Sunday, 28 February 2010

Tatsunoko VS Capcom Ultimate All-Stars:- First Quick Thoughts

Is their another word for 'lovin it' that could be used to fill this entire web-space? Being such the sucker I appear to be for fighting games my whole life I couldn't very well pass this one by, especially as for the fact it may of not even come close to my end of the ocean highway. I eagerly awaited my copy from Amazon with great patience; I took a bite out of my ankle for nourishment, and wallah there it was, smothered in that lovely smashing cardboard packaging, brilliant.

Now from the trailers I had view upon it's arrival, I wasn't put off by the par graphics, it had been something I had expected due to it's 'Wii only' release tag so it came as no surprise to me. I tend not to worry about realism in games these days, I just want to be entertained and for them to contain replay value, thankfully this game does both. I've always taken a shine to Japanese cultural media, it seems to speak volumes and never loses it's appeal, I don't even seem to be bothered by my lack of 'Tatsunoko' knowledge, both manga and anime are unique styles which I have been a fan of for years.

All in all, my first experiences at the game were VERY good, I played it for three hours straight, and thanks to the 'three button' fight system, looking like a pro doesn't seem to be that far off for this old chap. The action was a slight welcomed change to my long hours on SFIV, and was easy to get in and kick some arse. Note to self:- more gaming hours needed for full enjoyment..

Friday, 26 February 2010

Street Fighter IV:- Goku vs Buu

Being a Dragonball Z fan such as myself, I couldn't help but laugh at this fantastic mod of Ryu and Rufus taking on the roles of Goku and Buu respectively, shows you the vast creativity us Street Fighter players possess eh, well..........most maybe? The volcano stage was the perfect setting, for if we take a look back at DBZ history the doomed planet of Namek held the final confrontation between Goku and Frieza, ok this might not be 100% accurate but it will do. Great stuff.

SSF4 New Trailer - Dudley, Makoto, Ibuki & The Rest

Well I wanted it, and I received it; much sooner than expected I might add. One thing that I can take away from this is the fact that I now fully understand the love behind Dudley people have, what a truly amazing character he is, so British. His ultra is reminiscent that of 'Punch-Out' was my first thought, and no doubt a faster and better combo specialist than his American rival Balrog also. The music is fantastic, a splendid score, for it brings his 'third strike' stage theme into the 21st century; my tastes aren't what they use to be so I could be wrong about that statement. Being as popular as he seems to be around these parts, no doubt I shall be coming across this guy many MANY times over the inter-web modes, he'll be the Ken of today; least he doesn't have a hadouken eh.

Ibuki you certainly can't go far wrong with; at least from what I see, the teen ninja seems to have all of the right tools and looks great from her SFIII days, and an ultra to match. She reminds me of Vega somewhat, a very quick attacking character who uses the air to great effect, if tiers are introduced again; of which they most likely will be, I can see her hanging around near the top of the board, or at the very least middle sector. The music score is good again like Dudley's; maybe too much like Dudley's if you know what I mean,
but it's certainly not as calming as her original obviously to which I preferred, and takes away her unique background a little, but it's in keeping with the feel that is evident with everyone else in SFIV.

Out of the three shown here, Makoto impressed the very least which saddens me. Perhaps the footage didn't quite show us what she's really made of, or that the music score was disappointing, but she seemed somewhat sluggish. She comes across here as the sort of character that will take time to master properly, but with the probability that she could become one of the toughest in the whole game makes her existence here not all bad. Her ultra makes up for a few negative vibes at least, smashing someone right in the chops has quite the appeal; especially if it leads to your opponents crushing defeat. I am intrigued by how they plan to introduce her into the game, as she only made her first appearance in the third game from the SFIII series; a bit of a gap if SFIV takes place beforehand.

The game is finally beginning to take it's final shape, and with oil wrestler Hakan making his vocal appearance right at the end; at the same time as cementing his existence, it takes the newest editions total to the roster up to a healthy ten and thirty-five overall. April 30th CAN come soon enough......please?

