Inside Pulse 12

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 02.04.03

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 02.04.03
411 Games Quote of The Week
So, when the rumors of a sequel to those games popping up on GameCube were abound, let’s just say Mike was happy. After playing it, and finding out it was just a poorly done remake of the first two games and a little extra, let’s just say Mike wants to beat a family of four over the head with a chainsaw.
— Michael Blaszkowski (GameCube Review: Evolution Worlds)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 02-04-03: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and man am I sick.

What’s up everybody? Hope you guys are *cough* doing better than me. I’ve caught a cold from my wife and it feels like I’ve got a strain of the Ebola virus. I have no one to blame but myself either. She told me she was sick. She looked sick. She acted sick. Thus she was sick! Common sense would dictate that I avoid her like the plague right? Unfortunately, her feminine flava got the better of me yet again. (How is it possible for a woman to still be sexy with Dayquil breath, while sneezing and blowing her nose?) So here I am, sick as a dog. That won’t stop me from doing the rumor mill though. No sir. Just excuse me if I cough a few times.

Behold the “Feminine flava” edition of the Down-Lo. Check it out: The higher the DOWN-LO RATING the more truth there are to these stories (scale 1-10). As always these are just rumors (which is why you read me in the first place), so don’t get all bent out of shape if these don’t come true. Enjoy. I do.


This is the Down-Lo.

PARADOX LACKS THE X FACTOR
Has anyone played the not so popular fighting game, X-Men: Next Dimension? It’s not that bad. It’s not that good either. This fact is probably what prompted our first rumor for today.

Our friends at IGN’s Off The Record report that ‘after three tries with well-known developer Paradox Development, publisher Activision is looking for a new developer to create the next, and as of yet unannounced X-Men fighting game.’ Why the sudden change of heart? Well as mentioned above, the games that Paradox was pumping out were below par. That probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if ‘sales of X-Men: Next Dimension, for all three systems GameCube, PS2, and Xbox weren’t lower than expected,’ seeing as how all game publishers really care about is money anyway.

Figuring out that most game developers that aren’t from Japan suck more than my columns, ‘Activision is believed to be looking for a Japanese developer for the next game at present.’

Hey! Why not get Capcom to do it? They know a thing or two about fighting games. Imagine a free-roaming fighting game made using the Power Stone engine starring X-Men characters. Wait… forget that; imagine if Capcom used the Power Stone engine with a license to Dragonball Z! Now that would be awesome! Some of the characters from the PS series already look like DBZ rejects when they get all the Power Stones anyway. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t be tight.
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

DON’T WASTE YOUR GAME TECHNOLOGY; RECYCLE!
Again, IGN’s Off The Record repots that ‘the small Canadian team known as Digital Fiction,’ which is known for their new boxing game Black and Bruised for GameCube and PlayStation 2, ‘is in development with an ambitious new adventure game. The as of-yet-unnamed game is built to use the combat technology in Black and Bruised.’ No futher details are available.

It seems odd that Digital Fiction would use the combat technology of a boxing game for use in an adventure title. It doesn’t feel like it would gel together properly. If the new project is really as ambitious as IGN claims it is though, perhaps the hand-to-hand fighting portion could be one small part of a variety of gameplay styles. That would be interesting.

In any case, look for an announcement as soon as Digital Fiction can find a publisher for the project.
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

GTA IN LA?
IGN’s Off The Record is on a roll. They ‘have learned new information that points to a possible new name for the next GTA game. This time the new guess at the game is GTA: Los Angeles.’ Los Angeles? What kind of trouble could be stirred up there, you ask? Well, ‘supposedly, the game takes place in LA during the riots in LA.’ And they speculate that the sound track would be gangsta rap.

To me this sounds pretty interesting, if not a little ridiculous. While I don’t doubt that Rockstar would have the testicular fortitude to pull a gameplay concept like this off… something deep down in the pit of my stomach doubts that it will happen. Hopefully Rockstar will prove me wrong. It sounds like all kinds of naughty fun.
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE: STANDING BY…)

*cough* Sorry. I have to take a short break to *cough* take my cough medicine and eat some chicken noodle soup. There are more rumors to come; so don’t go anywhere! In the meantime, please hear a word from our sponsors…


*WELCOME TO THE PRECIOUS ROY HOME SHOPPING NETWORK*

Olly: You know, it’s like the 11th commandment Sifl…
Sifl: What in the hell are you talking about?

