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Posts Tagged ‘Konami’

Guy Loses $7,000 Because He Doesn’t Know the Konami Code

For a long time, I was under the impression that EVERYONE knows the CONTRA code, aka the Konami Code. You too right? Well apparently not. What’s next? No Santa? This guy lost $7,000 because he didn’t know the code! Out of all of the impossible and unfathomable questions to get wrong, this should not be one of […]

Visually Stunning "Skullgirls" Can’t Mask Its Shortcomings

Since PAX East 2011 I have been keeping a keen eye on Reverge Labs’ Skullgirls, a 2D fighter that takes various nods from games like Guilty Gear and anime like Ikki Tousen. The final product that has appeared on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, however, has left much to be desired.

Skullgirls has eight fighters you can choose from, with each one having unique talents and traits that play to their advantages during their battles. For example Miss Fortune has the ability to remove her head, and then use it to attack her foes on one side of the screen while the rest of her body attacks on the other side. The slapstick-influenced Peacock can launch explosive devices towards you, as well as use classic comedic props such as pies and mallets to knock out her opponents. Double, meanwhile, can transform herself into any of the Skullgirls characters and perform their techniques.

In Arcade Mode of Skullgirls players can choose to play as one strong character, two semi-strong characters, or three regularly-strengthed fighters. While it might be wise to stick to one strong fighter, those who are good with various characters may find themselves wanting to go with the two or three character route during Arcade mode, as the various methods each fighter has can work to your advantage against the other participants you face off with. Story Mode focuses on eight different stories surrounding the fighters, each one linked to the tale of the Skull Heart. The story goes that there is an item known as the Skull Heart that can grant any wish to those who obtain it. However if the one asking for the wish is impure, she will be transformed into the Skull Girl and wreak havoc over the the human race.

Players will be able to unleash combo attacks while fighter, even earning different levels during battle that can lead to more powerful attacks (known as Blockbusters). It was here, unfortunately, where my first problem with Skullgirls appeared. I found it increasingly difficult to conjure up any sort of combo attacks with the way my Xbox controller is set up. The more I played the game, the more I realized that Skullgirls was designed to play more on a traditional arcade stick, something that plenty of gamers (including myself) may not put money down on.

There is a tutorial mode that’s supposed to help show how to pull off the bigger moves, but half the time I couldn’t perform what they were telling me to do. It also doesn’t help that they used code initials instead of the actual A/B/X/Y button names to tell you how to complete the move, which led to multiple times pausing the tutorial and looking at what which code initial matches to each button. Even when I got that down patch the combos would never work. The only way I could pull them off was by going crazy on my D-pad, which I don’t like doing in feat of breaking my controller.

Then there is the problem with the AI in Skullgirls, as it can be very difficult to defeat just about anyone in this game even on the easiest mode (known as “Sleepwalker”). The character I have the biggest issue with is Miss Fortune, who for the past few weeks I have been unable to defeat, no matter how many times I go up against her. (I’ve heard from other gamers online that they’ve also had issue with her difficulty, making me wonder if there’s a problem with her coding.) Half the time I faced her I couldn’t get a single punch in, as she spent the entire match doing combo after combo to beat me lifeless. It’s one thing to add a challenging element to a fighting game, but Skullgirls can become beyond frustrating.

It’s a fact that Skullgirls looks great. The hand-drawn anime visuals add a great style to a genre that hasn’t seen a look done this well since Wii’s Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. Each character moves around as fluidly as a big-budgeted Cartoon Network series, with the Blockbusters stealing the show at every corner. The voice acting can be quite hilarious at times, with some lines fitting perfectly with the character that you’re about to face. (The “cheeseburger” taunts you say against Miss Fortune had me on the floor laughing.) The soundtrack from famed Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane also helps set up the mood in each stage you play.

Skullgirls also features an online battle mode…when it works, though. Three-quarters of the time I’ve tried battling online it either kicks me off or it says there’s an error with the server. When it does work I couldn’t help but notice the game having lag issues. From time-to-time the action in the game would slow down, making it hard to maneuver and battle it out against your online opponent.

With only eight characters to play as, there is currently a very minuscule replay value to be found once you beat all the story modes (if you can beat them, that is). Sure there is plenty of fighting to be had with friends, but the sheer quality of its sights and sounds still doesn’t replace the quantity of combatants you can go hands-on with. Autumn Games has promised more characters via DLC, but if they’re not free (as the 1200 Xbox Points/$15.00 price tag is more of a ripoff than anything) many people won’t be jumping on the chance to grab them.

