Everything old is new again, and AtariAge now has the freshly created AtariVox speech/sound synthesizer for the Atari 2600 and 7800 available for sale. As the site explains: “The AtariVox plugs into the second joystick port of the Atari 2600 or 7800 and can be accessed by games and other programs to add unlimited-vocabulary speech and sound effects.” Even better, the new homebrew Atari 2600 title Man Goes Down and Paul Slocum‘s latest music project, LoopCart, an extension of his excellent SynthCart, are both taking advantage of the new peripheral. Just don’t go Berzerk, OK?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about odd, European-exclusive PlayStation 2 titles, and here’s a prime example – ITE’s Hugo Cannon Cruise. If you check the gameplay movie for the game, which was released in continental Europe in October, you’ll see a jaunty kids’ nautical 3D shooter, with a not-unreasonable game engine. This latest title in the Hugo dynasty was even localized into Turkish (Hugo the troll is normally an interactive television star, in a ‘phone up the TV station and press buttons on your phone to control him’ style, and apparently massive in Turkey.) Oh, and check out the company’s somewhat diverting video presentation to find out what really makes Hugo, uhm, ‘come alive’.
Just out for the PS2 on the 28th of this month is the spiritual successor to Jaleco’s classic mahjong series Suchie Pai: Chuuka na Janshi Tenho Painyan. The game, set in Meiji Tokyo rather than Suchie Pai’s modern setting, is a single-player, one-on-one mahjong game that includes just about as many fan-pleasing additional mechanics as should be allowable by law: multiple characters that join your cause after you defeat them, a slot machine that can grant rulebreaking in-game help, magical-girl-style transformations, and the sort of post-victory shenanigans you usually find in a mahjong game like this. Just as with the Suchie Pai series, well-known character designer Kenichi Sonoda provided designs for this game, and key voice actors from the previous series have returned as well. The game was developed by Sea’s Splash and PCCW-offshoot MyHarvest, published by GeneX, and distributed by Cyber Front. The regular edition of the game is available for 7140 yen, and a Collector’s Edition (which includes a music CD and drama CD) is 9240 yen. Softbank Games have a feature on the game that includes several videos and wallpapers.
Falcom’s fabled music team JDK have returned with a new album. Titled “The Songs of Zemeth,” the album will be a collection of vocal arrangements of songs from Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Falcom’s update on the album states that the styles present on the album will include the band’s characteristic stylish hard rock, as well as fully-orchestrated pieces, J-pop, Latin American folk music, and more.
Game Watch has a promotional video of Asmik Ace’s PS2 port of Falcom’s popular PC Simulation RPG – VM Japan. Looks like a better port than Ys Eternal, at least. The game will release on the third of february for 6,800 yen.
Riviera has been released on the GBA for almost a month now. The game is ported from an original wonderswan (Swan Crystal) title from Sting. Characters have been redrawn, voice has been added, but unfortunately the attacks and spells remain at the Swan Crystal level of graphical appeal, rather than making the jump to transparency. Regardless, it’s quite a good game, with an excellent story, and it has a slim to nil chance of making it to the US (voice acting in a GBA game kills its chances), so you might want to pick it up if you’re feeling rich. I have some impressions of the game in the forums.
Two discs have been released alongside the game – the Prelude Disc, which has CG images as well as minigames and an arranged song, and the Introduction Disc which contains a soundtrack, and was released in game stores. This coming Comiket (67), they will release the Epilogue Disc, containing voice drama, staff info, and lots of other bits.
The Taisen Hot Gimmick mahjong series is coming to the Type X in the form of Taisen Hot Gimmick Mix Party, which will allow the player to choose from all four of the existing THG games. There’s a new multi-ending story mode, and while multiplayer is mentioned, it’s not explicitly stated as being net play. It would be a good move given the technology they have, so perhaps it will be included. The game is planned for a late january release in japanese arcades.
In related news, the Oshioki Box has been released in japan for PC – also a compilation of the first for THG titles, but with additional CG. The first page is moderately worksafe, but clicking thereafter is iffy.
Over at somewhat canonical Douglas Adams site Planet Magrathea, there’s a history of the ‘lost’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy PC video game, in development from around 1998-2002, but stymied after Adams’ tragic death and subsequent loss of funding for the developers, Phase 3 Studios/PAN Interactive. There’s an excellent game timeline, as well as some rather smart concept art, and as an added bonus, you can check out the latest HHGTTG movie news on the site’s front page.
Official page for Raiden 3 (on the Type X) is now live at Moss. New images abound. Gameplay remains essentially the same, with a button for shot, and one for bomb. There’s a new(?) point multiplier though, based on your proximity to explosions, and when playing two-player, there’s a shot-down ratio and winner determined.