Y'know, there are some weeks where it just feels good to start things off with an expletive. Last week was one of those weeks, and not for the reasons one would think after reading the last Japandemonium update. On Monday, as I was proofing JuMeSyn's review of Solatorobo, my computer screen went blank. When I tried to boot it back up, all I got was "MBR Error." My laptop hadn't just crashed, it had crashed and burned. Some research via net cafe into the nature of the error message sent me on a quest to find a Windows XP installation disk, which are surprisingly hard to come by. I only succeeded in finding one after taking my laptop to the local Best Denki to have a certified tech (fruitlessly) look at it. It's possible that the disk could have worked. It's also possible my computer was just a goner no matter what. We shall never know, as the "MS Certified" computer technician didn't have any diagnostic tools that worked with an XP machine. For lack of anything else to do, he removed the hard drive to try a direct connection to his own computer.
Note that to do this, he had to remove several scews. I noticed a little too late that to do this, he used a magnetic screwdriver to help him with the tiny screws. Not surprisingly, the hard drive was deader after this than it had been beforehand. When I tried once more to boot it up later, it showed a completely different error message that indicated corrupted sectors on the hard drive.
Oh well, I'd been planning on getting a new laptop soon enough. I just thought I'd be back in America when I did it.
It's safe to say that Monster Hunter fans like Capcom products. Capcom has decided to work with this in the MonHan MMORPG, Monster Hunter Frontier. The new package, the Vampire Kit, introduces iconic weaponry from one of Capcom's major arcade fighting series, as well as some character skins. In case you don't immediately recognize it (and if so, what's wrong with you?), the series in question is Darkstalkers.
Do you ever start your day thinking, "Man, I wish I were a pirate?" Keiji Inafune and the guys at Marvelous Entertainment do, apparently. Just look at their newest effort:
Kai-oh, or King of Pirates, draws upon some interesting source material. Of course it has pirates, but the cast is based on characters from the Chinese epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Those heroes and villains of yore have just been made over as penguins, walruses, cats, eagles, and dragons, that's all. Oh, and apparently the Monkey King (or a close lookalike) makes an appearance as well.
According to Famitsu, Kai-oh is an action-RPG with over 300 characters. While I doubt that they will all be playable, that's an impressive casting call. While we have no shots of actual combat, we do have some very pretty screens to show.
This game is supposed to come out some time in 2012 amongst a flurry of other titles. I'll just let Nyx and Ocelot keep that new Harvest Moon, and save this one for myself.
Moving on from sea to land, it's time to highlight a different branch of the military. In Nippon Ichi's newest PS3 endeavor, Majo to Hyakkihei, it's the cavalry that wins the day. The game's title translates as "The Witch and the Hundred-Man Cavalry," though in fact there is only one little guy involved for most of the game. The actual protagonist of the story is Metalica, the Witch of the Swamp. Let's hear the basic plot in her own words:
Somewhere out there, in a magical little world, in a little woods in a great kingdom, there lived a hideously evil Witch of the Woods and an amazingly intelligent and beautiful Witch of the Swamps. For a hundred years they had fought and competed to prove who was stronger, but neither could win. Then one day the Witch of the Swamp found, in the deepest depths, the legendary soldier, and things proceeded to get crazy... hehehehe.
That "legendary soldier" is the Hyakkihei, or Hundred-Man Cavalry, a set of one hundred combat golems with a variety of specialties. The player is in control of the non-specialist one-hundredth member of the cavalry. As a magical construct, he needs a power source, and Metalica provides. To keep Hyakkihei running, or to do anything else magical in the game, Metalica needs to expend lots of energy. This is measured in gigacalories (FYI in Japan, energy from food is measured in kilocalories). As Hyakkihei crosses the landscape, he'll come across dark zones that need gigacalories to clear, gimmicky devices to figure out, and strong monsters to defeat. To make it through the day, he will have to call on his comrades to either use their own special skills, or to summon strong attacks to bash the enemy.
There are more people in the region than just witches and their servants. Hyakkihei will have to decide how to interact with the local denizens, with some very different outcomes possible. Bear in mind that Hyakkihei is just a golem with no moral compass or helpful insect on his shoulder to tell him what to do. His own mistress isn't going to be much help on the moral quandaries either. It's completely up to the player whether it's better to take a quest from a random fish-man, or to serve the thing up as sashimi instead.
Aside from the usual artbook and soundtrack combo, Nippon Ichi is offering a Nendoroid version of Metalica in the game's special box.
This hack-n-slash action-RPG is slated to come out sometime next year.
And now for something different. I just found information on this little game on Famitsu's main site. It's a "fairy-tale RPG" developed by WitchTrap for the GREE cell phone platform.
The story seems to focus on beings called Shadows that are breaking into the world to cause disasters. The player must counter them with combat-ready dolls based on various fairy tale characters. Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, and even Prince Charming are included amongst the available doll types. New dolls can be gained through quests or through a "lucky dip" summoning system. And of course, as this is a GREE title, it's possible to team up with other players on the network to take down the really nasty Chaos Shadows.
Recently, Square Enix announced a team-up with Yahoo to create a browser-based tactical game. Entitled Monster x Dragon, its beta phase has been announced for later this month. S-E started taking applications for the beta test on the 5th, and will continue to allow hopeful gamers to register until the 11th. The beta should start from the 12th. Obviously, not much is currently known about how the game plays, so all we can do for now is to look at the nice screenshots.
TGS is come and gone, but the trailers continue. Here's one last item for Class of Heroes Final - The New Student's a Princess!?, which arrives on the PSP later this month. If you're looking for action and gameplay, fast forward to around the 2:00 mark. Otherwise, the game advertises the fastest battles, the widest variety of customization, and the best story yet seen in the series. It's also supposedly the last game in the series. I'm not sure how much I believe that.