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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Ninja Katsugeki: Tenchu San Potaburu (Ninja Action Drama: Tenchu 3 Portable, 忍者活劇天誅参 ポータブル) is a Japanese language PSP port over of Tenchu 3 for the PS2, which was released in the west as the redundantly titled Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven. It also appears to include the two extra levels from the Xbox version of the game, Return from Darkness. In fact, the ‘San’ in Tenchu San has somewhat of a double meaning-it not only means ‘3’ but can also mean ‘coming’ or ‘return’, alluding to Rikimaru’s return from the dark world of Lord Mei-oh in Tenchu 1. In any case, it’s considered by many fans to be the best of the Tenchu series with both Ayame and Rikimaru in fine form along with Tesshu, the assassin who’s a doctor by day (and is based on the character Baian from the Japanese TV series Baian the Assassin). They’re battling the mystic Tenrai as he attempts to resurrect and harness the powers of Mei-oh. Along for the ride are Tenchu favorites Tatsumaru (Ayame’s sweetheart and the former Azuma senior ninja who had turned evil in Tenchu 2-he’s back from hell) and Onikage (the constant pain in Rikimaru’s ass, also back from the world of the dead) along with a plethora of other bosses and flunkies. It’s your standard stalk-and-kill stealth action fun at its finest.



Why release just one Shinsengumi dating sim when you can release 5 on the same day? Yes, the wildly successful world of Japanese dating sims for girls has yet another Shinsengumi entry. This one’s a PS2 entry (for Japanese PS2 systems only) entitled Hakuouki Zuisouroku (薄桜鬼随想録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons Diary) and is a follow up to the original Hakuouki (薄桜鬼, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons). It’s somewhat of a ‘fan disk’ with storylines based on contributions from players of the original. The name Hakuouki is a play on kanji, based on the Ishikawa Raizo film Hakuouki (released in the US as Samurai Vendetta, but actually means Chronicle of the Pale Cherry Blossoms)-the ‘ki’ is pronounced the same but, using a different kanji character, has a decidedly different meaning. The Shinsengumi are of course the ‘pale cherry blossom demons’-portrayed here in manga style as romantic pretty boy types who are nonetheless completely brutal when it comes to fighting. This is because the Shinsengumi really ARE demons here-the Bakufu has given them an esoteric potion that increases their fighting skills, but also gives them a craving for blood (which at times turns them into virtual vampires or zombies-hence, the symbolism of pale cherry blossoms-pale skin, red blood-juxtaposed with the traditional meaning of an early, glorious death). The protagonist of the story is Yukimura Chizuru, a young girl who, searching for her father in Kyoto, runs across the Shinsengumi in the aftermath of a slaughter while they’re feeding. They bring her back to their HQ to keep her from talking and she enters into their world, finding true love and tragedy amongst the death and violence. Zuisouroku bringss the storyline to China as the search for her father extends there. As one would suspect, drama, conversations, character interaction, and the storyline take precedence over action here in this ‘interactive novel’. The game has been released (from left to right) as a double pack (with the original Hakuouki), the regular edition, and a limited edition (with a drama CD, letters, and artwork), with the original Hakuouki released in a PSP (Japanese language) version and also a PSP (Japanese language) limited edition (also with drama CD, letters, artwork). Personally, I think the plot would work far better with Brick McBurly in the starring role and the Shinsengumi substituted for by a horde of vampiric, hot manga-style kunoichi kuties. But that’s just me.



New for the PSP is Warriors Orochi 2. It’s basically the same game as the earlier Japanese language PSP release Musou Orochi Maou Sairin, which was basically the same game as Musou Orochi Maou Sairin for the Japanese PS2, which was basically the same game as Warriors Orochi 2 for the North American PS2. It’s somewhat upgraded since it includes many of the new features that were added to the game for Musou Orochi Z for the PS3, including new Dramatic Mode levels and two new characters, one of whom is famed warrior monk Musashibo Benkei. His featured levels have him being recruited and played for a sap by the women from the ‘evil’ side of the game-it’s actually pretty funny stuff. The features were included on the US release since there are no plans to bring Musou Orochi Z to the States. You can read more about the game in the earlier entries for it on other platforms.



Muramasa: The Demon Blade has been released for North American Wii units, and is a direct port of the game released a couple of months ago for the Japanese Wii. You can read more about it in the earlier entry for that release.



And what edition of game release news would be complete without more ninja? Or in this case, Mini-Ninjas (yeah, they’re using the bastardized western plural)…for 5, count’ em, 5, different platforms…from left to right, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, and PC. Obviously, Eidos is banking on this cartoonish and whimsical game being a big hit. Play as Hiro or one of five other Mini-Ninja (Futo, Suzume, Tora, Shun and Kunoichi) as they try to track the Evil Samurai Warlord to his secret underground lair (ya, rly). Each Mini-Ninja has different strengths, abilities, and weaknesses. Each foe was originally an animal and is transformed back into one when defeated-Eidos proudly boasts that there's "no killing in this game" (like it's a good thing). No killing in a ninja game? Sacrilege! Obviously, the game is being marketed towards young kids. Might be good for a few cheap laughs.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


