Category Archives: Sega

Games of My Youth: King of the Monsters 2

SNK’s King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing. If the first thing that comes to your mind is a giant fire-breathing lizard scraping tooth and claw against another mutant creature as they both lay waste to a city – then awesome – because that is what this classic Arcade game has to offer in ten fold.

But if you’re still scratching you head, wondering what crazy nonsense I’m spouting this time, then right now is the perfect place to humbly welcome you into the monster-filled world that is Kaiju. “Konichiwa!” as our friends from across the Pacific would kindly say. Greetings aside, Kaiju is a sub-genre of any Japanese live-action film or television drama that typically features beast-like monsters, the most famous of these being Godzilla.

In fact, the big-green machine himself made his first silver-screen appearance over fifty years ago, and has since then stared in 28 featured films. That is a lot of movies, and when you include the other Kaiju inspired works that have spawned since the age of the drive-in movie, the list is lengthy. From King Kong, to Ultraman, and that turtle-flying hero himself Gamera, there are a multitude of other giant creatures that have gotten their own big-screen title around the world.

The quality of these films, is yes, questionable, with the majority of which being right-down laughable. But for fans, including myself, we know that that is part of  the charm, the lovable whimsy of  such science fiction/horror films. There’s nothing more fun than watching mini-recreated city sets being destroyed by a guy in a rubber monster suit, explosions here and there, and dose of wacky sci-fi hi-jinks mixed in for good measure.

It’s certainly that same passion for the Kaiju sub-genre that is the basis for the King of the Monsters series when the first installment hit arcades in 1991. In King of the Monsters, you select any one of six monsters, each with their own set of special attacks and attributes, to do battle in a simple fighting/wrestling game. Really I should say that the game plays more like a wrestling game, which takes place in city-sprawled arenas, then anything else. More like “King of the Monster Wrestlers” to be fair.

You can grab your opponent and throw them against an invisible force-field that acts more like the ropes on a wrestling ring. Plus in order to win anymatch in King of Monsters, just like any wrestling event, you must pin your rival for the traditional three count. The game is pretty much no more or no less. And that would have been alright if there was never a King of the Monsters 2, which in my opinion offers some much more in presentation and gameplay. It’s night and day with each title thanks to a simple addition of another Arcade-genre staple.

King of Monsters Above, King of Monsters 2 below.


With King of the Monsters 2 a year later, SNK kept only three monsters and the combat system but added further depth by going the Final Fight beat-em up route. It’s that added style which gives the game a new layer of fun, keeping things from getting boring pretty quick unlike the first. That’s because you don’t have to pin down to win this time, just beat all that stands between you, including the level’s end boss.

In King of Monsters 2 you now have some neat details to help you on your way, such as power-ups that up your attack strength and special attacks. You can also pick up and throw buildings and assault vehicles now too. Something you would have thought would have been in the original, but wasn’t. Better late than never I guess.

Truthfully King of the Monsters 2 is just the better polished game over the first, and is the one that you should seek first. The music is livelier and the visuals  a tad bit more brighter and colorful than the original. I would say the only things that keep King of the Monsters 2 from becoming great are the grappling mechanics and stingy difficulty that can burn away any enjoyment.

While battling against your foes, the grappling gets messy and tiring. You have to forcibly tap the A button in order to get the upper hand, but sometimes it feels that no matter how much you do, the computer still has its way. That goes along with the harsh difficulty too. You will be eating up numerous continues after your character gets defeated – and I mean it. So if you are the type that doesn’t have the patience or neither the interest to begin with, then you might want to steer clear.

Those complaints aside, if concepts of controlling a giant monster and smacking the guts out of other monsters are enough to string you along for a good half and hour or so, which is alright by me, then King of the Monsters 2 is a recommended try.

Now how do you get a chance to play this game? Well it seems I have the uncanny luck, again, of picking games that are not available yet on any official download service. With King of the Monsters 2, that means tracking down a Neo Geo arcade unit or home  console. And unless you have the money and hours to waste on Ebay to do so, well I can understand going with emulation.

SNK, along with fellow Japanese game company Takara, did do two ports of the Arcade version, one for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, both having their own special traits. The Super Nintendo version is almost a carbon-copy of the arcade one with some graphical and sound processing down-scaling to help the game fit on the cartridge.

Super Nintendo version above, Sega Genesis below.

Meanwhile the Sega Genesis port ditches the beat-em up theme and goes back to the fighting game premise in the original King of Monsters. Now according to which ever message board you hang out on, the Sega Genesis is the above-all best version of the game. Notably because, the Genesis port has the right difficulty level and is a lesser nuisance when dealing with the grappling mechanics.

