Thursday, November 30, 2006

Final Fantasy VI

Originally released in 1994 for the Super Famicom, Square updates Final Fantasy VI with a new dungeon, new character classes, eight new spells, and a bestiary. The visuals don't look any different from the SFC original although the music suffers a bit in the translation. Upon starting the game, players may opt to view the in-game text in kanji or hiragana. The unlockable bestiary that was introduced in the GBA FFV remake is retained in FFVI. In standard old school FF convention, battles are fought side by side with the party on the right and enemies arrayed on the left.

Futari wa Puricure: Splash Star

Mai Mishou and Saki Hyuuga are junior high school students at Yunagi Middle School and appear to be normal girls. They're not. They are the mega-mighty duo who loudly proclaim "Futari wa Puricure" which translates to "We are Pretty Cure," which means they fearlessly battle the forces of darkness. In their superhero alter egos, Mai transforms into Cure Egret and Saki shifts into Cure Bloom.
To attract the audience of Puricure, Bandai releases a collection of over 40 mini-games where the heroines, rodent-like aliens, and characters of Pretty Cure act out in stylus tapping action. The games make use of the shifting transformations of the two heroines and portray the characters in mundane as well as exotic exercises. «NCS Game Notes»

Kokoro ni Shimiru

Mitsuo Aida was a poet and calligrapher who's works focused on emotions, feelings, and the meaning of humanity. In one of Aida's poems, he wrote, "Meeting someone can change your entire life; May you have a good meeting" which reflected on the ability of one person to affect another person's destiny. Mitsuo Aida's works touched millions of people in Japan as well as others who were fortunate enough to come in contact with his words.
Ertain's Kokoro ni Shimiru collects the poems of Mitsuo Aida and uses them in calligraphy lessons where players trace out words with the NDS stylus. By skillful application of virtual ink, entire phrases are written out and dabbed on the touch screen. «NCS Game Notes»

Tank Beat

Milestone, the publisher of Chaos Field and Rajirugi, tries their hand at a different kind of shooter. In Tank Beat, players take indirect control of a Panzer which rolls by obediently following stylus swishes on a map. The NDS touch screen shows an overhead view of the terrain and players may guide the tank to a destination by simply drawing a line from point A to point B. While en route, enemies may be shot at by holding the L-trigger to go into attack mode and then tapping the targets on the map to fire destructive volleys. When the tank is mobile, it is depicted on the touch screen with a lighted arc in front of it which shows the firing radius of the tank. The game is mission based with stages featuring objectives that must be fulfilled before the player can proceed further. «NCS Game Notes»

Zoids Battle Colosseum

Based on the Zoids Card Colosseum arcade game which was built on Taito Type X hardware, Zoids Battle Colosseum on the NDS attempts a faithful conversion and succeeds for the most part. Players take control of a blue-haired lad and a Zoids mecha which attacks by way of janken (rocks-scissors-paper) selections which are triggered by stylus taps. During a battle, players trade janken moves with an opponent - for example, if you tap on the hammer icon and the opponent chooses scissors, your Zoids wins the match and is shown barreling into the enemy or firing a missile attack which damages the enemy. This goes on until one Zoids loses all of its HP. A supporting cast of characters add interactive foil to the adventure and the battles run hot and heavy after the first match. «NCS Game-Notes»

Kamen Rider Kabuto

After a meteorite devastates Shibuya and levels it entirely, a young woman named Hiyori Kusakabe begins her story. Along with the meteorite that fell, alien creatures known as Worms perpetrate and propagate. In the first episode of the television series, protagonist Tendou Souji is walking on wooden shoes and carrying a bowl of tofu in water when he makes a grand pronouncement about the meaning of his name and grandma's wisdom. Since birth, Tendo was destined to become a Rider and he works towards that end by destroying alien Worms and protecting a young woman named Hiyori Kusakabe from danger.

Tendou's alter-ego is Kamen Rider Kabuto and he teams up with Kamen Rider Gatack to defend the planet from the assault of the alien Worms. The PS2 game follows the story and major battles of the television series closely. This is in evidence upon starting the game which recounts the events of the first episode of KRK where a squad of Zectroopers battle a group of Worms in an underground garage. The first level of the game puts the player in control of one member of the Zectroopers while the others are controlled by the COM. For a while, they'll just stand around but after a few seconds, they get down to business. «NCS Game Notes»

King of Fighters Neowave [Best]

From Atomiswave coin-op hardware to humble home console, Playmore's latest game in the ever evolving (and sometimes devolving) King of Fighters franchise reaches the PS2 in fine shape. All 43 fighters from the arcade version are present along with five secret characters exclusive to the PS2 and Xbox home conversions. The PS2 version of the game also adds the ability to edit the default colors for each combatant.

