Sunday, March 25, 2012

Duel Masters: Kaijudo Showdown (GBA) – A brief look.

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It also comes with a large bottle of industrial strength hair gel.

Disclaimer: This video game is based on a card game, so if you have no interest in card games then you may want to just skip this post. If you don’t care for any background info on the game or the series skip ahead two paragraphs.

For the uninitiated who person who had never heard of the show or read the manga (like myself) that it is based on it may seem like a generic slapped together half-assed attempt at pulling in children who are into Yugioh or the Pokémon Trading Card Game, I can assure you this is not the case. Surprisingly enough this card game has been around in Japan for over a decade but only reached stateside in late 2004 and was quickly discontinued in early 2006 after airing only two seasons and releasing only thirteen different card packs. Despite being discontinued a sizable number of people follow the Japanese card game and even banded together to make a forum which to this very day is still active.

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I’m certain this would be their reaction to the TCG making a comeback.

Duel Master’s can essentially be considered a simpler version of the card game Magic the Gathering, you have six different “Civilizations” (i.e. elements, or whatever) which are, Nature, Water, Fire, Darkness, Light, and Rainbow unlike Magic there are no Mana cards and instead at the start of every turn you can add any card in your hand to the Mana pool. You can then tap the aforementioned Mana to summon a monster or cast a spell. The game doesn’t have a life point system but instead has you use “Shields” to defend yourself once all five of your shields are destroyed by your opponent and they attack you directly you lose the game. To defend yourself the cards are broken up into groups and subgroups:

Monsters

  • Regular Monsters – you tap the mana and toss em; in the battle zone to attack your opponent
  • Blocker Monsters – They can be used to defend against opponents attacks
  • Evolution Monsters – Stronger monsters that must be put onto a weaker one of a specific type similar to evolving in Pokémon
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I like how the abilities are explain in such detail.

Spells

  • Regular Spells: They have effects and can be used to aid yourself or destroy an opponents card(s)
  • Trigger spells: Spell cards that when placed as a shield and destroyed by an opponents attack immediately activate

For a more in depth explanation of gameplay the Duel Masters wiki has an in-depth How-to guide on playing the game.

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Because we all know that no one listens to the tutorial.

Duel Masters: Kaijudo Showdown has a very simple premise, you play as the game’s protagonist named “TOM” by default which from what I’ve gleaned through “extensive” wiki reading I can safely say is not from the show/manga’s canon. The game has a unique story in which you use a card game to save the world while attempting to win all of the tournaments to gain sponsorships and whatnot, all normal stuff thus far. Kaijudo Showdown sports the entire cast from the first season of the show/manga (which you can duel) and boasts a hefty 300 unique cards in the game. Premise-wise the game focuses mainly on the building of decks and just out and out dueling everyone as the reward for winning any duel is a pack of cards. Multiplayer is encouraged through the use of a link battle/trade system which is neat and adds replay value as constantly trying to outdo your friends decks is always fun.

The ultimate appeal of this game lies in the fact that the Card game is similar to that of Magic the Gathering meaning that anyone who has a passing knowledge of Magic can pick the game up with little trouble. Duel Maters Kaijudo Showdown has very little appeal to anyone who isn’t into card games, the sub-par graphic’s and soundtrack don’t help it out very much. I would advise fans of the show, or fans of card games in general to give this game or it’s sequels a look as they are fairly inexpensive and can provide loads of fun if you can get a couple of your friends together to play it with you.

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I can’t wait for the HD remake.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let’s Play a Game! Earthbound Zero Part 0: Prologue

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Prior to my delivering a flying elbow to this game (I like to think this is an appropriate metaphor for making a let’s play) lets take a look at the history of the game in which I will be playing, Earthbound Zero. Earthbound Zero or as it was originally going to be called “Earthbound” is the first of a series of games by Shigesato Itoi called Mother. Outside of Japan Mr.Itoi is really only known for his work on the Super Nintendo game Earthbound however in Japan he is known not only for the Mother series but for his numerous essays and for his personal website (it’s in Japanese by the way) in which he posts news and essays on his views of current events. Believe it or not the title Earthbound Zero did not always include “Zero” in its name, this was later added by the a fan-translation group called Demiforce. Demiforce originally was planning on translating the entire game themselves before they got a hold of the official English rom and changed the title to say “Earthbound Zero. (An interview with them can be read here).

