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Clunky Sonic Chronicles site opens

The official U.S. site for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood just opened its doors to the viewing public. Even as official websites go, it's particularly Flash-heavy and rather annoying to use at first, but the idea behind it is pretty neat. As in the game, you use your "stylus" to help Sonic navigate the lush environments. We just hope movement feels a little more fluent in Sonic Chronicles itself, because it comes across as fairly clumsy and graceless on the site. If there were two words we'd use to describe Sonic, those words would not be "clumsy" and "graceless," but "fast" and, erm, "blue" (look, it's Tuesday evening, what more do you want?).

It's got all the official site stuff, which basically means screens and game information (locations, character profiles, etc.), and before you ask: yes, you can use the loop, yes, you can collect the gold rings (and collecting them all gives you a prize), and no, you can't hold Big's face beneath the water until his eyes bulge and his body goes limp.

[Via Go Nintendo]

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia trailer has some bite

If you've sworn off Igarashi's Castlevania titles, frustrated with rehashes of the same Metroidvania formula, stay away from this Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia video! It might be enough to bring you back! You'll see some reused sprites, and the general format doesn't look too different from previous entries, but the art direction in the first cinematic half is, as we've noted before, all the way live.

As for the in-game clips, there's plenty to keep you interested, like action scenes with the Manges Glyph, a field that envelopes female lead Shanoa and can be used to cling to metal rods or fling the heroine across the screen. One of the boss fights also seems to herald the return of ... Mr. Crabs?! Back from the dead!

So, are you excited yet?

[Via NeoGAF]

Order of Ecclesia site reveals artwork, Nintendo Power's secret?

A quick word about the new art on Konami's Castlevania: Order of Eccelsia site for Japan -- badical. Several not-so-quick words -- we'd heard from early previews that series producer Koji Igarashi and his team were moving away from the anime character designs employed in the two previous Castlevania DS titles, but we weren't expecting the new art direction to impress us this much. Also -- hooker boots.

As for the "Nintendo Power secret" hinted in the title, look at the glowing satellite behind Order of Ecclesia's protagonist, Shanoa. Notice anything familiar? Doesn't it look like the same mystery moon Nintendo Power used as a clue in the latest issue's preview page? Peer into a telescope past the post break to compare!

Continue reading Order of Ecclesia site reveals artwork, Nintendo Power's secret?

Marvelous unlocks Avalon Code site, screenshots

Japanese publishers have game promotion down to a science, nowadays. The routine: announce a game in Famitsu, release a bare official site for the title several days later with artwork and a few shots, update the site sporadically for the next several months until the game's release, launch, and move on.

Marvelous Interactive has kicked off the second stage of its operations, putting an Avalon Code page online just days after debuting the ARPG in this week's issue of Famitsu. You won't find any video or downloadable items there yet, but you can preview a dozen images to check on what developer Matrix Software is preparing for the game's 2008 release.

The screenshots don't look bad -- they're about on par with what we've seen in Namco's Tales titles on the DS and the Final Fantasy III/IV DS remakes, the latter examples being titles Matrix had its hand in. Hit the gallery below to see if Avalon Code's 3D is for you.

Gallery: Avalon Code

[Via NeoGAF]

Official FFTA2 website advances

We're at that point in the year when time just seems to fly by, so Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift will be out before you know it. That doesn't make the wait any easier, though, so we're glad Square Enix recently updated the official North American website with actual stuff to keep us busy.

Assuming you can make it past the site's annoyingly slow load time, you might enjoy some of the things it has to offer. So far, multimedia and information on the battle system is listed as "coming soon," but there's still plenty to keep you occupied. Mainly, you can look at a few character profiles, and also some of the different races and classes that will be available in the game.

We can already see our summer evaporating right in front of our very eyes.

Gallery: FF Tactics A2

[Thanks, ediblebird!]

