Tuesday, December 12, 2006

GC Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

All preorders for the USA Gamecube version of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess will ship on December 13. We have received our shipments about 1/2 hour ago and we have enough stock to fill all preorders and any new orders. It appears that the shortage situation announced by USA distributors earlier this week was erroneous.

Animal Crossing Finger Puppets

Japanese manufacturer Sol International makes good on their promise and releases the Animal Crossing finger puppets to market. Measuring a mere 8.80cm or 3.50" in height, a puppet may be mounted on a forefinger, a middle finger, or a thumb. Plug all five fingers from your left hand into the quintet of figures and you have a traveling troupe of plushy puppets that's suitable for street theater performances as well as impromptu demonstrations of your Animal Crossing ken.

The quality and attention to detail for each puppet is rather good with cuts of cloth that serve as clothing and little bits of detailing on each animal. For example, since Kapp'n is a turtle, a spotted shell protrudes from his back. A chain sprouts from the top of each puppet which may be linked to a keychain or belt loop. All preorders will ship today and new orders are welcome at US$20 for the complete set of five puppets.

Blue Dragon Trading Figures

In the new Blue Dragon game for the Xbox 360, a spiky-haired lad named Shu faces off against the forces of evil with an unlikely ally. By himself, Shu is unimposing but when it's time to battle, his shadow incarnates as a winged blue dragon which towers above the decidedly scrawny Shu. Since the game has been garnering buzz and better than average sales in Japan, Bandai ties themselves to the project by releasing a set of Blue Dragon trading figures.

Akira Toriyama designed the characters for Blue Dragon and his distinctive style shows in the figures which include main character Shu, a gal named Kluke, Jiro, the mascot-like Marumaro, and the pirate gal Zola. The figures measure approximately 3" tall and are sculpted from PVC. Each toy also includes a piece of candy and a bit of biographical information on the character. Each factory box includes 10 randomly packaged figures and preorders ship today. New orders are welcome today at US$39 per case.

Ignis 1/8 Scale Pre-painted Figure

Following on the heels of Kayodo and Max Factory who both have Igunisu figures which shipped earlier this year, Japanese manufacturer Alter releases their rendition of Igunisu to the market. It's the best looking one thus far in our opinion.

Igunisu hails from the Jingai Makyou eroge game which featured glossy visuals and lofty production standards but was fairly devoid of substance. Alter's Igunisu figure wears a form fitting outfit and measures 20cm (7.87") tall. The fiery Amazon carries a sword in her right hand which is held parallel to her outstretched leg. Pricing is set at Y5600 or US$60 and all preorders will ship today. New orders are welcome.

DC Trigger Heart Exelica

On March 28, 2006, NCS started preorders for the Naomi version of Trigger Heart Exelica 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 end of the year and Warashi tries to move some more Trigger Hearts by way of the defunct (?) Dreamcast.

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 and in-game voice samples which add to the atmosphere and excitement of the action.

Two versions of Exelica are available for preorder starting today:
Trigger Heart Exelica Regular Edition: US$53.00 «
» Trigger Heart Exelica Limited Edition: US$73.00 (+Official Soundtrack) «

Preorders for the Dreamcast versions of Trigger Heart Exelica are scheduled to ship on February 22, 2006.

PS3 Virtua Fighter 5

Preorders are open for the Japanese release of Virtua Fighter 5 which ships on February 8, 2007. The first production of the game will include a bonus copy of Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution reworked with the blocky polygon graphics found in the original game. It's the same VF revision included with the Virtua Fighter Memory of Decade book which was released in 2003... and is still available for sale from NCS.

Originally released earlier this year for the coin-op market and built on Sega's Lindbergh arcade system architecture, Virtua Fighter 5 will be exclusive on the PS3. The home conversion features two new characters - Eileen who fights with the Monkey Kung-Fu fighting style and El Blaze, a masked Mexican wrestler who grapples with the Lucha Libre discipline. A Training Mode in the PS3 version also allows beginners to hone their skills before taking on opponents in the Arcade Mode of the game. Pricing is set at US$73 and preorders are welcome starting today.

