Hart & Usagi Podcast #52: Castlevania


We have a special edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast for you this time. We’ll be focusing our discussion on the Castlevania series past, present, and possible future. What’s our favorite games of the series? Well you just have to listen to find out. JiibayDan is our guest once again and as usual he’ll give his unique insight into the topics on hand.

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

* Yooper problems
* Syndicate and online co-op
* Tearaway
* Air Zonk
* Azure Striker Gunvolt
* Sleeping Dogs
* Google Didn’t Buy Twitch Because of Potential Antitrust Issues – Report
* Report: FCC Considering Reclassifying Broadband Providers as ‘Common Carriers’
* Nintendo unveils ‘new’ 3DS, 3DS XL
* Sega unsheathes Yakuza Zero: The Place of Oath
* Bayonetta 2 gives Wii U a new ‘do on October 24
* Castlevania series

Listen or Download (2:17:41)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward




Odds and Ends and Max Payne


Here’s a few odds and ends to wrap up which I didn’t have much to say about to dedicate a blog post to each item.

Last week I celebrated my birthday and I was given Max Payne 3 by Usagi704. The game didn’t feel like a must have like the first one did on PC back in 2001, but I still did want to play it. Speaking of the first game, I remember trying the demo and then buying it that very weekend to take back up to college with me.

I also decided to throw down $15 for Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara. This is the usual digital release of older Capcom arcade games by Iron Galaxy Studios and is a compilations of Shadow Over Mystara and Tower of Doom. The presentation format is similar to that of Marvel vs. Capcom Origins and Darkstalkers Resurrection. I’m all about the classic arcade beat-’em-up genre and I hope to see some of you playing these two games soon!

Lastly, I have a gameplay video some of you might be familiar with, but I seemingly forgot to link to it at the time of upload in August 2011. It’s my gameplay of Alien Crush on the PSP and my score started at 219,270,300 and the video ends at 230,339,600.

Thanks for reading and watching!



Now Playing: June 2012


This month’s Now Playing consists of five games. Let’s get to them.

Upon going back and seeing what I wrote during the month, I only did this one blog post. In it I mentioned my improvement of my times in Survival and Time Attack of Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival. I did a get a few times even better. Allow me to list them now.

vs. 30
Was 2:39:92 and now 2:08:79

vs. 50
Was 5:15:98 and now 4:32:82

vs. 100
Was 11:41:92 and now 11:25:95

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 12:78 and now 11:03

vs. All
Was 4:21:06 and now 3:51:43

In other arcade style action I played Super Hang-On and Alien Crush doing fairly well for myself as you can read about in the previous post linked above.

One game I forgot to update you on was Yakuza 2. I ended up finishing it on the first day of this month with 20 hours and 19 minutes of game time.

The game overall felt too easy and this was probably because I chose Easy to begin with. I was afraid of the fights against bosses since I remember having such a frustrating time with them in the first game. I also was a bit disappointed in the story itself. It didn’t pull me in as the first game’s did. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from this sequel since it’s definitely a step up from the previous entry. I think I just hyped myself up too much for it. All in all, it’s still a great brawler.

Another fantastic game I finally got around to playing was Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Last time in the blog post linked to above, I mentioned my problem with the difficulty spike on the Mission 6 boss. Once I passed it the game settled down and got back to the business of fun.

One thing I really liked about this game was how more slower paced it was versus all of the Western style shooters. It’s definitely not afraid to say “Hey, I’m an Eastern shooter.” I hate it when Japanese developers try to make a Western style game like with Quantum Theory. Stick to what you’re good at.

My total game time was 7 hours and 35 minutes. I also played some multiplayer against Usagi704 and hope to play some more against Madtyger and her crew soon. I’m relying on them since nobody’s playing Lost Planet online anymore.

Thanks for reading, folks! Have a good one!

The Green Eye Buzz Kill


Hey there everybody! I haven’t posted about my gaming exploits in almost three weeks. It’s time to get on that.

