Now Playing: July 2019

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This time out the group of games I played are from April through mid-July. There’s 12 in total with only three finished. Here we go!

The first game on tap is also one of the three I beat: Ghost Squad. This home port of Sega’s arcade light gun shooter works well on the Wii. I don’t have the plastic zapper shell for the controller, but you obviously don’t need it since there isn’t any additional hardware built in. It was a very fun and repeatable three mission structure with some alternate paths to take. I particularly liked earning and using the additional weapons and outfits available. The latter can get somewhat comical at times since the player character is the only one who changes outfits with the rest of the squad remaining in normal gear.

I was looking forward to getting into a new beat-’em-up with Batman: The Brave and the Bold (also on Wii). It didn’t pan out well, however. The training before the game actually begins makes the mistake of throwing every ability at you at once. Of course, you’ll eventually forget some of them long before you’ll need them. My biggest issue was with the overall feeling of the brawling. It wasn’t as mindless fun as I was hoping for. There’s more puzzle aspects to this game’s fighting that’s often enough that it feels like the momentum of a level keeps getting interrupted. I had to check out of this game fairly early on.

Two shoot-’em-ups I played for a little bit was the TG-16’s Final Soldier (via VC) and Raiden IV: Overkill on PS3 (via PSN). The former was a fantastic time until I got slaughtered on stage 5. At least it was nice getting to that point. I can’t say as much for the latter game. I didn’t quite understand the new Overkill Mode, but the normal Arcade Mode was the typical Raiden shooting experience. In that to say it isn’t great. I enjoy the original game and the sequel, but after those (like I am with the Contra series) they don’t appeal to me as much.

Next up on the list is Ninja Spirit. The game is pretty tough until you realize that all you need is the explosive weapon 3 and it’s fairly smooth sailing from then on. I got to what I call the “ninja pit” and was stopped fully in my tracks. I don’t know exactly how to reach the bottom without being touched since it only takes one hit to kill you. It’s the last major obstacle before the final boss if I ever clear it.

Speaking of Contra, I also played, but was unsuccessful in beating Contra Rebirth. While I was able to get to level 4, I’m not exactly the best at managing the switching of the weapons. This was a gameplay mechanic that debuted in Contra III in 1992.

I’m not sure exactly what to say about Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris other than it’s available for download on PlayStation 4 and, well, it’s a Tomb Raider game. I liked it for what it was, but I definitely still prefer the traditional presentation of the series in Tomb Raider: Legend or the 2013 reboot.

More recently I’ve been playing some PlayStation 2 suggested games from readers like you. Of course, I have to already own the games because I’m not in a position to be purchasing whatever anybody suggests. First was Lifeline, the USB audio voice directed game from Konami. I knew going in I wouldn’t be playing it very long because it doesn’t always understand was you are saying. Well, I didn’t even successfully get to the title screen as my current USB headset wasn’t compatible. Oh well. It’s not much of a loss.

ICO was another suggestion and it goes without saying that this was a much better idea. I’m not into these more artistic style of games usually so I’m not going to be as impressed with it like so many others have been. I’m happy for those people, but I’m simply not one of them. I’m at the Crane section, but I needed a more action packed distraction.

That distraction was Power Rangers Dino Thunder on PS2. In this game you don’t play as the Rangers themselves, but instead as their Zoids. I think there’s 5-6 total in the game. Zeltrax is the main boss in the game that you fight twice in very similar battles each time. Unfortunately, you never seen the TV show’s main villain, Mesogog. He’s only spoken about. This was the third game I beat.

Another suggestion I’m playing a little of is the arcade version of Bubble Bobble via Taito Legends. The best I’ve done this time around is round 7. I’ve previously hit as high as round 16.

Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my podcasts over in the sidebar.

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Hart & Usagi #93: Huge Sprites!!!

