Thursday, December 22, 2005

Valkyrie Profile redux

A port of the PSOne Valkyrie Profile heading to PSP and the sequel is in development for PS2, both are Japan only for now.

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I really love the art in the game and have the original PlayStation game and this awesome two volume art and game guide book. Never got around to play it though, so I might hold out for the PSP. There will probably be something extra in it, plus it should look way sharper on the portable screen.

I’m hoping to get to a backlog of Costume posts I have on my desktop over the holiday break. I got a lot of mail asking about other good costume books, so look for more on that too.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fresh as Roses

Costumes are being revealed at a quicker clip now for Rumble Roses XX for the Xbox 360. I’m totally psyched for the game. The PS2 one was a bit shallow in spots, but the crazy story and very detailed character models won me over. It looks like there will be at least four costumes or should I say personalities per character.

I got a bargain copy of P.N.03 a little while ago and decided to give it a go. There’s not much variation in the suits other than different colors and powers, except for the Papillon suit, which is like half armor, half bikini. It’s hot looking, but you die if you take one hit so it’s only for the skilled perverts.

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Tekken 5/ Soul Calibur III figures
Figures are a great way to appreciate costumes (at least that’s what I tell myself) so I like to collect the more exceptional ones. Figures for Tekken 5 (Jan) and Soul Calibur III (Feb) are set for release in Japan next year. I’m not sure if they’re worth it for me yet, I have a large slate of 2006 toys on my want list already.
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Since we’re talking about figures, check this out to see an early birthday gift I received recently.

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I don’t have a lot of space or budget to get every figure I want, so I love getting figure model books. My favorite is Replicant, which comes out 3 to 4 times a year out of Japan. Very high quality photos and a great selection of figures, although it’s mostly of the female variety. It’s available from various online retailers or book stores like Kinokuniya which have outlets in the states

Monday, November 28, 2005

The gift of Evil

I recently picked up the from a local EB. Wow. I was eyeing a huge Japanese Biohazard book a little while ago that collected everything you could ever want to know about Resident Evil, but it was very expensive ($40+, even more since I would have to import it).

To my surprise, Brady Games went and translated the whole damn thing so I had to get it. Resident Evil Archives is a very reasonable $30 and it’s massive. The title should really be the Umbrella archives since it only covers RE material related to that storyline. That means no RE4. Still, almost everything else is in there and all really good stuff.

And of course, lots of great views of the character costumes. Even all the art from the scrapped RE 1.5. Sweet.

Makes quite a nice gift. I should have thought of that before I bought it. Could have gotten it from Santa.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Costume bargain and milestone reached

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I’m still playing Beat Down off and on. I decided to try and unlock the special clothes items you get by completing the game with certain requirements. I really, really wish it didn’t load so damn much, but it hasn’t stopped me from playing.

Beat Down recently saw a major price reduction to $20 at most outlets. At that price, you should definitely give it a chance. I mean, it’s the #3 selling game in Japan! Can you believe it? And they are paying 7140 yen, which is roughly $60 U.S. dollars.

Media Alert!
My two blogs have reached 100,000 in just under a year. Much better than I would have ever predicted.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Soul Musings

Maybe I’ve built up the Soul Calibur III experience in my head, so there’s bound to be a let down of sorts. The game is definitely great and I’m fairly satisfied with the costume elements of it. I guess the graphics Czar in me can’t help but be let down by the muted colors and so-so progressive scan quality. Tekken 5 had amazing 480p output, so I was a bit surprised this technological know-how was not shared between teams.

Why does that matter to a costume-centric blog? For one thing, you can’t see the details in the outfits as well as you can in the Xbox version of Soul Calibur II. That also had rather muted colors, but the sharp rendering showed off every little nuance.

I’m still having a good time with the game, especially since there are folks actively playing in the office. The two player action is, in my opinion, much improved from part two.

