Wednesday, December 16, 2015

100,000 View Milestone!

For one of the few times in a blue moon, I am not making a 10-page long post due to happenings in my personal life.  I may edit more into this at a later date, but for now, all I have to say is that the Shonen Otaku Corner has officially passed 100,000 views!  Sure that doesn't account for the many bots that register as views to get my attention, but a number is a number.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles Review

I love game remakes.  Classic games of old can be made even better using modern resources and dated aspects can be ironed out for a much better experience, usually more in line with improved later installments, in the case of franchises.

Left: Cheesy.  Right: Scary.
I also love compilation re-releases for the simple fact that you're getting more than one game for the price of one and having them all in one package makes getting previous installments of certain games less of a hassle for newcomers.
With this, the Samurai Shodown Anthology and Orochi Saga Collection, I have 17 SNK games accross 3 disks.
Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP is a combination of both by having three games: A 3D remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, the original version of it, and the extremely beloved Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, all from happier times before Konami lobotomized themselves.  Like how Samurai Shodown 6 was first released in America through the Samurai Shodown Anthology, this is the first international release of Rondo of Blood and the only one until a Virtual Console port a few years later.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Senran Kagura Anime Review

Game to anime adaptations in recent years have a pretty good rap sheet, as opposed to movie adaptations.  Viewtiful Joe, Sengoku Basara and Inazuma Eleven all have great anime adaptations that are faithful to the source material and capture their inherent fun.

Senran Kagura had the potential to do the same.  Like Viewtiful Joe or Sengoku Basara, the Senran Kagura games are all about flashy shonen action with a distinctive visual style and a strong story that, if adapted word for word, is practically a good anime already.
Instead, what we got is an embarrassing, insulting failure that drives away fans and newcomers alike.  Anyone I ask who has ever recommended the Senran Kagura anime hasn't watched it and anyone who has watched it is disgusted by it.   It's easily the worst game-based anime I've ever seen since the Art of Fighting anime all the way back in the 90s and as a fan of the games, this trash needs to be addressed.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Effective Atmosphere of Harvester

Last Halloween I wrote a piece on Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, a relatively well-known adventure game known for being disturbing.  As disturbing as it might have been, I wouldn't describe IHNMAIMS as "scary."  At least part of the reason for that can be attributed to its stylized, hand-drawn graphics.  In my experience, the 90s adventure games of old that used digitized actors are better at inducing nightmares thanks to the literal realism of the characters clashing with the special effects (and sometimes the sloppy voice acting) that creates an uncanny valley effect for extra punch.  I touched upon this way back in my post on the first Clock Tower game.

For FMV games, this can be felt in horror titles like the Phantasmagoria and Darkseed games.  The fear factor in the second installments in both those examples have kind of been mitigated in the public eye by certain internet comedians, however.

But there is one horror adventure game that is largely overlooked.  One that is an excellent example of how to make a game subtley disturbing as well as outright horrific.  It's the messed-up game called Harvester, which luckily has not yet been ruined by silliness.

D'oh!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

An Ode to Bryon Beaubien & Bitpolargame Warning

Some readers may remember my very out-of-place post last year about Bryon Beaubien and his long decade of abuse, pedophilia, fraud and many many many other things.  Those who haven't been following certain people might be wondering what ever happened to him.  Well, despite spitting in the face of all merciful acts allowing him to redeem himself and never once apologizing or atoning in any way, Beaubien still attempts to garner attention under a new name on Youtube called "Bitpolargame" in order to try and avoid the titanic mountain of evidence his previous screen name entails when you search for it on Google.
Of course, at the time of this writing, when you search his real name the first search results are an unflattering Encyclopedia Dramatica page, my very own post on him and a video titled "Bryon Beaubien is an Abusive Pedophile."  That's quite telling.

Even with his new name Beaubien has done everything he can to silence, and very inconsistently lie about, his victims, as well as promote himself and attempt to ride the coattails of other, better, more popular people constantly.  I'm not going to act like I don't like to try and get the attention of somewhat famous people, but I honestly do it out of genuine admiration.  Given how Beaubien does it as often as he possibly can, it's obvious he just wants attention, and since his content is shit anyway, it's not attracting anyone outside of other misogynists and abuse apologists.  He needed to abuse and scam artists to get anywhere.  Now he has nothing.  His attempt at garnering attention as Bitpolargame is the equivalent of a dancing jackass on a busy street.  Anyone who doesn't drive by and ignore him recognizes him and either flips him off or attempts to hit him with their door.
The most he can hope for is the "popularity" of someone like Darksydephil, but we don't need another one of him and Beaubien is even worse anyway.


His silencing tactics include making thinly-veiled sockpuppet accounts, gaslighting (as he's always done), threatening legal action he has no basis for and having the post his evidence was aggregated on removed under false claims, much like he attempted with a video all about him.  Don't worry though, you can still read the archived version and a new one with updated information is apparently in the works. [Update: A collection of some of the testimonies on both Beaubien and his criminal friend Dave Smith can be found here.]

