Gaming Zen 3-27-06

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s Kingdom Hearts week where Kingdom Hearts II comes out for your PS2 and every website in the world runs some sort of Kingdom Hearts feature. Without further adieu, here’s our Kingdom Hearts II feature.

Kingdom Hearts II: Buy this game or we’ll club a seal!

Thank goodness for that. Well I’m pooped. Oh, you mean I haven’t actually written about anything yet. Well f*ck me up the ass and call me Goofy. I’m Tom Pandich and here are your plugs.

Plugs

Wrasslin’ gets the first plug since Wrestlemania is this week and we (yes, we because I’m a part of the Wrestling staff too) put together a feature on WCW since it died five years ago, give or take a week. Eric S, David Brashear, Steve Murray, Jed, Neely, and myself all had a go at the death of WCW. Give it a read.

Michaelanglo McCullar (also of IP Games) introduces our new scoring format for reviewing Movies (one of the other zones I work for). We’re just one big inbred family at Inside Pulse.

Speaking of inbreds, Some talentless f*ck reviewed the 5th season of MacGyver. What a douche.

Our resident vampire, Alex Lucard reviews Pokemon Trozei. I couldn’t agree with him more. Read what he says and insert what I say into the review, meaning more garlic, less bunnies, and more class.

Mark B reviews Burnout Revenge for the XBox 360 in addition to Playing the Lame this week. You already read Playing the Lame if you read me so check out his review. I’ll write a bit about BR myself later on.

Mr. O’Reilly gets the last plug of the week because he wrote two columns in a row and I was rushing to get out last week’s column. So there you go, yay for plugs.

Gamers Development Conference

Well GDC is over and there’s some big news out of it. I’ll also cover what I missed at the Sony shindig a week or two ago.

Nintendo: I’m a bit let down by Nintendo here. Rumors were swirling all week about the Revolution either getting dated for June or getting it’s official name. Neither happened and we don’t get any in game footage of a system that’s supposed to be out this year (and if Nintendo is smart, out in September at latest). Having said that, the Sega and Turbographix news is awesome. I’m hoping that by E3 Sega announces they’ll give Dreamcast, Saturn, Game Gear, 32X, Master System, and Sega CD support to the Revolution. My guess is that it’ll happen eventually, but I am so damn awful at predicting things.

As for Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the game will sell like hotcakes and it looks pretty solid. I’m a bit DSed out right now though. I’ll be ready to pick it up again once Brain Age and Lost Magic hit in a month or so, but I’m a tad sick of playing games on a handheld system. Sure, that’ll change once I take a road trip to Iowa and pick up a PSP around Mid-May. Still though, I’m gamed out.

Sony: GDC was a kind mistress for Sony this time around. The news that the Sony Playstation 3 will be region-free is staggering. The type of staggering that makes me feel like standing on my house naked shouting “FUCK MICROSOFT! I AM SONY’S BITCH!” I’ve got my PS2 rigged with a Magic Slide to play all of my old PS1 Japanese games and a few PS2 games (mostly Naruto ones in case you’re wondering). This also let’s me play my fighting games in completely incoherent languages, just the way I like it. To get rid of the hassle of mod chips, boot discs, and the goddamn backdoor argument that “I’m getting my PS2 chipped to play Japanese games, not bootlegs, I swear!!!1111” Thank you Sony. Thank you so very much.

Besides that, the other big PS3 news is that the controller will no longer be a boomerang. Instead, it’ll be more pitchfork shaped. Damn Western-hemisphere bias. Also Sony talked more about their online service, but made no mention of if the PSP is going to be using it.

Microsoft: Um, hello? Elder Scrolls IV came out so why should anyone at Microsoft come out to push for whatever.

Beyond that, a total of four games were honored at the GDC awards. They were Shadow of the Colussus, Nintendogs, Psychonauts, and Guitar Hero. The lack of sequels and mediocre games posing as great *coughGodofwarhack* *wheezecough* *phlem* was truly refreshing. If one major industry “best of” award truly matters, I think it’s the ones put out by GDC as they have some semblance of taste.

Deals of the Week

There are a few neat deals this week. If you plan on buying Kingdom Hearts II, Target is the place to go as they’ve got it for five bucks cheaper then everyone else. You can also pick Kingdom Hearts up at Best Buy and buy either Chain of Memories or the original Kingdom Hearts for just $10.

