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The Obscurer Tribune # 24


The one bad thing about finally having Mushihime-sama Futari in my greedy paws is that now it seems like an eternity before anything else I’m looking forward to is coming out…especially since everything’s being frikkin’ delayed. Well, it’s all gotta get here eventually…right? Of course, nothing keeps the ol’ saliva glands flowing like the latest obscure gaming news:


By the way, good news and bad news regarding the 360 port of Mushihime-sama Futari – bad news first. Anyone who ordered the game from a Hong Kong-based seller (most notably Play-Asia) but are still waiting for their copy might want to have a look at this – apparently there’s a big general backlog going on over there, so you might get your package a week or two late.

Now the good news – the game’s “Black Label” DLC is now available, and even better, contrary to what was originally stated in my How-To article, you do NOT need a Japanese account or XBLA points to get it! Just go to “My Xbox” – “Game Library” – “Mushi Futari” – “Downloads” and you can get it “normally”. You can also snag it via xbox.com if you change the location to “Japan” after logging in. One caveat – some players are reporting some juddering from the DLC, so you might want to wait for a patch announcement.

On the arcade front, Cave’s spate of remixed “Black Label” revisions continues as well, since DoDonPachi Dai-Fukkatsu will be the latest game of theirs to receive the limited-edition treatment. One of the shmup forum’s denizens in Japan managed to capture almost 20 minutes of game footage for your viewing pleasure – here’s Part 1 and Part 2. I haven’t played the “original” version so I can’t comment on any differences/tweaks displayed here, but will instead join all of you in hoping for a port.

Still not done with us, Cave has also released a video of the upcoming ESPGaluda II 360 port – this would appear to be footage of one of the console-exclusive modes, due to 1) The fact that the player is using Seseri, a character not available in the arcade original, and 2) There’s a whole lot of weird scoring techniques going on in there that I’m not even going to TRY to figure out. In any event, if they do as good a job with this one as they did with Futari, good times are ahead – hope they also don’t region-lock it!

Though the original Soldner X received a rather “meh” reception from most shmuppers, I must admit that the bullet patterns depicted in these screenshots for the upcoming sequel look rather nice, if a bit convoluted.

While I’m not sure what ever came of the accusations that Rockin’ Android had stolen others’ translations to use in their own localized products, apparently they weren’t enough to stop the group’s next release – Gundemonium Collection, which packs together a trio of doujin shmups from the illustrious Platine Dispotif for 20 bucks, is due out in May. They’re also planning to port some of the stuff to PSN.

It looks like the long-awaited XBLA port of Metal Slug 7 is being replaced, sort of, by a conversion of Metal Slug XX, which is pretty much the same game except for the PSP instead of the DS. Hopefully a few other features and enhancements will make the cut as well.

A fellow shmup forum denizen recently released an underwater-themed shmup named Irukandji, after a certain type of jellyfish. As long as you pay at least a dollar the price is pretty much whatever you feel it’s worth, but there’s also a demo on the linked page if you just want a taste (which you hopefully do!).

Right on cue, Diverse is there to cover the above shooter, plus several others, in his latest “Indie Selections: Shmup Edition” blog.

In other homebrew news, DerrickH has a teaser up for his upcoming XBLA Indie game, You Will Die. Only a few seconds of actually gameplay is shown, but yes, folks, it’s a shmup – here’s hoping it turns out well.

And we’re not quite done yet – the guy behind Weapon of Choice is now at work on an honest-to-goodness scrolling shmup called Shoot 1-Up – extra lives are plentiful, but instead of simply being stocked for when you die, getting one actually calls another ship in to help you, so after awhile you’ll have a whole squadron at your fingertips at once. Sort of a neat concept, but the preview video linked to in the feature makes things look kinda messy…

Square is in cahoots with Gulti these days for a previously-mentioned XBLA shooter project – makes sense, as Gulti has been involved with quite a few shmup ports lately. As it turns out, they’ve got plenty of shmups to play around their offices, too – I’m tempted to offer the obligatory “I’d love to work there” comment, but I doubt I’d ever actually get anything done.

I happened to glimpse this feature on Tomopop at the bottom of DToid’s front page, and had to head over, because it showcases a new figure of knife-tossing maid Sakuya of the “Touhou” series – be sure to check it out, even if (like me) you can’t even remotely afford it.

