Galactic Wrestling featuring Ultimate MUSCLE

The wacky GameCube puroresu game makes it's way to PS2 with some fun results!

The Game
Also known as Ultimate MUSCLE Generations, this game is based on an old Japanese toyline, manga and anime. I actually have one of the action figures somewhere at home and I remember when you could find alot of them in Labuan when I was a kid.
There's no story-mode in this version. You just pick from one of over a dozen available grapplers and rumble your way to unlocking the dozens more hidden characters in the game in a series of different game modes.
But this is NOT a normal wrestling game. You won't see some bald guy come out on an ATV drink a beer and beat up the helpless opponent with one move. No sir, the cast here range from the very bizzare to the insanely weird, like TechTV's all time favourite, DikDik Van Dyke, to a bizzare martial arts expert called RamenMan! The characters in this game are anything BUT normal.

The game plays simple enough, with easy attack, grapple, jump and guard commands. Once you figure out the controls, it can be pretty easy to beat CPU opponents. You can chain together strikes into a grapple move, as well as the standard wrestling attacks like Irish-whip attacks, running attacks and ground holds.
The action is very fast paced, so you'll need quick reflexes to know when to block and attack, as grappling can be slow if you try it by itself out of a combo.
The big difference in this game that sets it apart from other wrestling games are the incredible finishers! Deal out enough damage to your opponent and you charge up your power meter. When it reaches level 3, you can easilly bust out an awesome and sometimes bizarre finisher, like jumping 20ft up in the air for a modified piledriver!
But be warned that it does seem like a button basher at times.

Graphics & Sound
The game looks GREAT! Though not as cell shaded as the GC version, all the characters look cool and are well animated. Too bad the designers didn't take into account the size of the wrestlers when pulling off moves, so your gonna see alot of moves where the wrestlers "go through" each other, but it's no biggie.
It's also good that you can fit four HUGE characters on screen at once and not have any slow down.
The in game music is pretty good, with the wrestler's being VERY vocal throughout the match. The commentators are pretty good too, but they can get redundant with what they say.

Like I mentioned before, this game lacks a story or career mode. Closest thing you can get is the Survival mode where certain characters interact before the match, but it can be pointless since there is no story to follow up. Like when one character says to the other that he owes him for last time, I wonder WHAT last time? What happened? They really need to fill in those holes.
When you win matches, you get gold coins which you can use in the shop to buy pictures of the actual action figures (or statues) the game characters are based on. And there are about a hundred of them!
Plus there are TONS of hidden characters to unlock.

If you like fast past wrestling action, or 3D fighters in general, you seriously might want to check this one out. This is non-conventional pro-wrestling and does a much better job of it than the crappy Backyard Wrestling or Def Jam Vendetta games.

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

Coming Soon

I got my hands on a ton of new (and some old) games over the past few days, so look out for these reviews soon:
- X-Men: Legends
- Shadow Hearts: Covenant
- Viewtiful Joe
- ObsCure (US Version)
- Monster Hunter
And more!


Resident Evil: Outbreak

With Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2 coming out soon, I knew I had to finally get around to playing the english version of this game!

The Game
We all know that the Resident Evil series single handedly put the survival horro genre on the map, with it's mix of puzzling solving and zombie blasting gameplay, and deep storyline which advances with each new game in the series.
This time, the story strays from the path as you play as one of eight different indivuduals, each with their own pros and cons, as you once again fight to stay alive and escape the now zombie infested town of Racoon City.
Another difference from the other games in the series is that the missions here aren't really connected, and feel more like episodes of a TV series. Each character may have a different path depending on the mission, but otherwise everything is about the same.

The game pretty much plays like the rest of the games in the series save for a few tweaks to help cater to the online mode. Using the right analog stick you can "talk" with your team mates using a handful of simple terms like "yes","no","help","over here" etc.
Veteran gamers should easilly get the hang of the few new controls added. Also welcomed to the gamesplay finally is the ability to defend yourself with hand to hand weapons, and some characters can kick or tackle zombies. This helps to conserve ammo, but most of the time you'd feel safer just blowing off zombie heads than laying the smack down on their candy @$$es.

Graphics and Sound
Graphics are beautiful and detailed, and at times there can be dozens of zombies on screen without any slowdown. The problem of the bad camera angles are still here, but veteran players should have learned to live with it by now. Being able to control the camera would have been a nice help though.
Like most horror games, there isnt much music in the game unless something is about to happen to help set the mood. The cracter voices are nicely done, but sound robotic at times.