The last time we talked I had listed what my best times were in Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival on the GBA in Survival and Time Attack modes. I improved a few of them and shall list them below.

vs. 30
Was 2:55:45 and now 2:39:92

4 Boss (Balrog, Vega, Sagat, M. Bison)
Was 53:52 and now 46:66

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 13:82 and now 12:78

vs. Ryu, Ken, Shin Akuma
Was 46:89 and now 38:73

vs. All
Was 4:41:62 and now 4:21:06

During this past week I purchased the arcade version of Super Hang-On on PSN. You can set scores in the original arcade mode or set times on a leaderboard in the Trials mode. The latter I’ve been playing a bit to best Usagi704. At first I did, but he’s since improved on a couple of the tracks. My current times set are as follows.

3:19.08 (Beginner)
5:50.75 (Junior)
8:39.27 (Senior)
11:51.37 (Expert)
30:01.30 (World – all four tracks strung together.)

On Sunday I played some of Alien Crush and managed to set a second place score on the PS3 scoreboard of 65,040,600.

The main game I’m playing at the moment is Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. I’m currently at the Green Eye boss fight of Mission 6 with three hours logged so far. Up until now it’s been quite fun despite the deliberately paced combat. I say “up until now” because I’ve tried to pass the fight with Green Eye several times to no avail. It was really frustrating to a point where I had to stop playing and get my mind on something else (like writing this blog post).

In Lost Planet your, what the game calls, T-Eng drains over time. When you take damage this energy drains faster to automatically heal you. If it runs out then you will simply have less than full health when hit. Getting more isn’t usually a problem.

When in this fight with Green Eye this mech (called a VS) you’re in drains T-Eng much faster when using its abilities like hovering and dashing. This shouldn’t be a problem, but becomes one when the rules are changed. If T-Eng hits zero the game automatically ejects you from the VS and you die.

This isn’t consistent with any previous time my T-Eng displayed zeros on the HUD. It effectively makes my T-Eng equal to health, but isn’t not like the VS I’m in for this boss fight doesn’t have its own health meter because it does. You can now probably see why I was highly annoyed at this game.

LP1 still a fun experience outside of this buzz kill.

Until next time game on!

Now Playing: August 2011


Last Tuesday was the 20th anniversary of the Super Nintendo as released in North America. Knowing this date was coming up I decided to make it mainly a SNES month.

I played Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers once again and also did a speed run of it in 42 minutes and 12 seconds.

Soon after I asked on Twitter which of eight random chosen games I should play next. The two top picks were Robocop Versus The Terminator and Run Saber. The former game was pretty bad with unforgiving AI and overall uninteresting gameplay. At least there was a funny glitch where you can hold the A and X buttons while on a ladder and Robocop will keep climbing even after passing the top of it. Stage 6 was as far as I was able to go.

Run Saber was much more fun. This take on Strider from Atlus has a bunch of moves to perform in a fast-paced platformer. It has an arrow at the top of the screen always showing the direction to head in. I recommend this game if you’ve ever enjoyed Capcom’s Strider. Finished on Easy was a score of 266,800.

There’s not much to say about Street Racer. It’s basically a Super Mario Kart clone with less charm. At least the racing is decent.

Two other games I finished off this month giving me a total of 27 for this year was Knights of the Round and Alien Crush. In the Capcom beat-’em-up I selected Percival. I prefer him since he’s the only one who can dash. Granted it doesn’t last long at all, but this mobility and being the more powerful of the three characters make him a great choice. My final score was 430,820 at level 15.

I think I’m Alien Crush’d out at this point. I’m played a lot of the game in the recent past, as most of you know, but nothing can prepare you for this. On the PSN version via my PSP I improved my score so much that there’s no way I could possibly top it and that’s even if I’d want to (and I definitely don’t want to). My previous best score, regardless of the version of the game, was 78,533,200 and now it was improved by over four times the amount. Behold my new best high score of 348,932,500!


