411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 02.18.03

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 02.18.03

411 Games Quote of The Week
Ever sat there watching TV, bitching about the programs on and saying “I could do better than that if I ran this Network!”? If so, go out and get a life you fat bastard. If you don’t like TV, then just don’t f*cking watch it. Go ride a canoe, swim in the ocean, eat dog poo. Something PRODUCTIVE.
— The Scotsman (The Scotsman Review: Primetime)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 02-18-03: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson Version 1, and you need a Bebitattitude adjustment.

Buried under 70 feet of snow and ice, I’ve come through for you guys to deliver another edition of your favorite game rumor column. Just spent the last six hours doing nothing but shoveling snow, with the worst part being that I shoveled twice the day before to keep the amount I did today light, yet my driveway still had about a foot and a half worth of snow on it. My back is broken, I’m blind, my ankle is sprained, and I have a splitting headache. So if this week’s Down-Lo sucks more than usual (is that possible?), please understand.

Behold the “Win Free Stuff” edition of the Down-Lo Version 1. 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.

MORE METAL THAN YOUR GEARS CAN HANDLE
In an email recently received from one of our friends at Gamers.com, I’ve learned that there are a crap-load of Metal Gear Solid rumors floating around, all of them different, and several are conflicting. The only shared bit of info in all of them is that Konami may produce some kind of teaser trailer to show at E3 in May. Ron Yip touched on it yesterday, but let’s take a look at the gossip that is at the tips of everyone’s tongue.

‘Rumor 1: A new game called Metal Gear Solid 3: The Patriots, which is listed on IMDB as a joint project between series creator Hideo Kojima and Chris Nolan (presumably of Memento fame).

Rumor 2: The new game isn’t Metal Gear Solid 3 at all, but instead a remake of one or all the previous Metal Gear games using the fabulous graphics engine from MGS2.’

Rumor 3: It’s not called Metal Gear Solid, but Metal Gear Something Else (not literally, of course). Rather than continuing the story as Snake gets older and older, the new game will go back and fill in the gaps in the story between the older Metal Gear games and the first Metal Gear Solid.’

The only thing that seems to be certain at this point is the next game will focus on Snake let’s be honest, we all can’t stand another Raiden adventure. The agony…
DOWN-LO RATING: 3

EGM RUMOR OF THE WEEK
Nintendo has some of the most popular franchise in the entire world. So much so, that even their lesser-known franchises still generate huge amounts of interest. Let’s take a look at two such games in today’s EGM rumor tidbit.

Quartermann reports that ‘new installments in Nintendo’s Kirby franchise and its popular Japanese Fire Emblem RPG series are in development for GBA and GC. Expect Kirby to be a definite U.S. release, whereas Emblem is still a bit hazy.’

We all know who Kirby is, but the Fire Emblem series might sound a little Greek to some of us. Does anyone ‘remember cameos from Fire Emblem’s Roy and Marth in Super Smash Bros. Melee?’ Yup. Those guys…

With the funny hair.

Well they’re in that RPG. Ya know, Fire Emblem.

And they fight stuff… Yeah.

OK! YOU GOT ME! I don’t know anything about Fire Emblem either! Go ask Alex Lucard or something… SHEESH
DOWN-LO RATING: 10

WORKING THE GAME BOY’S DESIGN
Everyone who has ever owned a Sega Saturn knows about Working Designs. Making it their mission in life to procure excellent Japanese games, which would never have made the trip across seas to North America, they take the time to rework them, translate them, add new features, and release them outside of their domestic markets. Some complain that WD butchers the original products. Those people are idiots. The quality of their translations are top-notch, and gamers the world over are thankful for WD’s services.

Enter the Game Boy Advance. The selection of first-rate titles aren’t in short supply in the US, but there are a few gems that have been left overseas and out of our reach here in the states. Actually, more than just a few. There are tons upon tons of awesome GBA games that we probably will never see the light of day in the US. What is a gamer to do? We could always import, but realistically most people don’t find that option too appealing. We could whine and moan through use of angry petitions to the developers about how they’re robbing us of gaming bliss, but that crap never works. So that leaves only one hope and savior. Working Designs.

