Contra 4. Essentially, Konami has given the finger to all the other games of the series, and said, “Sorry, folks. You don’t count.” This game is all about giving fans of the old-school games the biggest dose of fanservice it possibly can.
Game Description: The action franchise that started it all is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an all-new adventure on Nintendo DS. Set after the events of Contra III: Alien Wars, the game follows mercenaries Bill Rizer and Lance Bean as they battle to save the world from a new extraterrestrial threat. Contra 4 takes advantage of the dual screens of the Nintendo DS to deliver larger than life action, with massive enemies, detailed platforming and mind-blowing set pieces. Across a variety of game modes, including full cooperative play through the main story mode, two players can take the fight to the alien army of the Black Viper and reclaim Earth for mankind.
Although Atlus has been on an incredible hot streak lately with games like Persona 3, Etrian Odyssey II, and R-Type Command, no publisher on earth has an output that's pure gold. A little chaff is bound to sneak in with that sweet, sweet wheat, and in this review I'm culling it out. The chaff in question? Izuna 2: the Unemployed Ninja Returns.
Game Description: The Unemployed Ninja Returns Izuna and her gang are back - and just in time for a wedding! Lured by the promise of free food (Why else would Izuna attend?), the festive event becomes a puzzling mystery when Izuna's sidekick Shino suddenly disappears, off in search of her long-lost sister. And making matters worse, the foreign gods have also arrived on Japanese soil, and they aren't very happy with the meddlesome, unemployed ninja. With disgruntled deities on the warpath, a sidekick to track down, and a missing sister out in the wild, it could all shape up to be one of Izuna's more exciting adventures. Sounds like a lot of work for a girl out of a job!
I'll be perfectly frank with you—I did not expect to like this game.
Grinding for experience, going broke buying equipment that only increases a character's strength by two points, drawing a map by hand through floor after floor of twisting labyrinth, and being crushed by random encounters in the first round of battle are not things that I generally look for in my RPGs. In fact, I would generally say that these are all characteristics of outdated game design best left in the 16-bit era and forgotten.
Game Description: Journey to a floating castle in this dungeon RPG Sequel. In the Grand Duchy of High Lagaard, it is said that the Duke is descended from inhabitants of a castle in the sky. When an unforeseen crisis befalls the nation, it is decreed that the first explorer to retrieve the Grail of Kings from that mythical floating palace will be rewarded with wealth and fame beyond imagining. Enter the central city of Lagaard and begin your journey to the clouds! Etrian Odyssey II boasts an all-star development team, led by director Shigeo Komori. Composer Yuzo Koshiro returns as well, in addition to character designer Yuji Himukai and monster designer Shin Nagasawa, who both worked on the original Etrian Odyssey.
I’ve always thought that George Lucas’s archeology professor turned whip-smackin’ adventurer would be an excellent videogame hero. Unfortunately, most makers of movie-based games that I’ve played assume that I want to “relive” the movie in the most literal way. Running from one cut-scene to another—all of which I’ve seen already in the theater—doesn’t appeal to me, especially when all I’m doing is hacking monsters up and pushing boxes. What I want is to play Indiana Jones the man, not Indiana Jones the franchise. Thankfully, Lego Indiana Jones The Original Adventures lets me do just that.
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