Friday, August 31, 2007

Famitsu Wave DVD [Oct 2007]

The October 2007 issue of Famitsu Wave DVD features print and video coverage of the following software titles and events:

» PS3 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
» Metal Gear 20th Anniversary Party
» PS3 Soul Calibur IV
» PS2/PC Phantasy Star Universe
» Wii Takarajima Z
» ARC Sengoku Basara X
» PS3/X360 Assassin's Creed
» PS2 Shiju Hachi
» ALL Need for Speed Pro Street

There's also general interest features, interviews, and a segment where the editors clown with an Intellivison that's in remarkably good condition.

Oni Zero Sengoku Ransei Hyakkaryouran

The world of medieval Japan is the focus in Oni Zero where sixteen unique and colorful characters explore and engage each other in an interactive adventure game. Depending on the character that is chosen as your onscreen protagonist, the other cast members will have either affinity or enmity towards your hero. In the end however, everyone in the game is out for himself or herself in a bid to win a tournament.
In addition to the interactive drama, there's a battle system in the game where the stylus is used to touch markers on the screen within a set amount of time to trigger an attack. As a character levels up, new battle techniques may also be learned which require different stylus swishing action to enact exotic attacks.

Simple 2000 Vol. 119: The Survival Game 2

The first The Survival Game (Simple 2000 Series Vol. 56) was met with scorn and ridicule... which is par for the course in the world of dodgy Simple 2000 software. The developers went back to the drawing board to tweak the game engine and perhaps improve it a tad. Three years later, D3 Publisher releases the sequel to the Survival Game and we're saddened to report that the scorn and ridicule continues.

Players take on the role of an air gun assailant who assembles a team and then invades the Tokyo Marui BB Sports Field to take on other teams of air gun agents. At the outset of the main game, five heroes are selected and then two are chosen to go into the battlefield. The action runs at a clumsy pace although the controls aren't bad. The spray from the airsoft guns is somewhat accurate and the visuals are pedestrian but get the job done. Where the game falls flat on its face is the poor quality of the enemy AI. There were times when members of the computer-controlled team stood facing a wall instead of actively roaming the field hunting for targets. Hunting and shooting is sort of the point of the war games that The Survival Game attempts to simulate. Despite its failings, NCS still invested about an hour in the game. We're suckers for the Simple 2000 Series....

General Updates

Hitman on Tuesday
Due to a later release in Japan, our shipments of PS2 Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! Dream Hyper Battle have been rescheduled to Tuesday of next week.
Playstation Network Tickets
are back in stock as of yesterday. New orders are welcome.
Views from our office building
A sampling of the views from our office.
Labor Day Holiday
NCS will be closed for business on Monday (Sept. 3, 2007).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One Piece Gear Spirit

Twenty characters from the One Piece universe gather together in a 3D battle royale where an assortment of 130 spirit cards are used to trigger special attacks. The top screen shows the action and the bottom screen shows the character touch cards that may be tapped to trigger special effects and body blows. Luffy can throw a monstrous elongated punch whilst Sanzi performs a power-kick. With a single cartridge, up to four players can participate wirelessly to engage in a all-out battle royale by way of Download Play.
Our supplier forgot to include the bonus Jolly Roger pouches but we'll ship them separately to our customers next week when they arrive.

Summon Night: Twin Edge

A lad named Aldo and a lassie known as Reha quest within a 2D overhead viewed action-adventure brimming with monsters, treasure, and fierce fighting action. Along their travels, they'll meet up with characters sympathetic to their cause such as the green-haired swordsman Nasl, the blue-maned Ain, a blonde gal named Lila, Tica the archer, and the glasses-wearing Murdin, among others. The NDS touchpen is used for movement, attacks, and magic which may be launched at monsters or drawn to create temporary barriers that damage enemies when they draw near. There's a "Beast Making" feature where monsters are conjured up inside a jug and then used in battle. By depositing them into the battlefield, the monsters will fight alongside your crew of characters against a common enemy.

Ecoris (aka Ecolis)

In the day-to-day of evil kingdoms, progress generally means construction, encroachment, and the consequent destruction of nature. The forest and its inhabitants featured in Ecoris face such destruction and the first signs are the murky tendrils of industrial waste and pollution. To combat the malaise headed their way, a spiky orange behemoth named Dorian and three species of rodents conspire to save their forest. The animal friends featured in the game consist of a pink squirrel named Ecoris, a toothy beaver who answers to Ecoby, and a blue flying squirrel known as Ecomon. Note the "ECO" friendly names. By using real time strategy moves, players use guile and tactics to stop the progress of the kingdom.

Simple DS Series Vol. 21: The Fuhyou

As the last surviving member of a battalion, the protagonist of "The Fuhyou" wouldn't be faulted if he went AWOL. As in vamoose and gangway to calmer shores. But he's not that kind of guy. Resolute and determined to finish the job that his battle group set out to accomplish, he trudges on into enemy territory like a super trooper. Think of him as a poor man's Solid Snake... without the style nor the substance.

