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.

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Life on the Light Side

 

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It’s interesting how seeing the same events unfold from a different perspective can provide an alternative spin on things.

This is most certainly the case with Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy. Because although male protagonist Raze lives through the exact same bizarrely eventful school year as his counterpart Ulrika, the company he keeps and the context in which he experiences those events makes for a markedly different playthrough.

So, if you were wondering if you should indulge in the game’s excellent New Game Plus mode in order to experience the second protagonist’s story after clearing the first, the answer is a definitive “yes”. Let’s take a closer look at Raze’s route — and the “Extra” scenario that unlocks after you beat both playthroughs.

Continue reading Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Life on the Light Side

Atari A to Z Flashback: Maze Craze

If you’ve ever called your local bobby to come and sort out some youths in your neck of the woods, only for them to turn up four hours later well after they were actually needed, Maze Craze may provide some explanation.

Apparently coppers like nothing more than getting lost inside randomly generated city blocks with varying degrees of invisibility, desperate to make their way to the exit on the eastern edge of the district before the robbers they’re supposed to be catching actually catch them instead.

Okay, Maze Craze doesn’t make a ton of sense, but since when has that mattered for Atari 2600 games? Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Final Fantasy Marathon: Aria of Sorrow – Final Fantasy III #9

After making it to “the surface world”, only to discover the whole thing appears to be a seething miasma of darkness, the Warriors of Light set out to figure out what’s really going on.

Before long, they encounter the mysterious Aria, who seems to understand the situation, and she agrees to help them. The crystal’s light, it seems, can purify the land of darkness… but there are those who seek to oppose the light at all costs!

Enjoy the latest episode in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Nurse Love Addiction: Living in the Here and Nao

We’re going to spend a few articles exploring and dissecting the visual novel Nurse Love Addiction by Kogado Studio. There will, of course, be major spoilers ahead.

You might think you know what you’re getting with a pastel-coloured visual novel called Nurse Love Addiction that depicts five pretty nurses getting along swimmingly with one another on its cover art. And you might even be partially right; this is a visual novel with an all-female cast of (trainee) nurses and multiple narrative routes, promising potential romantic entanglements with all of the main heroines.

It’s so much more than that, though. And that’s what we’re going to delve into from today.

Continue reading Nurse Love Addiction: Living in the Here and Nao

Atari ST A to Z: Shufflepuck Cafe

Hitting a thing back and forth across a playfield in an attempt to get it past your opponent is a fundamental of gaming — after all, Pong is one of the original video games!

It’s interesting to see the numerous twists that there have been on the formula over the years, though. One of the most beautifully presented is Broderbund’s Shufflepuck Café, a game that sees you descending the smoky stairs into a sci-fi cantina in the hopes of reaching a telephone. But between you and that phone are some of the meanest Shufflepuckers in the galaxy — and they want to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Atari A to Z

Waifu Wednesday: Whim

Who doesn’t love a good maid? Everyone loves a good maid. And the only thing that can make a good maid even better is if she’s 1) a bit cheeky and 2) a manifestation of spiritual, elemental energy in service of the resident ojou-sama.

Well, okay, there are other things that can make a good maid even better, but if we get into that we’ll be here all day. So for the sake of today’s celebration of awesome female characters in gaming, let’s assume all of the above is true, and let me introduce you to Whim.

Whim is an water-attuned Mana who serves Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy’s resident lovestruck princess, Lilianne “Lily” Valendorf, and forms part of the main cast of playable characters in male protagonist Raze’s route. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Whim

short;Play: Test Drive Unlimited

I latched on to the Test Drive series pretty early in my life, because it allowed child-Pete the opportunity to pretend that he was driving a real car. This is something that child-Pete was very excited about.

The series has experimented with a variety of different structures and formats over the years, but it finally became what child-Pete (and adult-Pete) always wanted it to be with the advent of 2006’s Test Drive Unlimited, released for PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and PSP.

Check out the Xbox 360 version in action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just feel that modern video games are a touch on the easy and/or fair side for you, it’s high time you checked out Will Harvey’s classic 1990 title, The Immortal.

As it happens, at the time of writing it’s just become easily accessible in not one, but two different places: you can now play the NES version as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and the Mega Drive version appears as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

It’s the latter version we’ll be focusing on today, but expect similar amounts of death in both. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mortal.

Continue reading The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

Atari A to Z: Yogi’s Great Escape

Yogi Bear is, it is said, smarter than the average bear. He was certainly smart enough to find himself in several licensed games for a variety of home computer platforms in the early ’90s.

Here’s the Atari 8-bit version of Yogi’s Great Escape, a platform game that we’ve previously seen on the Atari ST A to Z series already. While technically inferior, the 8-bit version actually plays quite a bit better, with tight controls and clear mechanics that make it surprisingly enjoyable to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Around the Network

Hello friends, and welcome to another week of battling off the Deadly Virus by sitting around at home playing video games.

I’m a little late on this again, I know, but I had a busy weekend — Saturday was taken up with socialisation (well, to a mild degree — my wife had some friends over and I occasionally slipped out to say hello and eat barbecue between Castlevania sessions) and Sunday was all video-making. It’s all done and dusted now, though, leaving me free to 1) finish Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy and 2) write!

So, with that in mind, let’s take a moment to see what you might have missed in the last week or so.

Continue reading Around the Network