Thursday, July 26, 2007

Taiko no Tatsujin DS

On the Playstation 2 and in the arcades, rhythm gamers played Taiko no Tatsujin with a pair of drumsticks and a drum. Since the NDS can't support such a control scheme or contrivance, Namco does the next best thing for the touch-sensitive NDS - virtual taiko. The touch screen features a familiar looking drum which may be tapped upon with your greasy, buttered fingers but Namco has a better way. Two stylus drumsticks are included with every copy of the game which are used to tap on the touch screen and beat your way to success. One pen is colored blue for the blue drum cues and the other is colored red for the red drum cues. The play mechanics are the same as the big Taiko games and a familiar cast of characters return such as Unagi, Ika, Toramai, Meka Don, and Wadatetuo.

Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai III Remix

Originally released in Japanese arcades in 1999 and on the Japanese PC in 2002, Suchie-Pai III finally reaches the Nintendo DS in 2007. Yes, we're aware that a Dreamcast version of the game was released in 1999 but it was so chopped up under Sega's anti-adult policy that the game can't be considered a proper Suchi-Pai release. For the NDS release of the game, Jaleco cleans up the nudity, throws in new game modes, and dresses the girls up in new swimwear and costumes. Upon starting the game, you'll be able to choose an opponent and then plunge into the mahjong clacking action. The original version of Suchie-Pai III only featured five characters and one secret character but the new release offers up a total of eight characters to oppose and play.

Getsumento Heiki Mina: Futatsu no Project M

If one were to travel across the Milky Way and visit the countless planets from end to end, one wouldn't find a planet quite like Earth. For example, did you know that Earth is the only planet where competitive sports are played? Well, it's true and when alien civilizations make contact with the people of Earth, the sporting culture of our little planet becomes an interstellar phenomenon. However, the dispersion of Earth's culture brings the bad along with the good. Aliens try to influence the outcome of games and pay off referees to make sure things go a certain way. That won't do. A "hands-off" treaty between alien civilizations is drawn up but such a treaty needs enforcers.

Enter the Lunar Rabbit Force whose members are a group of gals all named Mina who are charged with making sure that no alien culture influences Earth's sporting events. Any such behavior will merit a tactical and offensive attack. The PS2 Getsumento Heiki Mina game is broken up into an interactive portion and a battle-tactics portion where action cards are used to attack and trigger special skills. Players take on the role of an original character named Doctor Tsukikage who interacts with the girls of the Rabbit Force and develops an affinity with the ladies.

Ikkitousen Shining Dragon

Rival schools are at war and only short-skirted students with strength, determination, and large bosoms can rise above the ranks to reach the mantle of Ikki Tousen which translates into one knight who is worthy of 1000 knights. Built as a 3D fighting game, Shining Dragon pits players against a cast of 10 fighters which include Hakufu Sonsaku, Ryomou Shimei, Ryofu Housen, Kakouen Myosai, and Kanu Unchou. A new character named Chosen (Cicada) is also featured in the game who's a buxom blonde with red eyes, a snappy demeanor and a blue dress.

The STORY MODE allows players to choose one character and live through her battlefield tribulations against the backdrop of original stories that were written exclusively for the game. The MISSION MODE features 50 stages of targeted objectives which mixes up the action. To add to the authenticity of the game, the voice actresses from the animation were hired to provide the utterances and battle cries of the combatants in the game. When fighting, the clothes of the girls may be shredded just like they are in the animation series. There's no outright nudity but skin is exposed that otherwise wouldn't get exposed. For example, when a girl's shirt is split near the bosom area, stringy threads will still keep it together.

Ikkitousen Shining Dragon Gentei Bakuretsu Pack

The limited edition of Ikkitousen Shining Dragon includes the following items in addition to the game software:

» Special laminated slipcase with artwork by Ikkitousen creator Yuuji Shiozaki. Sonsaku, Ryomou, and Kanu are featured on the cover. The slipcase is wide enough to hold the game case and the case of the second bonus audio disc as listed below.

» A second Playstation 2 CD game disk packed with the SD game which features various athletic events that the girls can engage in such as the 100m sprint and the broad jump. The girls may also be dressed up in various uniforms and costumes in a virtual wardrobe gallery.

» Audio CD which contains an original drama featuring Masumi Asano who plays Sonsaku Hakufu, Yuko Kaida who plays Ryomou Shimei, and Hitomi Nabatame who gives Kanu Uchou her voice in the second season (Dragon Destiny) of the Ikkitousen animation series.

King of Fighters Maximum Impact Regulation A

Once upon a time, all the fruits of SNK's game development were released on the Neo Geo console and the MVS arcade hardware. Those were the golden years. As it is however, the market marches on and the Playstation 2 has become the console of choice for most of SNK's home development. Nevermind the PS3 since it's probably still a year away at minimum from replacing the PS2.

