Hart & Usagi #68: EVO2015 is Curtis


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!

* 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)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704



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



Best On NES


If you’ve played some of the arcade games by Konami and/or Capcom, you’ve probably noticed some of the differences between those and the later home versions of the same games on the NES. Granted some of the differences might be minor, but those changes still make all of the difference in the cosmos.

When looking for some examples of these differences, one can easily see it in Ninja Gaiden. The thing with Ninja Gaiden is that the arcade beat-’em-up and the NES action platformer were likely developed at roughly the same time. Another game mentioned by JiibayDan was Dragon Spirit. I don’t know enough about the game to know if it had a better home port.

I recently played and finished the NES version of Jackal. This Konami game was originally an arcade game which I never saw or played until I briefly tried it out via MAME. The differences in this title are mostly in the controls of the jeep the player uses. Popping off a grenade takes a fraction of a second longer than on the NES. Because of this it doesn’t always fly in the direction you intend it to. This is the sole reason why Jackal is best on the NES.

Another game which also has smaller changes is Gun Smoke (That’s right, I don’t type it as “Gun.Smoke.”). The differences here is mainly the difficulty. There’s four fewer stages, smaller amounts of enemies, and your quarters stay in your pocket. :D Shops were added to the game to make the money displayed at the top of the screen mean more than just as a score. The music is also better too!

Bionic Commando is up next and this is one NES game that is known and loved far and wide. If you’ve ever played the arcade game, then you truly are familiar with probably one of the greatest examples of best on the NES. The graphics are artistically better, there’s a fleshed out story, and the damn thing just controls great! There’s also more variety in this version than compared to its quarter-munching cousin.

Finally there’s two Konami games which are some of my personal favorites of all time. They are the pair of run-‘n-gun titles Contra and Super C! I’ve played a bit more of the arcade original than that of Super Contra, but both of them run off of the same hardware and therefore had pretty much the same issues. The vertical screen didn’t help with the view of oncoming enemies. When aiming in a different direction while shooting you needed to wait a few seconds for the bullets to feel like it. I also felt that the arcade versions color palette was drab.

Best on the NES fits Contra and Super C well. The problems with the arcade versions were dealt with perfection. More stages were added and lengthened, but the challenge is very much still there. The difference being that the precise controls make it possible to have the character do what you want. There’s no more of the nonsense waiting for the bullets to go in the direction you intend them to. All you have to worry about on the NES is where and how much of Red Falcon’s ass to kick!

If you have any other potentially fun arcade games which, once on the NES (or another system), finally paid off on that potential, please, by all means, regale me with your story below.

Recent Demos VI


I had some demos piling up on my PS3 so I figured I’d play a handful and give you my thoughts on them.

This demo reminded me of the what they showed one year at E3. It was the cold climate level where the player climbed up some sheets of ice at the start.

What can I really say other than it’s what fans would expect from the series at this point. Since this demo wasn’t out around the time the game was released it just feels pointless. You knew at the time the game came out whether you were going to get it or not. Me? Not a chance.

I liked the idea of this game referencing a bunch of older classic titles in the many ways it does. I also enjoyed the beat-’em-up action on display. However, I don’t have the reverence for River City Ransom as so many others my age do. Don’t get me wrong. I played and had fun with the game, but the RPG elements present in the game didn’t excite me as much. The same goes for this downloadable title too. The lack of online play is also a big deal breaker at this stage in the game.

At first glance this game may seem like Excitebike with more tricks to perform and it does have a track editor too. Performing those tricks and completing objectives is the name of the game with less emphasis on actual racing. If high score chasing is an interest of yours, then you’ll probably like Joe Danger. As for me? I do like getting high scores, but pinball is more of the type of game I like score chasing in. This demo was satisfying enough on its own.

There must be a Community Against Online Enabled Beat-‘Em-Ups somewhere out there because we keep getting these games without online play. As I noted above with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, it’s a no go for me unless it proves to be really entertaining. Shank isn’t one of those.

I’m not a fan of the art style used. I also don’t like the lack of animation for enemies getting hit from time to time. They’ll just interrupt a combo you’re doing to floor you with an attack of their own. The bosses make this even more annoying as they take damage from hits, but hardly if ever react to them.

