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Joystiq presents

JC Fletcher
- http://www.dsfanboy.com


IGA talks Castlevania, plays Castlevania

IGN has several minutes of new gameplay footage of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, showing off new environments, new enemies, and new glyphs, which include a hammer, a giant scythe, and magical attacks like ice and fireballs. According to IGN, it's Koji Igarashi himself on the controls, playing his own game. Surprisingly, his playthrough looks like pretty much anyone else's -- Igarashi takes damage from normal enemies fairly regularly. Maybe he was just nervous with a bunch of IGN guys staring at him.

He also spoke in a video interview (available via the sidebar in that video player) in which he describes the premise behind Order of Ecclesia, including who the Order is and what Shanoa is doing invading the demon castle. While describing the differences between this and past Castlevanias, IGA also says that the animation of the enemies has improved. He must be referring to the ones that have new sprites!

IGA reveals the extra modes in Ecclesia: a hard mode accessible by completing the game, and a mode with a higher (255) level cap unlocked by beating that hard mode -- or by connecting Judgment on the Wii with Order of Ecclesia.

Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades launches November 17 alongside standalone On Tour

There hasn't been an announcement or anything, but GameStop now lists a November 17 release date for Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades, both in its Guitar Grip bundle and alone. In addition, Activision will ship a standalone version of the first On Tour for people picking up the Decades bundle. These standalone games will cost $34.99 each, which is almost as painful to say as it would be to spend.

At least the slightly reduced price of the standalone cards will make collecting both games a bit less damaging to household finances than forced bundles, for those among us in single-DS homes.

DS Daily: Phantasy Star on the small screens

We've had our (first) gushing moment about a Phantasy Star Online iteration on the DS. Now it's time to think semi-critically about the development. We know that we like online gaming on the DS, and we like action-RPGs on the DS. But most of our ARPGs have been single-player, and our online gaming competitive.

Simply put, will the kind of longer-session multiplayer questing work on the DS as well as it did on the Dreamcast and all those other systems? Do you look forward to that kind of experience on a handheld? Obviously, people in Japan dig it (see: Monster Hunter Portable, Phantasy Star Portable). To us, there's something strange about this style of play on a handheld, and yet something quite appealing.

DS Daily: Re-Quest

Next week, Dragon Quest IV hits, bringing with it the possibility of the massive franchise finally taking off for real in the US in a way it hasn't since the original Dragon Warrior. Here, Final Fantasy is bigger, but in Japan, this is the real IV.

Have you been following Chapters of the Chosen? Are you interested in playing along with the adventures of Torneko Taloon and the rest of the cast? If so, will this be the first Dragon Quest for you? How about the first Dragon Quest IV? Did you get it back on the NES?

We believe in Metal Slug 7 videos

We've heard some pretty bad things about how the Japanese version of Metal Slug 7 turned out, and that's so sad! Because it continues to look so awesome in trailers! Look at this one, in which a giant walking robot mows down tanks, trucks, helicopters, and even another giant walking robot!

We're just going to continue thinking it's awesome until we play the final US version, for our own sakes. It's a lot more fun to watch videos like this (and several more new videos at IGN) and look forward to playing it. There'll be plenty of time to be disappointed later. And at least it isn't Commando: Steel Disaster.

Gallery: Metal Slug 7

Clubhouse Games and Hotel Dusk: new Player's Choice?

We've been hearing word recently of restocks of Clubhouse Games and Hotel Dusk: Room 215, but as CAG forumite worrybomb reveals, the new cartridges are more than a simple reprint. Hotel Dusk has been labeled as a Touch Generations game, for one thing, and both games now sport orange banners with content descriptions (the real one, by the way, is posted after the break, as is the new Clubhouse Games box).

Could this be the new iteration of Player's Choice? Both games are now selling for $19.99, and the orange bar evokes the yellow bar of the GameCube/GBA Player's Choice line. It's pretty smart to maintain consistent budget-rerelease marking while also providing info about the games.

[Via NeoGAF; the CAG link requires registration]

Continue reading Clubhouse Games and Hotel Dusk: new Player's Choice?

Phantasy Star Zero is PictoChat: The RPG

Sega is aiming to top the excellent sales of their PSP Phantasy Star Portable sales the best way they know how: a Phantasy Star Online game on the DS. Phantasy Star Zero is a multiplayer online action RPG that, unlike Portable, seems to be an all-new entry in the series.

While it's awesome enough to have an online RPG on the DS, and even more awesome that it's the wonderful Phantasy Star Online, the communication feature is the most interesting part of the game: Phantasy Star Zero allows players to speak via stylus drawings. That seems much more useful than, and equally enjoyable as, the Symbol Chat system from the original game.

[Via NeoGAF]

Preview: Putting on our thinking caps in Mushroom Men

Gamecock graciously sent a preview copy of Mushroom Men: Rise of the Fungi, allowing me to play it in an environment as non-E3-like as possible: my own home. And now, playing through it again, I've found that the only real problem I had with my initial playthrough isn't actually a problem at all. Which leaves nothing but cool platforming. I played through the initial few levels and found my mushroom hero guy saving the world by, uh, knocking over some cans! And moving a shoe full of mosquitoes! And then a fish got in my way and I couldn't make any more progress. Fish.

