Digimon Design Evolution

What’s this? No Aaltomies? No! A guest post by some random internet dweeb. The name is A9 and I sometimes work behind the shadows to read some posts over from Aaltomies before they are published. A while ago he asked me to write my own thing, and after postponing it for a long time (sorry Aalt!) I finally wrote this down. I have probably forgotten a few elements, so please bear with me.

So, how did the design of Digimon evolve over the years? For that, let’s look at the very first one created, the famous Agumon (and also a little at the often overshadowed Tryannomon).

As is often the case with any project: it changes over time. Kenji Watanabe, the longtime designer of the Digimon franchise revealed a lot about the series roots in a recent interview. Just like how Pokémon was more a dinosaur catching game called Capsule Monsters, the Digimon franchise started as a dinosaur themed tamagotchi aimed at younger boys (first named Otokotchi and then Capsule Zaurus). However, since these names would infringe on other companies’ products the name was changed to Digital Monster, which was then shortened to Digimon. This also marked the shift from just dinosaurs to the literal digital monsters, a real genre shift. There was a bit of a hurdle to overcome though: Pokémon had really kicked off and they would really have to differentiate themselves. A lot of designs, mainly of cute creatures with elemental colourings had to go due to this and this caused to have Watanabe free reign over the new designs. His inspiration: American comics such as Spawn.

Since these were the first designs, they were fully drawn, converted to pixel art, and then the drawings were tweaked again. In the future releases, the pixel art would come first.

As an example, let’s start with Agumon, since he’s undoubtedly one of the most famous of our Digital Pets. In essence, it’s a tiny dinosaur with oversized claws.

Quite the different look than we’re used to and very close to the pixel art look. This makes sense as the sprites were used on a very small screen, so making it too detailed would give you a pix elated mess. Something that was important though, was that even if some Digimon were cute, they had to have an element of fearsomeness to it. Otherwise it would just be cute critters beating each other up, which felt a bit sad to the development team.

The Virtual Pet proved to be quite successful, as they made five series of these between 1997 and 1998. Because of this, it sprouted two mangas and eventually an anime.

The series first had a one-shot in the 1997 summer issue of Akamaru Jump as C’mon Digimon: The capering monster BUN, featuring the still-popular Greymon, but also two Digimon who made their debuts. Now, even though these two haven’t been seen again since, they were both important building blocks for other Digimon.

Comparison Digimon
Design elements from Deathmon can be found in Evilmon and Gran Kuwagamon.

Let’s start with Deathmon, looking kind of different than the Agumon we’ve seen before. Deathmon, well, his design just screams ‘super evil’. In all honesty, it reminds me of a Super Sentai villain.  Deathmon can be seen back in Evilmon when you compare their mouths and general head structure, plus some nice spiky hair. The body, but mostly the arms and claws can be found back in Gran Kuwagamon. Obviously, it’s possible that this is a coincidence (since there are many, many different Digimon) but even if that is the case, it shows that some designs stick with the series.

Bun
Bun the special baby.

The other new Digimon is Bun, a small character with baby features (huge eyes and head), weird antennae and a weird dinosaur shaped torso with tail. According to its designer it was supposed to look a little bit like a very weird dog. But where does his design return? The serialisation of a manga.

That manga being Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01, a creation by the aforementioned Watanabe and the artist Tenya Yabuno. Although a lot of Digimon were already made for the Virtual Pet series, this manga introduced new Digimon as well through the joint effort of Watanabe and Yabuno. For example, the V-dramon line which stemmed from Bun.

Zeromaru
Zeromaru the V-dramon. The cutest fat fuck in the whole universe.

Now, I can’t lie, this manga made me appreciate V-dramon to such an extent it’s my personal favourite at this point. As its designer, Yabuno explains:

I did design [V-dramon] using C’mon Digimon as a base, so the keyword ‘pet dog’ still stuck with me. […] The Digimon Kenji-san (Watanabe) designs usually sport solid-looking legs, but I designed V-dramon with the image of a small, carnivorous dinosaur in mind. I had initially wanted to design it like a fluffy dog as well.

At the time, most Digimon could digivolve to quite different forms regardless of initial form (Agumon to Devimon for example). During the run of the manga, many more Digimon were created such as Angemon and HolyAngemon. This kind of changed how some forms would really resemble the Digimon from it’s previous level.

While the manga was being serialized, the anime got the OK sign (Digimon Adventure) and was starting preproduction, just like its first video game for the PlayStation 1 (Digimon World). These media really needed references, final designs to base itself on.

Three pretty different forms. Two new versions with their own sets of restrictions. Digimon World was a PlayStation 1 game, so the amount of polygons was severely limited. It’s still quite close to the official art, except for the colour which I’ve always found very strange. Now, for the anime there is obviously a lot less detail as is usually the case. This did cause this version to have less muscle and veins, so it appears a lot cuter than the original design: much smoother and more flat.

So when the game released on January 28 1999 and the anime started airing on March 7 of the same year, merch started to be pumped out. Figures, plushes, a trading card game, you name it.

The TCG and most of the toys are based on the official Bandai art. As a kid this always surprised me, as I got interested into the franchise thanks to the anime. Nevertheless, I have always thought that the cards especially were very striking.

At this point, there are already a ton of Digimon – but Bandai won’t stop, oh no. Even with its quite low budget, the anime was a good hit, and a sequel was made. I’m thankful I don’t have to discuss Digimon Adventure 02.

Let’s start with Veemon, the first critter above. He is in many ways a redesign of Bun from the one-shot manga and designed by working back from V-dramon and creating a more cute version. Heresy I say, V-dramon is cute enough.

One of the main themes of Digimon Adventure 02 was that Rookie Digimon could not digivolve thanks to the evil Digimon Emperor. Enter armor-digivolving, which give the Digimon.. armor. Usually very literally. Let’s not call it mecha, lets call it ‘tacking on random pieces on lengthened Digimon’. Wait, that’s the usual digivolve process now, isn’t it? Take a few pieces of the Rookie, put them on the adult, put it into the blender and presto.

All joking aside (mostly) the armor-digivolve process gave a different feel to the show, even if the show itself wasn’t all that great. Later in the show, everyone can normal digivovle again and Veemon can turn into.. oh, it’s XV-mon. No, no, that’s fine. Sure. Take away the stumpy legs and the big belly. Another redesign of sorts, more cool, more muscle. More importantly, more slim, no fatso’s allowed.

Moving over to the movies with unique visuals, the originally named Digimon Adventure (1999) and Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! (2000).

Both deviate from the main anime in their own way. As can be seen in these screenshots, the first Agumon is a bit bigger than in the anime (and for reference, that’s a baby so he’s not huge) and generally has a more scary, feral look by using more linework for detail in his arms, chest and neck. This is the case for all Rookie level or above Digimon in this movie. Our War Game takes a different approach, as they go for a lighter colour palette with an orange outline.

Now, a rather famous (or infamous) aspect of Digimon is born, the waifumon. Some would argue it would start with Renamon, but they’re a bunch of furries and I don’t want to talk about no damn furries.

Shutumon

Remember how Angemon and Angewoman were humanoids in Digimon Adventure? Yeah, now almost everyone is a pseudo-human. Thanks Digimon Frontier (2002)! Humans changing into Digimon! Bi-pedal, two arms, two legs, some very mild animal features and some element worked through in their design. Oh, and if its a woman, they have big tits. This trend will sadly continue for a while. I’m sure someone made a neat list of them, sorted by breast size.

Omegamon 3D

Another unique look, here is Digital Monster X-evolution released in 2005. Fully 3D, keeping true to designs but very, very far away from the American influence from where they were born. Not that I can blame them, it is more difficult to keep that style in a 3D environment. Also, I doubt that most people at Toei even like that style.

Talking about X-evolution also means talking about redesigns. In the extensive lore of the Digimon world, at one point there were too many Digimon so God decided to kill 99% of them with a virus. Certain Digimon managed to resist though, through the X-antibody, causing them to change appearance and power up significantly.

Take a look at these Metal Garurumon. The original design stems from 1999 and the redesign was made in 2003. And what a difference! It was important to really set the X-antibody line apart from the originals and give them a more unique look. In my opinion, they really succeeded with this one causing it to feel a bit more gritty. Overall, dinosaurs look more like dinosaurs, robots look more like robots, beasts look more like beasts. I don’t want to call it more realistic, but they are definitely set apart from the rest.

Shoutmon X3

Honest acknowledgement: I never watched this series, I just really didn’t feel like it looked like Digimon. Did someone mentioned Gundam yet? No? Good, cause Xros Wars (2010) looks like Gundam. Whole lotta robots, man-shaped machines, bug-shaped machines, but Digimon. Look, I like me some Gundam as much as the next guy, but I’ve lost the Digimon aspect here.

Agumon had many forms, in many games. Usually they look like.. well, a normal Agumon. Either more styled towards the anime, or the Bandai design. But sometimes.. sometimes it just goes wrong. Enter the PSP title Digimon Re:Digitised (2012).

Agumon (Re:Digitize)
“Please kill me.”

I like the shading and it looks like the original design. But why, do tell me, WHY is he slouching like this? Bad posture! Bad! Dragging his claws across the floor. He poses no danger at all, he’s a slouch. A sloth. Sloth Agumon to the rescue. Good thing the game is pretty decent.

Agumon Tri

Did someone say another redesign? Because Digimon Tri (2015) brought us another redesign and a very welcome one I have to say. More faded colours than the original Adventure, more scrawny arms but bigger claws. Not quite as bulky as the original Bandai design, but closer than before. A faithful remake, but I wouldn’t mind him looking a bit less friendly. Still, I cannot deny that I just love that cute little dinosaur.

