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    by Published on August 2nd, 2008 19:40

    1942: Joint Strike
    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Backbone Entertainment
    Genre: Flight Shooter
    Players: 1-2
    Price: $10
    Platforms: XBLA (Version reviewed), PSN

    Namco's recreation of the classic 1942 is less then perfect.

    No one will argue that top down shooters are one of the greatest classic game types ever made. Still no one will argue that they can be fun to play. Take Ikaruga for example; its a top down shooter and uses a classic formula like all the rest. But tweaks and extra stuff make the game much more enjoyable, though its still tough like many 1942-esqe shooters. Nanostray is another example of how the classic can still be good today. 1942, the cult classic that inspired all of this, had you back in WWII fighting off Japanese bombers, and it was a great arcade game back when it first debuted, and an even better Co-op game. So here we are today with Capcom's remake of the classic dubbed as 1942: Joint Strike. As far as classic remakes go this is pretty well done. But Capcom might well have made it a little too faithful to its roots. Read on...

    When you start up the game you'll see what may be the most annoying part of the game. The menu screen. Don't get me wrong, the menu screen is fantastic; the effects and old style mission cards are great. However, every move you make in the menu is marked by the absolutely annoying roar of airplanes flying in from the side of the menu, which at first is kinda neat, but after the twenty-seventh time, I've more then heard it enough. And here is the next problem; if you don't have anyone to play local co-op with you like I didn't, then you will miss the best part of the game. After uncountable attempts to find someone over XBL to play, I couldn't even finish the game because the connection timed itself out and made both of us log off. Since that one time I've never been able to find another gamer to play the game out co-op with, and even though I got enough in to write the co-op section of the review, no one is gonna buy this for single player. No one with sense, anyway.

    The graphics had a major overhaul, and they are pretty nice.

    Co-op is what this game is made for. Hence the name "JOINT" strike. (Which I never actually could do, btw....) As far as co-op goes this game is fairly impressive. 3 ships and 3 special Joint possible attacks add a bit more game time after you've played through the 20 minute campaign mode with a friend. Taking down bosses together is always fun, and if both you and your friend get the dual lasers power-up then you can basically keep a constant blue streak going across every part of the screen, eradicating most enemies before you even see them. No special modes, but 5 difficulty levels and some "decent" achievements. As for the difficulty levels...without a buddy, you almost can't beat campaign mode, period. No continues whatsoever, and you can't save the game at any point. This game can be even more frustrating then Ikaruga, believe it or not. And when you can't beat the game when you don't have a companion, and trying to find a fellow gamer on Xbox LIVE is like trying to find one on Space Giraffe, the games "game" falls flat. Co-op is the saving grace, but thats only even "good". The gameplay itself isn't broken, but this game has just enough problems to ensure that it breaks most of the fun the gameplay can offer.

    The graphics aren't really too bad for a remake of an old sprite based game. 3D models for most enemies and environments, and they don't look very bad either. A good color pallete of pastels gives the game a lighter feeling, as opposed to a dark and serious feeling. I unfortunately can't rant on and on about the animations and character models as I would like to since there really aren't any. This is planes we're talking about after all. Screen tearing does occur, and it is a bit noticeable since there is usually not too much variety in the things going on on screen at any one time. The one time I was able to play online the framerate was pretty messy at some points, specifically during the 1st and 4th levels. The weapon effects are bright and neat though, but when you drop a bomb the explosion sometimes clips through the level. Overall though, the revamped graphics aren't too shabby. The old style DANGER screen is pretty cool too. Really though, this a top down shooter. How much more is there to say?

    On 2 stars or higher, you will never make it here on singleplayer.

    Wow...this is one of my shortest reviews I think I've made in a long time. But really theres not much to say about this game. Except maybe that for the value this game really isn't worth it. $5 maybe, but $10 is just cruel. If you've got a friend whos willing to purge the money with you, it may be worth it, but otherwise its just another shooter, and one thats almost ...
    by Published on August 1st, 2008 00:13

    Soulcalibur IV
    Publisher: Namco bandai
    Developer: Project Soul
    ESRP: $59.99
    Players: 1-2
    Genre: Fighting
    Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3

    Soulcalibur is arguably one of the best fighting game franchises out there. In fact, the original Soulcalibur released for the Dreamcast back in '99 remains one of the highest rated games of all time. (It currently resides at #8 on gamerankings.com. Back when it first came out, it would have been #2, just behind Zelda OOT.) Soulcalibur II, while not as big an accomplishment as Soulcalibur 1, was still an amazing fighting game that set a standard and showed the world that fighting games still have a place in the industry. Soulcalibur III more or less just came and went, but was still a great game all around, just had little new additions to it. Well here we are today with SoulCalibur IV, a highly anticipated fighting game from Namdai. You may be happy(or sad) to know that although the core Soulcalibur formula hasn't been changed very much, it still works very well, considering how old it is. But like most games, the same 4 times can get repetitive and very annoying. So how did the Fourth iteration go?

