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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Whaddya mean? Domer THINKS he is Maeda Keiji. Stars & Stripes had a front page pic and article on him complaining about how much he hates the Army's universal camo as it is useless in the Afghan terrain, so he got the idea of dressing like his idol, Maeda Keiji, as a means of bringing real terror to the hearts of the Taliban. He wears silly red armor and swings his yari and the Taliban actually flee. He must be a true oni-musha! Or just maybe a cooky kabukimono wannabee. Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
He must be a true oni-musha!


Whew...for a heart stopping minute there, I read that as 'onna-musha'.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As usual, El Brickatore is well ahead of the curve. From the July 26th edition of "McBurly Monogatari":

"A quick Sengoku quiz-see if you can pick out the name that doesn’t belong in the followin’ list:

Tokugawa Ieyasu
Hojo Ujimasa
Chosokabe Motochika
Oda Nobunaga
Uesugi Kenshin
Maeda Keiji
Takeda Shingen
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Date Masamune
Mori Motonari

Pretty obvious, ain’t it? Virtually every name on that list is an important Sengoku historical figure, a daimyo that had an important role in determinin’ how the unification of Japan played out. The name that doesn’t belong is that kabukimono pretty boy slacker samurai, Maeda Keiji. Keiji has virtually no historical significance-about the only thing he accomplished of note was actin’ as the rearguard for the Uesugi army at the Battle of Hasedo. And when ya think about it, as lame as that was, it’s made even less impressive by the fact that the Uesugi could just as easily lost the battle and ran off without him. But despite his insignificance, Keiji’s almost always included among the pantheon of Sengoku ‘big names’ and has a rep as a fighter rivaled only by other non-producers like Miyamoto Musashi and Sanada Yukimura. Look at any series of Sengoku based books, toys, figures, video games, or even coffee cans, and you’ll see some version of Keiji holdin’ court. Heck, the Rekishi Gunzou series of history books even gave the guy his own special edition with the accompanyin’ quote ‘samuraipunks here to stay'! Even though Obenjo Kusanosuke swears by his copy, my question for years has been-why? Why glorify some goofy non-entity when there are plenty of other samurai far more deservin’?

Well, this week I got my answer. The Brickster found hisself with some time on his hands when Ko decided to go out shoppin’ with her mom, so’s I started lookin’ through Ko’s video game collection to find somethin’ to kill time. Just about anythin’ woulda done-anythin’ that involved ninja, stealth killin’, strategic samurai warfare, aliens, things gettin’ blown up, monsters, decapitations, bloodshed, fast cars, or chicks with big hooters. Difficult as it was to believe, she didn’t have any of the classics featurin’ these video game staples-just a buncha otome games featurin’ gay men pretendin’ to be intrested in romancin’ women. Then I found this:




This bein’ ‘Maeda Keiji-Sengoku Stud’, an ‘Adult Sengoku Action Game’. What the heck?!?! I booted up this aberration and followed the adventures of Keiji as he progressed from layin’ down the pipe on one woman after another in a most…err, graphic fashion. I ain’t sure if this game was produced for Japanese men lookin’ to get ‘high score’ vicariously through Keiji, or for Japanese women puttin’ themselves in the place of Keiji’s sexy playmates. At any rate, the game really honked me off, mainly because we weren’t allowed to include anythin’ like that in ‘Brick McBurly-The Video Game’-I told the Studio merchandisin’ guys we needed to go on the XBOX 360 and not the Wii, but of course no one listens to me. So instead of boffin’ video hotties the virtual Brickster runs around bouncin’ off the head of funny animals, usin’ non-lethal weapons on goofy cartoon bad guys, and drinkin’ soda pop to power up instead of the hard stuff they sell down at the Lucky Star Tearoom.

But anyway, now we know the sekrit behind Keiji’s seemin’ly inexplicable popularity. Never underestimate the impact horny women can have on pop culture icons. Speakin’ of which, Ko totally denied knowledge of the game or how it got into her collection, but that little smirk on her face told me a diff’rent story.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I know what you're all thinking-"Tatsu, it's been over TWO WHOLE MONTHS since a Hakuouki game's been released! When in the heck are they going to get around to releasing a new one, or preferably, three? I NEED my otome game fix!"

Well, fret not! Riding this horse for every dime it's worth, Idea Factory (which seemingly has run out of them) has released the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth Hakuouki games of the last year. Yes, it's 'Hakuouki Zuisouroku' (薄桜鬼随想録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons Diary) for the PSP, porting the original PS2 game to the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP system). Based on the insanely popular manga/anime that shows the Shinsengumi as using a blood serum supplied by the bakufu to turn into quasi-vampiric supermen, this game purports to "fill in the holes" from the first Hakuouki game. Somehow, I'm not surprised to see "fill in the holes" used to describe a Shinsengumi game. The series's largely female fanbase is exhorted to meet the Shinsengumi swordsmen and "tame the bloodthirsty monster within them", which sounds like a pickup line used by Brick McBurly. Anyway, this entry comes in limited edition (left-comes with a metal bookmark and drama CD), regular (center), and double pack versions (right-with a copy of the original Hakuouki game on PSP).