Updated on 20-01-2018 to add the Gran Kuwagamon similarity to Deathmon (thanks Casp) and a small bit about the X-antibody Digimon that I forgot.

Virtual-On Retrospective: Operation Moongate

This post is first in a series of five. You can access all posts in Robot Related Section linked above, or move between sequential post at their beginning and end

Virtual-On is one of Sega’s hallmark game franchises, developed by Sega’s AM3 department. It had everything the arcades required in 1996; 3D graphics that you wouldn’t see at home, unique controls, flashy graphics and fast paced gameplay. When most of the 3D mecha combat games on the market aimed for slow and emphasized on realistic simulation, like Shattered Metal or Mech Warrior 2, Virtual-On hit the arcades with sharp, colourful 3D models in fast paced third-person action with (relatively) easy controls. This is perhaps the best example of East VS. West mentality when it comes to giant robots. Even in arcades, among other blooming 3D games, Virtual-On stood apart with its excellent presentation and unrelenting game play.

 

Continue reading “Virtual-On Retrospective: Operation Moongate”

Monthly Three: Arcade Game

If computer games are about the complexity of things, then the arcade was pretty much the opposite. Flashy graphics, tight action, fast gameplay, intoxicating sounds, and most importantly, the audience and the social aspect it brought to the table. Another aspect that they had is that they were made to be picked up and dropped. They would grasp into the game the very moment you drop a coin in. Computer games demand longer periods to be spent with them due to their complex nature, which is pretty much the opposite to arcade games. Arcades were designed to munch your coins down, which doesn’t mean difficult gameplay, just design that puts up a challenge. The best and most famous arcade games were not hard like how the hardcore crowd thinks.

There should be no surprises on this list, you most likely already know the games I’ve picked to represent what an arcade game is.

Pac-Man

I’m not sure if I can say anything profound about Pac-Man that isn’t repetition. Essentially, everything it in is iconic, from the waka waka sound to the idea of Power pellets. It’s fast and can get hectic, very easy to learn but mastering the point gain requires time and practice.

But most importantly, it was colourful and abstract. It was this sophisticated kind of abstract approach that allowed games in general to branch off into wide variety of different directions. After this, there is almost an explosion of games that would become more fantastical, as well as huge amounts of Pac-Man clones.

People flocked arcades to play Pac-Man, as it had universal appeal. It had a cartoon, comic series, serials and huge loads of merchandise. For a game about a yellow ball eating pellets and running from ghosts, the Pac-Man is a phenomenal game that embodies arcade games’ nature of appealing to everyone the best.

Space Invaders

Space Invaders is few years older than Pac-Man, but it’s just one of the three elements that created the Golden Age of video games alongside the aforementioned and Atari. Pac-Man was popular had a wide appeal, and so did Space Invaders. After Taito had launched Space Invaders in Japan, arcades that had nothing but it began to pop up and the game raked in profits like no other. Something about Space Invaders simply attracted customers, and that something was pure, distilled gameplay.

Seemingly a simple game, Space Invaders speeds up with each destroyed alien. This is a quirk of the hardware, as originally it couldn’t handle all the materials on-screen. Combine the relentless beating from the cabinet and the experience is perfect. Strategy is not only recommended, but required to beat the game, as the shields the player have can be show through. The shots take time to travel through the screen as well, meaning you had to time and aim your shot almost far better than expected. It birthed a genre, and clones like Galaga would pop up very soon after. Just like Pac-Man, Space Invaders is still a phenomenal game that veterans of the industry, like Miyamoto and Kojima, refer as the game that got them interested in games.

Space Invaders attracted people to play it.

Defender

Space Invaders and Pac-Man may have been hectic, but their one-screen nature didn’t really lend to feeling of speed. A scrolling screen would be required for that.

There are some conflicting reports whether or not Defender was the first horizontally scrolling game, but it’s popularity gets the spot here. Defender‘s fast, colourful and relentless. Compared to Space Invaders, it is very complex with game with positioning, destroying enemy UFOs and saving civilians. For a game of its time, it was intimidating, and at first its success wasn’t evident. However, much like how Atari’s Missile Command gathered people around it, Defender was a very much like a spectator’s game. If you got good at it, you could play the game longs times on just credit, a feat that people wanted to behold.

Defender is still one of the harder games that came from the arcades that wasn’t designed solely to eat your coins. Much like other great arcade games, players throughout the years have created strategies and methods to play the game as long as possible. Defender didn’t simply require split moment decision-making and eye-hand coordination, also forming the aforementioned strategies and applying them.

Both Space Invaders and Defender have roots in Asteroids and Computer Space, and while those are historical games, Asteroids is the only one that people remember and for a good reason. Computer Space may have been the first modern arcade game released to the public in 1971, but it was a failure. Both of them are largely first steps towards what defined the arcades.

Space Panic and Donkey Kong

I feel that it is necessary to say that Donkey Kong, while the most popular early platformer-type game, Space Panic predates it by one year.

Developed by Chris Crawford of Universal Entertainment Corporation, Space Panic has all the elements that would later appear in both Donkey Kong, Pitfall!! and Lode Runner. While Space Panic is largely forgotten in the annals of game history, it sets up the groundwork for a the whole genre.

To be fair, discussing Donkey Kong would be to echo many of the previous points already mentioned, but it’s a game where you can see how much games could evolve at the time in on year’s time. The Golden Age of video games is not defined one game, but by this evolution Donkey Kong was part of that constant evolution where arcade game developers and manufacturers would be inspired by each other and try to create a more popular product.

Street Fighter II

The 1980’s was the era for arcade games to flourish, and the beginning of the end for arcades began in the early 1990’s when computing technology had advanced to the point where everybody could begin to afford a home computer. Arcades used to be the place were you went to see the latest and most advanced graphics and gameplay compared to consoles, while computers had their own thing going on. While games like International Karate, Yie Ar Kung Fu and other fighting games predated Street Fighter, they all had their own conventions and no real standard was set. SEGA’s Heavyweight Champ from 1976 is probably the first fighting game, but even with that position it is very much a forgotten game

The reason why Street Fighter II, despite being almost two decades younger than its predecessors, gets this spot is due to it essentially taking all that and blowing the whole genre wide open, waking waves of clones in its wake and being copied to some extent by essentially every single 2D fighting game since. Just like Missile Command, Defender and the like Street Fighter II was a spectators’ game, but unlike with its predecessor, now you could challenge the master of the machine with your choice of character.

Street Fighter II embodies all that an arcade game still is; attractive to look at, easy to get into and hard to master, requires forming strategies and split second decision. It’s not slow and methodical like a computer game, and could say it lacks the sophistication of Ultima and Wizardry. However, arcades and computer games were two different kind of beasts, meant to strike completely different nerve, and their catchy style of gameplay is still used to this day despite the death of arcades themselves.

Overview review; Guilty Gear 2 Overture

I’ve played Guilty Gear quite a lot. Around the Midnight Carnival era I was playing at low tourney level and I enjoyed the hell out every incarnation of the game, even Isuka. Because of Guilty Gear people slowly stopped playing fighting games with me, and thus I kinda stopped trying to play them for a long, long time. Well, long in Internet years, so that’s something around five to seven years. I’ve played the first Guilty Gear somewhat, but the PAL version suffers from bad PAL conversion. X was somewhat limited in pressed amounts, and XX onwards all games were far more common here anyway.

I enjoyed, and still enjoy, Guilty Gears aggressive gameplay. It has some things in common with Darkstalkers, and perhaps that’s one thing that got me into it in the first place. I wasn’t that good in Vampire Saviour, and I guess I’m the rare cases of being decent in the game rather than being a novice or good at it. I’ve got few friends who got extremely good at GG with me, and I’ve yet to met anyone who uses Eddie better than Mister Zydeniys. Goddammit, this man learned to use all those trap and mind game moves so well, that he could perfect me with two out of four characters I mainly used. It’s also funny to notice that I used Dizzy like a rushdown character, and managed to rack down good damage with few combos that I never really saw in tournament videos. When updated versions hit, especially Accent Core, I had to relearn Dizzy from ground up, but the lack of real life opponents really slows things down. As such, I’m pretty horrible at GG AC/+, but with the PlayStation Network release I hope to give birth to those days once more with few of my friends.

With this, I hope you understand how much Guilty Gear has been there for me.

When I got my (free) 360, one the first games that I wanted to get was Guilty Gear 2 Overture. Why? Because it was Guilty Gear. I knew that it was different, panned by the fandom and most critics. Now, about a year later, I got my hands on Overture. It’s time to get my shit together and see what’s the hassle has been about.

First Impressions
The manuals awesome, in colour and all. It does an excellent job on explaining what the game is about and how the game is played. There’s even a Notes section in the back! Now that’s a royalty these days, and tells that the overall quality of the game is good. Outside Xbox’s horrible green, the artwork is Guilty Gear alright.

The overall visual design is nothing short of spot-on for Guilty Gear. Sure the graphics aren’t high end by any means, but they do their job well enough. The GG series has always had this certain kind well over designed style that uses rock, punk, metal and other musical influences to create rather unique world. There’s a hint of Heavy Metal in there as well. The character design on the other hand suffers a bit. Sol’s new outfit is very good and follows the same line of design his outfits previously were. Ky has his own style as well the way he has been designed is believable. I do miss their original swords, but both of them carry nice redesigns. Valentine is one of the new characters, and her appearance is nothing short of attractive and very Guilty Gearish.

