Hart & Usagi #72: TMNT Goes Platinum

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In this new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about PlayStation 2 emulation on PlayStation 4, the ghastly phrase “Blast Processing”, YouTube’s Fair Use protections, and a Black Friday rant among other topics.

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

NEWS:
* YouTube Launching Stronger Fair Use Protection Measures
* PS2 Emulation Confirmed For PS4
* The Man Responsible For Sega’s Blast Processing Gimmick Is Sorry For Creating “That Ghastly Phrase”
* Dark Souls 3 Interview: “It Wouldn’t Be Right to Continue Creating Souls”
* You can fight Majima anywhere in the world in the Yakuza remake
* New Onimusha Trademark Registered By Capcom
* Report: New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Game Leaked, Bayonetta 2 Studio Developing

Listen or Download (1:07:22)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi #69: The Super SNES

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. We talk about DigitalTrends.com’s Top 25 SNES games article, the cancelled Jak 4, and we get excited for announced titles such as Mafia 3, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Dark Souls III. All this and more!

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Here Are The Top 25 Games That Made The SNES, Well, Super
* USgamer Community Question: Which is Best – Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis?
* Consumers complain to FCC about ‘data caps’
* Beautiful Concept Art from Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter 4 Canceled Game Surfaces
* Scathing Nikkei Report Hints At Shameful Treatment Of Staff By Dictatorial Konami Management
* PlayStation Game-Streaming Service Officially Hits PS Vita Tuesday
* Need for Speed Series Had Too Many Games, Too Quickly, Dev Says
* Why New Need for Speed for Xbox One/PS4/PC Is Always-Online
* Activision Blizzard CEO Donates $50,000 to Chris Christie Presidential Bid
* Reddit bans some of its most well-known racist communities
* Mafia 3 Tackles Racism and the Vietnam War in 1960s New Orleans
* Why Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a Frontrunner for Gamescom’s Best Game
* Dark Souls III is Faster, Smoother, and More Fluid Than its Predecessors
* 90 Minutes with Dark Souls III Put My “Sequelitis” Fears to Rest
* Street Fighter 5 is a Bolder Reinvention Than Looks Suggest
* Crackdown 3 to Include “100 Percent Destructible Environments”
* Crackdown 3 Destruction Restricted to Multiplayer
* Sony’s New PS4 Projector Costs As Much As The Console
* Sony Explains Decision to Increase PlayStation Plus Three Month Subscription Price in Europe
* PS4 System Update 3.00 Adds Twitter Video, YouTube Broadcasts, and More
* Resident Evil 2 Remake Confirmed
* Wow, Spotify’s New Privacy Policy is Atrocious

Listen or Download (2:01:48)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #51: Pile of Secrets

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back JiibayDan to chat about favorite controllers, 25th anniversary of the Genesis, and some hot Tetris pillow action.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Controller?
* Sony: ‘EA Access’ Offers No Value to PS4 Owners
* Report: GameStop Changing Game Trade-In Program
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1988-89
* Microsoft Still Bullish on Kinect
* If Tetris Were Made Out Of Pillows
* Poll: What Should ‘Night Trap’ Have Been Rated?
* Debunked: Most Downloaded Games Per State Not What It Claims To Be
* Happy 25th birthday, Sega Genesis
* Playtotle 001: Character Design

Listen or Download (2:18:05)
Subscribe!
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward

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@HartandUsagi

More Gaming Roots

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Now I will share with you my thoughts of playing the following seven games. Some of which I talked about recently on episode 44 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast. You can listen to it here if you haven’t yet. I also ran through an additional seven games from last month’s Now Playing.

The first game on this list is Castlevania: Bloodlines. I’ve never been one to have an easy time with the traditional style of Castlevania games such as Bloodlines is. With that said, I still did find it easier than those on the NES. The main thing that gave me trouble was Dracula’s final form. The battle looks simple enough once you master it, but I wasn’t apparently going to have anything to do with making it easy on myself. I did eventually see the ending.

I’m sure you have those games that you want to play, but you have a hard time getting yourself to do so because of a perceived difficulty. Super Double Dragon was one of those games for me. The difference being that I did play it years prior. As it turns out if you know how to handle the fights then you’ll likely do well. In my first playthrough I was able to reach the final boss before my continues ran out. Once I started understanding and using the Dragon Power meter I was eventually able to complete the game.

Not much needs to be said about Contra. I’ve finished it countless times and always love going back to this all-time great. You can have the arcade version. I’ll make mine the NES!

As the only SNES entry of the series, our lovable Rocket Knight, Sparkster, comes strong with colorful graphics, great sounding music, and well thought out controls. The only thing I didn’t care for was battling Axel Gear in the big robots. Otherwise, it was a fun and fast paced action game.

I can’t say as many glowing words about Total Carnage, however. This sequel to Smash TV plays the same, but instead of a one screen arena setting, it vertically scrolls. Probably the worst aspect of this game is the lack of the fun personality the original had.

If you don’t know Code Name: Viper, then simply think of it as Capcom’s version of Namco’s arcade game Rolling Thunder because that’s exactly what it is. I like this game a lot more than I thought I would. It was a challenge to be sure, but I welcomed it and the final battle with Commander Jones didn’t go too well for him.

