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Title: FAQ Writing Progress updates
Posted: January 24, 2010 (11:25 PM)
Some general progress over the last week on guide writing:

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans (NDS)
This of course was the biggest game for me in the most recent while in terms of work. Before I stopped updating my writing for some time in mid to late December and early January, I had the entire main walkthrough, most of the side-adventuring, and 97% of the bestiary done along with the S-Combo list. I quickly punched out the rest of the bestiary, the few side-quests, the last remaining area (Martial Arts Temple Sewers), the secret boss, items/accessories/capsules list (those three being the most tedious), a shop list, and a profile on each of the main six characters. To compare in terms of KB, it increased from 302KB to 451KB. Right now I am merely finetuning it as I get more e-mails or posts in my topic on the GameFAQs AotS board.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (NDS)
I left a mostly-complete walkthrough in early December behind, but finally finished up the walkthrough a couple of days ago. However, going through the Tower of Spirits one last time was extremely tedious for me, so I will lay off the game for a couple more days before returning to it. The first thing I plan to do is to fill out the intermission sections (basically writing all the sidequests and extra stuff you can do in a walkthrough form) starting from the earliest sections going up to the latest, and fill out the mini-games, rabbits, heart containers, etc. sections at the same time. Once that is done, I will probably retreat away from it again, and then later on fill in the remaining miscellaneous sections, such as controls, and Battle Mode.

Lock's Quest (NDS)
Lock's Quest is a fairly easy game to write for: the game is divided up into one hundred 'days', each of which have their own tower defense scenario. Each of the days is usually only three or four minutes long, and I can save in between each day, so I can write in short bursts at various times of a day. Currently I am up to Day Fifty-Four. For the next week this will likely be the game I focus on most, to avoid burn-out from Zelda.

Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (NDS)
I wrote for this game nearly three years ago now, but I left it basically at just a plain beginning-to-end walkthrough, with basically no side-tracking from the main game, and no sections other than the walkthrough. Over the next little while, I plan to remedy that, and begin to flesh it out completely to be in-depth and comprehensive on every aspect of the game. It will take a while, but I can chip away at it slowly but surely.
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Title: Blogspot Blog
Posted: December 09, 2009 (01:43 AM)
If anyone cares at all about what I write, then I should note that I have recently started a new blog at the following link;

http://ramblingsofavideogamefaqwriter.blogspot.com/

For the most part, what I write here is a revised, stripped-down version of what I write there, for interested folks. Here, for the most part I merely cover status updates and give my personal thoughts on whatever I am playing at the moment. There, I go a lot more in-depth on the processes I go through for writing an FAQ, little novelties such as author logos, thoughtful stuff such as the proper usage of pronouns in regards to any sort of organic or mechanical being in video games, and even ethics to a degree. Plus I update a few days ahead of here on there with status updates.

That said, I am currently working on an FAQ for Zelda: Spirit Tracks. I recently finished the Snow Temple, but now I am working on adding in all the stuff you can do in between and during intermission into my FAQ before I continue along. For those who have read my works for Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time/Master Quest, you may remember that I put in alerts in the walkthrough whenever a Heart Container and Poe/Gold Skulltula/etc. was around that one could find/capture, in the vein of a capitalized, intrusive '!!!HEART PIECE ALERT!!!' in its own separate line. Have no fears, for I am doing exactly that as well, along with the intermission, so if you are someone who likes to follow along with a walkthrough significantly, you will see a lot of action before you even head back to the Tower of Spirits after the Snow Temple wink .

At the same time, I am making minor updates to Lock's Quest and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans on the side, to keep from burning out by working too much on one project.

Also honestgamer, I have no idea whether direct link hits to FAQs affect your site rating at all, but you may see a couple thousand hits on my Spirit Tracks on this site this weekend since it is the only site I have bothered with getting an account at so far that I can update an FAQ instantly.
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Title: Multitasking
Posted: December 06, 2009 (02:44 AM)
It is not often that I simultaneously work on two FAQ projects. In fact, I cannot recall ever doing such a thing, but there is always a first time for everything. In this case, I am working on both the current project that I previously mentioned, which is Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans (NDS), and Lock's Quest (NDS). The former game I finished the main walkthrough for about four days ago, while the latter I just started two days ago, and have so far gotten up to Day Forty-Three (the game is measured in 100 one-day scenarios, so I am approximately 43% done the walkthrough, though it is less than that since of course later scenarios are longer and more complicated).

