Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bokujou Monogatari: Kimi to Sodatsu Shima

After being shipwrecked and stranded on an island, the hero of the latest Bokujou Monogatari teams up with a small family of survivors to make a new home. By developing the land and creating a vibrant island economy supported by agrulcture, trade, and livestock, the newfound home away from home might become a teeming commercial jewel. At the outset of the game, players may select a male character named Mark or a female character named Chelsea.
With the promise of a better life, immigrants will visit your pristine shores and possibly settle down. The game mandates a population limit of 100 people but inhabitants aren't set in stone and may leave and arrive at any time which allows for a constant state of flux. «NCS Game Notes»

Hiite Utaeru DS Guitar M-06

Guitars generally have a pear-shaped body, a long neck, and head stock. Thanks to clever programming and a simple control mechanism, software developer Plato redesigns the acoustic guitar and puts it inside the squatness of the Nintendo DS.
Meet the strangest axe ever in the annals of guitar technology. With 16 chords to use at any time from a library of 120, users may strum out a song relatively easily if you're familiar with basic guitar playing. We were able to play the Main Riff I for "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman and "Torn" from Natalie Imbruglia this morning by following guitar tabs found on the web. In addition to its function as a guitar, the software also includes a library of 20 songs and a listening-then-repeating exercise. «NCS Game Notes»

Saint Seiya: Meiou Hades + Bonus

The glittering knights of Saint Seiya face off against each other in 3D battles that hew closely to the Hades Saga from the Sanctuary to the Inferno arcs. The storyline is based on the manga original although the game is peppered with animation spooled from the televised series. Two main game modes are featured at the outset:

1) Story Mode: Join Pegasus Seiya and Mu in the first chapter where they face off against Death Mask and Specters.
2) Versus Mode: Choose a fighter from five possible characters (at the outset) and battle through a total of 26 combatants.

Three additional game modes are hidden by question marks. Along with the two game modes, a Gallery Mode which contains exactly one available piece of artwork may be viewed but additional works, animations, and BGM may be unlocked by meeting certain conditions while playing the game. All orders for the Saint Seiya Meiou Hades game will ship with a collapsible Saint Seiya Memory Card holder which features Dragon, Phoenix, Pegasus, Cygnus, and Andromeda on its five viewable sides. «NCS Game Notes»

Silicon Cover DS Lite

The Silicon Cover DS Lite consists of a top and bottom portion which are connected with hinges. Installation is very simple and once installed, the cover wraps around the entire NDS and provides a pliable and protective skin to guard against potential dangers. Openings that are cut into the cover allow for easy access to the various ports and inputs on the NDS Lite unit.
NCS stocked white, pink, and black Silicon Covers earlier this month and Hori releases light-blue and light-green versions this week.

Hori Fighting Stick 3

As the default supplier of gaming accessories for the Japanese marketplace, Hori releases the first joystick for the PS2. Thick, sturdy, and fitted with candy colored buttons, the Fighting Stick 3 is a digital controller which connects to the PS3 by way of USB cable.
The standard face and trigger buttons are located in two rows across the face of the base while the following buttons span the top portion of the stick: TURBO, HOME, L3, R3, SELECT, and START. Three gradations of turbo-fire are available with speeds of 5, 12, and 20 shots per second.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monsieur Bome Vol. 16 Repaint

Kaiyodo has started preorders for another Oni Musume figure repaint which will be released under the Monsieur Bome label. Fans of the Bome sculpts may recall that Oni Musume kicked off the series with Vol. 1 where the she-devil wore tiger print skivvies and sported a healthy head of red hair. The repaint of Bome Vol. 1 featured Oni Musume with blue hair...

The original version of Monsieur Bome Vol. 16 features Oni Musume with red hair and yellow tiger print wisps of clothing. The Vol. 16 repaint gives her a light purple do and white tiger print threads. In the sculpt, Oni is on all fours and drops an arm lazily around her weapon of choice. A pair of ivory-ish horns protrude from the top of her head and seemingly match the waves of her hair. When viewed from a head-on stance, Oni Musume reveals a generous amount of cleavage. The kind that's pushed together like a package of Drake's coffee cake.
Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late March 2007 at JPY4500 or US$39 from NCS.
Note: A USA localization is highly likely from Diamond.