Personally, I say if you can try both, go for it. Find which version, either Arcade or Genesis, is best for you. In the end you’ll still come away satisfied in your need to smash buildings and fight off aliens from sizes big to really really big.

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OBG Weekend Report: May 10th, 2010

As the name describes, this little feature is a quick look at some of what you missed over the weekend while you were out having fun and I was stuck in doors writing news. (Pathetic, I know.)

On Saturday we learned that May 20th would be the PlayStation Network  release date for Final Fantasy IX. Upon hearing the news, American fans of the Square Enix’ series cheered with glee, but then angrily grumbled upon seeing the words: “for the Japanese PlayStation Network store only.” Already on the PlayStation Network Store you can download both Final Fantasy VII and VIII, so this certainly makes happy company for the popular role-playing game.

Final Fantasy IX Hitting Japanese PSN May 20 [Joystiq]

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And speaking of downloadable content, more leaked footage from the anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog 4 hit the internet. Like a fleas on a hobo, videos keep popping up no matter how fast Sega can unleash it’s group of legal ninjas to pull them down. This blurry quality video shows off a later level in the game called “Mad Gear Zone” where Sonic displays a special ability he can only achieve when collecting a certain amount of “these.” I have to say though, I’m grateful (sarcasm) that there are people willing to risk their lush development jobs just to leak a videogame staring a little blue hedgehog protagonist.

UPDATE: Seems the full video has already been pulled, but fear not, a three minute excerpt has replaced it. Yay!

More Sonic 4 Video Spills Onto Internet Threatens Wildlife [Update] [Kotaku]

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On the viral video front, a fan-made trailer for a full-length movie staring Capcom’s Blue Bomber appeared and has made it’s way across the internet. While amateurish in it’s production value it’s a pretty well directed clip by dedicated Mega Man fan Eddie Lebron. Now after being amazed and laughably amused by this trailer, I was soon caught off guard that, not only is there a trailer, but also an actual film which can be seen over at ScrewAttack right now.

See The Full-Length “Mega Man Movie” [ScrewAttack]

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Sonic 4: Episode 1 And Other Awesome Links Of The Day

With virtual soapboxes left and right, it hard to tell sometimes who’s opinion bares insightful weight and whose’s doesn’t. But if you’re wise enough to catch on, the true test is to watch how people react to certain things.

And in this medium there is no truer test than everyone’s favorite blue boy – Sonic the Hedgehog. Now, not to say that this is a cross the board examination that is always correct, but if the person in question mentions the eye color of a cartoon hedgehog being the instant mark of fail for game that was shown mer days ago… lunacy off the starboard bound, captain!

If none of the above makes a heap of sense – good. Then you can ignore all that horse-hockey and I can tell you the exciting news: Sega is finally bringing us a new 2D Sonic game that from the title alone tells you how ambitious or down right crazy the developer might be.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode. Surprising is an understatement when addressing the tittle. Yet in no way is this some fake ruse to make you spit-take violently. (Sorry if that has already happened.)

Last week the Sega Blognick unwrapped the real name to Project Needlemouse by showing a more in-depth teaser for the game, which featured a brief snippet of game play. Albeit only 3 seconds of it.

From the looks of things, a rather short one, it strikes a close appearance to the tradition Sonic games form the 16-bit era, but with a shiny high definition current console technology spin. Being a fan (and I’m sure Jay is too) of New Super Mario Brothers Wii, I am quite fond of this type of treatment. So no worries here.

We will have to wait for later videos tell how the direction of the game play is going to be, but Sega has mentioned in the initial press release that the game will be inspired by those classic Sonic games on the Genesis. In fact this game picks up right where Sonic & Knuckles leaves off and will begin a new grander story told in episodes.

Ah’ that’s right, that whole “Episode 1” moniker at the end of the title. Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, this game, for now, is a digital download experience for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo WiiWare, and a secret platform to be mentioned later come this Summer. (Leaks already have this pinned down as perhaps being the iphone.)

The plan from Sega is to release the game in episodic chunks, and although there has been no official statement on the size of each “chunk,” word around the web is that they will be as long as a full length Genesis Sonic game.

All this spiky blue hedgehog talk is making me want to plunge back into Sonic’s 1 – 3 & K, but first, as the title of this post promises, some awesome links of the day.

Speaking of another famous face in the video game fandom, Legend of Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto loosens his lips about what he is currently working on. Next Zelda game, heard about it. Some new motion plus game, boring. A new console from Nintendo is coming soon? Say whaaat?

Shigeru Miyamoto Discusses New Nintendo Hardware [1Up]

Old Electronic Gaming Monthly might be gone, but Steve Harris, once former and now turned current owner of EGM, is set on bring the gaming publication back anew.  Check out what Mr. Harris has in store by checking out the recent press statement on the EGM Now website.

