Over at DIY Games, Jozef Purdes has written an excellent round-up of the freebie/indie graphical and text adventures released during October. This includes a multitude of mini-reviews, both for Adventure Game Studio-created free graphical adventures like Principles Of Evil: Volume 1, plus a chunk of the IFComp 2004 entries, showing off the huge range of entered interactive fiction, from Luminous Horizon (“Two teenagers with superhuman powers on a quest to find their parents”) to All Things Devours (“You are a mad scientist… on a quest to destroy your invention that fell into army hands.”) Andrew ‘Zarf’ Plotkin also has some very helpful reviews of the IFComp entries, incidentally.
The PSP version of Idea Factory’s Shinten Makai – Generation of Chaos IV will have important additions, as some Japanese media including Watch Impress and the Softbank Games site have been reporting today. First screenshots and artwork can be seen there, too. The game (titled Shinten Makai – GOC IV Another Side, and announced for February 24th) will bring back some characters from previous chapters of both the Generation of Chaos and Spectral Force subseries. It will be the 23th game in the whole Neverland series, a very popular SRPG (well, mostly SRPG) series created by the original Dragon Force team.
Over on the insertcredit forums, Broco reveals details about his working fan-translation for Capcom’s GBA “niche court adventure”, Gyakuten Saiban 3. Since Tim Rogers previously reviewed the Japanese version of the game, and found it “damned compelling”, a release of this proof-of-technology .IPS patch (in which “about the first quarter of Case 1 is completely playable in English”) is good news, indeed. However, “there’s about 1.7 meg of text in this game”, and translators are needed – check out the project’s Sourceforge page for more info.
French developer Gaming Side has posted new info on its “real-time 3D shooting game”, currently codenamed HILL Project. According to the site: “The game is in playable prototype state on the Playstation 2 and PC thanks to the Renderware technology. The final game is planned on the Sony PSP hardware and other platforms, like the Nintendo DS, are under consideration.” There’s also a new video on the game’s official homepage which shows some of the not-unattractive PS2 prototype, switching things up between the Silpheed and R-Type perspectives. The team is still looking for a publisher to fund the title to completion, though – good luck to them!
Game-Science has posted a partial transcript of a new Famitsu interview with ex-Square employees Hironobu Sakaguchi [FF originator] and Nobuo Uematsu [FF musician], both of whom have started their own companies recently. Particularly notable? Sakaguchi’s studio Mistwalker has three projects underway, and apparently, “[Sakaguchi] can’t talk about the platforms just yet, but he has been in talks with Microsoft and Nintendo.” Also of interest: “Uematsu is already involved in two of Sakaguchi’s projects and will write music based on the scenarios.”
According to a press release from Russian developers Akella, the company’s next project will be “Hotel ‘At a Lost Climber’: Inspector Glebsky’s Puzzle”. This is particularly interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the game is based on a detective novel (?) by the Strugatsky Brothers, Russian sci-fi and ‘magic realism’ authors who are renowned for scripting Andrei Tarkovsky’s cult movie Stalker from their own book, Roadside Picnic. (Coincidentally, a recent GameSpot preview of forthcoming Russian-developed PC FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost mentions its uncredited indebtedness to Roadside Picnic and Stalker.) Secondly, the developers reference some intriguing game influences: Sierra’s The Colonel’s Bequest – A Laura Bow Mystery, and Jordan Mechner’s oddly forgotten The Last Express. In any case, according to Akella, surviving brother Boris Strugatsky is involved in plot development, and ‘…the game is going to be a 3D-person quest with point-and-click interface. The characters will be made in full 3D while the backgrounds will be 2D pre-renders.’
In a surprisingly civic-minded move Sony Japan is auctioning five hundred PSP systems and donating the proceeds to victims of last month’s Niigata earthquake. The winners will receive a PSP bundle with their name on the system’s bootup screen, according to Asahi News (Japanese page). You can view the auction here. It should be noted that Sony’s only donating the money raised above the retail price, not the entire amount. A cynic might suggest Sony’s only going for free publicity.
The new Shaman King GBA game; Shaman King: Master of Spirits (EB link) was developed by KCEJ. The Castlevania series is developed by KCET, but the engine looks very similar to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, even to the extent of using spirit souls, suggesting that it may be borrowed. Just a heads-up that this may be a relatively simplistic Castlevania clone, by the near-makers of the original.
Word is that Castle of Shikigami 2, the XS Games port of Alfa System’s Shikigami no Shiro 2, is out on the street in the US. XS Games site maintains that the game was released in september, which is likely untrue. Further word has it that EB games stores each got one or perhaps two copies, and the game is no longer available through their online store. The price was initially $10, but apparently some WalMart stores have copies for $20 still. Try all other avenues before resorting to shopping with the devil.