Star Wars Deformed Figure Collection

Tomy has started preorders for a six-character collection of Star Wars super-deformed figures as follows:

1st Row: Bob Fett, Darth Vader, Storm Trooper
2nd Row: Yoda, R2-D2, CP-3O

The figures measure between 5-6 cm in height. The prototypes are monochrome but rest assured that they'll be colored with bright paint when shipping to retail The product solicitation states that the 6 figures are randomly packaged in factory cases of 12. Preorders are welcome today.

General Updates

Aquapict Update
We love our drifting silicone jellyfish but we emptied the tank yesterday. When we originally filled the Aquapict up, we used regular tap water in our rush to check out the show and suffered through bubbles and stuck jellyfish. We're going to refill it with distilled water that's been boiled and then cooled which eliminates the bubble problem along with the fluorine and chlorine from the tap. End result? Possibly healthier jellyfish.
Idolm@ster Limited Edition
Another batch of Idolmaster LE is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and all new orders submitted on Friday of last week will ship upon arrival. Please note that we're unable to accept new orders at this time.
Dreamcast Last Hope Update
The game may be released tomorrow based on an email this morning from Max Scharl of Van Basilico / redspotgames. Place your wagers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Animal Xing Collection - Theater Version

Yujin celebrates the Animal Crossing movie which bowed across Japan on December 16 with a quaint collection of figures. Jouji Shimura directed the animated film which features amicable characters such as Tom Nook, Rosie, Margie, and Kapp'n among other rascals. The Axing figure collection features the following characters (Japanese names below):

1st Row:
Saruo, Boy in Green "6" shirt (Secret figure)
2nd Row: Kappei, Tanukichi,
3rd Row: Alberto, Dalman, Futa

Each character stands upon a base and is encased inside a 45mm plastic case that's fitted with a removable green floor. Each Axing container sports four pegs and peg holes so that each one may be hooked to another container and displayed in vertical or horizontal arrangements.
All preorders are shipping today and new orders are welcome.

Pixar Formation Arts

Square Enix has started preorders for Pixar Formation Arts trading figures which feature characters from Pixar's well regarded films. The toys were first displayed at the Tokyo Game Show 2006 in prototype form but they've been finalized and are scheduled to ship in mid-late June 2007. The movies represented in the set are as follows:

1st Row: Toy Story, a bug's life, Toy Story 2
2nd Row: Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles

The product solicitation mentions that the figure-dioramas measure 12-14cm (4.72 to 5.51") tall and will be packaged eight per factory carton. Furthermore, secret characters (mono repaints?) will also be randomly packaged in each sealed case. Pricing is set at US$79 per factory box.

Tachikoma Silver Pendant

If you've ever wanted a Tachikoma positioned close to your heart, FujiCreation's silver Tachikoma necklace hits the spot. Small of size and yet glittery and shiny, the Tachikoma pendant hangs like a high-tech metallic beetle and is sure to attract the eye of a Ghost-in-the-Shell-loving thief or an ambitious cutpurse. NCS recommends tucking it in when shuffling around crowded city streets.

The sterling silver Tachikoma pendant measures 2cm in length and nearly that much in height. A silver chain which attaches to the Tachikoma's pod is also included with the pendant which measures 45cm. Since the Tachikoma pendant can be considered jewelry, it's packaged in a velour-covered jewel box. Preorders are welcome to ship on or around February 28, 2007.

NSMB Board Games

Japanese manufacturer Epoch is primarily a toy maker although they've dabbled in video games and related products in the past. This March, the company dabbles a little bit more by releasing board games based on New Super Mario Bros. Two types are on offer today:

1) New Super Mario Bros Crystal Attack Game
2) New Super Mario Bros The Tower Game

We'll post up more details and information on how to play once we receive them and give them a go. Pricing is set at US$45 for the Crystal Attack game and US$35 for The Tower game. Preorders are welcome.

