Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 6-30-10: Gothic Lolis and Treasure sequels.

Posted by nfinit on June 30, 2010

Publisher:  Aksys Games
Developer:  Crave
Platforms:  Xbox 360

Let’s get the obvious points of contention out of the way.

Yes, Deathsmiles is a 2d shmup, sold on-disc, for fifty dollars, in Two Thousand Ten, Anno Domini.

And yes, it’s a 2d shump on-disc, for fifty bucks, in 2010, of an arcade game released three years ago.

That said.  Deathsmiles is a three-year old 2d shmup that probably deserves Fifty US Obama dollars if for no other reason than you’ll never see as many sprites in your lifetime than Deathsmiles pumps out on average every thirty seconds.

But even among hardcore shmup fans, Deathsmiles is hard to justify, and  publisher Aksys seems to understand this, which is why the retail package (which continues Aksys’ strange habit of labeling the only available retail package as “limited edition)  is crammed full of extraneous crap, including a 360 faceplate which was far more interesting two weeks ago before the 360S  made the entire idea of a full-sized firebreathing Xbox 360 gauche.

That, and y’know.  If anyone in the history of western civilization ever gave a shit about Xbox 360 faceplates.

Deathsmiles is an anachronism, stuck in a weird era where the publisher seems unwilling for whatever reason to sell the game through Xbox Live Arcade, whereas it’s also clearly not something really intended for retail shelves in the year 2010.  However Aksys has built its entire business model around catering to insane otaku, and god bless them for it.  There’s also always the chance that Aksys simply won’t bother printing very many of these boxes; it’s going to be hard to convince Gamestop to devote shelf space for something that takes up as much space as Deathsmile’s “Limited Edition” box.  What I’m trying to say here is that if you do see this thing on shelves, it might be worth your while to pick up as shmup fans are clearly insane and possess deep lines of credit.

As for the game itself, it’s a gothic lolita take on the old Capcom classic arcade shooter Forgotten Worlds, in that you have to pay attention to both sides of the screen and you have an R-Type-like drone.  If you’re the sort of person who is into Deathsmiles then you saw the words “Gothic Lolita Forgotten Worlds” and immediately hit  If you’re not, then there’s nothing I can say that’d change your mind regarding this game’s worth, save that this is from Crave, the guys who developed the DoDonPachi.  If the words “DoDonPachi” meant anything to you, then probably you’re aware of Deathsmiles.

So is there any argument for buying Deathsmiles for people who are not already aware of Deathsmiles and likely already own it?  None whatsoever!  Save your fifty bucks and buy Red Dead Redemption already.

The Last Airbender
Publisher:  THQ
Developer:  THQ Studios Australia
Platforms:  Nintendo DS; Nintendo Wii

There are already three existing mediocre-to-terrible Airbender games available for the Wii, and pulling out information for this particular incarnation is proving difficult, if not impossible.  I’m not even entirely sure that box art is correct and this whole thing isn’t some sort of weird software hiccup on’s end where the stocker software just assumed that there should be a Wii game release associated with the movie in some way.

Should this game prove to actually exist, I posit that it turns out that what’s in the box is a random drawing from one of the three previous Wii Airbender games, and the Airbender target audience is either unable to tell the difference or unable to do anything about it once they get home and realize they’ve been tricked.

Lego Harry Potter:  Years 1-4
Publisher:  Warner Brothers
Developer:  Traveller’s Tales
Platforms:  Every Fucking Thing.

This game represents a remarkable confluence of amazingly popular things that I either actively loathe or have no clear opinion about.  As such I’m utterly incapable of saying anything interesting about Lego Harry Potter other that subtitling this game “Years 1-4” somehow manages to be both awkward and overtly cynical.

Also I’m not writing about Lego games until I finally see Lego Dirty Harry Collection.  YOu own everything necessary to make this happen, Warner Brothers.  Stop letting America down.

Naughty Bear
Publisher:  505 Games
Developer:  Artificial Mind and Movement
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

I want to like the idea of a manacle teddy bear driven to the edge of his tolerance and sanity by his uppity friends and exacting horrible, stuffing-wrenching vengeance upon them all for transgressions no greater than not being invited to a birthday party, but two things give me pause.

One:  505 Games.

Two:  These guys couldn’t get Wet right, and that was based entirely around the premise of a woman in tight pants shimmying around in slow motion while shooting things.

So yeah, this thing is going to be wretched, as indicated by its Metacritic average of 4.5.


981294_20100625_790screen002.jpg picture by bigredcoat
This could have been amazing.

Ninety Nine Nights 2
Publisher:  Konami
Developer:  Q Entertainment
Platform:  Xbox 360

I’m not going to say that the first Ninety Nine Nights was my most regrettable game bought purely to pad out my library right after buying a game console– that honor goes to the truly wretched experience that can only be conveyed via Dark Castle for the early 90’s era Sega Genesis– But man, its way up there.

That said, finding anything of value during the 360’s launch window proved to be an enormous stretch, and N3 wasn’t even the worst of that lot.  For no particular reason, here’s my top five regrettable events of the 360’s first year:

1:  Rare: Savior of the 360 launch.

Kameo: Elements of Power and Perfect Dark Zero are sort of like the Debbie Gibson/Tiffany of console gaming.  No one admits buying the goddamned things, but surely a lot of them were sold as for the first two years of the 360’s existence the used racks at Gamestop was absolutely flooded with twelve dollar copies of Rare’s one last great stab at relevancy.  Keep in mind, these are the same guys who are being entrusted with making the Natal/Kinect launch work.  I love Microsoft.

2:  Project Gotham Racer 3 receives a 90% from Edge.

