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Archive for February 6th, 2009


SEGA at New York Comic-con – Day 1

Wednesday, 6:00 PM EST: I noticed one thing above all others as I stepped off the plane at New York’s JFK Airport – It was cold. Really, really cold. Memories of Missouri winters flashed back into my head as I spotted snow and ice on the ground – and so, in twelve degrees of icy-goodness, began the epic adventure that would be my first ever trip to New York – and likewise, to the New York Comic-con!

As the first day of NYCC comes to a close, our community team has the scoop on all things SEGA! Kellie will be writing in with more news tomorrow, and you can check out all of our Friday coverage below!

9:00 AM – The calm before the storm…

The morning started off fairly slow, with press and gaming sites showing up first. We had four MadWorld Booths, four The Conduit booths, and two House of the Dead: Overkill and Sonic and the Black Knight booths – so twelve people could be playing a game at any given time. With the crowds we were about to see, and the amazing positive response we’d get from them, we were all really glad to have so many booths, even if it meant keeping an eye on them all. Then, early in the afternoon, the doors opened to the public – and in they came!

Gallia, we cosplay for thee.

This awesome Welkin cosplayer was our first Valkyria fan to arrive in costume, and he scored himself a free Collector’s Valkyria Artbook!  Props to you, and to the other Welkin cosplayer who arrived a little bit later. Will we see more Valkyria cosplayers tomorrow? (I certainly hope so!)

See? I have the knack.

Talking with fellow Phantasy Star fans just makes me happy.  I posted around that if any Phantasy Star players could find me at Comic-con and knew the answers to a trivia question or two, I’d hook them up with free collector’s merch – these two guys above did just that, and were the first to arrive. Rock on, guys! Mad props to you both for being the first – special shout outs to all the guys in the Shin team, to Pac Man, and to Cell from the PSU forums and fansite PSO-World! It was awesome meeting you all!

MadWorld developers Platinum Games were also on-hand for some exclusive autograph action, and will be back tomorrow!

Talking with people as they played the games was also great fun – seeing someone’s jaw drop and eyes widen as they chainsawed some poor chump in half and impaled them with a CAUTION sign in MadWorld, or listened to some of the language in The House of the Dead: Overkill – everywhere, I think gamers could feel that the things that made many SEGA games great in the early 90’s – games that are edgy, cool to see, and most of all: fun to play, were at long last returning.

The air around our booths was filled with Ooohs, Aaahs, My God, that is awesome, and the occasional crowd cheering – both for special SEGA merch and, for one group, at how sweet they thought the finishing moves in MadWorld were! It was enough to keep me smiling the whole day through. To top it all off, we gave anyone that played all of our games a free MadWorld Caution sign T-shirt!

Check out our SEGA Flickr feed for all the pictures from today, and keep your eyes to the blogs on Saturday and Sunday as we continue our coverage of all things Comic-con!


Dear Streets of Rage – I Love You

There are a couple games that I will buy and re-buy no matter where it decides to pop up, past present, or future. Streets of Rage 2 is easily one of these games and is now available on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. So naturally I secured a copy and have been playing it to death all over again. And while I already own the game on Xbox Live Arcade, but this version comes with the added bonus of Streets of Rage 1 and 3.

If you haven’t played Streets of Rage, you owe it to yourself to pick this collection up for version 2 alone. This is a true SEGA classic franchise is well overdue for another sequel (I got your back Streets fans; I’ll see what I can do). All versions are based on a simple concept – booting some head in a side scrolling environment. The real fun comes in the finesse of the moves and each character’s individual play style.

Each character is pretty distinct, even across all three games. I’ve always gravitated to Skate, who appears in version 2 and 3. He’s fast and hits quickly with a wide variety of grapples and attacks. He doesn’t do the most damage, but he will surprise you with a barrage of attacks from the back of the head if you aren’t careful. Other characters feature a balance of key stats, including speed, power, and technique. All characters offer a nice pace when slugging through the excellent soundtrack.

