Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Arkanoid DS - Preorder

Taito revived the Atari "Breakout" brand in a big way in 1986. That was when Arkanoid reached arcades and swept across Japan and the USA like brushfire. The game's gist is this: Players control a paddle which bats a ball which in turn smacks into colored bricks above. The aim of the game is to clear the bricks on each stage with the ultimate goal of reaching and destroying an entity known as DOH. Since hitting bricks ain't easy, power capsules would occasionally drop from broken bricks to imbue the paddle with laser fire or magnetic force. Conditional modifiers would also drop which slowed down the velocity of the ball or split it into three balls.

We were hooked on Arkanoid from the get-go and it would take NCS about a decade before we had the wherewithal to buy a pristine condition machine along with an Arkanoid II cab for the 'ol private collection. Taito announced Arkanoid DS a couple of months ago but it was only over the past weekend that preorders were finally opened up in Japan. The NDS Arkanoid game features 140 stages and a Wifi multiplayer mode. A Quest Mode and new BGM soundtracks are also mentioned in the preorder details but we'll flesh out our product synopsis once we go through the game and take the usual notes.

Along with the Arkanoid DS game, Taito is also releasing a dedicated paddle controller which plugs into the GBA slot on the Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite. Two editions of the game and four separately sold paddle controllers are open for preorder today through the following links:

» Arkanoid DS [Game Only]
» Arkanoid DS with White Paddle Controller
» Paddle Controller [Black]
» Paddle Controller [Pink]
» Paddle Controller [Silver]
» Paddle Controller [White]

Preorders will ship on December 6, 2007.

Dragon Quest IV - Preorder

Relive the fourth Dragon Quest adventure and play through five chapters featuring different characters including a soldier named Ryan, Princess Arena, and the portly legend himself, Toruneko. The upcoming Nintendo DS version of DQIV is based on the Playstation remake from a few years back which features a polygonal world map, a 360° capable camera, animated monsters, a Monster Notebook, the Party Talk system, and improved visuals.

The game is played on the NDS with both screens relaying the world map in fluid motion as a party travels through the land. When it's rumble time, the top screen shows the party whilst the touch screen depicts the battleground with touch-sensitive attack icons arranged nearly on the bottom of the screen. Preorders are welcome to ship on Nov 22, 2007.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku Premium Box - Preorder

After nearly a month of waiting on our Japanese distributors, preorders have finally started for the special limited edition of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku which includes oodles of bonus items packaged in a square premium box along with the PSP game software. The schwag that's pictured in the photo to the left is as follows (from the left of the photo and coiling clockwise):

» 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

The preorder details also mention a Haruhi Suzumiya in bikini preorder bonus (produced by Max Factory) that's packaged separately from the game. Repeat: Packaged separately from the game. This leads us to believe that it'll be allocated in dodgy ratios and likely not guaranteed 1:1 with every preorder. Due to the ratio allotment, please be aware that NCS may not be able to include the Haruhi Suzumiya figure bonus with every preorder that we receive but we'll keep everyone updated.

Pricing for the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku Premium Edition is set at JPY9450 or US$115 from NCS and preorders are welcome starting today to ship on Dec 22, 2007. Due to the size of the package, NCS recommends only shipping via UPS Ground for our customers who reside within the continental USA and USPS First Class Airmail for our international players.

Spectral Gene - Preorder

A mighty demon once laid to rest has been revived and it's up to a squad of adventurers to force the demon into dormancy once more. The next installment in Idea Factory's long-running Spectral series of games is titled Spectral Gene which ships on December 13, 2007. Two versions are open for preorder today:

Spectral Gene Regular Edition
All preorders will include a 2008 desktop calendar which features artwork of the main characters featured in the game.

Spectral Gene Limited Edition
The limited edition of Spectral Gene includes a bonus art + data booklet and an audio CD which contains interviews and an episode of Spectral drama as voiced by actors and actresses from the game. All preorders will include a 2008 desktop calendar which features artwork of the main characters featured in the game.

Mina Majikina 1/4 Scale "White Skin" Figure - Preorder

Daiki Kogyou started preorders for the original Mina Majikina 1/4 Scale Figure earlier this year with a ship date later this month. With that figure under their belt, the company has started preorders for a "White Skin" variant which is scheduled to ship in late January 2008 and is limited to only 2000 units.

The Mina 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.
Preorders are welcome at JPY23,100 or US$289 from NCS.

Kanon: Makoto Sawatari 1/8 Scale PVC Figure - Preorder

The Kanon game for the DC, PS2, and most recently, the PSP has been one of NCS' best selling visual novels since the game's console debut in 2000. The franchise has since sprouted off into the manga and animation markets and commands a sizable fan base in Japan. The logical progression of such success is merchandising and we've witnessed a spate of Kanon toys and consumer products in the past few years.

We've always liked Makoto Sawatari, one of the main characters in Kanon who's a jester of a girl. During the course of the game, players learn that she's actually a fox who was adopted and then abandoned by the protagonist Yuichi a decade earlier. Her story is particularly tragic and Max Factory capitalizes on the tragedy with a 17.50cm Makoto figure as sculpted by
Shinzi Koshinuma. Preorders ship in late Feb 2008.

Ragnarok Online Poring Cushion - Preorder

NCS stocked a Jumbo Poring Plush from manufacturer System Service on Monday and the company follows up with an equally big Poring Cushion which is scheduled to be released early next year. Buyers who already have a Poring Plush can purchase the Poring Cushion and then seat the plush atop the cushion... for whatever reason.
Two Poring cushions are on offer: a pink-tinted version and a lime-colored variant which measure 35cm (13.77") across the base and roughly 30cm (11.81") from top to bottom. Preorders are welcome to ship in early February 2008 at US$39 per cushion. .