The rumors were right

I am a slave to Microsoft. And by “slave” I mean “I have finally broken down and purchased a Microsoft-made console.” It’s taken me almost five years to come to this point, but I knew it would happen eventually.

The surprise is what has turned out to be the impetus for this decision: Dead Rising. When Keiji Inafune stood in front of us at Capcom’s 2005 pre-E3 press conference and showed off the company’s first next-gen creation, I had to struggle not to puke. This was particularly difficult coming as it did on the heels of the Final Fight Streetwise trailer. Dead Rising at that point was just a really, really ugly version of State of Emergency — but with zombies! Since “but with zombies!” is roughly as hollow and meaningless a selling point as, say, “but with pirates!” or “but with monkeys!”, this is to say it looked terrible in every possible way.

The game’s come a long way since then. I’ve watched Sharkey spitting gobs of phlegm at the undead with growing envy, read of how shambling rotters can be defeated with Servbot costumes with growing giddiness, and learned how some remnants of the Dragon Quarter team have applied their unique design philosophy to the game with growing eagerness. Much to my amazement, I realized the other day that I actually want this game. So I guess I’ll be playing into Peter Moore’s vile schemes by getting a 360 and Wii this year with the money I might otherwise have spent on a PS3. Looks like that streak of Sony fanboyism was short-lived. (Approximately 23 hours, if the timestamps are to be believed.)

Of course, yeah, the prospect of Symphony of the Night in progressive scan probably factored in there somewhere, too.

Also: to everyone who has ever complained that they’ve gotten a “Spam is not appreciated” message upon trying to leave a comment here, you’ll be glad to know I decided to loosen up my anti-spam measures and deleted a bunch of word filters yesterday. Within hours, I was inundated with the comment spam. I will never take your needs into consideration again.

72 thoughts on “The rumors were right

  1. That looks like someone just messed around with the aspect ratio and applied a so-called “high-quality” scaler to it. You see them in a lot of emulators, now – it doesn’t necessarily make it look better, but rather tends to blend stuff into a blurry-blocky goo. Anyway, I have a hunch SotN is probably going to be a straight-up, no-frills port – it’s already been confirmed that it’ll be the PSX version, right?
    At least there’ll be no DREs or sountrack skipping, though.

  2. I doubt it’s the Saturn version, which is fine, because nothing added to the Saturn version justified the port’s flaws. Most likely they’ll just program it to run in progressive scan with a border around the edges, which is fine.

  3. No it isn’t :'(
    The original was 240p, which the 360 doesn’t support. Here we’ll have a progressively scanned high-resolution emulation (480p at “best”), with none of the scanlines that the original artists planned for. This is cause for much consternation from me and 3 other picky, elitist assholes. I really hate how emulated games look these days.
    Also: it has been confirmed it’s the PlayStation version. Which is good news since, even if Konami had access to a Saturn emulator, they’d probably be too lazy to fix the flaws in the game.

  4. Kind of a bummer it’s just the PSX version, though. Playing as Maria and getting the extra items was fun, even if the new levels, enemies, and slowdown left a lot to be desired. If they could just fix those it would be a blast, but I guess that would take effort.

  5. My god.

    He’s wearing Mega Man armor.

    If you can actually fire the cannon I will buy a 360 right now.

  6. About the port of SotN, doesn’t Microsoft require all games to be optimized for a HD or 16×9 display?

    Even if the game isn’t going to be reworked for Widescreen, I really don’t think that it will be stretched seeing a lot of others aren’t as it looks horrible (something Capcom doesn’t realize with the PSP). I expect the game will have cropped borders on the edges to preserve the 4×3 and will run at 480i.

  7. I’m surprised it took this long for you to give in. I mean, the whole console is freaking white.

  8. Interestingly, that was the exact same impetus for me buying a 360 today too. Get out of my head Parish!

    I guess this just proves a point – Servbots are just that irresistable.

  9. On the subject of Spam Filters:

    Thanks for the effort, but really if spam is a problem those of us who wish to earnestly contribute will work around the filters. I’m a fan of keeping spam out.

  10. Please, Mr. Frog. Please don’t push me over the edge. I almost bought an Xbox 360 on Overstock about three times this week, and without your sound condemnation I may not be able to resist.

    For my wallet, say it ain’t so.

  11. I had already bought the 360 for the multiplatform stuff this fall (since PS3s will be inevitably buggy), but I am also looking forward to Dead Rising. When I got to the point in the demo where you could create your own Zombie-Servbot mob, that’s when I decided I’d pick it up on release day.

