Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dreadnaught Factor

Ok I got the fuel for the jump back to 2008 all we need now is 1.21 gigawatts or something.....

While we're waiting for lightening lemme tell ya about some of my other space adventures with the Atari 5200. The Dreadnaught Factor is one of the earliest known scrolling shooters I know of and it , like many games of the early 80's, was influenced by Star Wars. The object is to fly your star fighter over a dreadnaught (Star Destroyer) and shoot the gun turrets, and bomb the exhaust ports...presumably with proton torpedos. You would get multiple fly-bys to destroy the Dreadnaught,bombing the engines would slow or stop the massive ship which would make it easier to accomplish your mission. The first dreadnaught was a blatant ripoff of a star destroyer but the designs did vary after each destroyed dreadnaught. The game was designed and programmed by two guys and published by Activision. Imagine what a game on the PS3 would be like if only 2 people made it!? Nowadays the credits at the end of games like MGS4 and FFXII read like a movie and in some cases have bigger budgets.

The Dreadnaught Factor contains all the core elements of scrolling shooters such as the recently released 1942 Joint Strike. It's kinda cool to think that a game created by two guys 25 years ago still shows it's influence in games today. The graphics might have been simplistic but the gameplay was enjoyable and the game handled well, and in my opinion that's most important. Just because a game looks fantastic doesn't mean it will be fun to play, that's something older gamers know from these old school titles.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Star Raiders

Looks like we're gonna be stuck in the past a little while longer until I collect the plutonium needed for the ride back to 2008...
Since we're here lemme tell you all about Star Raiders, another game for the good ol Atari 5200. Never before in the history of video games has the player trully felt they were inside the cockpit of a starfighter, the feeling of tearing thru hyperspace in Star Raiders was a hypersnoozefest. I'm pretty sure anyone who bought Star Raiders must of hoped it would be a combination of Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark....it wasn't, regretably Indy and Han are not in this game, but there are tie fighters, which I'm sure was NOT approved by Lucas arts. The game consists of two screens, your galactic chart, a grid that shows your bases, enemy ships, etc and the main screen which shows your forward and aft view of space. Plot your course and hunt down the enemy to protect your bases.
Star Raiders was the earliest space sim I can recall, you need to keep an eye on your velocity and fuel, and monitor you star chart to see if one of your bases is being surrounded. I don't recall there being much sound effects in Star Raiders and the enemy only had two types of ships, the majority of the time you'd be staring out at the greenish blackness of space and the white dots of stars...that's it.
The game was kinda technical for the time but I don't think it really used the 5200's color pallete or the sound chip to it's fullest potential. The game didn't have a score but gave players a ranks after dieing, ending the game or finishing it.
I remember getting bored with Star Raiders and finding the most pleasure in blowing up my bases.

Congo Bongo

After playing the demo of SEGA's gorgeous Valkyria Chronicals, I thought no better time than now to jump in the Delorian and take a spin back in time when I was the proud owner of an Atari 5200! The year, was 1983 and the first console war had begun between Coleco Vision and Atati's 5200 system. I wish I remembered how much games cost back then, it's depressing to think someone in my family paid close to the same amount for this game as a PS3 game.
It's been 26 years since I've played Congo Bongo but I do remember Donkey Kong was all the rage then and when I saw this I figured it was gonna be as fun....I was wrong. The 3Dish game screen was an aspect that probably had me going gimme gimme. I do remember the controls being infuriatingly difficult, as seen in the below video the first level "Primate Peak" had a jump that 99/100 times you'd die trying, and avoiding the various critters was an exercise in futility.
The games box art says it was the "official arcade version" and it was certainly visually better than the 2600 but it wasn't close to the arcade version graphically. The audio was as good as the 5200's POKEY chip could do, with it's 4 audio channels you weren't going to get an exact arcade port, I was 10 years old and didn't know better, so no harm, no foul. I remember spending long stretches of time trying to reach that damn ape, so I suppose it kept my attention. Out of the five or six games I had for the 5200 Congo Bongo has the best graphics, it only had two of the four levels that the arcade had but that was still twice as many as most games of that time. The game play was frustrating but that built a determination in me that lasted till today to want to beat a game I have and not stand defeated by cheap or over difficult AI, and lastly the box art was a huge step up from most of the stuff of the time. If you want to experience this obscure classic, Congo Bongo is an unlockable game in PSP's SEGA Genesis Collection.

Valkyria Chronicals Preview

November 4th is gonna be a painful day for PS3 owners wallets, with Naruto U.N.S., Resistance 2, and Valkyria Chronicals a JRPG from SEGA. I got a chance to play the demo this past weekend and I was very impressed, the visuals are gorgeous, the "canvas" graphics engine truly makes the hand drawn artwork jump to life! The fluidity of the artwork must be seen, the voice acting was well done as well.
Valkyria Chronicals takes place in Europa during the 1930's as the second Europa war begins, Alicia, Welkin, Rosie and the rest of the characters you'll command come from Gallia, a small county nestled between the Imperial Federation (Nazi Germany) and the Atlantic Federation (Allied countries). Valkyria Chronicals is a Strategy JRPG but it uses a unique battle system called BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zone). The basic Strategy RPG elements are there, movement restrictions based on the multiple character types such as scouts, shock troopers, snipers, lancers, and engineers, CP (command pts.) which tell you how many times you can use your squad members AP (action pts.) which show how far each squad member can move, this is shown by a meter that drains as you move the member. You learn quickly not to just move character arbitrarily but to find cover, which bring up the third person shooter aspect, you actually move the character around a 3D map and shoot, thrown nades and plant explosives in real time.
Valkyria Chronicals reminded me of the board game Axis and Allies, which was alot of fun with enough players. Just from the short demo I'd say Valkyria Chronicals is going to be a terrific game for PS3 owners!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Free Swim Christmas Wish List

