Archive for the Ys Category

Best Japanese-Only PSN Classics

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Castlevania, DoDon Pachi, Games, Lists, Ys on February 10, 2013 by slateman

psnBefore my PS3 died (twice) I had two PSN accounts. I would peruse the Japanese store every few weeks, downloading demos and seeing what was new. However, I can’t recall the login and haven’t checked the store in a while. This weekend I signed up for another Japanese account and had a peek at the store’s new layout this morning. There are some great classic games that aren’t available in the U.S. that I’m considering picking up.

PS1 and PC Engine classics cost 600¥, that seems reasonable! As of today, 600¥ translates to just under $6.50 US. Nice! However, I don’t know if it’s possible to use a U.S. credit card on a Japanese account. Over at Play Asia, you can get a 1,000¥ card for $17. That’s…not so reasonable. 1,000¥ wouldn’t do me much good, I’d need 2,000¥ (three classic games w/ 200¥ to spare) but those two PSN cards would cost me $35. Certainly not worth it. I may not dive in and get anything, but I thought I’d talk about what’s good on the Japanese PSN Store that isn’t yet on the U.S. store!

Playstation 2
I’m starting with the PS2 because none are really great. All cost 1,200¥ (~$13) but since the originals are region locked (are these?) even if you owned the titles, you couldn’t play them on the PS3. The games I looked at:

  • Capcom Fighting Jam
  • Capcom Vs SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001
  • Castlevania
  • Neo Contra

Now, Capcom Fighting Evolution was the U.S. title and the game was just plain bad. That was a bad time for Capcom and it was before the company really started listening to fans.

CVS2 is widely regarded as a good title, but since I never liked SNK, I only played it for a short while. And I never chose SNK characters!!!

Castlevania was subtitled Lament Of Innocence here and it’s a title I never beat. The dungeons were so repetitive and devoid of character. Its sequel appeared to remedy some of these things…but I never beat that one either.

Finally, Neo Contra was the second Contra on the PS2 and while it was not anything like Shattered Soldier in layout or difficulty, I had fun playing it! I even wrote a mini FAQ on it. Is that worth $13? Nah…

Playstation 1
The PS1 had an impressive library of games and as the years pass, the games look worse and worse. However, a few titles piqued my interest, and for 600¥ each, they’re manageable downloads. There were two titles I didn’t expect to see, and all games were shooters. Let’s see.

dodonpac

DonPachi & DoDonPachi
I am a big DDP fan (evidence #1 / #2 / #3 / #4 / #5) While these are just the PS1 ports, they’re DDP on an American PS3! I can probably skip DonPachi. However, until DDP3 came out, DoDonPachi was my favorite shmup ever. The game is just incredible and this title trumps part 3 with its metal soundtrack.
Worth a few bucks? Absolutely. I’d pick this up in an instant.

But that’s not all…the Japanese store also has ThunderForce V, the two Ray Crisis titles and Einhander. The latter now fetches a ton of money in its original packaging and I regret selling it all those years back to fund a new PS1. I don’t know why it’s not available on the U.S. store, but I remember it being such a solid title, with different paths, awesome weapons and a pretty cool soundtrack.
And to think, everyone doubted Square could put out a good shooter!!!

Board-DevilsCrush

PC Engine
My friend Dan got a TurboGrafx-16 way back in 1990ish and we all know nostalgia is a very powerful thing. Of course, I’ve gone back to play a lot of these games since, but without the hardware (and Japanese hardware at that!) there are many games I missed out on. And I much prefer the living room experience over
the PC/emulator one as the former is much more comfortable.

The Japanese store has all three PC Engine Ys titles. Ys Books I & II, Ys III: Wanders From Ys and Ys IV: The Dawn Of Ys. Sadly, none are viable purchase options as my Japanese is weaker than ever. Fortunately, I have Ys Chronicle and Ys: The Oath In Felghana on the PSP (Vita) and those cover I-III and Ys: Memories Of Celceta, the remake of part 4, will be coming to western shores this autumn. While I love Ys, I don’t need these titles.