This week, there's an old game on a new platform-Samurai Dou 2 Portable (侍道2 Portable, Way Of The Samurai 2 Portable) for the PSP (Japanese language only). This is a pretty straightforward port of the 2003 PS2 game. In this RPG style game, the player takes the part of a ronin in the Bakumatsu era who has traveled from Edo to the city of Amahara. Saved from starvation by a young mute girl, from there on the story is up to the player as they can pursue a multitude of branches. There are three factions the player can choose to join, aid, or ignore-in fact, you can fight against all of them or maneuver one against the other in the best 'Yojimbo' tradition. You can join up with the good (the local townspeople as headed up by the owner of a geisha house), the bad (the local Yakuza), or the ugly (Bakufu officials) while pursuing multitudes of side quests and collecting swords. Aid the weak, kick children, pick fights with Westerners, chase after geisha, sleep with Yakuza queens, cheat merchants, spend all day in the bathhouse, win swordfighting contests, join a dojo, kill anyone and everyone, be good, be evil, be a bystander-the choice is yours. Loads of replay value, lots of (rather redundant) swordfighting, multiple titles to score and items to collect. It's a personal favorite, although WOS 3 for the PS3 is better.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Quite a few years after its debut on PS2, Koei has released Taiko Risshiden V (Taiko Success Story V 太閤立志伝 V, Japanese language only, will play on any PSP). The Taiko, is of course, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. While this game has much in common with their more famous series, Nobunaga No Yabou (Nobunaga's Ambition), Taiko Risshiden has more of an arcade-y feel to it and is much more engaging than the tiresome micromanaging and by the numbers action of Nobunaga No Yabou (a series which has become rather stale over the years).

For starters, while the goal of the game is to unify Japan during the Sengoku, you're not limited to the role of a samurai warlord. You can become a blacksmith, merchant, pirate, shinobi, samurai, ronin, doctor, or even a tea master. This makes for far more interesting gameplay and each character must be approached and played differently to be successful. There are all kinds of artifacts, weapons, and cardplay to help you out along the way and besides the expected siege and field battles the player can also engage in personal battles. There's far more of a sense of personality here and actually being an integral part of the game rather than just an accountant. Highly recommended.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Nobunaga No Yabou: Tendou (信長の野望天道, Nobunaga's Ambition: The Way of Heaven) has been released (for now) exclusively on PC-CD Rom. This Japanese language release continues Koei's Nobunaga No Yabou series and features pretty much the same stuff as seen in the previous 263 or so installments, dressed up with slightly newer graphics: a strategy/tactics simulation that focuses on province grabbing, micromanaging of provinces/castles, and highly abstracted warfare. I have to admit that the series has become somewhat stale for me, and that I'd like to see the game engine applied to other periods of Japanese history.

The game is enduring the brunt of some brutal reviews as well-many of these are based on PC compatibility issues, but many Japanese gamers see it as a step back in the series (and others, like me, are starting to get bored with it). Since few games are being produced for the PS2 and Koei seems reluctant to produce strategy games for the PS3, it'll be interesting to see if this effort will be ported to any other systems. For now, you can get the standard edition along with a premium box edition (which features a game soundtrack CD, stickers, a scaled down artbook/strategy guide, and more) and it's a good bet that an overpriced power-up kit version will be released later so Koei can engage in the time honored practice of double dipping.

Maybe I'm just bitter because Koei, for some reason, is releasing Sengoku Musou 3 on the Wii. Bonk!


Also released for the Japanese Wii is Ookami (大神, 'Great God' but also a pun on wolf, which is pronounced Ookami but written 狼)



This is a port of the US Wii version (which was itself ported from the PS2) of the game that challenges the Goddess Amaterasu (in wolf form) to restore balance to the world of early Japan by...writing. Yes, writing, with onscreen brush and ink. Create bridges, make storms, battle enemies-all with calligraphy and artwork. This game has won multiple awards and has even been called 'perfect' by many critics, but sold poorly. We found it fun but not very challenging, and the Wii's control scheme makes many functions extremely difficult.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Just released for (left) the Playstation 3 and (right) the US XBox 360 is Way Of The Samurai 3. This is an English language port of the game released in Japan last year (read more about it in earlier posts) and features gameplay that will be familiar to veterans of the first two entries. It's an interactive game where the player can have their samurai ally with different factions and be as good or evil as they care to be (as reflected by the box artwork). There's lots of swordfighting, swords to collect, moves to perfect, items to customize your samurai, and beautiful virtual landscapes. It's set in the Sengoku which (in my eyes) makes it more fun than the earlier two entries set in the Bakumatsu. Lots of endings and the interaction with different characters is the high point of the game. One of the best samurai themed games out there available in English. The Japanese will soon be seeing a 'plus' version of Way Of The Samurai 3-we'll have more on that when it's released.



And here we have another one of those wonderful otome (dating sim) games for girls that involves historical figures-Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Unmei no Meikyuu Aizouban (遙かなる時空の中で3運命の迷宮愛蔵版, In A Distant Time 3: Labyrinth Of Fate Treasured Edition) for the PSP (will work on any PSP, Japanese language only). It's an RPG game and the storyline revolves around a young girl who has been sent through time and space to the world of 'Kyo'. It pretty much mirrors the late Heian era of the Minamoto and Taira during the Genpei war with demons and magic tossed in. There she must choose which of the extremely gay looking men she'll seek true romance and adventure with. It's an entertaining storyline and will appeal to fans of the manga/anime it's based on-my wife loves this series. There have been multiple entries-this is the third and final in the Toki no Naka storyline and features the heroine trying to return all of the extremely gay looking men back to the world of Kyo, as she had somehow brought them back to the present with her. Presumably, the One Ture Love gets to stay. Oh, the drama! It's a port of the same Japanese language game released for the PS2 and comes in three flavors-regular (left), premium box (プレミアムBOX-center), and treasure box (トレジャBOX-right). The Premium Box comes with an 'desktop photo albumn' with artwork based on the game as well as a drama audio CD, and the treasure box comes with all that plus a UMD video disc, a special Harukanaru UMD Holder, and a replica of a pendant that plays a major part of the game (which comes complete in a crystalline box). Because I'm such a sweetheart, I had the Treasure Box edition sent to Ayame. Maybe that means I'll get the new Oneechanbara game when it comes out.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


As mentioned in the last post, Samurai Dou 3 + Plus (侍道3+Plus, Way Of The Samurai 3 Plus) has been released for the PS3 (Japanese language only). It's the 'greatest hits' version of the game with a few extra outfits and acessories thrown in, most of which (I believe) are already built into the English language release (or can be obtained as free downloads from the Playstation Store). An expert difficulty level, new in game items, and PS3 trophy support have been added as well. There's also a preview of the upcoming 'Samurai Dou 4'. Choose to support the townspeople, the clan that recently conquered the fief, or the survivors of the previous clan-or just indulge yourself. Do it all before the forces of Oda Nobunaga come along to seriously screw up the plans of all three factions. Great game with immense replay value-21 different endings and lots of items to collect, swords and moves to master, and women to conquer. Wheeee!!!!