Only slightly goofier in concept is 'Deadliest Warrior' for the American Xbox 360 (English language, with a PS3 version to come). Based on the TV series seen on Spike TV, this downloadable game found on Xbox Live! Network features the alleged greatest warriors in history pitted against each other in a one-on-one fighting game with different modes, minigames, and unlockable weapons. Two of the warriors included are 'samurai' and 'ninja', natch. So if you've ever wondered who would win, a samurai or a knight, or if a ninja could toast a pirate, here's your chance to settle it once and for all-at least until the next round. The game is 'historically accurate', and you can tell by checking out the straight bladed ninja-to used by the ninja and the garish red paint scheme used on a traditional Japanese castle during one of the rounds (which you'd only see on a large shrine or a Okinawan castle). That aside, for the 8 bucks or so it costs to download, it's brainless fun, featuring rounds that are over in seconds with lots of gore and flying limbs. You can also download a samurai helmet and armor (or even a ninjer costume) to use on your Xbox 360 avatar which are very kewl. I did-I'm not proud Laughing . By the way, if anyone still plays Tenchu online on the Xbox 360, if you run across user Tatsunoshi-prepare for me to flip out on you.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New for the Nintendo DS (Japanese language release, will work on any DS) is Nintama Rantarou Gakunen Taikousen Puzzle No Dan (忍たま乱太郎 学年対抗戦パズル! の段, Ninja Boy Rantarou: School Year Puzzle Competition Class). This is based on the popular kid's anime featuring Rantarou the ninja boy as he learns his craft at the local ninja school. The anime is goofy and played largely for laughs and that's the tone the game takes. It features all sorts of simple puzzles to solve using the DS Stylus, different game modes, and a 'ninja party' feature that allows six players to participate in a variety of minigames. It's enjoyable lightweight fun for pre-teens. The game comes in the regular version (left) and a limited edition (right) that includes a 'cartridge' CD-ROM loaded with wallpapers, artwork, screensavers, and background music tracks. The limited edition also includes a 'cartridge data collection' which gives background and bios on dozens of game characters.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New this week is an update to a previously released Japanese language PSP game. Sengoku Efuda Yuugi: Hototogisu Tairan (戦国絵札遊戯 不如帰 大乱, Age of Warring States Picture Card Play:Great Cuckoo Incident, will work on any region PSP) is the follow up to Sengoku Efuda Yuugi: Hototogisu Ran (which is reviewed earlier in this thread).

The game features strategic combat during the Sengoku Jidai in the form of a card game. Use your cards to strengthen your troops and crush your opponents-Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh style. There are over 600 unique virtual cards (over twice the amount from the first game) to 'collect' with artwork from some of Japan's most popular artists and character designers such as KEI of Vocaloid2 along with Hatsune Miku and Tobe Sunaho of Nights in the Nightmare and Riviera fame. The game system was designed by the Japanese Magic: The Gathering champion, Matsuo Goro. Hototogisu also features online gameplay against human opponents over a wireless LAN.

The original game was quite fun and the follow up should be as well. However, I'm far more looking forward to Arclight's card game 'Sengoku Daimyo: Kunitori!' which will be reviewed next week on the board game thread. It features your favorite Sengoku Daimyo in a struggle for control of the land-with the added benefit that they're all cute girls, just like in Sengoku Hime. Wheeeeee!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Coming to North American Wiis this week is Samurai Warriors 3, the English language port of Sengoku Musou 3. You can read more about this game in our previous lengthy post on Sengoku Musou 3. There are a few minor differences-historical mode is now included and doesn't have to be bought as a download, and online co-op play has been expanded past Muramasa Castle mode. The funniest difference by far is that for the North American version, Kai's cleavage has been airbrushed over to make it more 'family friendly' on the cover of the game box. Yes, big boobs have been corrupting the youth of America for years...and we wouldn't have it any other way.



New for the Nintendo DS (will work on any system, but in Japanese language only) is Okamiden Chisaki Taiyou (大神伝 小さき太陽, The Story of The Great God: Little Sun). This is a direct sequel to the PS2/Wii exploration/adventure game that features 'mytic calligraphy', Okami. From the official press release:

"Nine months after the events in the original Okami adventure, Amaterasu's work is done and she's retired from the hustle and bustle of gaming. However, Amaterasu has had a baby in that time-a pup with powers named Chibiterasu. During that time, Susano and Kushi also had a child named Kuni. In Okami-den, Chibiterasu and Kuni team up together to battle new villains and malcontents who are assailing the land of Japan.

Just when Issun, the new ruler of the country thinks that Amaterasu and Susanou have restored peace over Nakatsunokuni, new monsters start popping up. More numerous, and powerful than ever, these monsters are turning humans into boulders or dinner.

But hope is not lost, for the new wolf Chibiterasu is here to save the day. Pick up your stylus and start drawing. The touch screen on the Nintendo DS makes painting even more handy. And this time, you're not going alone, Kuninushi, the self-proclaimed son of Susanou will accompany you with his big sword.

The delicate brush paintings and Sakura blossoms are back. Come with the super cute Chibiterasu and his partner Kuninushi to a brand new action adventure."

"Little Sun", of course, refers to Chibiterasu. And it's amazing that Kuninushi could be conceived, born, and grow to childhood in nine months, but I guess that's one of the perks of being the sun of a god. The original game was a lot of fun with a good sense of humor, and this looks like it'll be no different.



There's also this very cool looking and expensive limited edition, with a ornate outer box, a copy of the game, a stuffed mini Chibiterasu, Chibiterasu headphones, drama CD, artwork CD, a 'calligraphy brush', artwork, and no doubt other stuff as well.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Yet another entry in the booming field of otome dating games for women is Tenkaichi-Sengoku Lovers (天下一:戦国Lovers, Greatest In the Land: Warring States Lovers) for the Nintendo DS (Japanese language, will work on any DS). A young kunoichi from the Iga village manages to escape the carnage with the help of her childhood friend Ishikawa Goemon when Oda Nobunaga overruns Iga province. While wandering across the country, she naturally enough runs into several of the notable daimyo of the era, including Date Masamune, Takeda Shingen, and Uesugi Kenshin (somewhat anachronistic age range here, but hey-it's fantasy). Which one will she find true romance with, and can Kenshin possibly love her as much as sake? This is based on the extremely popular Japanese cell phone game, and my normally sensible wife swears she's buying it the second she gets back to Japan. Comes in the limited edition (left) with drama CD and artwork along with the regular edition.



