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The Obscurer Tribune: The Big Four-Oh


Yup, the resurrected Tribune is officially 40 issues old today, which means that it will immediately begin gaining weight in rapid fashion, taking additional medication, abandoning its former liberal principles, looking at beachfront property in Florida, and quite possibly having a fling with a younger, more attractive weekly gaming news recap.


According to some thirdhand information from PAX East, Aksys is aiming for a June 29th release date for DeathSmiles (you can also sample some uncomfortable-looking cosplayers while you’re over at that link, more here). Moreover, we’ve finally got a rundown of the now-confirmed Limited Edition for the game – it comes with a faceplate, arranged soundtrack CD, and a big ol’ outer box to fit it all in. Perhaps most interestingly of all, the bugger’s only 50 bucks – looks like they’re probably following the BlazBlue precedent and including the extra stuff with all first-print copies. Either way, buy it! Or, if that stuff still isn’t enough for you, there’s always the BDSM Uber Edition

If no more delays or other corporate shenanigans rear their ugly heads, Ketsui X should finally be out in about a month – in the meantime, the game’s Amazon page has some pictures of the extra stuff included with the Limited Edition.

At last, we’ve got a pair of videos of The Flying Hamster – witness the power of the beer laser (and at least one unmistakable Gradius reference)!

It might look like an April Fool’s joke, but it ain’t – those nuts at Cave are putting ESPGaluda II, which was recently ported to the 360, onto the iPhone. Moreover, a new technique known as “awakening pulse” (which allows you to turn bullets into green gems) is being added in, y’know, just in case the thing’s system wasn’t complicated enough already. It’s out sometime this Spring and will support both Japanese and English text.

Of course, there’s plenty of actual April Foolery on the shmup front – first and foremost a pair of images appear to depict the rumored Gradius Arc, in all its traditional side-scrolling glory – as far as anyone can tell, however, the “video” shown therein doesn’t exist. On the other hand, Melty Blood Sky Stage is 100 percent real. For serious. This last one, however, almost got me…supposedly, there was a pseudo-unreleased sequel to Blaster Master, subtitled Destination Fred, in which you shrink and enter the titular frog to fight off some nasty micro-bots. Well, according to Sunsoft’s site, they were planning on bringing it to Virtual Console – of course, that’d be made easier if it actually existed! (DToid coverage here.)

For my money, however, the most interesting April 1st shmup-related release is an actual product you can play, known only as EPIC SHOOTER – see some (slightly NSFW) video here and here. Shoot the full-bodied mature women and rescue the lolis! This masterpiece of interactive entertainment can be downloaded here, here or here.

Also over at the forum (where else?) a few magazine scans have been posted of Variant Schwanzer, an unreleased vertical shooter by Seta originally slated for around the year 2000. The original gimmick was the ability to capture and fuse with enemies, gaining their abilities – I wonder if there’s a prototype ROM floating around out there someplace? Someone else on the forum also uploaded some (rather blurry) scans of the latest issue of Arcadia magazine, which includes articles about prolific shmup company Cave as well as King of Fighters SkyStage – check out this thread if you’d like a look.

Most onlookers probably assumed this would be the case, but now it’s been confirmed – nifty looking pseudo-shmup Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is headed to XBLA. No date or price has been mentioned yet, but one way or another the game is on the way. (DToid coverage here.)

A new vertical-scroller called Zulu Hour has also popped up on XBLA Indie Games – from here it doesn’t look all that good, to be honest, but if you’d like to give it a try, there it is. In sorta-related news, a few more details about After Burner Climax, slated for both Microsoft’s and Sony’s download services, has come to light – the exact release dates will be April 21st (XBLA) and 22nd (PSN) and the price for both will be ten bucks. Not bad! (DToid coverage here.)

The front page has posted a nifty video of an upcoming DS title called Fractured Soul – while most of it plays as a run-n-gun, there’s at least one shmup section squeezed in there. The kicker, however, is that you control two different versions of yourself at once, on the separate screens – only one is “solid” at a time, and can interact with stuff, but the other “ghostly” form can’t be hurt, so you’ll be switching back and forth between them frequently to get out of trouble. Looks like it’ll take some getting used to, but at the very least it’s a neat concept.

