Friday, May 30, 2008

New pcb: ESPrade - Joker Jun at his finest


Super stoked about his game. I've become somewhat of a Joker Jun nut and his design work for Cave is excellent and very unique, so this one is a hella good addition to my growing stack of pcb's.

This may be the cheapest Cave pcb I've ever seen and I was lucky enough to snag it. Here's the short of it...

I'm on the KLOV forums pretty often and I happened to see a sale post with a bunch of pcb's and right in the middle of the list was ESPrade - for $40 shipped. I couldn't believe it. It couldn't be an actual pcb, probably a cheap copy, but I went ahead and emailed the guy, set up payment and today the board arrived. It's original, all right and it's super fun.

The gameplay is a bit different from other, newer Cave tites and the scoring system is a bit strange, kind of along the lines of Progear, back when Cave was a bit more experiemental with their scoring systems. The art style is fantastic and really draws me into the game, especially some of the stage enemies, which have a Ketsui/DOJ feel, but placed inside a Japanese mall, which is surreal and refresingly original all at the same time, even for a 1998 game.

I have a few credits in and I will be switching back and forth between Futari and this this weekend, setting some scores up to post and better over the comming weeks.

Sometimes life is good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mushihimesama Futari 1.5 kit arrives!


My first Cave kit!

I've been wanting to pick up this pcb for a while, but bare pcb's are hard to find as the game is still pretty popular in arcades (in Japan, at least). As I was looking, I saw someone mention that they might be selling their kit on and I pm'd him and we worked out a price and viola! +1 Cave kit.

I have yet to play it as I am posting this on my lunch break at work where I got the game, but I do own the DVD superplay and have read just about everything there is out there on the game.

I'm so stoked to play this. I may just go home sick...(cough, cough...)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Super Star Soldier R - Wii Ware


I'm a fan of the older Star Soldier releases and I have downloaded them all but one onto the Virtual Console. So when Wii Ware went live, I knew this was the first game I was going to buy, even before Final Fantasy: My Life as a King. I knew the game was based on the caravan modes found in the older games, which were basically a timed scorefest at 2 and 5 minutes with tons of destructable enemies and parts of stages. What I didn't know is just how addicting it could be.

This game is basically STG crack.

To give you some idea, Dave came by Saturday and after playing it a few times, declared that it wasn't really grabbing him, that it really wasn't his style. Now Dave is the kind of guy where he'll sit and work DOJ for hours, perfecting hit counter chains, which is basically how the system works in this - maxing out amounts of things you kill without letting the hit counter drop.

After a few more runs, he was relucatant to give the controller back and after over an hour of playing, agreed that it was like crack. It's hella fun and easy to get into. The leaderboards give you some idea of how you are doing and I got to 925K last night, putting me at 17th in the Northeastern Region of the US and Dave was right behind me at 916K.

For any shooter fan with a Wii, this is a must-buy. Even though you'll eventually get tired working the same board (or two, in the 5-minutes mode) time after time, but like Pac Man Championship addition, it is most certainly the type of game that should be hitting these download services: quick, fun and addictive.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ketsui high score #5


I wanted to get some time in on this as I have my first have kit on its way to me - Mushihimesama Futari 1.5 - and I know once that arrives, Ketsui will take a back seat for a little while, although I seem to enjoy this game more and more every time I play it.

Added another 4 mil to my high score to up it to 44,213,547. Working my way up to the summer goal of 100 mill + and hopefully, a 1CC of the first loop. I think once I get stage 4 down, I should be in good shape to start working the five chip more and see that point total climb. I'm really just playing for survival on stages 3 & 4, although, I do work for the five chip when I see an opportunity and the second half of stage 3 is really easy to get some hefty five chip counts.

The stage 3 mid-boss is still unpredictable with the cross-crossing large pink and blue bullets. It seems like that pattern is different everytime.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ketsui high score #4


After playing a bunch of Progear at my friend Dave's house during our lunch break this afternoon, I got psyched to try and push the five-chipping mechanic in Ketsui.

