Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Dragon's Journey: Ryu Umemoto in Europe

Growing up being a polite young boy, there were few things on my juvenile mind. Like every child fortunate enough to have been born and raised in the 1980’s, I was enjoying the fruits from the decade with watching the greatest cartoons that TV had to offer and having my life consumed by video games. More so than the games themselves sometimes, I would find myself more interested in the music featured in these video games, especially with the acquisition of Batman on the NES. Growing up with the C64, NES and MSX would be a blessing for me as I would for hours go throw cases of floppies and disks simply to find the best music to record onto my tape player to make personal mix tapes, long before internet and recording software were common in the public suburb home. But as I was growing into my adolescent years, another interest started sneaking into my fragile maturing mind; Naked chicks.

And who else had more access to pornographic material of soft and hardcore nature than your big brother? Yes, like any young child who discovered that boobies are fun, I would often sneak a peek at the collection he himself had amassed since the day he made this very same discovery some 7 years prior. The selection was endless and rich in variety, but with the discovery of a few CD-Rs in the drawer, my interest would soon change back to where it all along had been most focused. In the midst of pictures of anime girls in questionable positions and attacked by what I could only identify as”colored licorice sticks with eyes”, there was an .exe file which read”ebe”. I installed the file and with the several computer worms that were probably included, I found myself playing a game titled EVE burst error. This would lead me to the discovery of one of the most important musical influences in my entire life, the music of Ryu Umemoto. Fast forwarding a good 15 years since that day, I found myself at the Stockholm Central Station waiting for my friend to arrive for our time together in the Swedish capital. That friend was none other than Ryu Umemoto.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Update 11/28 - Raizing Shooters, WARP and the D Legacy, Cladun: This is an RPG!, Ys update

When it came to shooters, Raizing was a pretty amazing company. While their Soukyuugurentai has already been covered, this new article on Raizing Shooters covers nearly the rest of them, including Kingdom Grand Prix, a unique shooter/racer hybrid, and the near-legendary Battle Garegga, one of those many Saturn shooters who price frequently falls in the triple digits. Other games covered include Mahou Daisakusen (Sorcer Striker), Great Mahou Daisakusen (Dimahoo), Battle Bakraid, Armed Police Batrider, and Brave Blade.

Kenji Eno is quite a character, and there has never existed a studio quite like WARP. This article covers D, the FMV horror adventure game released for the PSOne, Saturn and 3DO, as well as its Dreamcast sequel (well known for being quite censored in the US due to some way-too-sexual scenes) and its spinoff Enemy Zero. And finally, we have a review of Cladun: This is an RPG!, Nippon Ichi's retro dungeon crawler for the PSP, which got tremendously lost in the shuffle due to a PSN-only release. It's got its quirks, but it's a neat little dungeon crawler for $20, and it's got some great writing and some pretty unique customization mechanics that set it apart from the crowd. The Gaming of the World section has been updated with some new stuff, including an article from the fantastic (but departed) geek magazine PiQ about games in China.

Finally, we've also gotten off our duffs and updated the Ys article. The biggest addition is a review of the recent Ys Seven, in addition to some info on the PSP versions which have been released fairly recently, as well as some general cleanup. (I'd forgotten how crass some of my writing was when this website first started, but this article was originally written over six years ago.) If you read the blog, you know we rant and rave about how awesome this series is, and how XSeed is the Great Savior for bringing these out in English. We can't recommend these games enough, and everyone reading this very paragraph should check out the recent PSP releases - Ys Seven, the latest game; Ys: The Oath in Felghana, a ground-up remake of Ys III; and the upcoming Ys Chronicles, which is the best conversion of the first two Ys games available. You can also find the TG-16 version of the first game on the Wii Virtual Console. For the love of God, skip the DS releases, though, unless you want to hate the series.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Replacing a Game Boy save data battery

I recently went to a junk store which resulted in the impulse purchase of 9 unboxed monochrome Game Boy games, costing in total $19. Each was $2 a piece, except for the jewel in the bundle Mystic Quest, aka Seiken Densetsu, which cost $3. As luck would have it, the save battery was dead. Join me on my own mystic quest, as I battle magi and dragons to replace the fabled Panasonic CR1616 3V save data battery.

Actually, first I’m going to regale you with reviews of the 9 games I bought. If you just want the battery replacement guide, scroll way down.