Shooters were still the rage back in the early 90s and there are a number of good titles available. Blazing Lazers, Super Star Soldier and the Turbo Duo title Gate Of Thunder are all there. For 600¥, that’s pretty good. Again, I’ve already gone back to these titles in recent (~10 yrs now) years.

However, there was one title in particular I searched for. I’d easily drop the yen on this one. Devil Crash! As a kid I’d play the US title, Devil’s Crush and have great memories. Even going back to this a decade ago (thus the FAQ and the site) has a special place in my heart.

I’d go back to this game in an instant. The three levels, numerous little secrets (I still don’t know how to get the red ball), high score chasing…it’s just awesome. It’s one of the things I don’t like about this generation. With online leaderboards all the rage, we lose out on local high scores. I love the top-10 lists. Nowadays, games often just keep your best score which destroys local competition and doesn’t even allow me to chart my progress.

In any event, the tame is awesome and I would love to go back and play through it again. It’s only a couple of bucks. Worth it???

So…all in all…with 2,000¥ I think I’d have to pick up Einhander, DoDonPachi and Devil Crash. These three would be worthy entries into my PS3 collection and none require heavy translation. Alas, none are really necessary, so I may just avoid them all and save a few bucks for the impending release of the PS4. Oh, and that had BETTER have full PSN implementation. The new system won’t be backwards compatible, I’m almost certain, but I’d love to have PSN game purchases available. That would be awfully nice.

Ys: Memories of Celceta Coming To The U.S.!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Ys with tags on February 1, 2013 by slateman

YsCelceta01I’ve been an Ys fan since Ys I & II dropped on the TG-16/PCE back in 1990. In fact, I even made a shitty site on it. Today’s news is exciting though, even 22 years after I started playing the series. Ys: Foliage Ocean In Celceta (Memories of Celceta for the U.S. version) will be coming out this autumn via the spectacular XSeed Games. I’m so psyched. Finally a reason to own my Vita!!!

Summer Vacation Updates: Gout! Games! Foliage Ocean!?

Posted in Blog, Cubing, Games, Personal, Reviews, Ys with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2012 by slateman

Update #1: The Gout Sucks! I really needn’t say more.

UG&G

OK, I played Ultimate Ghosts & Goblins several years back when it first appeared on the PSP but this week’s $5 sale well…sold me. I’ll be heading out to camp next month and figured I’d stock up on some portable gaming. Of course, this is a poor decision because UG&G is one of the most brutal gaming experiences ever. I knew this having stopped playing all those years ago due to sheer frustration and outright disgust ad the developers. It’s cheap, difficult and evil. However, it’s also classic. It’s a good mix of old and new, but I think it needed to draw from some other sources as well. Its save system is archaic, and while this may appeal to the hardcore gamer, I am disappointed in the layout. Much like Maximo missed out on opportunities, this game could’ve benefited from some tweaks here and there.

The Glory Of Ys

Now, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Back when the Vita launched, we all sensed the drought of killer games. It happens after each hardware launch. However, as I went through the PSN store to see what they had, Ys Seven and Ys: Oath In Felghana were the only two there. No Chronicles??? Supposedly there was a problem and so this game just snuck in there recently. Oh, I’m psyched. Now, I admit that I liked playing the game on the NDS several years back but something happened to my cart, and I never finished it. I’ve run through Book I on the PSP as well IIRC, but something happened once I got to Book II. (Are you seeing a trend here?) This all means I’m friggin’ thrilled to finally get to this. This too will be summer gaming at camp. Headphones, those classic tunes, oh man, this is going to be sweet!

Rochard

I purchased this game several months ago and really never got a chance to dive into it. It seemed a cool concept but only recently have I dug it out to try it. It isn’t perfect and the story is entirely skippable. However, the gravity gun and control over gravity itself are both just awesome ideas. Now, the rest of the game is the generic Metroidvania that we all know and love. And even this generation, this game was done, and done better, with Shadow Complex. Now that game friggin’ rocked. However, while this is just a generally-good game, the inclusion of gravity control and the gun make it different enough to be enjoyed in its own right. I recommend this…I Like would be the review caption.