For those of us in the US, there's Swords for the Wii (North American Wii only). Ever wanted to study under Musashi Sensei who will teach you how to swing your Wiimote like it's a sword? Defeat master swordsmen, arabian dancing girls, kunoichi, pirates, Vikings, knights, laser sworded hunters from the future and even Teh Tenma Maou hisself, Oda 'Owari Sensei' Nobunaga? Have a nice easy time of it, breeze through, and collect goofy swords with goofy powers? Well, look no further! While it sounds like a lighter version of 'Deadliest Warrior' from a couple of months back, it at least manages to amuse for awhile. Although you're really going to look like a dork swinging that Wiimote, but hey, you're a gamer, so that shouldn't faze you. It didn't me.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The English language versions of the latest entry in the Sengoku Basara franchise have been released: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes. It's available for both the PS3 (any system) and the Wii (NA consoles only). The games are the same for both consoles with somewhat better graphics on the PS3. In our opinion, it's a step down from Sengoku Basara 2 (which never made it to the US)-fewer game modes and a huge reduction in playable characters being the prime reasons. On the bright side the accessory system allows players to put together their own items instead of hoping to pick them up randomly as in games past-but of course, the ingredients needed to make them are random drops, so it's back to square one in some cases.

The game finds its primary market in manga/anime fans (and appeals particularly to women), who enjoy the goofy and exaggerated character models-in fact, the release of the game was coordinated with the release of the anime, "Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings" to cash in on co promotion. While this isn't an anime thread, we have the Blu-ray and the series is absolutely godawful (unless you like seeing nuclear explosions seemingly going off every time two of the characters fight).

In a bad move by Capcom, there's no Japanese voice track-just an English language dub. Thankfully, the English voice acting is quite good, but can't replace the nuances and tone set by the Japanese VA.

One reason to like the game is that it has a great sense of humor and some of the setpieces are hilarious-for example, Tedorigawa centers around keeping Maeda Toshiie from getting any of Matsu's home cooking-and the couple also seems to have a big disconnect as to what the rules of the Maeda clan are.

For more information on the gameplay and structure of the game, its appeal to women, and how it has influenced interest in history in Japan, check out the review of the Japanese version on page 2 of this thread.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Happy Halloween from those of us at the SA! Say, what's the scariest thing in Japan this time of year? Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Osaka? The ballooning yen to dollar exchange rate? A visiting Jason Voorhees? Obenjo Kusanosuke? Nope. They all pale in comparison to the release of yet another Hakuoki game, bringing the total for the last year to between 15 and 20-yes, really. This time around it's Hakuouki: Reimeiroku (薄桜鬼黎明録, 'Pale Cherry Blossom Demons:Record of the Dawn'-Japanese language only, will only work on Japanese PS2 systems) for the PS2 (again showing why the PS3 hasn't caught on in Japan-since RPG's are all the rage there, the PS2 still works perfectly fine for them). The latest entry in this series doesn't appear to be an otome game, but a bit more of an actioner with an emphasis on story, voice acting, cut scenes, and unlockable artwork. Learn the origins of the Shinsengumi when beaten up, impoverished young Ibuki Ryunosuke meets Serisawa Kamo. As with most games made for the otome crowd, it comes in a first run limited edition (on the left, with drama CD and other items) along with the regular version on the right. In even scarier news, looks like they're going to be doing a similar otome game soon, only focusing on Sakamota Ryoma and his band of hearty seagoing scallywags. The mind boggles.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


New from Koei for the the Nintendo DS (Japanese language only, will work on any DS system) is Ishin no Arashi: Shippuu Ryoumaden (維新の嵐 疾風龍馬伝, Storm of Restoration: The Tale of 'Strong Wind' Ryoma). 'Strong wind' isn't referring to the fact that Ryoma had a flatulence problem but rather that he was a prime agent of change. This is a manga-style game that takes the historical figure Sakamoto Ryoma through the Bakumatsu era where he must gather allies, confront enemies, and attempt to bring change to the political landscape of Japan. While the main game has a strong dose of RPG elements and the 'Phoenix Wright' game system where a character must use debate and evidence to confound enemies and bring others to your point of view (much like the Ishida Mitsunari game 'Saihai No Yukue' from two years ago), there are also minigames where Ryoma can gamble, engage in swordfights with the Shinsengumi and other forces, etc. Koei rarely makes a poor game and this effort is no exception. It's lively, engaging, and fun, and players might even learn a bit about the Bakumatsu in the process.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Yes, all your favorite Sengoku daimyo are back as hot anime chicks in Sengoku Hime 2 Honoo/Arashi: Hyakubana, Senran Tatsukaze No Gotoku (戦極姫2・炎/嵐~百華、戦乱辰風の如く, roughly Ultimate Battle Princesses 2-Flame/Storm: Countless Flowers Like The Chaotic Dragon Wind) for the PS2 (the ‘Honoo’ version) and the PSP (the ‘Arashi’ version). They’re both Japanese language only and the PS2 version only works on Japanese PS2’s (the PSP version works on any PSP). The games are basically another Nobunaga’s Ambition clone with a gender reversal, albeit far more entertaining than the revered but tired Koei franchise and have lots of cut scenes and saucy artwork. Take control of your favorite daimyo, build up your economy, win the trust of your people, broker alliances, and beat the snot out of your enemies with military might. There are four editions-from left to right, the regular PS2, the PS2 limited edition, the PSP edition, and the PSP limited edition. The limited editions have an artbook, a drama CD, and a special added scenario-the Takeda for the Honoo version, the Uesugi for the Arashi. Who will take ultimate control of the country and unify Japan? More importantly, who has the biggest rack and widespread sex appeal? Find out in Sengoku Hime 2.