Sadly, Victor Ireland, president of localization at Working Designs, has previously stated that WD ‘has no intentions of working on any cartridge system, because the royalties to pay for each cart would most likely exceed the amount the company would make on sales at retail.’ So what he basically meant was, “You’re screwed.”

Don’t completely despair though kiddies, because GamesAreFun is reporting that according to a more recent comment made by Victor Ireland, Working Designs is seriously considering releasing titles for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. Why the change of heart? Well ‘since royalties on carts have fallen in the last few years, Working Designs could likely turn a profit by releasing each game at a more than average price of $35 to $40’ US. I know that much moolah sounds like a bit of a rip-off to play a mere Game Boy Advance game, but it’s only five or ten bucks more. And you have to remember all of those outstanding titles that would be left out of the US because no one forked over the dough to translate them. Games like Sega’s Shining Soul, and Nintendo’s Magical Vacation, both of which are under WD’s consideration.

‘Hopefully, WD will announce some software for the GBA soon; in the meantime, all we can do is hope.’ Then again, even if WD decides to snap up some of Japan’s GBA titles, it’ll be three years before we see any of them (they are notorious for delaying games). And by then we’ll all be playing with the Game Boy 64 (still without a backlight).
DOWN-LO RATING: 4

THE PARASITE IS BACK
After all this time, a sequel to the Playstation hit Parasite Eve seems to finally be in the cards! *rumor monkey taps Bebito on the shoulder* Huh? Oh, hey monkey. *rumor monkey whispers to Bebito* What? Parasite Eve already had a sequel? Really? *rumor monkey nods* No kiddin’…

It seems that Square is making another sequel to Parasite Eve, since they didn’t garner much attention with the last one. Well, it’s not exactly a sequel. Here’s the Down-Lo, according to MagicBox, Square Enix’s first project for PlayStation 2 and GameCube will be Parasite Eve: Rebirth, ‘a remake of the survival horror RPG for PlayStation. The game will feature new episodes, an enhanced combat system, and other new elements to greatly extend the replay value of the game.’

So it looks like they’re going back to what works. I personally have never played the original Parasite Eve, so a remake doesn’t sound so bad to me. And I believe series veterans should be pleased with all the new additions. I’m keeping a look out for this one.

‘Parasite Eve: Rebirth is scheduled for release by the end of 2003 in Japan.’
DOWN-LO RATING: 9

THE BEST GAME YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF
Does anyone remember when Alex Lucard made his debut here at 411 Games? I do; he wrote his most controversial and possibly most popular column to date. The topic? “Ten RPGs that make Final Fantasy look like the fecal matter it really is.” He comprised a pretty sweet list of games, most of which I agree totally with. Great read, that if you haven’t seen yet you can check it out HERE. So what RPG series was number one on this standard setting list from our lovable column writer? Two words: Sakura Taisen.

For those who don’t know what the huge to do about this series is, here’s the deal courtesy of IGN.com. ‘The Sakura games take place in an alternate history, where teams of psychic heroes in steam-powered giant robots battle demons in the cities of the 1920s. The first two games, released for the Sega Saturn, took place in Tokyo, while the two Dreamcast sequels moved the stage to Paris and introduced several new characters. In all four, the gameplay formula remained similar, however, blending mecha strategy (a la Front Mission) with character interaction (think dating sim). The one influences the other, so how you interact with the other characters influences success in combat sequences.’ So basically, to put it in laymen’s terms, you have a group full of chicks that are part of your mech equipped combat party, and the better you put the mack on them, the better they do in battle. Crazy concept, that Sega refined to perfection. Too bad it’s never made its way over to the States.

What sparked my interest in this series again was a passing comment I read in my new favorite gaming magazine, GMR. There it talked about what Sega would be up to in 2003. The staff at GMR are pretty high on Sega and what they’re bringing to the table this year, making mention of a new Sega Rally and (this is what got me) Sakura Taisen coming to the US. It didn’t elaborate much, so Bebito had to do his own digging.

