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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 03/05/04 ] = Renounce Release Repeat

This time of year is usually when shitloads of cocktease info on upcoming releases appear, and it's annoying as all hell. For us here on the other side of the closed doors, it's hell waiting for more info and media on upcoming attractions. Forced to wait until E3 hits, we have no choice but to go forward and just enjoy the games we have now. But that's not such a bad thing though, is it? With quality like Gotcha Force, KOFEX2, and Shikigami No Shiro II, we have the means to be content. Right? Yes. Well, whatever the case may be, I still have plenty of things to say about the industry as of late. Read on for my latest thoughts on Capcom, SNK, Nintendo, and Rockstar Games...

[ Capcom ] = Too Bad You're Viewtiful
First and foremost: Capcom. Onimusha 3 has been released in Japan, and a US release is soon to follow; Goods. Megaman Network Transmission re-released in Japan; nice to see such demand. Megaman Zero 3 set for release in April; even better. Megaman - Anniversary Collection; now this is going to be like a wish come true for fans of Capcom's main man. Why? Simple. Because it contains an assload of the older Megaman games, along with a few titles in the series that have either been previously unreleased for the consumer market, or have become rarities. While many think that the older games in the series (like MM2 and MM3) are the best part of this compilation of great gaming, there is much more to be excited about here. For those of us who have already owned MM- MM7 for quite some time, Megaman - The Power Battle and Megaman - The Power Fighters are the main reason to snag this collection before it gets discontinued. Why are these two MM games so important? Because Capcom never released Megaman - The Power Battle for the SNES, or Megaman - The Power Fighters for the PS, N64, and/or Saturn like they should have. Well, now those who wanted MMPB for the SNES and MMPF for the N64 can finally enjoy them on the GC, and MMPF can likewise be enjoyed on the PS2 just as it should have been for the PS originally. More Megaman? You bet your ass there is! Capcom is releasing yet another Megaman compilation for the GBA/GBP, also called Megaman - Anniversary Collection (goddamn, change the name, please). Now, this one is going to kick ass too, and is going to save a lot of people a lot of money; it contains the whole Megaman ("World" series in Japan) series that was on the original GameBoy. Although passed off as mirror images of their NES counterparts, although the GameBoy Megaman (World) games were based off the NES MM games, they were essentially different games in several aspects (play them if you want to know). Getting this compilation of GB Megaman games for $29.99 is a hell of a lot cheaper (and less painful) than being raped by ridiculous eBay prices.

What next? Resident Evil 4. Capcom has released new media for the game, as well as some information regarding the gameplay mechanics and theme. While the game does look good from the most recent media that Capcom has released, overall I have mixed feelings about it. I may be part of a minority on this, but the preliminary RE4 media (from before Mikami was appointed) looked better. Capcom released new media for RE4 not long after granting Mikami control of the game's development, and I was disappointed to see that nearly everything from the game's previous stage of development had been scrapped. While RE4 is graphically impressive, the preliminary version seemed to look nicer. The current version of RE4 is of course being developed on the same hardware (GameCube) that preliminary version of the game was being developed on, but the design changes shown in the current version don't seem as impressive as that of the (unfortunately) discarded preliminary content.

Leon's new character design looks good, but he looked so much better in the preliminary version; his design in the current RE4 seems diluted when compared to his stellar preliminary counterpart. Also, the backgrounds in the current version seem to lack the feeling of mystery and darkness that the backgrounds in the preliminary version evoked. Not to say that the backgrounds in the current version of RE4 aren't good; they impress graphically, but they just don't seem to be as disturbing as what was seen in the preliminary RE4 trailer. For enemies, the current RE4 features cracked-out villagers instead of zombies, and the amount of detail put into them is simply beyond words. The masked chainsaw-wielding stalker seen in the screenshots looks cool, as well. As for the new gameplay elements and such, I'm not too sure about the camera; I'm not really looking forward to first-person mode, and from the screenshots even the third-person view looks odd. Why is only the upper-half of Leon's body visible in the third-person view? I commend Capcom for trying new things, but at the same time I am hope that the altered camera system won't hinder the overall experience of the game. Health and ammo indicators onscreen is a good thing, but what weapons will the final version of the game feature? Lastly, as far as the story goes, the preliminary RE4 story rumors about Leon dying from a virus while infiltrating Umbrella sound better than going on a mission to save the President's daughter. Then again, there could be more to the story of the current RE4, so I won't completely judge it just yet. Almost definitely I'll like the game when it comes out, I'm just not sure if I'll like it as much as past entries in the series (most notably RE2). I'll have to wait until E3 to comment more on the new form RE4 has taken.

Then, there are the rumors about Viewtiful Joe coming to PS2. Oh man, I don't even know what to say about this one. All I can really say is that if this is indeed the truth, I'm disappointed. What happened to the GC exclusivity of Viewtiful Joe, Capcom? Come on. If it does come to the PS2, it better not be Viewtiful Joe or Viewtiful Joe Revival. Why? Because according to Capcom these are supposed to be titles exclusive to the GameCube, that's why. Games like Maximo, Onimusha 3, Devil May Cry 2, and Onimusha Blade Warriors on the PS2 aren't considered for the GC, but as soon as a GC-exclusive title makes a bit of money, they get sent to the PS2? What the fuck is that? I like it when various consoles get a game (like Konami's recent TMNT), because that way everybody can enjoy it, but if any developer (not just Capcom) says that a game will be exclusive to a hardware, then it should stay exclusive. A completely different version of VJ for the PS2 is understandable, as limiting a whole series to a single hardware is difficult, but there's really no excuse for backing out on exclusivity that was promised.