  12. You mean you were actually considering the PS3? I thought you had no interest in coughing up that much dough.

  13. Wh…What? No, wait… WHAT?! What is this about SotN? I had heard nothing about this before. Okay, deep breaths… Wow.

    Um, and, well, as for Dead Rising; as cool as that Megaman outfit is, I’m still not sold on that game. From the commercials, it seems like the zombies are totally pushovers and you could body surf on them without incident. Might be neat, though, I don’t know.

  14. I would have been interested in the 360 if Strangehold wasn’t delayed, and if the system didn’t overheat when people turned it on…Anyway, I’m just hoping that Yu Suzuki decides to take advantage of the capabilities of the Wii and produce Shen Mue III for it instead of taking MS’s money like he did with the last game and screwing DC owners. Also, methinks their port of SotN will be as worthless as the GameCube port of MGS.

  15. “Also, methinks their port of SotN will be as worthless as the GameCube port of MGS.”
    Is it your life’s goal to make everyone else slap their foreheads in revolted disbelief once a day or something?

  16. Perhaps you should try playing the GC version of MGS. Seeing as how it’s about thirty times better than the PSX one.

  17. You said in an old blog entry that you didn’t want to do a thumbnail theater for Twin Snakes, because there were only 1-2 more new scenes to the story than in the original game.

  18. Of course the story wasn’t changed, it was a remake. That has nothing to do with the changes in gameplay.

  19. Actually, it does, since Konami was hyping “bigger action scenes” as the reason for people to buy it twice, since gamers pretty much stripped it bare the first time.

  20. Twin Snakes is MGS with gameplay more reminiscient of MGS2. The graphics are better, the cutscenes are better, the sound is better, you can play in first-person view, etc. Everything about the story of the game is the same, but the presentation and gameplay were updated and improved upon.

  21. What Sinfony said. That’s the entire reason I bought it, and I wasn’t disappointed. The only inferior thing about Twin Snakes is the crappy music, and if it really bothers me I can just listen to the original soundtrack.

  22. I’d say the gameplay got improved. However, I hated the “SUPER-ACTION!” scenes. I prefer to not see Snake kicking missiles out of his way. It’s like they just had to add one slow-motion inanity or ludicrous bullet-timiness to most scenes. Overall, I’d say there’s definitely no reason to play it if you’ve played MGS and MGS2 (which it plays like). However, no matter what, I’ll never forgive the new dubb they gave to Naomi in it! I miss her accent…

  23. Strange… Capcom seems to throughly enjoy putting Servbots and other little Legends cameos in other games, but appear to be totally uninterested in actually making another Legends title.

  24. The plot of MGS:TTS was almost completely unchaged. The story, however, was completely different — it had a bigger, more stupid tone to practically every scene that fit poorly with pretty much any depiction of Solid Snake ever. It is the Snake’s Revenge version of Metal Gear. It is terrible, mainly due to its half-hearted approach: the gameplay was broken by the addition of MGS2-style inputs that made the existing level designs too simplistic (and no improvements were made to the designs); the voices were completely rerecorded but sounded flat and lifeless; and did I mention that Ryuhei Kitamura’s idea of “direction” makes Michael Bay look practically Shakespearean?
    So besides those horrible game-destroying elements, yes, I’m sure a straight port of SotN will be exactly like MGS:TTS.

  25. “Ryuhei Kitamura’s idea of “direction” makes Michael Bay look practically Shakespearean”.


  26. “I doubt it’s the Saturn version, which is fine, because nothing added to the Saturn version justified the port’s flaws.”
    I’ve seen this sentiment expressed a dozen times since the announcement, but that doesn’t make it any less of a complete fallacy spread by people who should know better. But I never expected you of all people to be doing it. Shame on you JP.

  27. *Takes out a shovel* I always felt that Konami missed an opportunity with the “The Twin Snakes” addition to the title of MGS for the GC. I think they should have called it MGS The Two Snakes.

  28. Man, this means even you have a 360 before I do. It makes me feel kind of bad, but not yet $400 bad. Dead Rising is definitely something I have my eye on for whenever I do actually get the console, though. This Dragon Quarter connection makes it even more fascinating.

  29. I don’t really see how anyone considers adding in the first person view to MGS destroyed the game. Sure it made an already pretty easy game easier but you could always just not use the view at all and keep it top down classic style. And again, that can be made more interesting by playing in extreme difficulty.

    At the end of the day is just the same game with prettier graphics and, to be honest, would more likely be better digestible to people who have never played it.

  30. Well, now that you’ve gone and purchased a 360, there’s only one piece of advice I can give you: Keep the UPS pick-up phone number on speed-dial.
    My own 360 has gone “Three Red Lights of Doom” twice in as many weeks, with the baffling “Unknown Error” in the diagnostics. This, despite having waited for the third-generation hardware. So, um, watch out.

