Ninja Commando Masters of Combat

A few more games this time around for the collection. Not all were necessary, but it’s how these things go sometimes.

The first game is very much in that “not necessary” category. I already have Legend of Kay on the PS2. It was one of those games I didn’t know about, but ebbderelict had fun with it as he’d mentioned in his review of the game he did six years ago. As usual I’ve yet to play that one and bought the PS4 rerelease Legend of Kay Anniversary anyway.

In Neo-Geo news, I picked up Garou: Mark of the Wolves and ADK Damashii on PSN when they were on sale for around 50% off. These both are PS2 imports for play on PS4. ADK Damashii is a compilation of five games: Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Combat, Ninja Commando, Ninja Masters, and Twinkle Star Sprites.

I also bought a recent disc release of Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours by Limited Run Games. This is the first time I’ve shopped with them and I also plan to do so for the rerelease of the Sega CD game Night Trap that they’ve announced is coming soon.

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Finally, I picked up the Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive and the great 1980s series Cosmos by Carl Sagan. This latter is a DVD set since there hasn’t been a Blu-ray version made as of yet. I also have another DVD on the way of Best of the Best 2. Wayne Newton is fantastically cheesy in this film and I loved it.

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #62: Losing Our History

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Our views on a variety of topics on Mortal Kombat X is revealed along with news on Comcast and Net Neutrality. All this plus your feedback, a contest announcement, and more on episode 62 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* God of War After 10 Years: The Decline and Fall of Kratos
* Security flaw gave researcher the power to erase every video on YouTube
* You’re Basically Screwed if You Used OnLive
* ‘Angry Joe’ is super pissed at Nintendo
* Mark Pincus becomes CEO of Zynga as Don Mattrick exits stage left
* EFF battles the ESA over DMCA exemptions for abandoned games
* GameStop Will (Tentatively) Offer Classic Consoles and Games Again
* USgamer Answers: How Much Game Violence Is Too Much?
* Comcast makes big play to offer high speed broadband to more customers
* Report: DOJ likely to oppose Comcast-TWC Merger
* AT&T sues FCC over Net Neutrality rule changes
* The first gay character in ‘Mortal Kombat’ revealed
* ‘Easy Fatalities’ DLC for ‘Mortal Kombat X’ gets some sunlight

Listen or Download (1:28:39)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #52: Castlevania

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We have a special edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast for you this time. We’ll be focusing our discussion on the Castlevania series past, present, and possible future. What’s our favorite games of the series? Well you just have to listen to find out. JiibayDan is our guest once again and as usual he’ll give his unique insight into the topics on hand.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Yooper problems
* Syndicate and online co-op
* Tearaway
* Air Zonk
* Azure Striker Gunvolt
* Sleeping Dogs
* Google Didn’t Buy Twitch Because of Potential Antitrust Issues – Report
* Report: FCC Considering Reclassifying Broadband Providers as ‘Common Carriers’
* Nintendo unveils ‘new’ 3DS, 3DS XL
* Sega unsheathes Yakuza Zero: The Place of Oath
* Bayonetta 2 gives Wii U a new ‘do on October 24
* Castlevania series

Listen or Download (2:17:41)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #45: A Landfill of Myths

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We’re back at you with dose number 45 of the Hart and Usagi Podcast. Off the top I let you know of our new Twitter account for the show. It’s @HartandUsagi! So please do follow for updates and notifications on episode releases.

As for the rest of this episode, Usagi704 and I give our thoughts on various topics. We reminisce about the Game Boy which recently turned 25, Adam Sessler leaving video game coverage for other interests of his, the infamous Atari landfill, and much, much more!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Games recently played
* A Legendary Brotherhood
* In Tangier the Parade Bar is closed….
* Are Video Gamers Athletes?
* Mozilla CEO resigns, opposition to gay marriage drew fire
* Xbox One’s Kinect is “unnecessary” and “a joke,” Molyneux says
* The Game Boy Legacy: A 25th Anniversary Celebration
* Sony Suddenly Makes Almost Every PlayStation Classic and PSP Game Downloadable and Playable on PS Vita
* The Gaming Historian – The Atari Landfill Myth
* Turtle Rock community manager let go after Donald Sterling Twitter remarks
* Net Neutrality R.I.P. (1969 – 2014)
* Think The Cassette Tape Is Dead? Then Why Did Sony Just Squeeze 185TB Of Data Onto One?