My vote for most improved outfit is for Sophitia. It’s odd that the top of her toga is see-through (revealing her cool armor bra), but the lower half is not. It would be very distracting if it were, and I’m not saying it should have been. Just thinking that the cloth must be magical or something.

I’m still unlocking the massive amount of costume options for the Create-a-character, so look for a future update with lots more screens. Shortly after the current onslaught of work I’m plowing through at the office.

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On a side note, I’m quite surprised by the latest trailer of Rumble Roses XX that hit the web recently. Mostly by Bloody Shadow’s new costume, which is um…very revealing. The small pic above is from the official site since I haven’t managed to take a screen from the movie itself. Just search around for it on the major sites and you’ll find it. Only the newest footage has Bloody Shadow so you can’t miss it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The night before Soul Calibur III, aka Tekken 5 revisisted.

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So, some stores will get in Soul Calibur III tomorrow. Obviously I want it very badly, but there are two tempting bargains floating around. The first is the annual Toys R Us buy 2 get 1 free sale. The problems with that are there’s no telling what day TRU will stock SCIII, and if they’ll have two other $50 games that I want on hand whenever they do get it in. The other bargain is Fry’s advertised price of $37.99, but they say it won’t be in stock till after 4PM Thursday. Ouch.

We’ll see how it shakes out, but I decided to revisit a few titles to get myself in the proper mental frame. First is Soul Calibur II. Still great although mysteriously maligned by some. The one I’m playing more is Tekken 5, as there are parallels I’ll be comparing. Like Tekken 5, SCIII supports progressive scan and widescreen visuals. The picture will probably be cropped, but it wasn’t that harsh in Tekken, so I’m optimistic for SC.

More importantly, let’s go over the costume selection for a small taste of what awaits us later this week:

Hands down, Asuka Kazama’s female Yakuza-style outfit was my favorite. It’s bold, multi-layered, and fits with her rough and tumble personality.

You could alter her second player costume to be a bit more wild too, which is neat.

It was super cool that one of the items you could buy was Armor King’s mask. It’s bitter sweet though, because it just reminds me how much I miss Armor King.

Heihachi sported some really snazzy costume tweaks too. None were sweeter than the eye-patch combo’d with the samurai hair cut.

Most disappointing was the rather limited ways to update Nina. The headband and sword are just okay. She really needed some crazy accessories or at least a third outfit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Costume game of the year?

In seven short days, Soul Calibur III will be in stores.

Let that sink in for a little bit.

For as long as I can remember, I was sure Soul Calibur III would be THE costume game event of the year. That may still come to be, but I’ll have to look back after this crazy holiday software dump and tally it up.

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One possible contender to the crown is Dead or Alive 4 for Xbox 360. DOA 3 didn’t have many costumes due to the rush to get released in the system launch window, so I’m cautiously optimistic about how many costumes we’ll see in 4.

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The other game is not a costume game at all, but what it features does impact my expectations for next generation clothes. Check out this video of NBA 2K6, the one called "First Trailer". Towards the end of the clip, you’ll see totally insane cloth animations. Wow. The jerseys flap around a little too much, but it’s sure cooler looking than the painted on outfits we’re used to seeing.

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Speaking of holiday shopping, I have a ridiculously large list of games that are being mulled over. Since a lot of them don’t involve costumery, I didn’t list them here with the now patented % of GET system. I’m working on something else in that vein though so hold tight.

I also have a back log of screenshots to games I’ve take and I’ll get to those as soon as I can too.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Nightshade redux

I am still at a loss at why I bothered to beat Nightshade the few more times required to unlock these extra costumes and character. The deed is done though, so enjoy the fruits of my labor.

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So the two pics above show off Hibana’s second unlockable outfit. I’m going to do something I rarely do and revise my earlier rating. It’s grown on me enough to bump it up one more point. So it now rates a 7 out of 10.