New for your Nintendo DS (any model, Japanese language only) is Rekishi Taisen Gettenka: Tenkaichi Battle Royale (歴史大戦ゲッテンカ 天下一バトルロイヤル, Gettenka Great Historical War: Best In The Land Battle Royale). This is based on the popular Japanese children's collectible card game 'Gettenka', which pits humorous versions of the various Sengoku Daimyo against each other. For example, Oda Nobunaga is 'Utsuke Nobunaga' and is dressed like a fop...Hideyoshi is a monkey and uses a large banana for a sword. Other anachronistic characters enter the fray as a result of card play-such as video game star Sonic The Hedgehog as an ally of Utsuke Nobunaga. As one would expect, the object is to use your mad card playing skillz to fight your way to the top of the heap and emerge as #1 in the land. And no, I have no clue what the katakana 'Gettenka' means...since I don't have the game, I'm assuming it's a character name.



Another new DS game (any DS system, Japanese language only) is Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren 5-Fortun Tower to Unmei no Dice (不思議のダンジョン 風来のシレン5 フォーチュンタワーと運命のダイス, Mystery Dungeon-Shiren The Wanderer 5: The Fortune Tower And The Dice Of Destiny). Shiren, the Richard Gere of Sengoku Japan, and his talking ferret Koppa are back, this time with new allies and enemies. Explore the dungeons, discover rare items and battle monsters. The layout of the dungeons and the monsters change every time they're entered. To make things even more interesting, the monsters you battle during 'daytime' are different from the ones in the 'night time' and the treasure you can win from them differs in value. This time you get more skills, a larger variety of weapons and armor, and new story elements. If you need help or want to form a team, you can jump on the DS WFC network. One deadly aspect about this game is that when you die, your level turns back to 1 and you lose all your items. But as long as someone is there to revive you, you won't have to start leveling up and collect the items from scratch. Just don't forget to reward your rescuer, send him or her a thank you note or some item in your inventory via the network.



Here's a cool PSP repackaging of a series of old PC Engine games (the TurboGraphx-16 in the US)-Tengai Makyou (天外魔境, any PSP system, Japanese language only) . While the 'official' translation is "Far East Of Eden", I prefer "Remote World Of Demons" or "Demon World Far From Heaven". Just cuz I like monsters, y'know. It consists of three games taking place in the world of Zippangu-medieval Japan as seen through Western eyes. It's a standard RPG and the series was one of the most popular to ever hit Japan. The first entry is Tengai Makyou Ziria and revolves around hero Daimonkyo's struggle against a militarized religious sect. The sequel features a new hero Manjimaru and the struggle between two warring factions struggling to control the country. Finally, there's an offshoot game, Fuun Kabukiden, that takes place in both London & Japan. If you're an old school gamer this is a great collection and a good value as well.



But the REALLY big news this month is the release of the Nintendo DS game ‘Mr. Donut’ (Japanese language, will work on any DS). Persuade reluctant daimyo to enter the fold, gather your troops, siege enemy castles, and prepare to battle the forces of the Eastern army for supreme….uhhh, sorry, wrong Mr. Donut. No, here, you find yourself working at and eventually managing a Mr. Donut franchise. MMMmmmmmm.....Make dozens of types of donuts, hire and fire employees, serve customers, pour coffee, and generally make the world safe for ol' Tatsu when he's in Japan. The Mr. Donut near my house south of Kyoto Station has saved me from starvation on many occasions. Thank you, Mr. Donut! The 'unlockables' in this game are a hoot, including every uniform the franchise has ever used over the years.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
No, here, you find yourself working at and eventually managing a Mr. Donut franchise. MMMmmmmmm.....Make dozens of types of donuts, hire and fire employees, serve customers, pour coffee, and generally make the world safe for ol' Tatsu when he's in Japan. The Mr. Donut near my house south of Kyoto Station has saved me from starvation on many occasions. Thank you, Mr. Donut! The 'unlockables' in this game are a hoot, including every uniform the franchise has ever used over the years.


Don't forget the bonus round where you have to fend off roving gangs of foreign exchange students who try to loot the Mr. Donut dumpsters after hours.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The last of 2010's holiday releases are hitting the shelves. This week...



...we have Nobunaga no Yabou Online: Shinsei no Shou (信長の野望 Online 新星の章, Nobunaga's Ambition Online: Chapter Of The New Star) for the PS3 (Japanese language only). Before all the Western Nobunaga's Ambition fans go running off to buy this, harken to the following:

1) This is a MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game), not the standard province-grabbing game Western players are used to. And since you'll be playing with almost exclusively Japanese players, you had better know Japanese, or quickly be labelled as a dork and shunned.

2) Even though it boots in a non-Japanese PS3, you need access to the Japanese PS3 Network to play. That means that unless all you want to do is look at the opening movie, you'll need a Japanese PS3 hooked up to the net and an account with Gamecity.JP.

This game plays out much like World Of Warcraft only much cooler. Taking place in the Sengoku, players can create a character from many walks of life and interact with the thousands of other online players. You'll form a small team with a handful of other players and battle the various daimyo of the era. Battle monsters and right wrongs as well. You'll also enjoy the more mundane but ultimately more satisfying aspects of Japanese life-the tea ceremony, various festivals, hanging out and drinking, or just walking around town, sightseeing, and shopping. If you have a dependable team of capable players, the game is great fun-my team is currently myself, my wife, and believe it or not, my mother and father in laws (both in their eighties). If you're playing with a bunch of flakes or selfish players, it tends to suck. Well worth checking out if you're in Japan and feel up to it.