You’ll probably need some time to recover from that revealed score so I’ll end this here. As always thanks for reading!

Now Playing: July 2011


This month was unexpectedly worse in quality gaming than I expected. While I did enjoy my time with Alien Crush, Peggle, Tekken 6 on PSP, Super SFII Turbo HD Remix and a few others, some game just got on my nerves.

NBA Jam was the first to be a lot of fun and then it turned into a travesty when I tried to play half-court matches in Remix mode. It’s also very hard to tell your distance vs. an opponent to make a block. The CPU players don’t help things by being merciless even on Easy. Thankfully the original mode is still fantastic after all of these years!

Of course the biggest problem of all was Army of Two. I kept on calling it dumb via my updates on Twitter. When I looked at reviews for this game from ’08, I couldn’t believe how many were giving it fairly good passing marks. I didn’t play a 8 out of 10 game. Nowhere near it. They all claimed that the AI partner is horrible, but that this was made up for by having a friend play along with you. It’s not. Stay away from this 3 out of 10 BrickBeef McDudeShooter*.

Half-Life 2: Episode One and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas were the best of the bunch for this last month. The latter I had to consider finished when it didn’t let me continue on with the last two objectives by always saying I failed. I know I was playing the mission in question correctly when I checked out gameplay on YouTube.

The former, Half-Life 2: Episode One, was the great gameplay I liked from HL2 in bite size. This game I actually was able to finish. Being away from this style of game for as long as I have made it feel a little old in how it played. By this I mean I’m used to recharging health, clearly marked objectives, and a very linear path. I’m okay with this since it’s Half-Life after all. It was a fun experience, but, as I’ve read many times, I’m very likely to enjoy Episode Two much more.

In closing, I finished six games this month giving me 24 total for 2011. It’s probably the most in a long time. Listed below are those games and dates. Thanks for checking my blog out!

Alien Crush (PSN) – 6/27
NBA Jam (PS3) – 7/1
Peggle (PSN) – 7/6
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3) – 7/12
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3) – 7/21
Army of Two (PS3) – 7/26

Dragons and Aliens, oh my!


A few days ago I was playing Alien Crush (PSN verison) and was having my best game ever. It was going so great that I had to save where I was and come back to it later. Once I started it again I didn’t last as long, but it did give me my best score ever.



My previous best score was 36,570,300. Quite the improvement if I do say so myself. Because of this I do consider Alien Crush finished making it #19 on the year.

After finishing up Assassin’s Creed last week I wasn’t sure what to play next. I knew I wanted it to be a PS3 game which had trophy support. I let the “Fortune Cookie” on Backloggery.com choose a random game. It ended up being NBA Jam.

So far I’ve just been playing the Classic Campaign with the Utah Jazz. Record is 20-0. It’s a return to form for the series and I’m enjoying it. Despite this I do have a small issue with it: the lack of a control configuration. I prefer turbo on R1 or R2, like I’ve been playing it since the days of the SNES. Unfortunately, it’s stuck on L1 and L2. Like I said, it’s a small problem, but nothing that would lower the score if I were to review it.

I know in the future I’m going to want to experience my first RPG again, but was shown why it shouldn’t be on the NES. The game in question is Dragon Warrior.

I, like most Westerners, got their first taste of the RPG genre through Dragon Warrior thanks to the giveaway by Nintendo Power back in 1990. I remember finishing it twice back then and finding it quite fun. Despite this I didn’t play many RPGs after.

This is where the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II comes in. The Happy Video Game Nerd makes a comparison of the first Dragon Warrior game on the NES and GBC showing that you can get much further in the first 30 minutes on the portable version than you can on the NES version. On the NES, the player still can’t leave the starting area and some of the minor enemies are still a problem. On the Game Boy Color, the player has already been able to start on the first dungeon. This video of his has me wanting to try the GBC version.