So Konami’s releasing a pair of three-game packs at twenty bucks apiece, each featuring a trio (and at least one Contra title) of its older XBLA titles. As much as I like physical media versus downloads when I can get ‘em, considering that the value on offer here is roughly equivalent to similar packs sold during the 16-bit era I’m less than giddy.

LK404 posted an interesting experience involving a music track from Space Invaders Extreme 2 that got stuck in his head, and resulted in a playing card sculpture.

Only semi-shmup-related, but I can’t help but mention it – our very own Ms. Davis finally managed to snag herself a Saturn, and moreover an import-enabling cartridge. Soon afterwards she arrived at the only logical conclusion to such circumstances – Japanese shmuppage! Enjoy the new system! Also, not quite a shmup, but the front page posted its review of Pixeljunk Shooter.

The link found in the Metal Slug XX item above also reveals a pair of XBLA fighter ports that will soon be on the way, at least in Japan – NeoGeo Battle Coliseum and King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match should be up for download early next year. The West was lucky enough to get a disc-based release of the former, but unfortunately it looks like that’s not gonna happen to Unlimited Match…a shame, considering that ’98 Ultimate Match was great, and this one is supposed to be even better.

A pair of interesting BlazBlue developments – first, Siliconera has a few details and a trailer for BlazBlue Portable, due out for Japanese PSP next February. Moreover, they’ve just made mention of BlazBlue: Battle X Battle, a 5-buck DSiWare title with “cute-ified” versions of the characters that looks to play something like Power Stone, scheduled for January. Hmm…

I’m not sure how Capcom managed to lose the distribution rights to one of its own original series, but either way it looks like we’re not going to be seeing Rival Schools re-released in downloadable form anytime soon. Guess we’ll have to stay content with the battling high school stereotypes we’ve already got on the PS1 and Dreamcast.

The Virtual Console, meanwhile, is getting Street Fighter Alpha 2 – unfortunately, it’s the SNES version, which was somewhat impressive for what it managed to fit on a 16-bit cart back in the day but hasn’t aged particularly well. (DToid coverage here.

We don’t know which titles next year’s Evolution tournament participants will be using to smack each other around, but we do know that they’ll be doing it at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on July 9th through 11th. Any of you guys planning to stop by? (DToid coverage here.)

Comic book mavens can check out a preview of Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki, starring everyone’s favorite half-pantsed ninja. On that note, she’s taking questions…but only one per interview. Credit to Mognet Central for both those links.

I don’t know if any are left by the time this issue has gone to print, but as of this writing Amazon’s got the Tekken 6 arcade stick bundle for nearly half off – if you’ve been looking for a deal on it, this is as good an opportunity as has come up so far. Also, iTunes customers can get a 17-track version of the game’s OST for 6 bucks, or a 32-track edition for 8 bucks. Be sure to inform Namco immediately if your iPod begins exhibiting devil gene-like symptoms. (DToid coverage here.)

RAB lets us know that the Super Street Fighter IV developer blog has been updated – no English translation yet, but you can check out the (kunai-littered) pictures. Shin Oni also passes along a tip from SRK – looks like we may have another character reveal (NOT related to said kunai) on our hands soon.

I know exactly zilch about hip-hop music, but Kraid takes the opportunity to enlighten the unaware about the link between it and fighting games – give it a read, even if neither genre appeals to you much.

s0lesurviv0r, meanwhile, has posted a goofy “radio play” featuring dialogue between Noel of BlazBlue and the Heavy of Team Fortress 2 – I can only wonder how much of both games one has to play in order to recognize “hey, I could make something semi-coherent out of their dialogue!” Not to mention actually DO it.

Gaaahhh – ANOTHER delay for Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. While originally reported as pushed back to February, both NIS’s official announcement and Gamestop’s site date it for late March! AARRGH! At least we’ve got some finalized box art, as well as some word on the bonus goodies included with the PS2 version via the official site (apparently there’s a different offer in the works for the Wii version), so hopefully this is the last bit of unpleasant news we’ll have to bear…

I guess it was kinda inevitable – as seen here, Luminous Arc 3 will be taking a cue from Ar Tonelico 2 and including bath-house scenes. Moreover, this time your character can actually join the ladies and chat it up with them (though it looks like the two of you may be separated by a wall, it’s a tad unclear). Anyways, as usual this stuff isn’t just for fan-service, but can enable special team-up attacks: the article links to a Famitsu feature which showcases some art and screens.