  31. Of course. ToastyFrog transcends life and death.
    I refuse to accept that anyone who regularly reads this site actually likes the Saturn version of SotN. I like to think of you guys as completely awesome and that would really shatter my illusions.

  32. “I’m surprised it took this long for you to give in. I mean, the whole console is freaking white.” Hahaha. Yeah…I’m looking very favorably at the 360 now. A year ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d get it before the other consoles, but now it looks that way. That is, if the Wii ends up being more then $250.

  33. “I like to think of you guys as completely awesome”
    I’m adding that to my resume. (My nerd resume)

  34. “I refuse to accept that anyone who regularly reads this site actually likes the Saturn version of SotN”. Never even seen a Saturn in my life.
    Apparently, there was a garden of sorts and some other area whose theme I cannot recall. Playing with Maria didn’t sound as enticing as most people would have me believe, but making sprite-Richter consistent with the official game art did. I think that’s the only change I would appreciate.

  35. If the Wii’s $300 bucks, it’s still gonna be cheaper than the other two consoles. And remember the last two times Nintendo cut corners?

  36. I’m convinced the only reason American gamers are so disappointed by Twin Snakes is we didn’t know what we were getting into.

    Having just watched Kitamura’s “Azumi,” I wonder how Japanese gamers felt about Twin Snakes. Or if they bought it.

  37. “I refuse to accept that anyone who regularly reads this site actually likes the Saturn version of SotN. I like to think of you guys as completely awesome and that would really shatter my illusions.” Well I’ve never even played the Saturn version of SotN! Uhh… Is that good or bad?

  38. Tomm: I loved Kitamura’s Versus and Godzilla: Final Wars, but Azumi was disappointing. I hear his other stuff is also inconsistent, but he’s an awesome guy in person. Apparently, he said that some producer from MGS noticed his work on Versus, and that producer thought he’d be perfect for the remake. It also helps that he and Kojima have similar tastes.

  39. I thought Final Wars looked like absolute dog crap. I always loved Godzilla, but based on the clips I’ve seen, it looks like Kitamura did the exact same thing he did to Twin Snakes and ruined it with out-of-place kung-fu. I mean, I saw Godzilla jumping over Angillas, doing backflips and all this other crazy shit. I don’t need to see that in a Godzilla movie, especially when it’s the last Godzilla movie I’m going to see for at least ten years. Also, it looks like the budget was wasted on crap nobody cares about, like locations and kung-fu battles between the human characters (who actually pays attention to humans in a Godzilla movie?), when it should’ve been spent on improving the special effects for the monsters.

  40. Yeah, I know it’s bad, but it’s so bad it’s good. And it’s still better than the G ’98 remake. Though the best Godzilla-as-action-hero flick I’ve seen in recent years was Megaguiras. For some reason, the hardcore fans really hate it, but love Final Wars…

  41. It’s easy for someone who hasn’t played the Saturn version of SotN to mistake it for the better version, since most of its failings seem like utter blessings from a superficial perspective.
    + The Saturn is better at processing 2D graphics…but the conversion from the PlayStation version was so badly handled that the visuals are a splotchy mess.
    + You can play as Maria…except her sprite animation is grossly stilted, making her look ridiculous next to Alucard and even Richter.
    + Richter has an alternate costume that looks more congruent with Kojima’s artwork…except wait, no, it’s just his Rondo of Blood sprite in an undetailed long-sleeve coat.
    + There are two entirely new areas with their own enemies…but the areas are marked of lazy design, being mainly constructed from recycled/recolored tilesets from existing areas, and the enemies are all cartoonish monstrosities.
    Then factor in the long load times, made worse by the truncation of some of the castle’s larger areas, as well as the fact that you have to go into the menu just to look at the map, and you’re looking at a pretty miserable experience overall.

  42. Well that’s a change. Instead of a regurgitated hostile opinion from someone who never played Saturn SotN we have an irrational one from someone who did play it, but only to find flaws and rubbish it.

    There is no visual downgrading besides the loss of mist and fire transparancies and lower-quality FMV.
    Maria has less animation than the others but is in no way ‘grossly stilted’.
    You said everything there is to say about Richter’s new sprite but you present that as a flaw? It looks much better than his old sprite and that’s all.
    They were hardly going to draw new earth/stone floor designs when the existing ones were perfectly fine. The new areas both have unique backgrounds, enemies and music and that’s enough.
    ‘Cartoonish monstrosities’? The tree enemy maybe but the others don’t look out of place.
    The loading times are greatly exaggerated by everyone who makes this complaint – maybe two or three seconds longer than the PS1 version and that’s it.
    As for ‘the truncation of some of the castle’s larger areas’ congratulations, that the first time I’ve heard that one. Let me assure everyone here there is no change whatsoever in the layout. The new areas are accessed through doors placed in formerly blank walls.
    I also noticed you never mentioned the third hand slot or the eight extra BGM because there was no way you could criticise them.

