Streets of Rage 2

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I actually played Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3 back then – but 2 for some reason was always my favorite of the trilogy. ~Nick Herber

Streets of Rage 2

This could fall under a Retro Reflection or a PlayStation Network Review, but I really did not want to break this down into a series of score points.  One of the titles I got to play while using PlayStation Plus was Streets of Rage 2 on the PSN.

streets-of-rage-2

This was a classic beat ’em up game from Sega that I played over and over again on my Sega Genesis.  I actually played Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3 back then – but 2 for some reason was always my favorite of the trilogy.  By today’s standards, it can be a bit slow and sometimes the fighting is a bit ‘cheap’ – but it is still a good throwback to the older days of gaming for those of us who recall Final Fight, Golden Axe, Double Dragon and Streets of Rage so fondly.
  streets-of-rage-2
The premise is pretty simple – you walk from one side of the screen to the other, causing it to scroll in your direction as you take on wave after wave of street thugs.  Each level culminates in some sort of a boss battle that is equal parts amusing and frustratingly cheap.  Along the way you will pick up a variety of items like food, money and weapons stored in random barrels, benches and more from the environment around you.
streets-of-rage-2
You can play the game with a friend, which I recall doing repeatedly when I was younger and it is still fun today.  There is an online versus mode as well that does not hold up nearly as well, for a variety of reasons.  One, the fighting mechanics are really shallow – Street Fighter IV this is not.  Additionally, it seemed like the connections were flaky at best a lot of times.  If I can run around environments like Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 and suffer no lag, then it seems baffling to me that a game like this would consistently have trouble keeping up during a single isolated fight.
Beyond that, it seemed like every time I was about to win, my opponent would disconnect with no fear of tangible penalty that I could detect.  Anyway, not a big deal as the majority of my time spent playing was just trucking through the actual story mode on my own.  I beat it two or three times over the span of a few days, and it definitely provided me with a nice dose of nostalgia along the way.

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Final Fantasy 3

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Fans of the classic Final Fantasy series will soon be able to play FF3 on their PSP. Final Fantasy 3 was originally released in 1990 by Square and was the first of the series to offer the job system. You start out as freelancers and over time will be able to learn one of 23 different jobs.

Final Fantasy 3 - gameplay screenshot

Now there will be some enchantments for the PSP version including optimized graphics for the 16:9 screen, an image gallery, and an option to switch to the original background music. Also included will be an auto-battle system that doubles the speed of in game combat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh9FKDHeGAw[/youtube]

Final Fantasy III will be available Tuesday September 25th on the PlayStation Network.

Sega Vintage Collection for PSN and XBLA

sega_vintage-collection

More retro gaming from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis are on their way to both PSN and XBLA. Soon you will be able to play the Monster World Collection, which comes with Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World and MWIV on May 23. Next up will be the arcade edition of Golden Axe along with Golden Axe 2 & 3 and the Streets of Rage Collection, which will feature all three games. These collections sell for 800 Microsoft Points each.

sega_vintage-collection

For the PSN you get Wonder Boys, Super Hang-On, Revenge of Shinobi, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World on May 22. These will sell individually for $5 each. Expect more retro gaming to be released in the next few months for both networks and as we get the details, we will bring it to you.

Nathan Bradford: Mr. Gravity

Mr.-Gravity-Indie-Games

Name: Nathan Bradford

Title: Marketer

Company: Mr. Gravity

SOTN

Favorite Classic Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXJShS2x60w[/youtube]

Why it is your favorite game:  The controls are simple yet addicting, there is a lot to explore in such an early game including lots of secrets that I’m still discovering despite having played through the game nearly a dozen times. There is a level system which makes me want to keep playing it rather than simply just going through it. There is more than one ending. Overall I feel it’s a very well made game for its time.

SAR: SEARCH AND RESCUE on PlayStation Network

It is always good when classic titles get a re-release and SNK has been releasing a ton of hits and here is another.

Sar - Search and Rescue

From their press release:

SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION  is proud to announce the North & South American release of new nostalgic SNK Arcade Classics “SAR – SEARCH AND RESCUE” as a PlayStation® minis title on PSP, via the “New Releases” category and the “SNK NEOGEO” Featured Publishers page available on the PlayStation®Store, from Tuesday, March 20th, 2012.

The SNK minis titles are a commemorative “retro-arcade emulation” project that allows players to enjoy a grand collection of action, shooting, platform, and action/puzzle titles. Many of these nostalgic, highly innovative arcade classics released during SNK’s Golden Age of action-shooting, etc. during the 80’s, are now exclusively available on PSP and compatible on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well for even greater enjoyment!

The previous sets of titles included some of SNK’s arcade masterpieces such as “ATHENA”, “GUERRILLA WAR”, “IKARI WARRIORS”, “P.O.W. – PRISONERS OF WAR”, “T.N.K. III”, and “VICTORY ROAD” along with a number of lesser known, yet revolutionary titles to be enjoyed by both retro gamers and younger generations of players alike.

SAR = Search And Rescue

 

The government sends down an investigation team to a crashed spaceship that had vanished off its course, in order to determine what actually happened… Infiltrate the spaceship, and battle hordes of alien monsters and robots, in this action-shooting masterpiece of SNK originally released in 1989.

SNK PLAYMORE USA Official Web Site: http://www.snkplaymoreusa.com

Evolution: Indie development in Russia and one company’s transition to the U.S.

The year 2011 – the year of hopes – is coming to its end and it is time to sum up the results. It is about six years of own game projects’ development and 11 years in the gaming industry. Next year means new goals!  For sure, they will be more ambitious than those in 2007, when the idea of Deep Black project was only emerging.

deep black

What was it like?

In the far 1997, when I was 18, I first saw PlayStation console.  I worked for a company that was doing semi-legal localisation of gaming software at those “wild” times in Russia. Working for the company was something beyond description – there were not more than 3 similar companies in whole Russia at that time.  I was very interested in software development and it took me three months to do first “game” that would successfully run on a modded PS1 console. That game earned me 1000 USD, which was very decent pay at that time in Russia – taking into account that I did both programming and drawing.

Starting with 1999, I worked as a producer of western products in the Russian market. It was easier, than developing games myself. My core tasks were to find indie games developed on GNU and buy them to publish in Russia. Indie developers were surprised, that they could earn some money in Russia.  Later there were Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and much more game systems.  Semi-legal companies would become legal or disappear, owners of companies would change, but the localisation issue was still important. A DVD-format came to Russia.

biart_logo

It was in 2002 when I decided to set up my own company – Biart.  A first version of the company’s logo was introduced and then changed in 5 years’ time.  We were a young team and didn’t think about business-strategies – things were going well anyway. So we started experiments with design, internet services, opened three sound-recording studios and two authoring studios.  And  I hoped  that one day we would  have enough potential to develop own gaming project. So why didn’t we start developing our own game at that time? It was because we understood that we didn’t know the market well.  Besides, we felt that everything had its time. You cannot force yourself.

In 2005, I met an indie developer with an interesting concept and as I also had similar ideas, I decided to make it a commercial project.  So I made up my mind to go into the project and started searching for a script writer, team, and product placement partners etc. We had a small office and some money to finance the development. The development took us a year. We worked hard and devoted our souls and hearts to our work.

So in 2007 Diver: Deep Water Adventures appeared on PC platform. Deals were good at that time and we decided not to play with royalties and prefer a flat fee scheme. Publishers were more adequate then compared to the period after the economic crisis. Publishers were hungry for games.

But our German publisher cheated us and we did not get the last payment from them. It was a guy from Gost Publishing who sold rights to Frogster without paying to the U.S. No need to say that Frogster assured us that they had paid it all. Stephane Gonod – the guy from Gost Publishing – disappeared and half a year later announced himself bankrupt. It is funny that a year ago he set up a new company in cooperation with an ex-Frogster employee and when we accidentally met at a conference, his only words were “Shit happens”. God will judge him.

So the project was released and there was a question – what’s next? I always strive to set new, more complicated goals, so development for PC was not so challenging for me anymore. Everybody was talking about game consoles and I realized that we should slow down with Diver 2 for a few years and devote ourselves to own multiple platform technology’s development.  And accordingly, our new goal was now to create own engine for next-gen titles. I sent an inquiry to Microsoft and a miracle happened – we got a status of an official developer! Thank you guys, if not for you, we would most definitely remain one of those numerous PC-only developers from Russia. So I was one of the first who brought Xbox 360 devkit to Moscow. It was not easy at all to deal with the Russian customs, but once again, thank you to our account manager – Alistair, you are the best!

