Friendly Fighting

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Gaming, My Stuff, Tekken 6 on March 29th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Last night, I hied off to the arcade after work to pass the time before going home. As usual, the place was packed since it was a Friday night, but thankfully the Tekken 6 machines weren’t too congested. They’re seldom without anyone playing, but since it’s been a while, you don’t see huge crowds milling about the machines anymore- usually it’s just a few players or typical hangers-on watching when someone plays. I usually just watch for a bit before actually slipping out my cards and sitting down to challenge some Brawler, Mentor or Master into combat.

I have to say, I’m not like most players. I don’t play for rank, or bragging rights. I mainly play for fun because I love the freakin’ game, and for customizations since the most satisfying for me is to see my pimped-up or dressed-down character in action. So my style is, whenever I see a player who’s got a Roulette going, I plunk down and get playing as much as I can- on occasion earning a hundred thousand in one play! My rank isn’t too good, predictably- my Asuka only just got into 1st Dan, which mystifies me since I lose so often with her. But she’s customized as I like so I don’t really care.

Presently I’m just started using Lili and seem to be off to a good start with her (after lots of play with DR on the PSP). I think I have a good chance to be pretty adequate with her- perhaps because her fighting style and moves are easier to do but more heavy on the need for timing rather than straight-up in-your-face attacks like other fighters. I say this because I usually play right up to the game’s sub-boss, Jin Kazama, when playing one-player with Lili, while I don’t fare as well with Asuka or other characters.

I also do better in 2-player play, since I think Asuka is so much more familiar to most players (and as such most know her weaknesses), while Lili is less common seen and harder to fight against. I proved this as some guy challenged me and used the Capoeira characters, and was quite good with them. But still, although I lost a couple of matches, I ended up beating him in the last several matches, thus finally gaining my first ten wins or so with Miss Rochefort.

Anyway, it was that night while playing that I got into conversation with one guy, and we talked about the game a lot as we hung back towards closing time. It was pleasant to meet a fellow player who doesn’t seem like a rank asshole like a lot of the players seem to be. There are nice guys, who are fun to play with or against, and there are some obnoxious pricks who think they’re such hot shit just because they can combo you again and again endlessly before you stand up. Like one Eddy user who plays like he’s on speed and jiggles like a frickin’ addict. Or a Bob user who just never lets up like he’s fighting for his manhood or something. Bah.

Anyway, that’s part of the reason why I really prefer consoles. Still, I do understand the thrill of playing against another human, so I’ll continue to play Tekken 6 and ply the arcade route- at least, until I get the freakin’ PS3 version. It’s just a couple of days left till April, so let’s all cross our fingers that the supposedly coming news is worth the wait.

Warriors of Elysia: Escape from Exile

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gaming on March 28th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Warriors of Elysia.
Sexy amazons fighting it out.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you haven’t heard of Warriors of Elysia. The game is actually the sequel to the more-brazen and straightforwardly-titled Bikini Karate Babes, and quite a bit more developed than it’s predecessor. Whereas the original game was basically Mortal Kombat-style digitized graphics and, well, bikini-clad karate-fighting girls, WOE is supposedly a mix of both 2-D and 3-D elements, set in 3D-stages. Aside from the upgraded look, the game has also gone through a makeover in the story and seriousness department. The original game’s premise and story/narrative, if you could call it that, involved a cast of not-swimsuit model-gorgeous but still attractive ladies who were named after various Greek/Roman goddesses or tribal themes who supposedly lived on a mystical island yet were dressed in bikinis that looked straight from BestBuy. It was really tongue-in-cheek, proven by the inclusion of a prancing ponytailed blonde bimbo and attacks that include fireballs emerging from breasts and butts. Streetfighter it wasn’t.

The sequel is a notch up more serious, actually, taking the more sober elements of the previous game and jettisoning the rest. The story goes like this- in the mystical isle of Elysia, there are only amazon-like warrior-goddesses (even common villagers are bikini-wearing babes, it seems), who are apparently always at war for who’s in charge. The struggle soon ends with the loser of the high-stakes battle, Venus, being exiled by the new ruler, Aphrodite. Warriors of Elysia sees Venus returning with new skills and gobs more power, plus an army of pink-bikinied followers at her back. So now, the disparate bikini-clad warriors must unite or be crushed under the bare heels of the usurpers…

Okay, so it’s not Lord of the Rings. But what the heck- it’s got hot babes in bikinis doing martial arts! SOLD!

