Now Playing: July 2019


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.

Now Playing: April 2016


Since I never did a Now Playing article for either February or March thanks to my PC being out of commission, I figured I’d do one for April.

Why a week sooner than I’d usually aim to do it? This is because I don’t see myself having much time or interest in gaming in the coming weeks. My free time is more spent these days watching movies or TV. I feel it doesn’t do me any good to tell myself I’m going to play a game later on knowing I’m probably not going to bother. It’s a pointless expectation to have if my interest isn’t there when the time comes.

Now don’t take me as one of those “I’m done with gaming” types. That’s preposterous. It’s much more along the lines of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” things. Time away from playing games will ultimately help me get more excited to play them.

In these last two months I did play and beat Jak 3 (PS2) and Uncharted 3 via the Uncharted Collection on PS4. The former was fun until the final boss. Trying to shoot specific spots without any sort of auto aim in a vehicle that only shoots straight ahead is not what I call fun. The latter was fun and Drake was a wonderfully voiced character as always, but the constant big set piece escapes from crumbling structures got old very, very fast.

I also played some of the RPG Star Ocean: First Departure on PSP. It was fun for about 5 hours and, as usual, I lost interest. Rarely does an RPG keep me entertained these days.

I do want to eventually finish The Legend of Kage 2 (DS) and Bully (PS2), but those will have to wait until my gaming mojo returns.

In the meantime, I’ve watched A Clockwork Orange and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The scenes you usually see about the movie are from the beginning section and that never convinced me to watch it. However, a breakdown of the movie via Renegade Cut showed me other parts of the film making it much more intriguing. This is something you simply cannot accomplish for me by avoiding spoilers as the Internet community would have you believe.

A Clockwork Orange was an excellent piece on society’s view on criminal punishment and rehabilitation. In that regardless of debt paid while incarcerated the victims still want a piece of payback for themselves. It’s actually quite sad and makes Alex, the main character, sympathetic by the end. At the end, though, it seems as if Alex reverts back to his old ways. Is this the case or am I reading more into it than is there?

Finally, I’ll leave you with my new acquisition of Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. Thanks for reading!


Recent Downtime Update

Hi, there folks and fans of mine. It has been a difficult thing as of the last few weeks to get real content updates here which includes the big shows of the Hart & Usagi Podcast and the Space Suplex podcast.

As of the previous update I had mentioned a friend had suggested I try a controller card for my troubled PC. This would bypass the SATA ports on the motherboard to see if that helped in solving the problem. It unfortunately didn’t.

The next step in this trial and error circus was to try a new power supply. The idea here was that maybe the original one was not providing full power to every component of the PC. Did this end up working? Say it with me: Of course not!

At this point I was fed up with this ongoing nonsense. I decided to pack up and return all three of the new computer components I had bought to try and fix my PC. This included the first item, a video card bought locally. The controller card and the power supply are on their way back as we speak.

So what is the solution to my PC problem, you ask? If you figured out I went with a whole new rig, you’d be considered a smart person. It’s basically the same system with slightly better parts over my out of order computer. I even got the exact same case again, which was probably my favorite part of the last system.

One quick update I can give is that I’ve recently been playing Uncharted 3 via the Uncharted collection of the PS4. I’ve been enjoying the character banter more than ever before with this entry in the series, but some of the puzzles have been convoluted and lame. Regardless, it’s been fun overall so far. Check out my Backloggery page for more playtime information.

Thanks again for reading and game on!

It’s PS4 Time!

As I explained on the last episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast, I finally purchased a PlayStation 4. For the full story I’ll direct you to that show. Needless to say I haven’t done much of anything with it yet. I’ve only done three things with it so far: 1) Turn on, 2) Get it updated, and 3) Configure the settings.

Without further ado, here’s the system and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection game that came with it.


Hart & Usagi Podcast #65: Bombshells


On this episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we chat mainly about the game announcements from E3 2015 among a few other things. Join us.

