couple of days until we hear back from them. We have a small surplus of the LE bundle and new orders are welcome.
All orders will ship with a bonus SRW OG Official Perfect File.
Star Ocean follows the story of a lad named Ratix Farrence who hails from Clatos Village. Along with Milly Kiliet and Dorn Matro, the trio protects their village from invading pirates. At the outset of the game, Ratix is speaking to his friend Dorn when Milly makes a grand entrance. From there, Ratix and friends can patrol Clatos and then return home to trigger the next event where groups of sword-wielding pirates threaten the peace. Face them and engage in action-packed fighting sequences where players take control of Ratix and run and chop at enemies. While Ratix and Dorn do the attacking, Milly provides healing services in the background to make sure the two warriors don't succumb from their wounds.
The PSP game is an interactive novel with spot animations and voice acting that's provided by the actors from the animated series. Players take on the role of Kyon and engage in various interactions with the main cast members and read the conversations that ensue. Although the story in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku is based on the "The Sighs of Suzumiya Haruhi," the scenarios and overall material are new and written exclusively for the game. Multiple endings are also possible depending on the actions that one takes over the course of the game. In addition to the interactive experience, a number of mini-games are also playable at certain junctures including a simple beach volleyball diversion. Bandai touts a new "Motion Portrait" technology that's used in the game where lifelike facial expressions are imbued on the characters so that they appear to be "living" renditions of the heroines we've grown to adore.
The bonus items that are included in the Premium Box are:
» PSP carrying strap featuring a ginger named Mikuru Asahina
» Aqua-colored carrying pouch for PSP or Slim PSP
» SOS Brigade UMD carrying case
» Visual archive booklet featuring character artwork
» Stand for mounting your PSP in a vertical aspect
» Metallic-colored headphones inscribed with an "H"
» Set of taller-than-they-are-long character mini-posters with sticky backs
We also received a 50% allocation of the bonus Suzumiya Haruhi swimsuit figure so we'll give those out with early preorders today. We're unsure if we'll receive any figures with the upcoming Premium Box shipment but if we are allocated another batch, we'll give them away to customers in the order that your reservation was received. We'll also cover the additional shipping cost to send the figures as well.
Please note the Super Premium Box is sold out. If we're able to locate any additional stock, we'll open up orders again on both of our shops.
MegaHouse's 1/8 scale Excellent Model Core figure features a sculpt by Jun Tsukasa where the "cow" girl in question is on bended knees and lifts her left hand. She's not waving to anyone but is rather providing a perch for a butterfly that alights upon her hand. Her face beams with childlike marvel as she looks at the insect and perhaps reminds us that there is wonderment in the smallest things. The Holstein Hanako figure is set at 1/8 scale and measures 14cm or 5.51"" in height. The figure is fully assembled, painted, and ready for display.
Pricing is set at JPY5250 or US$60 from NCS and preorders have shipped as of yesterday. New orders are welcome to ship today.
* Miyu Hoshino - DOB: 5/5/87
Measurements: T155cm B84cm W57cm H84cm
* Nana Konishi - DOB: 7/7/87
Measurements: T160cm B88cm W58cm H86cm
* Tsubomi - DOB: 12/5/87
Measurements: T160cm B84cm W58cm H85cm
There's a total of 72 regular cards in MAE Vol. 2 but it's the limited and exclusive cards that seem to get the most attention in the aftermarket. From the manufacturer's preorder solicitation, we see that there's also the following special cards randomly inserted in each pack:
9 kinds of SP cards, 9 handwriting cards, 6 costume cards, 6 lingerie cards, 6 kiss cards, and 3 cards which include a strand of the idol's hair, and more. The product description also mentions a "nipple stamp" card where the gal dips her boobie into pink ink and then pushes it onto a piece of paper. This leaves an imprint which looks like the CBS logo. Compelling.
Pricing is set at US$60/box which contains 12 packs of 8 cards each for a total of 96 cards/box. Preorders have shipped yesterday, new orders are welcome to ship today. View 12 "safe for work" card samples.