Olly: It’s as plain as the nose on your face, comrade. THOU SHALT PIMP! It’s as true today as it was when the Vikings discovered America. And, as Leif Ericson was fond on saying, “As it is in the real world, so shall it be in online world, by Odin.” But Olly, you say, I can’t get my mack on Online…I can’t get no digital play.
Sifl: Well you know the problems I’ve had gettin’ my mack on online and gettin’ digital play.

Olly: Sifl, my friend of friends, you’ve had some serious, “Gettin’ my mack on online and gettin’ digital play,” problems.
Sifl: You said it, supasized one.

Olly: The source of the problems eludes you, doesn’t viewer? Showers don’t aid Online Mackin’. It ain’t the spare tire around your waste… it’s not the lack of home training… it’s not your lack of Rolex… A ROLEX IS AS GOOD AS A CASIO IN THE CHAT ROOM! It’s a socioeconomic fact. But, fear not…do not despair…do not rend the flesh of your father’s oxen. Precious Roy, like a god from the machine, is here to salvage your sorry Internet Love Life. Most people don’t realize that the secret to Online Mackin’ lies in the Keyboard. Don’t buy those Mouse Extender Pumps…unless you like throwin’ your money in the river! What do the ladies want, Sifl?
Sifl: Um…Well…they don’t want you…

Olly: I’m not the issue, Sifl… PROJECTION… let’s keep this on Online Mackin’. What do the fly skimmies in the real world want?
Sifl: Um…respect?

Olly: That’s right, Sifl…a man with a fly ride. And online, your ride is your keyboard. And the SPACE BAR IS THE CADILLAC OF THE KEYBOARD.
Sifl: If you say so…

Olly: Bill Gates cannot be wrong! Even with that haircut, he has to beat the ladies off with a motherboard.
Sifl: Maybe cuz he has like 50 zillion dollars, dude.

Olly: Money’s only skin deep, Sifl. It’s all in the SPACE BAR, the CADILLAC OF KEYS. Take a look at your space bar, friends. Is it plain and beige? Possibly stained by the late night nibblin’ of a Kit Kat bar? What if your ride looked like that? THE LADIES WANT CHROME, my homie.

*Model Arm waves suggestively over a keyboard with an over-sized space bar that is covered in rhinestones, tassels and other such pimpin’ decor. It rises and falls in a rhythmic pattern as if moved by hydraulics*

Olly: This is the SPACE BAR that will get you the alt.ladies.many.with.you.in.lust.wrestling! There is no substitute. With the Precious Roy Space Bar Trickin’ Outer Kit, there will be no doubt who’s turnin’ the Betties out in the chatroom. Let’s take some calls.

Caller One: Yeah…I use voice-recognition software…I don’t have time for the keyboard…my hands…you know…they gotta be free.

Olly: Word. Well, my friend, Precious Roy is always one-step ahead of technology. If you order now, you get the BARRY WHITE PLUG-IN. It’s like tinted windows for your voice box.

Caller One: SOLID.

Olly: We are changing lives here, Sifl. Next caller.

Caller Two: All those ladies are guys.

Sifl: You little bastard…you never did clean that mess up.
Olly: What??? What are you talking about?

Caller Two: They’re guys, dude. You guys are suckers. All you’re gettin’ is middle-aged digital man love.

Olly: You sir, don’t know the Internet. Let’s talk to Precious Roy.

Precious: Dis is Precious Roy, and the boys at the unemployment office call me the Night Hawk!

Sifl: Um…Precious…what about this Space Bar Crap?

Precious: BUY MY ANTI-FREEZE! You guys are SUCKERS!!!

*Precious Roy! Precious Roy! Makin’ Lots of Suckers Out of Girls And Boys!*


Oh man, Chris is soo going to fire me for posting that. No really… I’m done. It’s been a nice run.