Free Swim
Christmas Wish List
Yes I realize it's October, I'm one of those people who can't stand seeing Christmas decorations and music in the malls before Thanksgiving. But the fact is not counting this months paycheck, you only have three left before Christmas, so unless you plan on giving a pink bunny outfit to that special someone listen up! With the economy dry heaving recently I'll try and keep the suggestings grounded in reality.

Blu ray Movies























Stand Alone 1080p Blu ray Player

Sony BDP S350


1080p Blu ray Player / Video Game Console









Playstation 3 games






$59.99 w/ BT headset














For the ladies


Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Final Fantasy agito XIII poster

A new promotional poster for FF agito XIII....looks like the red plaid uniforms are replaced with cloaks.

New Final Fantasy agito XIII Famitsu scans

Continuing with the Famitsu coverage of the Fabula Nova Crystallis is four new scans of the card game FF agito XIII, which made the transition from a cell phone game to a PSP game. I think this will be a cross between FFXI's tetra master and an actual RPG. Another blind guess is you play the RPG, collect cards which may be random per game and via wi fi hotspots can challenge other people who have FF agito XIII to a game of "tetra master", winner takes the losers card. Or perhaps the reverse will happen, you'll need to challenge others to get specific cards to advance through the RPG.

Images courtesy of http://e3.endless.com.cn/

New Final Fantasy Versus XIII Famitsu scans

The next set of screen shots of the Fabula Nova Crystallis from Famitsu is for Final Fantasy versus XIII, the fantasy based on reality exclusive for the PS3. FF Vs. XIII continues to distance itself further from the fantasy worlds this franchise is reknown for. Neither Noctis Lucis Caelum, nor Stella Nox Fleuet, seem very fantastical, the atire looks contemporay, there's no sign of Chocobos, and the landscape around them could fit in almost any city today. The only background I know is Noctis is in possesion of their worlds final crystal, and there are forces trying to claim it. If I were to make a blind guess I'd say the world they live in is the reality which is created once the crystals are all gone. Think of movies like the Princess Bride and the Never Ending Story. Or I could be totally wrong....

Images courtesy of http://e3.endless.com.cn/

New Final Fantasy XIII Famitsu scans

The latest issue of Famitsu magazine has a new article about the Fabula Nova Crystallis with some fantastic new pics if FFXIII, FF VS. XIII, and FF agito XIII! The scans below focus on Lightening's mystery man, seen in previous vids. Recently revealed as Snow Villiers (sp?)
He reminds of Irvine Kinneas from FFVIII.
FFXIII should launch in Japan for the PS3* in 2009 and localization for Europe and the US will begin in 2009.
Per Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto,
"First, we will complete the game for PS3 in Japan, then begin localization for America and Europe while developing the 360 version simultaneously. The PS3 and 360 versions will be released at the same time outside of Japan -- although, due to language and other conditions, the game may not be released simultaneously across territories."
So PS3 owners may actually not see FFXIII till late 2009/early 2010! I don't mind the wait for an amazing game but I sure do miss the days on the PS1 when we were getting FFVII, FF tactics, Vagrant Story, FFVIII within the a year or two....those were good times.

Images courtesy of http://e3.endless.com.cn/

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

Why, why are they (hollywood) doing it again!? Wasn't their first attempt painfull enough? A simple look at this blog will reveal I like the Street Fighter video game franchise, but the movies based on the games....WHAT'S THE POINT!?

This project actually has some respectible actors in it, Michael Clark Duncan as Balrog, Chris Klein as Charlie Nash, Neal McDonough as Bison....how bizarre would it be if he died after doing this, NO ONE will ever sign on to play Bison in another Street Fighter movie, ever. Maybe that's what needs to happen to end these crapfests. Poor Raul Julia.

The funny thing is the above mentioned actors I'm sure are in it for the paycheck, but Taboo from the BEP is probably gonna put 110% into his role as Vega...so sad. But what may be even more sad is that Jean Claude Van Dam is saying he turned the role of Guile down for more serious projects....YOU WEREN'T INVITED BACK dude HAHAHA!

Alot of peeps around the interwebz are knocking the poster, I find it very telling, the fact that Chun Li, a chinese woman, has blue eyes tells me this movie will find it's way to the bargain bin in Best Buy faster than her Senretsu-kyaku.

Here's an idea for a Street Fighter movie!

"Sakura chan's High School Musical"

Justin Long plays a kabuki actor who impersonates Sakura to uncover the mystery of principal Bison's alternate lifestyle! But discovers the dark truth about the shotokan fighter she admires and his destiny....