    First thing you'll probably notice about Soulcal IV once you get ingame is the amazingly rendered character models, and as usual, I'm gonna go ballistic over them, rant style. This is quite possibly the best looking fighting game character models I've ever seen. the detail in each character is stunning-- and what's more, there are so many many ways to customize each character with all types of different garb. And no matter what clothes you put on them they always look natural. No matter what weapon, what eye color, what hair, everything blends perfect and smooth. And the characters animations are praise worthy too. A few odd looking attack animations, but they usually lend themselves to only a certain few characters. But characters like Zasalamel and Voldo have awesome and fluid movements. From an explosion of a scythe to Voldo's demented backwards crab-walk all of it goes together fluidly. And as the characters fight, they're armor begins to get chipped away gradually, which is a really cool degenerative addition(?). The backgrounds aren't as noticeable as the foregrounds (obviously, it is a fighting game after all) but they do what they do well. The 360 movement of the characters allow for them to bash up the place as they fight. The destructibility of the backgrounds are cool, but they do leave a good bit to be desired, since only so much can be destroyed on each level. But really, backgrounds usually don't serve as much in fighting games more then something to look at, and things aren't all too much different here. Still, those Star wars backgrounds look niiiiiiice.....


    Jumping a little here--The core of Soulcalibur is still the same as it has been for years, and as long as fighting games exist, it will for more years to come. The core: Beat the other guy until he or her drops dead. Still, the general formula is so general that small tweaks to the gameplay, mostly along the lines of making each character fair to play as, proves that the fighting genre still rocks. over 30 different players and minimal clone characters make this game a blast to master them all. Some combo attacks are a bit broken sometimes, but overall the controller is responsive which is usually the problem with cheapness issues in fighting games. To tell the truth I've only really liked two fighting games before; Dead or Alive And DBZ Budokai. However, Soulcalibur is more of a fighting gamers training game. Combos usually only range on 1-3 hits normally, and overall the games difficulty is set to "less then normal." While doing awesome looking technical attacks, you can just as easily beat the game doing little more then just pounding away at the Grab button. Granted, some enemies can block it but they are few. But I have noticed how online, grabbing is harder then usual. It may be due to the vast amounts of lag in the game, but overall it makes online fighting much more fair. Still, online is by no means flawless. We'll touch on that in a sec though.

    Soulcalibur IV won't take you long to beat. In fact, the storymode takes almost less then 20 minutes. And each characters story, for the most part, is totally devoid of original cut-scenes. Although you fight against different opponents depending on what character you playing, it tends to leave you wanting more. Most players will go back with other characters however, and after going back around 8 times, the game still amuses me, though not as much as it did at first. So really, campaign mode isn't where your gonna be spending most your time. Another mode, known as Arcade mode, pits you against 8 fighters in sequence then gauges your score. its more or less pretty basic, and just that. Still, you unlock stuff for your characters ...
    by Published on July 13th, 2008 18:43

    Unreal Tournament III
    Publisher: Midway
    Developer: EPIC Games
    Players: 1-16
    Genre: FPS
    ESRP: $59.99

    When the original Unreal Tournament debuted back in 1999, it took many multiplayer nuts by surprise. While it wasn't necessarily unforeseen since Quake II made such a bang with its new twitch-action multiplayer, the level of depth to this FPS was almost unmatched. The ideas surrounding it were simple enough; a game made almost solely for multiplayer action. This doesn't mean only against other living players, but also against some of the the best A.I. bots for its time. Well, you can rest assured that the formula for the blockbuster game hasn't changed much, though that may well be the reason for the troubles with this game. Don't jump to any conclusions; I'm not saying its bad or good. Just read on, you'll get it.

