Now Playing: July 2019

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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.

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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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Merry Winter Solstice

Unlike in 2014 when I had been given lots of movies on Blu-ray for Xmas, this year it was mostly video games. The similarity between this year and that year is they’re all from my wish list. Upon thinking about it, I’m surprised all the games are from this last calendar year. I’m ready to load my BFG to take down the demonic mafia all the while raiding more tombs. Praise the sun!

Selma
Zootopia
Mafia III
Doom (2016)
Dark Souls III
Rise of the Tomb Raider

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You Can’t Beat 100%

In the last month or more I’ve been on a game-free diet of mainly movies as I had explained at the time in Now Playing: April 2016. Despite this I haven’t stopped buying games. I’ve bought five more that have been stuck on my wish list for awhile.

Back in March I tried to get both of the newest Wolfenstein games with only a 50% success rate. I completed in getting the missing The New Order this time. I did a redundant buy as well with the Far Cry Compilation. It includes Far Cry 2, 3, and Blood Dragon. As you might remember, I played and finished both FC3 and Blood Dragon last year. So did I get this compilation for Far Cry 2? Nope. I got it for Blood Dragon. I wanted it on a disc for the impending offline of PS3 on PSN. The disc plays FC3 from it with installers for the other two games. If you’ve experience with other three-game packs from Ubisoft, then you know what I’m talking about.

The other games are WayForward’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze, the FC3 sequel Far Cry 4, and the return of Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 3.

Thanks for catching up with me. Take care!

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Now Playing: April 2016

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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!

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Game of the Year 2015 Nominees

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My thoughts on a personal 2015 Game of the Year for myself will be brief. I will be foregoing the usual series of gaming award blog posts that I’ve done in recent years. I’m going to present a single Game of the Year award to my top pick like I did the last time for 2010.

Until I figure out what the winner will be I’ll give you my list of nominees.

Tomb Raider (PS3, 2013)
Far Cry 3 (PS3, 2012)
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (PS3, 2010)
Fighter’s History (SNES, 1994)
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PSN, 2013)
TRON: Evolution (PS3, 2010)

Hart & Usagi #68: EVO2015 is Curtis

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It’s time for another scintillating Hart & Usagi Podcast episode. In this corner it’s USGamer’s 10 best PlayStation 4 games and in the opposite corner it’s two guys who played almost none of them. A captivating match-up! Other showdowns include Ant-Man vs. Pixels, UK businesses vs. personal use, and EVO vs. Jamie Lee Curtis.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* PlayStation Mobile Officially Closes Today
* The 10 Best PlayStation 4 Games
* UK High Court Kills ‘personal use’ ripping of copyrighted material
* Jamie Lee Curtis Attended EVO Disguised As Vega From Street Fighter
* Don’t Celebrate A Tournament Win Until You’ve Actually Won
* Acclaimed RPG Odin Sphere Getting HD Remake in North America
* Xbox One Backwards Compatibility an “Enormous Engineering Challenge”
* What are the Hardest Video Games?
* Adam Sandler’s Video Game Movie Pixels Wins Friday With $9.2 Million
* Pixels Has Slow Start at Box Office
* China’s Console Ban Is Now Totally Over
* Google+ and YouTube are finally splitting up

Listen or Download (57:30)

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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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