Of course, they’ve still got nothing on the original pioneer of the infamous “life-extending agent” – a few issues ago the Tribune reported on Ar Tonelico III’s latest foray into shameless fan service, namely a particularly self-serving plot point which somehow makes it necessary for the female characters to wear as little as possible to save the world. Well, the link has some images, also from Famitsu, showing off “the process” – ahem, you’re welcome.

So we’ve finally got a trailer for Jaleco’s DS RPG WiZman’s World – and yep, it shows a moment of two of the infamous “2chan monster” actually implemented into the gameplay. No way in heck we’re ever seeing this one over here, but it’d be rather hilarious if we did.

We already know that the DS Lufia II re-imagining will be out in Japan next February, but Japanese players will have a chance to sample the game, along with a few others, at Jump Festa next week. Hopefully someone will manage to sneak out a few impressions for us Westerners – in the meantime, here are some details about the interesting-sounding “character switch” mechanic.

While Etrian Odyssey is a bit too much for the likes of me, fans of the series will be glad to hear that Number Three is coming – check the link for a Famitsu scan and some info on the new ocean environments. On a similar note, it looks like Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! 2 should be headed to Europe at some point – the official site has updated again as well.

Speaking of “too much for me”, since I’m not an MMO player I know next to nothing about Ragnarok Online, though I always did have a bit of a soft spot for the aesthetics – anyway, the DS version should be in our stores by February, and the link has some details about the bonus pack-ins (hint: it has something to do with the online version) and other game features.

Oh, and Demon’s Souls players, did you have fun when the game got “interesting” around Halloween? Guess what – it’s gonna do it again!

I first mentioned Summon Night Granthese: Sword of Ruin and the Knight’s Promise two issues ago, noting that it may well be the last PS2 RPG released (and probably only in Japan). If you’re interested (as I am) in keeping up with it just to see how it turns out, 4Gamer has posted a whole slew of screens and art. Credit to Mognet Central for the link.

Japanese 3D Dot Game Heroes players will be getting both some free updated features and paid DLC (mostly premade custom characters) around Christmas – as the article points out Atlus hasn’t yet announced anything like this for the localized version out next year, but there’s still a ways to go before then. (DToid coverage here.)

The cavalcade of Valkyria Chronicles 2 screenshots never ends – the announcement that Japanese players can access some bonus content in the game via a Phantasy Star Portable 2 save file, however, is something new. Also, Valkyria 2’s producer offers a few comments about the direction the series has taken so far and where it might be headed next – most notably he’s hoping for another shot at the PS3, so those who pine for a “full” sequel to the original have some reason to be hopeful. (DToid coverage here.)

Another quick item from Tomopop that I caught on the page-bottom scroller – some new ((and stumpy) plushes of Etna and Flonne of Disgaea fame. Wonder if these will end up as a pre-order bonus for some NISA game or other down the line…

InstraClassic posted a short account of playing Persona 4 while his family was over, and against all odds having them become interested in the proceedings. Nothing like an uber-Japanese supernatural murder mystery to bring people together! Elsewhere on the blogs, while Final Fantasy VI might not be obscure, SWE3tMadness’s deconstruction of its final boss theme is still a pretty neat read.

Mr. Holmes has been feeding us drips and drabs of Super Meat Boy information for some time now, but we’re finally close enough to the release date to enjoy a full-fledged preview – nothing too new is mentioned therein, but the game still sounds like a pretty good heap o’ fun. All we can do is wait…

Actually, another interesting front-page preview surfaced at around the same time, this one for Trauma Team specifically focused on the endoscopy segments. Not looking too bad so far, judging by the previewer’s impressions. Atlus has also posted some profiles of the main character on its forums.

Last issue mentioned a side-scrolling iPhone version of Mirror’s Edge – now, we’ve got a trailer showing some gameplay footage. As I recall there was a freeware game along these lines released around the same time as the original…anyone thinking of springing for this?

While more than one source guessed that the “big” project Vic Ireland (who’s now in cahoots with Sunsoft) is teasing might be a revival of Albert Odyssey, the man himself has quashed those rumors, not only confirming that Albert is not the project’s focus, but insisting that “everyone is thinking too small” when it comes to honing in on it. Hm, if not that, then what might he have up his sleeve? Maybe it has something to do with Sunsoft’s recent acquisition of Telenet’s IP…dare we hope for a new Valis?

