Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

We were told that if we asked for them, Konami would make more 2D Castlevanias.

Ask and ye shall receive!

Portrait of Darkness will follow Johnathan Morris and Charlotte Orlean in the hunt for two twisted vampire sisters intent on resurrecting Drac-baby in a sequel to the much loved Bloodlines. PoD will be for the DS, which makes sense with the success of Dawn of Sorrow(I think I've mentioned enough times that I only bought a DS to play DoS). And from the screenshots so far, it appears as if you get to use both characters at the same time. Sweet! I smell summons! There isn't much news yet and current release date is set for November 2006. Just in time for my birthday! (hint hint)

More at Castlevania Dungeon.
More at Mobile Tech Review.

Super Mario Live!

The first level of Super Mario Brothers performed for a live audience. The was part of Golden Goose, a talent show held at Gorden College in Massachusetts.



Some days, every gamer feels this way about their dice.

EA Spouse: Ahead of the Game

We've been wondering, and now the truth is out. EA Spouse reveals who she is and why she took Electronic Arts to task.

For those of you who aren't up to speed, in November of 2004, and anonymous woman posted a letter that detailed the terrible working conditions at Electronic Arts. The fall out included six lawsuits against industry leaders for unpaid overtime.

Live Action Final Fantasy

This is SWEET!

Watch Mick and Dave deal with a random encounter in a park in live action Final Fantasy.

Warning: some profanity.


Urban Dead

Here's a massive multi-player zombie experience!

Urban Dead is a free-to-play browser-based multi-player game where you play the survivor or victim of a zombie outbreak in a quarantined city centre, alongside tens of thousands of others.

Here's a screenshot of play.

Here's the low down:

You're a citizen of Malton, a city that's in the process of being evacuated and quarantined to contain a sinister contagion - you play as either a trapped civilian, a member of the evacuating military, a scientist operating in the background, or a victim of the early outbreaks.

Malton is a grid of 100x100 city blocks, each of which is either a nondescript street, or a particular type of building - you move around the map by clicking on the names of the blocks. Buildings can be entered and barricaded by survivors, to shelter from the zombie hordes that roam the city.

Other citizens of Malton appear on the map as names in coloured boxes (the colour matching their class; green for Military, blue for Science, red for Civilian and grey for Zombie); they also appear in the location's description.

Some character classes start with equipment, and all characters can search to find further objects during the course of the game - some are weapons, some are one-use items, others have subtler or more permanent effects. All characters start with at least one Skill, which grants them an extra ability or bonus in the game - by gaining experience points, players can buy further skills and develop their characters.

Players get fifty "actions" per day - these are be used to move, attack, search or otherwise interact with the city. When your action points are gone, you have to wait for them to recharge. (Players remain visible and vulnerable on the map when they're out of Action Points or logged out; survivor players should find secure shelter between logins.)


The Sweetness Continues!

THQ has annouced a sequel to Destroy All Humans! In the sequel Make War Not Love, you take control of Alien Scout Crypto 137 to rampage thorugh the 60's. We'll get upgraded weapons and mental abilities to obliterate new enemies including secret agents, giant creatures, Soviet forces and ninjas.

That's right. Ninjas.

The release date is set for this fall.


Origins of a Title

Okay, so the original link took you to Penny Arcade, but that's only part of the story. Specifically the back half, or rear end portion if you will.

The story starts with my dice.

I have a lot.

Several handmade bags full, in fact.

Among my bags of dice, however, are the Holy Grails of Dicedom, the 'Crit Machines.' These dice roll critical hits so often it's scary. None of these twenty sided monsters is modified or weighted. I don't roll them a special way or have any other tricks up my sleeve. They just roll twenties.

Because of this, several friends are of the opinion that I can 'pick'em.' I.e., I have some sort of magical ability to choose the dice that will roll critical hits all the time. Maybe I do and maybe I don't. I chose a set for Sarah. It rolls crits for me just fine. It rolls critical failures for her. Maybe the dice just love me?

Anyway, after years of rolling impressive numbers in DnD and other d20 using games, I read this.

And that's the origin of the title.

Poor Pooh Bear!

This is not for the faint hearted. VGCat Sora tries to figure out what happens to all the honey Pooh eats.


