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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mega Man X (and Zero) Collection Impression

Mega Man X. Best series of blue-bomber games ever. I remember playing the original Mega Man, the difficulty of Mega Man 2 and all the games to follow. On the NES and SNES there was no side-scrolling series I loved more (hey, I said more, there were other equal loves like Castlevania). Then came Mega Man X. An edgier more grown up Mega Man with his own storyline (hola Sigma) and cool new armor. Now you have to understand I was big time into anime like Robotech (Super Veritech) and Ronin Warriors and in both these series (more so Ronin Warriors) it was all about cool armor and the power it brought the wearer. MMX game me this power, game me more than just a color change and different weapon, and I loved it. Throw into the mix a badass named Zero (with a sword) and I was sold. Those were the days, and there is no going back ... that is until Capcom released their Mega Man X Collection.

I was a bit worried when I put this disc in my GameCube. Would it be the same? Would it stand the test of time? Would all my fond memories be crushed? Answers; No, No and No. These games are everything I remember, and I'm having as much fun playing them now as I did when I was a kid. It really goes to show that great gameplay is key.

Now X, X2 and X3 were all on the Super Nintendo with it's amazing 16-bit graphics and sound in addition to (grainy) animated cut scenes, while X4 through 6 were each on PlayStation (7 & 8 appear on PS2). As you play the games you see the gradual improvements in both graphics and sound, kinda like a short history lesson on 16 to 32-bit video games. There is also an increase in the quality of the cut scenes and the eventual addition of voice-overs, very nice. So we see the graphics and sound get better, but the story gets stranger and stranger. At the end of the day I did not buy this collection (or the originals) for the story, I bought them for the gameplay, and this series delivers.

Do yourself a favor and take this game for a spin, and if your a nut like me pick up Nubytech's custom controller. The one question I have for the folks at Nubytech is why make the controller so small? The gamers who grew up with MMX are older, and the ones who will buy the controller have bigger hands. Controls feel a little stiff at first, but the buttons you use get the job done, and the sweet graphics on the controller and the case make it a worthy addition to your China Cabinet (or shelf, whatever).

Gaming goodness from the past, that was Mega Man X Collection is all about, and packaged with the controller you're sure to please the MMX fan in your life.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Hikaru no Go DVD Impression

Ok, I talked about this anime before, few weeks back, based on the DVD sent out with Shonen Jump and not I have to reconfirm. Hikaru no Go is good. It's a good read and now it's a good watch. If you like the manga you will like the anime, period. Don't give me that crap about 'but it an anime based on a board game' that fluff won't fly. I like anime for a lot of reasons, reason different (maybe) from yours so don't tell me it's no good. This is my blog and I say Hikaru is good stuff. Clean animation, good voice acting and an excitement to the games I did not expect to find. This is a story about growing up. It could have been in a space setting with giant mechs or alien babes, but it's set on a go board (with a ghost) and it works. Oh, and for all you aspiring go players there are lessons at the end of every episode that will really make you appreciate the anime (and manga) even more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Most Anticipated Anime, 2006

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Welcome to 2006, it's going to be a GREAT year for anime, no doubt. Not only will we see more manga (Bandai is jumping into the fold this year), but we are going to see some sweet titles getting licensed, and only a year or two after they aired in Japan, that is sweet. (Much better than the 3+ years of waiting we've had in the past, btw where the hell is Macross Zero???) So check this out, below are the titles I cannot wait to get my mits on this year along with the continuing series I look forward to wrapping up. I've also thrown in the video games I cannot wait to waste hours playing, and don't' worry, there is not a comic based title among them. 2006 is going to be a very good year indeed... did someone say PlayStation 3!!!

Top 10 Most Wanted Anime
01) Trinity Blood - Drool inducing anime, that's what this is.
02) Gundam Seed Destiny - Call this 1A, it's going to be sweet.
03) Naruto - I want on DVD so I can watch over and over again anywhere.
04) Macross - The original gets the re-release treatment. Who doesn't love a Veritech.
05) SpeedGrapher - Don't know too much about this, but very curious.
06) Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala - No-brainer.
07) Gun Sword - Had me hooked just with the character design.
08) Hellsing Ultimate - More vampire, more yumminess.
09) Hikaru no Go - Boring to some, exciting to me. Try playing a game of go, it'll hook you.
10) Eureka Seven / Desert Punk / Basilisk - three way tie, I really could not make up my mind here, they all look too good to pass up on so I'll take a nibble of each and decide later.

Top Continuing Anime
01) Samurai 7 - If you don't have it already, stop reading and go now to the store, really.
02) Fullmetal Alchemist - Alchemy at it's finest.
03) Scrapped Princess - Sweet 'bonus' figures, and the series is good to boot.
04) Samurai Champloo - Buy the sound track, it rocks.
05) Loki Ragnarok - Don't know how to describe this, it's just good, really good.
06) Tenjho Tenge - Fan service mixed with a great opening theme, mmmmmmmm.
07) Fafner - Dittowith the character design and opening theme.