Unfortunately, the game isn’t out yet, and while the creators insist it’s coming out soon, they’ve been saying that for more than a year. Still, a release later this year might be the thing. This is supported by the release of Warriors of Elysia: Escape from Exile, a dvd supplement to the upcoming game that consists of the game’s full, new and so far unseen trailer, and almost 50 minutes of live-action footage of the game’s story and behind-the-scenes material. You can order the DVD (and other DVDs chronicling the whole Bikini Karate Babes saga from the game’s official site if you have eighty dollars to burn) from the game’s website, which unsurprisingly is the home to a very active fan community.

Hey, I’m a fan. I admit it. I can’t wait for this guilty-pleasure game. Not that it will take anything away from Soulcalibur IV or Tekken 6, but this is one game I want a lot too. Heh. More on this as I get it.

Manga-kas go Ga-Ga in Soulcalibur IV

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV, Xbox360 on March 28th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Doa. Just begging to be in a fighting game.
If there was a game god, Doa here would be in Soulcalibur IV…

Every day brings us one step closer to the summer release of Soulcalibur IV. But you know, while I am hot for the game, I have to say I’m a bit perplexed. I mean, the recent CES revealed the presence of Jedi in the game. And now, in the past few days, we’re now seeing new characters apparently spawned from the pens of manga artists. Scheherazade, for example, was created by Yutaka Izubuchi, whose credits include RahXephon and Patlabor. Then there’s Angel Fear, from the pen of Sergeant Frog creator Mine Yoshizaki. Who’s next?

If we’re going to see more manga-ka creations for Soulcalibur IV, I would have to say that it would be sacrilegious if they didn’t ask Hiroaki Samura and tap his blade-rich world of Blade of the Immortal for a character or two- or three. I mean, that manga is just begging to become a fighting game- what with great characters like Manji and Rin and bad-ass villains like Kagehisa Anotsu and his Itto-Ryu. Or man, at least Giichi with his maniacal giant handcuff. Or Maki Kotono-Tachibana. Or Doa and Isaku. Man! That would be awesome.

Anyway it’s still a ways off, but probably it’s all academic now. The game is surely in the finishing stages or approaching that time, since it’s only shy of two months to release. Anything that’s in there, is in there, and anything not, is not. Whatever, I just want the game already. More on this as it happens.

Fallout 3: MOST ENDINGS EVER?

Posted in Action Adventure, Gaming, PC Gaming, PS3, Xbox360 on March 26th, 2008 by thelonegamer

According to Bethesda Software, the makers of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, their next RPG opus Fallout 3 will, thanks to many branching paths and variables which affect the overall storyline, have as many as 200 ENDINGS. Okay, after we all pick up our jaws from the floor, let’s take this with a grain of saltpeter. The endings probably involve slight variations, some changes in characters suriviving, situation details and so forth. I don’t think there will be 200 CG cinematics to unlock, but darn that would be awesome. Anyway, according to the devs, they’re shooting for a 20-hour game but the whole thing easily goes over 100 hours. WOW. And you thought Oblivion was big.

Can’t wait for the apocalypse then. Fallout 3 hits later this year.

UPDATED: Another babe, more fighters for Soulcalibur IV

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV, Xbox360 on March 26th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Who?
Another face joins the Soul Searching…

UPDATE!

Big additions to the Soulcalibur IV roster. As we reported earlier, there’s another new babe in the lineup aside from the recently-debuted Scheherazade. Her name is Angol Fia, or Angel Fear, and she’s a creation of Mine Yoshizaki, the manga-ka behind Keroro Gunsou or Sergeant Frog. Angol is apparently some kind of world-destroying uber-deity, so just why she’s mixing it up and fighting the SC crew for possession of the Soul Swords is probably just as plausible as the reason why Darth Vader and Yoda are in there too. Hmm.

Anyway, Gamersyde just posted a nice scan of a Japanese mag which reveals as well THREE more fighters in the game- Amy, the kinda-Goth, underaged moe ward of Raphael; Cervantes de Leon, the undead pirate and father to Ivy; and Zasalamel, the scythe-wielding mystery man from Soul Calibur III.

This is pretty cool, and all I need now is to see Setsuka come back as well (I expect her to be unveiled soon). The SCIV roster seems pretty robust and solid now, and makes me wish the days faster even more into June. Calibur is going to be HOT.

Anyway, look at the cool stuff in Gamersyde’s SCIV scan here.

