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Dengeki Rankings I Advent Children Image Song and Box Art I Harvest Moon Coming to PSP I Monster Kingdom Also Headed to PSP I Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 18 I New Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou Details and Corrections I Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus Beta Delayed I Hori Making Metal Slime Controller Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Typhoon September 5, 2005


Konnichiwa

Last week I was quite happy to be back to writing Japandemonium, and this week I am even happier. The previous week was not such a happy one for many people, so the fact that I have house with internet with which to write does make me happy and thankful. My heart goes out to all the people that lost their homes and belongings due to Hurricane Katrina, and while it does look pretty bad for those people, they are the lucky ones that survived. But now those people need our help to put the pieces of their broken lives back together, so I urge everyone that can spare even a little to donate to the charity of their choice. Even a few bucks can help one person. And think about if we ALL gave just a few dollars. Considering the millions of people in North America, even just one dollar each works out to be a very impressive sum.

As for gaming news, I finally finished Makai Kingdom. On the whole, I like the mechanics a lot, and the story is pretty spiffy too. But the story is just not as amusing as Disgaea's. That's not to say that it's not a great game. It definitely was fun and addictive, but the ability to move the invite point is so helpful that it almost ruins the game. I realized that I could skip so much of the last boss fight, and that took away all the challenge. Not that the last boss would have put up much of a challenge after I took out some of the hidden bosses, but that's beside the point. The ending was OK, but I felt the whole thing hit its climax around Chapter 7 or 8. The story went downhill from there when I was hoping it would get even better. All in all, it's definitely more than a rent, but don't expect more than previous NIS titles.

Other than that, I don't have a lot of news, so I'll talk a bit about what a typhoon is. Essentially, it is the same type of storm Americans call a hurricane except that it forms in the Pacific Ocean and spins clockwise. They form more often then hurricanes and can be just as dangerous. Currently, Typhoon Nida is making landfall in Japan, but the naming convention is merely Western. The Japanese do not name typhoons; instead, they choose to number them. I experienced four typhoons last year, and September is the month where most typhoons strike. The word itself is derived from 'Big Wind.'

That said, I'll mention that typhoons are among the reasons I wish I had a car. It's a total bummer going to work on a bicycle in the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane. It IS quite exhilarating though. So, let's get this stormy party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

If last week was a great week on the charts, that'd make this week super great. Not only were there more games on the chart than last week, the top spot went to a new RPG. In fact, I believe a chart with 14 RPGs is a record. That fact makes me a happy gamer.

Let's see all those record-setting numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Tales of Legendia Namco
2 Gundam SEED Destiny Generation of C.E. Bandai
9 Mushiking: Battle of the Beetles Sega
13 Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Nintendo
17 Breath of Fire III Capcom
18 Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 Banpresto
20 Twelve ~Sengoku Fuushinden~ Konami
22 Grandia III Banpresto
28 Lunar -Genesis- Marvelous Entertainment
29 Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 18: Dragon Force Sega
33 Naruto RPG 2 Tomy
36 Summon Night EX Thesis Banpresto
41 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
43 Boktai 3 Konami


Source: Dengeki Online



 Advent Children Image Song and Box Art
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

With the Japanese release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children nearing, Square Enix has released some more information about the highly-anticipated movie. Among the information is the image song for the movie. Surprisingly, the image song is not a new cutting-age J-Pop song. Instead, they opted for a much older song, "Calling," by Himuro Kyosuke that was originally released in 1989 on the album "Neo Fascio." Fans wishing to hear this song will be glad to know that the song will be included on the upcoming soundtrack CD for the movie, something that will save many a fan from having to search local music stores for the somewhat vintage original album.

When asked about the decision, director Tetsuya Nomura said that the music has an impact on his work, and he feels that "Calling" conveys the message he wants for Advent Children..

The soundtrack will be released on September 28, exactly two weeks after the DVD and UMD release of the movie.

In other news, the box art for all the versions have also been revealed. For those wishing to import, the DVD and UMD versions will retail for 4800 yen, the standard price for a DVD in Japan. The limited edition boxed set will retail for 29,500 yen and features a long list of goodies.




