411MAX: News News Revolution 10.21.03

Hello again, one and all! It must be Tuesday, because I’m talking to you right now! YES!

Anyway, first let me apologize for the way my column looked last week. I didn’t review my HTML as well as I should have, and I missed three quotation marks in my links. Those missing marks omitted ENTIRE SECTIONS of the column, including my Parting Thoughts. While they weren’t anything special, the fact that they were missing kinda ticked me off. So this week, I’ve checked and DOUBLE-checked each link to make sure they’re working properly.

As an added bonus, I’ve included each piece of news that was omitted last week. Yes, they are a week old, but they have been labeled as such. So if you see “OLD NEWS” on a story, it was supposed to be included last week.

Confused? GOOD! Because NOW we get into the think of things! ON WITH THE NEWS!
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TOP STORY: DDR’s Gold, Man! Solid Gold!

And the top news story THIS week is DDR related! WOW! What are the odds?

Anyway, it was recently announced by Daniel Tyrrell himself on DDRFreak.com that DDR Ultramix on the X-Box has officially gone gold! And by gold, I mean the game has been finalized, and is ready for duplication. He also reconfirmed the release date as November 18th, 2003.

Let me say that again for all of you guys going by the release lists of EBGames or Gamestop, or whatever.

THE GAME WILL BE IN STORES NOVEMBER 18, 2003!

This came directly from a KONAMI EMPLOYEE! In fact, from the DESIGN TEAM LEADER! And if there’s any change in the release date, HE WILL LET US KNOW!

There. That should clear up any confusion. Now all we gotta do is shut up those who blast the US DDRs for not being Japanese…

(Credit goes to DDRFreak.com)
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Quick! Add this to Alex Lucard’s bookmarks, stat!

With the relatively recent revival (R3! HAH!) of SNK, there strangely wasn’t a website to go with it.

Well, NOW THERE IS! All you gotta do is click here to gain access.

It looks to be in its beta stages right now. However, it has a company overview, links to their online store, and information on three of their announced projects:
SNK VS Capcom: Chaos, (Neo Geo AES) – November 13th Release
King of Fighters 2000/2001 (PS2) – November 18th Release
Metal Slug Advance (GBA) – No Release Date Given

You can find pictures and stuff for the first two games listed, but not much info was given for MSA. I guess that’ll give you SNK junkies more reasons to check back on a daily basis!

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
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OLD NEWS: It’s Armed…With A Free Game

Well, Lucasarts just announced something that’s going to make a certain cult of gamers smile. If you preorder their upcoming game Armed and Dangerous, you’ll get a free bonus disc contain the cult classic Sam & Max Hit The Road for the PC. I’ve never played it myself, but it’s an out-of-print point-and-click game with a bizarre comedy aspect. And hey! Who doesn’t like bizarre comedy?!?

Not only will the disc contain the full game, but it will also have a trailer for the new Sam & Max game, six music tracks, and concept art for Armed and Dangerous.

The game is coming out for both the PC and the X-Box, but the pre-order bonus has so far only been “promised” to X-Box owners. A bit questionable, but we’ll see how things shape up closer to the release.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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Solid Gold! (Part 2)

Hey, another X-Box game went gold recently besides Ultramix! So that means…it isn’t important!

KIDDING! I’m kidding!

Anyway, it’s been confirmed that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 has gone gold, and is scheduled to meet the October 28th release date. Oh, and its a completely original game, too. Not a PC port like some people were expecting. And that’s all you’re getting out of me, because I get bored with tactical espionage first-person shooters rather easily.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
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OLD NEWS: GTA3: Great Things Additional…uh…3

More news just came out about the special GTA Double Pack for the X-Box, all of it on Grand Theft Auto 3. Apparently, the game is receiving a MAJOR overhaul for the PS2–>X-Box translation. Quoted directly from Games Are Fun, and commented by me in italics, here’s what you can expect:

– Custom soundtrack. (Like you’re surprised)
– Widescreen 480p progressive Scan. (If you’re lucky enough to own Progressive Scan…)
– Dolby Digial 5,1 Surround sound. (See above)
– Characters and buildings will have textures AND more polygons. (You mean they had enough money to spring for BOTH? Cool!)
– Revised light effects, such as better dusk and dawn transitions, road lamps and more realistic headlight glare, reflections and shade. (All we need now are some deer crossings to take advantage of this wonderful feature!)
– Explosions, fires and weather effects take benefit of the improved particle effects. (This is what you bought the game for. Driving other people’s cars and blowing them up. Admit it.)
– Removal of some technical errors, which were in the PS2 version. (Because if they removed ALL of them, there’d be no money for BOTH the building textures and polygons!)