Not “technically” a shmup by a strict definition, but this should still be of interest to some readers – Siliconera links to this retrospective of the unreleased Star Fox 2, which offers bountiful information on how it came to (not) be. On a similar note, you can also check out Hardcore, an unreleased Genesis run-n-gun by DICE.

Just in case you were planning on buying anything off of the Japanese XBLA store, from the second to the seventh of next month prices are being slashed on several games, including R-Type Dimensions and Ikaruga.

You might have scoffed at Sailor Bubba. You might have said that Man-Faye was “not that bad”. And you might not think that Touhou cosplay could ever reach quite those same heights/depths…well, if that’s the case, then you probably haven’t seen this guy.

A bunch more King of Fighters XIII images can be found over here, as well as a longer video of the location test on YouTube (watch for a glitch around four and a half minutes in!). Of course, be sure to check the official site as well – thanks to Mognet Central for all three links. Also Mai cosplay, since everyone’s got an excuse to start doing that again.

Looks like the box art for Super Street Figher IV has gotten a once-over, most notably replacing Cammy with Dudley – looks like half the community will be ecstatic and the other half will be incensed (DToid coverage here). On the c-blogs, Steel Squirrel is pretty excited about the game, and hopes that more people give it a try once it’s out. Finally, BFeld13 posts some commentary of a match fought at PAX East – yeah, the actual match can be watched in there too, though I doubt you’ll be able to pay too much attention to what’s actually happening thanks to all the chatter.

I doubt that anyone here has expressed much interest in Samurai Shodown Sen, which finally came out recently, but I can’t help but find it interesting that, according to Xseed, the localization was ”pretty much done” by the time they inherited it from Ignition. The latter company must have been in quite a sudden hurry to get out of its deal with SNK…

Sega has revealed a new “trailer” for Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Turbo, which looks a little more…exuberant than most of the rest of the series. Of course, it has nothing on the pure, unbridled fury of Rage Against Charlie Sheen. Oh, and maybe I should mention that both of these were posted on April Fool’s Day.

Wry Guy’s at it again, and thank goodness for that – his next local tourney, as promised, is for Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and will also include a few members from orochinagi.com to keep us on our toes. Sign up today and get your face punched in!

Kotaku has a preview of UDON’s “Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia”, which is out in June and contains more information on the series’ characters than you ever wanted to know (with the exception of Dan, about whom it’s impossible to know too much). (DToid coverage here.)

Wait a sec, wasn’t Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix already on sale, like, everywhere? Well, apparently it (and a few other titles) has been reduced yet again on XBLA, where it can be had for 560 points (7 bucks). (DToid coverage here.)

Sakura Wars: So Long My Love is FINALLY out (my copy just came in the mail earlier today) – if you still haven’t seen enough of the game to make a decision on it, check out Siliconera’s recent playtest, which should give you a pretty darn good idea of what to expect. Of course, the fact that unang is probably waiting outside your door with a gun and a shovel might serve as a motivational factor as well. Moreover, if you read the comments in last weeks’ Tribune, you know that our very own Excel is keeping a diary of several playthroughs of the game, each with a different “theme” in mind – check them out on this thread at Japanator! WARNING – Spoilers abound!

Those waiting for Persona 3 Portable have some more media to chew on this week, as a new website has opened and some new screens have appeared as well. Meanwhile, I’m still undecided as to whether to purchase this thing a third time, despite its lauded “play while on can” ability.

If you’ve been hankering for some of the unique demon-summoning codes on offer for Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, this post on Atlus’ forums offers a couple. Many more are promised in the future, though exactly where they’ll appear is anyone’s guess…

Clayton Chan really needs to show back up on the c-blogs here sometime (I mean, it’s not like he’s got anything better to do someplace else, right? Especially not anything that niche gamers would really hope he was focusing on), but until he decides to stop in again we can check out this interview in which he comments on several aspects of Hexyz Force.

A few more illustrations and a bit of commentary have popped up in connection with The Last Story – looks like we’ll have some rather impressive ships and such on our hands. (DToid coverage here.) One more illustration is over this-a-way.