The reason why I decided to do Lock's Quest while working on DBZ at the same time is twofold; I have been pounding away at my keyboard fairly quickly over the last couple of weeks, so I would like to move to a different game before I burn out too fast. Secondly is what I have to fill out in my DBZ guide; specifically, there are the 'how to play sections', a couple of side quests, a secret boss and a secret area, and the appendices minus 98% of the bestiary. The secret boss and secret area, however, require lots of grinding; the boss would require me to level up at least twenty levels for each of my characters to be able to do well against him. For the secret area, you first need to get a key to open it; to get this, you need to get 1000 item carrots, which is done by equipping an item that turns all foes you defeat into carrots. Since the maximum number of enemies you can have in a battle in this game is three, it would take me a minimum of 333 battles to get enough carrots.

Lastly, there are several items that happen to be rare drops by rare enemies, and I do not have enough patience to go and get at least one drop of each item just to transcribe it in an appendix. Therefore, I would like to take the time-effective route of merely waiting for some codes to come out that allow me to get enough of each item (and fortunately, the aforementioned carrots are common items, not key items, so a '99 items' cheat would work to my advantage), as opposed to grinding for five to six hours to a game that I am already exhausted over playing.

To that matter, I recently changed the text editors I used for FAQing, from Metapad to EditPad Lite. EditPad Lite has a few nifty features that may seem small but appeal to me; the row that the cursor is in is highlighted in grey; you can open multiple tabs in one EditPad application, and switch back and forth between them; when you minimize EditPad Lite, it disappears from your bar until you bring it up again from your task bar. Simple things, but very helpful, especially the multiple tabs section, which allows me to split up a guide into separate portions (for example, I could work on a game's walkthrough in one tab and occasionally jot down some notes on how to play it in a second tab) without having to scroll back and forth throughout the file. Unfortunately, EditPad Lite does not have the feature to commit word wrap like Metapad does, so I still keep the purple-colored text editor around for that. Truly a nifty tool, EditPad Lite is, and I highly recommend it to basically everyone.

Of course, that does not mean I am not still working on Attack of the Saiyans. I still am, but I am not doing the item/equipment list, 2% of the bestiary that is involved in the secret area, the secret area and secret boss. This still leaves me with the How-To-Play section and some other odds and ends.
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Title: Crick Crak Crispy Crunch
Posted: December 03, 2009 (12:22 AM)
A lot of people go into crunch time on their own personal hobbies to finish something up when they get near the end of it. I, admittedly have some times where I go into a crunch time working mode, when writing an FAQ for a video game. I usually tend to do this twice a guide; once, when I am nearing the walkthrough and want to wrap it all up, and then when I get to the everything else section, and again near the end. If the game has an extensive amount of sidequests, there is usually a third crunch mode for me in that. The latter two can usually last me about a half a day to a day each, while the former can take a day to three days depending on the game. For most of the rest of the time, I work at my own pace, not a care in the world (except for people who e-mail me about a portion of the game several hours ahead of where I am right now despite my explicit warnings not to do such a thing).

For example, in the game I am currently working on right now, Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans (NDS), the game is around 25 to 30 hours long. I clocked in about 40 hours on my game clock all told for the first four/fifths of the game (add about another 20 hours for my writing up to that point, as I usually put my DS into Sleep Mode whenever I can), and then I blew through the last little bit in only six hours, frantically editing and adding information as it came in.

Certainly, the game has far more to add to a guide still than just the walkthrough, but at least that portion is done now as opposed to two days from now. Putting yourself into crunch time manually can be stressful, and if you go out of it too early it is very possible to burnout and not be able to finish for longer than it would have taken normally, but after a while, a multi-FAQ writer can get used to it. The best advice is to do it on the weekends, however, when you are not out partying; it can be very easy to finish working and look at your clock to see that it is 4am.
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Title: Getting back into the groove.
Posted: November 29, 2009 (12:07 AM)
After more than a year's hiatus, I did a couple of NES FAQs over the summer to tally towards the Completion Project on GameFAQs, then I have also recently been working on another guide for Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans for the DS.