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

* GameStop to acquire ThinkGeek parent company Geeknet
* The First Class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame
* Uncharted PS4 Collection Removes Multiplayer for Uncharted 2 and 3
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Arcade Game?
* The Jimquisition: Steam Refunds
* Arc System Works buys out Double Dragon, River City Ransom rights
* Bethesda E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Microsoft E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Electronic Arts E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Ubisoft E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* Sony E3 2015 Press Conference News Roundup
* All of the Nintendo E3 2015 Release Dates
* Sony will support development of ‘Shenmue 3’
* Season Passes are Not Good for Gamers, says Hitman Dev
* How Far Can Drawn to Death’s Intriguing Aesthetic Take It?
* Shenmue 3 Creator Also Wants to do Shenmue 4

Listen or Download (1:59:01)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704



Quality Gifts


These are the video games I was given this holiday season. The amount is only three, but the quality is quite high. Check out the recently released episode 23 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast for more gift getting goodness at the end of the show.

Friday the 13th Part 3
The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection
Red Dead Redemption


Usagi704 gave me The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection. I was surprised by this and here’s how that was the case. While not on my wish list I did mention that I wouldn’t mind getting it. After making my purchases for him at the Gamestop in the local mall, I waited outside for him to get whatever he was buying.

A couple of days later we went out to It’s About Games and I got gift certificates for the niece and nephew. I joked about the game being something I wouldn’t mind when I saw a new copy on the wall. He proceeded to purchase it in front of me and said it was for the kids with this knowing look. I thought they wouldn’t necessarily appreciate it like I would, but left it be and didn’t think much of his facial expression.

On Christmas Eve the kids got said game. The next day I opened his gift to find out I also received the same game. As it turned out he did buy it for me at the mall and when buying the second copy had the aforementioned look for the obvious reason. The only difference was that I did get the new copy versus the used one.

Happy Holidays!

The Power of Platinum


A new movie bought plus a game completed. Check it out below.

When I checked in with you all two days ago I had said that I’d like to get the platinum trophy for God of War. I even laid out the plan to do it that I read in this forum thread on GameSpot.

Well as you might have guessed, I did it! As seems traditional when I do a speed run, my time came in just shy of the next hour at 2 hours and 56 minutes.



While there isn’t a trophy for beating the game on God Mode difficulty, there’s still a few things left to unlock in the Treasures menu.

Now with this awesome game completed it can make way for the previous games that I was working on; Ratchet: Deadlocked and Big Bang Mini.

I was looking to get the trilogy recently, but once I noticed that the three films were available separately starting at the beginning of this year, I decided to just get the original. It’s my favorite and it was the only one to come with a new second disc of extras.

The main feature of the second disc is the footage that was used for Back to the Future: The Ride at Universal Studios from around 1991-2007.


At the same time I also bought the original soundtrack. And by original I mean really original. It’s a newer pressing of the soundtrack, of course, but just by the looks of the track listing on the back you can tell the packaging wasn’t ever redone. It reeks of ’80s design choices with the yellow text on a plain light blue background.


That’ll do it for me. It’s Thanksgiving so take it easy. :)

God of War Much?


If the last few blog posts and the fact that I own all of the games in the series are any indication, then, yes, I God of War much. Whatever that means. :P

Just as DuncanR2N figured early yesterday in a reply on twitter, later that night I was done with God of War. As I’ve said before, this game is still a lot of fun as it was when it was released.

I managed to obtain every trophy that you can get in one play through. The only two left are for beating the game in under five hours and completing the Challenge of the Gods. I would love to platinum this game and it seems like a possibility for me. The plan would be to beat the Challenge of the Gods to unlock the special ability costumes, select the Dairy Bastard costume with infinite magic, play a new game on Easy, and only fight when needed and pass the rest.

So my final stats are 33 of 36 trophies at a completion time of 7 hours and 25 minutes making God of War my 45th game finished this year. If you’re interested in see what the other 44 games are with date details, then check out this list on Giant Bomb.

