Sunday, June 27, 2004

Games: Naruto: Narutimate Hero

Yup, it's a Japanese-only PS2 game based on the currently popular Naruto anime/manga. If you're not aware of Naruto, it's pretty much like Dragonball Z, except with better animation, actual reasons for fighting, and ninjas instead of aliens. It tells the story of a young boy in the Hidden Village of Konoha, cursed with being the living incarnation of a feared nine-tailed demon fox spirit. Simple enough eh?

The game itself is cool; it's one-on-one fighting featuring characters from the anime/manga. Not fighting like Street Fighter fighting mind you, but fighting in an interactive environment, with items to be picked up, things to be destroyed, support characters to be called upon, and mighty cinematic ougis do be performed. If you've ever seen the Powerstone game in the arcades, it's a bit similar, and this is how I imagine Super Smash Bros. Melee would be like. The graphics are okay; not the best cel-shading I've seen, but definitely good for the material. You're restricted to 2d movement, but each stage has two layers, and each layer has various ropes, balconies, trees or whatnot that act as platforms. Most of the moves are available to all characters: punches, kicks, button-mashing combos, launchers, knockdowns, jutsus, counters (using the "transform into a log" technique), shurikens, kunai, surprise attacks from your allies, etc. Each character has three levels of ougi moves; when you connect with an ougi move, the view shifts to a cutscene-style depiction of the character doing their ougi on the hapless opponent. The opponent isn't helpless however; both players are given a sequence of button commands to push. If the attacker does it right and finishes before the opponent, he gets to do more damage and proceeds to the next part of the ougi. Since the ougis deal a huge (usually decisive) amount of damage, the defender usually wanys to do finish his sequence faster to greatly lessen the damage.

The only problem with this game is the lack of characters: Six are available at the start (Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, Shikamaru and Rock Lee), and six more can be unlocked (Neji, Hinata, Haku, Zabuza, Gaara and Orochimaru); most of the other characters appear in ougis, as support characters or simply as stage backgrounds (you can hit them when you see them on the screen!) There's a lot of other things to unlock though: BGMs, voices, pictures, action figures, songs, video clips of each ougi, etc.

I'd recommend it for anyone who's a fan of videogames and the Naruto series.

Pinoy Culture: Thank God It's Over

...that disgraceful slow-count of an election canvass that is. I can't help but wonder whether anyone actually bothered to follow the last few days of the canvassing on TV...I mean, the proceedings are boring as hell! You know what would have been better for the country as a whole? When I saw a small portion of it, the only thing I could think of was that we should have WWE's The Rock on the National Board of Canvassers! I know he's no Filipino, much less a Senator, but he can be like guest chairman for a day or something. I can see it now...

Rep. Digs Dilangalen: Mr. Chairman, I object to this "Shut up!" note. I demand that the one who sent this note be cited for contempt! This is an outrage!

The Rock: I see. Can you show me this note jabroni?

Digs (fuming, pulls out a piece of paper, approaches the Rock): Here it is Mr. Chair---

The Rock (holds up his hand): Stop right there, jabroni, no need to get close to the Rock.

(Digs stops in his track, obviously peeved.)

The Rock: Tell you what, Mr. "Digs"...this is what we're gonna do. Why don't you take that there note, roll it up real nice, turn that thing sideways...and stick it up your candy ass!

(Senate explodes into chaos)

Or maybe even...

Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta: Mr. Chairman, all I'm asking for is a little civility, a little respect. We're rushing through everything and the majority is hardly listening to our opinions...

The Rock: Oh really? Is that what you think, Senator? Is that what you think?

Sen. Oreta: Yes, because we---

The Rock: It doesn't matter what you think!

(All hell breaks loose. Tito Sotto jumps out of the audience and goes for the clothesline; The Rock ducks, then turns around and catches Tito Sotto in a spinebuster. All hell breaks loose. The Rock takes off the Elbow Pad and tosses it into the crowd. Bounces off the first rope, and the second, and hits the People's Elbow on Senator Sotto!)

...or maybe I just watch too much wrestling. Heaven knows it's a lot more entertaining than Philippine politics.

Reminds me of something a friend and I talked about the other day. Since we're obviously not doing so well with elections, we should have a new way of choosing our leaders: trial-by-combat! A DBZ-style fighting tournament (probably at the Araneta Coliseum) to determine who will be the next leader! Hey, at least it would be more entertaining, and FPJ would probably have a much better chance, unless he faces someone like Sonny Parsons