Sources: Famitsu




 Harvest Moon Coming to PSP
Harvest Moon

On November 23, Marvelous Entertainment will release Harvest Moon Bokujou Monogatari on the PSP. The game is actually a port of the boy and girl versions of the Harvest Moon games for the PS1. There appears to be no visual enhancements to the game other than a frame of grass that goes around the screen to serve as the adaption to the handheld's wide screen aspect ratio. The game will carry the full regular price for a new PSP game of 5040 yen when the game is released.

Sources: GameFront I IGN



 Monster Kingdom Also Headed to PSP

From Gaia, the creator of the Shin Megami Tensei series, comes Monster Kingdom: Jewel for the PSP. This is the third installment of the Monster Rancher series.

The game is a fantasy RPG that focuses on monster collection and battling. The hero, Vyse, is a Jewel Summoner that can summon monsters that have been changed into jewel form. There will be over 100 monsters in the game, but those are the only details available at this time.


Source: Famitsu



 Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 18
Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis

The newest chapter of the ongoing Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis is now available for download. This new update has several new features like the ability to capture Chocobos that can be used for Chocobo Races in the Golden Saucer. Players can also transform into a chocobo by using transformation materia. Also making an appearance is Red XIII, but at this time he still goes by the name Nanaki.

The story this time around follows the protagonist's destruction of the Corel Mako Reactor as it is being built. He gets trapped in the lowest level and faints before being able to escape. He awakens 3 years later in a hospital bed to find that two new members have joined the Turks.

Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis became available for download on August 31 for the standard price of 525 yen and is available on the DoCoMo 900i and 901i series cellular phones.






Source: Gamesite EG



 New Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou Details and Corrections
Atlus

Some new details have come to light from the latest issue of Famitsu on Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raidou. For instance, I reported last week that the main character takes his name from the title, but according to Atlus, this is not the case. Kuzunoha Raidou is an alias used by each new head of the Kuzunoha clan, and a name that must be earned. In fact, the name of the main character is up to the player; it will be entered at the start of the game. Then players must go through a series of trials to prove themselves worthy to become the 14th person to be called "Kuzunoha Raidou."

After the trials, it seems that the name is not the only prize; players will also be rewarded with a black cat named Gouto for a companion. But looks can be deceiving; it is no ordinary black cat. Gouto is able to speak and is a virtual encyclopedia of demonic knowledge. His assistance will provide plenty of help for Raidou.

But that's not all. Also announced is the existence of the "Gouma-den" and their leader Victor, a man that appears to be a stereotypical mad scientist. It seems that the Gouma-den has been around since previous Devil Summoner games, and so has Victor. But in those days, he looked more like a pirate captain. He'll be the man to go to if Raidou wants to heal or fuse demons.

Tune to RPGamer for continuing coverage of this game.



Source: Famitsu



 Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus Beta Delayed
Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus

The upcoming Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus was set to have its beta of the death match mode begin on September 1, but they decided to postpone it. Square Enix says the delay is for some "final last minute tuning that we've decided needs to be done."

No date has been set for the beta now, which is leading people to believe that it could be a while before we find out if Square Enix's first attempt at multiplayer death match can compete with other well-established games. Until then, we'll have to wait and see.

No mention was made whether or not this would affect the release date of the game in either Japan or North America, but you can be sure we'll have the information if such an announcement is made.


Source: Famitsu



 Hori Making Metal Slime Controller
Dragon Quest VIII

After the release of the Slime Controller at the Japanese launch of Dragon Quest VIII, Hori has decided to make another for their Japanese consumers. This time, the subject is the Metal Slime. Reports vary on how comfortable the controller is, but everyone seems to agree that it IS really really cool. The controller will go on sale this winter, but those going to the Tokyo Game Show can buy one a few weeks early.




Sources: 1up



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week I have another small batch of letters, but they are good ones. I love having lots of letters, but I won't deny that only having a few is more manageable. I take as many letters as I can get though.

Also, due to some problems with media in this column, I'm going to have to postpone the Japanese lesson one more week. I'll try to make it up to you guys next time.

That said, let's get started!



Skateboards?


Hey, do you know if anyone skateboards in Japan? 'Cause I'd rather not have to quit if I want to teach english over there.

Thanks.