There was another challenging task – where do we get people and how do we get a team if nobody in Russia can program for consoles, optimise the code and – most crucial – artists do content of very low quality level.  But as they say, believe and love what you do and you will find people who will believe in you and in your project.  Another hint – feel and understand who you are going to employ, for someone without experience is able to learn and the other is only going to “eat” your budget.  Speaking of numbers – it took us a year to experiment with staff and content. The real development itself started in late 2008 – 2009, when the team got skilled enough.

PS3-Deep-Black

The project’s original title was U-Wars. Later we renamed it to Deep Black. Platforms – PC and Xbox 360. It is a third-person shooter with key moments being fought onshore and underwater. Special underwater mechanics, jet pack etc.  The idea of the game appeared after I read various articles about special underwater operation forces. We started doing a game about these Special Forces but then I changed my mind and we did it in the sci-fi genre, abandoning the previous script.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FPSF8-d28Q[/youtube]

The period of active development of the game was 2010. At the same time, we went into agreements with publishers and started working on PlayStation 3 version of the game. It was not easy, but for sure it was a challenge for the team!

2011 is a year of the technology’s optimisation and content polishing. And now I am going to tell you about all drawbacks we had. I think this may be interesting.

  1. Content

We replaced our game designer three times. There are no experienced game designers in Russia, who know how to do shooters. In 2011, I took over and we spent the entire summer polishing and balancing the game.

We should have done feature cuts earlier. It hurt to cut when we had to do it later. Still even after the cut there were 10 hours of gameplay there. We also cut some game mechanics. Gradually you come to understand that it is better to do less but in decent quality.

The pipeline settled by the development’s final stage. I relied upon level designers’ common sense and some of them were wrong when incorrectly putting emphasis in level design.  For instance, level designers used to pay too much attention to places; a regular player would run by within three seconds and would not notice.

Our major problem was that we lacked experience. As a result, too many iterations.  If I started the project now, I could economize not less than 1.5M USD (total to-date budget 4.2M). The pipeline and exact task setting – this is what counts. When you feel that your ship is going in the wrong direction, do not be afraid to change your staff. I said good-bye to those who didn’t match our dream team in 2011. If you are an indie, fire those who only work for their salaries and who do not go with the level of your team.

  1. Technology

First, there was weak understanding of the architecture and some mistakes of the lead programmer.  Let me put it like this: we were unlucky with our technical architect and had to re-do the technology three times before we dismissed him.  Integration of new features to the render was changing the pipeline in terms of art. As said above, it took us one year to experiment with the technology and develop first toolset. To me, it was like a joker in the pack – the arts and programming departments would set some terms, but in reality it appeared that nobody had control of the situation. Difficult? It was. Especially when you invest your own money. And your employees do like to experiment 🙂 As a result – we finally got a working technology for Xbox 360 and PC in 2010… But our publisher then wanted PlayStation 3. I have to admit that we were afraid of it. And not in vain.

At that moment we had strong guys in our team and decided that we could do it. We got the hardware in August. And we realized that we had to do the impossible – once again re-write the whole architecture of the render and do refactoring of the engine, as our engine was not ready for PS3 architecture. And in October we had to show the Playable to the publisher.

Gritting their teeth, guys got down to work and analysed the entire code in every detail.  The publisher waited patiently for something playable for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I, as a producer, had to look into it too – it was a serious step to do considerable refactoring of the code. But I trusted the guys and they did it.

biengine

At the same time, we provided for the possibility of the engine to easily add new platforms, as well as mobile platforms. The previous code was designed for Xbox 360 and DirectX. The new one became a real engine. Within three months a playable for PS3 was available. …. But how slow it was! 🙂

In 2011, while doing a team test and fixing multiplayer for Xbox Live and PSN, programmers were focused on optimisation of the engine code and PS3 render. Numbers? Ok! We raised these two-three times for Xbox and four times for PSP! We had 25-35 fps on PS3 without Cell optimisation.   At the final stage of development. We even used to joke about Stereo, but had already dealt with feature cut and knew the importance of total concentration on our tasks.

We reduced our staff by middle of 2011 and left only key people. It was clear now that it was not enough to do a game and fix critical bugs. One has to pass certification! And, let me tell you, this depends on the quality of testing. It is tough, as you start finding weak points in the code, when something hasn’t been considered well.  And at the same time, you keep on spending your money… And you do postpone your other projects. We had a three month delay and moved release date. Very hard times…

On the whole, the project lasted a year longer than planned. On the one hand, it was due to PlayStations 3 porting, on the other though, because of overestimation  of own abilities.

What now?

We started developing concepts of two new projects in mid-2011 and are planning to release Depth Hunter game about underwater hunting and treasure hunting  by December, 2011.  It will be released for mobile platforms later. Yes! We are indeed developing a version of our technology for mobile platforms – IOS, Android.

And Deep Black is going to become MMOTPS. We are going to launch it as a Free-to-Play by the end of next year. Depth Hunter for mobile is going to be Free-to-Play too. We are eager to work on free-to-play for consoles. I do believe that this is going to be of top interest in 2012-2013.

We have registered an office in the USA (Delaware) this year. So far it is our legal HQ, but we are looking forward to getting money for Deep Black to move to the USA. Unfortunately our business is in Russia and it is getting more difficult to search for investments here, in Russia. Unreasonable loan terms and local investors who are eager to get a controlling interest at once make it challenging to do business in Russia.

The political situation in Russia is not predictable too. People talk a lot about it and do not trust the government. Guys, we do want to work and develop games, rather than wait for another revolution!

A Russian Association of Game Developers and Publishers of Game Industry and Interactive Technologies (http://www.radit.ru/) was set up in 2010 by a number of Russian companies. We were trying to promote development of simulator games and gain support to develop an equivalent of, for example, “Canada” in Russia.  But in our country you can only do business if you pay bribes. I spent two years and a lot of money trying to change things. I have held two conferences ACGI (2009, 2010, http://www.acgirussia.com/), but soon realised that they do not need us. I have no intention to have anything in common with the current authorities any more.

So at the moment I am busy transferring our contracts and licenses to the US, dealing with registration issues and searching for investors/ partners for a long-term cooperation.

We have always tried to develop not only original and quality games, but also high-tech games. I think that we have coped with our task in 2011. I am sure that we will cope with our new challenge – move to the US – in 2012.

Six years after the company set-up, we are facing a new stage of the company development. I am sure that the upcoming 2012 will bring success to all our games!

Konstantin Popov

Founder & CEO of Biart Company

SNK : NEO GEO Downloads

logo-snk-playmore

SNK Playmore USA has released three more classic games on the Playstation 3 network including:

ALPHA MISSION 

alpha mission

Pilot the fighter ship SYD and attack both air & ground based enemy targets, collect power-ups and defeat the bosses in this 1985 precursor to the early NEOGEO era sequel! The fate of Earth rests in your hands!

T.N.K. III

tnk-3

Play as Colonel Ralf, maneuvering your tank and firing its machine guns and cannon. Destroy the enemy army in this arcade classic originally released in 1985, featuring revolutionary controls for its time!

VANGUARD II

vanguard-2

Destroy hostile enemies and their massive base in this innovative sequel to the arcade hit!

Each game costs 2.99. For more information check out their official website.

New NEOGEO Station games released today

Neo-Geo

Playstation 3 fans rejoice, today you can download two new games from the NEOGEO station featuring classic NEO GEO games Shock Troopers and World Heroes:

SHOCK TROOPERS

A run-and-gun shooting game featuring 8 mercenaries who face a huge terrorist organization, enlist for action on NEOGEO Station! You can choose between 2 fighting styles: Control one character in “LONELY WOLF” mode, or pick up a team of 3 soldiers you can switch between at any time in “TEAM BATTLE” mode. Run through the battlefield and choose the best routes and strategy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKYHBAqANDc[/youtube]

WORLD HEROES

The famous versus fighting NEOGEO title with 8 historic characters who have traveled through time to fight each other is available on NEOGEO Station! Featuring two game modes, Normal and DEATH MATCH, where you’ll find merciless gameplay and stages full of traps! Choose your favorite hero from the 8 characters available and become the greatest warrior of all-time!