» Kotono Higashi | Tina Yuzuki (Rio) | Maria Ozawa
We expected Anna Ohura instead of Kotono since Ann's of mixed parentage (French and Japanese) just like Tina and Maria but maybe Mint wanted a pureblood in there. The Premium Edition is limited to only 2000 boxes only which implies a rampant and healthy resale aftermarket. View 24 SFW card samples from the set (8 photos of each idol).
| Star Wars Pepper Mills - Maybe Available |
We began processing preorders for the Star Wars Pepper Mills yesterday and an impressive number of transactions were declined. 'Tis the season. We'll give our customers 3 business days to make other payment arrangements before releasing the pepper mills for general sale.
The Star Wars R2-D2 Soy Sauce dispensers arrived today but we'll post them up tomorrow. They're the same size as the pepper shakers and are identical in terms of exterior construction but the innards are designed to hold liquids instead of rough and tumble peppercorns.
| UPS Holiday Schedule |
Big Brown is apparently on some sort of holiday schedule this week because a driver arrived early to pick up yesterday's shipments at 3PM. Our normal pickup time is 5PM to 6PM. So, we're not sure if today will be a rerun of yesterday with an early pickup but we'll endeavor to get everything packed up and ready to go by 3PM.
Looking forward to next week, please be advised that UPS will not make any Ground deliveries or pickups on Monday. Other than the New Year's holiday on Tuesday, the rest of next week should be back to normal.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Space Invaders Extreme on the PSP is a fusion of genres. It mixes rhythm design sensibilities with classic Space Invaders convention to create something that's new but honors the old. Original music from club scene artists are used to energize the levels and the Space Invaders not only march in regimented lines as they always have but some levels have them flying in like.... Galaxians. Extra kinetic visual flair comes from the background movies that play while the shooting action takes place in the foreground. Preorders are welcome to ship on Feb. 21.
Gee, thanks. Next time we see one, we'll know. In any case, we prefer the aliens in Space Invaders because they're colorful. They're also keychain friendly fodder as seen in Taito's new collection of crystal clear acrylic cube keychains which hold a pixel alien within its confines. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late April 2008. Price: US$8.50 for a set of three.
| Star Wars Pepper Mills - Sold Out |
A shipment has arrived for the R2-D2 and R2-Q5 pepper mills and we'll be processing and shipping preorders today. The mills are packaged in cylindrical plastic containers which are aesthetically pleasing. Each mill stores about 3 ounces of standard peppercorns. To grind them into pepper particles, twist the droid's dome to churn out the dustings onto your food, on an unsuspecting friend, or any other flat surface. Please note that we're sold out but restock should be available for us in mid-late January 2008.
| Milky Angel Evolution Vol. 2 - In Stock |
All preorders for the Milky Angel Evolution Vol. 2 trading cards will ship today. The shipment arrived too late this morning for us to take card samples for posting but we'll update the product listing tomorrowg. Based on a cursory glance of each factory box this morning, a special foil-based trading card is packaged in each box.
| Juicy Honey Premium Edition - Sold Out |
Mint wasn't able to fill our entire request for the Juicy Honey Premium Edition cards which arrived today but we'll process and ship preorders this afternoon. Each retail box is shiny and shrinkwrapped and holds three inner boxes of cards. The release was limited to only 2,000 boxes but we'll try to find some stock since there's bound to be a supplier somewhere who's holding some inventory. The three JAV idols featured in the collection are Kotono, Maria Ozawa, and Rio.
| Kinu Nishimura Mai Shiranui - In Stock |
All remaining backorders for the Max Factory Mai Shiranui figure will ship today and new orders are welcome. We were able to import a good batch of the figures and the inventory should last a couple of months.
| Final Fantasy 4 Trading Arts Mini - Sold Out |
Another batch of the FF4 figures arrived and we'll begin processing backorders today. Please note that we may receive another shipment of the figures in late January to fill orders that were placed after we closed preorders but some of our toy suppliers are now on their holiday. They will return to normal operations in mid January 2008.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Baseball | Golf | Soccer | Tennis | Volleyball
Each sport is a full featured event with regulation rules and various play modes. In addition to the main game modes, mini-games are also playable including the "Home Run Contest" in Baseball and "Penalty Kick" in Soccer. Sports Daishuugou also supports multiplayer gaming with the wireless communications function so that up to four players can participate.
