Tag: NDS

aliens infestation

RELEASE: 10/2011 | PUB: Sega | DEVELOPERS: WayForward & Gearbox | ESRB: T

It’s been a while since I picked up a Nintendo DS game or even the DS handheld system at all. However, Aliens Infestation was a must buy for me for two reasons: (1) it has a cover and in-game artwork was done by Chris Bachalo and (2) it’s Aliens. This little cartridge houses a 2D side-scrolling adventure game, in the vein of NES classics like Metroid, Castlevania and Bionic Commando. Play as a motley platoon of futuristic colonial marines in this all new chapter in the Aliens saga. Hit the jump to read my thoughts on the game, Aoo Rah.

Chris Bachalo is an illustration hero in the comics world; with work in top selling titles like the X-Men, the Avengers, Spider-Man and Sandman among his resume. In-game, his art is used for the static faces shown during dialog scenes, typical fashion for games of that NES generation. Some JRPG titles still use the text and a mug-shot-style dialog scenes. Chris’s ultra-detailed, gritty-style on the marine characters makes looking at the same faces over and over completely tolerable. There are allegedly 19 Marines total in the game — I haven’t found them all yet. There are a few of the marines mug shots hosted on Sega of America’s Flickr.

Aside from the promotional illustrations, the game is all retro style pixel art. There are pixel style renders of all your favorite Aliens are here too. From the classic facehuggers and drone soldiers to the Alien Queen. They are all tough little SOBs to take down and will have you scrambling for ammo. In addition to the Aliens themselves, Sega has done a great job capturing the “biomechanical” feel of the movies. Quite a feat given the graphical limitations of the pixel art style. Some nice touches are the cocooned soldiers in the walls and having to weld through select doors. The sound effects are very accurate. No one can say Sega doesn’t have the pulse rifle sound on lock.

Aliens Infestation provides five stages of game play over three areas taken from the films; The USS Sulaco and the xenomorph infested planet LV-426. All three areas have large maps that require careful navigation and some backtracking. Backtracking through areas is made easier with the use of maps and the ability to mark areas on that map using flares. Collect ammo, weapons and various explosives along the way while trying desperately to reach a goal or checkpoint so you can save.

Your platoon starts off with four marines at your disposal. You can cycle through them controlling one at a time. Choose which character to use can only be done at a checkpoint or if a marine falls in battle. Spending time picking out the marine you would like to use isn’t necessary, besides the illustrated head shot they all play exactly the same way. Occasionally you will find other fellow marines during a mission, if you have an open slot (less than 4) in your rooster the you can recruit them.

The dual screens of the DS are utilized in a basic but functional design. The action takes place in the upper screen while you inventory of weapons and tools is touch activated in the lower. Standard fair for games on this system.

This game is surprisingly challenging. Luckily, the DS is probably the one game system that if you throw it won’t instantly break (note: throwing not recommended). You will definitely lose some marines in the course of this game, just get used to that idea and you will be much happier. My one complaint in the fairly flawless retro title is the military lingo. The jargon is a little thick; it’s probably accurate, it just comes off as overzealous bravado. The dialogue is not a deal breaker though, I’ll fondly remember Aliens Infestation as one of my favorite DS games.

A little hold over before Aliens Colonial Marines Drops in Feb. 2013

E3 2011: nintendo keynote recap by zoidberger

Entering this E3 the consensus in the industry was that it was Nintendo show to lose. They were the only one of the “Big 3” to debut a new system and they had all the buzz going into this E3. The next generation console war is about to begin and Nintendo is about to fire the first shot. I came away from the Nintendo Keynotes with more questions than answers. Was this an actual system or the most expensive game peripheral since the Steel Battalion controller? Why would Nintendo announce a new console but not show the actual console? Is this the new console or is the controller? Is this just a new controller for the existing Wii?

I feel like Nintendo had a golden opportunity to absolutely crush this E3. They had a chance to take back some of their core audience. I felt like this was no different then when the Wii balance board and the Wii motion plus were announced. This felt more like an extension of the Wii, than the next chapter in Nintendo’s console. Is the future of gaming an iPad controller with joysticks?

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The conference starts with Nintendo trivia, as well as a Zelda retrospective. It was nice to see a full orchestra bring the sounds of Zelda to life. The first speaker of the keynote is….

Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Zelda. Interesting choice to start with a game developer rather than someone directly involved with Nintendo.

Miyamoto talks about the 25-year anniversary of Zelda. Also talks about the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time. Announces that a Zelda game will be hitting each of the 3 consoles for Nintendo (DSi, 3DS, and Wii). Skyward Sword will be on the Wii and not the next generation system. It seems Miyamoto has learned from last year, he spares us from an awkward game demonstration of Skyward Sword.

Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, comes on stage to announce a “New Home Platform” and that full details will be coming later this morning.

3DS game trailers, Mario Kart, Starfox, Mario, Kid Icarus, Luigi’s Mansion. That is the kind of lineup the 3DS should have used at launch rather than six to eight months into its life cycle.

