Saturday, February 23

GoW Chainsaw Dueling Rumor

Remember when Gears of War first came out? People praised it for it's beautiful visuals and fun gameplay. I only cared for one thing however, killing every enemy I encountered with my chainsaw bayonet. The Lancer Assault Rifle has to be the coolest weapon in gaming history. The only problem was that it was bit unbalanced (like Halo's energy sword) in online matches. This problem may be fixed in the upcoming sequel, according to a Variety blogger who claims to have spoken with two people who are close to the development team at Epic.

I was talking to two people last night who are close enough to the development team at Epic to know and they confirmed for me that this will be a mechanic in the game: When somebody tries to chainsaw you, there will be a way to push back with your own chainsaw gun and potentially fend them off or, possibly, end up chopping them into a bloody pile of flesh chunks.

If this is true, I hope it doesnt turn into some shitty button mashing minigame.



Retro Review: Run, Run, As Fast As You Can...

Greetings B&W followers and happy Saturday. Well, as happy as it can be I suppose. I'm delightfully sick as a dog and have just reviewed an absolutely horrid NES game just for you guys. So let's step inside here and see what there is to say about Kid Kool and the Quest For the Seven Wonder Herbs.

Developed by Vic Tokai, the makers of one of my favorite NES games ever, Golgo 13, I went in on this one with somewhat high expectations. How bad could it be, really? Turns out it can be pretty bad indeed.

You are Kid Kool who looks absolutely nothing like the super cool guy on the cover (picture right) and your mission is to run as fast as you can around the world and collect the Seven Wonder Herbs for your King who has some unfortunate disease from which only the herbs can save him.

Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Herbs is a 2-D side-scroller, and feels like Mario got drunk at a frat party and retched this abhorrent piece of crap out in a final attempt to sober up. What I mean to say is the controls are god-awful. You can't control Kid Kool at all, he runs real fast but not until you run for a too-long period that will more than likely get you killed. Otherwise he crawls at the pace of a dead gerbil and jumps about as well as Dr. Phil playing basketball.

The graphics are pretty good though, everything looks nice and crisp and you can tell exactly what you can jump on, and what should be avoided at all costs. However, that's where the game goes downhill.

I did sort of enjoy the music. It's simple, catchy, and it'll get right on your nerves and stick with you the rest of the night while you scream blasphemes at your telly and consider joining a cult to end the misery.

There are bags of money cleverly hidden in plain, empty air in the best positions so that they throw you off on your timing and cause Kid Kool to get murdered by one of the three or four enemy sprites in the game. The money bags are useful though, at the end of each level there's a chance for a bonus game that's basically the same thing as press your luck. You can win a free 1-up if you are the most lucky bastard in the world.

Every now and then you find this little fur ball buddy of yours that you can throw around to kill enemies or keep it and give you an extra hit. Much like Mario's mushroom power-up. When I first got the little fluffer I pondered to myself why on earth would they put Kuriboh in an NES game. He is useful though, and will save you from enemies killing you, too bad that doesn't prevent all of the random pits, deep waters, spikes, and any other obstacle that blocks your attempt at winning.

Bosses are definitely interesting, and when I say interesting I mean repetitive and boring. You "fight" the bosses by jumping over them and pounding this stick into the ground that then kills the big baddies. I'm not sure why, it just does.

So let's finish this up, Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Wonder Herbs is a game that should be avoided at all costs. Unless you like brain aneurysms, then go for it.

Sound: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Controls: 2/10
Fun Factor: 4/10
Replay Ability: 2/10 (You'll never want to jam this cartridge back into your poor NES ever again.)

Overall: 4/10



Friday, February 22

Brawl Roster Limited?

Super Smash Brothers Brawl's character roster of thirty-five certainly seems like plenty, and it better be enough to keep you satisfied because there's no DLC coming for this one according to game creator Masahiro Sakurai.

"There are no characters that can be unlocked via connecting to WiiConnect24 or interacting in that fashion," Sakurai said when posed a question regarding the possibility of downloadable content for Brawl. "And I may be mistaken here, but the Wii doesn't have a hard drive -- it's a disc-based system -- so I don't think we'll be doing that, I don't think it's going to happen."