Beyond that, you can pre-order Rumble Roses XX at outpost.com for 44.99 shipped, a good 15 bucks cheaper then wherever else you’ll find it. Outpost also has Suidoken V for only 29.99 shipped.

As far as other deals go, King Kong comes out this week. The low price for the two disc set is at tower.com for only 16.99 with free shipping at $20. Best Buy has a decent deal on Memoirs of a Geisha where you can pick it and either Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Y Tu Mama Tambien (unrated), or Original Sin (unrated) for $20. Finally, if you’re buying 50 Cent’s new film, I’ve got nothing but sad faces for you.

Top Ten

Been a while since we did a Top Ten, hasn’t it? Since Kingdom Hearts II is hitting the streets this week, let’s go through my ten favorite cross over games of all time.

1. Marvel vs Capcom: Without question, Marvel vs Capcom is the strongest of the series. It has a decent number of characters without turning into the spam fest that MvC 2 became. Also, Onslaught is the final boss. How freaking cool is that. This game was the single reason I reserved a Dreamcast at launch.

2. Super Smash Brothers: Expect there to be a lot of fighting games on this list. The quintessential N64 was less about the levels and weapons then its Gamecube sequel. Sure, Samus’ Screw Attack was unbalanced as hell and could be cheesed like a dairy farm in the Death Valley, but hell, I had fun with it. I picked this bad boy up on the day it came out and invited all of my friends over who were sort of “blah” on the idea of it that then subsequently went out and bought it for themselves. Did I mention that I was the first kid in my middle school with Pokemon when that came out and had the theme song to the animated series memorized before the game even came out? That, my friends, is called taking pride in things that really aren’t achievements.

3. Tetris DS: Without question, the best version of Tetris in years. The Nintendo crossover is nicely done, although I feel f*cked when I can only hear the original Tetris music when the pieces are falling at blinding speeds on Level 20, 40, 60, etc…

4. SNK vs Capcom: Card Fighters Clash: One of the best crossover games ever on a system no one bought. Figures… In short, it’s a card game where you use Capcom and SNK characters. It’s a fantastic game that has always been a staff favorite. The announcement of a DS sequel nearly made Lucard cry (ok, not much of an accomplishment for the big goth, but still!).

5. King of the Fighters 94: Rather then trying to pick out a specific King of the Fighters, let’s just go with the first one. This is the game that introduced the world to the idea of a company crossover giving SNK (and us) one of the most fantastic fighting franchises in history in the process. Hurrah for King of the Fighters.

6. Namco X Capcom: No, I haven’t played it. Nor do I ever think of playing it until it gets a release in the United States. This spot is reserved for when some asshole in Japan decides to stop depriving us of the most massive crossover between two of the most important video game companies ever.

7. Capcom vs SNK: Match of the Millennium: The Dreamcast version of this game was flawless. This is an utterly brilliant compilation of characters that is as fun to play as it was to think about back in the day of a thousand 2D fighters. Seriously though, does Zangeif have to be in every f*cking Capcom cross-over game ever?

8. Kingdom Hearts: The idea of Kingdom Hearts made me scoff. I hate Squaresoft. I hate Disney. I hate every damn part of the whole, so why shouldn’t I hate the whole? Well because it’s an amazingly entertaining action RPG that was the first non-Megaten RPG that had captivated me since Skies of Arcadia.

9. Jump Superstars: Anime characters from 30+ different titles beating the shit out of each other on a Tennis court? I’m so there! Besides that, the unique deck building feature really made this game deeper then most, especially considering the somewhat lacking fighting engine.

10. Dream Mix TV World Fighters: A massive crossover between Hudson, Konami, and Takahara a la Super Smash Brothers. Bomberman, Solid Snake, Simon Belmont, Optimus Prime, and a host of other characters are playable. The only reason I can think of why this game never made it to the US is because of Takahara’s lack of presence in the US gaming market. When you’re talking about Simon Belmont fighting Optimus Prime, I really don’t give a shit. The licensing would be a nightmare but this game should come out on United States shores.

In closing, I leave you with a letter I received a few weeks ago.

Dear Mr. Tommy,

I would like to thank you for watching that f*cking mermaid movie, so that the rest of us won’t have to. Your review made my head hurt, but it was well worth it. As a reward for watching Aquamarine, you deserve nekkid pics of girls and mango rum.

Just so you know.

Squooshes,
Your biggest fan

(P.S. I crocheted the cutest pikmin doll ever today. Seriously.)

That, my friends, is hot.