Wait, did he just say soundtrack? Well, tastes may vary, but I strongly feel that Streets of Rage 2 is one of the best techno albums of the 90s – It’s just that good. And playing the game all over again had me toe-tapping my way to each face punch, groin kick, and punishing special attack. As a nice bonus, the Ultimate Genesis Collection release features an option to listen to all level tracks through the options menu, should you choose to.

Streets of Rage is by far my favorite game to appear in this collection, I can’t wait for others to enjoy it this Tuesday.


Retro Champion: Unlockable Content for Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection

In yesterday’s post about the Achievements and Trophies available in Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, I waxed somewhat philosophical on the nature of “achievements” for classic games. It should be mentioned, however, that in Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, pursuing these achievements has a very practical purpose—doing so will unlock a slew of cool content.

Bonus content includes some terrific interviews with members of Sonic Team, which if you’re a gaming history buff (or just a Sega buff) are a delight to watch. There’s an interview with Phantasy Star Universe producer Takao Miyoshi that you get to watch just for starting up Phantasy Star IV. Grabbing a Chaos Emerald in Sonic the Hedgehog gives you the achievement/trophy “Complete Chaos”, and also unlocks the interview with game developer Shun Nakamura, who has some interesting insights into Sonic the Hedgehog design philosophy.

The real meat of the unlockables, though, are the bonus games. Already revealed on a number of sites, these games include:

Golden Axe Warrior (SEGA Master System)
Phantasy Star (SEGA Master System)
Alien Syndrome (Arcade)
Altered Beast (Arcade)
Congo Bongo (Arcade)
Fantasy Zone (Arcade)
Shinobi (Arcade)
Space Harrier (Arcade)
Zaxxon (Arcade)

What’s nice is that the list of unlockable games is accessible from the start menu, and includes the method to open each, so if you’re dead set on playing Alien Syndrome (the arcade version!), you can get right to work on getting to stage 3 of Alien Storm without losing a life.

I really like this list—the original Phantasy Star could go toe-to-toe with any classic RPG, and stands up well even today. The openness of the world, the character design, and the setting all resonate quite nicely. You earn the original Phantasy Star in a clever way—by beating Robotnik in Green Hill Zone in Sonic 2—but with two players. That means a second controller has to be plugged in, and someone needs to have Tails bouncing around doing his Tails thing during the boss-fight (in Sonic 2, Tails’ thing is collecting stray rings for Sonic, and not messing up on the bonus stages). It’s a nice connection between two incredible legacy Sonic Team products.

Shinobi on the Master System was one of my favorite games growing up, and seeing the Arcade version, which even today has some gorgeous graphics, is a blast. Also, be warned: The arcade version of Shinobi is much harder than the Master System version—mostly, because you don’t have a health bar to play around with—you will need to master the art of Ninjitsu and avoid getting hit at all.

The unlockable content is just a wealth of Arcade history—Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone are some of the most psychedelic games ever made, and Altered Beast is a truly savage beat-em-up. It also lets you transform from a nearly naked Greek soldier resurrected from the grave into a muscle-bound lycanthrope, so, you know, it has that going for it.

Stay tuned, over the next few days I’m going to take a look at some of the original Genesis versions of the games offered in this collection—including Shining Force! Also, Clumsyorchid won our thumb-wrestling tournament and so he gets to blog about Streets of Rage. I should have challenged him to a SoR2 tournament, is what I should have done.



House of the Dead Overkill – First Reviews!

House of the Dead Overkill is nearly here and we’re already seeing some really great reviews.  Both IGN and Eurogamer have reviews up to help scratch that itchy trigger finger before Tuesday’s launch. Both reviews are in the 8 Range, but the beauty is in the details.  Check out both text reviews, or watch IGN’s video review if you need a quick fix.



House of the Dead is a Mature title, so please use discretion when viewing offsite content.


Cobra Commander Loves Sonic & The Black Knight

Thanks to NY Comic-Con for helping clear this fact up and our friends at Buzzfocus for grabbing the good shots.

Head over to Buzzfocus to get the full scoop.