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In episode 93 we discuss Bernie Sanders calling for unions for video game industry workers, Phil Spencer’s jealously of not being in first place of console sales, and many games revealed for mini console systems.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Yakuza: Kenzan Could Be Suitable for a Kiwami-Style Remake, Producer Says
* Xbox Boss Phil Spencer: “The Business is Not How Many Consoles You Sell”
* Bernie Sanders takes to Twitter to endorse video game unionization
* Riot Games Under Investigation by the State of California For Gender Discrimination
* Konami announces the TurboGrafx-16 mini and six of the games it’ll feature
* Mega Drive Mini Games List: All 42 Titles Revealed
* Trump administration proposes 25 percent tariff on game consoles, board game imports
* The Loot Box Bill is Public, And The ESA Says It’s “Flawed And Riddled With Inaccuracies”
* Don’t worry, the Sega Genesis Mini Will Have a Six-Button Controller Available at Launch

Listen or Download (1:17:54)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Crossed Swords Comes Home

One month ago I bought the last of the games I wanted from my wish list that are available at retail. They are Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Yakuza Kiwami 2.

I enjoyed the initial reboot game of Tomb Raider from 2013. You know, the one that Square Enix claimed was a failure after selling over 3.3 million units. Ha ha ha! Hilarious. I’ve been slowing getting through the Yakuza series. I’ve played the first four titles so far. I’m not one to worry about playing a series in order of release. This is most obvious when I played Saints Row 2 as my entry game and the next time I played Gat Out of Hell. Yakuza is an exception because of how deep the story is with all of the characters interactions with each other.

One other game I’d seen briefly in arcades during the early to mid 1990s was ADK’s Crossed Swords. It was memorable to see such a game similar to Nintendo’s Punch-Out, but instead going with a medieval theme of knights and sorcery. Hamster has released it on Switch, PS4, and Xbox.

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Hart & Usagi #92: Disgruntled CEO

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In episode 92 we discuss Randy Pitchford doing a bad, Mortal Kombat is entered into the Video Game Hall of Fame, and more CEO multi-meltdowns than you’d ever want in your life.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Castlevania Anniversary Collection to receive Japanese title variants post-launch
* Capcom Confirms Devil May Cry Switch is a Port of PS4 HD Collection Version, No Price Set
* Loot Boxes Could Become Illegal In US If New Bill Passes
* Claptrap Voice Actor Claims Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford Physically Assaulted Him
* Gearbox CEO Calls Original Claptrap Actor “Bitter and Disgruntled” in Latest Borderlands 3 Twitter Controversy
* Randy Pitchford Tweetstorms Game Informer Over Borderlands 3 Microtransactions
* Mortal Kombat inducted into Video Game Hall of Fame
* “[Crunch] Is Killing People. Something Has to Change”
* Apex Legends is Sticking With Seasonal Update to Not Overwork the Team, Respawn Founder Says
* Igarashi Explains Bloodstained Switch Demo’s Poor Performance at PAX
* Mortal Kombat 11 Is a Good Game Shrouded in a Fog of Tedious Grinding and Microtransactions
* Report: Fortnite Developers Say They Regularly Crunch “70-Hour Weeks”
* Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini Includes Sonic 2, Shinobi III; More Classic Games Revealed

Listen or Download (1:26:02)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Celebrating The Early Days of SNK

I got some new movies and video games to share with you all. I don’t have a whole lot of either on my wish list these days. It’s been a combination of having most of what I’ve wanted since I started collecting in 2004 and a lack of time to play what I already have. Regardless, I do get interested in some newer things these days.

One of those new things in a genre I quite enjoy is the compilation of older games. The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection that was originally released on the Nintendo Switch has now arrived on the PlayStation 4. What I like about this collection is that it forgoes the notion that it has to feature popular or well sold titles. While that’s all well and good, Digital Eclipse decided to spotlight the overlooked or forgotten games in SNK’s archives. Sure they don’t always play wonderfully, but these games are worth experiencing as more of a history lesson of SNK’s early days. I love that concept and bought it for that reason alone.