Celceta

Finally…Ys Celceta is now suffixed Foliage Ocean In Celceta. Of course, it’ll be renamed when localized. And it will be localized, likely by XSeed. I’m looking forward to it, the game drops in September, let’s hope for a translation in early/mid ’13? Now, I haven’t bought any of the PSP games retail (got Oath and Chronicles digitally) but I do hope for a nice packaging. I’d love to shell out some cash for something like that. Music CD, map, some nonsense that fools like me pick up. We’ll see. In any event, the screenshots show a nice world map in the upper-right-hand portion of the screen, a sleek HUD and I’m psyched.

OK, this was a long update but had a lot to cover. My cubes finally hit the U.S. so I hope to have them by the middle of next week. That’ll be cool as I gave my student my Windmill Cube. :) I’m curious how similar the Fisher Cube is to that one. Let’s get this gout totally cleared up (OMFG So Bad!) and life will be pretty good!

Ys Origin Out Today!!!

Posted in Blog, Games, Video, Ys on June 1, 2012 by slateman

Ys Origin launches today via Steam and it is the long-awaited official English localization. This is the last major Ys game to be released here in the States and it’s $20. It looks like…Ys and is likely nothing much more. However, it’s awesome to see support continue for the series, and with four titles on the PSP, another coming on the Vita and now this, it’s like an Ys genesis here in the U.S.! In the very least, the music is legendary. Brings me back to 1990. Man, I’m old.



Wednesday Roundup

Posted in Cubing, Games, Ys with tags on April 19, 2012 by slateman

Oh vacation, how I loathe thee. I should love vacation but every time it is just full of suckage. BUT, rather than complain, let’s see what’s good.

First off, GameFly shipped me Portal 2. I played through a bunch last autumn but had to send it back to get something new (can’t recall what), and now it’s time to get back into it. I’ll say, this is a frustrating game. Like all puzzle games, if you’re stuck, it’s downright shit. However, when you do complete a level, it’s a very rewarding feeling.

Still playing Magic Piano (by Smule). It’s fun and somewhat relaxing. I need that during weeks like these.

Got two new Yankees shirts. \m/

Also got Beowulf finally. This translation is by Seamus Heaney and I nabbed the illustrated edition. It’s actually a cool edition and I look forward to finally reading it. Also on the to-read list, Catching Fire (Hunger Games book 2), Sigurd & Gudrun, Tolkien’s poem and Game Of Thrones. Let’s face it though, that last one is gonna take forever.

Oh, playing Ys: Oath In Felghana on the Vita. Sure, it’s a PSP game, but the ability to pause and run other apps is kinda cool. The game is fun but the difficulty ramps up ridiculously on boss battles. Meh.

Ahh, forgot to mention that I solved the megaminx and the windmill cube the other day each without algorithms. It’s a good step, makes me feel good about myself and only through this do I really count it as ‘solved’. I started a tutorial on the windmill cube. Editing takes 10x longer than the filming.

OK, that should be it. Need a vacation from the vacation!!!

What The PSVita Needs

Posted in Blog, Lists, Ys with tags on March 25, 2012 by slateman

I’ve got my sexy PSVita and have been enjoying it for quick, short games. My busy schedule lately hasn’t allowed for much dedicated time, but it is serving its purpose. That’s what I love about handhelds and the Vita has a lot of positives. The web browser, its multitasking capabilities allows me to pause and run other programs and I love that I can read messages from friends on either my PS3 or my Vita. However, it’s clear Sony launched this thing without it running at its full ability. There are some very basic things that will be added; I’m just not too patient about it. The fact is, these things should be there already. The hardware is fantastic. Like it’s PS3 brother, who launched without a very good store integration, no in-game XMB, etc. I’m excited about what is certainly to come. Let’s see…

1) PS1 Classics Compatibility
I don’t really know what happened here. I’m guessing it’s the software emulation. I figured that wouldn’t be a real big deal seeing as how it’s such old hardware and this *is* Sony. However, I have a few games on my PS3 hard drive that I’d love to play on-the-go. Symphony Of The Night is one of my favorite games ever. I’m hoping for full support before long.

