Kenichiro Fukui is a composer that few likely know off the top of their head. He began his career as a member of the Konami Kukeiha Club in 1990 under the moniker "Funiki Fukui". The first game he worked on was Sunset Riders in 1991, but he only did the sound effects for the game. His first full composition job was Konami's light gun arcade game Lethal Enforcers. He worked on a few more arcade games at Konami, including 1992's GI Joe with Tsutomi Ogura and 1993's Violent Storm with Seiichi Fukami.
Image shamelessly stolen from the Castlevania Wikia page. When I was a kid, this was the baddest looking box art in all the land when it came to Game Boy games. And by bad, I mean AWESOME.
Nostalgia can be a very powerful force. It can make adults look back fondly on all sorts of things that, viewed objectively, probably aren't as great as we remember them. For a child of the 80's, that can be almost anything. From VCRs and teased hair, to classic cartoons and our favorite movies and video games, there are times when it's hard to take a step back and look at those old favorites with a more critical eye. Sure, that one Poison album might be one of your favorites of all time, but musically, does it still hold up? What about your favorite childhood cartoon...could you watch it today without cringing or thinking it's nothing but pure cheese?
Now think about your favorite video games as a child. Sure, some of them probably stand the test of time. But for every Super Mario Bros or Contra, there's always a handful of games that we may still hold in high regard and still have much affection for. If we could set aside our own memories and youthful experiences, would we still hold those works in the same esteem? For me, one of those games is Konami's Castlevania: The Adventure on the Game Boy.
The Sega CD is a somewhat underrated, or at least overlooked, console. However, it's home to a number of unique games that are worthy of attention, one of the best of which is Snatcher. Snatcher was developed by Konami and released for Sega CD in 1994, six years after its original release in Japan. It's a visual novel with adventure elements whose story borrows heavily from movies such as The Terminator and Blade Runner. The game is one of Hideo Kojima's earliest works, but it highlights his unique style - the humor in the game is often bizarre and self-referential, the influence that cinema has on the game is evident, and he loves sexy, pixelated women. Though mechanically Snatcher can be somewhat awkward at times, it is a game where the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts.
This video review is a bit older, but I think it's one of my best and I wanted to make a strong start for my first post here at RF Generation. Give it a watch if you're interested in hearing more about Snatcher.
Image shamelessly linked from Hardcore Gaming 101. Now you're playing with power - Turtle Power!
1990 was a fabulous year for Peter Laird, and Kevin Eastman, creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters. They saw the 4 intrepid heroes at the height of their popularity. The comic book was selling, the cartoon series was all the rage among adolescent males, and the live-action movie starring the turtles came out and became the most successful independent film of all time. In addition, TMNT the action figures were selling well, and as such, "Turtle Mania" was in full swing. Pizza Hut even did a TMNT-themed promotional tie-in where they did a concert tour of guys in rubber Turtle suits singing and dancing to 80's rock called the "Coming Out Of Their Shells" tour, complete with pay-per view performance and VHS, and audio cassette. One might even go so far as to say that the 4 turtles had over-saturated the market by that point.
Suikoden Tierkreis was the second Suikoden game made by Konami for a non-Sony system and was the first to be released outside of Japan. The first, Suikoden Card Stories, was released on the Game Boy Advance (Japan exclusive) and is basically a retelling of Suikoden II as a trading card game. Though I have no idea what I'm doing in that game due to the language barrier, I do know what's going on in Tierkreis. Tierkreis was the first Suikoden game released since Suikoden V on the PS2, and was anxiously awaited by fans of the series, since there was about a three year gap between these releases.
One of the main reasons I love collecting Game Boy games is that it gives me an excuse to relive my youth. Truly, many of the games that are highest on my wishlist aren't what you would consider classics. And in some cases they might not even be considered great games. But when you're young and your only source of games is what happens to be in stock the at the toy store the day your parents decide to get you a new one, you learn to love an ordinarily overlooked game because you can either spend some serious time with it, or just do your homework instead.
One such title that fits into this description is the 1990 Konami release Skate Or Die: Bad 'N Rad. This is a title I played the hell out of in my pre-teens based mostly on the merits of the NES Skate Or Die titles, along with the promise of an experience that would be equally bad AND rad -- two very enticing words to adolescents of the the 1990's.
This Game Boy sequel bares very little resemblance to the first NES game. The original game focused more on open-ended skating and the ultimate goal of becoming a skateboarding champion. Or at least shutting up that mohawked jerk at the skate shop. Bad 'N Rad on the other hand plays out like an adventure game. On a skateboard. You must skate through each level and dodge lots of spikes, rats, thugs, and for some reason people in life rafts with tridents.
Similarly to what Konami did with their Game Boy Contra games, they decided to split up the levels in Bad 'N Rad between sidescrolling levels and overhead levels. This seemingly offers a challenge to gamers that are better than one or the other, which ultimately probably helped make the game last a bit longer. Unfortunately the other thing that made the game last so long was the extreme cheapness of the obstacles! You might land in water and get hit by it twice. Or a rat might run at you from a two pixel buffer zone between you and the end of the screen. And there are a lot of spikes in the town this skater lives in. But none of this really stops the game from being fun. It instead calls for a certain blend of eye-hand coordination along with level memorization which is somewhat similar to the approach that Konami took with their early Castlevania games.
