WordPress database error: [Table './db97824_wp/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
DESC wp_comments


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /nfs/c06/h02/mnt/97824/domains/alexanderlucard.com/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/briansthreadedcomments.php on line 96

WordPress database error: [Table './db97824_wp/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
ALTER TABLE wp_comments ADD COLUMN comment_reply_ID INT NOT NULL DEFAULT 0;

WordPress database error: [Table './db97824_wp/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
DESC wp_comments


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /nfs/c06/h02/mnt/97824/domains/alexanderlucard.com/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/briansthreadedcomments.php on line 105

Archive for January, 2010

Review #333

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Dracula - Undead Awakening
Publisher: Chillingo
Developer: Moregames Entertainment/Abstraction Games
Genre: Run n’ Gun Shooter
Release Date: 01/28/2010

I haven’t been to impressed with Sony’s would be recommitment to the PSP. Purchasers of the PSPGo have been screwed overly a lack of content for it and a lot of the DLC only content that has come out since October has been underwhelming at best. This especially true for the PSP Minis. Games like Hero of Sparta and Vempire looked like they might be pretty good, but turned out to suck big time.

So of course, you’re probably wondering why I decided to pick up the latest PSP mini, Dracula – Undead Awakening. Part of it was because I’m a whore for traditional shooters, and this game’s screenshots resembled Ikari Warriors so I decided to give it a try. Plus, it’s a Dracula/vampire game and I’m a sucker for those, name jokes aside.

So is Dracula – Undead Awakening the first good PSP Minis experience I’ve had, or is this another stake in the coffin for the PSP revamp?
(more…)

Review #332

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Eighting
Genre: 2-D Fighting
Release Date: 1/26/2010

2009 was a bit of a disappointment for fighting games here in North America. Street Fighter IV was good, but nowhere up to the level of previous Capcom titles, a point made abundantly clear with the re-release of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, which in itself was a bare-bones release compared to the original Dreamcast version, lacking all the thrill of unlocking things for oneself. BlazBlue was good for what it was, but it didn’t impress me. King of Fighters XII was so craptastic I refused to review it and I’m a dyed in the wool SNK fan. Chuck Platt and Mark B. both hated it though. What does it say about 2009 when the two best fighters released were King of Fighters ‘98 Ultimate Match and Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves, both of which were RE-RELEASES from a decade (or more) ago? The other good fighting games of 2009 were either PC exclusives like Zeno Clash or never made it stateside like the latest Melty Blood game. Still, although there was no truly GREAT new fighters released in 2009 here in North America, we did see the return to prominence for a genre I’ve been enchanted with since the beginning of the genre itself, although this was mainly done through the re-release of three of the best games in the history of the genre.

As you may imagine, I was ecstatic to hear about Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom when it was first mentioned in Japan, but like many people, I thought this had about as much chance of making it to the US as Dream Mix TV: World Fighters did – none. So I was shocked and full of boundless optimism when I heard Capcom was taking the chance and bringing it stateside. I was a little hesitant when I heard it was Wii exclusive, but then I’ve enjoyed my time with fighting games on the Wii, be it new titles like Castlevania: Judgment or VC releases like The King of Fighters ‘94 or Eternal Champions thanks to my Neo Geo Stick 2 and/or my Hori made Wii fighting stick, so I know a fighting game can work (and work well) on the Wii. The only question left was, would Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom be one of them?
(more…)

So…my weekend

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I thought this was going to be a fairly low key weekend. Write some Pokemon articles, write a review of Glory of Heracles, play with the bunnies and just veg. Well it turns out most of the weekend was an adrenaline high I’m still coming down off of.

Friday morning I brought Chewie to the vet for his annual physical. It was nothing major, although I was concerned about a little tiny bump on his shoulder. It had started out as a place where baby licked him raw from her OCD grooming. The sore healed over, but there was still a bump so I was thinking, “We’ll make sure it’s not cancer.” when I brought him in. The vet said it was 95% likely to just be scar tissue, especially since it’s around where he was burned and he checked out great in his exam. His eyes were perfect, his lungs and heart were in excellent shape, his coat was gorgeous. He was a super healthy rabbit. They drew a sample of his blood and we called it a day.

