411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 07.29.03

LAST SUNDAY

Bella & Bebito Jackson make their way around the local mall and into its Electronics Boutique. Bebito walks purposefully through the small store straight to the GameCube wall, knowing full well what he’s looking for.

Bebito: Hmm”¦ Where is it?

Store Manager: *from behind the counter* Yo Bebito!

Bebito: Hey! What’s up, bro?

Store Manager: *walking over* What are you looking for?

*Bella rolls her eyes, knowing that a unbearably geeky video game conversation would soon ensue, as she taps Bebito on the shoulder and whispers in his ear.*

Bella: I’ll be at the music store across the hall. Just come and get me when you’re done.

Bebito: Ok, sexy. This won’t be long.

*Bella shakes her head as if to say, “Yeah right,” as she leaves the store.*

Store Manager: So what’s going on?

Bebito: Sonic MegaCollection. Want it. Need it.

Store Manager: Ah! I’ve only got one more left.

Bebito: *walking over to counter* SWEET! Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie.

Store Manager: So what you been up to lately. Still work as an Engineer?

Bebito: Yuppers. I also do a little bit of writing on the side now.

Store Manager: Really? Like short story writing, or novels, or something?

Bebito: Nah. Much less prestigious. I write for a website. Ever hear of 411? Used to be a wrestling only site.

Store Manager: Yeah. They changed to 411 Mania.

Bebito: Well I work over in the Games Zone. I write every Tuesday with the 411 Games Rum”¦

Store Manager: Wait! You’re THE Bebito Jackson?? No way! You’re making that up.

Bebito: I’m totally not! Look, see”¦ *does the thumps up, smile with teeth showing thing*

Store Manager: WTF! You’re serious? And that was Bella just now? Holy crap man, she IS hot!

Bebito: Yeah, isn’t she”¦

Store Manager: Do you actually get paid for writing there??

Bebito: Nah. But they give me free games to review. Not as many as I would get if I was working here but”¦

Store Manager: *smiles* Well that’s true.

Bebito: I just can’t believe you’ve heard of me.

Store Manager: *leaning in* Dude, you’ve got to tell me”¦

Bebito: *looking proud* Anything for one of my loyal fans! Heh.

Store Manager: Do you know Alex Lucard!!??

Bebito: What? Alex”¦ Yeah. What about him”¦?

Store Manager: Man, could you get me his autograph? Retrogarding is awesome. It would mean a lot!

Bebito: You want ALEX’S autogr”¦? Retrogra”¦? Oh, just finish ringing up my game!

Store Manager: Wow, I can’t believe you actually know Alex Lucard! What’s it like??

Bebito: *graps his game* It’s like knowing Bebito Jackson. (whispering: Dork!)



411 Games Quote of The Week
And I’d really like to know what Alex Lucard’s real name is (he’s over in the Games section). I’ve never seen such a transparent pseudonym in my life.
(Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. 07.23.03)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 07-29-03: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and it’s a bit weird for people to actually know who I am within the video game community. Our friend Mr. Lucard says it happens to him all the time, but I figured this was because he does this writing thing for a living in addition to his duties here at 411. You see he’s accomplished, so it makes sense for people to run up to the guy and say, “Oh my god! You’re Alex Lucard! Please have my first-born son!” But for some shmoe like me to have strangers saying they know who I am and that they read my stuff is”¦ well honestly just a bit unsettling”¦ but cool.

But more importantly, they know about 411 Games. And that’s what it’s all about.

Behold the “You Think You Know Me” Edition of the Down-Lo. We’ve got a long column this week, so no time to waste. Enjoy. I do.



This is the Down-Lo.

SHENMUE IS OR ISN’T IT?!
Random laziness time, so let’s turn on the PHONE-IT-IN-MACHINE. Even though it’s one of my favorite subjects in that of Shenmue III, I’m short on time so here’s the entire story with my comments spliced in for good measure:

As was reported last week, various Japanese news sources have stated that Sega-AM2 has confirmed Shenmue III. Now it seems, a little bit more has been discovered. Reportedly, the game will be called Shenmue III: Special Edition and will include all three installments for the standard Xbox game price. Now that’s a deal! If you never played a Shenmue game before, you’ll have no problem catching up.

That’s too sweet a deal to pass up. The entire Shenmue saga in one package (supposedly the third installment will finish the series)? Hopefully this isn’t a pipe dream.

The other bit of news is that there are some conflicting reports as to whether Shenmue III will be an Xbox exclusive or not. Some have said that it will be, while others have stated that a platform has yet to be chosen. Hopefully it will all be made clear soon.

If it was simply the third installment alone, then I’d say this is a moot rumor because there’s no way it’d end up anywhere but Xbox alone since other console owners wouldn’t be familiar with the story unless they owned an Xbox too. But if they’re planning on releasing the entire trilogy inside as rumored above, then it sounds more than possible that this game could go multi-platform as well.

Just as things are starting to sound great, here’s the bad news”¦

Please remember that none of the information in this story has been confirmed by Sega. It appears that information was not an announcement, but misinterpretation of a fan letter written on Sega’s European site. A spokesperson from SoE said, “There was a bit of Japanese text on the AM2 site which is actually a letter from a fan, saying what they want to see in the game.”

Yup. That’s right. That announcement”¦ wasn’t an announcement. So officially there is no Shenmue III. Don’t panic everyone. Just a few days after this shocking revelation was revealed, Sega made this announcement about restructuring its subsidiaries. Pay close attention to what they say about Shenmue’s creator Yu Suzuki.