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE: CONTINUE TRANSMISSION…)

EA TO TAKE OVER NINTENDO! IN OTHER NEWS, THE WORLD IS ENDING
In a story that started over in Joseph Stanley’s excellent Weekend Up Wipe, it seems that Electronic Arts has been very successful as of late and has secured a crap-load of money. In yesterday’s SimColumn, Ron Yip goes on to tell of speculation that this money may be used as an “acquisitions warchest” to buy a major game publisher or developer with even Nintendo being eyed. Hey wait! Did somebody say “speculation”? That’s my area expertise! Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this shall we?

Gamesindustry.biz is reporting that publisher Electronic Arts ‘made a $2 billion shelf filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA, allowing it to make public offers of securities and raise massive reserves of cash very quickly should it choose. Details of the filing indicated that the company plans to use the cash to finance expenses such as research and development or acquisitions.’

Forget the research and development; this sort of thing is just not done in the gaming industry unless you want to buy out another company. I’d get ready for an announcement to that effect soon.

Would EA go as far as to buy Nintendo, though? I’d say no. It sounds pretty in headlines and causes a stir, but realistically, this won’t happen. That’s not to say that EA couldn’t buy another high profile game company. Rumor has it that they definitely have their sights set on Japanese game developers (after all, let’s face it… they make the best games). Don’t completely rule out a Nintendo acquisition though. All I’m saying is, don’t hold your breath.

We should know soon enough. That money is being prepared for “something” not much later into this year.
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

UPDATE: NO SHENMUE III RUMOR
You may remember that a few weeks ago I was freaking out over the news that Shenmue III would possibly not be released as a full fledged game, but rather as a watchable, non-interactive CG movie. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I stumbled across an interview the-nextlevel.com had with Taku Kihara (AM2 PR team) and Shin Ishikawa (Shenmue II Xbox team leader). Needless to say, what I found proved to be very interesting. Here are some excerpts from the discussion:

Q: Is the Shenmue series likely to continue on the XBox?
A: Maybe, However, I don’t know yet if I will be the one producing them.
Q: Why on the Xbox?
A: The hardware is very powerful, so that makes it easier for us to realize our visions for the series.

At this point my spirits were lifted a little bit. Here, they go straight for the obvious question, asking if Shenmue would continue, and they got a “Maybe.” That was a better answer than what I’ve been getting regarding the series lately. The interviewed continued on however…

Q: The European DC version of Shenmue II was the most imported game in the U.S. ever, so much so that it must have eaten into some of the sales of the Xbox version. How did you feel about that?
A: We are happy that so many people felt so strongly about the game that they wanted to import it. It was proof that the fanbase for the game is very strong and helped us in the decision to make more Shenmue games.
Q: About Shenmue III then: I see that it will start from Chapter 7. Will it take place in China as well?
A: Yes, Shenmue III will be in China as well. Those of you who have finished the second one know that the story will expand enormously, and we will try to incorporate many exciting elements of Chinese culture et cetera into the game.
Q: Interesting. Will it be entirely in China or will Ryo leave China at some point?
A: I’m afraid we can’t give that sort of information yet.
Q: When can we expect Shenmue III and further sequels to release?
A: That has not been decided yet.
Q: Okay, aren’t you afraid that if you take a long time between the games that interest in the series will dwindle down?
A: The series continues because of very strong fan requests. The fans want them, so we make them. We can’t say yet when the sequels will be released, but we will do our best to not let the fans down. So, I would like to say to the fans: please look forward to more Shenmue games on Xbox.
Q: Thank you. How do you feel about the entire series and all chapters (including those not yet released)?
A: I can’t answer that at this point, I’d need to see how Shenmue III turns out first.

BINGO! Now that’s what I wanted to hear. Good interviewer that guy was, because he wouldn’t take just “maybe” for an answer. While it’s not official at this point, by AM2 saying, “please look forward to more Shenmue games on Xbox,” it all but confirms what I’ve been hoping for. Shenmue fans rejoice! The party’s not over just yet!
DOWN-LO RATING: NONE FOR UPDATES

And that’s the Down-Lo.