I will say the custom soundtrack option is intriguing. I’m going to wager a guess and say that it will take the form of a specific radio station, or maybe multiple stations corresponding to the categories of music found on your hard drive. Then again, I could be wrong. In any case, keep a lookout for this one on the 4th of November. (Happy Turkey Day! Here’s a car bomb!)
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Another Pointless Lawsuit! Wheeeee!

In a world where copyright infringement rules above all else, Robert Crais feels like it has been violated again. The L.A.-based crime author has sued Activision and is trying to prevent True Crime: The Streets of L.A. from being released on November 4th.

Crais feels that Nick Kang , the main character of True Crime is a direct RIP-OFF of Elvis Cole from several of his novels. Both are grizzled ex-cops, both wear mirrored shades, and both “beat criminal senseless”. Crais states that the later two are “protectable expressions”.

Beating people senseless? A protectable expressions?!?!? *cough*

So, I guess its only a matter of time before he goes after Grand Theft Auto, Rent-A-Hero, Dynamite Cop, Streets of Rage, the Batman games, The Matrix (SOMEONES got to be wearing mirrored shades there…), etc, etc, etc.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun and Gamespot)
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OLD NEWS: You Will Join the Box Side. It Is Your Destiny!

Proving that everything will eventually wind up on the X-Box, Lucasarts’ famous Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on the Nintendo 64 / GameCube will appear on the X-Box as a trilogy in late 2004. The trilogy will include the original Rogue Squadron on the N64, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader on the GC, and the upcoming GC game Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.

Sheesh, with all these “exclusive” PS2 and GC games being developed for the X-Box, I wonder how long it’ll take for N-Gage games to…wait a minute. They all SUCK. Never mind! (Ah, blind system hatred. I missed you so!)

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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This Just In! Sega’s Making Money!

Every week, there’s probably at least one cool story that almost doesn’t make it in the column. That’s why it’s just in.

Anyway, this week’s cool story is that Sega is actually making a profit for the first half of their fiscal year! From recent reports, they’ve earned 94.2 billion yen overseas, which is an increase of 7% from their projections. They made a profit of 5.7 billion yen, which is a 375% increase compared to the 1.2 billion initially forecasted.

Sega credits their recent successes to their arcade division and consumer software divisions, which have done unexpectedly well. Games such as Dragon Treasure, and Star Horse 2002 have proven to be wildly successful. On the home market, games like Initial D: Special Stage have sold well. Here in America, Sonic Adventure DX: DC and Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution have enjoyed strong sales.

Hey, two games I gave good reviews to! You think I had a hand in this? No? Eh, screw you!

(Credit goes to Gamespot)

And that’s the news for this week. Now for everyone’s not-so-favorite (yet I include it anyway) section…
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CHEAT!

Okay, I’ll level with you. I’m running on a tight schedule, and have about three thousand projects I need to write up for classes by the end of the week. So, we’re going to…(ahem)…BORROW Bebito’s Phone-It-In Machine and pull up the VERY FIRST Retrocheating section I did way back in the day when this section was a whole flippin’ column. I give you…

SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 3 (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Okay, it’s getting a facelift for the GBA later this year, but until then, it’s got secrets that need re-unearthing. So, here ya go:

Warp Whistle Locations

Level 1-3: Neat the end of this level, you should come across a giant white platform. Stand on it, and hold Down for several seconds. You’ll end up falling through the platform, and end up behind the scenery completely. Run to the right, and you’ll end up in a secret house with one treasure chest. Open it to obtain the first of three warp whistles.

Level 1 Fortress: Make sure you’re Raccoon Mario before attempting this. In the first part of the level, find the door, but don’t go into it. Instead, fly up close to the wall, and over the top of the level so you’re on the ceiling. Enter a hidden door on the far right, and you’ll end up with your second whistle.

Level 2: On the map, one of the Hammer Brothers gives you hammer for your inventory. Don’t use it until you get to the top-right corner of the map. This should lead to a secret passage to a Toad House, and second Hammer Brother. Defeat the Fire Brothers contained within to get the last whistle.

To use the whistles to skip straight to Level 8, collect at least two, and use one. Once in the Warp Zone, use your second whistle to warp directly to the Level 8 pipe.

Treasure Ships:

This is an interesting bonus that I discovered by accident back in the day when I still had my NES. First off, go to any stage in Level 1. Now, make sure you have EXACTLY 11 coins, and the last two numbers in your score is a 10. Once you’ve done that, proceed to the end of the stage, and hit the card block when the time is at an even number. When you’re back on the map, the Hammer Brothers will change into Treasure Ships! These are
special hidden ships that contain ungodly amounts of coins, and usually have special items at the end.
As for other bonuses, simply beat the game and start another. In your new game, you’ll end up with 28 P-Wings in your inventory!

