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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Nintendo Gamecube console The games of E3 part 2: Nintendo Gamecube

There's still a lot of life left in the mighty little 'cube!

Tue, 24 May 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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So many games! So… damn… many… games. E3 is pretty crazy, it is next to impossible for me to really cover every single game shown there in any kind of depth. So I am just picking out some of the bigger names, or more interesting looking games from the show. If you have any questions about any of the games I didn't talk about (or the ones that I did for that matter), you can always just email me me. In Part 1 we covered some of the games shown for Sony’s PSP format. Now let’s take a look at what’s planned for the little box of fun, Nintendo’s Gamecube.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

No doubt about it, this is THE big Gamecube game for most gamers. You’ve probably seen the screenshots or the E3 trailer that can be found online and if so, you don’t need me to tell you that this game looks incredible. It actually looks almost like a next-gen system’s title, that’s how good the graphics are. There were people who were really put off by the appearance of the last Gamecube Zelda game, The Wind Waker, which quite frankly I can’t understand at all, because I found the look of that game most refreshing and thoroughly charming. I find it sad that people can’t play a game if it isn’t dark and dreary looking. Nevertheless, there won’t be too many people complaining about the graphics this time around. Anyone who isn’t impressed by the looks of Twilight Princess is cynical to the point that they’re never likely to be impressed by anything. Anyway, graphics are one thing, how is the gameplay? Oh come on, it’s a Zelda game, do you really need to ask? It is going to be awesome, I’m certain of it.

The idea is that this is a more adult version of Link than the one in Wind Waker. The game is going for a more realistic look and also a more realistic experience all around. Rather than just rely on the graphics, Twilight Princess aims to provide a sense of realism through the overall interaction the player has with the game’s world. So the gameplay is probably going to feel a bit different and reflect that whole “realism” vibe. Some of the ideas for achieving this have been revealed already. For example, the controls will be “context sensitive” so that when you press the action button the results will vary depending on the situation.

The first and most drastic design choice that people are going to notice is that Link starts the game as a cowboy. On a steel horse he rides and he is wanted, dead or alive. But seriously, he does start out as a cowboy and there will indeed be plenty of horse-related antics. The horse riding element was a popular and prominent feature in Zelda Ocarina of Time and it will be expanded even further in Twilight Princess. You’ll have mini-games were you use your horse to round up cattle, just like a “real” cowboy would do. You’ll also engage in various forms of combat while on horseback throughout the game. The game’s world is going to be a very large one too, so now more than ever, you’ll be thankful that you can ride a horse from place to place.

The other potentially massive design choice in Twilight Princess is that Link becomes a lycanthrope. In other words he’s a werewolf! This will obviously affect his abilities in a variety of ways. For one thing, when in his wolf form Link will be able to communicate with other animals. There’s some very interesting potential in this whole werewolf caper.

All told The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess looks set to be an absolutely extraordinary game. It is probably the single game from E3 (including the next generation ones) that I am most looking forward to. I just can’t wait for this one!

Super Mario Strikers:

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games

Yeah, it’s a soccer game with the Mario characters. So it resembles soccer on acid…or, perhaps more accurately, on magic mushrooms! As Nintendo has already done with the Mario versions of tennis and golf we can safely expect plenty of character, bright colours, charm and exaggerated action, backed up by a fundamentally solid game of soccer underneath it all.

It already looks graphically excellent. The gameplay sounds like it will match up very well too. Apparently the game is pretty easy to get to grips with, meaning that it should work very well as a multi-player “party” title. But there’s plenty of room to learn and take advantage of a variety of different tactics as your skills with the game improve. Therefore, despite being nice and accessible, Mario Strikers should not be a shallow game. As expected, it will feature many of the familiar faces from the Mario games, such as Donkey Kong and Toad, who all have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. The bottom line is that this will probably just be a whole lot of fun to play. That’s all I ask of any game really.

Mario Baseball:

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

Yeah, it’s a baseball game with the Mario Characters. Ahem. We’ll all save a bit of time if you just read the Mario Strikers thing I wrote above and replace the word “soccer” with the word “baseball”. Cheers.