Using the same formula as previous KOF games, Maximum Impact Regulation A pits teams of fighters against other teams in successive bouts. Players select three fighters from a roster of 41 characters and battle an opposing trio in 3D battlefields. SNK updates the KOF Maximum Impact II game with two new characters named Xiao Lon and Makoto Mizoguchi , adds new desperation moves, and retunes the game play for more balance. Ash Crimson and Blue Mary feature prominently in the game but we generally prefer the powerful attacks of B.Jenet. The PS2 version of the game also features Multi Matching BB compatibility so fighters can link up with other fighters online and engage in bouts. For added convenience, the moves for an active character may be viewed at any time during a match by pressing START and highlighting the Command List option.

Metal Gear 20th Anniversary MGS Collection

Konami celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Metal Gear brand by releasing a heavyweight box which contains seven Metal Gear games and videos. Similar to the Armored Core and King's Field Collections that were released a few months ago, all of the games are packaged in a metallic cardboard box which holds all of the games safely within its confines. NCS will honor preorders at US$68 but due to the weight of the product, we're raising the price to US$78 for new orders.

The MGS 20th Anniversary Collection bundle contains the following MGS games and discs:

» Metal Gear / Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake
» Metal Gear Solid
» Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
» The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2
» Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater
» Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops
» Metal Gear Saga 20th Anniversary DVD

Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 30: Galaxy Force II

The original version of Galaxy Force II was released in arcades in 1988 and the game made its way onto the Megadrive and Sega Master System in 1991. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Galaxy Force II back in 1998, Sega released the game on the Sega Saturn under the original Sega Ages brand which NCS was still peddling as of last year.
Nearly 20 years after the original release, Sega issues another re-release of Galaxy Force II for the Sega Ages 2500 series but this time they bundle together the Mega Drive version, the Master System version, the arcade original, and a "Neo Classic" version which is a remake of the original arcade game with cleaned-up graphics and a 16:9 aspect ratio for a cinematic experience of sorts.

In addition to all of the gaming goodness, a gallery which contains flyers, images, and instruction manuals from the original arcade version as well as the home conversions of the games may be perused.

For Galaxy Force players who enjoy watching expert players do their thing, the Theater Mode under the Archives section features a Master Play recording which features an ace who blows through the arcade game and the Neo Classic remake in a single sitting and one credit.

Minna no Golf 5

Sony's marquee golfing simulation reaches the Playstation 3 today in Japan with high-definition graphics in tow. When standing on the green and preparing to swing, one can't help but be dazzled by the natural sunlight that showers down from above which illuminates everything with a realistic shine that's evocative of the great outdoors. The trees are beautifully modeled and the green is immaculate and rolling. Hazy clouds spread lazily across the sky and distant hills appear shadowy and alluring.

The looks of the courses are high-def but the text effects are from the previous generation. For example, when you hit a "NICE SHOT!" the letters appear across the top of the screen in rainbow colors. The camera then follows the flight of the ball as it sails across the air and as it hits the ground and tumbles in search of a stopping point. Spectators on the course are never too close to the action but they're visible in the distance milling about in their bright colors and warm weather shorts.

Idol Janshi Suchie-Pai III Remix

Sakurai Miyuri and the irrepressible redhead known as Suchie Pai stand on the cover of the PSP version of Suchie Pai III Remix. Originally released in Japanese arcades in 1999 and on the Japanese PC in 2002, Suchie-Pai III finally reaches the Nintendo DS in 2007. Yes, we're aware that a Dreamcast version of the game was released in 1999 but it was so chopped up under Sega's anti-adult policy that the game can't be considered a proper Suchi-Pai release. For the PSP release of the game, Jaleco cleans up the nudity, throws in a new introduction and ending cinemas, and dresses the girls up in new swimwear and costumes. Upon starting the game, you'll be able to choose an opponent and then plunge into the mahjong clacking action. The original version of Suchie-Pai III only featured five characters and one secret character but the new release features a total of eight characters as designed by Kenichi Sonoda to oppose and play as follows:

Sakurai Miyuri / A 9-year old girl who appears in every Suchie-Pai game
Suchie Pai / Heroine of the Suchie series and game center worker
Amano Mai / Manager of Ann Pies who wears a pink and white uniform
Mizuno Yuki / Narcissistic schoolgirl in a blue and white outfit
Milky Pai / An alien bunny girl with rabbit ears and busty frame
Souzu Seira / Progenitor of a new religion who wears a white cloak
Saotome Chiruru / Brunette moppet who has a cobra for a pet
Saotome Nanami / Older sister of Chiruru who leads Saotome Corp.

