Now Playing: February 2017


Since I checked in last month with you guys it’s only gotten hotter. It’s February and it’s 71°F as I type this. Unbearable! Despite the fact we’re all going to melt and drown in the rising ocean waters, I’ll try to fill you in on what I was playing recently.

Since last time I had continued to play and subsequently finished Bujingai: The Forsaken City. My thoughts are the same in that it’s a fun action title with a few “huh?” moments. Bujingai comes recommended by me despite it’s faults.

Right after I started to play Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas on the original PlayStation. It was unlike the first Die Hard Trilogy in that it’s not fun. The gameplay is more in the style of Tomb Raider and Duke Nukem: Time To Kill. It doesn’t work here. It’s too easy to die and there weren’t any mid-level checkpoints. Unfinished forever is fine by me. Moving on…

Back on the PlayStation 2, I played around ten levels of Manhunt 2. It was satisfying to sneak around and take out all of these “bad dudes.” What was less exciting was to have to use melee or firearms against enemies that noticed you. Manhunt 2 does have mid-level checkpoints and save points which helped me get as far as I did. However, some levels just required a bit too much on engagement with guns leaving me wondering where all the stealth went. The controls don’t lend themselves to being a shooter and these sections proved that. The game does have some merit so I don’t regret my time with it. It’s just doesn’t deserve any more.

I then dusted off and charged up my PSP for the next game, Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow. I didn’t get far into Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror years ago, but Logan’s Shadow looks to be easier to handle. I’m certainly impressed with the quality of the graphics on display here. Other than that there’s not much to say since I’m still only on the first episode. Wish me luck in seeing this one through.

Game on!


Now Playing: January 2017


Shortly after I posted about what I played in the latter half of 2016 at the beginning of this month (a week later to be precise), I finished my first game of the new year. It was Watch Dogs.

I enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs more so than it’s reputation would lead you to believe is possible. The story is passé as you’ve probably heard, but since I don’t get caught up in worrying about that I had fun.

Oh and I uploaded ten clips of things I found amusing while I played Watch Dogs. Take a peek at them if you so wish.

With my current game I’m three stages from being finished. It’s Bujingai: The Forsaken City on PlayStation 2. It’s has an enjoyable combat system where you play as a character that was motion captured by singer Gackt.

The problem with the game is figuring out where to go or what exactly to do on some of the stages. Stages range from dead simple straight forward affairs to mind-melting mazes of confusion. Clearly a well-planned out and cohesive game Bujingai is not. To avoid wanting to chuck a controller at the wall, I suggest having a FAQ on hand. I’m playing on Easy to help this out as well.


Finally I have more purchases to tell you about.

Shadow Complex Remastered on PSN was for about $6 on sale so I went for it. Also, I have picked up locally two movies: Big and Enemy at the Gates.


Now Playing: April 2016


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!


Saving Gaming History

Recently I wanted to tackle some outlier games that have been eluding my collection. I didn’t get ones such as Captain America: Super Soldier or Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, but I did get a few others.

The first two games, you can see in the photo directly below, are actually not apart of those games I was trying to find. Medal of Honor: Vanguard and ICO were unplanned pickups. The former was released around the same time on the PS2 that Medal of Honor: Airborne was on PS3 and X360. The latter, ICO, I already have via The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection on PS3. I only got it because I felt the need to save it from the unwashed masses. It’s not everyday you come across a complete copy of ICO on PS2 in good condition.


It’s also not everyday you come across a good conditioned complete copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess either. Okay, actually you do. But not the Gamecube version! I’m not much of a fan of The Legend of Zelda as you guys already know, but I still felt a need to save this game as well. It’s another one I didn’t need because I did already have the ubiquitous Wii version.

Here’s the first game which I did go to specifically to find. It’s Sega Arcade Gallery on the Game Boy Advance. It’s a four game compilation of AfterBurner, Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, and (best of all) OutRun! In case you didn’t know these games are all of Sega’s super sweet superscaler arcade lineup. You can never have enough of those!


I finally found Ray Tracers, but I did have to go to eBay for it. The game is easily summed up as a polygonal version of Chase H.Q. and that’s okay by me. Both games were developed by Taito.

Iron Man / X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal was another game that wasn’t really on my wish list. I can see it as a very mediocre game, but in some ways it reminded me of Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project from 2002 in how it plays even though the game I bought was from 1996.


Finally, I picked up a new copy of the 2008 Special Edition of Rambo 4. Yes, I do already own the Extended Cut. However, I was disappointed that the commentary track was cut out of that version. This one has exactly what I was missing.


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!

Now Playing: December 2014


Early this month of December I was looking to play some games with some satisfying brutal visuals. I selected a number of games and had it up for a vote on Twitter. One of those games was Yakuza 3 as voted on by @usagi704.

Yakuza 3 has some new elements which I wasn’t a fan of. The main one was finding Revelations. Upon completing a small quick time event sequence and selecting an appropriate title for it, the reward is obtaining a new attack for Kazuma to use. Thankfully none of these are required so ultimately this complaint of mine is very minor. Good news is that this game still delivers excellent beat-’em-up action especially in the latter half of the game. I completed the game with a total time of 18 hours and 7 minutes.

Next game played was suggested by @ebbderelict and this time on the PlayStation 2. It’s Urban Reign. It’s a 2005 Namco brawler with a weak story that can be completely ignored. The purpose of the story is just to have an excuse for the fights to happen. Mission 15 is the first roadblock for new players. It features a very difficult opponent by the name of Kadonashi. He counters most everything and loves punishing combos. In Mission 24 he reappears with a partner. I didn’t find it very fun and stopped playing at this point. Maybe sometime later I’ll give Urban Reign a second chance.

Another vote I took at around the same time as the one mentioned above was for unplayed original PlayStation games I had. This was for celebrating the system’s 20th anniversary. @24bitAJE recommending RayCrisis: Series Termination after recording the last episode of Space Suplex.

Just as he’d said, RayCrisis was definitely a short game. Even Usagi704 had noticed it was short for even shoot-’em-up standards. RayCrisis is of the “Ray” series of games developed by Taito. I’ve always liked the idea of the games and how they play, but as usual with me, I’m not very good at this genre. Regardless, I found it much more fun than I was expected once I played on Usagi’s setup. There’s a lot to be said about having a CRT television with component video cables.

With those games out of the way I will tackle Strider 2 next.

Hart & Usagi Podcast #51: Pile of Secrets


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!

* 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)
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward