Hart & Usagi #79: Thanks a lot, Microsoft!


Episode 79 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast is here! We chat about a variety of topics like the Scalebound cancellation, our playthrough of Shadow of the Colossus, quality of Nintendo’s Virtual Console service over the years, and more.

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

* Recent games played
* Microsoft Cancelling Platinum Games’ Xbox One Exclusive, Scalebound
* Yakuza: Kiyami, Yakuza 6 announced
* First Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite Gameplay Trailer Shows Power of Infinity Stones
* Parappa, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot Getting PS4 Upgrades
* Nintendo Switch Will Play GameCube Games via Virtual Console [Report]
* Hackers Crack the NES Mini To Add More Games Via USB
* Ex-SNK Devs Develop New Fighting Game for… Super Nintendo
* The King of Fighters XIV Holiday Promo and Graphical Update Announced
* Double Dragon 4’s Gameplay Looks Unbelievably Old School
* Beyond the NES Classic Edition: Super NES, Genesis, And More
* Game-Rave TV Ep. 81 & 82: PlayStation Classic Console – Part 1 & Part 2

Listen or Download (1:32:38)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704



Hart & Usagi #77: PS4.0 Pro


The wait it over! A brand new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast is here! We chat about a variety of news and announcements since E3 surrounding PlayStation like the PS Plus price hike, the PS4 Pro, the new firmware update among other items of note and interest.

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

* Mr. Shifty Is a More Empowering Version of Hotline Miami
* Garou: Mark Of The Wolves Coming To PS4 And Vita
* Sega Considering PS4 Remakes for Yakuza 2, 3, 4 and 5
* PlayStation Plus Bumping Up to $60 in September
* PS4 Pro Now Available to Preorder
* PS4 4.00 Out Now, Here’s What It Adds and Changes
* Sony CEO Says Pokemon Go Is a “Game-Changer,” Talks Company’s Own Plans for Mobile
* Duke Nukem 3D: Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming 20th Anniversary Edition
* Nintendo’s NES Returning With Mini Version, Includes These 30 Games

Listen or Download (55:23)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704


Game of the Year 2014 – Best Beat-‘Em-Up


When it comes to the beat-’em-up genre there’s rarely a video game I can’t get through. From the old school belt scrollers like Super Double Dragon to the more combo heavy games like Bayonetta, I love them all. Well most of them at any rate.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, the winner of my Best Retro Game category, was a surprisingly more fun game than I expected, but not the best.

Konami’s arcade game Metamorphic Force is another one of their 4-player machines like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons. It has the fluid combat of other hits of their’s like X-Men. The only real problem is the Crime Fighters style of health meter. It constantly and slowly drains over time.

I went back to Sega’s Yakuza series with Yakuza 3 and while fantastic as always, it spent a little too much time on mundane tasks and chores surrounding the children in Kazuma’s care. Less of that and more busting faces in would’ve been a better beat-’em-up meal.

Finally we come to the winner of the award for my 2014 Best Beat-‘Em-Up. This selection probably shocks me more than anybody else. A game for the original PlayStation released only in Japan in 1997. Thanks to Usagi704 I was able to play co-op with him in Panzer Bandit. The quick and simple way to explain how this game plays is that it’s essentially a clone of Guardian Heroes of the Saturn. It’s a very fun chain combo experience that I’d love to play again!

Game of the Year 2014 – Favorite Revisit


A number of games I have I’ll sometimes go back to them. This is especially the case if it’s short and going to be a quick session to play through. Arcade games fit this bill perfectly. Whether it be Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Contra, Ninja Warriors on Super Nintendo, or the fun horror game Splatterhouse on TG-16 (played during my Halloween Gaming Event). It’s always great to go back to these titles.

The one which caught my attention in 2014 was the arcade version of Robocop by Data East. It’s a bit tricky when it asks the player to level traversal that’s more than walk to the right, but otherwise it’s fun. It reminds me of a roller skating rink I used to go to and this blog post I mentioned it before in. All of this was spurred on by my purchase of the remastered in 4K Blu-ray edition of the original movie I picked up back in February.

Last year my favorite revisit was Tomb Raider: Legend and this year’s was Robocop!

Game of the Year 2014 – Best Retro Game


Welcome back to my 2014 Games of the Year awards!

This time I’ll be choosing my favorite of the retro games I played this year. This is mainly from the month of March where I went back to my gaming roots with several titles spanning across the Super Nintendo, original NES, Game Boy, and Genesis gaming consoles. These games consist of those I’ve played or haven’t played in the past, but the common trait among them is that I never seriously tried to finish them before. However, in 2014 I did beat most of them.

I quite liked my time with Natsume’s Wild Guns and Jaleco’s Operation Logic Bomb, both on SNES, but, I don’t see myself going back much to them. Capcom’s NES Rolling Thunder clone called Code Name: Viper was excellent. I’d even consider it better than the game which inspired them. Once I got the hang of how to approach enemies in Super Double Dragon, it became a favorite of mine within the Technos beat-’em-up series.

