Speaking of arcade obscurities, Wildcat (I think it was him?) pointed this game out to me some time ago – The Eye of Typhoon. It’s a 1996 Korean arcade fighter from Viccom, which was also released in the 3DO of all things. Looks pretty neat, but I know next to nothing about the company, which is disturbing to me. Some Viccom games are emulated these days, so it might be possible to dig up. You can check out a video of the 3DO port here, unfortunately with ‘don’t steal this’ text all over it. There’s no way of knowing if it’s simply a bad port, or if the original is that jerky – but given the size difference of the sprites in the port and the sprites in the screens on the first site, I’m willing to guess the port is rather different. It’s also clearly not a great capture. So who knows, really!
Here’s another older piece of news that might’ve gone unnoticed. Monster – Ancient Cline, the very accomplished PC doujin game from 8105 Graphics, is getting port to arcades with the help of Examu, of Arcana Heart fame. There’s a video and an example of the sprite update at gigazine, but the video doesn’t show you gameplay. It’s actually quite fun – I played it in arcades in Tokyo, though at the time it was just a PC in a cabinet, not on a proper board. You can see a video of the PC version here, and some of the decentish music here. It’s pre-rendered CG sprites, but they look pretty good. You’ve got to get over the whole furry aspect though. Examu really is digging down into each particular fetish with these fighting games now… It’s quite amazing how many doujin games are coming to arcades, with this, Subtle Style’s Akatsuki Blitzkampf (some location test vids went up here), Studio Siesta’s Trouble Witches, which we just mentioned, and of course, Melty Blood: AC. My guess would be Big Bang Beat might be next?
Forgot to mention this a while ago – Utawarerumono, the famed PC Leaf visual novel/strategy RPG has gotten an English translation patch. Find it here if you’ve got the game. Thanks to Insert
Abogado Powers, known for their work on games such as D+VINE[LUV], Tobi D+VINE, and MxS, have suddenly updated their long forsaken website announcing that they’re coming back and that they are making preparations to announce their new game in June 2008. Abogado Powers ran into a lot of trouble in early 2000 and finally ceased operation in 2005 when their founder and leader Ura Kazuo passed away.
<Brandon’s note:> Their office also flooded back in 2003 and they made a video of it. They had lots of troubles…I hope they get back to making non-visual novel products, personally!
Tori no Hoshi has been out on PS2 in Japan for a couple of weeks, and as the person voted most likely to keep talking about that game, I figured I’d give a bit of a descriptor. You control a character in a hang glider, investigating this bird planet. You analyze and figure out different flocks of birds, learn their calls and cries, and then you can interact with them, and eventually defend yourself from larger birds, and things like that. It seems quite peaceful. There’s a video of the early stages of gameplay here. This promo video has some gameplay stuff toward the end as well. You eventually get the birds to flock with you. It’s probably not going to come to the U.S. but romhacking.net has a thread about the game in which they translate the opening menus, the most important of which I have mirrored. I don’t really know what else developer NK System has made, but this game looks somewhat solid, and has nice sound design at least.
Namco has decided it’s a good idea to release a Tower of Druaga MMO, and more power to them, I guess. Q is helping with it in some capacity, as they did with Angel Love. The Druaga game is in open beta in Japan now, and appears to be your standard fantasy MMO, without all the things that make Druaga Druaga – forced step-speed, unusual and deliberate attacking, and that sort of thing. You can see a trailer here, a play video here.
If you’re like me and are simply tired of all this crap, this is the only video you need to see, and I do recommend it. It’s a sped-up bunch of clips from the game, with a sped-up song to go with it. It just makes the whole thing look so futile. There’s a bit in the middle where the character is just posing and dancing, and some spiders are walking by. To me, that’s an MMO. Avatars standing around swinging things with big spiders walking by. Do watch the video though. And if you happen to, tell me if you can figure out what the song is, because I certainly can’t!
We’ve covered Trouble Witches plenty – a doujin game from the excellent Studio Siesta. It was announced at AOU 2008 that, like many doujin games these days, Trouble Witches will get an arcade release on Taito’s Type-X2 board. JAPJAC took some photos and now has some video up as well. The video isn’t just Trouble Witches, but shows several games from the show. Give it a look.
Spencer Yip mentioned he thinks a new Shantae game is coming to WiiWare, which is entirely possible. Another rumor has (re)surfaced recently, as pointed out to me by a fellow named Chris. Shantae was canceled for the GBA, but WayForward has always been interested in continuing the series. Right now on the company homepage there’s a poll asking whether people would like a Shantae sequel. There’s also a fan club you can sign up to, which essentially adds you as an interested party for the potential game so they can drum up publisher support. It also asks what console you’d like to see it on, and whether you’d buy it on Virtual Console if it supported GBC (do they know something we don’t?).
Anyway, the other thing Chris points out is that on Henk Neiborg’s personal site (we’ve covered him before) has a 2D Shantae mockup on it, which is also to the left. He did work on Contra 4, so there’s that. Not to put a damper on things, but when I spoke with Matt Bozon of WayForward some years ago, he said they make a Shantae demo for basically every platform they plan to work on, in order to figure out the nuts and bolts. So there’s nothing to definitely point to a Shantae sequel just yet – it’s just fun to think about. And if you register, maybe you can influence the tide.
Brian Flanagan has been a long-time friend to insert credit, so you should read his interview on Gamasutra about Ookibloks, his excellent indie PC game, which was quite fun to play at GDC. In the interview, he talks about his Taito influences, his racist job interview at Capcom, and his time working at Sega under the ill-fated writer, designer, and artist of Astal, which is severely under-appreciated in my opinion.
For those familiar with the dōjin group 9thNight, their latest game (that’s been in the works for a while now) is Es. It’s similar to Smilebit’s Gunvalkyrie but minus the awkward controls, and it’s also got elements from the Another Century’s Episode games (which is no bad thing). Considering their previous games, Blood Over and Nekonabe, Es is particularly sophisticated not only functionally but also technologically. If you’re curious about Es, you can download and play the trial beta or watch the swathe of movies available online.