PS3 Virtua Fighter 5 Joystick

One week after Virtua Fighter 5 ships to market in Japan, a special Virtua Fighter joystick joins the party. The stick follows the design principles of the early Hori Playstation controllers with an expansive base and buttons that are arranged in neat rows. The construction material has not been disclosed yet but based on the photo, we're guessing the controller features a PVC base and a laminated metallic top that's bolted down with four lugs on each corner. Please note the VF5 joystick connects to the PS3 by way of USB cable and does not support wireless play.
Pricing is set at JPY7200 or US$88 from NCS. The price reflects the high cost of importing heavy controllers with overnight service from Nihon.

DC Last Hope - Preorder

NCS remitted our payment for the Dreamcast version of Last Hope last week and all that remains is the waiting. While we haven't had the opportunity to check out the Neo Geo version of Last Hope, prospective buyers may check out the video on the publisher's website here:

Last Hope for Neo Geo Normal Quality

We're guessing the visual and audio quality of the Neo Geo original transitions to the Dreamcast version in near 1:1 ratio. A Neo-CD version of the game is also expected to ship some time next year. Pricing for DC Last Hope is set at US$39 and the game will boot on USA, Japanese, and European Dreamcast consoles. Preorders are welcome to ship on December 22, 2006.

From the publisher
The evil empire is rushing at light-speed across the galaxies, heading towards Mother Earth. Barely 24 hours ago, they penetrated the last defense line of our galaxy, the Arsion Laser Belt. Millions of innocent people perished in outer space colonies. 70% of our fleet was destroyed during first contact. Our intelligence has now extrapolated their arrival within six days. Conventional weapons cannot stop them. Our last hope is in your hands: The Z-42 Warpstar. Warp into their territories and destroy their leader before they reach Earth.

Last Hope is a shooting game with rotating satellite system and heavy influence by tactical game play. Memorizing level architecture and enemy patterns are necessary for further approaching. The satellite and the beam are the most important components of the game mechanics. You have to learn to deal with both techniques in interaction with the other. It is possible to rotate the protection unit in 360° around the player's ship and to engage it in 8 gradations. Just press "X" to shoot, "R-Trigger" to rotate clockwise and "L-Trigger" to rotate counter-clockwise. The protection unit mainly serves the defense of enemy plasma projectiles and to fire a stronger plasma shot.

There are four difficulty settings: very easy, easy, normal and hard. Less experienced players can enjoy the game on very easy and easy, while experienced players will enjoy the game on normal or challenging it on hard. There are a total of 6 stages. These vary from a sandy space laboratory, a channel fulfilled with muddy water, a idyllic landscape with floating continents, a soul melting enemy factory on fire to an eerily and muggy alien stage.

Last Hope is comparable to classics like R-Type and Gradius. Yet it has it's own visual impressive graphic style and fresh game play. It also features a superb 16-bit digital audio soundtrack, which suits perfectly the games atmosphere.

Exclusive features only available in the Dreamcast™ compatible version:

  • 16-bit CD soundtrack
  • VMU support (saving + visuals)
  • DC joypad + arcade stick support (R- and L-trigger support)
  • Use of DCs soundchips (64 channels/stereo)
  • Highres title screen

Exclusive Dreamcast™ Game Modes:

  • Adjusted difficulty (Reduction of shoot frequency and flight velocity of enemy bullets / no ranking)
  • Explosions / particle effects reduced for more clarity on screen
  • Better hitting response for hit enemies
  • Improved visualization of boss hit zones

X360 Blue Dragon Bundle [Limited Edition] restocked

An alternate Japanese supplier was able to help us restock a small quantity of the limited edition Blue Dragon bundle today. The LE bundle includes the bonus faceplate and five figures in addition to the Xbox 360 Core Unit and a copy of Blue Dragon. Pricing is set at US$375 and any backorders submitted recently will ship today. New orders are welcome.