Namco Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Namco RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Retro Review: Pac-Man World Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 DannyPTP

I'm pretty sure everyone who's a gamer has at least heard of Pac-Man in some regard. From his arcade days in the 1980s to the many games released on various consoles over the years, there's been at least one Pac-Man game released on almost every console out there.

To coincide with Pac-Man's 20th anniversary, Namco released Pac-Man World in 1999, the yellow gobbler's first 3D adventure and first game for the PlayStation, which kept the original flair of the arcade classic while adding new features. So how does it play?

Pac-Man World's Story


It's Pac-Man's birthday and everyone is looking forward to celebrating! From Ms. Pac-Man to Professor Pac and even Pooka, (Dig Dug), they can't wait to see Pac-Man and wish him many happy returns.

But someone doesn't want to celebrate and instead causes chaos by kidnapping Pac-Man's friends. That someone is Toc-Man, a robot impersonator who wants to steal Pac-Man's identity. So, it's up to Pac-Man to travel to Ghost Island, rescue his friends, and stop Toc-Man.

Pac-Man World's Gameplay

From the main menu, you have a few options:

  • Quest, which is story-centric
  • Maze, which allows you to play mazes you unlock through Quest
  • Marathon Mode, where you play each maze one after the other
  • Classic, which allows you to play the original game from 1980.

Pac-Man World plays similar to your average 3D platformer, offering an open world display on (or through) which Pac-Man can free roam. Along the way, you'll encounter maze structures littered with pellets, including power pellets, which make ghosts vulnerable and easier to eat.

Fruit also makes a return, but instead of just being a collectible item for additional points, fruit is used to unlock doors that allow you to find bonus items, extra mazes or other pathways necessary to progress through the level.

Buccanear Beach

Additionally, to help combat ghosts and various other enemies, Pac-Man has a variety of moves at his disposal, including the butt bounce, which can be used to destroy most enemies from above and activate switches. You can also shoot power pellets, which can be charged to deliver explosive results. And you have the rev roll, a move reminiscent of Sonic The Hedgehog's spindash, that can be used to activate fan platforms, allowing Pac-Man to reach higher areas and cross gigantic chasms.

Pac-Man World's Level Design

Ghost Island serves as the main hub in Pac-Man World, with each section of the island having a various sub-levels, such as pirate beaches, clown fun houses, and even space itself. Somewhere in each of these levels hides a key that can be collected to free a friend. And every last level of a section pits you against a boss, each with a unique way of being defeated.

Occasionally, the level design can be a little confusing, making you miss a few items and having you backtrack in order to proceed through the level. This type of thing can certainly be annoying, but isn't game-breaking.

Pac-Man World's Sound Design

Pac-Man World has some excellent sound and music, from the iconic effects of the original Pac-Man to the even more cartoony sounds associated with the franchise.

Musically, each piece works well with the aesthetics of each level, from the swashbuckling tunes heard in "Crazy Cannonade" to the feeling that you've stepped into a circus tent and are ready to have fun in "Clowning Around." Each track is catchy in its own right and you will find some repeating in your head.

Pac-Man World's Graphics

Graphically, the game is stellar, showing bright and colorful imagery all around, especially in the funhouse levels. The graphics give each level an identity, easily allowing the player to recognize what the area is based on, as soon as they set foot inside. The transition to 3D works well here, if you're a fan of the classics, you'll easily recognise each character as you play through the game.

While not as graphically impressive as, say, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, the game still boasts vibrancy, allowing players to marvel at the details.

Final Verdict:

While not the best game on the PlayStation, Pac-Man World is still a worthy addition to your collection. Yes, the game has a few nit picky moments here and there, but no game is perfect. Pac-Man World, despite its flaws, still has a lot of fun and charm and will delight players with its references and familiarity -- even today.  

Bandai Namco Allowing Developers to use Pac-Man and other 80's Franchises. Fri, 03 Apr 2015 19:44:54 -0400 amaadify

April 2015 will see the launch of Bandai Namco Games' new licensing program that allows developers to freely use 16 of the company's franchises in their own games . Don't start making the next Pac-Man just yet, however. This offer is currently only available to Japanese game developers, and companies must submit applications in order to use the material legally. 

If approved, developers will be allowed to use the characters, music, and stories from the following properties:

  • Pac-Man
  • Xevious
  • Galaxian
  • The Tower of Druaga
  • Tower of Babel
  • Dragon Buster
  • Wonder Momo
  • Galaga
  • Battle City
  • Valkyrie no Bōken (The Adventure of Valkyrie)
  • Yōkai Dōchūki (Shadow Land)
  • Wagan Land
  • Dig Dug
  • Star Luster
  • Sky Kid
  • Genpei Tōma Den

Namco Bandai has stated that the application process is simply a method of filtering out any obscene or offensive content, and that they expect to approve most applicants. 

