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September 2008

Wario Meets Doc Brown In Microgame Mashup

I'm still waiting for the definitive spectacular Back to the Future game, but in the meantime I suppose this Wario Ware mashup will have to do. Can you complete all of Doc Brown's microgames?

And before some developer or publisher out there gets a crazy idea, I should note that this is not the kind of Back to the Future game that I actually want to play. It's a cute concept, but Marty McFly and friends deserve so much more.


Robot Masters On Parade, Part 1

Mega Man 2 After reading yesterday's Robot Master Roll Call article some of you out there asked about the origin of the character artwork and where the rest of the images from that series could be found.  I've been collecting neat gaming artwork for a while now because I never really know when I'll need an image of, say, Metal Man throwing blades at the audience.  Due to popular demand, over the next few days I'm going to post the impressive Robot Master character art that was created for the Japan-only Rockman Complete Works discs during the Sony PlayStation era.  Today's focus is on the original Mega Man and its sequel, Mega Man 2.

Bomb Man

Continue reading "Robot Masters On Parade, Part 1" »

Thank You, Capcom, May I Have Another!

Thaaaaaank Yooooou! Yesterday afternoon I began to explore Capcom's Mega Man 9.  I was expecting a little challenge, but I figured I could handle it.  My Mega Man abilities go back twenty years, after all.  I had some trouble with the two levels on display back at E3, but I marked that down to trying to play while standing amidst the chaos of the little show floor.  Surely once I reclined in my comfortable chair at home I'd handle any obstacle that the game had to throw at me, right?.  Funny thing is, not so much.  I've elaborated on this over at Kombo.

Once the stage select screen appeared I felt as if I'd stepped back in time. After all these years I found myself looking at the new batch of Robot Masters with absolutely no idea where I should begin. It was disconcerting to step into a Mega Man game after all this time and not know the magic order needed to efficiently destroy the bosses. I decided to start with Galaxy Man which was a fitting warm-up. I destroyed him easily enough and decided to move on to Tornado Man, and it was here that I began to see just how my 8-bit Mega Man skills have deteriorated after years of neglect.

Somehow I think that Mega Man 9 will end up winning the honor of most frustratingly fun game of the year.  Until I start to learn the new stages and Robot Master patterns I'm planning on stocking up on energy tanks, extra lives, and Beat whistles (bottomless pits turn up in the darnedest places).  When precision fails, the next best tactic is a brute force assault.  Two bosses down, six to go...   

Robot Master Roll Call

Robot mastersIn honor of the release of Mega Man 9 I felt it was time to take a look back at the previous games in the original Mega Man series and pay tribute to my favorite Robot Masters of all time, and since we all know that Robot Masters come in groups of eight, I've narrowed the list down to eight characters.  These Robot Masters stand out; they are the characters I think of first whenever I start babbling about the best aspects of the many Mega Man games.  They're all here for different reasons.  Some have awesome weapons, others sport a neat design, and a few just happen to be associated with memorable level music. 

Continue reading "Robot Master Roll Call" »

Mini-Review: Scene It? Seinfeld

Scene It? Seinfeld Two years ago I wondered why game publishers had yet to pick up the Seinfeld license and produce video games featuring Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine (and maybe Newman, too).  It took some time, but someone finally picked up the gauntlet and created a game about nothing.  Carefully order your favorite soup, heat up the Chinese food leftovers, and iron your puffy shirt because the popular entertainment trivia board game Scene It? has gone Seinfeld in this latest release. 

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Scene It? Seinfeld" »

Weekly Poll: Return Of The Blue Bomber

Weekly Poll for 9-15-2008Like most of you out there I'm in the Wi-Fi club when it comes to connecting my game consoles to the Internet.  The 10% of you out there that don't have a console connected to the Internet at all puzzle me though.  I have a co-worker who owns a Sony PlayStation 3 that's not set up to reach the Internet at all.  He doesn't even have an Internet connection of any sort at home which just really confuses me.  He's missing out on online multiplayer, firmware updates, game patches, and PlayStation Network downloads.  How can anyone get by without the Internet in our modern online information-centric world?   

This is a fantastic week to be a fan of 2D gaming thanks to a few major game releases.  Yes, it's finally time to get our hands on Wario Land: Shake It!!, Kirby Super Star Ultra, and the long-awaited Mega Man 9.  The new Mega Man adventure will be making its way to Nintendo's WiiWare, the Sony PlayStation Network, and Microsoft Xbox Live Arcade over the next few days.  If you're buying it, which version are you going to choose?  Will you take the WiiWare one to enjoy the traditional Nintendo Entertainment System controls?  Maybe you want the Xbox Live Arcade's Achievements.  Say, can the PSN version offer a Remote Play option?  So, which download service is getting your ten dollars (if any)? Steps Up Release Date Deliveries

Wario Remember about a month ago when announced it was testing a new program in which customers who preorder new video games would receive those games on the game's actual release day instead of up to one week later?  It must be going well for the company because I see now where they're starting to branch out from the four games originally included in the test.  I went to lock in my copy of Wario Land: Shake It!! yesterday and found that the game would land on my doorstep this coming Tuesday on release day instead of several days later as these kinds of things usually do.  I checked a few other major upcoming games to see if Amazon was offering the same deal, but it seems that only Wario Land is included in this offer for now.  Hopefully this means that the test program is going well and that we'll start to see this kind of thing offered more in the future.  Anything that saves me a trip to Best Buy after work is OK with me (and they won't even have the game for sale until September 29 for some reason). 