Also out this week is Ganbare Goemon Toukai Douchuu Ooedo Tenguri Gaeshi No Maki (がんばれゴエモン 東海道中大江戸天狗り返しの巻, roughly 'Hang In There, Goemon!:The Journey To The Eastern Sea: Return Of The Great Edo Tengu')
This is a re-released Japanese language DS game in the never ending 'Ganbare Goemon' series (some of which have been released in the USA as 'The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja' series). Here's the spiel from the game box:

"Disaster strikes when Goemon and Ebisimaru are sent to jail for crimes they didn't commit! After being freed from jail by their female companion Yae, they soon discover that poor-looking phonies are causing mischief under their names! You'll have to put a stop to these impostors to clear your name and save Edo from disaster. Goemon DS is an action RPG with similarities to the first Nintendo 64 game. Players control Goemon and Ebisimaru, and later gain Yae and Sasuke. As with the N64 game, each character has their own special abilities that allow them to progress through special areas. For example, Goemon earns power gloves that let him push large blocks, while Ebisimaru gets a ballerina dress that allows him to drill underground."

It's nice looking on the DS-it's somewhat like Muramasa or Ookami in that the characters are rendered in 'artwork' form and the game plays out on a Japanese scroll as its landscape. Nothing special, but its cheap and entertaining enough in its own way. It's even got the classic conflict of Ninja Vs Pirates, as the Tengu of the title is a pirate captain. It's unclear at this point if a volleyball game breaks out, though.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
New this week is a warfare simulation featuring your favorite Sengoku era warlords-Uesugi Kenshin, Takeda Shingen, Oda Nobunaga, the Hojo, Shimazu, Date, and a host of others. The kicker is-they're all cute girls.



Based on characters for an earlier PC game (which was basically a hentai game where the girls were huge boobed and horny), Sen Goku Hime: Senran ni Mau Otometachi (戦極姫 戦乱に舞う乙女達, Ultimate Battle Princess: Maidens Who Dance Towards War) actually looks pretty interesting for video game warfare simulation aficionados. It's pretty standard, using a system similar to something like Tenka Touitsu or Nobunaga No Yabou. Move your forces across a map of Sengoku Japan, attack the castles of the enemy (the game uses historical castles), and control your forces on a tactical level in the battle screen. It also has cut scenes and storylines, and of course, cutey-pie versions of Sengoku daimyo. Think I'll be picking this up if the goddess Ayameterasu is listening...and yes, the word 'Sen Goku' using 戦極 is an obvious pun on the 'Warring States' 戦国 that fits this era.

From left to right we have the PS2 version, PS2 Limited Edition (contains a 96 page art book/strategy guide), PSP version, and PSP Limited Edition (also with the book). The PS2 versions are Japanese language and play on Japanese PS2 systems only-the PSP version will play on any system and is Japanese language.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New this week is one of the more eagerly awaited samurai themed video games of 2009-Sengoku Musou 3 (戦国無双3, The Peerless of the Warring States) for the Nintendo Wii (JAPANESE SYSTEMS ONLY-this version will not work on North American Wii systems). It's also one of the most heavily merchandised releases, with books, CD's, toy figures, trading cards, amulets, and even towels being released in conjunction with it. And there are four different packages of the game (from left to right): the basic release with a Sengoku Musou 2009 calender, the Pro release with a special Sengoku Musou themed Wii classic controller, a Treasure Box edition with an art book, toy figure, and soundtrack CD, and finally, for those with really deep pockets, the Sengoku Musou Wii Bundle (with a black Japanese Wii system, the special controller, and a set of Sengoku Musou postcards).

For all that, it's all pretty much the same game with pretty much the same characters (with new outfits). There are 37 playable characters (until Koei comes out with the inevitable expansion disc that will add a few more, probably Ayagozen-Uesugi Kenshin's sister, I believe-and Fukushima Masanori), with Kaihime, Tachibana Muneshige, Hojo Ujiyasu, Takenaka Hanbei, Mori Motonari, Kuroda Kanbei, and Kato Kiyomasa being the major new characters. Returning characters are (deep breath) Sanada Yukimura, Maeda Keiji, Maeda Toshiie, Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsuhide, Oichi, Okuni, Kunoichi, Saika Magoichi, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, Date Masamune, Nohime, Hattori Hanzo, Mori Ranmaru, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Inahime, Honda Tadakatsu, Shibata Katsuie, Imagawa Yoshimoto, Ishida Mitsunari, Fuma Kotaro, Azai Nagamasa, Shima Sakon, Shimazu Yoshihiro, Tachibana Ginchyo, Naoe Kanetsugu, Nene, Chosokabe Motochika...anyone else hiding back there? It looks like previous characters Sasaki Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi were dropped this time around (thank god), and thief Goemon Ishikawa is still exiled to the Musou Orochi universe. Hosokawa Gracia is also conspicuous by her absence-I guess Mitsuhide didn't want to let her out to play. I'm somewhat surprised Koei didn't throw in the 4 Japanese characters developed for Musou Orochi (all from earlier periods of Japanese history-Himiko, Minamoto No Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Taira no Kiyomori-and of course, Orochi and Shin Orochi are Japanese too...).

