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Archive For January, 2006

Phoenix Wright, Attorney At Laaaaaw

January 29, 2006 6:12 AM | Simon Carless

phoenix.jpg You know Phoenix Wright, right? But do you _really_ know Phoenix Wright? Well, an exhaustive feature on Capcom's Phoenix Wright game series over at Hardcore Gaming 101 will make sure that you know your DS-based habeas corpus from your Harvey Birdman.

Or actually, maybe not, as the HG101 author notes: "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is often classified as a "lawyer sim", but that's not entirely true. Phoenix is a defense attorney whose job it is to defend witnesses on trumped-up murder charges. But thankfully, you don't need any prior legal knowledge, because the game world kind of makes up its own rules anyway. "

Although, as it's pointed out: "The only problem with the Phoenix Wright games are their linearity - there are almost never instances where the game deviates from the set path, so they hardly provide any replay value. This can get frustrating in the event that you lose a case, since you need to start from the beginning of the chapter", well... (EDIT: commenter MJS points out 'Actually, you can save at any time by hitting start', so... objection overruled?) [Via SiliconEra.]

ATEI Arcade Show Grabs Crisis, Fist, Resurrection

January 29, 2006 12:25 AM | Simon Carless

tek5.jpg UK game-ish site Noooz has expanded its normal linklog coverage to present impressions from the 2006 ATEI arcade show, which was held in London this week, and there are plenty of handy impressions of new arcade titles (plus more to come) from hardened arcade veterans.

The first instalment checks out Time Crisis 4 ("F*cking awesome. Right now, there are two GREAT gun games in the arcades. One is Sega's Ghost Squad, the other is Namco's Time Crisis 4"), plus the new Fist Of The North Star fighter ("Watching the game, it looks like a Guilty Gear clone. Playing it tells another story. Firstly, it's a good game. So you can relax"), as well as Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection ("All who played it gave it a favourable response, as proven by the nasty scuff that appeared in the hand resting area by the joysticks (it smelt too).")

Oh, and also - it's rumor time, thanks to a Namco representative that Noooz talked to at ATEI who claimed "that Time Crisis 4 is currently aiming to be a European launch title for PS3 and current talk within the company is that it will hit around March 2007 and be format exclusive." Please apply pinch of salt now, although that really doesn't sound unlikely.

Smell The Onions At The FFXI Fan Fest

January 28, 2006 6:41 PM | Simon Carless

star-onions.jpg The forthcoming Final Fantasy XI Fan Festival, which is being held from March 9-11 at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, has announced a major (and fun!) addition to the schedule, in the form of the first U.S. concert by The Star Onions.

A review of The Star Onions' first album explains things well: "The Star Onions (a band originally formulated in order to perform in a concert celebrating the release of Final Fantasy XI Chains of Promathia, September 2004) are responsible for both the arrangement and performance of the pieces. The various [Square Enix employee] members, who include Naoshi Mizuta (Parasite Eve II, Rockman & Forte [and FFXI expansion pack music composer]) and Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2), provide an eclectic approach to musical arrangement..."

Heck, there's even a lead guitarist (Tsuyoshi Sekito) and a guest drummer (Arata Hanyuda) for this U.S. concert who also moonlight in The Black Mages, Nobuo Uematsu's own Final Fantasy tribute band. So - even if you don't want the special Moogle Rod in-game item that you get for turning up, this alone may be reason to go hang out with fellow FFXI freaks?

Mapping Azeroth, Google-Style

January 28, 2006 12:19 PM |

mapWoW.jpgThe World of Warcraft stretches beyond the bounds designated by its maker, Blizzard Entertainment. Third-party services such as Thottbot and the Goblin Workshop have latched onto the massively-multiplayer game's vast quantity of data, offering players of the game an easier route to coveted level 60 status. Now, that route has literally been mapped with the entrance of MapWoW.com, a third-party service plugged in to the Google Maps system. This dynamic system allows one to zoom in and out of Azeroth (Warcraft's world), toggling on and off data points such as the location of specific herbs, ore, and treasure collected in the game--there are over 15,000 such items currently covering 69 resources. It's bound to be a useful resource for players, but will also give those pesky gold farmers an edge. My advice: Enjoy this new service while it lasts.

Game Tunneling Through The Best Indie Games

January 28, 2006 6:14 AM | Simon Carless

thes.jpg The nice folks over at indie site GameTunnel have added their PC indie game review round-up for December, including mini-reviews of a host of games by GT's Russ Carroll, Sykhronics' Mike Kasprzak, Robinson Technologies' Seth Robinson, and Hamumu's Mike Hommel.

One of the most notable games this month is 2D bike stunt title Motorama, of which Seth Robinson comments: "While we can find oodles of brick breaking games every month there aren't a whole lot of "2d side-view bike physics" games being served up, so it was a treat to play Motorama. It's good. It's punishing."

In fact, Motorama ties for game of the month (at a relatively slow time of year!) with isometric shooter Theseus: Return Of The Hero, regarding which Russ Carroll suggests: "Trying to follow in the footsteps of Alien Shooter, which in my mind is one of the best games of all time, is no easy task. Theseus plays a lot like a mod of the original game...a very good mod with original weapons and music in addition to expanding the game play." Mm, weekend indie goodness.

