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castlevania

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This week marked 30 years of the Castlevania series, a series near and dear to my heart. My first time playing this series was actually with Circle of the Moon on the GBA when I rented it while on vacation one year. It didn’t make a lasting impression on me, nor did Harmony of Dissonance some time later. The moment I became enthralled with Castlevania wasn’t actually when I played a game in the series. No, it began when I opened the pages of Gamepro one month and saw a preview of Castlevania Aria of Sorrow. I don’t know why, but once I saw those preview images I knew I had to play this game when it came out. And play it I did, becoming obsessed with finding every secret, getting every soul and so on. This was a game that hooked me and made me a fan of the series.

I did not own the original games on the NES or Super Castlevania IV on the SNES, but thanks to the virtual console, I have been able to play these classics. I think they still hold up well, to an extent. Castlevania 1 is punishingly hard, and 3 is even harder but added so much innovation. Simon’s Quest is of course the black sheep of the series but it did lay the groundwork for what would come later with Symphony of the Night. These are all amazing games on the NES, with the first game being an amazing homage to classic horror cinema, an aspect that while downplayed later on in the series, is still there even in recent entries.

Super Castlevania IV was where the series really got good. It was still hard, but now it was fair. Your failures were your own fault, and the bosses still a challenge but no longer unfair. The music was some of the best in the entire series and everything seemed on a greater scale than before. This continued with Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines. While some feel Bloodlines is not as good as IV, I think it is on equal ground. It had its own contribution to the story and helped make the novel by Bram Stoker canon with the games. It was the goriest entry in the series but also one of the best designed.

Rondo of Blood was the big transition in terms of storytelling. It didn’t just introduce cut scenes, it also introduced hidden stages which was a game changer for the series. It led directly into Castlevania SOTN as well. SOTN changed how the games were played, but it did so by combining what came before in Simon’s quest, Dracula’s Curse and Rondo of Blood, with elements of the Zelda series. It led to that style of games being called metroidvania, instead of just metroidlike.

The series has been put on hold by Konami, and with Koji Igarashi having left, it seems unlikely we will get a new entry. But we do have IGA’s upcoming game, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, to look forward to. Castlevania may have turned 30 this week, but the series still brings in new fans every day!

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No GravatarCapcom’s Street Fighter V was a game I was extremely excited for. It promised to be bigger and better than anything before it in the Street Fighter series, but what we got was less than expected. The game lacked so many basic modes and was extremely difficult for a newcomer to get into, despite Capcom saying they wanted to make it easier for newcomers to get into the series. It was a complete disappointment to me and it was the first time I ever felt upset at buying a game digitally, since I could not return it. The incomplete launch was such a turn of to me that it caused me to question if fighting games were for me.

Street Fighter V Logo

I had been getting into fighting games more and more over the past year but SFV killed all excitement I had for the genre. I began to wonder if it was even worth getting into, or if I was wasting my time. Aside from Mortal Kombat, few fighting game  were very welcoming to newcomers and casuals, or to fans who are not hardcore players. I thought “Okay, maybe this is just how the genre is now” and was willing to accept that. But then it all changed.

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When SNK’s King of Fighters XIV was announced, people mocked it for its graphics and wrote it off as a waste. But it slowly but surely began to win people over, people who were tired of what the genre had become and wanted something different. When KOF XIV came out, it was a revelation to me. This was a fighting game that I could learn and get into , and hardcore players and casuals alike could enjoy for different reasons. SNK sacrificed visuals to make the product the best they could in terms of substance and I found myself enjoying fighting games again.

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When issues came up online, SNK hurried to make a patch and fix the issues, and every interview with the developers shows a love of gaming that is lacking elsewhere. KOF XIV won over skeptics and gained many new fans with its design. Anyone can learn it but it takes effort to master it and that is how it should be. It also happens to be a complete game with everything included at launch. DLC may come later, but there is already so much variety that if there is no DLC, there is still more than enough content.

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I was ready to move on and accept that fighting games were something I would never get into. But SNK rid me of that idea and made me realize that there are fighting games worth playing. I am particularly excited for Tekken 7 now and I will always be indebted to SNK for saving this genre for me.

 

You can read my review of KOF XIV here

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Sep, 2016 At 10:28 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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The Simpsons have had a long history with comics and some have been absolutely amazing. I recently had the chance to read Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium volume 4 and loved it. This collection has some of the best stories the series has ever had.