And in spite of every decent person and their sister despising him, Beaubien/Bitpolargame still asks people for money despite not needing it, still abuses others and still actively attempts pedophilia, which he has shown to acknowledge he is doing and that it is illegal!

HE!
HAS!
LEARNED!
NOTHING!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson Review

As previous reviews show, I've always liked the Senran Kagura games, but they never seemed to realize their true potential.  Shinovi Versus was greatly enhanced, but I felt that expanding on the first game rather than going on a tangent would have been a better follow-up, so when Senran Kagura 2 promised to be just that, I got legitimately excited.

I hadn't been so excited for a game in a very long time.  With so many $60 games revolving around guns and grim tones on crappy systems, I just wanted to play a fun, lively, $40 (50 with the included soundtrack) action game with shonen trappings on the 3DS and go on another adventure with the badass adorable Senran Kagura heroes, all in a nice physical package I could hold in my hand, because XSEED stopped trying to open unlocked doors by using their heads as battering rams, unlike Bandai Namco.
Fuck you Bandai Namco.
Consistent delays weakened the fire, however.


Needless to say, I had high expectations.  Some might say they were unreasonable, but in the end, as expected from a Senran Kagura game up to this point, Senran Kagura 2 is an enjoyable experience and my enthusiasm was not squandered.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dissidia Final Fantasy: Duodecim Review

I don't consider myself a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise.  Yes, the final boss of Final Fantasy 6 is one of my favorite final battles in gaming history, but apart from it and playing halfway through the Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy 4, I haven't played any of the main titles.  I've only seen the other Final Fantasy games and before now the only other ones I've played are both the Theatrhythm games on the 3DS.

After getting a Playstation Vita last year, I added one more Final Fantasy game to my library; the PSP game Theatrhythm was spun off of and what is probably the most well-known title the system ever had: Dissidia Final Fantasy: Duodecim.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Fighting Game Camps: Mortal Kombat: Part 3 (For real this time.)

Music

My brief single sentence describing the music in the April Fools version of this post wasn’t entirely off the mark.  Mortal Kombat’s music is extremely downplayed to the point that you may not even notice there’s music at all.  Where other fighting games have their music bombastic or energizing, Mortal Kombat goes for ambience.  In fact, in Mortal Kombat 9, there’s an ambience meter in the sound options menu.

It’s more akin to tribal drumming than the fanfare of other games.  There’s a lot of fast, looping drum beats, techno synth and long notes without any particular melodies.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #7: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Like Final Fantasy, one of these final battles had to be from the Legend of Zelda series.  The franchise consistently cranks out the best bosses in gaming, almost always requiring problem-solving and good old-fashioned skill with a variety of weapons.  Every final battle in each Zelda game is memorable in its own way, with multiple phases and ever-creative transformations that make the climax to each story an epic one, barring the ones, in the words of Chris Hoffman, "in which Link looks like he chugged a gallon of drain cleaner."


The final battle of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a classic for the generations, and its ending is critical in the overall Zelda timeline, but technology has moved on and I find that the battle of Twilight Princess, arguably the second most acclaimed game in the franchise, is even more satisfying.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

J-Stars Victory Versus + Review

J-Stars Victory Versus and Senran Kagura 2 have been my two most anticipated games of 2015.  Both are centered around extreme power-clashing speedline-using shonen badasses on powerful handheld systems, but since J-Stars came out far sooner I counted the days for its release first.  That is, until Bandai Namco told me it wouldn’t be released physically on the Playstation Vita.

Apparently Bandai Namco hasn’t learned what XSEED did after the first Senran Kagura: that forcing customers to download a multi-gigabyte full-retail game on their expensive (especially on the Vita) memory cards through a digital distribution service that may not keep it forever is a really fucking stupid idea!  I wouldn't even be that offended if they didn't release it physically on two other systems and showed that they're perfectly capable of doing so!  Fuck you Bandai Namco!

At that point I should have stopped counting the days and not given in to their stupid fucking digital-only fucking didn’t-learn-anything fucking run-by-lobotomized-chimps fucking bullshit, but if I didn’t review a game synonymous with the word “shonen” I might have this blog’s title called out for being a lie.  So I got the damn thing, with only a Vita theme based on the game that plays its (admittedly awesome) theme song as the background music as compensation for the lack of a physical release’s pre-order bonus.  Fuck you Bandai Namco.

If you can get over J-Stars Victory Versus’ slap in the face for Vita owners and focus on the game as it is, then it’s an amazing action game and for some will likely beat out Super Smash Brothers 4.  The big question is whether or not you can honestly do that.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Dragon's Crown Review

Vanillaware is an example of an auteur game company that more companies should aspire to be.  A company whose games are filled with love, care and everything that the developers like that, by extension, a good portion of players like them should like as well.  Indeed, I have liked Vanillaware's games in the past.  Odin's Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade were both excellently-presented fantasy action games with substantial stories and simplistic head-on combat that only needed a few buttons at their core.