These downloads will cost between $6.99 & 8.99.

Check out the NEO GEO Station website here – http://neogeostation.snkplaymoreusa.com/na/

Batman Arkham City: Robin Pack

Batman-Arkham-City-robin

It looks as if the boy wonder has made his way into Arkham city, at least for those of you who purchase your pre-order through Best Buy. It is confirmed that Robin will be an exclusive playable character in Batman Arkham City and in addition, you will get access to challenge maps if you pre-order with Best Buy.

Here is what it says on their site.

While supplies last, pre-order the game for an exclusive downloadable Robin character. Robin is a fully playable character in the new and improved challenge mode in Batman: Arkham City. The Tim Drake Robin pack is available exclusively to fans who pre-order the game from Best Buy on Xbox 360, PC and PS3.

Robin comes complete with his own unique gadgets and special moves, and will be playable in all challenge maps in the game, as well as two additional challenge maps that are included with the pack: Black Mask Hideout and Freight Train Escape.

The pack will also contain a bonus Red Robin character skin.

A thousand two one this will be available within a few months on XBL and PSN, but still, to have this first is a bonus. Will you be buying it from Best Buy?

 

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

PSN gets Vagrant Story & Xenogears

Xenogears logo
Xenogears logo

Rejoice classic RPG fans soon you will be able your hands on two Square Enix titles. Although many of these titles have already been made available via PSN in Japan and even Europe poor USA has been left out in the cold until now. While we do not have a US release date as of yet it is forthcoming so keep it locked on the feed for more information.

Games to Buy: Console Edition: Nov 21 2010

video games store
video games store

A new name and a new way of doing our weekly report on games coming out the following week. With so many games out there the fact is some will be worth the cash and some will not be. Beyond that some games may be worth picking over the others and so we have come up with a dollar sign rating system. One $ means it can wait until it’s in the bargain bin and five $’s means you should be waiting in line to purchase it.

This week we have a good mix of new games and classic games being released, in fact pretty much every game is either a follow up of the old or a remake of an old game. This is just more proof of how important classic games are. So sit back enjoy the trailers and commentary and get your wallet warmed up.

Gran Turismo 5

With over 1000 cars and 71 courses to choose from Gran Turismo 5 is a racers wet dream. Sure, there has been a ton of delays for this game but with the way it looks now it seems to be worth the wait. Of course you will be able to race basic cars from Honda and Ford, but you will also be able to get behind the big boys like the Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren F1. A ton of brand new tracks have been added including the Top Gear test track and many more tracks offering night driving and the new dynamic weather system. All in all if you are a racing fan or just a car aficionado and have a PS3 then you have to pick up this game.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have to bow to the Wii on this one because I loved the original DKC and this version looks incredible. Donkey and Diddy are back and you have never seen two apes go through so much for some bananas. The game is as massive as it is beautiful offering various lands including a jungle, beach, ruins, caves and a forest. As with the classic Donkey Kong Country the environment matters from knowing where and when to jump to the assortment of enemies on the screen and in the background.

This game brings back all the love and frustration of the original. Honestly, if you are not a pro platformer or haven’t played DKC before you might have a hard time because this game is tough. The mine cart level alone can drive you as crazy as Ninja Gaiden did me. In addition, even the boss fights will not be simple and it takes timing and recognizing the right pattern to win. However, it is totally worth it and with the visuals, the music and the awesome controls Donkey Kong Country is a must have for fans of the series and platform game lovers.

Buy Worthiness: $$$$

Splatterhouse

If you love beating the holy hell out of demons and monsters then this game is for you. The folks over at Namco Bandai have taken a bit longer than expected to release this game and they have gone through some troubles, but all in all the new Splatter house looks to be a fun game.

The game pretty much is a reboot and you play as Rick who was murdered when his girlfriend Jennifer was kidnapped by the evil Dr. West. As you lay dying a demon mask bonded with your body brining you back and now the two of you need each other. Rick needs the masks power to make his way through the horde to his girl and the mask needs rick to feed it the blood of pretty much anything.

The visuals look really good and the game is more than just blood and guts, though that is most of what it is. There is also a puzzle component to the game and you have to take time moving through some levels. However, what makes the game is the gore and you can pull of spectacular murder moves on your enemies and use the environment to take them out as well.

All in all if you liked the original and have a flair for eviscerating people then this game is worth a pick-up.

Buy Worthiness: $$

Honorable mentions

We have a bonus this week, two classic games that are sure to give you some enjoyment.

Crazy Taxi

The incredibly fun taxi driving game from the Dreamcast is back. Choose your driver and transport your passenger across town in the craziest manner possible. This game is loads of fun and it’s good to see this Dreamcast game coming to the 360.

Worms: Battle Islands

War on an epicly small scale, take control of your worms and battle against your friends using tons of different warfare tactics. Believe me, don’t let the cute voices and visuals fool you. In Worms you have to have some strategy or you will be…err worm food.

Low Balance

So that’s this week’s top buys. We will be back next Tuesday with another rundown on what games to buy.

Martyn Brown: Team 17 Software

Team 17 logo
Team 17 logo

Name: Martyn Brown

Company: Team17 Software Ltd.

Profession: Everything over the years, currently heading up business development at Team17.

Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager (ZX Spectrum, circa 1983)

Quote: “I openly admit hiding behind the sofa, not able to look, when I guided the mighty Lincoln City to Wembley.”

Bio: I co-founded Team17 in 1990 and have been here for 20yrs. Recent releases in 2010 for Team17 have been Worms Reloaded on Steam for PC,  Alien Breed: Impact on Steam and PlayStation Network for PS3, Alien Breed 2: Assault on XBLA and Steam, Worms 2: Armageddon on PlayStation Network for PS3 and also on iPhone and iPad. Forthcoming releases include Alien Breed 2: Assault on PSN, Alien Breed 3: Descent for XBLA, Steam and PSN and also Worms: Battle Islands for PSP from PlayStation Network as well.

Classic X-Men Arcade coming to XBL and PSN

Xmen Arcade 1
Xmen Arcade 1

Long before I became a crack head for X-Men versus street fighter I fell in love with the X-Men arcade game. I use to spend tons of money (for a kid) on this game because it was just that fun. The large arcade cabinet with multiple screens and six player action was the best and many games followed that lead after its success.

Sure some gameplay elements were strange like the fact you could only do your special attacks a few times. Most of the time you were punching and kicking and taking advantage of a downed opponent, but with the ease of the standard cannon-fodder enemies it wasn’t a big deal. When you went up against bosses (like the Brotherhood of Evil mutants) that was the time to let loose and use your special powers. The boss fights were fun with the little dialog they would say before and after the fight.

When playing with six people the action go crazy. There would be a ton of bad guys on the screen and the bosses were even tougher. In the end you went up against the master of magnetism in an epic final battle.

Now you can relive all that action on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Konami and Marvel will be launching X-men arcade on the Playstation Network and X-box live this fall. The game will support 1-4 players locally and 1-6 players online and best of all just like the arcade people can jump in the game at any time.

All the original characters are there, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine and the original graphics and sound has been preserved. However, there are new Hi-Def heads up displays, menus and leaderboards. You can create online matches, change the difficultly, choose how many people you want to play and who will be the host.

We should have more pricing information and release dates soon, but since this is the feed if you get the scoop first post it here and let us know.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1: A Mediocre Adventure Begins!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title

It has been sixteen dark years since the last true Sonic game made its debut. Sega ventured on towards 3D adventures with their signature Blue Flash and since then the fandom that followed Sonic slowly converted to Mario or lost interest in the platform genre as a whole. The masses cried out, their faces stained in the salt of dry tears for Sega to remember the past, remember their roots! After witnessing the success of Megaman 9 and 10, Sega’s minds opened up to hope and the prayers of their fans finally fell upon eager ears. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the continuation of the main 2D adventure line was to be restored! Thousands upon thousands of loyalist creamed their pants at the mere thought of Sonic returning to his true form. Surely, Sega would remember what made Sonic great.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. The return of Sonic is anything but a sequel to Sonic and Knuckles. The developers of Sonic 4 didn’t seem to know what made Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles stand on their own as epic platforming adventures. All that they remembered was the formula of level design and loops. The game plays like a mix mashed combination of both Sonic 1 and 2.