Reggie File-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo America, comes out and starts with the new Nintendo eShop. Free version of 3D Excitebike for download as well as a Pokemon Pokedex.

New console is announced, the Nintendo Wii U. The controller has a 6.2’ touch screen as well as 2 analog sticks and a + D pad. It’s backwards compatible, and compatible with other Nintendo devices. It also has a microphone, gyroscope, forward and backward facing cameras. The Wii U controller also features an accelerometer, a rumble feature and speakers.

Super Smash Bros. is announced for both the Wii U and the 3DS, no game footage is shown.

John Riccitiello CEO of EA comes out to announce they would bring their titles to the new Wii U.

Photo of Iwata from @NintendoAmerica on Twitter
They play a tech demo demonstrating the graphical power of the new console. They also announce ONE exclusive title for the new system, Lego City Stories, its a little disappointing to see that the Lego franchise is the only 3rd party company willing to extend exclusivity to the Nintendo Wii U so far.

On the surface it seemed that the controller was some sort of Wii peripheral, since they didn’t show us the physical console. It was later released that this is indeed the controller to the new system, but Nintendo did not release a price point or specs of the new console. At this point all we know is that the controller will be playable with and without your television. It also works in conjunction with your 3DS, but this wouldn’t be the first time a company has tried to integrate home gaming and mobile gaming. I have a few concerns with the new console, since we didn’t get specs on the system it can be assumed that it is still graphically inferior to both the PS3 and Xbox 360, otherwise the specs would have been released. The new controller works with the Wii, but was made unclear if the Wii remotes will be required to play on the new console. If that is the case then a game requiring the Wii remote, Wii nun chuck, and the new Wii U controller seems like a little much to play a single game. The price on the new controller is a big concern; I can’t imagine the controller being less than $100, which is a bit much just for a controller.

I’m not exactly sure how this was suppose to resonate with “core gamers” as well as no developer presence makes me wary of 3rd party developer support for the new system. Nintendo is trying to combine casual gaming and core gaming with this new system, whether they succeed remains to be seen.

kingdom hearts 358/2

Progress: 80% at time of posting

Missing the heart?

With the new announcement of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, I feel that this post is timely. Let’s hope that Birth by Sleep doesn’t put me to put me to sleep like Kingdom Hearts 358/2. In my opinion, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 was the glimmering hope to revitalize the action role playing Kingdom Hearts franchise. 358/2 tells the story of Roxas, a young nobody trying to learn the meaning of his existence and why he is in Organization XIII. The story is good, but the whole game is based off someone with amnesia, so the story seems lackluster. The game alludes to the other Kingdom Hearts storylines, but fails to provide the piece to continue the Kingdom Hearts storyline. The reason the story becomes attenuated because to advance the story is to do random missions throughout the Disney worlds. The storyline suffers from the mission based game play. Furthermore, the storyline becomes a bit confusing because the main character Roxas suffers from amnesia. And it is the player’s task to piece together his shattered memories (This could be especially confusing for someone who has not played other Kingdom Hearts games).

If you are a fan of the old Kingdom Hearts games, this game might be for you. But ONLY to fill the void till next Kingdom Hearts comes along. If you don’t pick up 358/2, you won’t regret missing this DS game. But then again, this is a decent game for the DS.  Overall, I find the DS game selection to be somewhat childish and uninteresting. But back to Kingdom Hearts 358/2, the fight system is almost the same as Kingdom Hearts 2. However, the developers have added many new options to the game, which I believe detract from the true value of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. First of all, I do not like the mission system. The mission system makes the game lack the necessary flow. To advance in the story one must beat a mission, but the missions have no other point but to get to the next mission. The missions increase in difficulty; however, I didn’t find them very difficult and I found myself doing a lot of button smashing. Each mission is started from the same exact place, Organization XIII headquarters room, no matter how far you have progressed in the story. It becomes repetitive and annoying, especially the repeated cut scenes. Every cut scene is the exact same! Stop showing me that damn clock tower! PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO ME AGAIN SQUARE ENIX!

Another addition to 358/2 is the panel system, where you add stats, levels, magic and weapons. The panel system is a little strange, especially because you have to add your level panels to level up.

Also, if you want to play as other Disney characters, that’s out. In fact, most of the Disney is out of the game, besides playing in the previous Disney worlds and a couple clip scenes of the Beast or Aladdin, the game is basically devoid of Disney. As a Disney fan, I found the interplay with the popular cartoon characters appealing; missing this characteristic the game became less charming.

I’m not finished with Kingdom Hearts 358/2, but I have probably 20 more days left till the end. I will probably finish the game, just because I’m curious to see how the story ends up. To be honest, I don’t think I will touch it after I’m finished. Don’t get me wrong, the game is decent but lacks the soul of the other Kingdom Hearts.

Let’s hope that Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep can be the savior of Kingdom Hearts.

The redheaded stepchild of the Kingdom Hearts franchise


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