[ SNK ] = Rises From The Ash
I think that SNK is responsible for a good amount of my pre-E3 excitement. With so much good news pouring in as of late, E3 can't come soon enough. SNK's most recent announcements are what fans have been wanting to hear for quite some time; they announced that they are (finally) moving new game development from the MVS hardware to the next-generation AtomisWave hardware. As if that wasn't already enough excitement, they already have three AtomisWave titles in development: Samurai Shodown AW, KOF2004, and Metal Slug 6. Finally; that's all I have to say. This is how it should be done.

Although SNK has developed games for other hardwares (DC, HNG64, NGPC) in the past, they have always been devoted almost solely to their own MVS hardware. And, while we all love the MVS (Fatal Fury 3, Samurai Shodown II, KOF'98), SNK's move to the AtomisWave for development has been long-awaited by fans. While the MVS and its large library of great games will always live in the hearts of fans all over the world, it's also great to finally see SNK really devote themselves to next-generation hardware for development. Just imagine the things they can do now that they are serious, and that there are fewer (if none) development barriers. SNK isn't letting the MVS go out with a whimper, though; the last title for the hardware is going to be Samurai Shodown V Special. I am really looking forward to this game; I was elated with Samurai Shodown IV Special (and still am), and I think Samurai Shodown 5 Special will impress me just as much. Ultimately, it is an absolute pleasure to see that Samurai Shodown is alive and well, once again. Second only to the Fatal Fury series in the SNK realm, the Samurai Shodown series is a tough series to beat. Thank you for continuing the legacy, SNK.

On a side-note, SNK has also released a logo and some information on KOF - Maximum Impact for the PS2 hardware (previously known as KOF3-D). Although there are no shots of the game, and hardly any info, the most important thing is that its development was reassured at all (as opposed to being canceled or trashed). In other words, it's good to see that SNK has been working their asses off to keep their word. Oh, and let's not forget about the fact that they announced KOFEX3 a while back! The more titles, the better. So much goodness. Kick ass, SNK. Although these games are all shrouded in secrecy, I'm still looking forward to them (because like Capcom, SNK is awesome). SNK always delivers, and with more powerful hardware, one could only imagine what the future of SNK game will be like. I'm dreaming of a new Fatal Fury...

[ RockStar Games ] = Not Completely Lacking In Talent After All?
When Capcom handed Red Dead Revolver to RockStar Games, it came as a surprise to me. Just look at the release track record of RockStar Games: the bullshit GTA series, and an assload of other games that just suck. Oh, and they released Earthworm Jim 64, which wasn't bad, because Earthworm Jim is cool. Anyway, with such an unimpressive track record, Capcom giving RockStar Games the Red Dead Revolver project seemed like a bad idea. However, RockStar has impressed me. They have released some screenshots of their work in progress, and the Red Dead Revolver project is looking good. While I can't say what the final product will be like, if it turns out to be well-done, then I will thank RSG for bringing a game that Capcom had originally canned to the states. Why is the game important enough to warrant thanking RSG for anything at all? Well, because several of Capcom's "vintage" series have made jumps into the 3-D realm, such as MegaMan, Ghouls & Ghosts (Maximo), and Strider; Red Dead Revolver is like a 3-D modern-version Gun.Smoke, and the classic Gun.Smoke kicked major ass. I don't care what dickhead editors say about the transformation of 2-D games into 3-D; Megaman 64, Maximo 2, and Strider 2 are all examples of just how good Red Dead Revolver can shape up to be. That is, given the fact that RSG knows what the players want. If they bring RDR out unharmed, their image will improve, but if they butcher it and serve it half-assed, I'll hate them ten times more than I do now.

[ Nintendo ] = Something To Prove
Since I can go on for days about how Nintendo's been given the shaft since the launch of the N64, I'll try to cut this one short. Recently, Nintendo has announced the Nintendo DS (said to be in a realm separate from the GBA/GBP and the GC) and plans for a successor to the GC. After hearing legions of loudmouth, brainless assholes constantly talk shit about how Nintendo's going to "pull a Sega" and leave the game industry, it was good to hear Nintendo announce future hardware plans for them to choke on. I am interested in Nintendo's plans, and I am anxious to see what they have planned with the Nintendo DS and GameCube successor. There hasn't really been too much information on either of the systems; sure, I guess I am looking forward to seeing how the graphical capabilities of the DS will look, and I want to see what they are going to do with the two screens, but mainly I've just been wondering what Nintendo's got up their sleeve. It's hard to really say anything when neither of the hardwares have been unveiled. Although Nintendo has released very little information on their new hardware, it seems that many have already judged Nintendo once again (just like they did with the GC).

Stupid assholes all over the web have already passed the Nintendo DS off as being shit, and it's not even out, yet! In fact, as far as I know, there are no pictures of the system, no concrete specs, or game screens! What the fuck is this? Just because Nintendo tells the press that the DS will feature two-screens, it's automatically a bad system? I like the PS2 as much as any other guy (or girl) on the block, but one has to wonder if Sony would have gotten the same reaction had they announced a system with the concept of the DS. We all know the answer, but for those who don't, loitering at Wal-Mart or reading an issue of EGM might get you some answers. The whole situation is just bullshit; the same people who used the PS2 to shit on the GC when it came out are shitting on Nintendo again. At this point, the DS hasn't even launched, so how can they judge? Everyone has opinions, but these ones are something else. The fucking thing hasn't even been released, yet it's terrible? There aren't even any demos of the system's performance and/or games. Again, completely unjustified venting of critics, in my opinion. It would be different if they had actually waited for more substantial information on the hardware before forming opinions on it, but that is not the case. All I can say is that for these jerks, it will be a real kick in the ass if the system turns out to be successful. I refuse to pass-judgment on this system just to fit in with every other invalid on the block.

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = The Magic Box
[ 2 ] = GameSpy