Youtube: Sly Dog Studios NES tips

golgo13.JPGSly Dog Studios is a very nice effort put forth by this fellow, basically walking you through some difficult games in the NES library. He does it in such a way that doesn’t completely hold your hand, but rather gets you the necessary info, like ‘there are some powerups in this room,’ citing which powerups, but not telling you the precise location, which leaves some exploration for you, still. It is actually tips, in the true sense of the word, not a straight walkthrough, which is hardly ever done these days.

His work takes the form of Youtube videos, which you can find through his profile. He’s been doing one per week, and aside from a holiday break, shows no sighn of slowing down. In addition to the tips aspect, this is a great way to see further into some of those difficult games without going through the frustration of doing it yourself. He talks through these, all with a soothing NPR-like voice, and sounds like the 30 year old basement dweller we would all wish someone giving us NES tips to be. He also never shows you the ending. He can be funny at times, but recently has been trying just a little too hard at that – more on this in a minute.

First, I’d like to share some highlights. Golgo 13 – he provides useful maps, and seems particulary entranced by Golgo’s ‘meetings’ with the ladies. Double Dragon 3 – hard game, very useful tips here. Karnov – this one’s my favorite of his, showing how tips really should be done. Also quite fun to see the game in action. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde – impossible game, but he shows you how to get through it, basically. Or you can just watch this and avoid the game entirely.

So, all good stuff, and a great way to see some games from the past that you may not have played through to completion. He doesn’t have a wide fanbase though. You may have heard of the Angry Nintendo Nerd – the guy who complains senselessly about how old games aren’t very good. It’s rather pointless and trite, because, well – games were limited back then. His video about Double Dragon III is flippant and unfunny – but has over 140,000 views. Sly Dog Studios’ video has just over 1,000. So there’s a disparity here, and I’ve seen Sly Dog Studios attempting to insert more direct humor, which I think is a mistake, though…perhaps it’d make his work more popular. I’m hopeful that after this, his views will pick up though, and he won’t have to sacrifice his dry style for a more loud and obnoxious one. So go to, internet!

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News: Super Robot Wars W and Gundam Musou screens

srww_voltron1.jpgThe much anticipated Nintendo DS Super Robot Wars has been given an official title – Super Robot Wars W, and a release date – march 1st 2007. There are 18 anime series featured in the game, most notably Voltron (who’ll probably get totally served). Bear in mind though that Voltron is actually called Go Lion in Japan (as in five lions, geddit?), so if you’re looking for for Voltron in this list you might get confused.

The screens of the game look promising and indicate a similar setup to that of SRWJ on the GBA (at least the mecha roster is comparable, though unfortunately minus both the mighty Layzner and Cougar). One thing is certain though; Banpresto need to get those money vats prepared. Otherwise what will they have to swim in when all that cash comes flowing in?

gundam_musou_zaku1.jpgSeguing as if by magic to the screens of Gundam Musou, this looks to be pretty bloody amazing really. It features mecha from the original Gundam up to and including that of ZZ Gundam (which will introduce some interesting balancing issues). The game has also been in development for close to two years and it’s looking pretty damn swanky already. This will sell the PlayStation 3 in Japan like some crazy thing (think of a swarm of several million locusts hungry for mechanical things and you get the general idea).

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News: Armored Core 4 patch

ac4_players1.jpgThis is a little late on my part but I’m having a hard time tearing myself away from the game. As of the 28th December Armored Core 4 received an optional patch.

Optional in the fact that the player can choose which “Regulation” they wish to run the game under (this is undertaken in the System menu for those that are curious). The main changes in Regulation 1.10 are:

– PA recovery time quickened (so you can OB more now)
– Solid shell PA defence strengthened
– PA defence of light parts strengthened
– Solid shell effects repaired from scratch
– Tuning strengthened
– Balancing of energy weapons (they were a bit powerful)

In English all that means that the game has been balanced and made more open. You can OB now quite freely without worrying that your PA will falter, plus online versus matches will invariably last longer than 30 seconds. All in all, this is a sage and necessary patch to keep the online community thriving and it was pretty quick off the bat too. With any luck, From Software might keep this kind of behaviour up.

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News: QWAK homebrew released on GBA

qwak.JPGI just got an email from jamie woodhouse, the creator of QWAK – a completely homebrew project for the GBA of which there are only 300 copies available. The cost is 15 pounds, or just under $30. Homebrew though it may be, the came comes on a proper cart, shipping included (though I don’t know if he banked on people ordering from outside the UK). You can check out gameplay videos on the site, as well as jamie’s background here. Turns out he’s an Amiga developer who turned to the GBA later in life, most recently working with DSI on those ‘classic arcade’ ports, doing things like Lunar Lander.