Game action is the standard bust-'em-up action with your character taking out dozens, even hundreds, of enemy soldiers. There are bizarre looking weapons, fantasy special attacks, and a good dose of humor thrown in as well. Each character has a storyline based on their actual history that plays out across the battlefields of the Sengoku (both historical and what-if). Missions need to be completed, so the overall goals and survival of the friendly army and its allies have to be kept in mind as well. This (and the more realistic character models) make Sengoku Musou a step up from the godawful Sengoku Basara series. Fans will be happy to know that 'create-an-officer' has returned, allowing you to make your own warrior from scratch.

Koei has taken a lot of criticism for releasing this on the Wii rather than the Playstation 3, but given the Wii's popularity in Japan it was a logical step as the franchise's former primary platform of choice (the outdated PS2) is suffering a slow death. It'll probably play much the same as the PS2 version (given the fact that the special controller intended for the game is the classic controller, this won't be a game further dumbed down to use the Wii's standard shake'n'bake controller). Early returns look like it was a wise decision, as sales are brisk with the Treasure Box selling out everywhere and the Wii Bundle moving quickly as well.

The highpoint so far for me is the reworking of Kunoichi, making her more adorable than ever. And my wife will be receiving Nene's new outfit for some cosplay fun 'n games...
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


A new/old game for the PSP is Fuun Shinsengumi Bakumatsuden Portable (風雲新撰組 幕末伝 ポータブル, Adventures Of The Shinsengumi/End Of The Shogunate Information Portable) for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP system). While our copy hasn't arrived yet, it seems to be a merging of two popular PS2 releases, Fuun Shinsengumi and Fuun Bakumatsuden. This is one of the better Japanese 'historical' video games, and plays much like 'Way Of The Samurai'. You can choose to play as a multitude of characters from the Bakumatsu era-Kondo Isami, Okita Soji, Sakamoto Ryoma, Saigo Takamori, etc. Collecting swords and unrealistic moves are not a concern here, though-each of the historical characters is versed in the sword style they practiced in real life. Moves are learned by spending time practicing in the dojo, but quicky become redundant if the character is lucky enough to acquire a Western pistol. The scenarios differ depending on the faction the chosen character belongs to, broken up into chapters with different missions. Missions range from optional (giving a chance to gain experience, rewards, and notieriety) to requisite (being historical incidents, like the Ikeda-ya, the Terada-ya, the assassinations of Sakamoto or Serizawa, etc). Unlike the Shinsengumi game which only took place in Kyoto, locations from across Japan are used for this game and it offers two new playable characters that weren't in either of the originals. Here's manufacturer's copy, although based on this it looks like this just may be a port of the Bakumatsu game, but contrary to what it states you can play as several different members of the Shinsengumi in addition to the wacky Loyalists:

"After Commodore Perry "encouraged" the Japanese to sign the Treaty of Kanagawa on March 31st, 1854 and therefore opened up trade with the United States, Japan was thrown into chaos. Japan's 200 years of self-imposed isolation ended and the samurai ranks began to question the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate and its ability to defend Japan. In his second trip to Japan, Perry had threatened to shell Edo if his demands were not met and the Shogunate had buckled too easily to his whims. Journeying from the whole of Japan, marauding bands of roshis (masterless samurai warriors - not ronins or rurounis) gathered in Kyoto and sought to topple the perceived weak Shogunate and repel the western invaders who had arrived on the black ships.

Taking place from 1860 through 1869 and reversing the roles of the prequel (Fuun Shinsengumi), players join the ranks of the roshi and battle the Shinsengumi who are policemen hired by the Shogunate to keep the peace. Walk around town, interact with fellow conspirators and engage the team-tactics of the Shinsengumi who beat down on insurgents in squads of four or more. Instead of being limited to Kyoto like the original, the new action-slasher takes place across Japan as organized gangs seek to cause ruckuses throughout the land.

Historical recreations in the game include the Ikeda-ya slaughter where disgruntled Ishin Shishi (imperial swordsman) gathered in 1864 to plot the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate. After the meeting, many of the Ishin Shishi stayed in the Ikeda-ya inn and drank until they fell asleep. A band of roving Shinsengumi learned of the Ishin Shishi's plans and rushed into the inn and killed everyone. Afterwards, the Shinsengemi were credited with saving Kyoto and the Shogunate from a series of unfortunate events. The mission in this scenario is to protect Ishin Shishi leader Kogorou Katsura from the Shinsengumi and escape through a backdoor in the inn to keep the rebellion alive."



