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Archive For December, 2005

Lazarus Man - Ultima V's Resurrection

December 23, 2005 12:08 AM | Simon Carless

u5laz.jpg After a mammoth 5+ years in the making, the creators of the unofficial Dungeon Siege engine remake/enhancement of Ultima V: Warriors Of Destiny, the appropriately named Ultima V: Lazarus, has _finally_ been released.

According to the release page, the game is... "the first Ultima remake project to ever actually reach the finish line....weighing in at over 500 megabytes, with nearly 300 unique NPCs, and literally hundreds of hours of play value, Lazarus is HERE! The game is available for both PC and Mac, though currently only in English--French and German versions will be forthcoming." Impressive stuff - the screenshots look pretty darn smart - go download it now.

For Rent: Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, 4BR, 2BA

December 22, 2005 6:22 PM | Simon Carless

marspeople.jpg Those gleefully sardonic video game importers of choice at National Console Support have just received the Japanese PlayStation 2 version of SNK's Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, and present detailed information on the all-star SNK 2D fighter to accompany its release. Well, maybe not entirely all-star...: "Famous and familiar fighters include Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yamagami from King of Fighters while we throw Kisarah Westfield from Toukai Gan Gan and Cyber Woo from King of the Monsters in the forgotten pile... A total of 40 fighters from many SNK games are featured and we're thankful that no one from Ragnagard made the roster to stink up the joint."

Originally released in the arcade, the home conversion (hopefully coming to the West?) enables players to check out a number of the wackier characters from non-fighting games, too - we were particularly enchanted that the 'Mars People' aliens from the Metal Slug series made an appearance - there's nothing like Shuma-Gorath-lookalike fighting game characters to brighten your day, eh?

Grumpy Gamer Has Bad Santa Experience

December 22, 2005 1:20 PM | Simon Carless

grumpy.jpg Ron 'Grumpy Gamer' Gilbert has released the latest 'Grumpy Gamer' Flash cartoon, this time dealing with what Santa doesn't bring to game developers (even though he's nice to little children, the scoundrel!). The answer seems to be - the chance to create original, compelling video games?

One can't help feeling that the self-avowed "often incoherent and bitter ramblings" of Monkey Island creator and Humongous co-founder Gilbert are, in this case, at least semi-autobiographical. The 'Grumpy Gamer' sitting on Santa's lap complains: "I just want to make something with great design, good writing, humor and characters in a rich, interesting world", and is rebuffed at every opportunity by Father Xmas, who seems to be, we don't know, some kind of cipher for game publishers?

3DO Blogging Is So... Now?

December 22, 2005 8:24 AM | Simon Carless

dillo.jpg Via the excellent RedKeyRedDoor, a pointer to a new weblog called '3DO Interactive Multiplayer', which has apparently been set up specifically to... document and chat about Trip Hawkins' failed early '90s 'franchisable console'? Wow.

Some of the recent blog highlights include a review of Iron Angel of Apocalypse 2 ("Yeah, OK. Well, mmmm. "Better". Certainly better than Iron Angel of Apocalypse 1."), and even in-depth coverage of, uhh, Cyberdillo ("Cyberdillo is wrong. Badly wrong. The one redeeming factor about Cyberdillo is that it is rare. Thankfully."). Apparently '3D0 Kid' is going to cover all the games eventually, and, though he's bat country insano for trying, this is a seriously readable blog. Come back, Trip, all is unforgiven.

Age Of The Beast, Eerievale Homebrews Trailed

December 22, 2005 5:21 AM |

aotb.jpg Two new(ish) trailers have been released by different companies, pointed out to me by Omegadog on the MMC. First up, there's a trailer for Age of the Beast (PC, DC, PS2, likely GP2X, Xbox). This is from Team Senile, who created Beats of Rage. AotB is a new game (and engine) created to be portable like the first, but with greater flexibility, and with a much wider array of abilities. Check the FAQ for more details on that aspect.

Next, there's EerieVale, a very long in development Jaguar game, which is now also coming to Windows, Linux, Mac, and naturally the Dreamcast. It's a D-like game (CG horror point and click) developed in Germany by a young fellow named Lars Hannig. Looks like the game's getting much nearer to completion - check the goofy trailer in the downloads section. Don't sit on that toilet!

Stretch Me One More Time!

