Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Play Asia Weekly Special: Kung Fu Panda for Xbox360

Here's a sneak peek of the upcoming Play-Asia Weekly Special. Based on the DreamWorks Animation high-octane martial arts movie Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda (the game) takes you on an action-packed adventure through the movie and beyond. Battle against Tai Lung and his minions, navigate awesome environments, and overcome dangerous obstacles on your quest to become the legendary Dragon Warrior.

The Asian version of Kung Fu Panda works on all Xbox360 consoles sold worldwide.

Selling for US$19.90, this is a must-have not only for fans of the movie. The weekly special will be effective on 20th of Jan around 19:00 HKT (11:00 GMT)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Soldner-X Portable

With PSN games now being released on the Sony PSP system (especially shooters), wouldn't it be great to see Soldner X on the PSP or DS? Sure, the graphics would need to be scaled down a lot (especially on the DS), but the gameplay would be intact. Super Stardust Portable and Everyday Shooter have shown that it can be done successfully.

Features we would like to see in a potential PSP version would be co-op play in the single player campaign. For the DS, I'm sure the touch screen and extra screen could be put to good use. What would you like to see in a portable Soldner X?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chasing After the One Winged Angel - Distant Worlds Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy's themes have been arranged in multiple versions, from electric midi to The Black Mages' rock punk style, to piano and orchestral version. One of the themes that crop up most frequently is Sephiroth's One Winged Angel.

Doubtlessly, Final Fantasy VII is one of the highest acclaimed work in the RPG series and its plot line both compelling and touching. It spots some of the most memorable characters in the series' history and intriguing villains, namely, the one winged angel, Sephiroth himself.

The silver haired man's motives in the games are blurry, but his image is clearly engraved in the series' fans' minds, not just through his fighting prowesses, his imposing visage, but also through his theme.

One of the reasons that the One Winged Angel sticks in its listener's mind is the strong tempo, established by the percussion instruments at the start, then the slightly discordant chorus of brass and string instruments, invoking an image in the audiences' heads, giving them an abstract picture of a dangerous fallen angel descending from the heavens amidst a shower of raven feathers.

Another element is the Latin. Many products from Japanese popular culture have borrowed phrases from the language, from Persona 3's catch phrase Memento Mori (trans. remember that you are mortal) to Noir's Salva Nos (trans. Saving Us). The language adds an air of mystery and dark glamor to the title.

Perhaps it is the language's association with ancient wisdom and Christianity which lends an extra level of grandness to the music, perhaps it is its status as a "dead language" that adds a layer of otherworldliness.

All in all, the One Winged Angel is a piece of music that every gamer must listen to or must own, and with the addition of Liberi Fatali (FF 8's opening theme that makes use of the choir and Latin just as cleverly), Distant Worlds Final Fantasy is a dream come true for all who believes that there is more to gaming than blood and gore.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Romantic Heroes? Historical Figures? Harukanaru Toki no Nakade 3

"Harukanaru toki no nakade, Koei's Japanese styled romantic adventure has set new standards for the genre with every installment. The third installment in the series spots some of the most desirable men. Score dates with them in the game and take their figures home to fully admire their magnificence.

The first Hachiyous to come are the seiryuu pair Arikawa Masaomi and Minamoto no Kurou Yoshitsune. Masaomi is your best friend, the first to fall into the chasm of time. Through hardship and continuing strife, the tall handsome youth became a formidable militarist.

Asoda Saku of Kotobukiya has brought out the essence of the young man through his confident smile and posture while the maker of Kurou, Tatsumaki crafted the legendary swordsman's hidden power through his flowing robes and unsheathed sword.

Both figures are sculpted immaculately with the smallest detail such as a fold in the robes and the carvings on the weapons. Both of the figures' bases are painted with the character's image flowers, enjoy the classical Japanese flavor along with the finer aspects of the male species."

Relative to the beautiful ladies that make their way to the figure world, there is only a small number of men who manages this feat. Those who accomplish this are usually from fighting games such as Street Fighter etc. Others are usually extremely popular anime characters such as Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist and Lelouche from Code Geass (both of them ranked top place in Japanese anime character polls).

So it's quite refreshing to see some none-ultra muscular/masculine 2D gentlemen made their way to the 3D world. Although both are holding swords or sabers, these two are more romantic heroes than fighters. Those who have played Harukanaru Toki no Nakade should be quite familiar with them, while those who has studied Japanese history may gawk at these new images of historical characters.