As mentioned before, this game sways away from the regular story, and you get points after you complete missions. How much you get usually depends on how many survivors there are, how fast it took to finish the level, zombies shot, etc. You can then use these points to buy tons of hidden stuff like additional costumes for your characters, CG art, music and more. Fun stuff.

OverallThis game will easilly appeal to survival horror fans and Resident Evil fans alike. And should be an entertaining romp for those with PS2 online access. If you don't have this yet, it might be a good idea to get it now to help prepare you for File 2 when it comes out.

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


King of Colosseum 2

One of the most anticipated wrestling games in a while, and the sequel to one of the best PS2 puroresu games ever, King of Colosseum 2 is finally here! And it was definately worth the wait!

The Game
The original King of Colosseum game was revolutionary in that it took the formula of the Fire Pro wrestling series and turned it to 3D. But unlike the Fire Pro series which used fictionalized promotions and wrestlers, KOC used offical licensed companies and wrestlers, and the game was so big it came on two seperate discs that could be combined into one HUGE game to satisfy every puroresu fans dream of simulating interpromotional dream matches.
The sequel returns with alot of improvements ofF the original, and this time everything is covered on ONE DISC!
Every major promotion in Japan is once again covered here, with updated rosters and wrestler stats. And taking a page from the Fire Pro series, small indies that couldn't be licensed were added to the game, but under different names and can be only be used after unlocking them in the new Survival Mode. Basically, EVERYTHING you want in a great Japanese wrestling game is right here!

A big gripe with the first game was the slow pace of gameplay and the timing of the grapple system. The wrestlers would usually plod around and you'd be chasing them around the ring try to catch them in a grapple (CPU opponents would normally just walk away as the grapple animation was being innitiated), and hit the right button at the right time to pull off a move.
Things have definately been sped up a bit this time. The pace seems quicker, and your no longer playing tag trying to catch your opponent. CPU opponents this time will come after you, and you can catch an opponent in a grapple from a longer distance. Certain weakness have also been removed and the CPU intelligence is now smarter. No more can you just use jumping sobat kicks and low dropkicks strategies which plagued the first game as the cheap strategy to beating the CPU. You can now dodge or actually catch a person out of mid-air if the timing for the counter is right!
I have noticed the timing for grapples does seem a bit slower, as the animation of the wrestlers getting into grapple position for you to hit your move takes a while. This gives you more time to listen for that cue to hit your move, but it does seem to slow things a bit.
One thing that hasn't been fixed properly is still the matter of escaping submissions by reaching the ropes. When you try to escape, the CPU automatically moves you in the direction of the closest ring rope, which is not always good when your wrestler's position sometimes makes it IMPOSSIBLE to reach the rope. Example being your locked in a sleeper with your opponent behind you, and the closest rope is also behind you, so you move backwards and can't touch the rope to break the hold cause the opponent is cutting you off by standing between you and the ropes! Control over the direction you struggle to (like in Giant Gram 2000) would have been welcomed.
They also added a nice little bonus where the game rates your performance after every match to see if the audience enjoyed your MATCH, much like what was used in the Giant Gram games. So don't expect a 100% 5-star match rating if you totally squash a CPU opponent. Your gonna have to WORK the match and not just go Austin 3:16 hitting your finisher at the start of the match for the quick finish!

Graphics and Sound
The game definately looks alot better than the first, with more detail to the wrestlers (They did Takayama a great service by making him slim :p) and the updated looks of the wrestlers to match how they look now (Tanahashi looks great).
The audio in the game is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the crowd sound more livelier, but on the other, the live crowd also seems slow to react to the in ring action and seem a bit off cue during the big three counts.
The licensed entrance themes sound awesome and mix well with the crowd cheers during intros. And then there the "remix" versions that were recomposed in sort of a Midi version of the themes which aren't so good.

The meat and potatoes of the game is definately in the simulating of dream matches and unlocking the hidden extras. There are tons of hidden wrestlers and shoot fighters you can get by beating the new Survival Mode and then "buying" them in the secret shop available in that mode. Making CAWs has never been easier, as after buying the template, you just have to load the template for the wrestler you want to make, and voala! Instant CAW! Just about everything you need is handed to you to make the perfect CAW, from the wretler's profile, to stats, the movesets and right on down even to the CPU logic! No more will you have to toil through tons of screens of body parts and textures to make your CAW look right. Here just need to use the templates supplied to make a near perfect version of your favourite wrestler. You'll only notice small differences like names (ZYMA=CIMA, Golden Hammer=Bill Goldberg, Muscle Monster=Brock Lesner?!?) and the colour of their outfits you'd have to change to make them look more to their actual counterparts (Bob Sapp's templates shows him as a white man!). But if your fav's template isn't in the game, THEN your screwed to go through the slow process of doing everything piece by piece!

