The Beatles Rock Band

I honestly never thought the day would come when we could look forward to playing a Beatles song in Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The rights to the songs are wrapped up tighter than a Gordian Knot and not even iTunes has Beatles songs available for download. However, on September 9th that day will finally be here.

The game will have 45 tracks on the disc when it ships. While that’s slightly more than half of what Rock Band 2 shipped with, this game promises to be a much more immersive experience. The buzz word that’s being tossed around is “experiential.”

Only 10 songs have been announced so far: I Saw Her Standing There, I Want To Hold Your Hand,I Feel Fine,Taxman,Day Tripper, Back In The USSR,I Am The Walrus,Octopus‘s Garden,Here Comes The Sun,and Get Back.


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Akuma Revealed for SFIV Arcade

For all you Street Fighter die-hards out there wondering where your favorite character has disappeared to in Street Fighter IV have no fear! Capcom has just announced a new secret character in their arcade build of the game and it’s none other than Akuma.

There’s no word on if Akuma is already in the Japanese arcade hardware or if he will be region-specific to North America. Also left unstated was whether or not Akuma would be in the console versions of the game and whether he would be a playable character.

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Activision Announces Civil War: Secret Missions

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A new chapter in in the interactive history of the Civil War has been announced by Activision Publishing. The press release describes Civil War: Secret Missions as “a completely new episode in The History Channel’s Civil War franchise, the game will allow players to assume the role of Union and Confederate soldiers fighting behind enemy lines in legendary battles.”

The first game was generally received as lackluster when released due to non-dynamic environments and clipping issues as well as a lack of any coherent narrative or campaign mode. Another point of contention that should have been addressed was the bumbling enemy AI. But the new game promises to add a deeper tactical element to the franchise.

There is a rich history to the Civil War, especially in terms of covert military tactics,” said Dave Oxford, Activision Publishing. “American warfare in the 1860’s was brutal yet surprisingly sophisticated, so it was essential for us to capture this duality.

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Eidos and Warner Bros. Announce Batman: Arkham Asylum

You knew it was coming and now it is upon us. Eidos has just announced a new Batman game in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The new game is titled Batman: Arkham Asylum which promises to be “a dark, action packed videogame adventure.”

The setup of the game is Batman is delivering The Joker to Arkham Asylum where a trap is set for him by the myriad denizens of Gotham’s madhouse. The press release says Arkham Asylum will deliver an “immersive combat gaming experience” with an original script by Paul Dini. Continue reading “Eidos and Warner Bros. Announce Batman: Arkham Asylum”

Capcom Reveals Three Mega Man 9 Bosses

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new Mega Man 9 soon to be available on all three current-gen systems. And today Capcom has released information on three of the new bosses to be featured in the game.

From their press release:

Magma Man:
Magma Man serves as the safety control robot at a large geothermal power plant. He is able to work in incredibly hot environments and loves to visit hot spas.

Weapon: Magma Bazooka
Magma Bazooka shoots a cluster of fireballs that spread out after launching. It can also be charged by holding down the shot button. Continue reading “Capcom Reveals Three Mega Man 9 Bosses”

Space Invaders Extreme

Thirty years after its initial release, the latest incarnation of Space Invaders kind of snuck up on me. As has been the case with some of the best sleeper PSP titles, I caught my first glimpse of it on The 1up Show. It was flashy, it was bright, it was the kind of eye candy you’d get hooked on quickly, the good stuff.

The original Space Invaders from 1978 was pretty simple by todays standards. While the game incorporates almost all of the original elements of the game, there’s so much else going on it can hardly be considered the same game. The enemies still come from the top of the screen and it’s up to you to shoot them all before they reach the bottom of the screen.

Now enemies also come in different colors. Shooting four of the same colored enemy in a row causes a bonus to drop down. There are three weapon bonuses and one shield bonus. Red enemies drop bombs (area of effect), green enemies drop the broad shot (multiple shots simultaneously), blue enemies drop the laser (continuous, kills everything in it touches) and gray enemies drop the shield. Bonuses only last for a limited time.