I’ve always loved the original GB, since there’s something wonderful about those tiny cartridges and the system’s limitations. I also feel that it’s a comparatively undocumented system, with a tonne of overlooked but awesome games no one talks about. For a bit of fun I sometimes buy random carts without knowing anything about them, and on occasion I strike pay dirt, such as with Mercenary Force which yielded an HG101 article. Maybe there are hundreds of potentially incredible games still waiting to be found?

This lot were tucked away in a series of plastic security boxes at my nearby second-hand junk store. They cost $2 each, except for Mystic Quest which was $3. At those prices, it was kid in a porno store time as I grabbed whatever looked interesting. I left behind about 30 or so cartridges, most of them common (including about 7 Donkey Kong cartridges), and a tonne of Pokemon crap.

Unfortunately when I got home and tried these, I was mostly disappointed.

This was a Japanese import, and a shooter, so I had to have it. Sadly it’s unbearably dull. Imagine Space Invaders, except instead of invaders there’s one guy moving left and right trying to shoot you. Worse than it sounds.

Rescue of Princess Blobette
Sequel to A Boy and his Blob. This is quite cool, but it feels way too restrictive on the small screen, and I don’t like the setting of a run down castle. I prefer the original. It’s not bad, I guess, but not as good as I’d hopped. If you want portable blobbing, get the original NES emulated on a PSP.

Mystic Quest
I’d already finished this years ago, but wanted the cartridge as a collectible. Two things are wrong with it: it’s in French, which I didn’t expect, since oftentimes RPGs are released in English in France. And secondly, the save battery was dead.

Solomon’s Club
Like Solomon’s Key on the NES. Pretty good all in, not sure how long I’ll play it for though.

Darkwing Duck
Played it briefly, seems just like the NES original. Rather good.

Duck Tales
Pretty much the NES game in monochrome I’d say.

Star Trek – Into the nexus
I had hoped this would be a cool RPG like the NES Star Trek games (pictured), but in fact it’s a collection of extremely awful minigames.

Blaster Master Jnr
This just goes to show how much attention I pay to HG101’s many fine articles. If I had read up on this, I’d have known it was nothing like Blaster Master on the NES. I think it’s terrible.

True Lies
I recall seeing a magazine preview for this, which made it look a bit like Die Hard from the NES, which is one of my all time favourite games. Sadly it’s a poorly designed maze shooter, where you can’t make out who is a hostage and who isn’t, resulting to many game overs.

And that’s about it. The Disney stuff is cool, but better on the NES. And Mystic Quest, my prize of this lot, didn’t even work due to battery death. All in all, I wasted $19 which could have been better served on buying a PSN card.

Once I get a chance I’ll be trading this lot in at a nearby retro store. The real nail in the coffin for all of this was, I recently tried for the first time a GB emulator on my PSP. And OH MY GAWD. Never before had I imagined such clarity. I’d tried GB emulators on the Nintendo DS, but the system just didn’t have the resolution to do them justice. You either ended up with a 1x ratio the size of a postage stamp, or you had to go with 1.5x which filled the screen but filtered everything. GB games at x2 resolution on a PSP are the way GB games were meant to be played. It is BETTER than perfect.


Before I could trade it in at my retro store, I would have to replace the battery on Mystic Quest. I’d replaced batteries on NES games, my Sega CD RAM cart, and several Sega Saturns, but I’d never even popped open a GB cart before.

First I’d need to remove the annoying GameBit screw Nintendo uses. I find the inclusion of these in most retro items slightly disturbing, since you need to go out of your way and order a GameBit screwdriver (they come in two sizes). Their use signifies that Nintendo had never considered the possibility of battery death, or if they did, never intended for owners to repair the problem. It’s extremely short-sighted. Does Nintendo’s repair service still exist for retro items? Can I post them my GB cartridges for battery replacement? Why can’t I crack open my cartridge?

The bigger picture here is that all retro items are slowly dying. Meaning if you’re a purist who wants original hardware, you need to find or become a collector who knows how to mod systems such as the SNES, and the Mega Drive for 60Hz, or knows how to build RGB SCART cables, and who can recommend the best CRT TV, all of which are now defunct. NFG has been a leading figure in the technical chop-shop workings of consoles, and there are others online, but I always find it worrying that preservation of this subset of human culture falls to people like us: a few scruffy guys with soldering irons. There should be a museum for this kind of stuff.