I played two credits (!) and set my new high score at 40,872,987 on the second one. I only made it to the third stage end boss, but I did it pretty solidly with few mistakes (or bombs), making me feel pretty good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Persona 3 FES, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness


Here in America, we rarely get treated to the special editions of JRPG's that so often come out in Japan due to a game's popularity so that when we finally do get one, it is a special treat.

Persona 3 FES (short for FEStival) is that and much, much more. Not only do we get an additional 30 hours or so of gameplay that takes place after the original game ends, but we get the entire original game as well - with additional content. So, for Persona 3 fans, this was a bit of a no-brainer.

After finishing Persona 3, I wanted more. Even after I had sunk 90+ hours into the game, spent countless hours dungeon crawling, grinding and made friends with everyone I could find in the game, I wanted to go back in and start a new game immediately. That's only happened one other time that I can remember for me in 25 years of gaming - Final Fantasy X-2. But don't hold that against me.

What you get in Persona 3 FES is the original quest, titled, The Journey, and the additional quest, titled The Answer. In the Answer, you start playing as Aigis and you have access to all of the Personas, just like your hero did in the first game through some space-time dimentional thingy or something. Whatever the reason, it's hella fun. The plot doesn't have to be deep when you are giving fans such a hoped for love letter in the form of FES. It's the same gameplay, characters (with some additional...) and elements that make the first one worthy of the time you need to invest.

I've started playing through The Answer straight away and I'm already hooked. The enemies are harder, the Persona fusing is tougher and there are fewer items and money to help you. Choosing the right cards after battle is now more of a strategic element than it was in Persona 3. The random dungeons that pop up underneath the dorm are really fun and the 'doors' you open up back to the world of Persona 3 are excellent and a perfect way to get you to grind to the next one.


Along with Persona 3 FES, I've been sinking in countless hours into Disgaea: Afernoon of Darkness for the PSP. As far as strategy RPG's go, I've really only got into the Fire Emblem series, but I own Tactics Ogre, Disgaea 1 & 2, Final Fantasy Tactics PSX and GBA and Jeanne D'Arc. It always seemed like a type of game I should love, with the level grinding, job systems and methodical RPG gameplay I like, but for some reason, I could never get into the other titles.

This has all changed with Disgaea.

I started the original on PS2 a while back and realized I was about to get hooked. I knew there was a port for the PSP, which was the first game and some additional content, so I stopped playing the PS2 version and sought a copy of the PSP one. It took me a while to find but it was well worth the wait.

The gameplay is typical SRPG, with strategic maps, character skill trees and massive parties possible, but with some funny, irreverant dialogue, a great cast of characters and some of the best voice acting I have ever heard in a video game, hands-down.

The maps themselves are well thought out and fun, with added effects like geo-panels to make the board somewhat of a puzzle as you try and make each space benefit you instead of your opponent. There are combo attacks if you place you attacking party members next to each other, which deal out big damage. You can also capture enemies and get them to join your party if you throw them into your spawn point, where they also thrash around, severely hurting you other party members still waiting to spawn. But, this is also one of the very original tactics in the game.

When you party gets beaten up, you can heal at the Netherworld Hospital. However, they reward you the more you get thrashed and give you rare and very, very helpful items the more you have to heal. So, from time to time, you'll find a map where you want to destroy your spawn point (which kills all of the members of you party except for the ones on the map) and use the one or two characters left to take out a whole map of enemies, vastly leveling them up and most likely, capuring one or two high-level enemies and getting a rare item when yo have to heal your totaled party members. How fun is that!

The game is 14 chapters long, minus the extra stuff at the end where people have invested literally hundreds of hours to complete the two or three chapters after the true game ends. Check Youtube for some crazy videos where people can hit for something like 6 billion damage. Crazy.

I'm 6 chapters in and throuroughly enjoying myself. I think this is the game which may have turned the tide for me on SRPG's.