A book review! Imagine. This here book covers some 500 game machines, with nice clear pictures, release information and sales numbers, all in one softbound book. It makes for good reading. The review…perhaps not as much. OR! Perhaps…more? Impossible to discern.
It was thanks to one of those investor relations documents which Cave publishes in PDF format that we got to first hear about the development of Cave’s latest arcade games (the sequels to Espgaluda and Ibara) and now the story repeats regarding the development of the forthcoming arcade titles from this company over the next few months. Unfortunately, we have bad news this time. Cave’s next arcade games after Pink Sweets will take the form of a mah-jong-based medal game and a card game for children. There’s no mention of a new shooting game (or a non-dedicated arcade game, for that matter) in the whole document aside from Pink Sweets’ location test report. Not a good sign. It also lets us know that Cave has formed a co-participated company with Tamiya to publish online games based on Mini Yon Ku, and more interestingly, that a ‘kouryaku DVD’ for Ibara and another one for Espgaluda II are being made. Ibara is also going to receive a ‘digital comic’ of which you can see a small preview in the document.
You may have heard about Warashi. Formed in the 90s (some say it’s composed of ex-Seibu staff), this company has basically developed two types of video-games: mah-jong and classic shooting games, of which Shienryu (arcade, Saturn, PS1/2) is its best known piece. We thought we would never see again a new shooting game from it due to the current status of the arcade industry, but we were wrong. Unexpectedly, a preliminary page on Warashi’s site has emerged today announcing a location test next Sunday and Monday for a brand new shooting game named ‘Trigger Heart Exelica’. It reveals some facts: it will be a vertical-scrolling, single-player game which will use vertically-oriented monitors; it will use a three-button plus control stick set-up; it will have real-time 3D graphics (quite sadly – Warashi’s Sengeki Striker and Shienryu proved that it knows how to draw good sprites); and it will feature a ‘Variable Stage-Boss Attack System’ (that is, auto-adjusting-difficulty bosses, which will vary their patterns depending on the player’s skill). Now, the speculation – I believe it will be a NAOMI GD-ROM game. Think about it – the only real alternative would be Type-X, but there’s not a mention or visible logo of either, this platform or Taito, when there has always been for every Type-X game announced with a preliminary site. And then there’re also the game centers for the test – Sega’s Club Sega in Shinjuku West and Akihabara. We may be wrong, since Warashi’s latest games have used Type-X, but it would be nice if we weren’t, and we rarely are, are we?
Update: The test has just finished and Exelica’s preliminary site (which has its nicely illustrated front page here, by the way) mentions ‘NAOMI’ as the hardware to support this game now. So the prize is for us once again.
It’s the last game to come from the Falcom/Taito agreement, which included the PS2 port of Zwei!! and the remakes of Ys III, Ys IV and Ys V for this platform (and not counting the ports for mobile phones, that is, for which Ys IV is in development right now, as Chaz noticed). Like the previous episodes, the Ys V remake (originally a SFC game, and one of the very few Falcom has developed for consoles) will not only modify its name (which is now ‘Ys V ~Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand~’), it will get some story changes, and more importantly, brand new graphics and gameplay. Judging by the small screenshots on Rakuten (the very first ones which have appeared), we can say it will use the Ys IV remake engine, which isn’t good news, since both the sprites and 3D backgrounds (trying to mimic Ys VI’s original presentation) were considered an aberration by everybody. Taito promises, according to Rakuten, compatibilty with the previous PS2 episodes in the form of equipment data and dungeon configuration (seems you’ll gain access to play the Ys V Expert versions). Out on March 30th. You can check G-Para’s announcement here. Also, the latest Falcom newsletter points to a secret download space where you can get an over seven minute long sample of the Sora no Kiseki drama CD. The normal link is much shorter!
So Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is out in Japan, and Gackt takes the cover of this week’s Famitsu. Famitsu does not review the game, which is okay. I can tell you with reasonable certainty that they’re going to give it four nines in next week’s issue. Don’t ask how I know that. There is a chance that one of the nines will be bumped up to a ten as the editors actually play the game and discover how horrible it is, meaning that people will undoubtedly love it, and hate Famitsu for not giving it at least one ten. That’s top secret info — keep that on the down-low, dear reader.
