Archive for July, 2007

Trauma Center: Second Opinion Wii review


Second Opinion for WiiThe Nintendo DS doctor sim Trauma Center: Under the Knife now comes to the Wii console as Trauma Center: Second Opinion, in which you use the Wii controller to save patients’ lives!

You play the surgeon in this exciting medical drama simulation. You’ll need to cure patients of everything from routine medical maladies to life-threatening designer viruses. And, of course, there’s all that drama waiting just outside of the operating room. Your medical toolkit includes scalpels, forceps, defibrillator paddles, syringes and more, all designed for use with the Wii Remote!

System: Wii
Genre: Puzzle, Medical Simulation
Release dates: November 19th 2006 (USA), December 2nd 2006 (JPN), August 10th 2007 (EURO)
Players: 1
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Nintendo
Origin: Japan

Second Opinion Wii screenshot
The most dangerous threat facing mankind in the year 2018 is a terrorist-designed virus called GUILT (Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin), and Dr. Stiles just might be the only person who can stop it.

The game’s goal is to treat whatever is wrong with the patient with the available tools in a certain amount of time without letting the patient’s vitals reach zero and die.

Under the Knife for DSWhile the game is a remake of the original game for the DS, its graphics, animations and mechanics have been completely redone to take advantage of the Wii’s functionality. You still control Dr. Derek Stiles and there’s a new doctor named Naomi Weaver. Dr. Weaver also has the ability to utilize the Healing Touch, though her ability is different than Derek’s in that hers will increase a patient’s vitals and his will slow down time. The Healing Touch is activated by drawing a star on the screen, and how well the star is drawn has an effect on how much time the player is given. Mastering this move can prove challenging and it can only be used once in an entire operation.

But the game also features more voice acting than the original, including speech from the two main characters as well as more speech from the side characters. There are now three difficulty settings. Additional surgeries will also be added, including heart transplants and broken bone procedures. While the gameplay is the same as the original, there’s more of it in the shape of a few added chapters towards the end of the game, as well as a new final ending.

Watch the Trauma Center: Second Opinion launch trailer.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion’s key features are:

* A story expanded from the same events as “Under the Knife,” with nip-and-tuck work on the game text as well as all-new plotscenes and operations featuring an all new doctor character.

* Use your favorite returning tools in an all new way! The Wii Remote allows for precision controlling of the Scalpel, Surgical Laser, Drainage Hose, Sutures, Ultrasound Machine, Forceps, Syringe, and Antibiotic Gel. You can even feel the action with the built-in Rumble feature. Most of the tools are used with the Wii Remote while the Nunchuk allows players to quickly switch between instruments.

* New tools include the 1) Defibrillator which is used when a patient is suffering from cardiac arrest, it replaces the Antibiotic Gel-and-Massage method from the DS version; 2) Penlight for illuminating dark areas, but it covers little of the onscreen surface area, and appears in only one level; 3) Flash Camera who’s flash provides the same effect as the Penlight, but covers all surface area shown onscreen. It has to be reused when the light fades and only appears in one level.

Watch some Trauma Center: Second Opinion gameplay footage.

In the conclusion let’s rate how much fun Trauma Center: Second Opinion is on a scale from 1 to 10?

Surgery? Exciting? Yes! Saving the lives of people in the operating room is nerve-wrecking, fun, but actually feels as stressful as you’d imagine it to be. Thanks to the twists and turns in the interesting storyline and diverse operating scenarios, you’ll feel like you’re in the midst of it all. While the game starts off friendly explaining you the controls and presenting well balanced cases to solve, points are deducted because in some scenarios no amount of practice will help you. Despite the three difficulty modes, some of the varied strains of the GUILT virus will feel like they strike too fast, always leaving the possibility of a patient’s vitals dropping from 60 to 0 in seconds, at that point not even a Healing Touch star will help, so that messes up the gameplay balance Atlus maintains well throughout most of the game. For a Wii single player launch title this is a very high quality game that challenges you to find patterns, work out solutions, memorize the steps and execute them before the time limit’s up… Quick doctor! Before it’s too late!

