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Podcast Discussion / Mother 3 - RetroActive #13 Discussion Thread
« on: July 11, 2010, 02:16:19 PM »
Please use this thread to discuss our next RetroActive game, Mother 3 for Game Boy Advance. Note that we'll be pulling quotes out of this thread to be read on an upcoming episode of Radio Free Nintendo during our discussion of the game. Comments made here are to be limited solely to the game's contents, and will help to direct the podcast coversation.

2
TalkBack / REVIEWS: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
« on: May 05, 2010, 11:30:00 AM »
Ahead of its European release on May 7, check out our final verdict on the import version of Treasure's follow-up to the N64 action classic.
 http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/reviewArt.cfm?artid=23026

 Nearly a decade ago, as the N64 era drew to a particularly quiet close in Japan, Nintendo published Sin & Punishment, a 3D shoot 'em-up developed by Treasure. Despite scarcely making a dent in the Japanese charts and being denied a Western retail release, Sin & Punishment earned an international cult following off the back of its unique gameplay and Treasure's reputation for creating outstanding action experiences. Nintendo has attempted to rekindle this enthusiasm in recent times, first with the worldwide release of the N64 original on Virtual Console, and now a full disc-based sequel for Wii.    


Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies (as it will officially be known in Europe) utilises the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to make the unwieldy control scheme of the original vastly more fluid and accessible, allowing Treasure to let its imagination run wild as never before and dial up the action to truly mesmerising levels. Complemented by a well-conceived scoring system and online leaderboards that boost replay value, the result is an incredibly intense and surprisingly sizable game that, despite losing some of the unique character of the N64 original, delivers a shoot 'em-up experience unparalleled on Wii and simply impossible on anything else (at least for the time being).    


Playing as one of two androgynous anime scamps named Isa and Kachi, Sin & Punishment 2 tasks you with exterminating all life everywhere in the universe with a "Cannon Sword" (that could probably cut through just about anything except for the series' impenetrable plot), either by gunning enemies down from a distance or slashing them up close. In true shoot 'em-up fashion, there are dazzling barrages of enemy fire to dodge and many giant bosses to take down, but there's no need to worry about one-hit kills or losing accumulated power-ups here—Isa and Kachi have life bars and there are no collectible power-ups beyond health packs, so sheer skill and persistence are the order of the day here.        


 "On-rails shooters" have become the subject of much conversation (and some consternation) amongst Wii owners, as many publishers have seized upon the Wii Remote's pointer functionality as an opportunity to revive light gun-style games. While Sin & Punishment 2 can also be described as an on-rails shooter, it is most definitely not to be confused with the Ghost Squads and Target Terrors of the world; rather, it has much more in common with Star Fox 64, but with one crucial difference. Aiming your weapon and moving your character are controlled independently, with these functions being delegated to the pointer and analog stick respectively for the Wii Remote-Nunchuk scheme. Additionally, GameCube and Classic Controller support is present along with a Zapper configuration for the plastic gunslingers out there.    


While analog purists may appreciate the fact that the dual sticks and button layout of the Classic Controller PRO are particularly conducive to a more elegant traditional control scheme than what the N64's three prongs could offer, these alternative control methods are simply not as responsive as using the pointer. Developers from Treasure have said that certain parts of the game lend themselves better to a traditional control setup, but the online high score tables tell something of a different story, as the icon displayed next to the names of Japan's shooter savants is almost exclusively that of a Wii Remote and Nunchuk.    


Using Wii controls, the physical separation of movement and shooting in each hand  combines with the ease of aiming via the pointer to make Sin & Punishment 2 far more intuitive and accessible than its "tap-your-head-while-rubbing-your-belly" N64 predecessor, but without compromising the game's depth and challenge. In fact, Treasure has exploited these more fluid controls to up the ante considerably in the action department. Isa and Kachi are frequently assailed from every angle by a daunting number of enemies, but they are more than capable of surviving with the right combination of quick shooting and deft dodging.    


Hence, Sin & Punishment 2 feels in some respects like the full realisation of the concept contained in the N64 game. However, Treasure has made some notable design changes and additions that distinguish the sequel as something other than a turbo-charged version of the original. Chief among them is that your character can float in mid-air at any time, and in fact is often forced to do so by the level design, effectively removing the platform elements of the original (though a jump button remains). This radical advancement in aerial manoeuvrability is balanced by the presence of many more mid-air obstacles and enemies to avoid, bringing Sin and Punishment 2 closer still to the Star Fox series (though it also looks a bit like the futuristic Space Harrier sequel gamers might have dreamt of back in 1986).    


One thing that hasn't changed is the series' signature melee attack, which is still used to deflect missiles back at enemies with explosive results, but now you can also charge up a special, character-specific attack to blow up several enemies at once. By holding down A on the Wii Remote, Isa can trigger a single large explosion relatively quickly, while Kachi can choose either to target multiple enemies simultaneously or wait significantly longer to focus her shots on a single foe. Once triggered, these attacks cannot be used again for a period of time, helping to inject a tactical element into the gameplay as well as breaking up the monotony of simply shooting everything in sight. For instance, certain bosses have powerful attack patterns that can be interrupted if they are stunned by a charged-up blast, so players should learn which attacks they are able to dodge by themselves and ensure the charge shot is ready when they really need it.    


The other major difference between the two playable characters relates to how aiming works. Isa can lock-on to a target by tapping A while pointing at it, but this causes less damage than shooting manually (as in the N64 original). Conversely, Kachi essentially locks-on by default as her fire will remain fixed on an enemy until it dies. Isa's configuration is certainly the more flexible and feels more natural, but Kachi's sticky-aim may prove welcome for some players as they acclimate to the sheer density of the action, because they won't have to worry about tracking enemies or bosses with their crosshair while simultaneously zigzagging across the screen for dear life. With time and practice though, the pointer controls allow you to keep anything in your sights without locking-on.      


Sin & Punishment 2 also exploits its duo of protagonists by including a "Tag Play" co-op mode, where one person plays as normal while the other uses a disembodied crosshair to help out (no melee attacks or charge shots). Though one of the two players is clearly taking on a subordinate role here, there's no doubt that they can be genuinely helpful in taking out extra enemies and draining bosses of their health more quickly, so this feature could help some players see the later levels on a harder difficulty for instance, and/or serve as a less overwhelming introduction for people unfamiliar with the game.    


In terms of presentation, Sin & Punishment 2 is functional above all else. Some rough textures and angular geometry may be especially apparent in screenshots (though the game has certainly improved in this regard since it was first shown), but the graphics impress in motion thanks to the fluid framerate and the sheer number of objects moving on screen at the same time. There are some very occasional bouts of slowdown, but in general the game runs smoothly such that aiming with the pointer always feels immediate, which is essential given the break-neck pace of the action. The soundtrack, on the other hand, often seems a bit weak juxtaposed with the colossal battles taking place on screen, while the sound effects (including a few old favourites) are effective if not outstanding.    


For all of its impeccable technical and gameplay foundations, Sin & Punishment 2 ultimately lives and dies on the quality of its level and enemy designs, and here Treasure has delivered in spades with scenarios equal to its most imaginative work, but on a grander scale than ever before. Though it is easily more than twice as long as its predecessor, Sin & Punishment 2 nonetheless feels densely packed with remarkable set pieces (such as battling giant moray eels while racing down an air tunnel through the Sea of Japan) and incredible boss fights of such diversity and frequency that they could probably populate at least five games by other developers. At the same time, there is some potential for a sense of boss fatigue to set in as the game enters its closing stages, and the pacing is not always as even as it perhaps should be, but the boundless creativity on show helps to minimise this issue. Isa and Kachi may only have a small set of abilities that do not change over the course of the game's seven stages, but you will be amazed at the different ways they are put to the test right up to the finale.    


"Testing" is certainly one word that will be used to describe the process of completing Sin & Punishment 2. With its traditional shoot 'em-up sensibilities, there is simply no substitute for concentration, practice, and quick reflexes here. Learning the patterns of some of the later bosses is not unlike taking down one of Punch-Out!!'s cunning Title Defence opponents, but Treasure has also followed suit by implementing frequent checkpoints, a save feature, and unlimited continues to take some of the frustration out of the process. Sin & Punishment 2 is doubtlessly challenging, but it's far more approachable than something like Treasure's intimidating Ikaruga.    


An Easy mode (which primarily tips the damage-health balance much more in the player's favour ) is available, and it has almost all the content of the other modes aside from a few extra boss attack patterns. All three difficulty settings are selectable from the start, so shoot 'em-up vets can challenge themselves on Hard mode immediately if they so choose, but the natural progression is to learn the levels on an easier difficulty before maxing out the challenge.    


It could be said that "finishing" Sin & Punishment 2 is just the beginning, as it is a high score game in a much deeper sense than was the N64 original, and not just because we now have online leaderboards (which North America and Europe will share, while Japan will remain separate). Treasure has devised a nuanced scoring system that continuously reflects player performance and introduces tradeoffs that change the way you play. Firstly, there is the multiplier system, which boosts point scoring based on how many kills you can rack up without taking damage—hits to your life bar decrease the multiplier, and so make every subsequent kill worth fewer points than if you had remained unscathed. Next, there's the crucial distinction that, for every moment your character has his/her feet on the floor, points are accumulated automatically. Hence, score players will want to spend every second they can on the ground, but doing so leaves them much less room to dodge incoming attacks and thus preserve that all-important multiplier.    


These systems combine to create an ingenious risk-reward mechanic that dramatically spices up the pursuit of higher scores, and thus the game's replayability. In fact, it leaves you wondering why Isa and Kachi don't find themselves on terra firma more often during the rather prolonged levels, which can be a drawback for high score play. There are leaderboards for each stage (with separate tables for the difficulty and character selected) as well as the whole game, but even the individual stages are sufficiently long that they may deter people from getting their feet wet. This problem could have been addressed by sub-dividing the levels into quicker high score challenges each with their own set of leaderboards, serving as a more effective entry point for players into the world of competitive Sin & Punishment.            


It may have a few shortcomings (perhaps the English language version will shed some light on the bizarre story, though I rather doubt it), but overall Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies is a truly outstanding title. It simultaneously makes brilliant use of the Wii Remote and offers deep and challenging gameplay, creating an intense action experience that is unparalleled on Wii or any other system on the market. The appeal of a Treasure shooter is inevitably somewhat esoteric, and most people reading this review will probably have a sense of whether or not this game is for them. However, the intuitive controls, customisable difficulty, co-op play, substantial content, and enhanced replayability of Sin & Punishment 2 should cause anyone sitting on the fence (including those longing for another true Star Fox game) to consider whether now is the right time to opt into Treasure's unique brand of relentless action. You might find that it's one of the best gaming decisions you've ever made.

