Gradius

Reviews
Hardware: Famicom/NES
04/25/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US), 11/30/1988 (PAL)
グラディウス
Nearly one year after the original, Gradius finally came home to the Famicom/NES. This home port does as respectable of a job as a Famicom game can of replicating the look and feel of the original. Sure you don't get the Big Core boss rising directly from the ashes of whatever thing came before it, or the full depth of music found in the arcade version, but at least this is a game that looks good and still has the original music scaled down for the Famicom. Continue Reading

Sakura Taisen: Hana Gumi Taisen Columns

Reviews
Hardware: Saturn
03/28/1997 (Japan)
Sakura Wars: Flower Division Battle Columns
A mere 6 months after the release of the original Sakura Taisen on the Sega Saturn comes the Sakura Taisen series' second piece of spin-off software. Whereas the first piece was a somewhat odd digital newsletter, making the second piece a Columns game made all the sense in the world since Columns is also a Sega property. A gut reaction may be that this is going to be a lazily put together game, crossing the two franchises in the most basic ways possible. I would urge anyone who feels this way to suppress this opinion and actually give the game a try though, as it ended up being quite surprisingly good. Continue Reading

Makai Mura

Reviews
Hardware: Famicom/NES
06/13/1986 (Japan), 11/1986 (US), 03/23/89 (PAL)
魔界村
Demon World Village
Ghosts 'n Goblins
Despite its high level of difficulty, Makai Mura was an arcade success. And in these days of console gaming, that meant a port to home consoles would be highly sought after. It was generally accepted that (for the most part) because console hardware was still very young it probably wasn't advanced enough to look, sound and feel like it was an arcade game. As long as it captured the essence of the original though, that was usually good enough. The Famicom was no longer a young system in June 1986, at least not in Japan. It had seen its share of arcade ports by this time, and quality had been all over the board. Capcom (who was at this point still a fairly young company) had only had two of its arcade titles ported to the Famicom at this point though: 1942 and Son Son. Unfortunately, neither of them were very good ports at all. Continue Reading

Mamoru kun wa norowarete shimatta!

Reviews
Hardware: XBox 360
06/25/2009 (Japan)
まもるクンは呪われてしまった!
Mamoru is Cursed!
Mamorukun Curse!
"Mamonoro" (the shortening of this game's full title, something that Japanese gamers love to do) is a shooter/shmup that was originally an arcade game running on Sega's NAOMI hardware, released in July 2008. While the XBox 360 may not have ever sold that well in Japan, it did quickly find its place among hardcore shooter fans not long after its Japanese release. So it really is no surprise that this title was ported to the 360 not even one year after its arcade release. Continue Reading

Time Travelers

Reviews
Hardware: Vita, 3DS, PSP
3DS and Vita - 07/12/2012, PSP - 07/19/2012 (Japan)
タイムトラベラーズ
The Visual Novel genre had seen a renaissance unlike any it had experienced in a long time by 2012. Japan had seen Visual Novels with incredibly high quality writing and sometimes interesting new game play mechanics such as "428 ~fuusa sareta Shibuya de~" (The "428" is actually pronounced as "Shibuya"), "Danganronpa", "Stein's Gate" and "Kyokugen Dasshutsu Ku Jikan Ku Nin Kyuu no Tobira" ("999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors") in recent years, so it's only natural that the newest Visual Novel from Level-5, "Time Travelers", could potentially be the next title to continue the cycle. But its success was not necessarily probable due to it being published and developed by Level-5 (who by this point had certainly had their share of successes, but also plenty of failures), but instead because of the staff involved in its creation. Continue Reading