Check out Sigma Harmonics' harmonious website

We know how much you kids love your Squeenix, so we hope you're intrigued by the company's refreshingly new IP, Sigma Harmonics. If you're not, you should still check out it's Japanese website. Even though most of us here at DS Fanboy can't read a lick of Japanese, we've never wanted a game so much before because of an official site. The art looks all kinds of gorgeous, and clicking on the "Story" link makes you feel like you're watching a trailer. We're also fond of the song choice -- it somehow puts hints of noir into a whimsical melody.

Last but not least, there are some wallpapers to download, if you're into that sort of thing.

Gallery: Sigma Harmonics

[Via Gemaga]

Teaser site reveals Mega Man Star Force 3

There may be more Mega Man games than you'll ever get to play (or want to play) in your lifetime, but that hasn't stopped Capcom from milking the franchise even more.

The next game planned for the Blue Bomber is another title in the Star Force series. Yes, those of us outside of Japan haven't even gotten Mega Man Star Force 2 yet, but a third game is already on it's way.

Capcom has put up a teaser website for it, which is actually pretty nice-looking as far as official sites go. Currently, though, you can only download a wallpaper version of the picture shown above.

[Via GoNintendo]

Knights in the What is Going on Here

It has been over a month since we heard anything new on Knights in the Nightmare, Sting's "turn-based RTS", but the Riviera developer has made up for that lull with official site updates, new screenshots, and a release date for Japan -- July 17, 2008.

As with Sting's last handheld strategy title, Yggdra Union, these images are packed with gorgeous sprites and tons of visual data and effects. We have no idea what is going on in half of these screens. What does "touch the box to be defeated enemy" even mean? Hit the gallery below for more beautiful but confusing grabs from the game.

Gallery: Knights in the Nightmare

[Via NeoGAF]

Ikatan: Guess the mystery squid

Japanese publisher Cyberfront (not to be confused with Cyber Connect) has posted a mystery page for an upcoming Nintendo DS game without revealing any information beyond the image you see above -- a possible title (Ika = squid?), a possible year of release, and a possible piece of surume, or dried squid. Oh, the possibilities!

A bit of background on Cyberfront -- you might recognize the company's name for its localizations of PC titles, like The Orange Box and Civilization IV, in Japan. Cyberfront's DS catalog includes Ryoukiki Exercise, New Zealand Story DS, and Inugaisha (Dog Company).

So, what could Ikatan be? A cooking game limited to squid recipes? An undersea SRPG dominated by armies of cephalopods? A Super Mario Bros. remake played from the perspective of a wandering Blooper? Give us your best guesses!

Revamped Mushroom Men site cultivated, launched

If, inspired by too many episodes of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, you've yearned to adventure the world as a miniaturized figure, fighting pygmy creatures with Lilliputian weapons, you really should look into Mushroom Men! To assist interested gamers who refuse to put their memories of 80s cartoons behind them, publisher Gamecock has updated its official site for the platformer, providing previews of Mushroom Men's playable characters, jury-rigged arms, and misshapen enemies.

Gamecock has also announced that Primus's Les Claypool is lending his talents to the soundtrack for both the DS and Wii Mushroom Men games. According to the renown bassist, like many parents hoping to win their children's favor, he took on the job at the urging of his fantasy-gaming-obsessed son. You can treat your ears to one of Les's songs for Mushroom Men at the relaunched site right now!

See also: EIEIO 08: Brief Mushroom Men impressions

Gallery: Mushroom Men

[Via press release]

Dokapon Journey! Make Friends and Fight and View Screenshots!

Though Dokapon's title immediately invites comparisons to similarly named releases, like Patapon, Pokemon, Goemon, or any other Something-mon games, this board-game/RPG hybrid has little to do with pocket monsters, rhythm tactics, or mystical ninjas. As you can see from the the new batch of screenshots we've dropped into the gallery below, however, Dokapon's art direction is just as cute as its superficial contemporaries.