This week’s Famitsu contains a wonderful poster of Gackt, which has two sides — one of him wearing a really nice jacket, and one of him trapped inside that really tacky outfit he has to wear in Dirge of Cerberus. I’d love to scan the cover and show you the badass outfit he’s wearing; I cannot, however. You know. Famitsu would have our balls if I did that. So there’s what Gackt looks like in-game. It’s public domain. Pause and reflect on that photo up there a bit.
I wrote a little bit about Gackt in my column on Next-Gen.biz today, mostly because the Japanese games industry isn’t really doing anything at the moment. You can go check it out. There’s a little bit more in there. If you can, try to click through every page at least fifty times, even if you don’t read it. I’m getting paid to write it, and they might fire me if it looks like no one’s reading it. HONKING
As for Dirge: I kind of like it in spite of its horror. I haven’t met Gackt yet in it. If you’ll check the link above, you’ll get cryptic hints about how Gackt was inserted into the game’s 3D engine using “multiple tens of retakes of multiple scenes using multiple cameras.” Do check it out. I mean, it’s a little chilling. I really can’t wait to see how well he’s implemented in here. I really hope it looks better than the blinking digitized faces on the characters in Siren 2. They could be onto something. The age of CG-worship might be coming to a close. Then again, Gackt is a man who aspires to . . . look like a CG model, so . . . uh.
In closing, yes, Gackt’s song in Dirge of Cerberus is actually really good. It doesn’t have the Really Irritating Two-minute Bridge In The Middle (TM Gackt 1999). It’s got actual electric guitar and everything. We never stopped believing in you, Gackt — except for those, uh, four years there.
Also in the column is bizarre news about Bobby Orogon, the K-1 fighter whose likeness will be used in the PlayStation2 release of New Power Instinct Matrimelee, which will be released on February 23rd, 2006. Check out the column for information on why you should contact your favorite importer as soon as possible to ensure your copy of this game before it becomes a collector’s item. Haha! Now you have to read it!! Go!!
At this point, we’re all pretty familiar with homebrew games based on out of date, yet still generally popular consoles. Well how about the Virtual Boy? It seems there is a community for such a thing, and one potentially interesting title to come forth from it is a Silent Hill game. While the combination of Virtual Boy and Silent Hill might seem a bizarre, but rather ingenius combo, it is slated to be text adventure game, like the GBA version. Also be sure to check out some of the unreleased games, such as Zero Racers and Space Pinball
So, following up with the Cenix GMP-M6 which we posted about some time ago, there’s now a full, devoted page. There’s also one in our old friend english! So it looks as though you purchase the console, and it comes with two games already loaded; shooting game Star Force and Strategy RPG Battle Armor (at the very least they’re available for free). All other games can be purchase for 2,000 won, which is just under $2 US. Not a bad price really, but I’ve still no idea how much the unit itself costs, or if there are functional buttons aside from the one that says ‘play.’ I can’t even find a way to buy it from the online store – perhaps you can help. To paraphrazy Ryo in Shenmue – Do you know anyone who speaks the language of Korean?
Days of Memories 2 has been announced. Confirmed characters in the second edition of the SNK gals cellphone love simulator include: Kisarah Westfield, Mature, Hotaru Futaba, Fio Germi, Chizuru Kagura, and an original heroine in the form of a white haired, red eyed girl. I can’t read her name though – help? The game will be released on february first. Thanks to Arngrim’s MMC post for the news.
Kobayan and Ojakan have been gathering the first images and impressions from the test (no good screens for now, though). Seems there are lots of gameplay and esthetic changes when compared to its predecessor, starting with the protagonists – the player selects one of the Rose Garden girls, followed by the bullet patterns and style, much more ‘cave-ish’ this time. There’s a tiny video of a boss fight and stage ending here which we’ve mirrored, originally from Gamerslife.