Graphics – 7.5
The in-game graphics are very clean, the Japanese anime style fits the game well and will help anyone a bit queasy about operations have fun solving the visual puzzles. Top notch character design and animations, a very charming look.

Audio – 7.0
The music and sound effects are good. What songs are available will play very intensely in the more urgent missions and help to drive the excitement. The voice acting is good too, but it’s sparse, to add more drama to the many chat, operating instruction & procedure storyboards and texts they should’ve been fully voiced.

Ingenuity – 8.0
Using the Wii Remote controller and nunchuk attachment feels great, the combination makes for an easily navigated interface tool switching with the analog stick and the surgical moves work like a charm. Terrible as it sounds, from surgically removing glass from a wound to giving someone suffering from cardiac arrest a shock with the motion-controlled defibrillator, the controls are intuitive and the tools are fun to use. Yes, even doing incisions and stitches.

Replay Value – 7.5
Expect to get about 10 hours of playtime from the game. You can replay any completed surgery for a better score/rank. If you’ve already played the DS game this remake is said to offer about 20% new material, so for you this is probably a rental. But for anyone new to the innovative Trauma Center series, what’s here will keep you on the edge of your seat each time you go into the operating room.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under , , , ,

Steinberg explains some things… plus new Shadow?


Scott Steinberg talksSega of America Vice President of marketing, Scott Steinberg, recently spoke to, about a few topics of conversation many Sega Nerds, and (indeed) gamers, have on their mind.

Scott, spoke about some his ‘controversial’ commentsregarding Nintendo’s, highly successful, Wii.  He did try to explain his comments a day or two after his first set of words dropped out of his mouth, though that still left many Wii fans a bit miffed.  So Scott has tried to re-emphasise his exact intentions and feelings, towards the 3 home consoles.

“Are we placing bets [on one particular platform]? No one can tell right now who’ll ‘win.’ It’s still too early. All three consoles have got the right materials for success. That alchemy is there across all three different platforms. I guess that’s being defined a bit differently with Nintendo, but they definitely have their own consumer-oriented track, which we think is great. So I think from a third-party publisher’s standpoint it’s not wise to make bets right now that don’t include all three consoles.”

NextGen, kindly remind us, that right now Sega does, indeed, appear to be backing all platforms (fairly) evenly, with many games being released on the PS3, 360, PC and several big titles (Mario and Sonic, Nightsanyone?) coming to the Wii, this year.

Next topic on the agenda was fairly recent announcement that brought much joy to Xbox 360 owners everywhere, but left a somewhat bitter taste in PS3 fans.  Yes, that’s right, when Sega announced that Virtua Fighter 5 would have full online play for the Xbox 360, something the team had previously deemed impossible, due to ‘unacceptable’ lag, as seen in online fighters.

“[AM2] felt that with the 360 they could make online happen, and with a lot of trials and tests and experiments figured out a way to do it where there’s no lag—well extremely minimal lag, almost unnoticeable—so we were quite shocked when they told us it would be online, actually. It was a surprise.”

Does that explain it? Well to me it sounds like AM2 just had a little more time to perfect the online component of the game, and get it running up to speed.  But if they held off on the PS3 release, would that have been any better?  Who knows?  On a personal note, I’m happy- as a 360 owner, it’s always nice to have something extra added to a game, when you have waited so long for it.  If the game had no noticable changes after so long, I would be pretty peeved.  As for PS3 owners, well just think yourself lucky that you guys could play the game, long before many of us.

The last item of conversation, was to do with Sega’s stance on dominating the western market.  Well, perhaps not ‘dominate’, but rather expanding their reach further throughout Europe/PAL regions and the Americas. 

It has been said before, that so far Sega is showing this off, to great affect, working closely with many big-named developers, and some smaller ones.  Plus the many acquitions of studios, over the last couple of years.

Now there is one thing in the article on NextGen, not something that Scott says, but something the NextGen guys wrote up;

“It’s interesting to see how many of Sega’s Japan-born franchises were made or are being made by Western-based companies: Sega Rally Revo, Nights Journey of Dreams, Shadow the Hedgehog and a new Golden Axe, for example, are being developed by Western studios.”