And dig I did, finding an interview from GamesAreFun.com with Turo Kubo, the producer of Gungrave and member of Red Entertainment, the makers of the Sakura Taisen series. He confirms that no less than what GMR insulated. Here’s an excerpt:

Games are Fun: We are all big fans of the Sakura Taisen series and the announcement of six new Sakura Taisen titles for the PS2 has us very excited. Do you think this will finally be the chance for Sakura Taisen to come to the United States?
Toru Kubo: Of course, our global strategy includes the US market as well. I have no doubt that Sakura will make it to the US, but at this point it hasn’t been decided which game will arrive first, so details to follow. Each of the games will be good ones, so please look forward to them!

Six games? Nice. And I found out that it’s really seven if you include the planned PC port of Sakura Taisen 3. I’m never satisfied, though, so I asked our resident expert, Alex Lucard, for some help regarding what was going on with the series. He, wanting to make sure he gave the most accurate info possible, ended up having his friend, who works for Sega, email his contact at Sega of Japan. This is what we got back:

“There is a PS2 version of Sakura coming out, but no American Release is planned as of yet.
As well, there are 7 versions, but that relates only to the box art! Each box has a different character on it similair to Working Designs version of Dragon Force for the Sega Saturn.”

No US release? “Bah,” I said. You can’t always trust the “official” word from a game company. And besides if that’s the case, what were GMR and Toru talking about? There had to be more.

And more there was.

Sega is planning to release 7 new titles in the series within the next 4 years. Of those 7, here is the entire list of Sakura Taisen games that, rumor has it, will be showing their pretty little heads in North America, as taken from IGN:

Sakura Taisen: Atsuki Chishioni (Sakura Taisen: Young Spirited Blood) – The first PlayStation 2 Sakura game is not an entirely new production, but a revised and reworked version of the original Sakura Taisen. The remake includes new scenarios, new 3D graphics, new pre-rendered cut scenes, and as a bonus for Japanese gamers, a collection of mini-games from the Saturn Sakura titles. Those will be redesigned for i-mode cellular phones. It’s coming in Spring 2003.

Sakura Taisen 5: Saraba Itoshiki Hotoyo (Sakura Taisen 5: Farewell my love) – The first original Sakura adventure on PS2 has no official release date as yet. It’s to take the series to an entirely new stage, however: New York City, where perennial series lead Oogami Ichirou is apparently to make way for the new stars of the American Kagekidan. Said organization has been alluded to in one or two of the innumerable Sakura spinoff games, but this will be the first time its adventures are chronicled in detail. At least one familiar face will appear, though — Rachet Altair, introduced in the last Sakura Taisen animated movie. American fans can look forward to a worldwide release for this game, although it will probably come after Sakura Taisen 5 Action (see below) the 5th installment of the Sakura Taisen series. The game will take place in New York, you will play in the Kagekidan team. There will be 5 new characters, and Inugami (series mainstay) will no longer be the main character. The game is planned for a 2004 release.

Sakura Taisen 5 Action Game (tentative title) – An action adventure game which uses characters from Sakura Taisen 5. This game is planned for a worldwide release.

Sakura Taisen Story (Teito Version, Paris Version) – A “pure” adventure game which features the scenario: Teito from Sakura Taisen 2, and Paris in Sakura Taisen 3.

There you have it. Four brand spanking new games of a series that has never seen the light of day in the US are coming our way. Too sweet.

So what have we learned today kids? Well first off, doing your own research pays off in the end. Second, don’t always trust the word of game companies… especially Sega. And last, I have waaaaaay too much spare time on my hands. I have to go find my wife and have sex now, so as not to feel like a complete loser. Please excuse me…
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

And that’s the Down-Lo.


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

Down-Lo mainstay, greydragon, is first up this week and he has something bugging him.

So you’ve probably heard about the Sonic pinball game that’s coming to the GBA. And I’d just like to point out that I said we were going to see the return of sonic spinball or pinball or whatever.