Pros:
       

  • Intuitive, responsive Wii controls
  •  
  • High octane action runs smoothly
  •  
  • Imaginative and spectacular bosses
  •  
  • Clever scoring system and online leaderboards boost replayability


  •        Cons:
           
  • Weak soundtrack at some points
  •  
  • Boss fatigue towards the end
  •  
  • Stages could be divided up for entry-level high score play


  •                Graphics:  8.5
           The visuals may not be rich with gorgeous detail, but Sin & Punishment 2 is nonetheless impressive thanks to its smooth framerate, hordes of enemies, and spectacular screen-filling bosses. The humanoid character designs are generic and unappealing compared with the vast array of fantastic creatures on display.

                   Sound:  6.5
           Sin & Punishment 2's musical score is mostly forgettable and sorely lacks impact next to the logic-defying proportions of the game's action set pieces, though it is not poor per se. The sound effects get the job done well enough with an appropriate set of explosions and death squeals for all the destruction going on, while the jury will have to remain out on the voice acting until the English version arrives.

                   Control: 10.0
           Treasure has grasped the challenges and opportunities of Wii controls with both hands, creating a superlative Wii Remote/Nunchuk setup as well as offering every alternative out there short of a dongle to plug in your N64 controller.

                          Gameplay:  9.0
           Sin & Punishment 2 takes the concept of the original to a whole new level of intensity, but also makes it more accessible. New wrinkles such as the different playable characters, charge shots, and clever scoring system add more layers to the gameplay, but the amount of time spent in the air means that the unique quality of the original game is diminished here.

     


           Lastability:  7.5
           Not only is Sin & Punishment 2 more than twice as long as the original, but a deeper scoring system and the ability to compare scores online do a great deal to enhance the replayability of the longer running time. While some will therefore spend months scaling the high score tables, those who do not develop an affinity for high score play or tackling harder difficulties will find the experience to be much shorter-lived.

     


           Final:  9.0
           Sin & Punishment: Successor of the Skies will delight those excited by the potential of what Treasure can do on Wii; with blisteringly fast action, staggering set pieces, challenging bosses, and a slick scoring system, this is Treasure doing what it does best as never before. While features such as pointer control, co-op play, unlimited continues, and customisable difficulty help to expand the game's reach to a degree, Sin & Punishment 2 unashamedly serves gamers with fond memories of the N64 original or the arcade shooters of the past, and they won't find better service than this anywhere else.      


    3
    Please use this thread to discuss our next RetroActive game, Metroid II: Return of Samus. Note that we'll be pulling quotes out of this thread to be read on an upcoming episode of Radio Free Nintendo during our discussion of the game. Comments made here will help to direct the podcast conversation, so please ask and discuss anything about the game that you find interesting!

    Note: Metroid II will play on the original Game Boy (Fat/Light/Pocket/Super), Game Boy Color, original Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and the Game Boy Player accessory for GameCube. It is not compatible with the Game Boy Micro or Nintendo DS/Lite.

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00002SVEM/ref=sr_1_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1270356981&sr=8-1&condition=used
    eBay: http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=metroid+2&_sacat=See-All-Categories

    4
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 176
    « on: December 27, 2009, 07:15:00 AM »
    TYP joins us to say goodbye to 2009 with a look back at the life of the Wii so far.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=20622

     Episode 176: Auld Lang Syne    



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    With Jonny and Lindy off actually celebrating the holidays, it's up to Greg and James to close out the podcasting year with the help of Radio Trivia MC Michael "TYP" Cole, who recently got his hands on the coveted Sin and Punishment 2. The show begins with an appropriately nostalgic New Business, courtesy of Greg and TYP's discussion of the Japan-only Game Center CX 2 and its localised prequel, Retro Game Challenge. James even gets in on the retro act thanks to his undying love for the soon-to-be-remade Lufia II, but he's also looking forward to playing Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and the bloodiest Nintendo game ever, Zangeki no Reginleiv.    


    In the final RFN segment of the decade, the three man crew evaluates the Wii generation so far with a look back at the past three years of Nintendo console gaming. Has Nintendo delivered on its promises to innovate and expand the market? What's it been like having Nintendo back on top in the sales charts? Has the traditional fan base been well catered to, or is it being increasingly marginalised?  We attempt to answer all these questions and more (listen closely for hints on the existence of Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle) before finally bidding adieu to 2009. We'll be back in the new decade!    


    We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)      Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!    


    Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.  


    5
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 175
    « on: December 20, 2009, 09:17:00 AM »
    RFN gets in the festive Spirit (Tracks) with talk of Zelda, Blaster Master, and The Sky Crawlers, plus the return of your Listener Mail.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=20586

     Episode 175: Blaster Masters    



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    The weather outside may be frightful, but RFN is here to keep out the cold by serving up your weekly dose of Nintendo discussion. The full cast is back for the second episode in a row, with Jonny and Jon kicking off the proceedings by gleefully reconnecting with this week's headline Virtual Console release, Blaster Master. New Business also features Greg's extended impressions of Spirit Tracks, plus the long-awaited arrival of a game that somehow fails to make James angry, The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces.    


    We catch up with your Listener Mail in the second segment, beginning with an N64-nostalgia-tinged look at the absence of split-screen multiplayer FPS titles on Wii. Next, we're forced to confront the fact that we may all be hopelessly past it as we examine how gamers' skills decline with age, before finishing the show with a lengthy discussion on the promotional use of game soundtracks in the West compared with Japan.      


    We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)      Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!    


    Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo and Square Enix, and is included under fair use protection.  


    6
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 171
    « on: November 22, 2009, 03:14:00 PM »
    RFN pays out big in the only currency that matters - knowledge of the games! We share our impressions of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Sin & Punishment 2, then answer your Listener Mail questions in this beefy episode.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=20384

     Episode 171: The Ecstasy of Headgold    



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    The holiday season is well and truly upon us, and RFN celebrates with a bumper-sized episode featuring guest Neal Ronaghan in place of our fearless leader, Jonathan Metts. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is top on the agenda, as Neal recounts his experiences of picking up the game early at the Nintendo World Store NYC launch event, and the Luigi-throwing, Yoshi-stealing multiplayer hijinks that followed.    


    The crew is not without other games to discuss, as Neal gives us the inside scoop on Tony Hawk Ride (plus his personal encounter with The Birdman himself); James takes a parting shot or three at C.O.P. The Recruit, and Jon finally gets around to that God of War III demo he's been threatening to play for a while now. New Business finally comes to a close with the joyous union of Greg and Sin & Punishment 2, featuring extended impressions of Treasure's latest action-packed magnum opus.    


    Listener Mail gets underway with your responses to the difficulty feature topic from Episode 167, featuring Left 4 Dead's A.I. Director, GoldenEye's 00 Agent missions, and the frustrations of single player Mario Kart. Then it's on to your questions about the curious absence of promotion for Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition on Wii, plus the first in a (probably short-lived) new series of So-Bad-It's-Good game shout-outs.    


    This gargantuan episode draws to a close with the belated RetroActive wrap-up for Shining Force II on Genesis. Neal, Jon, and strategy game aficionado James give us their take on Camelot's unique strategy RPG, while Jonny goes head-to-head with Vudu in a radio dramatisation of the RetroActive forum discussion thread. Continent-swallowing disasters, weird abbreviations, a talking Phoenix—this one's got it all!    


    We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)      Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!    


    Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.  


    7
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 168
    « on: November 01, 2009, 04:43:33 PM »
    It's a celestial alignment as guests from all three of NWR's podcasts come together to provide your RFN fix.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=20224

     Episode 168: NWR All Star! Dairanto Podcast Brothers X    



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    With the RFN team at only half-strength (unconfirmed reports put James and Jon at a mass DeAngelo Hall jersey burning at the time of recording), Greg and Jonny welcome members from RFN's companion shows to make up an all-star cast. The host of Radio Trivia: Podcast Edition, Michael "TYP" Cole, is on board along with Zach Miller and Andy Goergen from the revitalised NWR Newscast team, while listening to the show for 50 hours unlocks two clones of Evan Burchfield—watch out for that "Auteur theory" Final Smash!      


    Our five-man New Business is predictably wide-ranging, including discussions of Brutal Legend, Wii Sports Resort, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and a journey through the entire Zelda franchise just for good measure. There are also some more thoughts on Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story from Jonny and TYP, while Greg spent the past week whipping the undead and carefully climbing staircases in Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth for Japan's WiiWare service.    


    This week's big show concludes with another substantial dose of your Listener Mail, covering such topics as the fate of New Play Control! Pikmin 2 in North America, the Super Skills of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the ominous news that a new Cho Aniki game will soon be coming to the US. Special attention is reserved for the question of whether third party publishers resent Nintendo's success, and how this may or may not affect their strategies on Wii.    


    Next week, we will begin RetroActive #10: Shining Force II, so don't forget to play along and give us your thoughts in the forum discussion thread.    


    We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)      Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!    


    Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.  


    8
    Podcast Discussion / RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
    « on: October 26, 2009, 10:54:19 AM »
    This is the official forum thread for discussing the winner of our recent Genesis poll, Shining Force II. Please make sure your posts are on topic. Comments from this thread may be quoted on Radio Free Nintendo during our RetroActive segments.

    Shining Force II is available on Virtual Console for 800 points. We encourage all podcast listeners to play it with fresh eyes and post your thoughts here!

    9
    TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: New Play Control! Chibi-Robo
    « on: August 24, 2009, 05:02:00 AM »
    Discover how to collect Happy Points with a Wii Remote as we go hands-on with Japan's latest GameCube remake.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressionsArt.cfm?artid=19853

     In Japan, this summer has seen something of a revival for Chibi-Robo, the dutiful little robot created by skip Ltd, developers of the Art Style series. A month prior to the launch of a new instalment in the franchise for Nintendo DS, the original Chibi-Robo was re-released for Wii in June, closing out the Japanese equivalent of the "New Play Control!" series of GameCube remakes.    


    Originally released in Japan during 2005, this quirky, genre-blending game about the travails of Chibi-Robo and his unusual family has been modified in much the same way as other "Wii de Asobu" titles: with a widescreen presentation in addition to new Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls. The effects of these changes are welcome in some cases, while largely trivial in others, but the embellished sense of scale offered by the 16:9 display adds the most to the experience of playing as a character that stands just four inches tall.      


    Contrary to some pre-release reports, the control changes are not nearly so radical as to replace direct analog stick control of Chibi-Robo with a point-and-click-style interface. Instead, the Wii Remote's pointer functionality is used to complement the game's original control scheme, and performs well overall. For example, when the Chibi-Blaster weapon is equipped, the ever-present on-screen cursor becomes a crosshair that can be used to quickly target enemies or objects.    