As you may know, it was reported recently that Sega is planning the restructuring of its subsidiaries. The nine studios will be reduced to five, while two new ones are put together. Yu Suzuki has decided to establish his own development studio, which will focus exclusively on popular brands such as Shenmue and Virtua Fighter. I would assume that future installments in those franchises would therefore no longer have the AM2 label. The AM2 division will now be headed by Hiroshi Kataoka, and it will skew its games even more towards serious gamers.

Do I even need to say anything else? I do? Ok. Shenmue III is coming. It’s not news. It’s still rumor. But it’s coming. And it may even come as a complete set. So stop your worrying people. It’s going to be O.K.
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

DIDDY OUT, BANJO IN
The PHONE-IT-IN-MACHINE is doing a good job. Let’s keep it running for a while.

It has emerged that the looming Diddy Kong Pilot, somewhat strangely scheduled to be developed by Rare and published by Microsoft for Game Boy Advance, has been canned, in favour of Banjo Pilot.

Indeed, an application to the US patent office sees Microsoft register the Banjo Pilot brand, hinting that the deal with Nintendo to use its intellectual properties for GBA development at Rare has collapsed.

Gee. And that seemed like such a stable relationship. *cough*

Of course all is secret at present, though expect something at X03 in September.

I’m having a really hard time caring about Rareware anymore. I’m sure you all are too. Only comment here is that Diddy is soo much cooler than Banjo that it’s not funny.
DOWN-LO RATING: 4

RED DEAD IS DEAD?
IGN’s Off The Record has some info on Capcom’s Red Dead Revolver. Take a lookie”¦

Ah, the great quest for a Western shooter continues in its epic/tragic way. Having worked on Red Dead Revolver for nearly three years now, Capcom and Rockstar San Diego (formerly Angel Studios) are trying to settle on a deal for the interesting but not-so-good looking shooter in an effort to find a publisher. Apparently, after speaking with financial analysts at E3, Capcom has no plans to bring it out this year. It’s not on the company’s financial spreadsheet. But rumors indicate that Capcom is trying to work a deal with Rockstar or another Take-Two publishing brand to publish it. So, maybe Rockstar, Gotham or Gathering will publish it? The answer to the Western mystery gallops on”¦

I almost forgot about this game. And from the looks of things, by the time it comes out everyone else will have too.
DOWN-LO RATING: 5

GRAN TURISMO 4 BEFORE 2004? LOTS OF 4s”¦
Almost time to turn off the PHONE-IT-IN-MACHINE, but before we do let’s take a look at this”¦

Polyphony Digital has also announced a few of the key features in their upcoming PS2 racing simulation, Gran Turismo 4:

-More than 50 race courses
-Over 500 vehicles
-Each vehicle is composed with 4000 polygons
-All the car parts can be upgraded, from tires to gears
-The replay mode will be greatly enhanced
-New AI engine for rival cars, to simulate human behaviors in car battles
-There will be 3 main play modes: Arcade, Simulation and Online.

Allow me to be the last to admit that Gran Turismo 4 looks HOT. I’m not even a big fan of Gran Turismo’s style of play (I prefer the arcardy feel of Daytona, Sega Rally, & Ridge Racer), but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. I mean just look at those screenshots. Nothing out there can touch it, graphically at least. Kazunori Yamauchi and his team at Poyphony know how to construct a racing game. Period. No wonder GT4 is on the must have list of almost every gamer’s itinerary. Thus the question begs, when will you (not me; again I’ll be playing Sega Rally 3) get your hands on this bad boy? That’s the debate.

All information from Sony Computer Entertainment America to date has led us to believe that GT4 is hitting retail shelves sometime in 2004. However, after investigation on several fronts, it appears GT4 could very well hit retails stores this year, possibly in November or December.

How do we figure this? Think about it. The winter 2004 release date gives Sony quite a cushion to adjust to any changes in dates, and in the case of delays, it’ll never appear late. Thus they can “push up the release” and seem like gods in doing, when the whole time they were hoping to get it done before the holiday season from the start. Smart, eh? That Sony. They’ve got brains! Curse their blackened souls.

“There’s always Sega GT Online! Is that coming out before GT4?” I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care. Sega GT was and still is, one of my few gripes with Sega. I’m used to them being trendsetters, not blatant copiers. True, they never tried to pretend that the Sega GT series (for consoles, not be confused with the arcade version) was anything but a Gran Turismo clone, but it still shames my Sega racing lovin’ heart that they’d fall into the trap of what so many other developers have already done to them. And the worst part of it all is that the Sega GT series, while excellent if you’re into that sort of thing, has always been inferior to the Gran Turismos. With that in mind, for those of you that own both a Xbox and a PS2, I beseech you to pass on Sega GT Online in favor of Gran Turismo 4. Not because SGTOnline will be bad by any means, oh no. Do it just to teach them a lesson. We don’t want them getting the wrong idea”¦

Bottom line. I truly believe that Sony will pull GT4 out of their butts by Christmas 2003. Simply because there’s more money to be made that way. And that’s what it’s all aboot isn’t it?
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

And that’s the Down-Lo.

Thanks to Spong.com, Gamerfeed, IGN, and GamesAreFun for today’s stories.



THINGS I FOUND THAT MAKE GREAT COLUMN FILLER
In one of the rarest moments in 411 Games history, Bebito Jackson actually reported on some news last week. And not just any news. Wrestling game news. I obtained the latest official screenshots of WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain for the PS2 from THQ, and took the liberty of reporting on it. Of course, I’m never EVER able to report on anything without sneaking in highly biased unsupported opinions. It’s my trademark after all. Check out the opening of the story as written by myself:

“Here’s more wrestling game related garbage to soothe your insatiable hungers for the latest news on your favorite rehashed, barely evolving, still not better than WWE No Mercy for N64, wrestling game… WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. It’s sad really…”

For the first time in like forever, I actually got some hate mail on this! Ok, only one really. But it made my day! Seriously. I was beginning to think that EVERYONE on the planet agreed with everything I had to say. Even though they should, but a differing viewpoint was refreshing. In addition to the flame however, (which was well written and even respectful surprisingly) I received this bit of feedback that caught my attention even more so because it was from a fellow writer”¦

Ah Bebito, I never would have thought you’d be one to so blindly stumble down the Smackdown bashin path. No Mercy may have been a fine single or two player game, but let’s face facts: N64 was simply not powerful enough to deliver a satisfying four player experience. The TLC tag match may have had great physics, but it was nigh unplayable.