Shadow the Hedgehog…?  At first I thought they meant the original Shadow game, on the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox.  But the list is of upcoming titles, why would they have mention of an older, (notoriously) crappy title?  And still say “…are being developed by western studios.”…??? -Very Strange.

But that reminds me of an old article we (well I) posted, a while back – about a rumour of a new Shadow game, coming to the Wii.  A rumour, which many people said, was obviously a fake -mainly because the source was so unreliable – but hey it was a rumour. 

But could that rumour be true?  Or did NextGen make a (very random) mistake?  I shall endeavour to try and contact regarding this….


Sega releases latest Crazy Taxi trailer


With Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars releasing on the PSP Aug. 7, I’m pretty sure everything you see in this clip is from the final version. The graphics look pretty good, but there is some noticeable pop-ups at times, which may or may not matter to most of you.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under , , , ,

Unlock harder difficulty modes in Alien Syndrome


937289_82864_front.jpgWhile we’re still waiting on our Alien Syndrome review copies at Sega Nerds HQ, I’m sure everyone else is having the time of their lives with Sega’s alien shoot ‘em up.

But if you’ve already played and beaten the game and are looking for something else to do, I have some good news for you – by beating the game on a difficulty level, it will unlock the next harder level.

  • Unlock Extra Difficulties: Beat the game on the difficulty that corresponds with the unlockable difficulty in order to open it.
  • Unlock Expert Difficulty: Beat the game on Hard Difficulty.
  • Unlock Hard Difficulty: Beat the game on Normal Difficulty.

I know these are kinda lame considering most games come with these options from the get go, but hey, it’s better than nothing, right? Or is it?

[Via GamePro]

Published on July 31st, 2007 under , , , , ,

Sega opens Mario and Sonic site



The official site for Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games has just gone live. At the site, you can see screenshots, the infamous gameplay trailer that Nathan loved so much, game information and chat on Sega’s official forums. Whoa, it’s almost like Sega’s trying to offer you everything we are!

However, there is one tidbit in the game information section that I can’t recall ever hearing before. Apparently, there will be “unlockable stages where familiar items from the world of Mario and Sonic enhance the challenge of each unique event.”

Hmmm, interesting. So I guess where you’d normally have a nice, clean track, you will be able to lay pipes with fire spitting plants, spiked pits and walking crabs.

Check out the site here.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under , , , ,

Iowa library uses Guitar Hero to attract teens


Guitar Hero with bundled guitar controller for PS2You know that a video game has gone truly mainstream when libraries, of all places, start using them in their facilities. And that’s exactly what has happened at the Humboldt Public Library in Humboldt, Iowa (USA).

As part of a Teen Advisory Board program, the library sets up a Guitar Hero game for visitors to play after school on certain days. And according to a librarian the after-school ritual has been a fixture of the library for months. Naturally, it serves as a hook to get people, particularly teenagers, into the library, where their fellow peers on the advisory board can then chat them up and, of course, recommend some good books for them to check out while the player’s of Guitar Hero wait their turn.

Avielle of Rhia by Dia Calhoun (Book)The theory behind the advisory board is that a recommendation from a peer is likely to carry more weight for a student than one from a librarian. Among the books suggested by board members are Patricia McCormick’s Cut, Dia Calhoun’s Avielle of Rhia, D.J. MacHale’s Pendragon Book Seven: The Quillan Games, Catherine Jinks’ Pagan’s Crusade, and R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me.

This is not the first bit of government-encouraged gaming to surface either. Last year, West Virginia unveiled its plan to incorporate Konami’s rhythm game Dance Dance Revolution into all public schools’ physical education or health-related curricula within two years.

What I want to know is . . . wouldn’t some rockin’ Guitar Hero be a bit of a bother to the rest of the partons at the library? Library’s are supposed to be quiet after all . . . Not that I’m against it or anything. The more video games in libraries the better!