The first thing I noticed about this game that bothered instantly once I noticed it, was Sonic’s amazing brakes. I remember in the old games that Sonic used to come to a skidding stop. In this iteration of our hero, he just stops. If you want Sonic to stop where you want, he will. Sometimes midair I could just stop moving forward during an initial jump and slide down an invisible wall when all I wanted to do was reduce my jumping speed. The biggest most daunting issue I had with this was when I’d complete a zone with 50 gold rings and attempted to jump into the bonus stage golden ring at the sign post. Most of the time, I’d run right past it and think “Crap!” and try to run back in time as Sonic zooms off screen. As I made the jump toward the ring, autopilot would kick in and Sonic would just collapse like a ragdoll to the ground in front of it and walk away off screen again.

Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog
Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog

Our hero also seems to enjoy walking like a robot because his running animation from start to finish is one of the least inspiring displays of speed picking up I’ve ever witnessed in a game before. His legs stiff up like Al Gore as he slowly walks forward. I seemed to be in top speed during this ridiculous take off as Sonic trudged off with an ungraceful motion due to his lack of kneecaps. Suddenly, his legs would turn into red blurs as he ran at what was supposed to depict top speeds. Regrettably, the robotic movement lacking any fluid shift was already top speed so this animation lacked any real dramatic achievement.

An inclusion to the core game play is a homing missile aerial dash which was introduced in Sonic Adventures. While this attack was a welcome addition to the 3D adventure, its transition to 2D is rather obnoxious. The difficulty of calculated attacks and hitting small openings on enemies vanishes with this ability and takes away from the nostalgia of Sonic. Many menacing old school villains which took clean precision and timing to kill, such as Orbinaut, become trivial obstacles in Sonic’s path with the addition of the aerial assault.

Super Sonic by MRi
Super Sonic by MRi

The tracks in the zone Sonic robotically glides through are lacking any real enemies. Sure a villain shows up every now and then but they are easily bypassed with the homing attack. Most of the perils in the levels are spikes and pitfalls but the track you go by makes these traps seem more like scenery than anything else as most ramps toss you over spikes. Pitfalls can be easily avoided since the levels are set up in multiple tiers and you can go cascading through the air and end up landing on a lower section of the zone. When you do die though from pitfalls, it is a surprise as there are no real warning signs of its upcoming occurrence. 90% of the time you land on something when you fall. 10% of the time there just isn’t anything and the plummet is so stretched you don’t even realize it’s a pitfall until you hear the reminiscent Sonic fatality sound.

Super Sonic makes a return once you manage to collect all the Chaos Emerald in their tilt-a-whirl secret zones. I did mention earlier how the game is mostly comprised of traps, remember? Super Sonic doesn’t seem to really run faster than his blue form and there aren’t many enemies in the way to pummel through. What you end up having is useless invincibility that slowly eats away at your life force. I didn’t find any use for Super Sonic in this game at all since most deaths were instant kills anyway.

Another thing that peeved me about the game was the music. Sonic is known for its memorable songs. I can still remember a few and hum them every now and then when I sit on the toilet seat while reading a book. The musical director for this installment must have been Keyboard Cat as all of the songs use and abuse repetitive keys with a trumpet blaring every so often. I can’t recall a single song in my head right now despite how hard I may try.

The art style in the game lacks any inspiration at all. In fact, most of the zones are just rehashed models of zones from Sonic 1. The backgrounds in the game are bland and look like something found in a free game application on the Android Market. I was reminded of games with a smaller budget and less gameplay like Totemo as I ventured further through the game’s uninspiring scenery. Some of the cogs you were supposed to interact with in Dr.Robotnik’s Lair (Yeah, I said it. Eggman sounds stupid.) seemed to be part of the background because of their dull color and slow almost shuddering movement. There were times I’d be standing around a level wondering what I am supposed to be doing only to realize that the background was actually part of the foreground.

Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog
Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog

Speaking of the good doctor, he seems to have lost that knack for creativity we had come to know his boss battles for. In each of the four zones, you fight a familiar nostalgic battle with Robotnik. As your heart flutters from your excitement of revisiting these famous bouts, half way through the battle Robotnik changes gears and gets a bit more hardcore. Each of the initial four encounters are pretty easy and Robotnik does his usual fleeing as you free your bunny friends. When you finally reach Robotnik’s space station, Sega decided to pull a Mega Man and have you fight Robotnik again in each of his four forms you battled him in throughout the campaign. The only difference in these battles from the previous skirmishes is that the doctor kicks up his rage a notch. None of his geared up antics were too difficult and are unbelievably forgettable. I just beat the game two hours ago and I can barely remember any of his new antics. To top off the insult of mutilating old battles, they decided to change one of the greatest fights with Robotnik at the end of the game. Robotnik jumps into the colossal robotic version of himself with a jetpack from Sonic 2. The major difference between that battle and this one is that you have a homing jump and there are a ton of openings to hit the suit this time. To say the least possible without ruining the tactics involved in this battle, I didn’t have to think or struggle too hard to end the game.

The game doesn’t stand on its own in the series. Fans who may run for this installment of Sonic’s latest and greatest adventure for scraps of nostalgia will be sorely disappointed and only the most hardcore of Hedgehog fans (Laraque) could find any real entertainment in this game. I, on the other hand, wish I played Comic Jumper instead. It is only the first episode of the Sonic 4 series, and more episodes may add more features but the lackluster experience of Episode 1 has left me with the taste of duran fruit in my mouth, something I never want to taste again regardless of presentation.

Games coming out Oct 10th for Consoles

Video Games funny poster
Video Games funny poster

I hope you either have rich parents, a good job or the unemployment check can be diverted from being used for Ramen noodles to video games because the week of October 10th has some great cash draining games.

Medal of Honor

War is hell; war in Medal of Honor is beautiful. When you have the perfect mix of exciting gameplay and incredible graphics then you have a winner. MOH has come back in 2010 with engaging missions, intense firefights and state of the art sound and graphics that puts you right in the game. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Check out the video from the helicopter mission.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode

There is not much more I can say that wasn’t covered in our preview of the game, but while this is a download title, for Sonic fans it’s a slice of heaven. True enough this is not breaking new stuff and some even feel it is nothing more than a Sonic Rush rehash, but the gameplay is fun, the visuals are a prefect mix of classic and modern and the music… well the music needs work, but hey its only fifteen bucks.

Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring

We got to look at this game while at E3 and if you are a wrestling fan in the very least then this title is worth taking a look at. Lucha Libre is Mexican style wrestling and that means high-flying stunts and crazy insane costumes. Pretty much it’s like playing a highlight reel of the WWE or TNA, on crack. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are stunning so if you need a break from the normal step into the ring with the Lucha Libre’s

So there you are three titles worth checking out next week and since one is a download it shouldn’t break your bank too much. I’ll be back next with a look at the games coming out for consoles the week of Oct 17th. Until then go make some extra cash.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

For fans of the classic Sonic games Christmas has come early. This month you will be able to purchase Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 on the iTunes App Store, Wii Shop Channel, Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in just about a week.

Story

The story takes place right after Sonic and Knuckles. With Mecha Sonic destroyed and Eggman defeated Sonic returns the Master Emerald to Angel Island, but as you can guess the ol Doc isn’t going to take his defeat lightly.

Characters

SONIC:

Sonic is back and retains all his signature moves from the previous series including super speed, spin dash and homing attack. After defeating Dr. Eggman Sonic flies off into the sunset with Tales. Soon after he decides to take off on his own to discover a new territory and so begins the next adventure.

Dr. EGGMAN

Sometimes when you lose you think back on what you did wrong. After his defeat Dr. Eggman decides to go back and revisit and refine the best of what he created in the past. What this means for fans is some of the best areas and badniks from the previous titles with some new improvements.

Zones

Like many of the classic Sonic games Sonic 4 will bring you something old and something new. Some zones will have that familiar feel, but with updated graphics, music and badguys.

Splash Hill Zone

This zone will mirror many of the starting zones from classic Sonic including The Green hill zone. This costal paradise has green trees, rolling hills and bright blue waters, a perfect place for Dr. Egghead to start his mischief.