She does look cute, but there’s something familiar with her face…

However, rest of the humanoid characters have rest than… to be honest, Sin’s outfit never looked right for me. I can see what they were going with it, and managed to achieve it, as Sin’s in-game graphics look pretty good, but otherwise it’s rather unimaginative design. Izuna is Guilty Gearified kitsune, so there’s nothing much to talk about.

Overall, they managed to follow the same sense of design as previous Guilty Gears. While we do not really see any familiar faces outside the core characters (and some Di- Maiden of the Grove) all the new characters and places fit well to the overall lore. It’s not just about how everything looks, but also how they’re shaped, how they feel and sound. Sure, some of the Guilty Gear sound effects are used a bit oddly, but the music is there, the characters are there, and the story is there. It’s all Guilty Gear in the coda and shell.

The characters, by all accounts, all in-character. Sol has always been portrayed the exact same way, but here we see his knowledge on the world at large, of Gears and magic, more than in any previous game. Sol speaks of twelve pitches of magic and how the events taking place works outside these twelve points. I love this kind of stuff in Guilty Gear, as it shows the love the developers have towards music. The little we see Ky Kiske tells that he has grown, but still keeps his own mind even as a king. I need to see more to filly say what Ky is like here, but as it stands now, there’s no outside deviations of the characters and their status in the lore is respected. This makes me smile.

Now, let’s speak of the story a bit. It was announced at one point that the Guilty Gear XX series (the least) was non-canon and Guilty Gear 2 was the true sequel to the original, leaving majority of the series outside the canon. They shot themselves in the leg, as Guilty Gear has an interesting and rather vast lore to back it up, and very easy to expand upon, especially after Overture. However, the plot of XX was never concluded and is still open. In a manner of speaking, it’s like a writer has somewhat successful book, and five other sequels to it are massive successes, and the fifth stops at a cliff-hanger ending. Then the writer writes the seventh book, and discards all the previous sequels and makes it sequel to the first one.

It’s important to notice that while the story or the lore has little to do with the gameplay of the series, it’s one of the charms. Outside King of Fighters no other fighting game has tried to create an interwoven universe in-game. As with every game of this kind, the story and its details have been greatly expanded in side materials, from books to radio dramas. Making a GG game without the plot is more than possible, and Guilty Gear Petit games are extremely well made handheld games that are a good example of this. Overture’s status as the true sequel was later pulled back, and it’s good. Nothing that XX has does not conflict with Overture or vice versa. However, now the developers have nothing but loose end in their hands, and I hope if we’ll ever get Guilty Gear X3 and Guilty Gear 3 they’ll make the proper decision and close these leads. This kind of world offers huge possibilities in story, that finishing the current ones would do only good for the series.

The Gameplay

First of all, the game is structured on level/stage/mission based system. Each Stage has an event, and in most cases a Mission in them. Every Stage starts with a cutscene, then goes to the battle if there is one, and then closes the Stage with a cutscene. Very basic, and it works. You can access any Stage you’ve beaten afterwards to get a better score. All in all, very basic and works all around.

The structure is very console game all around and mixing mixing some PC game elements with arcade-ish controls. This is a game that could really exist on consoles only, and the 360 controller is well utilised. Actually, this is the most responsive game I’ve played on 360 thus far. I don’t know why it seems that most other games in my library feel mushy in comparison and not nearly as tight. This makes the game much more enjoyable that it would be. After all, a game could be great in design but it would still be bad if the controls weren’t up to the task.

Now, I didn’t expect a fighting game, and what I’ve seen I was expecting more strategic game that what the first hours showed me. What I got was a pretty cool feeling 3D action game based on tactics, speed and pure brawling. For the moment, I like this. As such keep in mind that I’ve got nothing against the game, but nothing for it either.

To simplify the gameplay, you control one of the main characters, and take over enemy’s control points. The first few fights are nice introduction, and the complexity of the gameplay really needs it. What I mean by complexity is that you need take notice of your own position, your command points’ position, their status, your Servants and cannon fodders’ status and placement as well as the enemy movements. Nothing special if you’ve played RTS games, but you’re not just a commander here; you’re the one on the front line.

There’s your normal attacks, your Tension gauge using attacks, jumps and item uses. You can combo normal into normal, and Special attacks into them. Jump button acts as a side hopping and backdashing button with the left stick, as it should. All is good and decent here. OverDrive attacks take the whole Tension bar thou, and there seems to be no variation from character to character. Running is one of the best thing in this game. You launch your character into a running streak by pressing the Left Stick button, and control then speed by up and down, but you can skid by pressing A and either side. This allows the stages actually resemble cities and the like, and your player character just runs through the streets in an awesomely glorious manner. It’s a bit hard to control first, but when you get how it works it’s just awesome feeling to run through enemies, do a combo, and then streak past them again. Of course, you have to mind your underlings while doing this. As such, a lot of gameplay design points just come together very well and work harmoniously. It’s a sad thing that the fighting isn’t the best part of the game, but it’s enjoyable enough to say that this game hasn’t been a total disaster. I’m actually starting to believe that this game might be pretty damn decent after all.


I’m not expecting you to watch this low-quality video all the way through, just small parts here and there if you’re not familiar how the gameplay actually works

Now, the last of first impressions ends with the fight with Raven. The fight uses the same mechanics as the overall gameplay, for the better or worse. It’s fun and tedious at the same time. The boss fight seems to end when the player managed to pull an OverDrive attack. The engine, while pretty good for the overall of the game, doesn’t really work here. It’s far too inaccurate, thou the lock-on helps, and most of the fight just feels off. Raven has two or three attacks which he repeats over and over again, and the tension of the fight isn’t what I’d want to feel. I’d like to feel excitement and quick controls, and while that’s where the devs have aimed, they failed. Now, you can hop side to side and backdash like in the fighting games, but here they feel completely ineffective. Even the there’s the running and all, Raven’s battle basically takes that away with Slow Field or the like. This isn’t Guilty Gear. Guilty Gear has always been offensive gameplay with lighting fast strikes. Not allowing the player to use the fastest method possible to reach the enemy limits far too much and is not true to the Guilty Gear spirit.

However, Raven’s theme is nothing short of Guilty Gear is spirit. A great boss battle theme overall.

Awesome theme is awesome overall, and really stands out from the first hour

The Design

The battles in Overture are chaotic as hell. I can’t say that I enjoy them as much as I could, the flaw of the game design really comes up after the Raven battle. While it’s clear that there’s a huge strategic element there, it clashes way too harshly with the spirit of Guilty Gear. I have to hand it to the developers that they tried to make them meld together the best they could, but it’s disappointing to notice that your carefully laid plans fail just because you weren’t helping your comrade-in-arms enough. The AI seems to be lacking in this sense, thou the enemy AI is always decent in their plans. This kind unbalance between sides is good mark of incompetence from the developers side, and while they try to give the player as much to do as possible, it always bums the player down when you’re having a good time at beating the enemy, and your AI friend loses, which makes the player lose the round.

Luckily, the game’s difficulty can be changed, and if you can’t seem to beat a mission, just change it to easier level. While some people see this as sort of unforgivable deed, they forget that there’s a fine line between unfair and difficult. Unfortunately, Overture is just unfair, BUT this just varies from mission to mission. When it’s just one against one, the game’s by it’s nature very balanced and fair to both sides.

That doesn’t help much that there’s also fetch quests. While the controls do lend themselves for skidding around fast, the architecture of some stages simply don’t allow that. While I did say that the gameplay inherently allows realistic cities and such to be built, there’s some levels where they could’ve made things a bit larger than life for simple convenience.

Speaking of game balance, it’s quite clear that the gameplay overall has been balanced towards human vs human gameplay. I’m not willing to test the online functionality (because fuck online gaming in general), but it’s a good question whether or not the game was designed as a multiplayer game first or second.

Whichever it is, the design does work in both cases, but the design does limit itself because of this as well. Fighting games are mostly multiplayers, and the best experience can be had in the arcades. This kind of mass brawler alá Dynasty Warriors in VS mode just feels off, and the reason lies in the looseness of the system where it stands on. Whether or not it’s good to have this kind of game design, as it stands on how good the players are, and willingly gimps the player’s side whenever the game designers want to in single player. This would be acceptable if there would be a feeling of empowerment in the game, but the characters stay on the same level of strength throughout the game. Now, in multiplayer this is OK, but in single-player campaign it would’ve been better to allow the player to rise in strength by adding slight RPG elements of some sorts.

Towards the closure

So, is the game any good, you ask at this point. To be honest, yes. I can see why people would call it rubbish. It’s flaws are not as apparent as one could think, and it’s very enjoyable once you get in the right set of mind. There’s the inherent Guilty Gear style that you’ll either love or hate (I’ve yet to meet a person who has opinion in-between) and the fast gameplay feels pretty spot-on.

But there’s so much things that has been missed as well. The fights, to be honest, feel somewhat empty. The stages, while not really sterile, look empty and lifeless if you have the time to look at them. In the fighting games there was always something alive, something to look at. However, the amount of different fields in Overture compensate this, and in a way they show more of the world. The overall architecture doesn’t deviate far from it’s predecessors, and this is why the link between the two different game design styles do create rather cohesive world, even if the first intention was to abolish the XX games.