PROS:

  • Hand-drawn look nicely detailed
  • Beautiful soundtrack
  • Game can be humorous at times

CONS:

  • Only eight characters for $15.00
  • Need an arcade stick to play it correctly
  • Online mode doesn’t work from time-to-time
  • Miss Fortune’s AI

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I know there’s a good game somewhere in Skullgirls, but as the game is now it feels below average thanks to the minimum amount of characters, confusing control scheme, and a certain character’s AI system that makes her impossible to defeat. What Reverge Labs and Autumn Games have released here is an incomplete title, and to charge it the way they currently are is a slap to the face of every fan of the fighting genre. Maybe later in the year the game will become better, but for now I’d wait for new life to be breathed into Skullgirls before putting the cash down for it.

FINAL GRADE: 4.8 (out of ten)

Brand New Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance Trailer is Bloody, Live Action, and Odd.

Remember those live action vignettes that played before Metal Gear Solid 4? I hope you liked those, because the new trailer for Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance (try to say that 5 times fast) is reminiscent of that. If the name Raiden wasn’t shown a few times throughout the video, you wouldn’t be able to […]

Episode CXXXIV: I’ve Been Watching You Since You Had Two Braids

The Bastards would like to warn you of massive spoilers in this week’s episodes, but they just love ruining everything for you!

After almost OD’ing on laughing gas the B3 crew takes some good and weird shots at the new movie The Hunger Games, which has all the guys (and gal) on the fence on their real feelings towards it. Anvil gives his weekly sports report, revealing the latest in NFL trades and Red Sox spring training. Finally the demos for Sine Mora, Birds of Steel, Blades of Time, and Kinect Rush are reviewed.

May the odds be ever in your favor! It’s Episode 134: I’ve Been Watching You Since You Had Two Braids.

"Gradius" Spin-Off Nowhere Near "Excellent"

If you’ve ever played the classic shooter Gradius, and thought that it could use cute anime girls, then Otomedius Excellent would still not be for you!

Developed by Konami Excellent is the second in the Otomedius series (the first released in America), with Mine Yoshizaki (Sgt. Frog creator) designing the characters. The premise of the game has you piloting one of eleven female pilots as they battle against a new threat known as Dark Force, which terrorizes Earth with its massive armies and strange minions. Otomedius is set up in a classic side-scroller style that has you battling ships, bots, and various bosses throughout the levels. Sounds simple, right? Not by a long shot.

One of the game’s bigger flaws is that throughout each level too much is going on at the same time. In many instances you’ll find yourself battling it out against over thirty enemy ships and bots, only to be shot down after being hit three times. You can collect extra health, but in almost no time at all you’ll be back down to one final lifeline, which is symbolized by how much your character’s eyes are open in their icon. It gets even worse when all your lives are lost and wish to continue, as Otomedius Excellent will wipe out all but one point of your entire score.

Controls can be wonky at times, too, as you’ll find yourself confused about which button does what to no end. One button was supposed to do single shots, whereas another allegedly fires doubles, yet throughout my entire gameplay experience I could not differentiate between the two. Another big flaw with the game is that you could not spin your character around, and while it sounds like that wouldn’t make sense there will be areas where enemies will be firing behind you and you cannot evade. It became quite frustrating after being killed seven times in a row by enemies that I literally could not shoot.

Graphically Otomedius Excellent disappoints, looking like a bare bones Xbox Live Arcade title. Nothing about it screams revolutionary, even by downloadable game standards. It made me wonder why it was made into a physical release in the first place, as it looked like something that would barely take up a single Xbox disc. The game also has some translation errors that are more facepalm-inducing than hysterical, leading me to believe that whomever was in charge of bringing this game to America did a half-ass job making sure all the grammatical kinks were out of the system. Its anime sequences look great, although I would worry if a game like this was to be translated into a full-fledged TV series or OVA.

The music, though, is another story. Composed by Motoi Sakurba and Michiru Yamane the techno/trance music that fills the worlds of Otomedius is worthy enough for any club or rave. There is no English dub for the characters, however, and the only way you can understand what they are saying is on the tiny scroll on the bottom left-hand side of your screen. You’ll find yourself more confused than intrigued by what’s going on throughout the game.

