Monday, February 19, 2007

Fatal Fury Battle Archives 2

The Fatal Fury series went past trilogy status about a decade ago and the story of Geese Howard continued in the Real Bout games. With his star on the rise once again, Geese moves to retake control of SouthTown and is opposed by the Bogard siblings, Joe Higashi, and a host of others.

Fatal Fury Battle Archives 2 collects the following games on one DVD:

» Real Bout Fatal Fury (original release: Dec. 1995)
» Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (original release: Jan. 1997)
» Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers (original release: Mar. 1998)

The most impressive game is Real Bout 2 with shiny visual gloss and intuitive, fluid gameplay that plays true to the Neo Geo source code. Plug in a Neo Geo joystick and you're home again. The "Newcomers" in Real Bout 2 refer to Li Xiangfei and Rick Strowd who joined the usual Fatal Fury stalwarts in the 2D, 2-plane fighting action.
New to the PS2 game is a Practice Mode and online connectivity where bouts may be fought against other players on the Multi-Matching BB service.


After successful stints on the Japanese PC and Playstation 2, Kanon moseys on down to the portable confines of the PSP. Kanon is a beautifully executed anime romance interaction game whose protagonist is a high school student named Yuuichi Aizawa. Due to family problems, Aizawa moves in with relatives in another town and encounters a bevy of girls at school as well as his cousin Nayuki Minase whom he's living with.

Classmates at school include a girl suffering from amnesia named Makoto Sawatari, a sometimes sickly girl named Shiori Misaka, a strangely belligerent gal named Kawasumi Mai, Miss Congeniality herself - Kurata Sayuri, Ayu Tsukimiya, and many more.
At the outset of the game, a view of static snowflakes against a deep blue backdrop may be seen when a girl's voice intonates, "Yuuichi." The protagonist is seated on a bench at a train station when he glances up and sees the face of a blue-haired girl. After a brief exchange and a handing over of some hot coffee, the protagonist greets his cousin Nayuki and the two eventually go to the Minase household.

New to the PSP version of Kanon is the addition of the protagonist's voice which may be heard throughout the game. He's a gruff sounding bloke who occasionally even snarls words out like daggers. In the PC, Dreamcast, and Playstation 2 versions of Kanon, the protagonist didn't have a voice although the other characters did. «more»

Lumines II

Deviously simple in structure and yet difficult to master, Lumines II holds the qualities that make a puzzle game addictive and playable. Stretched across the widescreen of the PSP, the game stage is barren at first but 2x2 blocks begin dropping from the sky. Given time, they'll clutter the playfield unless you're quick and sharp enough to match them up. Each 2x2 block may be colored or designed in one of four ways as follows:

1) Solid color throughout
2) Top half is one color, the bottom half is another color
3) Two colors alternate on the block, as in red, white, red, white
4) 3/4 of the block is one contiguous color, and 1/4 is another color

The goal is to form a minimum of 2x2 constructions that are the same color. Once the 2x2 base is set, it may be expanded upon with color adjuncts that conform to the 2x2 rule such as 2x4 or 2x6. While the color matching action is taking place on the ground, a rocket that passes above drops a vertical line to the ground. Each time it passes, it'll wipe the screen of any 2x2 constructs and award points. Linking blocks also drop occasionally which are useful for creating chains of matches. For example, if you create a 2x2 color match with a linking block as one of the component blocks, any contiguous block of the same color will be cleared by the rocket ship when it passes overhead. The Japanese version of Lumines features some songs from the USA version of the game along with new jams. «mo»

Monster Hunter Portable 2

Stalk out into the wilds once again and hunt monsters with weapons and adept chopping skills. At the outset of the game, players create a hero and select the sex, inner clothing, face type, hair style, hair color, and voice. Once generated, it's time to explore the new village of Pokke which serves as your base of operations. Pokke is situated in an icy part of the world where every village edifice is capped by snow although there's greenery as well. For a little bit of variety, the terrain around Pokke consists of swamps, a temperate forest, and even a sandy beach area. The Hunter's Guild features prominently in the village landscape while the living quarters are situated to the west. New is the Ailu Kitchen where a meal may be gobbled and the Ailu Board. Quests may be secured from the Guild where targeted assignments are completed to earn coin.

