Review – Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament

The Steambot Chronicles series can’t catch a break. The PS2 original, while rough around the edges, garnered a solid cult following. Eventually, developer Irem teased its fans with footage of a PS3 sequel, and then…nothing. It still looks to be in development, but it is anyone’s guess as to when, or if, we will actually get it. In the meantime, Majesco brought over a Steambot themed puzzle game, only to give it box art that would scare anyone away.

Now comes the Atlus localization of Steambot Chronicles: Battle Tournament, a side story sequel on the PSP. Battle Tournament was largely ignored in Atlus’ email newsletter, one of the best sources of hype and information on their products, and the information that was given was fairly basic. Even worse, the name itself has caused confusion among potential buyers. →  All the lonely gamers, where do they all come from?

Civilization IV: Champion Edition

Many of the great leaders throughout history were also great warriors. They lead armies, knocked over walls, flags were heavily involved. Playing Civilization IV, this is self evident from the available commanders – Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Gilgamesh. I considered what would happen if you added the greatest warriors in the world today – the stars of Street Fighter – into the Civilization mix. Why, you’d have the greatest gaming crossover of all time, is what you’d get.

Civilization IV: Champion Edition

Ryu – Japan

Sure, he can afford shoes, but he walks barefoot for comfort. Ryu is a good leader to pick for a beginner, with his balanced mix of traits, starting techs and unique units he gives you a solid base to work from. There are some people who complain when you choose him because “everyone plays as him” or its “dull” or you’re “lame”, but they can all go to hell. →  Tony Hawk's Pro Reader 3

Review – Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 takes place in a grim future where humanity is at war against an unstoppable force of monsters called the Locust. The endless fighting has torn down cities, painted the Earth’s surface a consistent shade of gray and brown, nearly killed off the human race, and made the survivors intolerable douchebags. If the people in Gears of War 2 are the ones who are going to save Earth and restore society, then it honestly might be better if the Locust just win. The game’s writers were apparently content with cookie-cutter characters who are easier to laugh at than sympathize with, at least until a few hours in when their simple personalities simply become annoying. And like too many games of this type, the bad guys are way cooler than than the good guys anyway. →  Frankly my dear, I don’t read a damn.

Flaws, Fighters and Fanboys

Fighting games are, sadly, one of the few areas of gaming where I can still get worked up into a fanboy.  Shameful, I know, but every gamer has their flaws.  My problem is that I am a hopeless, shameful SNK fan.  I buy their games when they treat the fanbase like crap.  I buy the games that are crap.  And every time I see gamers tear them a new one for a legitimate grievance, I can’t get myself to join in.

At the same time, I have never understood the appeal of the suite of fighters made by Arc System Works.  I can tell you about some of the many things the studio does incredibly well, perhaps better than anyone else.  But that is in addition to some of the many bad practices and decisions they make that, rather than being criticized, are praised by fans.  →  Are anyone else's nipples hard?

Giving the Right Idiots Power – The Rock Band Network

When Activision announced GH:WT would have authoring tools when Rock Band 2 would not, many reviewers and other industry sounding boards thought this was a critical error on the part of Harmonix. My reaction was “so what” – most gamers are idiots. Therefore I was uninterested in downloading their at best mediocre, but more likely putrid attempts to create music. Three hundred real songs (for Rock Band 2, which continues to focus on professional DLC) and 5,000 removed user made remixes of Zelda and Mario music (for GH:WT) later, it appears I was correct. Authoring tools for the common man are useless, particularly when the item authored is as complex as a four instrument track song.

Harmonix announced earlier this week they would be going in a different direction. Instead of catering to the casual gamer, who is likely an idiot, Harmonix is releasing an authoring tool system for small labels and musicians. →  Katamari Damaread

Fan Service Inc.

Is anyone else totally addicted to taking snapshots and spending hours on the diorama mode on Super Smash Brothers Brawl? YES! You too! Great. Here are some of my creations for people to use to add some spice to their fan fictions. I’ve given some title and synopsis hints but feel free to use your own okay? And don’t say I don’t ever give you anything, you disgusting fanfiction people.

Suggested Title: Excite Bike Mountain (yaoi)
Synopsis: Purple Excite Bike Man and Red Excite Bike Man are the best of friends. After Excite Bike School they ride their Excite bikes to all kinds of different places and have adventures. Anal adventures. Find out where Purple Excite Bike Man wants to park his Exciting Bike in Red Excite Bike Man.

