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Posts with tag wayforward

Bury the Shovelware: Ping Pals

While the response to last week's inaugural column was universally appreciated, the very first comment was particularly intriguing. The reader brought up an excellent point: definitively labeling a developer as poor because of one bad game is very narrow-minded. After all, good developers and bad games are not always mutually exclusive. In order to prove this idea, one should start with an incredible game. Fortunately, the DS has plenty of those. Then, the developer's catalog should be searched for any traces of shovelware.

And when talking about good games on the DS, one need not look further than the only title to receive a perfect 10 from DS Fanboy: Contra 4. It is awesome. For any other game, that wouldn't be enough for a "review," but with Contra 4, nothing else is necessary. WayForward Technologies' 2007 masterpiece was about as close to perfect as a game can be. Thus, the California-based developer was a perfect candidate for closet searching. And was there ever a skeleton to be found inside! Ping Pals, which is well known as being one of the DS's earliest atrocities, was the first game WayForward developed for the DS. At face value, the tween-focused chat utility appears to be nothing more than a glitter-coated PictoChat used to discuss iCarly and Webkinz. Released mere weeks after the launch of the DS, it was universally censured by both critics and love-to-hate gamers. Electronic Gaming Monthly called it "An abysmal failure," and IGN -- who employs Mark Bozon, brother of WayForward's creative director Matt Bozon -- pulled no punches when stating that "Ping Pals is easily the most unnecessary product for the system." Ouch. Clearly, somewhere between Ping Pals and Contra 4 lies the purest definition of shovelware.

Continue reading Bury the Shovelware: Ping Pals

Contra prompts military hearings

We usually have to suspend our disbelief when playing video games, but what if such insane situations were based on real events? Take, for example, Contra, a game in which two marines -- two -- must stop the Red Falcon invasion. Without shirts.

Running with this idea, popular comic book blogger Chris Sims took it upon himself to record "The Contra Hearings". Not only does this hilarious take on Contra make us realize how ridiculous the game's scenario really is, but these faux hearings also remind us that the series is so awesomely badass. An excerpt:

"SENATOR ARTHUR WEATHERTON (R, NM): With all due respect, Lieutenant, I fail to see how the failure to equip two Marines necessitates a Congressional investigation. Why haven't we heard from the rest of the soldiers involved in the operation?

LT. RIZER: Because Lance and I were the total forces committed to the Red Falcon conflict, Senator.

SEN. WEATHERTON: ... Oh. Carry on.

LT. RIZER: Right. Now, I know that at the time of our deployment, resources were already committed to providing support for the Bionic Commando project, but sending two men to fight an entire army of technologically advanced aliens... I can't imagine that America needed to close the grapple-arm gap that badly. And our equipment was... well, it was sub-par."

In case you didn't know, you can unlock the original NES game (and Super C) in Contra 4 for the DS -- which is perfect in its own right. So, we expect you to man up and buy it while it's on sale.

Contra 4 now owning faces for only $20

We understand that there might have been a number of reasons why you haven't picked up Contra 4 yet:
  1. you're not a fan of run-and-gun titles
  2. you can't handle tough games
  3. exploding bridges hindered you from getting to a game store
  4. it's too expensive!
While there's not much we can to help you with the first three problems, we do have a solution for the fourth -- buy it from Amazon, where the game is now listed for only $19.99. Actually, this could also be a fix for that whole "exploding bridges" dilemma, too. Whoever delivers the game might not appreciate having to risk their life to drop off your package, but that's their problem, now.

Gallery: Contra 4 DS

See also: DS Fanboy Review: Contra 4

[Via CAG]

Contra: Dual Promoters

Contra 4 has really undergone some serious changes for its Japanese release and it's getting less manly by the moment. In fact, these people promoting the game don't seem to have a single chest hair. There's nary a headband in sight. Those muscles are absolutely pitiful. What have you done, Konami? This is the last straw! Someone needs to draw mustaches on these girls and maybe whip up a couple of protein shakes immediately.