    The pointer can also be used to guide Chibi-Robo's eyes when looking from a first-person perspective, and using the Blaster from this view is reminiscent of a stationary version of shooting in Metroid Prime 3 (the analog stick being used to zoom in/out rather than for movement), though the action certainly doesn't demand such precision or fluidity. Finally, when you pass the pointer over certain objects as you explore, peculiar musical noises are triggered as the objects rustle in response to the virtual contact. These reactions indicate that the object can be picked up, and simultaneously add to the game's outstanding, uniquely vivid sound design.    


    Aside from pointer utilisation, the other notable aspect of Chibi-Robo's Wii controls is the use of gestures for certain actions. These include lightly wiggling the Wii Remote to scrub stains off floors, flicking to throw rubbish in the bin, and twisting to unlock doors. While these are little more than a substitute for button presses, and therefore seem quite token, they are thankfully all intuitive motions for each job. More importantly, they have been implemented with sufficient restraint to avoid becoming irksome; the context-sensitive nature of these actions means that no grand, early Wii commercial-like flailing is required to get anything to work here.    


    Other aspects of Chibi-Robo's controls have been left mostly unaffected by the Wii Remote-Nunchuk configuration, with the exception of camera control now being delegated to the D-pad and pointer in lieu of a second analog stick. This setup proves adequate most of the time, with the ability to immediately centre the view behind Chibi-Robo (previously performed by pressing the GameCube's L trigger) by tapping down on the D-pad coming in handy when carefully navigating more complex sections of the environment.    


    Perhaps more significant than any of the above control changes is the inclusion of widescreen support, and this is not merely because many gamers (including myself) have upgraded to a 16:9 TV in the years since the end of the GameCube era. The concept of seeing a typical environment from a very different perspective is central to the Chibi-Robo experience, and the panoramic views given by the wide aspect ratio work to heighten the sense of being a tiny character faced with traversing massive surroundings. Displaying the game's graphics on a big screen may further expose its sometimes simple environment geometry and rough texture work—there certainly does not appear to have been any Metroid Prime Trilogy-style refinements made in this area—but the enhanced sense of scale comfortably trumps these concerns.    


    Given the amount of enjoyment I've had playing Chibi-Robo on Wii (despite having to muddle through reams of Japanese text using online translations), it is undoubtedly a shame that there has yet to be any indication of the New Play Control! version coming to Western markets. Should Nintendo of America and/or Europe find a slot in their Wii release schedules for skip's adorable creation, it would represent a welcome opportunity for more gamers to become fans of what will hopefully be a continuing series of Chibi-Robo adventures on Nintendo platforms.


    10
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 155
    « on: July 26, 2009, 03:32:31 PM »
    Jonny's back and he's fit to 'splode with New Business, Greg dives into Wii Sports Resort, and the crew examines the state of current generation gaming while answering more of your Listener Mail.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=19106

     Episode 155: Power Forward    



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    Normal service resumes for this week's RFN as Jonny returns with a bucketful of Southern Fried New Business, including his thoughts on 'Splosion Man, the similarly explosive but curiously impenetrable Bangai-O Spirits, and there's some Metts-level scrutiny for Metroid's new custodians through a look at Ninja Gaiden Black. Meanwhile, Jon becomes lost in time with Chrono Trigger and California Games, Greg gets to grips with both the future and the past playing Wii Sports Resort and Retro Game Challenge, and James' trip to the hallowed antiquity of Heracles Chariot Racing ends in predictable anger.    


    After the crew finishes catching up, it's onto more of your Listener Mail, wherein a discussion on the state of current generation gaming roams all the way from drab colour palettes to the ailing Japanese console market, and also extends to our anticipation levels for Super Mario Galaxy 2. After more answers to your questions on FFIV: The After Years and the unfortunately named Chew Man Fu, the show concludes with a surreal aural journey into the world of RFN's most cherished/ridiculed franchise…          


    Don't forget, the voting for RetroActive #8: SNES Edition is now underway!      Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!  


    11
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 154
    « on: July 19, 2009, 06:30:00 AM »
    With Jonny away on manoeuvres (playing Bangai-O Spirits), the crew welcomes Japan Correspondent Matt Walker into the fold to get the lowdown on Wii Sports Resort and the launch of Dragon Quest IX.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=19040

     Episode 154: Audio Slow Motion    



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    It's always a pleasure to welcome a new member of staff to RFN, and on this occasion we had the timely opportunity to hear from our new Japan Correspondent, Matt Walker, on the biggest gaming event of 2009 in the Land of the Rising Sun: the launch of Dragon Quest IX. After getting to know our new colleague (and ourselves) a little better to begin the show, we hear Matt's impressions of the long-awaited DS RPG, as well as his thoughts on the final version of Wii Sports Resort.    


    There's no shortage of games for the rest of the crew to discuss in New Business; James and Jon discover the strategy games of the past reborn on DS with Front Mission and Fire Emblem, and Greg tries to stay in rhythm as Ouendan 2 becomes the latest title in his recent string of music games. In the second segment, RetroActive #7 comes to a close with a bloodcurdling digitised howl before we respond to your questions in Listener Mail, including: the dos and don'ts of using Wii Speak, a puzzling hiatus for the Mario Party series, and a look back at our favourite RetroActive moments so far.    


    Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!  


    12
    TalkBack / When E3 (Kinda) Came to London…
    « on: July 06, 2009, 05:25:00 AM »
    http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/blogArt.cfm?artid=18992

      Back at the beginning of June, I couldn't help but feel a little jealous as much of the Nintendo World Report staff assembled in Los Angeles to cover E3 2009. Yes, they worked for many hours on little sleep to provide the impeccable coverage that we all enjoyed reading and listening to, but they also got to play a whole lot of games most of us will have to wait months to get our hands on. Thankfully, before this jealousy could become quintessentially British repressed rage, Nintendo brought most of its E3 demos over to the UK for a special event, and a few weeks ago I was among those fortunate enough to play the line-up of forthcoming first party titles inside the cool confines of a London hotel.    


    Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii took pride of place at the event, all displayed on multiple big-screen HDTVs dotted around a swimming pool (yes, a swimming pool….I don't know why either). A little less prominent, but no less welcome, was the presence of Endless Ocean 2 and Sin & Punishment 2, along with a number of high profile DS games. Fortunately, circumstances allowed me to get significant playtime with all of these games, and I came away with plenty of food for thought about the year to come in Nintendo gaming.    


    One-on-one with one-to-one    


    Wii Sports Resort presented my first chance to use the Wii MotionPlus, and for all its promises of unprecedented one-to-one control, it didn't disappoint. I started with some Swordplay, slowly tilting the Wii Remote at first to see how my movements were being translated on screen. Satisfied with the smooth precision of the tracking, I proceeded to revel in pummelling my timid Mii opponents into submission (a watery grave, actually), and felt sure that duelling with friends is going to be enormous fun.    


    The surprise hit of the many Wii Sports Resort activities I tried was Table Tennis. While rather more understated than the grand gesturing involved in Swordplay, Table Tennis was another great showcase for MotionPlus, as it provided total control over paddle positioning, and nuanced application of spin on shots. In stark contrast to its Wii Play predecessor, Sports Resort Table Tennis has an immediate, tactile appeal reminiscent of Bowling in the original Wii Sports, and could prove to be a similar favourite with all sections of the Wii audience.    


    With friends like these…    


    After taking the time to realise that the balance games in Wii Fit Plus had been purposefully designed to make me look like a buffoon—it may have been less embarrassing to actually wear a chicken suit, so long as I didn't have to flap around so much—I moved on to the other big holiday title, New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Despite having already watched a number of videos of the game from the real E3, I couldn't help but be taken aback at just how exactly it resembled the DS game, from the various level themes right down to which particular enemies were represented by polygonal models or pre-rendered sprites. Having said that, the return of Yoshi and the spin jump were welcome throwbacks to Super Mario World, and the new Propeller and Penguin suits were a joy to experiment with.    


    Of course, multiplayer is the big draw for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and my time with it was simultaneously very entertaining and uniquely awkward; regrettably, my inept attempts to assist fellow players were easily misconstrued as malicious, or in one particularly unfortunate case involving Yoshi and a Piranha Plant, just plain murderous (sorry, random person!). One detail I found especially interesting was that everybody has five lives, but if all players should die near-simultaneously (leaving no-one left to free players from the bubble they reappear in after dying), then it's game over for everyone, regardless of how many lives they have left in reserve. As evidenced by the way an ill-advised attempt to nab a precariously placed Star Coin away from my "colleague" led to our instant destruction, this system makes maintaining some level of co-ordination amid the inevitable chaos and antagonism of it all even more important than it might seem initially. I know it's been noted many times over at this point, but it really is this constant tension between co-operation and mischief that makes New Super Mario Bros. Wii such an enjoyable multiplayer experience.    


    Eclectic sequels    


    Tucked away on lesser TV screens were sequels to two diametrically opposed games: the tranquil Endless Ocean, and the frenzied Sin & Punishment. Unfortunately, the low-quality composite display could hardly do justice to the serene beauty of Endless Ocean 2, but a number of refinements on the original game were still apparent. Familiar species displayed greater detail and more intricate animation, new kinds of aquatic environments were open to explore, and the previously risible on-land graphics showed vast improvement. The partial localisation of the demo (it remained laden with Japanese text) made it difficult to see all that I would have liked, but I came away from it very encouraged nonetheless.    


    As someone who holds Sin & Punishment in the very highest regard, it was tremendously exciting to get my hands on its sequel nearly ten years after I first played the original on the first Christmas morning of the new millennium. The demo was quite gentle in terms of difficulty, but the slick pointer controls combined with an abundance of enemies and exquisitely outlandish boss encounters made it an absolute blast to play. The most intriguing new element is the ability to float indefinitely, which was undoubtedly satisfying and fun to use in the demo, but questions remain as to how it will complement blasting with your feet on the ground over the course of the game. In any case, Sin & Punishment 2's 2010 release simply cannot come quickly enough.    


    Bar-side blowback    


    There were also a number of handheld titles available to try, and they affirmed that the end of the fifth year on the market for DS will be among its best yet. My time guiding Link and his Phantom companion in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks demonstrated the potential for clever dungeon designs based around solo team-working, and left me significantly more enthused for Link's second outing on DS. However, I couldn't help but rue the need to blow into the microphone while playing next to the generously stocked bar that kept everyone hydrated following their frantic chicken-flapping sessions, but beggars can't be choosers I guess. Even more impressive than Spirit Tracks though was Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, thanks to the strikingly vibrant visuals that now complement the witty charm and solid gameplay of its predecessors—in stark contrast to the next Pokémon Mystery Dungeon title, which seemed stiff and (still) distinctly GBA-like by comparison.    


    All in all, it may not have been all that much like going to E3, but it was truly fascinating to go hands-on with so many unreleased Nintendo games in such a short space of time, and a whole lot of fun to boot. Now there is just one more thing to settle before I'm finally even with my North American comrades: when the heck are we getting Excitebots?