Monday, 22 February 2010

3D Dot Game Heroes:- MCM Expo 2010

I had seen that this game was to appear at the MCM Expo over the weekend in Telford, I just had absolutely no idea what it was about until I got there. It would turn out to be a game that I was to become currently obsessed with, I only left the area where it was playable because of other goings on at the event, wished I could of continued longer. 3D Dot Game Heroes is a Zelda-like adventure where everything is made from blocks; and I mean everything, it was a rather crazy affair to say the least but I was transfixed for around ten minutes at the marvel of a 2.D game with retro-style music. The organizers of the display then made a large foam figure of the protagonist, if their was a way to take it home with me I would of, but I guess the memories of this faithful day will suffice enough and live my memories.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Super Street Fighter IV:- Ibuki, Makoto & Dudley Confirmed

Anyone following the pre-release Super Street Fighter 4 beat knew that Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike fan-favorites Ibuki, Makoto, and Dudley were the most likely to be included in the SSF4 roster, but now has been officially confirmed courtesy of the latest issue of Famitsu, the smile on my face right now could stretch from here to Timbuktu.

In the latest magazine scans, we see Makoto and Dudley in several smaller panels, while the sultry Ibuki gets the star treatment with larger shots. We can't read the pages but can at least observe one thing, these formerly 2D fighters are looking rather smashing. It brings IV's newest editions to the roster up to an impressive nine, with one last fighter said to be unveiled very soon to the SF universe. Dudley seems to be the most popular choice out of the newest revealed three, I'm sure it will become apparent as to why when the game is released at the end of April 2010; perhaps maybe us Brits are just too darn lovable. 'Let's fight, like gentlemen'

Street Fighter:- The Newgrounds Flash Collab

Before I came across this stroke of genius, I hadn't paid a visit to Newgrounds for over an earth year, and after exhausting both Facebook and Youtube, it was the only acceptable option for me to take; good thing I did.

The Street Fighter Flash Collab is a collection of animations created by some of the best flash animators on the web, and in keeping with the comedic parody, delivers unique takes of the Street Fighter franchise from their own personal perspectives. The collaborations in my opinion each compliment one another; as is seen by the opening sequence above, and I especially appreciated the way all were presented with the motivation intended for selection, a character select-styled screen was the perfect decision-making choice. All in all a fun collaboration of the Street Fighter universe; with animation created by Johnny Utah my personal favourite, check out what you may of been missing all this time.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Super Street Fighter IV:- Juri Animation Trailer

During the running of this trailer, I was lying upon my throne (bed) sipping away at my beverage with my eyes constantly asphyxiated on my laptop screen......still doing it now in fact. An amazing piece of work by Gonzo, and hopefully will prove to be a better deal then Capcom received from Studio 4CÂș; many fans took a dislike to the below-par drawing and animation sequences from the previous game. The film center's around S.I.N's latest weapon; and newest SF edition Juri, a young Korean fighter given the power to become superior in every sense by S.I.N owner Seth. Juri is the first fighter within the SF universe to use the martial art Taekwondo, and is proving that she is to be a popular choice come April for SF fans.

Interesting note that this movie will only be available to Xbox 360 persons, while PS3 owners get bundled with the games soundtrack. Won't bother me to be honest, just gimme gimme gimme.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Great Game Bosses Vol: 2 – The Great Mighty Poo (Conkers Bad Fur Day)

What do you get if you cross a bad-mouthed squirrel and a pile of singing faeces?, a gaming moment that won't be soon forgotten of course. The cutesy platformer gone bad, Conkers Bad Fur Day was certainly not the game many had anticipated. With scenes inspired by Saving Private Ryan and The Matrix, it wasn't without it's stand-out moments, but there was to be one that gamers tend to remember above all others – The Great Mighty Poo.

Coming from the same cack-encrusted school of acting as Mr Hankey (South Park), the Mighty Poo was a living breathing pile of poo that lurked in a hollowed-out mountain of faeces. Poo had only his indigestible sweetcorn buddies to keep him company and, as you'd expect, he wasn't a happy bunny. Far from it, in fact: all this nasty piece of work wanted to do was be foul (smelling and acting) to any unsuspecting squirrels that happened upon him. Amusingly, the entire confrontation revolved around an operatic song sung by the scat-man himself, while Conker was urged to throw large amounts of toilet paper into the Poo's mouth that would ultimately lead to his demise. It seems like a pretty far-fetched concept, but one that had us laughing and singing along with The Great Mighty Poo - musical genius, a classic battle.

Sing With Poo

I am The Great Mighty Poo,
And I'm going to throw my **** at you,
A huge amount of **** comes from my chocolate starfish,
How about some **** you little ****?

