Friday, December 15, 2006

Kabushiki Baibai Trainer Kabutore

Kojima's stock market trading game for the Nintendo DS uses 5 years worth of historical price data from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. To enhance the realism of the simulation, actual news stories and corporate reports culled from the archives of the Toyo Keizai Shinposha are included in the game. As a virtual trader, gamers get to buy, sell, and reap potential fortunes from the rivers of capital represented by the stock exchange. Before any of that however, a lengthy training session must be endured which explains the workings of the NDS trading screens, the basics of the stock market, and a glossary of market terminology may be reviewed to acquaint oneself with words such as "margin," "dividends," "investment trust" and "capital gains." (Japanese text only) «NCS Game Notes»

Beatmania IIDX 12 Happy Sky

Every new Beatmania game is something to be explored and taken in like a book. Some players may digest it over the course of several weeks, savoring the nuances like a hunk of gourmet cheese. Beatmania IIDX 12 features a blue sky motif with a dazzling title screen that opens up to show the heavens above. Once the game starts, remnants of blue skies are occasionally evident in the menus and in the game itself.

The twelfth Beatmania IIDX starts off with 42 songs in Standard Mode but as conditions are met, an additional 46 songs may be unlocked for a total of 88 tracks. Songs that are selectable at the outset of the game including "Endless Summer Story" from DJ Yoshitaka feat. [Japanese Reggae - BPM 095], "EMPTY OF THE SKY" by Akira Yamaoka [E-Rock - BPM 182], "Pink Rose" by Kiyommy + Seiya [Heart BPM 116/146], "Holi"c courtesy of TaQ [Hard Techno - BPM 155], and many more. Songs are categorized into All Music, Happy Sky, and Old Music as primary categories but players may also choose songs that are grouped by Level (1-12), alphabetical order, DJ Level (from AAA to F), and Clear status. Game modes include regulation offerings such as Beginner, Expert, and Free but there's also a Gallery Mode which features 66 pieces of artwork and a customizable Original Course Setting where players pick and choose the music. «NCS Game Notes»

Wild Arms: the Vth Vanguard

The fifth Wild Arms game marks the 10th Anniversary of the series which kicked off on the original Playstation in December of 1996. Trek back to the world of Filgaia which is gradually falling into ruin. A group of young heroes known as the Migratory Birds stakes out into the world and endeavors to reverse the descent into decay. Heading up the group is a blue-haired lad named Dean Stark - when we first see him in the game, he's carrying a shovel and headed towards a dungeon. Joining him in the adventure are Avalil Van Freul and Rebecca Streisand who appear on the cover artwork with Dean.

In the early part of the game, Dean ventures into the aforementioned dungeon and eventually uncovers a golden artifact which he presents to an acquaintance who is waiting outside. In the dungeon, simple actions are enacted to open doors and players get a feel for the control of the game. Dean's sliding dash and downwards attack move may also be practiced. The movement of the game flows in fluid fashion and a versatile camera may be positioned to view the action from overhead or lowered to view it from slightly below Dean. The battle system is dubbed HEX Battle where combatants are positioned on one of six hexagrams and move between them to attack and fend off counterattacks. «NCS Game Notes»


Remember Destruction Derby on the original Playstation? When playing MotorStorm this morning, we were reminded of that earlier game but on a much grander and destructive scale. The illusion of speed and the anticipation of chaos looking to break loose at any moment is breathtaking. The high-definition visuals are also mesmerizing with beautifully modeled cars and backdrops that blow past at breakneck speed. The participants in a race can consist of trucks, dirt buggies, motorcycles, and jeeps all at the same time, all thrusting forward like a rambling crowd of roughnecks aching for carnage. If you're motoring along in back of everyone and looking to muscle ahead, there are times when two vehicles in front will converge and then careen into each other. As they twist sideways, every vehicle following closely behind them will join in the pile-up as vehicles spin, flip, and crash into a crunchy mess. Parts splinter everywhere. Watching a biker get wiped out is particularly interesting with the bike flying one way and the body plowing painfully into the ground the other way...

Chikyuu Boueigun 3

The year is 2017 and an invasion is in progress. As alien vessels clutter the skies overhead, the citizenry gets jittery and panicky. To combat the threat of alien domination, the troopers of the Earth Defense Force are marshaled into action once again. Take control of one such trooper and fight back against massive mechanical automatons, insects, humanoid robots, and megalithic monstrosities that hunker down when attacked.

In earlier Chikyuu Boueigun games, players fought alone against the invading hordes but in the Xbox 360 sequel, multiple COM-controlled troopers help the cause by fighting the enemy on their own volition. Familiar enemies in the game include the massive ants and spiders which crawl around in realistic fashion. Their blood in the new game is colored a dark red instead of the yellowish ochre of previous Chikyuu releases. When running around, a red targeting reticule keeps track of where you're firing.

Game Features
» A total of 50 missions filled with carnage, destruction, and drama
» Players may obtain and use 100 different weapons
» Commandeer vehicles such as a motorcycle, mech, helicopter, and tank

Oneechan Bara VorteX

Sword swinging sisters Aya and Saki return to the zombie killing fields with their inordinate bloodlust. In the intro to the game, the camera flies through a sparkling city before zooming in on an apartment. Inside, Aya is taking a steamy shower when Saki bursts in and alerts her to another zombie situation. The two run out and stare at the television which shows a report of the growing threat. The two sisters look at each other, nod, and get ready for action.

In the first level, Aya steps down a cobbled stone path as zombies rise up from the grass to the left and right. Get to work immediately by chopping up a couple of zombies and watch as the blood explodes through the air. An overhead map on the top-right of the screen keeps track of the zombies (red blobs) as they ramble around while the heroine is indicated by a green pointer. As the first wave of zombies is dispatched, more rise up to take their place but frenzied slashing action is all that's needed to keep cutting them down. A new heroine named Anna joins the sisters in their crusade against zombie forces. Anna is a policewoman who wears garters and walks like a supermodel before she unleashes gunfire at enemies. She carries a gun in each hand and can perform a round-robin shot attack where she whirls her torso and shoots at everything around her.