Now comes the worst thing about the game: the Story Mode is only one hour long! You get blasted by the enemies — and sometimes not have to defeat the bosses at the end to complete each level — and your total gaming time will be less than even the dreadful Ugly Americans game. You’ll be able to earn power-ups that can be used for the next time you play, but you’ll find yourself so frustrated with this game that you won’t want to bother. There’s an online multiplayer mode, as well, but every time I went on there was not a single gamer to be found. (Apparently they got the “Avoid this game!” memo before I did.) As for extras there is this to be found with your right analog stick:

Can you say “Jailbait Simulator”?

PROS:

  • Nice opening anime sequence
  • Techno soundtrack worthy of any party

CONS:

  • Graphics look worse than your average XBLA title
  • Too much enemy AI attacking during gameplay
  • Story Mode lasts only one hour!
  • Disturbing fan-service

FINAL THOUGHTS:

You would think that a game that teamed up the Gradius developers with Mine Yoshizaki would be a winner. Alas it was not to be, as Otomedius Excellent will go down in history as one of the worst scrolling shooter titles ever to be created. This is one game that should’ve stayed put in Japan; on second thought it should’ve been scrapped for something that would’ve even turned out to be below mediocre. Simply put: avoid Otomedius Excellent at all costs, even when it’s released on the PlayStation Vita later next year.

FINAL GRADE: 1.1 (out of ten)

Episode CXII: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!!!

With Blueonic absent the other two Bastards march on to bring you a brand-new episode.

This week the B3 crew discuss Manny Ramirez’s recent arrest, and get into an informative discussion on the legality of certain muscle enhancers. The duo talk about two recent MMA events, Cage Titans: United and AFO’s The Perfect Storm, and give their thoughts on the goings-on around the settings. A compare-and-contrast look is taken at the demos for Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and FIFA 12, and King Baby Duck states his argument on why BloodRayne: Betrayal‘s new look is a good thing. Finally an under-the-radar British action comedy called Wild Target is given its proper dues, and Anvil shows why he’s excited for the new season of Sons of Anarchy.

Get your bets placed for Episode 112: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!!!

"Anything With An Engine" Readies At Starting Line

Out of all the games I’ve played both at PAX East and E3 no title has gotten me more excited to put my shift into gear than Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine. It’s almost time to truly put the pedal to the metal…

According to a recent trailer it was announced that Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine will be hitting Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii on October 11. Racing enthusiasts alike will be able to choose from various racers like dumpsters, lawnmowers and old-school rockets and go head-to-head (sometimes literally, in the case of Matador Mode) across thirteen different tracks and different playing styles. The game will feature eight-player online modes, as well as classic four-player split-screen for in-room combat with friends. Players can also expect secret surprises, traps and goodies on each level that will either help or hinder you on your quest for victory.

Check out the trailer below and see what insanity is in store for you, and read our PAX East and E3 reports on what could be this year’s most fun title:

"Engine" Runs Hot At E3

One of the biggest surprises at this past year’s PAX East was the under-the-radar title Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine, a kart racer whose style was like a blend of Mario Kart and Redneck Rampage. It was also my pick for Most Wanted Title during the Electric Sista Hood PAX East podcast episode, beating out the likes of Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem Forever and Brink at the event. So it came as a wondrous shock that when I went to E3 I stumbled across this game at the Konami booth, who will be distributing the title in America.

Going hands-on with the title again I was excited to see all the new vehicles, tracks and modes that you could play, not to mention the arsenal of weapons you could use. Seeing that you can race with the dumpster, coffin, shopping cart and gold cart made me laugh, but after seeing the crazy college mascot riding a recliner I had to race as that. When racing with the recliner you were given the ability to throw pizzas at your opponent, which not only make them skid off-road but impair their vision with its gooey cheesiness. Controls were still on-key like they were on PAX East, and I even found fixing your vehicle at the Pit Stop to be fairly easier than I remembered.

One of the other modes in Anything With An Engine I finally got to give a try was the Matador one, which has racing going head-on against one another at opposite sides of the track. Here not only do you have to watch the other racers you’re going against but also the ones that are pummeling towards you from the other side. I got smashed up big time when the tractor racer collided with my rocket man, losing the race by over a minute. Still it was an exciting twist to a genre that hasn’t seen this much originality in a long time. Also on-hand was “Chicken Bomb,” a survival mode that turns the last-place racer into a vengeful chicken that lays waste to the opponents. If there was ever a moment that truly left me in stitches at E3 it was seeing that fowl raise its explosive anarchy on the other racers.