Let me get this out of the way up front. This is a Gears of War clone. Plain and simple. It is in the same way that Dante’s Inferno was a God of War clone. The player character shoots the same, reloads the same, runs the same, takes cover in the same way, and so on. The controls are mostly mapped out in the same way too. Eventually a woman shows up to help out kind of like Dom in Gears of War. The only difference being you couldn’t throw him at an enemy for a strong melee strike and possible one hit kill.

You could say I’m quite surprised with how well Tecmo got the feel of Gears of War down in this game. It’s been awhile since I’ve played the first Gears title, but I remember it well enough that this feels very close. I guess if I want that type of gaming experience on my PS3 this will be the way I’ll have to go.

Ninja Gaiden’s Winter Trails


In just six days after I started, the nine chapters of Mirror’s Edge have been finished (#23 for 2010).

I still feel the same about the game as I did when I laid my feelings out in my previous blog post. I still have mixed thoughts about it all. Like I said the controls are great and work well with the platforming. I just really dislike the combat and I can’t see how it’d be possible to avoid taking out some of the gunmen in a few spots during the game. I did get more competent with the combat, but I’d still like to know how to avoid it altogether.

One thing I don’t buy is the combat not being great because of who Faith is. I’m not being a jerk when I say this. It’s really just a poor way to excuse something that could’ve been more polished. Maybe there wasn’t more Dice could’ve done to improve it. I’ll grant you that possibility. However, there’s only so much that should be modeled in a realistic sense in a video game before it’s no longer any fun.

Regardless of any of my complaints, I will be continuing to play the speed run portion of the game. As you all know from my past gaming experiences, I really like doing that in certain games.

I downloaded three games recently on the Wii. First was Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth, but I haven’t started it yet. I also got two games that are very nostalgic for me. One is Alien Crush which I played a bunch of when my family got a Turbo Grafx-16 once it was heavily discounted. The other nostalgia title was the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden. The only place I ever saw or played it at was Snow Trails when I was growing up. My memories of that ski lodge and that game will forever be intertwined.

Mirror’s Edge trophies: 18 / 51 (35%)
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars progress: 5h56m; 56%
Alien Crush top score: 8,693,100

Thanks for reading and make it a good one!

The Wanted Ninjas of the Underworld

A few purchases that I picked up this past week. I’m trying to wait on more games to get down to $20 or less before buying unless I’m certain to play it right away.

I don’t normally think of Sears, but just like last time (online archive), I found a fantastic deal. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is still fairly new and still goes for full price. At Sears I found it for $20! Also while there I picked up Tomb Raider: Underworld.


I enjoyed the demo for Wanted: Weapons of Fate when I played it around the time of the game’s release. I also liked playing it once again for the recent “Being the Man” Moment video. I got it on Amazon.com for about $15 also with a red Dualshock 3 controller.


PSP Demos


I figured it’s time to play a few more demos. This time they’re all on the PSP.

At this point with so many games going the zombie route, I’m pretty sick of that theme for anything. However, Undead Knights it a pretty decent game. Sure it’s a bit simplistic, but it still has its moments.

I thought that I wouldn’t be all the interested in it after the mediocre reviews. The demo was fun, but at it’s current price of $40, it’s not worth that much.

Rating: Bargain Bin

I’ve never been much of a fan of the Jak and Daxter series, but I did like the first game and I have the PSP title, Daxter, ready to go. I was pretty interested in this new adventure and this demo didn’t discourage me, but it did bring down the excitement a few notches.

The controls are the biggest problem as they’re better than lots of early PSP games, but still aren’t as up to the task as other games released for the system more recently. I hope that the PS2 version is better on the control side because it seems like that would be the way to go. And by what I can gather from ebbderelict’s review, it does look like that’s the version I’ll go with.

Rating: Bargain Bin

It’s more Motorstorm which is a good thing if you liked the PS3 games. It’s also a great thing for those that have yet to try out the series. I, on the other hand, have played the original game and while I liked it, I was never a big fan. The game is pretty frustrating for me and I’m at a point in that first game where I can’t proceed because the AI is too difficult.

What I found odd was my preference for the last generation of racing games style of control where gas and brake were on X and Square, respectively, instead of the default R and L. I could’ve also used the d-pad to steer too.