Back in Issue # 20, I made mention of a(nother, though I had no idea the first one existed) Classical-focused rhythm game based on the Nodame Cantabile anime – if the notion catches your fancy, check out some screens. Credit to Siliconera for the link.

Lots of people are happy that Okamiden is happening, but it’s a bit sad to hear the original game’s director speak of it – apparently he was hoping to eventually do his own sequel to Okami, but now that a different team is working on one he says that the game’s world is “no longer his” and that his desire to revisit it is gone. I can kinda see where he’s coming from, I suppose.

It’s a good thing nobody else was in the house while I watched it, because I laughed way, WAY too hard at this goofy but oh-so-true “Tetris God” skit. Maybe hearing the phrase “Reverse Squiggly” uttered repeatedly in grand, reverberating tones had something to do with it. (DToid coverage here.)

Looks like Santa’s had his sleigh refurbished lately…and he’s gotten himself a new helper too, namely Maxwell from Scribblenauts, courtesy of some seasonal art from 5th Cell.


I just noticed that the "Multi-Platform" tag for blogs is gone now...so I guess this is "Commentary" instead? "Rant" probably fits better, honestly, but EVERYthing I write goes under that, so a little variety couldn't hurt. In the meantime, I'm still chipping away at a handful of non-Tribune blog entries…though the Futari How-To took plenty out of me on its own, and NOW I’ve gotta edit it a bit too. Well, anyways, thanks again for your readership, and keep gaming obscurely.
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About BulletMagnetone of us since 9:04 PM on 10.04.2008

Thanks kindly for paying my blog a visit.

I'm currently looking for paid writing gigs, so if you might want anything written shoot me a message (craighats at hotmail dot com).

In case the contents of this blog don't make it obvious enough, I have something of an affinity for slightly "offbeat" titles, so if there's something out there that few others cover, there's a fair chance I'm at least somewhat up on it.

If there's any sort of (reasonable) inquiry you'd like me to address, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Below are a handful of recaps and other links (oldest listed first by section), in case you're interested - asterisks mark promoted articles.


'Magnet School


Curriculum: Puzzle Games

Course 1: Ochige 101
Course 2: Tossology
Course 3: Ochige 201
Course 4: Phys. Ed
Course 5: Ochige 301 (Adv.)
Course 6: Free Elective
Course 7: Ochige 401 (Hon.)
Course 8: Extra Credit
Graduation Speech



King of Fighters: Orochi Saga
Ar Tonelico II - Part 1 and Part 2
Prinny and Street Fighter IV
King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match
Nintendo DS
*King of Fighters XII
How-To: Atelier Annie
How-To: Mushihime-sama Futari


The Forgotten Essentials

Part 1: RPGs
Part 2: Shmups
Part 3: Fighters
Part 4: Puzzlers


The Obscurer Tribune



Monthly Musings/Writers Wanted

The Fear: The End
*A Time to Destroy: I Cast Thee Out
*Expanded Universes: Triple Triad X
*Those About to Die: Nocturne's Demons
*Untapped Potential: The Second Dimension
*I Suck at Games: and I'm Here to Help
*The Forgotten: Real Life
*Love/Hate: The Weirdo, The Wall, and The Beast
*The Future: A Refreshing Cup of Hemlock
*More Than Just Noise: Digital Cheese LIVE
East vs. West: Where The Old Gods Dwell
Resolutions: Fresh Flowers
Collaboration: IF Only...
Violence: The Gatekeepers


Assorted Ramblings

Why Am I Here? (intro)
Non-Portable Portable Gaming
Hating the Unhateable
*Soul Bubbles, Mickey Mouse, Journey of the Self
Dreamcast: The Other Shmup Machine
One-Year Anniversary Reflections
Shmups: Gaming's EOE


Non-DT Writing


Saturn Shooter Rundown
PS1 Shooter Rundown
PS2 Shooter Rundown
Shmups 101
Shmups That Defined the Genre
"Hidden Gem" Shmups


Shadow Hearts


Unofficial Shmup Glossary (shmups.com, WIP)
My Backloggery (Warning: Inherent Shamefulness May Be Too Intense for Some Readers)