Killer 7:

Publisher: Capcom/THQ
Developer: Capcom

This was once planned as a Gamecube exclusive, but then Capcom realised they still had to pay their bills and stuff, so there’s a PlayStation 2 version on the way too now. If you have both consoles and want to know which version of the game is better, they are both exactly the same to the best of my knowledge, except the PS2 version will probably have slightly longer loading times. So go with the ‘cube one, unless you like more time to pick your nose between levels.

The thing that stands out first and foremost with Killer 7 is the look of the game. The thing just looks really damn cool. It uses a form of cel-shaded graphics, but they look quite unlike any other game around. The closest game to it visually would probably be Capcom’s other cel-shaded title Viewtiful Joe, but Killer 7 is much darker and grittier looking than that series. There’s a strong use of shadows and heavy lines, so you’ll probably hear it described as something like “a comic book come to life”. I’ll just stick with calling it really damn cool.

Basically the game is a “rail-shooter”, like Sega’s Panzer Dragoon games, in that you move along a set path and shoot things. But there’s some freedom added in that you can choose multiple rails to follow and also move up and down as you please.

What really sets Killer 7 apart and makes it one to keep an eye on is the fact that it is so freakin’ weird. It looks weird, it sounds weird, it feels weird…you get the idea. With so many “samey” games around I consider that a potentially very good thing. Hopefully it will turn out to be “good weird” like the aforementioned Panzer Dragoon games and not “bad weird” like Michael Jackson. We should find out soon, as the game shown at E3 was pretty much ready for release.

WWE Day of Reckoning 2:

Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke’s

The first Day of Reckoning was pretty good, certainly the best WWE game on the Gamecube. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, so fingers crossed that the second game can be even better.

We already posted the press release for this game and there isn’t really any further information about this one I can give you since then. So, just read that again I guess.
Anyway, it looks very promising. As both a gamer and a wrestling fan, I’m looking forward to it and I am hoping that they get it all right this time.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance:

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems

If you enjoy games like Advance Wars, Final Fantasy Tactics, Phantom Brave or (obviously) Fire Emblem on the GBA, then Path of Radiance should be your cup of tea. It’s a tactical battle game and as such it is very in depth and time consuming, but still fun and extremely rewarding for those who enjoy the genre. I tend to fit into that group myself, so I’ll certainly be hoping to get a copy of this one.

Unlike many games of its ilk, Path of Radiance has fully 3D graphics. So it has a bit flashier look to it than these kinds of games are usually known for. The quality of the sound is also noteworthy; the music seems to be fittingly epic sounding thus far.

Expect a strong storyline, well developed characters and hours upon hours of deep and involving gameplay.

Battalion Wars:

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Kuju Entertainment

Speaking of Advance Wars! This game was formerly known as Advance Wars: Under Fire. But it is now not supposed to be a part of the Advance Wars series, so don’t look for any links in the storyline or appearances of any known characters from those GBA games.

Even so, it will still most likely play very much like a fully 3D version of Advance Wars and I think many people will be happy with that. Tanks, bazookas, jeeps and all of that good stuff will be included in full force.

The overall feel of the game will probably be similar to Fire Emblem in many respects, but this one looks far less fantasy-based and also quite a bit more action-packed. So basically, Gamecube owning tactical battle fans are going to be having a great time when both of these games are released. It is looking very nice indeed so far too.

Some of the other Gamecube titles from E3: Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, Mario Party 7, Shadow the Hedgehog, Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, Prince of Persia 3, Batman Begins, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 3 and many, many more.

To be honest, I expected to find that support for the Gamecube had died off significantly at this E3, but that just wasn’t the case at all. There were well over 60 different games for the system featured at the show. With several first and second party exclusive titles and most of the bigger multi-system games set for Gamecube ports, the mighty little console was still going very strong. Now that you can purchase a Gamecube for such a low cost, there’s no good reason not to really. Even without all the other awesome games, like Metroid and the Mario titles, that can only be found on the ‘cube, Zelda: Twilight Princess is going to be one that no gamer should miss out on.

While we’re on the subject of Nintendo, the next instalment of my E3 coverage is going to be about all the games for their handheld systems: the DS and Game Boy Advance/Micro. I should have that up by some time tomorrow. After that I’ll get to the games for Xbox, followed by the PS2 and then the PC!

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

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ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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