New this week is the latest entry in the Samurai Spirits franchise, Samurai Spirits Sen (サムライスピリッツ閃, Samurai Spirits Flash). Released for the Japanese XBOX 360 (Japanese language only, will not work on a US XBOX 360), it's been released in Japan under this title (left) and in the rest of Asia as Samurai Shodown Sen (on the right-the same name it'll be released under in the West eventually). Originally slated to be called Edge Of Destiny, this one-on-one fighting game departs from the usual 2D gameplay of Samurai Spirits/Shodown to become a 3D fighter. While we're not a big fan of fighting games, the Samurai Spirits franchise (both the arcade games and console games derived from them) has a large longtime following and has appeared on virtually every console system since the Super Nintendo years ago, so they must be doing something right. Most of the characters from the previous entries are included in the game. The storyline for this particular entry is that a young European Princess, Suzu, has been taken to Japan and raised as a samurai. Her goal is to unite Europe and Japan. She reminds us a bit of Red Riding Hood.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New for the Nintendo DS (Japanese language only, but will work on any DS) is Shin Sengoku Tenkatouitsu: Gunyuutachi no Souran (真・戦国天下統一: 群雄たちの争乱, New・Warring States Unification: Disturbance Of The Rival Warlords). This is a scaled down version of the 'Sengoku Tenkatouitsu' games released last year for the PS2 and PSP, with gameplay customized for the stylus and dual screen of the DS. It's a pretty standard Nobunaga's Ambition type of game with a little more emphasis on characters and battle than rice counting. I'll have more on this when it gets here.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Continuing the trend of Japanese developers releasing old PS2 games on the PSP is Ninja Katsugeki: Tenchu Kurenai (忍者活劇 天誅 紅 Portable, Ninja Action Drama: Wrath of Heaven Bright Red Portable…the PS2 version was released in the US under the title Tenchu: Fatal Shadows). This Japanese language release will play on any PSP system. ‘Kurenai’, in addition to referencing the ‘bright red’ blood spilled during the game action, also has a rather feminine connotation, as it’s commonly used to describe certain cosmetics. This is befitting since the two central characters, Ayame and Rin, are two gals carrying on the fine tradition of violent ninja stealth kills started by Rikimaru and Ayame in the original Tenchu. This is a pretty straight port of the PS2 original, takes place in the timeframe between Tenchu and Tenchu 3 (Tenchu 2 being a prequel), and was released between Tenchu 3 and 4 (just to confuse the issue further). Rin is an assassin living in Hagakure Village (oh, brother…) where one day the entire population fittingly finds the way of the samurai in death. Azuma ninja Ayame, one of daimyo Gohda Matsunoshin’s agents, investigates the scene of wholesale slaughter and the game begins with the two kunoichi each having their own story lines that cross over at certain points. As usual in the Tenchu series, it’s entertaining stealth kill action at its best with a few new gadgets and wrinkles.

The storyline is a bit flat and suffers from apparently being time displaced-the architecture, technology, and clothing is all from the Bakumatsu or early Meiji period rather than the traditional Tenchu storyline that takes place in the Sengoku. The bad guys, led by Jyuzou (a cross between Yagyu Jubei and The Penguin), are a rather featureless bunch (one of them is a blatant rip-off of the ‘Onikage’ character usually found in Tenchu games) with the exception of one fey killer who has converted a samisen into a machine gun. There’s also an amusing ‘evil Zatoichi’ character. While many consider this the weakest of the Tenchu games, it does feature some very difficult boss fights-many players complain that despite dozens of attempts they can’t defeat final boss Jyuzou, although there’s a trick that makes it easy to take him down without taking so much as one hit in return. The branching storylines that depend on the level of success within a mission are a nice added touch. There’s also the ultimate ninja fighting mode-take on all of the game bosses one after the other with limited health. Defeating them all is tough enough, but defeating them quickly is the real challenge-doing so brings out dual Ayames, and defeating them unlocks a selection of costumes. There are lots of other bonus and mini games to be unlocked as well. The game is supposed to feature unlockable bonus artwork not included in the PS2 version, and also has two new unlockable costumes for both Ayame and Rin. Ayame's is based on the regular and battle damaged costumes she had in Tenchu 4, and Rin has two new costumes (using mainly white) designed to make her look a bit sexier and less boyish.

From Software trivia: it seems Rin was intended to be From’s version of Mario, showing up in all sorts of games-she also appears as a major character in the games Yoshitsune Eiyuuden and Yoshitsune Eiyuuden Shura, which take place some 700 years earlier (and no, there’s no basis in history for that).



Another port is Fushigi no Dungeon Fuurai no Shiren 3 Portable (不思議のダンジョン 風来のシレン3 ポータブル, Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer)-a Japanese language release that will work on any PSP system. This particular series started way back in the early Nintendo days and has been released on a different platform for each part; this particular installment was first released for the Sega Dreamcast. The story and gameplay are your typical RPG dungeon-crawling fodder: during his travels in a fantasy version of medieval Japan, Shiren is led to the Karakuri mansion by his kendo teacher's mysterious key. Together with his partner, a talking ferret (what images THAT dredges up!), they must solve the mysteries within the dungeons and battle the monsters hidden within. Aside from the randomly generated dungeons and the older monsters, the game has been upgraded to include a variety of new monsters that are based on ancient Japanese myths and traps that control the flow of battles. One interesting wrinkle is that if the player dies, you usually lose all your items and levels. But now anyone on the Playstation network can send out a plea for help to another player! If another gamer accepts the challenge and succeeds, the original player is revived with all items and levels intact. The rescuer is rewarded by the game system and can also be given items and letters of thanks from the player he rescued. This is an interesting new spin on an old genre.



You'll also be able to get this game in English for the North American Wii February 9th under the title "Shiren The Wanderer".
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Nothing major has been released in the last few weeks for Japanese history themed vid games. Most releases have been repackaged items, like “Tenchu 4 Plus-PSP The Best” (天誅4 Plus, Wrath Of Heaven Plus-Japanese language only, will play on any PSP). This is a reissue of last year’s Tenchu 4 PSP/Tenchu Shadow Assassins PSP game with a trace of new content. Other than some new costumes for ninja protagonists Rikimaru and Ayame (that actually were already included in the American release), I’m unsure of what else has been added. You can read more about the game in the reviews given earlier in this thread. This is the 4th Tenchu PSP game released in the last year, and all four were ports from other systems-From Software might be riding this particular horse just a bit too hard.



Also repackaged for the Japanese Wii (not compatible with the North American Wii) is Oboro Muramasa (朧村正, Gloom of Muramasa). The packaging reflects its Minna no Susume designation, somewhat like a 'People's Choice' Award. Also reviewed earlier in this thread, the game features excellent play control, nice use of the Wii’s unique controllers, a thoughtful existential storyline, and extremely creative visuals (including a nightmarish restaging of the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima by the ghosts of the slain). Multiple endings, new bosses, and plenty of swords to create with unique attacks give the game plenty of reply value-an excellent experience.