    13
    TalkBack / Hanabi Festival Returns to PAL Virtual Console
    « on: July 06, 2009, 05:18:44 AM »
    A new wave of import releases is underway, with eight classic titles coming to European shores for the first time during July.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18991

     Nintendo has announced that a new "Hanabi Festival"—where classic games previously unreleased in PAL territories are made available to download from the Wii Shop Channel—is now underway and will run through the rest of July.    


    The July 3 update kicked-off the proceedings with the Super NES tactical RPG, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen (900 Nintendo Points), and Pulseman, a Mega Drive platformer developed by Pokémon creators Game Freak (also 900 Points). A further six import Virtual Console games will launch over the course of this month; see below for a list of the rest of the games.    


       
    • Bomberman '94 (Turbografx)
    •  
    • Kirby's Dream Land 3 (Super Nintendo)
    •  
    • Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II (NES)
    •  
    • MUSHA (SEGA MEGA DRIVE)
    •  
    • DETANA TWIN BEE (Turbografx)
    •  
    • Smash Table Tennis (NES)
    •  


    14
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 149
    « on: June 14, 2009, 05:45:00 AM »
    Join the RFN team (minus Jonny, plus TYP) as it recuperates from E3 by catching up on your Listener Mail and closing out the Zelda II RetroActive.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=18867

     Episode 149: In Search of Salmon Arm    



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    Subscribe via iTunes (Please rate and review, too!)    


    With the NWR staff still recovering from E3 (all of the Es are for "Exhaustion" apparently) and Jonny away at Bonnaroo fighting Courteney Cox for the title of Bruce Springsteen's no.1 fan, things were looking grim for RFN until the glorious return of the newlywed Jon Lindemann lit our darkest hour. Joined by Radio Trivia host and ex-expat Michael "TYP" Cole, the guys catch-up with some belated reactions to E3, share experiences of pummelling national stereotypes in Punch-Out!!, and much more during a jam-packed New Business.    


    E3 generated plenty of interesting questions and comments for us to take on in Listener Mail, including the prospect of custom levels for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the impact of Project Natal on the console cycle, and whether The Conduit's bubble has been burst just before its release. The show concludes with the second part of our RetroActive feature on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, wherein Jon sets aside his culinary suggestions for the controversial sequel to help us look at its development history, the latter stages, and more of your forum comments.    


    RFN will celebrate its 150th episode next week, so if you have any memories or favourite moments you'd like to hear discussed during the show, let us know now!     Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!  


    15
    TalkBack / Super Smash Bros. Coming to PAL VC on Friday
    « on: June 11, 2009, 08:04:08 AM »
    See where all the fighting between Nintendo's elite began for 1000 Nintendo Points.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18840

     Nintendo has announced that Super Smash Bros., the original four player crossover fighter for Nintendo 64, will be coming to the PAL Wii Shop Channel this week as part of its Friday update.    


    Unlike its release for the Japanese Virtual Console back in January at a price of 1200 Nintendo Points, Super Smash Bros. will not carry a premium in Europe and Australia. Instead, it will cost the standard 1000 Nintendo points for an N64 title. It is the third N64 release of 2009 for the PAL Virtual Console, following Mario Golf 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.    


    Also available to download on Wii this week will be Cocoto Platform Jumper (700 Nintendo Points), a WiiWare conversion of the 2004 PlayStation 2 retail game. For the DSi, there is Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (800 Nintendo Points) from Gameloft, and Hudson Soft's Sudoku 150! For Challengers (500 Nintendo Points).


    16
    TalkBack / Nintendo Reveals European Release Schedule for Q3
    « on: June 02, 2009, 05:21:01 PM »
    Metroid Prime Trilogy, Kirby Super Star Ultra, and the next Professor Layton title are among the games dated for the summer.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18683

     Nintendo of Europe has revealed the Wii and Nintendo DS release schedules for the third quarter of this year, dating a number of significant first and third-party titles for the first time as well as confirming previous announcements.    


    The headline addition to the first party Wii summer line-up is the recently revealed Metroid Prime Trilogy, which will arrive in Europe on September 4 shortly after it makes its debut in North America. The single-disc collection of Retro Studios' acclaimed series joins the already announced New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (June 5), Another Code R (June 26), and Wii Sports Resort (July 24). Notably absent from this list is Excitebots, hinting that Nintendo of Europe may not be preparing the online racer for a PAL release.    


    Nintendo has scheduled two major handheld releases for September. Professor Layton and Pandora's Box is the localised follow-up to the original, very successful Layton adventure that launched in Europe at the end of last year. Kirby Super Star Ultra is something of a surprise inclusion, coming roughly an entire year after its North American launch, but is surely a welcome one for fans of HAL's loveable mascot.      


    Newly-dated third party Wii software for the next quarter includes the chilling Cursed Mountain (August) from Deep Silver, the Smash Bros.-like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up (September) from Ubisoft, and Capcom's co-op brawler, Spyborgs (September). On DS, Renegade Kid's atmospheric FPS, Moon, will finally arrive in Europe on June 26, but there is no sign of the previously listed Space Invaders Extreme Remix from Square-Enix. It is currently expected to launch sometime during autumn as Space Invaders Extreme 2.    


    The full Q3 release lists from Nintendo and selected third party publishers for Wii and DS can be seen below:    


    Wii Software 2009  

     

       
    • NEW PLAY CONTROL! DONKEY KONG JUNGLE BEAT(Nintendo)5 June
    •  
    • MySims™ Racing (EA) 9 June
    •  
    • Grand Slam Tennis (EA SPORTS) 12 June
    •  
    • Indiana Jones and the Staff Of Kings (LucasArts) 12 June
    •  
    • Pirates Vs Ninjas Dodgeball (SouthPeak Games) 12 June
    •  
    • PLAYZONE FUN PARK PARTY (Ubisoft) 18 June
    •  
    • Let's Tap (SEGA) 19 June
    •  
    • One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 1 (NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe) 19 June
    •  
    • The Munchables (NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe) 19 June
    •  
    • Overlord Dark Legend (Codemasters) 25 June
    •  
    • Another Code R : A Journey into Lost Memories (Nintendo) 26 June
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Activision) 26 June (UK)
    •  
    • Resident Evil: Archives (Capcom) 26 June
    •  
    • Rygar (Rising Star Games) 26 June
    •  
    • The Conduit (SEGA) 26 June
    •  
    • Ready Steady Cook (Mindscape) 30 June (UK)
    •  
    • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Activision) June
    •  
    • Bob the Builder: Festival of Fun (Mastertronic - Blast Entertainment Label) June
    •  
    • It's My Birthday (2K Play) June
    •  
    • Rock Revolution (Konami) June
    •  
    • Virtua Tennis 2009 (SEGA) June
    •  
    • Mr Bean's Wacky World of Wii (Mastertronic - Blast Entertainment Label) Q2
    •  
    • PLAYZONE SUMMER SPORTS PARTY (Ubisoft) 2 July
    •  
    • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (EA SPORTS) 3 July
    •  
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ (EA) 5 July
    •  
    • Roogoo Twisted Towers (SouthPeak Games) 10 July
    •  
    • Wii Sports Resort & Wii MotionPlus Accessory (Nintendo) 24 July
    •  
    • G.I. JOE™  The Rise of Cobra (EA) 27 July
    •  
    • Cake Mania - In the Mix (Majesco) July
    •  
    • Casper's Scare School: Spooky Sports Day (Mastertronic - Blast Entertainment Label) July
    •  
    • G-Force (Disney Interactive Studios) July
    •  
    • Hysteria Hospital (Oxygen Interactive) July
    •  
    • Major Minor's Majestic March (Majesco) July
    •  
    • Summer Athletics 2009 (dtp entertainment AG) July
    •  
    • The Bigs Baseball 2 (2K Sports) July
    •  
    • Madden NFL 10 (EA SPORTS) 14 August
    •  
    • Cursed Mountain (Deep Silver) August
    •  
    • MY FITNESS COACH: CARDIO WORKOUT (Ubisoft) August
    •  
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy (Nintendo) 4 September
    •  
    • CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (Ubisoft) September (UK)
    •  
    • Colin McRae Dirt 2 (Codemasters) September
    •  
    • Cricket 09 (Codemasters) September
    •  
    • Disney Sing It 2 Pop Hits (Disney Interactive Studios) September
    •  
    • Diva Girls: Diva Ballerina (505 Games SRL) September
    •  
    • Family Trainer: Extreme Challenge (NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe) September
    •  
    • Go Play Circus Star (Majesco) September
    •  
    • Mini Ninjas (Eidos) September
    •  
    • NewU Fitness First Personal Trainer (Black Bean Games) September
    •  
    • NEW Gameparty (Midway Games) September
    •  
    • Runaway The Dream of the Turtle (Focus Home Interactive) September
    •  
    • Spectrobes: Origins (Disney Interactive Studios) September
    •  
    • Spyborgs (Capcom) September
    •  
    • TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SMASH-UP (Ubisoft) September
    •  
    • Toy Story Mania (Disney Interactive Studios) September
    •  
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Wheelie Breakers (Konami) September
    •  
    • Cate West TheVanishing Files (Oxygen Interactive) Q3
    •  
    • Love Is…In Bloom (zushi games limited) Q3
    •  