To highlight a few stories in particular, we have two stories of “Tales from the Springfield Bear Patrol”, a throwback to the season 7 episode “Much Apu About Nothing”. The stories are hilarious and help touch on ideas the show hasn’t used in decades. We see how inept the bear patrol is but they always manage to save the day (sort of).

Other stories include “Judge Dreadneck” a parody of Judge Dredd with Cletus in the role. This is the second best story in this collection, with loving references to not just the comic but also 80’s movies like Mad Max. This story is one of the reasons I love the comics. They have a creativity to them that the show now lacks.

The best story in this collection though, is “The Duffman Corps” a parody of Green Lantern with Duffman in the role. It is far better than it has any right to be, with the Duffman Oath, the villain Vinostro and the Guardians of The Party. This is one of the best comic parodies I have ever seen and I was laughing so loud while reading this, that I was out of breath more than once.

These are just 3 (technically 4) of the stories within and they are all amazing. This is a comic you should take the time to seek out. The TV Show may be out of steam but The Simpsons Comics are still going strong.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Sep, 2016 At 05:21 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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I previously wrote about Love and Capes here, and now it is time for me to continue the discussion by talking about Love and Capes volume 2: Going to The Chapel.

We start off with Mark ( the crusader) planning to propose to his girlfriend Abby on Christmas ever. He is stopped, not by a villain but by her sister Charlotte who reveals that Abby would hate that type of proposal. What follows is one of the most amusing sequences in comics, as Mark comes up with idea after idea to try and propose.

Once that is done with, the volume really kicks into high gear. Abby and Mark grow closer than ever together while planning their wedding, Charlotte goes off to school in Paris ( thanks to Darkblade) and a new hire is made at Abby’s bookstore. The good times don’t last however as Mark and the rest of the super heroes are dragged off into a cosmic gladiator battle that leaves Abby alone….in more ways than one.  Thom Zahler does a really great job of breaking down the non super heroics parts of Super Hero tropes and ideas. Namely, if a super hero and their romantic partner fly off to another country, what happens when the partner becomes stranded in said country when the hero is pulled away. I thought it was excellent to show how the situation gets solved without Mark’s help. From their we deal with an evil clone that nearly destroys the romance between Mark and Abby and makes things awkward with his ex-girlfriend Amazonia. But you cannot keep a good hero down and Mark and his friends help put things right.

The next part of the comic is the best part for me. We get to see the fallout of such an event and what other characters do for support. Abby decides that the only way she will ever understand Mark is to get super powers of her own. This is accomplished thanks to Doc Karma ( who can read anyone’s mind but Abby’s), who can help her because Abby is doing this for love. It does have a warning though, as she will keep the powers until she decides she no longer wants them.  We then see Mark and Abby begin to understand each other better while working together ( and getting in some excellent jokes at the same time), while Amazonia begins to confide in Darkblade due to needing support. Abby excels for a time but Doc Karma’s warning proves true and she decide that powers are not for her. The circumstances surrounding Abby losing her powers show Zahler’s ability to write emotional scenes that really get to you, and you will feel deeply for Abby and what she is going through.

After that it is time for the wedding, but Zahler isn’t done yet. What follows is a time travel storyline, that while confusing ( and later issues joke about how confusing it is), show the depth of Abby and Mark’s relationship, as she will do anything she can to save him from an enemy. It is even pointed out in this issue that Abby has gone from being a bystander to being a badass in her own right. She is able to save Mark and foil the villain’s plan and Doc Karma then helps her return and get to the chapel for her wedding. Sorry for the lack of details but I am trying to cut down on spoilers.

Love and Capes volume 2 is a comic with excellent humor, drama and emotion. It takes the super hero concept and without trying, deconstructs then reconstructs the entire genre. It looks at what would realistically happen, then reminds us why we love these comics in the first place.

If you have not yet checked out Love and Capes, then I recommend you do so!

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Sep, 2016 At 09:05 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments
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Sept 8 marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, one of the most important sci-fi series of all time. I have long had an affinity for the franchise, dating back to when I was a child and would watch episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation with my family. Star Trek has always been a part of my life really. When I was in elementary and junior high school, I would come home and watch repeats of Star trek Voyager ( which I can’t watch anymore as I can only see the flaws now) and later got into Deep Space Nine.

