Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

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BUY IT! Bundle Stars Offers Up Sega Genesis Classics Dirt Cheap

SEGA Genesis Classics BundleSo, Bundle Stars is running a really nice deal on Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classics that can’t be beat.If you’ve got a Steam account, LOVE great deals and are into classic 16-bit games, this is a deal you cannot miss out on. You’ve just under five days to take advantage of this, so get on it, I say!

Although I have all of these (and more!) on cart, I ended up grabbing 20 for $4.99:

Gain Ground
Alien Soldier
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 3
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
Bio-Hazard Battle
Beyond Oasis
Light Crusader
Dynamite Headdy
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force II

24 cents each? A steal, I tell ya. Of course, getting to PLAY them with my backlog? HA! I may as well go adopt a few kids and leave them my Steam account for future reference.

Sega 3D Classics Collection: A Throwback That’s A Keeper For Nostalgic Fans

Sega 3D CC_3DS Longtime Sega fanatics have probably been wondering when the company would get to revisiting some of it’s well-aged classics outside the usual suspects and come April 26, those fans who (paradoxically) own a Nintendo 3DS will get to dive into Sega 3D Classics Collection for the more than reasonable price of $29.99. The retail and eShop release will contain nine games total:

7 Classic Games:
Power Drift
Puyo Puyo 2
Fantasy Zone II W
Sonic The Hedgehog
Thunder Blade
Galaxy Force II
Altered Beast

2 Bonus Games:
Fantasy Zone II
Maze Walker

In addition, you can disguise (or try to disguise) your 3DS with a set of Sega-themed stickers that will come included with launch edition copies of the game. Or you can save that sticker sheet for future use or even slap them on all the actual Sega consoles in your collection. Of course, if you’re a collector, those stickers will stay stuck to the paper they come on, right? Yeah, I figured as much. Me, I want this for Maze Walker, Galaxy Force, the two Fantasy Zone games and Power Drift, but everything will get played to death at some point. As much hard work went into getting this set of games out, it would really be nice to see a follow up at some point just to get Space Harrier II, After Burner and a few other classics onto the 3DS in that eye-popping 3D. As usual, we shall see…

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax! – An October (Non) Surprise From Sega


 

You don’t have to be a fan of the Dengeki Bunko light novels or any of the anime associated with them to appreciate Sega’s upcoming PS3 and Vita exclusive Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax!, headed your way on October 6. Developers Ecole Software and French Bread have cooked up a great looking, fast paced 2D fighter with nice 3D backdrops and some wild “Climax Moves” that can decimate your opponents when pulled off.

The game’s roster includes characters from the following DB light novel series:

A Certain Magical Index
Accel World
Black Bullet
DURARARA!!
Oreimo
Ro-Kyu-Bu!
Shakugan no Shana
STRIKE THE BLOOD
Sword Art Online
The Irregular at Magic High School
Toradora!

Plus assist characters from these DB series:

Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Boogiepop and Others
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
Golden Time
Kino’s Travels
Spice and Wolf
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

Dengeki_PSV_CVS_OUTER_Outlined (Custom) DFC_cover (Custom)

 

The game will be available at retail in a limited launch edition that comes packed with a CD soundtrack. As far as I can tell, digital copies of the game won’t net players that freebie. So you may want to pre-order this one or take a chance that your local game shop has ordered a few extra copies so you don’t miss out on that bonus.

Dengeki_Glamshot 

While I’m not the best fighting game player out there (understatement of the decade, folks), I do appreciate awesome art and animation when and wherever I see it. So this one on the list to check out in full review form.

Yakuza 5 Update: Still Waiting For A Date, Discount For The Early Birds

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Y5_wallpaper_01_1920x10801If you got rid of your PS3 when you got your PS4, you may want it back for at least one more exclusive of note. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama are back with two more in-depth “making of” videos for Sega’s upcoming western release of Yakuza 5. Despite its age (the Japanese version shipped back in 2012), the game looks quite spectacular on the aging PS3 hardware and is finally coming to North America later this year as a digital only PSN release.

While the game may be well-aged to some out there, according to the press release it’s looking to be the most feature-packed English version of any in the series:

Yakuza 5 features more mini-games than previous titles, a modified battle system as well as enhanced customizations and interactions in the signature hostess bars of the franchise. In addition to these features, Yakuza 5 also introduces “Another Drama” which is a series of side stories that focus on each protagonist in-depth and are separate from the main story of the game.

 

In addition, Sega is making a tempting offer to those who pre-order the game with a 15% discount off the $39.99 price plus the free Yakuza 5 XMB theme below:

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You’d think Nagoshi and Yokoyama should be singing “We Built This City” at this point, but instead they just happily chat more about the game and what players can expect:

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It’s great to see Sega keeping the Yakuza flame going despite the lengthy wait between releases. Hopefully fans will be on board with the digital-only version and snap it up once it’s released.

