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.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Costume Game Review: Haunting Ground

I briefly touched on HG earlier, but can now expand since I've finished the game (almost twice as I'm typing this). Since this is mainly a costume review, I'll keep my opinions on the game itself brief. Haunting Ground is one of the growing alternates to the standard survival horror adventure. You don't shoot up zombies or hack up monsters with swords. All there is to do is run, hide, and occasionally throw out an offensive move that buys you a little time
to run and hide some more. It definitely makes for some nail biting moments. The map isn't very useful, which makes it hard to easily find the many places you need to keep backtracking to. All the fleeing in terror can get a bit old toward the end too, but it didn't stop me from having a good time with it.

Fiona's starts out the game in a long white blanket. It’s sort of sexy, but it’s hard to call it a real outfit. She then squeezes into her main gothic gear, which she says fits perfectly although “it’s a bit tight in the chest area”. We’ll start the ratings from here:

(I really wish I had the time to take screen caps of these. Maybe in the future)

Main outfit - Fairly unique. I really like the boots.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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

Surgical Gown – A disturbing short white smock with blood splatters. Hair is once again down and sans shoes.
Rating: 5 out of 10

Texas Cowgirl – This is the outfit that has 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

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: 6 out of 10

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

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

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

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

Overall – You can change between all your unlocked outfits almost any time you like, as long as you go back to your bedroom closet. You can’t change during the last few hours though. Plus you can ogle the costumes as long as you like in the Secret Room accessible from the main title menu. Very accommodating features for the costume fan. The enemies also have alternate outfits on Hard mode (I’ll have to do that next). I’d love to see what Danielle’s (the character pictured above) alternate costume is.
Rating: 9 out of 10

In case you were wondering, Demento is what the Japanese version was called. Go here and click on the Japanese site for some cool wallpapers. Oddly, they are not available on the English site.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Death by Boredom

Despite its huge costume potential, I have finally given up on Death by Degrees. It was a tough call, since I really like the outfits in the game. I tried to give it every chance in the world, even (strictly as a last resort) trying out cheat devices to see if it made it any more bearable. No dice. I pretty much hate the game. Although there are some cool touches here and there, the way Nina controls and the ridiculous sub-menu system totally suck out the fun.

It took me far longer than it should have to come to this conclusion, but playing Haunting Ground and Kingdom Under Fire sealed it. I’m having a blast with those two so far and can’t wait to fit more time with them. In stark contrast, I dreaded the very thought of slogging through another terrible level in Degrees.

Nina’s ending in Tekken 5 featured her and Anna in medieval garb sword fighting. Here’s hoping she gets another shot with a guest appearance in Soul Calibur III. It would sure be cooler than throwing in Heihachi again. As sort of a consolation prize, Namco put up some snazzy new wallpapers for Degrees.