They called me back around 4:30pm with the results of the bloodwork and although everything was good, his white blood cell count was so wacky that those readings usually indicated a Thymoma or heart/chest tumour that slowly but eventually takes up the entire chest cavity of the rabbit and kills them. Needless to say I freaked. We made an appointment to get him x-ray’d the next morning and she did say there was a chance the test was just botched or it was a strange fluke. I spent the night cuddling Chewie, spoiling him rotten and looking up everything I could about the cancer he might possible have. I felt better as I read that only 8% of all rabbits every get this tumour and that it was least likely in male rexes, which is exactly what Chewie was. He also wasn’t displaying any of the warning signs such as a lack of appetite or little motion. if anything he’s more energetic and hungry at five than he was as a baby. I tried to convince myself he was fine and it was indeed a fluke, but the fear overwhelmed me and I was shaking pretty much all night and got little to no sleep from it. Chewie however, thought something was wrong with ME since I was so stressed and worried than he let me pet him for fifty minutes straight. This is a Mr. Biteums record.

We brought him to the vet Saturday morning and it took about 30 minutes to do his x-rays. I was still panicking even though I knew, I KNEW, in my heart he didn’t have cancer, but I just couldn’t stop being scared for him. Zuel developed uterine cancer and although it is almost fatal to bunnies, she lived for three to four years since it was benign. She eventually died of old age. Thymoma however gives a rabbit weeks to months to live. From what I read surgery is a 50-50 shot and although Radiation has an 80% success rate, the tumour may come back and there will be internal scarring of the bunny from the chemo.

The vet scared the living shit out of me when she asked me to come back to the x-ray room to see what they learned. At that point my confidence that he was okay was shattered and I didn’t want to leave Chewie, even though his general reaction was, “I’m hungry. Can we go home?” I went back with her and thank whatever God you worship, he had no sign of cancer in him at all. They took x-rays of his whole bunny body and showed me all the places he could have possibly developed cancer and that they were totally free and clear. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see those. She then showed me x-rays of other bunnies with tumours in those spots and I felt so bad for them but was also thinking, “as long as It’s not Chewie Biteums” over and over again.

So we’re bringing him back to the vet on Feb 11th for a second blood work evaluation. More than likely this was a fluke but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the blood levels are still weird, it means one of three things

A) Chewie does have Thymoma but it is too small to be seen even by medical devices
B) He has some other form of cancer, which is most likely a benign skin tumour(s)
C) His blood had just gone weird, which is neither bad nor fatal.

So I’m still nervous and god knows he’s already sick of me scouring his body for lumps several times a day.

It’s funny that after Zuel died I never planned to own another pet and then Mr. Chewie Biteums ended up at my doorstep unexpectedly. I love that little guy so much and this little scare showed me how unwilling I am to let him go. I mean, I know he’s going to die eventually, but I’d prefer for it to be like Zuel or Thlyali who died peacefully and happy - not from a slow growing tumour that crushes him from the inside. So we’ll see what happens. Thankfully Guin will be in town the day of the next trip to the vet, but I’m equally worried the blood will still be off and confident that he’s okay. Regardless, this has kind of confirmed his mortality to me and I’ve been heartbroken about it ever since. With both of Baby’s trips to the vet in November and December, I knew she was going to be okay even though they were both life threatening issues. They were things you could take care off as long as you got to them in time. With cancer…I can’t stop or prevent that at all and that’s what scares me the most.

I just keep trying to tell myself if he would have died the same night I found him, the poor scared burned little baby bunny left out in a snowstorm, so at the very least he’s gotten five extra years of life and that’s what counts. I just…hate the thought of there ever being a time where he doesn’t wake me up in the morning, eat my walls, climb on my chest to try and steal food from my mouth, or snuggle up next to me at night when he thinks I’m sleeping so I won’t see him being affectionate. But I know it’s coming now and it’s hard to take my mind of it. So, i’m being a helicopter parent and fretting a bit when he stops eating before Baby (which is silly because it’s always been that way) or the like. Hopefully it’ll pass once the 11th rolls around and he gets a thumb’s up on his blood work.

Review #331

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Glory of Heracles
Developer: Paon /Studio Saizensen
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Release Date: 01/19/2010

Everyone loves Hercules. Whether it’s the classical Greek and Roman myths themselves, the “sword and sandals” movies starring Steve Reeves, the TV show starring Kevin Sorbo, the 1997 Disney movie and following cartoon series, or the Marvel Comics character (preferably written by Greg Pak or Bob Layton), Hercules (or Heracles in the proper Greek) is one of the most famous characters in all of folklore. Odd then that this fifth game in the Glory of Heracles series is the first to be brought over to America, especially as Greek myths and characters are far more popular in the West than in Japan.