After completing a few missions, the soldier reunites with his command temporarily before venturing forth on more theaters of conflict that take place in the jungle and within a somber east European city. All by his lonesome as a one man army capable of wreaking big havoc.

Beatmania IIDX 13 DistorteD

The music continues to play in Beatmania IIDX 13 which features a chiaroscuro color scheme for its overriding visual theme. It seems like only yesterday when Konami had to announce a special preorder campaign for Beatmania IIDX 7th Style to ensure there was enough consumer interest in the game. Six releases later, the series is still going strong with a dedicated core of fans who continue to support each new BMIIDX game.

BMIIDX 13 Distorted features a diverse and laudable 88-song track list which includes revivals, new songs, and fan favorites including "BOOM BOOM DISCO NIGHT" by Y&Co., "EURO-ROMANCE" from K-MASERA, "OUTER LIMITS" courtesy of L.E.D.-G, "Shoot'Em All," by Manabu Namiki, and "Bloody Tears (IIDX EDITION)" from DJ YOSHITAKA. The spectrum of music genres covered in the game run from Noise Pop to Italo House to Buchiage Trance. For gamers who enjoy a little Electronica, there's "MINT" by SLAKE to jam with. Lest we forget, Samba de Janeiro is not in there. Get over it.

The usual gamut of game modes in BMIIDX 13 are Training, Beginner, Standard, Expert, and Ranking. To see how you stack up against a horde of arcade Bemaniacs, Konami collected rival data from 10,000 players within a month's time earlier this year.

BladeStorm: The Hundred Years War

From the Publisher:
In the early half of the 14th century a quarrel with England over the succession to the French throne escalated into what history would call the Hundred Years’ War. Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War will bring to life the intensity and drama of a war-torn Medieval Europe with a cast of legendary characters including Joan of Arc and Edward the Black Prince.

Utilizing a new game engine attainable only through the power of next generation hardware, Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War will recreate the fierce clashes between the armies of England and France at an unprecedented scale, where every soldier reacts individually to their immediate surroundings. Players will assume the role of a mercenary leader and strategically command, in real-time, a wide range of troops including infantry, archers, cavalry, and cannoniers. Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War is being developed by KOEI’s Omega Force, the team behind the award-winning Samurai Warriors® and Dynasty Warriors.

BladeStorm: The Hundred Years War Premium

The premium edition of Bladestorm includes the following items along with the game software:

» Bladestorm Battle Guide and Visual Book (Hardcover)
» Bladestorm Original soundtrack with 10 music selections
» Bladestorm 100 Years War Calendar

All of the items are packaged inside a largish box and preorders will ship today. New orders are welcome.

BladeStorm recounts the "Hundred Years War" which raged from 1337 to 1453 and was comprised of four wars that were linked together by historians to describe the lengthy state of conflict. Players lead massive armies into battle in the style of games such as Sengoku Musou from Koei.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fighting Stick Wii

Hori releases the first officially licensed Wii joystick this week and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core gamers finally get the tool they need to play properly. The Fighting Stick Wii gathers together all of the buttons from the nunchuk and Wiimote and arranges them neatly in two rows as follows:

Top Row: y, x, L, Z
Low Row: b, a, R, Z

Turbo-fire on/off switches (20 shots/second) for each face button are located on the upper console of the joystick. The corded connector on the controller is designed to be plugged into the base of the Wiimote for wireless play.

FFVII: Crisis Core Trinkets

Final Fantasy Crisis Core is expected to sell big numbers in Japan when the game is released on September 13. In addition to the Crisis Core PSP bundle and the Crisis Core potions already announced, Square will also ship two tie-in trinkets to market on October 31, 2007 as follows:

» FFVII Crisis Core Soldier Key Holder US$19
» FFVII Crisis Core Silver Pocket ~Loveless~ Pendant US$129

Preorders are welcome today to ship on or around November 11.

Polyphonica: Corticarte Apa Lagranges

In the world of Shinkyoku Sōkai Polyphonica, musicians known as Dantists play compositions called "Commandia" which are used to appease the spirits and provide them with sustenance. The hero of the Polyphonica tale is a fledgling Dantist named Phoron Tatara who works at the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office. Phoron partners up with a red-headed spirit named Corticarte Apa Lagrangres. Phoron refers to her as "Corti" to avoid elocution issues when sputtering her convoluted moniker.

Good Smile Company commissioned artist Yasuyuki Arakawa to sculpt Corticarte into a 1/8 scale PVC figure which measures 19cm or 7.48" in height. Since Corti is a ginger, we had to preorder a few cases of the figure... regardless of whether or not the market will buy her. As we've mentioned before, redheads aka gingers are good luck in our little world. Preorders are scheduled to ship in mid-late December 2007.