Japanese Import Outlook

The new Harvest Moon game on NDS leads preorders for the week.
NDS Harvest Moon Kimi to Sodatsu Shima MMV

Hiite Utaeru DS Guitar M-06 Plato
PS2 J-League Pro Soccer Club o Tsukurou 5 Sega

Saint Seiya: Meiou Hades Juunikyuu Hen Bandai
PSP Ys Napishtim no Hako Special Edition Konami

USA Release Outlook

PS2 Rogue Galaxy leads preorders for the week followed by PS3 Sonic the Hedgehog. On the Wii, three new Virtual Console games are expected: Bonanza Bros (800 points or US$8), Comix Zone (800 points or US$8), and Mario Kart 64 (1000 points or US$10).
PS2 Rogue Galaxy Square

SnoCross 2: Featuring Blair Morgan Crave
PS3 Sonic the Hedgehog Sega
X360 Battle Stations Midway Eidos

Fuzion Frenzy 2 $49 MSFT

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sangokushi Taisen DS

Rotate the Nintendo DS 90° counterclockwise so that it's held like a book and command armies in theaters of war. Originally released in Japanese arcades in early 2005, Sega's Sangokushi Taisen DS is an action-packed strategy game that pits generals and their forces against opposing contingents. The coin-op game featured a unique control scheme where actual cards were used to move armies around the battlefield and marshal them against enemy forces and castles. The Nintendo DS game mimics the card manipulating action by using the stylus to point and drag army cards on the touch screen to command soldiers into battle. Archers that are positioned alongside a cavalry may launch arrows at approaching enemy soldiers to soften them up before the cavalry moves in for the kill. «NCS Game Notes»

Enchant Arm

It's been a millennia since The Golem War when the population of the world was brought to its collective knees. After much death and destruction, the golems switched off mysteriously and stopped their swath of carnage. Peace ensued and the remnants of humanity buried the golems and secreted the knowledge of creating war golems away from normal mortal ken. Years pass, the sons of man swell their ranks to fighting strength once again, and golems are still being used albeit for manual labor and mundane tasks.
In Yokohama City, students attend an institution that teaches the art of Enchant - a magic technique which allows the caster to create golems of various forms and abilities and imbue objects with magical properties. The lead in the game is Atsuma who has the power of removing enchantments from objects. One day, his power accidentally releases a buried golem named the Ice Queen from her deep slumber.
.. «Official Press Release»

The IdolM@ster Limited Edition

All preorders for the limited edition of IdolM@ster will ship today. Please note that the game package is very large but luckily we had cardboard boxes that we normally use for shipping Playstation 3 consoles on hand. The limited edition includes the following bonus items along with the game DVD itself:

1) Xbox 360 faceplate with a green, pink, and purple design.
2) Visual Music DVD (approximate length of 90 minutes).
3) Eleven idol figures dressed in matching pink outfits that may be mounted on a blue stage which features an
"IdolM@ster" marquee above the stage.
4) An art booklet which contains idol portraits and interviews with the voice actresses featured in the game. B4 Size, 20 pages.

We're well aware of the brouhaha concerning the difficulty in stocking this particular item but our Japanese suppliers didn't encounter any problems this time around. It seems that as long as we submitted our preorders on time and paid our 35% deposits, ample stock was reserved for us. We're sold out to preorders today. Update: 4:35PM EST The restock batch expected next week is also now SOLD OUT.

Tobal 2 Legendary Hits

Square's first fighting game was a little number called Tobal No. 1 that was released in 1996. We still have a few hundred copies in stock... which bear witness to the folly of NCS' bulk purchasing agreements a decade ago. Square second fighting game was aptly named Tobal 2 which sees its first re-release this week in the form of a "Legendary Hits" reissue. While we wouldn't deem either Tobal game as legendary, they are somewhat enjoyable. Our main niggle with Tobal 2 is the difficulty of the game and what we consider to be sloppy programming. Other than that, it's okay. In addition to the 3D fighting action, Tobal 2 features a Quest Mode where a hero runs around a dungeon, a castle, a cave, a mine, and even a spaceship while battling enemies that are encountered.

Melty Blood Pretty Collection

Japanese manufacturer Alter releases trading figures based on the maiden warriors of the MeltyBlood fighting game. The seven gals featured in the set are:

Hisui Fujyou
Tohno Akiha
Arcueid Brunestud
Sion Eltnam Atlasia
Kohaku Fujyou

Each figure measures 4cm or 1.57" tall and the preorder solicitation mentions that three color variants for each figure are possible in each randomly packaged box. NCS supplies the figures in factory sealed boxes of 10 figures at US$39.50 per box.