Where's Nintendo Power? They know what Contra is really all about: pure, undiluted beefcakery. Accept no substitute.

Gallery: Contra Japanese promotion


Contra 4 sheds six dollars, shirts

Need an extra excuse to pick up 2007's manliest, exploding-est DS game? Amazon has posted a modest markdown for Contra 4, selling the run-and-gun game for a discounted $23.99. Women and men alike will flock to you when they see you're playing such a tough game, smitten with your virility. And, with six extra bucks in your pocket, you could probably take one of them out to dinner. Not to anywhere nice, like Ponderosa, but maybe Burger King.

Afraid that all the action will be just too much for you or too difficult? Fear not! There's a little trick you can exploit to steal 99 extra mans. Unfortunately, pulling off the cheat might be harder than the actual game ...

[Via CAG]

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

A DS sequel to Shantae rests in our hands

Remember Shantae? WayForward certainly does -- the Contra 4 developer spent two years producing the delightful Game Boy Color platformer, only to see it die a death at retail, its chances cruelly crushed by the increasing obsolescence of its host platform, as well as the rise of the newly released Game Boy Advance. Boasting an engrossing mix of Metroid-style puzzles and neat visual tricks, the game was an unsung gem that emphatically failed to register on the gaming public's radar.

A sequel was planned for the Advance, only for the project to be inexplicably shelved with the game 50% complete, but WayForward hasn't forgotten about the series entirely. With the all-conquering Contra 4 now out on store shelves and begging to be bought, the developer has posted a poll on its site, asking whether or not we'd be interested in purchasing a Shantae follow-up, and what platform we'd like it to appear on.

Hence, we implore all of you to hit the link below and get your vote on. If you're still wavering about giving thirty seconds of your time to one of the best DS-related causes we've heard of in ages, go past the break for footage of the canned GBA title.

Then go and get your vote on.

Continue reading A DS sequel to Shantae rests in our hands

Five gifts that PAL gamers should import this Christmas

Gaming sites are inundated with holiday gift guides at the end of the year, listing the best and most popular games that everyone pretty much already has (or knows about). Well, we're not going in for that this year. Our gift guide will help you find the best gifts in categories the other sites won't cover -- because we just made them up.

Nintendo's indifference towards PAL regions is infamous, but there's arguably less room for complaining when it comes to the DS. See, the DS is (and we do not use this phrase lightly) an importer's dream. It doesn't faff around with region-specific software, there's a huge library of diverse and interesting NTSC-only titles, and the games themselves are cheap. As in, cheaper than they'll be when they arrive in the UK/Europe/Australia six months from now. Frankly, we can't think of a good reason for you not to import.

Which brings us to our latest anti-guide, featuring the five DS-related gifts that PAL regions won't be seeing until 2008 at the earliest -- if ever. All deserve to be imported without hesitation, so read on fellow PAL folk, and prep that credit card!

Continue reading Five gifts that PAL gamers should import this Christmas

Five gifts that are Contra 4

Gaming sites are inundated with holiday gift guides at the end of the year, listing the best and most popular games that everyone pretty much already has (or knows about). Well, we're not going in for that this year. Our gift guide will help you find the best gifts in categories the other sites won't cover -- because we just made them up.

All year, we held out vain hope that the American-developed DS Contra sequel wouldn't be terrible. We tried to put our memories of Appaloosa Interactive's two PlayStation failures out of our minds and have faith in WayForward. We did our best to believe that a new 2D Contra had the potential not to be a crushing disappointment.

We were rewarded with one of the best games on the DS, and possibly the best game in the Contra series. It's hard to think of a better DS game than Konami's mind-blowingly manly Contra 4. So we didn't try. We've put together this guide to five of the best gifts you can give this holiday season, all of which are Contra 4. While it would most certainly be enough to list Contra 4 five times, we thought we would break it up by listing five different ways to package the gift of Contra.