| Christmas Holiday |
Instead of working, NCS will join the throngs of Santa Claus impersonators tomorrow in Time Square and perhaps drink some watered down eggnog. We'll resume normal trading on Wednesday. Please note that UPS is only picking up Air packages today and no Ground packages.
| USA Holiday Week |
No USA releases are on tap for this week but new domestic game shipments will resume on January 8, 2008 with the release of the highly anticipated Jackass: The Game for Nintendo DS, DDR: Disney Channel for the PS2, and Harvey Birdman for the Playstation Portable.
| Toy Shipments on Thursday |
A large shipment of toys from Japan didn't make it in today but it's now scheduled to arrive on Thursday. We'll process and ship all backorders for the Kinu Nishimura Mai Shiranui figure and the Star Wars Pepper Mills on Thursday. Our supplier also shipped a bunch of Star Wars Soy Sauce Bottles and we'll throw those up for sale once we get a look at them and take some snapshots.
| PSN Tickets |
The tickets are sold out again in record time but another batch will arrive on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. We will receive both JPY3000 tickets as well as JPY5000 tickets, the latter of which is perfect for purchasing the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue download which is priced at JPY4500. Backorders placed now will be processed on Wednesday or Thursday at noon or thereabouts.
Friday, December 21, 2007
When the Face Cover Portable is attached, note that the PSP will no longer fit inside the standard PSP carrying case or other slim cases. We're still able to fit the PSP inside an Aero Case without squeeze issues. Pricing is set at US$12.00 and three colors are available - Black, Silver, and Blue.
The cord that's attached to the Hori Pad 3 Turbo measures 3m and the turbo-fire can be toggled for all buttons on the pad with three gradations of speed - 5, 12, or 20 shots per second.
Whereas the original coin-op version of Crazy Climber used two joysticks to manipulate the climber's hands, the Wii game uses a less precise Nunchuk and Wiimote control scheme where wagging them in opposing directions is enough to climb upwards. Joining Jet are three other characters - a girl named Fox, an old urbane dude who goes by Nichi, and a robot dubbed Murphy. Murphy is the most resilient when a pot hits him from above. He'll lose his grip but only slide down about 3 windows before grabbing onto a ledge again. As a comparison, Jet loses about 8 windows worth of progress when he's hit by a falling object.
The Wii update also features 3D representations of buildings and a four-player mode allows for exciting climbing challenges where everyone's trying to trump the other with their scaling skills.
Gamers who are well schooled in the ways of the Fushigi no Dungeon games from Enix will find the format of the latest Chocobo Dungeon familiar. When spelunking within dank labyrinths, each move is metered by the game engine so that monsters on the same screen will take a matching step for every step that Chocobo takes. Every attack is met with a consequent attack so while the game looks like a free roaming dungeon crawl, it's actually a turn-based adventure like the old school RPGs of yore.
As the story goes, Shido and Chocobo explore the tower and encounter two another adventurer and her own Chocobo inside. Before a battle can begin, a maelstrom sweeps into the tower and scatters everyone. In the case of Shido and Chocobo, they're swept into a town where everyone suffers from memory loss. It's so bad that they can't even remember their names. Can Chocobo help them piece together their memories?
It's all about quick and nimble tapping as the three sections light up in various patterns. New directional cues, new characters, updated scenarios, and a revamped music list all conspire to make Kira Kira Music Night a fresh and riveting gaming experience.
The limited edition of Kira Kira Music Night is packaged with an exclusive Pinky Street Ibiru figure. She's the sassy redhead on the cover of the game. Similar to other Pinky Street figures, Ibiru's parts are interchangeable with other Pinky Street dolls.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Sixteen years after Final Fantasy regaled gamers with its tale of tragic heroes and woe, Square reinvents and remakes the adventure with bold orchestral music, beautifully rendered cut scenes, and the "Active Time Battle" system. The game is eye candy from the get-go where a rendered sequence shows Cecil Harvey and a contingent of Red Wings aboard an airship and headed home. They've just stolen a crystal...