Samurai Spirits Zero

Where do I begin with this one? The Samurai Spirits (or Samurai Showdown in the US) series is one of the longest running figthing game franchises in recent times, and is credited as the first one on one beat 'em where all the characters use weapons.

The Game
This is pretty much like every other game in the series. Pick from one of 27 characters, then hack 'n' slash your way to the top. Every character has their own path in storymode, so it'll take a while to finish the game with everyone. But gone is the Bust and Slash system that gives you alternate versions of each character, though noticeably some of the characters are just copies of each other but opposites (Glaford & Hanzo, Haohmaru & Rasetsumaru, Enja & Suija, etc.).
There are four new characters in this edition, Yoshitora, a multi-sword wielding samurai with a bizzare hairdo; Yunfei, a chinese swordsman; Kusaregedo, a huge monstrous demon; and Mina, a scantilly clad female archer with an annoying alien baby sidekick.

No doubt if you've played past Samurai Spirits games, you know how the game works. That pretty much hasn't been changed here. But I will admit it's very frustrating at times as you can just beat your opponent with as many as THREE heavy strikes in succession! The CPU controlled opponnents can also be very difficult to beat, and sometimes you get the feeling the game is cheating because they can kill you off with those 3 strikes, yet you hack away like crazy at them and not do as much damage no matter how deep you are!
I also found a clitch in the game. As Tam Tam, I tried to corner trap my opponent with his jumping fireball, but everytime I get them in a corner and I go for the medium strentgh fireball, the character would suddenly be jerked backwards so that the fireball lands right in front of the opponent, giving them no damage! A heavy fireball would only overshot out of screen!
And theres also the sense that the CPU can read your moves and counter before you get the move out. Which is really frustrating.

Graphics & Sound
The graphics don't look really good for a SNK game. The characters look pasted on in some places and not consistent.
The music is forgetable to me, mostly feudal Japan type themes played on traditional instruments to dance type beat.And the voices range from ok to down right ANNOYING. I really could have done without Mina's sidekick screaming uninteligle non-sense.

Other than the arcade story mode, theres only the standard versus and practice modes.
I don't know if there are any unlockables cause I haven't even beaten the game yet! That right. After a few days of playing I got so frustrated at the last boss I just gave up on it. What's the point of having a boss in a game that you CAN'T EVEN DAMAGE?!? And yet, he can just charge at you in the corner and all you can do is block until your health is finished. Try to jump over him and he catches you out of the air and impales you on his horn. I haven't been so frustrated with a game boss like this since Igniz in King Of Fighters 2001, and I had a much better chance of beating him than the guy here.

If your up for the challenge or a fan of the series, you might want to check this one out. Also wise that you have someone to play against in versus mode. Otherwise, the degree of difficulty will have you tearing your hair out and cursing the game. Only recommended if your a glutton for punishment.

Graphics - 6
Sound - 5
Gameplay - 5
Lifespan - 3
Overall - 4


Miscellanious News

BloodRayne to bear all!
It's been reported on the official BloodRayne2 website that the vampire heroine of the game will become the first ever CGI character to get a pictorial in Playboy magazine next month! This coincides with the release of the game due out around the same time. Now how many of you out there are as surprised as I am that an almost virtual unknown like BloodRayne would beat game icon Lara Croft or the babes from the Dead or Alive game series to this punch?
Also to help promote the game, a remake of Evanescence's "Everybody's Fool" video is being released, featuring characters from the game and BloodRayne herself lip-synching to the song!
On a related note, Kristana Loken of Terminator 3 fame is scheduled to play the lead-role of BloodRayne herself in the upcoming movie adaptation. How's that for casting someone who's a dead ringer for the actual game character?

SNK Characters going freelance
SNK announced that they will be licensing out it's games characters to other 3rd party developers to create games with those characters. What this means is that we can expect more Capcom VS SNK type games in the future!

Coming Soon
I recently managed to finally get my hands on several new games and will have the reviews up shortly. These include Samurai Spirits Zero and Guilty Gear Isuka.


Let The Games Begin!!!