    The Unreal tournament series has always been known for its mindless run-and-gun fireattatwitch FPS action. Things haven't changed a whole lot in Unreal Tournament III. The insanely fast paced nature of the game has been left in tact, and as per usual, you don't have to do a lot of thinking to know how to win. The main point of UT3 is still to blast the other guy to kibbles before he blasts you. getting killed thirty times every match is the usual, but what might seem a little unusual, is that its USUAL even during campaign mode. In fact, campaign mode is actually one of the few things that sets UT3 apart from its predecessors. For one, the new campaign features actual cutscenes to tell the story. The bad part is that cut-scenes are the ONLY thing in this game that tell the main story. Levels simply consist of a sequence of bot matches that range anywhere from one to fifteen before going to the next chapter, and the next scene. Before each battle, however, you do get a short briefing on your mission that adds a little to the story, but generally feels like a bunch of audio-fillers, so it doesn't have to explain the story. It doesn't really feel so bad at first, but after ten consecutive bot matches without any new story to back it up, it tends gets on your nerves. its not all bad though, as those bot matches constantly feature changing game types, such as CTF, team deathmatch, and a new game mode where you must destroy your enemies core while protecting your own. Still, after all is said an done, the campaign mode feels as though it was only thrown in there because it had to be. At least its something, which is a lot more then Shadowrun did. (If you didn't know, Shadowrun's best and only selling point was its multiplayer. Not even a tiny bit of story-mode.)

    I am coming for you

    Like I said before, the story was told completely through cut-scenes. Although it wouldn't have hurt to have a little subliminal story telling like most games these days do, if it was gonna be told through anything, it would have best been through these scenes. They look absolutely fantastic. Great camera angles and many high octane adrenaline fueled sections of the rather large scenes gave it almost the same feel as a mix between Halo and Gears of War(Which really shouldn't be much of a surprise, seeing as EPIC made Gears as well). In the end, even though the cutscenes do a great job of conveying what little story in this game there is, it never fills the void completely, and left me feeling like they, too, were thrown in there "just 'cause." Still, even though the cutscenes tell the story well, the best part of these cutscenes is also the best part of the game; that is, the graphics.

    Well, be honest here. Did you expect anything except the very best from EPIC? After Gears of War, I can confidently say that it would have been more a surprise had they not made the best graphics around. Even if your playing on a non-HD set up, you'll notice right away that the graphics for this game are top notch detail. The character models seem to have the most detail in the game, but they end up looking a bit funny despite looking so good. the thing is, unlike in most other games, in UT3 you practically are never standing still long enough to notice the graphics, since you'd be shot to pieces if you tried. Smooth animations, though there really aren't that many in the game anyway except for dying and hover boarding. The vehicles in the game look nice, but they tend to all look (and handle) too similarly to one another. Not really bad, just, not really creative. The backgrounds are great as well. Textures all look highly detailed, and are usually very diverse. As far as the game's graphics are concerned, the Unreal 3 engine is working the best we've seen here. The framerate has never dropped as I played it even in some of the most hair-raising nine-on-seven fights. The backgrounds are fairly large too, though they are more of the typical FPS battlefield style, that is, a semi-large usually circular in shape arena. Not ...
    by Published on July 10th, 2008 15:32

    Because my best review yet got deleted before it was even posted.

    Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution
    Publisher: 2K Games
    Developer: Firaxis
    Players: 1-2
    Genre: Turn based Strategy
    ESRP: $29.99

    A revolution for handheld TBS games, in a good way.

    I've been a Civilization series fan since the release of Civilization: Call to Power. Funny that I thought it was so great, since critics didn't. But I wasn't alone as it seemed, since it ended up being one of the best selling Civilizations of all time and...well never mind that. Point is that the turn-based Civilization series has always had a place in my gaming psyche. Civilization Revolution actually seems in a way like a step backward from the Civilization Revolutions out on the PS3 and 360. But that's easily to be expected from a handheld iteration of the game that was always speculated to just be a crappy console port like most DS games that are cross-console seem to be. Well rest assured Civilization fans that they didn't screw the DS version up. However, they did take it down a notch on features, as you could imagine(Did you really think that a handheld version of console game could possibly be as good?). The end result of these changes makes the game feel a whole lot like a mix between Civilization IV and Civilization II. You'll find out why in a minute.