The GB uses the smaller of the two GameBit sizes. After it’s cracked you slide the cover-art part of the cartridge down and pop it off. Here’s where it gets problematic. Backup batteries in console cartridges were easy to replace, using bigger batteries such as (I think, maybe) the DL2032. The GB uses the considerably smaller CR1616 battery. Even worse, Nintendo appears to have soldered these in place.

For comparison’s sake, here is the circuit board to the crappy Star Trek game. Notice how it’s smaller than Mystic Quest, lacking the entire upper section which deals with battery save data.

The battery is housed between 2 small horizontal plates, each of which is soldered to the circuit board. The battery is attached to the plates either by 2 pin-head drops of melted solder on each, or a machine actually punched two tiny holes into the plates, which resulted in an embedded spike in the battery. It was too small to tell, but based on how flush the set-up was with the circuit, they obviously made the battery-and-plates component at a separate part of the plant, and then later in the production line a person or machine took the pre-made battery component and then just soldered that in place. There is absolutely NO WAY you could solder the lower plate onto the circuit, then somehow puncture holes or apply solder to this plate in order to place the battery on top of it, before attaching the upper plate with additional solder/holes. There’s just not enough room around the circuit board to work.

This was going to cause me a huge problem, since I had two options: desolder the 2 plates, replace the battery and then try to re-attach this mini component, or try to pry out the battery whilst leaving the plates in situ, and then hope could I wedge a new one in. Feeling lazy I opted for the latter, and had to use one of my super-tiny flat-head screwdrivers to wedge between the lower plate and battery. A few minutes of jabbing and poking broke the seal and the battery lifted up (the bastard was stuck in like an Alabama tick). Then I delicately had to do the same with the upper plate, making sure not to break them. The plates were quite thin, and had a flexibility not too far off aluminium foil.

If you check the photos, you should be able to see the tiny spikes on the plates – now, I’m not sure if these are tiny blobs of solder which held the item in place, or if a machine punctured a hole from the other side to fasten it securely. There were two tiny indentations on the plate’s reverse side.

Next I needed a replacement battery. The CR1616 is easily available but not too common where I live. A local general store didn’t have it and couldn’t get it in. A dedicated electrical store nearby had a wide selection of batteries, but not the one I needed. They could order it in though, which would take 2 take days and cost me $3.75. I could have gotten it slightly cheaper online, but I didn’t feel like the hassle so had them order it. Assuming my replacement plans succeeded, my working copy of Mystic Quest would have only cost me $6.75.

The problem now was how to affix it securely? I’d bent the plates slightly and the whole thing was loose, and even bending them back didn’t fix things because unlike NES batteries, there was no springy cup shape to hold it in place – the plates are just 2 horizontal strips. I considered tiny drops of superglue, but this would create a barrier between the battery and plates. Resoldering was out since my soldering iron is too chunky.

Then I remembered a special tape I had for affixing bandage gauze to human skin, called Omnifix. That stuff sticks like poop-on-a-blanket and is extremely difficult to get off. Perfect! It would look a little Heath Robinson, but once the cartridge was closed you wouldn’t notice.

Before replacement I took some pliers and scrunched the little spikes flat (the fact they crumpled into the plating so easily increases the likelihood they were the result of holes as opposed to solid blobs of solder). Next the battery went back in face down, and I applied two strips of bandage tape. The tape and adhesive are non-conducting, so I didn’t mind it touching various circuit lines.

Although it somewhat resembled a child’s scuffed knee, I was please with how the circuit board still fit neatly in the cartridge casing afterwards. In case any future owners wanted to get at the battery in a decade’s time when it died again, I decided to replace the GameBit with a standard Philips screw. I normally keep a big box of spare-parts, but had recently misplaced it, so in a pinch stole one of the good screws from a broken N64 memory card by Logitech. Et voila. It fit perfectly and kept the cartridge housing secure.

I tested the game by starting two new save files, named after HG101 no less, and then tried them out 5 minutes later, and then a few hours later. Even after switching the unit off the memory data remained intact, and will hopefully give its future owner several years of enjoyment.

