411MAX: News News Revolution 2.27.04

Hey, I’m writing a news column! The occasion? YES! It must be Friday! So, it’s Alex Williams here once again to end your week!

I recently picked up both Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 1 and 2. The first one is coming by mail, but I already have the second one. I tell you, it’s pretty fun. Dungeon crawls are cool when you use nothing but your hands to set your enemies on fire. (My monk can kill you FIVE TIMES before you hit the ground!)

Also, I’m incredibly close to my AAA goal in DDR. Two weeks ago, I announced I had 438 AAAs from various home and arcade mixes. Well, as of one week ago, I had 462, including conquering AM-3P. As of Sunday, I pumped up to 488. And just a few hours ago, thanks to Ultramix, I slowly climbed up to 493.

I’m only SEVEN away from achieving my year-end goal of 500. Yes, I set my year-end goal to 500, and I’m about to shatter it while there’s still time on the clock in February. I realize I’m modest to a point, but still, FIVE HUNDRED cases of all-perfect stepping is something incredible. Hell, I’ll probably be up there by the time you read this.

Norway’s gonna love me, I swear.

Of course, my DDR accomplishments must PALE in comparison to what you’re here for: the news! So, it must be time to start it. ON WITH THE NEWS!


TOP STORY: DDR Ultramix Song Pack 3 Details Revealed!

Last week, I revealed that Konami planned to release the next DDR song pack over X-Box Live on March 1st, however, I did not know the contents of said song pack. THIS week, that changes with the announcement of the song pack’s contents.

This time around, there are FOUR exclusive songs included, along with one additional song already released in America before. This is the most exclusive content offered in a song pack thus far, and increases the number of X-Box exclusive songs to 24 (the most in any US or EU mix to date), and the full song list up to 66.

Anyway, here are the songs being offered:

Dynamite Rave NAOKI
First Appearance: Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix (Japan), Dance Dance Revolution (USA)
Background: Well, it had to happen eventually. Dynamite Rave is easily one of the most popular songs in the DDR series, and its been played to death by those new to the game. Still, it’s a good party song, or “rave” as it were, combining rap with a techno beat.

Analyze B.BANDJ
First Appearance: Beatmania Core Remix
Background: Much like Fire Dub off the last song pack, it’s a slow song. This one contains rap vocals, as well as some interesting samples. It sounds okay, and definitely something that the average US player will gravitate to.

Baby Baby Give Me Your Love 2002 DIVAS
First Appearance: Beatmania 7th Mix
Background: Those who’ve played either Konami or MAXUSA here should know the original song easy. It was a slow tune with pretty easy steps on all difficulties. The remix, however, sounds MUCH better than the original. It has a jazzier feel to it, and flow is steadier. I’ll be looking forward to this one.

Battle Breaks DJ TAKAWO
First Appearance: Beatmania 5th Mix
Background: Boy, does this one sound incredible! This track sounds as though as they locked a DJ in a room, told him to cut a track, and not come out until it was awesome. The result? Well…an awesome DJ track! Think Spin The Disc, only more hardcore.

Nemesis D.J. SETUP
First Appearance: Beatmania IIDX 6th Style
Background: The official shocker of the group. Nemesis has been rumored to be on US mixes going way back to when MAXUSA was in development. Now it’s making its official appearance in DDR, IIDX people are starting to salivate. It’s got a strong back beat, which is perfect for complicated step patterns.

So for this song pack, you’re paying for four KICKASS songs…and Dynamite Rave. No, no, I’m kidding. They’re all kick-ass. I simply can’t wait until they’re available!

(Credit goes to DDRFreak.com)


Jack! Daxter! Ratchet! Clank! AGAIN!

There are few PS2-exclusive franchises that I’m thankful for. Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clack are two of these exclusive franchises.

Lucky for us, BOTH of them will receive new sequels come Fall 2004.