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Above is Hibana’s third unlockable costume. A sort of 70s throwback, high collar trench with slacks and accosutic guitar. It’s definitely different and the alternate guitar attack is neat. I say it’s a 6 out of 10.

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Hisui is the third unlockable character. Although her attacks are kind of fun, it was barely worth the trouble obtaining her. Her costume is just ugly, especially her goggles. It would not have been as bad if the in-game character wore the goggles on her head like the portrait. This is totally a 3 out of 10.

There is also a fourth unlockable character, the old school Shinobi Joe Musashi. I’m done with this game for a good long while so he’ll be forever locked away until the bug bites me again.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Old age is the new black

I was taken by surprise at the new images of Metal Gear 4 for PS3 that just hit the web, but the good vibes have sunk in really nice now. Aside from how great the visuals look, I’m quite excited about the much older Snake (or at least I think it’s Snake, haven’t read the details yet).

Snake reminds me of the old and craggy Batman from Dark Knight Returns. I can just imagine all the crazy game play gimmicks that could come into play like maybe the guards smell Ben Gay on him or something. Of course it’s ridiculous hoping for things that may not happen.

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It’s interesting how some game characters are allowed to age and others aren’t. Then again, how fun would a senile Mario who can no longer jump be. Wait a minute, the senile part would rock, just get the man an exoskeleton.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance

Beat Down has been getting roughed up in reviews and the slams are warranted for the most part. I’m about 2 hours into it and can confirm the voice acting is indeed terrible, game play is limited, and the PS2 version has horrendous load times. So it may come as a shock (or maybe not) when I say Beat Down could still end up being a must have for costume fans…when the price drops.

The concept, if executed better (and I mean a lot better), would have been great. Think Final Fight brawling action mixed with missions that are kind of like GTA, but far, far more linear. Beating up street hoods raises your police meter, so you need to change outfits to keep the heat off. Certainly a great excuse to try lots of new outfits.

At first, the clothing store has like 15 shirts/jackets/vest/bras, 12 pants/skirts/shorts, and 9 shoes/boots/sneakers (those numbers may not be exact). Everything can be bought in 6+ colors. I interrogated some thug and he told me the clothes store had new stuff. So odd that he would think that info would save him from a beat down. Anway, I head to the shop and there are like 10 new shirts, pants, etc. Awesome. Something in the thugs message indicated this was 1 of 7 clothes updates. There were some board messages that revealed the location of the six other thugs you need to find to unlock more updates. Very nice. .

Needless to say, matching outfit styles and colors then heading out to beat up gang members is pretty fun. Even so, I’m not sure if I’ll be motivated to play through Beat Down with all five characters.

Below are a few examples of what the game has to offer as modeled by Gina.

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The jacket and plaid skirt make her look like she’s going out for bowling night, but her gloves say she is going to take care of bidness.

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The open vest distracts horny thugs and the rugged camo pants offer decent leg protection from the abrasive street.

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I like Gina in suits because it makes her look like King from the Art of Fighting/King of Fighters series.

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This ensemble gives me Streets of Rage flashbacks. That’s a good thing. Any time you can match up a choker with gloves is good times.

This is just a really small taste of the variety possible. I haven't even found where the accessories store is yet. Look for another report on how Beat Down holds up as soon as I find time to get back to it.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Haunting Ground + Clock Tower 3 screen spectacular!

I captured some costume screens from Haunting Grounds with the intention of updating my previous review, but thought it might be more interesting if I presented them alongside the outfits in Clock Tower 3. Haunting Ground is the spiritual successor to Clock Tower 3, and it’s by mostly the same development team as far as I’ve been able to confirm. The similar approach to the types of costumes certainly bears that out.

I’ll start out with slightly revised text from the HG outfit review updated with pics and then dive right into the CT3 outfits.