Dead Fantasy II

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gaming on March 25th, 2008 by thelonegamer

If you haven’t seen Monty Oum’s animated game-based fight opus, Dead Fantasy, you’re missing half of your fighting gamer life. No, really. The lengthy CG fan film pits the deadly ladies of Dead or Alive with the powerful princesses of Final Fantasy… resulting in some of the most amazing animated fight action you’ll see from an indie animator. I mean, the stuff he shows is simply breathtaking. Anyway, the first part of the series (supposedly the first of seven parts) ended with a tantalizing cliffhanger, and now the fight continues with more babes entering the fray, and even more breakneck action, gravity-defying martial arts and monstrous magic attacks ensue.

Check out the Deadly Fantastic Action here.

Scheherazade Up Close

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV, Xbox360 on March 25th, 2008 by thelonegamer

Legolas' Sister?
Scheherazade’s ears aren’t the only pointy things she has…

Watch-Impress just put up a page with the Character Profiles of the latest fighters to join the cutting-crew in Soulcalibur IV. Included among them is the profile and pics of Scheherazade, the elfin character recently introduced as the latest Calibur alumnus. Well, it’s now revealed that her weapon is a rapier- perhaps making her similar to Raphael- and she looks far better in-game than she did in the artwork previously shown. I still think she seems more in place in a Japanese RPG than Soulcalibur, but who am I to refuse a hot babe? Hopefully her moves will be different enough from Raph to make her more than a substitute for Jailbait Amy in SCIII.

Anyway, check out all of Scheherazade’s new pics, as well as pics of Xianghua, Kilik, Maxi, Yun Seoung, Seung Mina and Lizardman at Watch Impress’s Soulcalibur IV Profile Page.

Musing about Tekken 6 PS3: Home-only Modes

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6 on March 23rd, 2008 by thelonegamer

We’ve already talked about the upcoming Tekken 6 home version’s Intro and Story mode- this time, let’s go into the nitty-gritty of the expected console game and see the stuff that will keep us playing long after we’ve seen every one of the 39 or so CG endings.

Arcade Mode AKA Ghost Battle is a MUST, given how it was so awesome in the PSP and PS3 versions of Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection. Using ‘player ghosts’ taken from the arcade machines’ data, this is basically VF5′s Quest mode without the need to walk all over a map of virtual Tokyo. You go up against various simulated player personae of varying levels, funny names and expertise, from Beginners to the skilled Brawlers, Berserkers and Mentors.  I have to say, the A.I. of Tekken’s ghost characters can be pretty brutal, so it really gives you a good feel of playing against a real player- well, as much as you can get if you can’t rustle up another warm body to play with, or if your internet connection’s shot. This mode never gets old, so it’s one we’ll be looking at immediately.

We expect Arcade Mode will let you earn gold and cash to buy those cool Customizations in the game, occasionally doling out Roulettes so you can bring in the big bucks.

V.S. Mode is a staple in any fighting game, and we want this to be customizable and full of options, from basic stuff as setting up for human or CPU opponents, number of rounds, life bars and stages, to stuff like setting Rage Mode parameters and hopefully setting up customizations so if you want to fight a bikini-clad Christie all day, you can.

Team Battle hasn’t been seen in a while, but Tekken 6 PS3 should benefit given how you can customize characters to be part of a team with common items and colors.

Theater Mode is tied in with the Story Mode, and basically is a media player so you can watch any of the unlocked cinematics and cutscenes in the game, or play any of the music tracks. I hope the movies are mostly in real time, so you can conceivably see your characters’ customizations reflected in any in-game cinematics.

Battle Theater is something taken from Soul Calibur, and I hope they can do something like that here. You can set up a fight between two CPU characters, and for this mode you should have access to all the customization options. You set up character appearance, rounds of play, stage, skill level and just let the fighters go at it. Camera control and match records (for slow-mos and replays) would be awesome as well.

In that same vein Battle Recording should be implemented so you can record matches fought in VS, something VF5 missed out on. You can record your battles and then upload them online or download them from your PS3 (or just record on TiVo or other AV recorder).

Special Play Modes are a toss-up, but Namco usually throws something new in from left field, and they’re usually cool. Whether it’s Tekken Ball, Tekken Bowling, Tekken Force or Devil Within, it’s really nice to see the dev team go an extra mile for fan service. Maybe they can throw in an RTS-like Zaibatsu vs G-Corp minigame? A drinking game with Miguel? Tekken Strip Poker with the hot ladies? Gambling mini-games ala DOAX to earn more cash? It’ll be exciting to see what surprises, if any, the developers come up with this time.

Character Customization is one of my favorite things in the new fighting games, and I wish they really go all out in implementing this in the home version, even better than they did in the previous games. The most basic thing I would wish for would be new, extra items for the PS3 game, the ability to see the items and customs on your character before buying or purchasing the stuff, and support for multiple character profiles. And I’ll also throw in sexier underwear for the girls as well, since the shorts that go with Asuka, Ling and Lili’s skirts are just not hot enough.