Want More

2) PSP Compatibility
I know backwards compatibility is never an easy thing and I’m happy the Vita plays a ton of PSP games. There are a bunch not on the list though, and I’m really looking forward to playing Ys Chronicles on my Vita. How they’re going to roll out these updates, I’m unsure. Hopefully with each firmware update we’ll get more games added to the list and to the store.

Waiting...

3) Better Compatibility
Yeah, I realize…Three of the same category. However, this is what I’m looking for my Vita to do. When connecting to my PS3 to download videos I downloaded from the PSN, most don’t work. Wait…why? They are brand-new videos from the PSN! Nope. My videos? Nope. No WMV? I hate the codec, but playing videos on my gorgeous PSVita screen should be a breeze. Why it’s not is beyond me. Well, I can play videos I’ve downloaded. I just have to go through remote play. No…that’s not how it should be.

3) Better PSVita / PS3 Integration
Fighting piracy is no doubt one of Sony’s biggest goals and so I imagine the reason for this interface is just that. However, the Content Manager is a weak interface that is not smooth whatsoever. Copying files is not easy, the manager opens up the video and music programs individually (so why have the content manager?) and it’s all so very cumbersome. While waiting for wireless Vita/PS3 compatibility probably won’t happen (but should), I can’t stand the interface. Having to catalog everything on my PC so to use the same mediocre program is really annoying.

4) The Interface
Now, I quite like that we’ve moved away from the XMB. I loved that interface. I have a Sony Bravia, a PS3 and a PSP. It served its purpose but now with all touch-screen interfaces, I’m glad to be beyond that. While the new PSVita interface functions well, it’s awfully ugly. Will Sony ever change this a la the 360’s dashboard updates? I certainly hope so. There’s plenty that can be done to improve this. I can’t group games together, icons like the party icon look bad even for Nintendo Wii visuals and it’s not customizable at all. We know that Sony is fighting the smart phone market as well as the handheld. Getting the best of both worlds is not going to be easy but I’d love to have more abilities when it comes to tweaking the visuals.

Ug...Ly

5) More Apps
Again, this is a handheld gaming device, but it’s got Facebook and it should add more like YouTube support, etc. Walking that line between a smart phone and a handheld means it cannot be inundated with crap. However, I hope they support this like they do with the PS3 and add something. Specifically, I’d love to be able to detect media servers and to stream audio/video to the Vita. In fact, this is one of my biggest gripes/desires for the system.

Ys Celceta: Sea Of Trees

Posted in Blog, DoDon Pachi, Games, Skyrim, Street Fighter, Ys with tags on March 11, 2012 by slateman

Ys Celceta: Sea Of Trees!!!

Yup…more to play!!! Dunno when this will be coming out, it may not make a 2012 release here in the US, but I’m psyched regardless!!! Ys Celceta: Sea Of Trees is a reworking of Ys IV, something I never really devoted much time to (either version of Ys IV, I think this is a remake of Dawn Of Ys). It’ll be coming to the PSVita and will be a most-certain purchase for me. It also gave me a reason to update the already-dead Ys: The Ultimate Utopia. Now I’m in Ys mode (not good, also being in DDP, Skyrim and SF mode!!!) so I want to go back and get Ys Chronicles for the PSP/Vita. Oh, and Ys Seven, and what the hell, Ys: Oath In Felghana. I’m so pathetic..

Ys: The Ultimate Utopia – Launched (sorta…)

Posted in Blog, Games, Web Design, Ys on March 4, 2012 by slateman

Ys: The Ultimate Utopia

OK, many many years ago I started working on (yet!) another website covering the Ys series of games. It’s something I did in my spare time, much like my previous 100 sites. Sadly though, I never really had time to complete it. There it sat on my hard drive, year after year, with only incremental updates when I felt inspiration. The main reason for holding off on the launch was that I never covered Ys and Ys II, which are the main reasons I know of the series.

However, seeing as how I did put so much effort into what was completed, I feel it’s time to launch the essentially-already-dead project. It might give me some motivation to finish off some sections actually.

Feel free to browse the little I actually did complete by visiting Ys: The Ultimate Utopia in its glorious, incomplete state.