Weapons from the first Monster Hunter Portable game are present in the sequel but new weapons include different types of swords and bows. Weapons may also be enhanced with accessories such as a shield for the heavy bowgun which attaches to the side, a silencer, a long barrel, and a scope for zooming in on monsters in the distance. Various sorts of vicious looking wyverns as well as docile herbivores may be challenged and slaughtered. Despite the killing theme of the game, it still feels wrong to run up to a peaceful animal that's minding its own business and chewing some delicious grass and then chop it to death.
All orders shipping today will include a bonus Ailu cell phone strap which is mounted on a transparent placard and bagged inside crisp cellophane. »

Tales of Destiny 2

A millennia before the events of the Tales of Destiny games, a comet crashed into the world and blasted dust and debris up into the sky which obscured the light and energy from the sun. A dark winter set in and the people toiled under the harsh cold. What the comet took away however, it also gave back in a roundabout way. The people found a mighty power source known as Lens in the remnants of the impact. By using Lens, they were able to build a floating city called Dycroft. The denizens of Dycroft eventually lorded over the surface dwellers with a weapon known as the Belcrant. However, the creators of the Belcrant eventually sided with the surface dwellers and rebelled against their former masters. While on the ground, the scientists created weapons known as Swordians which were living swords which helped the surface people topple Dycroft.

Eighteen years after the events of Tales of Destiny, a new hero rises to the fore. Born from the union of Stahn Aileron and Rutee Katrea, Kyle Dunamis is a young aspiring hero who is lives with his mother at the outset of the game. One day, Kyle and friends are out and about when they're attacked by slavering bear creatures. Kyle can't take them by himself and just when it looks like the reaper gains new souls, Loni Dunamis rushes in to save the day. Loni is like an older sibling to Kyle but he joined the Order of Atamoni a while ago. He has returned to Cresta in the nick of time. After Kyle and Loni destroy the two creatures, the two return home where Loni has a joyful reunion with Rutee. «more»

Lunar New Year - The Red Fire Pig

The year 2007 is the 4704th Chinese Year which took place on February 18. According to soothsayers, the first half of 2007 will be a strong one for economies and stock markets around the world. Look for booming valuations in equities, metals, and commodities. However, since markets are forward looking mechanisms and 2008 (Year of the Rat) doesn't look too hot, a downdraft is expected in the latter half of 2007. Despite the current correction in the housing market in the USA, soothsayers seem to expect a contrarian rebound this spring before a long plummet going into 2009.

Import Outlook

DC Trigger Heart Exelica L.E. leads preorders for the week.
DC Trigger Heart Exelica Warashi

Trigger Heart Exelica Limited Edition Warashi
PS2 Lupin III: Lupin ni wa Shi o, Zenigata ni wa Koi o Banpresto

Pachi-Slot King! Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman Banpresto

Tennis no Oji-Sama Card Hunter Konami
PSP Monster Hunter 2 Portable Hunter's Pack Capcom X
Wii Fire Emblem: Akatsuki no Megami Nintendo

Naruto Shippuuden: Gekitou Ninja Taisen EX Takara

USA Release Outlook

The USA localization of PS3 Virtua Fighter 5 leads preorders for the week followed by the oft-delayed PSP version of Metal Slug Anthology and X360 Crackdown.
NDS Izuna Legend of the Unemployed Ninja Atlus

Trioncube Namco
PS2 Arena Football Road to Glory EA
PS3 Virtua Fighter 5 Sega
PSP M.A.C.H. Vivendi

Metal Slug Anthology SNK
Wii Sonic and the Secret Rings Sega
X360 Crackdown Microsoft

NBA Street Homecourt EA