ToraDora! Aisaka Taiga Figure

High school is a cross-current of rivalries, raging hormones, and relationships - sort of like society at large but encapsulated within a single building. In the ToraDora novella by Yuyuko Takemiya, a fierce looking high school lad named Takasu Ryuuji befriends fellow student Aisaka Taiga who's known as a "Hand Held Tiger." Whereas Takasu is actually a pussycat at heart despite his bad boy looks, Aisaka really is a tigress nonpareil. Together, their unlikely friendship leads them on a story of exploration where they discover each other alongside the everyday interaction with their classmates.

Max Factory has opened up preorders for an Aisaka Taiga figure sculpted by Hironori Tokunaga which measures 10cm or 3.93" tall. To accentuate the fact that Aisaka is a tigress, she holds a little tiger in the palm of her hand. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late December 2007.

Kino's Journey: Kino 1/8 Scale Figure

"Kino’s Journey" is a novel series written by Keiichi Sigsawa and published by Dengeki Bunko. The story follows the unique travels of a young adventurer named Kino as well as Kino's traveling companion - a talking motorcycle named Hermes. Together, they visit many different places throughout their adventures and meet many different people. They spend three days at each location they visit before heading out to their next destination. Everyone they encounter during their journey is somewhat compassionate and very admirable.

- From the Kino's Journey website

Good Smile Company casts the hero of Kino's Journey into a 1/8 scale PVC figure which is sculpted by Kazushi Kawasaki. Kino measures 20cm or 7.87" tall. Preorders are welcome to ship in mid-late December 2007.

Oneechan Bara VorteX Aya - Black Bikini Figure

NCS started preorders for an Aya Red Bikini Figure on Monday of this week. Today, we're accepting preorders for a "Black Bikini" figure which is identical to the Red Bikini figure except for the bra color.

In the Oneechan Bara VorteX game from December 2006, sisters Aya and Saki teamed up with a policewoman named Anna to rid the metropolis of a rising zombie threat. When plunging into masses of undead with the goal of chopping them up, most sensible warriors would put on some armor, chain mail, or at least armlet.

Aya scoffs at those pansies.

She goes to war wearing a two-piece bikini, a hat, and a pair of thigh high boots. Occasionally she'll throw on a feather boa to accessorize. In the case of the Oneechan Bara VorteX Aya figure, our idol also wears a beaded necklace and hefts two swords for that special dual slicing action.

Preorders are welcome starting today to ship in mid-late December 2006 at JPY5800 or US$58 from NCS.

General Updates

Typhoon Season
Due to inclement weather overseas, most of our import shipments that were originally expected to arrive today have been delayed. The remainder of this week's new imports are now scheduled to arrive tomorrow including PS2 Beatmania IIDX 13th DistorteD, PS3 Blade Storm, NDS One Piece Gear Spirit, etc. The first production of the new One Piece game appears to include a bonus Jolly Roger NDS Lite carrying pouch.
Playstation Network Tickets
Another batch of PSN Tickets valued at JPY3000 for use on the Japanese Playstation Online Store are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. All backorders will be processed on Thursday morning and new orders are welcome. Please note the PSN Tickets are only for use on the Japanese PS store and cannot be used on the Hong Kong store. We will also stock the Hong Kong region PSN Tickets in a couple of weeks.
Crisis Core: FFVII PSP Bundle
Preorders are still being accepted for the first shipment of Crisis Core FFVII PSP bundles which are scheduled to arrive on or around September 13, 2007. Until we update otherwise on our shop listing, preorders remain open and available.
Japanese Wii Consoles
A restock shipment of Wii consoles is expected tomorrow and new orders are welcome.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Black Lagoon 1/6 Scale Revy Figure

In the Black Lagoon animation, an average salaryman named Rock is recruited into a mercenary group known as Lagoon Company which tackles hairy missions in Southeast Asia. Supported with work from the Russian mob known as Hotel Moscow, the Lagoon crew runs into a motley assortment of killers and professional assassins in their travels.

Lagoon Company's renown is generally bolstered by Revy, a woman warrior who shoots first and asks later. New Line's production of their Revy interpretation measures 13cm or 5.11" tall and her pose is relaxed and generally sedate. Revy's holding one gun while another lies beneath her left leg. Bullet clips are included in the package and may be arranged in front of her green combat boots. The Revy figure is fixed pose, fully assembled, and painted. Upon taking it out of the box, Revy is ready for display on a mantle or lighted pedestal. Preorders will ship today.