What won't come through in screens is just how nice the game looks. The bizarre lighting effects and high framerate lend Mushroom Men an extraordinarily crisp appearance that is especially nice for DS 3D.

Gallery: Mushroom Men

Continue reading Preview: Putting on our thinking caps in Mushroom Men

DS Daily: Peripheral guilt

Since the R4 and similar homebrew devices are best known for swashbuckling-related uses, many gamers seem to transfer their disdain for the practice onto the devices themselves. But we know they can be used for awesome, non-yarr-related things!

Do you steer clear of homebrew because of its association with piracy? Or are you an avid homebrewer forced to defend your love of free games and weirdo apps from people who assume you're a buccaneer? If a pirate ye be, we're not asking you.

DS Daily: Tales of Deciphering

Sachi's compilation of basic Japanese for RPGs is designed to help you get through the interfaces in imported menu-driven games. But the prospect of playing the textiest of all genres in an unfamiliar language can still be pretty daunting, as can the possibility of paying 50 bucks or so for something you won't end up being able to play.

Have any of you taken the plunge? Have you, before or since the publication of these columns, attempted to play an RPG in Japanese? We're asking non-native Japanese speakers, of course.

Club Nintendo bestows Game & Watch Collection 2 upon faithful Japanese fans

Following up on the first DS Game & Watch Collection, which contained Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Green House, and would never be accessible to us without the efforts of import retailers, Nintendo has announced a new collection for distribution to Club Nintendo members. Game & Watch Collection 2 contains recreations of the classic LCD games Parachute and Octopus, as well as a mashup version of the two.

Other new Club Nintendo gifts include a Touch Generations CD with music from Wii Sports and Wii Fit, a Mario and Peach pin, DS game cases in the shapes of Mario and Luigi's hats, Mario Party playing cards, and DS Lite cases in new colors. And we can't have any of it. That is ... so great.

[Via NeoGAF]

Crazy about the Game & Watch? It would probably be a good idea to read our huge Game & Watch feature, with collector interviews and a retrospective gallery. Because it's about the Game & Watch.

Lock's Quest to give you a custom DS Lite

The Lock's Quest website has opened, providing such content as a really cool animated comic, screens, and trailers, as well as a Lock's Quest-themed Flash game that is best described as an isometric take on Defend Your Castle. Basically, you huck stuff at invading soldiers, archers, and others looking to breach your castle; you can upgrade and repair your fortress after each round. You get the option to submit your score after the game ends, and every submission enters you in a sweepstakes. A severely awesome sweepstakes.

What's at, uh, stake? Only a custom, extremely limited-edition (as in, an edition of one) gunmetal grey Lock's Quest DS Lite with translucent, illuminated buttons and a blue flame emblem on the back. And, of course, copies of the game. We'll have to see the real thing to be sure, but based on the concept alone, the Warhammer 40K Squad Command DS just got served in the publisher-made custom DS arena.

Game professionals create Bangai-O levels in the spirit of charity

IGN, D3, and The Guildhall have teamed up to host an exclusive Bangai-O Spirits level contest between game industry professionals. The winner will have a $10,000 graduate fellowship donated to The Guildhall in his name -- which means that some graduate assistant is going to pay the rent with one of these Bangai-O levels.

IGN has all nine levels, from designers at Infinity Ward, Infinite Interactive, and other such prestigious studios, available for download and voting. It's really interesting to see what people who think about levels for a living do with the Bangai-O rule set. Harvey Smith, lead designer of Deus Ex, made an arena for super-annoying FastBots; Infinite's Steve Fawkner replicated the Atari classic Warlords.

All of the levels -- many of which tend toward the baroque -- are great, but our favorite is the simplest one: Shane Hensley's "Pinball Wizard," designed to imitate a pinball playfield. It looks stark, but explodes into bullets in a way that is startling even for Bangai-O.

Gallery: Bangai-O Spirits

Sonic Chronicles: The Lining Up at the Nintendo World Store Brotherhood

The latest edition of Gamespot's On the Spot show reveals an incentive for Sega fans to get over to New York City's Nintendo World Store: a shot at an early (or, to be appropriate to the source material, really fast) copy of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, signed by members of the game's development team. The NWS will have copies of the game available on September 28 (though the rep says August 29), two days before Chronicles' official release date! Sega will also offer an exclusive downloadable Chao.

Skip to about 45:00 to hear this directly from Sega's Associate Brand Manager, Ken Ballough -- while seeing video of the game in action! Unless you want to watch the whole thing and see stuff about other systems or whatever.

Warning: video (and game) contains Rouge the Bat.

[Via RPGamer]

DS Daily: Indie-S

Knytt Stories, almost! Cave Story, somewhat! Portal, in some form! Indie games are taking off on the PC and the console game download services, but the DS is the hottest place for indie PC games to kind of be -- unofficially, and for free.

Are there any indie games that you wish were ported by, uh, some guy to the DS? We would say N, ourselves, if Atari hadn't picked that one up for an awesome for-real (and for-money) release. Hey, maybe Atari or some other publisher will read our suggestions! Probably not!

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Upcoming Releases

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Sep 5
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Sep 7
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Sep 16
My Japanese Coach
Sep 23
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Sep 23
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Sep 23
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Sep 23
Time Hollow
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SimCity Creator
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Sep 30
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Sep 30

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