"Seeing the success that Brawl has had with the Wii remote being playing sideways, I don't think that there are control limitations that keep it from being ported to the DS," Sakurai said. "But I personally have no plans to do this myself. If, in the future, such a thing was to be planned, it would be up to Nintendo to decide how and when and in what way they would like to create that sort of game."

So there you have it, the roster of immortality. At least the DS version might have some newbies to the front lines.



Thursday, February 21

Still Alive made DLC for Rock band

At a party hosted by Valve on Wednesday night, it was announced that Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive" will be DLC for Rock band. The announcement was made as Harmonix employees took the stage and started proforming the song alongside Coulton himself.

Man, Still Alive is going to make a kick ass addition to Rock Band, but I'm still waiting for ...heh...this song to be made into DLC.



Havok Unleashed

Do you wish you could finally make that Carebear RTS you've been dreaming of, but lack the tools and resources to put it together? Well, in a few months you can make your dream a reality, using the same technology used to create games such as Guitar Hero III, Oblivion and the Orange Box. The best part of all this is, you can do it all for free!

In May, Havok will be releasing Havok complete, a combination of the Havok physics engine and Havok Animation. This is great news for commercial and independent developers. With powerful tools like these available for free, developers can start producing higher quality games at reduced costs.



Wednesday, February 20

Deadly Creatures Follow-Up, First Trailer

Deadly Creatures for the Wii just got it's first trailer that shows some action from the game, it looks like there will be some awesome arachnid body slams going on.

The trailer looks a lot darker than I had imagined it would be, and I feel it's a good thing for the Wii. Currently with being a family console the Wii gets plenty of attention, but for more serious gamers all those mini-games are just a light broth in the Wii's stew.

If you missed the Deadly Creatures preview from about a week ago, check it out.

Beware of large snakes.



Tuesday, February 19

WiiKami, Okami Finally Gets Some Gameplay Footage

The trippy action-adventure game Okami is being brought to the Wii on March 24th, and today the first videos with some gameplay footage have been released...

Okami was a great, fun, innovative game for the Ps2 but sadly the sales were quite less than extravagant. Capcom and Ready At Dawn Studios however didn't seem to take that disappointing factor to heart, they're re-creating it for the Wii and hopefully the gameplay will take flight with the usage of the motion-sensor Wiimote.

The trailers seem fairly promising, even if it does end up being a straight port with revamped controls, it should be better than the Ps2 version. At least I feel it will be.



Microsoft Gets RRoD

Looks like its pointless for Microsoft to try and downplay the 16% failure rating on the 360 any longer, especially when a system from it's own stock gets a hardware failure. Today at GDC,(Game Developer Conference) a BBC reporter discovered one of the systems at Microsoft's booth was experiencing the RRoD. Seems like Microsoft can't even take care of it's own products.

From the looks of it, that 360 is encased in a plastic box with little or no ventilation, which may have caused the hardware failure. Then again, every other console is encased in a plastic box or bubble of some sort, and they haven't malfunctioned.

As someone who just recently suffered from a RRoD I must say, this is the funniest news I've ever heard. One can only imagine how embarrassed the top execs over at M$ are feeling about this. I wonder if this will make M$ to finally fix the damn problem.



Monday, February 18

Devil's Got A New Disguise For Guitar Hero

The next game in the Guitar Hero series has been confirmed by Activision, and this time we're getting specific. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith will feature one band, you guessed it, the drugged up 80's band Aerosmith.

To market for the next sequel in the ever-bloating Guitar Hero franchise, users of both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network could download a free Guitar Hero 3 song "Dream On" over the weekend.

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is set to hit the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, and the Nintendo Wii.

With a GH game being based solely on one band you may want to be a fanatic before you pick up a copy of it, but maybe they're working towards a new direction for the franchise. Another money-whoring direction, but a new direction nonetheless.