Details are sketchy at best, but we can probably expect similar gameplay aspects to what we’ve seen in last year’s releases. Lets just hope that the gameplay remains original and fresh, despite the closeness of the sequels.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Ninja Gaiden’s Ship Date

After all the delays, speculation, wanting, ranting, raving, protesting, murders, crying, bitching, double-talk, yelling, pie throwing, forum posting, and bake sales…Tecmo has announced the official release date for the new Ninja Gaiden game for the X-Box:

*breathes in*

The game will absolutely, positively, finally, surely, decidedly, decisively, unfalteringly, certainly, without a doubt, make no mistake about it, unquestionably, conclusively, indubitably, determinedly, resolutely, definitely, ULTIMATELY be released on March 2nd, 2004!

*gasp* *pant* *wheeze*

Now we can all breathe a little easier…

…Wait! This just in! The game has been pushed back to March 16th! HAH! IT WAS A SWERVE! VINCE RUSSO HAS JOINED TECMO TO SCREW WITH YOUR BRAINS! PANIC IN THE STREETS!

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Ubisoft Says There IS A Spoon And Takes The Blue Pill

Before this week in news, both Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment were co-publishing the upcoming PC title Matrix: Online, which is being developed by Monolith Studios. As of today, however, Ubisoft has left the partnership, leaving Warner Bros. and Monolith to continue development of the title alone.

This makes it the second time Ubisoft has removed a huge project from their calendar, the first being when they cancelled the online components to Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. And from my perspective, this seems rather odd. Either Ubisoft is simply lightening their load a little to remain competitive, or something is seriously going wrong within their ranks. We’ll have to see how their situation develops.

However, this hasn’t stopped Monolith from developing, or Warner Bros. from handling the publishing rights. Matrix: Online is still on track for a Spring beta test, and an official November release.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Hey Kids! It’s The KOF Music Jamboree!

That’s quite possibly my most corny headline yet. And I’m PROUD!

Anyway, on March 10th in Japan, Dex Entertainment will release a special King of Fighters Soundtrack box set. The set will contain TEN discs! Nine of them are CD soundtracks containing music from KOF ’94 all the way through KOF ’02. The last disc is a bonus DVD containing all the opening movies to the games, and addition content from editors of the Arcadia magazine. Also included is a commemorative poster.

In other news, Alex Lucard just melted into a puddle of happy! (There you go. A reference that a total of THREE people will get. And I know exactly which three!)

(Credit goes to 1UP.com)


Hey! If Alex Is Here…Who’s THAT Alex Dancing On The TV?!?

That’s the EXACT question people are going to ask when EyeToy: Groove comes to the U.S.

A while back, I reported that EyeToy: Groove was in development. Taking advantage of the EyeToy camera, players would be able to dance to licensed music. Well, it’s officially been announced for the U.S. The song list will be different than the European version of the game (as most DDR mixes are), but it will contain 28 songs total, and contain hits like “A Little Less Conversation”, “Praise You”, and “YMCA”. (Hoo Boy…The Village People…at least in DDR, we get Captain Jack remixes of their songs…)

That’s it. I need an EyeToy camera. If only to wave my hands around like a total dork instead of stomping my feet around like a total dork.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Virtua Fighter Update

Remember last week on the news boards where I reported that a possible update to Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution might be in development? Yes, you remember. You DO! Stop LYING! You SO remember me reporting that!

ANYWAY, you forgetful bastards LOYAL readers whom I’d NEVER curse at, it turns out there IS an update planned for Japanese arcades this summer. The official title will be Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned.

Final Tuned? Who came up with THAT name? I’m surprised Sammy didn’t take away 2,000 shares of stock for that move!

(Credit goes to The Magic Box)

Ah. Nothin’ like a steamin’ pile of good news to start off your Friday, huh?


PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

411’s finest all congregate here. Make no mistake about it.

