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Video: Michigan: Report from Hell Longplay Part 4 & Finale

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And here’s the wrap up of easily one of the most expensive PS2 games I’ve ever owned.  At 4.5 hours with the bonus material, probably not the strongest campaign out, but Michigan is an experimental “out of the box” title that probably will never be repeated again.  Either way, here’s the end of the journey:

Also if you wish you can check out the entire playthrough in a full playlist here.


Written by spydersvenom

January 13, 2014 at 9:11 am

Michigan: Report from Hell Longplay Part 3

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And here’s the third part of the Michigan longplay (for the initial post on this game click here):

Written by spydersvenom

January 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

Michigan: Report from Hell Longplay Part 2

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In Part 2 of our Michigan longplay (you can read about the game as a whole and see the original video here) we continue our playthrough of this super rare (for the English version) title.  Enjoy!

You can go on and see part 3 here.

Written by spydersvenom

January 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Retro Game Night: RE Gun Survivor 2 and Michigan

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For this week’s video and Retro Game Night we are playing requested titles Biohazard (Resident Evil) Gun Survivor 2 (Japanese Version) and Michigan: Report from Hell (European English Version).  Both titles only released in Japan and Europe so here they are in all your viewing glory.  Due to language and violence both of the games and the commentary, viewer discretion is advised.  Michigan is continued via additional longplay videos starting with Part 2 here.

Written by spydersvenom

December 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

Podcast: Are You One of Us?

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This week Fred flies solo to discuss the short live but highly coveted niche console the Turbografx-16.  With an 8-bit processor and a 16-bit graphics card this Japan-centric console by NEC only hung around for 4-5 years but has a cult following almost as intense as Sega.  This episode covers its release, different versions, Japanese counterpart the PC Engine, and of course the expensive CD expansion and games.

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Written by spydersvenom

August 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

Retro Game Night: Patriotic Edition

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This week we post a little early and celebrate America’s Independence Day with patriotic video games:

First up is actually a Japanese game, Parodius Da! but it has quite the patriotic boss so it’s here because I love this game and found a connection:

Next up is a rare unlicensed NES game by Color Dreams entitled Operation Secret Storm:

Third on the list is a digital pinball game from the PS1 era, because why not right?  Here’s Patriotic Pinball (please excuse my technical difficulties):

And last but not least we close the show with a game so American, so amazing, so awesome it was only released on one console (Xbox) and in one region (Japan).  Yeah, you read that right.  Since I have no way of getting my hands on it and don’t have a Japanese Xbox to play it on, here’s a great flashback of 1UP’s Broken Pixels show bragging about From Software’s 3rd person uber-American title Metal Wolf Chaos:

Hope you enjoyed those and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Retro Game Night: Beetle Adventure Racing and Sweet Home

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Starting yesterday I am now doing a weekly show where I play retro titles that either I’ve always wanted to play, my readers request, or anything I just think is cool.  It records every Friday night, gets uploaded to the YouTube channel late, and then I create a subsequent post here on Saturday.  For the first week I decided to try a game I originally was recommended on a recent Video Game Outsiders appearance: Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64.

The next comes from one of our Japanese readers/listeners Fenian (@F3nian), Sweet Home.  This was released only in Japan on the Famicom (NES) by Capcom and features RPG and puzzle elements as five people try to survive and escape a haunted mansion.  Although based off of a Japanese horror film of the same name, many say this was the precursor to Resident Evil, complete with the opening door cinematic.  It was only released in Japanese, but thanks to a fan translation and flash cart I present to you the game in all its English glory running on an actual NES.

Hope you enjoyed these episodes.  Tune in next week where I will be featuring initial gameplay of Expendable on the Dreamcast and an attempt to complete the fighter Street Fighter The Movie: The Game on the Sega Saturn!

Written by spydersvenom

June 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

Posted in Import, N64, NES, Retro Game Night, Videos

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Podcast: Found in Translation

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This week Fred flies solo to discuss the world of fan translations.  Many titles come out in foreign lands and never make the trip over the United States, often only available in the native language of Japanese: enter the fan translation.  We discuss the roots and makeup of a fan translation and then close with a long list of the most popular ones for each console.

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Written by spydersvenom

May 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Podcast: The Treasure Box

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This week Trees returns and we are talking about the Japanese developer Treasure, best known for some of the most impressive games on Sega’s consoles (Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Guardian Heroes, and Ikaruga) as well as Nintendo’s later consoles (Bangai-O and Sin & Punishment).  We discuss the company origins, values, and of course the entire library of this impressive developer.