Close on the heels of the American Wii and Japanese DS release of Fushigi No Dungeon Fuurai no Shiren 3 Portable comes Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai No Shiren 4-Kami No Hitomi To Akuma No Heso (不思議のダンジョン 風来のシレン4 神の眼と悪魔のヘソ, Mystery Dungeon: Shiren The Wanderer 4-God’s Eye And The Demon’s Navel-Japanese language only, will work on any DS). Shiren the Wanderer and his talking ferret are back with more fun dungeon crunching. This time around the action takes place on an island in the south of Japan, where a stranded Shiren is mistaken by the natives as a demon. He attempts to save the village headman’s daughter from being roasted alive by the real bad guy. There are some interesting twists here, like rooms that shrink to extinguish the life of those who linger too long in a level. The time of day affects both the type and appearance of monsters in the dungeons, and exploring at night reduces visibility drastically. The rooms of each dungeon change position from hour to hour, and backtracking isn’t allowed. It seems to be an interesting and fun basic RPG that is perfect for beginners and also for the fans of this long running series.



And finally, for fans of wacky cartoon ninja games, there’s Shounen Oni Ninden Tsumuji (少年鬼忍伝 ツムジ, Demon Ninja Boy Tsumuji Chronicles-Japanese language only, will work on any DS). Tsumuji’s world is thrown into disarray when the “Whirlwind Demon” knife is uncovered in a grave in the Ninjer village. Evil Ninjer after the knife burn his town and turn his friends to stone. Tsumuji must take on each of the Onishino (Four Demon Kings) to set things straight. Sounds like a nice cheerful Saturday morning scenario. Tsumuji is controlled exclusively through the DS’s stylus, from walking to running to engaging in combat (similar to the Ninja Gaiden DS game). He can use the enchanted knife in different ways, including transforming himself into different shapes. He learns new abilities as the game goes on as well. There’s even a bit of information gathering and stealth involved. Entertaining fare for the younger set.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The release of Nobunaga No Yabou: Tendou (信長の野望天道, Nobunaga's Ambition: The Way of Heaven) from a few months ago (for PCs) has finally been ported over to the PS3 (Japanese language only, will work on any PS3 unit) and XBOX360 (Japanese language, will only work on Japanese XBOX 360 systems). If you've played any of the dozen or so other versions of Nobunaga No Yabou over the years (on a dozen or so game systems), you know what to expect-micromanaging, province grabbing, and abstracted arcade style combat in several different scenarios based in Sengoku Japan. This is the first appearance of the franchise on 'Next Gen' gaming systems, so it looks great and the game map is huge. Still plays pretty much the same, though. So reach out and Tenka Fuba someone today.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New from Tasuke are not one, but three games for the Nintendo DS (Japanese language only, will work on any DS system): Sengoku Spirits Shukunden (戦国Spirits 主君伝, Warring States Spirits: Legend Of The Lords), Sengoku Spirits Gunshiden (戦国Spirits 軍師伝, Warring States Spirits: Legend Of The Strategists), and Sengoku Spirits Moushouden (戦国Spirits 猛将伝, Warring States Spirits: Legend Of The Brave Warriors).



As you can see, they were originally planned to be released as Sengoku Jidai Vols 1, 2, and 3, but were changed at the last minute. I was expecting these to be Edutainment quiz-type games, but in fact they’re offshoots of the tried-and-true Nobunaga’s Ambition style gameplay.

Each game features a campaign game encompassing the whole of Japan with several different scenarios, mini-scenarios focusing on the conflicts of certain clans and areas, and story modes that follow the careers of different notable samurai. A thousand different historical samurai are featured and there are over 70 areas to conquer (all based on the historical provinces of Japan). The action will be familiar to anyone who’s played Nobunaga’s Ambition, although each turn encompasses an entire year (the game turn sequence allows the player to run multiple battles at different times, allowing the results of previous battles to be followed up on). It’s simpler than most games of this ilk-it focuses mainly on setting up an army for combat, making general pre-determined tactical decisions, and conducting the fight. Why three games instead of one? It appears each features a different style of gameplay reflected by their titles. Shukunden (Vol 1) focuses on playing the role of a daimyo and general decision making/battle plans. Gunshiden (Vol 2) revolves around strategists and more detailed battle planning. Moushouden (Vol 3) focuses on the actual fighting and spotlights warriors known for their ability in battle.

The campaign games of each of the three volumes have similar set-ups-having scenarios starting in 1557, 1570, and 1582 (although the first has an extra for 1555 and also a couple of more generic 'timeless' scenarios). They all feature different mini-scenarios-Volume 1 has Hojo Vs Satomi 1562, Hashiba Vs Shibata 1582, and Ukita Vs Yamana 1574. Volume 2 has Date Vs Satake 1584, Oda Vs Matsunaga 1564, and Chosokabe Vs Kouno 1575. Volume 3 has an interesting selection featuring Takeda Vs Uesugi Vs Hojo 1567, Ashikaga Vs Matsunaga Vs Miyoshi 1564, and Otomo Vs Shimazu Vs Ryuzoji 1579. Story modes for each volume are as follows-Vol. 1, Takeda Shingen, Oda Nobunaga, Uesugi Kenshin-Vol. 2, Naoe Kanetsugu, Yamamoto Kansuke, Ishida Mitsunari-Vol. 3, Maeda Toshiie, Honda Tadakatsu, and Shimazu Yoshihiro.

The games are fun, fast plays, and are inexpensive. They’re also completely kid safe, being rated A (all ages). AND you can play as Japan’s most glorious warlord family (at least in MY house), the Chiba! They also come with neat little cell phone hangers that feature the heraldry of famous samurai-my games included Ishida Mitsunari and Naoe Kanetsugu.