Would I recommend this game to anyone with a 360? Now that the game has fallen way down in price, I’d recommend it IF the person in question isn’t what you call a “hardcore gamer” (mostly because these people do not exist and are PC gamers in reality. Such person couldn’t really appreciate this game, and most of the charm and fun does come from knowing the backgrounds. A newcomer can enjoy the game just as much as a GG veteran, but in a completely different manner. GG veteran also would rage in a completely different manner and at different things than a newcomer, but those are mostly plot and character related. Nevertheless, I’d still recommend Overture with a careful If in the middle.

I have to ask whether or not this game was really necessary. Seeing that the developers did start to deviate from the normal 2D fighting genre to 2D beat-em-up, this kind of game wasn’t any sort of surprise. Well, it was for reasons already discussed. Overture as a game nobody expected and only few wanted, but it’s a nice addition to the series and to the 360 library. What if they had developed a 3D fighting game instead? No, let’s not go there, we all know that very few games can do transition from 2D to 3D well, and I’m pleased to say that changing the coda how Guilty Gear plays for Overture was a successful decision.

Still, Overture didn’t seem to sell that well, thou it got decent reviews at the time. The reason is most likely the reputation Overture had within the Guilty Gear community was the reason, but it seems that as the time has gone by more people have given it another chance and the 360’s customer base at large have found the game to be to their liking. I admit that I was also one of the people who panned the game even before knowing anything concrete about it due to its initial status in the canon and due to the change in gameplay, but luckily people and change. But I also have to admit that I wanted to see and play the game from Day 1 because it peaked my interests, and that I knew that I can’t judge this game without really playing it myself because of my background.

I’d love to finish this review with Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead) as it is my favourite track in the series next to Awe of She, but let’s go with something else this time… yes, this fits well, as Guilty Gear is coming back, even if only as a re-release.

Do you see what kind of boots BlazBlue was made to fill? As with Mario, nothing can really fill the boots of this size. Guilty Gear, much like Street Fighter, Mario, Sonic or any other long living series, Guilty Gear has staying power and a solid place in the game culture. It has a customer base that can only be expanded upon. To abandon Guilty Gear is to kill a golden goose with platinum shine; an awesome golden goose that eats rock and shits metal while singing Queen.

Let’s take a look at E3

I’ve been quite busy lately with all sorts of work from crafts to writing. I wasn’t on the E3 train like I’ve been in the past, and perhaps it was for the better. Let’s take a look at the Big Three and their presentations.

However, let’s take a look at the E3 2006. The Wii was unveiled, YouTube: Kaz Hirai and Giant Enemy Crab became an instant meme, and Microsoft had something that nobody remembers. Nintendo’s stocks took an uplift after Wii’s unveiling and it divided opinions. The Wii created interest that made forums and messaging boards burn with fire. 2006 was a great year for gaming, the like we haven’t seen since the NES was brought to the West.

So, can 2012 hold up against 2006? Let’s start with the Microsoft presentation.

It was an unsurprising event that MS began with a Halo showcase, and this is a strong beginning; showcasing live gameplay without interruptions is always a good thing. It looks nice and dandy, and I’d love to play this game… on a PC with keyboard and mouse combination. While I’m not too informed of Halo story, I do know enough to tell you that the introduction of Forerunners wasn’t the most interesting move. It was expected, but they did it. It’s nothing from me, I’ve never bought Halo before, and most likely I never will.

When the MS representative steps in, he begins with propaganda without anything to back up his statements. While I have not followed the last years sales, I have hard time to believe that the 360 would be outselling either the DS or the Wii. Indeed, after a quick check we can see that in 2011 the 360 had a four percent growth, while the Wii had an eleven percent decrease. Still, the 360 and PS3 were selling less than Wii in total.

The new Splinter Cell looks like a… like an uninteresting piece. Why has the camera shake like that? Is the Kinect support necessary? Co-Op sounds good, but the game looks clunky.

And then EA rep steps in with sports. Sports games are a driving force, especially in the West, but there’s nothing of interest here either. If you’ve played any of EA’s sports games during the last decade, you know the drill. The same lack of interest continues with the new Fable showcase.

A new MS rep steps on the stage while proclaiming that 2012/2013 will be the best year for the 360. Why? Because we’re getting sequels upon sequels released on the system with little variety? Shouldn’t every year be a great year for a console? Oh yeah, I forgot. The developers do not like creating good games all the time, just games they are interested in. Sorry, my bad.

Forza Horizon looks nice, but where’s the gameplay?

Then comes the hammer; the next representative start babbling about other entertainment on your console. It’s never good idea to give access to your rivals. This is a showcase what a dumbed down PC can do, not what a video game console can do. People buy your console to play games on them, and if you do not provide games, people will end up using these other services that are ultimately out of your pocket. The music showcase was horrible on many levels as well.

This begs a question; why is Microsoft concentrating putting all these functions on 360 rather than on Windows, the thing that makes money? They could have an insanely well balanced dual support between PC and 360, much like Nintendo has between it’s home console and handheld consoles.

The Nike part was boring, but technologically interesting.

At this point we’re 45 minutes in, and I have no feeling to continue onwards. The showcase has changed from console showcase to personal computer technology showcase. They’re also playing into the hip crowd with Game of Thrones and the like. Later on we see Resident Evil 6 and another Call of Duty and the like.

What Microsoft’s event lacked was interest. There were one or two moments in the beginning and in latter half that makes you ask Why can’t this be on PC? HD gaming is present, and because of that everything else is lacking. All the games showcased were dumbed down PC games which will sell to a certain crowd, but only Halo will keep selling any hardware. I have to ask if Halo would sell better if it was on PC rather than on 360. Every game here tries to aim for a movie like experience and affect how we play rather than what we play, the same problem that both Sony and Nintendo share.

Speaking of Sony, let’s check their event next.
Sony decided to go with trailer showcase with uninspiring music. This lasts solid four minutes, where I was already making tea and taking some crackers. Disinterest quickly sank in. Much Microsoft’s starting words, Sony’s representative begins talking about the true heroes of the industry; the gamers. This man knows how to talk and how to complement people as scripted. However, if the customers are so important to Sony, why are they still sinking in the Red Ocean and are unwilling to listen what their customers want?

When Heavy Rain developer stepped on the stage, I had shake my head. Interactive storytelling is does not equal gaming or vice versa. Storytelling may be part of video games, but storytelling has always been driving force in computer gaming. These people do not know what makes a good game. The most important thing they have to reveal is the voice actor. What they continue to show is not a game, but a CGI movie. This should be the point where people again realize that the PS3 is not a game console, but the same kind of dumbed down PC as the 360.

Then, PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale. I have to wonder what forums do these people browse if they haven’t had anything but positive feedback. Nobody addressed the elephant in the room, which is the fact that this game is almost 1:1 carbon copy of the Super Smash Bros. series. Even the HUD during gameplay is nearly identical. This is like grayer and grittier version of Smash Bros., but not any better. The Hydra’s barely do anything but hang in the background majority of the match.

Only 80% of all PS3s and and Vitas are connected to the PSN. I say only, as this is a problem for Sony. I believe even less Wiis are connected to Nintendo’s network, but the amount of trust Sony has put on their network is stupidly insane. However, I do not trust these numbers, as there was large amount of people who disconnected their PS3 from the network because of the security issues.

PSVita’s getting the same kind of treatment with video and music services as the 360 and PS3 has had for some time. Vita’s becoming more and more like a smartphone rather than a handheld console, which will be reflected in its lack of sales. We’ll come to this point after we’ve taken a look at Nintendo’s event.

Now this is funny; 45 minutes in and I’m feeling of skipping things again. We do know how Assassin’s Creed already works, and we do know how Farcry works. It’s good to see some actual gameplay on-stage, but their showcase is uninteresting. I do have to admit, that the idea of playing as a pirate woman was interesting, but the Assassin’s Creed setting put me off.

Sony’s Wonderbook was… a surprise. It’s a neat idea that I’d expect Nintendo to pull off, but this isn’t a game. As the representative himself says; interactive books. One could call them as visual novels, no? However, a lot of people has thought the same thing as I; if I were to read a book, I’d read a goddamn book rather than boot up my PS3 to “experience” it. Augmented Reality has far more better uses outside this kind of… toying.

PlayStation phones. Let ask you a question; do you play dedicately on your phone? hTC is a good manufacturer for sure, but why would Sony want to divide their attention from handheld gaming to smartphone gaming (which is just another form of PC gaming)? It looks like Sony’s spreading their resources rather thin.

It just might be me, but the God of War showcase was cartoony with over the top motions I’d expect to see in a WB cartoon. It also looks very much same to the Splinter Cell demo in MS’s event, except the setting was naturally different. From this I noticed that HD gaming, while it may look better, sharper and all that, but it also makes all games look dull, uninspired and lacks the same touches non-HD gaming has. It makes games look less interesting.
And oh, the fire special effects looked bad, even if this was just a beta of some HD game.

While the new God of War indeed was a nice showcase for those who enjoy QTEs and PC hack-n-slash, The Last of Us was that peaked my interest in the while event. The Last of Us looks freeroam and explorable game, but at the same time I’d love to believe that it keeps the lines tight. However, the human monsters, which just are damn zombies with different appearance, put me completely off. Objectively this the Last of Us might sell decently, but I have hard time to see this as a system seller; it’s still a PC game at heart.

Talking about system sellers, Nintendo started with a game that never moved any systems; Pikmin. There’s nothing interesting here, so let’s move along.

WiiU Gamepad, which I will continue calling Tablet controller, is a threat to the 3DS. It’s part of the unfocused gaming, which many people confuse with “casual” playing. I used my DS and GBA to play games while doing other things, like writing reports and watching TV. The Tablet controller can replace this as it shouldn’t be dependant on the TV in most cases. If I had a WiiU, I’d be using that to play Super Mario 6 while designing a new chair or the like. I would have no use for 3DS for this.