General Updates

Aquapict Again
The highly desired jellyfish aquarium was restocked today and all backorders will ship this afternoon. Sadly, we don't have available stock for new orders but we may be able to restock additional quantities again in 1-2 weeks. Thanks.
Portable GPS Receiver
A partial shipment of the PSP GPS Receiver arrived today but the remainder will arrive on Monday. We'll be able to fill all backorders by Monday afternoon.
Japanese Wii
Any backorders for the Wii console will ship today. We're sold out again as of this morning but restock will arrive by Thursday of next week.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA

Released last year in arcades and on the USA PS2, the Japanese PS2 version of DDR SuperNOVA finally makes it to market. The game sports a 70+ song list with catchy tracks such as "Centerfold" from Captain Jack, "Golden Sky" by which has a "Butterfly-esque" hook, "Modern Girl" by Sheena Easton which gets cut off too soon, and "Girl in a Day Dream" by Pandora. There's also a dance mix version of "What a Wonderful World" from Beatbox vs DJ Miko that's hot.

A new diversion in DDR SuperNOVA is the 2-Player Battle Mode where the player challenges the COM or a second player in a side by side competition. As you collect PERFECT and GREAT rankings, a laser from the top of the screen attacks your opponent by blinking out the cue arrows at the top of the screen, speeds up arrows, shuffling arrows around, and causing arrows to stutter-step in tricky ways. The Diet Mode allows players to enter their weight and track caloric expenditure when dancing to songs. For beginners who haven't the foggiest idea of how to play DDR, the Tutorial Mode patiently guides dancers through the basics of stepping, double-stepping, freezing, and step sequencing. «NCS Game Notes»

King's Field Dark Side Box

Last month, From Software collected a number of Armored Core games in a special bundle and threw in some bonuses. This month, the company collects four games from the King's Field series and includes a few bonuses to round out the King's Field love.

» King's Field I [Playstation]
» King's Field II [Playstation]
» King's Field III [Playstation]
» King's Field IV [Playstation 2]
» Memorial Disc [DVD-Video]
» Best Soundtrack [CD-Rom]
» Premium Visual Book, Operating Manual, and Verdite World Map

Tennis no Oji-Sama Doki² Survival

Targeted at girl gamers, the second Prince of Tennis Doki Doki Survival game in as many months moves from the mountain setting in the first game to the seashore. At the outset, the heroine is aboard a ship with 40 Prince of Tennis characters. The first scene takes place in the dining room where some of the boys introduce themselves but everyone eventually retires to their rooms. Sometime in the night, a massive storm causes a little bit of panic but the crew eventually guides the ship onto land and the characters regain their footing.
Although the game features 40 tennis players, only 20 of the boys are fair game for love and romance. The scenario length for each character is lengthier than in the original DokiDoki game so there's more time to enjoy special moments and view magical screenshots. Or something to that effect. To add to the atmosphere of being inside the world of Tennis no Oji-sama, the voice actors from the animation series were hired to provide the copious amounts of speech in the game. Everyone talks except for the heroine who has dialogue but her voice is silent to maintain the illusion of you being her... even though she has blue hair, gray eyes, and a lime-green smock. «NCS Game Notes»

Parodius Portable

The dead serious Gradius games were dark, somber, and stone cold. Konami realized this back in 1988 and decided to lighten things up by parodying their flagship shooter series with a little game called Parodius. Instead of powerful space ships such as the Vic Viper or the Lord British, Parodius gave players control of a pink octopus named Takosuke which flew and blasted away with blazing lasers. From there, the Parodius series gained more characters, more bizarre bosses, and enraptured fans with light-hearted visuals that were very Japanese.

Konami collects five Parodius games on a single PSP UMD and throws in screen adjustment facilities, in-game modifiers, and a convenient save/load function. The music in the Parodius games are bright, lively, and crisp so Konami included a BGM player in the software so gamers can listen to the tunes without having to play through the different games.