I took a break today from DBZ and did a single-day guide for SBK: Snowboard Kids. To say the least, this game is definitely below average. I would not be surprised if it burned me out for another year, but I will try not to let it do that.
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Title: Aww
Posted: July 06, 2008 (03:20 PM)
Federer lost :(

Oh well, it was still a good match.

Did I say good?

I meant sporting event of the year. Yes, better than Pats-Giants.
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Title: IGN Writer of the Month
Posted: May 31, 2008 (07:54 PM)
Not sure how many of you really care, but I was recently interviewed as IGN's May 2008 Writer of the Month. The full interview can be found here.

As for which game I got, I asked for Boom Blox.
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Title: Dragon Quest IV, V, VI confirmed for North America.
Posted: May 20, 2008 (10:31 PM)
While we all knew it was coming, Square-Enix's website confirmed today that all three games are coming to the States and Canada, with a release date of September 16th (this year, although I would not be surprised if it was next year with Squeenix's relatively infamous translation times).
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Title: Valkyrie Profile 3
Posted: March 13, 2008 (06:44 PM)
So it's confirmed. After inital NeoGAF speculation, Valkyrie Profile 3 is coming.

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Title: Apollo Justice Impressions
Posted: February 23, 2008 (11:25 PM)
Please note that the following post DOES contain some spoilers for the game (nothing major), so read on at your risk.




Having just finished Apollo Justice, I have to say, I am somewhat disappointed. Remember Case 5 from the original Ace Attorney, with its use of the touch screen and examination of objects in 3D? It is the same system here, but the opportunities are used so conservatively that it really is very wasteful (probably only two to four times a case was the touch screen or mic really required). The new Perception system, in which you perceive a witness during a cross-examination and observe any nervous habits that they do that identifies a lie, is a nifty concept, but it is also only very rarely used, and in fact makes the game less intense to a degree - instead of finding evidence to prove a contradiction, you only have to look for a person's nervous habit and force them into spilling something that is easily followed up on.

Story-wise, the actual plot is decent, with Case 1 being very intense, a humorous filler Case 2, a reasonable Case 3, and a good Case 4, although the plot details get a bit too out of hand by the end of 4-4. Unfortunately, the character personalities just do not click. Everybody makes fun of the titular character, Apollo Justice (which, by the way, is still a stupid name) over anything from having a large forehead to being one of "Phoenix's boys" (as he works in Phoenix's agency). Klavier Gavin, the new prosecutor, is a fairly good guy and follows the vein of Edgeworth in wanting to "know the truth" in every trial, but his gimmick of being a rock guitarist by night and prosecutor by day gets old. Ema Skye, who makes a return as the new Gumshoe, is just annoying. The main villain of the game also needed some more development.

And do not get me started on Phoenix. I admire that the storywriters had the balls to do what they did to Phoenix, but Phoenix's story overshadows Apollo's story by far too much. At the end, I was left with the feeling that Apollo was suffering from Vaan syndrome, and for trying to start what would seem to be a new Ace Attorney trilogy, that definitely was not the way to go.

~Darkstar Ripclaw
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Title: Darkstar's Top Ten Obscure DS Games to Watch out for First Half 2008
Posted: January 30, 2008 (05:57 PM)
IGN’s Nintendo Team recently came out with an opinion list of Nintendo DS games to look out for in 2008. Not wishing to be outdone personally, I have come up with my own list of Nintendo DS games to look out for that IGN has listed as tentatively coming out in the first half of 2008. This means it is listed as being the first half of 2008, not ‘TBA’ or “Fall 2008” or “2009”.

But wait! I could just slap down two handfuls of major first and third-party games, and call it a list. Instead, following are ten games that will probably pass under your radar, due either to obscurity, or because all of them are either original IPs or new iterations in series that have not seen a North American release in at least three years. It is unlikely that every one of these games will turn out to be good; however, every game looks to have the potential to be good. If I can convince even one person to look into one of these games and buy it (if it turns out to be decent), then I have done my job.


#10: Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest
Developer: Lightweight Co. Ltd., Headlock Corp.

Since the Nintendo DS was announced, people were hoping for two genres to be revolutionized on the system: First-Person Shooters and Real-Time Strategy games. Both genres made sense on the stylus-controlled touch screen. Yet to this day, there are very few games populating either, with Metroid Prime Hunters being the only notable FPS. Meanwhile, in the RTS side, starting with Taito’s Lost Magic and ending with Square-Enix’s Revenant Wings, nothing was as groundbreaking as was hoped. Which is disappointing, because having played Bits Studio’s Warlocked for the Gameboy COLOR, I know exactly that a decent RTS can be done on handhelds, even without touch-screen controls (and with, it should be even better).