The company wasn't shy about their intentions either. They have stated outright that this program is a tactic to revive interest in otherwise diminishing properties.That said, Bandai Namco isn't just in it for the publicity. As per the agreement, participating developers who create paid games must fork over a percentage of the profits, while those creating free games will have to include advertisements, with Bandai Namco taking a cut of the revenue.

Are you not a Japanese developer, but still want to use these properties? You're in luck! Bandai Namco is currently considering offering applications to foreign and indie developers as well. Let's hope we get a new Dig Dug in the near future, or some sort of redemption from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.

Top 10 Greatest Fighting Games Sun, 21 Sep 2014 17:50:28 -0400 Brian Spaen

1. Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • Year: 2001
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  • Developer: HAL
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  • Publisher: Nintendo
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  • Available on: GameCube
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Fighting games don't necessarily have to be one-on-one, and the best game ever in the fighting genre was Nintendo's sequel to the all-star mascot mashup from the Nintendo 64.


Super Smash Bros. Melee is easily one of the best crafted games of all time. Everything that Nintendo fans could want was in the game with such a huge array of characters, items, stages, and so much trivial information. It's incredible how information was jam-packed in such a small disc. Similar to how Capcom turned on turbo for the Street Fighter series, SSBM was helped by adding speed and chaos to the four-player frantic fighting fest.


The follow up to SSBM, SSB: Brawl on the Nintendo Wii, was a fantastic fighter which even added more content, but fans still tend to prefer the GameCube edition. It's hard to beat perfection, and SSBM -- with its nostalgia and perfect variety of character gameplay -- is that game in the fighting genre.

2. Mortal Kombat
  • Year: 2011
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  • Developer: NetherRealm Studios
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  • Publisher: Warner Bros.
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  • Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, Vita, Windows
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Midway's collapse signaled the end of the extremely popular Mortal Kombat franchise and there were plenty of skeptics heading into the 2011 relaunch of the series through Warner Bros. But nearly 20 years after the initial game was released on Super Nintendo, fans were treated with one of the greatest fighting games of all time.


Featuring an incredible wealth of modes to play, the most mind-blowing mode was one of the first to select. A full-fledged story that was engaging and pit the player in certain situations was an absolute blast to play. Character models were extremely detailed and had a wide array of attacks that hailed to the old-school games. The addition of the X-ray attack always kept a player in the fight, and most importantly, the fatalities were as gruesome as ever.


Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the Super Nintendo was gritty and bold when it was released, and fans hailed that as the best in the MK franchise. But now, surprisingly, the clear-cut winner of the franchise goes to a game that wasn't even released by the now defunct publisher.

3. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
  • Year: 1999
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  • Developer/Publisher: Capcom
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  • Available on: Arcade, Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360
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Highly regarded as the best Street Fighter by fans of the series, it fine-tuned everything that SF III needed. The roster wasn't major, but it included the essential characters in the series. Background designs were so beautiful they could distract from the fighting taking place of the already gorgeous character designs. Don't forget the music that even took it up a notch from the already irresistible tunes from the Alpha series. 


SF IV tried to improve the series, but simply put, SF III may always be the perfect installment of the Street Fighter franchise that didn't need improvement.

4. Soulcalibur 2
  • Year: 2002
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  • Developer: Project Soul
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  • Publisher: Namco
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  • Available on: Arcade, GameCube, PS2, Xbox
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Tekken may be Namco's baby, but their most successful title is Soulcalibur 2, made famous by adding characters exclusive to three different consoles. The GameCube rendition with the addition of Link spawned the most sales, a perfect character fit into the weaponry-armed fighter -- not to mention the wonky controller layout actually worked well with how this particular fighter plays.


SC2 was so addicting in so many ways. Especially with the addition to go through quests to pick up additional weaponry for the full roster of characters. So many hours can be piled onto this fighter because of its unrepetitive nature in the customization.

5. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
  • Year: 2000
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  • Developer/Publisher: Capcom
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  • Available on: Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox
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Capcom released a number of tag team fighters and pitted their roster against other fighting franchises (SNK's roster, for example), but the most familiar roster came in this rendition where they beefed up the tag teams by one more character (three fighters instead of two, similar to KOF). The arcade version was the first to use the NAOMI arcade platform, which placed 2D fighter sprites in front of 3D polygonal backgrounds and special effects.


The arcade edition was simplified when released on consoles, limiting the button layout and making the game more accessible to the non-diehard fighting fans while not sacrificing the quality of an all-around fantastic game. 

6. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
  • Year: 2009
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  • Developer: Arc System Works
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  • Publsiher: Aksys Games
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  • Available on: PS2/PSP/Wii
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Even after playing this game for hours on end, I still have no idea what the hell is going on. There hasn't ever been a fighting series that had a roster full of absolute freaks with a huge amount of varying attacks. It's also arguably the best Wii fighting game (along with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, which just misses the list) that perfectly meshes together with the strange remote-nunchuck combination.


The story mode was most impressive for a fighting game, featuring a unique chapter for each character and implementing a branching method that creates about 350 scenarios to play through. Despite a little unbalance in the characters (that was fixed in the updated Accent Core Plus R), the game is famous for its incredibly unique character designs.

7. Super Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Year: 1994
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  • Developer/Publisher: Capcom
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  • Available on: Arcade, Computer, 3DO, Dreamcast, GBA, PSone, PS2, Saturn
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The addition of air combos, super combos, and an all-around faster game from the already excellent Street Fighter II was the icing on the cake of the excellent fighter. It was famously ported from the arcades to the 3DO, creating a near-perfect emulation of the arcade edition. Capcom never looked back in the Street Fighter series since the evolutionary combo additions, and many hail this game (or the HD Turbo Remix on PS3/Xbox 360) as the best fighter of all time.

8. The King of Fighters '98
  • Year: 1998
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  • Developer/Publisher: SNK
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  • Available on: Arcade, Neo Geo, Neo Geo CD, Dreamcast, PSone, PS2, PSN, XBLA, Wii VC, iOS, Android, Windows
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This could be the most controversial entry on the list, but SNK's annual all-star battle ended on a high note with the final entry. Featuring a loaded roster of the arcade company's best fighters from all of their fighting games, it proved that 2D fighting was still an absolute blast as the world was evolving to the 3D arena on PlayStation and Nintendo 64. 


There were some bugs that plagued some ports, notably the Dreamcast edition when it came to special moves, and the later release of Ultimate Edition was slammed by critics for being too similar. However, there isn't a bigger variation of different types of fighters while keeping the status quo of a versus fighter.

9. Tekken Tag Tournament
  • Year: 2000
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  • Developer/Publisher: Namco
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  • Available on: Arcade, PS2, PS3
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Tekken had its own unique fighting system, and the culmination of the series may have came in the release after Tekken 3, which is arguably the best in the series. Why TTT tops it out is because it takes away the needless stories in fighting games and pits a 35 character roster featuring players from Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 with the additional Team Battle mode and addictive Tekken Bowl minigame.

10. Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Year: 1996
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  • Developer/Publisher: Capcom
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  • Available on: Arcade, PSone, PS2, Saturn, SNES, Windows, PSN, Wii VC
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Not all Street Fighter fans enjoyed the jump to the Alpha series, but for those who did, the second iteration was the greatest. The upgrade included all the characters from Street Fighter Alpha, added some new ones, and added a custom combo system instead of chain combos. The pace of the game was fast and fluid, and featured a comfortable array of characters to pick from.


Street Fighter Alpha 3 may have been loaded with more options and there are reasons why that game is better, but the overall package doesn't exceed SFA2. The announcer was cringeworthy and the new characters were forgetful.

Dark Souls II Outshines Predecessor In Launch Thu, 08 May 2014 14:52:43 -0400 Vesthis_lol

According to Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, of From Software, has nearly doubled the launch success of From's second best selling title (a Japan only PSP game) after pumping out over 1.2 million copies since it's March 11th release date. Dark Souls I, for comparison, only reached that mark 6 months after hitting the shelves. This shows a powerful and growing fanbase, with a solid amount of orders incoming due to the relatively recent release of the PC version on April 24th.

Bandai Namco pumped over one million dollars into marketing Dark Souls II. Lee Kirton, a PR and marketing director for Namco, said that "we really want to push Dark Souls as a franchise whilst looking after our core fans." With the overwhelming success of the first chapter, it's easy to see why the decision to pour money into the second was easy to do, and has paid off so far - especially when considering that the other titles were not nearly as promising.

Overall financial status is in question, though.

While overall revenue for Namco Bandai has risen over the last year by 4.2 percent, but profit dropped an astounding 22.6 percent, down to $246.2 million according to GameSpot. With the seemingly dominant focus on the Dark Souls franchise, you have to imagine that they breathed a sigh of relief with the results of the launch of this second installment. However, a 22.6 percent drop in profit has to be extremely alarming, and the company must continue to improve across all fronts this year.