On Disturbing Game Box Parody Art

January 28, 2006 12:01 AM |

adventureisland.jpgOver at the Something Awful Forums, user "Handre" has posted the latest in his series of disturbing game box parody art, this time based on Kirby's Adventure.

On his inspiration for these pieces, of which this is the sixth, Handre explains:

"It just started with the realization that certain (usually Japanese) games in the 80's and early 90's that were meant to be light hearted and cute were often portrayed far more seriously and dramatic in the US box art than they should have been. Many times it was blatantly WRONG. The characters were also sometimes portrayed a lot older and muscular than they were meant to be. They looked like the old American super heroes. The reason I use the bulging crotches and hairyness is to show how masculine they are supposed to be... Actually that's mostly for cheap laughs. But that is also inspired by the silly and sometimes revealing outfits (like Robin in the old cartoons) that American super heroes tend to wear. Then I just started adding more and more grotesque elements."

Previous pieces in the series include, in chronological order: Mega Man, Bomberman, Capcom's Snow Bros., BurgerTime, and Hudson's Adventure Island (pictured). Handre is taking suggestions for future crotch-oriented pieces, our favorite suggestion being David Crane's A Boy and His Blob. Additionally, there are plans to make prints available for purchase through Something Awful itself. Collect them all; we will!

The Cenix GMP-M6 Lumbers Toward Release

January 27, 2006 4:31 PM |

gmp-m6.jpg So, following up with the portable Cenix GMP-M6 handheld which GSW posted about some time ago, there's now a full, devoted page. There's also one in our old friend English!

So it looks as though you purchase the console, and it comes with two games already loaded; shooting game Star Force and Strategy RPG Battle Armor (at the very least they're available for free).

All other games can be purchased for 2,000 won, which is just under $2 US. Not a bad price really, but I've still no idea how much the unit itself costs, or if there are functional buttons aside from the one that says 'play.' I can't even find a way to buy it from the online store - perhaps you can help. To paraphrazy Ryo in Shenmue - Do you know anyone who speaks the language of Korean?

Life Meter Takes Video Game Art, Makes It Sing

January 27, 2006 10:30 AM | Simon Carless

kdc.jpg The brand new art-related website Life Meter Comics, billed as "a collection of comics and cartoon art inspired by our love of videogames", has just set up, and it already has some awesome illustrations up.

Probably GSW's favorite so far is the awesome Katamari Damacy mini-comic from Quezzie (who has a larger version on her/his own site), and of which it's noted of the picture in the comments: "It's colored pencil and gouache on Canson illustration board." Wow, real drawing on paper, we remember that!

However, running a close second in the coolness stages are both a gorgeous Zelda: Wind Waker illustration from French artist Bannister, plus a stark black&white illo of Kid Icarus from Pishio artist Zack Giallongo, both of which are both voguish and not simply fanart, stylistically. [via Fort90.]

Payton On Rushing Kojima Productions

January 27, 2006 6:15 AM | Simon Carless

mgsub.jpg The folks from Game Informer Online were at the Konami Gamer's Day in San Francisco this week, and caught up with former game journalist and current Metal Gear Saga director Ryan Payton for information on the MGS 3: Subsistence pre-order DVD documentary, neatly explained by GameSpot, noting that the doc "...does the seemingly impossible by making sense of the five major games in the Metal Gear canon."

Payton is delightfully charismatic on his somewhat random induction into Kojima Productions, following a magazine interview with Hideo Kojima ("And so Mr. Kojima sort of walks by us at the time, because I didn’t really talk to him after the interview, and he overhears me say that I was living in Osaka... He was like,'“What do you do? Are you looking for a job?'").

He also has some great anecdotes on Metal Gear Solid packaging designer Ichiro Kutome ("He’s so crazy and hard to work with… in a good way. You know, he’s so demanding. He’s like, “We need more budget.” I’m like, “You know how much we’re giving you for this package? This is a lot of money.” He’s like, “I need more. I want silver foil embossed on the front. Otherwise this is not going to fly.”") Definitely a fun interview piece, even for non-MGS heads.

Beware The Animal Crossing Plaaague

January 27, 2006 2:22 AM | Simon Carless

acww.jpg A dark thrall has been cast across the beautiful towns of Nintendo's Animal Crossing: Wild World for DS, as 4 Color Rebellion reports on a 'red tulip plague' spreading throughout online users of the game, apparently due to a broken network-transmitted gift item.

According to 4CR: "From what people have been reporting, you’re receiving a letter from _blank_, marked as “From ” containg a gift named “Red Tulips”. The letter contains no content whatsoever and has no closing. The item shows up as a piece of furniture (green leaf) and this is where the fun begins... If you drop this piece of furniture in your house, it’ll be an “invisible” item that you can still walk over, but not put anything over it, nor push any other piece of furniture over it neither. You basically “lose” a space on your floor, not being able to pick the item back up."

The GameFAQs boards are going frantic with worried gamers over this, and there are already commenters in the 4CR story speculating: "Nintendo wouldn’t send out it. Someone must have sent it out themselves… well, hacking the system." So... tragic Nintendo mistake or evil globe-spanning Animal Crossing spoiler attempt? The world will soon know the answer, one way or another...

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