Dewy's Adventure

During the heyday of the 16-bit era, there was a point where platform games were a dime a dozen and oddly apportioned characters were the rage. There was Bubsy, Earthworm Jim, Sonic, Mario, Yoshi, and many lesser known one-hit-wonders. Fast forward to the current generation and platform games aren't as prevalent now as they were back then but Rayman's a strange one that still makes the rounds and Konami's new hero Dewy is definitely left of center.

Dewy is a drop of water. No troll. Dewy is a drop of water that has facial features and ambulates like a waddling biped. By holding the Wiimote horizontally with both hands, players move Dewy by tilting the controller in four directions. As the story goes, the world that Dewy calls home brims with fresh water, fairies, and an Elder Tree. Peace reigns and all is good. That is, until the day an evil animal named Don Hedron makes his way into the world with his black water. The fairies and the Elder Tree act in concert to fight back against Hedron's machinations by giving life to a droplet of water with magical abilities. After a fierce battle, Don Hedron is beaten back and defeated. Fast forward to the present day and Don Hedron is back and his black water threatens the world once again...

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core

When the Naomi version of the GGXX Accent Core kit was released in December 2006, NCS filled a healthy amount of preorders at US$1850/pop. More orders flowed in afterwards but by that time, our coin-op vendors were already sold out and no stock was forthcoming. Less than six months after hitting Japanese arcades, Arc System shows love to the GGXX elite by releasing a faithful conversion of the game on the humble Nintendo Wii for a measly US$49.

Built on the Guilty Gear XX game engine, Accent Core may be considered the latest and greatest tweak/upgrade of the original game. The cast of 23 default characters all have new moves as well as specials and many of them control differently. The engine also features EX moves aka Force Breaks, Throw Breaks, and Parrying which radically modify the way the game played by seasoned GGXX fans. Arc System also throws in new stages, new character and announcer voices, and new character artwork. Casual gamers may look at the past few GGXX updates as minor in scope but the system updates made in Accent Core are significant and greatly enhance the gameplay experience for the hardcore fan.

Kidou Senshi Gundam MS Sensen 0079

Take control of a Gundam mech on the side of the Earth Federation and take on Zaku warriors in a first person action game where energy blades and guns are fired off in rapid succession. If you're feeling rebellious, you can also choose the side of the Zeon and face off against the forces of the E.F.F. The action runs fairly fast and both the nunchuk and Wiimote are used to control the Gundam and push into battlefields and duel one-on-one against foes. In addition to melee attacks and gunfire, a sniper mode is available where a targeting scope allows players to focus in one the head of an enemy mech and blow it off to disable it entirely. There are times when two energy blades meet and they'll sizzle as each swinger tries to gain the upper hand in the sword face-off. When running and gunning, the Wiimote controls a targeting cursor which may be positioned inside a center reticule to hit enemy soldiers dead-on.

The game features an original story written especially for the game which follows the events of the 0079 storyline. A VERSUS Mode splits the screen horizontally so that each player experiences the game from his own perspective. Players can change the colors of the Gundam from a palette and it's possible to roll with a bright purple or hot pink Gundam.

Mario Party 8


The party continues for the 8th time, with Mario and friends getting crazy in a variety of mini-games. The world's most popular party video game is getting a lot crazier in Mario Party for the Wii! Whether you're shaking up cola cans or lassoing barrels, you and your friends will be drawn into the action like never before using the Wii Remote.

All new features/boards!
Mario Party for Wii also includes dozens of new mini-games, six new party boards and many new game modes. In a series first, players can transform their characters into many forms, such as player-smashing boulders and coin-sucking vampires. Mario Party Wii includes "extra large" mini games like Star Carnival Bowling and Table Menace. One to four players can play Mario Party, each with a Wii Remote.

Features: Play with Motion Control: Row your way through a river race, punch a statue to pieces, steer race cars, mopeds and go-karts, handle a balancing pole while walking a tightrope. .

Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary

The color-matching antics of the Puyo Puyo games have entertained gamers around the world since 1991 when it was released on the MSX2. Since that first game, Puyo Puyo became pervasive and invaded pretty much every handheld and console with its simplicity, charm, and playability. Sega celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Puyo² on the Playstation Portable with a game that looks like normal Puyo Puyo but there's enough characters, wrinkles and variations to make it a worthwhile investment. For one, there's the water Puyo variant where the familiar blobs with eyes bob up and down in a body of water. Since Puyos are buoyant, they float near the surface of the water and color matches must be made at the top of the screen instead of the bottom per standard Puyo convention. The game features a total of 23 characters but only 16 are playable at the outset - the others require unlocking.

For those who are new to the Puyo phenomenon, a tutorial mode is available to get you up to speed. The gist of the game is quite simple however - Colored jellies fall from the top of the screen in 2-segment configurations and your job is to arrange like-colored Puyos in contiguous groups of at least four blobs.