Another point that we have to think about the Tablet controller is that it is symmetrical in design. This should enforce the way controllers used to be, and I hope this will also be used in such way that the controls will utilize the D-pad before the stick. The more we analyse the Tablet controller, the more we can see good points in it. Naturally, the low battery life is a factor, but we also have to notice another point with WiiU and the controllers; you do not need to buy new controllers abundant if you already had four Wiimotes. You might need to buy one extra Tablet, but that’s that. It saves money from both the developers and customers’ pockets.

Now, if Nintendo has always heard fans voices to have a new Mario game in the launch of a new console, why didn’t Nintendo have a new Mario game with the GameBoy Advance, with the GameCube, with DS or Wii or with the 3DS? Because at then Nintendo was lead by artists, but now the business side of Nintendo is forcing them to make a good decision. The musics are still horrible thou.

Nintendo’s trying to gather a strong launch lineup for the WiiU, but at the moment its weak. If we take a look at SNES’ lineup, it was much stronger, but after Super Mario World it took Donkey Kong Country to make the console move again. At the moment WiiU is lacking games that will create momentum. We see ports and few exclusives that nobody gives a damn about, like Alien; Colonial Marine, which also is a PC game.

3DS’ upcoming Mario game is a Wario game. There’s nothing more to add to this. I said that this is the fastest and least budgeted Mario game from Nintendo to date, and this just proves it.

Nintendo Land. Honestly, I don’t know what to say about this. If it is a continuation of Nintendo’s WiiSports, then it’s a good piece of software. WiiSports was one of the moving forces on the Wii, but Nintendo never took advantages of ‘Sports, and Nintendo Land continues this mindset.

After these three videos, I’m still a refusing customer for Microsoft. They have nothing of interest for me, but in general their event was plagued of disinterest. Sony got me interested in one game, but then threw zombies at me. At least they got me to shake my head and wonder why the hell is this company still producing games. Well, looking at how their financial status is, this might not continue for long. Nintendo didn’t convince me either, but WiiU might not be that bad after all. It would make my Wii completely useless device, and I’d have to take my GC from the closet after all these years. They should include backwards comp with the GC and GC controllers as well.

Not one thing will be as successful during the following generation and years. This reason for this is the governing economics. In 2006 the financial structure of the world was much better and customers had more money to spend. In 2012 the economical situation is much more bleak and unnecessities like games will always take the worst hits. 600 dollar game consoles would not survive at any point any more, and this is why the rumoured 200 dollar price point for the WiiU would be good. This is also the first time Nintendo’s home console would be going against imaginary consoles; the future of Xbox and PlayStation, whenever they might come. However, if both MS and Sony would like to play their cards right, they could announce that they’d continue working on their current consoles rather than creating something new. This would a blow against Nintendo, as it would mean that both Wii and WiiU would have fought against the same rival consoles. Of course, the people at MS and Sony are idiots and want something new and expensive under their belts and further bankrupt the companies.

The companies here do now really get the current macro economics, but they are feeling them. If they would look at the current world situation they would be able to maximise their profits. This glance at their E3 shows that the companies still don’t get what the customers are here for even thou one of them has hit the point three times already. I don’t want to paint the walls with devils, but I’m truly starting to expect Third Video Game Crash.

Now excuse me, I’ll be watching something good after these headache inducing events; Hepburn’s Sabrina.

Review; Skullgirls

Skullgirls was released some weeks back all around world, but Europeans had to wait ’til the 2nd for a PSN release for reasons unknown. I blame the French, German and all other countries that refuse to learn any other language other than their own. Eager to play this game on a proper pad (meaning anything else than your stock 360 one) I had to wait for this piece of entertainment to hit the local marketplace. While I admit it’s a bit redundant to make a new review of Skullgirls when the whole Internet seems to be full of them, I feel that I am a little obligated to throw my word into the fray, mostly because this game has interested me since Day 1. While I haven’t been in the fighting game scene for a long time, I still feel obligated to try out new entries to the genre as they pop out. While I have no intentions of ever getting into the fray again due to the distasteful attitudes and behaviour vast majority of the people in the scene have, I’m willing to throw myself into the fray in spirit of good sportsmanship if you’re interested. Just give me a hoot and I’ll see what we can fix up.

Keep in mind that I’m mainly using the HORI Fighting Commander 3 Pro while playing this game, but I will do a comparison how the game plays between the two. We all know that this game was built arcade sticks in mind, so I can say it from the get go that you might want to invest into a proper arcade stick that has a six button layout the least.


Listen to those jazzy tunes

Let’s start with the first impressions. Skullgirls’ film noir style both in visual and audio department is a nice change after loads and loads of Street Fighter clones and the likes of Guilty Gear. There’s a personal preference working here with me, as I am partial for film noir in general, so the whole deal just tastes sweeter than it might actually be.

After the initial screens with nice dieselpunk-ish strokes you might actually start paying attention to the music, unless you were like me and jumped straight into the fray. Michiru Yamane worked on Skullgirls’ music, and the guy is known working on such small games series like Castlevania and Suikoden. Brenton Kossak and Blaine McGurty were also working on the tracks, and the music is well balanced to suit its intended purpose. New Meridian stands in my mind for some reason, thou I do recommend listening to the music and noting all the little things the fighting will bury underneath. I’d recommend putting a good sound system on while playing this game, or pair of good headphones to catch all that base.
However, the music is a double-edged sword. While I may enjoy this jazz club music even on my leisure time, there are loads of people who will think these tracks as nothing more than elevator music. They aren’t as striking as Guilty Gear’s or have the nostalgic value of Street Fighter II’s, but even at their worst they do their job. It really just depends whether or not you actually like this kind of music or not. There’s also this that there might be just a little too much synth in there. I’m all for good synth any time anywhere, but somehow few of these tracks could’ve used real instruments there. For example, New Meridian up there sounds good, but I believe it could sound even better.

I have to give high credit to the voice actors. They do their jobs very well, and you can hear them enjoying and putting themselves into the role. If fighting games have an English language, it usually sounds awful, like a third grade dubjob. Here, the voices are just right and nothing less. I can’t say about the Japanese voices, and I don’t care if they ever get those. I know that the ending song has both English and Japanese version, and Japanese version just sounds wrong.

One thing that bugged the hell out of me in Street Fighter X Tekken was how mudded the soundworld was. The hits didn’t sound right, the music was way too loud and over the top even for a crossover game. Somehow CAPCOM dropped the ball with this one, thou most of their fighting games have had a solid soundwork behind them. Skullgirls excels here very well, every hit giving a satisfying result. None of the sounds are too over the other, discounting the Blockbuster moves’ soundeffect. There’s just something that clicks in the right place. The developers did their homework, and the soundworld is as it should be; invisible unless paid attention, but still pleasant and giving feedback.

So, let’s jump to the meat of the game at this point; the fighting. Damn, I forgot that this was a fighting game for a second. Was I thinking of some action game…?


The launch trailer actually showcases pretty well what the game is like

A lot of comparison has been drawn between CAPCOM’s VS series and Skullgirls in general. I would draw more attention towards the Darkstalkers series both in gameplay and spirit, but with a small dose of 3rd Strike Street Fighter III. The speed of gameplay is not reall fast, but it’s not slow either. It’s a balanced so that speedy character do feel more speedy with complete control. It’s a delicate balance, that quite few fighting games manage to do any more, as they either speed up the gameplay per character, or just speed up the animations and/or halve the priority windows.

As the game is your standard 6-button fighter, you have your Weak to Medium to Hard attacks. Any four face button controller really sucks with this, and the game does allocate both Hard attack to R1 and R2 automatically. I’d like to give this game a spin with a Saturn controller. HORI’s FC3P controller does a good job with this game, even if is rather tricky to press Light Kick and Medium Punch at the same. With an AC stick you have no problems with this. I really recommend an AC stick for this, or at least any six face button controller. On 360 the D-Pad just kills any joy might have, but then again I’m not used to using shitty D-pads in general… like Sony’s.

The characters control very well. There’s no notable lag between the inputs, and the timing needed to pull of the special moves are intuitive and easy to pull off. Not much to say here other than the controls are tight, responsive and well executed. A big plus just for this. Funny trivia; because of my Guilty Gear background I often start to push the buttons in hope for a BURST, just to be remindend that Skullgirls is more traditional and back to the basics. Most of the cast have four moves and three Blockbusters ie. Super moves, which combined with the six normal attacks actually open a nice selection of attacks to string together. Most of the combos are pre-determined chain combos alá Darkstalkers or gatling combos from Guilty Gear, but there are some surprises to be had. Not all moves are apparent at first, as the game does not include a movelist. I’m actually hoping that the wouldn’t have announced that they’d be adding one in the upcoming update, because this way it forces the player to experiment a lot more. That, or go to the Internet and look up the best combos and all that, but nobody would do it, right?

There’s nice lack of projectiles in Skullgirls. Most of the ranged attacks are either closing in rushes, or fixed to certain points. This makes the players to fight more in close range, and allows grapplers to have more leeway in their options. This combined with double jumps, superjumps and airdashes adds more depth to the game. It should be noted that not all characters have same properties, thus making all characters a little bit more extra special. Comparison could be drawn to Morrigan’s forward dash in Darkstalkers, where she is propelled diagonally upwards, and the only other characters sharing this trait is Jedah.