The final game I played was Operation Logic Bomb. This is a SNES game in the same series as Fortified Zone and also developed by Jaleco. Instead of two characters with different abilities, it’s one dude who carries all of the firepower. The game is of a decent length for which there isn’t any level select code. Not that there’s really levels in the traditional sense. However, there is one distinct path through the game. You have a machine gun and 3-way spread gun to start and then eventually you’ll find a reflective laser, flamethrower, and missiles (these I never found). Also the player gets claymores and a decoy along the way. This was another end boss that gave me problems. The health drain from the lightning shots were too much to bear.

Of all of these titles I’d only not recommend Total Carnage. Six out of seven isn’t a bad batch of games at all.

Now Playing: March 2014

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After trying to play Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and getting super frustrated with the game, I started to wonder if I was lacking interest in gaming. I ultimately decided I simply needed a large dose of old school games and went back to my gaming roots. How refreshing it was to do so. I found out what was best on the NES as compared to those same arcade titles and overall just had a great time!

I had previously played a bunch of these games, but I didn’t finish any of them. I rectified that with the first game I chose, Streets of Rage 3. There’s a reason why the second game in this trilogy is the best. While SoR3 does a lot of what made the previous game fantastic. It unfortunately adds a few things which don’t work as well. I didn’t think the music and sound were all that good in this outing. Double tapping forward and the attack button isn’t nearly as reliable as it had been.

The next game I played was Jackal. It was the first of four NES games. An action game from the arcades, Jackal is a superb showcase of the greatness Konami was at the time. It wasn’t until near the end of the final stage when a pair of ground homing missile launchers got me at a standstill. Eventually I got past them and the crazy huge tank at the end!

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was up next. Everybody seems to have played this game and remember it fondly. I hadn’t at the time. Overall things were rather simple until I had to deal with some pelicans. I had to read an FAQ about these Zone I troublemakers to find out about throwing a box at their feet was the only way to defeat them. The other problem I had was the final zone’s finely dressed weasels. It was a crapshoot as to whether they’d take one or two hits to go down. At least Fat Cat was easy enough.

Here’s a game I could never get to level 3 on back in the day. It’s SNK’s P.O.W.: Prisoners of War. The button mashing that goes on in beat-’em-ups doesn’t exactly work here. Slowing down your button presses and doing them in a very methodical way is the best way to start a winning strategy. Another thing to understand is that you’re invincible when performing the jump kick. Using it to your advantage against incoming projectiles is a must to survive. This speed run helped my understanding of this quirky game. Also a 21 lives code didn’t hurt either. It took 27 lives when I first finished it. The following playthrough was much better at 5 lives total used.

The final NES game played was Vice: Project Doom. It does a similar mixing of different genres for separate levels like a few other NES titles did. A majority of the game is of an action platformer, but two levels are top-down driving and another two are light gun. The way the enemies feel like they were just thrown in wherever made me think Vice was developed by a European company. They tended to do that in those days making for some unfairly tough sequences. Surprisingly it was a Japanese developer by the name of Aicom. Usually the enemy placement is thoughtfully planned out by Eastern game makers. Regardless, there’s a bit of fun to be had here. The name of the hero was Hart.

Jaleco makes an appearance with their Game Boy title Fortified Zone. The role you take is that of Masato Kanzaki and Mizuki Makimura. They take down a slew of enemies and sub-bosses in their way to five main bosses in four stages. From a top-down perspective you can switch between the two characters as you solve the key-to-door puzzles. The later two stages are much longer and ascend to completely new floors. It’s all more fun than it may sound at first. Sadly the one thing I didn’t care for was the fixed password system. It doesn’t allow you to continue with any health upgrades you might have picked up along the way. I used a Game Genie to help with that deficiency. Also that Stage 3 music! Amazing!

Finally there’s the wild west themed side-scrolling shooter Sunset Riders. The Genesis version is a bit different in level layout. I played the Super Nintendo version. I was quite amazed at how short the levels themselves were. The longest was probably level two and it’s likely because of it being an auto-scroller. The two bosses that gave me the most trouble was Chief Wigwam (stage 6) and Sir Richard Rose (stage 8 and the game’s final boss). Another speed run helped me in figuring out how to defeat them. Of course my execution of said plan was far less sexy and made of much more failure.

In total I now have 18 finished games for this year. Three of them I’ve yet to talk about are arcade games which I will talk about soon. Thanks for reading!

Back To My Gaming Roots

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In my attempt to get to the bottom of why I lacked interest in gaming recently, I think it’s time to spend some quality time with my 8-bit and 16-bit systems. If I was madtyger I’d probably have names for them outside of the official ones. :D

As much as I’d like to think I give equal time to all of the game systems I own, past and present, I really know that this is simply not the case. One look at the complete list of games I actually finished last year proves that I rarely play much of the retro library I own.

To rectify this I’ve selected 14 games from an assortment of systems to play. I probably won’t bother with getting to them all, but these titles listed below are the ones which look to be good fun for the time being. If you’d like to suggest one of the games below, I’ll happily make it a priority to get to first (or next).

SNES
Sparkster
Super Double Dragon
Operation Logic Bomb
Sunset Riders
Total Carnage

NES
P.O.W.: Prisoners of War
Code Name: Viper
Vice: Project Doom
Duck Tales
Jackal

GAME BOY
Fortified Zone

GENESIS
Streets of Rage 3 (via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Rocket Knight Adventures
Castlevania: Bloodlines

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