EGM Now Website

Who doesn’t love the Angry Video Game Nerd? Well maybe the developers of those games he swears at. But hey it’s all in good sport! (Not really.) Anyway, let’s check in with the Angry Video Game Nerd as he takes on Little Red Hood.

AVGN – Little Red Hood [ScrewAttack]

Well I’d love to stick around but I’ve got to speed, Keed! (Yeah, I wonder face palm that last line too.)

Dantes Inferno Super Bowl Ad And Other Awesome Links Of The Day

On Sunday February 7th, 2010, the world will gather around their TV sets – – food, drink, and fan apparel included, to celebrate one of the biggest events of the year. Super Bowl XLIV. (That’s 44 if you can’t read roman numerals.) A kick-ass spectacle that features the two best professional football teams in America as they battle three hours for the ultimate prize of fame and glory.

Now this is the point where I can just feel the instant rolling of eye balls from every nerd around the web at my pig-skin loving gushing. ‘Get with the point‘ you say! I hear you, I hear you.

Well if you do manage to flip your TV towards the big game, you might just catch a commercial featuring the game Dante’s Inferno. The Electronic Arts published and Visceral Games produced third-person action title based upon the first book of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, will be featured in a Super Bowl advertisement after it was initially rejected by CBS executives.

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, CBS, the television host for the Super Bowl, declined the commercial at first, not because it depicted highly gory scenes of blood and disturbing imagery. No America can handle that. It was the advertisement’s simple tag line, “Go to Hell,” that got this commercial a big no go over concerns of offending specific audiences.

But don’t worry, the commercial will be allowed to be shown now, as EA fixed the tag line to “Hell Awaits.” Which is much better… maybe? I guess the logic in this is that you can invite people to hell, but when it comes to telling them directly to go, that’s where you cross the line. Alright then?

What else happened around the web while you were busy listening to gaming podcast after gaming podcast talk about their love fest with Mass Effect 2? I’m glad you asked!

It seems Wal-Mart and Best Buys’ timid toe dip into the used game business which has been ruled mercilessly by GameStop over the years, has come to a short and silent end.

Wal-Mart Best Buy Quit Short Lived Used Games Test [IndustryGamers]

Leigh Alexander of Kotkau describes a particular fan made game from Japan that caters to a unique fetish which focuses on cute girls with disabilities. Believe me when I say this isn’t the reason why I love Japan.

Romance With Disabled Girls: How And Maybe Why An Unusual Video Game Came To Be [Kotaku]

And in spirit of Groundhog Day (you forgot didn’t you?), the Sega American blognick has released some more tasty information about Project Needlemouse. Sure there is not much besides a piece of concept art and a short audio clip that teases the music direction, but it is enough to hold anyone over until the next big (and they mean big) reveal on Thursday.

Project Needlemouse Final Name Coming Thursday, First Peek At Game Audio, And More Concept [Go Nintendo]

Were my awesome links of the day ‘awesome?’ I’d like to think so. (Oh please be awesome, oh please be awesome!)

SEGA Blog Teases Project Needlemouse and Other Awesome Links of the Day

I’ve come to believe with all my shared experienced on the internet, you probably should not try to joke with your average gamer. But I’m grateful for those who try, especially when the fine folks over at the SEGA American Blog are the ones do the “joshing.”

The Blog has started a countdown to finally reveal some information about the little known 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game – “Project Needlemouse” or also known as “SEGA better not f@#k it up this time again.” Right now there is a posted image on the blog with names of various characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe or as they’re also commonly known as those “sh*#ty friends.” Each day the blog, with help from blog commenter’s on Facebook and Twitter, will scratch off names till only the true playable characters are left. Let’s see if your funny bone is working.

Hmm… I wonder who’s name will be left. Golly gosh I’m stumped!

Project Needlemouse Character Countdown – Day 1! [SEGA America Blog]

Meanwhile in other awesome links of the day news: NBA Jam is coming back to the court on the Nintendo Wii, the director of MadWorld would love to do a sequel, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of Zero Punctuation fame starts his own video game bar in the land down under, the latest Official PlayStation Magazine reveals what Sony might have up it’s sleeve at this years E3, and from Gamasutra an op-ed on the state of WiiWare, DSiWare, and PSP Minis. Oh can you feel it? Huh?! Can you feel the awesomeness of these links!

NBA Jam Sets The Wii On Fire In 2010 [Kotaku]

Madworld 2 Heading to Wii? [CVG]

Yahtzee Establishes Australia’s First Video-Game Bar [Bitmob]

Killzone 3, Infamous 2, and Resistance 3 All To Be Announced At E3? [1Up]

Opinion: What Went Wrong With WiiWare, DSiWare, & PSP Minis? [Gamasutra]