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Beauty and the Best

RetroCopy Review

I consider myself a bon vivant of obscure entertainment.  One of those areas includes classic gaming alternative to the NES.  I never owned one, so growing up, the video game systems I indulged in were Atari 2600 and 7800, ColecoVision, and Sega Genesis, CD,  and Master Systems.  Now, if you want to play classic games, there is an alternative:  emulators.  Many people all over the world use emulators to play ROMs of old games that they bought in the past on consoles, but on their computers.  I have used many emulators, but was recently blown away by the most feature rich emulator I have seen so far:  RetroCopy.

Before going into the details and features of RetroCopy, I would just like to inform and remind everyone that emulators and ROMs are to be used for backup purposes with games already purchased lawfully.  It is illegal to download and use emulators and ROMs for any other play.  All Good Things TV, Otaku no Baka, and RetroCopy do not endorse or promote any illegal activities.  Information given in this review is given for the purposes of lawful entertainment.

Using RetroCopy allows you to bypass many problems in trying to find an old system to play your favourite games.  You don't have to re-spend time and money finding discontinued hardware, or adapters to play them on new-fangled televisions and monitors.  RetroCopy allows you to play your old games in clarity unseen before, on a high definition computer monitor or LED/plasma television.    While this is true about all other emulators, RetroCopy shines as superior because it does not just play one format of game, or even just one family of games like the best of emulators.  It plays multiple formats and families!

RetroCopy plays ROMs for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive, Master System,
Game Gear,  and SG-1000 systems.  RetroCopy  plays ROMs for the NES, and will emulate Super NES/Famicon games in the future.  RetroCopy also plays arcade systems under the Sega 1, 2, and E architectures, and 1942.    

While the formats of ROMs and media it plays are impressive, RetroCopy also has some bells and whistles unavailable anywhere.  RetroCopy fully supports 3D gaming.  It has 3D engines to support both 3D graphics and sound.  RetroCopy plays video and audio in all of the popular formats, including DVD,
VCD, and Mpeg Families.  RetroCopy has a logue in feature that updates your online RetroCopy account (should you choose to make one) on the games you play and time played.  Also, once you do make an account, you are able to write reviews on ROMs and even offer hints for other members in its game database.  RetroCopy also has a "rewind" feature that allows you back the game up if you make a mistake, and try again!  Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to create your own fully interactive and customizable virtual arcade and living room! 

How interactive and customizable is the arcade/living room?  RetroCopy allows you to have upright arcade machines as well as old 50's television sets to walk up and play your games on.  It allows you to make floors of rooms, adjust furniture, and even has gaming posters that you can decorate with.  Lighting and physics of the rooms are realistic.  Retrocopy also allows you to select the quality of lighting and textures in your virtual rooms based on your computer's performance.

I had to the privilege to talk to Tommy Kvarsvik,
beta tester, game database editor, and star supporter, about the future of RetroCopy.  This is the information he shared.  The enigmatic creator, known only as "Ralph," is currently working on a very big and secretive project that is taking his lion's share of time.  All remaining effort is being put into beta testing RetroCopy 1.0 (The current version is .960.) which can only emulate SMS, and reintroducing all previous emulation compatibility, upon perfection.  Only then will new system compatibility be added.  So far SNES and Neo Geo would probably be the first and easiest, followed by Gameboy.  However, because of the secret project and 1.0 beta testing, any new system additions will not be made in the near future.  What is the most impressive plain for the future:  How about online competitive play!!?

Other emulators that I thought deserved a mention include
Kega Fusion, bsnes, and the prodigious Mednafen (It emulates 15 console systems!) .

Well, what do you think?  Have any of you used emulators?   Are you going to try any?  Tell us how you liked the review and what you think of RetroCopy when you try it, and remember to cheque up with us here at All Good Things TV for the best in entertainment news!
HERETICPRIME of Otaku no Baka

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The Last Story for Nintendo Wii Review

A big congratulations to weeaboos everywhere, Operation Rainfall has been a complete success! After its large public petition to have three critically acclaimed Japanese Role Playing Games published stateside for the Nintendo Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles was released a little under a year ago, Pandora's Tower will be released this spring and smack dab in the middle was the third game, called The Last Story. And I'll just get this out of the way now, this is the first time I can say I've liked a true JRPG in five years. (The last one being Opoona, oh and don't worry I'll get to that one too eventually).

So what makes this one any different than the dozens of JRPGs released in between? First, let me tell you what usually defines this genre. JRPGs grew out of Japanese developers during the 1980s who wanted to make their own versions of western developed PC Role Plating Games such as Ultima or Wizardry but make them more accessible for casual players and more streamlined for console owners.

Some of the ways in which they did this was by automating the stats, automating the random number generation etc as well as making the stories and progression much more linear for players to follow more easily. 
Enix's Dragon Quest (known as Dragon Warrior in the west) was the original title released to adopt this formula. It proved to be so wildly popular that other companies began creating their own games modeled after its style. One of these companies was a struggling little studio known as Squaresoft who tasked their employee Hironobu Sakaguchi with making one more game before the company went bankrupt. They decided that it would be a role playing game and that game was to be called Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy proved to be the savior of the company, a company which exists still to this day, merged with the one that inspired them, and today Final Fantasy is one
Square-Enix and gaming as a whole's biggest franchises. Sakaguchi is no longer with that company however, he went out on his own to develop his own game with a similar title. Have you guessed what it is yet? That's right, it was The Last Story.