As for myself, I am selling off my small GB collection. These things are reaching the age where they’ll need proper restorative care to keep functioning. I’ve already binned one GB due to a broken, dust filled screen, my old Game Gear’s AC input mysteriously died, my CDi’s internal battery is dead and cannot be easily replaced, and I don’t even want to switch my 3DO on for fear of what I’ll find. I only hope that there are collectors who take this seriously and will maintain the skills needed to keep various older pieces of hardware in working condition.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let's play Street Fighter 2

I love it when I can give a post a title that doesn't sound like it belongs on this blog. But we're going to play the game in DOS - not the Ocean conversion, but an interesting homebrew port.

Before you complain to me for saving the screenshots in low quality jpeg, let me explain: A young Korean programmer named Jung Young Dug decided shortly after the release of Street Fighter II, that it would be awesome to play the game on PC. (Apparently the game by Ocean wasn't available in Korea.) But all he had to work with was his SNES version and a TV capture card. That's how he got the graphics for his game.

The game is based on the very first release of SF2, The World Warrior. It has a few shortcomings, though. The bosses are not in the game (a few normal character backgrounds are replaced with boss stages), and when selecting Dhalsim for some reason it just loads Ken. Dhalsim's stage and portrait are in, so maybe it's just a bug. Some special moves can also be done in mid-air, like in those cheap bootleg hacks. The version I have is labeled "Beta Version", don't know if there is a more complete one out there. The game files also seem to have been meddled with by third parties...

It runs a bit choppy, too, but the controls are simply the best I've ever seen in a DOS-based fighting game. Would have been cool to see Jung work with a professional team on an original fighter, that could have been awesome. Some of the issues might be caused by DOSBox, as the game doesn't work too great with it. Sometimes when I made a screenshot, the game just crashed.

It also allows mirror matches, but the colors for the second player are really weird. The game also allows for some really odd options. You can set a fight to 99 rounds that all run for 999 seconds each - when you set both character's attack level to zero and defence level to maximum, some rounds can even take that long.

The music is all rearranged in midi, the tunes range from barely recognizable to surprisingly awesome. The fighters have additional voice samples when they win a round. Some are ripped from action movies, but others clearly recorded by Jung himself and sound very goofy.

Have a listen:

Voice Sample

I would also upload a video, but the game runs really slow when DOSBox is recording. But I've got something better for you. Here are the game files for download:

Street Fighter 2 Homebrew DOS Port

When releasing the game, the programmer had the decency to reference to Capcom and Nintendo in, but in August 1994, a book was published boldy titled "Game Programming with the Creator of SF-2" - The author was Jung Young Dug.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Update - 11/21 - Submission Guidelines posted, earn a bit of cash to write for us!

HG101 now has posted Submission Guidelines on the main page. In general this is just a revised version of the writing guide that's been posted in the forums for a few years, but it also includes information about article bounties. There are tons of topics that HG101 hasn't touched on, but we would love to have covered. If you're an expert in these topics and feel like picking up a bit of extra cash, read them over and write in. If you have an idea for something that isn't listed, that's cool too, drop us a line anyway!

Some of the bounties currently up are:

Last Armageddon
Various Cave Shooters (Dangun Feveron)
Sakura Wars
Secret of Mana
Shiren the Wandered/Mysterious Dungeon
Kenka Banchou
Various Falcom games not already covered.

Feel free to suggest others, we're always adding to it!

Edit The World!

First off, I’d like to say Thank You to everyone, either here in the comments or elsewhere, who suggested some more games for me to try. In the weeks since I last wrote in, my pharmatech course has properly begun. It’s been going very well, but the downside is that I haven’t had as much game time as usual, and money is a little tighter than it used to be, so I haven’t gotten around to trying all the suggestions I’ve heard, and probably won’t. Thus, if you want to know what Love is, you’ll have to get someone else to show you.

The game I’d like to talk about this time is a rather odd, sadistic, and strangely habit-forming platformer called Everybody Edits, or EE for short. A quick shorthand would be to imagine Minecraft in 2D which should give some idea as to how the editing stuff works, but it betrays some of the quirkiness of this game, which is truly it’s own beast in a number of ways.