Pac-Man Museum Coming to PlayStation Network Thu, 30 Jan 2014 17:39:48 -0500 Miranda Kirk

Everyone's favorite yellow eating machine is coming soon to the PlayStation Network! Pac-Man Museum will be compiling some of our old-favorites starring Pac-Man of course. 

Includes tons of titles!

The title will include versions such as Pac-ManSuper Pac-ManPac-LandPac & PalPac-ManiaPac-AttackPac-Man Remix and Pac-Man Battle Royale. For those PC players who want a bonus, ordering through Steam will get you a free copy of Pac-Man: Championship Edition.

Free copy of Ms. Pac-Man

But don't worry, no matter which platform you buy the game from you will be able to own a copy of one of the most successful arcade games ever created. If you purchase the game between February 25th and March 31st you will receive a free copy of Ms. Pac-Man! If you don't buy it within that time frame the DLC goes up to its everyday price tag of $5.

Pac-Man Museum is due to release on February 25th. Get your copy as soon as it hits the PlayStation Network!

Brand New Dark Souls 2 Trailer Released! Tue, 14 Jan 2014 19:00:07 -0500 Miranda Kirk

A new trailer has been released for the upcoming title Dark Souls 2. Developed by From Software, inc. the trailer offers a glimpse at just how cursed you will be with the voice of a wise older woman, as per Souls history.  

The story of the cursed

The story centers around the cursed protagonist that will have to seal his own fate by fighting his way through a forgotten ancient land. The trailer shows a slew of new creatures and ones that may seem familiar. From dragon-like creatures and even monsters infested by spiders, there is plenty of new information to that will get you excited and anticipating launch.

Enticing graphics

The graphics in this near three-minute trailer shows that Dark Souls 2 will be a worthwhile experience. It makes a strong case for those who have never played Dark Souls to give it a look on release day. 

Dark Souls 2 will be released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 11th. A PC version will follow but there has not been official word from Namco on its date. 

MCM London Comic Con - Namco Bandai Is No Longer A Brand For Good Quality Games Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:02:05 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Namco Bandai had a large presence at MCM London Comic Con this October, although it would have been surprising if they didn't as they're one of the most established and recognisable video game brands around. In 2005, Japanese video game company Namco merged with Japanese video game and toy/model manufacturers to create the large company that it is today. With that, both companies brought a wealth of ownership and distribution rights for classic games like Pac-Man and games/brands like Dragon Ball Z and Digimon.

With an area showcasing all their upcoming games, and an exclusive and much hyped presentation and Q&A session with executives flown in fresh from Japan, it has become clear that Namco Bandai is no longer the reassuring brand of quality that it used to be.

The Good

Truth be told, there are some excellent titles coming up soon from the company, namely Dark Souls II, JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. Each of these look and play fantastic.


  • Dark Souls II - Still insanely difficult, but manages to look even better whilst maintaining  its incredibly absorbing gameplay. A great follow-up from the first two games (Dark Souls and Demon's Souls), with a brand new hero.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle - Covering the first eight story arcs of the manga, this classic fighter-style game captures the high-octane mania and colour of the original series. Fast-paced, dazzling, and a lot of fun.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z - Looks just as visually stunning as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, and introduces new 4v4 and 4vE gameplay.

The presentation and Q&A with representatives of the games showed that the company can put a lot of thought into development when it wants to. Kunio Hashimoto, for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, not only burst on to the stage in full cosplay and screaming "Lend me your energy!" but was also incredibly responsive about the game. When asked why players weren't allowed to transform mid-battle and stick with the only one of each character's transformation in a team, he took the time explain that this was to ensure balance, especially when it came to 4v4, giving an in-depth answer and more than satisfactory response.

There's also other great recent games to their title, such as the sumptuous Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, wich saw the company team up with famed anime studioStudio Ghibli, to produce something exquisite.

When Namco Bandai want to make a good game, they can make a bloody brilliant one.

The Bad

But there was also a collection of games that really failed to raise any enthusiasm, or outright bored us, showing that there are times when Namco Bandai couldn't care less, resulting in forgettable games.


  • Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers - a generic fighter with cheap graphics, no flair, and no complexity
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures - a lack lustre and lazy generic 3D platformer that's as easy as it is dull (read our full review)

These two games shows not just the worst side of the company, but also the games industry as a whole. Here, Namco Bandai are purely trading-in the rights they have to certain brands as a way to make a quick buck rather than a good game. Sure, sometimes they're sturdy and the gameplay is solid, but they're devoid of imagination and ingenuity, which in our opinion is worse than making a bad game.