Compare and contrast with the TLC tag match in Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth. It runs blindingly fast and delivers “Holy Shit” spots galore. The ability to powerbomb your opponent through stacked tables? Check. Frogsplashing two opponents through two tables simultaneously? Check. The ability to spear an opponent off the hanging belt? Check.

I’ll grant you there are some wonky AI issues in SYM that keep it from being truly great (AI partners in 6 man elimiation matches turn on each other when the tides turn 3-1), but those who argue that the engine lacks depth simply haven’t spent enough time with the game. The combo / reversal system is the best I’ve seen since Giant Gram 2000. Almost every move in the game can be reversed if you learn the counters and timing. I don’t think most critics have spent enough time with the game to learn the timing and subtlety of the control system.

Try this – crank the difficulty up to the highest level and start all wrestlers with 5 finishers. Now a finisher won’t automically score a pinfall – it likely won’t even get a 1 count. Now you should be able to chain finishers, counters, and reversals into some long and truly great wrestling sequences. I would contend that two skilled SYM players could deliver matches a hell of a lot more entertaining than two skilled Vendetta or No Mercy players.

I admit the submission holds suck. That’s a feature Yuke’s is claiming to fix in HCTP and hopefully they will. (Quick aside – have you ever played Giant Gram 2000? It was a Dreamcast wrestling game that used a truly great submission system. As a hold injured a body part, the screen would flash red with a shattering sound effect. A comic book style starburst would depict a broken bone (a la Romeo Must Die)and a damage percentage. When the meter reached 100% the limb would be broken. Breaking multiple limbs resulted in the ref stopping the match and awarding you the victory). There are also modes that are just terrible: Last Man Standing, I Quit, and Table. Hell in a Cell and Cage could use some refinement as well. But Tag, 6 Man, Hardcore, Survival, and TLC are fantastic.

OK, that’s all the time I’ll waste trying to convince you that a game you’ve already decided is garbage is actually good. But SYM is my second favorite wrestling game of all time and the first two aren’t in my top twenty. Not bad for a series that has been “barely updated.”

Chad Thomas
Editor
Sore Thumbs
(Sore Thumbs appears monthly in News4U magazine and on their website – www.news-4u.com)

(PS: I’m not taking anything away from No Mercy. I bought a GameCube hoping that WMX8 would essentially be No Mercy with the hardware to run it properly. I was bitterly disappointed.)

I was all ready for a debate. But as I began pulling up my sleeves to levy the first rebuttal, I thought, heck”¦ I’ll let my readers deliberate it for me! You guys could put up a much better fight for me than I could probably ever do. Or better yet, you could put up a better fight against me as well! It’s time for an unofficial Down-Lo Contest people:

(Chad Thomas’) SMACKDOWN! VS. (Bebito Jackson’s) NO MERCY

Pick a side! If you think Chad is right and the latest Smackdown for PS2 is vastly superior to No Mercy for the N64, then side with him. Or if you think that No Mercy is still the reigning champion of wrasslin’ titles then join the dark side”¦ err, I mean Bebito’s side and support my argument. Write in HERE, and give your best contention for either side of the issue (sticking to only one game) in 200 words or less. Only one entry per person. The best entries will be in next week’s Down-Lo battling off of each other and the reader who presents the best argument for either side of the issue will be the deciding factor in “who’s right” Chad or I (although it’s all opinion so there’s really no way for one person to truly be “right”), AND they’ll win a secret Down-Lo prize! Those are the only rules. Vulgarity, name-calling, and questionings of one’s sexual orientation will be allowed, but probably will not factor too highly into whether your argument is more valid or not. But feel free to make whatever points you’d like. And above all else have fun.

I’m not sure if my audience will turn on me, but something tells me Chad that YOU’RE GOING DOWN BABY! Here’s to a good battle!



MY READERS ARE AWESOME AND I’VE GOT PROOF!
Great Ceaser’s Ex-Wives, what a huge feedback sack I have this week! It’s my largest sack ever! :) We’re splitting everything into two parts. First up is the feedback for the 07.15.03 edition of the Down-Lo. We’ll get to the Disturbing Feedback column stuff later. Just so you people know, here’s the ranking order for writers in! Keep at it, and you’ll be promoted to the top in no time!

Here’s the ranking going in ascending order:
– Dufus
– Poindexter
– Regular
– Homey
– Rap Master
– Funk Lord
– Down-Lo Devotee
– 411 Mania Writer
– ????? (Custom Made Title)

And so without further ado”¦ The feedback from the 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 07-15-03.

Highlight of 411? Surely You Breast”¦ Err, Jest
Heyyy. I sent a couple of emails u printed but when i saw the ranking system thought it was time 2 get back in the game. Any way i have to say your column is becomin the highlight of my 411 experience. There are 2 main reasons for this one being the always hilarious openings and in last weeks quite touching as u had to be within 2ft of a tomb raider game. And the second reason is of course the excellent selection of T and……i mean informative rumour coverage. Well just keep up the good work dude as my patent mixture of alcohol is calling :)
— Alex “Fal” Brown / Dufus

This is the first of the letters for this week where everyone in the world sucks up to me. And it’s right after the column where I displayed 100 or so half naked Japanese women. Hmm”¦ I wonder why?