KOF Neowave follows traditional KOF gameplay conventions where teams of three challengers bout it out against other teams. What isn't traditional KOF however is the control scheme which now uses 5 buttons instead of 4 - the fifth button is used to turn on "Heat Mode" which is essentially a berserker toggle which allows a fighter to impact more damage than normal on an opponent but also lowers defense and health. For gamers who are hankering for some versus action against a human player (but no one else is in the room), the network mode hooks fighters up for online bouts.

The Best version of King of Fighters Neowave is a lower-priced re-release of the game. Nothing's been changed except the game packaging insert.

Summon Night 4 + Bonus Book

Three years after Banpresto shipped Summon Night 3 to market, a new adventure begins which steers away from the background conventions of the earlier games. Instead of protagonists culled from the halls of learning, the hero (Rai) and heroine (Fay) in Summon Night 4 are innkeepers.
In NCS' game test this morning, we chose Rai and watched as the too-young-to-be-an-innkeeper hero greeted a couple of friends who called upon him. The three decide to take a short trek in the western part of their village. Underneath a shining moon and glittering stars, the trio witness a shooting star which crosses the heavens and lands with a tremendous thud. Running over to investigate, they discover a crater with a shining egg in the center of the blast radius. The party is fearful at first but they soon get over their emotions and stay around to watch the egg hatch into a gleaming baby dragon...
Summon Night 4 follows the strategy-RPG style of the early games where players guide a party of adventurers into battle against opposing parties. The first challenge occurs shortly after the baby dragon hatches and the controls are intuitive with simple commands for moving, attacking, using items, and guarding against enemy attackers. «NCS Game-Notes»

Tales of Destiny

A millennia ago, a comet devastated the world. From the ruins of a shattered planet, the survivors rebuilt and discovered a new source of energy in the comet known as Lens. With the new power, humanity was able to create a great sky city known as Dycroft. The inhabitants of the sky city became known as Aethereans who asserted rule over the planetsiders who were known as E'rthers. After many years of subjugation with a weapon called the Belcrant, scientists in Dycroft defected to the side of the E'rthers and developed a new weapon for them - the Swordian which were living swords capable of independent thought. Armed with the Swordians, the E'rthers were able to overthrow their overlords. After the great war, the Swordians were retired as their great power was no longer needed.

As the story begins, a lad named Stahn Aileron is hitching an unauthorized ride on a stone dragon-shaped ship called the Draconis. He's discovered on board and is mistakenly suspected as being after a special weapon on board. The crew corners him but before they can do much more, the Draconis is attacked by winged creatures who invade the ship and attack the agents on board. With the guards preoccupied, Stahn makes his escape. Later, when confronted by feral creatures, Stahn runs into a room and meets a sentient sword known as Dymlos. «NCS Game-Notes»

Makai Senki Disgaea Portable

From the publisher
Two years after the death of the devil king, the Netherworld became embroiled in chaos, full of devils that had designs on the throne of the devil king. Just woken from a deep slumber, Laharl did not even know of his father’s death, and had to join in the battle for the throne with his numerous subordinates.
Amongst them, there was the angel-in-training Flonne who once had her mind on assassinating the devil king, but was now exploring the devil nature and thus tagged along with Laharl, as well as the servant of the dead king, Etna, who seemed to have her own motives. The struggle to become the rightful successor to the throne started to expand from the Netherworld.

Makai Senki Disgaea Portable LE

The limited edition of Disgaea Portable includes a 2-disc soundtrack which collects a total of 40 tracks of music. For gamers who have already purchased the limited edition of Disgaea on the Playstation 2, it's the same CD set from before. The game and CD are packaged in a flip-top box which mimics the PS2 Disgaea LE packaging from a couple of years ago.

Power Stone Portable

From the publisher
Power Stone is an outrageous beat-'em-up style game where players go head to head against an opponent in best of three round match ups. Arcade mode allows a single character to put their skills to the test against a lineup of computer controlled opponents. Unlimited continues are available and successfully defeating all enemies will unlock a variety of bonus features in the "Power Stone Collection" including weapons, characters, galleries, additional modes and more. In Versus mode, two players pick their character of choice and battle it out. The PSP system edition includes an improved user interface which features a new, easy to see health meter as well as a radar to represent the location of the power stones more intuitively. As an added bonus, the four additional characters from Power Stone 2 have been made available for Power Stone, bringing the total to 15 playable characters.