Do you really think you'll survive in here?
You don't seem to know which creek you're in!
Sweetcorn is the only thing that makes it through my rear,
How d'you think I keep this lovely grin?

Now I'm really getting rather mad,
You're like a niggly, tickly, **** little tagnut
When I've knocked you out with all my blab,
I'm going to take your head and ram it up my butt!

Pre-owned Gaming:- SEGA Rally (Xbox 360)

Bit of nostalgia here for me, going back to the days where arcades in Britain meant something, and gamers were out spending their parents loose change for a quick gaming thrill, I certainly was no different. But now long since the days of crowded amusement arcades; our attentions are now turn to console, and those franchises that made a name for themselves have appeared over the years in many collective forms; but to see SEGA Rally on Xbox 360 took myself back to those golden days of yesteryear, and even though it had been released for a number of years, a £7.99 price tag was hard to resist.

My first thought was of hope the game would recapture that arcade experience, sadly it did not quite do it for me, but still great fun even if my taste for racers is as sour as a lemon tree. The game does indeed look pretty damn good, the cars are polished, the tracks are gorgeous, even the trails of mud which engulfs the tires and rear-end of the car has life like qualities, almost as if you could get dirty yourself from the mere sight of it without leaving the household. One thing that I did and continue to notice was the sheer difficulty I had of winning a race, the CPU is merciless with it's driving tactics, but rather than give up, I was determined not to be beaten and took to the race track once again, same result sadly mind you.

The handling of the vehicles are not half bad; mercilessly compared with other driving games I've experienced in the past, but it still wasn't enough to mask my below-par cornering skills, good thing damage isn't present here. Driving through natural obstacles such as mud and snow is such a joy, and seeing the stones from road surfaces propelled into your first-person perspective viewpoint is more rewarding than it sounds, your in the thick of it, your not far behind first place. With that mixture; and the usual road surfaces to contend with, it offers different variations and experiences from the races, good thing your co-driver is with you every step of the way guiding yourself round them then. It is a shame however that even though there is indeed more than one track for each scenario, the variety in this case is a little repetitive and unvaried, but a race is a race and there are rally cars to be unlocked, so we grin and bare it.

Speaking of which, their seems to be many different cars and challenges to unlock that need certain amount of points; these points come from your earlier tallies, so you may need to go back again and take on those pesky CPU's in familiar circumstances until the total is met by the games demands. It adds to the games length; their will be no hand-outs here just because you did your best, work hard and you will reap the rewards in no time.

A particular feature in any software that I personally look into is the soundtrack; and if I recall the theme from the arcade version, I was hooked permanently to the SEGA Rally machine in an instant; it isn't present here on home systems mind you, but I guess that's what makes arcades so unique. The music might be basic and certainly won't ever make an all time top ten, but it does it's job to get players pumped and heavily into the driving experience.

All in all I believe that SEGA did a good job in re-establishing the franchise into the current crop of gaming systems, though it certainly won't blow the human mind, and if I had to choose one element of the game that impressed me the most, it would have to be the tracks features, theirs nothing better than getting your car just that extra bit dirty for the sake of the means to stealing that first place from your closest rival in the final lap, certainly one of my best recent buys from the pre-owned section.

Great Game Bosses Vol: 1 – Bob The Fish (Earthworm Jim 2)

When the first game in the series had pitted our invertebrate hero against such unlikely felons as a bounty-hunting crow, a heap of rubbish and an evil cat named Evil, we weren't expecting anything close to sanity from the sequel. Suffice to say, Earthworm Jim 2 exceeded all our expectations, confronting the player with a boss battle so absolutely farcical that no arch-enemy has since come close.

One of the tougher bosses in the first game, Bob the Fish, returns at the end of the first level to continue his wave of finned tyranny, but this time around let's just say Bob isn't such a threat... Equipped with his trademark Power Suit, Jim negotiates the usual menagerie of beasties – as well as a horde of stair lift-bound old ladies and Bob's many guardians – to reach the end of the opening stage only to find his scaly foe lying in wait, literally a fish out of water, well almost. Protected by a mere glass sphere and several litres of water, the gilled villain doesn't stand a chance against our annelid hero. No fancy button combos or tricky patterns here – after the huge 'Fight!' prompt, Jim simply sidles up to the fish-bowl and plunges his hand into the liquid, snagging the wicked fish and swiftly swallows him whole. Simple? Yes. Anticlimactic? Perhaps. But in terms of surreal ingenuity, very little comes close to this mismatch of the century. Groovy.