        Nintendo DS Software 2009  

       
    • Walk With Me! Do You Know Your Walking Routine? Plus 2 Activity Meters (Nintendo) 5 June
    •  
    • MySims™ Racing (EA) 9 June
    •  
    • Indiana Jones and the Staff Of Kings (LucasArts) 12 June
    •  
    • Blood Bowl (Focus Home Interactive) 18 June
    •  
    • IMAGINE MY BOUTIQUE (Ubisoft) 18 June
    •  
    • TOTALLY SPIES AGENDA (Ubisoft) 18 June
    •  
    • LEGO Battles (Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment) 19 June
    •  
    • Overlord Minions (Codemasters) 25 June
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Autobots (Activision) 26 June (UK)
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Decepticons (Activision) 26 June (UK)
    •  
    • Gripskids Deutsch (dtp young entertainment) 26 June
    •  
    • Hotel Deluxe (dtp young entertainment) 26 June
    •  
    • Moon (Gamebridge) 26 June
    •  
    • Ready Steady Cook (Mindscape) 30 June (UK)
    •  
    • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Activision) June
    •  
    • Astrology (Black Bean Games) June
    •  
    • MY COOKING COACH: PREPARE HEALTHY RECIPES (Ubisoft) June
    •  
    • Angel Cat Sugar (Rising Star Games) 3 July
    •  
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ (EA) 5 July
    •  
    • Animal Kororo (Rising Star Games) 10 July
    •  
    • Diva Girls: Princess On Ice 2 (505 Games SRL) 10 July
    •  
    • Roogoo Attack! (SouthPeak Games) 10 July
    •  
    • G.I. JOE™ The Rise of Cobra (EA) 27 July
    •  
    • CLASSIC WORD GAMES (Ubisoft) July
    •  
    • G-Force (Disney Interactive Studios) July
    •  
    • Hysteria Hospital (Oxygen Interactive) July
    •  
    • My Animal Centre Baby Animals (Deep Silver) July
    •  
    • Pony Life (Deep Silver) July
    •  
    • Active Health with Carol Vorderman Plus 1 Activity Meter (Nintendo) 7 August (UK)
    •  
    • Dungeon Raiders (Focus Home Interactive) 27 August
    •  
    • Anna und die Liebe (SevenOne Intermedia/Midway Games/GAS) August
    •  
    • DJ Star (Deep Silver) August
    •  
    • Gina Lisa Powershopping (SevenOne Intermedia/Midway Games/GAS) August
    •  
    • Go! Go! Cosmo Cops! (NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe) August
    •  
    • MIGHT AND MAGIC CLASH OF HEROES (Ubisoft) August
    •  
    • Oktoberfest - Das offizielle Spiel zur Wiesn (SevenOne Intermedia/Midway Games/GAS) August
    •  
    • Puzzle Kingdoms (zushi games limited) August
    •  
    • Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney Interactive Studios) August
    •  
    • I Did It Mum!  Doll's House (505 Games SRL) 4 September
    •  
    • HAPPY Party with Hello Kitty & Friends (Gamebridge) 4 September
    •  
    • My World My Way (Rising Star Games) 11 September
    •  
    • Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo) September
    •  
    • NARUTO SHIPPUDEN NINJA COUNCIL 3 European Version (TOMY) 18 September
    •  
    • Mah Jongg Ancient Mayas (Rising Star Games) 18 September
    •  
    • MIAMI CRISIS (HUDSON SOFT CO.,LTD.) 24 September
    •  
    • Steal Princess (Rising Star Games) 25 September
    •  
    • Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box (Nintendo) September
    •  
    • Colin McRae Dirt 2 (Codemasters) September
    •  
    • COMBAT OF GIANTS: DRAGONS (Ubisoft) September
    •  
    • IMAGINE DETECTIVE (Ubisoft) September
    •  
    • Mini Ninjas (Eidos) September
    •  
    • NEW TouchMaster (Midway Games) September
    •  
    • CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (Ubisoft) September (UK)
    •  
    • Jumpin' Music (NEKO ENTERTAINMENT) Q3
    •  
    • Duke Nukem: Critical Mass (Deep Silver) Q3
    •  
    • Margot's bepuzzled (zushi games limited) Q3
    •  

       Wii Accessories  
    • Wii MotionPlus Accessory (1 per pack) 12 June
    •  

       Nintendo DS Accessories  
    • Activity Meter (1 per pack) 5 June
    •  


    17
    TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: Contra: Rebirth
    « on: May 26, 2009, 02:41:57 PM »
    Hold onto your missiles—Contra's back and it's crazier than ever!
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressionsArt.cfm?artid=18542

     With the release of Contra ReBirth for Japan's Wii Shop Channel, the legendary action franchise became the second (after Gradius) in what looks sure to be an ongoing series of WiiWare revivals for classic Konami properties. Downloadable retro titles may be nothing new, but unlike the multitude of titles on Virtual Console, or even the meticulously 8-bit-like Mega Man 9, Contra ReBirth feels distinctly like a new $10 game rather than an old $50 one. My playtime with it so far has shown this approach to be welcome in some respects, and less so in others.    


    Contra ReBirth adapts the series to the WiiWare format primarily by stripping it down to a pure run-and-gun foundation, and making no attempt to stretch out the experience. Ever since the franchise began in the arcade, Contra's side-scrolling action has typically been punctuated by 3D or overhead stages to change-up the gameplay and extend the running time (the Genesis title, Contra: Hard Corps, being one exception). ReBirth dispenses with such stages, instead providing five tightly-paced levels that continue to up the ante right up to the final boss. Moreover, by providing relatively frequent checkpoints and unlimited continues, Contra ReBirth demonstrates that it isn't afraid of players seeing much of what it has to offer in a fairly short period of time—distinctly unlike many games of its kind from years past that were burdened with high price tags.    


    (Note: the Super Famicom version of Contra III featured unlimited continues where its Super NES counterpart did not, so this aspect could be subject to change when Contra ReBirth is released outside of Japan)          


    This approach ensures a less frustrating experience than previous Contras and combined with ReBirth's generally brisk pacing, makes repeated play (there is still no save, nor a VC-like suspend feature) through the levels more palatable for today's gamers. However, the downside is that ReBirth ends up feeling less epic than its predecessors, and to some may well seem somewhat insubstantial, even for the 1000 Nintendo Point price tag.    


    Leaving the continue system aside, Contra's trademark high difficulty has been left mostly intact, so ReBirth will still challenge players despite demanding less of their time. The difficulty can also be customised, both in terms of the number of lives available and the challenge level (Easy, Normal or Hard), with the higher settings offering different attack patterns for bosses in addition to adding more enemies and bullets.      


    In gameplay terms, Contra ReBirth is much closer to Contra III: The Alien Wars than the recent DS title, Contra 4. For instance, the more complex elements of WayForward's portable edition of the franchise, such as weapon-stacking and the grappling hook, have been omitted. ReBirth even leaves a few things out from Contra III, such as the screen-destroying bomb, plus the Flamethrower and Charge weapons, but it otherwise plays near-identically. Most noticeably, the controls leave the fire rate of all the weapons automatic, so no hammering of the fire button is ever required. The net result is a relatively straightforward and accessible Contra, but this is not without its problems (the Spread weapon is back to its highly overpowered best here) and some fans may miss the greater intricacy of previous titles.          


    At first glance, Contra ReBirth looks like an unremarkable 16-bit title, running in 4:3 and exhibiting less focus on graphical detail than even 1992's Contra III. However, in motion the visuals begin to charm and impress thanks to a bold comic-book art style, fluid animation, special effects that make bullets and lasers incandescent, and more sprite scaling and rotation than all those early Super NES games that made "Mode 7" famous put together. Later on in the game, the sheer volume of sprites being pushed around at high speed truly distinguishes Contra ReBirth as something that wouldn't have been manageable for the 16-bit platforms. Taken together, these enhancements are significant yet subtle enough to keep Contra ReBirth in line with fans' memories of the 16-bit era while thankfully taking things up a notch and omitting the stilted animation and slowdown from those days that have become so much more noticeable in the years hence.    


    Crucially, developers M2 (of VC emulation fame, appropriately enough) have delivered in the areas where any Contra game absolutely must: imaginative bosses and outrageous set pieces. The spoiler-sensitive among you out there may wish to skip past the next few lines, but for those curious about what ReBirth has in store, expect such craziness as: a battle with a colossal caterpillar while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, a high speed chase involving purple robotic llamas, a full-on stampede through an alien hive, and—of course—giant missile grabbing. As appropriately absurd as these scenarios sound, they are equally well designed and fun to play, though not quite on the same level as Contra III's finest moments.    


    The settings for the stages are rather familiar, the second level is a ruined city much like the opening stage in Contra III, for instance, and a number of ideas from previous games are reprised, but there's enough new and surprising things going on to make the levels seem sufficiently fresh. Conversely, the soundtrack goes all out for nostalgia, especially for Sega fans given the distinctly Genesis-like instrumentation employed, with an assortment of classic melodies that will have Contra veterans humming along.    


    Another essential part of the Contra experience for many fans is two player co-op, and this is included in ReBirth. It still requires the presence of a friend in the same room in lieu of online functionality though. In fact, Contra ReBirth lacks even the online high score rankings of its Gradius counterpart on WiiWare, thus its replay value is limited to playing through the game a few times to unlock trivially different extra characters and a super-hard difficulty setting.    


    To sum up, Contra ReBirth is a highly concentrated experience. It isn't going to last for very long, neither is it an especially ambitious or creative endeavour, but I've had a blast playing it from start to finish—and a few times over again. Konami has taken the opportunity offered by WiiWare to go back to the basics with Contra's gameplay, providing intense, no-nonsense fun that's a great fit for the platform. Hopefully it won't be long before other regions get their chance to "lock and load!"


    18
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 144
    « on: May 03, 2009, 01:50:46 PM »
    Neal Ronaghan gives us his hands-on impressions of EA's Wii MotionPlus titles, and RetroActive gets evil as Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts finally takes its turn.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=18354

     Episode 144: The Punishment is Death    



     Download in AAC Format           Subscribe to AAC Feed    


    Download in MP3 Format           Subscribe to MP3 Feed    


    Subscribe via iTunes (Please rate and review, too!)    


    Unfortunately, Jonny once again could not sit in the RFN host's chair, but Greg, James, and Jon were delighted to have NWR News Editor Neal Ronaghan call in and share his impressions from a recent EA event in New York City. After going through his (MotionPlus enhanced!) hands-on time with Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods 10, Neal has plenty of portable goodness to discuss, including Peggle DS and Dr. Mario Express for DSiWare.    


    Little King's Story, GTA Chinatown Wars, and a unique conversation about Army of Two make up the rest of our New Business this week. Afterwards we get into your Listener Mail, where we give our picks for those WiiWare/VC games that used to be too big for the fridge, and take a trip back in time to the great cheat hoaxes of the past.    


    The show comes to a close with the highly anticipated/dreaded arrival of our RetroActive discussion for the much loved/hated Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. Luckily, we have three of the game's big admirers/Stockholm syndrome-sufferers on hand to stress the merits of Capcom's polarising Super NES platformer, but there's plenty of strong feelings to discuss on both sides as the crew opens up the old battle scars and reads from your forum comments. Just be thankful we don't make you listen through the show twice to get to the end!          


    Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their new album, Rocket Number 9, directly from the record label, or download it from iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!    


    Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo and Capcom, and is included under fair use protection.  


    19
    Podcast Discussion / Radio Free Nintendo: Episode 143
    « on: April 26, 2009, 05:40:00 AM »
    In the absence of Jonny, Nick DiMola joins the RFN crew to talk Excitebots, Punch-Out!!, Billy Mitchell, and to speculate like there's no tomorrow.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/podcastArt.cfm?artid=18284

     Episode 143: Standard Deviation    




     Download in AAC Format          Subscribe to AAC Feed    


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    Subscribe via iTunes (Please rate and review, too!)    


    Jonny couldn't join us for this episode, so Greg sits in as host and Nick DiMola joins the rest of the RFN crew to share his early thoughts on Excitebots: Trick Racing ahead of his review. Also in New Business: James ventures deeper into red-and-black virtual reality with Wario Land, Greg discovers how many more VC Arcade games the Japanese market already has than everywhere else, and Jon re-enters the workforce with his backlog of unfinished game reviews still intact.    


