Microsoft is laying it on a little thicker this week, providing at least one hard-hitting addition in each of our certified Xbox LIVE Wrap-Up categories. The most successful game launch ever now features an add-on, one of gaming’s longest-running icons gets another game release, a whopping three Games on Demand hit the service, and we even have another round of bonus news to allow everyone to get the most out of their Xbox LIVE experience as we dive into April. There’s no fooling in this column today, so let’s just cut to the chase and see what we have on tap.
Xbox LIVE Arcade – Mega Man 10
While the novelty might have worn off from when the Blue Bomber resurged with a retro 8-bit sequel, fans are still chomping at the bit for Mega Man’s newest game installment. The game’s difficulty was perhaps the number one complaint from Mega Man 9, so less skilled platformer players will be pleased to know Capcom has tucked away an easy mode into the game to make your life of jumping bottomless pits and dodging one-hit-kill spikes a little easier. Additionally, Protoman is playable straight from the beginning without an extra purchase, although a playable character in Bass will be made available for purchase, along with extra stages featuring robot bosses original to the Game Boy entries, later this month.
Mega Man 10 has Rock trying to pin down the source of a massive robot “flu”Â outbreak that is causing the city’s robots to go nuts. In order to make progress, though, the player will have to battle through eight new robot bosses, including Sheep Man, Solar Man and more. Capcom has the game added for the price of 800 Microsoft Points, so if your Mega Buster trigger finger has been a little itchy since you finished Mega Man 9, now is the perfect time to scratch. If you would like a visual taste of what the title has to offer, you can check out Diehard GameFAN’s Mega Man 10 screen shot gallery.
Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week – Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram is now 800 Microsoft Points
One-on-one robot fighting action is now on sale this week with the service reducing the price of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram by 33 percent to make the price 800 Microsoft Points for one week only. Virtual-On has always been a SEGA and arcade favorite, so if you are interested in making two robots fight each other to the finish, you can check out Diehard GameFAN’s Virtual-On screen shot gallery.
Game Add-Ons – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare fans have a cause for celebration this week as the “Stimulus Package”Â map pack has surfaced on Xbox LIVE for the price of 1,200 Microsoft Points. While I have read online that the map pack hasn’t been functioning correctly, hopefully everything will be cleared up by the time our readers come across this week’s feature.
The pack adds in five more maps to the game’s multiplayer: “Bailout”Â sends players through an apartment complex, “Storm”Â takes place in an industrial park, “Salvage”Â is held in a snowy junkyard, and “Crash”Â and “Overgrown”Â make their return from the original Modern Warfare. Modern Warfare 2 received two Game of the Year nominations from us, but if you still haven’t jumped onboard the Call of Duty train and are interested in what these maps are all about, you can read Diehard GameFAN’s Modern Warfare 2 review.
Games on Demand – Karaoke Revolution: AIE2, Hitman: Blood Money, UFC
This week sees a triple dose of additions for the Games on Demand service, adding Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore 2, Hitman: Blood Money, and UFC 2009 Undisputed. Each individual game hits the service at $29.99. Karaoke and Hitman are somewhat decent games in my opinion, but if you’re a bargain shopper like I am, you can get these titles for much cheaper than the $30 digital price tag. While GameStop’s current Game Day Sales are still going on, you can pick up a new copy of Karaoke for a mere $10 and a reasonable sale for a used copy of Hitman usually hovers around the $15 area. UFC, our 2009 sports game of the year, however, looks pretty good at its $30 price point right now. Matt Yeager was pretty high on the title when it released and with UFC 2010 just around the corner, a lower price point for the title is great for those that need to catch up on MMA fighting games.
If you live in Japan, though, you’ll notice, instead, the addition of Record of Agarest War: Reappearance.
Xbox LIVE Avatar Marketplace – Army of Two, Spring Collection
To kick off April, Microsoft is adding in a new spring collection of avatar items for the month. Alongside this addition, EA’s Army of Two gets the avatar treatment, which, I’m guessing, will add a bunch of masks to one’s collection. Both collections are slated to release today, so we’ll see what surfaces in regard to these goods.
Also, as a reminder from the Xbox Dashboard, if you purchased all three March Xbox LIVE Arcade games and downloaded Game Room, or at least downloaded and played the trail demo for each, your avatar was granted a free grill prop for your avatar. I’m not sure if it is too late to get in on this deal, so, if not, you may want to do it soon.
With many music game titles receiving expansion content on a weekly basis, it may start to become hard to follow, especially with these updates usually covering up the entire line of recent updates on the Xbox Dashboard. This week, new updates unfold for our usual lineup of titles:
Axis: Bold as Love Album by Jimi Hendrix
“Up From the Skies”Â
“Spanish Castle Magic”Â
“Wait Until Tomorrow”Â
“Ain’t No Telling”Â
“If 6 Was 9″Â
“You Got Me Floatin’”Â
“Castles Made of Sand”Â
“She’s So Fine”Â
“One Rainy Wish”Â
“Little Miss Lover”Â
“Bold As Love”Â
“Valleys of Neptune”Â
Lynyrd Skynyrd Track Pack
“Gimme Three Steps”Â
Norah Jones Song Pack
“Come Away With Me”Â
“Don’t Know Why”Â
Wrapping up our feature this week, we have three great news bits that will affect the Xbox LIVE service, all within the first week of April!
First up, we have the big news of Microsoft releasing a system update on April 6 that will allow for external USB memory support. While the system’s USB ports currently allow players to access music, photos, and similar media from a flash drive, the update will allow up to 16 GB of Xbox 360 save data to be stored on an external USB drive. Again, the system will only partition 16 GB of a flash drive or external hard drive, however, with two ports, this allows 32 additional GB to be accessed at once and those with multiple drives will be able to swap drives in and out of the system for convenient memory storage. Each drive must be a minimum of 1 GB and a standard drive must be configured from the memory menu before Xbox 360 data can be stored on it, but Microsoft has partnered with SanDisk to produce Xbox 360 branded USB flash drives that have already been configured for use on the system.
In good news for Xbox LIVE silver members, from April 1-5, these gamers will have free access to Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and premier multiplayer features. If you’re not gold, don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with friends and enjoy some extended media.
Lastly, in really good news for the wallet, Major Nelson has announced 10 specific Xbox LIVE Arcade games will be on a special sale. While all 10 games were not mentioned, specific ones thrown out included Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, South Park LET’S GO TOWER DEFENSE, and Defense Grid. The sales start today, so browse around and see what deals you can find!
That’s all for this week, but we’ll be back next week for another solid dose of Xbox LIVE goodness. Until then, enjoy this week’s offerings and we’ll see you online.