BELL’S REVIEW
At times I can be a bit much with my assessments on various games and even the game industry itself. I’m very opinionated, always trying to make sure that I’m not going over the line into fanboy territory. Surely my constant ramblings can get tiresome. So I figured it’s time to bring in a fresh perspective. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing… Bella Jackson, my wife. She’ll be providing the soft-core gamer’s view on today’s latest and not so latest videogames. It’s a short take on her feelings while trying out a game from my personal collection (or is it “our” personal collection now that we’re married?). Odds are her opinions may not coincide with my exact thoughts, but that’s what makes it interesting. Get ready for a change of pace. I’ll now pass it over to my virus-housing wife, Bella. Take it away babe:

(DISCLAIMER: 411 Games, Bebito Jackson, and hard-core gamers in general may not necessarily like, understand, or even slightly agree with the opinions and views expressed by Bella Jackson in the Bell’s Review. Reader discretion is advised.)

Bell’s Review – Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
System – Microsoft Xbox
Genre – Action/Adventure
Publisher – Microsoft
Developer – Oddworld Inhabitants / Infogrames
Rating – (T)een: Comic Mischief / Violence

Bella Jackson: At first I thought, “How weird is this? What kind of stupid storyline?!” I am not a big gamer so whatever I play needs to capture my attention right away. Of course I gave it a chance because “someone” really wanted me to. So I got into the game.

Hey, this isn’t so bad. The characters are strange, but amusing. The graphics are eye catching. The colors and the music work for me. Not a bad game.

This is the part, however that shows that I’m not big gamer at all. Eventually, you’ll have to save some people; and you’ll have to do this going through the entire level while having people shooting at you, animals attacking you, and bombs everywhere. At one point I had about ten to fifteen people with me who I had to save. Ok, fine. You’re asking what the big deal is, right? Well they follow your every move! It was to the point that I could barely even see my character amongst all the others. Then, whether it’s the motherly instincts in me or whatever, I started to freak out about making sure they all didn’t die. I actually jumped because one of them got blown up by a bomb and dropped the controller. So I figured I should give it a rest for a while.

Anyway, the game is great. It’s very appealing. Since most people aren’t like me, you’ll enjoy the story, graphics, and gameplay for the entire game. You could end up liking it, regardless if you’re a big gamer or not.
Bell’s Review: 4 out of 5 Stars

Bebito’s Two Cents: I agree. As long as you’re not too emotionally attached to the characters like “some” people, you should be ok. The game gets insanely difficult towards the end, but it’s as all good games should. Nothing groundbreaking, but at least worth a rental. Recommended.
The 411: 8.5


(411 DOWN-LO MAIL: WELCOME BEBITO! YOU HAVE 2 UNREAD MESSAGES…)

Only two? Wow. What’s up wit dat? Funny thing is, the more my readership increases, the less feedback I get. I don’t know what to make of that. So you guys like to read me, but don’t want to talk to me? What am I, just some kind of rumor whore to you people? Have your way with me; toss me aside, and then not even a phone call? I bet you go read IGN’s Off The Record after you’re done with me don’t you? Don’t you!! *shivers* I feel so dirty…

Hey, my wife roped me into going to Blue Crush too. I knew it was going to be crap, I told her it was going to be crap, and it was crap. Two good things came out of it though:

1) I was right.
2) If I want to see a movie but she really doesn’t, she’ll go because she owes me one.

Our relationship really isn’t as adversarial as I make it sound…

That’s a fine column you have going here. Keep up the good work.
(FILE FROM… Shawn Merritt)

Oh man, wasn’t that thing terrible? We were going to watch the movie when it first came out in theatres and at that point I wasn’t all that appalled at the idea. After all, it was a beach flick, with girls in bikinis. How could you go wrong? Time went by, and we never got around to seeing it in theatres. When it arrived on video, my enthusiasm had dwindled quite bit due to how quickly the transition from big screen to DVD was (normally that throws up the red flag). Bella wanted to see it though, and the rest is history. At least she recognizes that turd as pure cinema crapage. Now she owes me two. One for Blue Crush and one for Sweet Home Alabama.

What up B.

Tell me, Do you suppose Capcom is offering up something “special” to sweeten the deal for Nintendo?

And speaking of Capcom, have you heard anything about REOnline lately?
(FILE FROM… greydragon)

If you’re referring to my rumor of Capcom wanting Nintendo to buy shares of stock in them, in a way, Capcom already has offered plenty to “sweeten the deal.” They gave GameCube first dibs on many of their top titles for 2003, and they made Resident Evil exclusive to the system. Not that this would play a major factor in anything, but Capcom has made their Nintendo support quite evident.