I didn’t see the original series until I was 15, when the first episode I saw was the season 2 episode “A Piece of the Action”, the episode where the crew encountered the Iotian people who have based their society on 1920’s gangsters. It was a quirky show and after that I watched episodes like “The Squire of Gothos” which is the one that got me hooked. After that episode, I came to enjoy the original series a lot more and it helped me to truly appreciate the series that came after it. When I first decided to see the movies, I didn’t know what to expect. The first one was just confusing but from The Wrath of Khan onward they were good, yes even the odd numbered ones.

My personal favourite Star Trek series has always been Deep Space Nine. It was the darkest of the franchise but had the most character development. The characters who started the series were not the same at the end ( literally in one case). It showed a captain who was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done, but Captain Sisko was also haunted by his actions. The episode “In The Pale Moonlight” is the greatest episode of the series in my opinion, simply because it showed that war makes everything a shade of grey. It had memorable characters such as Quark, Odo, Major Kira and coming from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf. It also had amazing villains such as the Dominion and Gul Dukat. If you haven’t seen the series, then I recommend you check it out as soon as possible.

Star Trek inspired so much in society, from societal progress to technological innovation and influenced the entire genre of science fiction from that point onward. This is the franchise that boldly went, where no one had gone before!

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No GravatarRecently I had the chance to talk with Edward Di Geronimo of Saturnine Games and discuss the upcoming game Antipole DX. Take a look below

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JB: Antipole was originally a game on the DS, the Xbox and PC marketplace. What made you decide to remake the game?

EG: I always loved the gameplay of the original, and it seemed to resonate well with the people that played the original. Unfortunately the original never looked as good as I would’ve liked, and I think that prevented a lot of people from giving the game a chance.

JB: The Nintendo eshop has been a very interesting place for indie games, some succeed and some do not. How have your experiences been with the eshop so far?

EG: The eShop isn’t that different from every other digital store front. Some games do well, while many games don’t. Making games is a tough business, no matter what market you’re looking at. If you’re a big developer, you can release everywhere and find your audience that way. If you’re a small developer, that’s not really a practical approach, so you have to pick your spots more carefully. My game design senses are heavily inspired by Nintendo, and I think it shows in the games I make. As a result, I’ve seen better results when I release games on Nintendo platforms than elsewhere.

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JB: What do you think of miiverse as a means for developers to promote their indie games on Nintendo systems?

EG: I’ve been a big fan of Miiverse. Developer posts get very good visibility, and everyone reading the posts have either a Wii U or a 3DS. It’s a much more effective way of getting word out to my target audience than general social media is. I try to post a screenshot every week or two along with a short development update. The reception has been very positive. I think I’ve been able to build a good following on Miiverse.

JB: What made you decide to make the Wii U one of the target platforms for Antipole DX?  What do you think of the audience on Nintendo systems for this type of game? Do you feel they are particularly receptive?

EG: Nintendo has been developing high quality platformer games for decades. I think their audience is highly receptive to them. They also have a core audience that’s been gaming on their systems for decades. This crowd grew up playing pixel art platformers. I think the audience is going to be very receptive toward games like Antipole DX.

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JB: Can you tell us a few of the new things and changes we will see in Antipole DX that are different from the original?

EG: There’s not a lot left that’s the same! The code is largely the same, but we’ve replaced all the assets. The graphics are all new, with a pixel art style that feels like a 16-bit era game. Last time around the audio side of the game suffered due to the tight space restrictions of DSiWare. The music and sound effects are all new this time around, and are much higher quality now that we don’t have to worry about space restrictions. Players familiar with the original game will still find plenty of surprises in the DX version. The levels have all been recreated from scratch. I usually tried to stay faithful to the original designs, but there are plenty of cases where I removed or changed sections that I wasn’t happy with. I made sure to add new sections to every level, and also included several all new levels. The DX version is on track to have about 50% more rooms than the original game did.

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JB: Who are some of your biggest influences as a game developer?

EG: Nintendo is definitely the biggest influence on my design senses, with Mario, Zelda, and Metroid being the games I look at the most. NES/SNES era Capcom is another big influence, with games like Mega Man and Duck Tales standing out. In general I tend to look toward the 8/16 bit era for the basics of gameplay, and look at more modern games for ideas on how to create a nicer experience.

JB: What are some of the biggest influences and inspirations for Antipole DX in particular?

