News: Warcraft III gets ‘Azeroth Grand Prix’

azeroth.jpg At the bonus maps section of Blizzard’s official Warcraft III site, they’ve got a special new Xmas present – ‘Azeroth Grand Prix’, which, as you may surmise from the cheeky logo, is a ‘tribute’ to Super Mario Kart, entirely playable via Battle.net in the Warcraft III engine. Nice spiky kart designs too, oddly reminiscent of terminally strange, tragically cancelled Warhammer 40k-themed Gorkamorka racing game for PC, which was itself, we kid you not, “based upon the Jeff Gordon Racing Engine.”

News: Baldr Force EXE to PS2

baldr Over at Game Watch, there’s news that top-down 2D robot blaster Baldr Force EXE is coming to PlayStation 2 on March 31st, 2005 in Japan, following its Dreamcast debut in October. There’s both a deluxe version for 9,240 yen and a standard edition for 7,140 yen, and IC/NFG’s Lawrence had some useful impressions of Alchemist’s DC version, originally converted from a (more-hentai) PC original.

News: Various bits

Bunch of stuff I missed over the last week or two, in linklog form:

– Decent interview with Rieko Kodama at Got-Next. Seems she’s doing a lot of work on Altered Beast, now.

– In case you heard about the Nintendo DS being modded to play GBC games – it was a hoax. That is all.

– Social Code – a fictional novel about gaming and online worlds, from a Swiss company with a French name: Destinée.

Interview with Takase, creator of the Les Miserables fighter Arm Joe, at Doujinaroni.

History and discussion of Mercury, Awesome Games’ new PSP title, done wack-journo-style by EuroGamer.

Profile: Altron

Odd japanese game company of the day: Altron. They’re quite unusual – they do conversions, largely, the majority of these being for US publishers, using US licenses. They did the GBA Virtua Tennis, for example, and Finding Nemo as well. Earlier in their career, they did Cleopatra Fortune for DC and PS, as well as a number of other Taito properties. They also have three previously unannounced (to my knowledge) DS titles in the works, all based off of US licenses. The oddest part – no english version of the website. Check here for their catalog.

News: No KOF 2004

Game Watch has a report from the KOF 10th year anniversary party. Several events took place, including a talk show with the voice actors of Kyô, Iori and Athena, and a small tournament for KOF 94 Rebout.
The biggest announcement was made by Falcoon: it’s now official, there won’t be any KOF 2004.
But neither MI nor NeoWave were intended to replace it; the sequel to the Ash Crimson arc is still in development and will be released when it is ready.
The reason why the title was pushed back is that SNKP is currently focusing on Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, “jointly with Sammy”.

News: Neo Geo Stick 2

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Sega Logistic Service will release, on the 17th of February, a Neo Geo Stick-shaped controller for PS2. The announcement was made at the KOF anniversary party on the 22nd.
Like the Neo Geo Pad released with KOF 94 Re Bout, the stick will have 4 more buttons to suit the PS2 layout. Unfortunately, unlike the pad, the stick’s new buttons seem quite unpractical, and games using more than 4 buttons (like the SNKP games released on AW) might not play very well with the new setup. On the other hand, the old Neo Geo games soon to be re-released on PS2 (KOF, Last Blade or Garô) should get the best out of the stick.

News: Stella Deus to be released in U.S.

stella_01.jpgAtlus has recently revealed a North American release for the SRPG Stella Deus – it’s arguably one of the most ambitious SRPGs ever made, and is well loved by both public and media in Japan since its release just two months ago. This might not be surprising since Stella Deus’ staff is composed by names such as Ryo ‘Lodoss Tou Senki’ Mizuno, Shigeki ‘Soul Hackers’ Soejima or Hitoshi ‘Final Fantasy Tactics’ Sakimoto. RPGamer has some nice screenshots and artwork sets to celebrate.