Haunting Ground

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Main outfit - Fairly unique and loaded with intricate designs along the out edges of her top and dress. I'm a big fan of chokers and sharp looking boots.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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Alternate main outfit – The same as above except Fiona’s hair is down (fantastic), and she is barefoot (it doesn’t do anything for me).
Rating: 7 out of 10

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Surgical Gown – A short white smock with blood splatters. Hair is once again down and sans shoes. The disturbing elements of the outfit counteract any sex appeal.
Rating: 5 out of 10

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Texas Cowgirl – This is the outfit that had me playing a second time. At first glance, it may look as your run-of-the-mill sexy cowgirl outfit. Look closely at the detailed designs on her leather gloves, chaps, and boots as well as the textures on her hat. Someone worked really hard on everything she has on. On top of all that, her hair is down.
Rating: 10 out of 10

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Illegal in some states – Although this skimpy leather number also looks like it’s not some slapped together outfit, the overly titillating nature of it makes it hard to take seriously. Sure the Cowgirl outfit is sexy, but it strikes a better balance. Illegal is still fun, just not very inspired.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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Fiona the frog – Um, giant frog mascot suit. It’s neat for a laugh, but the killer panda suit from the Onimusha series is far cooler.
Rating: 5 out of 10

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Hewie/ Normal – What is there to say about Hewie’s normal coat. It’s nice.
Rating: 5 out of 10

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Hewie/ German Shepard – Nice variation, but again there’s not much to comment on.
Rating: 5 out of 10

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Hewie/ Stuffed Dog – Now we’re talking. I swear the game is so much funnier with a stuffed Hewie alongside you. Very cool and ultra cute at the same time.
Rating: 8 out of 10

Clock Tower 3

Making good-looking screen grabs for this older title was rather tough, so please excuse the rather bland color palette. Alyssa has five outfits: one default, four unlockables. It’s also fascinating to see how far the graphics have come in just two short years.

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Default School Uniform – Your standard school girl outfit. Nothing really special about it, but it looks nice enough.
Rating: 6 out of 10

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Toga – This is Alyssa’s costume from the end of the game. Very drab, I don’t like it very much.
Rating: 3 out of 10

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Roman Warrior – Not something you see everyday that’s for sure. I like the details in the armor although the jaggy graphics make it hard to fully appreciate.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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Cowgirl – It’s not fair to compare this to Fiona’s awesome outfit, but I’m going to anyway. Jeans, jacket, and a hat? So unoriginal. The attempt at sexiness with the exposed bra top is pathetic.
Rating: 2 out of 10

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Leather Queen – It’s not that I don’t like the leather, it’s just that it doesn’t look right on Alyssa. I don’t mean that Alyssa is too innocent, because you’re never too innocent for some leather. The fit is wrong and unflattering.
Rating: 3 out of 10

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Costume Update: Nightshade

Seemingly out of nowhere I decided to beat Nightshade. You heard me, Nightshade. The pseudo-sequel to the PlayStation 2 Shinobi, but featuring hot ninja lady action. I’ve always been a big fan of the main character Hibana’s outfit, but never seriously sat down with the game until this past weekend. The platform jumping gets ridiculous in the later levels and I almost quit on several occasions. Somehow I managed to stick with it and beat the damn thing. It’s challenging and fun, but flawed in many ways. Slight spoiler: It may sadden you to find out there’s never any mention why the game is called Nightshade.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know there were extra outfits to unlock. That’s how cool I thought her main ninja suit was. After checking faq sites, I learned Hibana has three outfits and the other three unlockable characters have at least one extra costume each. I beat the game on Normal, which gave me access to Hotsuma (the main character from Shinobi) and Hibana’s second outfit.

There’s surprisingly little info about what the other extra outfits looks like from the fan community. That’s not shocking considering the level of determination it takes to finish Nightshade once, let alone five or six times.