(Credit goes to GameFAQs and my shaky memory)
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Commentary: Squall Leonhart Has No Personality!

I was serious last week, so this week, lets have a fun!

Last Thursday evening, I was leaving Towson’s Anime Club meeting when I got one weird complement from this one girl:

“I love your jacket! You look just like Squall!”

Squall, in this case, meaning Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII.

And she was sort of right. The jacket I was wearing was a leather one, with white felt on the inside, and buckles in various places.

Once I realized my jacket did bear some sort of resemblance, I wanted to commit suicide right then and there.

I mean, I HATE Squall. Squall is the perfect example of main characters you DON’T want to see in a game. He is bland, emotionless, and has no personality to speak of. We see characters all around him having feelings and whatnot, but this guy…he just STANDS there and moans “Whatever”, even when given the OPPORTUNITY to emote.

So later that night, I was chatting with Lucard on AIM, and he sympathized completely. I said Squall had no personality, he agreed. I said EVERYONE had more personality than Squall, and he agreed. I said a brick wall has more emotion than Squall, and he lost it. Between the two of us, we then came up with a list of video game characters / inanimate objects than had more personality than Squall did, and were rolling the whole time.

What follows is the product of some kind of drug-induced AIM chat…only without the drugs…well, ok, maybe a little caffeine…

THOSE WHO HAVE MORE PERSONALITY THAN SQUALL LEONHART

Luigi: “Mario? Mario! Mariooooo!” Not his best performance, but showing concern for his family definitely earns him some bonus points.
100x MP (More Personality)

Brick Wall: Even a brick wall crumbles over time! Squall’s face will stay in that position for hundreds of years.
3x MP

Ghaleon: Perhaps the ultimate villain in the RPG universe. A twisted individual with vision, mastery of manipulation, and the means to get what he wants. MASSIVE points here.
75,000x MP

Parappa The Rapper: A rapping paper cutout of a pooch? Yep, that deserves some props.
468x MP

The NES Gyromite Robot: Remember this accessory for the NES? (Do I even have the right reference?) Well, if I’m correct, then even THAT had more personality.
73,8x MP

Leisure Suit Larry: At least he’s getting some.
5x MP

Main Character of Altered Beast: Almost no personality, but at least he transforms into some cool beast forms. But those “Power-Up” moves? Err…
3x MP

Sonic the Hedgehog: A blue hedgehog with an attitude. Need we say more?
1,000x MP

Kirby: It’s a sad day when little pink puffballs show more emotion than a human being. I mean, really! Wow.
768x MP

Tom Nook: Come on! A raccoon with a never-ending supply of home fixer-uppers! We LOVE this guy!
50x MP

Little Mac: Never gives up as long as you have enough continues. And he smiles!
35x MP

Barbie: More than Squall, less than a brick wall. And we’re being GENEROUS.
2x MP

Nakoruru: We’d give her a higher score, but most of that personality equation comes from the bird she’s got.
14x MP

Simon Belmont: He comes from a long line of vampire killers, and is good at what he does. We salute you, sir!
14,608x MP

Bub: He’s a chibi-dinosaur! That blows bubbles! How can he NOT be emotional?!?!?
25,000x MP

The 411 Kliq: We rule. No two bones about it. All of us combined make Squall look like a statue. No wait, I’m sorry. Statues have more emotion than Squall. So I apologize to all statues everywhere.
999,999,999.9x MP

But none of these people (not even us) compare to our last entry:

Eggplant Wizard: This guy takes the cake. He’s an EMOTING EGGPLANT! With MAGICAL POWERS! He’s got more depth than the UNIVERSE ITSELF! You saw it on Captain N: The Game Master! The RAW PASSION! The CONSTANT EMOTION! No one, NOT NO ONE, can show the video game world how to act than EGGPLANT WIZARD!
1,000,000,000,000x MP

That’s it. I vote for Eggplant Wizard to be the official 411Mania mascot. Lucard has my back. Who else is with me? Huh?
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Plugs & Shills That Pay The Bills

I love reading the other masters here at 411. I can always count on them to entertain me. So here are last week’s offerings to entertain you!

News You Can Use

Hump Day Otaku News Report — Lee Baxley
Lee HATES FFXI, talks about anime bargains, and calls me a “God among men”. I’m assuming that it’s in regards to my “fanboy” commentary last week. Wow, it elicited that type of response? I’m flattered. Then again, I banged that puppy out in about 45 minutes. How can something I spent so little time on be so popular?

