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Soak Up The Little Details Of Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Castlevania: Symphony of the NightKonami's classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night originally for the Sony PlayStation is packed with all kind of small details and nice touches that are very easy to miss if you're blasting through the game at top speed.  Take some time to explore the haunted castle and really soak in the atmosphere.  VGJUNK has a list of little moments and quirky additions in Symphony that you may have missed if you weren't paying attention.  For instance, are you familiar with the list of field notes for each monster you'll find in the castle?

As is customary amongst lords of the night, Dracula's castle is packed with a menagerie of monstrous creatures including, but not limited to: bats, larger bats, skeletons, larger skeletons, ninja skeletons, demonic puppets from Hell, Great Old Ones, angry tables and, in the Sega Saturn version, something called the Human Face Tree, which is even creepier than it sounds. Once you've killed a monster, its information is added to the game's bestiary for you to peruse at your leisure, and I suggest that you do so because Symphony of the Night's monster list is an absolute joy to read.

Just take a moment to bask in the glorious phrase "specially trained war-goose." Not one of your regular war geese, oh no, it's one that been specially trained. Nothing but the best for Dracula's castle. It makes sense that a goose would be chosen for this military role, because geese are the most naturally aggressive and remorseless birds on the Earth.

Symphony and its sequels are full of these kinds of things, although you can tell that this game was especially crafted with love, creativity, and care.  This is a game where a vampire flicks peanuts into his mouth to restore health, where skeletons run away in delight when you slay their slavedriver master, and there's an optional shoe item that makes Alucard one pixel taller as its sole function.  Keep an eye out when you're stabbing demons and jumping across platforms.  You just might be entertained in the middle of all of that entertainment.  It's an absolute creative crime that Konami no longer makes games like this one.


Let's Watch A Pinball Bug Hunt With Aliens vs Pinball From Zen Studios

Aliens vs PinballZen Studios continues to acquire some amazing licenses for use in its pinball tables.  Following on from FOX's Family Guy and American Dad comes a trio of tables based on the Alien franchise.  Relive the excitement of Aliens, run in fear from Alien Isolation, and get caught in the crossfire of Aliens vs Predator. Combined as the Aliens vs Pinball pack, the new tables arrive for Microsoft Xbox One, Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 4, PS3, PS Vita, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire on April 26.  In the meantime, you can check out the Alien pinball action in this video in which I run through the three tables and explore them.  These aren't amazing scores as I'm only just learning the ins and outs of the tables, but it'll show you a little of what to expect. Thanks to Zen Studios for providing early access to the tables.


Stir Up Trouble In Catlateral Damage

NewScreenshot2My girlfriend loves cats and she loves video games, so when I was offered a free copy of the cat rampage action PC title Catlateral Damage which was recently released for the Sony PlayStation 4, I thought to myself, "Ooh, she's going to love this."  And sure enough, she did.  We've spent some time plowing through the living rooms, laundry rooms, and dinosaur museums of Catlateral Damage, playing the role of an housecat who vows to make those humans suffer.  Check out these videos of the game in action as I swipe and shove everything not nailed down onto the floor in pursuit of points and unlockables.


Power Button - Episode 201: Gone, But Not Forgotten

Power ButtonIt's always a terrible shame when a video game development studio goes under, and while companies such as Lionhead and Sega Technical Institute may be gone, they are not forgotten.  On this episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I remember some of our favorite shuttered studios and pay tribute to some of the industry's best, worst, or most memorable releases from studios that are no longer with us.  We have an hour of fond remembrances for you.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 200: PS3 Revisited

Power ButtonWith Sony PlayStation 4 providing a fresh start for many video game players who chose the Microsoft Xbox 360 last generation, it's only right that X360 owners who missed out on all the fun that the PlayStation 3 had to offer be able to catch up on the hits with their new console.  The PS4 hosts many great PS3 games either through upgraded editions or PlayStation Now offerings, and on this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I list and discuss some of the top PS3 games that meet this criteria.  Yes, heavy hitters like Uncharted and God of War are included, but so are some lesser known and semi-forgotten favorites.  Join us for an hour of recommendations.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Aiming For A Perfect KO In Street Fighter V