Friday, 12 February 2010

The Retro Vault: Dragon's Lair

Had you been loitering around arcades back in 1983, you'd have seen an astonishing looking game called Dragon's Lair. Grabbing some change from the kiosk, you'd immediately rush over to the machine, shovel in all your cash and quickly realise why no one else was playing it... Dragon's Lair's incredibly cartoon-like visuals (created by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth) came with a very high price – gameplay. Due to the game using a laser disc instead of the more traditional PCB board, the actual gameplay was incredibly restrictive. Dragon's Lair consisted of a series of episodes, each of which involved you making a quick decision by pressing the joystick in one of four directions. Make the right choice and you'd watch hero Dirk successfully negotiate his way through a short cartoon; fail and you'd be privy to one of his many different animated death scenes. Sure, you may have been given a fair few lives with which to test out the trial and error gameplay, but after seeing Dirk crumble into a pile of bones for what seemed like the hundredth time, you soon realised that Dragon's Lair was fool's gold. Still, there were plenty of masochists out there who did enjoy it and, as a result, Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp was released in 1991. Gameplay (if you could really call it that) had made no progress whatsoever and even a new version of the original game – that included several missing screens – entitled Dragon's Lair: Escape From Singe's Castle, did very little to hide the sheer hollowness you felt when playing this piece of gaming history. Mind you, I do applaud them for this undeniably technically important break-through for videogames, even though I still haven't finished it yet!

Top 3 Gaming Baddies Who Didn't Read The Rulebook

There is a predominate feature that can be linked to any forms of media; a climatic battle. It is what you'd expect from your heroes back-packing on long perilous journeys in order to bring stability back to the world, it's their calling, the very reason for their existence. But for every hero there is a villain, a worthy foe(s) which stands against everything they believe in, and wants nothing more then to see their demise, a test for everything learned by the hero on his/her long grueling adventure, and the opportunity to put it into practice, a system which video games know all too well. Find a weak spot and apply yourself three times, fire endless ammunition until dead, boss battles have always required a particular combination across stages that become more challenging as progression is made. But some folk are not taken in by simplicity like that, and I believe these three are just some of those, the bosses who have made a name for themselves with their own unique approach to the battlefield; and won't be drawn in by the idea of being defeated in the usual fashion.

Number 3: The Colossi – Shadow of the Colossus
Platform elements within virtual space usually takes place atop the ground in which you trend, but Team Ico took that aspect one step further, atop the giant bosses of the colossus. In order to take down the sixteen, you must guide Wander atop the beasts using your climbing ability, and reach the glowing symbols placed in strategic positions upon the creature, you would then proceed to drive your sword into the colossi leading to their death. As challenging as that sounds, the true difficulty comes from reaching these points in the first place; making your way from A to B while avoiding colossi attacks was a truly marvel concept, and one that has made Shadow of the Colossus a classic piece of gaming.

Number 2: Bowser – Super Mario 64
After capturing the princess once more and taking control of the castle, Bowser lay in wait for the wee mustachio to confront him once again, but little did we know that he was back, and to a much larger scale than previous. The only way he could be defeated now was to grab him by the tail; spin him round to build momentum, and with a cheeky 'so long' from Mario, throw him to the edge of the floating arena where bombs were conveniently placed. This sent the evil mastermind being blown back in from the resulting explosion; and facing him three times as the arena becomes increasingly difficult to cope with made this one of the toughest Bowser battles to date. A truly unusual but iconic confrontation.

Number 1: Psycho Mantis – Metal Gear Solid
He reads your memory card and tells you the games you’ve played, he demonstrates his telekinetic abilities by vibrating your controller randomly, he even blackens your television screen; all this before the battle had truly begun. Psycho Mantis played with your mind and he made sure you knew it, his ability to avoid your attacks made him a boss to be reckoned with; but unknown to him you had an ace up your sleeve that would thwart his cheating ways. Plugging your controller from one port to the other confused the mind-reader, and thus lead to his humiliating defeat as your mind was now unreadable, an innovation way ahead of it's time.