Monday, February 25, 2008

HD-DVD: Stick a Fork in It, 'Cause It's Done...

Microsoft has finally announced that they will no longer be producing the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. Due to poor sales and the declining support of the HD-DVD format (and the simple fact that it's sole rival, Blu-Ray, is doing tremendously better in the marketplace), you will no longer be able to purchase this failed add-on.

I think that the vast majority of people following the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD war saw this news coming. HD-DVD has continued to struggle, and with most major movie companies supporting Blu-ray exclusively, this should have truly come at no surprise.

Still, I'll continue to use my good ol' fashioned DVD discs - I'm perfectly content with viewing films that way. Who wants to see all of the hyper-detailed effects anyway - such as the pimples on actor's faces?


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Street Fighter: the Titles That Time Forgot

Sure, you've heard of the main four titles in the Street Fighter series featured in the previous Street Fighter article. But what about the 3D EX offshoots or the highly-acclaimed Alpha series? X-Men or Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter? Street Fighter the Movie Game? Chances are, besides the well-known Alpha series, you lack knowledge of such titles even existing.

But that's why I'm here. I'm digging up the grave to put these titles back into the spotlight, no matter how execrable some of them may be.

First off we have Street Fighter the Movie Game.
Barring a striking resemblance to the then mega-popular Mortal Kombat series, Street Fighter the Movie Game is considered by most the lowest point of the entire Street Fighter legacy. Although it's worth a look-see for curiosities sake, the loathsome visuals and game play really drag this title down. However, it's quite a unique entry in the series. But that's for a reason.

Now let's move on to the superior X-Men/Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter entries...

Although highly preferrable to the previous mentioned title, these two releases don't nearly hold up as well today as back then (pretty much due to the fact that that Capcom would raise the bar once again in the future Marvel vs Capcom series). The arcade versions were very enjoyable diversions, but the U.S. home versions (on the original Playstation) failed to capture the charm and fun of playing it in the arcade (due to technical issues).

Let's bring it into the third dimension with the Street Fighter EX series.

This intriguing part of the legacy failed to build much of a loyal fan base. Although the visuals were 3D, the EX series still (somewhat) retained the trademark 2D game play that the series is known for. However, the ability to take advantage of cheap combos and lackluster, blocky 3D graphics really dragged this series down.

Street Fighter EX3, the last entry (released as a Playstation 2 launch game way back in 2000) fixed many of the issues from the first two titles, but it came out not too long after the far superior Street Fighter III: Third Strike on the Dreamcast. Many purists were much too busy with that title to bother with another EX game, so it was ignored by most (despite being a decent game in it's own right).

Now, on to the good stuff with the Street Fighter Alpha series...

Despite being side releases, the Alpha series is considered by many to be the best part of the Street Fighter legacy. Three titles were released in this top-notch series, and these games were released and re-released across numerous platforms (in the form of single releases or collection compilations, such as 2006's Street Fighter Alpha Anthology on the PS2).

Even in today's modern, HD era, the Alpha series has still managed to hold up wonderfully. Truly great game play will always stand the test of time, y'know...

Last, and certainly least, we have Street Fighter 2010.

Although it bares the Street Fighter name, this can hardly be considered a legitimate entry in the series. More of a blatant cash in, Street Fighter 2010 is an immensely boring futuristic side-scroller that time has forgotten. If you're really intrigued by this ancient NES title, try hunting it down at the local flea market bargain bin... but don't say I didn't warn you.

And so that wraps this up. I'm now in the mood to play some Street Fighter...

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Two Dance Dance Revolution Titles Finally Receive the Greatest Hits Treatment

They've been available in retail stores for years now, but now Dance Dance Revolution Max 2 and Extreme will finally become Greatest Hits titles on the 22nd.

In terms of song list and game design, Max 2 is generally favored over Extreme (which, despite high sales, received a rather mediocre reception from die-hard series fans).

I finally got into the DDR grove when Extreme 2 (which most consider the pinnacle of the series, and based upon the many hours I've logged into that release, I can attest to) released back in 2005. Now that these titles are going to brand new, readily available, and costing a mere $19.99, I will have to finally add Max 2 and Extreme to my collection.

Source (Max 2)
Source (Extreme)

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Street Fighter Through the Years

Street Fighter is an incredible franchise with game play that is far more compelling than most modern 3D fighters. However, in terms of visuals, Capcom seems to be taking a step-back in it's next-gen debut, Street Fighter IV. Instead of a beautiful, striking 2D art style ala Third Strike, they're going down the generic route with a spiritless 3D look with their fourth entry in the series (Hey, Capcom, you still have time to change the name to Street Fighter EX 4).

Well, I'll still be picking it up once it's released, and regardless... here's how the Street Fighter franchise has evolved (or, in the case of IV, devolved) through the years in terms of visuals:

Street Fighter

Street Fighter II*

Street Fighter III*

Street Fighter IV
*Taken from the most recent versions

This was a brief look at the main Street Fighter series we all know and love. In the near future I will take a more detailed view at the side stories - such as the excellent Alpha series and the rather mediocre EX series.

Oh, and here's a similar entry focusing on an entirely different game series:

Super Mario Through the Years

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pre-Order Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword and Receive a Swanky Stylus for Free!

Ninja Gaiden was easily one of the most impressive action-titles on the original Xbox. Combining stellar visuals with terrific, action-packed game play, it later made its way onto the PS3 in the form of Ninja Gaiden Stigma. It was such a superb title that Playstation 3 gamers didn't mind playing what was essentially a two-year old game (albeit with a visual face lift) on their shiny new console.

Now, before the main sequel hits the Xbox 360, Tecmo will release Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword for the DS. This will be a still a full-fledged entry in the series, only pocket sized.

For a limited time if you pre-order Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the DS at Gamestop you will receive a spiffy sword-shaped stylus for free. If history is any indication, a unique collectible like this will only go up in value over time, so if you're planning on picking this title up anyway why not pre-order it now?

Here is an actual in-game screen shot of the title:

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