I haven’t been following Xenoblade as closely as some other upcoming releases, but the new trailer posted up on the front page certainly has my attention. A little bit of additional new information can be found here.

Fate/Extra, the PSP RPG based on the anime based on the eroge, has officially been pushed back to July 22nd, in case you were planning on importing it.

The official site for Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: The Lord of Elemental has opened several sections, thanks to Mognet Central for the tip.

First up in Virtual Console news this week, you can now get your hands on Ogre Battle 64, and be a person of lordly caliber! (DToid coverage here.)

Another trailer and a sixth (and rather lengthy) featurette (also on the subject of system design) have been released for Trauma Team – more than that, the game’s retail price has been brought down to forty bucks, so if you were on the fence as to whether or not to snag this, maybe that’ll help you make your decision. (DToid coverage here.) You might also be interested to know that the Forensics portions of the game were partially inspired by the Demon Fusion mechanics in Shin Megami Tensei, as well as a request from the Atlus USA branch (DToid coverage here).

From the floor of PAX East, Kotaku has some impressions of Battle Block Theater.

This one’s got both shmup- and fighter-related news bundled together, so it ended up here – anyways, the latest batch of additions to the Virtual Console also includes SNES side-scroller Darius Twin (featuring some of the most irritating music in all of game-dom) and goofy Sunsoft fighter Waku Waku 7.

Once again it’s Confession Time – I never quite caught the Scott Pilgrim bug. That said, I will share these images, which offer a semi-preview of the upcoming game based on the movie based on the comic. (C-blog item here, front page item here.)

Joystiq now has their own hands-on writeup of Raskulls, if you’re looking to expand your opinion roster on that game.

The ESRB has rated Disgaea Infinite (a “T” in case you were curious) and in the process given me a new favorite put-down – “Does your brain not get enough nutrients because your boobs absorb them first?”

It would occur to most casual observers (like myself) that Japan-exclusive puzzle-platformer Ivy the Kiwi would be a relatively slow-paced game, but apparently if you know what you’re doing you can whiz through levels pretty darn quickly.

Now here’s an obscurity even by my standards – you’ve probably never heard of a Japan-exclusive puzzler called NoNoNo Puzzle Chai-Rian, but a scaled-down version of it recently came to DSiWare under the title Kuru Pachi 6. More than that, it looks like the thing might be headed westward under the title Spin Six.

Ms. Davis has declared it, so it’s official – Cave Story is the Best Game Ever. Or IS it? Of course, you could also just read Mr. Holmes’ front-page review of the thing. Or some cross-stitch.

Assuming that this one’s not yet another April Fool, it looks like the latest Super Meat Boy guest character to be revealed is Ogmo, from Jumper (though with a name like that he could probably moonlight as an evil final boss in some other game).

On the c-blogs chr156r33n offers a musing on the nature of NPC death in Patchwork Heroes – of course, you’ll also want to check out the front page’s official review of the game while you’re at it.

Right next door, Monodi brings up a name I haven’t heard in awhile, namely Drill Dozer for the GBA. If you bought the game complete with all its original paperwork, you got a mini-comic along with it – if you missed out, head over to his blog and check out some scans instead. Whatever you do, though, definitely give the game a try!

Local pinball maven FunWithBonus gives us a look at Stern’s new Iron Man machine, which will apparently be playable sometime in May, though the “official” release date is seemingly sometime later on.

Also have a sampler of moshboy’s “Indie Games You Might Have Missed” YouTube bits. Y’know, just because.

“Still Alive” from Portal is pretty certainly not obscure (especially by now), but I still think it’s cool that a children’s choir from Wisconsin performed it. Also, in case you ever wondered what the inside of one of the game’s turret bots looks like, now you know!

I’ve got no real excuse to link this video except for the fact that I was amused by it, but of course I’ve NEVER pulled that lame stunt on Tribune readers before. And I’m entitled to one self-indulgent slip-up, right? Never again, I promise!


Guess that’s all for now – back to Sakura Wars (and you’d all better be getting to it as well – hopefully you’ll have better luck with the girls than I have so far)! Until next issue, thanks as always for reading 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)