The first four games in the series were for consoles (Famicon and Super Famicon) with a single spin-off released for the Game Boy. These games were all developed and published by the late, great Data East. Although most of the rights for Data East’s games were picked up by G-Mode, Paon, a company comprised of ex Data East employees, picked up the rights to this and Karnov. With Nintendo as the new publisher, the two teamed up to release the fifth game in the series and the first to reach America. Now the only thing left to ask is whether or not Glory of Heracles was better left on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, or if like The Legendary Starfy, we should just be grateful the series is FINALLY here.
(more…)

Review #330

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Sands of Destruction
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Image Epoch
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 01/13/2010

Sands of Destruction is the first handheld RPG of 2010. You would think this would be a big deal, but oddly enough its publisher, Sega, who is a large company in its own right has been decidedly mum on the title. This is pretty odd considering the localization of the anime series based on this games hits stores in two weeks. You would think some sort of marketing would go on here. The developer, Image Epoch, is best known for the Luminous Arc series, but considering how little known that series is to the average gamer, perhaps “best known” is, in fact, a misnomer.

So how was Sands of Destruction? Is it destined to be a forgotten classic where RPG fans will shake their fist at how Sega’s other January 2010 release, Bayonetta overshadowed it, or did Sega know this game wasn’t going to be a critical or financial success for them?
(more…)

Review #329

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Irides: Master of Blocks
Developer: Mad Peet
Publisher: GOAT Store Publishing
Genre: Puzzle
Release Date: 12/12/2009

Here we are, halfway through the first month of 2010 and I’m STILL reviewing new Dreamcast games released in 2009. What a great year for the Dreamcast it was. First we had Dux, then we had Last Hope: Pink Bullets and Rush Rush Rally Racing. Now we have the fourth and final game in Irides. Irides is the only puzzle game released for the Dreamcast in 2009, and I’ve been looking forward to playing this since I did an interview with Dan Loosen back in late November.

It was obvious from screenshots and Youtube video footage that Irides was heavily influenced by Lumines. However, could it be as good as our 2005 PSP Exclusive Game of the Year winner? Let’s take a look.
(more…)

Hand’s-On Preview of Calling (Wii)

Monday, January 11th, 2010

http://diehardgamefan.com/2010/01/11/hands-on-preview-calling-wii/

Feel free to click on through and check it out. It’s a new Wii horror game that takes bits from everything from One Missed Call to Dead Slience

Personalized Plates

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Okay, I’m finally going to knuckle down and get personalized license plates. The following are available. Which do you think I should get for my VW Beetle with a Porsche 911 engine in it?

1. Pichu
2. TMRCKT
3. O. Prime
4. Yelo-sgn
5. Hastur
6. RLYEH
7. Autobt
8. Yur Mom
9. Deepone
10. Glakki

Note - Sonichu, Pikachu, fhtagn and all forms of Bumblee are taken.

Right now I’m leaning towards Yur Mom or RLYEH, but I like all ten. Help me out here people!

Review #328

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Fast Draw Showdown
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Developer: American Laser Games
Genre: Light Gun Shooter
Release Date: 01/04/2009

I’ve always been a big fan of American Laser Games. I was pretty happy last year when Digital Leisure and Majesco released the Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack back in July. Sadly, the compilation wasn’t as well received by younger or newer gamers because they went in thinking it would be a light gun game when it was more a first person “Don Bluth- Dragon’s Lair’s” click at the right second or die game. Alas, these kids today. What’s the world coming to when game reviewers or the average gamer in general has trouble with a game Katie Couric was able to play?

Thankfully Digital Leisure and American Leisure are back on the Wii with the downloadable title Fast Draw Showdown. This game, which is an actual light gun title was originally released as a laserdisc title back in 1994. Compared to the original arcade game, it appears the visuals have been cleaned up (perhaps even remastered) and the gameplay has been retouched for the Wii. At only five dollars, is Fast Draw Showdown a full motion video game that still holds up in 2009, or is it destined for the hoosegow?
(more…)

Review #327

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Castlevania The Adventure: ReBirth
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 12/28/2009

Back on December 27th, 1989, a game was released for the Nintendo Game Boy called Castlevania: The Adventure. This 2-D platformer was not only the first Castlevania game for the black and white portable system, but was also considered one of the toughest Castlevania games ever made, even though it was only four stages long. Now, almost twenty years to the day later, Konami has remade the game and brought it to WiiWare in the same vein as Gradius ReBirth and Contra: ReBirth.

Now unlike those two aforementioned games, CVA: RB is actually quite different from the original Game Boy release. It’s six stages instead of four, and the gameplay is more user-friendly and there are several other changes that will make this game seem quite different from the original. With that in mind, it’s time to find out if ReBirth is worth a ten spot or not.
(more…)