When compared against the games in "The Good" list above, the graphics and animations are noticeably less polished, and then the gameplay is bog-standard; at best, the developers were rushed to finish the game, and at worse, they just didn't bother. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures goes as far as almost ripping off Super Mario 64, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers adds nothing to the genre since Street Fighter broke ground.

Ryo Mito, in his presentation for Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, even said that if you didn't want to try for more complex combos and moves, you could simply just "mash the buttons" and still win--hardly a glowing endorsement for the game. To add insult to injury, the demonstrator failed four times in a row to show off the super-special-awesome move that was billed as one of the game's selling points. They eventually gave up and the crowd were told to try and successfully initiate it themselves at the game's demo booth.

Recently, there was also the hideously embarrassing and buggy Star Trek game, which even had film director J.J. Abrams weigh in with outright disappointment for the game.

YouTube game-breakers, BirgirPall, didn't need to do much with the woeful Namco Bandai title, Star Trek.

The Fallout

It's sad that these days, anything from Namco Bandai must be judged on its own merits, as the quality of games from the company sway wildly from the brilliant to the banal, and even to awful. It's not exactly a great position for any company to be in, as if your brand and products can't assure a standard of quality; what faith are your investors going to have in the company's future, let alone gamers who will potentially buy your product?

Yes, admittedly some of the titles mentioned above have been developed by third-party developers and then published by the company. But as publishers they still have a responsibility of quality control. Furthermore, engaging with a third-party developer needn't result in a bad game either; Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch being a prime example where working with developers Level 5 worked wonders for Namco Bandai.

But hasn't it always been like this? A quick look over the list of games that the separate and joint companies have released show a gaggle of obscure and forgotten titles alongside universally praised ones.

Also, to pick Namco Bandai out as an example is possibly a little unfair as there are other large game developers and publishers who make similarly cheap decisions. But if you're going to make a big song and dance about your products at one of Europe's biggest expositions, then at least ensure some level of quality across everything you're presenting or risk as goading such as this one.

"Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get."

The worst part of it all, though, is that Star Trek, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers exist purely to exploit and extort these respective fanbases; a pretty dastardly and cynical motivation, and one that sullies the video games industry.

But for all there is to say about Namco Bandai, no more will the company's brand pique the interest of gamers just because its name is slapped on a title, despite it's long and illustrious history. Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get.

For more information about Namco Bandai's upcoming releases, visit

First Woman in 30 Years to Set an Arcade Record Fri, 25 Oct 2013 13:20:33 -0400 Alexa Serrano

According to Examiner writer Patrick Scott Patterson, Chicago native Caitlin Oliver, 30, became the first woman to set an arcade game world record on Saturday, October 19 while she was at the Galloping Ghost Arcade, the largest video game arcade in the USA. 

The game she was playing was Splatterhouse, a 1988 beat'em up and horror arcade game developed and published by Namco. The previous record mark in the game was 373,100 points and it was set by Anthony Paparo at the same location. Oliver scored 493,700 points on Saturday making her the first woman in almost 30 years to set a world record on an arcade game.

Caitlin Oliver talks SplatterHouse 

Oliver reveals that she was first introduced to the game when she was very young. Her father bought her a TurboGrafx-16, the first video game console of the 16-bit era, and she went to the local store and rented SplatterHouse. She says, "Once I got it home I was totally hooked. Gross monsters, corpses, skeletons; it had it all." 

Achieving a World Record

As soon as Oliver realized she had achieved the new high score she describes that she felt like her "heart was going to pound straight through [her] chest."

 "It was possibly the most intense rush of adrenaline I've ever felt in my life. It was unreal to have decided to work to accomplish something and proceed to become the best in the world at something. Utterly incredible feeling. I nearly ran outside for a cigarette afterwards," Oliver adds. 

Pursuing a world record wasn't something Oliver intended on doing until one of her friends encouraged the idea. She says what helped her achieve this goal was her experience playing it for about 20 years on the TurboGrafx-16 her father bought her. 

Tales of Symphonia, One of my favorite games of all-time Fri, 23 Aug 2013 20:23:07 -0400 Synzer

Tales of Symphonia was an RPG that was released on the Nintendo Gamecube on July 13, 2004 in North America. Another version with added features was released on the PlayStation 2 later that year, but only in Japan. It is one of my all-time favorite video games for a myriad of reasons, but the most being the story. The combat system and characters come close though. Let me break it down for you.

A quest to save the world - Story: 8/10

Now, some people complain about the story. They say it's predictable and boring. I agree it can be predictable and some parts may be a little dry or drag out a little too long. The basic rundown is that you play as Lloyd, a beginning swordsman, with his friends Genus and Collete. Collete is the "chosen", who goes on a pilgrimage to "regenerate" the world. Sounds simple enough, but it gets a lot more complicated than that as the story progresses. 