    Like past Civilization games, the point of the game is to build a Civilization from scratch, and win the game through either a Cultural, Military, Scientific, or Wealth Victory. Any one of these will lead you to Victory, though all of them take time to accomplish. About time. Previous Civilization games often took many, many hours, and often, days to win the game through some form of victory. It was practically impossible to beat it in an afternoon, much less a few hours. Civilization DS doesn't follow that same formula. I probably beat the Free mode, which was "The Game" for past Civilizations, in about 2-3 hours. That doesn't mean your through though, it practically means you haven't even begun. Each map in Free mode is randomly generated, so it has an infinite amount of ways your Civilization can go. This, combined with the ability to choose from a host of Civilizations, leads to not only a wasted afternoon, but a possible wasted month, depending on how much you like it. I mentioned how you can choose from many Civilizations to start your game. This isn't just for looks like the Civilizations of old used to have them. Each Civilization has its own skill about them that makes it more or less good or bad at whatever. The thing is, through out my play, the skills I had for my Civilization didn't seem to make much of a difference in the least, it didn't seem to help my opponents in the game very much either. I guess its to keep it as equal as possible, but that's where "honing your strengths" comes in. About knowing your strengths and weaknesses...this game has a pretty iffy learning curve.

    It looks pretty complicated, but you'll get used to it fast.

    Most Civilizations in the past had a fairly steep learning curve to them, and while Civ Rev is no exception, it does seem to be a bit less complicated this time around. Having played Civ Rev on the console and Civilizations in the past, I was able to jump in quickly to the games more sophisticated points,(government, science, city management blahblahblah) but I soon found that most of them feel like they've had a downgrade to them. Not a downgrade in features so much as the game does more of the annoying stuff for you.(This may be why it is so much easier to play through the game so fast) For example, after almost everything that happens, an advisor pops up and gives you a hint as to what to do next. However, you can disable this from the option menu. When that's taken away, you soon figure out that the reason it feels more downgraded is because the menus are so simplified. Each thing tells you exactly what they do and how they do it, whether they be wonders, building, units, etc. Rather then this ending up being annoying, it becomes helpful, and allows the game to progress more smoothly. Now something that hasn't been simplified at all, or maybe its been OVER simplified, is battling.

    Probably the biggest part of any Civilization game are the battles. if your a fan then you know most of the issues already: Weaker enemies constantly beating stronger enemies, defensive terrain sometimes counting for nothing, and the oh-too-often knight destroying the helicopter.(Yes, it does happen. Still.) But Civ Rev gets a little extreme on it. At one point in the game I was attempting to take over an enemy city. They had a single archer defending it and I had about 7 legions, 8 riflemen, 2 knights, and 3 cannons standing at ready to be thrust in fierce battle. As I send each of them, the battle animations take place, and my ...
    by Published on July 8th, 2008 05:24

    Game Review: Stepmania (PC, Xbox, PSP)
    Publisher: MIT
    Developer: MIT
    Genre: Rythm video game
    Players: Up to 2

    We've all heard of the Konami Arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, and it’s numerous sequels and ports.
    A lot of us have it on our home consoles, breaking it out during parties or even using it for exercising. I’m here to review a homebrew PC clone of DDR. This clone is called Stepmania.

    The Default Stepmania Menu

    Now some of you have probably heard of Stepmania. It isn’t at all new, in fact it was first released in November of 2005!
    But it’s free and open-source, with I-Pod, PSP, and Xbox ports, and is guaranteed to entertain.
    Now my Stepmania experience is on the Xbox, with StepmaniaX. It was relatively easy to set up too. The downside that I can think of is that you have to go and find songs, announcers, background animations, etc, to get it working properly.

    It immediately worked with the DDR PS2-GC-Xbox Dance Pad and plays/feels exactly like the real thing, with the only problem being that if you are using the Dance Pad, it can be a tad bit annoying setting up the controls at first. However, once you’re finished setting the controls up, it works great!

    Doesn’t it look exactly like DDR?

    Stepmania is also very customizable. From background animations to arrows to songs, you can make it what you feel is best, and if you don’t like what’s available on the internet, you can learn how to make your own content and custom songs!

    Overall, Stepmania is free, (unless you want the optional but recommended dance pad, which is only $20) and will keep you entertained with the thousands of songs you can add to it, I recommend you check it out. With that said, I definitely recommend the PC and Xbox versions, with the only cons being the way you have to setup the game itself and the controls, making it a lot more difficult to work with at first compared to DDR. The PSP and iPod versions however, I really dont care for myself. Even though these ports are very similar to the original PC version, you must keep in mind that it IS a dancing game, that you should be using a dance pad for. Honestly, what’s the point of playing a dancing game if you’re going using a d-pad or a click wheel?