Continue reading Five gifts that are Contra 4

Contra 4's 99-extra-lives cheat doesn't come easy

Has Contra 4's grueling difficulty kept you from even seeing its second stage? The Konami code, while useful, only upgrades your weapons instead of rewarding you with the extra mans you need to die-n-gun your way past enemies and their scattered shots.

During the throes of one of his many deaths, GameFAQs poster Empty2002120141 stumbled upon a neat, albeit elaborate, trick for getting 99 free lives in Contra 4. First, you'll need to make sure you currently have zero lives. Next, you have to die at either the exact moment or right after you kill something that pushes your score up high enough to get an extra life. Those who've pulled off the trick suggest trying it with the first level's mini-boss. This should work across all three difficulty modes!

We're not sure if WayForward programmed this as an intentional cheat or if it's actually a game glitch, but it sure sounds helpful (if you can actually execute the maneuver).

[Via GameFAQs]

More Contra 4 footage to nudge you in the right direction

The "right direction" being your nearest games emporium to pick up Contra 4. If you missed the perfect score we awarded to Konami's brilliant shooter earlier today, or just need a little more gentle encouragement, we'd advise watching these videos of the title in action. Both the first and second stages (the latter of which had this writer tied in knots for close to an hour) are featured here in their entirety, including the frankly nasty boss at the end of the Laboratory stage.

Take your ripped physique past the post break for a second video.

Continue reading More Contra 4 footage to nudge you in the right direction

DS Fanboy Review: Contra 4

The first time I played Contra 4, I died within a few seconds, having ignored the bullet that sneak-attacked my ankle. I remarked at the accuracy of the death sound and at the humorous Duke Nukem-style taunt that my dude issued afterward, and tried again. The same result. During that first session, I lost all of my lives before the halfway point of the first level.

You have probably read about Contra 4's difficulty in previews. If you thought that those writers were inflating the game's difficulty because of suboptimal trade-show settings or lack of familiarity with Contra, allow me to disabuse you of that notion. If anything, they have undersold the game's difficulty. Contra 4 is hard. It's probably the hardest Contra game ever made.

After that first trip through ... part of the first level, I tried again and made it through more of the first level. Then I made it to the boss before losing all my lives. I found that I could get a little further. As I replayed the levels, a combination of memory and improved response time had me sailing through the early levels like a badass. I was very rapidly getting better at the game, and, because it's so frenetic and twitchy, being demonstrably better at it made me feel awesome.

Gallery: Contra 4 DS

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: Contra 4

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.

GamePro agrees, you need Contra 4

If it's one thing we can't stress enough, it's that Contra 4 is the kind of game that can change your outlook on things. It can alter your state of consciousness and very much improve your love life. It can give you the moon and the stars and also fill in scratches on your car. This game can give your life meaning.

So, we were glad to read GamePro's article on their top five lesser-known titles at E For All. Why? Because their best game in the piece was none other than Contra 4.

Rumor: Contra 4 and Ninja Gaiden coming to DS Download Stations?

GoNintendo's "inside guy" is usually spot-on with his scouted information on upcoming Download Station games, but keep in mind that this tally is anything but official. According to the mole's report, this Version 7 update to the in-store wireless stations will feature a total of twelve game demos and five videos, all of which you can see after the post break.

Playable demos for Contra 4 and Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword top the gossip, promising to bring run-n-gun shootin' and ninja-of-the-night flippin' to our handhelds soon. Once this update hits, we are going to be on these two titles like gravy on mashed potatoes. Who knows, we might even eat some mashed potatoes with gravy while we play the demo. These are crazy times we live in.

Continue reading Rumor: Contra 4 and Ninja Gaiden coming to DS Download Stations?

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Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
Legend of Kage 2
Oct 6
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Oct 14
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Oct 14
FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Oct 21
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Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Oct 21
Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
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Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

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