WOOO! New blog header! And a slight title change.
Anyway, first week of August, and a new entry in my blog series no longer called [insert title here], but instead [insert title]. Yep, just took off one word, like taking out “The” from “TheFacebook.”
Sean Parker, you’re a bloody genius.
So yeah, the header is larger than before, actually copy and pasted into the blog then just using the upload image button in the editor, there are round edges to make the image feel more smooth, and you get the title of the blog on a Japanese arcade cabinet. Why a Japanese arcade cabinet? ‘CAUSE I COULD!
I might add a bit more to this image in the coming weeks, but this is the basic idea for the blog’s image. Much more video game-y then some igloo.
So, it is unfortunate to say that summer vacation is, once again, coming to a close. In about two weeks time, I will be going back to school. Going into my senior year, so I’m almost done, and it MIGHT go easier for me since I’ll now have more privileges at school and have a say in stuff that goes on there. I don’t know, never cared about that stuff. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t give a care about homecoming or any big school event.
Not a whole lot else besides that horrible realization. Currently applying for jobs at the moment, watched the latest episode of NTSF:SD:SUV:: Oh yeah, another thing I realized, because I go to a private school, for some dumb reason I have to shave off this beard I’ve been growing this summer. I only grew it because I didn’t want to bother shaving, but it actually looked pretty good on me. Whatever, gonna have to shave it in less than three weeks. Stupid.
Not a lot of really notable games on the 3DS, huh? It’s still a few months off until Super Mario 3D Land, and Star Fox 64 3D will at least get a rental from me. So Gamefly sent me Dead or Alive Dimensions, a game I meant to check out when it released earlier this year, and also it was the only game on my que that was “available now” instead of “high availability.” It’s a great game. Well, most of it anyway, but on that later.
My only experience with the series before this game was DOA4, back when the 360 was the newest console in 2005. I played a little bit of it, and it was a fast and fluid game from what I remembered. Years later, having decided that Virtua Fighter was my go-to fighting series, DOA is now my second favorite.
Reason I like both a lot is because they share quite a bit of similarities. There’s no light, medium, and heavy attacks, no forward and back, left and right, or high and low attacks. Just a punch and a kick button for attacks, and it works especially well for the platform that this game is on. You don’t have to punch out combos at speeds that require you to use a fight stick because your thumbs aren’t fast enough, and there aren’t a lot of cases where you need to push 3 buttons at once, but if there is, there are button combinations hot-keyed to the shoulder buttons. Dead or Alive’s control scheme fits a system like the 3DS much better than Super Street Fighter IV, I feel.
But the Virtua Fighter similarities end with DOA’s counter moves and a dedicated throw button. Dead or Alive is known for its counter moves, and it feels great when you successfully pull one off. It does take quite a bit of learning to recognize some characters attacks and which direction you need to counter them, but it feels pretty rewarding.
The fighting system in place is solid, but the modes and features surrounding it are varying in quality. The highlight feature of Dead or Alive Dimensions is the Chronicle Mode, an MK Story-esque mode that plays through the plotlines of all the main DOA games. Presentation in this mode ranges from okay to messy. The game likes to throw in some weird, Bayonetta-like still cutscenes where the character models are lifeless mannequins standing in place while they speak. It’s an odd design choice that feels way out of place when they also have regular cutscenes with characters that are actually animating. At times the story gets a bit hard to follow, but by the end, not only will you have learned some of the basics of how to play DOA, but you’ll probably better understand what the heck has been happening in this series. So that’s nice, I guess.
Another weird mode in DOA Dimensions is tag battle. While you do get to choose both characters for your team, only your main character is controlled by you, and your partner is taken over by the computer. It’s a very dumb design choice, and I feel I would be much more effective if I were in control of both characters.
Major problems aside, this is a solid fighting game that feels way more playable on the 3DS then SSFIV, where I wished I was playing it with a fight stick. Give it a shot if you haven’t. Beats having nothing to play on your 3DS.
Guess what, people. WE’RE CHANGING UP THE WAY THINGS GO ON THIS BLOG!!! Well, only temporarily, as the new standard for blog headers has led me to omit the “And the Rest” segment. Instead, I’ll go a slight bit more in depth to a bunch of games that all have one thing in common. They’re all SHMUPs. Vertical scrolling to be exact.
I love SHMUPs. Not just because SHMUPs is kinda fun to say (and a bit silly too, I guess), but it’s my favorite kind of arcade game to play. I like shooting at hundreds of enemy ships and what not to make them blow up, getting high scores, and the games are fairly easy to get into for short time periods. And this past week I’ve had plenty of time to play some SHMUPs. Whether you think it’s wrong or not, I played the majority of these through MAME, because as much as I love the genre, I admittedly don’t own a whole lot of them. Whatever, let’s run down the list of games I’ve played and read my thoughts.
DonPachi & DoDonPachi: Pretty important games as far as Bullet Hell goes, as DonPachi was kind of the first to make that type of game work. Nothing that totally blows me away about it, but they are still fun, solid games. Plenty of explosions and bullets, which I love.
GigaWing: A vertical scrolling SHMUP that gets pretty manic at times, but allows you to reflect bullets back at your enemies. A solid shooter that is fun to play if not to see how high you can get your score, which is easy to do, because you get a huge torrent of numbers filling up as you go.
Raiden Fighters 1, 2, & Jet: Not to big on these games, to be honest. They’re solid, and the types of craft you can choose provide some good variety, and a whole lot of it in Jet. The problem I have with Raiden Fighters is that you lose track of the enemy bullets amidst all the explosions, and at the speed they come at, it’s hard to really tell where they’re coming from. DonPachi was smart to make the bullets pink or blue to offset the yellow-orange explosions.
Touhou 6 & 7: These games I already own, with English translation patches. These games are straight up bullet hell, and are a lot more in line with what I like out of a SHMUP than DoDonPachi. Particular to Touhou 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom, the game lets you see the hit box on your character, giving you a better idea of why you are able to seemingly squeeze through all those bullets. And speaking of the bullets, they move at the right speed that memorization does not feel like a complete necessity for every single pattern (though it does help), because if you can see the trajectory of the bullets, you can usually figure out which part of the screen you need to move into. And the game has a little bar that says “enemy” at the bottom of the screen that moves horizontally with the boss, so you can focus on the bullets around you while having a good reference for where the boss is. Smart.
Even with all these fine games, there’s still only one that tops it all: Ikaruga.
I really, really, really, really, REALLY love the heck out of Ikaruga. It’s just one of those games I can’t praise enough because of how well it does what it does. It ignores a lot of things about other SHMUPs that makes this game feel pure. There are no power ups or items to worry about on screen you need to catch, letting you focus on dodging bullets, and absorbing them. The ships and their bullets are either two colors, black or white, and you can’t get anymore contrasting then that, so it’s easy to tell that bullets opposite of your ship color need to be avoided. On top of this is a smart chain system that comes from systematically killing 3 enemies of the same color, allowing you to get more points. This is perfection as far as SHMUPs go, I think. And I really wanna play Radiant Silvergun to see how that stacks up to this game, its successor.
Man, I wanna play Ikaruga again. That’s the one thing playing all these SHMUPs has told me. So much fun.
And that’s gonna do it. Thanks for reading, and expect to keep seeing small, little changes to the blog each week. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some games to play.