Hart & Usagi #77: PS4.0 Pro

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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!

NEWS:
* 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

@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi #71: Linkle

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In this new episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about the Street Fighter V scandal, Yakuza 5’s mystery release date for North America, and, among other things, a rant on the nonsense study/survey asking the political views of gamers.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Street Fighter 5 Tones Down Focus on Female Bodies
* Nintendo NX Is a Console/Mobile Hybrid, Has “Industry-Leading” Tech – Report
* Sony Has No First Party PS Vita Games in Development: First Party Strategy Focused on PS4
* Sega subtly pulls all mention of Yakuza 5 November release date
* Uncharted 4 Multiplayer to Include Microtransactions “From the Outset”
* Destiny Microtransactions and Expansions Can Co-Exist, Activision Says
* California Now Has The Nation’s Best Digital Privacy Law
* Senate Passes CISA Surveillance Bill 74-21
* Judges selected for FCC net neutrality legal battle
* Republican lawmakers weigh in on FCC’s net neutrality court case
* PS4 Exclusive The King of Fighters XIV Gets New Trailer: Reveals Leona and Chang Koehan
* US Gamers’ Political Views Detailed in New Study
* See Canceled Mortal Kombat HD Screenshot
* Nintendo Reveals Official Female Link, and She’s Coming to Hyrule Warriors

Listen or Download (1:07:26)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

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

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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 – Best Retro Game

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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.

Sengoku 3

I went out for some printer cartridges last week and came away with those plus Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Wii. The Xbox 360 controller pictured below is for some PC games on Steam since I don’t own or ever plan to own an Xbox 360 system itself. Finally I was able to get encouragement from my fellow podcast hosts, Usagi704 and 24bitAJE, to get the outstanding Neo-Geo beat-’em-up Sengoku 3!

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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!

Favorite Game Music: Volume VII

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From the popular to the strange to the unknown, he’s another list of my favorite video game music!

* Stage 4 part 2 from Konami’s Metamorphic Force (ARC)
* Lab 1 from from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Mango Tango from WayForward’s Double Dragon Neon
* Amaterasu theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Zero theme from Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
* Stage 2 & 5 from Data East’s Bad Dudes (NES)
* Stage 2 from Natsume’s Shadow of the Ninja (NES)
* Germany course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* USA course from SNK’s Neo Turf Masters (ARC)
* Splash Wave from Sega’s Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PS2, XBOX)