Sunday, 30 September 2018

Star Control - Part 9

Generally I need little excuse to burble on about the Star Control series - it is one of my favourite of all game series' after all, particularly the skillish second game - but I've already taken detailed looks at the various spacecraft, the story, and of course reviewed the actual game and its prequel, so what else is there? Why yes that's right, I could take a look at the many alien races themselves!

Seldom have I played a game with such a varied, eclectic roster of species, and while many are perhaps not terribly realistic or even a bit gimmicky (a bit like pro wrestling was around the same time, in fact), they are appealing and memorable all the same. There are quite a few as well though, so I'll split this into several parts. This will be the second of two posts featuring the friendlier half of the roster...

Spoiler Warning! - It's probably not really worth mentioning for a 25-year-old game but just in case - the following post will likely contain some small spoilers relating to Star Control 2 and the story found in its main game, so proceed with caution if you've yet to play through it! (assuming you plan to) :)

Shofixti

You remember the Shofixti from the first game - the idiotic bears with the crap ships that could blow themselves up? Well, they don't feature so prevalently in the sequel but they are here. Well, I say 'they' but you will probably only get to meet one of them - Captain Tanaka, apparently the sole surviving member of his brave race who can be found pootling around his home system still trying to see off all interlopers.

That will include you too, unless you're able to calm him down in time, but it's good fun talking to him either way. It's quickly revealed that Shofixti culture is modelled on Japan, specifically the way of the samurai, with everything from their names and accents to their sense of honour and fearless attitudes reminiscent of that country's feudal era. They must've made brave (albeit nominally effective) warriors in the first Ur-Quan war, so you'll be filled with both sadness and respect when you hear Tanaka's tales of their demise. Bow before the noble creatures.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Manga - A Beginner's Look #1

Iinari Princess (2008-09)
By: Yumi Nakata (Story & Art)
Volumes: 1 Chapters: 9 Total Pages: 210

Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School, Seinen

Yet another one of the many things I have been wanting to take a look at for years but never got around to is manga. Recently, however, I received a Kindle Fire tablet as a gift from my lovely wife so I figured it was a good opportunity to try some titles out. I found a good stock of digital examples and pretty much just picked a bunch at random based mainly on the name and cover art. A bit shallow perhaps, but with a handful of exceptions I don't really know of too many, and I couldn't really be arsed to spend time looking into them in advance either. One of the chosen few was Iinari Princess. It isn't the first manga I read but it was the first one I had a strong opinion about, and not a positive one I'm afraid. This was disappointing as it sounded quite appealing from its brief synopsis which has to do with the young lady of the title who is indeed a real live princess. As she reminds us often, she is first princess in line to the throne of the Principality of Rivetaria which is 'a small North European country', and she has, for some reason, transferred to a Japanese school.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Golf Games #7

Naxat Open (1989)
By: NAXAT Soft Genre: Sports Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16
Also Available For: Nothing


The mighty PC Engine is positively heaving under the weight of shoot 'em ups and arcade conversions of other types so it's not really the first console to come to mind when it comes to golf games. There are actually a few though, and since the Naxat name is a favoured one in here RKS Land, I thought I'd look at this one first. Typically, it's very simple and arcadey, offering two modes of play - Stroke Play and Match Play (probably - the choices are in Japanese) which are single and multi player modes (up to four) respectively. You get to choose your name, your handicap rating (in Match Play), and a set of clubs, and then you're off. The two controller buttons work as 'select/action' and 'cancel/back' which makes playing the game just as quick as getting started - you just choose the direction you want to hit the ball, choose a club (if you don't want to use the default), and take a swing.

Friday, 21 September 2018

PS4 Purchases #2

Rabi-Ribi by CreSpirit / GemaYue / PQube (2016)

Games with anime art on the cover and/or promo material usually grab my attention. This example is no different and upon learning more about it, it went straight onto my Steam wishlist. In addition to the aforementioned anime influence which includes lots of cut-scenes, the pixelly 2D graphics were also appealing for the obvious reasons. Even better, it was described as a fusion of retro-ish platforming and bullet-hell shooting. I'm not even sure how that would work but I'm very interested in finding out! Before buying it via Steam, however, I learned of the PS4 release which included a splendid physical release which I'm happy to say I stumbled upon just a day after returning from my recent holiday, and for the bargain price of £10 too, which even included a soundtrack CD. Suffice to say, I swiftly purchased it! Now comes the never-ending challenge - finding the time to play it...
 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Film Review #104

Suicide Squad (2016)
Director: David Ayer Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 123 Minutes

Tagline: "Justice has a bad side."


For their first two 'cinematic universe' movies, DC wisely chose to focus on their two best known characters, but this third offering is a bit different. It features a cast of characters that will probably be mostly unknown to non-comic buffs (like me), and that's a pretty brave move considering how many options they must've had. The characters in question are basically a bunch of the ghastliest supervillains being held in supermax prisons around the US. Rather than waste their 'talents' in squalid 7x12-foot prison cells however, government agency A.R.G.U.S. (kind of like DC's equivalent of Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. I believe) feels they could be put to better use as a special task force - the creatively named Task Force X no less - to be used under strict supervision to tackle threats beyond the abilities of the normal agencies. I'm not sure how sensible that sounds but it apparently made a pretty great comic-book series!

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Indie Games News/Previews #12

Streets of Rage 4 by Liazrdcube / DotEmu (2018/19?) - PC

Blaze vs three enemies, all instantly recognisable...

So there I was, jetting off on my latest holiday (and the first one for a while), enduring hours of road travel, an uncomfortable long-haul flight, etc, before finally arriving in my hotel room, and upon logging onto the wifi here, what was the very first thing I saw? Yes that's right, it was an announcement for Streets of Rage 4! It's almost as if the Good Lord Almighty had taken pity on me for enduring the rigours of intercontinental travel by rewarding me with this super-skillish, though totally unexpected news! Unless of course it was all a cruel ruse, perhaps orchestrated by his opposite number, but that seemed unlikely given the screenshots and reveal trailer released by the splendid Lizardcube/DotEmu.