    So, to wrap this up:
    PC and Xbox -

    PSP and iPod - ...
    by Published on July 5th, 2008 04:34

    I'm in between reviews at the moment, so I'm taking a little review break with another review. It makes sense to me at least. (I can't find another game to review right now...this should be relieved by at least July 8.) Besides, I've been a Hellboy fan for a bit of time.

    Hellboy: The Science of Evil
    Publisher: Konami
    Developer: Chrome Studios
    Genre: Action
    Players: 1

    This game is currently being used as a coaster.

    In Hellboy: Science of Evil, you take the role of Hellboy, a demon operative of a secret underground group who hunt down all things supernatural. You play through 6 chapters following the villain Von Brampt to try and stop him from accomplishing his evil goals.

    There's nothing to write here.
    No witty comment. Not approving or disproving remark before this paragraph about this games story. The title just about explains it all. The "story" here, if you can even call it that, is the same thing as taking 15 different, totally unrelated ideas and shoving them together and using scotch tape to make them stay together. Alright, enough of that. The story in Hellboy: Science of Evil can hardly be called a story. Its composed of 6 broken and terribly composed chapters, almost all of which have an ending even before the climax. An example can be seen as far back as the first level. You find yourself as Hellboy in a distant cemetery in the-devs-only-know-where chasing down a witch who has stolen a great deal of precious artifacts, and killed all the people who tried and stop her. Now let me stop for a minute to explain something about the cut-scenes these messages are conveyed through. At first glance you may well see a stylish cut-scene, almost even a little bit reminiscent to the comic book. Now just wait until it starts moving. the poorly thrown together, no-voice acted cutscenes are the epitome of a bland and inexcusable attempt at piecing together a comic book style presentation. Characters look extremely different in style from one another, almost as though half of each cutscene was drawn by a different artist. The small feat they do manage to accomplish is get at least a little bit of the point of each scene across, but for the most part they simply cause more confusion. Now back to where we were, with the witch and the cemetery. The entire level basically changes course, and only follows Hellboy as though he's bent on escaping rather then catching the witch. And even after you complete the entire level, the last scene shows you overlooking a village and falling off a cliff, without so much as even a mini-boss fight. Wanna take a wild guess at level two? Probably not, since your most likely wrong. None your fault, though, as you somehow wind up in Japan, where you've apparently entirely forgotten anything about a witch and death and mayhem and blahblahblahblah. This games story is the most broken I've seen since Ghost Rider the game.

    Prepare to fight these guys, over and over and over and over...

    Hellboy has never looked worse
    The strangest thing about the fact that this game looks depressingly terrible is that the original movie actually got many awards for its great cinematography and costume design. The comic book has gotten many awards for great artistry. So you'd think, at least by a little, that the devs here would have at least put a bit more effort into the graphical component to this game. Well besides story, this is easily its worst part. And what better way to explain then by example. Textures disappearing: I walked past a door at one (or more) points in the game, only to find the door wide open when I couldn't access it. So I walk back three steps to go in only to find that the door never moved in the first place. So I ended up just having to leave the ghost door in place, without ever knowing if it was opened or closed. Clipping issues: When throwing or finishing off enemies, they have strange tendency to clip straight through the floor and fall under the level. Also, when thrown they also sometimes go straight through a solid wall. Fence posts and the such move back and forth straight through the ground as you go away and to them. Bland menus: The death screen isn't an extra screen at all. It simply brings up a menu no different then the main menu and asks me if I want to start checkpoint over. All menus look exactly the same. Back to normal style graphics section explanations. The HUD actually doesn't look all too terrible. the colorful bars of health and Rage bar offset an often boring and repetitive background. About backgrounds, each level does sport a different background, for a while at least. The problem with each is they tend to be bland and overall are extremely linear. They also share the exact same pale color pallet, which looks nice for a while, but loses its small charm before the first level is even over. The different levels do have a little ...
    by Published on July 4th, 2008 13:32

    Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3

    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Backbone Entertainment
    Player: 3 (on/offline)
    Genre: Action Adventure
    Platform: XBLA (Reviewed), PSN

    Overview : It is the second sequel to Capcom's Commando arcade game, first released in 1985 and then ported to nearly every system of the time, (including the BCC Micro which I owned, played and sucked at). Lucky for me this game is a lot easier (or I have gotten a lot better, but I doubt that) as its obviously aimed at western audiences with it modern American animé/cartoon stylised graphics.