Welcome to my new blog! Here I will post my reviews and thoughts on new and old video games including any game related news I find on the internet! Scroll down and enjoy my first review, with more to come! Enjoy and don't forget to post commets to let me know what you think!

King of Fighters: Maximum Impact

I'm not big fan of 3D fighters, but SNK's third foray into 3D beat 'em ups is done surprisingly good! I'm sure there were many KOF fans waiting for this 10th Anniversary 3D installment like I was, and I'm also sure their expectations were met with mixed results like me.

The Game
If you were expecting the team elimination mode prominant with the series, then your gonna be big time dissapointed here as there is only a single player mode. Not even a tag mode ala Tekken Tag Tournament or the later Dead or Alive games.Gone are the Orochi and NEST storylines. Gang warfare is theme here! Appearantly some street gang with a hard to remember name (hence why I didn't mention it) has taken over South Town and certain KOF fighters have come to take part in a fighting tournament organized by them. The main story also no longer revolves around Kyo Kusanagi or Heidern's militia, but instead two brothers, Alba and Soiree Meira.Other new characters in the game are femme fatale Lien Neville, nerdy girl Mignon Beart, and Kim Kaphwan disciple, Chae Lim.Returning from the regular series are Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, K', Terry Bogard, Rock Howard, Mai Shiranui, Ryo Sakazaki, Yuri Sakazaki, Leona Heidern, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Athena Asamiya, Maxima and Seth.The new boss of the game is simply called Duke.

If your expecting the face paced action from the original series, your in for a surprise here as NONE of the combos from the previous 2D games were carried over here. Instead, your gonna have to learn a new combo system (called Stylish Arts) where you have to chain multiple strikes into special moves. It can be frustrating at times. Personally, I was expecting them to go the Street Fighter EX route, where the game was in 3D, but plays like the 2D counterpart. It can be frustrating when some characters don't have moves that chain together as easilly as others. But at the same time, several characters have a chain combo you can repeat over and over to beat the whole game with. I'm not sure if it's because I'm more used to playing fighting games in the arcades with joysticks, but I also found it rather difficult to pull of special moves, especially the super moves.
Another thing I've noticed is that this game has the same flaw most other 3D figthers suffer, that being turned based combat where the best strategy is to wait for the opponent to lauch his combo attack, and then hit him with your combo when he's done, then wait again for that next opening.

The original cast translate well to 3D (Mai never looked better!), and the new characters also fit right in despite some of their more bizzare appearances like Alba's hair-do. Backgrounds are the usual closed-off arenas and you can put dents in fences at the edge of the screen in some areas, but that's about it. No big time special weather effects like DOA or the Virtua Fighter games, other than night and day changes.

I actually found myself ignoring the music and concentrating more on playing the game. Up to you guys if that's a good thing or not. But all the original character voices from previous games are brought back here and executed well, though I would have preferred a little more emotion from the character's faces when they speak.

Like I mentioned before, there are no team battle modes, only single player battles. There is also however a challenge mode where you beat various battles with certain restrictions and get rewarded with new stuff like extra outfits for your characters. Beating the Story Mode unlocks the profile for the characters your using, and you can tweak the appearance of the character in the Profile mode. There's also the usual Time Attack and Practice mode and nothing else much else.
I was really dissapointed at the ending you get when you beat the story mode. I was expecting some kind of CG cutscene, but all there was is your character mouthing off something to himself in an empty arena. And the story mode only revolves around Alba, Soiree, Lien and Seth (?). Everyone else is just there to fill in the roster as extras as there is no significance to their storylines whatsoever.

This is definately a game that appeals to 3D fighting fans and die-hard KOF fans will look past any flaws and enjoy it. I liked the game, but will be looking forward more to the sequel. Trust me, I've seen it before. This game is just for SNK to test the waters. Like many games in the past (Tekken, Soul Edge, SF:EX), the sequel will definately be tons better! I still recommend this to tide you over till it comes out in a few years. Until then, bring on King of Fighters 2004!!!

Graphics - 8
Sound - 7
Gameplay - 7
Lifespan - 7
Overall - 7