EG: The core gameplay is heavily Mega Man inspired, although you’ll certainly find some hints of Metroid in there. The speed run challenges are inspired by Metroid’s rewards for beating the game faster. The fast speed of the character was originally a nod to Sonic. I was never as big a fan of Sonic as the rest of the team though, so that aspect of it got downplayed over time. I found that Sonic style wide open levels didn’t work well with the gravity mechanic.

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JB: What are some of your biggest concerns for this game?

EG: I don’t think my concerns are any different than they are with other games. I worry about how much time I put into the game, and if it’s worth it. The industry is always changing, so I wonder if the assumptions I made about the market are right. I think everyone gets afraid that other people won’t like the game.

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JB: Is there anything you wanted to do differently with Antipole DX that you have not been able to?

EG: Coming into this project, I had a list of things I wanted to add to the original but wasn’t able to. I made sure to get those things in. While there’s always room to add more, I don’t think there’s anything I didn’t get in that I felt strongly about. I do have a list of things that would be a better fit for a sequel though!

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JB: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readership of Real Otaku Gamer?

EG: We went all out to include as much as we could in this game, and make it as great as we could. We’re extremely proud of how it’s turning out. I hope you give it a shot and enjoy it!

……………………………………………..

You can see a trailer for the game below

You can follow Saturnine Games on twitter here and you can follow Edward on twitter here.

Thank you again to Edward and Saturnine Games for the interview

By Jonathan Balofsky On 1 Sep, 2016 At 11:15 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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This past weekend, wrestling fans lost a true legend. Harry Fujiwara, known to fans as Mr. Fuji passed away at the age of 82. Mr. Fuji was a beloved figure with a long history in wrestling, including over 30 years with the WWE. While in WWE he won 5 tag team championships, 3 with Toru Tanaka and twice with Mr. Saito. He teamed with Tanaka all over the world and won a variety of championships, both in tag teams and in singles competition. Among the various titles he won, he won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship with the also legendary Genichiro Tenryu,  the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship from Maple Leaf Wrestling, The WWC North American heavyweight championship, and the WCW (Australia incarnation) tag team championship with Tiger Jeet Singh. Known for pulling many classic foreign heel tactics to win, such as throwing objects at his opponents behind the referees back, he brought this with him when he transitioned to the latter part of his career.

Audiences from the WWF in the 80’s and 90’s will remember Mr. Fuji as the evil manager of various heels, such as Demolition, Don Muraco and most famously Yokozuna, whom he managed to a lengthy WWE championship reign. When he was with Muraco, the two would appear in various skits doing parodies of mainstream shows. These included Fuji Vice and Fuji General, which were filled with intentionally bad acting and hold a special place in the hearts of many. Fuji would aid his charges through various underhanded means, such as throwing salt in the eyes, or attacking opponents with his cane when the referee wasn’t looking. He managed to get many teams over, such as the aforementioned Demolition and if it were not for him, Yokozuna’s career would have been much different, and quite possibly much shorter.

Outside the ring, he would party with the wrestlers and pull ribs (pranks) with the best of them. In fact, Fujiwara was known to be a legendary ribber who came up with some of the most elaborate ribs, ranging from slipping laxatives into peoples’ coffee, to framing wrestlers for having affairs. One notable prank was finding people to braid Yokozuna’s hair, only for the person to find out that Yokozuna’s hair was extremely foul smelling and would leave their hands reeking for days.

Fujiwara was known by many in the business as Uncle Harry, and was a real life mentor to so many in the industry. He would encourage wrestlers in their careers, but also had kind words to share to the referees and ring crew. He loved to laugh and brought excitement to so many. He inspired so many people, both as a manager and as a wrestler using his natural charisma. Though billed from Japan, he was actually from Hawaii and felt pride in the state. His partnership with Don Muraco, who was of Native Hawaiian descent led to a real life friendship and when the widow of Peter Maivia ( a local wrestling legend in Hawaii and the Rock’s grandfather) appeared on TV being greeted by then champion Bob Backlund in 1982, he could visibly be seen being emotionally overwhelmed.

Fujiwara gave everything he could to the business and wrestling has lost a true master with his death. RIP Mr. Fuji.