My belief is that in order to try finding something that works, developers need to abandon all the complex stuff for awhile, and focus on trying to find a more simple formula with DS RTSes before trying to build up. Cue Lightweight and Headlock’s Eco-Creatures. While a feel-good ‘save the environment’ story is groanworthy, ignore it and the game actually looks like it might be decent. While you can manage resources, build stuff, train new units and so on, the game looks mainly to focus on the attacking and strategic components, much like Lost Magic originally did. This breath of fresh air should hopefully renew the RTS interest. A demo is also being released at Nintendo DS stations in North America fairly soon, so if you find one, try it.


#9: Ninja Reflex
Developer: Sanzaru Games

This is one of two exceptions I make on this list as to publishers, as the game is being published by Electronics Art. However, the game itself looks to be something likely to be passed over, if not for its concept. Ninja Reflex is, in fact, a collection of mini-games. From what little has been released on this game, it looks to test your skills and reflexes with a series of mini-games designed to test reaction times and other physical and mental requirements to be a ninja. Of course, the game could very much end up sucking as has come to be expected of many games that EA begins to publish, but it may also buck a trend with mini-game collections and offer something new, fresh and worthwhile.


#8 Drone Tactics
Developer: Success

Drone Tactics is a new SRPG offering by Success, being published by Atlus, which sees a group of humans who have established a telepathic link with insects that rule over a faraway planet. Seriously. In any case, the insects need help repulsing a new tribe that has emerged, which is capable of transforming into robotic ‘drones’. Resist the urge to make Transformers jokes here. You take control of the peaceful insect tribes as you try to repulse the Black Swarm. The main innovation here is that you get Battle Cards that you can employ for various effects, either before a battle begins, or during the actual battle to help you overwhelm enemy forces. Comparisons should not be made to Advance Wars, but rather to Fire Emblem; every unit that you bring into a battle is all that you will have for the fight, the actual fighting operates on a triangle system of paper-rock-scissors, and each drone unit can be equipped with various new stuff. If you are an SRPG fan in the vein of Fire Emblem (and even if you just like Advance Wars), this should be a decent game to check out. The only real problem that has popped up so far is that previews state the game to be difficult, even in Easy Mode.


#7: Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles
Developer: Arc System Works

What originally began with Portpia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken way back in 1985 has exploded into a large offering of detective mysteries. Hotel Dusk was the first major game on the Nintendo DS out of this genre to be localized and brought to American shores, and it was a decent success. Coupled with the recent reemergence of text-adventure games on the DS (Phoenix Wright, I am looking at you), and it only makes sense for Aksys Games to bring over Tantei Jinguuji Saburo DS, the DS release of one such series that started on the Famicom in Japan. Casuals should beware, however: unlike the two aforementioned DS titles/series, Jake Hunter is a lot more straight-up text adventure. Nevertheless, from the lone interview given on the game so far, it looks like it will be worth a check. Now if only Suda 51 would give us a “The Silver Case” release date…



#6: Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer
Developer: Chunsoft

Remember the Pokemon Mysterious Dungeon games? Yeah? While the Pokemon license was obviously just there to sell copies, the actual game itself was fairly decent in its dungeon-crawling glory. In between those two games and its next set of MD games, Chunsoft is releasing yet another dungeon-crawler. Shiren the Wanderer is a series that with an extended history across several platforms in Japan, but until now, it has never seen an actual release in North America. IGN has already released a preview of the game, and Nintendo Power has also done an extensive hands on of the game in the same issue as the DS Sonic RPG, so if you liked the Mysterious Dungeon games, then look for this to tide you over until Explorers of Time/Darkness. Or just look for it.


#5: Insecticide
Developer: Crackpot Entertainment

Insecticide seems to be one of those quirky titles that may turn out to be a bit too weird for some folks, but should also be good for a look at. IGN already has a preview up for the game. You play the role of an insect in an insect-dominated world whom goes around shooting stuff up. Your agent also has to investigate murder mysteries, and coupled with what seems to be turning into a darker-themed story, Crackpot Entertainment may have a critical success on their hand. Let us just hope that the developers do not focus solely on the PC version and let the DS game turn to crap.