Jason Fox's Binary Numbers

FoxTrot The comics pages just haven't been the same since FoxTrot's Bill Amend partially retired.  The once-daily comic strip that loves to poke fun at video gaming has been reduced to running a new edition only on Sunday, so it's been a while since the comic hit on any major gaming humor.  Today Jason Fox strikes back with a gamerized rendition of a traditional non-electronic game.  After reading it, I found myself wondering if kids today are even aware of binary numbers in relation to modern gaming.  It can be difficult for young minds to grasp the concept that behind every Halo 3 or God of War there's a whole bunch of ones and zeroes.  Then again, young minds shouldn't really be playing Halo 3 or God of War, so perhaps it's a non-issue after all.

Mega Man 9 Arrives Monday, Proto Man Soon After

Mega Man Set aside a few free hours and get your ten dollars ready, North Americans.  Capcom has finally announced that most of us will be able to play Mega Man 9 as early as this coming Monday. 

The game will be released for download on the September 22 for the Wii.  Playstation Network gets it September 25th, and XBLA will have it October 1!

If that's not enough for you then mark your calendar for the week of October 6, as that is when the first set of downloadable content arrives.  Two dollars will get you a playable Proto Man.

For the most part he plays the same as Megs, though he’s able to slide and charge his blasts. Mega Man could perform those attacks in every game after Mega Man 2, but doesn’t in Mega Man 9. Make sense?  Proto Man can deflect most bullets with this shield, but larger blasts will still cause damage and push him back twice as far as Mega Man. Being struck also interrupts his charge shot. All the Rush adapters change to Proto adapters as well – Proto Sled, Proto Coil etc.

Fantastic!  Now, to get you psyched up for the coming adventure I think it's a good time to revisit that charming Mega Man 9 box and cartridge that Capcom sent out to certain members of the press.  We all saw the box, but have you read the story text on the back of that box?  It too is ripped right out of 1987, and I've typed it all out below with all of the factual contradictions, bizarre sentence structure, and typos intact.  READY?

Continue reading "Mega Man 9 Arrives Monday, Proto Man Soon After" »

New Info Shines Light On Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars The new issue of Nintendo Power allegedly contains some of the first concrete information about the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS.  The game appears to be an actual big 3D sandbox adventure similar in nature to its Sony PlayStation Portable cousins and not a top-down affair in the style of the original Grand Theft Auto.  Intriguing, yes?  Kombo has the news via another source who learned about it from yet another source.  Layers upon layers here, people.  We're through the looking glass on this one.

Now, however, and courtesy of the latest issue of Nintendo Power, we've finally got some news about the pint-sized GTA game, which was featured on the November cover of the Nintendo magazine. NeoGAF member botticus was nice enough to provide a nice recap of said information.

    • True GTA game - sandbox gameplay, open-world environment, gritty crime narrative.
    • M-rating
    • Isometric camera angle
    • Cel-shaded polygons w/ black borders
    • good touch-screen implementation - "tasteful" minigames, streamlining interface
    • UI based on a PDA - hub for email, contacts, map, music player, GPS, stat-tracking
    • stats uploaded to Rockstar Social Club website via Wi-Fi
    • finger-sized icons
    • missions designed for shorter periods of play, arcade quality
    • aiming with control pad, auto targeting with R button
    • subtle autosteer
    • if you fail a mission, you can jump back to the action sequence
    • chain gun, flamethrower
    • good portion of Liberty City is modeled in the game (different routes than console games)
    • no problems with load times, draw-in or frame rate
    • lots of pedestrians, cars, etc on screen
    • Wanted system - objective is to disable police cars any way possible
    • real-time weather effects, 24-hour day/night cycle
    • lots of radio stations to listen to (more instrumentals than vocals)
    • 800,000 lines of hand-optimized source code (hey, the people like the info, right?)
    • no details yet on multiplayer/Wi-Fi features

I'm interested in playing the game, but I'm even more interested in learning how people react to it.  Will the GTA devotees buy a Nintendo DS just to play this game?  Will the curious casual crowd decide to see what the fuss over the infamous GTA is all about?  Will underinformed parents blindly buy the game for their children because it's on a "safe" Nintendo system?  The answers will start to roll in later this year.