Mr. Driller is coming to Xbox Live this week. Will it be the greatest version ever? The answer is no. That’s the GameCube version, Drill Land. Second Greatest? Still no, that’s Mr. Driller Ace on the the GBA. Greatest version in English? MAYBE! Or maybe that will still be Drill Spirits on the DS. What it will be for sure is the only version with an online component. For single player options there will be both Classic Driller and some kind of Quest Mode. Will this be the same as the RPG mode we’ve in previous games (done best in Drill Land as Hole of Druaga)? Who knows. Frankly, the only thing we’re certain of is that it will be really colorful and awesome. You can tell just from that shot of the title screen. You should get it.
You may have seen, but I did an interview with Raigan and Mare from Metanet, who made N+ for XBLA. The argument boils down to them thinking that most of the games on XBLA are not very good, or ports, and that it’s becoming like the retail market – I agree with that. It became somewhat controversial…I agree with them from the consumer perspective, but I do think they’ll get in trouble with Microsoft, and some of the stuff they said in that respect may or may not be completely valid. Regardless, it sparked discussion, and they spoke honestly, which is incredibly rare. Metanet made a response post here, to clarify their thoughts even more. As the final word on the issue, they’ve done capsule reviews of 100 XBLA games, right here. It’s unusual for developers to review other developers’ games. Some people think that’s bad practice, but who knows games better than developers? Interesting reading, to be sure!
Update: And now it’s gone. In a flash!
Famitsu has a bunch of screens of KOF XII. It continues to look completely fantastic. High res 2D is a gorgeous thing! Kyo’s fire still looks awful though…it’s like it was photoshopped onto an otherwise beautiful game by somebody’s job-needing nephew.
Another thing I found in my Hover Attack search is this absolutely awesome page of PC-88, Sharp X1, and PC-98 game maps, character images, and story. The site has information not just on Hover Attack, but all sorts of obscurities, like Square’s The Blassty, released in 1986 for the PC-8801. Unfortunately, the site is a bit old, so some of the links to animations don’t work anymore. There’s an insane amount of detail here, so hopefully the extra traffic will call the site owner’s attention and get those links fixed.
Just looking at these Hover Attack maps is enough though. Pretty amazing. The Xanadu 2 PC-98 maps aren’t too shabby either. If looking at Game Arts’ 1985 PC-88 game Hyper Dual Armor THEXDER stuff doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what to say. This stuff is practically constructionist art. The maps for Koei’s Time Empire are also extremely cool. Incidentally, the image to the left is from The Blassty, and the image below is from Woody Poco.
Update: Some of those links aren’t working right, for whatever reason, so you may just want to visit the main site and browse from there.
Looking for Hover Attack info led me to some interesting stuff. One is the site I already linked, which found the Bangai-O connection in 2000. If you check the main page you’ll find that it’s someone’s personal review site – a guy named Blaster. It’s all in Japanese of course, but many of the games are rather obscure, and almost all reviews have several very nice screenshots. The newer pages have easier to parse interfaces, since they’re all linked through pictures. The older tiny reviews require some reading, or at least poking around, but you can find some gems in there too. How many reviews of Racing Lagoon have you seen? Or Chatty? Or Casablanca ni Yume o… (yes, that Casablanca)? Or defunkt doujin circle retrospectives? This site is regularly updated, so keep an eye on it. As an aside, I really recommend clicking the Chatty link. The graphics are pretty amazing.
Flavor has released his Card Fighters 2 Clash English patch at long last, so grab it while it’s hot. This is the NGPC original, for those who don’t know, and it was never translated or released in the U.S. Just before the release, he also ported the RACE NGPC emulator to the PSP. You can grab that here.
All this research was done by Frogcuda of SFKosmo, which I’ve linked for years, so I don’t feel bad about stealing it blog-style for a post. Also, it was only previously on forums, so wouldn’t be properly chronicled. So here goes – First, there was this interview with Treasure’s Yaiman about Astro Boy. Some of it talks about Bangai-O though, and one part of the interview translates to: “Bangaio started off as a remake of an X1 game called “**-****”, but then I started to mix in Anime influences from Edeon, Macross and Layzner, and pretty soon it was didn’t resemble the original, and so its being a remake became 120% a bluff/lie.“
After some research, someone found that the game was called Hover Attack. In fact, as you can imagine, this was known in Japan long before it was discovered here, since the X1 was released there and all. Find the 10/22/2000 entry on that page for the post (which, by the way, basically says they look similar, but that Bangai-O is rather a large leap from Hover Attack). Still, neat to see the origins of this game. Hover Attack was made by Compac – you can find the cover here.
CinnamonPirate, who you may remember from the Final Fantasy VII Famicom post, has played through Titanic the RPG, the Taiwanese Famicom hack. He says it’s awful, but it sounds pretty neat, so long as you’re not playing it, but only thinking about it. Here’s an excerpt:
“You see, Titanic is set in The Real World. In The Real World, people cannot hurl fireballs, cast lightning or summon snowstorms. They also cannot raise themselves from the dead or cast Cure4 when they fall out of a tree and break their neck. This means magic does not exist on the Titanic: consequentially, magic does not exist in Titanic.
With magic gone, Jack has only three combat options: Fight, Item and Run. No Defend, that may have taken another 10 lines of code. Also, the Titanic did not house many armories, so the only weapons Jack can ever buy are shitty little knives from the game
Crayfish mailed me after my Eye of Typhoon post to remind me that it’s the sequel to Fight Fever on the Neo Geo (video here). He also pointed me to a post he made on the SRK forums, pointing out a number of obscure arcade fighters that are currently emulated. Some will be very familiar to frequent insert credit readers – notably Daraku Tenshi and Groove on Fight. There was also some stuff I was basically completely unaware of, like Metamoqester and Dragoon Might. Pretty nice list, so give it a look.
DesertDog has ported an abridged version of the Fate/Stay Night trial edition to the DS – it’s a demo, essentially, but it’s the translated English patched version, so take what you can get! The port’s been around for a little while, but if you haven’t grabbed it, you should. It’s one of the better visual novels of the modern era – or so I’m told! I truly have no idea. DesertDog makes great things, I look forward to his next projects!