#4: Project Exile
Developer: Studio Archcraft

With the release of the Nintendo DS, a number of Canadian indie development studios jumped aboard. While some of them will probably never end up releasing any material, Montreal’s Studio Archcraft has labored; their first release, originally titled Black Sigil, also looks to be their magna opus. Originally intended to be released on the GBA, the decision was made to put it on the DS once time began to run out for it to be business-wise to release it on the DS. Project Exile is set in a fantasy background, with its main character a lad who is unable to use magic, in a land where everyone is able to use magic. The battle system appears to be a cross between Chrono Trigger and other RPG systems, while the graphical style definitely draws on late SNES-era RPGs, especially those of the former Squaresoft.

There is not that much material actually released on Project Exile. However, of what is there (an interview and a video) is enough to inspire a great amount of interest, and that is exactly what the two items did when first shown in summer 2006. It should be interesting to see what improvements have been made since then, and what new information will be released on the game in the following months. The crab boss shown also seems to be eerily prescient of the “Massive Damage” meme that seems to have spread over the internet.


#3: Rondo of Swords
Developer: Success

Blah blah blah a king dies, his kingdom plunges into chaos, another kingdom invades. We have all heard it countless times before. From what little material has been shown to us as of yet, the battle system appears to integrate the ‘Tales of’ gameplay into your standard SRPG fare. We will see how that turns out. You can also send individual characters on quests to help level them up, as is being seen in a lot of SRPGs these days. In fact, little information has been released so far on the game, and outside of playing the Japanese release, I cannot offer anymore information than that. However, the game is being published by Atlus, who got the ball rolling on bringing Luminous Arc over, and that was a fabulous game. If they get another good hit again, it is always good news for those of us who adore our fantasy-setting strategy RPG games.


#2: The World Ends With You
Developer: Square-Enix

And this is the other exception on the list to major developers, as The World Ends With You, despite being Squeenix developed, looks to be passed over by the majority of gamers. The storyline takes a few cues from Death Note; you play as a guy who is given an object that allows him to see the thoughts of other people. He has to defeat the manifestations of people’s negative thoughts, called noise, or else he will be erased from existence, in a pseudo-version of The Running Man. All this is at the behest of the Shinigami, who have organized a number of people into this event, which they call the Shinigami name. The battle system also looks to be unique, as you can control your main character on the bottom screen via the stylus, while on the top screen you can have one of three other people, and operate them at the same time with the D-Pad. Hopefully this battle system is intuitive enough to use, and that the game does not become so cheap as to try and overwhelm you with the two different inputs at once. You can also customize your characters, and so on; in other words, worth a look into. The only fault I have so far is that this game is being developed by the same guys who did Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and that was a definite crapfest.












And for #1…











Plushees
Developer: Destineer

From the developers of such DS hits as WordJong and John Deere: Harvest in the Heartland comes a new virtual pet simulator looking to redefines the entire experience. After the critical success of Ubisoft’s not-really-whored-out “Petz” series, Destineer is set to make a landmark title in the world of virtual pet games. Look out for this title, as it is sure to make you go “Wow” in a good way.

...



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Naw, I am just ****ing you.



THE REAL #1

#1: Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Developer: Level 5

Seriously. Everything points to this being a sleeper hit. Its developer is Level 5, best known for Dark Cloud and 2, Rogue Galaxy, Jeanne d’Arc and Dragon Quest VIII, the latter four titles all being of very good quality. The Japanese release sold over 500,000 copies. The game itself is very nifty; Professor Layton is a ad-hoc detective who, with his assistant Luke visits a charming out-of-the-way village en lieu of investigating the mysterious inheritance of a billionaire who had died months previously. Not only does the game promise to be engaging plot-wise with its text-heavy premise, but it also offers up literally hundreds of puzzles relating in to the storyline. Most of the puzzles are adaptations of puzzles created by Chiba University Professor Akira Tago, who designed them to be mentally stimulating. Preview puzzles shown in Nintendo Power have already looked good, so the full game should be an interesting experience to watch out for.



BONUS!