There are some nice twists, and the overall story in my opinion is fantastic. The game is two discs long so there's a lot of content and it gets better the more you play. One of the best parts of the story is the interaction between characters and the history behind the main boss, Mithos. I won't spoil it here, but the final confrontation and accompanying cut-scenes are some of my favorite moments in a role-playing game.

Unique artistic style - Graphics: 9/10

The game has a very nice cel-shaded graphical quality. There are some animated cut-scenes as well, though not many. Looking at the graphics now they may not seem that great, but they were great for the style of game and the time this was released. The effects for the attacks also look quite incredible for a game of its age.

 Not turn-based, just fluid, real-time action.. sorta - Game play: 9/10

This is almost everyone's favorite thing about the game and the main reason I tried the game out in the first place. There were not many role-playing games out at the time that were multi-player, with four player co-op I might add. On top of that, the battles were all in real-time.

No choosing an attack, watching it, then waiting your turn for the enemy to attack. You used all your attacks and spells without delay in this highly fluid combat system. That alone was like a dream come true for a long time, turn-based, RPG player such as myself.

The fights are still instanced, so when you walk into or get caught by an enemy, you then get taken to the battle screen. While you can at least see the enemies on the map, instead of them being random encounters (I'm looking at you Pokémon), some fights are unavoidable.

You can choose from many characters as they join you throughout the quest, and don't even have to keep Lloyd in the party. There are parts of the story that need you to use him and others though. There's also a slight choice over which skills you learn, but I won't go into that here.

 Music to my ears - Sound: 8/10

The voice acting was great in my opinion and had some famous names including, Scott Menville, Kari Wahlgren, Crispin Freeman, Jennifer Hale, Tara Strong, and Cam Clarke. I definitely enjoyed the music and sound effects. One of my favorite things to hear in the game is Genus chanting his spells. The video to the right shows my favorite one, Indignation. Besides that, music and battle dialogue can get repetitive like most games.

It's dangerous to go alone, take some friends with you - Multi-player: 9/10

 I had not previously played an RPG before this where I could fight with three other human players. This coupled with the battle system made this game an obvious choice for someone like me. The only reason I didn't give it a ten is the fact that it is only in battle can you play with your friends.

Whenever you are traveling, watching cut-scenes, or anything else that isn't fighting, only one player can control what's happening. There are also times where you may not have a full party of four or even just the main character. It's not perfect, but especially for its time, not many games could compare in this department.

This is only my 12th play-through - Replay Value: 10/10

The game's replay value is considerably higher than most games, especially RPG's. One huge bonus is the fact that you can start a new game using your clear data from a previous completion.

This allows you to transfer over certain things like, items, skills, titles, etc. In order to do this, you must buy it from the 'Grade Shop' that appears once you start a new game from a cleared game file. 'Grade' is obtained or lost in every fight of the game and whatever you have at the end can be used to buy transfers.

There are also eight characters to choose from, and only four can be in a battle at any given time. You can freely choose who you use, so this gives you many party configurations. You can go through the game as someone different or just try different combinations of skills.

 Final Verdict: 9/10

This is one of the best RPG series ever created, in my opinion. There are many different titles on various consoles. Most of them are separate, similar to Final Fantasy games, so you don't have to worry about following it from the beginning. If you are a fan of RPG's at all, do yourself a favor and try this game and any other titles in the series you can get your hands on.

A Rose, By Any Other Voice, Would Smell as Sweet? Bad Voice Acting is the Thorn in the Side of Final Fantasy XIV Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:32:52 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Like millions of others, this weekend I became a social hermit at the mercy of Square Enix. The fourth, and last, phase of beta testing of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has come and gone. 

I could wax lyrical about the good and the great about the game, and on some of the handy little tweaks and developments since phase three. But one thing that’s gotten players talking (pun intended) is the voice acting. In short, it’s as pleasant as a diseased Tonberry in an open blender. 

You have reached Square Enix's answering machine… 

The main problem is that all the voices sound so forced and cardboard. Could Square Enix really not find decent voice actors for the roles? 

However, if you really think about it, the measure and metre of dialogue is completely unnatural to being with. There are pauses built-in to include movements and actions, breaks to allow players to interact, or move the narrative at their own pace, and bits of dialogue that are outright contrived to make something happen or to jam in some much-needed back story.

Because of this lack of intrinsic flow, it’s no surprise that characters, especially Elder Seedseer Kan-E-Senna, sound like an automated switchboard. Therefore, it seems insincere to goad the actors who have provided their voices, as they’re faced with quite a difficult task, no? 