 

 

By N64Memories On 15 Aug, 2016 At 08:59 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, Old School Otaku, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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The Nintendo 64’s library of games was always bemoaned for being tiny. However, many gamers in the late 1990s and early 2000s still would not have had the money or time to really experience all the excellent games the console did have despite its relatively small number. Classic games such as Super Mario 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Mario Kart 64 were in most people’s collection, of course, but casual N64 gamers might not know of all the excellent alternatives to commonly owned classic games that are out there. Below, Steven Smith (aka @N64Memories on Twitter) suggests 20 alternative N64 games you might want to try instead of your usual go-to games…

Mario Kart 64/Diddy Kong Racing South Park Rally

Mario Kart 64 and, some might say, Diddy Kong Racing are the kings of the kart genre. However, South Park Rally is certainly worth playing if you need to refresh your racing fix because it not only taps into what makes the aforementioned games great, but adds in a classic dose of South Park humour as well as unique challenges not found elsewhere. Trying to collect and hold onto an antidote that will cure you of Mad Cow’s Disease is a unique way of using the karting skills honed in Mario Kart 64. It is a well-crafted game, bundles of fun and different enough not to just be a clone.

GoldenEye 007 The World is not Enough

file-2A lot of what made Rare’s GoldenEye 007 the seminal console first-person shooter is shamelessly plagiarised here in TWINE, but ultimately that’s not a problem. This is because the developers, Eurocom, have reused these features exceptionally well to create another immersive Bond adventure that is just as exciting as GoldenEye 007. In fact, there are a few aspects of TWINE that are better than GoldenEye, which I outlined here in an article on my blog. With this article, I wasn’t saying it is the better game but that it has taken the successful GoldenEye 007 formula and added good gameplay elements to it. Definitely worth playing if you haven’t already.

International Superstar Soccer/FIFA Michael Owen’s World League Soccer 2000

Released in the USA as Mia Hamm Soccer 64, this soccer sim is definitely on a par with the N64 FIFA games and just shy of the brilliance of Konami’s ISS series. The British-based developers used varied camera angles, tight responsive controls and a range of player moves to try to offer an alternative to the dominance of EA and Konami. It sold fairly well but was unfairly overlooked because of the likes of FIFA and now is the time to tell people to give it another chance!

Wave Race 64 Hydro Thunder

Surprisingly, the success of Wave Race 64 early on in the N64’s life didn’t cause of flood (pun intended) of replica games onto the system. Maybe developers knew they couldn’t match its success, who knows. However, Midway’s release is a viable alternative as it is a great conversion of the arcade game. The graphics are gorgeous, the tracks are numerous and varied enough to repeatedly enjoy, and it handles responsively too. Although it isn’t a Wave Race 64 beater, it is similar and it is very accomplished. There’s no harm in putting down Wave Race for a little while if you haven’t tried this yet.

Yoshi’s Story Mischief Makers

2D gaming was going out of fashion in the late 1990s and it took something extra special on a 3D console to get gamers to take notice. Although not as deep as Yoshi’s Island on the Super NES, Yoshi’s Story was a popular 2D platformer on the N64 and clearly had a sprinkle of that Nintendo magic that got people fawning over it. A few other alternative 2D platformers exist to Yoshi’s Story but none as exciting as Mischief Makers. You are Marina, a robot out to save her creator who has been kidnapped. Levels are unique because you SHAKE SHAKE your way up, down and through the semi-2D levels. The story line is bonkers but the levels and worlds that occupy the game are lovely and it gets pretty darn challenging towards the end. To extend longevity, each level can be completed in a time frame to earn awards and there are plenty of secrets to uncover. With 2D back in fashion, there’s no better time to rediscover this one.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M

From the same development company came an alternative first-person shooter in a similar vein to the Turok sequel. However, Turok 2 was a hugely popular game and Armorines also had GoldenEye 007 to contend with. This means it was overlooked by many casual N64 gamers and shooter enthusiasts. This is a shame because Armorines is a nifty little shooter: swapping dinosaurs for bugs as well as prehistoric settings for futuristic ones. It plays and handles exactly the same as the Turok series and anyone who is a fan of Turok would adore this as well.

Resident Evil 2 Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

Resident Evil 2 was the ultimate survival horror game for the N64 and PlayStation. However, a decent alternative is the second N64 Castlevania game (the game the first release was meant to be). It is survival horror of the more action variety as you battle giant skeletons, werewolves and chainsaw-wielding maniacs. The levels are vast, the puzzles are solveable but not too easy and there’s plenty to unlock. It’s not as tight a game as Resident Evil 2 but seeing as RE2 was quite a short experience, it’s probably time to think about alternatives and Legacy of Darkness is worth a go.