3D Gunstar Heroes Out Now on Nintendo 3DS: “Blast Processing,” Indeed

Gunstar Heroes 3D (9) 


 

3D Gunstar Heroes logoFor those of you who’ve never played it, Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the best 16-bit games ever made, period. Japanese developer Treasure made itself a household name among gamers with this 1993 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis release that seemed to use every bit of processing power the console had and then some.

While the game has popped up in a few newer console ports over time, it seems that the 3DS just may have the “definitive” version thanks to Sega’s remaster team, M2. Here’s a fun extra credit read from the Sega Blog on how tricky it was to get the game up and running on the handheld in stereoscopic 3D. The plot is nuts if you try to make total sense of it, but you won’t be playing this for the story. It’s a total run ‘n gun with killer boss fights, a “board game” level that’s worth an entire game in itself under the right developer, and a great soundtrack that drives the action from beginning to end.

Anyway, if you have a 3DS, BUY THIS GAME. If you’re thinking about getting a 3DS, see that last sentence. Hopefully Sega has plans to get this on the Wii U as well as an HD version at some point as it’s a total no-brainer that this is a game that really benefits from a larger screen. We’ll see if that ever happens (it would be nice, Sega), but for now, this one’s a must-buy that still packs quite a few wallops.

Gunstar Heroes 3D Gunstar Heroes 3D (1) Gunstar Heroes 3D (2) Gunstar Heroes 3D (3) Gunstar Heroes 3D (4) Gunstar Heroes 3D (5) Gunstar Heroes 3D (6) Gunstar Heroes 3D (7) Gunstar Heroes 3D (8)

 

Yakuza 5: No Controversy Here, Just Sega Pleasing Some Fans


 

Almost lost in all this noise on Shenmue III and its somewhat controversial (to some) Kickstarter campaign was the fact that Sega of America itself was going to be publishing Yakuza 5 in North America this fall. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi, Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama and their talented dev team are clearly showing that the PlayStation 3 isn’t “dead” yet as a viable console and the game certainly looks like their best work yet. Even better, it’s an exclusive to Sony’s console so you can wave your system under the noses of any friend with a competing console who may be a bit jealous. However, expect that console to be used to gently bash you over the head with if you’re too braggy.

Unfortunately for you physical media collectors out there the game is only getting a digital release via the PlayStation Network. So you’ll either need to bite that bullet and download this one or take the harder road, learn Japanese and import that version from a nice import retailer like Play-Asia. Of course, by the time you’re through with those crash courses in the language the game will be out here in English. So yeah, go support Sega of America with a purchase because they don’t make a penny on anything you get directly from Japan or anywhere outside the U.S. of A., folks.

Yeah!

Shining Through: Old Memories Return Thanks To New Friends

SitD_SC1
 

The first Japanese game I ever played to completion with no knowledge of the language outside a few basic characters was Shining and the Darkness for the Sega Mega Drive, later localized as Shining in the Darkness for North America by Sega of America. It wasn’t mad savant skills that got me through this text-heavy role-playing game, but a spoiler-free walkthrough and plenty of maps yanked from a Japanese magazine that came with the game when I purchased it. I’d played a few Japanese MD games previously, but most were shooters such as Gaiares or not quite perfect arcade ports like Golden Axe or Altered Beast.

SitD_SC2
 

I stumbled upon Shining and six of seven other imports at a used book and record store in NYC back around early 1992 and couldn’t pass up buying all of the games at somewhere between eight and ten dollars each. All of those games are still in the library here and some even get pulled out and played on occasion. It took me the better part of the summer to complete SitD because I was only using the walkthrough when I got stuck and was filling in the plot on my own. It ended up being pretty close to what the actual game and English version would be because it was a simple “rescue the kidnapped princess!” story with a few expected and unexpected twists.

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Stuff I Need to Play (at Some Point): Pier Solar and the Great Architects (PC)


 
Yaaah! When did this slip out? Oh, September 30? Well, I wasn’t paying attention, but this one’s on my list of too many games to buy and play. *Sigh*… well, given that I have the Genesis version here and have made it about halfway through, I know what to expect already. That said, the HD visual upgrade makes this one the one I’ll probably default to once it gets purchased. So many games… so little time, grrrr!

NowPlaying: Alien Isolation (Or: Let’s See How Long I Can Last)…

AI PS3
 
So, yeah – here we go. let’s see now: phone off the hook? Check. Clean underwear at the ready? Check. Ear out for UPS/Fed Ex in case I get some surprise packages from a PR contact (and/or my SUPER late Think Geek order that’s almost a month old, grrrr?): Check! I think I should eat something too, but I’ll pop into the kitchen while the game is installing and make something quick. Did someone say cheese pierogi with sauteed onions? I think that’s what my stomach was screaming, so that will get taken care of (thank you, stomach!). I think I have some (*ding!*) Gold’s Horseradish left. Hmmm… let me check… (*ding!*) Yep, with beets, at that. Okay, I’m set for the day.

Oh, that flower? It’s there because it’ll probably be the nicest thing I see all day. Back in a bit – maybe later this afternoon or evening with some sort of “I’m too %#$^@! scared to move” update. Maybe.