Monster Hunter

Reviews
Monster Hunter Title Screen Image
Playstation 2
03/11/2004 (Japan), 09/21/2004 (US), 05/27/2005 (PAL)
モンスターハンター
There was a time (namely before the HD era of gaming) that big game companies like Capcom were not afraid to take a chance on new franchises. Taking heavy inspiration Sega's Phantasy Star Online series as a base for its game play, it was in 2004 that the modern day Japanese gaming powerhouse began: the first entry in the Monster Hunter series was released. Though Capcom invented a brand new genre for this game called "Hunting Action", it was similar to its predecessor in many ways, with just enough different twists to feel like a brand new experience. The basic flow of the game involves accepting specific quests from within a hub world, then setting out into separate areas to complete objectives for that quest. The difference is that in Monster Hunter you're dropped into a prehistoric National Geographic Explorer where your opponents are dinosaurs, dragons, and other creatures that come right out of their natural environments. Though weapons and armor are constantly being upgraded throughout the game, in Monster Hunter there is an added sense of realism: It's done using parts carved right from the carcasses of the monsters themselves. Continue Reading

Akumajo Dracula

Reviews
Akumajo Dracula Title Screen
Famicom Disk System/NES
Released: 09/26/1986 (Japan, Famicom Disk System), 05/1987 (US), 12/19/1988 (PAL), 02/05/1993 (Japan, Famicom)
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil's Castle Dracula
Castlevania
Castlevania
When you think about the first entry in the Castlevania/Dracula series, you probably think about two things: The incredible atmosphere  and the high level of difficulty. Neither of these things change when you go from any of the western versions to the Japanese one, though some qualities of the Japanese version alter the difficulty slightly. A common point of frustration in the Western versions of the game is that you can't save your game at all, unless you're playing on one of those fancy emulators. But how would it change Castlevania's difficulty if you could save your progress each time you got a game over? Continue Reading

Hokuto no Ken

Reviews
Hokuto-no-Ken - Title Screen
Mark III/Master System
07/20/1986 (Japan), 1986 (US and PAL)
北斗の拳
Fist of the North Star
Black Belt
Black Belt
It was the right time for the Hokuto no Ken franchise to be made into a video game: The manga and anime series had been popular for 2-3 years already. You could that Hokuto no Ken was made to be a video game since it involves copious amounts of violence. For those unfamiliar with the story, Our hero Kenshiro travels throughout the a post apocalyptic world overrun by gangs to find his kidnapped fiancee Yuria, utilizing his Hokuto Shinken to pummel enemies with fists and feet. This usually results in them gruesomely exploding from the pressure point manipulation that Hokuto Shinken is based around. If this wasn't begging to be made into a side-scrolling beat-em-up, what was? Continue Reading

Dragon Ball: Shen Long no Nazo

Reviews
Dragon Ball - Shen Long no Nazo Title Screen
Famicom/NES
11/27/1986 (Japan), 1988 (US and PAL)
ドラゴンボール 神龍の謎
Dragon Ball: The Mystery of Shen Long
Dragon Power
Dragon Ball: Le Secret Du Dragon
While not the very first Dragon Ball console game (that honor goes to an extraordinarily expensive Dragon Ball title on the Super Cassette Vision), this was the first on a console with a significant install base. There was never any doubt that the Dragon Ball franchise would spin-off into the world of home video games: The manga began its run in 1984, and the TV animation in 1986. This game covers the first major story arc in the Dragon Ball series, which involves Son Goku and friends gathering the Dragon Balls, foiling the plans of Emperor Pilaf, and finally summoning the wish-granting dragon Shen Long. For those not familiar with the progression of the Dragon Ball series, it wasn't always the action heavy Dragon Ball Z in which a single fight could span over the course of a dozen episodes. The series started as a much more fun loving story of Goku and friends going on actual adventures, and meeting an assortment of wacky characters. Shen Long no Nazo is centered around this period of the series. Continue Reading