Garfield Gets Real
Developer: PAWS

Yeah, laugh if you want. There are dozens of comments that I could think of that somebody might be tempted to post in response to this, but refrain from doing so. The first two Garfield games for the Nintendo DS were surprisingly decent platformers, if not remarkable and good (and that is why this is a bonus, being only the second release on the list with a predecessor coming out less than four years ago). One thing that makes its critical success unpredictable is its development by a new developer (A Tale of Two Kitties and Nightmare both had different developers), so there is very much the possibility of a miss. The storyline also looks like it could be OK – Garfield, not content with his comic strip, breaks out of it into the real world, only to end up having to stop his comic from being cancelled. If PAWS can create another satisfying platformer and poke fun at the quality of the actual strip at the same time, I am game.


Mazes of Fate DS
Developer: Signature Devices, Inc.

The original Mazes of Fate for the GBA was a dungeon-crawler whose old-school influences obviously harkened back to the early 90s and late 80s. While its technical prowess was nothing too impressive, the gameplay was very much a solid experience (at least for those who like dungeon crawlers). The dungeons were massive with their dead-end goodiness. Monsters would not replenish until you left and reentered a dungeon, so you would have all the time in the world after you killed all the foes on a floor to figure out the puzzles. There were sidequests galore. For those who were not hardcore enough to be able to plow straight through a d-c intense experience, there was always stuff in the world above the dungeons to be done. With Mazes of Fate, hopefully SD can provide a more wowing experience graphically, and fix some of the flaws that people had with the first, such as accuracy rates.




As a side note, ‘support’ means ‘buy’. It does NOT mean ‘download’, although it can mean ‘download to see if I like the game and then buy it if I do to support the developers’. Once again, I stress that this is a list of games that I think have potential, and not necessarily ones that I believe will turn out to be good. Nevertheless, if you are serious about trying to find the diamond in the rough of Nintendo DS games not developed/published by a big-name third party or Nintendo, this list should be a good start for investigating the what is new in the first half of 2008.


~Darkstar Ripclaw


Wish Upon a Darkstar
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Title: Draglade (DS) 2
Posted: January 25, 2008 (12:14 AM)
Over the last few weeks, I have had occasion to play a nifty fighting game for the Nintendo DS called Draglade. Of course, Honestgamers already has posted its own review, considering its early December release, but I wanted to provide my own thoughts on it.

Draglade, as mentioned before, is a fighting-style game, and the pace of the battle is more akin to the SSB series than Street Fighter (in other words, fairly quick). The regular attacks and techniques of each character is varied, but do not expect too much; this is no Virtua Fighter. The story behind this goes that matter in the air can be molded to create weapons called Glades (each person having their own unique glade) that create musical beats when hitting other Glades. The point that the game tries to sell itself on is being able to create your own musical beat combination that you can hit your enemy in sync to; doing so will allow you to cause massive damage (and flip your enemy over and hit their weak point for some foes) and gain more money from battles. These Beat Combos also provide a surprising amount of customization, although actually organizing it can be a bit frustrating. Kudos to anyone who decides to do a homage to the Mario theme with this. Since each of the unique characters in game have a different weapon, you must also take into account their speed and range.

Unfortunately, as a selling point the Beat Combos are still somewhat weak. The real innovation for the game is its use of Bullets, which are basically special techniques that you can equip and bring in with you to use in battle. For example, one bullet might throw a fireball, while another can heal your health. Not all Bullets have generic effects, as others can send homing missiles at the opponent, generate walking bombs, turn you invisible, and even mess up your opponent's beat combo. With a little bit of screwing around, you can come up with some fun armaments (you can carry six different Bullets into battle) for long-range or melee fighting.

Unfortunately, the storyline (which is split into four basic three to five hour long stories, each of which has a different leading hero) tends to throw a little too much sidescrolling fighting (in which you cross environments littered with bestial opponents) your way. I would not mind it so much, but it gets tedious. Additionally, probably about one half to three fifths of the human opponents you fight in game are generic, and usually have only two attacks and a couple of bullets. It is when you fight against any of the nine unique characters that the game really becomes fun, and these are the moments that you can thrive on.

However, the game is dragged down by the fact that a lot of stuff is recycled between each story, with only a few variations. Sure, you are using a new character each time, and can formulate new strategies and have new experiences, but after a while, it becomes annoying. This is when you go into a Vs. CPU mode against one of the computer opponents, so that you can actually have a decent hot-blood stimulating fight (all the computer opponents in this mode are one of the noble nine mentioned before).