Now you may be wondering, “Hey how could there be an official English translation of the game if it was never released stateside?” Well you wonderfully beautiful person, it was going to be released and even had some advertising behind it (Here's an ad from Nintendo Power). Earthbound Zero was slated for release and had been fully translated by Nintendo of America around mid-1990 and was slated to come out in 1991. Tragedy struck in the form of the Super Nintendo, Nintendo of America decided it would not be cost effective to release the game while a new system was slated for release and put the game on an indefinite hold. Around 1998 evidence of prototype cartridges of the cancelled Earthbound game came to light with the first one being what I’m going to be playing. To this day only four known copies exist though there is some speculation that there may be a fifth floating around somewhere. So there, now you have some history on this game and we can now Segway into the actual lets play.


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I’m liking it thus far. Lets push start and get this thing started! :o

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Picking slot one!

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A lesser person would name him something like “Butt’s” or something but being that I am a constant professional in all things I will keep all of the characters official names and what not.

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Ninten? I’m presuming his last name must be Doh. :D

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Yes I realize it only has one “N” in it, and yes I know Anna isn’t supposed to be spelled that way. This is motherflipin’ Earthbound things don’t have to make sense!

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I wonder if he will wind up having any space adventures. :/

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I am absolutely honored to be fighting alongside our 26th president. I’m pretty certain that he should be the main character though, maybe I should write a letter to Mr.Itoi asking him if they made a mistake, as a complete BAMF like Teddy Roosevelt shouldn’t be playing second-fiddle.

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The food of only the most masculine of men.

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Yes, yes it is okay. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t have gone through all this trouble.

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They should have called up Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully to look into this, I’m pretty sure they would have figured out what went down in a timely fashion. :o

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Sounds like he’d been in Las Vegas all this time. After all what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or something like that. Maria probably hooked up with some rich go-getter and left George in the dust.

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I like where this is going…

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Ok cool, just dropping me into the game. I’m fine without any formal introduction to my location, I’ll just do what Mulder and Scully would want me to do, INVESTIGATE! …and blame the government.

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Alright so the only two notable pieces of furniture in my room are both cool, nothing unusual about them. Guess I’ll have to take my investigations elsewhere.

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Um, hey lamp, you know you are supposed to be an inanimate object right? I also investigated you and my conclusion was that there was “No Problem” therefore you should not be spazzing out and moving around my room.

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Dafuq!

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Um. Excuse me, but could you stop coming closer to me Lamp? I would greatly appreciate it if you stopped menacing me with your oddly toothy grin from a mouth you just suddenly acquired.

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Looks like I have to fight my lamp, I thought this only happened on St.Patrick's day or Mardi Gras. Whatever… time for a breakdown of how battle works!

  • Fight: Is a Standard Attack with whatever weapon is equipped or lack there of
  • PSI: opens up a sub-menu wherein you can choose any Psychic powers you’ve acquired/learned
  • Goods: opens up a sub-menu where you can use any items you have on you
  • Check: Examines the enemy and give you it’s stats and condition
  • Auto: Lets the computer do all the work
  • Guard: Defends for that turn
  • Run: You Attempt to run away from the fight

So lets murder ourselves a lamp!

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Damn right I did!

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I can tell this will take a while. :/

01 - later1

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That household appliance won’t be drawing near anyone else anytime soon!

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That was oddly amusing. Onwards and upwards I guess.

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Now I’m in a hallway. I’ll door number one for $200.

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Dear lord not again…

01 - later3

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“Oh my! Brother, our house is falling apart! Boohoo!”

Yeah, I kinda figured that out already. Do you have anything productive to tell me?

“Nope.”

Of course. Well I guess I should check the next room.

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Curse my need to explore.

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“Help me!”

Okay. What am I helping you with?

KILL THE EVIL DOLL THAT’S FLOATING AROUND MY ROOM!”

Whoa, calm down there buddy, I’m sure you’re just overreacting. I totes encountered a couple of lamps that were clearly possessed by some sort of evil demon. If anything my investigation has proved that lamps are the most evil household objects.