News You Can Use

Gamer’s HangoverCory Laflin
Cory may not get as many Kudos as me on Live, but he is sure a fabulous writer. I’m sure I didn’t mean at least half of that stuff I supposedly said during that one game! In any case, he covers VF4, GT4, several other things with “4” in them, and OH MY GOD, HE BROKE 1,000 KLIQ POINTS! Go Cory!!!
Reward Points: 100 / Total: 1,000

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video GamesMisha
Does Misha watch Monty Python? Mr. Bean? Who’s Line Is It Anyway? Absolutely Fabulous? Black Adder? Any other stereotypical British show I can think of? Maybe he’ll let me know next column…but anyway, Misha covers Hitman, Spooks, and the Spyro/Crash connection. Best…Brit…EVER!
Reward Points: 100 / Total: 740

Mid-Week Mid-Boss News ReportLee Baxley
Lee is heavy into Rumiko Takahashi this week in his anime portion. Which means he rules. Okay, Matt Weinberg covered Ranma, but Lee rules for INCLUDING IT! Yeah. Anyway, Lee’s got Xenosaga Freaks, Star Ocean 3, and La Pucelle info on tap for the week. Check him out!
Reward Points: 125 / Total: 885

Thank God It’s Thursday News ReportBryan Berg
Bryan’s back with the “Bergian” eye on the business world! (Hey, that’s a good name for a column if he ever retires TGIT.) He covers the fact that Nokia is selling horribly, which really is no surprise to anyone under the age of 2. He also wants to be ahead of the pack, therefore, protecting his spot. Well, Bryan, you’re competing with Lucard for now, but bashing the N-Gage gets you bonus points!
Reward Points: 130 / Total: 1180

Reviews You Can Use

NCAA March Madness 2004Cory Laflin
Geez, Cory won’t stop at breaking 1,000 points! He just keeps on going! And here’s a review of a mediocre basketball title to help him along!
Reward Points: 75 / Total: 1075

Columns You Can…uh…Use

RetrogradingAlex Lucard
Lucard covers Phantasy Star II, Thousand Arms, and Rhapsody in his ongoing Top 30. One by Sega, two by Atlus! I must say, however, that PSII is my personal favorite out of the bunch. He gets extra points if Lunar ends up in the Top Ten somewhere!
Reward Points: 120 / Total: 1125

The Angry GamerLiquidcross
LC brings up a VERY good point about how extreme content, such as violence, sex, and bad words, do not equate to a good game on their own. I’ve seen so many games focus directly on shock value that other issues of the game fail in comparison. OH LOOK! A BOOB! I can’t control my guy worth crap, but THERE’S A BOOB! WOW! (Ugh to they guy that thinks that. Ugh to the 11th power.
Reward Points:135 / Total: 715

Opinions, Etc.Eric Szulczewski
I realize that he is not a member of the Games staff, but I must give him some honorary Kliq points this week. The sole reason is that he is a Democrat, as am I a Democrat. I may not agree with him on EVERY issue he brings to the table, but his views on politics are some of the most interesting and well thought-out I’ve read. He focuses on fact for his points, instead of wild media-induced speculation. Therefore, he deserves respect for that. (Now, as far as his comments on the Sniper Attacks in the MD/VA area a while back…)
Reward Points: 125 / Total: 125

Absentees

Fredrick Badlissi
Total: 565

Bebito Jackson
Total: 420

Chuck Platt
Total: 860

Chris Pankonin
Total: 410

Say hello to the 411 All-Stars. Say hello and bow down, dammit!


PARTING THOUGHTS

Another Friday full of news, another Friday comes to a close. Go enjoy your weekends guys!

As for me? I’m gonna take next week off. I have some real-life stuff I need to take care of, and I need to devote my time to it rather than to the site. If everything goes well, you’ll receive a full report when it’s taken care of. If not…I’ll just keep quiet…

I’ll try to start my commentaries back up by then as well. My time is HORRIBLY limited now, but when I take care of what I need to take care of…I’ll probably have more time.

Until next time, find a game that doesn’t require much thought to play, plug it in, and let your mind drift off into pure gaming bliss. Don’t you just looooooove that feeling…


Alex Williams, The Norwegian Athlete