K. Mihara is the head of Arika and responsible for two of the best shooting games the home market has seen since the 32-bit years (which is not saying much, but still). It’s not news that he had been working on a PS2 version of Cave’s Ketsui ~Kizuna Jigokutachi~. It’s not news either that the project was declared non-viable, due to technical issues. Mihara has let us know these days that indeed he couldn’t replicate the game perfectly – the game’s fifth stage demands more RAM than is available on the PS2’s hardware, but aside from that, PS2 Ketsui was more or less finished.
It says a lot about this man’s love for his work, and it’s particularly amazing; Cave itself has never hesitated to release inaccurate, forgettable ports of its recent games. This also sheds more light on the difficulties of programming 2D games, even when the art is already done. The PS2 is now ‘officially’ a system unable to handle all low-res 2D games out there, too. That’s something, because it seems unlikely that any other current system could serve to perfectly reproduce a Cave arcade game – all of them lack a proper video mode to display these games non-scaled at full screen. And Mihara doesn’t look too excited with the idea, anyhow.
Whilst the PlayStation 3 is the Scottish play of games consoles around these parts, several places have been showing off newer screenshots of Gundam Musou. The interesting point about these is that they feature other mobile suits (rather than the ubiquitous Gundams shown in other shots), more specifically that of The O, piloted by Paptimus Scirocco, and the Hyakushiki, piloted by Quattro…you know, I’m not gonna say that.
So why do other types of mecha matter in Gundam Musou? Well, from a gameplay point of view it means you’ll have access to different attacks and abilities. For instance, The O has beam sabers hidden under its skirt armor. This, in gameplay terms, is akin to thrashing enemies with several giant mecha wangs comprised of superheated plasma. Considering that the game boasts up to a 1000 enemies on screen, that translates into an awful lot of wang usage.
Ollie Update: According to Famitsu the God Gundam, Wing Gundam Zero, and Turn A Gundam will be playable in Gundam Musou. This be interesting due to the previous UC timeline focus that was reported (despite the fact that the Wing Zero has fucking feathers).
Rob at ‘underground console mods’ has found a way to overclock the PC Engine main CPU so that certain games with slowdown have a better framerate. He uses a 25 MHz crystal oscillator – I don’t know what that is, but it sure sounds neat. And in fact, it sounds a bit similar to the Lynx overclocking mod I linked to about three years ago, but absolutely cannot be bothered to find. Anyway, he’s talking about a rather mild overclock, to boost the framerate just a bit, without affecting audio pitch too much. When you overclock the CPU, the audio speeds up as well. Here are some behaviors in games that he thought worth noting:
Air Zonk – Ran *drastically* faster… still some slowdown though.
Magical Chase – Runs great. Shopping for items makes the screen flicker a bit.
Victory Run – Scaled road breaks up a bit.
Most games just run faster with slightly higher pitch audio. While you’re at it, check some of his other nifty mods: Genesis CPU upgrade, Neo Geo home system overclock. Thanks to lawrence for the initial link.
Taiwan-based IGS seems to be be getting ready to release its latest arcade 2D beat ‘em up, Oriental Legend 2, because they’ve just updated their site with an official page. It’s done in Flash, which is all the more annoying because there’s little content there at the moment. Just some character art and a stupid Flash game. No screens yet, nor any mention of the hardware (though chances are it will run on the PGM — I don’t see them coming up with a new board just for a brawler). For background info on the game check this gamengai thread. Thanks to Macaw for the tip.
Brandon’s note: The one good thing about that flash game is that it shows several of the moves of two characters. Pretty fluid animation too, which is what the original was known for – if it was known at all, that is!
Update: More info has surfaced, including an arcade poster, from which I cropped the image to the right. Other info is as follows: the game features four simultaneous players, and does indeed use IGS’ proprietary PGM system, which if you don’t know, has a lot in common with SNK’s MVS board. OL2 is apparently planned for a 2007 arcade release. There will be 10 characters. The game uses a card system, which allows you to save special items, high score, and lets you save/continue your game in progress.
Some of you may know this, others may not. Ranger-X was one of the best games for the Genesis, back in the days. Great 2D mecha action game with advanced controls (control two objects simultaneously), and really robust visuals. Anyway, the company that made it was called Gau Entertainment, and I’d thought they’d fizzled away. But it turns out they merged into Nextech, who made Ragnacenty. They’ve since changed their name to Nex Entertainment, but they’re still around, doing things like Children of Mana DS and Shining Tears. Their glory days may be long, long gone, but it’s still interesting to see what became of these folks. Personally I’d love to see a 2D Ranger-X, maybe on the DS?
I’m going to steal some news from kotaku for once! DJ Max Portable 2 is coming out, apparently, and Ruliweb has samples of the first songs. Here’s a site for DJ Max 2 (not portable, no official site for that yet). The original was quite good, so anticipate this one hotly, if you can stand to use a PSP for more than a minute. My personal favorite song of the new breed thus far is bye bye love, though I always have a soft spot for eurobeat. Yes, that is english in that second song.
Here‘s a nice french site dedicated to dead videogame magazines (primarily french ones), including some that friends of mine have worked on. Some, like the above link, only have covers, but many more have the actual internals of the mags downloadable, which is quite cool. You don’t really get to see Amstrad magazines very often. Thanks to frank for pointing it out.
So I just went to this games for Windows thing, put on by Microsoft for the release of their new Windows Vista platform. Played Conan, played Crysis and walked for 30 minutes to the end of the game world and jumped off – the usual sort of press event thing. But here’s the 100 mega shock announcement of the evening. We played Minesweeper for Vista, because why not check out the new pack-in software? Well, turns out you can play Minesweeper with the Xbox 360 controller, even wirelessly. Then there’s the kicker – it supports rumble. Minesweeper with rumble. Try that on your PS3! Well there you go, all the big excitement. You heard it here first. Unless you heard it somewhere else first, in which case you can go to hell.
Can’t get enough NES chocolate? Didn’t win the cart? That same fellow mailed me to say he has a new product up, though this one’s a bit more mass-produced. This time it’s a NES controller-shaped chocolate bar, of which he has 50 for $15 each. Tempting to be sure, but I’m more of a dark chocolate man, myself. Check the first link for the methodology, which I assume is the same or similar.
As we mentioned, Cave will be focusing on new shooting games for the arcades this year and seems the next one will be ready to be presented next month at the AOU show. It’s rumored to be an original game this time. Thanks to Namae no Nai Heya.