But Square Enix has spent the last three single-player Final Fantasy titles improving its voice acting. Even Final Fantasy X, though often mocked for feeling a little am-dram, was still some of the best seen in video games up until that point. They also had an ace in the hole by getting John DiMaggio, better known for voicing Bender in sci-fi animated sitcom, Futurama, to voice ginger Blitzball captain, Wakka. 

By the time we got round to Final Fantasy XIII, we’d seen a great improvement. Furthermore, other video game companies are really upping their game regarding voice acting. For example, Namco and Level-5’s Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch notably had Steffan Rhodri lend his dulcet Welsh tones to the character of Drippy, along with a great cast in general. A further example is the brilliant voice acting in Naughty Dog's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Therefore, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn just feels like a step backwards by comparison, and makes Square Enix looks like it wants to be left in the wake of its competition.

Thancred sounds, "more granddad than sex god". Screenshot: Courtesy of Square Enix.

Final Fantasizing

What really doesn’t help is that those who played from beta phase three onwards, like me, experienced extended gameplay without any voice acting. Therefore, they will already have a pre-imagined style and timbre of the voices of the characters they've already met. Much like a film adaptation of a much-loved book, trying to define a single manifestation of myriad different imaginations will always mean that many will be left upset with the end product. For example, it's now easier for people to resist swooning over Thancred as they seem to have made him sound more granddad than sex god.  So can we really blame Square Enix for not meeting our unique expectations?

But many of the races and character-types aren't unfamiliar to the series. So it’s no surprise that many are disappointed, if not baffled, by how some of the voices don’t match their stature. I like to imagine Lalafells sporting a broad Brooklyn accent, but I think that might just be me. Even so, accepting that Moogles will predictably be a little high pitch, it doesn't excuse them from being irritating and wholly unbelievable - like shrews on acid breathing an atmosphere made exclusively of helium.

Spreken ze deutsch? 

Despite trying hard to give Square Enix the benefit of the doubt, I took the opportunity to have a listen to the voice acting for the other languages the game supports; Japanese, French, and German. 

It’s no surprise, being a JRPG, that the Japanese voice-acting is superlative. The voices match the faces, and everything sounds far more natural. But, to my disappointment, even the German and French sound less bemusing and stilted as the English. 

It feels like us English speakers have gotten a bit of a bum deal, especially, to add insult to injury, there are reports from version 1.0 players that the English voice acting was considerably better before the relaunch. 

Changing Channels 

The thing is, despite my grumblings about the voice acting, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is still a fantastic game. Plus, players had plenty of other things to put up with this weekend aside from some ropy dialogue, like the 3102 errorThe advice many players are dishing out is this: change the voice acting to a different language, and just read the subtitles

But it’s just a shame that the English voice acting is a huge let down. God, as always, is in the detail, and Square Enix seem to forget that. It’s often the little things that can really wow, such as the new thunderstorm weather effect in the Black Shroud areas, and these really lift a game up from being a good title to being a great one.

Suspension of disbelief has always been one of Final Fantasy's strong points, and something that is an important aspect of all good video games. The voice acting is so bad that we really don't get that here. Because of this, I’d rather not have voice acting at all. Silence, as they say, is golden.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launches on 27 August 2013. For more information about the game, including how to pre-order, visit

What Exactly is Project X Zone? Wed, 26 Jun 2013 19:03:11 -0400 Aneudys Tejeda

A match made in heaven, that's what Project X Zone is!

Released in Japan on the 3DS back in October, Project X Zone was finally localized and released in North  America on June 25th. The game has been receiving some positive reviews, with a solid 74 on Metacritic, but what exactly is it?

Project X Zone is a hybrid tactical role-playing game. It mixes characters from 3 well-respected studios: Namco Bandai, Capcom and Sega. Boasting a roster of over 60 characters, this game is why I want a 3DS. 


The Portalstone has been stolen, and heroes and villains from various franchises are suddenly jumping through dimensions to retrieve it. Like most dimension-jumping plots in games, the story gets more and more complex with each new character introduced. Before long, things get so out of hand that most reviewers don't even know what's really going on in this game.


Stages in Project X Zone take place throughout various areas of the franchises of Capcom, Sega and Namco Bandai on a grid-based board much like Fire Emblem. Each friendly unit is made up of two characters known as a Pair Unit. A third character can be added for once-per-battle assistance. Units can move freely within their range on the map.

The battle system is called the Cross Active Battle System. Pressing the A button in combination with the D-Pad performs up to five basic attack combos. Other gameplay elements include Support Attacks which allow you to call in a nearby ally for assistance, and Cross Hit, which freezes the target in place during simultaneous attacks from multiple units.

