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Title: Solid, but short-lived.
Posted: October 19, 2005 (03:28 PM)
My not-too-scathing review of Star Wars Episode III for the DS is up.
Title: A change of heart.
Posted: October 18, 2005 (03:41 PM)
My Nintendogs is up.
Title: Hotsuma = Awesome.
Posted: October 18, 2005 (11:21 AM)
Hotsuma trumps Hibana is every way. I just played through all of Nightshade as him with little to no setbacks. His only weakness is that he lacks Hibana's jump kick, which makes the Jimushi battle especially difficult. Also, enemies who block in midair can be a bit of trouble, but Hostuma can usually use his extra jump to attack the enemy from behind.
If you want to play as this Akujiki-wielding powerhouse in Nightshade, I have submitted the requirements for unlocking him to the cheat area of Honest Gamer's Nightshade page. It should be up shortly after I have written this.
Playing through Nightshade as Hotsuma has inspired me to go back to the original Shinobi and finally clear that game in hard mode. I've made to level 4-A so far, and am 8 Oboro coins away from unlocking Moritsune as a playable character.
I'm also working on a review of Nintendogs. After I'm done with that I might submit a few more DS reviews, and maybe update some of my old ones.
Posted: October 16, 2005 (08:28 AM)
The last three stages of Nightshade are the most intense that I have ever seen in a video game. I had to retry Stage 11 so many times that my final score ended up being 0! Stage 12 was not quite as painful, but it still managed to make a fool of me. It was cool how the Golden Palace from Shinobi was also the final stage for this game, though. They even reused a whole portion of Stage 8-A. I was half-expecting to see Hiruko make a miraculous Deus ex Machina appearance and become the final boss, but nope.
This brings me to Stage 13 of Nightshade. The moment I realized that it was going to immediately skip to the final battle with no level beforehand to build up Chakra I knew that this was going to be a tough fight. In the end, it wasn't quite as hard as Hiruko from Shinobi. The Kurohagane battle threw me for a loop at first because the beginning section of it defies all Shinobi conventions: he doesn't summon any minions, so you can't chain tates and swoop in for the kill. Once you get past his first attack pattern and trigger his second, the battle becomes a matter of killing enough of his minions to deliver an instant-death blow with the Stealth Attack.
Now I'm replaying all the stages as Hotsuma.
Title: Devil May Cry... like a sissy.
Posted: October 15, 2005 (01:17 PM)
I started Nightshade the other day and right now I made it to stage 11.
This has got to be the most action-packed game on the PS2- no, current-gen of consoles I have ever seen. The concept of tates from Shinobi is taken to the limit, with chains as high as 50! I didn't find out about the new stealth attack until the fifth stage. It's a nifty little maneuver that makes one-hit boss kills easier than before. That's not to say that the boss fights are easy. You still have to rack up those tates and then wait for just the right moment to use your attack. Finding that opening is hard, especially since the power you get from chaining kills only lasts for so long.
I've also noticed they toned down the makimonos. In Shinobi you could sometimes kills a boss in just 1-2 hits by using your ninjitsu. In this game, a makimono only seems to shave off about six or so sticks from the boss's meter. Still works like a beaut against some of the earlier bosses, though.
The only thing that really hasn't changed are the controls, which are still perfect. Not the default control setup, though. The default controls are shit. Never play any of the PS2 Shinobi games unless your controls are mapped like this:
L1- Change target
R3- Auto-center camera
I must write a review for this game after I beat it.
Title: Julius Mode.
Posted: October 14, 2005 (10:27 AM)
The other day I finally got a chance to try out the much anticipated Julius Mode in Dawn of Sorrow. It's actually pretty good. Instead of just plowing through the castle as this one Belmont guy who's capable of clearing the game in under 20 minutes, you are instead given the ability to switch between three characters. The party is actually balanced out pretty well, each specializing in their own fighting style. Alucard is where it's at, but there's also incentives for using the other two team members. Yoko, for example, has awesome magic spells and can regenerate the party's HP with each hit of her rod. (This can be especially helpful when you're far away from a save point and need some HP to get by.) Julius... well, um... well... oh yeah, he can break those ice blocks with his whip!
You don't immediately start off with every character, so you have to "find" the other two. Julius can't get very far by himself because he no longer sports the uber-jump that he had in Aria of Sorrow. Instead, it's been downgraded to an uppercut. As far as I can tell, you can skip over Yoko 'cause her abilities aren't crucial exploration-wise. I'm not sure if Alucard is a neccessity for beating the game, but you at least need him to get 100% map completion.
This special mode is more thought out than it's predecessor, but Julius's sprite still feels like something that was farted out about a week before the game's release. This especially becomes apparant when you play as Alucard and behold his superior motions (which have been watered down just a teeny bit for DoS). They could have just messed around with Richter's sprite from SoTN and had an awesome Julius, but instead they opted for another original (and crappy) creation. It seems that creating half-assed Belmont sprites has now become a tradition at Konami.
Title: Honest Blogs...
Posted: October 13, 2005 (06:12 PM)
Wow. I'm gone for a few hours and this whole place turns upside down.
I do like the new layout for the realms. I'm not sure what the whole Good/Evil list thing is about, though. Also, why can't we have more than five favorite sites? Now that the darn things are listed vertically, I think we should be allowed to display more than five. At least ten, I think.