You can expect a lot of what you saw in Angel Hill with lots of rolling hills, spikes and springs to rocket you across the landscape. You can also swing from vines to get to higher ground and the waterfalls look pretty cool and you can swim up them to get to your destination.

Lost Labyrinth

Some fans call them zone clichés and I guess I have to agree to a point, but there is a reason for the pattern and in this case the old mixed with the new makes a great combination. In Lost Labyrinth the theme is ancient ruins in the vein of Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2 and Marble Garden from Sonic 3. However, while this zone has the underwater ruin feel of its predecessors it adds a lot more including a Indian Jones style mining cart riding experience and you even get chased by a bolder and yes the water bubbles are still there.

This zone really takes the ruins aspect to the max; it almost has a Tomb Raider feel to it. There are classic areas to the zone including running through a maze, traversing underwater and needing to take in air bubbles. In addition you can ride a mine cart roller-coaster style and try and keep your balance on a metal bolder. If that isn’t enough there are water slides and a part where you have limited light.

Casino Street

It’s all bright lights and big city, the Casino inspired zone is taken directly from Sonic two and expanded upon with more bells and whistles than a Vegas slot machine. Speaking of which the Sonic slots are back where you can win or lose coins. Also returning is the pin ball themed areas that bounce you around the zone.

I loved the Casino Zone from “2” the slot machines were my favorite and I’m glad to see it back in “4”. I loved what they did with the playing cards being able to ride them and play mini-games with them. The pinball areas are well done and look to be a lot of fun and the over-all theme is presented nicely.

Mad Gear

It is the world Dr. Eggman wants to see, industrial with gears and pistons and I am sure a ton of pollution. This zone is in the same vein of Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant or Sonic 3’s Metropolis Zone. The colors here are not as bright and vibrant and that’s the point.

Every Sonic games has a zone like this which represents what kind of world Eggman wants, the steel and iron replaces the glass and trees of earlier levels. Also often the levels are harder to speed through as you end up spending more time jumping and avoiding traps and pitfalls.

Music

The music still has the melody of some of the earlier games, but a lot more is added to it compared to the tracks of Sonic 2 & 3. In each of the tracks you can hear the slightest hint of the original zone it was created based on and in some cases it is very clear.

[mp3player width=300 height=150 config=fmp_jw_osg_config-xml.xml playlist=sonic-the-hedgehog-4.xml]

Personally I like the simpler themes of the older games. I understand what Sega is doing adding more to their stage themes, but sometimes simple is good especially for those of us who love to remix.

Interview


From E2 2010

Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about Sonic 4:

  • This is only Episode 1 meaning there will be future episodes
  • There will be alternate endings if you collect all the emeralds and the ending will connect and continue with episode 2
  • There will be 4 total zones with three acts per zone plus boss battles and bonus world
  • There will be achievements which will unlock special endings
  • New skills and characters along with zones will be released in future episodes

Some fans are already claiming Sega is milking it with the episodes, but from the looks of it you will get your money’s worth per episode. This is a complete game and while short will give you the bang for the buck, that is if you are a Sonic fan.

Release Info

Now that you have an idea of what to expect here is the low down on when and where you can find it and for how much:

  • Nintendo Wii – Via Shop Channel – Oct 11th for 1500 Wii points
  • Playstation 3 – Via PlayStation Network – Oct 12th for $14.99
  • Xbox 360 – Via XBL Marketplace – Oct 13th for 1200 Microsoft Points
  • Iphone/Ipad – Via iTunes App Store – Oct 7th for $9.99

[poll id=”6″]

Overall

There was a lot of hate over some of the later Sonic games, fans wanted more of the original, but the question remains if this version will satisfy the purists who want their Sonic 2 & 3 days back with those who don’t want to shell out $15 bucks for what some call “New levels for an old game.”

I, like many old school gamers, care about the gameplay over the flashing lights, we rather play a good game that stays true to its roots than a re-envisioningthat ruins the franchise. The idea of updating slightly, but not changing too much is not new, just look at StarCraft 2 for an example. Personally as a fan of classic Sonic this game is a winner for me. Is it groundbreaking and new, no, but we tried that with Sonic and for me it did not live up to the name.

I look forward to this game and once I get my hands on it will bring you a more in depth review.

 

POD: MegaMan Universe

Megaman Universe logo
Megaman Universe logo

Today’s picture of the day comes from Capcom’s upcoming release for Xbox live and PlayStation Network, MegaMan universe.

Mega Man games are beloved by fans all over the world. Since their debut in 1987, Mega Man has remained a videogame icon, having starred in more than 140 titles over the last 22 years. The connection he’s made with pop culture at large has extended beyond games and into cartoons, toys, clothing, comics, kid’s meals, and more. Part of that popularity is driven by the series’ ability to evolve over time yet consistently retain the addictive gameplay experience that sets Mega Man games apart.

 

 

 

As a bonus check out the first gameplay video showcasing three of the playable characters in MegaMan universe and an introduction from creator Keiji Inafune.

 

Why am I still paying for Xbox Live?

Pool Balls XBL – PSN
Pool Balls XBL – PSN

So, as everyone knows by now, Xbox Live got that wonderful price hike of $10. It’s not too big of a deal I guess, although nobody likes a price hike. It is just $10, but it’s brought up two interesting points for me. People keep saying that Playstation Plus isn’t worth it, and Xbox Live is. This interests me because I am attracted to things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For this segment, I will refer to the whole of PSN (as opposed to specific PS+ things) and the whole of XBL. Now with that in mind, the two points I have are, essentially, 1) Why do people think Xbox Live is better than PSN? and 2) Why in God’s name am I still paying for Xbox Live?

I’m not saying Xbox Live isn’t bad, it’s great, if you only have an Xbox. If you have both, ultimately it should come down to where your friends are (most of mine are on PSN, just as a disclaimer) but even for the actual services, what you get is mostly different. So lets look at the new breakdown:

Playstation Plus Logo
Okay, I will admit this peggle-looking ad is a bit much…

PSN(+):

  • $50 a Year or $20 for 3 months
  • Timed 60 min game trials, (option to purchase after)
  • Qore
  • Free PS1 games every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Free PS Minis every 2 weeks (as long as you have it)
  • Discounts on DLC, Downloadable games, essentially everything but full games
  • Access to Betas that they keep out of the hands of the free customers
  • (Free already) Online multiplayer
  • (Free already) Video Chat

I didn’t make any of that up, it’s everything i’ve gotten so far being a PSN+ member. Maybe because popular opinion is so far in Xbox Live Gold’s direction that they feel that they have to practically spoil PSN+ customers in order to get them to pay (and given the opinion of most so far, it’s probably true) but that is a lot of stuff for $50 a year. With Xbox Live Gold, I get:

Xbox Live
Xbox Live

XBL Gold

  • $60 a year, $10 a month or $25 for 3 months
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Facebook & Twitter
  • Parties/Cross game Chat
  • Last FM
  • ESPN
  • Video Kinect
  • Demos that they keep out of the hands of the free customers

I didn’t bother putting anything about video or Netflix, because they both can do them, and besides anything the Wii can do technologically isn’t up for discussion here. Thats all I can find for both PSN+ and XBL. This list speaks for itself. Essentially it’s more money for less features. If we take the “it’s where my friends are” out of the equation (because it’s circumstantial) the better service is the one with the better features, and honestly, that’s Playstation Plus. There just aren’t many (if there are any at all) discounts of games on XBL, and there’s absolutely nothing free ever unless there’s a large cutoff of Xbox Live, and even then you get a free game like “Diner Dash” that nobody plays anyway.

Be honest, how many times do you use this?

I don’t see this as a rant against XBL so much as I see it a rant against the people who say that Playstation Plus is “not worth it.” Be honest, didn’t you just use Facebook & Twitter that one time just to see if it worked, then never use it again? Of course you did, because you use Facebook and Twitter on your computer and phone, because that’s where it’s easiest to use. And even Facebook on Xbox Live doesn’t work as well as Facebook on PSN. On XBL, you can edit your status and see your friends status updates and all that fun stuff you can already do on your computer, only now with the added frustration of using analog sticks or a keyboard the size of a pack of gum to type it. The Playstation 3 has a web browser if that’s what you’re really into. (Or you could, you know, just use a f**ing computer) So when we see things like the Playstation 3 posting your trophy accomplishments and things you’ve purchased to Facebook in order for your friends to comment on them, that’s what I want to see out Facebook. Give me a reason to use Facebook on my PS3 specifically, not just a game console port of it.