Minamoto no Kurou Yoshitsune is one of the best known tragic hero in Japanese history with numerous of plays featuring his rise and dramatic demise. An invincible swordsman in history and a bishounen in plays, the novels and soap operas that featured him usually attracts a huge following (best example: Hideaki Takizawa's Yoshitsune).

But no matter how much his character diverts from the historical texts, he has never been casted as a hot blooded, ginger haired loud mouth. This unique representation and the addition of endearing shortcomings of the character won him a new fan base (consisting mainly of girls, perhaps?)

If you think the character changes with Kurou are hard to swallow, wait till you meet his loyal retainer Musashibou Benkei.

Arikawa Masaomi, on the other hand is not quite a historical figure, however, by falling through the abyss of time, the poor seventeen year old boy was forced to play the role, and assume the responsibilities of a deceased military genius, Daira no Shigemori.

His martial spirit and prowess can be seen most clearly in the game, however, it's his Romeo and Juliet-esque relationship with the heroine that touches the hearts of the game's fan base.

Games, history and figures are a wonderful combination, grab these figures and study gaming tactics and history with them today.

Related products:
Minamoto no Kurou Yoshitsune

Arikawa Masaomi

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Flavor's Random Pick: WordJong Nintendo DS

Gameblend Studios' hit, WordJong, has made its way to the Nintendo DS, and it's well worth playing! WordJong is like a cross between Scrabble and Mahjong. It plays like a solitaire version of Scrabble if you were to replace the challenge of landing on triple word scores (and the like) with that of drilling down through Mahjong tiles.

The result (Word Jong for the Nintendo DS) is a very enjoyable portable word game. If you like Scrabble, I don't see how you'd dislike this game. The "Daily Puzzle" keeps you coming back each day, and the "Temple Challenge" keeps you striving to improve your rank. These single-player modes are the meat of the game.

The multi-player (local Wi-Fi or hotseat) mode doesn't have an extensive set of options for different games, but you will see that even slight adjustments to the limited options do make for enough of a new experience. My only complaint about the multi-player is that it seems to always let the host player (the one that sets up the game) to go first. This can be a huge advantage depending on the options used.

There is an online Wi-Fi mode that I have yet to try. I have to assume that it's just like the local Wi-Fi mode, though.

I should also mention that there is a version of WordJong for the Nintendo Wii that was released last month, so if that's where you prefer to do your gaming, check it out. Both the Wii and DS versions have been getting good reviews, so I don't think you can go wrong either way. As you may have noticed, though, I'm partial to the handheld systems.

Sitting on a cat's head - Toro enjoys being sat on!

"Plushes usually sit on your lap as you watch TV or sleep in your arms on your bed. To return the favor, the Dokodemoissyo cats are letting you sit on them.

Heavier than normal plushes and tighter packed with stuffing, these plushes work well as TV stools, as especially for children or petite people.

Place them in front of the TV screen and bounce on their heads when you see something exciting.Mirror the cats' moods when you sit on them, smile happily or be hysterically happy, after all, these cats are here for just that, to cheer you up. "

If you tell anyone that you enjoy sitting on a cat's head (or even worse, bounce on it), people are going to think there is something decidedly wrong with you. And if you try it on a real cat, I can to guarantee that it is not going to make you popular amongst the feline race.

But with the Dokodemoissyo cat, Toro, this is a completely different matter. Smiling, or beaming happily at you, from the floor, this little fellow is actually waiting for you to squash it with all your might. Feel free to sit on it, its softer, and much more comfortable than squatting on the floor.

Don't worry, Toro is perfectly resilient to squashes, we've got the heaviest person in the vicinity to sit on him for testing purposes and aside from being a little flattened, there are no damages (broken seams etc.) whatsoever. Simply knock him on the head a few times to fluff him back up and it's as good as new.

Toro is playing the chair, so why don't you be a good boy, or girl, and sit down on him and stop blocking other people's view of the TV screen?

Related plushes:
Toro - Happy Version
Toro - Super Happy Version
Toro Super Long Plush
Kuro Super Long Plush

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Play Asia Weekly Special: Siren: New Translation

"An American TV crew has arrived in Japan to film an expose on the legend of the “vanished village.” Controlling seven different playable characters, the player must uncover the mystery behind the curse that grips the eerie village of Hanuda. The unique “sight jack” system allows the player to see from the point of view of the Shibito, or living dead, to avoid their detection or watch as they close in on the player and companions. Intense graphics, realistic character animation, and a gritty film-like graphical presentation add to the horror of Siren: Blood Curse."

This week's Play-Asia Weekly Special is the Asian Version of Siren: New Translation. It contains all 12 epiodes on one Blu-ray disc release and is fully english.

Price point is US$24.90.