The game comes in the Premium Box version (left) and the regular edition. The Premium Box comes with a copy of the game and an art book, a soundtrack CD, downloadable extras for playing the game like limited edition weapons-medicines-premium tickets, a prepaid 60 day private account, and more DLC to implement faster character growth.



For the PSP (Japanese language, works on any PSP) is
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4 Aizouban (遙かなる時空の中で4 愛蔵版, In A Distant Time 4 Treasured Edition). This is the popular otome 'dating sim' for girls that features Chihiro, a teen sent back in time to the Genpei War who meets all of the major figures of the Minamoto, Taira, and their allies (most all coincidentally being metrosexual pretty boys just looking to meet the true love of their life). This is a port of the earlier PS2 game and features Chihiro transported to Japan's ancient past for a largely fantasy scenario involving the gods of the land rather than historical figures. The PSP edition has lots of new scenarios, CG movies, episodes, and 'after-story' chapters for veterans of the series to explore. Harukanaru is one of the better otome games, with an excellent well-written and presented story that can be enjoyed on its own. It's also wildly successful in the anime, manga, and merchandising genres. It comes in the Treasure Box (left) and regular editions. No one can put together a quality Treasure Box like Koei, and they prove it here by including a drama CD, a voice cast 'making of' CD, artwork cards including screen shots, concept art, and 'signature cards' from the voice actors, and even a very cool clock that contains the voices of eight of the actors.

This is my wife's favorite series and I've had the Treasure Box sent to her next door neighbor's house so they can give it to her on New Year's on my behalf. Ain't I a Prince? Good thing she doesn't check out the SA unless she's in the US and bored with me, or I would have just ruined the surprise. I bet I could even make fun of her wussy game collection here and she'd never know, but I suppose it doesn't pay to push one's luck. And she is the best-I mean, she's even allowed me to indulge my taste for the new Spaltterhouse game featuring 'Bloody, Brutal Monster Violence, Suggestive Themes, and Nudity'. A game which, by the way, you'll find my name in the credits for. Sweet! So go out and buy it too, preferably both the XBOX and PS3 editions so they make a sequel.



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


From Koei are several 'new'/expansion entries in the Sengoku Musou franchise. They're all Japanese language-the PS3 versions will work on a North American PS3 but the Wii entry will only work on a Japanese Wii. From left to right we have the Sengoku Musou 3 Z Premium Box (戦国無双3 Zプレミアム Box, Warring States Unmatched 3 Z Premium Box), Sengoku Musou 3 Z (戦国無双3 Z, Warring States Unmatched 3 Z), and Sengoku Musou 3 Moushouden (戦国無双3 猛将伝, Warring States Unmatched 3 Fierce Commander Report).

Sengoku Musou 3 Moushouden is an add-on disc for the original Sengoku Musou 3 game. It features three 'new' characters who aren't really new-NPC's Aya Gozen (Uesugi's Kenshin's sister) and Fukushima Masanori have been made playable and Hosokowa Gracia has returned from SM2M. This brings the roster of playable characters to 41. The seven characters who didn't receive story modes the first time around now have them and there are new gameplay modes as well. The game generally is a big 'you against the world' bust up set on the battlefields of the Sengoku era. It's far more involving and layered than its main competition, the anime fan-fueled Sengoku Basara franchise, and obviously features 41 playable characters to Basara's 16. Don't expect much in the way of historical accuracy, though-while the stories are more serious than the ones in SB, only the names tend to be faithful to history. For more info on gameplay, see our earlier posts on the original SM3.

Sengoku Musou 3 Z is Koei's way of getting around Sengoku Musou 3 being a 'Wii Exclusive' game. It combines the two Wii games, removes one character (Takamaru) and game mode (Murasame Castle) that were Nintendo properties, improves the graphics and bitrates, and hopes for a sales breakthrough. The Premium Box contains a soundtrack CD, an art book, an 'infinite' calendar, and a copy of the game.

Early orders of all three games will also get a few assorted bonuses-a Kato Kiyomasa keychain and six collectible artwork cards being the most notable. Both the loose Z game and Premium Box were also available on the Gamecity.JP site with a 'bonus' cellphone strap set. While not as heavily merchandised as the Sengoku Basara franchise, there will be some new guides, cell phone straps, character Omamori (Japanese good luck charms), a DVD of the 'Sengoku Musou Matsuri (where the voice actors performed before a live audience-these are bestsellers in Japan for many projects including voice actors) and other odd and ends to go with the previously released mini-chara figure sets, folding fans, cell phone hangers, art books, stickers, keychains, music CD's, trading cards, and yes, even 'trading towels'.

It doesn't look like Sengoku Musou 3 Z will be released in the West (Z titles are generally Japan-only), so if you want to play it on your PS3 you'll likely have to import. The Moushouden game for the Wii version might make it to the West, but given the poor sales of 'Samurai Warriors 3' (the English language version of SM3), that's not a given.



And in case you need a copy of the original Sengoku Musou 3 for the J-Wii to play with Moushouden, it's been re-released as Sengoku Musou 3 Minna No Osususme Serekushon (戦国無双3 みんなのおすすめセレクション, Warring States Unmatched 3 Everyone's Great Recommendation Selection).
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The latest in the line of 'Hakuoki' dating sims for girls has arrived. This one’s a Nintendo DS entry (Japanese language only, will work on any DS) 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 game’ 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’. And yes, I have done a cut and paste here from my earlier entry on the game since everything remains basically unchanged save the platform. Graphics will of course have been simplified from the PS2/PSP versions and no doubt the DS's stylus will change the control scheme a bit. The game has been released as a limited edition (on the left, with a drama CD, letters, artwork, and metal bookmark) and as the regular version (right). Since lots of Ayame's patients love this game, I have promised not to write nasty articles about Hakuoki anymore. But since picture captions weren't part of the deal...