Too Much Talking”¦ Not Enough Killing!
The MGS3 spoilers have got me concerned with regards a problem I had with the previous two games, especially the second one – the five minute ponderous conversation about life/choice/genes/the awful weather we’re having in which nothing of interest happens. I got bored stupid looking at the bloody radio screen for ages listening to Raiden’s wet blanket of a girlfriend who may not even exist talk about their love. It’s tedious even if you bash the X button to skip in the style of International Track and Field. Why can’t they concentrate more on what we love about MGS — sneaking around and killing terrorists?
— Al Haigh / Dufus

Agreed, the storyline portions in MGS, particularly the second one, can get a bit tiresome”¦ but come now! Let’s give Hideo a break here. When you compare most of the hundreds of other console or even pc games to the Metal Gear Solid series, there’s a pretty distinct line of quality drawn with MGS on the better end. Sure it’s got some kinks”¦ but HAVE YOU SEEN THE MGS3 TRAILER?!? GOOD SWEET MOTHER OF GREAT CEASER’S GHOST! That should calm all fears, believe me.

A Down-Lo Virgin
You ever notice how hard it is to open up a feedback email? Oh well. Anyway, first-time reader, first-time writer.

You couldn’t be more right about the PSP. Sure, I love my high-power, high-res graphic, three-dimensional games, but, sometimes, I’d rather jump on a paper-thin Goomba’s head or watch my poor-quality Link run around while I’m suspended tens of feet in the air over him. Besides, look what the 3D world can give us *points to Tomb Raider*

I am very grateful for your censorship of Tomb Raider. I will now be able to keep my eyes happy. Before you ask, yes, they do have minds of their own.

Anyway, I really enjoyed your column, and I am now a “reader” or a “Bebito-aholic” or whatever you want to call me.
— Adam Matlock / Dufus

Bebito-aholics? That has a nice ring to it.

The majority of the feedback I’ve gotten this week are from those that are also concerned about what the PSP means to handheld gaming. You guys never thought that this could mean the end of 2d gaming as we know it, did you? Now everyone’s panicking. Don’t worry guys, I’m sure Nintendo will still be releasing 10 year old ports of Mario for whatever new system they come out with to combat the PSP. Wait”¦ that doesn’t sound all that great either.

Ok, everybody. Go back to panicking. (Just kidding. I’m loving every Super Mario port dripped onto the GBA. And with the Player, it’s like having it for my GameCube too.)

Eric S., BG&E, & MGS
Poor Polecat actually reviewed Tomb Raider too. Will 411 be setting up a memorial fund for his children? But I liked how you snuck your mimi-review there too.

Hey, and you were mentioned by Eric S. AND compared to Jay Bower! That’s good, right? Right?

And more pics of cute lil’ Japanese girls. I think that makes EVERYONE happy.

Beyond Good and Evil looks amazing. Though those are GameCube graphics and therefore I will not get to experience them. :( But it still looks a-rocking and might have to pick that up when it’s released.

Here’s something for you to bite on: I own both NES Metal Gears. But I have never played an MGS title. It’s true.

I await your insults
— Jim Moore / Down-Lo Devotee

BG&E = GREAT POTENTIAL

TOMB RAIDER: AOD = GREAT FIRE KINDLING

No disgrace in never having played Metal Gear Solid. Heck, I’ve played nearly all of them and my claim to fame is that I’ve never beaten any of em’. Now how shameful is that?

As for that whole Eric S. comparing me to Jay Bower thing, at first it felt like an insult. But then later I ran into good ole Eric in the halls of 411 Mania Headquarters by the water cooler and I had a change of heart”¦

*********************************

Bebito: Yo Eric.

Eric: Hey.

Bebito: At the risk of ending up in “You’re A Moron”, I would just like to thank you for your comments about me in your latest column. Despite the fact that I don’t go out of my way to be anything like him, comparing me to Jay Bower even negatively can only be taken as a compliment. If what spawned this was the sometimes role-playish nature the Down-Lo takes on, that can be more attributed to the
time I spent with Efedders in the forums at the 411 Fed. If it has to do with my overuse of pictures and sight gags… well then, yeah. Ya got me there! But please keep in mind that they were all half naked pictures of unbelievably busty Japanese women. And that’s gotta be worth something!

Eric: Definitely worth something. The pictures I can justify in a Games column. You’re talking to a guy who plastered pics of Stevie Case all through his review of Anachronox, just to show that Ion Storm
Dallas had something that might have been worth paying attention to.

Bebito: lol. Yeah. I remember that.

Eric: As for the comparison to Bower, you guys just struck me as having a similar style. Hey, if we get to have someone like Bower, you guys should have one too. Whether that’s good or bad, I’ll leave up to your judgment.

Bebito: I prefer to think of it as Bower being like me. Just between the two of us, I taught the guy everything he knows.

Eric: Oh really.

Bebito: Um, yeah. Just don’t tell him I said that or anything! He’s”¦ uh, sensitive about the subject.

Eric: I’m sure.

Bebito: Anyway, been a fan. Still a fan. So it makes sense that I was reading you. But what in god’s name were you doing reading the Down-Lo?? Thought you’d have better taste than that man. What was the deal? Boredom? Mistake? Or did you see the tagline about T&A and was lonely that night. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* Regardless there’s no excuse, so do yourself a favor and stay away from my columns… you’ll thank yourself later. It takes a certain rare type of mental retardation to cope with my writing. lol.