This PSP demo consisted of one track and one vehicle to race and that was fine since the previous demos for the series did just that. I liked the new addition of cooling down the boost meter quicker by driving through snow.

Overall I liked what it had to offer, but with the experience being the same, I’ll have to pass.

Rating: Skip It

As we all know demos are usually free. So even if it’s of a bad game, you still don’t lose anything other than a little time. Well when it comes to Promethus stay away.

I seems like a Metroid clone only crap in about every way possible. This video shows off the demo in action, but don’t be fooled, it’s not fun.

Rating: Skip It

Rating scale: Day One – Sooner Rather Than Later – Bargain Bin – Skip It

4-Player Co-op Goodness!


It’s time for another round of my thoughts on demos from the PlayStation Network. These are a little old as I downloaded them as soon as they were available, but let them sit on the hard drive while playing some other games.

This game definitely takes you back to the old school id Software style of shooter. I never was the biggest fan of that style, but I’d probably still pick this game up. The demo was unfortunately a bit too short, but it does give you a feeling of whether or not you’d be into this type of game.

Rating: Bargain Bin

This demo was much more satisfying. While there was only a Ryu mission available right away, completing it unlocked an Ayane mission. That in turn unlocked Team Missions mode.

I found the controls to be very easy to use and pretty responsive. Above all I was shocked at how much fun I had. The game definitely gives you that badass feeling. I’ll own this game eventually. That’s a guarantee.

Rating: Sooner Rather Than Later

I’ve only played some of the demo of the original game and after playing this demo it’s pretty clear that it’s more of the same, but at the same time an improved game and with 4-player co-op.

This game has an interesting warmer climate look to it, but still plays like you’d expect if you’ve played the first game. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with others to take down the huge boss in the demo. It takes awhile, but it’s satisfying once you do.

Rating: Sooner Rather Than Later

I’m intrigued by this game if for only reason that it’s considered a pretty good entry into the long running Need For Speed series. After trying out the demo I can’t say for sure if I’d ever get the game, but I can tell you that it’s fun and I hardly ever feel that way about simulation racing games. It’s that well balanced for both sim and arcade racing fans.

Rating: Bargain Bin

All four demos were enjoyable in their own right and I wouldn’t say that any of them would be bad purchases if you like the genre they’re from. My favorite of the bunch is Lost Planet 2. The four player co-op is very fun and has promise for the full game to be fantastic.

Rating scale: Day One – Sooner Rather Than Later – Bargain Bin – Skip It

Favorite Game Music


Recently I was throwing updates onto twitter about some of my favorite game music. I figured I’d share that with everyone on my blog.

Now just so you know this won’t be listing anything hugely popular like Final Fantasy music or the like. In fact most of the time I don’t remember much of the music from the games that I play. I usually have to hear them afterwards to remember that I liked it.

Without further ado, here’s 11 selections of game music that I like.

* Mr. Big stage theme from SNK’s Art of Fighting (SNES)
* Taito’s puzzle game Cleopatra Fortune (Arcade)
* Title theme to Sunsoft’s Journey to Silius/Raf World (NES)
* Act 4-2 of Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors (NES)
* Act 2-1 of Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors (NES)
* Act 2-2 of Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors (NES)
* Stage 1-1 of Konami’s Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
* Simon’s theme from Konami’s Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
* Heart of Fire from Konami’s Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)
* Festival stage theme from Namco’s Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP)
* Snow Field from Konami’s Contra/Probotector (NES)

Now Playing: August ’09


Here’s the quick list of what I’ve been playing.

Jackal (NES)
Ninja Gaiden (NES)
Retro Game Challenge (DS)
Fracture (PS3)
Sega Genesis Collection (PSP)
The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match (PS2)
The Punisher (PS2)

For the usual details check out this video.

I want to thank everybody who voted in my last blog post for the game that I’ll look for to purchase some time in the next month.

The winner is Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge!

9 – Castlevania II (GB)
7 – Einhander (PS)
6 – Double Dragon II (GB)
4 – Wild Guns (SNES)
3 – Resident Evil Gaiden (GBC)

Not to worry for those that may still want to cast their votes. You can do that in the comments section for this post.

Again thanks for voting and watching the video. Later!