In good news for male gamers, Way Of The Samurai 4 and Shogun: Total War 2 are only a couple of weeks off. I think I'll have just enough time before then to create the perfect confectionery in the 'Mister Donut' DS game.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hi, everyone! HiHiHiHiHi! It's me, Hikonyan, badass samurai cat and stalwart defender of the samurai ethic!

Say, have you ever wanted to play Nobunaga No Yabou (Nobunaga's Ambition to my friends in the West!) but the repetitive province grabbing action, micromanaging, and same cast of tired historical characters has kept you from taking the plunge? Well, now you can enjoy all the action of Nobunaga No Yabou-now with REAL SAMURAI CATS standing in as your favorite Japanese daimyo! Nyan nyan! It's a can't-lose situation! The nice people at Koei are releasing "NobuNYAga No Yabou" this February 22nd. Hey, that's tomorrow-I can hardly wait! You can download this wonderful Japanese language game onto your PC (and for you uppity types, I think the Mac too) and enjoy the added dimension that the feline antics of Nobunyaga and his friends bring to the dance. Guys, you know that this game is going to provide a great chance to meet Japanese History Grrrllllssss! I mean, just look at the hot blonde from the lower left hand corner of the screen in the link! Well, yeah, she's actually from a different game (Tierra Americana) but you'll know she'll be playing-all chicks dig kitties! And Gals-it's a game filled with cats!!! Aren't we cute? You'll see political intrigue, battlefield strategy, resource management-everything you've come to expect in the regular games, only a lot cuter and fuzzier. Kawaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii!!!!!! Now, I know the question on everyone's mind at this point-but no, unfortunately, your old pal Hikonyan won't be appearing in the game (or my pals Shima Sakonyan or Ishida Mitsunyan either). There's that old nasty 'non-compete' merchandising clause I have with the city of Hikonyan. Darn!!! But I'll be there in spirit. Help the good samurai in Japan put the last nail in the coffin of the evil Teh Tenma Meow (hahahahahahaha-get it? Maou? Meow?), or play as Nobunyaga himself and show everyone just what kind of pussy you are!

Remember, a man might live but fifty years, but a cat has nine lives, so you've already got a tail up on surviving the turbulent times of the Sengoku in...NOBUNYAGA NO YABOU!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The long awaited Harukanaru Toki No Naka De 5 (遙かなる時空の中で5, In A Distant Time 5) for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP) has been released-but this dating sim for girls has drawn the ire of much of its fan base. The newest entry in the longtime Koei series has completely replaced all of the main characters along with the majority of the voice actors that provided much of the game's appeal. It's also changed the game's setting-instead of the more romantic world of the late Heian era of the Genpei wars, it's now set in Bakumatsu Japan. It features as its main characters (who else) the boyz of the Shinsengumi along with a smattering of the better known loyalists like Sakamoto Ryoma, Katsura Kogoro, and Saigo Takamori. It seems the voice actors had gotten a bit too famous and pricey for the developers, and changing the timeframe allowed them to replace virtually everyone and also cash in on the 'Shinsengumi otome' craze that the "Hakuoki" series of games has been responsible for. The basic theme remains the same-girl from the present is time-displaced and ends up in an earlier era of Japanese history, finding herself right in the middle of the most important historical events of the time. Along the way she meets many famous historical characters, one of which is destined to become her One True Love-and that changes depending on the player's actions.

As regular readers would suspect, my wife Ayame is irate over the changes made to her favorite game series, but I bought her the Treasure Box edition (left) anyway. It includes not only a copy of the regular game (right) but also a series of special illustrations by Mizuno Toko, a photo library set, drama CD, script books, and a DVD that shows the new voice actors at work.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey, it's the Brickster breakin' in here. I thought some'a ya might enjoy gettin' a look at an old Famicom (the system that was the NES in the USA) game that went unreleased because it was too darn tough. A big difference from today's games where they make 'em easy on purpose so as not to trash some poor tyke's fragile self-esteem. While it ain't got anythin' to do with sammyrai, it is Japanese, so I give you...
The Challenge: Hitler's Revenge.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


New from Koei is another entry in the Musou series-Sengoku Musou Chronicle (戦国無双 Chronicle, Chronicle of the Unmatched of the Warring States). It's a Japanese language game for the new Nintendo 3DS system (which incorporates 3D graphics) and as such will only work on a Japanese 3DS (as the 3DS features region lockout). If you're familiar with the main line of musou games, you'll know what to expect here-your warrior will take on hundreds, even thousands, of enemies across the battlefields of the Sengoku. Unlike the main series, your characters here are a generic male or generic female character who interact with the historical figures depicted in the other games. The online play/team up along with fighting against friends and swapping items/experiences with them seems to be the game's big draw (along with the 3D graphics). It's slated to be released in late March in North America as Samurai Warriors Chronicles, so anyone interested might want to wait for that.