Transformers Collection Toys

Four of the most popular Transformers Collection toys have been re-released in Japan. The new production of the Transformers are packaged in the original windowed cardboard boxes and feature updated parts. The four re-issues are as follows:

TFC Vol. 1: Convoy US$65
TFC Vol. 2: Megatron US$65
TFC Vol. 3: Soundwave US$45
TFC Vol. 4: Starscream US$35

Preorders will ship today and new orders are welcome. Next up in the Encore series: 05 Iron Hide and 06 Ratchet which ship in Dec 2007.

Heisei Gamera Figure

Forty two years ago, an enormous bug-eyed turtle stunned audiences with its debut in the movie Daikaiju Gamera. The monster would go on to star in a dozen movies that would be eventually be shown around the world to enrapture young and old viewers alike.

Japanese manufacturer
Weccle Ats has started preorders for a 160cm or 62.99" tall Gamera figure which weighs 36kg or approximately 80 lbs. While Gamera doesn't have as much gaming feng shui goodness as Weccle Ats' life-size Mario statues, he's still a pretty big attraction thanks to his recognizable face, fangs, and overall form.

Preorders for the Gamera figure are welcome to ship in mid-late October 2007. Due to the limited nature of this product, NCS requires a US$300 non-refundable deposit for all preorders. Pricing is set at JPY
400,000 or US$3500 from NCS.

Real Action Heroes 350: MGS4 Solid Snake

When we first met Solid Snake nearly 20 years ago, he was a punk kid with some skills but nowhere near the legend he is today. Through the decades, we watched him grow in stature and renown as his escapades were painstakingly chronicled across multiple gaming platforms. If asked to describe noticeable features about Snake, we might conjure up his camouflage suit, the billowing headband, endless supply of cigarettes, and the stubble. The words "dashing," "unerring," and "loner" might also be thrown into the discussion.

As the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots begins, Snake is an old man. White-haired, wrinkled, and somewhat wobbly, Snake is a shadow of his former self but he's still got skills. Years of training and his innate survival instincts just don't disappear overnight. The years of smoking cigarettes has taken a toll on his lungs however and Snake coughs up a storm. Per usual Medicom convention, the company has announced a Real Action Heroes figure for Grandpa Snake which measures 30cm or 11.81" tall and is scheduled to ship in January 2008 at JPY20,000 or US$189 from NCS. Preorders are welcome today.

Oneechan Bara VorteX Aya - Red Bikini Figure

In the Oneechan Bara VorteX game from December 2006, sisters Aya and Saki teamed up with a policewoman named Anna to rid the metropolis of a rising zombie threat. When plunging into masses of undead with the goal of chopping them up, most sensible warriors would put on some armor, chain mail, or at least armlet.

Aya scoffs at those pansies.

She goes to war wearing a two-piece bikini, a hat, and a pair of thigh high boots. Occasionally she'll throw on a feather boa to accessorize. In the case of the Oneechan Bara VorteX Aya figure, our idol also wears a beaded necklace and hefts two swords for that special dual slicing action.

Preorders are welcome starting today to ship in mid-late December 2006 at JPY5800 or US$58 from NCS.

Real Action Heroes Full Metal Alchemist Movie Ver

Medicom has started preorders for two Real Action Heroes figures which are scheduled to ship in December 2007.

» The Alphonse Elric figure measures 22cm or 8.66" tall and is decked out in a red cloak with a black uniform underneath.

» Colonel Roy Mustang aka The Flame Alchemist measures 30cm or 11.81" tall and his fist may be fitted with artificial flames.

Transformers Music Label: Soundwave in Blaster Black

Distributors have opened up preorders for a "Blaster Black" version of the Transformers Music Label which ships in mid-late December 2007. Based on the photos released thus far, the black appears to be a matte-black color instead of a glossy black patina. Takara is also reproducing the "Spark Blue" version of the Transformers Music Label which is scheduled to ship in mid-late December 2007. Please note the "Sonic White" color variant won't be reproduced.
Preorders are welcome and pricing remains at US$99.

Japanese Import Outlook

NDS One Piece Gear Spirit Bandai

Oni Zero Sengoku Ransei Hyakkaryouran Compile

Summon Night Twin Edge Seireitachi no Kyoumei Banpresto
PS2 Beatmania IIDX 13 DistorteD Konami

Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! Dream Hyper Battle Marvelous
PS3 Blade Storm: the Hundred Years War Koei

Blade Storm: the Hundred Years War Limited Edition Koei

USA Release Outlook

NDS Garfield's Nightmare GFactory

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 EA
PS2 Stuntman Ignition Crave

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 EA

Wild Arms 5 XSeed
PS3 Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Koei

Lair Sony

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 EA

Warhawk + Bluetooth Headset Sony
PSP Dead Head Fred D3

Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Capcom

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes Bandai

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 EA
Wii Carnival Games Globalstar

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Nintendo

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 EA
X36 Blue Dragon Microsoft

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Koei

Stuntman Ignition THQ

Stranglehold Midway