And for those of you just dying for another video game featuring effeminate versions of the Shinsengumi, look no further than Hakuouki (薄桜鬼, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons). This is a port of the original PS2 Hakuoki game to the Nintendo DS. Hakuoki is extremely popular in Japan, particularly among the anime, manga, cosplay, and yaoi crowds. You can read more information on it earlier in this thread, but basically it’s a girl’s dating sim that has the Shinsengumi members being given an esoteric potion by the Bakufu that turns them into supernaturally enhanced demonic fighters that crave blood. A young lady, Yukimura Chizuru, witnesses one of their feedings and to keep her from talking the Shinsengumi keep her a virtual prisoner in their HQ. It comes in standard (left) and Limited First Run Release (right) versions. I couldn’t find a listing of the items in the Limited set, but it appears that in addition to a copy of the game there’s a drama CD and an art book.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Samurai Spirits Sen has been released for the US XBox 360 System (English Language). This venerable one-on-one fighting series now features a 3D environment where you can play as one of 24 different warriors of several nationalities with several overlapping storylines. A direct port of the game released earlier in Japan as Samurai Spirits Sen, many of the characters from the previous entries are included in the game. The main storyline for this particular entry is that a young European Princess, Suzu, was shipwrecked in Japan and raised as a samurai. When the forces of Europe and Japan collide, who will emerge victorious? She reminds us a bit of Red Riding Hood.
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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


These email enhancer software packages (Japanese language only for PC's) came to our notice courtesy of member Owari no Utsuke (thanks, Les!). Sengoku Bushou No Missho (戦国武将の密書, Warring States General's Secret Message) and Bakumatsu Shishi No Missho (幕末志士の密書, Bakumatsu Patriot's Secret Message) feature great looking artwork of the most famous figures of the Sengoku and Bakumatsu periods of Japanese history. They can be used to format and spice up your email account and also have a sound option, where sending/receiving/deleting/etc emails will produce snippets of appropriate dialogue with voice overs from your favorite samurai. Ya, rly. The sharp looking artwork might look familiar to some-many are the same images used for Georgia Coffee's Sengoku Bushou can series in Japan. They're all based on popular artist Suwahara Hiroyuki's artwork-Hiroyuki specializes in Japanese and Chinese historical figures and has done a lot of work for Koei. We were also pleased to see that the producers of this software recognized that members of the Bakufu were patriots, too-not holding themselves to the historical usage of the term Shishi (where it was used by hoity-toity Loyalists to describe themselves, 'dumbasses' having apparently already been reserved by the 47 Ronin). A purchase of either program also lets you subscribe to the 'desktop of the month' image. So if you've ever wanted to hear Nobunaga scream 'kill them all' while emailing your significant other, now might be your chance.



Hey, everyone! Ever wanted to peek into the daily lives of Shinsengumi members? Play games with them and see their-not-so-serious side? Help them out with chores such as clothes washing, tea making, daily training, baking cupcakes, and packing fudge? Well, if so, please forward your forum ID to Kitsuno so he can ban you. After that, you may want to check out Hakuouki Yuugi Roku (薄桜鬼 遊戯録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons Play Record, PSP, will play on any system, Japanese language only). You can go on adventures, help out the members, and get to know more about them. The Shinsengumi are regularly proportioned in the adventure section of the game and are chibi-fied in the 'chores' section. The game invites players to 'come see their cute sides and gush'. This for a group of swordsmen who were brutal enough in real life, but in the game are literally blood drinking demons who tear their enemies to shreds. Still, this is one of the most popular and heavily franchised vid game franchises and is enormously popular among women. You can read more about the story behind the franchise in the other Hakuoki games we've featured earlier in this thread. Comes in Limited Edition (left) and regular (right) versions-the limited edition looks like it comes with the game, a drama CD, and an art/activities book.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


One would think a video game based on the "Hissatsu Shigotonin" TV series (known in the US as "Sure Death") would be great fun-posing as a normal Edoite by day (samurai, merchant, craftsman, musician, etc) and being an assassin for hire with a gimmick weapon by night. But leave it to the Japanese to twist the concept-it's now a Japanese PS2 game (will only work on Japanese systems, Japanese language) that turns these killers into cartoon characters and puts them into a Pachinko game. Yes, "Pachinko Hissatsu Shigotonin III Matsuri Bazion Pachitte Chonmage Tatsujin 16" (ぱちんこ必殺仕事人III 祭バージョン パチってちょんまげ達人16) is here, based on the characters from the third season of the recent relaunch of the franchise. Taking some liberties with 必殺仕事人 (and also since I don't really know what "パチって" means), this is roughly "Sure Kill Assassins III Pachinko-Festival Version-The 16 Topknot Pachinko Masters". This is probably my worst translation to date, but there you go. Looks like in addition to standard Pachinko action, you earn as rewards bios of the characters and film clips of the Hissatsu series. It's amazing the number of original games still being put out in Japan for the PS2-while PS2 releases are almost never seen these days in the US, they still seem to outnumber PS3 releases in Japan.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Sega has announced that they're going to be revamping the venerable Shogun: Total War computer war game. Current plans for the game involve scaling back some of the chrome and complexity to bring tactics back to the forefront of the combat again. Unit types are being 'limited' to forty, which although being patently ridiculous for samurai warfare (where ten would do nicely and still probably be too many), it beats the goofy units seen in some of the newer Total War releases. Early buffoonery is indicated by the introduction of hero units, legendary individuals from Japanese history who can turn the tide of battle. However, the example given for this Sengoku era game is Yoshitsune's pal warrior monk Benkei, who although being a tough old bird didn't live to be five hundred years old. And if they include Musashi I'll scream. There's also going to be naval warfare and improved castle sieges.

You can watch the trailer here. Release date is set for sometime in 2011. More information will likely be forthcoming in about a week at the E3 Expo.