    Listener mail gives everyone a chance to express their disbelief at both the omission of SD card music support for Excitebots and the very existence of Billy Mitchell before heading into the news. Following some musing on sales numbers, the Wii MotionPlus/Sports Resort launch schedule and new Punch-Out!! details, we close things out by indulging in what we do best (or at least most): baseless speculation about future Nintendo titles!    


    Don't forget, the fifth RetroActive feature title is the (in)famously uncompromising Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, but don't be afraid to join in with the discussion on our forums because your comments could appear among our war stories in Episode 144.      


    Credits:    


    This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.    


    Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their new album, Rocket Number 9, directly from the record label, or download it from iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!  


    20
    TalkBack / Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus Dated for Europe
    « on: April 14, 2009, 07:19:01 AM »
    The much-anticipated pair will debut at separate times during the summer.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18202

     Following months of speculation, Nintendo of Europe has finally revealed the launch dates for Wii MotionPlus and Wii Sports Resort across the region.    


    Wii MotionPlus, the gyroscope-based add-on to the Wii Remote that promises "1:1 control" on the platform for the first time, will launch on June 12—ready just in time for the launch of compatible software such as EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis.    


    Wii Sports Resort, which will be sold with a single Wii MotionPlus unit packed in, arrives six weeks later on July 24. The successor to the phenomenally successful Wii Sports, the beach-themed Wii Sports Resort is said to demonstrate the full range of control possibilities offered by Wii MotionPlus through a series of new games such as sword fighting, disc throwing, and several more yet to be revealed.    


      NINTENDO TO SET SUMMER ’09 ABLAZE WITH Wii MOTIONPLUS AND Wii SPORTS RESORT    


    Advanced Motion Controls Arrive June 12th  Wii Sports Sequel to Follow    


    London, England: April 14, 2009 – Nintendo is set for a blockbuster summer with the announcement of two anticipated product releases. The new Wii MotionPlus™ accessory will hit European retailers on June 12th, taking the motion-sensing controls of the popular Wii™ system to new levels of precision and performance. What’s more, these control enhancements will be on vibrant display when the Wii Sports Resort™ game launches on July 24th, offering a beach-themed follow-up to the popular Wii Sports™ game. Wii Sports comes packed with the Wii console and continues to attract new players of all generations and ages to the world of video games. Each Wii Sports Resort game comes packed with a single Wii MotionPlus accessory.    


    When used with specially designed games*, Wii MotionPlus tracks players’ movements in finer detail and with greater accuracy than ever before, building upon the innovative wireless function of the motion-sensing Wii Remote™ controller. Even the slightest twist of the wrist or turn of the body is replicated exactly on the TV screen, allowing users to become even more immersed in Wii game play. Wii MotionPlus is designed for easy attachment to the Wii Remote controller.    


    Wii Sports Resort takes the inclusive fun and intuitive controls of the original Wii Sports to the next level, introducing a whole new set of entertaining and physically immersive activities. With the deep control enhancements of Wii MotionPlus, veteran Wii users and newcomers alike can enjoy unprecedented gaming precision as they cruise on a water scooter, duel with swords, toss flying discs and much more.    


    "Everyone who has played the Wii can remember the moment they first discovered its intuitive controls and realised that this was an incredible new way of experiencing video games," said Laurent Fischer,  Managing Director, Marketing & PR, Nintendo of Europe "Wii MotionPlus will create that feeling again, taking gameplay to a new level of realism.  And with Wii Sports Resort, people will get the chance to immerse themselves in a hugely fun set of games that are designed to make the very best of this exciting new technology."    


    *Wii MotionPlus accessory is also compatible with Virtua Tennis 2009 (SEGA), Grand Slam Tennis (EA), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (EA)


    21
    This is the thread to discuss our fourth RetroActive feature title, Secret of Mana, the 1993 Super NES Action-RPG by Square.

    22
    TalkBack / European Q2 Release Schedule Revealed
    « on: March 18, 2009, 12:06:19 AM »
    Punch-Out!! and Rhythm Paradise headline the DS and Wii launch lists from now until June.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=17985

     Nintendo has pulled back the curtain on the full second quarter European software release line-ups for Wii and DS, dating a handful of much-anticipated first party titles for the first time in the process.    


    May is set to be a big month for Nintendo, as Punch-Out!! for Wii and Rhythm Paradise (a.k.a. Rhythm Heaven/Rhythm Tengoku Gold, May 1) join the already scheduled Pokémon Platinum (May 22) on the first party launch list.   Walk with me! Do you know your walking routine? for DS, having originally been slotted for release in Q1, will finally arrive on June 5.      


    The NEW PLAY CONTROL! series will expand further in Q2, first with Pikmin 2 on April 24, and then again in June with the release of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Also on Wii, the tentatively titled Another Code: R is named as a June title, while the recently announced Excitebots: Trick Racing is entirely absent from the list. A number of prominent third party Wii titles are present, but without specific dates; The Conduit is a spring release, Let's Tap is on course for the summer, and Overlord: Dark Legend is expected to arrive in June.    


    In preparation for the DSi launch on April 3, Wii Points will be officially rebranded as Nintendo Points. New denominations of retail cards (1000 and 3000 points) will become available alongside the DSi itself, which can be redeemed at the Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop to purchase downloadable games and other content.    


    On the software side, the handheld list contains one particularly notable third party listing in the form of Space Invaders Extreme Remix (June 5). Though Square Enix has not previously mentioned this title for a Western release, it would seem likely that it refers to Space Invaders Extreme 2, which launches in Japan in under two weeks time.    


    The full Q2 line-ups can be seen below:    


    Wii Software 2009    


       
    • New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis (Nintendo) - 6 March
    •  
    • Grey's Anatomy (Ubisoft) - 12 March
    •  
    • My Sims Party (EA) - 13 March
    •  
    • Sonic and the Black Knight (Sega) - 13 March
    •  
    • Trivial Pursuit (EA) - 13 March
    •  
    • Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (South Peak Interactive) - 20 March
    •  
    • Family Local Sports (Ubisoft) - 26 March
    •  
    • Body Coaching (Neko) - 30 March
    •  
    • Monsters vs. Aliens (Activision) - March
    •  
    • Madworld (SEGA) - March
    •  
    • PES 2009 (Konami) - March
    •  
    • Ready 2 Rumble Revolution (Atari) - March
    •  
    • Tenchu 4 (Ubisoft) - 2 April
    •  
    • New Play Control! Pikmin 2 (Nintendo) - 24 April
    •  
    • Cake Mania - In the Mix! (Majesco) - April
    •  
    • Diabolik: The Original Sin (Blackbean/Lago) - April
    •  
    • Impossible Mission (System 3) - April
    •  
    • Fast Food Panic (Nobilis) - 13 May
    •  
    • Punch-Out!! (Nintendo) - May
    •  
    • Guitar Hero Metallica (Activision) - May
    •  
    • Virtua Tennis 2009 (SEGA) - May
    •  
    • PDC World Championship Darts (Oxygen) - May
    •  
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Activision) - May
    •  
    • Another Code: R (tent) (Nintendo) - June
    •  
    • New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (Nintendo) - June
    •  
    • Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Overlord: Dark Legend (Codemasters) - June
    •  
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (Square-Enix) - Spring
    •  
    • The Conduit (SEGA) - Spring
    •  
    • Let's Tap (SEGA) - Summer
    •  
    • Line Rider Freestyle (Deep Silver) - Q2
    •  
    • Yamaha Super Cross (Zoo Digital) - Q2
    •    


      Nintendo DS Software 2009    


    • Petz My Horse Family (Ubisoft) - 5 March
    •  
    • Sam Power Soccer Star (Ubisoft) - 5 March
    •  
    • Naruto Ninja Destiny 2 European Versión (Tomy / Nintendo) - 6 March
    •  
    • Big Bang Mini (SouthPeak Interactive) - 6 March
    •  
    • Littlest Pet Shop: Spring (EA) - 6 March
    •  
    • Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry (Konami) - 12 March
    •  
    • Grey's Anatomy (Ubisoft) - 12 March
    •  
    • Bleach: Dark Souls (SEGA) - 13 March
    •  
    • MySims Party (EA) - 13 March
    •  
    • Travel Games for Dummies (EA) - 13 March
    •  
    • EA SPORTS Football Academy (EA) - 20 March
    •  
    • Henry Hatsworth (EA) - 20 March
    •  
    • Think Sinnestrainer (DTP Young Entertainment) - 20 March
    •  
    • Imagine Doctor (Ubisoft) - 26 March
    •  
    • Imagine Gourmet Chef (Ubisoft) - 26 March
    •  
    • My English Coach 2009 (Ubisoft) - 26 March
    •  
    • Monsters vs. Alien (Activision) - March
    •  
    • Rhythm Paradise (Nintendo) - 1 May
    •  
    • Cake Mania 2 (Majesco) - April
    •  
    • Dungeon Raiders (Focus Home Interactive) - April
    •  
    • Impossible Mission (System 3) - April
    •  
    • Diabolik: The Original Sin (Blackbean/Lago) - April
    •  
    • Fast Food Panic (Nobilis) - 13 May
    •  
    • Pokémon Platinum Version (Nintendo) - 22 May
    •  
    • PDC World Championship Darts (Oxygen) - May
    •  
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Activision) - May
    •  
    • Walk with me! Do you know your walking routine? bundled with two Activity Meters (Nintendo) - 5 June 2009
    •  
    • Space Invaders Extreme Remix (Square-Enix) - 5 June
    •  
    • Ghostbusters (Atari) - 19 June
    •  
    • Overlords: Minions (Codemasters) - June
    •  
    • Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Autobots (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Decepticons (Activision) - June
    •  
    • Disgaea DS (Square-Enix) - Spring
    •  
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (Square-Enix) - Spring
    •  
    • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (Square-Enix) - Spring
    •  
    • My Happy Kitchen (Ubisoft) - Q2
    •  
    • The Humans (Deep Silver) - Q2
    •  
    • Yamaha Super Cross (Zoo Digital) - Q2
    •    


      Nintendo Hardware    


    • Nintendo DSi (Black / White) - 3 April 2009
    •    


      Nintendo Accessories    


    • Nintendo Points Card - 2000 points - 6 March 2009
    •  
    • Nintendo Points Card - 1000 points - 3 April 2009
    •  
    • Nintendo Points Card - 3000 points - 3 April 2009
    •  
    • Activity Meter (x 1 ) (Nintendo) - 5 June 2009
    •  
       


    NINTENDO PACKS A PUNCH THIS SUMMER WITH BATTLES, RHYTHM AND THE THRILLING NEW NINTENDO DSi    


    Nintendo announces new Nintendo DS & Wii games line up for Spring / Summer 2009    


    16th March 2009. Nintendo’s early summer offering for 2009 promises everything from the highly anticipated Nintendo DSi launch and rhythmic beats to high-impact tactical boxing and legendary Pokémon battles.    