Listen or Download (1:46:08)
Subscribe
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

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@HartandUsagi

PlayStation Memories

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Two weeks ago was the announcement of the PlayStation 4. A few hours before the event gamers were reminiscing on Twitter about their time with previous Sony consoles. DaBlueWolfy explained some of his thoughts as I shall also do right here. Unlike him, though, I was with the brand right from the start.

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I always knew of the Tomb Raider series. I mean who hasn’t? Despite its popularity, I never saw it as something I’d be interested in. That was until Tomb Raider: Legend came along in 2006. When I saw it in action I thought to myself, “Now that looks like a game I’d play.” I took a chance on it and like it quite a bit. I’ve since played most every major release of the series since.

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In 1996 Insomniac’s first game was Disruptor and, yes, when I went to get a copy the clerk did drop the one I ended up getting. It even figured this might happen right before it did. Thankfully it wasn’t damaged. Fun fact: the actor who plays the main character in the game also appeared in one episode of Pacific Blue, a TV show on USA Network at the time.

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I want to say it was in GamePro, but I may very well be incorrectly remembering which magazine it was. Regardless, I can remember Usagi704, a friend, and myself looking in amazement at Capcom’s crazy new idea for what would become the first Resident Evil. I’m surprised I was personally as interested in it as I was since even back then I knew I wasn’t much of a fan of the horror genre.

psm-ps3ads

Remember those first commercials for the PlayStation 3? All of the creepy crap happening in a white room? No wonder it didn’t appeal. Thankfully Kevin Butler, the VP of Everything Awesome, came along to make us laugh and to show that gaming is sweet! KISS = Keep It Simple, Sony.

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This was a classic moment in PlayStation history. It took place during the Sony press conference of E3 1995 when SCEA’s President, Steve Race, simply said the price of their original console: “$299.”

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The GameSpot crew brought the excitement when they covered the North American launch of the PlayStation Portable on March 24, 2005. Rich Gallup looked to be having fun coming up with small challenges for the folks in line to try their hand at winning a new PSP game. I had a blast watching it!

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Thankfully I only did it with one or two games total, but with Street Fighter: The Movie I had it, traded it in, bought it again, and then sold it once more. I think it was one of those love it/hate it types of games. I remember the story mode was the most frustrating thing about the game. It only let you play as Guile and the final bout with M. Bison was a major pain in the ass. I did finally win eventually and the reward was unlocking the Chage & Aska music video for “Something There.” It’s been burned into my memory ever since. Was it worth my time all those years ago? I’ll let you decide.

MKII Hype of 1994

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Back in the early ’90s I was a big fighting game fan. I’m less so these days, but at that time I took note of all of the fighting games I saw: the good, the great, and the definitely not-so-great.

Mortal Kombat was one of those games that came along and while the game wasn’t very good it did make an impact by amazing us gamers with its over-the-top violence. It’s tame by today’s standards, but back then a game with even a fourth of the gore just wasn’t done.

I never played much of the fighters in the arcades themselves. I usually just watched and I have quite a few memories of matches from Mortal Kombat II in 1993. I was much more of a player of these titles once they came to the home consoles.

We had an SNES at the time and, of course, as is with kids, they need to justify the version they had and I remember doing this with MK1 despite knowing that even I was disappointed in the lack of a blood code. The game still played good and looked and sounded the best over the Genesis version.

Because of this I was really excited once I saw that blood was confirmed for the SNES version of MKII in the first preview in the August ’94 issue of GamePro. This was the same issue which has this game on the cover featuring the awesome Raiden arcade cabinet sideart.

In the following month’s issue a second preview was published. This time it showed screenshots with the blood which was promised. I remember pouring over this preview many times getting hyped for the game’s release.

The October issue had reviews for all four versions of the game with the SNES version getting a perfect score.

