Now Playing: December 2019

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The previous three months has been a trying time to find a game I can get into. I succeeded, but the percentage was low. The racing games of Hydro Thunder (PS), Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2), and Flatout 2 (PS2) were more of the usual rubber-banding AI opponents that can make for a frustrating experience.

Flatout 2 had the worst of this issue, but the most annoying problem was the destructible track elements that got in the way on later laps once they were destroyed the debris was laying about. Burnout 2’s deal was solely the issue of the AI being perfect. I was having fun even when not winning, but once a certain mountain area track was what I was currently racing there seemed to be no way to progress regardless of the car I selected. Arcade racer Hydro Thunder was fun, but the bare bones presentation and odd decision to lock tracks behind a currency earning progression system was where I fell off of this one.

I then went to portable side of gaming with my DS Lite and PSP. I was hankering for some Puzzle Quest, but Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was too much of a departure of what made the first game so enjoyable. On top of that they added timed puzzle to complete. This is not what I call a fun Puzzle Quest experience. It was an immediate turn this game off moment.

I had the sequel on hand so I inserted the cartridge for Puzzle Quest 2. It was much more of the traditional fun game with additions that are much more welcome. There isn’t any timed puzzled, thankfully. I didn’t complete the game, but at least I had gotten my fill of Puzzle Quest in a more satisfying way.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was a first person shooter, as one would expect, but it’s on the PSP. Because of this everything hinges on how good the controls are. They’re…decent. It’s not a quick reflexes style of the recent Call of Duty titles on home consoles. It’s quite plodding to be very honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mainly suffer from AI that can aim accurately. This is bad when you’re under a time limit to get out of a base that’s going to explode! This is precisely the scenario I was in when I hung this game’s boots up and moved on.

The game I moved onto was a 2019 released game, if you can believe it. It was The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. Not a new game in practice since the original version was from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. I love the original and this is definitely a worthy improvement. I’m not fond of the two new characters or that you can’t grab and throw the level 1 boss, but otherwise it’s excellent. The game didn’t need a two-player mode, but it’s done well enough with both players sharing the life and blaster (battery in the new version) meters.

Finally, I not only bought The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors in the last month or so, but I was also given Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by Usagi704 for Xmas. My total new games for the year of 2019 is a big ol’ seven.

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Hart & Usagi #96: Free Hong Kong

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In episode 96 we chat about Blizzard & the NBA censoring speech and banning players, PS4 cross-play, PlayStation 5 hardware details, and more.

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

TOPICS:
* Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble
* Puzzle Quest 2 & Galactrix
* Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player For Voicing Support of Hong Kong Protests
* Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry
* Blizzard cancels Overwatch Nintendo Switch launch event without providing a reason
* Blizzard bans US Hearthstone collegiate team after Hong Kong protest
* Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Takes Shot at Blizzard, Says Epic Supports Speech on “Politics and Human Rights”
* Over a decade later, Saints Row 2 is finally getting fixed on PC
* PlayStation 5 Is Official, Releasing Holiday 2020 With a New Controller and Hardware Accelerated Ray-Tracing
* PS4 system software update version 7.00 launches October 8, adds Party and Remote Play enhancements
* Both PS5 and Xbox Scarlett to feature cameras and a focus on streaming – report
* PS4 cross-play is out of beta despite no official announcements
* Counter-Strike deploys X-ray Scanner to get around loot box controversy in France
* Duke Nukem 3D composer Bobby Prince is suing Gearbox Software and Valve over his soundtrack

Listen or Download (1:08:12)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

Hart & Usagi #94: Action In An Elevator

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In episode 94 we chat about the Yakuza Remastered Collection, Tetris 99 coming to retail stores, and our time playing select games in Taito Legends 1 and 2 on the PlayStation 2.

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

TOPICS:
* Games Won’t Be Any Cheaper on the Google Stadia
* Tetris 99 For Nintendo Switch Coming To Physical Stores This Fall
* The Switch Mini Is Officially the Portable-Focused Switch Lite, Has Multiple Compromises Over Original Switch
* Bethesda’s Classic Doom Re-Release Requires a Bethesda Account
* Three New Street Fighter 5 Characters Leak Ahead Of Evo 2019
* Walmart is Quietly Removing Violent Video Game Advertising From Its Stores
* TurboGrafx-16 Mini Adds Seven More Games To Complete Lineup, Including Splatterhouse
* Phil Spencer Doesn’t Think That Cloud Systems Will Fully Replace Traditional Consoles Just Yet
* Sony Acquires Ratchet and Clank, Spider-Man Dev Insomniac Games
* Ion Fury Developer Donates $10,000 to Charity After Furor Over Transphobic Comments
* Yakuza Remastered Collection For PS4 Announced, Starting With Yakuza 3

Listen or Download (1:31:26)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

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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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!

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. :)

SF AE & More

Since my Super Nintendo King of Dragons purchase in September, I ended up getting Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition in that time. I plan on likely buying the season 3 pack of DLC just to get G. After all, when the power of Gaia commands, you must obey.

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I don’t buy much wrestling on media these days, but after watching an okay Hell In A Cell show, I had to have a way to easily watch that show’s Raw Tag Team Championship match of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. It was an amazing 24 minute match with one of the best finishes I’ve seen in a long time. I also added NXT: Best of 2017. It’s not actually full of the “best of” because of the inclusion of non-match segments and a number of good, but not great matches. Overall, however, it’s worth it for what it is.

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I loved the Avatar: The Last Airbender series when I originally saw it. I never did get any of the DVDs because I was always questioning why it wasn’t on Blu-ray for higher quality video. Well, now it is and here it is.

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