Archive for December, 2012

Skyrim: Part Deux

Posted in Blog, Games, Skyrim on December 30, 2012 by slateman



I stopped playing Skyrim back in July. At level 27, I was stuck and getting frustrated. Whichever cavern I was in had a foe who was far too strong for me to beat, and I just didn’t want to backtrack all the way through and lose all that progress. That was it for me and Skyrim.

But, the year is about to end and it’s time to start thinking about the year’s best stuff – and Skyrim has to be in there. Sure, Draugrs got pretty boring after a while and I don’t have much interest in mixing Orange Dartwing and Mudcrab Chitin (WTF is chitin?). But, I figured I’d see how much more was left in the main storyline.

After loading an older save and losing whatever progress in that one dungeon, I set my scopes for Winterhold (still had never been there before) and embarked.

90 minutes later I had traveled maybe halfway between my closest fast-travel location and Winterhold. Friggin’ Yngvild! Precisely what waylaid me for 60+ hours this spring has done it again! “Ooh, a cave…well…I mean, we gotta check it out, right Annekke Crag-Jumper? Annekke?” Haha…ah, there she is! I got nervous there for a second. I do wonder if Lydia’s body is still there. I digress…

Yeah, so I just had to explore that cavern and this is why I never beat the game.

However, as I began to wander Skyrim’s frozen northlands, the grandeur of this game returned to me. Jeremy Soule’s sweeping score came back to me. I’ve played few games whose soundtracks were more fitting than this. It epitomizes exploration. Sweeping in scope, soothing in its beauty; grand and vast are its boundaries. As the sun set on Fredas, the 9th of Frostfall, I felt peace but yet excitement at what may lie over the next hill.

I probably will never dedicate enough time to Skyrim. I will complete it; it deserves that much. It will also be mentioned on my Best of 2012 article…whenever that surfaces. I’m so glad I went back to this game, even if just for an evening.

DoDonPachi: Sai-Dai-Ou-Jou – Localization?!?!

Posted in Blog, DoDon Pachi, Games on December 29, 2012 by slateman

ddp5-logoI somehow missed this, but last month, SiliconEra announced that Cave announced that they were looking into a simultaneous Japanese/Western release for DoDon Pachi: Sai-Dai-Ou-Jou on the 360! This is spectacular news! Of course, I’ll believe it when I see it, but…WOW…i’m psyched. Obviously I’m a big DDP fan (and here, and 2 FAQs) so this is a big deal. Will be crossing my fingers on this one! :D

Street Fighter X Mega Man Art

Posted in Blog, Game Art, Games, Street Fighter, Web Design on December 28, 2012 by slateman

logo-sfxmmEven as a long-time Mega Man fan, I have almost zero interest in this title. The grand celebration of the Blue Bomber’s 25th anniversary has come out as a free, downloadable, fan-made title and it’s nothing short of OK. That’s not fair, I haven’t really given it enough love, but I did check it out and was left feeling underwhelmed. In any event, I’ve captured the character artwork, as basic and lame as it is. I figured I should post them over at SFGalleries. In fact, it’s my 93rd gallery with another 6 bonus galleries…that means the next is my 100th; that’ll be a nice way to celebrate the site’s 10th anniversary. Let’s see what we have:

Review: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Posted in Books, Movies, Reflection, Reviews, Tolkien, Video with tags on December 28, 2012 by slateman

poster-gandalfIn the 1990s I started reading Tolkien. In the 2000s, we were given the spectacular film conversions of The Lord Of The Rings. In the 2010s, we have another epic journey to embark upon.

I was so excited about this movie. In fact, no movie since Return Of The King had me so compelled to plunk down my cash and spend hours in a theater. Of course, in the ’90s I was young and now I’m riddled with responsibility. I think that’s what makes this more profound for me. Tolkien’s masterpieces follow us through our own epic journeys.

Perhaps this is all too dramatic, but as the New Line logo came and went, Howard Shore’s familiar tunes entered my ears and I returned to Middle Earth, it was so reassuring to see certain images on the screen precisely as I have seen them in my head for 15 years. It was all too amazing to see Erebor’s hoards of gold torn directly from the images my imagination conjured up.

While very few of the Dwarves really did the same for me, I loved their diversity (something hardly addressed in the book) and it was wonderful seeing Thorin change his opinion of Bilbo. Spanning three movies, I expected it to be slow. Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo was spot-on IMO, blundering yet innately brave, he was amazing. The scene with Gollum was another essentially identical to what I’d envisioned. I felt sadness for Smeagol, his pain and suffering. The meeting of Elrond, Gandalf, Galadriel and Saruman was total fiction, but for those of us who cared, it carried such weight. Thousands of years of knowledge, wisdom, power (and rings! All three elven rings, to be precise) all together in one meeting! And such a meeting in Rivendell for that matter! Again, it warmed my heart to return to this imaginary place. That may make no sense at all, but it was a remarkable feeling.

Dol Guldur, Radagast, Hobbiton, it was all great. I thought the Goblin King was too cheesy; I don’t understand the need to make him so goofy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is no LotR. That’s quite fine by me. It is not without flaws but in so many ways it was exactly what I wanted…and needed. The Misty Mountains song was amazing and I’m posting Neil Finn’s version of Song of the Lonely Mountain below because it was so phenomenal.