Published on July 31st, 2007 under

Mankind faces extinction in this all new Resident Evil: Extinction trailer


Resident Evil: Extinction movie poster (RE3)The other day I posted the old Resident Evil: Extinction teaser trailer from February, and while that definitely gave us a taste of the new movie, finally a new trailer has hit that gives a very in-depth look at the upcoming Resident Evil flick.

I really like this new trailer, looks like this movie will be better than the second movie, and hopefully better than the first as well. I didn’t care for the first movie actually, but this new one looks like it has a good mix of action and horror, which is what the director has always shot for. And the special effects look really cool. I’m loving the whole part with the crows. It surprises me when I think about it that they haven’t used the zombie crows yet in the movies.

Resident Evil: Extinction has a release date in theaters of September 21st 2007.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under ,

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Metal Gear Online in-depth interviews


Metal Gear Solid 4 on PS3Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for the Playstation 3 is easily one of that systems most anticipated titles, and one of it’s biggest exclusives.

While Konami remained tight-lipped about the series for a long-while, they have finally been opening up recently, both with the new extended trailer from E3 2007 and the announcement of Metal Gear Solid Online, which will be using the MGS4 engine.

In two recent interviews, Konami and Hideo Kojima went more in depth on both games.

In this Metal Gear Solid 4 interview, they discuss the Sixaxis controls, OctoCamo, Solid Eye, and the various warring soldiers you’ll come across during the game.
Watch this interview in HD.

And in this interview about Metal Gear Online, we get our first look at this stand-alone online PS3 title, built off of Metal Gear Solid 4, that emphasizes teamwork.
Watch this interview in HD.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under , ,

Offset, fantasy third and first-person action game, revealed in debut trailer


Troll from Project Offset (PC)
Project Offset is a fantasy third and first-person action game in development by “Offset Software”, founded by Sam McGrath, Travis Stringer and Trevor Stringer, all winners of the 2004 Independant Games Festival for their title Savage: The Battle for Newerth.

Offset uses their brand-new “Offset Engine” which was built from the ground up for use in this game, which is set to hit shelves on the PC initially with no release date yet set.

The world of Offset consists of sprawling environments that convey the massive scope of their all new fantasy setting and leads heroes along roads, rivers and natural trails as they uncover dark mysteries within dank caverns, fortified castles and labyrinthine dungeons. Colossal cities, ancient structures and other war-ravaged settings are the stage of large-scale battles in both the single-player and multiplayer campaigns.

Treasures will aid collectors in the form of a myriad of weapons, armour and magical artifacts. Heroes must take care when tampering with the forces of the arcane as magic is still an art full of mystery and unpredictability . . .

With impresses graphics and a solid engine, the Project Offset debut trailer promises “5 Distinct Classes”, “Parellel Storytelling”, a “Hybrid Combat System”, “Rideable Creatures”, and “Squad Based Multiplayer”.

Published on July 31st, 2007 under ,

Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja 2 sequel announced for DS by Success


Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja for DSSuccess has announced a sequel to their original dungeon-RPG Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja for Nintendo DS. Tentatively titled “Gouma Reifu Den Izuna Ni” (Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed 2), it’s set for release on DS in Japan in fall 2007.

The announcement mentions that a new character will be joining the cast, translates Insertcredit. No word yet on if Atlus will be picking up the sequel for release in America as well.

Incase you’re not familiar with the first game, Izuna is a kunoichi, a female ninja. She’s arrogant, and doesn’t often listen to others. Often tries to get her way by using her feminine wiles on the local townsmen. Izuna and her ninja clan are looking for a place to settle down after their old master decided that ninjas were obsolete, and booted them from his castle. Upon arriving at a village that’s suitably out of the way for their former “Grandboss”, Gen-An, they decide to stay at an inn when Grandboss wanders off…
While trying to find Grandboss, Izuna manages to offend the gods of the village, and everyone in the area starts behaving strangely. Now Izuna has to descend into the various shrines for the gods in order to set things right. No news on the sequel’s story yet, maybe she’ll be employed this time?

Published on July 31st, 2007 under ,

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