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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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Makai Kingdom PS2 box Makai Kingdom. PS2 Import Review

US NTSC version of the Strat RPG. Cheers Realgamer!

Publisher: Atlus: via Realgamer

Thu, 20 April 2006

Sammy by: Hillelman

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I'm late, as usual, with this one. That is the story of my life. I'm likely never going to fully catch up either, so you can probably expect it to remain that way. I've had the US NTSC version of Makai Kingdom for a long while now. It was supplied to Buttonhole by those lovely people at Realgamer.

I only have an unmodified Australian PlayStation 2, so to allow me to play the game, Realgamer also sent me a little device called Swap Magic with Slide Card (or something like that). I got that working without too much trouble (I'm a bit slow with things of that nature) and I can recommend it now. If you want to play import games without opening up and performing surgery on your system, this thing does the job cheaply and (fairly) easily. You can order it here. Now then, back to the game.

Makai Kingdom is good. There you go. See ya later. Oh, you want to know more? Pesky, demanding bastard ain't ya? Fine then, bossy boots, I'll tell you more. If you played Phantom Brave, you would have enjoyed it. Unless you are stupid. This one is by the same mob and is a pretty similar type of game. Not exactly the same though, so (if you have more money than I do) you can buy each of them and have a dandy of a time with both.

Makai Kingdom PS2 screen1
Do you like playing with little people? Pervert.
Makai's developers, Nippon Ichi Software, basically specialize in strategy role playing titles. This one is part of a series of sorts, the first of which was La Pucelle: Tactics. Nippon have a solid little (but not too little, otherwise they'd go bankrupt) hardcore fan base and they cater to them very well. When you purchase one of their products, you can be sure you'll get a deep game that'll keep you busy for many, many hours. Makai Kingdom is no exception.

I won't go into the game's plot, as I don't really have the time for it. Anyway, there's not a whole lot to it. In fact, it is much weaker than Nippon's usual standards. However, it is still charming at times and also funny. Some of the game's characters are quite whimsical and they say things that had me chuckling.

As far as the gameplay and controls go, it really plays pretty much like every other strategy RPG, only with a few little spins to set it apart somewhat. You know the drill: turn based battles on fields which are generated randomly. You have to figure out which tactics are best to overcome your foes. Control and manage several party members at once (in this case, up to eight), each with individual skills and strengths. Upgrade your party's stats and items as you progress. Rinse and repeat. It starts of pretty slow and probably sounds boring to those unfamiliar with the genre, but once you get further into it, it can be hard to turn the game off. These kinds of games are deceptively addictive and much more fun than they appear to casual observers (I don't believe I've ever actually met any "casual observers" but the phrase seemed to fit).

The AI (Artificial Intelligence) can make or break a Strategy RPG. It holds up well in this game, so don't expect to breeze through it. On top of the good level of challenge, there's a huge amount of content here, with all sorts of different tricks and things to discover, for those who enjoy exploring their games fully.

Makai Kingdom's presentation is either "Old Skool" funky, or dull and unimpressive, depending on your tastes. For me, it is the former. There's nothing here that pushes the PS2 hardware, in fact you could probably get most of it running on a SNES. But I appreciate 2D art and also find it refreshing to look at something a little different every now and then.

Makai Kingdom PS2 screen2
Nice hair, chick lookin' dude.

Besides, some of the characters are really nicely drawn. They remind me of those from Capcom's Nightstalkers. Good stuff.

Sonically, the standard is just slightly above average for the genre. The music is fitting, pretty cheesy, but that works fine for the style. The voice work is likewise - delivered in a very hammy way - but that only serves to make it all the more humorous.

I think I shall leave it there, as you probably know what to expect from this one and I have so many other reviews waiting to be written. I can say, with a heavy degree of confidence, that if you have any interest in Strategy Role Playing Games, Makai Kingdom is a definite title for your shopping list. If you've never tried one before and want to give it a shot, this one would be a fine choice there too.

It isn't quite as good, in my opinion, as Phantom Brave though. So, get that one first. If you have Phantom Brave already, and love it (as you should) go grab a copy of Makai Kingdom. As I said earlier, the two games are similar, but both are excellent and have just enough differences to justify playing both.

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

Another top quality Strategy RPG from Nippon Ichi Software. Fans of the genre will not be dissapointed and shall be kept happily gaming for many a late night.

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More Games

Press Release. Haze 4 Player Demo Availabe Soon.
Games and Beer
Pong designer Al Alcorn to give free talk at ACMI.
eGames and Entertainment expo '07 Report
Win a complimentary ticket to ACMI's "Game On"

Which of the following game genres do you like the most?
Role Playing
First Person Shooters
Adventure/Action (includes platformers)

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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