Eric: You must remember, my dear sir, that I am certified as being insane. I could read the Necronomicon and it’d have no effect on me. So the Down-Lo wasn’t too bad an experience. As for why I read it in the first place, I was going to be talking about the Games section in my column, and I didn’t want to say anything about it that inveterate readers of the section who also read me could point to and say
“U got it rong, ashole!”. I check my stuff before writing it.

Bebito: Hmf. Maybe I should start doing that”¦ Nah!

Eric: Thing is, I still had Pankonin and Laflin crawl up my ass for saying the stuff I did. What do I do to deserve this?

Bebito: Told you man. Retarded stuff happens after you read the Down-Lo.

Eric: Indeed.

*********************************

All is well now. After that delightful exchange, we took turns holding the Rumor Monkey by his tail outside a 15-story high window. Fun had by all. Eric likes the Games Zone; he really does! Heck he may even be contrib”¦ err, I mean. Uh. Nevermind.

I said NEVERMIND! Next letter”¦

Is Hardcore Cool Because Hardly Anybody’s Hardcore?
dazamm, i was mentioned FIRST in the devotees! Guess i just *rub* you the right way…oh you like that dont ya bebe.

Onto tha quession:

Does the thought that games like enter the matrix and tomb raider angel of darkness selling millions of copies while games like Ikaruga, King of fighters, and guilty gear X2 are relagated to only a hardcore following make you want to hang your head in disgust?

Or do you feel that those “niche” games are all the more cooler just because of the small but extremely dedicated fan base makes companies like SNK and treasure not slack off because they know that the reason their games sell well (last check, the import copy of KOF 2002 on dreamcast sold about 25,000 copies) is because so much effort and time are put into them? Enter the matrix sold just because of the liscense and was crap because the bastards at Shiny knew that they could get away with a rushed product (taking lessons from EA I guess) while the sole reason that Ikaruga came over to the states was because the demand was so great for it because of how good it was.

Basically the question is – does huge success make a game franchise and even company weaker (cough*Final Fantasy* cough *Square making xenosaga a 70 hour long CG cinema with a terrible script* cough) and do you think that the copanies like Treasure and SNK make such good games because they only attract a hardcore following?

AND WHY AINT YOU EVER ON AIM BEBE?! hehehehehe
— Mike V / Down-Lo Devotee

I have two conflicting points of view on this one Mike. To explain them let’s compare my column, the Down-Lo, to what you would refer to as a “niche” videogame for the “hardcore”. When I first started writing the DL, my sole purpose in doing it was simply for my own enjoyment. It was basically just to see myself printed somewhere again for people to enjoy (it had been a while since I had written for a games site) and to vent some lunacy. For the most part I wrote whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. I knew my stuff was good and in my opinion, better than 99% of the stuff that was currently on the site at the time. Everything was peaches and cream, but then one day our dearly departed Ron Yip taught me how to see the 411mania hit counter and in turn how many people read each of us individually. Out of curiosity, I went to see how many of you good folks were reading the Down-Lo each week”¦

The numbers scared me.

Here I thought I was doing this for literally a good 5, 6, maybe 50 people at the most. Heck, I’d be glad if the Down-Lo reached a good 100 people a month total. After all, I wasn’t writing any of the popular columns. It was a wrestling site. Nobody cared about the “Games Zone”, right? But when I saw it reached beyond a thousand each time I threw something out, needless to say Bebito was shocked. While still nowhere near the numbers that Scott Keith, Hyatte, and the other 411 Wrestling superstars were pulling, it wasn’t exactly the hundred or below that I was expecting for a “nobody” such as myself. Suddenly, what used to be merely a fun outlet for whatever was on my sick, demented mind became a semi-obsession on how many people were reading me. I remember Chris Pankonin advising, “Don’t get stage fright on me.” And I did, but not in the way he probably thought. You see it was at that point that I stopped writing for myself and started writing for everyone else. Instead of making myself happy, YOU became what made doing a weekly column worth it.

“So. What’s wrong with that?” Everything. I wouldn’t speak on the things I normally would anymore. I began catching myself starting to write what I thought everyone would want to see, instead of what I wanted. And worst of all, when my numbers were down for a particular week, I’d become disenchanted with writing altogether because then it seemed I was pleasing no one.

My point? When I first started writing, my stuff could be compared to what you’d call “hardcore” or “niche” in respects to what else was on 411. After a modest amount of success came around however, I found myself almost “selling out” (although how you can sell out without getting paid is beyond me really). So the thought that success can ruin certain game franchises is totally believable to me. After developers find out people like a certain formula, they’ll religiously stick to it trying to milk every dime out of it that’s humanly possible. Bebito was heading down the same road. The thing is”¦ I didn’t “sell out”. At some point, I realized what was most important about this entire writing gig. Making myself happy. No offense to you good people, but if I feel my stuff is crap”¦ then it’s crap. Thus, I started writing for myself again and you can practically notice the point in which I did (rumors became almost secondarily important next to the T&A, jokes, site gags, rants, and highly biased opinions). In the end, the fact that people kept tuning in to see what I had to say long after I cared what they thought about it, only served to encourage me to continue the quality *cough* stuff I’m doing now. And I believe that sometimes success only encourages game developers to innovate even more as well. Take Sega, Konami, and even at times (I’m going to get reamed a new butt hole for this one.) Electronic Arts. They all take chances and continue to throw out some killer games simply because it’s worked for them in the past. Bottom line is it could go either way. Mainstream success either produces Metal Gear Solids or Tomb Raiders. Depends on the ethics of the developer.

Oh, and don’t worry people. This whole questioning myself thing happened way back in the day before the Mania and before this place was anything more than a sideshow attraction from the Wrestling parts. Since I’ve been back from my hiatus, I’ve been going full tilt, with no freaking end in site.