Like most of Konami's early releases for Game Boy, they put an awful lot of detail into the graphical details as well as the music. In fact, the music in this game is certainly on par with the original NES release. The sound effects are few, but good when they do pop up. Most importantly the gameplay is stellar. Left and right will make your skater coast appropriately with enough control over speed; A jumps and B crouches which is a great touch when you use it to go through large pipes and other interesting tricks.
Later Konami released a Game Boy sequel titled Tour De Thrash which I never got the chance to play. And though I won't try to say that Bad 'N Rad is a completely unheralded classic, it's certainly classic to my own gaming memories. And it's definitely worth picking up if you happen upon it.
I'm pretty sure most of us here have played that NES classic, Contra. What better way to celebrate its legacy than to turn it into a series of LittleBigPlanet levels? Well, that's what a bunch of people from the NeoGAF forums thought of, and they decided to make it a reality in a collaborative effort called LittleBig Contra. Using a lot of assets (including the paint gun) from the Metal Gear Solid DLC, they've managed to make a near perfect conversion of the original game.
Here's a look at what you can expect:
To locate the levels in LittleBigPlanet, search for the creator's PSN names. I've listed all 8 levels below in this order, "Level Name: PSN Name"
Base 1: SaitoHalifax
Base 2: SaitoHalifax
Energy Zone: El_Beefo
Alien's Lair: gevurah22
I've played through first two levels so far, and I must say that I am very impressed with their creative skills. I glanced at the others briefly, and they seem just as brilliant as the two I've already played. The only weak spot are the base levels. Remember how those were a 3D perspective in the original? Well, they tried to replicate it, and the results are decent at best. However, considering the circumstances and the limitations LittleBigPlanet placed on the level creators, I'm rather impressed. If you have a PS3 and LBP, you must seek out these levels as they are some of the best examples of what can be done with LittleBigPlanet's creation tools
Oh yeah, the Konami Code is most definitely in these levels.
Good God, this development took a really, really long time to materialize. You know, Konami has been pretty active in the rhythm genre, and ruled Japan with its Bemani series. Dance Dance Revolution. Guitar Freaks. Drummania. Beatmania. Certainly, Bemani is popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, but stateside, only DDR really has taken off. Sure, there is in fact a stateside version of Beatmania, but it wouldn't say anything other than DDR has taken off here. Have you seen Drummania or Guitar Freaks in the states? Guitar Freaks may have seen a PS1 release, but I certainly have not it. It is almost as though Konami dropped the ball on that one.
Where Konami dropped the ball, Harmonix picked it and scored big time. Guitar Hero, Rock Band, they certainly have had their share of winners. See, Harmonix was, and still is, very successful in the rhythm business. Four or so years later, Konami has finally figured out that Harmonix's devices are a bit close to those of Guitar Freaks and Drummania. Hmm, you don't say? Great job noticing, Konami. You know, the likeness between the peripherals is uncanny. Why didn't Konami do this earlier? I guess they can get more damages now, if they win, and given how similar the peripherals are I certainly expect them to.
Attention all you PS3 owners with Metal Gear Solid 4 pre ordered (which should be all of you), Konami has posted the beta version of Metal Gear Online to the Playstation Store and is ready for you to download. The actual beta of the game does not start until Monday, but you can download it (and the update) now in preparation for Monday's big event.
How do you partake in this Snaky goodness? First of all, you have to pre-order Metal Gear Solid 4 from a participating retailer. Second, you need to obtain a copy of the Metal Gear Saga Vol. 2 DVD which should be free with your pre-order. This DVD contains a refresher course on the MGS franchise and a collection of trailers for MGS4, but most importantly it comes with your ticket to participate the beta. Now that you have your code to get into the beta, boot up your PS3. On the XMB, go to the Playstation Network menu and choose Account Management. Then on the next page that comes up, choose Transaction Management, and Redeem Playstation Network Card or Promotion Code. Next, enter in the code found on your ticket into the text boxes on the page. If all goes well, it should accept your code and give you access to download the Beta...
If it doesn't work, make sure you entered the code in all capital letters. Still no luck? Well, you're probably like me and effected by Konami's royal screwing up of this beta program. According to IGN, some of the codes given out in the Metal Gear Saga DVD are invalid. How do you tell if you have an invalid code? It all has to do with the length of your key. If you have less than 12 characters in your beta code, then you need to get a new one in order to download the beta. To get a new code, try emailing Konami at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try going back to where you pre-ordered the game and see if they'll give you a new Metal Gear Saga DVD. Or you can try downloading the beta from the European Playstaion Store, because they are lucky and can download it without using this beta code nonsense.
However, the other area in which Konami totally screwed up this beta is that you have to sign up for a Konami ID AND a "Game ID" in order to play. But guess what? The website to do that is down. However, I was smart and registered as soon as I heard it required for the beta.
I just hope Konami fixes this beta soon. I can't wait to get into the game and face off against others online with the man cannon.
If you're participating in the beta, post a comment in the article here and let me know your PSN ID and Game ID so we can have some kind of an RFG MGO night.