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|[ 06/23/03 ] = From Hippie To Prep In 3 Days Or Your Money Back
I was amazed with the flow of great Konami titles in 2002, and once again they have managed to surprise me with their 2003 plans. Giving old-school fans some love with the release of two Contra titles in 2002, one could have only have hoped for Konami to consider bringing more classic goodness to the next-generation hardwares. Konami must have been listening to the cries of fans around the world, because the developer has just unveiled not only the much-anticipated Gradius V, but also a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game! Not stopping there, Konami has also decided to give Metal Gear fans not one, but two Metal Gear Solid titles almost simultaneously! lastly, no year is complete without plenty of gothic goodness, and Konami doesn't fall short in delivering us yet another Castlevania title; this time with a new 3-D entry! Get ready for some wholesome gamin' from Konami in 2003!
[ Gradius ]
= A Timeless Shooter Classic
[ Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles ] = Wishes Do Come True
The game will use a Jump button as in previous titles, but the standard Attack button will be broken down into two buttons (Weak Attack and Strong Attack) to perform the combos needed for chaotic side-scrolling brawls. In addition to the basic attacks and combos, TMNT will have throwing stars and cooperative attacks; although there aren't any details as of yet on the cooperative attacks, veterans can remember the cooperative attacks that were in Konami's classic Simpsons side-scroller. The new TMNT even has a combo counter like the ones found in head-to-head fighters! Cool. The game will have 35 full 3-D stages for 2-Players to brawl through simultaneously, a score bar, and lots of Shredder's minions to dispose of; sounds like wholesome old-school fun to me! This is what playing videogames was all about before stealing cars and killing innocent people defined the term "gameplay." Anyway, moving on, Konami has went about bringing the turtles into the next-generation by using the power of next-generation hardwares to deliver impressive cell-shaded graphics. The game's graphics have that typical sleek, smooth cell-shaded look to them; the turtles look marvelous, off-the-rack thugs and foot soldiers look cool, and Shredder still looks like a tough-guy (thankfully). Awesome. Konami couldn't have picked a better way to present the turtles using the hardware currently on the market; the game just looks great. Needless to say, with 35 stages to battle through, classic TMNT side-scrolling action, a score bar, and cell-shaded visuals, TMNT should be a gaming experience. With a new Gradius title, and a new TMNT title planned for release, I've been happier than a pig in shit.
[ Metal Gear Solid
] = Meryl Gear
Last but not least, Konami has said that in so many words MGS3 will be less story and more action. Although I want to see Konami answer questions that had surfaced in MGS2 through story progression, I'm glad to hear that MGS3 will have more action than that of MGS2; waiting for battles in MGS2 drove me crazy sometimes. Not to say that MGS2 didn't have any action, or that I didn't like the story of the game, but too many insignificant story details (like Raiden's relationship) placed in awkward parts of the game often bogged down the intensity. MGS2 was supposed to be an action game, and although it was a good game, sometimes its rate of progression came to almost a steady crawl. At times MGS2's slow rate of progression could almost be compared to that of being stuck walking behind some MTV-rap jerk with a pimp-limp. Anyway, it's good to see Konami is making an effort to put more action into the Metal Gear Solid series. Some may argue that it is not supposed to be "that kind of game," but what it is supposed to be is an action game. My only humble request concerning the design of MGS3 is this: Konami, if the playable character is Snake, cut that borderline mullet from MGS2! Snake's hair is only centimeters from devastation! Don't let it grow!
Although I'm looking forward to the more revelations in the intricate storyline of the series with Metal Gear Solid 3, I'm actually looking more forward to playing Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes. Perhaps the most attractive thing about Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes is that it is being developed on the GameCube hardware right beside the development of Metal Gear Solid 3 on the PlayStation 2. This should please particularly those who have been waiting (seemingly forever) for Konami to develop a new Metal Gear title on Nintendo's often-ignored GameCube hardware. Similar to how Capcom got the original PlayStation-powered Resident Evil and used the GameCube hardware to redesign a more graphically stunning version from the ground up (with various gameplay additions), Konami has decided that Metal Gear Solid's mark on videogame history was enough to warrant similar treatment for the original Metal Gear Solid. Konami is in the midst of developing Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes, and it looks like it will be everything the PlayStation-powered Metal Gear Solid was, and much more.
Sporting the graphics engine of Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance, and Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes takes full advantage of the GameCube hardware to create more detailed environments, effects, and characters. Snake and his lot look absolutely fabulous in Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes; Snake looks as rotten as ever, and in my opinion the guards in MGSTS look cooler and more menacing than that of MGS2 (or MGS2S). Just like in MGS2 and MGS2S, the backgrounds in MGSTS have that sick amount of detail that the series is known for; try to imagine what the first MGS would be like with the graphical flair and intricate detail of MGS2 (or MGS2S). As far as effects go, MGSTS has its fair share of nice effects; guards carry transparent shields, and soft rays of light radiate from flashlights and lamps, among other cool effects. Metal Gear Solid - Twin Snakes looks like it will be a sight to see. Konami also enhanced the game by putting in some of the abilities Snake had in MGS2 (like stuffing guards into lockers), as well as the dreaded first-person mode that was unfortunately in MGS2. Also on MGSTS are tweaks to the original cinematics of MGS, as well as cinematic surprises not found in the original MGS. Probably to avoid unfair shit ratings from our favorite EGaMers and GamePros, Konami also went ahead and added in some stuff from Metal Gear Solid - VR Missions. Now let's hope Konami will make it so that maybe Ninja can be unlocked as a playable character (or something cool like it). Of course, Konami probably hasn't told us everything about the game, so we can probably expect a few more surprises. Please Konami, make Ninja a second playable character in MGSTS like Raiden was in MGS2...
[ Castlevania ]
= The Legacy Of The Night Continues
Thankfully, Konami has decided to give fans a healthy dose of 2-D and 3-D Castlevania titles! Is it what eager fans were expecting? Well, seeing the new Castlevania on next-generation hardware now, we can say that while it doesn't look like the scrapped DreamCast Castlevania title, it does look good. Like Metal Gear Solid 3, Konami is developing the newest Castlevania on the PlayStation 2 hardware, and it looks like the power of the system is being utilized nicely. Castlevania - Legacy Of The Night utilized the N64 hardware to its fullest extent by making use of the N64 RAM cart to create some of the best visuals on the hardware, and although the new Castlevania doesn't use any such additional hardware, its visuals suggest that it will utilize the PlayStation 2 hardware to its fullest extent. Also, from what we've been shown, it looks like Konami's staff has taken advantage of the PS2's capabilities to craft the same distinct quality of lighting effects just as they did in Castlevania with the capabilities of the N64. The detail in the main character and enemies also look good, with finely detailed weapons and some especially fancy clothing. Although its hard to tell at this point just how the game will turn out (still haven't seen the bosses or items), Konami's newest 3-D Castlevania looks like it's shaping up to be a promising title. If the game is anything like the latest Castlevania games on the GBA, we should have a real treat on our hands...