    Highly anticipated Nintendo DSi reaches European shores    


    Nintendo will launch its new handheld console, the Nintendo DSi, across Europe, on 3rd April 2009.  The Nintendo DSi is the thinnest and lightest member of the Nintendo DS family and is packed with new features that will excite fans of - and newcomers to - the Nintendo DS range.  From creating, customising and sharing photos with friends & family or listening to and experimenting with your favourite music, to playing more than 1000 existing Nintendo DS games and downloading new DSiWare games directly onto your console, there are many ways to have fun with the Nintendo DSi. The console also features internet capabilities, meaning the fun begins the moment you switch it on!    


    Wii Points become Nintendo Points    


    Also launching in April are Nintendo Points Cards – the new incarnation of Wii Points – available to buy via the Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop as well as through retail as a 2000 Points Card (March 6), a 1000 and a 3000 Points Card (April 3).  Nintendo Points can be used to buy games and other exclusive content from the Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop which can be downloaded to a user’s Wii console or Nintendo DSi.    


    New titles come to the Nintendo DS family    


    For Nintendo DS (and Nintendo DSi users), the beat goes on as Rhythm Paradise in the UK on 1st May. Rhythm Paradise is light hearted and engaging with no difficult rules or controls which makes it so easy to learn, but still challenging to master. Use the stylus to tap, flick or slide the Touch Screen in time with a rhythm or cue – the more closely the beat is followed, the higher the player is ranked.  Rhythm Paradise offers off-the-wall characters, graphics and more than 50 music based mini-games and rhythm toys.    


    Staying with Nintendo DS, Pokémon Platinum Version is launching across Europe, on May 22. This epic adventure, set in the Pokémon world’s Sinnoh region, is packed with exciting features – such as new ways to play online at the Wi-Fi Plaza where you can connect wirelessly with up to 20 players and play games together in real-time over the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Many legendary Pokémon are featured including one of the most unusual and highly popular Pokémon, Shaymin. As well as trading and battling with friends, mini-games can be played in the Wi-Fi Club.    


    New thrills come to Wii    


    Also due for release on Wii is Punch-Out!! (May) the unique boxing game and latest instalment in the Punch-Out!! franchise. The core game mechanics revolve around the tactics of boxing, detecting and exploiting weaknesses in the opponent’s defence. Punch-Out!! follows the story of Little Mac, an up-and-coming boxer from the Bronx, NY, on his way to becoming the boxing World Champion.  The game includes various signature characters and the Wii Motion controls provide an intuitive & unique boxing experience.    


    NEW PLAY CONTROL! take on new titles for Wii    


    The NEW PLAY CONTROL! series sees classic games reinvented to take advantage of Wii’s unique motion-sensing capabilities, so if you have already been spending hours enjoying NEW PLAY CONTROL! PIKMIN which launched on Wii on February 6, then get ready for a treat as April 24 sees the launch of NEW PLAY CONTROL! PIKMIN 2 . Gameplay in PIKMIN 2 revolves around using different combinations of Pikmin to retrieve various treasures from the planet's surface. These treasures range from a battery to a yogurt lid with different obstacles and enemies making the retrieval of each treasure unique.    


    Also, coming to the ever expanding NEW PLAY CONTROL! series in June is NEW PLAY CONTROL! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat - an adaptation of the original game which was released for Nintendo GameCube. A platform action game in which Donkey Kong has to venture through numerous kingdoms, the Wii adaptation features newly implemented Wii controls using both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. In addition, gameplay and level elements have been improved to increase the challenge of the game.


    23
    TalkBack / Wii UK Trade Price to Increase
    « on: March 11, 2009, 04:43:46 PM »
    The slide in the value of the British pound has prompted action by Nintendo to recoup, and retailers are left to decide where the burden of the price hike will fall.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=17957

     In order to compensate for the decline in UK revenues associated with the sliding value of the pound, Nintendo has decided to increase the trade price for Wii by around £19. Speaking to MCV, a Nintendo UK spokesperson stated, "due to the severe and continuing depreciation of the pound, we are, unfortunately, having to raise our trade price to UK retailers of Wii hardware."    


    Retailers will be left to decide how this move will affect the price consumers pay for Wii, which has previously remained in line with the £179.99 recommended price set by Nintendo when the console launched in the UK during December 2006.    


    The pound sterling has lost around a third of its value against the Yen over the past six months, dramatically affecting the profitability of the British market for Nintendo. Price increases for new software on both Wii and DS have not been ruled out.    


    However, Nintendo has stated that they "do not expect to have to change the trade price we charge retailers across for the DSi or DS in the UK in the foreseeable future."


    24
    TalkBack / Nintendo Sets Date for European DSi Launch
    « on: February 19, 2009, 09:04:36 PM »
    The new handheld will launch in Europe just before it arrives in North America, with pricing yet to be confirmed.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=17796

     Nintendo of Europe has announced that the DSi, the latest revision to the hugely successful Nintendo DS line of handheld gaming platforms, will go on sale across Europe on April 3 – two days before it arrives in North America. The system will be available in black and white at launch, just as it was when the DSi made its global debut in Japan during November of last year.    


    Pricing for the European markets has yet to be confirmed by Nintendo, but The Times is reporting that the DSi will retail for around £150 in the UK. If accurate, this would constitute a £50 premium over the cost of a DS Lite, and is also just £30 shy of the recommended retail price for Wii in Britain. The recent decline in the value of sterling against the yen is thought to have been a significant factor in Nintendo's UK pricing strategy, with no indications yet given for the Eurozone markets.    


    Nintendo DSi arrives in Europe on 3 April 2009    


    19 February 2009 - Nintendo will launch its new handheld console, the Nintendo DSi, in Europe on 3 April 2009. The Nintendo DSi will be available in black or white and is the thinnest and lightest member of the Nintendo DS family. The console is packed with new features that will excite fans of and newcomers to the Nintendo DS range.    


    There are many ways to have fun with the Nintendo DSi, from creating, customising and sharing photos with friends & family or listening to and experimenting with your favourite music, to playing more than 1000 Nintendo DS games and downloading new Nintendo DSiWare games directly onto your console. The Nintendo DSi also features built-in Internet browsing capabilities, meaning the fun begins the moment you switch it on!    


    Nintendo DSi brings motion-detecting cameras to handheld gaming
     The Nintendo DSi incorporates two cameras, adding an entirely new dimension to gameplay. The cameras are able to accurately detect facial features and players' movements. Moving the upper body, hands, arms and head in front of the camera now means play can be directed by movement alone, bringing a whole new way of interacting with the handheld.    


    Play with your pictures
     The Nintendo DSi's cameras face inside and outside; mounted on the console's flip-up lid so users can snap themselves or their friends and families just as they choose. What sets the Nintendo DSi's cameras apart, however, is that the Nintendo DSi Camera software comes fully loaded with 11 special camera effects so that users can take shots using a range of special effects.    


    Users can edit their images in real-time or after they're taken. Choices include a distortion tool which allows users to use the Stylus to distort their image in a variety of quirky and fun ways. Turn any face into fans' favourite Mario with his famous moustache and hat, or frame the image beautifully in a style of your choosing. Everything you create can be saved into a personal photo album which in turn allows you to use your Nintendo DSi as a personal digital photo frame! Users can share their snapshots with friends and family wirelessly. Or by saving the content onto an SD memory card, users can upload to their personal computer or their Wii and share with friends and family using WiiConnect24!    


    Play with sound
     The Nintendo DSi has enhanced volume and sound quality so that users can experience the Nintendo DSi Sound application, as well as in-game music, at its best. As well as bringing portable music to the Nintendo DSi (as players will be able to play AAC-encoded music files on their console), Nintendo DSi Sound introduces new ways for Nintendo DSi users to experiment and play with sound and music – changing the pitch, speed and even apply effects to sound files that are played on the console.    


    For example, users can slow down a phrase in a foreign language to get the pronunciation just right. But they can equally have fun recording their own voices and manipulating the play-back – adding sound effects to create new fun with sound. Players can also change the speed or add sound effects to songs, enabling them to create their own unique mixes, as well as learn words and instrumental solos more easily.    


    Download Nintendo DSiWare and customise your Nintendo DSi with a whole host of new titles and applications...
     You can customise your Nintendo DSi by downloading games and applications from the Nintendo DSi Shop, in addition to being able to carry around your Nintendo DSi with your very own unique photos & music files. A variety of fun software will be available for download in the forthcoming months. Examples include an application which enables users to make animated cartoons or combine photos to create mini-movies (incorporating both sound and moving images); or the fun-filled WarioWare software which utilises the motion-detecting camera for a completely interactive experience. Users will also be able to download the Nintendo DSi Browser for free from launch, offering quick and easy Internet access from their Nintendo DSi.    


    All of this and more can be downloaded directly from the Nintendo DSi Shop via the Internet, and thanks to the Nintendo DSi's built-in flash memory these can be saved directly onto your console, meaning you can take all of your games and other applications with you wherever you go.    


    Packed with features, but thinner than ever
     In addition to all of the new features, the Nintendo DSi comes in a matt finish and is a full 12% thinner than the Nintendo DS Lite, making it Nintendo's most portable handheld ever. However, it also packs a punch with bigger, brighter, 3.25" screens. As well as offering downloadable software via the Nintendo DSi shop, the new handheld is able to play games made specifically for the system and most Nintendo DS games - offering access to a library of hundreds of existing titles.    


    Nintendo DSi launches across Europe on 3 April in black and white.


    25
    TalkBack / REVIEWS: Tatsunoko Vs Capcom : Cross Generation of Heroes
    « on: February 10, 2009, 08:53:00 AM »
    It's Ryu vs Ken, just not as we know it, in this spirited revival of the character cross-over arcade fighter series.
     http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/reviewArt.cfm?artid=17737

     Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes renews the publisher's tradition of putting its all-stars up against another stable of characters in a two vs. two tag team fighting competition. This occasion sees the likes of Ryu and Morrigan butting heads with the creations of the storied anime studio Tatsunoko Production. While many of the characters will not resonate very strongly with Western gamers, they still prove to be an excellent fit for the gloriously over-the-top style of the Vs. games. More importantly, developer Eighting has succeeded in tweaking the Vs. fighting formula to make it more accessible while maintaining a suitable degree of strategic depth, resulting in an outstanding traditional fighting experience on Wii.    


    Before beginning the review in earnest, it should be noted that I am a somewhat lapsed gamer with respect to the fighting genre. It all gets rather fuzzy from the late nineties onwards, and thus I am not directly familiar with the conventions and intricacies of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom's more recent forebears.  As a vehicle for the return of the Vs. series—most famous for pitting Capcom's finest against the likes of Spider-Man and Wolverine in the Marvel vs. Capcom games—the use of Tatsunoko Production is inevitably a curious choice to Western gamers. Headlined by Ken the Eagle from the 1970s Gatchaman anime series (brought to the West as Battle of the Planets and G-Force), the Tatsunoko roster is unlikely to rouse many fond memories from people reading this review, and at a glance can seem a little homogeneous thanks to a preponderance of guys wearing white headgear and visors.    