Yesterday I returned the non-working copy of Klonoa 2 and I was looking around and spotted State of Emergency for the PS2. It’s an easy to find game that I’ve passed up before even though it has interested me. Well, I passed on it again when I thought about looking for and finding an original black label version of God of War: Chains of Olympus. I bet you’re not surprised at all that I managed to redirect this topic back to God of War. :D

I would’ve had the black label version when it was released, but I was waiting for the GoW themed PSP system to come out. It’s the only set of games where I’m slightly anal about the label color. Otherwise I’m pretty sane. :P


1.21 Gigawatts


My progress in all of the games that I’ve been playing, namely Ratchet: Deadlocked and Big Bang Mini, have come to a halt because of the ability of God of War to pull me in once again. It’s the sign of a real classic.

I really like the game to the point where I was right before the Minotaur boss (about 5.5 hours in) and I decided to restart to work my way back to places where missed trophies were earlier in the game. The two that I missed were Don’t Leave Her Hanging (Rescue the Oracle with 10 seconds to spare) and Splash (Kiss the Nyad).

The former trophy was interesting in that the first time I did it I only had three seconds to spare. This time I had 30 seconds left!

I remember so much more of the game than I thought that I did from playing it in 2005. I couldn’t tell you where secrets were beforehand, but once I get to an area with one it comes right back to me.

I only have two problems with the game at this point. The look of the in-game engine cutscenes where the size from 4:3 to 16:9 looks fine, but the resolution went untouched. It’s a big contrast from the CG cutscenes which still look fantastic.

The other problem is with the controls. Overall excellent as they’ve always been. In all of the newer games the Circle button is used for opening doors, but the original game used R2. I liked it that way, but it’s a little more difficult on the Sixaxis controller because of it being a trigger instead of the normal button it used to be on the Dualshock 2.

Enough of my gushing for now. :P Enjoy these current stats of my newer save and have a good day.

Trophies: 19 / 36 (53%)
Desert of Lost Souls – 2h30m

Kratos Returns In High Definition


Since the last time I checked in with you all I was close to finishing Infamous on the evil side. I can now report that the goal has been accomplished. I also beat the game on Hard difficulty to obtain the corresponding trophy.

Playing it on Hard made for less XP for each kill or stunt I did and that’s currently why I don’t have the trophy for powering up fully on the evil side. I played on Easy the first time through on the good side and a normal kill would net 10 XP, but this time it was just 7 XP. I may get it eventually.

My final stats are as follows.

Trophies: 45 / 50 (90%)
Infamous; 92%; 280 Blast Shards
Hero; 83%; 337 Blast Shards

The progress made was small, but I’ve cleared another 10 stages. When I last played the battery on my DS ran out and I haven’t charged it yet. I’m currently on Level 5-5 Savannah.

I’ve played this game the least as of late. It has nothing to do with not liking it because I certainly do even if it’s less than the previous three games.

I’ve beaten Shellshock and the next main missions are back on the DreadZone Station. 2 hours into the game so far.

Yesterday I picked up the newly released God of War Collection. At $40 it’s well worth picking up. All of the extras for both games are still included as they originally were. So the making of videos are available too!


I didn’t expect to really care to start playing these games again already, but I did start up God of War and was pulled back into the fun. I’ve played the original game for an hour and 48 minutes today and at over four years later this game still kicks all kinds of ass! :D The added trophy support and included God of War III E3 demo are icing on the cake.

Two of the trophy names are pretty amusing: 1.21 Gigawatts (Acquire Poseidon’s Rage) and Zero Heath = Bronze Trophy (Open a Health Chest when your health meter is already full).

I already have a copy of Klonoa 2, but when I was told by Usagi704 that a local Gamestop had a complete copy for $5, I was all over that.

There was a problem, however. When I started it up the disc spun much more loudly than any other game before it. Even my other copy of Klonoa 2 didn’t do this. I noticed that the disc has been resurfaced before. Maybe one too many times.

As you’ll see in this video, the PS2 system recognizes this disc as PS2 media, but doesn’t play and just returns to the system browser. No doubt I’ll be returning it soon so that it can be put back on the shelf for another person to be disappointed later on.