    Features :

    Only on Xbox LIVE: Players who purchase Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 will be automatically eligible for the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Beta test: (only until August 20th or sooner)
    • Three playable soldiers with their own unique characteristics.
    • Multiple weapons, including rocket launchers, grenades and shotguns.
    • Controllable co-op vehicles
    • Support for up to three players simultaneously, both online and on a single console.
    • Four difficulty levels, which automatically adjust based on the number of players in the game.
    • Comprehensive scoring system.
    o Score Multipliers allow players to maximize their points tally.
    o Online Leaderboards

    If you played any of the old school shooters back in the 80s / early 90s, you will know what to expect. Not much of a plot, but we all new that it was never going to be like that. The characters basicly a rip of Arne (Commando film) and Rambo, but they have also have a token black girl, to cover both gaming minority's, how PC of them. The presentation is nice and slick, and general well done, personally I like how the jazzed up the pause menu. But as for in game graphics your not going to be blown away, its just simple, nice and bright, cell shaded graphics.

    But this game was never about great story or great graphics, its all about old school gameplay, and thankfully they have gotten this right. There is no strategy involved here, bar shoot exploding barrel and destroy enemy spawn points, This is about making thing go BOOM and mowing down thousand of soldiers (its ok, they are bad guys, you can tell because they are not American). Just like the films the games are inspired by, this is just plain dumb fun.

    Surprisingly, it slows down the very odd time in 3 player + explosions, a game with this graphic level, you would think, should not have this problem.

    The campaign is short (complete all levels in 1 hour) and repetitive (lack of enemy variety) but vehicle sections and a few uninspiring bosses breaks up gameplay. Multiplayer and secrets helps replay, but not enough to keep you playing the game for more than a few hours.

    Old school high scoring could have helped longevity, but because of constantly respawning enemies, high scores can be achieved by slowly playing though rather than using any skill making the highscore leader board pointless. The game is also much harder in solo, than in multiplayer even thought it ups the amount of enemy's for when paling in co-op. You can select which stage you want to play until you complete the whole game, which can be annoying if you died in the last level, but then that just the old school way.

    Conclusion: So, it wants to be an old school game, and it succeeds. But that's the problem, these games were great back in the day, but only if you played them for a few hours. But at 800 MS points ($10.00/£6.80/€9.30), I don't think its good value for money. But if your a fan of the original games, then its worth trying it. Or if you are a huge Street Fighter Fan you have bought it already and have been handing my ass to me via Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Beta. (I really suck a Street Fighter).

    - Old School gameplay
    - 3 player Co-op fun
    - Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Beta

    - Short
    - Repetitive

    Overall: ...
    by Published on July 3rd, 2008 00:19

    Because Ninja Gaiden on DS = Awesomeness. At least the idea does.

    Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
    Publisher: Tecmo
    Developer: Team Ninja
    Genre: Action
    ESRP: $39.99

    Ninja Gaiden Lite.

    Once again, you must take up the role of famed ninja Ryu Hayabusa, one of the last remaining of the Dragon Lineage. The Greater fiends plot to envelope the world in darkness and chaos, and Ryu is the world's last hope.(again.) Fight through a multitude of levels from tombs to volcanos as you battle to stop the fiend's ambitions.

    A Ninja's story. Rated PG.
    Ninja Gaiden isn't known for its amazingly in-depth storylines, or just about anything pertaining to the story. Rather, its known by its console versions for having absurd stories, that are often so wacky that they become good. Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword isn't so easy to classify. Unlike the console versions Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword is aimed at the younger age group, obviously in response to the DS main customers. This means that the story won't be bloody, or nasty, or violent, or erotic, or whatever the normal Ninja Gaidens tend to do. Bare in mind though, that this isn't necessarily bad. The story itself isn't near as random as the other NGs, and its character design shows a good bit of cartoon influence. The characters each look as though they came out of an anime rather then the normal getting-to-realism look that Team Ninja primarily does. Still, some of the story is linear and you-saw-that-coming-miles-away, often during parts that are supposed to surprise you. As far as a 6-14 year olds game goes, though, the story is perfectly fitting. Cartoony characters combines with the classic 'caring' hero(I'll be honest with you. I do NOT see Ryu Hayabusa caring about pretty much anything but his duties. This game thinks otherwise.) with, while its still a bit unique, a linear and stereotypical story makes for a very well marketed NDS game.