F-Zero X San Francisco Rush 2049

file-1Lots of futuristic racers exist on the N64 but this is the most worthy alternative that many have probably missed out on. The third N64 instalment of the Rush series is great because it gives you lush futuristic cityscapes with maximum speed and adrenaline-filled racing. The challengers in a race are hard to beat and there are secret passages packed into every track to take advantage of in order to win. F-Zero X is king but here is your prince.

 

 

Banjo Kazooie Rayman 2: The Great Escape

Although not a Banjo Kazooie beater, Rayman 2 is a solid platformer that owes a lot to Rare’s great game.  It shares similar types of non-playable characters who speak oddly, focus on collectables, great variety in locations, puzzle solving and cut-scenes. It never reaches the heights of Banjo Kazooie’s quality because of its linear nature and lack of save points. However, for those who like the Banjo type of platformer, then this is definitely an option.

WWF No Mercy Virtual Pro-Wrestling 2

The N64 is home to many a great wrestling game: mostly thanks to THQ/AKI Ace and, to a lesser extent, Acclaim. These mostly come with a WCW or a WWE licence but there was this Japanese-only release that rivals them all. VPW2 was also AKI Ace produced and featured the great grappling with no sluggishness or over-complicated bout types that come with American Sports Entertainment. This was fast-paced wrestling at its best and has the added bonus of some whacky Japanese commentary. If you have a NTSC-J N64 and love wrestling games then definitely play this as an alternative to WWF No Mercy.

Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Hybrid Heaven

Comparisons between these two games are numerous: action/adventure mixed with RPG, a more sinister storyline with darker environments to explore as well as a host of idiosyncratic characters to meet along the way. Konami’s Hybrid Heaven was a great attempt at producing something the N64 didn’t have at the time and while they are not all successful, it does well at gripping you from the outset with its curious main character and storyline. If you have exhausted Majora’s Mask on the N64 and 3DS then Hybrid Heaven is your next point of call.

Rogue Squadron Battle for Naboo

Battle for Naboo was the spiritual successor to the fantastic Rogue Squadron before Rogue Leader came along on the Nintendo GameCube. It has a lukewarm reputation because of the lacklustre film it is based on. However, if you can see past its Episode 1 links (like you can with Episode 1: Racer) then you will have an enjoyable Star Wars shooter on your hands. It not only sends you to the skies but has you grounded too in various machines doing battle. In addition, you are treated to a lush graphical upgrade as well as maintaining the medal challenges of Rogue Squadron. A worthwhile alternative.

Snowboard Kids Snowboard Kids 2

A little bit of a rarity this sequel but if you are a huge fan of the first and haven’t played the second then you must look this up. In terms of gameplay it is identical, but you have a whole new set of tracks, some new racers, improved graphics and even a little hub world to explore. Only for serious fans.

Perfect Dark Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion

The threequel starts off in a world not too dissimilar to that of Perfect Dark’s; the similarities in location, non-playable characters and futuristic weapons are too hard to ignore. Clearly, Iguana Entertainment saw how stupendous Perfect Dark was looking and went for it! Therefore, Turok 3 is a nice little alternative initially to sink your teeth into before you start to see its roots in the two prequels coming through. For me, it was the best of both and is certainly a game to find and play if you haven’t before.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Similarities between the two extend further than using a colon in their respective titles. In fact, I suspect the Hercules development team played Ocarina of Time throughout the game’s creation. By no means is Hercules a like-for-like game – both in terms of content and quality, because it is not. However, casual fans of both the TV series it is based upon and Ocarina of Time will enjoy sinking their gaming teeth into this one if you haven’t already. There are many locations to explore, fighting on your journey to be had, bosses to battle and items to collect. The RPG elements are by no means as in-depth as Ocarina of Time but they do exist and it has a Zelda-like feel to its graphics and music.  Worth a sniff.

Super Mario 64 Rocket: Robot on Wheels

This was the best third-party platform game on the N64. fileThe storyline is fun, engaging and unique – having to scupp
er the evil JoJo’s plans to ruin opening day for the theme park; the graphics are sublime, with a lovely frame rate and easy-to-use camera (essential for a 3D platformer); and it is mightily innovative because a lot of puzzle solving needs Rocket to apply the laws of physics. What makes it familiar to fans of Super Mario 64 is the fact that the worlds and puzzles do seem to take inspiration from the portly plumber’s adventure. But this is not a negative because it is highly enjoyable. Fans of Super Mario 64 that haven’t played this, must!