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report — Bryan Berg
Bryan covers the possible PS2 price drop, kids and violent video games, and the new multiplayer Pac-Man game. He also hails last week’s commentary for some reason. Okay, next week, I’m going to write for five minutes and post it. It’ll be COMMENTARY OF THE YEAR! (No, I’m kidding…or am I?)

Gamer’s Hangover News Report — Cory Laflin
Cory covers FPS controllers, scientific studies, and this week’s rentals. (NOTE TO FANS: Rent SOMETHING ELSE other than football games. There’s a reason why Blockbuster keeps those other titles around. He also hands me a “pimp stick” for last week’s column. I’m going to assume that if I’m lucky enough, I’ll collect the whole set. So MORE BANG-UP COMMENTARIES! YEAH!

Review You Can U…se

Mega Man X7 (PS2) — Liquidcross
Our resident Mega Man nut reviews the first PS2 Mega Man X game. He likes it, but claims it’s only for Mega Man diehard fans. So, by default, I should pick it up. (But I’m still in the middle of Disgaea! Dammit!)

Columns You Can…uh…Use

The Gamer’s Conscience — Frederick Badlissi
This didn’t get plugged last week thanks to my idiocy. Last week, Fred tells YOU how to get more awesome games for less money. He gives you links to various sites that post up-to-the-minute deals wherever they end up. I should have waited and listened to him before dropping 85 bones on two RPGs over the weekend. Then again, hindsight is always 20/20.

A Thumb To The Eye — Chuck Platt
My brand new favorite writer likes cheap games, and tells us why. I, too, like cheap games, but insanity overrides me and I buy new releases instead. And for the record, I LOVED those “Choose Your Adventure” books. I never bought them, but I borrowed them from the library in DOZENS.

Retrograding — Alex Lucard
Lucard says the Silverhawks should be made into a video game. Lucard is my hero. ‘Nuff said.

The Angry Gamer — Liquidcross
LC is as angry this week, but he’s still ticked at how some gaming franchises lost their luster when they went 3D. I agree on some points (Duke Nukem), but disagree on others (Sonic). Still, nice column, man!

Retrograding Mailbag — Alex Lucard
It’s the Neo Geo Pocket Color appreciation edition of the mailbag this week! Many people went out and bought the NGPC Arcade Pack SOLELY on Lucard’s recommendation! Once I get money, I’ll probably pick one up too…but ONLY because I want to! I’m my own person! I ain’t no fanboy sheep! (Yeah, that’ll cover it nicely…)

The Gamer’s Conscience — Fredrick Badlissi
Freddie gets plugged TWICE ’cause he’s SPECIAL! (And because I’m an idiot. See above.) This week, he looks at gaming nostalgia, and how what was the starting point for guys like us might not be the starting point for the younger generation. So we got to keep the classics alive! ALIVE I TELL YOU!

Speaking of being alive, I played Space Invaders way back in the day, and I’m still very much alive. TAKE THAT, STUPID EGM KIDS!

WARNING! WARNING! SPACE INVADER PLAYER STILL LIVES! INITIATE ATTACK! DRONES CONVERGE UPON TUESDAY POSITION!

Oh crap, they’re on to me! I shouldn’t have gone public like that!

(A loud crash is heard from above as several X-Men Sentinels land in the Tuesday News Room.)

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS! YOU HAVE ADMITTED TO PLAYING SPACE INVADERS DURING THE 1980S. THE PENALTY IS DEATH.

Oh, come on! It’s just a classic game!

NATURE OF GAME IRRELEVENT. YOU HAVE NOT CONFORMED TO THE MASSES. YOU HAVE NOT DISCARDED YOUR INFERIOR GAMES FOR NEW, BETTER, COMPLICATED TITLES. EXPLAIN YOURSELF!

What’s to explain? I love more classics than I do new titles…

LOVE OF GAMES IS IRRELEVENT. YOU MUST POPULAR GAMES. YOU MUST ENJOY THE LIKES OF SPLINTER CELL, STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC, AND TEKKEN. YOU MUST CONFORM!

Those games may be enticing, but I prefer buy games I LIKE. And games recommended to me by close friends! People I trust! Not these stupid game magazines!

IRRELEVENT. IRRELEVENT. YOU WILL BE TERMINA…WAIT. PROCESSING. PROCESSING. READINGS ON ALEX LUCARD ARE BEING RECEIVED IN THE WEDNESDAY SPOT. HE IS A MUCH WORSE OFFENDER. WE WILL RETURN ONCE HE IS DEFEATED.

(The Sentinels rocket out of the Tuesday News Room as fast as they arrived.)

RUN, LUCARD! They’re after you! NOOOOOOOOO!

…Wait, they were X-Men Sentinels. Why the hell did they talk like the Borg?
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Parting Thoughts

Alex Williams