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Below is a video of an unreleased (canceled) title, Tiny Toons: Defenders of the Universe.  The beta that was presumably used as a trade show demo eventually leaked on the internet.  We have acquired it and played it on an original, modded, PS2.  Enjoy!

Review: Espgaluda (PS2)

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espgaludaConsole: Playstation 2 (Japan Only)
Released: 2004
Developer: Cave (original arcade design, port by Arika)
Publisher: Arika (PS2 version only)
Difficulty: Moderate
Price: $60-$100 (used, unknown new)
Digital Release? No

Aside from its Japan only status and the incredibly difficult pronunciation, Espgaluda (pronounced “esu-pu-galuda” in English) has so much going for it. A second generation shmup from Cave, the development studio responsible for DoDonPachi, this is when the studio began to think outside the box and expand its audience to the masses. This game is made easier than most titles in its genre with the slowing of bullets and shields to assist the player in getting familiar with the danmaku (bullet hell) genre. Wrap it all together and it truly is a shame this title has never made its way stateside because it’s much more approachable than the titles we have received.

The roots of Espgaluda stem from the arcade (and Japan) only title ESP Ra.De. (pronounced “esu-pu-rye-do”) about a group of young girls with super human powers. It all takes place in the not-too-distant future (2018) on a remote island called Tokyo-2 off the shores of an overpopulated Japan. It appears the Japanese police force is hunting down these “ESPers” that are capable of psychic powers and the story takes place over a 24-hour period of time for three escaping females. None of this matters all that much since the game was only in Japanese (not localized on the MAME versions I’ve found), but the game is notable for several reasons. For starters the fact that you control a flying girl instead of a ship or vehicle will be the first thing you notice, and given the 1998 release of the title it’s quite possibly the first time this type of character is used in a shmup. Each girl has a barrier power, which allows them to temporarily absorb the power of the bullets coming at them and then release that energy back at their opponents. Aside from that the game is relatively a standard vertical shmup with plenty of explosions, bullets to dodge, and massive boss battles.

Espgaluda is a spiritual member of the series and acts as a prequel of sorts, but you have to give me a little slack because I don’t speak Japanese and I’m piecing together a plot and game that aren’t often covered. From what I can tell it explains the story of a queen of a small and peaceful village that has special powers incredibly similar to the ones we saw in ESP Ra.De. and the king has begun experimentation to extract and implement her powers in others. At the core of this are his two children whom he infuses the powers to at a young age for the sake of conquering. Trouble begins when a senior scientist moves the kids away to an isolated location in an attempt to give them a normal life. Eventually they are found, the scientist father figure is killed for his treachery, and the kids attack the town of their father with newfound powers unleashed.

espgaluda_1This is the world you are dropped into with Espgaluda, which is unlike many shmups of its type. First of all most of the enemies are organicand the whole world has this steampunk feel of technology fused with semi- medieval aesthetics. Like its spiritual predecessor, the barrier system joins the ranks allowing you to protect yourself against oncoming bullets, especially when those crazy danmaku patters explode across the screen. The barrier may be less necessary than you think, though, because the game has a power mode that slows down its pace and enters a sort of slow-mo or “bullet time” mode when you get bombarded. This is great for those newer to the genre that need to get used to the pattern weaving required to succeed in bullet hell shmups. Not only that, but your barrier automatically absorbs bullets, unleashing a mighty auto-attack once you soak up enough, and your attacks get super charged. It’s one hell of a mode to say the least, especially because you change genders completely (although with all the Japanese I can’t understand the explanation is lost on me and it doesn’t look like the brother turns into the sister or visa versa but perhaps that’s what it is).

Either way it’s a new take on a classic genre that truthfully is a great place to start if you’re not big on shmups or are tired of not making it past the first level. Of course the tragedy is that the game was only released in Japan, but if you’re into importing or know how to access a MAME copy you should be good to go. While I must admit that it doesn’t diverge too far from a Cave shooter across the board, I like the lush and vibrant colors of the game and the training wheels its various options support. Hardcore shump fans don’t need to worry too much, though, because there are many difficulties and the game is still tough as nails even with these various options in place. I must admit, though, that with this title in the back pocket it shocks me that much more niche shooters like Otomedius and even Cave’s Deathsmiles made it to the US and Espgaluda (and its sequel on the 360) have remained locked away in the East. Perhaps the vertical perspective that wastes a large percentage of the screen is to blame?

Written by spydersvenom

March 8, 2013 at 11:00 am


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