Street Fighter VDespite it being light on content compared to past Street Fighter releases, I've enjoyed learning the basics and new gimmicks in Capcom's recently released Street Fighter V.  Lacking the usual Arcade Mode, I've spent most of my time playing the game's Survival Mode in which the player's lifebar does not automatically replenish between rounds.  That's why when I'm able to perform a perfect knock-out of a CPU-controlled opponent, I capture it for later bragging purposes.  So, let's brag.  Here I am knocking out R. Mika and Laura without taking any damage and finishing both fights with a Critical Art maneuver.  Sure, it's only Survival Mode and I'm just getting started taking on online opponents, but achievements like these make me pretty pleased with myself. I'm not cut out for a proper tournament, but I do alright against friends.


PlayStation VR Launch Window, Price Announced

PlayStation VRThe video game industry is cranking up for another shot at bringing virtual reality to the masses, and today Sony announced when players can expect to find their PlayStation VR on store shelves.  Coming to North America this October for a price of $399 ($549 in Canada), Sony expects that this new product will transform the PlayStation 4 gaming experience.  But don't listen to me quote their marketing buzz; I can just share the relevant text from the PlayStation Blog:

PlayStation VR represents a transformative experience in gaming, and we wanted to take the time needed to launch with a broad variety of content and a sufficient supply of hardware. We are beyond excited to deliver to consumers the amazing experience that PS VR offers.

Today more than 230 developers are building content for PlayStation VR, from smaller independent teams to larger studios at the industry’s top publishers. We expect to have more than 50 games available from launch in October 2016 until the end of the year. Of course, the full promise of PlayStation VR will continue to grow over time as talented developers create new experiences and new genres that wouldn’t be possible outside of VR. The future looks bright indeed.

What Sony isn't telling you in this announcement is that the PlayStation VR requires the PlayStation 4 Camera to function.  The camera add-on, available since the PS4's launch for $60, hasn't found much use in the PlayStation ecosystem, so maybe now Sony can finally sell a few.  I'm sure the PSVR will do well at launch with early adopters, but I haven't seen any compelling games that require the device and I'm still working my way through a small stack of games for the hardware I already own, so I don't see myself jumping into the virtual reality experience just yet.  I'm interested, but not launch-interested, if you know what I mean.


Power Button - Episode 199: Benched

Power ButtonVideo games have ceased to be singular items and have become mass franchise universe worlds, and with great worlds can come great exhaustion.  On this week's Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I take a trip down Repetitive Lane and single out a few franchises that we believe are due for a break.  Some are annualized titles such as Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, while others just annoy us personally on one level or another.  Is your favorite due to be benched?  Listen and find out!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 198: UDON Entertainment's Matt Moylan Won't Break 'Cause He Works On Street Fighter

Power ButtonCapcom has pumped up its Street Fighter brand with the recently released (and criticized) Street Fighter V for the Sony PlayStation 4 and PC, but the brand has also expanded into monthly comics courtesy of long-time Capcom partner UDON Entertainment.  On this episode of the Power Button podcast, we're joined by UDON publisher Matt Moylan to discuss the new comics, Street Fighter lore, and the future of Street Fighter V.  Go home and be a family man podcast fan!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.


Power Button - Episode 197: Power Button Conquers The World!

Power ButtonVideo games thrive on evil masterminds plotting global conquest, but what would they do if they succeeded?  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I discuss some of our favorite would-be despots such as Dr. Wily and King Koopa, ponder why their plans were doomed from the start, and wonder what would happen if they actually succeeded in their goals.  What does Dr. Robotnik plan to do with a planet of robot animals?  Some questions just don't have answers.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.