I noted how traditional Skullgirls feel, and this is perhaps it’s low point in regards of gameplay; It offers no new tricks. It doesn’t separate itself from the best of 90’s fighting games, but this is also a very good thing. See, Skullgirls manages to keep high quality up there. It has nice balance between all the eight playable characters, and at the moment none of the characters feel like another. I’m expecting solid tier lists somewhere end of this month, but at the moment there seems to be some confusion in the scene who belong to top tier or not. To a person who isn’t into competitive scene this shouldn’t matter. Hell, I was in the scene and I didn’t care about tiers and did pretty well for some time.

As mentioned, the roster in Skullgirls is balanced. It’s a limited roster of eight, and it has been already announced that there will be DLC characters in the future. Because of this sole reason I personally regard this game incomplete. You’ve got all the archetypes that your basic fighting game has. Props for making Double one of the grosses döppelganger characters in some time. She’s the fetishtic fighting game devs’ endboss, as she uses the other characters’ attacks as her own. There’s nothing else much to say about the cast without going in-depth with each of them. They’re imaginative, well designed and executed characters that are fun to play.

And oh boy, let’s talk about the design world in this game.

The one thing that attracts me personally in Skullgirls is the world design. Much like every good game out there, it starts with the world where the content is. In Skullgirls the content isn’t just the way the characters fight, but also where and when.
The film noir theme going on has been spiced up with a cartoony overtones that have anime influence over them. This cartoon approach translated very well to the character designs with overstylized proportions, simple strokes, bubbly and expressive curves. I have to say that a man’s pleasure to see this much fanservice, but it all goes as the part of the design. It’s part of the design world thou, and is downplayed quite a much. It doesn’t feel forced, like in Dead or Alive. Every character feels unique, even if their personalities isn’t in the vast ocean of fighters. Very few games actually managed to get right ‘the bizarre.’ Darkstalkers almost did it, and so did JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, thou the latter was based on an awesome comic series which was insanely bizarre to begin with.

The bizarre is only enforced, and elevated, by the animation which I’d be ready to call to be nearly on the same level as SF Third Strike. I’m hesitant to call it such because… well screw it, this game has such a high resolution and seamless sprites that I love it. I’ve been expecting SNK to bring me this kind if sprites for a long time now, but it took an indie developer to bring me high resolution sprites that are animated to great detail. Both SNK’s recent fighters and BlazBLue suffer from jagged edges, which I couldn’t notice in Skullgirls on my 42″ Bravia. Honestly, it looks like a well animated Saturday morning cartoon with a skulldaggery theme and I love it.


To quote “Sometimes you just need a good pair of tits

However, the amount of animation comes at a price, and the animation is what holds the basic gameplay speed back, much like in 3rd Strike. I do not see this as a bad thing thou, but it has to be noted. It’s not blazingly fast as Guilty Gear, but the it feels like. Because of the animation the gameplay is actually rather methodical and technical rather than frantic button mashing of MvC2. I’d use Soul Calibur series as an example, but that’s a slow button masher.

You can see that a lot of love and work has gone into the world and these characters. Filia is clearly created with a heavy heart in mind, Cerebella isn’t your typical grappler and does act that way, Peacock’s Steamboat Willy-esque design captures imagination right away, Parasoul is your classy lady with an agenda, Ms.Fortune is a catgirl in pieces, Painwheel and Double have born from the more sinister mind of human psyche while I can imagine rabid teenagers jacking off to a hot ninja nurse that is Valentine. This is a great cast. Whether or not it would’ve underminded the game’s design and feel if there was more characters is an open question, as more characters would’ve have added more value to the game if the balance had been maintained the same.

Speaking of the world, check the backgrounds that are going on in the game. There’s a lot of small easter eggs like Ryu in the alleyway of New Meridian. There’s also lot of characters with unique animations and designs that I’d love to see as complete and playable characters in the future. There’s too much potential in these characters to lose, but most likely we’ll get completely new characters, for better or worse. I can’t really tell if all stages are in 3D because, but some of them are and it hits like your eye pretty quick. They’ve mixed the stage’s overall so that the 3D isn’t that clear, but anyone can see it. At least it looks good, unlike some out-of-place 3D stages in Capcom VS SNK2 or the like. It would’ve been too much work to create handmade backgrounds for the stages, but it would’ve helped a lot, as some of them are rather lacking in imagination.
However, there’s a nice effect depending on the time in the stages. Stages that are set after the dusk throw a darkening colourscheme upon the characters, which gives a great contrast to the well lit stages. I can’t really recall another 2D fighter doing this, so big props for this detail. It looks great, and while adds nothing to the gameplay pleases the eye.

So, is Skullgirls worth your 15€?

I’d say that yes, yes it is. It’s not the largest fighting game on the market, but whatever it lacks in size is met with high amount of quality. It does it’s own thing and isn’t afraid of being different from others. We used to have loads of different fighting games side by side, and Skullgirls is a very welcome addition to the crowd. Sure, it doesn’t certainly appeal to everybody, and people who can’t stand anything that has it’s roots in the 90’s should try the trial and the scoff it off, but even these people have to accept that the game has that ‘something.’ At the very heart, Skullgirls is a blast from the past with well polished and simple back to the basics approach, which I appreciate greatly. Even the King of Fighters XIII felt a little too convoluted for its own good, but Skullgirls managed to keep things simple and clean without making things overly complicated.

I have to emphasize; Skullgirls has certain good quality to it that is not for everyone’s taste. This is why I strongly recommend testing out the trial version first.

What’s in the future for Skullgirls? Lots of DLC I’d presume, hopefully not too expensive. A two character packs around 4€ would be ideal in my mind, but analysts seem to disagree. Whatever mechanic updates they will make will most likely make the game more convoluted, a thing I do hope they will avoid as much as possible. I don’t want to face another disaster like SFxT. I have careful hopes for Skullgirls, and if the developers manage to keep the string tight and tidy from now on, Skullgirls just might rise above the middle it stands proudly on. It’s a good fighting game by all means, but if you don’t have much friends to play with (or want to play online,) Skullgirls offers few hours of entertainment only to be picked again when the first DLC and/or update comes.
If you’re like who just likes to spend in the Training mode for few hours and then blast through the Story and Arcade modes with newfound skill, you most likely want to get into this game. Just don’t become too good so that nobody wants to play against you any more


I love that when you get 18-hit combo, the counter announces BARELY LEGAL!

Short overview of the Dragon Slayer series

Dragon Slayer is an interesting series of games. It consists of series of games within their own series of games. There’s pretty much only one common thing between the games, and it’s that They share bulk of the same staff members. There’s not continuing story (thank God) and the genres actually vary quite a lot between the games themselves.


This is part of PC gaming in Japan in the mid-80’s

The first game in the series was the game that named the whole ordeal; Dragon Slayer. A 1984 PC-88 game, Dragon Slayer can be best described as dungeon crawler with a rogue heart. The game is time consuming, as the player is gimped from the very beginning and has very little chances of survival at first. The game’s not very interesting, but what it spawned is.


The first Xanadu actually has some sort of strange thing for manly bare chests

Dragon Slayer II; Xanadu is a sequel and a progenitor at the same time. It could be argued that everything Dragon Slayer was Xanadu isn’t. While the mechanics are clunky today’s standards, it was one of the best selling PC game at the time. I’m not to argue against that, because the gameplay is pretty fun, even if archaic as hell.

Xanadu had a spin-off that should be rather known in the West, known as Faxanadu. If you ever wondered where the name came from, it’s a combination of Famicom and Xanadu. It’s ties to the Xanadu series is in the name and spirit, and the strongest weapon in the game is the eponymous Dragon Slayer.

As a separate series, Xanadu is an interesting entity. Faxandu and Xanadu Next do no carry the Dragon Slayer name, but PC-Engine’s The Legend of Xanadu I & II do. They are officially regarded as the eight game of the Dragon Slayer series, and the final ones to carry the name thus far. The Legend of Xanadu also again revamps the gameplay mechanics completely and follows more Ys’ mechanics than any of its predecessors. However, there’s more things to see and do in the Legend of Xanadu than in Ys games, and the scale of everything is much larger.


Listen to that music

Currently the final instalment of the Xanadu series is Xanadu Next, a PC game released in 2005. Much like the Legend of Xanadu, this game has very little to none to do with its predecessors. It’s a dungeon crawling Falcom hack-n-slash with some indirect adventuring of Metroid and mold of games like Diablo. There’ very little story as such, but history of the lost kingdom of Xanadu is revealed from stone tablets you find. Gameplay is the most important part, and it delivers. The story is there to give a frame to it all, nothing more. The key item in the story, and in the game itself, is the legendary Dragon Slayer sword.

Now, let’s return from 2005 back to 1987, where Dragon Slayer III was released; Romancia.

Also known as Dragon Slayer Jr., Romancia shares a lot with Xanadu’s gameplay mechanics. It’s a much simpler game, thou it’s practically broken in its core mechanics, where controls and damage distribution are completely off. Levels are large, but empty and with no content, and most of the game is based on fetch questing. Romancia isn’t what I’d call a good game.

Dragon Slayer IV; Drassle Family, or as known in the West, Legacy of the Wizard, is one of the most known Dragon Slayer game here in the west thanks to its NES release. Dragon Slayer IV is a huge game that will take a lot of time to go through completely, and some regard it almost impossible to beat without a guide.