    Again--damn, Ninjas look good
    Dragon Sword did for the DS what Team Ninja does for just about every console and game--created great looking character models with very fluent animations. Ryu looks spectacular, and even in his fast flurry of attacks you can see some very nice animation if you look closely enough.(Animation in a game has always been my favorite graphical part. If animation looks crappy, then...no.) Enemies are a bit different. While still sporting some decent looking Character models, compared to Ryu, Momijii and the bosses, they don't look as good. Mainly spider-ninjas and ware-wolves, but all around they do still look nice. Just not great. Enemy animations are still in tact though, as you can relate each one to its root animations in Ninja Gaiden Xbox. Most, anyway. Backgrounds are diverse and colorful, but interaction is non-existent. Unless there is a puzzle or a door, there is zero interaction with the environment. The freestyle running of the Ninja Gaidens has been taken out. There is a reason for this though. The backgrounds look 3D, but don't be too fooled, too fast. Most backgrounds, with a few exceptions, are fully 2D textures. That doesn't stop them from LOOKING 3D though, and to this day, the look has always been what matters most, not the technical ideas in place. As for technical stuff, even in the biggest battles I have never experienced a framerate drop. Clipping is very rare, and the whole engine is rather solid. Seems most DS game engines are that I've played. Ninpo effects are actually sprites(most of them), but they all look well done, and do give you the feeling that you have a little control over nature itself.

    Insert Rocky Balboa Music here.

    Ninja Gaiden Black, sound off
    Sound. The music mostly consists only of music from the original NG. Some lighter hearted songs were added in, probably because of the games younger audience. These are mainly in the Hayabusa village and other non-action parts of the game. But lets get something straight--it may be recycled, but that doesn't mean its all too bad. Annoying to my nerves, simply because I've played NG black before, but to most, it will seem like a decent and well placed soundtrack. Nothing amazing, but it certainly works for what it does. Sound effects also have been recycled, but there are a good bit of new ones in there. All dialogue is text; no voice acting. While it may be a shame to have no voice acting considering the job of the voice actors in the first NG it may or may not be so bad. You decide.

    Young Ryu? Nope. Nintendo Ryu.

    A furious fighting action title
    To let out a summery of whats to come: This game rocks. Gameplay. The core gameplay is just like the console NGs, i.e., slashing bashing and dicing enemies, while enjoying some light platforming puzzles. One may thing at first that Ninja Gaiden, being a usual button-masher game wouldn't fit well at all on the DS. Errrrr. ...
    by Published on July 2nd, 2008 05:44

    Published by: Nintendo
    Developed by: HAL Laboratory
    Genre: Action
    Number of Players: 1
    Price: $29.99


    OH NO! Kirby has been cursed! well, lets show everyone how we roll! in this amazing kirby game!

    Unlike the rest of the kirby games, here, you control kirby by drawing a path for him with your stylus, this takes some getting use to, but later on you will be able to fluently move him arround.

    You can tap kirby to make him attack and this will also absorb the power of anyone who has it, instead of sucking them in, he rolls faster.

    As always, you play as a ball of fat and air named kirby, except this time, you have been cursed, so now your arms and legs have been removed turning you into a perfectly circular sphere.

    Now that you are a sphere, you are trying to get revenge (and maybe your limbs too) but to do this, you must first go through a series of levels with bosses every three levels you complete; There are three different types of bosses, and you can choose which one to fight. (don't wanna spoil so I won't tell what they do)

    In each level there are three hidden medals you can collect to later spend away on extras from boring songs, to new playable characters!

    Gained some weight haven't we kirby?

    Even though the graphics are 2D, they look great, a game like this doesn't need 3D graphics, it is after all a side scroller. The backgrounds look colorful even when they are suppose to be dark, the characters are sprites, simple, but they fit in with the game's art style.

    Animations are not often seen, characters walk and explode, very simple, it seems as if they had $5 to make the animations you see in the game.

    This scene may have been scarry without the pink ball riding the rainbow.

    The game has fun and happy music for the most part, but it is mainly overshadowed by the sound effects, you really won't notice that it is there unless you listen for it.

    Replay Value:
    With unlockable characters and hidden medals, you will want to go back and play through some of the maps again (after you are done with a level, you can play it again at any time) it IS after all fun to play as a different ball of fat every now and then.