Thanks to member Rolling Wave for bringing this to the board's attention.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


While many excellent genre game franchises (like Kessen, Tenchu, or Genpei Toumaden) have went years between entries, it's amazing the game series that are cranked out on a ridiculous schedule. Did the world really need a TENTH Hakuoki otome (women's dating sim) game released in the course of less than a year? Seemingly, yes-and there's more of them on the way next month. Hakuoki Junsouroku for the PS3 (薄桜鬼 巡想録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons Patrol Diary, works on any PS3 system, Japanese language only) collects the original pair of PS2 releases (Hakuoki, Hakuoki Zuisoroku) and gives the graphics a 'next gen' ugrade. You can read more about the game series in, say, one of the other nine reviews I've done on them earlier in the thread-basically it's part time pretty boy/part time vampire Shinsengumi members vying for the affections of an initially reluctant houseguest. You can get the regular edition on the left or the limited edition with a drama CD and a contents DVD on the right.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


For those of us who feel that us guys need something in the wake of all those samurai themed otome games for gals like Hakuoki and Harukanaru comes Sengoku Hime 2: Hagakure No Otome Fuun Ni Jouzu (戦極姫2 葉隠の乙女、風雲に乗ず, Ultimate Battle Princesses 2: Maidens Of The Hagakure, Charging Into Adventure*) for the XBox 360 (Japanese language, works on Japanese XBox 360 systems only). This game features all of your favorite daimyo from the warring states period-Uesugi Kenshin, Takeda Shingen, Date Masamune, and even the inevitable Oda Nobunaga-but even better, they're now hot looking anime chicks! While some games have dabbled in this (Nobunaga No Yabou: Tendou gives you the option to play Uesugi Kenshin as a women in accordance with the popular folk tale that Kenshin's celibacy was a device to hide 'her' gender), this is the first franchise to make all the big name samurai into big boobed and feisty cuties. I believe this is a Nobunaga's Ambition type strategy game like its predecessors on the PS2 and PSP, but won't know for sure until I get my copy. I do know it's one of the few games that can make Nobunaga interesting.

*Okay, it's more like "blindly following into the wind and rain"...but Fuun (wind and rain) is often used as a synonym for 'adventure' or 'drama' by the Japanese such as here. And 'charging' sounds better than 'blindly following' but usually amounts to the same thing. And for that matter I could have translated otome as 'virgin' instead of 'maiden', but I'm betting none of them are.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


戦国Basara (Sengoku Basara), the game that's been responsible for igniting much of the interest in Japanese history among Japanese women, has just seen its latest incarnation...戦国Basara 3. From left to right, it's available on the PS3 (Japanese language only, works on any PS3 system), the Wii (Japanese language only, works only on Japanese Wii systems), a Wii version with a black classic controller, and a Wii version with a white classic controller. It'll also be released in the west this October under the name 'Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes'. Unlike the original Sengoku Basara game, it will be released with names and situations unchanged (the original was released in the west under the title 'Devil Kings', stripping the characters of their historical names, changing the enemies from samurai to fantasy creautres, and changing battlefield layouts to fantasy and also stripping them of their names-to no one's surprise but Capcom's, the game flopped).

The game focuses on the battles surrounding Sekigahara and has eschewed its former 'point A to point B' straight line approach and focused more on achieving objectives along the way. Defeating generic officers will now open up more of a map to explore. It also features a story mode that allows players to choose different paths and allies, altering the story considerably. Elite enemy officers will be tougher to defeat in battles that take place around their home castles. All in all, it adds a much needed extra layer of planning to the insane, all out action that is usually the series trademark. Early reviews indicate that most fans of the series don't appreciate it, preferring the simple individual fight to the opposing general featured in earlier games (where you could lose every single soldier in your own army, including the commander, and still win). Another complaint is that the number of playable characters has been heavily slashed from former games, rendering many favorites unplayable or omitting them entirely. New playable characters include Ishida Mitsunari (the guy who looks like a Goth vampire on the game box), Otani Yoshitsugu, Saika Magoichi (who is a woman this time around instead of a womanizer), Kuroda Kanbei, and Tsuruhime. Some good news for fans is that Oda Nobunaga, originally missing from the roster, has been included as the final character.

The situations and character models are outlandish and bizarre-the game is designed with an anime crowd in mind, and uses many famous voice actors that have brought their female fans along for the ride. That also explains why most of the characters are of the fey, 'pretty boy' type. The game is heavily merchandised, with drama CD's, anime adaptions, manga, art books, detailed figures, and all manner of small toys being snapped up by fans. Check out eBay and the female fanbase is even more obvious-there are untold numbers of 'yaoi' fan produced books being sold on there. The game has been a major factor in the wave of 'History Girls' popping up in Japan.

We think it'll probably be more enjoyable than past entires with the inclusion of more strategy and branching storylines, but still won't be up to the standard set by the Sengoku Musou series (its prime competition). Still, it should be worth checking out.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:27 am    Post subject: New "Adults Only" Maeda Keiji Game Reply with quote
This is one that Tatsunoshi apparently hasn't reviewed yet.


The name should say it all. Maeda Keiji- Sengoku Stud.

The bottom says this is an adult sengoku action game.

So, Tatsu, will you be reviewing this one? Just Kidding
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well........ Laughing Laughing Laughing .......


I think I'll leave that review for a woman. Maybe I can get Koyori (Brick McBurly's wife) to do a guest review-she probably plays this behind his back.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I heard a rumor that the real reason why Domer did a "Domer" again is because he got his hands on a copy of this game and can't stop playing it. We all know he is a huge Maeda Keiji fan. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've heard troubling rumors that Domer was sighted at a cosplay convention decked out like Keiji. You don't think these could be....could be...TRUE? Freaked Out That's so nuts I'm having a seizure! Uh oh
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