There’s no story provided in-game, you’ll have to read it from the manual, as everything was made so that the powers of the NES could’ve be harnessed for the dungeon. Yes, the game is one huge dungeon that will kick your unprepared ass. It’s one of those games that are vast and extremely rewarding, even if frustrating as hell at times. You can spend hours just wandering around the rooms in the dungeon and end up finding nothing of value, but perhaps something that helps you advance forwards with another character. From the all games that have been released in the Dragon Slayer series in the 80’s, Drassle Family/ Legacy of the Wizard is clearly in the top three.

Dragon Slayer’s fifth instalment is Sorcerian, a game series which has an awesome Mega Drive box.

Sorcerian is what happens when you take Romancia’s mechanics and actually make it into a good game. Sorcerian gives you an impression of being brethren to Ultima and Dragon Quest, but is actually side-scrolling action RPG that has lots of things from both sides of the pond. Yuzo Koshiro also composed the music, so you bet it’s good. What ultimately separates Sorcerian from Romancia, outside being actually good, is that you have free reign of creating your characters. Sorcerian is quite honestly rather intimidating to get into, and the scale of manageable things are rather high, and the amount of menu text makes the Japanese versions almost impossible for those with no knowledge on moonrunes. However, when you get into the gameplay proper, you soon realize that Falcom’s love for action has taken better of them. The controls are simple and consist of three buttons; Melee, Magic and Change party leader.

Sorcerian Forever was released on 1997 for the PC, and is a second game in Sorcerian series, but not really connected to the Dragon Slayer series, much like Xanadu’s sequels. Falcom took everything that was in original game and made it smoother, better and shorter. Sorcerian Forever is a great RPG, but it’s way too short with only five scenarios, and Forever never got expansions like its predecessor did. However, Sorcerian Original hit PC in 1999. As the name implies, it’s a complete remake of Sorcerian with everything upgraded to an extent, and has all original fifteen scenarios playable, plus the five found in Sorcerian Forever.

Dreamcast got a Sorcerian game subtitled Disciples of Seven Star Sorcery, but the less said about this game the better.

Let’s track back a little bit in time again, and enter the most well known Dragon Slayer series, and the second pillar in Falcom’s arsenal next Ys; The Legend of Heroes series. Much like Sorcerian and Xanadu, Legend of Heroes series started it’s own series which has nothing to do with Dragon Slayer, but also started yet another series which has nothing to do with Legend of Heroes series. Falcom seems to enjoy doing this at times.

In short, Legend of Heroes itself can be split into three series; the original two Legend of Heroes, The Garghav Trilogy, and the Sora no Kiseki trilogy, more well known as the Trails in the Sky. The Kiseki series as well spawned it’s own series of games; Zero no Kiseki, Ao no Kiseki, and Nayuta no Kiseki, which dropped the Legend of Heroes name.

Let’s go over this again in a simple way;

  • The Legend of Heroes I & II carry the Dragon Slayer name
  •   The Legend of Heroes’ Garghav Trilogy is not part of the Dragon Slayer series
  •   Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky /Sora no Kiseki starts the Kiseki series, and is part of the Legend of Heroes series
  •   Nayuta no Kiseki is not part of the Legend of Heroes or Dragon Slayer, but bears the Kiseki name and belongs to the Kiseki series in spirit
  • Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki return with the Legend of Hero naming with a VII in the name
  • Sen no Kiseki I and II carry the Legend of Heroes banner, but have dropped the numbering.

Of course, as new games are released, this will change with time.

So, what kind of games are the Legend of Heroes games? The first one is a blatant Dragon Quest clone down to the grindy and archaic gameplay. It was a competent RPG when it came out, even if its only real contribution to the game industry was the Legend of Heroes series. The second game makes all things better, but isn’t really noteworthy. Both of them are actually pretty good games, especially if you compare them to Romancia. Then again, almost any other game developed is better than Romancia. Other than the Dragon Slayer name, these two have nothing to do with other Dragon Slayer games.

The Garghav trilogy consists of three games; The Legend of Heroes III The Moonlight Witch (Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch), LoH IV Vermillion Tear and LoH V Song of the Ocean. Falcom decided to drop the Dragon Slayer name completely, and the Legend of Heroes became its own entity. The Garghav Trilogy was brought to the west on PSP, but the translation was botched. It’s almost a machine translation, and a lot of little things are lost as are accents and some of the meanings. However, the gameplay is still good as ever. When Falcom decides to do something that’s their own rather just copying existing mechanics, they always end up with a good product. Look at Ys for another reference.

While I keep ranting that story needs to be kept down in games, Legend of Heroes is well known for its vast and complex storylines. Garghav is the one that actually began this trend, and all games tie to each other. The PSP ports aren’t bad, but you do feel their archaic design from the start, and the translation will cause you wonder what the hell is going on. It just doesn’t do justice.

The Legend of Heroes VI; Sora no Kiseki FC, or The Legend of Heroes; Trails in the Sky, is the sixth and arguably the best game in the Legend of Heroes series alongside its sequel. It’s story is grand and vast, but at the same time very small and kept within certain borders. There’s no real way talking about FC and SC separately, as they both carry the VI in their name, and are in reality just one big game that had to be split in two due to the sheer size of it all.

The gameplay has given an overhaul for the sixth games, and has elements of TBS games mixed with traditional Dragon Quest mechanics. There’s similar spirit in there as Skies of Arcadia, which we all can agree is a good thing.

Trails in Sky is ongoing series in the West on the PSP. The first game was released last year, and the second game is going to get released this year. The translation is superb and shows how much love both original developers and XSEED’s staff has put in there. Funny how Garghav Trilogy is actually fetching higher price from stores rather than Trails in the Sky, even if Garghav is all around worse product.

Trails in the Sky was well received by critics and players alike, as long as they tried the game. I’m recommending everyone to check it out, as it is one of the reasons anyone would want to own PSP nowadays.

Legend of Heroes; Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki dropped the numeric from their names, and thus are more in spirit of spin-offs of the Legend of Heroes games, and are more in-series with any game that carries the Kiseki name. Both of them have similar elements, and most likely take place within the same world, but in different continent or nation. They’re worth checking out just as Trails in the Sky is, but the language barrier is quite high as per standard Japanese RPG.

Nayuta no Kiseki is not even part of Legend of Heroes series, let alone Dragon Slayer. It carries the Kiseki name as according to the director there’s the same spirit the other Kiseki games have had. We’ll see how it turns out when it’s released.

Now that we’ve glanced at the Legend of Heroes games, let’s return to Dragon Slayer’s seventh game; Lord Monarch.

Lord Monarch has to do the least in the series with any of its brethren, as it’s a real time strategy game with RPG elements. It’s an interesting one, as it has diplomacy option which changes the gameplay a little bit, but ultimately it fails as it is usable only during the first five minutes, and all it really does is delaying the war’s outbreak. It’s an interesting game and there’s very little games like it, but overall Lord Monarch should be left alone as it is.

Now we come to a conclusion with our small overview with the Dragon Slayer series and its eight games and spin-offs. Dragon Slayer was there before Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, and you can see their influence in both of them, thou you can see Wizardy’s and Ultima’s influence in Dragon Slayer series overall. As of now it seems that Dragon Slayer as a series and as a franchise is dead, but it’s spirit was being carried by the Legend of Heroes series, which seems to have finished it’s tale with the Kiseki series, which hopefully will carry it’s predecessors spirit onwards. Damn Falcom, get your series straight and give us a new Dragon Slayer.

I agree that my description on the games are lacking in detail and I’m overusing videolinks. However, this was meant to be an overview of the whole series. If you’re interested hearing more about a single game, throw me a comment and I’ll see whether or not it is doable.

Well, guess I have to write about it in the end

Cripple Girl. Katawa Shoujo.
The notion of girls having certain crippling disabilities in a visual novel has caused some sort of… interest. Some have voiced their opinion that it’s just wrong to bang a legless runner up the second portal. Other voice that it’s rather vulgar and even disrespectful to depict a deaf with her lover. However, I have to question if they’re wrong, or even tasteless.
In the end, one can only form a proper opinion after reading the whole visual novel altogether.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to make this into another 10 000 words plus post, thou Katawa Shoujo would deserve that

I have a friend who really hated Katawa Shoujo’s basic idea. Whenever I joked about “crippled wife simulator” he would cringe and look like just killed a puppy with a jackknife. It’s an elephant only if you make it one. This direct quotation from the novel didn’t really hit me, but it did give me a small shudder. I’m not the best kind of person with people with disabilities, at least some years back I wasn’t. Nowadays I treat almost everyone as equals. I made things bigger than they really were. However, I do recognize that me being who I am and trying to help certain people just wouldn’t work, even thou these people have nothing to prove to the world. It’s that they have to prove themselves that they can be independent.
It’s like old people having sex. People really don’t want to think about, and some even are against the idea. Your grandma most likely would like to get banged at least few times if her bones up for the job. It’s a sort of taboo in the society. It’s the elephant.


I might get chest paints from this image if I OHWAIT

I’m not really at my best here I must admit. Visual novels by their nature have a fetish nature, and Katawa Shoujo is no different. However, I can’t but to describe it “normal.” It’s still a story about human beings living their life the best way they can. People in their 20’s tend to want to have sex with people they’re emotionally very attached. At least I did, I don’t know about you, my dear reader. How Katawa Shoujo presents its sex scenes isn’t anything out of ordinary. Let me rephrase that; how it presents its sex scenes it natural. For example, during Emi’s route her first sex scene comes out of nowhere completely naturally, flowing in the scene and capturing Emi’s own nature and he situation. She also has stumps for legs if you’re wondering. If these characters were any other, except children, there wouldn’t be any commotion.
I believe this is a good thing thou. Not many people actually get to face something like this, not even in fiction.


