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April 2010

What The BEEP Is That? #5 At Kombo

What The BEEP Is That?This week on Kombo's ongoing "What The BEEP Is That?" feature/contest we dip into the world of video game announcers.  From "3... 2... 1... GO!" to "Ready?  Fight!" to "Hey, man!  You're going the wrong way!", we rely on those disembodied voices from beyond to tell us what to do, when to do it, and how well we've done it.  If you can identify some or all of the eight sound clips that all feature chatty announcers, you could win Lazy Raiders for the Microsoft Xbox 360.  Think you can do it?  My helpful clues paired with each of the clips will help you.  "Hyper Combo Finish!"

Power Button - Episode 7: Mapping Out Strategy Guides With Keri Honea

Power ButtonWhen people need a quick gaming tip or clue these days, they just hop over to GameFAQs or one of the other sites like it for free advice.  Once upon a time, however, way back before Internet access was common or especially useful, people would get their gaming help from actual printed and published strategy guides that mapped out each and every part of a game.  Guides are still printed in our modern era, believe it or not, and one woman has carved out a niche in the industry by reviewing them.  This week on Power Button we sit down with the owner of Strategy Guide Reviews, Keri Honea, to talk about the art of the strategy guide.  We cover the aspects that make a great guide, how guides are made, why proper printed guides are still relevant in the electronic age of information wanting to be free, and more.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach all three of us via and you can even follow on Twitter at @PressTheButtons or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button - Episode 7: Mapping Out Strategy Guides With Keri Honea

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Deploying From Capcom

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 All of you who believed that the reborn Bionic Commando franchise had died once again after last year's lackluster sales of the big 3D game had better think again, as Capcom has announced that the downloadable remake of the original Nintendo Entertainment System game, Bionic Commando Rearmed, is the title getting a digitally distributed sequel for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.  Kombo has the details and the first screenshots on next year's Bionic Commando Rearmed 2.

Spencer will make use of his trademark tool – his bionic grappling hook – to grab, swing and leap through series of lush new environments. Expect plenty of gun-toting soldiers and mechanized threats ready to give him a hostile greeting. Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 improves upon the visual achievements of its predecessor with the addition of more detailed character models, textures, and vibrant colors. Key features and improvements include:

  • New Weapons, attacks and enhancements for the the all-purpose Bionic Arm
  • New physics-based puzzles.
  • 2-player co-op.
  • Enhanced graphics and better camera functionality.
  • All new musical score inspired by NES-era sound effects, produced by the same creative mind behind the original Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack.
  • Cut-scene art designed by cutting-edge art studio Massive Black, whose previously worked on inFamous, Bioshock 2, and God of War III.

You have no idea how happy I am that Nathan Spencer isn't done with us yet.  I'm curious about Rearmed 2's storyline and how it fits into the bigger Bionic picture.  Rearmed's narrative was part remake, part setting the stage for the big 3D Bionic Commando game that, sadly, failed to meet with widespread success.  Little hints and foreshadowing were included to introduce the mysterious fate of Spencer's wife, the "death" of Imperialist Gottfried Groeder, and other such things.  Without a Bionic Commando 2 in development, there's no need to foreshadow this time around.  Instead, the self-contained story should have a solid beginning, middle, and end.  I'm expecting a tale of one of Spencer's missions that takes place between the original Rearmed at the failed mission that led to his incarceration (as seen in last year's game), but if the developers want to try and tackle what happens after the big 3D game, I wouldn't complain.  If they do reopen that can of worms, however, I expect closure.

Moreover, the original Rearmed was a remake, so now that we've moved past established territory, it's time for the series to tread into new territory.  It's time for 100% original levels, weapons, gadgets, and music that add fresh elements to the adventure while maintaining the spirit of the previous game.  Also, I'd like to see the '80s sheen intact.  I'm not sure what I think of Spencer's new jump ability, but I'm eager to try it for myself before I make a decision.  Let's not go totally crazy by fixing what isn't broken.