The one that really brought me back many times, however, was P.O.W.: Prisoners of War. This SNK brawler wasn’t that great in the arcades, but once it came home it was best on NES. Once I watched a speed run of the game with commentary, it gave me the tips I needed to beat the game for the first time. And a second time…and a third time. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would given I didn’t remember liking it all that much back in the early ’90s when my family rented it. I’ll admit that the 21 life code didn’t hurt the experience either.

Do you have a classic game you love going back to that you recently discovered within the previous year? Let me know in the comments section below. Also don’t forget to like and share this blog post if you enjoyed it.

Hart & Usagi Podcast #57: No then Yes


In this new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we discuss the PC game Hatred and Steam removal and reinstatement. We also get into what happened at the PlayStation Experience, the new threat to the Internet called CISA, and more.

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

* ‘The Crew’ Will Not Have Launch Problems, Promises Ubisoft
* 20 Brilliant Things About PlayStation
* SEGA & SONY Partner to Launch Yakuza 5 in the West
* Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono Assures Street Fighter V Won’t Be Free-to-Play
* Everything from the PlayStation Experience 2014: Looking Forward, Looking Back
* Sony’s Secret London Shop Selling 20th Anniversary PS4s for £19.94
* Sony Not Thrilled About 20th Anniversary PS4 eBay Sales
* Kmart Australia Joins Target Australia in Pulling ‘GTA V’ From Stores Shelves
* Take-Two: Don’t like GTA? Don’t buy it
* Valve Removes ‘Hatred’ From Steam Greenlight
* Gabe Newell Steps in to Reinstate Controversial Shooter on Steam
* CISA Supporters Use Sony Pictures Security Breach To Push Bill
* EFF Challenges Personal Audio’s ‘Podcasting Patent Claims’ Before the USPTO This Week
* ISPs Admit They Can ‘Live With’ Net Neutrality Rule Changes
* Last Guardian Making Progress Under “Completely New Conditions”
* Teens React to Mega Man: What We’ve Forgotten About “Nintendo Hard” Games

Listen or Download (2:03:06)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog



Pick 5: Favorite Castlevania Games


In the spirit of the upcoming Hart & Usagi Podcast episode we’ll be doing on the Castlevania series, I figured I’d wet your appetites for that audio goodness by letting you know what my favorites of the Castlevania series currently is. A quick honorable mention goes to Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge on the original Game Boy. It’s the best of the three on the GB and has the kick ass music the series is known for. It’s a must play if you’re in anyway interested in the more forgotten gems of the platformer genre.

A very awesome direction for the series to take at the time in 1997. At the outset, after Death strips Alucard of all of his items and weapons, you feel underpowered. It’s the same feeling I also got at the start of the inverted castle. Otherwise the game feels very easy and Alucard overpowered. Traversing the inverted version of the castle also feels clunky. Overall, though, it’s a fun game and definitely worthy of its position as an all-time classic.

**READ MORE ON SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT: Pick 5: Games I Haven’t Played But I Should | What Game Are You Shocked You Own?

After the third NES entry, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, it seems Konami felt the need to tone down the difficulty with the fourth game. They also played a lot with the new features of the Super Nintendo, namely Mode 7. Whipping in eight directions and the R button being dedicated to the subweapon makes for a fun time even if a bit easier. That is until you arrive at the first of four bosses at the end of the game. Slogra will end you!


You could almost consider this game the first of the SotN style. It’s has the free roaming element where you can go anywhere you want at any time as long as you have the required items to do so. The problem, however, is that it isn’t nearly as polished as those later games. It’s also very difficult to know what to do or where to go without some kind of outside help. Once you do know it can be quite enjoyable.

**READ MORE ON SIMON’S QUEST: Halloween Gaming Update: Castlevania II | Mastered Month: Simon’s Quest

Of the three DS entries I liked the middle release the best. It didn’t have any of the DS gimmickry from Dawn of Sorrow. It simply used the touch screen as a second, additional screen. How novel! The character switching on-the-fly is a fancy way to have two sets of equipment ready at all times. It’s still cool and does lead to some fun ways to fight the tougher bosses. Even the namesake portraits give some variety to the areas you visit.

**READ MORE ON PORTRAIT OF RUIN: Now Playing: April ’07 | 2006 Game of the Year

This is without a doubt my absolute favorite game in the entire Castlevania series. I have no doubt it’ll never be surpassed in my eyes. Anybody who claims to love Symphony of the Night and hasn’t played Aria of Sorrow is really missing out. So get out there and find yourself a copy of this masterpiece of gaming history. You will not regret it!

**READ MORE ON ARIA OF SORROW: Mastered Month: Aria of Sorrow | Complete In Box Fridays: Castlevania Double Pack