Friday, October 25, 2013

It's really too bad Namco never released a console port of Tenkomori Shooting

Earlier this year, when my husband I visited one of Seattle's best hang-outs, Full Tilt Ice Cream--which not only serves up some wonderful ice cream (I'm looking at you, salted caramel) but also offers patrons a slew of pinball and arcade machines--I encountered a game I'd never seen or even heard of before.

That game: Tenkomori Shooting, a curious, Namco-made coin-op that first appeared on the scene (in an extremely limited number of North American locations, I'm sure) in 1998.

I didn't sit down and play this shmup-centric mini-game collection on that occasion, but I vowed to do so the next time we visited.

Apparently it wasn't meant to be, as I quickly discovered during our next ice-cream outing that the powers that be at Full Tilt had replaced Tenkomori Shooting's PCB with that of some other, far less interesting game.

That fact didn't depress me as much as you might think, as I was pretty sure the title must have been released for the PlayStation (in Japan, at least) at some point--meaning I could just go home, head to eBay, and order a copy for my collection. Heck, it even looks like it might have been made using Namco's System 11 arcade board, which was based on the Sony's hardware.

So, imagine my surprise when I found out it wasn't released for Sony's first console--or any other console, for that matter.

Thankfully, MAME's always an option, so if I get desperate for some Tenkomori Shooting action, I can go that route.

And I may just do that sooner rather than later given some of the curious-looking mini-games that are included in this arcade release--like the amorous one shown at the 3:00 mark in the video above, or the sushi-focused one at 3:34, or the Dig Dug-inspired one at 4:17.

Have any of you spent time with Tenkomori Shooting--either in an arcade setting or in your own homes (via MAME)? If so, what did you think of the experience?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who's up for some more Hakuoki?

Don't worry if you're not quite sure how to answer that question, as I'm not sure how to answer it myself.

Still, I'm intrigued. I mean, yet another Hakuoki game is coming to North America--who could've guessed that a few years ago?

The latest Hakuoki game that's being brought stateside, by the way, is the PS3-based Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi.

As always, Aksys Games is handling the localization. The Torrance, California-based company has yet to announce a release date for Stories of the Shinsengumi, although an Aksys representative recently revealed on that it will be given both a digital and retail release.

My only problem with this announcement: it seems that Stories of the Shinsengumi includes yet another retelling of the story that serves as the focus of the 3DS and PSP Hakuoki titles.

Will any of you be picking up one or both versions of Stories of the Shinsengumi, or have you had enough Hakuoki for the time being?

See also: 'A somewhat gay review of Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (PSP)'

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After five years of waiting, I've finally received my copy of Class of Heroes 2 (PSP)

OK, so I overstated things just a bit in the header above. In reality, the wait has been more like six months. (I ordered my copy of this PSP-based dungeon-crawler all the way back in April.)

Anyway, none of that matters now. What matters is that my boxed copy of Class of Heroes 2 is in my hands.

Since I'm guessing there are a lot of folks out there who are curious about the game but decided against picking up copies for themselves, I thought I'd fill today's post with some photos of mine.

The photo above is of (part of) the packing slip that accompanied my copy of Class of Heroes 2. I think the illustration at the bottom of it was a nice touch, don't you?

Each copy of the game also shipped with a "Certificate of Perspicacity," for whatever reason. Also a nice touch, I think, although I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with it other than hang on to it in case I ever decide to sell the game.

Here's a shot of Class of Heroes 2's case and cover art. It's a bit generic, I agree--in that it focuses on a grouping of the game's characters--but at least it's colorful.

I'm not sure what's going on with the art that covers the case's backside, to tell you the truth. I know the game isn't sold at retail, so there's no need to include screenshots or text, but it seems kind of barren as is. Oh, well.

Surprisingly, these boxed copies of Class of Heroes 2 come with rather nice instruction manuals. They're mostly filled with pertinent information, as opposed to punchy illustrations, but I'm OK with that.

The UMD (above) that carries the game's code is pretty nice, too.

Sadly, I've yet to actually play Class of Heroes 2, so I can't tell you anything about the quality of Gaijinworks' localization or anything like that. I'll do my best to give it a go sometime soon-ish. Don't look for it to happen in the next few weeks, though, as they're sure to be devoted to Hometown Story, Pokémon X and a couple of other games.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

And now I'm sad that Sega's Rhythm Thief wasn't released for the DS as originally planned

Am I alone in not knowing until now that Sega's Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure, released early last year for the 3DS, began life as a DS game?

I'm probably also late to the party when it comes to seeing the following screenshots of the Rhythm Thief that wasn't meant to be, aren't I?

No matter. I'm going to talk about them anyway.

Specifically, I want to say that I love the looks of this scrapped version of the game--perhaps more than the looks of the version that hit the 3DS. For the most part, that's because they display a sort of charm and character that isn't quite matched in the polygonal 3DS release.

I wonder if the DS game would've been more enjoyable to play, too? After all, one of my main issues with the 3DS iteration is that a number of the gyro-controlled mini-games either don't quite work or are completely broken, and I doubt they'd exist had the title been finished for the DS.

None of the above matters, of course, because it wasn't finished for the DS. Also, it's not like the 3DS game we ended up with is a complete turd.

Still, now that I've been given a glimpse of what Rhythm Thief might've looked like on the DS, I can't help but wish we'd been given access to that title first--followed by a 3DS-based sequel, of course.

See also: 'The Great Gaymathon Review #61: Rhythm Thief & The Emperor's Treasure (3DS)'

Monday, October 21, 2013

Three games I'm attempting to play in the run-up to Halloween

Every year (or nearly every year) I say I'm going to play through a handful of seasonally appropriate games in the run-up to Halloween, and every year I fail to make much of a dent in said wish list.

This year, I decided to make things easier on myself by scaling things back a tad. In fact, all I've committed to playing this month--other than Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Hometown Story (which releases tomorrow, by the way) and Pokémon X, of course--are the following trio of spook-tacular titles:

1. Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun (Famicom)--I've been meaning to give this cute Castlevania spin-off for ages, but for all sorts of dumb reasons I've never gotten around to it. So, I'm going to do my best to do so in the coming weeks. And who knows, maybe if I can get through it quickly enough I'll be able to try its GameBoy-based remake-slash-sequel, which was called Kid Dracula outside Japan, as well.

2. Costume Quest (Xbox 360)--I actually played through a bit of this charming, Double Fine-developed RPG this time last year--and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Sadly, I don't believe I got anywhere near its end credits. So, this year I've decided to try again. Although I doubt I'll stick with it long enough to tackle the extra "Grubbins on Ice" chapter, maybe I'll come back around to it after winter hits the real world, too.

3. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)--Despite the fact that I pre-ordered Dark Moon far in advance of its release, I didn't even unwrap it until a week or so ago. I've since played it for a few hours, and already I'm satisfied with my purchase. My only issue with this 3DS game so far: it seems to be less of an open-ended affair than its GameCube-based predecessor. Of course, that's also likely to make it a better portable experience in the end, so maybe I shouldn't complain just yet.

Are any of you also playing any Halloween-ish games this month? If so, which ones?