With Vanillaware's latest title, Dragon's Crown, I don't think me and the developers share the same tastes as well as in the past.  Everything in its core is the company's enjoyable signature, but the smaller aspects around it keep Dragon's Crown from reaching greatness.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #8: Final Fantasy 6

A Final Fantasy finale on this list was inevitable.  It was never a question of "if", it was a question of "which one."  The Final Fantasy franchise has built itself a reputation for a number of different traditions, one of which is ending with an intimidating and difficult final battle with a villain invoking a freakish transformation using godlike power.  Just like the games themselves, everyone has a favorite, and this one is mine: the final battle of Final Fantasy 6.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #9: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

My favorite brand of RPG is the Mario RPG (that doesn't have the word "sticker" in it).  They're self-aware, imaginative and hit the right balance of simplicity and complexity by rewarding both strategy and reflexes.  The imagination and challenge is shown through the many bosses that rarely appear outside of the RPGs, with big baddies like the Lava Piranah, Rawk Hawk, Midbus and Sunnycide.


But Mario RPGs have always stumbled when it comes to their final bosses.  There's usually something about them that makes them unmemorable.  Paper Mario's is just Bowser, the first Mario RPG's on the Super Nintendo and Bowser's Inside Story's weren't established well and the final boss of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door comes right the hell out of nowhere even with foreshadowing and drags on for far too long.

Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, even though it's one of the earlier RPGs, does it right.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Top 10 Final Battles: #10: Banjo-Kazooie

The (pre-Xbox 360) Banjo-Kazooie games are what any action adventure gamer wants.  It has large explorable worlds, a gleeful googly-eyed style and humor that can be fun for all ages,which is kind of a rarity nowadays where the best games are rated T or M.

With the exception of Banjo Pilot, these games mostly focused on the exploration aspect through collecting items like musical notes and jigsaw pieces for opening paths to new worlds.  They're as much action games as adventure games though, with a variety of different moves to break objects and enemies during your travels.

However, bosses in the Banjo-Kazooie games weren't particularly prominent until Banjo Tooie, the second one.  The first game only had a few enemies that could be considered bosses, but its final one is so brilliantly done that it beats every other one in the franchise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Introduction to Top 10 Final Battles

A climax is defined as "the point of greatest intensity or force in an ascending series or progression."  In any story in any medium, it's the point where the plot goes all-out and the ultimate conflict plays out before the final resolution.  It's what you likely remember the most when you walk out of a movie or finish reading a book, assuming there weren't any awkward moments that eventually became more remembered than anything else in the story it came from.


They can be done through a grand battle like the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars or can even be a conflict of wits and unfolding plans like in Death Note or A Most Wanted Man.
But game stories have always had a preference for combat to keep the player interested, involved and empowered.  In fact it's rather hard to think of many games with stories to tell that don't have combat of some sort in them.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins Review

I try not to be blinded by nostalgia.  A game that held up back when there were few games that even tried what it did can very well be total crap now thanks to developers having a much stronger grasp on what they’re doing.

But it’s hard not to be blinded by nostalgia for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.  It was one of the big games of my childhood I had on the original Game Boy alongside The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong.  Of the three, I only beat Link’s Awakening and they were all lost to the cruel forces of time and ignorance.

Now a grown man who’s beaten the Viewtiful Joe games on V-rated mode, I felt there was unfinished business with these games.  Now that Super Mario Land 2 is on the 3DS virtual console, I sought to finally close that chapter on my childhood and see how the game held up after all these years.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fighting Game Camps: Mortal Kombat, Part 3

Already going into detail on Mortal Kombat's key characters has taken up so much space it had to be divided into two pages, like the look into Blazblue's story.
And yet that is only the beginning.  We have not even begun to delve into the appeal of the Mortal Kombat franchise, because there are even more aspects that make the Mortal Kombat brand what it is.  If you thought the first two parts were long, you haven't seen anything yet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fighting Game Camps: Mortal Kombat: Part 2

Continued from part 1 after many, many delays.

Villains

Villains in the other fighting games I’ve covered have been of the moustache-stroking variety, always having a sinister plan and team of badasses at their beck and call to further their goals.  Mortal Kombat’s villains are very much the same.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus Review

Senran Kagura: Burst was one of my most memorable games of 2013.  With cutesy characters, unrelenting combat, a well-paced story and the greatest female character in gaming, it exceeded my expectations and made me a fan of the Senran Kagura games (and ONLY the games) to the point of buying a Playstation Vita almost solely so that I could play the new games exclusive to it.  I was that hooked.

Being on an even stronger system than the 3DS with 10 more playable characters added to the lineup of cuties, I was expecting Shinovi Versus to be even bigger and better than the first.  I was right about it being bigger, and even better in some ways, but maybe not quite better overall.