Not much game news, i am still wanting to pick up a next-gen system, (does 360 count as that anymore, given that it's going on a couple years of age at this point?) PS3 is always (slowwwwly) looking more desirable, though obviously it's got a year or so before it can genuinely ratchet up a full notch.. 360 still looks appropriate enough, but yes, I need to sit on my bills for the time being, so no new toys for me. Which is fine, since all the titles I REALLY want are from PS1 period anyway.
Bought some new doorknobs for my apartment this weekend, which meant that I stopped by my friendly neighborhood Orchard Supply Hardware, conveniently located right next to Gamestop. Not a regular haunt of mine, but I'll poke around if I am actually hoofin' around the neighborhood and see what goodies I can pick up on the cheap. Yesterday's score was PS2 Gungrave, a title I recall seeing years ago at E3 (alongside Shinobi and.. Jet Set Radio? Was it that long ago??? Well maybe it was the following year...) Regardless, I remembered hearing less-than-impressive reviews of the game, if only in passing, but it's certainly stylish enough to warrant a look when it pops up in the bargain bin. I forked over my eight bucks and took it home, and tonight put in a session with it. Good game! I can see why it would't go over well with the mainstream, as it is kind of the videogame equivalent of a migraine in some ways.. constant blaring gunfire, constant slow trudging gameplay, and not really a game where you can stop and smell the roses, so much. Still, it bleeds with loving style, a possibly cool blueprint for more inspired things to come - and on it's own merit, not a bad diversion. It belongs on my shelf beside Godhand (which is far superior, if uglier). I'd consider picking up the sequel if it was about the same price, I suppose.
I received a couple JPN Saturn games in the mail recently, finally loaded them up this weekend as well. GunGriffon and Baku Baku Animal. Let's see.. GunGriffon came vaguely recommended from a web-board Saurn Reminiscience post, I am not sure if there was a domestic release but i saw the JPN version on ebay for like.. a cent, so what the hell. I loaded it up and it has that feeling "ohhh!! We can do 3D now, how cool are we!" It's short sighted and gnarly, and definitely dated and "me-too". Fun to tool around with for a few minutes, I may mess with it some more (doubtful!) Some games obviously do not age well.
Baku Baku Animal, on the other hand - this title DID recieve a domestic release, I believe, but again I found the JPN version on EBay for next to nuthin' and so I snapped it up. Those who know me, know I can have a fondness for good puzzle games, so after doing some Saturn research I had seen this name dropped a couple of times as a "must-have." I already have Magical Drop 3 (supposedly, another one of "the best..") so this seemed interesting to me - mind you, I could sit for a session of Puzzloop or Tetris Attack for hours.. Anyway this game was nearly worth it for the case art alone. My GOD. So ugly. It's like they gave an 11 year old a 3D program for the first time ("here make a cover for us!") It's ridiculously ugly... but somehow, disgustingly endearing. Almost. Anyway, as for the game itself - it's not bad! It made me laugh. Usual Tetris-inspired drivel, stuff drops and you've gotta match it up to clear lines before your screen fills up with blocks. The catch here is that the blocks are made up of two different things.. different types of food, or animal heads. Naturally, you must put the food next to the head of the animal which would eat that to clear lines. Monkey eats banana, dog eats bone, panda eats bamboo, that sort of thing. Yes it's goofy as hell, but it is kinda funny and one wonders how exactly someone was inspired to make this leap in concept. I will mess with it some more, it seems like there's some cool possibility for chain mechanic in there.
For the hell of it I threw in Radiant Silvergun for the first time since trying it out after I'd first got my JPN adaptor. Whew! That's a hell of a game, and I do mean.. HELL. It's a top-down shooter, much like the other bullet hell shooters, where you get tons of all manner of firepower with which to demolish your enemies. This game is unique in that you never need to power-up, you possess your weapons 100% of the time - but each weapon is fired by a different button on the game controller. And of course the game is designed around the player properly strategizing when to fire which weapon. So yeah, unlike many games of this sort, it's not "plow-ahead fun," but rather more of a thinkin' mans game in that vein. It's a little crude looking as well - but certainly deserving of it's place in history (though it's not gonna make any top-ten shooter lists for me, who knows maybe one day I will become "enlightened")
Anyway, so yeah, old games rock.