Also new is the "Match Making" mode where you get to book your own shows and see if the fans enjoy your booking or not, and a new Dojo mode to help you figure out the gameplay mechanics.

And then theres the God-almighty EDIT MODE. Where you can change and tweak about ANYTHING in the game from a wrestler's stats, to which company he works for, guaranteeing you almost always have an updated roster!

Despite a few small glitches (some slow down during crowded moments, rope break detection), this is still the BEST PURORESU GAME ON PS2 EVER!!! You probably won't want to return to the original when you have this, and the only reason you would leave this game is probably after KOC3 comes out!

Graphics - 8
Sound - 7
Gameplay - 8
Lifespan - 10
Overall - 9


BloodRayne shares the goods!

Looks good don't she? That's BloodRayne's picture from her Playboy spread! But before any of you guys get the wrong idea, I found this picture on YAHOO NEWS. So don't bug me about being a perv!
Appearantly Ms. Rayne isn't the only game gal giving up the goods. She's sharing the spread with several other games babes, including Daisy of Rumble Roses, fellow she-vamp, Tala from the upcoming Darkwatch game, Mileena from Mortal Kombat, Kurenai from Red Ninja, Ayane from Dead or Alive (I would have preferred Tina), and an un-named character from the upcoming Sims clone, Playboy: The Mansion.
NO, pictures of the other game gals weren't included in the article. So just enjoy BloodRayne.


Shell Shock - Nam '76

Bored of first-person World War II shooters? How about a 3rd-person Vietnam War shooter instead? World War II shooters have been done to death, so, much like WWE angles, the gaming industry is recycling the formula but changing the settings.

The Game

You start off selecting from one of three characters. I haven't figured out the difference between them yet. Your then thrown into the war as one of a group of rookies. And like almost every other war shooter, your commanding officers notice that something special in you as you advance through the game and you go from rookie to special operative on solo stealth missions ans such.
And you actually have a main heel to go after, get this, King Cong! How original!

The game plays like a standard console shooter, meaning it would play easier if it were on a PC than an analog control pad. The usual problems arise; being acurate with a sniper riffle, running and aiming, etc.
As for your arsenal, there are a wide range of weapons, but you can only carry one main weapon and one secondary weapon at a time. But you can pick up the weapons from fallen enemies as you play through the game.
I also found kinda of a glitch with just running around! It's supposed to be a free roaming environment, yet you'll find yourself having trouble just trying to run uphill as you can only advance at predetermined points on the map! Definately a no-no. But worse then that, I found it hard just to run up stairs! I didn't know it was actually that hard to get over the top step to enter a floor! And the lack of a "jump" button on the controls don't help either.

Graphics and Sound
Graphics are the usual lush jungle backdrop with lots of the usual bland colours. The in game characters look good and detailed, though all the enemies look the same. Another thing about the graphics is that the game is supposed to depict the horrors or the war, so you run into the occasional dead body or impaled head. Unfortunately, the graphics don't do justice to the "horror" it's meant to portray and you just run past it like every other backdrop.
There isn't much music in the game, though the usual sounds of war are abundant. As well as hearing the screams of your fellow platoon as they get mowed down by enemy gunfire.

Like I mentioned above, the game tries to portray the "horrors of war", so as you advance throughout the game, you get cut-scenes of things like enemy officers commiting suicide rather than being taken prisoner, and your fellow soldiers losing their minds and executing Viet-Cong prisoners. Not a bad idea, but the graphics really aren't detailed enough to get the full effect.
Another fun bit is that in between most missions, you can roam freely around base camp to pick what weapons you'd like to bring with you. Also, as you finish missions, you get "chits", which acts like money for you to buy some unusual items like drugs (?!?) and risque pictures of girls (!) from a camp supplier. You can view the pictures of the girls you buy, but I haven't found anything really onjectable. I've also spoken to a few "Mama-sans", though I haven't really gotten anywhere with them, and I managed to buy an R&R pass, but haven't figured how to use it or what it's for >_<

In your into war games, you most definately want to try this out. Also good if you like FPS games and stealth games where the gameplay isn't as deep. Though I'm not sure what the incentive is to play the game again once you finish it since I myself haven't beaten the game yet.

Graphics - 7
Sound - 6
Gameplay - 5
Lifespan - 6
Overall - 6