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Gaming Import Overview for April 5, 2007

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Here’s the first in a (hopefully) regular series that details what’s going on overseas in gaming. All of the titles listed in this feature are based off information received mostly for video games in Japan or Europe.

This Crosses the Line
Fortunately for European players, though, they will be pleased to know they will be receiving a quality first-party title that marks the DS entry into a long-running Japanese series.

Recently, Nintendo announced it would be releasing Picross DS in Europe, making a U.S. release the only territory in question. Some players may remember the series’ only entry into the U.S., when the debut title, Mario’s Picross hit the Game Boy. Overseas in Japan, however, the series has enjoyed a much higher number of entries.

Picross puts players to the task of using lineups of numbers to fill in squares on a grid to reveal a picture. Each puzzle features a time limit with errors deducting from the time left to finish the puzzle. The title features 300 different puzzles that range from a five by five grid to massive 20 by 20 mind-busters.

The DS version allows players to create their own puzzles that can be used to challenge friends or uploaded to the Nintendo Wi-Fi service. A calendar mode throws a daily picross puzzle at players with results being charted to show a player’s logical progression over time. By participating in the mode, new game modes including no xs, error search and memory will be unlocked by players.

Even more unlockables include new skins, touch-screen mini games and more. The title will also allow for online multiplayer battles as well as local matches when the title hits shelves May 11.

Here’s hoping for a U.S. release of one of my favorite Game Boy titles.

OUENDAN!!!!
Along with Jump Super Stars, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! was the most-imported title for the Nintendo DS thanks to its unique and quirky game play.

The success brought the title to the U.S. in the totally re-made form of Elite Beat Agents and it’s no surprise that iNiS is back to the drawing board with an Osu! sequel: Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2. Yeah. That’s a mouthful. According to Keiichi Yano of iNiS, the new bits of the title translate to “Burn! Hot Rhythm Soul!”

Currently the title is still in development with a targeted release date sometime in 2007. Recently, a small number of screen captures were released, detailing a level that takes place in space and features one of the title’s new characters in an organization rivaling Ouendan. The screen captures feature Kikuchi, who is lead under the tutelage of the flowing blonde locks of Saionji.

As of right now, nothing has been noted whether or not a sequel of any form will be released in the United States, but the Ouendan! sequel has already had confirmation of a multiplayer mode for up to four players. Unfortunately for our friends in Europe, the original Elite Beat Agents has yet to hit DS systems, so news of a PAL sequel is even further down the road.

Given previews seen at this year’s Video Game Developer’s Conference, it appears the core game play has remained completely unchanged. For those who missed out on the original title, Ouendan (which translates as cheer squad) is a motivational group that responds to people in need. Players assist those in need by tapping on circles that appear onscreen in rhythm to a popular song played throughout the stage. Other inputs require players to slide spheres along a set track or spin a meter as fast as they can.

Also see Blogcritics’ review of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! for the Nintendo DS.

The Beat Goes On
Konami of Japan’s Web site reveals that two of its longest-running series are receiving even more sequel treatment.

A new batch of location tests have been posted to take place between April 6-10 for the unoriginally titled Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova 2 to be held once again in Japan. The title has traded in its hot red presentation for a brand new, cooler blue and purple interface. Among the completely obvious song updates, the title now features character portraits that slide in when a player reaches specific combo increments and N.G. ratings are now displayed during the results screen.

Konami will also be beta testing Guitar Freaks and Drummania V4, now subtitled RockXRock. Unlike the SuperNova 2 page, RockXRock’s official site doesn’t provide screen shots, so, at this time, it can’t be told what new additions will be made aside from songs.

Konami of Japan’s arcade gateway also recently received an official site for the upcoming Eternal Knights game as well as more information on testing for the company’s much-hyped Silent Hill cabinet.

Tomorrow’s Releases in Japan
Here’s all of the titles that will be releasing in Japan on April 5. Each title has a line indicating its likelihood of domestic release in the U.S., which is strictly the opinion of the author:

Kageyama Method – Dennou Hanpuku: Tadashii Kanji Kaki to Rikun
Nintendo DS – Published by Shogakukan
Looking at some screen shots of this title, I couldn’t gather much of what the concept was aside from arranging, or manipulating in some fashion, a load of kanji-inscripted tiles. Billed as an educational title, I would gather it aids in using Kanji in some fashion.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Meitantei Conan: Tantei Ryoku Trainer
Nintendo DS – Published by Bandai
Based off the popular Detective Conan, the series stars a young man proficient in soccer with the logic and deduction of a detective. However, one day, he is drugged with a substance that reverts him back to a little boy, but that doesn’t stop him from getting involved in solving crimes while he seeks the people responsible for his plight.