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Oh, that’s not creepy at all. Wait…

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This is quite possibly the most evil thing I’ve seen in my life. It must be destroyed.

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Two hits? I’ve fought lamps stronger than this!

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You know what it was? Aliens. I’m sure the government will be by sooner or later to try covering this up.

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I’m skeptic of examining the very thing that tried brutally murdering me earlier, but I’m certain nothing will be out of the ordinary.

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Oh, alright. This is interesting, but I must wonder why a music box would be inside a doll. I also would like to bring into question why is it that it wasn’t until this moment that we realized it was inside the doll. Surely someone would have noticed the bulging noise making device long before it was brought to life and tried to go on a murderous rampage :/

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Whooooooaaaaaaaaaa!

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I feel that this must be a plot point.

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Of course! Smashing inanimate objects always makes me parched! Well I have a feeling that for now I do not have to go and smash anymore of the things in what I assume must be my house (if what that girl said can be trusted), so I’ll head downstairs now.

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No expense is to great when it comes to room furnishing.

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“Ninten. Are you alright?” 

Yeah, no thanks to you. I didn’t see you up there battling it out with evil lamps and malefic dolls.

“Egad! What is happening to our house?”

Was the house built on an Indian burial ground? If so then you have your answer right there.

“I wish your dad were here now. Maybe…”

Well he’s not so we have to make the bes-

“TELEPHONE! Ninten, please get it!”

Fine, but if it attacks me I’m out of here.

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“It’s your dad.”

That’s a pretty odd way to introduce yourself.

“Well… It seems like a poltergeist.”

What seems like a poltergeist?

“I’m not exactly sure how to… But, your great-grand-father studied PSI.”

What? You aren’t making any sense!

“You might find something in the basement to help.”

Ooookay.

“But, I left the basement Key Someplace… can’t remember exactly where…”

Dammit all! What kind of person hides the key to a room in their own house and forgets where it is!?

“Anyhow, son, you are my only hope. It’s time for you to go on a little adventure, and explore the potential of your powers.”

Wut?

“Powers not to be taken lightly. Whomp, go for it!! But remember to come back and check on our family.”

Wait, what is “Whomp”? What powers? Why do I have to go on an adventure? Explain old man, EXPLAIN!!!

“Bye. Phone me when you want to save. Call me whenever.” *slam*

Buh… Guess I better find that key… Time to recheck everything in the house!

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If it’s not inside so it must be outside. I bet it’s hidden in the doghouse, that’s a rational place to hide it.

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Oooookay. So then where could it be? Maybe, just maybe…

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No… no way.

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“Tell you a secret. Why don’t you CHECK me out?”

I’ll pass. I’m not into that kind of stuff. I do however have a question for you, how is it that I can converse with animals?

“Bow wow.”

Mother-fffffffffffffffffffine. Whatever.

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I… I don’t know what to make of this. However I do know that now I can get into the basement.  TO THE BASMENT!

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I bet there is going to be a bitchin’ Foosball table or some sort of old Billiards table.

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Well, this isn’t exactly what I was expecting. At least there are presents?

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Bread, a plastic bat, and a diary, who leaves bread as a present?  I guess I should focus on checking out this diary though…

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“The Diary was hard to read, but opened up to this page…

(Password)

….The one who lost the tail. The Forgotten one… the ship that sails… “

Cool. I guess this will be important later. Welp, lets blow this pop stand!

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“Son of mine, you are braver than I thought.”

Was it the fighting off of murderous household items that tipped you off?

“I can’t let you go on a journey so famished. I’ll cook Prime Rib.”

B-but I want to start my adventure now!

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Pffft other mothers would jump at the opportunity to let their sons throw themselves into danger.


Will Ninten do as his father says and go on an adventure to discover and harness his “powers”, and just what is this “PSI” Nintens great-grandfather was researching? Check back at some future point in time for answers to these questions*.

*Answers to questions are subject to the plot and may or may not be answered or be completely forgotten in lieu of a pointless romantic subplot or several hours of level grinding in order to defeat random enemies who happen to be ten levels higher then the players party.