The full game will have eight-player online multiplayer, as well as the classic split-screen mode for four players to battle it out with in the same room. You’ll be able to race through thirteen tracks and unlock new racers through the title’s Career Mode, with possibly new vehicles to be released via DLC. One other bit of news had me do a double-take: instead of it being an XBLA/PSN release Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine will now be available as a physical title on all three current-gen consoles. A release date will be sometime late this summer/early fall, though an official date has yet to be announced.

"Silent Hill" E3 Demo Drizzles More Than Downpours

Silent Hill has brought in many frights and chills since the first game debuted back in 1999, and while the following games had their ups and downs its core purpose continued eerily down its dark path. At E3 this year I had the opportunity to give the latest title in the series, Silent Hill: Downpour. Unfortunately the results I’ve seen so far have left me yawning more than shivering.

Downpour follows Murphy, a prisoner whose bus crashes in the southeastern region of Silent Hill. When he awakens he finds that both sides of the road have been completely destroyed, and that he is stranded at an abandoned truck stop. From there I had to escape via climbing on top of the gas station. (It took me ten minutes to figure out how to get up there, as the game’s camera system managed to keep the station’s ladder frustratingly hidden.) After exiting the area I found myself in front of a diner, where I was stopped by a Morgan Freeman-ish mail carrier. He had warned me that strange things have been going on around the town, and that I should be careful in regards to disturbing certain areas. Once inside the diner I searched through the vicinity, looking for my next clue in the kitchen in the form of a gas leak. By turning the gas off I somehow set the kitchen a-blaze.

Quickly I turned on the emergency sprinkler system, and the world around Murphy drastically changed into a industrial hellhole as the room begin to flood. That’s when Murphy realized that he will die if the water reaches the electrical equipment, so I had to find the water valve in order to shut it off. (After dying three times I finally managed to find its location: right behind me to the left.) After running into a room, I found a secret doorway by repositioning a crooked picture. The room glowed in a creepy red light, which followed me down a pathway that never seemed to end. I knocked down objects to obstruct the glow, and even ran around in circles to confuse it. Finally after being almost trapped in one of the rooms I found an opening at seemed to lead to safety, only to fall down a watery path that slid me downwards to another opening. It was right after that where I fought my only battle with one of the crazed, zombified townsfolk, giving an abrupt ending to the demo.

Though the game was still in its alpha stage there was a lot that left me worried. While there is still time to tinker with the graphics the overall look of Silent Hill: Downpour doesn’t look all too appetizing. I couldn’t help but think of the Wii title Calling, a horror game that showed a lot of potential had it not been for the fact that the graphics were bad, even for that console’s standards. The fact that the game is due to be out in October also has me worried that there won’t be enough time to fix up the graphics as best as Vatra Games can. Most important is the scare factor in the game, and if the demo is any indication of what I can expect from the full experience I will be finding myself bored out of my mind instead of frightened at the edge of my seat. The only good thing I could say about this demo was its control scheme, as it was fairly easy to figure out how to do just about everything in the game.

However I could be very-well surprised by Silent Hill: Downpour in the long-run. Perhaps what I played was merely just a bad demo of a good game in the making. I won’t know until Halloween season, though, so until I see some big progress with its development I will be keeping a skeptical distance away from this title.

Episode XC: X-Patriots of Liberty

Mr. Cuse returns from Costa Rica, and realizes why he should’ve stayed put in paradise!

This week the Bastards chime in on the news of L.A. Noire premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, and how Rockstar Games could expand on the detective genre on the future. Blueonic shares his thoughts on the 3DS’s release, and King Baby Duck looks at the demo for Rush’n Attack: Ex-Patriot. Blueonic previews Greg Hasting’s Paintball 2, Anvil and Mr. Cuse give their weekly sports report, and King Baby Duck reviews the recent Boston/Cambridge shows of Queens of the Stone Age, The Dough Rollers and Hunter Valentine. Finally Anvil wraps it up with a quick review of the movie Hall Pass. Oh yeah, and more bitching about the MBTA.

It all happens here on Episode 90: X-Patriots of Liberty!