Unfortunately, the WiFi scene has been dying down somewhat as of late, although there is still a robust community on its GameFAQs board, so you can always arrange matches if you cannot find anyone at random on WiFi. You could also aim to go find a copy of the game now, and start playing it at around the time the European version launches in March, as the network will be revitalized for some time after that. Or you could wait until Draglade's sequel releases on English shores, but that is a risky prospect, as their is no guarantee that the second iteration will see a translation like the first did. You could also browbeat a friend into also purchasing a copy to play for a while against each other. Or you could just disregard this entire last paragraph because you cannot/will not buy this game and was just reading this post out of interest.

As for the art style, while a generic anime look, I am perfectly OK with it. Nothing is quite too ugly, the backgrounds and characters are detailed and colourful enough to not be a turnoff, and if ever you begin to decide that your character's colour scheme is fugly, the game even offers you six alternate schemes that you can use in the story mode and all the other modes.

Music-wise, the actual game is nothing special; that much I should make clear very quick. When I got into some of the longer fights, the battle theme also grated on my nerves to a large degree. Overall however, most of it is fairly tolerable, and there is certainly nothing of the junk variety that I would not be able to abide listening to when playing. However, when playing around with the Beat Combos, you can get some pretty vibrant stuff going. The game also offers about three dozen preset combinations that you can buy from stores, and I can say that almost all of these presets have their merits. Additionally, you can further customize on the presets, which makes it even better.

Overall, those are my thoughts (at this rate, I suppose I have enough material to do a full-length review on it). I would not completely recommend a buy at the current moment if you plan to play it right away, but if you can find it and wait for the European release to come by and then start playing it (allowing you to take advantage of the influx of new players), you can probably get your money's worth of entertainment ($26.99 Canadian when I purchased it).

Oh yeah, and it is an Atlus-published game.

Wish Upon A Darkstar
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Title: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Posted: January 06, 2008 (10:03 PM)
BSulpher, a user who posts constantly on this site's FAQ Contributor forum (and who I have alson seen on the GameFAQs boards on the occasion), emailed me the other day, asking me if I wanted to write an FAQ for OoT and Majora's Mask for a grand Zelda Collection's coauthor (his request was based off his looking at my Twilight Princess work). I had a few days left of Christmas vacation, so I got the walkthrough done.

Currently done up to the Fire Temple, here. I have the entire walkthrough itself done (including Phantom Ganon and Barinade strategies), but I still need to go through and format it before submitting it finished. Meanwhile, I need some zzz's as it is back to university tomorrow for the second semester, and I would prefer to keep my sleeping schedule in sync.

The side sections I am currently fairly unsure as to when they will be done, however. I have a degree of burnout from this game, and I will probably be kept busy with my schoolwork as it is. For now, it is up in the air.

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Title: Naruto: Path of the Ninja (DS) Part 3, Draglade
Posted: January 03, 2008 (08:08 PM)
Finally finished up all the auxiliary information for this. Browsing the GameFAQs message boards I am reminded just how much the younger ilk seem to dominate game boards as opposed to social forums (and the ones unable to form a coherent sentence, at that).

As for the updated FAQ, right here. Review here.


Playing Draglade for the DS right now, which I purchased on recommendation of staff member honestgamer's review from here. I would probably give it about a 7 right now; it is basically a beat-em-up game that combines attacking enemies to musical beats (not as complicated as it sounds) and special equippable techniques called bullets with the regular fighting. Unfortunately, it is pretty short, and most of the battles lack intensity. I have not yet played on the online scene yet, so my opinion may change somewhat after some play. Perhaps honestgamer would care to play me?

Probably no game-related works for a while. I am going into the second semester of my first year of university, so I will have to feel about for a bit before deciding how much time I can dedicate to extracurricular activities, of which I can say working on FAQs/reviews is not on the top of that list at the moment.

Wish Upon a Darkstar
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Title: Naruto: Path of the Ninja (DS) Part 2
Posted: December 19, 2007 (08:45 PM)
Review submitted, will post FAQ to this site sometimes soon after I finish it so I do not have to edit it. Why did I play this abomination of a game again? Oh, right...

For the money.

(Well, OK. It was only 30$. I make that in like two hours. It was just a starting point for me to do something productive. Who knows)

Wish Upon a Darkstar
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