Jet Force Gemini Body Harvest

Both are third-person shooters involving bugs to blast. Jet Force Gemini has the unique Rare charm and sublime polish but Body Harvest, for me, is the more immerse game and certainly more challenging. Ignore the poorly-aged graphics because the game is full-to-the-brim with content – so many vehicles to drive, puzzles to solve, places to explore and bugs to squish. If you haven’t experienced it, please do so, but be prepared to sink many hours into Body Harvest. Great value for money right now.

Excitebike 64 Top Gear Hyperbike

If you’ve exhausted Excitebike 64 and love this type of racing game then Top Gear Hyperbike is the next best thing. More accessible then Excitebike was, Top Gear Hyperbike is an easy game to pick up and throw yourself into. The gameplay is solid, the graphics and frame rate are fine, and the races are as fast and furious as they would be in real life. This hasn’t got Excitebike’s depth but if you need some new tracks to race around then you should purchase this.

Super Smash Bros. Rakuga Kids

file (1)Despite the many beat ‘em ups on the N64, there’s no other alternative to Nintendo’s masterpiece than Rakuga Kids by Konami. It’s the only other dedicated game where cutsey characters can wage war on each other. The characters look like they’re right out of a Bust-a-Move game yet the amount of variety on offer, both game options and beat ‘em up moves, means this is nothing like one of those games! Where Super Smash Bros. has Star Fox’s pistol, this has water guns! Rakuga Kids did a great job back in the day of refreshing the genre and probably didn’t enjoy the success it deserved. If you’re a beat ‘em up fan, you have to find this!

Banjo Tooie Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Despite both games being developed by Rare and releasing very late in the N64’s lifespan, Banjo Tooie well out-sold Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Therefore, many gamers haven’t had the chance to really enjoy Conker’s eventual adventure for the Nintendo 64. This is made even more difficult because even a cartridge on its own is around $100/£80. Both are platformers and both are graphically gorgeous, otherwise they are quite dissimilar in tone and action. I consider Conker an alternative to Banjo Tooie because they both require an investment from the gamer to really maximise the satisfaction you will get from playing them. They are large, explorable worlds to immerse yourself in. Try finding a ROM if you cannot afford to invest in a Conker’s Bad Fur Day cart.

 

Steven Smith runs the #N64Memories Twitter feed, Facebook page and blog – www.n64memories.blogspot.com

KOF

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Last Night, I shared my thoughts on the Demo for King of Fighters XIV. Today I will share the rest of my thoughts.

First, let me finish my thoughts on King of Dinosaurs. After spending a lot more time with him, I really came to enjoy the character. An excellent grappling character with fun moves. I suggest taking the time to learn him because you will enjoy the character.

Now that that business is finished with, let’s move on to the remaining characters. Kyo is a good basic character that is capable of much in the hands of the right player. I’m personally not a fan of the character and I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did others, but from what I saw, I do like what they did.  He is fast and easy to learn, though I still think Mai is a better beginner character, and would be good for players looking for a bit more challenge than Mai. I do like that some of his combos are easy to learn in Max Mode more than characters like Iori and Sylvie. Kyo does have one thing that I like, in that I’m able to attack from more angles with him than in previous games that I’ve played. This may not seem like much but to someone who plays the way I do, this can change the entire fight. Kyo may not be a character I am extremely into but from what I have seen of him, I plan to use him more.

Iori is one of the harder characters to write about. I was able to do incredible moves with him and the character is a good one, but he just doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t know why, but this incarnation of Iori just feels off. Maybe I need more time with the character, but for now, I don’t like him. He does have some great moves but his speed seems different and for me at least, awkward to use. he was nowhere near as hard as Sylvie to learn, but I just don’t think I like him as a character. This is strange to me as I used to really like Iori in the older games. I plan to spend more time with him because he is one of the stronger characters from what I’ve seen and I hope I can come to like the character in the future. I discussed this with a friend and he found my reaction strange. Because Kyo grew on me and I didn’t expect that, I am hoping that the more I play Iori, I will start to like the character again.