I had saved up for this game ahead of time and on release day (Sept. 9, 1994) my mother had said she’d take my brother (usagi704, surprise ;)) and I out to get it. I remember being antsy and wanting to go and eventually we left in the van going to Video Game Exchange (now It’s About Games). We bought MKII for the SNES and a copy each of it on Game Boy. The former cost $75 and the latter was $35. And people think games being expensive is a new thing…

Thanks for reading and for more you can check out the very previews and reviews of Mortal Kombat II that I referred to from my old GamePros below.

* First Preview of MKII in GamePro (August ’94)
* Second Preview of MKII in GamePro (September ’94)
* Reviews of MKII in GamePro (October ’94) SNES/GEN pg1 | GEN/GG/GB pg2

Dragons and Aliens, oh my!

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A few days ago I was playing Alien Crush (PSN verison) and was having my best game ever. It was going so great that I had to save where I was and come back to it later. Once I started it again I didn’t last as long, but it did give me my best score ever.

78,533,200

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My previous best score was 36,570,300. Quite the improvement if I do say so myself. Because of this I do consider Alien Crush finished making it #19 on the year.

After finishing up Assassin’s Creed last week I wasn’t sure what to play next. I knew I wanted it to be a PS3 game which had trophy support. I let the “Fortune Cookie” on Backloggery.com choose a random game. It ended up being NBA Jam.

So far I’ve just been playing the Classic Campaign with the Utah Jazz. Record is 20-0. It’s a return to form for the series and I’m enjoying it. Despite this I do have a small issue with it: the lack of a control configuration. I prefer turbo on R1 or R2, like I’ve been playing it since the days of the SNES. Unfortunately, it’s stuck on L1 and L2. Like I said, it’s a small problem, but nothing that would lower the score if I were to review it.

I know in the future I’m going to want to experience my first RPG again, but was shown why it shouldn’t be on the NES. The game in question is Dragon Warrior.

I, like most Westerners, got their first taste of the RPG genre through Dragon Warrior thanks to the giveaway by Nintendo Power back in 1990. I remember finishing it twice back then and finding it quite fun. Despite this I didn’t play many RPGs after.

This is where the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II comes in. The Happy Video Game Nerd makes a comparison of the first Dragon Warrior game on the NES and GBC showing that you can get much further in the first 30 minutes on the portable version than you can on the NES version. On the NES, the player still can’t leave the starting area and some of the minor enemies are still a problem. On the Game Boy Color, the player has already been able to start on the first dungeon. This video of his has me wanting to try the GBC version.

Path of the Riders

path-of-the-riders

I don’t have much to blog about at the moment. So I thought I’d post the chain of events which lead me down the road of my fascination with Kamen Rider. This is pretty much the correct order as I remember them.

1. Viewed the first few episodes of Linkara’s History of Power Rangers.
2. Viewed an episode here and there with Usagi704 of Super Sentai shows. Mainly Chōjin Sentai Jetman.
3. Looked up info about Super Sentai shows.
4. Looked into info about related shows like Kamen Rider.
5. Viewed the no longer available Tokusatsu for Beginners YouTube videos which went over both Super Sentai and Kamen Rider.
6. Viewed the 2009 season of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight on 4kidstv.com.
7. Bought the Wii and DS video games for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.
8. Looked into the original 2002 show which Dragon Knight was based on, Kamen Rider Ryuki.
9. Viewed the 2009 show Kamen Rider Decade. Its 31 episodes gave a sample of the past nine seasons.
10. Viewed Kamen Rider Decade The Movie: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker.
11. Viewed Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider W & Decade: Movie War 2010.
12. Viewed the 2006 show Kamen Rider Kabuto.
13. Viewed the 2002 show Kamen Rider Ryuki.
14. Bought the Kamen Rider Decade DX DecaDriver.
15. Viewed Kamen Rider Ryuki The Movie: Episode Final.
16. Viewed Kamen Rider Kabuto The Movie: God Speed Love.
17. Bought Kamen Rider Climax Heroes OOO import PSP game.
18. Currently watching Power Rangers Samurai.
19. Rewatched Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.
20. Currently watching Kamen Rider W.
21. Bought the Kamen Rider Decade DX Diendriver.
22. Bought the Kamen Rider Decade DX K-Touch.