I mean, I love Aerosmith just as much as any other foot shuffling, lighter swaying, eighties head out there. They're one of my favorite bands from that time period, but I can say with much confidence that I would not fancy playing through a whole game dependent on their song listings. Maybe that's just me though, how does everyone else feel about this?

If you want to read the whole press release here it is.


Epic Collaboration Creates First Music-Based Game to Feature One Band

Free Download of “Dream On” Offered to Commemorate Alliance

Santa Monica, CA - February 15, 2008 - Fire up the fret board, crank the
amp to 11 and get ready to rock this way with Activision, Inc.’s
(Nasdaq: ATVI) Guitar Hero(r): Aerosmith(r), the first game built around
the legendary music of America’s Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Band: Steven
Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. Slated
for release this June, this latest installment from the franchise with
the #1 best-selling video game in 2007, puts players in the shoes of
Perry (guitar), Whitford (guitar) and Hamilton (bass), as they rock out
alongside frontman Tyler and drummer Kramer. Gamers will experience
Aerosmith’s GRAMMY(r) winning career, from their first gig to becoming
rock royalty, in a way that no other entertainment vehicle offers.

To celebrate this historic, ground-breaking collaboration, Guitar
Hero(r) III: Legends of Rock fans will have the opportunity to download
and jam to Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” The song will be available for free
from February 16-18 on Xbox LIVE(r) Marketplace for Xbox 360(r) video
game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION(r)Store forthe PLAYSTATION(r)3 computer entertainment system. For more
information, please visit

“Having a game built around Aerosmith has been a huge honor and really a
great experience for us,” says Joe Perry. “We’ve put a lot of ideas into
the game so that fans can have fun interacting with our music, getting
inside our body of work and learning about the band’s history.”

Steven Tyler says, “Any band that can go from ‘Don’t Want to Miss A
Thing’ (Aerosmith’s #1 smash hit) to the ass-kicking ‘Sweet Emotion’ to
the cheekiness of ‘Love in an Elevator,’ to the classic ballad ‘Dream
On’ shows why Activision chose us to headline this game based on the
diversity of the Aerosmith catalog. Not only is songwriting a bitch, but
then it goes and has puppies.”

Perry adds, “On a larger scale, it’s cool for us to be pioneers helping
to rebuild the music industry through a format like video games. It’s
great for rock since the record companies are struggling to make sense
of how things are changing. Fans want to get and experience music in
new formats–and there are going to be some of them who will play the
game, then pick up the guitar for real and start bands. It’s what’s
happening now, and it’s only going to build more momentum in the future.
It’s a massive change for the music business.”

“We are extremely excited that Aerosmith chose to team up with Guitar
Hero, bringing one of the world’s all-time best-selling artists together
with one of the biggest video game brands, to deliver a new and unique
interactive way for our customers to connect with artists and their
music,” said Dusty Welch, head of publishing for Activision/RedOctane.
“This partnership will give Aerosmith, a band that has sold more than
150 million albums worldwide, a powerful and innovative platform to
reach their fans and new audiences.”

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith brings these quintessential rock legends to the
interactive realm to create the ultimate gaming experience. As fans
progress through their careers in the game, they can rock out to scores
of Aerosmith’s greatest hits, as well as songs from celebrated artists
that the band has either performed with or has been inspired by in some
way. Venues from historical moments during the band’s illustrious
career offer the experience of “sweet emotion” and further capture the
essence of the band’s rise to fame.

PS: Devil's Got a New Disguise is an Aerosmith song....



Sunday, February 17

Audiosurf Complete, Now Available On Steam

The music-riding video game Audiosurf is finally finished and is now available for purchase on Steam for $9.95 with a demo available at the Audiosurf website...
I'm glad to see that the creator Dylan Fitterer is starting to reap some success from one of the most intuitive music-based games since Guitar Hero, but I am also sort of disappointed in seeing that what once was to be a free game back when I reviewed it has now turned into a ten dollar game.

Ten bucks isn't much for the level of quality in the game, yet I feel the amount of donations received would have been plenty to keep his head above water. Bummer to us cheapskates.

However for those of you whom are looking for a really fun game to play go check it out, it's worth it.