Just like to point out how sad and ironic all this is.
(FILE FROM… greydragon)

Yes grey, you were right about Sonic Spinball. I’m going to get on my soapbox for a minute though, so don’t take it personally bro.

This is something I just can’t fathom. Why is everyone up in arms about the new Sonic pinball game? It’s a freaking GBA title for goodness sake! It’s not like Yuji Naka said let’s do this on a next generation system or anything. The Sonic Pinball game is harmless, simply because if you don’t want it, you don’t have to buy it. All the complainers focus on this game (supposedly because it’s a sequel to what’s considered one of the lesser liked Sonic games from Genesis), but they conveniently ignore the fact that they are ALSO making Sonic Advance 2. Buy that if you like (and I will).

I guess everyone is just bitter about getting two Sonic remakes and a compilation game on GameCube. To those people, I say this… 1) Yes SA2 is kinda crappy (just kinda), but a remake of the original SA is pretty darn good. To date, it’s the best 3d Sonic game of all time, and updating it with more features and better graphics doesn’t sound to shabby. 2) I think putting all those old school Sonic games on one disc is an awesome idea, and I wish they’d do it with other franchises as well. 3) And most importantly, like I’ve reported SEVERAL times already, Yuji Naka will be unveiling a whole NEW game in the Sonic family at this year’s E3. So everyone settle down.

When I said something controversial, I meant something that people will disagree with. Damn near everyone on the planet agrees that M.J. gives B.J.s to those kids. Try a topic like…um…abortion. I mean, everyone has an opinion on abortion, right? Wait, better yet, tell everyone about that secret love of the Army Men series you have. I’d love to see the responses to that…
(FILE FROM… Michael Blaszkowski)

Ok, how about this: I like the Spice Girls.

(411 DOWN-LO-MAIL: SIGNING OFF…)


BELL’S REVIEW
This week, my wife takes a look at a game that’s been talked about in nearly every edition of the Down-Lo. No, I’m not talking about Pokemon. You’ll see:

(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 – Toejam & Earl III
System – Microsoft Xbox
Genre – Platformer
Publisher – Sega
Developer – Toejam & Earl Studios / Visual Concepts / Sega
Rating – (T)een

Bella Jackson: I was a lover of the original game, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one. As I have said before, I’m not a real big gamer, so if this new one was really hard then I wouldn’t want to play it. My husband had a demo for me to check out and I hated the game after we played. I mean REALLY hated it. Of course I gave it another chance after we rented it.

I played as Earl at first, then I switched to Latisha (the new character) and my husband was Toejam. The idea of the game is to bring back all the record albums that fell to earth from an alien ship. And you have to destroy the Anti-Funk. Yes, that’s right, the Anti-Funk. You obtain points by various means to get promoted to higher ranks. Right now, I’m a “RapMaster”. You use presents to fight and convert earthlings into not trying to kill you. I would never survive playing the game by myself. I get way to freaked out about all the people trying to get me. As usual my husband has to save me.

I actually like this game because the graphics are good, the music is just so funky (yes, I purposely used the word funky), and let’s be honest… it’s not hard for me to play. Sorry to all the truly hardcore gamers out there who love the difficult games. I mean, this can get somewhat difficult at times, but for the most part it’s not that hard. And to warn all, it’s a very short play.

So in the infamous words of Bebito: “Do Toejam & Earl still got the funk?” My answer: Not like the original game did, but it’s still good fun.
Bell’s Review: 3 out of 5 Stars

Bebito’s Two Cents: While I agree that this newest incarnation in the Toejam & Earl series doesn’t live up to the first one, it more than makes up for the abysmal Tojeam & Earl II: Panic on Wak-Game-Atron. Everything you’ve loved from the hula girls to the psychotic dentist is back for your gaming enjoyment. Best played if you have a buddy to take the romp with. I highly recommend it.
The 411: 8.0


THE DOWN-LO CONTEST
Flea stole my idea of interviewing people in his last column, so I’m stealing his idea of a contest in my column. That’s right. This is the first of many contests in which I give you, my sort of loyal readers, the chance to win gaming related prizes! No, no… don’t thank me. You deserve it. So what’s up for grabs this time? All of you old-school gamers get ready to rejoice. I’m giving up a copy of Sega Smash Pack: Volume 1 for Sega Dreamcast! This bad boy includes no less than 12 classic Sega games, including Virtua Cop 2, Sonic The Hedgehog, Shining Force and Phantasy Star II!