And I’m never on AIM because I’m scared to death of my audience. You people are nuts! :)

Battle of The 411 Wives
It sounds like you had just a slightly better time playing Tomb Raider than I did playing F1. I need to learn to let the venom out a little more, I think.

Dammit, Veronica had an idea to do a wife’s review just last week. Now I can’t do it at all because it’ll look like I’m ripping you off! Damn you! Damn you for having such a cool wife!

You know, when Veronica made the decision to supplement my PS2 with another system, she asked me what I wanted, a GameCube, or an Xbox. I thought that the only things that were on GameCube that I would really want were Mario titles and Zelda, and I had already gotten bit with the SNES, so I said Xbox. THEN I remembered that Sega is doing all of the Sonic games for GameCube. Grrrr. At least I’ll have Sonic Heroes.

They should release the old Sonic games for PS2 and/or Xbox. Like Nintendo can afford to bitch about it at this point.

Anyway, the column is brilliant, as always. I strive to reach the point where my columns are worthy to lick to boots of your columns. (Over the top? You’re soaking in it!)

Later.
— Cory Lafin / 411 Games

*soaks it all in*

Heh.

*looks at Bella and smacks her on the booty as she play Jak & Daxter*

She really is a cool wife.

Am I Too Negative?
ho.
ly.
shit.
Bebito, you need to think about Tomb Raider all the f*cking time. If it generates that kind of eye candy, it’s worth your mental angiush.

Or you can just PRETEND to think about it, as long as you keep posting pics of large breasted Asian girls, heheh. Especially the one in the red. Talk about cups runneth over! Yowza! That game probably sucks to no end, but as long as it can be played with one hand you know it’s gonna sell. Anyway, sorry about the length of that last letter, it’s just that I was in the zone, you know? I wasn’t trying to abuse my privileges, I swear, but after reading it again, why, that’s EXACTLY what it looks like I was doing. Upon consideration, I’ve decided that to reduce the amount of stuff I send you, I’m gonna delete every other word.

Now, about Final Fantasy Tactics, I’m glad I wasn’t just imagining things, lol. Like I said, I wasn’t around for the fanfare, but it does sound just like them. I’ve developed a technique to avoid all that, though. It’s called ignoring the hype. Every game company on earth has made false claims and such. Hell, look at the new Tomb Raider game. *hopes for a post-email huge-hootered kawaii honey* Now, was that anywhere NEAR what the press releases said? Think about it. *crosses fingers* Now think s’more. *hoping, hoping* Anyway, I guess anti-Square feelings in that vein are justified, but a lot of people latch onto the negative with an iron grip and let that color their opinions about everything. Me? I don’t care what any game maker says, it’s the results that matter. Square’s given me more good games over the years than any other single game publisher, enough that I can overlook the crap and the boasting. If y’all want to focus on the negative, that’s fine (I usually do that myself about most things). I’m not trying to defend them; a false claim is a false claim. You know the truth, right? But if you keep harping on shit like that, you’ll end up an unpleaseable, bitter old man with two teeth, a bad temper, and a rusty Pinto. My advice: ignore the bullshit and just play the game. It’s more fun that way. ^_^

Now see, that’s a LOT shorter than what I originally wrote. What’s above doesn’t have “bistromath” as every other word. And it’s nowhere near as long as your little mega-spoiler. :-p But now, I must bow my head in deference, as Bella has surpassed me in one aspect of gaminghood: I have yet to complete Wind Waker. Alas, I have had it since the day after release day, and have shamefully neglected it in favor of other gaming ventures. Miss Bella, welcome back to the Down-Lo, and congratulations on your accomplishment. *bows as gracefully as a gaming geek knows how*

RANDOM INTERJECTION
a.b.p.bluebird and a.b.p.bluebird.reposts
If you don’t know how to interpret that, you’re missing out, lol.

Dude, your comments to Lee about PSP were f*cking chilling. I hadn’t thought about that. Just one more reason to sabotage the factory, I guess. Anyway, sorry about the lack of general zaniness this week, I was trying to keep it short… maybe if you actually responded to my emails instead of waiting for the mailbag, I wouldn’t have to try and fit a week’s worth of crap in a one day bag, lol. Keep up the good work, and where the fudge was the monkey this week? Is the poor guy in the hospital from snacking on your nads? Is he lost between Megumi’s boobs? WTF? WHERE’S THE !(*^^@%@^*$ MONKEY?!?!

Oh yeah, one more thing…
TOMB RAIDER: ANGEL OF DARKNESS

*soaks in the cheap pop from the crowd as Bebito puts up yet another piece of eye candy* ^_^
— Matt Hardin / 411 Figures

I do get pretty hung up on that whole Final Fantasy Tactics things. But it’s one of my few issues with games in general. It’s not like I’m that loon Liquidcross! That guy cries about everything! *smiles at Liquid* But you’re right about not taking what companies say too seriously. Thing is, statements such as those that Square made breed mass ignorance in the game playing community. Lot’s of dip sticks don’t know that Atlus made that game for them. Thus when I tell them to check out Orge Tactics, they look at me and go, “DUUUUDE! Final Fantasy Tactics is waaaay beddar! Like”¦ waaay waaay betor!” And then I pull out my machete and consider castrating myself again. But it’s only one issue! There’s a whole bunch of stuff that I like! Look”¦

I like Streets of Rage! How awesome was that series of games! Especially that girl with the long legs and tight red clothes. She kicked some major booty. Her and that skater kid. That was my brother’s and my dynamic duo.