December 22, 2005 2:59 AM | Simon Carless

strtech.jpg The somewhat crazy guys from Different Cloth sent over a link to their latest Flash game, the obviously DS-inspired wacky draw-a-thon Stretch Bendycoot. Yes, that's Stretch Bendycoot, nothing to do with a certain marsupial we all know and love.

Anyhow, the gameplay involves an auto-scrolling level in which the player has to draw shapes with his mouse to let Stretch jump over obstacles. You get marks for drawing as close as possible to the optimum 'evaluation' of the right shape to avoid the obstacle, and it's a leetle bit jerky and unwieldy, but still pretty good fun in a Kirby DS or Yoshi DS style way. So go try it - high score is 'only' 12991.

Nintendo Cart Issues, Pop Culture References

December 22, 2005 12:30 AM | Simon Carless

blowme.jpg Are we bored with gaming T-shirts yet? Because there sure are a lot of them. On the non-obscure Japanese front, we like Busted Tees' latest 'Blow Me' NES cartridge shirt, which comes in both male and female flavors. [Via The-Inbetween.]

Actually, it's refreshing to see a T-shirt retailer that isn't _entirely_ game geek-related - the somewhat older Oregon Trail-referencing tee is one of the few other Busted shirts referencing games. Oh, talking of which, apparently Broderbund is still producing new versions of the classic educational title. "Develop solutions to help your friends and family survive the dangers of the long journey, including raging rivers, buffalo stampedes, sickness, and starvation." But... is the dysentery now in 32-bit splatterificosity? Inquiring minds want to know.

The Best Gaming Moments Of 2005?

December 21, 2005 7:49 PM | Simon Carless

pandaking.jpg Stephen Totilo of MTV News continues to crank out some fun articles, and his latest, on 'The Year In Video Games: 2005's Greatest Gaming Moments', has picked some fun moments from this year's more interesting games.

Among his highlights, Totilo includes 'sketching one's own wanted poster' in Quantic Dream's Indigo Prophecy ("The goals of escape and apprehension naturally conflict. So what is the player to do when, in a detective level, they are given the task of drawing an accurate police sketch of the wanted suspect?") and 'arguing with the Panda King' in Sucker Punch's under-rated Sly 3 ("Players take control of the Panda King, a "Sly 2" villain wracked with doubt about his allegiances in the new game. To sort things out, the player must take control of the Panda King, point him at a mirror and make him win an argument with his own reflection.") So, rather than just a list of games, a list of moments in games is rather more piquant, no?

SketchFighter's Deadly Doodles

December 21, 2005 2:42 PM |

sketchFighter01.jpgThe scrawltastic "SketchFighter 4000 Alpha" is a promising 2D shooter currently in Beta-testing by veteran Mac-centric game developer Ambrosia Software. Unlike traditionally-slick shooting games, SketchFighter looks very much like it's leapt from the pages of my middle-school notebooks--the game's spaceships and scenery are all doodled on a field of graph-paper.

Although the final details are likely to change, Ambrosia's Lars Gafvert says that the game will focus on exploration, where access to new areas is achieved by defeating bosses and upgrading one's ship. Gafvert says "There is also a two player mode that focuses more on short matches where the players either compete [or] work together to collect points." Sounds like a refreshing change from standard shooter play. Based on Ambrosia's catalog of games, SketchFighter 4000 Alpha is guaranteed to be available at least for Macs, if not for Windows-based PCs. One can hope.

Droidmaker, LucasArts, And Murray The Skull

December 21, 2005 12:01 PM | Simon Carless

murray.gif Over at GameSetWatch sister site Gamasutra, we have a new interview with author Michael Rubin about his book Droidmaker, described as: 'The inside story of George Lucas, his intensely private company, and their work to revolutionize filmmaking.'

Rubin is particularly interesting talking about Star Wars' influence on the company, commenting: "Personally, I think the best games to come from LucasArts were their original creations, like Maniac, Monkey Island, Zak, and so on... and it took them some time before HQ trusted the games guys enough even to let them create games based on the valuable assets of movie characters (the first test was Labyrinth, then an Indiana Jones game); but soon enough it made sense to have the Star Wars titles get generated internally. It sort of reminds me of an old adage about restaurants -- restaurants with a great view generally have lousy food. But people go for the view."

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