Scott


Sensei

You know, I've never seen one, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. That just means that they don't exist in Niihama. If you really want to skate, bring your board with you. You could also ship it. I've shipped over some heavier stuff than a skateboard. There's no reason you can't enjoy the things you like here, even if you can't get them easily. And who knows? Maybe in Tokyo there is a big skateboarding sub-culture.

I say bring your own board and show Japan whatcha got! Thanks for emailing, and don't let it stop you if you really want to go.


The Great American Novel?

I really love the RPGamer site. I've found it to cover a lot I can't find at my other usual source for game news. And your artwork displays for games is nice too. Anyways, I e-mailed to talk about two things. For one thing, I was very disappointed in the review given by Simon Seamann for Phantom Brave. The problem is, I think what everyone wanted was another Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (not Simon, but most people who reviewed the game). However, although most Nippon Ichi games are similar, it's a bad idea to count on one to meet up to Disgaea. I believe that Phantom Brave was, similar to most other games, designed to appeal to another group of gamers. If they'd wanted it to be the same sort of "horse's wiener" game, they sure wouldn't have even needed Castille in it. Plus, if you want to go to its defense as a non-kiddy game, there's the mid-boss of Sulfur with exposed bones and oozing blood, not to mention the fact that there's alcoholic beverages in the game. Also, everyone has to bring up the circle movement system. I assure you, slippery and bouncy floors were probably put in for challenge. They are little hindrance once you get used to them (try to laugh off irritating incorrectable mistakes, for remember, challenge!) and, unless your my extra-picky younger brother, there's no reason you need to retry over and over again to get a fine result. You've just got to accept the irritating O.B. feature as another to make the game more challenging. Plus, there is nothing at all about the game's most redeaming quality: the ability to use anything as a dangerous weapon! You could wield trees, fish, and limitless other possibilities. Phantom Brave was the first I've know to do so, and it deserves at least to bring up battle system to at least 3, although it was obviously reflected in originality. I know I'm being harsh, but it's just that so many people review Phantom Brave negatively.

Also Sensei, I wanted to ask, is there any reassurance to be found in your extensive Namco x Capcom coverage? I just wanted to know whether or not to lay down my hopes and fantasies. T_T

Anyways, I'm not sure exactly what my chances for getting published on your site are, but please consider! I've always wanted to see my message on a site!... Am I supposed to ask Andrew about games?

-Joshua H., or AimMan v2.5

P.S. Carrot Men are the bomb!


Sensei

Wow... the bulk of this letter is a very long response to a review to a game I've never played. I don't know what to say, since you kinda said plenty already.

As for Namco X Capcom, I'm going to say that it's not coming to the US. I know I've been wrong before; I never even DREAMED Kawanushi: A Wonderful Journey would come to America considering it's a fishing RPG. But there are a few games that we didn't get. I'm not so sure they would release a game with characters that Americans won't know. Granted, the Japanese might not know every character, but they can at least play the games if they want. But the real nail in the coffin is not seeing it at E3. Don't hold your breath for this one.

Thanks for the email!

P.S. Carrot Men ARE cool, but their stats are worthless. The EXP/Mana +80% is great for future leveling, but they get no decent bonuses to anything else. My 5th tier Berserkers would slaughter Carrot Men that were as much as 1.5 times their level.


Gotta Get a Shot?


Hi! I'm am hoping to visit Japan next year for around two weeks. I've never been out of the country before, so I'm curious if traveling to Japan requires anything like vaccines or other precautions? Thanks!

--Teresa


Sensei

Assuming you've had all your regular immunizations, you should be OK. There is Japanese Encephalitis, but that is very very rare. I think hospitals only suggest it because it's REALLY expensive. I've lived here for over a year, and I've been in big cities and I didn't get it. Nor have I heard of anyone ever getting it. Go and enjoy your time in Japan. You'll be OK.

Thanks for writing!



 Sayonara

Another column finished. It amazes me how quickly a week goes by. It seems like time goes at a standstill when I'm working sometimes. But at others, I feel like I blink, and six days pass me by. I'll never understand the flow of time. Just one of these days, I'd like time to go slow when I'm doing something fun and go fast when I'm doing something boring.

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "Rain Rain, Go Away!" Jackson




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