Now those who know me, know that I don't think much of the latest installments of Final Fantasy. In my opinion they are cliched, melodramatic and self important. So why would I then choose to play and talk about a game made by its creator? It's because The Last Story is, aside from its name, not much like Final Fantasy at all. The first way this is apparent is in the story of uh, The Last Story. It's comparatively very small. There's no war for ancient technology or having nature itself hanging in the balance, it all revolves around a group of mercenaries making their way in one city and I like that.

It makes for a much more intimate experience where I was able to grow more attached to the characters and setting. None of them are emo douches like most other JRPGs, they're actually all very likable. This is helped by the excellent localization originally made for its European release, meaning that the characters all have varied accents from around the British Isles. They're all voiced well which is still something to be appreciated in 2013 and the dialogue is translated very naturally. For a genre which is so rooted in its narrative, you would be surprised how often JRPGs fail to deliver a fresh scenarios with relatable casts.

Also the gameplay distinguishes itself from other JRPGs in that it is neither turn-based nor active in the style of
MMORPGs. By default, it is set to the latter but I prefer directly controlling my character which makes the game play more like a hack & slash brawler with RPG elements. It has unique mechanics involving strategy, cover mechanics, party management etc along with the usual RPG mainstays of customizing your characters with armor, weapons & other equipment. In between dungeon areas, you explore the city accepting side-quests, finding/trading/buying/selling items, talking to NPCs and other little surprises I don't want to spoil here.

Accompanying all this is an excellent soundtrack by Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu who has created some of gaming's most iconic scores. The music is fitting and varies from setting to scenario and is all appropriate for its semi medieval backdrop. But I know the question you're all asking is "How does it look?" Well, the answer is, quite good in fact. Yes it's on the Nintendo Wii which is comparatively weaker than other consoles this generation but it has particle effected lighting, detailed textures, giant enemies, really it's one of the best looking games for the system and could easily be mistaken for an early Xbox 360 game.

So should you play The Last Story? Yes. If you're someone like myself who used to like JRPGs but moved away from them because they all began to feel the same then yes. If you're someone who likes fantasy adventures regardless of where they're from then yes. If you're someone who just has a couple dozen hours to kill before winter ends then yes. Play The Last Story. Luckily, it recently received a reprint and price cut from its publisher 
XSEED so it should be easy to find wherever games are sold, more affordably than ever.

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Ninja Gaiden SMS Review


That's right, Ninja Gaiden for the SEGA Master System. Many of you may not have known this version existed or even what a Master System is and that's because it was a much more popular system in Europe so as such that's where this game was originally released. The good news however is that the Master System has no region lockout so games that were produced in Europe, Asia and even South America up until the late 1990s are all playable on any unit.

As for what the Master System is, it was SEGA's competing platform against Nintendo's NES and like many others at the time, it didn't do well here because of Nintendo of America's illegal practices in the late 1980s. These practices prevented other hardware manufacturers from getting third party support like that from Tecmo who gave Nintendo its well known Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Tecmo instead gave SEGA the rights to produce their own Ninja Gaiden game in-house that later released in 1992. That version is not a port of the NES games either, it is its own stand alone title. And this is what I am talking about today.

Then how does it stack up against its more popular installments? Well firstly, the Master System's audio chipset is very basic so can't easily create the square wave forms which gives NES music its slight amount of reverberation. Basically this means NES music is generally less shrill so more pleasant to the ears. That being said however, Ninja Gaiden for the Master System has a kicking soundtrack anyway. It's catchy, varied and energetic and because of that, you're always ready to have another try after losing a life.

And while the audio hardware may be subjectively weaker than that of the NES, the Master System's graphical capabilities are far superior. Ninja Gaiden shows that fairly well with rich colors and a frenetic pace that is night and day when compared to its Nintendo based counterparts. This is important because a game like Ninja Gaiden involves crack reflexes and timing when jumping from platform to platform so it's very good that I experienced no flickering or slowdown during my play through either.

Neither is it hampered by crippling controls. Like other 8-bit Ninja Gaiden games you may have played, this one involves running, jumping from platforms or walls and slashing your way through to a boss fight and next level until completion. It all feels great. You can also pick up a variety of special items along the way to make your journey easier such as shields, bombs, projectiles etc. which also helps because like all Ninja Gaiden games, this one can be very difficult.
It was a wise choice on the part of the developers to include unlimited continues or I may not have even seen the end for my review. That makes a tough game still a fair game and definitely a fun game when you throw good music, good art and tight controls into the mix as well. If you're interested in playing this game for yourself then it can be purchased on eBay. Amazon or through your local vintage gaming boutique. Unfortunately it is not yet available through any official digital download service but if it ever is, we here at will be on top of it.

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