QWAK is a port/update of an old game he did for Amiga. The newest version was done by Team 17, of which he was a part, and it really does look quite nice. The ‘only 300’ bit was enough for obsessive-compulsive me, so I ordered mine. We actually mentioned the downloadable demo some time ago, as well.

While I’m at it, mathew carr, the creator of Blast Arena, a similar but more lo-fi project, has announced that he may do a second run. Let him know if you’re interested.

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News: Karous for DC

karous.jpgAccording to Rakuten, MileStone’s third shooter, which has been out in arcades for roughly a couple of months, is getting a DC release on the 8th of march. Such a quick port is unusual (and points towards a cold reception of the arcade version in Japanese game centers) but it was not unexpected, though there have been rumors of a Wii port going around for a while now (which given MileStone’s history might still materialise, along with a PS2 port).

My opinion of the game is that it’s a mildly enjoyable shooter in the same vein as Radirgy was, though if you never end up playing it you won’t be missing out on anything. Visually it’s a slighly better-looking Radirgy, with a nice drum & bass soundtrack and an easier to understand system. It also has three selectable difficulty modes so it’s quite friendly to beginners, though it certainly won’t do much to whet their appetite for more.

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Ebay: Custom-painted NES

A seller by the name of Hello Kitty (with lots of exclamation points!) is selling custom-painted NES consoles on ebay.

There’s Dragon Quest, Metroid, Bubble Bobble, Megaman 2 (airman stage), Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 3, and Kid Icarus (definitely the least professional of the bunch).

They’re all quite nice, and are done with acrylic paints, then sprayed with a finisher, so they shouldn’t wear badly (theoretically). Bit of a monster price point though, with $125 ‘buy it now’ each. But if you’re that kind of weirdo with that kind of money, there aren’t any bids yet, and under 30 views each. Half the fun of finding something like this before everyone else is seeing how high the view counter goes once the blogs get ahold of them! Thanks to NeoGutsman for the link.

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News: From Networks dissolution

fromnetworks_logo1.jpgWhilst raucously celebrating my birthday, From Networks went into dissolution with its former partner Dwango. This is an ongoing story with Sammy investing in From Networks for a new MMO (called Strugarden), that Dwango had originally started.

For those unfamiliar with From Networks they are a sibling company to From Software and recently worked on Chrome Hounds.

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News: New italian magazine ‘Gamers’

Longtime insert credit friend francesco fondi, who does GX Magazine, which we mentioned some time ago, has a new project. It’s called Gamers, and much of it is dedicated to retro games. The magazine is in italian, but still worth picking up – nice graphical design, a translation of an insert credit-published article (the Idol M@ster review), retro game/girl photos from Julie (of Samurai Girl fame – I’ll get to that in a later post), some videogame music history, hardware hacking advice, and lots of other nice stuff. As of right now, the Gamers website only redirects to an email – but I think that’s the only way to get it if you’re outside of italy anyway! This issue was supposed to have content from me in it, but…well…you know. The next one will!

gamers1.JPG gamers2.JPG

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News: Hokuto no Ken Online

hokuto_online1.jpgThose wonderful people at GungHo, who brought us the brilliantly titled Yogurting, are in the process of developing a Hokuto no Ken MMO. Admittedly, from the promotional movie, it has the graphical sophistication of a bad PlayStation 2 budget title (with shocking animation to match). Yet, the thought of making someone’s virtual head explode without the use of any guns is a bit of a draw (with added whiny adolescent voice coms to sweeten the deal). It’s scheduled to appear sometime “later next year” (in the second quarter though the game’s already been delayed once apparently). No word on an international release as yet though.

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Advice: Avoid Toys n’Joys game shop

We normally wouldn’t have made a post like this one, but we believe our readers deserve to be informed also about this kind of stuff, especially these days. Toys n’Joys is a Hawaii-based game shop which sells US games but also imports from Japan. It has become known by those who buy through the internet for its unlawful methods. Basically, they send you used items or bargain editions where you paid for brand-new and original ones. It doesn’t matter what you saw or read on their website nor where you clicked to do the order. It even won’t be relevant at all if you mailed them previously with the pertinent instructions. They’ll send whatever they think that can “do the job”. Of course, there’s no use for mailing them later asking for an explanation. They lie at their “return policies” too, since you’ll never get the money corresponding to the shipping costs for sending the items back, either. Now you know, in case you didn’t yet.

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