Suggested Title: Papa Smurf and Another Smurf run away from T-rex whilst Blue Moon tanks and two frog heads stand their ground
Synopsis: Umm maybe rework the title so it doesn’t give too much away I guess. →  What is word? Baby don’t read me.

Review – Rune Factory Frontier

Farmer’s Diary, Day 1
I have no knowledge of my past. I found myself in a town I had never heard of with only a half-dozen denizens. They told me I could have the farm. How kind of them to take me in for a while.

Now I just need to get some seeds, plow some spaces of earth, and water ’em. No sweat!

Farmer’s Diary, Day 2
Some giant stone whale-shaped island in the sky is blocking the sun. My crops demanded retribution, so I shouldered my hoe and readied my hammer. Climbing a convenient beanstalk, I reached the whale and it spoke to me! It told me to explore it and find out why it’s slowly dying. What the hell am I supposed to do? I don’t know the first thing about whales. →  But the future refused to change.

The Pokemon Drinking Game [Prison rules version]

Sometime soon, not today, maybe not even this year, but before the end of the world Richie and I are going to liveblog playing the ultimate Pokemon drinking game. Drinking? Pokemon? Game? I hear no-one say. Yes that’s right. Oh you want to play too? Here are the rules:

1) Equitment
You have to pronounce equipment as equitment and skeleton as skellington and vehicle as vericle. It’s all part of playing the drinking game. Anyway, to fully enjoy the Pokemon Drinking Game you need the following:

* Every single episode of Pokemon the animated series, including the films and the Pikachu films (You can illegally download all of these from the internet. I strongly advocate that you do because when 4Kids or Nintendo or whoever finally decide to release all of them in your region there will be 2.5 episodes per DVD and it’ll cost £15 each, and even then they’ll release only half of them). →  I’m gonna take you for a read.

Best Game Ever – Dungeon Keeper 2

One of the critical problems of the gaming industry today is that nearly every game is an adaption of a successfully proven concept. This is probably why there is a lot of hullabaloo (scrabble bonus points) whenever an interesting new concept game comes out, even if the concept and execution are flawed. But at the end of the day 95% of the time we’ve done it all before: whether we’re shooting aliens with force shields that are oddly susceptible to melee attacks (Halo), humans who have developed chainsaws with invulnerability shields (Gears of War), any civilization game, etc–despite minor variations, games are typically incremental improvements of a proven formula.

That is why I gave an exclamation of glee when I recently re-dug up Dungeon Keeper 2 (now classified as Abandonware, woohoo), a game with a refreshing concept that seems so simple yet has never been followed up on. →  This better not be as bad as everything else here.

N00b Diaries: Bioshock Chapter Three – The Wide Road to Hell

Day Eight:

By this point, I thought the game had etched the peripheral line past which other games fear to tread; etched that line and stepped boldly over it. Then I got to the theater level, and found that Bioshock had actually power-vaulted over said line. About the time that I hear Sander Cohen’s reading of “The Wild Bunny” while transfixed by the mask on the wall perched in front of the statued man, I really understood that all bets were off.

But this isn’t profanity for the sake of mere shock value, or the macabre as seen by the sane. This is gorgeous and unmitigated insanity! For example: I had to stop in the flooded men’s room for the purpose of admiring the shadow play of the three arranged figures. →  All happy games are alike; each unhappy game is unhappy in its own way.

N00b Diaries: Bioshock Chapter Two – Splicers Beware

Day Four:

I have ammo. Lots of ammo. I am having a great time finding all the little crawl spaces, hacking every safe I can find and robbing every corpse rotting up my path. I already have the three photographs of the Spidey Splicers, have had them for quite some time. Got a really cool action shot of one, on a hunch; just turned a corner and clicked. Yeah, I’m a regular Mama Weegee over here. But despite the urgings of my rather vocal spectator to “follow the damn arrow, that’s what it’s there for”, I decide to go on a treasure hunt and take in the scenery.

I am still dumbfounded by the simultaneous beauty and sheer creepiness of this world. I have to pause to look at the ceiling of the bathroom and stop by the windows every once in a while to gaze through the aquatic distortion at the city scape beyond. →  You’re tearing me apart lamers!