A much better choice this week would be Samurai Dou 4 (侍道 4, Way Of The Samurai 4) for the PS3 (Japanese language, will work on any PS3 system but will only connect to the Japanese PS3 network). This is the latest entry in the popular WOS 'sandbox' games that allow you to take control of a character and determine his fate-will he be an honorable warrior, a womanizer, a backstabber, thug, or opportunistic profiteer? The venue unfortunately shifts this time from the Sengoku of part 3 to the Bakumatsu. A harbor town becomes the focal point for the struggle between the forces of the Tokugawa Bakufu and the traitorous Loyalists, with foreigners close at hand and joining in the scheming. There are also factions for the local yakuza and the townspeople. The player can be a do-gooder, protecting the citizens, building schools, opening shops, and keeping order. They can join the yakuza and turn the town into a center of crime. They can become a stalwart defender of the Bakufu or a misguided shishi. They can even do nothing but slay anything and everything that approaches, leaving the town a desolate wasteland. It's all up to you. With tons of weapons, moves, character models, and dozens of different endings, this game is the ultimate in replay value. You can finish stories in a game day or wander around aimlessly exploring and taking on jobs for months-it's completely open ended. Highly recommended-there will likely be a North American port of the game at some point.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Rurouni Kenshin. The name alone is enough to create fear in the hearts of SA Forum members. It’s the manga/anime/video game franchise that’s been largely responsible for many of the whacked-out ideas many Western sammyrai have about Japanese history-not to mention their fascination with the Shinsengumi. Hitokiri battousai? Saito Hajime? Reverse blade katana? ‘Nuff said. And this week, the legacy of buffoonery continues with Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan Saisen (るろうに剣心-明治剣客浪漫譚- 再閃, Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story Reflash) for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP). It’s a sword fighting game set in the early days of the Meiji era and features Himura Kenshin and his Hiten Mitsurugi style fighting one on one against all comers. No doubt you can play as the other characters as well. If you’re a Rurouni fan, chances are you’ll love it, but the Inuyasha fighting games are just as good, a hell of a lot funnier, and feature cuter gals. Do yourself a favor and download ‘Edo Samurai Catch The Fly World Cup’ instead. It’s way more historically accurate and features Musashi (who, not being a frequent bather, was always surrounded by flies), who no doubt could whip up on Rurouni in the Battle Of The Fabled Sammyrai.

And next week-Shogun Total War 2, in all of its various releases.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Also out this week is the NA release Okamiden for the Nintendo DS. This is an English language port of the Japanese game of the same name. It’s a sequel to the critically acclaimed PS2/Wii game Okami, featuring the adventures of the wolf Amaterasu in a mythical early Japan. This time around, it’s the story of Chibiterasu. Gameplay maximizes use of the DS stylus, allowing the player to solve puzzles and fight while using the stylus like an ink brush. In fact, Gamestop offered a preorder bonus of a stylus that looks like an ink brush (along with a themed screen cleaner). You can read more about Okamiden in the review done for the Japanese version earlier in the thread.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Making its debut this week is the most anticipated computer game release for samurai warfare enthusiasts in years: Total War Shogun 2 on PC DVD-Rom. I’ll let the game’s press release speak for itself:

"Shogun 2: Total War is the long-awaited follow-up to the original PC game in the Total War turn-based Strategy franchise, Shogun: Total War. In it players assume the leadership of one of several warring provinces in a historically correct rendition of Medieval Japan simultaneously cursed by warfare and blessed with new wealth following the fall of the Ashikaga Shogunate. Using the natural and political resources available, as well as the strengths of their Samurai and peasant units, players eliminate enemies by all means possible as they seek to become the next shogun and extend their power over the whole of Japan. Additional features include: leveling of the player character, hero units and standard units, realistically varied AI responses and both competitive and cooperative online multiplayer support.

The Total War Franchise

In 2000, The Creative Assembly game development team reinvented the Strategy game genre with Shogun: Total War, an unprecedented blend of 3D real-time battles and turn-based game management that would become the first offering in the multi-award winning Total War series. With over 7 million units sold and universal acclaim from the press and community, The Total War franchise has consistently been at the cutting edge of the genre and is today one of the most successful PC franchises of all time. That success continues with Shogun 2: Total War. Shogun 2: Total War takes longtime veterans and newcomers alike to the next level of strategy gaming on PC. Based on 10 years of experience, Total War, Shogun 2 is the perfection of the series with a new Artificial Intelligence (AI), revolutionary multiplayer modes, brand new campaign map options and epic 3D real-time battles.

Set during the golden age of Samurai warfare, Shogun 2 brings to life the most turbulent period of Japanese history. It is the middle of the 16th century in Medieval Japan. The country, ruled for nearly 200 years by a unified government under the Ashikaga Shogunate, is now split into many warring clans following the shogunate's fall. The player takes on the role of one Daimyo, a feudal clan leader ruling a limited area of the country, and will use military engagements, economics and diplomacy to achieve the ultimate goal: unification of Japan under his supreme command and the title of Shogun - the undisputed ruler of Japan.

Gameplay

Like all Total War games, Shogun 2 is a turn-based Strategy game, featuring real-time tactics. The original Shogun: Total War game was the first in the Total War series, making it the blueprint for those that came after it, but this new game does contain a variety of new notable gameplay features. These features include: the players role as an individual leader on the field instead of an invisible hand guiding combat; improved graphics down to the motion capture techniques used to animate matched combat; a built-in morale system that allows opposing AI to react to the forces you set before them, influencing tactics as well as their willingness to stand and fight; combined naval and land battles; and RPG like leveling of standard units and special Hero units that rise in rank with each successful battle.