While not quite as popular in the United States, the series has received a short-lived anime run on Toonami, a published manga series and a collectable card game under the domesticated name Case Closed. While I couldn’t gather exactly what this specific title is about, it is yet another game this week billed under the educational genre. While I suppose this title has a shred of possibility of being released in the U.S., Trainer joins a list of nearly 20 titles based off the license, none of which have been released stateside.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Shin Sangoku Musou DS: Fighter’s Battle
Nintendo DS – Published by Koei
One of Koei’s many releases this week in Japan, Fighter’s Battle marks the series’ second entry onto the DS. In the United States, we know Shin Sangoku Musou as Dynasty Warriors and a U.S. release has already been confirmed for July. Expect more beat-‘em-up action than you can shake a stick with Koei’s classic mix of battlefield strategy and action.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Watashi no Happy Manner Book
Nintendo DS – Published by Taito
This title is translated to “My Happy Manner Book.” As the title suggests, this “game” is targeted toward females and totes a number of situations that promote proper manners and etiquette in social contexts or while conducting business. It seems unlikely this title would reach our shores, but something that teaches people manners could definitely find a use over here.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Harukanaru Toki no Kade 3: Izayoiki (Koei the Best)
Playstation 2 – Published by Koei
Aside from a packshot, I couldn’t find any information on this title aside from the fact it is a role-playing game. This particular release is a “greatest hits” reprint of the title released in 2005.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Naruto Shippuuden: Narutimate Accel
Playstation 2 – Published by Bandai-Namco Games
This breaks in as the fourth title in the series of Narutimate games for the Playstation 2 system. This is the same series as the United State’s Ultimate Ninja, which is only in its first installment with a sequel to hit in the third quarter. Accel is based on the Shippuuden anime series that details the second series of the Naruto manga. As long as the popularity of Naruto hangs on, it should be a given this title will be released once the U.S. finally catches up to this point in the series.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Neo Angelique (Koei the Best)
Playstation 2 – Published by Koei
RPG-themed title revolving around four male characters and a girl named Angelique. It appears there are relationship aspects to the game as Angelique serves up dinners and conversations to the adventurers. Part of Neoromance, the series has also spawned manga and anime adaptations. Released in 2006, this week’s release is a reprint of the title.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Nobunaga no Yabou: Soutensoku with Power-Up Kit (Koei the Best)
Playstation 2 – Published by Koei
Daikoukai Jidai IV: Rota Nova (Koei the Best)
Nobunaga no Yabou: Reppuuden with Power-Up Kit (Koei the Best)
San Goku Shi VII (Koei the Best)
PSP – Published by Koei
Four more titles billed for reprinting by Koei.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Pro Yakyuu Netsu Star 2007
Playstation 2 – Published by Namco
Star is a professional baseball title based on the Japanese sport.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Rakushou! Pachi-Slot Sengen 5: Rio Paradise
Playstation 2 – Published by Tecmo
A gambling title featuring trademark Tecmo T & A that even stretches over into a poster gamers can receive by pre-ordering the game. Every promotion I found online featured mostly the game’s main character in various outfits and poses, thus, game play details are scarce in my mind.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu Portable 2
PSP – Published by Konami
Based off Konami’s long-running baseball franchise featuring chibi-characters without legs or arms.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Kidou Senshi Gundam Seed: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable
PSP – Published by Bandai
Famitsu eats up yet another Gundam title that pits man inside mech in intergalactic warfare. After the rating it gave the Playstation 3 Gundam launch title, whether that means the game is bad or good is up in the air. Japan is nuts over Gundam; the U.S. – not as much. Gundam games have about a 50/50 shot of being printed in NTSC format.

Likelihood of domestic release:

Barnyard: Shuyaku wa Ore, Ushi
Nintendo Wii – Published by THQ
Based off of the animated movie and game already released in the U.S. Famitsu gave this title its lowest overall score of the week.

Likelihood of domestic release:

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About nestlekwik

  • http://www.thexbridge.com Jeff Harris

    Great article, but one little sidebar:

    Case Closed (nee Detective Conan) never aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block, but rather their Adult Swim block. If it was on Toonami, it’d probably still be on the air today on CN.