Really, Edge?  We’re going to take PGR2, redesign the GUI so it needs its own FAQ, do nothing about the psychotic CPU AI, and then rate it twenty points higher?

We’re supposed to be taking you guys seriously?

3:  Dead or Alive 3.

This was still back when we all figured that a console needed a good fighting game at launch.  You’ll all notice that neither the PS3 nor the Wii launched with a fighting game and no one cared.  Thanks for that, Team Ninja.

4:  The 360 HD-DVD Drive.

Remember all those conversations where we nervously tried to convince ourselves that Microsoft execs weren’t really going to try to release games on HD-DVD and fracture the market like a bunch of Sega execs on a three-day coke bender?  Fun times!

Then Sony backed a semi-truck full of cash into the lobby of Warner Studios and made the whole point moot.  Thanks, Sony!

5:  Ninety Nine Nights

Dynasty Warrior, with huge Korean-drawn tits.  That’s not a bad combination, and at least the hordes of on-screen enemies was probably the best thing around to show off the early graphical prowress of the 360, provided you ignored the bit where 96.75% of the on-screen enemies were using the exact same model and were constantly stuck in the same animation frame when not attacking or being hit.

I’d never played a Dynasty Warrior-type game before or since, so I’m not a good judge as to N3’s particular merits.  But it seemed shallow and dumb, and wandering aimlessly about the map with little clue on where to go while constantly being told your forces were being slaughtered without your help crossed the threshold that separates “tense” from “nerve-wracking and unfun”

As far as NNN2? (wait, what do we do with this?  Is it now N3^2?) The developers have promised more of the same, only prettier, harder, and with co-op.  And if you’re a fan of the first game these are all fantastic things to hear, but I can’t imagine those people actually exist.

Sin and Punishment Star Successor
Publisher:  Nintendo
Developer:  Treasure
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

If you’re a Wii owner and at least somewhat interested in hardcore gaming experiences and have fond memories of Panzer Dragoon please prove bitter old men like me wrong and buy this fucking game.

Okay yes, it’s a rail shooter.  In that way it’s not unlike any number of pseudo-hardcore games on the Wii that got chopped down from their “full-sized” HD console counterparts, lie Dead Space Extraction or Umbrella Chronicles.  But this is a rail shooter by Treasure, the guys who gave you Ikaruga and Mischief Makers and the first Sin and Punishment that you’ve only recently been allowed to play over Virtual Console.

Moreover, it’s a rail shooter that’s based around the concepts inherent to the Wiimote, and not a castrated light gun game.  The only detraction that can really be gathered from reviews is the rather short length– which is forgivable when you consider you can’t really keep up with 6-12 hours of what Star Successor has to offer without tearing a rotator cuff.  Also it’s basically an arcade game, and while we would all like to exist in a world where something like Star Successor can last for an entire holiday weekend, we instead would up in a universe where Assassin’s Creed II is inexplicably 40 hours long and Mad World lasts 45 minutes.

Publisher:  Activision (boo, hiss)
Developer:  Raven Entertianment
Platform:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Yes, it’s Another Damned HD FPS game, but it’s Another Damned HD FPS game where you get to fuck around with the flow of time to a localized extent and a large chunk of the game takes place in 1950’s Stalinist Russia.  So right away there’s at least three things that greatly interest me in Singularity, and while the reviews tend to deride the game’s constant and obvious references to Bioshock 1, to me that’s even more of a selling point.
That said, allusions to it being “flawed” abound, but I can deal with that– it’s better to have a flawed masterpiece than a game that started off without any pretensions to being great in the first place.  I’m not sure it’s a sixty dollar game, though.

Sniper:  Ghost Warrior
Publisher:  Naverre
Developer:  City Interactive
Platform:  Xbox 360

Developer’s best known game (and only other console title):  Chicken Riot.
MSRP:  Forty Dollars:

Trinity Universe
Publisher:  NIS America
Developer:  Gust, Idea Factory
Platforms:  PlayStation 3

To fans of both series a crossover JRPG between Disgaea and Atelier sounds like a good idea, but people unfamiliar with the vagaries of NIS publishing should consider two things:
1:  It was largely developed by Gust and Idea Factory, the people who somehow managed to fuck up a Namco/Capcom crossover JRPG

2:  The publisher has recently admitted that it’s close association with Sony has forced it into releasing bad games in America.
If you’re a fan of either of these series then there’s nothing I can say that will dissuade you from buying what’s almost certainly going to be a bad videogame, and at least you’ll finally see the Disgaea crew in 3d (albeit a half-hearted attempt that looks more suited to a PS2 game), but surely if you’re just looking for a new JRPG to play there are better options on the horizon.

TNA Cross The Line
Publisher:  SouthPeak Games
Developer:  Midway Studios Los Angeles
Platform:  PlayStation Portable.

One could probably come up with a convergence of events that’s more inherently disappointing than playing a TNA Playstation 2 game on your PSP, but it’d require you get on a bus and travel through the ruins of Detroit while doing so.  Also lots of cheap booze.
Also I”m pretty sure most of the TNA roster as it existed when Cross the Line was first released no longer exits anymore and/or have suffered storyline changes that make the characters unrecognizable, such as Abyss:  The John Cena of TNA or Sting not being a mopey dick.
Oh yeah, also the ring configuration as presented in this game no longer exists as it is now four sides instead of six.  Thanks, Uncle Eric!
CRACKDOWN 2  is here to save your city via judicious and creative use of shipping crates and semi trucks
I’ve recently destroyed my PSP and now I regret it because PERSONAL THREE PORTABLE is here, bitches!
TOURNAMENT OF LEGENDS is something that exists and will be soundly mocked.


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