So, here are some thoughts on the costumes I’ve unlocked:

Hibana, main outfit – A stunner. Very sexy, but still quite functional. Armor and spiked pads protect key areas. Some sections are exposed, but it has to be that way to allow Hibana to pull off super fast maneuvers unhindered.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Hibana, second outfit – For those who thought her ninja gear covered up too much skin, this small top and short skirt/pants with floral pattern reveals a lot more. I like seeing her face with hair flowing in the wind, but something about this costume isn’t doing it for me.
Rating: 6 out of 10

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Hotsuma, main outfit – I love this outfit almost as much as Hibana’s. Exactly what I want a futuristic ninja to look like. Sleek, mysterious, and undoubtedly deadly.
Rating: 9 out of 10

Hopefully, I’ll get back to unlocking more costumes. To be continued…

Friday, August 26, 2005

Soulful costumes

There are some nice new pics of Soul Calibur III here. Along with portraits of returning characters (check out Talim’s new look), there are a host of custom costume characters. Man, it’s really a shame this game isn’t online.
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I like how the SC team tweak different elements of the costumes, but manage to maintain the "feel" of the character wearing it. This outfit is very Seung Mina.

No play for cosplay
One of the questions I get in emails (maybe it's too embarrassing to ask in the public comments section) is why I won’t cover cosplay. Well, I have nothing against it. In fact, really great cosplay is awesome. At best, it looks like a game character has come to life (see Warcraft pic below). At worst…well, it’s usually a large man dressed as Sailor Moon. In the middle, which is the majority, are costumes of varying degrees of competence worn by a diverse cross section of fans.

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I admire that fan spirit, and given the right situation, I don’t deny there’s some part of me that could easily succumb to costume wearing if the moons were to align just so. BUT, I feel that only showing the best cosplay would not be representative of that world as a whole. It’s something fun for mainly diehard fans to do, so the overall quality is not something that gets a costume enthusiast like me excited.

For now, the closest I’ll get to showcasing cosplay is something like Sienna Guilory playing the part of Jill Valentine.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Costume Game Mega Preview!

There’s quite a lot of games I’ve been keeping an eye on, but for now, let's concentrate on titles coming to stores between next week (August 22nd) and the end of September. The % of GET! indicates how likely I am to buy the game.

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Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance
It’s from Capcom and it’s like Final Fight in 3D. You might be thinking, isn’t there an actual Final Fight in 3D coming soon from Capcom? The answer is yes, yes there is, and no, I don’t know why they have this somewhat generic looking one coming out too. Still, I want to check it out and investigate any costume possibilities. At the very least, there’s a Nina look-a-like with lace gloves in it. Lace gloves.
90% chance of GET!

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Urban Reign
What...the…hell? It's like Deja Vu. It's the early 90s all over again, when everyone was trying to make the next best sidescrolling beat-em-up. That is, until software companies jumped on the hotter one-on-one fighting genre. That Namco and Capcom would be releasing similar “street” brawlers in the same month strikes me as very nostalgic. It’s even sort of hard to tell them apart. I do know that Urban Reign, the Namco one, has at least two hidden, but playable Tekken characters. If I were a betting man, my money would be on Beat Down, the Capcom one, to have more costume unlocking goodness. Hey prove me wrong Urban Reign.
35% chance of GET!

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GameBoy Micro
It’s not a game, but it does come with three faceplates…most of them tacky looking. Really, if you’re trying to get me to cough up $99, you can do better than a flower with a ladybug on it.
50% chance of GET!

Ninja Gaiden Black
Features all but one of Ryu’s costumes from the original game and one new one. What we really need are new outfits for Ayane and Rachel.
80% chance of GET!

Kingdoms Under Fire: Heroes
No bonus costumes, but what’s there looks really damn good. Very arty.
100% chance of GET!

X-Men II: Rise of Apocalypse
Apparently you have access to several variants of the X-men’s costumes. I really wish I was into superheroes like I once was.
02% chance of GET!

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 06
Laugh all you want, but putting together a stylish outfit before hitting the links is fun, fun, fun.
20% chance of GET!

UPDATE: Modified some text above. If you care about that sort of thing.