  43. There’s a store in the mall named “Jill’s Sandwiches”. A zombie beat ’em up with Capcom fanservice? I’ve got a freelance check coming in, and this Summer lull is making me antsy.
    I’m tempted.

  44. *looks at discussion*

    Err, but yeah, look at that there Dead Rising. There’s Servbots!

  45. I wouldn’t call Azumi “bad,” if you go in expecting what it is (which I did). But there are just some odd decisions… what’s with the Rollercoaster of Love cam in the final battle?

  46. Sorry, Nemo, you’re completely wrong about Saturn Symphony. It has major downgrades, most of which are very subtle. Beside the loss of transparency effects, most enemies have had their animation routines simplified. The jointed-polygon characters in particular — on PS they crumble into pieces, on Saturn they just sort of vanish. The load times are noticeable, extending way beyond the CD loading rooms (plus there’s a mid-point load in each area that pauses the game and re-loops the music). Maria’s game feels as half-assed as Richter’s, and the new areas are useless. In short: cram it, crammy.

  47. Wasn’t it only the Marionettes that had their death sequence changed? That’s hardly “most enemies”. I won’t comment about load times/slowdown, since I played it on an emulator that was running faster than an actual Saturn and hardly saw any. (and on a lower spec computer the problem was obviously in the emulation, not the Saturn) I’ll give you the new areas are mostly useless and the new enemies suck, but come on. Maria’s game being half-assed as Richter’s is a silly complaint. It’s an alternate character mode, those didn’t get good until DoS AT LEAST. But it’s still very fun, and I feel my playthrough was worth it, even if I had to play on a keyboard. In short: The Saturn giveth, and the Saturn taketh away, and both are pretty fun games. If they could add the Saturn extras to an improved PSX version and clean up the lousy new enemies a little, it would be KICKIN’ RAD.

  48. I still don’t know what happened the last two times Nintendo tried to cut corners.

  49. All I know is I bought Saturn Symphony expecting a marked improvement over the PS version and found instead a crappy port with useless extra content shoveled in. It was a very angry $60.

  50. Concerning the Dead Rising shot in the newspost:
    Can… can you fire the arm cannon?

    And crappy puns are for crappy people. Pleas stop it now.

  51. I suppose the one consolation you would have with a copy of the Saturn version of SotN is that you wouldn’t have to suffer through the God-awful dub/translation.

  52. Those sixty dollars go some way towards explaining your hostility.
    All right, you go for performance, I’ll go for features (third hand FTW) and we’ll agree to disagree from here. Fine?

    IIRC, the only enemy with notably simplified animation was Olrox. Originally his skin flaked off bit by bit, in the port it came off all at once.
    But the loading times still aren’t that bad. Seriously.

    Thanks for the save MarsDragon.

  53. Dead Rising is pretty much the reason I wanted to get a 360 to begin with. I played the demo countless times over the weekend and it doesn’t seem to get stale. In fact, my wife even said she thought it looked like a fantastic game, and she is usually pretty critical of games, but she was really impressed.
    But, let’s face it, how can you go wrong with a game that lets you put Servbot, teddy bear, and horse masks on zombies then whack golf balls at them? The answer: YOU CAN’T.

  54. Apparently you can stop at an Orange Julius analog and buy a slushie that gives your phlegm powerful, caustic properties. HURRY UP THURSDAY I WANT MY 360

  55. There are some videos of the Saturn version at the bottom of the following page (which you can run through babelfish if you don’t know Canadian French)
    After watching those videos I don’t really feel like I missed out on much by only playing the PlayStation version (in other words my reaction was ‘meh’). I certainly wouldn’t pay $60 (+ the price of a Saturn) just for that little bit of extra content.

  56. Hold on… “Those sixty dollars go some way towards explaining your hostility.”

    …so SotN on Saturn is only worth it if you stole/emulated it!?

  57. Damn, look at all the discussion, you’d think JP made fun of Squaresoft again! In traditional internet fashion, Dead Rising becomes a discussion on Ryuhei Kitamura & bad game ports. Anyways, I own 3 or 4 copies of SotN, I think I’ve bought the game enough. Microsoft has done a much better job with the 360, though, I hope they beat the vile Sony. And come on, name one game that was made worse by the addition of Servbots.

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