How sweet was Battletoads!? Sure it was sort of a rip-off of an amalgam of Double Dragon and Ninja Turtles, but it was definitely cool when your fist grew to the size of HALF THE FREAKING SCREEN, and the rat, pig, or whatever other barn yard animal you were punching FLEW off your TV.

Sonic R caught a bad rap! The concept of characters racing like cars is, granted, essentially flawed. But it was nowhere near as bad to play as you’ve heard. It’s actually pretty blasted fun! And that music isn’t even nearly as bad as everyone says it is. “Everybody was Super Sonic Racing!”

And don’t believe Alex Lucard! Final Fantasy X while slightly long-winded, was a good game! It was the standard for PS2 rpgs for the longest time until Xenosaga came around! People seem to think that I hate Square. That’s not entirely true. It depends on the day! Most instances when I write the DL I hate Square. But that’s purely a timing issue! :)

Time to move onto Part 2 of today’s letter section. Here’s the feedback from The Lo-Down: 411’s Disturbing Feedback column:

Virgin No More!
You guys actually get emails like that? Damn, those guys are stupid… Wait, I’m probably going to end up contributing one of those things one of these days. Well, at least people end up laughing…

Anyway, you guys should seriously do more of those roundtables with dumb emails. That was really funny.
— Adam Matlock / Dufus

You heard him guys! I’m sure sooner rather than later, a part two will be springing up somewhere. Will Alex Lucard hold on to his current championship? *shakes Magic 8-Ball*

Magic 8-Ball: “Not Bloody Likely”

Oh, I just love the Magic 8-Ball”¦

The Return of The Nut
Hey Bebito.

The always-what’s the opposite of revered? loathed? Yeah, loathed works- loathed Myles McNutt here. Exams kept me busy through your return, and it’s just as my name pops up again that I’m coming out of the grave. And no, I’m not actually dead, don’t get people’s hopes up.

Reading that classic hate mail, which I believe you had published before, really brought up some amazing memories of my own crazy time at 411, although nobody ever thought I was making wrestling games (Which is shocking considering my entire set of columns was about wrestling games). Although, my Perfect Wrestling game column did get some insanely crazy shit coming through it, as people seemed to really care. Shocking, I know.

Anyways, as your loyal fan (Thanks, by the way), I’ve kind of been slacking off lately. I blame Advance Wars 2, personally.

However, an injustice was done to Bebito Jackson’s Down-Lo, as people began stealing his rumors and posting them as not rumors (Which must, of course, have a formal apology to Bebito Jackson included), but instead as news items.

Case in point: “Vice City”. Rockstar’s supposed plan to released Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the XBox by eliminating Grand Theft Auto from the title. This is, of course, taken from the highly reputable (Cough, WWE RAW=9.0? WTF? Cough) IGN XBox, who of course never post insane stories. It was thus taken as news and reported as such.

However, these fine reporters (One of which was already on my list for claiming EA had dropped GameCube support), failed to live up to the fine examples set by Bebito Jackson. They took it as news…they took it as an inevitability. However, the Down-Lo would have dissected what is technically still a rumor.

You would have brought up how there have been rumors of a Two Game set of GTA3 and GTA:VC being released on XBox already. You would have brought up how Microsoft has the cash to get Rockstar to do this. However, you would also have brought up the fact that Rockstar has a contract with Sony, and unless Microsoft is paying their legal bills and paying for the development of every other GTA title, the long legal battle would be a hell of a fight for both sides, and would be the last thing Rockstar’s publisher, Take Two, needs, since GTA is what kept them afloat and has now made them extremely successful. None of the risks of breaking a contract in this matter were discussed. It was simply taken as news and forgotten. If indeed they are able to weasel out of the contract in that matter (Which is doubtful, Sony isn’t a third grader), you’d have to wonder what Microsoft would gain in the process. A year-old port that they’d have to pay a lot of money for. Anyone remember Metal Gear Solid: Substance? Microsoft paid for exclusivity for a period of time, and Konami didn’t bother releasing the XBox version in Japan, and it bombed in the rest of the markets. It was a waste of cash because it was a game PS2 owners had played a year before.

None of these risks were mentioned, period. It was simply taken as “I can’t believe they didn’t think of this before”. Sure, there may be credibility to the story, but IGN XBox has started something. No other media outlets (Respectable ones, like GameSpot, for example), who are above posting stories like this with no real backing, haven’t picked up the story for as far as my knowledge goes. And, I’m not surprised. The story was picked up as news, when it was in fact rumor, and was therefore misrepresented in every way possible. Now, of course, the same type of readers who believe that “The Boss” is developing Smackdown 5, will boast to their friends that Vice City is coming to the XBox. And with no Rumor Down-Lo to tell them otherwise, their friends might buy XBoxes for that purpose and then find themselves with a system for the wrong reasons. I thought 411 was above IGN XBox…sigh.

Either way, it wasn’t a huge deal or anything. It was an honest mistake. Obviously, these people didn’t read IGN XBox’s WWE Raw review. 9.0? 9.0? Good god. I’m still in shock over that. 9.0 for WHAT? Sigh. They obviously took it as being an entirely serious story, when in fact it was no more guaranteed truth than Quartermann from EGM. It’s a lesson that can be learned from the Rumor Down-Lo, which debunks, introduces and validates rumors, in-depth and thouroughly, so that the people can rest easy knowing they are not misled.

But, since I’m in the mood to take rumours from IGN, a great place is IGN’s Mailbag. Basically, they let lose information not formal enough for a news report (Tell that to IGN XBox), and it can sometimes be revealing. For instance, rumors of Silicon Knights’ Too Human being released on the next incarnation of the GameCube, rather than GameCube itself. Why? They won’t say, but considering they did exactly the same thing with Eternal Darkness (N64->GCN), it wouldn’t be surprising. Combine this with the fact that they’re currently developing Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and you’ve got a combination of factors leading to a delay for the title, which has never actually been seen working on GCN hardware by the masses, despite being confirmed in development.

