Hokuto no Ken

Reviews
Hardware: Famicom/NES
08/10/1986 (Japan)
北斗の拳
Fist of the North Star
Not even one month after the very first Hokuto no Ken game on the Sega Master System/Mark III came the first series installment on the Famicom/NES. Those who are knowledgeable on the history of the NES or Hokuto no Ken games may know that a game was released outside of Japan as "Fist of the Northstar", however it was not this game. That release corresponds to Japan's Hokuto no Ken 2 on the Famicom. The Master System/Mark III game its faults and oddities, but was a fairly good side-scrolling beat-em-up game at the time, and generally was a credit to its source material. Hokuto no Ken on the Famicom is the opposite of all of these things. Continue Reading

Dragon Ball: Daimaou Fukkatsu

Reviews
Hardware: Famicom/NES
08/12/1988 (Japan)
ドラゴンボール 大魔王復活
Dragon Ball: Resurrection of the Evil King
As was eluded to at the end of my article about the last Dragon Ball game on the Famicom, Dragon Ball: Shen Long no Nazo, this game franchise is about to enter what I consider to be a dark place. It won't be immediately obvious with this game, but it will certainly open the door to where things are headed. Dragon Ball: Daimaou Fukkatsu picks up basically where Shen Long no Nazo left off in the Dragon Ball story line (though many story elements have been significantly altered from the source material), at the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the King Piccolo saga. Goku returns home to the Kame House after having fought against Tien Shinhan in the Tenkaichi Tournament, only to find his buddy Krillin dead. So begins the adventure! Continue Reading

Soul Sacrifice

Reviews
Hardware: Vita
03/07/2013 (Japan), 04/30/2013 (US), 05/01/2013 (PAL)
ソウル・サクリファイス
Soul Sacrifice is what some refer to as a "Monster Hunter clone" (the game play is mission-based, involves killing a particular number of small monsters or a boss monster, and offers multi-player options in some form). Ever since Monster Hunter hit it big on the PSP a lot of major Japanese game companies have tried their hand at making a game that plays like Monster Hunter, to varying degrees of success (most of them failed pretty miserably). Even though I am a Monster Hunter enthusiast, I generally don't pay too much attention to the clones past an initial investigation of what features they offer. Continue Reading

ゲームは変わった/The Game Has Changed

Blog
I just finished Metal Gear Solid 4 in preparation for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. I had heard all sorts of opinions on the game, from it being the finest Metal Gear game ever created to it being the most ridiculous and over the top. I think that the truth lies somewhere in between those two, but I was definitely moved and impressed either way. In fact I re-played/played for the first time Metal Gear Solid: Integral, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker all within the last few years. That leaves the main story points (though not all of the fine details) fairly fresh in my mind. As it turns out, that was extremely beneficial when playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Continue Reading

Sakura Taisen

Reviews
Hardware: Saturn
09/27/1996 (Japan)
サクラ大戦
Sakura Wars
It's often the case that popular anime or manga franchises are adapted into games, but not as often do you see a game franchise turn into popular anime and manga. Sakura Taisen is one of the best examples of this phenomenon, and given the pedigree of its creators it was probably destined to become a media franchise from the beginning. The creator of the series was Ouji Hiroi, a manga creator who is probably best known for the creation of Sakura Taisen. The scenario writer was Satoru Akahori, a scriptwriter, manga author and novelist best known for such 90s staples as Saber Marionette and Bakuretsu Hunter (Sorcerer Hunters). The character design was done by Kousuke Fujishima (he's certainly best known as being the creator of Ah! My Goddess!, as well as his involvement as a character designer in the Tales series of games) and Hidenori Matsubara (he did the character design for Fujishima's original designs in the various Ah! My Goddess! anime adaptations, and has also been involved as a key animator in many other big animated features). Last but not least, the music was composed by Kouhei Tanaka (a composer of more game, anime and tokusatsu theme songs than I can count). Continue Reading