Friday, March 14, 2008

All Things Pink

This week I was on a mission - after reading reviews and contemplating with my other, I decided to get a DS and Contra 4. I thought it was clear; other agendas were in order however. The end result was depressing. No Contra 4. No Hardcorednessessess. My DS is now pink.

Not one to let minor obstacles get in the way (stubborn), I ended up spending some savings on a new copy of Contra 4 at Gamestop the next day. Please note, according to Gamestop, a new product is still new even if the seal is broken, has tears in the game manual and the case is lopsided. Nonetheless, much rejoicing was had. Contra 4 was had. My DS is still pink.

Contra 4 is actually an astounding game. Along with Sonic Rush Advanture and Zelda, this is my favorite DS game in my collection (currently shared with evil-doer who decided everything should be reddish-white). The game is the epitomy of what all video games should be - over the top difficulty, responsive and intuitive controls, and crazy action. The music, composed by VGmixer Jake Kaufman, should also be noted as being melodic and fresh while remixing old pieces from the series. If you own a DS, you should also own this game simultaneously. Even if it is pink.

This is actually my first Contra game and I am almost ashamed of what made me want to buy it - the kick ass cover art. Gone are the anime-esque finger hand gestures to the viewer. Here we have excellent eye candy with action being drawn in the picture without any actual design of violence. As a huge fan of Old School gaming (long time competitor of Street Fighter and other fighting games), it is pretty blasphemous that I never was a Contra fan. I love Ikaruga and most of Treasure's other great shooters, but never did I delve in this series. It was the fact that OG games were still being produced did I decide to give it a go, in which now I am a fan.

With the advent of SSF2T HD Remix and Bionic Commando making a come back, old-school gaming still has life left in it. I recommend Contra 4 to anyone interested in the genre, even if you aren't accustomed to difficult games.

In other news, the previously mentioned SSF2T HD Remix (which will now be referenced as STD both for shorthand and humorous reasons) is going to be available as an 8 week beta with the release of Commandos 3. 8 weeks of Ryu and Ken matches online. This is going to piss off some people. But the intent is to test and troubleshoot the online robustness, so it seems fine for that purpose. The new look features 4 shades as opposed to 8, which is due to Capcom being lazy and wanting a product to be finished rather than look amazing, which I can understand. I prefer the darker tones of the original ST, but from an artistic standpoint the game looks really good, albiet it confused with a project created by more talented artists. The game in motion looks solid, although Ryu and Ken's idle stance demonstrates a tremendous bounciness not found in other games. Methinks someone didn't collaborate the right sprites in order, but that is just me. The music is fine, although certain tracks are ripped from a great remix project that I wholeheartedly love. Just not in the game. CPS2 soundtrack for me on this one.

The play testers in the videos, to put it kindly, suck at SF. I await being able to play this, showing people online the importance of zoning and spacing and execution and the broken fake fireball. Please note Sirlin's interviews on Gamespot's website - he explicitly describes exactly how NOT to rebalance a fighting game. I can't wait to be proven wrong when this (re)releases in Summer of 2008.

Iapetus out.

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