The five games contained in Parodius Portable are:

1) Parodius (1988, 2007) MSX Remake
2) Parodius Da! (1990) Coin-op version
3) Gokujou Parodius: Kakou no Eikou wo Momomete (1994)
4) Sexy Parodius (1996)
5) Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius - forever with me - (1996)

Salamander Portable

In our opinion, the inclusion of "Xexex" in Salamander Portable made it an automatic must-have release. We've sold and traded a total of 27 Xexex arcade pcbs over the past 10 years at prices ranging from US$300 to US$800. It's a game that been much sought after and we still keep 2 Xexex boards in our little shooter shrine for purely sentimental reasons. To see the game in a collection and made available to everyone (legitimately) is a thing of beauty. The other games in Salamander Portable are bonuses but we would have paid the price of admission for Xexex alone. We're crazy like that.

The five games collected in Salamander Portable are:

1) Salamander (1986) Coin-op version
2) Gradius 2 (1987) Coin-op version
3) Life Force (1987) Coin-op version
4) Xexex (1991) Coin-op version
5) Salamander 2 (1996) Coin-op version

The game versions used in Salamander Portable are the original coin-op releases with the "Deposit Coin" text on the title screens. The default game screen for the shooters is a square viewing area surrounded by borders but the screen ratio may be changed to fit the PSP widescreen.

Twinbee Portable

When one thinks of Twinbee, pastel images and colored bells generally come to mind. Konami's Twinbee started out as a simple vertical shooter in 1985 and eventually led to sequels and gaming adjuncts such as a Twinbee RPG and a Twinbee platform action game. The unique feature of the Twinbee ship was its gloved hands which punched outwards as a secondary weapon. Twinbee game stages featured lots of clouds which released bells when shot. The bells served as power-ups when collected but keep shooting a bell and its color and attendant power-up changes.
The games in the PSP collection hail from the arcade originals except for Twinbee Da! which is a remake of the Gameboy original. The remake is a visual feast of pastel and widescreen shooting action.

The titles included in Twinbee Portable are:

1) Twinbee (1985) Coin-op version
2) Twinbee DA! (1990) Gameboy Remake
3) Detana!! Twinbee (1991) Coin-op version
4) Pop n' Twinbee (1993) Coin-op version
5) Twinbee Yahho! Fushigi no Kuni de Ooabare (1995) Coin-op version

Special PSP features include a screen modification facility, game setting toggles, and a save/load feature.

Gradius Portable [Best]

Over two decades ago, the original Gradius introduced gamers to the concept of multiple weapon power-ups and a speed boost to confront waves of enemies. Shoot a gold-colored ship and pick up the little power-up that it releases. The first power-up option is the speed boost but a twin-shot, missile, and others may be triggered. Konami rode this formula well into the late 90s with Gradius Gaiden on the PS1 in 1997 and Gradius IV in the arcades in 1998.
To commemorate the Gradius series, Konami collects Gradius I, II, III, IV, and Gradius Gaiden on one UMD and also offers the ability to play the games in original screen aspect mode or stretched to fit the entire length of the PSP LCD. New to the PSP port is the ability to save your progress in any of the Gradius games for resumption at a later date. For example, you're on level 3 in Gradius 2 and suddenly the dinner bell rings. It's pizza night. With your favorite topping. Should you give up on the game and lose your progress or continue playing while growling sound effects echo from your stomach? The save feature removes such conundrums from your life. The PSP processor is capable of running the Gradius code at full speed but those hankering for true-to-original slowdown when many enemy ships amass on screen, there's an option to retain the original bottlenecks for authentic Gradius gaming.
A gallery mode includes movies from Gradius Deluxe Pack from the PS1 and Gradius III & IV from the PS2. A music gallery includes music from all five of the Gradius games and from the X68000 version of Gradius.

Final Fantasy X International [UHits]

Square owns a license to print money. Forget about the dismal performance of Square Pictures' debut project a few years ago. When a new Final Fantasy game goes on sale, it's a safe wager that a few million units will move from distribution channel to consumer consoles. The FF brand is a mint.