Shoot eight enemies in a special pattern and a bonus round ship will fly across the top of the screen. Shoot this ship to go into the bonus round. At the start of the round you will be given a goal and a set amount of time to achieve this. Fail and nothing happens. But if you succeed you go into Fever Time and your weapon gets a major boost in firepower. Just like the weapon bonuses the Fever Time bonus is also only active for a limited amount of time. Fever Time is where the bulk of your points will come from and it’s the best way to tear through the waves of enemies. Continue reading “Space Invaders Extreme”

Gungrave: Overdose–High On Fun

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Gungrave: Overdose is the sequel to Yashiro Nightow’s 2002 frentic shoot ’em up featuring the resurrected mob enforcer Brandon Heat, a.k.a. Beyond The Grave. The people at Red Entertainment must have paid very close attention to the reviews and feedback received from the original Gungrave, because almost every element has been improved in Overdose, giving the sequel a more complete and, most importantly, a more fun experience.

One major improvement comes from the overall storyline, something the the previous game had very little of. This time he gamer does not have to piece things together from different Wikipedia entries or wait for the anime to come out since the plot unfolds masterfully through cut-scenes and in-game dialog. The events of Overdose take place three years after the fall of the Millenion criminal empire. Mika Asagi and her plucky young sidekick, Spike, reawaken Grave to stamp out the remants of Seed, the super-drug that turns it’s users into deformed killing machines. Aiding them in their search are two new playable characters: the (literally) hot-headed swordsman Juji Kabane and the ghostly rock star, Rocketbilly Redcadillac. The story is something that the player can easily get wrapped up in since there are so many twists and so much character development as the game goes on.

The game is very easy to pick up, whether you have never played it or have left it on the shelf for a while. That is not saying that it is easy to beat (that’s probably the reason it was laying on your shelf). Even if most of the enemies do not require too much strategy to beat, they usually come in packs and have an insane bloodlust. Luckily you have a variety of ways to get through them, unlike in the first game which was basically just shoot and dodge.

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Shinobi: Don’t Call It A Comeback…Seriously

Shinobi is the Playstation 2 title that brought the classic Sega series to the 3-D generation, along with a new hero and a new mission. Although the game looks great and is constantly keeping the player on his toes, overall it does not feel like the comeback the franchise deserves.

You play as Hotsuma, the last of the famous Oboro ninja clan, out to avenge the death of your brethren at the hands of the sorcerer Hiruko. To make matters worse, Hiruko has resurrected your clan and forced them to fight against you – and one of the zombies is your own brother, Moritsune! So yeah, the storyline is nothing too groundbreaking, but it gives you motivation and opens up the game to some interesting plot points and character interactions.

Shinobi introduces a couple of new mechanics to the action/platform genre. The main means of combat consists of doing Tates, which is where you kill a certain number of enemies within a certain span of time. Doing so activates a cut-scene that shows Hotsuma striking a pose while his victims split apart around him. It’s a very slick touch, especially when done during boss battles. However, Continue reading “Shinobi: Don’t Call It A Comeback…Seriously”

Patapon: March to the Rhythm of War

If Patapon had to be pigeon-holed into a genre, I suppose it would be considered a rhythm-based near-time-strategy seasoned liberally with devices from role-playing games such as customization, creation and item collection.

You play the leader of the Patapons, essentially black and white eyes organized into a tribal structure. As their leader, it’s up to you to guide the Patapons out of their exile and into “Earthend.” Who exiled the Patapons? The Zigatons, of course. And what exactly is at Earthend? “IT,” of course. The Patapons live in a very simple world. Continue reading “Patapon: March to the Rhythm of War”

God of War: Chains of Olympus

After seeing how beautiful and how fun God of War II was, most of the fans of the franchise were more than a little curious about the next game to come out in the series. I think everyone was a little surprised when it was announced that the next title would be launched on Sony’s portable platform, the PSP. Surprise turned to eager anticipation when it was announced that a demo would be made available to PSN members who signed up while supplies lasted.

This past week I got my copy in the mail and after playing through it who knows how many times I have to say it passes muster. I was afraid that the game would lose some of its scope and play control by being on a portable system, but from what we’ve seen in the demo, those fears can be put to rest. Continue reading “God of War: Chains of Olympus”