And as far as Resident Evil Online goes… Taken straight from IGN.com, here’s the Down-Lo:

“Officially dubbed Resident Evil Online for the North American market (not Network Resident Evil or Resident Evil Network), the PlayStation 2 exclusive title enables four players to join online (either broad or narrow band), and to play in a truly cooperative fashion. Using an undetermined server-client setup (Capcom is currently in discussions with Sega to possible use its SNAP technology), Capcom’s Resident Evil Online puts players in the shoes of one of eight ordinary Raccoon city residents desperately trying to escape the Midwestern town before they too become victims of Umbrella’s T-Virus outbreak.

Players are able to choose from eight characters, each with their own personality traits, looks, back-stories and professions. They starring cast are Kevin, a police officer; George, a practicing doctor; Yoko, a Japanese woman “shrouded in mystery;” Mark, a Vietnam Vet who’s a security officer; Cindy the waitress; David the plumber (an obvious homage to Mario…heh); Jim, the railway worker who’s “good at solving puzzles;” and Alyssa, a capable reporter. A slice of American life, right?

The true fright of Resident Evil Online, however, becomes desperately clear when you see the first screenshot of hundreds of Raccoon city citizens transformed in zombies, plodding down the main street toward you. And you’re not starring as Leon or Claire or anyone else as part of a STARS team, no sirree. You’re an average citizen who must work with three other online strangers to figure your way out of town or at least die trying. The immense set of possibilities all of a sudden launches out in front of the imagination. What can you do? How do you get out?

Capcom is at work on these gameplay issues as we speak, some of which they have put into play, but many more of which they’re testing, tweaking and working to perfection. The concrete stuff we know for sure is that players often start out alone, not within a group. In these cases, players must find their way toward the group, without any weapons, maps of knowledge of what to do. In your plight of escape, voices can be heard behind closed doors, encouraging players to find a way in, and hoping that a real, uninfected person is on the other side. In other cases, you might agree to meet with another player at a designated place and time, only to find they have not shown up. Do you search for them, hide, or simply wait? What if they are already zombies, or if they are trapped and need of your help? The endless scenarios play out perfectly in this suggestive online arena.

In your search for a one-way ticket out of town, players wind through the town’s subway stations, hospital, restrooms, experiment rooms, forests, huts, tunnels, across bridges in front of huge waterfalls, through vine-covered laboratories, and through many more areas. During your search, zombies aren’t the only enemies around. Human players that die lose their turn, and their characters return in zombie form, without the other players’ knowledge. Other creatures show up too. Lickers, dogs, scorpions and a host of familiar creatures from past Resident Evil games appear along with entirely new enemies. To fend off these wretched, foul things, players can’t just rely on their bare hands and a swift set of feet. In another twist in RE gameplay, they can pick up objects from the ground — brooms, lead pipes, and random other stuff — to fend for themselves. If they’re lucky they find weapons.

Opponent and civilian AI plays a significant part in this new online experiment. RE NPCs respond in numerous ways to your actions. They can help you in a fight, or likewise, you can save an NPC from being attacked, they can assist you to a new location, too. Or they can transform into zombies in front of you and attack! Sometimes, though, they might see you approach an simply run away in fear, or react according to your own actions. Again, it seems like an endless set of scenarios, all of which are good.

Resident Evil Online is a one- to four-player cooperative online adventure game requiring the Network Adaptor and an online connection. It ships in fall 2003.”

Sounds sweet, eh? I can’t wait. What’s that? Still not satisfied? Man, what do you want from me?! Ok… HERE. Check out this first video of REOnline in action. It’s a beauty.

(411 DOWN-LO-MAIL: SIGNING OFF…)


Keep sending me feedback. I enjoy it and it gives me a reason to keep writing.

The not-so-godlike Jason Masters is up tomorrow. Maybe. If you aren’t named Yip, Stanley, or Bebito odds are you aren’t writing on a regular basis around here. For that reason, Jason Masters, Eric Williams, and Chris Pankonin have all lost their “Bebito’s Official Seals of Approval.” When they start working again they can get it back. Flip a coin, and perhaps we’ll hear from the rest of the staff this week. As for me… peace. I’m out.

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)