Final Fantasy X International is a re-issue of last year's Final Fantasy X game with a few extras and bonuses as follows:

1 - Japanese subtitles and text, English voice acting
2 - New Sphere Grid arrangements
3 - A new scene dubbed Eternal Peacetime which occurs 2 years after the conclusion of Final Fantasy X
4 - Previews of Kingdom Hearts, FFXI, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Square Masterpiece Series, and the FF Movie DVD.
5 - Interviews with voice talent from the Japanese and English games
6 - A recap of promotional videos for the launch of FFX last year
7 - Rikki's Suteki Da Ne, the FFX theme song, is included

Final Fantasy X-2 International [UH]

Yuna and friends rise again with an updated edition of Final Fantasy X-2 dubbed the "International" version. FFX-2 International is basically the USA version of the game with English voices but Japanese subtitles, text, and menu options only. A gaggle of new game modes also make the new release worthwhile for return buyers.
Two new costume modes are featured in the game: Psychicer - where players may use arcane arts in battle and an "Ultimania Omega" mode. The "Last Mission" mode takes place 3 months after the events of FFX-2 where players take on the Tower of Yadonoki. Although the voices in the FFX-2I game proper are in English, note that the voices in Last Mission are only in Japanese.

A Monster Taming Mode in the game gives players the chance to capture enemy monsters and corral them into the party. Monster hunting is accomplished by laying traps on a world map. Eventually, a hapless beast will fall into your trap and become a guinea pig for your monster raising exercise. Once trained, a monster may be pitted against others in a fighting arena for winnings and acclaim.

Hyper Street Fighter [Capkore]

Relive the days of Street Fighter tourneys, dizzy effects, redizzies and experience once again, the depth of the old school SF games sans the rolls of quarters, cigarette smoke, surly challengers and other hazards of the olden arcades. Similar to the gaming scheme found in Vampire Chronicle for Dreamcast, Capcom reaches back in time and gathers together all of the World Warriors found in various versions and iterations of Street Fighter II into one comprehensive fighting game. It's a veritable Street Fighter melting pot with a bunch of bonus material to boot.

For example, one may select an original fighter from Street Fighter II (1991) and pit it against a stronger Ryu, Chun-Li or Ken from Super Street Fighter II Turbo to determine rank. The character versions represented include the original Street Fighter II World Warriors (1991), Champion Edition (1992), Turbo (1992), Super Street Fighter II (1993) and Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994) which break down into five possible versions of each character as follows: World Warrior (Normal), Dash, Turbo, Super, and Super X. The speed of the game is selectable and may be toggled between four levels of turbo speed.

Naruto Narutimett Hero 3 [Best]

The third Narutimett Hero game runs faster, smoother, and more robust than the previous releases. In the Versus and Practice modes, up to 40 fighters are in the roster but only 19 are playable from the outset of the game - the other 21 require unlocking.
To follow Naruto's story from the beginning with the 9-Tailed Fox Demon threat through important scenes from the animation, the Story Mode provides gamers with a roundup of Naruto's greatest hits. The first battle against Kakashi is a training match where sensei reads a book and hums to himself as Naruto tries his darndest to beat sensei with a flurry of punches and doppleganger chains. Similar to previous Narutimett games, each fighter has a standard attack, a shuriken throw, a guard move, and rapid-fire combos that may be chained together in fluid motion.
Narutimett Hero 3 also contains an adventure game mode and mini-games including one where Naruto races up a tree against another player or a COM-controlled Sakura. The mini-game is viewed in 3D from behind Naruto so he's seen running upwards into the tree and moving from left to right while grabbing 1-up bonuses and avoiding falling rocks. If Naruto smacks into a branch, he'll stop for a spell while Sakura continues higher.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Picross DS

Create pixel-perfect images with logical reasoning and a stylus. That's it. By using the numerical clues on the top and side of the grid, players fill in blocks to create pictures.
For example, if you're working on a 5x5 grid of blocks and one of the cues has the 5 number on the side, the entire row of blocks is filled in. From there, look at the top and side numbers to hunt and peck the blocks and fill them in appropriately. Further, if the number on the side is 1 2, that means there's one block filled in on the row followed by a 2-block fill-in elsewhere along the line. By using reasoning and process of elimination, the rest of the blocks are gradually filled in by way of common sense and row/column inspection. «NCS Game Notes»

Taito Memories II Vol. 1 + Bonus

Taito digs deep and unearths 25 games from their esteemed library. The collection of software in Taito Memories II Vol. 1 spans nearly two decades and includes enjoyable shooters such as Scramble Formation, Darius II, and the mighty Rayforce.