Wait, did I say that Spencer could jump?  Sure did.  Check out the trailer via Joystiq.

Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Coming To PS3 And Xbox 360

Marvel Vs Capcom 3After the massive success of last year's re-release of Marvel vs Capcom 2, it only makes good financial sense for the two companies involved with its creation to team up again for a proper model sequel.  Marvel vs Capcom 3 is in the works for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.  Kombo has the first details and announcement trailer that features fan favorites such as Ryu, Wolverine, Morrigan Aensland, Iron Man, Hulk, and Chris Redfield taking shots at one another.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Powered by an advanced version of MT Framework, the engine used in Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2. Capcom wanted to use a developmental engine that their top talent was most comfortable with and was powerful enough to deliver the new and unique graphical direction.
  • Capcom's goal is to maximize depth but minimize complexity. Making sure that MvC2 fans are taken care of but also the millions of new Marvel fans and gamers from the past decade are not alienated.
  • 3-on-3 Tag Team Fighting: Players build their own perfect team and use Assist Attacks and each character's special moves to create their own unique fighting style.
  • Living Comic Book Art Style: See the characters from the Capcom and Marvel universes brought to life in a "moving comic" style, blurring the boundaries between 2D and 3D graphics. This is made possible by the MT Framework and the use of special shaders that capture the Marvel comics style and Capcom flavor.
  • At least 100 pieces of new music. Kombo was assured that a digital remix of 'Take you for a ride' was not one of them.
  • Each character is being built from the ground up. The character balance is extremely important. Unlike MvC2, characters are not thrown in for the sake of character count. Capcom would love to have countless playable characters, but because of the strong attention to detail for each character, they're aiming for 30+ playable.

Suddenly next week's release of Super Street Fighter IV doesn't seem so important anymore.  But seriously, this game has plenty of interest and expectations behind it.  No pressure, Capcom and Marvel.  My previous picks for new characters still stands, as I still want to see characters such as Nathan Spencer, Jennifer Walters, and Stephen Colbert as part of the action.  Kombo staffers have high hopes for this game, too.  In the meantime, let's all speculate on which characters are hiding in the silhouette in the concept artwork.  I think I can make out Chun-Li, Albert Wesker, Thanos, Felicia, Deadpool, Doctor Doom, and Captain America.  What say you?

Marvel vs Capcom 3  

Weekly Poll: Captivated

Weekly Poll for 4-12-2010What, no love for Doctor Who amongst the majority?  I used to be like you, you know.  Back in elementary school I had a friend that was a major fan of the BBC series when it was in reruns on PBS and she was insistent that I get into the show.  The problem was that these episodes were done on the extreme cheap with aliens made of cardboard boxes and spare pots from the BBC commissary.  It was all so hokey and horrible that I just couldn't make myself care.  I didn't start watching until the show was reborn in 2005 with modern special effects, decent writing, and watchable acting.  I'm a fan of the new series now, but I still have no interest in any of the older shows.  I'm looking forward to the new games now even if you are not.  So there.

Moving on, Capcom has revealed a slate of new games: Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 and Marvel Vs Capcom 3.  Which has your the most worked up and ready to go?  Let's hear your excited thoughts.

Two New Arkham Asylum 2 Villains And Voice Actors Revealed

Mrfreeze After all that last year's Batman: Arkham Asylum did right, where can the sequel go from here?  Plenty of places, it seems, as two of the new villains have been inadvertently revealed by the people behind them.  Best of all, the new faces are played by actors you know if not by name, then by voice.  GamesRadar has the news.

First up, veteran voice actor Maurice LaMarche has confirmed that he'll be playing Mr. Freeze. Good choice of both character and actor, we say. Freeze has been one of the most interesting of Gotham's villains ever since his tragic resurrection in Batman: The Animated Series, and LaMarche himself should be known to you from the likes of The Real Ghostbusters (in which he played Egon) and Pinky and The Brain (in which he played The Brain). That combination of intelligence and detachment should be spot on.

