Did you know there were Super Ted DVDs? We didn't.
Finding themes to fixate upon is a constant problem for What's New (as is Kristan effing off and leaving me to write everything so this doesn't get done until lunchtime). After all, it's not every week that you get an avalanche of Midas games, including one based on a children's cartoon like He-Man that you vaguely remember and pretend to cherish because it was always very camp and it now seems ironic to do so although let's face it it was no Thundercats and couldn't hold a candle to Super Ted [gasp], along with a couple of modern-day updates to some of the original, old school hardcore fighters and shooters.
Although, thinking about it, that is roughly what we're up against this week, so, er, well. (Good grief, there are Super Ted DVDs! Take my money, Texas Pete!)
Initially conceived, I like to think, as the tale of a crime-fighting female cosmetic surgeon with dyslexia, Altered Beast is actually an update of the classic SEGA game of the same name, which involved killing queues of monsters when I was starting school and being told to "wise fwom your gwave!" when you failed. This update is reportedly "misunderstood", which could either mean that it's a very niche-y game designed for a specific audience (basically anybody who heard about it and went "ooh") or that it's badly dubbed and full of men grabbing their forearm and raising a fist whilst smiling very sincerely. Based on a cursory examination of the box ("That cocking box!"), I'm guessing it's the former.
Initially conceived, I like to think, as the last time I'll have to play a fu-- [be nice -Ed] Neo Contra is another modern update to a classic series, which involves shooting things repeatedly until you've unlocked all the additional weapons and everyone's dead. It wasn't particularly well received in the States, where its scores featured a lot of 6s and 7s, but like Altered Beast it's unapologetically exactly what it wants to be, and there's an audience out there that will appreciate that. We just wish somebody would shoot them.
Masters of the Universe He-Man: Defender of Grayskull, meanwhile, enjoys the unusual luxury of being a Midas game that words in this column are about. And given that it's only just over 10 quid and is fundamentally a He-Man game, I'm prepared to give it just as much reverence as either of the other two. [So, none then? -Ed] What's really, really worrying though is that the screenshots make it look pretty good. If I spot it on my travels I'll impulse-buy and review it. Promise.
Moving away from my childhood for a moment, there's time enough to delve into modern childhood and pay a degree of homage to Yu-Gi-Oh!, with today marking the release of the 578th game based on the TV show/card game/religion. Yu-Gi-Oh! Day of the Duelist - World Championship Tournament 2005 for GBA isn't the sort of thing I'd normally give much space on a Friday (perhaps for the same reasons that drove Amazon UK's text-inputting types to mislabel it "Day of the Dulist"), but it's in here anyway because a) it fits with the theme, and b) there isn't much else to get excited about.
And what there is manages to be unavailable for me to test and unsuitable for joking about. Pop Life, for example. [Grabs a pin.] And Project Minerva Professional, for which the "part of a trilogy that also includes Project Ethel and Project Doris" joke proffers itself hopefully but without hope of making anyone laugh. I can at least say that Suikoden IV (wojoocallmymum!?) is out on PS2. Although this upset one of my contemporaries, who has instructed me not to applaud Konami's decision to bring it out in Europe, but instead to make angry faces at them for picking the weaker fourth instalment, whose inevitably lacklustre sales will now presumably convince them that nobody in Europe cares about RPGs.
So then. Thank the lord for the GameCube's Mario Power Tennis, which manages to be by far and away the most exciting thing on this week's release list, and which, despite what you may have read elsewhere, I reckon would stand up pretty strongly against any release list. It's no Virtua Tennis, but it has a great deal of multiplayer appeal and, thanks to a wealth of characters, modes and unlockables, the single-player aspect is fairly comprehensive too - albeit devoid of the sort of AI adversaries that it really needed. Horses for courses, naturally (which reminds me; Epona should be an unlockable character), but the level of bile directed at this one continues to confuse me. The enormous sense of fun it left me with was presumably down to some external influence, although I don't recall having any non-gaming-related reason to be happy in the past few weeks, so I can only assume I was drugged and brainwashed. And killed.
All right, that's a bit unlikely, but still. Stay tuned, anyway, for next week's releases, which include a certain Konami title that we're unlikely to have bad things to say about, and remember to wrap up warm. I'm off to assassinate a senior politician.
- PAL Releases
- Altered Beast (PS2)
- Cops (PC)
- Deadly Strike (PS2)
- Fire Captain (PC)
- King Arthur (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- Mario Power Tennis (Cube)
- Masters of the Universe He-Man: Defender of Grayskull (PS2)
- Neo Contra (PS2)
- Operation Air Assault (PS2)
- Pop Life (PC)
- Pro Rugby Manager 2004 (PC)
- Project Minerva Professional (PS2)
- Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends (PS2)
- Suikoden IV (PS2)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Day of the Duelist - World Championship Tournament 2005 (GBA)
- Yu Yu Hakusho Tournament Tactics (GBA)
- Key US Releases
- Gran Turismo 4 (PS2)
- Kessen III (PS2)