01) Space Chaser 1979
02) Grand Champion 1981
03) Time Tunnel 1982
04) The Athlete 1984
05) Ben Bero Bee 1984
06) Return of the Invaders 1985
07) Gladiator 1986
08) Kick And Run 1986
09) Scramble Formation 1986
10) Exzisus 1987
11) Super Qix 1987
12) Rainbow Islands 1987
13) Operation Thunderbolt 1988

14) Continental Circus 1988
15) Chuka Taisen 1988
16) Asuka & Asuka 1989
17) S.C.I. 1989
18) Darius II 1989
19) Champion Wrestler 1989
20) Fighting Hawk 1989
21) Space Gun 1990
22) Ninja Kids 1990
23) Dino Rex 1992
24) Rayforce 1994
25) Bubble Memories 1996

Bonus Item: All orders will include a bonus 28-page booklet which checks out old flyers and historical data on all of the games featured in Taito Memories II.

Lost Regnum

When monsters and other ungainly creatures invade the holy city of Antinopolis in the year 165, the Roman Emperor Hadrian calls upon heroes to cleanse it of the unwanted invaders. Venture deep into the catacombs and dungeons beneath Antinopolis and use slashing action to dispatch the beasts.

At the outset of the adventure, players may select a hero from four archetypes (as shown on the game cover) and edit colors accordingly. There's a character called High Lander who's muscular and carries a magnificent sword, a red-headed Amazoness who hefts bow and arrow, a Gladiator who looks like an Onimusha hero, and an almost naked and full-bosomed Dark Sercher who fights with a sword and carries a big shield. Once the character choice has been selected and given a name, head over to the dungeon to the southwest of your current position and battle rodents who bite and leap like Mexican jumping beans... with teeth.

The action runs fast and vicious with enemies approaching in steady waves and collaborating with each other to gang up on the player. When attacking a group of monsters that attempt a swarming tactic, the hero can move around like a whirling dervish swinging a weapon. Low-to-the-ground creatures which look like rodents are called Chumps, muscle-bound bruisers are called Skull Maniacs, insect-like creatures are Dark Rustle, zombie look-alikes are Residents (interesting), and there's a red-skinned fighter called a Minotaur which is exactly that - a minotaur. «NCS Game Notes»

Mahjong Taikai Wii

NCS' first exposure to Koei's Mahjong Taikai series was a JPY10,800 Super Famicom cartridge dubbed "Super Mahjong Taikai" way back in 1992. Prior to that, Koei debuted the very first Mahjong Taikai game on the 8-bit Famicom in 1989. Through the ensuing years, incarnations and updates of the game have been released on the Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, and the PSP. A Playstation 3 version was released last year and it's only fair that Koei show love to the Wii as well.
Mahjong pits four players against each other in their respective bids to build hands of three matching or sequential tiles. At the start of the game, an invisible dealer doles out 13 tiles to each player which are automatically assembled in rows. From there, each player takes a turn taking a new tile per round and then keeping it to build a hand or throwing it back out into the communal pile for anyone to take to complete their own hand.
The Wii version of Mahjong Taikai features one-handed gameplay where the Wiimote is used to control the entire function of MJ-playing. The opponents in the game consist of 23 hard-edged professional players who all wear poker faces. In this crowd, a smile is difficult to find. Players may set the rules of the game and also enjoy a Free Mode.

Wild Arms Vth Pinky Street

The PS2 Wild Arms Vth Vanguard game shipped on December 14, 2006 and Vance Project involves themselves by shipping a set of Pinky Street figures based on the lead heroines from the game.

On the left, Rebecca Streisand sports a pair of ruddy pigtails tied together with yellow ribbons and wears a pink/white ensemble. Rebecca has what we have come to know as "crazy eyes" which are generally signs of insanity. On the right, Avalil Van Freul keeps her wheat-colored locks in place with a hair-braid and dresses up in a fancy schmancy green-blue-yellow outfit with matching boots. She hefts a sword in her right hand and peers at the world with a pair of sedate eyes. Less crazy. The two figures are bundled together in the Wild Arms Vth Vanguard Pinky Street set which includes the weapons shown and display discs for each figure.