I’m actually cheating a little by lumping this game in with the others I've been writing about, because the connection isn’t quite as rock solid. However, the game does technically offer the ability to edit the terrain in real time as you wander around, as opposed to jumping back and forth between an traversal and editing modes, so we’ll use that as the common point. In EE there’s a greater emphasis on using the tools available to you in order to create fixed levels for everyone to play, as well as playing levels that other users have created, and much less emphasis on just playing in the sandbox. Of course, sandbox levels are entirely available, where anyone can hop in, jump around and start building something, editing existing creations, or just making an arse of one’s self, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Resident Evil Gaiden – those who dislike it are nuts

I’m a man who tends to upset people. This happens because I’ve never been one to care what others think of me. What I do care about though is when creative works, be they film, music, books, or London arthouse theatrical plays, don’t get the praise they deserve or are wrongly criticised. This is why I’m calling out the plague of paid reviewers who were paid money to play and critique RE:G. I’m calling them out for dereliction of duty. Someday I will be dead and later forgotten, but creative works exist for as long as humanity does, hence why I feel it is my duty to correct the mistakes of critics who came before me. This week I’ve been playing Resident Evil Gaiden on the GBC, and contrary to what a dozen shrill voices once said about it, the game is astoundingly good. This is my defence for the unfairly maligned.

If you want my views specifically on RE:G as a game, scroll down.

I tend to defend critically panned games quite a lot. I did it for Zelda on CDi, I did it for The Divide: Enemies Within. I also feel an unspoken camaraderie for Duane Alan Hahn, who wrote the To What Degree Do You Love ET feature and who convinced me of the game’s merit. I like to think that my appreciation for critically hated games is more than simply supporting the underdog (though as a consummate underdog myself, I do like to help fellow comrades). Rather, I believe it’s because I tend to examine games in the context of the time of release, the genre and the hardware they are on. Some reviewers actually criticised RE:G because it wasn’t as atmospheric as other titles, which run off CD and have the benefit of a television screen. You might as well say it sucks because its multiplayer wasn’t like Madden’s. Man, some reviewers are idiots.

Metacritic doesn’t have an entry for the game that I could find, but go to GameRankings to read what they said about RE:G. Look at the scores which average out to 56%. A quick Google brings up comments by sites such as Planet Resident Evil which describe it as a game no one should play. Back in the day it was these same comments in magazines which stopped me from buying it, despite liking the look of it in screens. It was because of the casually dismissive voices of these few pissant cretins who held power in reviewing circles, that I was denied until now one of the greatest gaming experiences I can recall. They failed both me and every other GBC owner.

I only played RE:G this last week by emulating the GBC on my PSP – with the unfortunate side-effect that the digitised voices of moaning zombies were lost (the latest MasterBoy doesn’t emulate them sadly). Even so, it was incredible.

It was a revelation.

It was a reminder that older games can still rock my view of gaming as hard as any new release. It now stands as my joint 1st favourite GBC game, alongside MGS: Ghost Babel. Maybe I even like it more than Ghost Babel. Survival Kids comes a very close third on my GBC list. Furthermore, acknowledging the obvious technological differences, I regard RE:G as a more substantial zombie and survival horror game than either Resident Evil 4 or the Dead Rising games.

And please do me the courtesy of allowing me to explain myself.

RE4 is an over-the-shoulder shooter. It’s Gears of War without the cover system. Ammunition is plentiful, saving unlimited. Enemies are all over the place and it’s very fast. It has more in common with the Contra series than it does with older Resident Evil games. It’s a great game, of course. But it’s not Resident Evil as I know it – which is slow and has a chronic shortage of ammunition and save ribbons. RE4 is an action man’s game and is too easy, which is why I don’t like it.

As for Dead Rising, it’s not a survival horror at all. It’s like a very easy 3D scrolling fighter. It’s Final Fight with an extra dimension. You walk along hitting dudes in the face, eating food you find lying around, picking up scenery to hit the dudes, and then you fight a boss. Then repeat. Like I said, it’s by Capcom so they might as well have called it Final Fight 3D: ZOMBIE EDITION.

Resident Evil: Gaiden on GBC is the pure distillation of everything I loved about classic RE, minus the puzzles. It’s also a British developed game, by developers M4, which sadly didn’t last for very long.


Succinctly put, it’s Diehard the film. It’s a guerrilla war against massive odds, where instead of a full frontal attack you need to chip away at the enemy’s sides, take down who you can, ration all supplies, and crawl on your belly through painful situations just to survive.