    Seriously, don't be fooled, at first you will find nothing extra to do, but it is all in the medals, collect medals = collect fun. and then off course if you beat the game there is a special extra feature added.

    It is too bad this game has no multiplayer, but it DOES have good ammount of content outside the main story mode,that is, after you beat the game.

    and even if it didn't have the extras, story mode alone is one great reason to get it.


    I give this game a:

    mah review survey ...
    by Published on July 2nd, 2008 00:39

    With an a new "card" for my DS, I have been inspired to go back to my forsaken DS and try out more DS games. Safe to say you can probably expect more NDS game reviews from here on out.

    Dementium: The Ward
    Publisher: Gamecock
    Developer: Renegade Kid
    Genre: Survival-Horror FPS
    Players: 1
    ESRP: $29.99

    An ideal example for later Horror games on DS. Sort of.

    Game Summary
    In Dementium: The Ward, the take the role of an unnamed admitted patient to a mental hospital. After awakening in a daze, you find yourself one a blood-soaked bed in one of the rooms. Thats not the only blood-drenched feature you find in the hospital, as you soon realize that this may either be a hospital, or a butchery. Fight with up to 8 different weapons against a myriad of horrific monsters as you strive to understand the secrets of Dementium: The Ward.

    You wake up in the hospital...
    And thats as near close to a story as you get in this game. The storyline is one thing thats not a major seller for Dementium. As far as interaction with others in this game, you get absolutely none, which makes you depend on various notes and clipboards in the mental asylum to figure out the story. Even then, even after you pieced everything together, you'll find yourself thinking "Oh...really. Well thats a twist...I think." Suffice to say, the storyline never goes beyond a single idea to make it good, and even that idea is a bit overused. I think I should back up a bit and talk about the beginning. The Prologues in games are usually one of the single most important parts of the storyline, where it sets the setting, most characters, and the general idea and gist that the game was trying to make its players feel. Not this one. The beginning is literally just you being rolled in a wheelchair through a blood-and-guts filled hospital with demonic little girls and zombies in it. This lasts about 15 seconds. Next thing you know, you wake up on your nasty bed, and go to beat up some monsters. Now this game does have cut-scenes(surprise.), but for the most part, they are only there to introduce you to new monsters, or to fight a boss. There is almost no spoken dialogue in the game, and the written dialogue is usually just confusing. If you get horror games for the often-superb storyline, then well, this game isn't for you.

    Gore - Now in 3D
    And I'm not talking about the tree hugger. Dementium is one of the few games to sport a high res 3-dimensional engine on the DS. Enemies too are fully rendered in 3D, and they are probably the high point of the 3D engine in Dementium. The enemies, although they may look at sometimes more funny then scary, are very well done for a DS game, and look even better then most N64 game enemies. Sometimes the enemies can look downright stupid, though. Take for example the screaming heads, or "banshees". Scary, sure, but not because of how they look. They look more similar to a cats head with madusa snakes then a decapitated woman's head. Regardless of a few fimply dumb looking enemies, Renegade Kid showed devs that full 3D is not only possible on the DS, it can be made both good, and solid. By solid, I mean that there are little to no clipping issues, glitches, textural errors, framerate issues, or pop-in. The engine is about as hard as a rock. Anyway. Environments are mainly texture based, as just about every wall and floor in the game is the same white wall with blood on it. Courtyard levels prove a little more varying, with some walls looking decrepid and old, and others having rusted surface on it. Now about the darkness. Renegade Kid went beserk when it comes to shadowing areas. To put it simply, when you fire at most enemies, you won't know whether you hit them or not. The flashlight illuminates these areas, but to shoot your gun you have to switch back to a gun, thus making you basically blind for far enemies. It has a severe case of Doom 3-itus to it, except you can't even melee with it this time around. But to be truthful, this game really wouldn't be scary at all without every room being dark as hell. Still, it becomes very frustrating, especially when fighting zombies that spit acid further then you can see. Environments are littered with, well, litter, among other things. Blood splashed trash cans, hospital beds, medicine cabinets and many other hospital-esqe appliances pervade, and often impede, the world of Dementium.

    The 3D engine at work. And it does some good work.

    Creek...creek...*piano solo*
    Sound. The music is one of the major defining features to make this game a horror game. Creepy organ and piano music plays while grunts of zombies and screams echo the hallways. There is an option to turn off the music though, in which case the game does became a good deal less scary. Though the scariest thing here is that most of the music all sounds ...

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