Now that the characters are done, I want to talk about the presentation of the game. As discussed before, the visuals are not the greatest but in motion, they are far better than what people are saying. The game isn’t beautiful on the level of Tekken 7 or Street Fighter V but is indeed visually impressive in its own way. Where the game does stand out is its music. The game has an amazing selection of music available, both from the trailers and the stages in the demo, and it feels like a great fit for a fighting game. King of Fighters has always had a Rock N Roll edge to it, and this soundtrack fits it great. The main theme from the trailers is an epic rock tune ( at least from my perspective) and that is extremely important to me. Fighting games need good music and while I haven’t heard the full selection from the game,, I can tell SNK is putting a lot of work into the soundtrack. Even the sound effects are great, Iori and Mai’s specials in particular both have great sound effects which give them an extra feeling of awesome. The sound effects for King of Dinosaurs are also great but at time have a sense of weirdness to them and not in a good way. Maybe its a big still left to fix but it does stand out to me.  The different stages all have great themes and while I don’t have any particular favourites, the music makes me excited for the full game so I can hear more of the stage music. SNK just did a great job hear for the most part ( except the aforementioned KOD issues)

While the game may not look as great as some of the others, don’t let that fool you. This can definitely hold its own with the likes of the big kids.

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Jul, 2016 At 05:53 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, ROG News | With 0 Comments
KOF

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Recently I had the chance to sit down and play the demo for The King of Fighters XIV. I haven’t played a King of Fighters game in years and have been worried about getting back into the series. Judging from what I played in the demo however, it seems I should not be worried at all.

First of all, getting into the game felt extremely natural; I was debating using my fightpad or a PS4 controller, and I decided on the PS4 controller. The controls worked great and I was able to learn the game very fast. There is an excellent tutorial mode in the game and it is one of the best in fighting games for four button games. The game taught me how to do the moves and attacks and made it go smoothly.  From there we go to Max Mode and Rush Combos. Max Mode is an interesting addition where you can perform many more EX moves for a limited time, as well as pulling off moves that can only be done in this mode. It took me a while to get used to but once I did, it felt great and I was able to pull off some great EX moves. Rush Combos are single button combo chains and are designed with newcomers and casuals in mind.  This is an excellent addition as it helps people who might otherwise be intimidated by fighting games, slowly ease their way into the genre with this game. Visually it isn’t the most amazing game, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for in technique. From a technical standpoint, this game is solid and built great and is one of the better designed fighting games in recent years.

Now for character impressions. A good character for newcomers to try when starting out would be Mai as she has moves that can be learned quickly and adjusted to fast. Mai is one of the better characters in the demo and I was able to have some great matches with her. She can be a very fun character and is clearly designed to be user friendly ( being one of the faces of the series and all), so my suggestion is to start with her.

Side Note: I will only discuss the characters I played as in the demo, ( Mai, Shun’Ei , Nelson, King of Dinosaurs and Sylvie Paula Paula . I did not spend time with Kyo and Iori yet)

From there I went to Nelson. I have always liked Boxer characters in fighting games and so felt right at home with Nelson. His gameplay is not the best for beginners but can be learned with enough time.  He is a character worth learning because when played right, he is a lot of fun. To use him well, you need to know the right time when to use his speed and not just attack constantly. At least that’s been my experience, others may differ. I think Nelson will be a character used a lot in tournaments and online once people really learn him. After Nelson, I tried King of Dinosaurs. KoD is very much a Zangief style character albeit more fast paced. I’ve seen some players streaming the demo, pull off amazing moves with him and while I’m still learning the character as of this writing, I can definitely see the hype behind him. After King of Dinosaurs came the character that has had a mixed reaction, Sylvie Paula Paula. Sylvie is one of the characters I had a difficult time learning.  She isn’t a bad character by any means but takes a while to get used to. Once I finally figured out the character, I was able to pull off incredible combos. She really does have an excellent move set once you spend time to learn her ( and I’m still learning her). I just wish her character design wasn’t such a divisive one. Finally after Sylvie, I moved on to Shun’Ei. Shun’Ei is the new protagonist of the series for the current story arc beginning in XIV and is a much better protagonist that the previous one, Ash, both in design and play. Shun’Ei takes a bit of time to learn, albeit not as long as Sylvie, and is one of the better characters in the game. Shun’Ei is a character I can see being used a lot online and in tournaments much like Nelson, and he is one of the characters I want to spend more time with to learn everything I can about using.

Over all, I was very impressed with the demo and am very excited and eager to play the full game when it releases. This is what a fighting game from Japan should be and I hope others take notice. if you have not yet checked out the demo, I suggest you do so right away!

REAL OTAKU GAMER is using WP-Gravatar