I can’t wait to see it again…to see The Desolation Of Smaug in a year…to feel the sadness to leave Middle Earth like I did at the Grey Havens back in 2003. To say this is all more than just a movie, more than a book, more than just a passing interest would be to lie. And it’s all just begun. :D

Mini-Review: Looper – Fucking Awesome

Posted in Blog, Movies, Reviews on December 26, 2012 by slateman

LooperI imagine Bruce Willis can choose whichever movie he wants to do now. He’s established, likely rich, and…The Man (see the upcoming A Good Day To Die Hard). Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the other hand is a young, relatively un-established actor. That’s not to put him down, but he’s no Bruce Willis. In any event, when a script like this (or also in the case of Gordon-Levitt, Inception), how can someone not go for it? This movie was friggin’ incredible. I loved, loved, loved it. Any movie that leads me to the last 10 minutes with absolutely no clue how it might end = GOLD. Time-travel movies are just fodder for brain activity.

And when it comes to time-travel movies, this very well could be the best one ever. It wasn’t riddled with ‘what if’ situations, but it really made me think and in the end, I sat there, jaw agape (love when that I need to use that phrase). This movie rocked and may be the best movie I’ve seen all year (The Hobbit is still on the horizon.) I would list this up there with Inception as one of the coolest, yet most thought-provoking film in recent memory. A+++!

Merry Christmas!

Mini-Review: Borderlands 2 – Yes!

Posted in Blog, Borderlands, Games, Reviews, The Walking Dead on December 25, 2012 by slateman

Borderlands 2 review screenshot07A few weeks back I was chugging along in Borderlands 2 when I figured I’d call it quits for the night. My buddy, Mat wasn’t around to play online so I said, “What the hell,” and hopped online, something I hadn’t done in BL2 yet. Turns out, I joined a game that was precisely where I was and we blitzed through the remainder of the game in a four-player carnage-fest. It was insanity. It was awesome. Our connection was spectacular, the enemies and loot were superb and it was a hell of a lot of fun.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, BL2 had a better story, a few new tweaks and shiny new guns but it wasn’t that different from BL. This may affect the Game of the Year rankings – as The Walking Dead was nothing like anything I’d ever played before. However, BL2 was brilliantly executed and left me with a TON left to do. Two DLCs, two more to come, a second playthrough and a bunch of golden keys to use (L00t!)

I can’t say enough about this game, really. It has everything I wanted in a game and I’m still playing it (three months after its release). Definitely one of the year’s best and certainly one of the best of this generation IMO, trumping BL with certainty. Love it!!!

Vampire Resurrection: Continued!

Posted in Blog, Game Art, Games, Web Design with tags , on December 25, 2012 by slateman

Three updates in one day? All on Vampire/Darkstalkers? OK! With 40 minutes until Santa arrives, I’m pretty psyched. My wife is going to be psyched about her new iPod and bluetooth headphones. As for me…I don’t know what I’m getting. I think a new video camera is out of the question, and she doesn’t seem to like my cubing obsession (such a strong word!) We’ll see in about 8 hours! Until then, the last set of Vampire Resurrection art has come out and it’s pretty sweet. This finishes the gallery and is one of the strongest sets of art Capcom has put out in a long time. Check it all out and here’s your sample…

Vampire Savior: System Guide / FAQ

Posted in Blog, Games, Guides with tags , on December 24, 2012 by slateman

OK, I’m done. This is the longest I’ve ever labored on a guide in my 12+ years of writing FAQs. It all started about a month ago when I began researching and testing out my old games to see what precisely the difference between Vampire Savior, Vampire Savior 2 and Vampire Hunter 2 was. I was updating SFGalleries to include the Vampire/Darkstalkers games and realized I was a little confused. In looking through guides and FAQs, I could not find a very clear explanation about specifically what the difference was! Adding to the confusion was the unique history of all the game’s ports. As you’ll read (if you have interest), the release history goes as follows (Japanese releases unless underlined)

  • Vampire Savior (Arcade)
  • Vampire Hunter 2 (Arcade)
  • Vampire Savior 2 (Arcade)
  • Vampire Savior (Saturn)
  • Vampire Savior: EX Edition (PS1)
  • Darkstalkers 3 (PS1)
  • Vampire Chronicle: For Matching Service (DC)
  • Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)
  • Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)
  • Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection (PS2)
  • Vampire Resurrection (PS3/X360)
  • Darkstalkers Resurrection (PS3/X360)

Now, the last two aren’t out yet, but I fully intend to cover them when they arrive in March. Until then, enjoy the vast, sprawling Systems Guide. It should answer any question that exists in regards to that the differences are and which system port is the best. It was a fun guide to write and, as I mention in there, the worst part was having to wait to finish/publish it. Enjoy!!!


Vampire Savior: Complete Collection

Posted in Blog, Game Art, Games with tags , on December 24, 2012 by slateman

This blog has been quiet the last few weeks but I have been working hard on something new. I’m going to be posting my complete Vampire Savior FAQ shortly and I’m very excited to finally publish this. It’s been a long journey but for now here is the complete logo collection: something I need to get published properly over at SFGalleries. In any event, my guide will cover all the following titles:

That’s right…one guide to cover them all!

SFGalleries: New Vampire/Darkstalkers Art

Posted in Game Art, Games, Street Fighter, Web Design with tags on December 2, 2012 by slateman

I’ve been doing research for a potential FAQ on the Vampire / Darkstalkers series. As I work on this, I decided to put some more effort into the series’ entries on SFGalleries. As I continue to work on that guide, I updated the site with the new character art for
Vampire / Darkstalkers Resurrection, due in March. The new gallery, which is only half complete so far, is spectacular. I’ll toss some samples below. I’ll continue to update this as Capcom Japan posts new art. Enjoy!!!