Speaking of that sentiment, there is XBL’s ESPN service, which is exactly what I was just talking about. Now there’s a reason to watch ESPN specifically on your Xbox. Ratings, Video on Demand, all those wonderful things will probably make it a blast to use on XBL, and that’s the point.  It’s better than the service we have now, so it compels users to use the console version rather than the everywhere else on the damn planet version.

Now the last part of this is simple: it’s why I wont be using Xbox Live Gold anymore, because it’s a waste of money for me personally, for several reasons:

First off, my Xbox 360 is not currently connected to the internet. It can be, I just have to run my 100ft ethernet cable from my room all the way to the living room where my computer’s internet connection is, literally on the other side of my house. it barely makes it. Seeing as that’s absolutely ridiculous, I really don’t want to do that every time I turn on my Xbox. It’s obvious that my 20 gig system doesn’t have wifi, otherwise this wouldn’t be a problem. But it is. It’s a huge problem. Honestly, it matters most because I need a bigger hard drive, and since Microsoft only uses proprietary hard drives that are practically Netbook expensive, I figure I might as well combine the two and just get a whole new system. Maybe with that ugly grey controller with the better D-Pad. Another $300 to replace a working system I already have? Sure Microsoft, got that right here for you.

I didn’t want to talk about it in the actual fact based part because it’s so circumstantial, but now that i’m talking about myself I can say I really have no friends on Xbox Live. All but one of my friends are on PSN, and frankly, he’s not worth it. If he was reading this right now, I’d tell him that unless he wants to split the cost of XBL with me, i’m not paying $50 a year to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 with him. Left 4 Dead 2 was the game I played most on online multiplayer, and that came in a whopping 5 times. Why am I still paying for this?

I do of course, buy XBLA-exclusive games, because every so often someone releases a puzzle game that will scare the ever loving hell out of everyone that lives here, and probably some of my neighbors and me in a past life. But I can do that on Silver, which isn’t $60, it’s free. I’ve heard that certain demos or games come out a week later on Silver, but okay I can wait a week for that much money.

Here’s a huge difference. With PSN+, I get a lot of “free” stuff. Yes I know it’s not free, i’m paying $50 a year for it, but as we’ve seen with XBL, they don’t have to give it to me. But they do. And I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Mortal Kombat II was half off, some of the Minis are fantastic (Age of Zombies mostly) and the other discounts make it so that for that $50, I’m getting actual games. It’s allowed me to play things I’d never even consider looking at before, just because my subscription brings them to the forefront.

XBL is $60, and PSN+ is $50. In my opinion, PSN+ does a lot more to warrant my money than XBL does. But tell me, when looking at all the things both services offer, regardless of which console your friends are on, which service would you go for?

GAMES COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 2010 FOR CONSOLES

Halo Reach trailer
Halo Reach trailer

Ah September the time when many go back to school and fall is just around the comer. Nah, forget about that, you can’t tell the seasons are changing if you are locked onto your television screen now can you? This month there is actually a good reason to succumb to your gaming addition.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts saga can rejoice the Square Enix hit is back. Here’s the story: Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds’ safety lay in the hands of the true Keyblade Masters. Three youths – Terra, Ventus and Aqua – have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery. But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own – just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing. Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning. I really was hoping to see some Marvel characters since Disney acquired the studio. Maybe next time.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Quick, what’s better than Spider-man? If you said four Spider-men then you are correct. Activision releases Shattered Dimensions which has Spider-man fighting to reassemble pieces from a shattered tablet and along the way he runs in the different versions of himself. Hey, as long as it’s not as bad as that awful clone saga this one could be interesting.

Halo: Reach

Seriously, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this game? Simply put, if you like any of the Halo’s you are getting this game and if you don’t well I guess this awesome trailer will mean nothing to you.

Dead Rising 2

So there is this gameshow where you battle against a city full of zombies and if that isn’t enough other human players. Dead Rising 2 is a zombie slayers wet dream and with thousands of ways to take out your undead foes it is guaranteed to keep you interested this fall.

Now there are more games being released, but honestly with a line-up like this you are going to be booked this month. Don’t worry though October is looking good to with games like Castlevania: Lord of Shadow so stay tuned.

Games Coming Out August 2010 For Consoles

PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii
PS3 vs Xbox 360 vs Wii

It use to be August was the last change to get out and do what you really wanted to do for the summer before school started up again. Today, many of us stay inside because the sun burns. (It really really burns) Good thing the console market knows this and releases a ton of great games for the last summer push.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair – Aug 1

It’s like multi-player dungeon crawling. True in this version of the famous Castlevania series you do see the entire map, you know where the traps and enemies are and you know where the boss is, but the fun it making your way to it. HOD received mixed reviews original and now in its XBL form it’s still receive mixed reviews, but even with the gameplay changes it still has the heart of Castlevania and is still a fun play.

Earthworm Jim HD – Aug 1

If you don’t know who Earthworm Jim is turn in your classic gaming card. This remake of the 1994 side-scrolling classic as been updated graphically and in its gameplay including a four player co-op mode. It still has all the cow loving, earthworm eating fun of the original with a fresh coat that will bring a smile to any XBL arcade fans face.

 

 

Madden NFL 2011 – Aug 8

Full disclosure I never liked the idea that EA had a monopoly on the NFL gaming franchise, but with that said it looks as if the simpler, quicker, deeper plan behind Madden 11 might bring in the few fans that aren’t playing it. Some may think it a step back, but let’s face it people don’t want to need a degree to play a game and in our instant gratification world the fast we get to the good parts the better. The improved online play and animation is also a nice touch and really shows that EA wanted to make important changes and improvements to their game. As I said I prefer competition as well, but Madden NFL 2011 looks pretty good and even I might give it a go.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – Aug 15

Guns, bullets, a girl and a dog it seems. Dog Days is the sequel to the original and features improved gameplay over the original as the boys are on a mission to save a loved one. I agree with what Kane said; “She better be worth it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mafia II – Aug 24th

As one person put it; “It’s GTA4 with class.” Mafia II immerses you in the world of the 1950’s criminal underworld with an open world map meaning you can go pretty much anywhere you want at any time. However, by sticking to the storyline you move your way up the ladder as you complete missions from drop offs to raids on rival gangs.

Metroid: Other M – Aug 29th

One of the best games of all time is back and fans of the Wii couldn’t be happier. Samus is back and she brought some cool additions with her like the morph ball and her visor which can scan the new lush environments found in this latest game. Everything fans of the series love is still there from careful puzzle solving to menacing boss battles. Simply put, if you have a Wii you have to get this game.

Happy Birthday Sonic – Sonic Sale

Sonic the Hedgehog Cake
Sonic the Hedgehog Cake

Our little Hedgehog turns nineteen tomorrow and to celebrate Sega is slashing prices on all their downloadable Sonic titles. The sales will be spread out across different platforms meaning Xbox Live will have a sales period, Playstation Network and so on.