Developer Sting has launched its official Japanese site for Dokapon Journey! Nakayoku Kenkashite (Make Friends and Fight!), posting previews of the game's RPG-styled combat, board-game movement, and adorable sprites. Will this have a chance in hell of ever seeing an English localization? Maybe! Atlus had no argument against publishing Sting's two previous handheld SRPGs, Riviera and Yggdra Union, in the states. Dokapon Journey! could be next on the list!

Expect Dokapon Journey! to ship to stores in Japan this June 27th.

See also: Take a trip to Dokapon Kingdom (Wii)

Gallery: Dokapon Journey!

[Via GAME Watch]

Hide behind a big kid: Super Dodgeball Brawlers official site

What better way to ring in the new year than with Super Dodgeball Brawlers? Japanese publisher Arc System Works has set up an official site for the Kunio-kun game for its release in Japan this February 21st, providing the requisite wallpapers and tiny screenshots.

Other than that, you won't find much media that we haven't already foisted upon you, but there are some interesting remarks about its "Create a Dream Team" mode and using punch or kick attacks during a regular match. The site also mentions the burst gauge, a new feature with which your team can charge up and execute special moves capable of changing the tide of the game!

Japanese Contra 4 tones down boxart, numbers

Perhaps to distract Japanese gamers from Contra 4's western origins, Konami has replaced the game's cover with art more fitting to the country's sensibilities. Manga-fied and emasculated, our two heroes are mere shadows of the beefy commandos seen on the North American box, the manliest art we've come across since Haggar piledrived a shark.

Lance Bean, the former badass on the right, was once pictured hefting up a rocket launcher, sneering at enemy troops while taking aim at their crotches. Now he is shown staying his rifle, a contemplative -- some would even say mournful -- expression on his face.

We've heard rumors of other wussifying changes to the actual game, but we've yet to confirm them:
  • Virt's synth-metal soundtrack has been switched out with Air Supply's "All Out of Love" on infinite repeat
  • Tapping in the Konami code halves your manhood and causes nearly all of your facial hair to instantly fall off, leaving behind a pencil moustache
  • The final boss battle has been replaced with a cutscene in which you shake hands with the alien villain and agree to disagree
One alteration that we are sure of is that Contra 4's title in Japan will be Contra: Dual Spirits, keeping in line with Contra 3's Japanese title, Contra Spirits. Konami plans to ship the run'n gun game to stores in Japan this March 13th. You can see the US cover and a somewhat bigger version of the Japanese packaging art past the break.

Continue reading Japanese Contra 4 tones down boxart, numbers

Contra 4 owns your face even more with its official site

Rather than throw together the usual, predictable site for Contra 4, Konami and WayForward pulled out all the stops and packed the official page with everything fans could ever ask for -- ridiculous explosions with every clicked link, remixed music from Virt, and hilarious descriptions for different game elements. Check out the text for random lackey Dirk McShooter:

"Dirk thought he was the luckiest alien humanoid around when he saw the job posting: good pay, benefits, free trip to Earth, stand in place, decent aim preferred. In the moments since the shirtless super-commando opened fire, he's begun questioning that decision."

You'll also find five wicked wallpapers, seven video clips for the different weapons, and twenty new screenshots at the site. Contra 4 kicks down the door and guns down your family this November 13th, the same week Super Mario Galaxy hits stores. Make sure to mark that date on your calendar; it's an important one.

Front Mission DS site slowly explodes into the internet

Two weeks away from Front Mission DS's release, Square Enix has introduced the SRPG's official North American site with a bang -- a drawn-out, "exploded bits hanging in the air for what seems like an eternity" bang. A bang that consists of a five-plus-minute movie in which nothing about the game is revealed.

If you poke around the site, though, there's a lot of material there to help you get hyped up about this remake of the Front Mission series' first title. In addition to information about its setting, story, and characters, you'll find four short clips demonstrating Wanzer (mecha) customization and combat, all of them significantly more substantial than the explosion video arbitrarily embedded on the main page.

Gallery: Front Mission DS

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