Note: “W” is pronounced “Double.”

Happy Birthday, Street Fighter II

sfii-birthday

Three days ago on March 2nd the original Street Fighter II: The World Warrior turned 20 years old.

Most of my memories are of the 1992 port to the Super Nintendo. The code input at the Capcom logo screen of Down, R, Up, L, Y, B still sticks with me after all these years. Basically it made the game the Champion Edition just without the bosses as playable characters.

Back then I had some trouble pulling off non-charge moves like the ones associated with Ryu or Dhalsim. This was especially more difficult on the right side of the screen. I remember really well being very excited the first time I was able to do the Yoga Flame and Dragon Punch.

To this day I have yet to understand why the voices for special moves were lower or higher depending on the strength of the punch or kick button used. It was the only version of any Street Fighter game which did this that I know of. It was corrected in the follow up the next year, Street Fighter II Turbo.

What are your memories of the first version of Street Fighter II?

sfii-wideshot

Duke Nukem (Taking) Forever

dntf

These days I don’t game on my PC at all. However, back when I was growing up it was much more of a common thing I’d do. I still kept up with the consoles at the time, but every so often I’d get into a game on the PC. In 1996 Duke Nukem 3D was the game to play. I remember it well. I should because I also got the Plutonium Pak which upgraded DN3D to the Atomic Edition with an added fourth episode. Not unlike what The Ultimate Doom did for id Software’s original Doom.

Within the next year 3D Realms announced they were working on a follow up called Duke Nukem Forever. We all know how that’s been going in the last 13 years. Not too well. Off and on over that time they’d show a screenshot or two to tease fans, but it didn’t take very long before I no longer cared if it ever was finished.

In early 2006, 3D Realms decided to let everybody know that Duke Nukem Forever was in full production. To which I wrote a blog post titled “Duke Nukem Never” and noted the following year (2007) as being ten years since DNF started being developed and it was time to get your pre-order money back.

Speaking of 2007, another tease was doled out in the form of a trailer in December of that year. It was cute, but again I saw it as another stunt being pulled by 3D Realms. Since I stopped caring about the game the year before, I got pretty pissed off. At this point I knew the game wasn’t going to ever be released so all they were doing was insulting my intelligence. Of course some gamers were saying they were excited and I just couldn’t understand how being excited for this was even possible for anybody anymore.

Fast forward to last year and the closing of 3D Realms by Take-Two Interactive after not seeing anything happening for far too long. I, for one, was grateful Take-Two was finally putting Duke Nukem Forever out of its misery. They were way more patient with George Broussard than they had to be. DNF should’ve been out in 2000 at the latest and here we were in 2009 without a product. Gaming had passed the Duke by and moved on to bigger and better things.

Then came this last weekend at PAX where Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software revealed that the thorn in the side of the gaming industry has returned. Without a leak they not only showed off Duke Nukem Forever, but also had a playable demo. Pitchford mentioned at the show that nobody would’ve believed a press release ahead of time announcing DNF would be playable at PAX. He’s totally right about that. I certainly would’ve called BS on it. This was a good decision on their part.

One thing that bothers me was Pitchford saying in an interview with Kotaku that getting Duke Nukem Forever finished is a dream many on the development team want to make a reality. You see, to me, a dream is something that, while obtainable, may have many, many unforeseen roadblocks in the way which were out of a persons control. I don’t see that as the case for 3D Realms and their work on DNF. George Broussard was his own worst enemy because he’d always want to redo things or change the graphics engine again and again. It got to the point where they hired someone else to head the project so it could get moving, but by that point it was too late.

Part of me is glad the game will be coming out next year so I won’t have to hear about it anymore ever again. However, the other part of me wishes they would’ve just let the game die. I honestly felt there was some closure to all of this when 3D Realms closed down last year.

As it turns out not only is Duke Nukem Forever going to live on through Randy Pitchford and Gearbox Software, but so will the IP itself as they’ve also purchased the rights to the Duke Nukem series. Clearly Gearbox is betting at least some of their future on Duke.

Will I bet on playing DNF once its release day comes next year? Probably. I’ll be sure to set my expectations low, but I can’t deny at least some interest in playing such a mythological game.