Here is a list of the sales for each group:

PlayStation Network: June 22-July 6
Sonic All-Stars Racing: Metal Sonic Death Egg $7.99 $5.49
Sonic All-Stars Racing: Ryo with Forklift Character $4.99 $3.49
Sonic Unleashed Apatos & Shamar Adventure Pack $2.99 $1.99
Sonic Unleashed Chun-nan Adventure Pack $2.99 $1.99
Sonic Unleashed Empire City & Adabat Adventure $2.99 $1.99
Sonic Unleashed Holoska Adventure Pack $2.99 $1.99
Sonic Unleashed Mazuri Adventure Pack $2.99 $1.99
Sonic Unleashed Spagonia Adventure Pack $2.99 $1.99
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006: Very Hard Missions $2.49 $1.49
Sonic Unleashed Add On Bundle $17.94 $8.99
Sonic Racing Add On Bundle $12.98 $6.49
Sonic Rivals 2 (PSP via PSN) $19.99 $13.99
Sonic Rivals (PSP) $15.99 $10.99
Sonic Rivals 1 & 2 Bundle (PSP) $35.98 $17.99

iTunes AppStore: Wed June 23rd to Wed June 30th
Super Monkey Ball $4.99 $2.99
Sonic the Hedgehog $5.99 $3.99
Super Monkey Ball 2 $5.99 $3.99
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $5.99 $3.99
Streets of Rage $2.99 $0.99
Golden Axe $2.99 $0.99
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Ed. $7.99 $4.99

Xbox LIVE Marketplace: June 24 (one day only)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $5.00 $3.00
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 $5.00 $3.00
Sonic the Hedgehog $5.00 $3.00
Sonic & Knuckles $5.00 $3.00

The Lion, The Witch, and The Mouth Breather

Angry Multiplayer

You are traversing with a small battalion of your closest friends through a seething cave leading toward the coiling serpent dragon which has daunted your whole lot for the past three weeks. This monster has left the nearby village smoldering, killed your king, left the country in shambles and you’ve gathered a force formidable enough to make this monstrosity’s blood fill the rivers from their draught. The time has come. It is asleep. The archers ready their bow; your knights raise their shields defensively; the finger tips of your mages are encompassed by the hostile arcane. You are ready. Your blade cuts through the air like a guillotine towards the nape of the behemoth’s neck. You are suddenly countered by a shrieking voice which drops your whole party to their knees. “MOM! Give me thirty more minutes! I’m raiding with my friends! No!!! I won’t get off! I hate you!”

The Lion The Witch And The Mouth Breather
The Lion The Witch And The Mouth Breather

For those who game online, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is the whining little kid in your party who is constantly on open mic, screaming at his mother about how unfairly they treat him. The ranting doesn’t end. Oh no, far from it. It continues for hours unless someone takes the initiative to kick this mouth breather out of your Vent channel. If there’s one thing that can ruin online gaming it’s the damn, disrespectful gamers who do not use Push-To-Talk when you’re playing. Oh, and before I continue, I’m not hating on little kids who are filled with angst because I hate almost all people who don’t know how to cover their microphones. I’m going to go ahead and divide these various personas up and give you a diagnosis of why they are a bane to internet multiplayer.

· Pizza Eating Joe – Joe is or wishes he was a frat boy. He thinks he’s cool online by exposing his wit in the midst of quoting movies, cackling at every joke and getting involved in every conversation. While these characteristics are enough to want to hurt Joe, he does something that crosses the line of internet ethics (yes, the internet has ethics). Joe likes to chew pizza with an open mic and lets everyone hear it. The most direct method to ending this gushing ambiance is to tell Joe to push the microphone away while he purees his food down his gullet. He illogically retorts with reassurance that the pizza is very delicious. No one cares, Joe. We don’t want to think about that greasy pizza touching your microphone increasing the chances of it rubbing against your acne ridden face. His intentions are simple. He’s cool and he’s eating pizza. He wants you to experience how awesome he is when he eats pizza.

· Mouth Breathing Mendoza – Mendoza has one issue or another which causes him to have a problem breathing. Be it a stuffy nose, obesity, respiratory issues, or he just breathes like an ogre, Mendoza feels the need to place his mic either on the rimming of his booger-encrusted nose or gently caressing his upper lip area. He knows Push-To-Talk is there but he feels it is a priority that you hear what he has to say amidst all of his wheezing. All you will hear is his deep, pedophiliac breathing on your ear for moments at a time until he finally says something that is blatantly obvious to all parties involved in the situation. It isn’t even enough that he quietly lingers just to blurt these sudden non-issue comments but his voice output exceeds any safety regulation the Lord has put forth for your ears to survive and endure. One night with Mouth Breathing Mendoza and you leave feeling violated with a stream of blood dripping from your damaged ear drums.

· Rage Induced Ralph – When something goes wrong, Rage Induced Ralph answers his calling. Did you accidentally aggro a room? Did your friendly fire affect him? Was his kill stolen by you? Have no fear, because this internet tough guy is there to talk you down and constantly rant. His breathing is heavy because his adrenaline is pumping. His TV or Speaker volume is maxed out so you can hear that double echoing feedback from when he finally gets revenge on you for what you did. God forbid Ralph has a significant other because chances are that your grief onto him is going to make him flip out on this innocent bystander. Ralph will not stop trashing talking you and taunting you until your match is over. The reason Ralph is like this is simple. He’s either living in or from New Jersey, his skin is carrot colored, and he has a ridiculous blow out. Harming this man’s ego is like murdering his infant child. Be careful og this predator because he never forgives and he never forgets.

· Static Bomb Baxter– You’ve known him online for quite some time. He’s not a bad guy but he isn’t quite one of “the guys” yet until he gets a mic to talk to the crew. Constantly being asked to get a microphone, Baxter finally types into your guild’s chat and says “I have an old one I could use. I don’t know if it works though.” It is at this point some people rejoice that Baxter can join into the conversation but you know better than that. Those dreaded final texted words will be the end of you all. Baxter returns with his microphone, installs the software needed to join your channel and that normally welcoming chime rings in the channel when he finally joins. He doesn’t know about Push-To-Talk so he has to be guided through it. Regrettably, his sound is so loud on his headphones it carries over through the microphone. It creates a loop of feedback that takes some time for all parties to recover from. When the mist has cleared, Baxter finally mutters a word into the mic. A static blast of malfunctioning hardware spits into your membrane, causing disorientation, double vision, internal bleeding, and for some reason or another, you produced a kidney stone. You beg Baxter to stop talking but he doesn’t listen because he can’t hear you on his headset! He continues with this barrage until you all submit to the pain. Baxter disappears after this embarrassment and is never seen in-game again.

· Cry Baby Christopher – As stated in the introduction to this little rant, Christopher is a teenager who is still finding his place in this world. Unfortunately, the unforgiving world of the internet does not want him until he finds that place. The problem with Christopher is that he is young and doesn’t know what Push-To-Talk is and even when he does figure it out, his finger is always jammed firmly against that key so you hear him all the time. He’s fine when he doesn’t talk. As a matter of fact, he’s probably better at the game than you are. The downside to Christopher is that he isn’t a mute. He likes to brag about all the ladies in his school who want him and how badass he is when he plays pranks on his unfortunate teacher. Regardless of how desperately he seeks approval from his peers, Christopher always finds a way to lose that respect. That loss usually occurs at bed time when his parents demand he goes to bed and that his addiction to the internet is too great. He combines all the aspects of every persona described. He is angry, he is probably eating, he’s now wheezing, and his microphone is receiving a lot of static from his high pitched shrieks. Normally after such outbursts, Christopher is exiled from the internet.

Clearly, I pointed out the personas commonly encountered and while I can’t suggest a remedy that will destroy these individuals before they are garnered a chance to speak, I can recommend some very basic tips for those who feel fall into any of these categories.

  1. Turn off your microphone.
  2. Move the microphone away from your face when you aren’t speaking.
  3. Learn Push-To-Talk.
  4. Don’t speak ever.
  5. Destroy your modem or Wi-Fi receiver.

I certainly hope these reasonable tips will help these individuals progress in their careers as internet users. If not, in the foreseeable and very near future more people will be plagued with these Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse. In any case, I’m off and back into the fray to play Modern Warfare 2 with my friend Baxter.

CDW – Tecmo Bowl Throwback

Techmo Bowl cover
Techmo Bowl cover

Quick, what is the best arcade football game in history? If you said Blitz I won’t hate you, but you’d still be wrong. Tecmo Bowl was football in the 80’s and early 90’s and though it didn’t achieve superstardom in the arcades when it was ported to the NES in 1987 it became a mega hit.

What was so great about TB was not only to use of real NFL teams, but the gameplay incredibly was fun. Now I will admit the idea of fading back and getting the whole opposing team to follow you only to run a circle around them for a touchdown was a little cheap, but it was still wildly fun. Now you can experience that again on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Here’s the official rundown:

The legend is back! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback is a remake of the classic Tecmo Super Bowl, with the same rules and fast-paced gameplay as the original, but with the option to play it in brand new high definition 3D graphics. Switch it back to old school in real time with the same graphics and music from back in the day! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback brings back the gameplay you loved, and stays true to the Tecmo Super Bowl legacy!


