Late Night Consoling

By jason bergman, Feb 20, 2004 8:00pm PST

(A quick note: my internet connection's on the fritz, so if this goes up late, I apologize). My copy of this month's issue of GameInformer arrived here at the loonyBin yesterday, and I eagerly read through the exclusive preview of Resident Evil 4. I must say, I'm pretty impressed. I gave up on the survival horror genre long ago (not even Eternal Darkness held my interest long enough for me to finish it), but it sounds like there are just enough changes here to make it feel original and different. Look for details on this to (officially) hit the web in the near future. Anyway, what I also was looking forward to reading was GameInformer's preview of Killer 7, and I came away from it just as confused as I was before. I think this game is going to be either absolutely brilliant or a jumbled mess of sheer nonsense. I dig the phildickian idea that all seven lead characters are just personalities in one guy's head, but so much of this game sounds too weird to actually work. Here's a quick excerpt as an example, "...you don't actually move in 3D in the environments. Instead you choose a direction from a variety of choices, like South Hallway or Room #302 and then you have the ability to move either further down that linear path, or turn back to the choices you previously made." Say what? Throw in a style that looks strangely like Flashback or Out of This World and I just don't know what to make of this game.
PS2 Sony! Sony! Sony! Sony held their Gamer's Day event yesterday, and as you would expect, there was some news. Most shocking was word that Dark Odyssey wasn't in fact the latest Dark Cloud title from Factor 5, but rather an early production name for God of War, a new medieval action title from the creator of Twisted Metal. Also announced was a new fall release date for Gran Turismo 4, word that Hot Shots Golf Fore! will keep its online gameplay when it's released in North America this summer and some new details from Killzone. For reports, head over to GameSpot, IGN and GameInformer.
Xbox Danny Elfman Composing Fable Theme Well I just got a whole lot more interested in this game...Microsoft announced today that none other than Danny Elfman, the former front man for Oingo Boingo and composer of everything from the Spider-Man and Batman scores to the opening music from The Simpsons, will be composing the theme song for Fable. As you might expect, this has caused the game to be delayed for another 18 months. I kid, I kid. It's still scheduled for release later this year.
GameCube PS2 Xbox More GoldenEye Wackiness gamesindustry.biz has posted an update on their GoldenEye scoop, with word that Scottish developer Visual Science (whose previous work includes Formula 1: Career Challenge) will be developing the title. More intriguing however is this item at 1UP, which says that the current issue of EGM promises an exclusive first look at the game, which they say will let you, "play the villain and take on 007 in this FPS that shakes up the Bond-universe timeline and continuity like a perfect martini...made in the Twilight Zone." What's particularly interesting is that this story won't be on the cover as was planned, but instead will be something that "might just be even bigger."
PS2 Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned Announced At the big AOU 2004 convention in Japan, Sega announced Virtua Fighter 4 Final Tuned, another arcade revision of VF4. This new version contains a Challenge Mode that is said to be similar to the Weapons Master mode from Soul Calibur II. For preliminary details and shots, consult The Magic Box and 1UP.
Neo Geo SNK Moves Beyond MVS After a record-setting 15 years of active development, SNK is finally graduating from their venerable NeoGeo MVS platform. At the AOU 2004 show, SNK Playmore has announced three new games, which will all use Sammy's Atomiswave arcade system instead. The games are all continuations of long-running MVS titles: The King of Fighters 2004, Samurai Spirits AW and Metal Slug 6. If you're worried about another NeoGeo 64, you can take some solace in the fact that these will almost certainly retain the same gameplay as their predecessors.
PS3 Team Bondi Interview Eurogamer.net has conducted an interview with Brendan McNamara, who recently founded Team Bondi, a new developer comprised largely of former Team Soho alumni. Brendan can't say much about their project, just that it's in development for the PS3 and will likely take just as long to complete as The Getaway did (so don't look for it any time soon).