Instead of Nakatomi Plaza you have the Starlight ship. Instead of Bruce you have Barry, and later extra characters Leon and Lucia. Bruce starts with a gun, so do you. Then you get a slightly bigger gun, but not enough ammo, and so it goes: gradually increasing your power.

And RE:G is difficult. I mean relentlessly, proper balls-to-the-wall VIDEOGAME hard. To go back to my comparisons earlier: RE4 and Dead Rising were both cakewalks, designed for people with short attention spans and limited gaming skill. They’re fantastic games, but let’s be honest, they’re very easy on default settings. Contrarily though, a lot of reviewers commented on the high difficulty of these games. Which I accept. Some of the critics who reviewed the above zombie titles and RE:G aren’t as good as me and never will be. Maybe that’s why they didn’t get RE:G – they just couldn’t handle the save system or severe dearth of ammo.

But it’s this high difficulty, this guerrilla war which feels like you’ll never win, that makes me love the game so much. I like not having enough supplies. I need to have not enough.

A true survival horror game is about trying to survive against insurmountable odds. Not spamming recovery items and ammo respawn points. To instil horror you need limited resources. RE:G doesn’t actually give you anywhere near enough ammo to finish the game comfortably. Skilful use of the knife, which could be ignored in previous games, is now essential for success.
On countless occasions I would have to sit and spend several minutes planning my next assault, just like John McClane: I’m stuck in an elevator. I’ve got a handgun with 5 bullets. A shotgun with nothing. An assault rifle which has 4 rounds. A few grenades, but I’m saving those for a potential boss. Plus a selection of powders. I’m low on health and I’ve got a small girl in tow who has almost no health and is carrying the infinite knife. Just in case. There’s at least 10 zombies between me and safety, now – how the hell do I make 5 bullets and 4 rounds take down 10 enemies?

So, you turn to the knife. I like to call him Mr Knife. Or maybe Sir Knife. Lord Knife. KING KNIFEY. You kind of stare at the blade, contemplating its physical existence; an infinite razor which extends from and beyond all known space and time. The one object in your universe not shackled by the laws of entropy. It never blunts, it never dulls, and its thirst for zombie flesh is unquenchable. It is infinite.

Yes, the knife my dear friends. We will use the knife.

And so it goes, as your ragtag bunch of survivors encounter and escape from increasingly dire situations. As you trek it from one hell to another, desperately trying to preserve every resource you have and wondering if you’ll have enough by the end. It’s all too easy to reach the final section of the game and simply not have enough ammunition to kill the last few bosses, thereby demanding a restart. And the game is long, so you’ll be restarting from quite a ways back. And this happens because you’re just not good enough. Perhaps reviewers didn’t like the fact that M4 was basically saying to them: you’re just a bit rubbish, son.

This is all good though. If you’ve not got the tenacity to tackle a real challenge, go play Famrville or something equally insipid. As it stands I finished RE:G on my first go, with 2 rockets spare.

So actually I lied. It’s not really difficult at all. But it gives that impression.

The plot is good with plenty of twists, while the need to switch characters interesting. I also like the combat, since it makes great use of the GBC’s technical limitations. Getting a good rhythm with the knife is fun, and overall it’s a very clever idea. I love the combat. A quick note must also go to the sound – the extensive use of digitised speech is genius, at least on original hardware. The music is also cool, making good use of the GBC’s limited sound chips. Previous RE games to my knowledge were never big on music. They had a few ambient chords to add tension, but were generally minimalist. Here there’s proper albeit simple tunes which really got me in the mood. The simple music loops here kept me pumped as I Run-and-Shunned my way through hostile territory.

I also want to make special mention of the sprite art. They say the skill of drawing sprites is almost dead in the commercial world. Very few games use it. Those that do don’t always look so hot. In RE:G every animation frame of each sprite is dripping with gorgeous detail and effort. Notice the cadavers around the piano and bar areas. Notice the detail in the run animations of the main characters. Notice how light and shadow are portrayed, so that both yourself and the enemy is draped in darkness when standing in unlit areas. Notice the colour and detail of the backgrounds, and the minutiae resplendent in everything you come across. It is a painstakingly gorgeous, low-resolution 2D game. I love Muramasa’s big screen splendour, but as a connoisseur of videogame visuals, I also appreciate what can be done with less.

These washed out screens which I stole from the internet do not convey its splendour.