With updated 3D graphics or the option to use the original 2D classic look and additions like online tournaments you can defiantly relive the past or introduce Tecmo Bowl to a new generation of gamers. Tecmo Bowl Throwback is available now for 800 Microsoft points on XBL. Currently there is no release date for TBT on PSN.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Onslaught

Battlefield Bad Company 2 tank
Battlefield Bad Company 2 tank

If you’ve experienced BBC2 you already know the fun you can have gunning down the enemy in lush fully destructible environments. Now with the Onslaught download content patch you get four all new multiplayer maps.

The 4-man cooperative mode includes the maps: Nelson Bay, Attacam Desert, Valparaiso and Isla Innocentes. It is currently available for download on the Xbox 360 via XBL and the Playstation 3 via PSN. Bjorn Johnsson from DICE spoke to IncGamers explaining the difference in the new maps and Coop play:

“Basically they are the same maps but we have enhanced them in many different ways,” he said.

“We have different effects like the sandstorm in Attacama Desert, you play one of the night maps in daytime and one of the daytime maps in night mode, basically.”

“Also we added a load of other weather effects and different lighting,” he added.

“We have tweaked it quite a bit to make it feel different.”

As for the question of when it will come to PC;

“The problem we have on PC is that all our servers are dedicated with providers. Changing a server from Conquest 32 players to Onslaught 4 players cuts out 28 player slots from the total ammount available. This could have a dramatic affect on the PC online environment if enough servers changed to Onslaught,” DICE associate producer Barrie Tingle explained.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light logo
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light logo

We all knew sooner or later Lara would settle down and find herself a nice man, in Guardian of the Light she found the man, but doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Taking a different direction this time around Lara teams up with the Mayan warrior, Totec as they shoot, jump and swing their way to relic treasure.

In GOL we switch to an isometric camera angle giving you a top down perspective. Here teamwork is key in fact this game was made for co-op be in via two players in your home or online. You will need to work together to solve puzzles and fight against spiders, natives and even a T-rex.

The Trailer Theater – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

The game is set for a summer release on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC for $15.

CDW Playstation 3 Final Fight: Double Impact

Final Fight Double Impact box art
Final Fight Double Impact box art

The Playstation network checks in with its contribution to the classic download watch with its release of Final Fight: Double Impact. Now you can’t call yourself a classic gamer if you don’t remember the Capcom fighting classic, Final Fight, but in case you need a refresher you can check out my Classic Gaming Profile on it.

Final Fight Double Impact screenshot
Final Fight Double Impact screenshot

Now as with most rereleases there have been some upgrades done to this classic including:

Online MultiplayerRelive these classics all over again with your friends. “GGPO” network technology creates a frame-accurate arcade experience across the internet, and with online voice chat and the ability to join games in progress, it’s just like playing in the arcade. Thanks to a toggle-able open invite system, other fighters can jump right in and donate their fist or sword to the cause.

Remixed MusicSoundtrack adapted by the highly acclaimed composers responsible for Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Or if originals are your thing, hit the switch and take a blast down audio past.

High Quality Visual EnhancementFinal Fight and Magic Sword have never looked so good! By utilizing our proprietary graphic algorithm, both games now shine in crisp and clear HD glory. For the purist pixel junkies, toggle it back to play through in its classic original format.

Vault & Achievements/TrophiesA plethora of unlockables! Earn original game art, full motion video (including a long forgotten epic Final Fight cartoon), manga chapters from Udon, and fan-art for completing in-game feats! Play through in different ways to unlock everything.

LeaderboardsBring your A-game, as Final Fight and Magic Sword tracks your scores to compete and compare for bragging rights.


Now it’s called Double Impact because you also get Magic Sword, check out its own Classic Gaming Profile. Overall for the price of $9.99 the combo pack is perfect for any classic gamer looking to play some of their favorite classic games with a fresh updated look.

Game releases in March for Consoles

final fantasy xiii box artwork
final fantasy xiii box artwork

So Honorabili brought you some of the top PC games coming out in March, now it’s my turn and I pulled consoles duty so let’s do this.

Final Fantasy XIII – March 9th

Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – March 9th

Mega Man 10 (XBL PS Network) – March 11th

God of War III – March 16th

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – March 16th

Supreme Commander 2 – March 16th

Red Steel 2 – March 23rd

MotoGP 09/10 – March 23rd

Prison Break: The Conspiracy – March 30th

Final Fantasy XIII – I’m not a fanboi, honestly I did not like the way 12 played and the MMO had a lot in it I did not like, having said that the folks over at Square Enix have come back with a pretty awesome looking game with a battle system that looks really fun to play. We know it will have the great graphics and music, but the story and gameplay elements are what looks to be a excellent as well. Is it perfect, no, but I think XIII will be a winner for not only square but fans of the series.

Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – Yes, this game came out already but this gold edition will bring you not only the full game, but all the downloadable content as well as new playable episodes. If you haven’t played this game now is the time to get it. The single player is well done from story to action even though I personally felt the aiming speed was a bit slow. However, the mercenary’s game is excellent and is almost worth the price alone. Overall this is a five star game and with the added content it is a must play title.

Mega Man 10 – Keep in mind this is a XBL/PSN game and is the old classic style gameplay. Then again it is mega man and if you don’t like mega man or have beaten at least part 1, 2, or 3 you are not a real gamer and should be (threatening words towards our fans removed)

God of War III – Ever since Kratos unleashed his bloody beat-downs on the PS2 fans have been hooked and when the PS3 was announced the calls for a new God of War game came pouring in. If you played GOW 1 or 2 you have to get this game and if you never played the series before then come on in the blood is warm. They did the game right, they kept the things people loved from the series and added cool new features like using enemies as a battering ram and switching weapons on the fly. The graphics are incredible, the gameplay is bloody as ever and if you have a PS3 and you don’t pick this title up, you suck, there I said it.

Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – This is an expansion to the popular monster slaying game and like God of War the BioWare gang decided to give the fans more of what they wanted and none of what they didn’t. They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel and instead kept to what they did best by bring you a good story and characters you care about. What you do get is a ton of new items, an expanded level cap and new members to join your party. In Awakening you can import your old DA character or start as a totally new one. A solid game and what looks to me to be a solid expansion.

Supreme Commander 2 – Supreme Commander is RTS and if you played Total Annihilation you will see the evolution of full-scale, full-size high tech war. In SC2 the strategy comes even more into play as you tackle the three different game modes, assassination where your goal is to kill the opponent’s Supreme Commander, supremacy which tasks you to wipe your enemy off the face of the planet and infinite war which lets you fight it out until you are sleepy and turn off the console. In face infinite war is good because it lets you try out various skills and tech trees without a time constraint. The game will feature 21 multiplayer maps and you can play with up to four people on the 360 along with XBL support for ladders and stat tracking. If you like futuristic RTS games then Supreme Commander 2 should be on your buy list.

Red Steel 2 – We have talked about how some games kept to what they did best, in Red Steel 2 the Ubisoft team decided to totally remake the game and not just because it is a Wii title. No longer are you in a modern day world, in RS2 you find yourself in a wild-west type world mixed in with ninja’s and computer hackers, if this sounds crazy well it is. This game is pretty much a hack and slasher with some pretty nice combos thrown in. Using the Wii remote you can swing to your heart’s content slaying anyone stupid enough to step in your way.

MotoGP 09/10 – Maybe motorbike racing isn’t for everyone, but Moto GP is a long running series of great racing games and with Monumental Games taking over they have the task of giving fans the greatness of the classic games with an updated feel. Some of the changes we will see in 09/10 are a time attack arcade mode and 20-player online matches. One of the biggest changes is incorporating the full 2009 and 2010 seasons into the game. There will be tons of customization from your bike to your gear and of course downloadable content for new bikes and features. Honestly if you like racing games in general then this is a game to check out.

Prison Break: The Conspiracy – Look I’ll be honest I put this game in the list because I liked the show (well the first two seasons anyway), but really this game doesn’t look to bad. It runs parallel to the first season of the show where you play Tom Paxton an agent of “The Company” and your job is to follow Michael Schofield into Fox River prison and find out what he is up to. The game mixes stealth and good old prison fighting and best of all it is voiced by all the original actors except the sexy Dr. Sara Tancredi (awe), but hey we get to hear T-bags awesome accent. The game price is worth that alone am I right?

So there you have it, now keep in mind there are more games coming out than what I listed and I am not saying that the ones not on the list aren’t good, but these are the ones that I believe will be fun to play and worth at least a rental. (yes, even Prison Break)