Key Game Features

* Total War Redefined - Shogun 2 is the ultimate refinement of the original formula with a new, cutting-edge AI, more polish and online functionality than ever before. The result is the perfect mix of real-time and turn-based strategy gaming that invites both veterans of Total War and new players to experience the enjoyment and depth of the series.
* New Character Progression - Choose from nine different clans and compete for the undisputed supremacy of Medieval Japan. Gain experience to level up your own character-warlord as well as your generals and agents.
* A Complete Single and Multiplayer Offering - Play through the main campaign in single player or invite a friend online to play competitively or cooperatively in Campaign Multiplayer mode. Join 8-player multiplayer battles with your own upgradable avatar and climb the online leaderboard to show the world who reigns supreme. Also including exciting new modes of team play for clans, a first in the Total War series.
* New Generation AI System - Developed according to Sun Tzu's principles in "The Art of War," the game's artificial intelligence constantly analyzes its situation and reacts to your every move with greater precision and variety.
* Improved Land and Naval Battle Gameplay - Land battles never felt so realistic with new multi-staged castle sieges and terrain features changing according to the weather and time of the day - turning each engagement into a tactical challenge. Set buildings on fire to force garrisoned troops out and use your units' special abilities to turn the tide of the battle. Naval combat also offers more variety with the addition of coastal battles. Islands can work as effective cover for your ships, while sand bars and reefs can be used as traps against an enemy fleet.
* Accessible and In-depth Empire-building Gameplay - A streamlined user interface makes management of your kingdom much easier. Build and govern cities, recruit and train troops, conduct diplomacy and manage your agents – each feature is now introduced with comprehensive tutorials, gradually revealing the depth of the Shogun 2 campaign map – the heart and soul of the Total War experience."

There are all types of releases for the game. Supposedly, there is or will be a regular release (maybe the direct digital download?), but I haven’t seen it yet. Here’s the limited edition release along with its extras (and if you preordered from Gamestop, another extra- The Battle of Kawagoe (1545) where the Hōjō clan launched a successful night time counter-attack against the besieging Uesugi, eschewing heavy armour and the collection of heads in favour of speed and stealth.) :



-An exclusive ninja clan-the Hattori clan are masters of the Iga-ryu ninjutsu-a unique collection of martial skills and guerrilla techniques. This additional in-game faction is only available in the Limited Edition and includes the most powerful battlefield ninja units.

-Extra historical scenario-he Battle of Nagashino saw an alliance between the Oda and Tokugawa clans clashing against the legendary Takeda clan in 1575. Takeda was ultimately defeated but, as in all Total War battles, victory lies in your hands and by playing one of these three factions you can repeat history... or even rewrite it!

-Special armour for your avatar-this complete set of armour will make your General's avatar stand out on the battlefield and will reward you with the Bad Omen retainer that affects morale to enemy ashigaru (foot soldier) units, giving you a competitive advantage online.

-Bank account of XP for your avatar-only the Limited Edition owners will be able to start their General's avatar at a higher level, with instant access to one upgrade point to spend on special skills or traits.

Buyers in the EU and Australia can pick up the Collector’s Edition:



This has a very nice art book and a statue of Takeda Shingen along with the limited edition release of the game, all packed in a themed bamboo box.

Or, EU/Oz buyers can opt for the Chess Set Edition, which contains the limited edition release of the game along with a very nice themed Shogun 2 chess set and board:



Finally, there’s the be-all/end-all. Available only in Australia and Germany is the Grand Master edition. This combines both the Collector’s Edition and Chess Set with more elaborate packaging for the ultimate Shogun 2 collectible. I’d like to get one of these but the folks in Australia I’ve seen selling them so far don’t seem very reliable.



There's also a lot of promo items floating around, like the Takeda figure in special packaging, a themed Shogun Total War 2 Fan, at least two different posters, a nice IPhone App, and the free Shogun Takeover flash game on Facebook.

There have been the expected technical issues with the game-compatibility, many minor bugs, and problems running with software that had been updated since the game was finalized. Hopefully they’ll get the major ones ironed out and patched in the next several weeks.

Early reviews of the game have generally been quite positive. The game is absolutely gorgeous along with the soundtrack (which should be available on ITunes soon) and it seems the AI’s intelligence has been ramped way up during battles. It does appear that the anachronistic elements of the first Shogun have carried over (like having geisha in the Sengoku period) along with some of the ahistorical crap involving ninja and unit types, but let’s face it, any game of this type needs a good portion of chrome rules to catch on with your average gamer who doesn’t really care about J-history. While the naval battles are breathtaking, they really don’t have much of a place in a game dealing with the Sengoku (unless they at some point throw in the Korean invasion). Other than a couple of battles involving the Oda and Mouri, large naval engagements were unheard of. They’re there just to make fans of the Total War franchise happy, since they’re a big part of the other games in the series. Many gamers are upset that you’re required to have an account with Steam just to activate the game. There are also reports that the single player game was shortchanged, lacking many of the cool features and options given for multiplayer games. However, it does look like Sega has produced a real crowd-pleaser with this release.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Not much new this week-just Cubic Ninja, a game for the Japanese 3DS. Looks like a pretty simple platform game where a 'Cubic Ninja' is sneaking and swimming around various Mario-like dangerous abstract environments. The 3-D screen might make it a bit more interesting than it sounds.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Lego's done games for Indiana Jones, Batman, Star Wars, and Pirates of The Caribbean-now they're really jumping into the world of fantasy characters by releasing a game based on ninjers, Lego Battles Ninjago for the Nintendo DS (English language, will work on any DS). Based on the angry reviews left by housewives buying it for their kids on Amazon, looks like it's an RTS game-sort of a kiddy version of Shogun Total War.

From the press release:"Build your army, battle your enemies and become a master of Spinjitzu as you recover powerful ninja weapons and restore the world's harmony in LEGO Battles: Ninjago! Deploy Hero troops through exciting missions and adventures to defeat the sinister Skulkin forces, play as the bad guys and face-off against ninjas of Spinjitzu, or challenge a friend in thrilling multiplayer battles to see whose army ranks supreme. "

Spinjitzu, huh? Stephen Hayes has proved himself a master of that over the years.
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