There’s also rumors circulating about GameCube’s online plan, or lack thereof. Satoru(?) Iwata has constantly commented that they are working on an online solution that will not require the player to pay for the service. At E3, however, GameSpy (The video game website but also middleware online play provider) was quoted as saying that they were in talks with Nintendo about devloping for the GameCube. This coincided with a press release way back in Summer 2002, where GameSpy was announced as an official GameCube devloper for the purpose of Middleware. Could this be leading towards an online solution from GameSpy, basically providing a Tunneling software system that Nintendo authorizes, allowing LAN enabled titles (Kirby’s Air Ride, Mario Kart: Double Dash for now) to go Online through the Broadband adapter? Or, is it simply a mistake on the part of GameSpy and Nintendo is content with clicking their heels and trying to Wizard of Oz their way to the top? Who knows. It’s just a rumor.

Well, I’m just about spent. It’s been great having you back, Bebito, what with the wit, the quality rumor reporting, Bella’s reviews (Which beat IGN XBox’s 100%) and the overall personality exuded, you prove entertaining each week. Hope all goes well in the future. Will cotinuing reading.
— Myles McNutt / Dufus

Wow that was long. If I continue to use any more lengthy letters as filler in the Down-Lo, this will end up looking like an Alex Lucard column! (ZING!) Thank you, thank you! I’m here all week!

Sorry about the demotion Myles, but it’s been so long since you’ve actually done anything for 411 Games that you had to be brought back down the ranks with everyone else. Hello Dufus.

Whoa. You covered a lot. Not much left to say other than, “thank you,” and that no kidding we’re better than IGN! :p

A Friend In Need
Hey. I really enjoy reading your columns and rumors. I was wondering if you can help me with this. My girlfriend and I are huge “Darkstalkers/Vampire Saviour” fans(I love the Street Fighter series as well, & some other 2-d fighters) and have looked everywhere(google/ebay/yahoo search) for the original toy line/resin kits for the characters(not the capsule figs), and the toys(especially for all the original characters) are extremely hard to find. I know I should email one of the guys in the toy section of this site, but you being a fan of Sega(surely you do/did have the Saturn import version of VS2, if not some of the other awesome titles Sega had exclusively (‘ie Dragon Force, Marvel Vs SF, etc…) I figured maybe you could help me out. I can’t believe those things would be that hard to find, because it wasn’t just a few years ago, the magazine “GAMEFAN” was out and had all of them in there. I believe my girlfriend threw all my old mags like that away, so I have no hope but internet searching.

Also, do you know if Capcom will ever bring out another VS game? Or, how about this for a longshot: Eternal Champions Sega CD sequel?

Please help with the toys/resin kits if possible… Thanks
— Roman I.N.D./ Dufus

Another reason to miss GameFAN. There’s hundreds isn’t there?

Sadly, I know nothing about figures, my bro. But fellow 411er PK does! Let’s talk to him real quick. I’ve got him on speaker phone. PK! You there? Can you help this guy and his Capcom lovin’ chick out?

PK: Hey Bebito. The SF figs are no longer available in stores, and there was talk of a new line starting, made by Palisades, same company that does the current Muppet figures, but supposedly Capcom took the offer off the table. My contact at Palisades says that Capcom seems to be planning. Something huge. As for the figures that have been made in the past few years, I would search the net for the figures made my a company called ReSaurus. Toybiz also put out plenty of figures based on the VS. series. All the old figures shouldn’t be too tough to get through ebay, and online retailers. Hope I helped.

Ya sure did! I’m on my comp now, and I’ve found some interesting things on ebay! Roman, I’ll send you the link I found with the Vampire Savior figures on it via email. Hopefully this will be what you’re looking for.

See how much I love you guys. You ask, and I provide”¦

Yeah, People Write Us Now And Then
So wait, let me get this straight…

You guys get fan mail?!?

So that’s what that “e-mail” link I’ve been clicking on to respond to your column was for. Astonishing! It’s all become clear to me now…

One time, I got fan mail to. Ah, what a glorious day that was…but anyway, I digress.

As disappointing as it is to not see a column this week, I was cracking up anyway while reading it, so I suppose you did your job this week.

Fatty McGoth…….classic.
— Kyle Litke / 411 Comics

Fatty McGoth! lol. That still cracks me up.

But yeah, we get fan mail every once in a while. Sometimes. I don’t get much though”¦ *cough* Um, yeah. ANYWAY! Didn’t your review get printed on a comic book?? Who need feedback? That’s like something I said appearing on game package. Imagine if my comments ended up on the back of a Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness package? “”¦every time the unbelievably frustrating controls caused me to fall seventy stories to my death for no good reason, I contemplated slitting my wrists. — Bebito Jackson / 411 Games”

Now THAT would be an honor.



THE DLV OF THE WEEK
The GameCube is starting to heat up as far as RPGs are concerned. Skies of Arcardia II is in the beginning stages (although it’s only rumored as of now). Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is finishing up. Camelot, the makers of Golden Sun and Shining Force, are plugging away on something allegedly huge. But the one beeping most prevalently on my radar, Namco’s soon-to-be blockbuster Tales of Symphonia, is hopefully gearing up for a US release sometime soon. And to make you people understand exactly why you should all be clamoring for this thing like a crack hoe for her crack dealer, look no further than this week’s Down-Lo Video. The video is in ASX format and you may need Windows Media Player to view it. Behold. Be amazed. Be happy.


(DLV OF THE WEEK: TALES OF SYMPHONIA)

Until we meet again”¦

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)

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