Why do you need glasses if you’re deaf?

Did Katawa Shoujo leave me into same kind of slump and high/low depression as MuvLuv? No. Far from it. This is well written fiction without a doubt, and while I did invest myself into the characters just as much and acted the way I usually do, it was something… similar. I won’t go into details as it would bring up series of bad memories for few people, but there are moments and situations in the novel that we all have gone through in a way or another. Be it someone leaving you for another country or someone saying “I can’t let you be close to me.” It’s what I would call realistic approach, and it has hit a lot of people, especially on a certain video game image board. Granted, I did allow tears to run down my cheeks and my glasses got fogged up few times.
Katawa Shoujo does hold pretty strong stuff, as it should. The subject isn’t the most easiest one to write about.


Half-scottish half-japanese blonds are always the best, right?

Writing Katawa Shoujo has been the most taxing thing the studio has ever done in their lifetime. If I’m not terribly incorrect, there has been some talks how they themselves have felt weird looking at crippled porn, searching for crippled hints and researching everything related. I use the word cripple here far too much in order to hope that it loses its meaning. The word disability sounds clean and scientific. Special sounds like pampering. Calling them crippled wives is a joke, but there’s the seed of truth there somewhere.
Not to mention the artists! God what kind time they’ve been through since RAITA’s original sketches. The feelings they’ve must gone through in order to capture every needed detail in the artificial legs, in the facial expressions and everything around that. Drawing aesthetically and visually attractive sex without going far too to the porn side, but still keeping it erotic, is insanely difficult. Even more so when your character doesn’t have arms. It’s the tact and taste that the artists working on Katawa Shoujo have retained all the way through. It’s beautiful to watch scene after scene of these well made sprites slide across the screen. Five years in development, and the results are more than satisfactory.


Mmm, chocolate… no wait NO

Well, if you still think limbless girls shouldn’t get some lovin’ I have to say I disagree with you. My intention isn’t to change your mind at this matter, never was. Five years in production is one helluva time for a visual novel in any standards for a software. I can’t imagine the amount of work hours, the tears, the rage and the reward of success the developers have had. I want to pay these guys for this dammit and they won’t let me!
How did Katawa Shoujo touch me, is the question I want to ask from myself with caution. To be honest, it didn’t touch my as deeply as MuvLuv did, but plenty lot. It made the final push that I needed. I’m keeping my promise for a fictional character even if it kills me (and with these words I might add my legs are on fire, throat soar as hell and chest hurts like no other.) While MuvLuv is making me work towards becoming a better person bit by bit, Katawa Shoujo made me run in the middle of the night to a local harbour and then back via reroute. Sure, it was 30min jog but I’m not in the best of shapes, thou I wouldn’t call myself shapeless either.
I’m also finding myself wanting to drink coffee even thou I don’t really like it. It’s not my cup of tea.
However, Katawa Shoujo is pushing me to become to an resolution about one thing since last summer before the army. It’s something that has been beckoning in my head for some time, and now should be time to give myself a closure on the matter.

Whether or not Katawa Shoujo is about a school of students with disabilities or not, it’s a heart (wrenchingly) warming whole. It’s not long, as you can read a route per day, and has multiple endings per route. Do I recommend reading it? Yes, yes I do. It’s the least we could do to honour the guys who have done the work.


If I’m going to go for manly picnics in the future, it won’t happen on rooftops

Next time; NOT about goddamn visual novels.
Also note to myself; start learning Braille properly and relearn Sign Language.

The Violinist of Hameln; animation without animation

Getting this post out sure was a glitchy experience…
Violinist of Hameln is a strange animation series. It has a strong story, great music and compelling animation. However, it lacks what animation should have; proper animation.
From the get-go the Studio DEEN was in budget problems with Hameln. This shows in the series so much, that bulk of it is simply still screens of your standard TV-animation cells with voices. Sure, the most action intensive scenes are animated well, but Talking Heads syndrome is strong with this one. However, there are times when animation is strong and very well done.
Objectively, this brings down the whole meaning of having an animation overall. The story could’ve been told as a visual novel, light novel or something along those lines rather than making it into an animation with low budget.

I have to mention the music first, as the whole series has an orchestrated soundtrack filled with classical musical scores from Mozart & co. with the series own score, which serve their purpose very well and more. The first opening is a sort of 90’s techno influenced pop song that blends in surprisingly well, and the second opening is basically an opera I want to sing myself. The songs fit very well in their respective parts, mirroring the overall atmosphere.


A good, light and happy atmosphere


No, that’s not a bass, that’s just one big ass violin he has there

There’s this joke that the Japanese has made the motionless picture into a moving one. Violinist of Hameln is perhaps the best example of this. However, this also has forced the animators to use these still images to convey a lot more than they actually can. A series of still images with perfectly set music and spoken lines still manages to tell a great story overall.
It’s interesting to notice how well received the series was despite its constant lack of animation.

While I’m still fresh from the series itself, I admit having a really soft spot for the series. While the comic its based on is very much light and full of comedy, the animation series is serious from the get go, allowing only few instances of comedy here and there. Granted, I’m not the best person to talk about comedy as I prefer more serious approach in my stories. That might be the reason I have such high regard of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and MuvLuv, as they both blend tender comedy with heart stabbing drama.

The story, right. I will go with the animation series story as it’s the subject here more than the comic’s.
In this world, humans and demons fought a bloody war sixteen years ago. This war came to an end when the Queen used a magical field to protect the world with a barrier that turned all demons into stone.
Where these demons came from? The a box that a woman named Pandora opened for the man she so much loved.
The story is that of Hameln, a young orphan man who has lived in a secluded town. In this town, there is a custom not to let outsiders enter the, but for one girl named Flute they allowed him to stay. They grow up together with the double bass sized violin Hameln has, and with his “pet” crow Oboe.
One day a swordsman appears in the town limits, wounded. Hameln and Flute take him to the town, where Flute’s grandfather recognizes him as his old friend, a knight of the Queen Horn. His last words are “bring the Princess to her mother” before a demon consumed him from inside out. Here, Hameln shows what he would become known of; to play his violin to invoke the magic within music. With this, he realizes the wishes of the townsfolks defending the Princess, Flute, and gives them power to stand against the demons.
Flute, being a normal girl up to this point in her life, refuses her being called a princess, but after her and Hameln’s home town has been burned to the ground, she and Hameln have no choice but to embark towards Sforzend, the city where the Queen resides.
Along their way they meet Raiel, Hameln’s old friend he has no recollection of, and the tragedy of their home town where Hameln lost his memories. They are accompanied by Trom, prince of the Country of the Sword, whom finds courage and sadness among his new friends.
Of course, all this time Hameln and Flute are under constant attacks from the demons and their Warlords. They have little to no time to rest, as the demons are readying their full assault against Sforzend, to reclaim Pandora’s Box and to take over the world.
It’s very clear from the very beginning that Hameln isn’t what you would call human. When the assault of Sfrozend occurs, Hameln fights against the question whether is a human or not.

I’m struggling not to spoil too much for those who want to see or read the series, so just skip these few paragraphs.
It is shown, that Hameln is the son of Pandora and Chestra, the Demon king. In his veins runs the blood of the demon kind, and he shows this in order to slay one of the Warlords amidst the assault. Flute, claiming that she will love Hameln no matter what form he should have, never abandons him. After the assault the war is seemingly over, Demons defeated. However, during the victory party the demons attack the palace in the shadows, trying to reclaim Pandora’s Box. This Box the Queen holds is a fake, and thus the second part of the series takes place, one year after these events.
Here we see Hameln and Flute looking for the real Pandora’s Box, and ultimately they found more than they were looking; the truth behind Pandora, Hameln and her sister, and the destiny set for Flute. It all ends in Flute sealing away Hameln, the New Demon King, inside the Pandora’s box… until the temptation of love finally makes her to open it.

The ending is, by all means, a good ending. It’s a melancholic one filled with sadness and loss, and none of the characters really have their own personal resolutions. The world is saved, but with a high cost, only to be thrown away one day. While I admit to be a sucker for happy and nice endings like in MuvLuv, the animation’s ending doesn’t really leave me yearn for more; it ends the series and puts the ‘end’ in the end.
The comic has much more happier ending, a much more brighter future (with a sequel) where Hameln and Flute live happily through much of it all.
Thou the comic is far too gag comedy for my likings, at least in the beginning.

But fear not! The same animation company created a 30min TV-special before the main series and this special nothing to do with the series. It doesn’t suffer from from the budget issues of the series and follows the spirit of the comic. I recommend watching this after the series because it’s fun to see Hameln acting like a goddamn jackass, that is if you haven’t read the comic. If you have, then jump right in and leave the TV-series for later watching.

Indeed, the emphasize is different in each version, and quite honestly, if you don’t like the other, you most likely will find the other more interesting. Granted, even among anime folks this series seems to be rather unknown or at least infamous for its bad animation, but that never stopped me enjoying it through and through.


Yes, every time I listen to this song I sing along out loud, even the parts that go high and kill my throat

It certainly is a flawed series, but then again I am after these interesting shows and stories that are forgotten in annals of time. Sometimes you find a gem like this, that just needs to be dusted off, and placed on the shelf for the whole world to enjoy once more.

Now, I won’t make it a habit to make this kind of posts. Well, I wasn’t going to make a habit to post about video games either… Also, it seems my previous post about Langrisser IV has been deleted due to a glitch. Rewriting time.