All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Death end re;Quest: The Art of Fighting

One of the things Compile Heart’s Galapagos RPG project has been keen to do ever since its inception is experiment with mechanics, particularly when it comes to combat.

Death end re;Quest is an excellent example of this, featuring several layers of mechanics that keep things consistently interesting as you play through the main story and the optional side content. It’s also one of Compile Heart’s better balanced games to date, featuring a smooth incline in challenge factor rather than sudden, unexpected spikes.

Let’s take a closer look at how it all works.

Continue reading Death end re;Quest: The Art of Fighting

New Game Plus: Ghosts Don’t Have Feet

It’s time for our weekly visit to the kingdom of Arland, as our New Game Plus runthrough of Atelier Rorona DX on Nintendo Switch continues!

We’re well into the game’s second year now, and all sorts of interesting things are happening. Rorona is still devastatingly overpowered, however; can no-one provide her with a decent fight? She’s the Lu Bu of the Atelier world at this point.

Hit the jump to see how today’s crafting, gathering and Puni-splattering went.

Continue reading New Game Plus: Ghosts Don’t Have Feet

SNK Essentials: Vanguard

As you may have noticed already, early-days pre-Neo Geo SNK is a real treasure trove of classic shoot ’em ups. And few come more classic than Vanguard.

First released in 1981, Vanguard was another game of “firsts” for the fledgling SNK. It was not, as some sources claim, SNK’s first colour game — Sasuke vs. Commander predates it by a year — but it was their first to incorporate something that would become a mainstay of their later titles, including Bermuda Triangle and World Warsmulti-directional shooting, independent of movement direction.

It also featured some delightful synthesised speech and gratuitously, shamelessly stolen music. And it’s a lot of fun to boot. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading SNK Essentials: Vanguard

Atari ST A to Z: Zombi

One of the most interesting things about looking back over really old games is reminding yourself just how long certain companies have been around.

Today’s Atari ST game, Zombi, was actually Ubi Soft’s first ever game in its original Amstrad CPC incarnation. The ST version followed a little while later, but it was still early days for this up-and-coming French publisher at the time.

As for the game itself? It’s a first-person action adventure that gives you very little feedback on the actions you take, making it rather hard to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, even if you’ve read the woefully inadequate manual! Cool music, though…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Waifu Wednesday: Shina Ninomiya

One of the more interesting things about Death end re;Quest, as we’ll discuss in more depth when we talk about its story in detail, is its dual-perspective narrative.

The “real world” unfolds from the perspective of main male protagonist Arata Mizunashi, while the “game” side of things is the domain of trapped director and lead heroine Shina Ninomiya, who initially has absolutely no recollection of how she found herself in a virtual reality game so realistic it’s difficult to distinguish from “reality”.

Shina is an excellent lead for the “in-game” side of things, for reasons that will become apparent shortly. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Shina Ninomiya

Warriors Wednesday: Not Just a Woman

Having soundly kicked Orochi’s behind into next week with both the Samurai and Wu forces, it’s now the turn of Shu to suffer under my command as we once again take on Crazy Snake Guy.

All of the various forces in Warriors Orochi start in a fairly desperate situation of one form or another, but Shu seems to have it worse than most. Still, all is not as it seems in this strange other dimension, and a true warrior never gives up!

Hit the jump to see the beginning of a whole new quest…

Continue reading Warriors Wednesday: Not Just a Woman

SNK Essentials: Sasuke vs. Commander

Ozma Wars isn’t the only very early SNK title to feature in the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection — we also have an unusual fixed shooter from a year later: Sasuke vs. Commander.

Like Ozma Wars before it, Sasuke vs. Commander is another game of possible “firsts” in gaming — and also a game that doesn’t get much acknowledgement today, thanks to a lack of home ports until it got a PlayStation minis release for PS3, PSP and Vita in 2011.

SASUKE READ ON FOR LEARN MORE. YES  SHOGUN.

Continue reading SNK Essentials: Sasuke vs. Commander