Secondly, Stana Katic (of TV's Castle) has splurged that she's voicing some-time Batman love-interest Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra's. This makes things interesting in a few ways. Obviously it raises the question of whether Ra's himself will make an appearance, possibly to pick up the slack from the clearly badly-injured Joker seen in the game's teaser trailer. 

Both LaMarche and Katic are solid choices and I can easily imagine each in their respective role.  I'm especially looking forward to hearing what LaMarche brings to Mr. Freeze.  After all, he's the voice of The Brain, animated Egon Spengler, alien news monster Morbo, Orson Welles, Dilbert's garbage man, Jay Sherman's friend Jeremy Hawke, and plenty of other characters that you know.  The man has range.  Whatever he has planned for Mr. Freeze, I'm definitely interested in hearing it.

Resistance Is Futile Against Star Trek: Borg

Star Trek: Borg Back during the PC multimedia revolution of the mid-1990s, just about every popular television or movie property that had a high percentage of sci-fi fans in its base was on track to become an interactive point-and-click Dragon's Lair-type adventure using film clips to move the story along.  Star Trek  was right there in the middle of it all with an interactive technical manual of the USS Enterprise-D in which Will Riker himself narrated your primitive sandbox tour of the ship, a Klingon adventure, and - most notably - a title in which the omnipotent Q plays with the space-time continuum by sending the player back in time to the Battle of Wolf 359 to assist the USS Righteous in combat against the Borg.

Released in 1996, the interactive movie Star Trek: Borg gave actor John de Lancie the chance to gleefully ham it up as Q yet again and provided the Borg with one of their final opportunities to function as mysterious and threatening villains.  The Borg game itself is long obsolete thanks to a programming decision to lock the game to Windows 95 and Windows 95 only, but thankfully the entire game has been put on YouTube for fans of The Next Generation-era Star Trek to enjoy.  The non-Q acting is off, the story bogs down halfway through, and some Trek lingo is cringingily outdated (at this point in history it seems that "Borgified" is the term in use for assimilation into the Borg collective), but it's all worth it to see the timeless Q in his prime.  Watch it right now.  Resistance is futile.

Check Out Sonic The Hedgehog's Graphics!

Know Your Monitors This week's installment of "Check Out This Game's Graphics!" over at Kombo shifts focus from the blue bomber to the blue blur as we lovingly skewer Sega's own Sonic the Hedgehog.  Humorous charts, graphs, and screenshots depict the odds of Sonic taking damage, rare kinds of power-up monitors, various Dr. Robotnik sightings around the video gaming universe, reasons why people are planning not to buy the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and a behind the scenes look at Green Hill Zone's recycling center.  Once again I helped create some of the images along with Joey Davidson and Eric Frederiksen, and goodness knows we have fun coming up with these things.  Some people think we take things too far, but we only kid these video game franchises because we love them.

FoxTrot Goes To The Wii Well Again

FoxTrot Bill Amend's Sundays-only FoxTrot comic goes to the video game world for inspiration sometimes, and this week's strip continues the tradition.  The gaming target skewered this time around?  Bargain bin shovelware titles for the Nintendo Wii.  It's a simple gag, but it just works so well.  The sad thing is, I'm sure that someone out there is working on Wii Semaphore at this very moment, be it in the form of Ubisoft's Semaphorz or We Semaphore from Namco Bandai.

Just Cause 2 Musical Moment Of Panauan Glory

Just Cause 2A few people have asked about the intro music to this week's episode of Power Button, so it seemed only right to share the full, unabridged rendition of it.  Seeing as how the topic of this week's show was Just Cause 2, the intro music is none other than the main theme from, yes, Just Cause 2.  Entitled "The Glory of Panau" and composed by Mats Lundgren (although that may not be totally accurate; there's not much information out there on the soundtrack in an official capacity), surely you'll agree that it's quite the kick-ass piece of action music.  Enjoy!