As the player's units deal damage, the player's Cross Power (XP) gauge fills up and can be used for special attacks and defensive moves on the map. Damage done via Cross Hits can fill this gauge up to 150%.

Character Roster

As I mentioned, the game features 60 playable characters. With the gameplay using its unique Cross Active Battle System, you can mix and match your team of two as well as another solo unit. So imagine the ability to have Heihachi from the Tekken series and Ulala from Space Channel 5 on your team. I'm not going to list the whole roster (for that you can check out Gamesradar), but I will go ahead and list some notable characters featured in Project X Zone to get you excited.

  • Sega
    • Vashyron from Resonance of Fate
    • Imca from Valkyria Chronicles III
    • Akira Yuki & Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter series
  • Capcom
    • Arthur from Ghost'n Goblins
    • Juri Han from Street Fighter
    • Frank West from Dead Rising
    • Hsien-Ko from Dark Stalkers
  • Namco Bandai
    • Heihachi from the Tekken Series
    • Black Rose from .hack
    • KOS-MOS from Xrnosaga

For a fan of Namco Bandai and grid-based RPGs, this game looks to blend a crazy set of characters with a unique battle system accessible for anyone. Truly a game that makes me want a 3DS.

Dark Souls 2 Will Be Treated Like a 'Huge AAA Game.' Is This A Good Thing? Wed, 22 May 2013 23:59:38 -0400 Lui Galletto

Namco Bandai announced that the sequel to their infamously difficult hit, Dark Souls, will receive increased marketing support. A bigger advertising budget means the company has  greater confidence in Dark Souls 2.

In fact, they admitted this same enthusiasm should have been given to the first Dark Souls, and it was a mistake they were not going to repeat.

PR Director, Lee Kirton said

"We're going to go guns-blazing with it, and hope to God that it works. We're going after people who love and adore Dark Souls, while hopefully widening the net a little. I'm not saying that every Skyrim player's going to be jumping on Dark Souls, but it would be nice if some of them did. It's a different game, sure."

This talk of "AAA Treatment" might worry a lot of diehard fans and hardcore gamers. The fear that a bigger investment will cause the developer to change Dark Souls 2 to appeal to a more "casual centered" audience is a realistic concern.

It is strange for so much money to be given to such a hardcore game, when lately the casual market is where the money is. Will this push come back to bite them in the ass when the masses are unsatisfied or even frustrated with the game they bought?

So while it might seem like a good thing to push more money on this title, Namco Bandai has inadvertently put themselves between a rock and a hard place. Please the masses, or the fans?

For now, we can only hope Dark Souls 2 is everything its predecessor was, and let the advertisements bring in new fans who appreciate its soul crushing difficulty.

Get hyped and register for EVO 2013! Sun, 03 Feb 2013 06:28:35 -0500 Joseph Rowe

Get hype, mother lovers. It's EVO registration time. Grab your sticks and head on over to the site to register. Whether you are an undiscovered Daigo or a total scrub, this is the fighting game tournament to beat all fighting game tournaments.

In case you are wondering if your game will be represented at EVO 2013, here is the list: Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Street Fighter x Tekken 2013 Edition, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, the King of Fighters 2013, Persona 4: Arena, and charity competition winner: Super Smash Bros. Melee.

If you were like me and were disappointed that Skullgirls did not make it to the tournament, do not fret: there is always next year. Regardless of what is not on the list, the games that are there look varied enough to entertain. SNK, Namco, Arc System Works, Nintendo, and, of course, Capcom are all present.

All in all, 2013 looks like it will be a good year for EVO. If you're heading over there, best of luck to you. Make 'em salty.

Last of Unreleased Street Fighter x Tekken's DLC Hits PC Next Week Sun, 03 Feb 2013 04:58:53 -0500 Joseph Rowe

No one does fighting games quite like Capcom. No one has delays for PC content quite like Capcom, either. Street Fighter x Tekken is finally getting the last of its downloadable content on the Steam store on February 6th.

SFXT has been quite controversial in the fighting game community. This controversy has been varied, ranging from its original announcement when fans were expecting it to be a new Darkstalkers game (seriously, Ono, release it now!) to the addition of the gem system to on-disc DLC. This, piled up with a few other Capcom kerfuffles (ask any Megaman fan what they think about Legends 3 being canceled) has kind of hurt their reputation for many hardcore fans (myself included.)

All controversies aside, one cool thing that Capcom is doing with this late DLC release for Street Fighter x Capcom is releasing it for two weeks at 75% off. It will be priced at $19.99 after the sale; it will be $5.00 during it. If you are looking to get this package, do it sooner rather than later to get more hadouken for your buck.