I also decided to get Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It’s a rare used copy that I don’t bother with much as of recent. I bought it because I enjoyed Uncharted 4 well enough that I wouldn’t mind a little bit more of the same thing from two other characters.

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Now for the movies. I usually watch these ahead of time and only buy the ones I absolutely know I’ll watch again. This is the case with all four.

First up is the Blu-rays. The Founder is about exactly what you think it’s about by the look of the cover. Michael Keaton is amazing in this film and I completely recommend it. My Cousin Vinny features Joe Pesci in this comedy from 1992. I remembered it from back then, but didn’t think much of it. I finally watched it again a few weeks ago and I found it much more entertaining than I did as a 13-year old.

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Lastly are the DVDs. The WWE likes to mainly put content on this dated format over Blu-ray. It’s most likely because they just want you to subscribe to their network for today’s picture quality standards. The discs focus solely on NXT Takeover matches and doesn’t include any of the fantastic bouts from their weekly TV. This means it doesn’t have the amazing match between Ricochet and Pete Dunne for the North American and UK titles.

Gotti is a HBO film about mobster John Gotti from 1996. Excellent performances from Armand Assante and William Forsythe along with other actors from similar mafia movies round out the cast.

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Check back soon for a new episode of Space Suplex!

Hart & Usagi #91: The Becky & Jennifer Show

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In episode 91 the new Mortal Kombat 11 shows that loot boxes aren’t needed to have a fun game, Google’s expectations for Stadia don’t live in the real world, and Becky and Jennifer stop by to chat for a bit with each other.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Sega Stops Sales Of Yakuza Spinoff Judgment In Japan After Actor Arrested For Alleged Cocaine Use
* Google’s New Game Streaming Platform is Called Stadia
* Konami Announces Three Classic Collections: Arcade, Castlevania, Contra
* GDC 2019: Google Confirms Stadia Won’t Allow Offline Downloads
* Google Stadia Boss Is “Absolutely, Unequivocally” Sure Latency Won’t Be An Issue
* Judgment actor Pierre Taki will be completely scrubbed from game’s western release
* Sega Genesis Mini Will Release in September With 40 Games
* PlayStation Store Now Offering Refunds, But There’s a Catch
* Borderlands 3’s expensive editions come with boost mods for loot drop rates, XP
* Valve Stops Borderlands Review Bombing Over BL3 Epic Store Exclusivity
* Mortal Kombat 11 Has No Loot Boxes, Neo From The Matrix Won’t Be Added
* Blind Squirrel was indeed working on Mortal Kombat Remaster but it was cancelled, first screenshots
* Capcom Home Arcade is an Outrageously Priced Plug-and-Play Retro Console
* Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony’s Next-Gen PlayStation

Listen or Download (1:15:58)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Now Playing: March 2019

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Since November I played and completed Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, which was good, but it wasn’t the amazing experience I remember the original game being. I feel it side loaded a linear game into an open world style that it never needed.

I also played and beat Call of Duty: Black Ops. Oh what a mess that single player campaign was. I didn’t feel like I needed any skill to get through the levels. They were just a cavalcade of spectacle and little else. I never felt like my actions ever had an impact on anything that was going on. The game was setup in a way that with or without the player the levels were going to play out the same.

The last game I played was Borderland 2. If you played the first, as I did, then you were in for more of the same. I was hoping for more of a change in the game’s structure, but that was not to be. Any changes or additions made were minor and meaningless. I played it long enough to realize that doing everything was having it overstay its welcome. Eventually, I only did the story missions and skipped all optional ones (which were a ton). Even then it was too long when what I thought was going to be the final battle turned out to be a fake out. I was done at that point and that’s no fake out.

I’m not sure what I’ll be playing next, but I’m sure it’ll take longer than it otherwise would because that’s how I roll. :)