    However, there are some appealing, unique Tatsunoko designs that blend in rather nicely with Capcom's line-up, which itself seems somewhat deliberately obscure. The game includes the gun-toting Saki Omokane, who hails from a quiz game, yet Resident Evil is not represented at all. What's more, the Tatsunoko characters' anime roots are very well-exploited in their Super and Hyper combo attacks, employing plenty of giant robots and sudden explosions of energy to dazzling and often hilarious effect, and so in time they come to feel like quite a natural fit for the series.      


    In contrast, neither side's properties are used well in the stage backgrounds, which sometimes seem generic and not directly inspired by anything in particular. There are a few exceptions, such as the Mega Man Legends airship overrun by Servbots, or the glowing, villainous hideout from Gatchaman, but then there's utterly plain locales such as an urban Japanese landscape and a rural Japanese landscape.    


    Every character brings his or her own musical theme and voice work, and you'll be hearing quite a lot of them if you have a favourite character as their fanfare is used whenever they enter the fray . The quality of the instrumentation used for the music is generally a little weak, and the repetition makes it easy for some of the voices and/or music to become grating. However, there's good audio work in here too (the arrangement of Chun-Li's Street Fighter II stage theme, for instance), and the constant cries, shifts in musical theme, and excellent sound effects come together to help heighten the sense of frenetic action taking place.    


    Obscure anime characters aside, veterans of Capcom's previous Vs. fighters should find Tatsunoko vs. Capcom comfortably familiar, but some changes have been made to the template. Once again, teams of two characters duke it out against each other along a 2D plane, only now the fighters and environments are polygonal models as opposed to hand-drawn sprites. This allows for very fluid animation and some effective, dynamic camera work, while the attractive cel-shaded aesthetic helps keep things consistent with the visual styles of the characters' source materials. Some rough edges are visible when viewing the action on a big screen TV, but the visuals still benefit greatly from a widescreen presentation thanks to the vibrant colours and many luminous special effects on show.    


    Any concerns over the polygonal graphics affecting gameplay are quickly dismissed, as the action is fast (though not the fastest in the Vs. series), the controls highly responsive, and the hit detection impeccable. Where Tatsunoko vs. Capcom departs from its predecessors is in its control scheme, which has been significantly streamlined. Separate punch and kick attack buttons have been collapsed down into three general attack inputs (weak-medium-strong), and when added to the partner button, this makes the scheme a perfect fit for the Wii Classic Controller's four face buttons. Fighters retain a broad range of standard attacks, so the decision to make the control scheme more inviting for players unaccustomed to (or out of practice with) the seven button layout is certainly a worthy one, and there's something to be said of the less convoluted control scheme, irrespective of a player's experience level.    


    The D-pad/control stick inputs required to perform special moves and even the Super combos are largely uncomplicated, consisting mostly of quarter-circle motions or variants thereof. This relative uniformity makes each character quite easy to use straight off the bat without having to consult the command list (which conveniently is always accessible from the pause menu), though this similarity makes individual move sets somewhat forgettable. More importantly, it is all too easy to inadvertently execute one special attack while intending to perform another when using the small D-pad of the GameCube controller. However, with a little practice or the greater precision of the Classic Controller (or for true fighting aficionados, an arcade stick), this shouldn't be a significant issue.    


    Eighting has also included Wii Remote control schemes (with or without a Nunchuk) that simplify things further by primarily using only two buttons: one each for standard and special attacks, and both together for Super combos, with no control stick/D-pad motions necessary. This level of simplification does begin to compromise the depth of the game, but it is a surprisingly functional setup that serves well as an entry-level scheme for newcomers to have fun learning the basics with a friend on a more level playing field.    


    Tatsunoko vs. Capcom benefits from the Vs. series tag team concept, which brings welcome dynamism to the contests as well as strategic possibilities. As damage is inflicted, a portion of the fighter's life bar is drained altogether, while some is turned red. By tagging that character out, the red section of the life bar can be regained over time, but whatever red remains when the character tags back in is lost. This creates some interesting scenarios with one player stalling to let a preferred character heal, while the other tries to press the advantage by forcing a quick change.    


    This health management aspect is enhanced by the new Baroque mechanic, which offers the possibility for devastating combos at the price of sacrificing the red portion of a character's life bar. Activated by pressing the partner button and an attack button simultaneously, this technique allows fighters to extend their combos while also boosting the damage inflicted (proportionally to the amount of red life expended), but the effect only lasts as long as the combo is sustained. This risk-reward design creates some real high-stakes scenarios, and leaves open the possibility for dramatic comebacks by sufficiently skilled players.    


    Even more so than usual for the Vs. series, the Super meter is an absolutely integral part of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Building up as fighters both take and inflict damage (though more quickly in the latter case), this meter firstly powers Super combos. Each Super combo costs one notch from the Super meter. These are performed much in the same way as special moves, except two attack buttons are used rather than one, and the results are of course very much more damaging and spectacular.    


    Hyper combos require three Super levels to activate (the maximum that can be accumulated is five), and are far from guaranteed to connect with the target, but can totally annihilate foes in amusingly outrageous fashion when they do. Expect to see tidal waves, mushroom clouds, and of course plenty of giant robots getting involved, as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom uses these occasions to revel in epic absurdity, providing satisfaction whether as a potentially game-changing move or simply a laugh-out-loud funny sequence.    


    Tatsunoko vs. Capcom adds a new feature to the Vs. formula that brings the Super meter into defensive play as well, making its overall management a more strategic affair. The Mega Crash, performed by pressing all four buttons at once, creates a field around fighters that pushes opponents back, allowing them to escape from a combo at the price of two Super levels. Against advanced opponents this is an extremely important resource to have, and cavalier offensive use of the Super meter can be severely punished by a Baroque-powered string of attacks without the opportunity to Mega Crash out of it. In this way, the Mega Crash effectively dissuades Super-spamming.    


    Not everything is successfully balanced by the game's design though; given the many attacks with a wide damage radius flying around, the larger characters (such as Alex from Street Fighter III) are inevitably at a disadvantage. This issue is somewhat mitigated by the sheer power of the heavyweights' attacks, and a number of them can perform Snap Backs (which force a character swap) that can help make quick work of opponents. In many cases they're simply a lot of fun to play as, too, and like much of the line-up, they all bring something unique to the table. Still, some may be put off by their slow speed and innate vulnerability to a lot of the Supers and Hypers in the game.    


    With so much good work having gone into the visuals and fighting mechanics for the game, it is regrettable that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom comes up short in providing avenues to explore its depths. Firstly, there is no online multiplayer support, which significantly limits opportunities for players to test their skills against human opponents. This leaves single players with only an insubstantial standard arcade mode (consisting of a few fights before reaching a very cool final boss) as well as survival and time attack challenges to keep them occupied. A vast range of unlockables is available to discover, most notably four Wii-exclusive characters (one of which is Viewtiful Joe). There are also extra character colours, artwork, music, and Wii Remote-controlled mini-games. However, the main way to acquire these rewards is to simply keep playing those same three single player modes over and over again to earn in-game currency.      


    The Wii Remote-based mini-games are mostly inconsequential Track and Field-type button-mashing/Remote-flailing affairs, but there are a few notable ones, including a top-down shooter recreation of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Planet"> Lost Planet, complete with power-ups and boss fights. Up to four players can participate, but the mini-games are likely to remain no more than a mildly amusing diversion between bouts of the main game. Trying out these games is rewarded with more in-game currency, and this approach really should have been extended to versus fights to encourage continued play of the multiplayer mode with friends to slowly amass the many unlockables available.    


    It is a shame that the accessibility of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom's gameplay is somewhat negated by the unlikelihood that it will see a release outside of Japan, but those willing to brave the obscurity (and expense) of the import scene can rest assured that the language barrier is not a particular problem. Indeed, despite its relative obscurity, this game feels almost tailor-made for anyone eager to reconnect with the kind of fighting experience that's been in short supply on Nintendo consoles since the end of the 16-bit era. The outrageously fun but equally well-conceived fighting won't disappoint, and if you have friends you've just been longing to beat up with a giant transforming golden cigarette lighter robot, then Tatsunoko vs. Capcom carries the highest of recommendations.

    Pros:
           

  • Smooth and striking graphics
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  • Carefully streamlined controls
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  • Well thought-out fighting mechanics
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  • Wonderfully over-the-top action


  •        Cons:
           
  • Some generic backgrounds
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  • Thin single player content
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  • No online multiplayer
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  • Ineffective incentives for unlockables


  •                Graphics:  9.0
           Using polygonal models but in a striking cel-shaded style, Tatusnoko vs. Capcom's graphics are impressive and attractive while remaining totally functional for the demands of a traditional fighting game. The 3D graphics also allow for some slick dynamic camera work that accentuates the action effectively while recalling the game's anime inspirations.

                   Sound:  7.0
           The musical themes are not outstanding, and are sure to prove hit-and-miss with most players. Conversely, whether it's a simple punch to the body or an overweight genie spinning in mid-air, the sound effects complement every aspect of the action wonderfully, adding to the authenticity of the anime feel.

                   Control:  8.5
           Tatsunoko vs. Capcom makes many good decisions in the control area, both in its  support of several different controllers and its streamlined button configurations. The Classic Controller is the preferred method, as it performs very well for a console controller (certainly much better than the GameCube pad), and there's always the arcade stick option for the truly dedicated fighting fan.

                          Gameplay:  9.0
           It's the same over-the-top take on traditional 2D fighting that many will remember from previous Vs. games, but the new controls alongside some clever additions to the fighting mechanics enhance its playability for novices and experts alike. The more modest speed compared with some Vs. instalments may disappoint a few veterans, but it's a satisfying pace overall.

     


           Lastability:  7.0
           With a design that allows fighting to be enjoyed on multiple levels as players improve and learn the nuances of the mechanics, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has the potential to become a competitive multiplayer mainstay. However, the weak single player content, poor incentive scheme, and lack of online support could just as easily render it only a short-lived bit of fun.

     


           Final:  8.5
           Despite a veneer that might suggest that it is strictly for the most devoted fighting game and anime fans, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has much greater appeal. Its stylish visuals and fluid gameplay walk the line between accessibility and depth more skilfully than many of its kind. At least one regular sparring partner is unquestionably required to enjoy the game to its fullest in the long-run, but the low barrier to entry,  along with the spectacular buffoonery of its action, should make finding one not all that hard. They won't be sorry they joined in.      


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