So video game wise, not every number is just a game, some of these are series of games, but you'll get it, good times:

Top 10 Most Wanted Games
01) Kingdom Hearts II - Played the original, plus Chain of Memories and read the manga, bring on Part II already!
02) Naruto (Clash of Ninja, Ninja Council, Narutimate Hero) - Ninja's rock. Play every game, and if you don't have the system, buy it.
03) .hack//G.U. (part 1-3) - Hell, I would be happy with the trailer on DVD. This entire anime/game/manga/tcg series is a must have.
04) Okami - Art, plain and simple art on your TV. (Did I mention it's a game?)
05) Black - Art of another form. Primal, down and dirty shooting action. It's time to blow things up but good!
06) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Just cross your fingers it does not get pushed again.
07) Samurai Champloo - If it's anything like the anime its gotta be sweet, and plus it keeps your mind off the much delayed Cowboy Bebop game.
08) Star Wars: Empire at War - A PC game, on my list!!! It's true, I love console titles, but RTS is what I cut my teeth on with Dune, Herzog Zwei and the like.
09) Metal Gear (AC!D 2, Subsistence, GotP) - Snake tasted good on the NES and I guarantee it taste even better on the PS3.
10) Final Fantasy XII - While the battle system will be a departure from past titles I do love me some RPG action (and have you seen the bunny girls... interesting).

Most Wanted Missing the Cut -- I have to give a shout-out to these games just missing my Top 10.
- Blue Dragon - I may not be a fan of the 360, but when Toriyama does a games character design I will take notice.
- Shadow Hearts: From the New World - If you've played the previous games you know why this is on the list.
- MS Saga: A New Dawn - Gundam, nuff said.
- Gundam World - (ditto)
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII - A non RPG FF game...
- Wild Arms: The Vth Vanguard - I know the name of the game, and that's enough to get my interest.
- Code Age Commanders - Could this be the next .hack multi-media franchise? Tune in and see.
- Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition - I missed it on the first go around, and special editions are always sweet (see both Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3).
- Rogue Galaxy - A new cell-shaded RPG.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Peace Maker, RahXephon, Rune Soldier Impressions

2006, new year, new calendars and new anime. I cannot wait for some new titles this year including some Naruto on DVD and Gundam SEED Destiny. Enough about the future, what about 2005. Well, I spent a good portion of my little ol' vacation watching some ADV Films anime.

I indulged in three different series, PeaceMaker, RahXephon and Rune Soldier. Three series that have been out for a few years that you can pick up cheap(er) in their slim-pack collection, which is very nice (especially if you shop at a place like Best Buy, good prices). So, how were these series? Good to say the least.

Rune Soldier was the one I looked forward to the most, and one that I wanted to buy when it originally came out, but due to money crunch could not buy. I love Slayers, and was really hoping good things for Rune Soldier... I was a little disappointed. The animation was so-so, but I did love Louie, very funny. The series was a bunch of adventures with a few episodes tied together at the end to add some depth, but the series ends too early as you are presented with some questions in the very last episode you have to have answered. In the end, it's a fun watch but I would pick up the Slayers or one of the other packs above.

RahXephon surprised me, big time. I really expected this to be an Evangelion clone, that's why I did not buy it when it came out, even after watching episode one on the disc I received in NewType. It was not a clone, it was great. Yes there is a boy in a mech fighting invaders of varying sizes and types, both on land, with partners, and one stationed in space. Very similar to Evangelion, but instead of being a clone it's a good compliment to Eva, and if you're a fan of Shinji (and Aska) and who isn't, pick up this title.

Now, the final series I had the most questions about, Peace Maker. This is one of my favorite titles (hey, I'm a history buff also). I expected something in the vain of Kenshin, but I was alittle off. Take a look at the box art and you get ideas of revenge from a little boy, you expect him to become this great samurai, but it does not happen... at least not right away. If you love history and anime, if you love Kenshin or any anime with swords pick up this title, it's really good. By the end of the series I was attached to all the characters and wanted more, and you will too.

Well, that was my vacation, and I don't regret it. (Yes, I did other stuff, these were watched during down time.) Peace Maker and Rune Soldier each have manga which allow you to continue the adventures the anime just begins, while RahXephon leaves you very full. I'm off now, have to see what other anime I can get my mits on and indulge in the pleasure only an Otaku could understand.

I Love Comments!!!

So check this out, if you go to http://videogames.aol.com/gamingguides/anime you will see a small (small) section with Comic based video games, like X-Men and Spider-Man (Ultimate, not the movie crap). The reason I included both of these titles in the Top 10 list is because, while this is an anime section, I will include good comic based titles. I am very glad I was called out on this, I was curious to see the response on putting these in. So tell me, what two games would you add to the list to replace these? I'll add them in, and revise the list, just make sure they were released in 2005. I know what two I would put in.

On a very related note, what would you like to see on a page featuring just anime trailers, intros and such, you know video content? I'll have this puppy up very soon, and I'll post here when it's ready. Good times, and please, please keep the feedback coming, or email me directly at animesentinel@aol.com and shoot over your journals.