Easter Turducken

Normally, something like this would go on The Weird Life, but for Easter, it gets to be here. Enjoy the super, killer, sweetness!

Includes nutrition facts at the bottom of the page.


Wallie-World vs Gamers

Lately, game publishers have come under increasing scrutiny do to dealings with Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the single laregest supplier of video games in the US. As such, they get to say what American consumers see and don't see. They, in fact, have enough power that if Wal-Mart refuses to carry a game, the publisher will nix it entirely.

How many incredible games are going down the toilet because of Wal-Mart?

This reminds me of the music industry. Music industry sales went south years ago and have consistantly stayed low. Instead of blaming the lack of good music, the industry blames their own consumers and starts suing them for theft. What a great way to treat your customer base, huh?

This is what will happen to video games if publishers don't get their acts together and focus on game stores that specialize in their product such as EB Games. When you sell a product, you should be interested in your consumers, not your middle men.


Kingdom Hearts II

The long awaited sequel of Kingdom Hearts did one thing I hoped and prayed for:

It blew me away!

Spoiler Warning from here on out.

I'm going to list my complaints from the first game and then talk about how the second game did on them:

1. The camera in KH1 was finicky and often made me motion sick.
The camera in KH2 is infinitely better. The camera was centered squarely behind Roxas and Sora unless you were target locked. You could always change the camera angle with R2 and recenter at anytime with R3. And I wasn't motion sick once during the game.

2. Atlantica sucked. Fighting in 3D was a headache.
KH2 fixed it by making the whole thing a video game musical with timing commands for clearing levels. It was cool not to have to fight in 3D, but the level was just embarassing, especially hearing Donald and Goofy sing.

3. Back tracking constantly, especially in confusing levels such as Monstro, was a pain in the butt.
KH2 fixed this by streamlining the area so that you moved forward through it with the story. You only back tracked when you went through the levels for a second time with a new story.

Now, let's talk about what made this game fantastic:

1. The game play and battle system were streamlined and easy to use.
The game play made it easy for young players (who often button mash) to play with the same results as a more experienced gamer. In fact, button mashing is the way to go in some scenes.

2. The reaction commands made the game extremely cinematic.
Sora flying around on Pegasus to beat up the Hydra was awesome! The only boss fight I didn't enjoy the hell out of was Xenmas(see below), though I did enjoy the reaction command that let Riku put him in an arm lock before throwing him to the floor.

3. Tron, Mulan, and Pirates of the Carribean were great editions to the game.
I remember when Tron came out in the theatre. That's how old I am. And who doesn't like zombie pirates? That's up there with vampire ninjas.

4. Music
Every area had music not only appropriate to the area, but including the original themes for the movies presented. Fighting zombie pirates to the Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack was great. Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden included several Final Fantasy themes.

5. The older Sora and Riku made me fill less like a pedophile.
I'm a fan girl, what can I say?

6. The Advent Children plug was nicely done.

7. Sora got a second form.
Bosses get second and sometimes even third forms. Why not the hero?

8. I only needed GameFaqs twice.
Once for a mission(Sephiroth) and once for the 4 millionth form of Xenmas (actually, just his eighth).

9. Sora can turn into his own Heartless.
An unusual addition to the drive forms, but one that actually saved my butt in a boss fight because Sora moves faster in that form.

My general complaints:

1. Not enough Riku.
Yes, I'm a fan girl and I enjoyed every part of the story, but a few glimpses every so often of the baby Sephiroth clone would have been nice.

2. Square doesn't flex it's muscles enough.
There was so not enough of the sweet, sweet CGI you get at the very beginning and very end.

3. Xenmas had eight forms.
I had Ultamecia flashbacks. I never want to have those again.

4. For someone billed as a pansy, Demyx was NOT a push over.
I may complain about Xenmas, but I desperately wanted to Demyx to be real so could throttle the man.

I finished the game in forty hours without finishing all the missions. That's the first time I've finished a game that fast that I hadn't played before. Every minute of the game was enjoyable. The story was filled with great plot twists and turns. It took me a lot of effort not to run through the game without level building, but you honestly don't need too. The game is well paced and you will end up at the minimum level you need to be for each boss.

My rating?

9.8 out of 10


Sora's cool but...

I'm not going to say anything about Kingom Hearts II. I'll give a full review later. But I must say one thing:


back to playing!