Online Modes are something we expect as well since Tekken 6 PS3 will be online-capable. Aside from the usual Online Matchplay, I hope for the ability to upload you matches and rankings, see leader boards and watch uploaded high-level play. This should make for a very lively and active online presence for Tekken 6, and more longevity for the game as well, as it has done with Tekken DR.

WHEW! That’s a lot. Clearly, Tekken 6 PS3 should have a lot of stuff in it, and I hope Namco can fit it all into a single BD without any cutbacks. Let’s hope that the home division has been working on this stuff all this time so it doesn’t take too long for this game to reach us. Anyway, just a week or so to April, and news of the console version. More on this as we go

Full Metal Gear Solid

Posted in Action Adventure, Gaming, Metal Gear Solid 4, PS3 on March 23rd, 2008 by thelonegamer

Hagane PS3
Hot stuff for MGS4 in Japan!

Gamers raring for Metal Gear Solid 4 in Japan are getting the full treatment- as in, Full Metal treatment. The Hagane (Steel) PS3 along with matching Dual Shock 3 will be part of the MGS4 premium pack, including a copy of MGS4 and the starter pack for Metal Gear Online. I’d love to have this toy, but I already have a PS3, with nice PS2 playability that I do not want to give up for any color scheme. Just a couple more months to MGS4-play…

Musing about Tekken 6 PS3: Story Mode

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6 on March 22nd, 2008 by thelonegamer

Storytelling isn’t the strongest suit of videogames, which explains why breakthrough narratives such as in Bioshock receive so much praise when they happen. In fighting games in particular, the story is often just thrown in as a flimsy excuse for all the beatdowns handed out en masse. Some, like the Virtua Fighter series, keep the story separate from actual gameplay, present only in the literature and side materials. Quite a few fighting games on the other hand make their characters’ backgrounds, current events and future a major part of the title’s enjoyment.

The Tekken series has been a story-driven fighting game since the original PSX version, something we discovered after beating the game and were treated to a CG cinematic detailing some event- sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes weird, always awesome. The Story mode endings of Tekken can be seen as  a bit of a measuring stick for CG graphics, as with each new game the cinematics get better and cooler. Tekken 3′s CG was a huge leap over the previous games, and from there into Tekken 5 and DR, Tekken CG seems to have no equal. Now, Tekken 6′s redone, hi-res graphics are, once again, a big leap from the preceding games. CG is CG, but even the real-time, in-game graphics are pretty awesome with incredibly detailed character models and dynamic lighting. Tekken 6′s Story Mode should be pretty awesome.

Tekken 6′s overall story is grim- the world is in crisis, with most nations flattened and under the heel of Jin Kazama’s Mishima Zaibatsu. Only G-corporation stands a chance of fighting them, but in lieu (for now) of a cataclysmic war, the 6th Iron Fist Tournament is held to decide the fate of the world. There’s one chance for one fighter to reach Jin Kazama and bring him down- and perhaps find the mysterious evil behind all this mess. Who will that fighter be?

Well, we’ve got at least 39 different threads to follow in Tekken 6′s Story Mode, and they all range from stories of revenge, greed, duty, love, hate and just plain silliness. A nice thing added in recent Tekken games is how the story mode is presented- a Prologue explains the story so far for your chosen fighter, which is great to keep you in the loop.

Along the way a cut scene will play before a certain fight, showing some interaction between the protagonist and a special opponent. I’m looking forward to stuff like Nina and Anna meeting once again, or Lili facing off with her rival, Asuka. What will happen once Christie and Eddy meet? Panda and Ling? Julia and Ganryu?

Finally, an Epilogue details what happens at the end after the tournament is won, and we see the CG Ending Cinematic to reward our victory. I fully expect Tekken 6 to give us this, hopefully fully using the game’s hot looks- perhaps there will be more cutscenes? Branching paths? Perhaps even more than one ending?

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how the story ends up given the more grave situation of things this time around. Did Jin truly turn evil? Will he be eliminated, or redeemed? Will Kazuya end up the victor? On other matters, what will happen once Bob proves he’s martial arts perfection? Will we see Zafina perform a belly dance in her ending? Will Leo take off her shirt at the end? Will Miguel amount to anything more than a drunken SOB?

39 stories, 39 endings to unlock. Replay value for games has always been awesome in fighters, and Tekken just keeps giving and giving. I can’t freakin’ wait to see them all.

Next time, we take up the other home-only modes in Tekken 6 PS3. Later!