What’s that? That prize is lame? What are you talking about? These games are legendary. Yeah, I know the Dreamcast is kind of old but… Oh, alright. I’ll throw in Scott Keith’s highly anticipated new book, Tonight in This Very Ring: A Fan’s History of Professional Wrestling , does that make you happy? Geez. Just for that, it’s not going to be easy.

The Prize

Sega Smash Pack V.1 for Sega Dreamcast
Tonight In This Very Ring by Scott Keith

The Rules

There are 10 questions of which the answers can be found somewhere within the 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo archives (you can access them by scrolling to the bottom of the screen and clicking on the black bar labeled as such), along with one additional written essay question. Fill out the questionnaire completely and mail it to Bebito Jackson before the contest ends on 02/24/03 (by clicking on the “Send Feedback” link at the bottom of the column). The reader with the most correct answers wins. Some of you will find many of these questions easy if you’ve been avid readers of the Down-Lo, while others may have a harder time. All however, will most likely need to look through previous editions of the Down-Lo to obtain at least some answers. In the event that two or more people have the highest score, the essay question will be the tiebreaker as judged by me, Bebito Jackson.

Yes. Spelling DOES count. In questions asking for a name, the full name must be given. Only one entry per player. 411 Games employees are ineligible, but the rest of 411 Mania (Muisc, Wrestling, etc.) is welcome to enter. Wish you guys the best!

The Questionnaire

1. In what state do I live?

2. What drug was I almost tricked into taking via a radio ad?

3. What is the name of my favorite RPG (not series, but single game)?

4. Who was the first guest in the Down-Lo Spotlight?

5. Who was the only female guest to appear in the Down-Lo Spotlight?

6. What 411 Music columnist was the inspiration for the Down-Lo Console Compatibility Quiz?

7. What is the title of the first rumor I’ve ever told in the Down-Lo?

8. In what column did I first introduce the 411 Games Quote of The Week? (I need the column’s date only.)

9. In the 2-Part Special Edition of 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo, who won the Lo-Down! Award for 411 WRESTLING: BEST COLUMN? (I need the name of the writer & title of his or her column.)

10. Who are the official sponsors of the 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo (as said by myself)?

ESSAY QUESTION: “Do I suck? If so, why? If not, why?”
RULES: (It doesn’t matter whether you say I suck or I not. You can praise me. Or you could bash me until I want to shrivel up in the corner and cry. What I’m really looking for here is originality and inventiveness. Submissions will be judged on grammar, spelling, style, substance, and again, originality. All essays MUST be 200 words or less. Anything going above that total will be disqualified.)

The Reminder

Remember guys, you have until 02/24/03. It’s not the first one done, wins. Take your time and get it right. But don’t be late, entries after the due date will NOT be accepted. Have fun.


THE DLV OF THE WEEK
Due the staleness of my ending monologues up till now, I’ve decided to go on a different route. Introducing, The Down-Lo Video or DLV for short. As a treat for sitting through my entire piece of crap column, all you loyal Down-Lo Devotees get a special videogame related video each and every week. More often than not, the movie will in some way be connected with a rumor that I’ve reported within that day’s rumor-fest. And to start us off, I’ve gotten a hold of the first Japanese Commercial for Sakura Taisen PS2. Now you dorks who aren’t up on this series can get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about. It’s pretty short (clocking in at only 17 seconds) but that should cut down on the loading time for you snail-modem users. Check it out by clicking on the link below.

(THE DLV OF THE WEEK: Sakura Taisen: Atsuki Chishio Ni)

Do your best with the contest. And until next week, peace. I’m out.

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)