Neo Geo Battle Coliseum [Best]

Tussle with famous and a few forgotten Neo Geo fighters in tag-team action where two combatants face off against another duo. Famous and familiar fighters include Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from King of Fighters while we throw Kisarah Westfield from Toukai Gan Gan and Cyber Woo from King of the Monsters in the forgotten pile. We still remember Fuuma and Hanzo from the World Heroes games but that's because NCS staffers still plug in the World Heroes Perfect MVS every once in a while. A total of 40 fighters from many SNK games are featured and we're thankful that no one from Ragnagard made the roster to stink up the joint. «NCS Game Notes»

Samurai Spirits Tenkaichi [Best]

Debuting in Japanese arcades on September 15, 2005, the latest and purportedly last Samurai Spirits game rushes to a home console in record time - a mere 4 months. Are Japanese arcade operators with costly Atomiswave investments angry and peeved at the potential loss of revenue? You bet, especially since the PS2 conversion quality is very good and satisfying. Speedy, responsive, and full of samurai slashing action, SSTK is best played with a joystick but the Dual Shock joypad is acceptable as well.

In addition to all of the fighters from the Atomiswave coin-op original, hidden characters in the PS2 conversion game include Champuru (Mina Majikina's pet critter), Paku Paku (Cham Cham's simian friend), a coiffed version of Gaira aka Kim Ung Che, Shikuru & Mamahaha (Nakoruru's pet wolf and hawk), Rasetsu Galford, Poppy, and EX versions of Mina, Kusaregedo, Yoshi, and Yunfei. The referee with red and white flags returns to the background, watching the action like a hawk. The running courier also reprises his role and throws goodies onto the battlefield. Along with the selectable fighting styles from the Atomiswave source game, the PS2 version also includes three new fighting styles - Beast style for all the pets in the game, Fiesta Style, and Evil Style.
«NCS Game Notes»

Naruto Narutimett Portable [Best]

Naruto and friends dash into battle where they pummel each other and perform chakra attacks in free flowing motion. Along with the foreground which serves as a battlefield, the background may be leapt into for avoidance or for tactical maneuvering to mount a new attack. Along with fists and feet of fury, weaponry such as shuriken, bombs, and more may be picked up on the battlefield and then thrown by the fighters to spice up the attack repertoire. Naruto kicks and punches up a storm as he leaps, jumps, rallies, and runs through the varied levels which are inspired by key locations from the wildly popular animation series. The cast members include Sakura, Naruto, Shikamaru, Hinata, Gaara, Rock Lee, and more for a total of 14 characters at the outset and unlockables as objectives are achieved.

The characters that are fought and usable in the first few levels of the adventure portion of the game are as follows below. Once they are beaten, they join your ranks. All of the fighters listed below are usable at the outset in the fighting portion of the game:

Chouji Akimichi, Gaara of the Desert, Gai Maito, Hinata Hyuga, Ino Yamanaka, Kakashi Hatake, Kiba Inuzuka, Naruto Uzumaki, Neji Hyuga,
Rock Lee, Sakura Haruno, Shikamaru Nara, Shino Aburame, and Tenten.

Bonus Item: All orders will include a black Naruto pouch.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Square Enix Master Arms

Square Enix has started preorders for four "Master Arms" toys which are scaled replicas of recognizable weapons from Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. The four weapons are as follows:

» Cerberus (15cm length)
» Keyblade (18cm length)
» Squall's Gunblade (23cm length)
» Seifer's Gunblade (26cm length)

Pricing is set at JPY3800 each or US$39 from NCS. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late May '07.

Chocobo Cushion

If you're bipedal and not standing, you're probably sitting or sleeping at any one moment. A biped can opt to plop down on a chair or a stool but we'd recommend a bright yellow Chocobo Cushion which measures 41 x 45 cm (16.14 x 17.71") in area. That's enough space to accommodate most posteriors and may even serve double duty as a mattress for a cat, dog, or a pet ferret.
The Chocobo Cushion is filled with a soft yet resilient material that
should provide years of service. If you're afraid of scuffing up Choc's brilliant yellow patina, we'd recommend wrapping it in plastic before squatting down upon it. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late March 2007.