PlayStation Sidhe Interactive Gets Grant for PSP Development New Zealand developer Sidhe Interactive has announced that they have received a government research grant from Technology New Zealand to fund development of a new title for Sony's PSP handheld. Government grants of this sort are quite common for film production (as they heavily promote the places they're filmed in) but I can't recall of any other such grant money being awarded for game development. Anyone know of anything like this?
PS2 New Xenosaga Episode II Battle System Details 1UP has posted new details on the battle system from Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose. Taking a concept featured in a few other recent RPGs, multiple characters will be able to team up for special combination attacks. Four images are in 1UP's report, each showing a different combo move.
PS2 Xbox Is Whiplash Cruel to Animals? I don't even know where to start with this one...the Crystal Dynamics-developed, Eidos-published title Whiplash is being criticized by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others in the UK, where the game goes on sale next week, as promoting cruelty towards animals. Whiplash of course is the game in which you play as a rabbit chained to a weasel, who you can fling around, as you free trapped animals. I'd like to point out that I have it on good authority that no actual animals were harmed in the production of the game (except for that one rabbit that participated in the QA process...but he was pretty disturbed to begin with).
GameBoy Advance Spyro and Crash Cross-over It's not exactly Capcom vs. SNK here, but nonetheless, Spryo the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot are crossing over into each others' worlds. The games are Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage and Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy, and the pair are separate side-scrolling platform titles that of course can be connected to one-another to unlock special features in each.
PS2 Sonic Team Interview Cube.IGN's Sonic Team interview talks with director Yojira Ogawa of Sonic Team about Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution, as well as some other topics, including how likely a fifth single player Phantasy Star RPG is.
Xbox New Links 2004 Course Available Microsoft has released another new course for Links 2004. The latest, the Plantation Course at Kapalua golf resort is now available for download over Xbox Live. Like the previous course released, you'll have to pay a $4.99 fee in order to get it.
PS2 GameCube Misc. Interviews Computer and Video Games has conducted an interview with Don L. Daglow of Stormfront Studios, talking with the studio's president about their upcoming title Forgotten Realms. Also, HomeLAN talks with Steve Wickes, the producer at Swordfish on their spy shooter Cold Winter. Both games are PS2-exclusives (although Forgotten Realms isn't explicitly so -- the PS2 version is just the only one that's been announced). Also, Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack has answered some questions about Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes in IGN's forums.
  Misc. Media/Previews
GameCube New media from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is up at Cube.IGN and new goodies from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords+ are up at both IGN and 1UP.
PS2 GameSpot has new previews of Seven Samurai 20XX and Transformers, as well as new media from Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3, GameSpy has their own preview of Seven Samurai 20XX, GameInformer has new shots from Red Dead Revolver and Crimson Sea 2, IGN goes hands-on with Onimusha Blade Warriors, GamerFeed goes hands on with Samurai Warriors, and while it's not really a PS2 title, a new trailer from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children can be found at both IGN and Games Are Fun, taken from the FFX International + Last Mission disc.
Xbox New impressions of Ninja Gaiden can be found at GameSpot, IGN and GameInformer, Team Xbox previews Knights of the Temple and has new media from Conan and IGN has new movies from Sudeki.
GameBoy Advance IGN has all sorts of goodness from Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, GameSpot has new media from the new Famicom Mini re-releases of Super Mario Bros, Ice Climber and Star Soldier, CVG has shots from Steel Empire and The Magic Box has new shots from Metal Slug Advance and Mega Man Zero 3.
PS2 Xbox GameSpot has posted a preview of ESPN Major League Baseball, a Fight Night 2004 developer's diary and new media from DRIV3R (all PS2, Xbox) and both HomeLAN and GameSpy have new previews of MTX Mototrax (PS2, Xbox).
Console Game of the Evening: Thrill Kill for the PSOne. "Easily the greatest fighting game that no one got to play. Got cancelled just before release. What can you expect from a game with violence meters instead of health bars." (submitted by her0d).

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