Reisdent Evil Gaiden is a fantastic game. It deserved more than 56% on GameRankings, and frankly I’m embarrassed by the dismissive, shallow, unskilled, and unnecessarily negative views of my predecessors and contemporaries.

Because it sadly didn’t receive critical acclaim, and because I doubt it sold well, I want to call out the talented British developers at M4 who deserve more credit for what they achieved. If the rest of the world was too narrow-minded to appreciate the skill of this team, to hell with the rest of the world. History shows that quality and skill are not always appreciated.

Take a bow, fine sirs. Your creative endeavours have sparked my soul.

Game Engine Programmer:
James Cox

Lead Programmer:
Kieron Wheeler

Support Programmer:

Odin Phillips

Lead Artist:

Stefan Barnett

Background Artist:

Bruce Silverstone

Presentation Artist:

Mark Brown

Elliot Curtis


Shahid Ahmad

Game Designer:

Tim Hull
EDIT: I've just discovered, Tim Hull actually does the Global Timoto website, which documents cultural games from around the world and is definitely worth checking out. It's kinda similar to HG101's Games of the World section. Awesome stuff!

Special Thanks:

Marvin Hill

WAHP 11 - podcast about Japanese games

Man, the rate of these is picking up!

They've included some cool new stuff this time round, such as samples of game music for those who like OSTs. As they rightly say, modern western games seem obsessed with movie-style orchestral music. Which is a shame because there was a time, at least in Europe during the C64 and Amiga days, when western games featured some astoundingly well done music. The fact that the west now produces crap (generally) while Japan continues to compose actual tunes, yet people say Japan is dying, baffles me. I miss the days of the SID and the like. WAHP's Twitter coverage is as always fascinating. They also mention some games which, rather aptly, are currently being worked on for a future HG101 update. So stay tuned!

Get it HERE.

Stage 011

Now Playing: Solatorobo, Malicious, Game Dev Story

Subtopics: Inafune bails out of Capcom + Capcom`s response, Shinji Mikami gets more money from white folks, Atlus brings some Innocent Sin to PSP, G-Rev shows off Strania, Mamoru-kun, and Black Sting, Nintendo may thrown poor DS owners in North America a few bones, Taro Yoko also bails out (from AQI), hottest Genso Suikoden announcement ever, Pokemon leaker thrown in Poke-jail, female Square Enix employee bleeds from “you know where”, should Dragon Quest X cheat on the Wii, Akira Uchida wants you to take your LovePlus 3DS girlfriend home to mom and dad, Final Fantasy XIV screws up… again (while Wada apologizes), JAPAN IS F**KED!! WATCH, Protopia for us English speakers, Mutter Watch (Ono, Kamiya, Inaba, Kojima, KCET Europe, Inafune, Eno), Sales Updata, Coming Next, our brand new section Cmon! ☆ Lets Beat`s, Comment of You, and a special surprise outro!

Coming Next Japan Game Mentions
Agarest Senki 2, Crazy Hot!! Pachinko Game Soul “CR Evangelion ~First Gospel~”, Criminal Girls, Winning Eleven Playmaker 2011, Sonic Colors, Hit `n` Bounce Super Smash Ball Plus Wii Remote Plus Pack, Super Kaseki Horider, Crossboard 7, DanceEvolution, Sonic Free Riders, New Brain Training You Answer With Your Body, Kinect Sports, Trinity: Zill O`ll Zero, Tears to Tiara Portable, Dangan Ronpa: Hope Academy & Despair High, Arms` Heart, True • Love Princess † Reverie ~Profusion of Maidens ☆ Romance of the Three Kingdoms Summary~ Chapter Shu, Anpanman Nikoniko Party, Mario Sports Mix, Super Robot Wars L, Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu Ver. 1.5

Other Game Mentions
Tail Concerto, Shadows of the Damned, Vanquish, Resident Evil (series), Persona, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Ys: The Oath in Felghana, Söldner-X, Radient Silvergun, Ketsui, Facening, NieR, Drag-On Dragoon, Hokuto no Ken / Fist of the North Star, Evangelion, Dragon Quest X, Lost in Shadows, M.U.S.H.A. / Aleste, Puyo Puyo, Golvellius, The Guardian Legend, Super Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter x Tekken, Dead Rising, Deathsmiles, Silent Hill