News, rumors and other information (originally posted 02/29/96)
What's Up At Acclaim
For all of you Alien fans out there, Alien Trilogy is out and should be in stores by next week at the latest. As for the other eagerly anticipated title, X-MEN: Children of the Atom, the Saturn release will not be available in the U.S. until Spring.
3DO Price Cuts
One would think that 3DO is gearing up for the launch of their M2 platform after seeing current price drops (hmmm?). Currently Panasonic's FZ-10 model (top-loader) is now being offered at $199(US) new, and the FZ-1 model (front-loader) has been seen for as low as $169(US) new as well. One thing to be sure is that this move, along with other recent events in the gaming world, set the stage for the next battle in the current console war.
Crystal Dynamics News
Possibly one of the most eagerly awaited games this year from Crystal Dynamics for the PlayStation, Legacy of Kain, is currently slated for a Fall release... Look for a preview here soon. As for their other PlayStation release Blazing Dragons, while the wait will not be as long, this game isn't scheduled for release until May.
XBAND on PC
Catapult announced this week that their XBAND service for PC platforms is now in its beta stage and will be gearing up for national testing. This service will be different from the console version because it will allow users to connect via an Internet connection and will be software based. The initial games playable at lauch will be Ultimate DOOM, DOOM II, Hardball 5, Hexen, Locus, MechWarrior 2 and Super Street Fighter II. As well, the PC XBAND service will allow one-button opponent matching, statistics/rankings, electronic newspapers, chat/matching rooms, paging, custom player pictures with animation and sound. For extended news on this story, you can read Catapult's press release about it.
Game Zero Receives Award
Iway Magazine released their "Top 500 Sites On the Web" issue this week, featuring Game Zero Magazine as one of 25 sites selected under the catagory of "Gaming". Web sites were rated on a number of criteria including: depth of content, accuracy of information, ease of navigation, and quality of design, among others... If you would like to read Iway's review of our site and how we scored, as well as who else was ranked in their listing, take a cruse by Iway's site, or go directly to their ranking of Game Sites.
News from Philips
Philips has indicated that they will be bringing their set-top TV/Internet kit to the US later this year. Connectivity comes via a hardware add-on which is used in conjuction with Philips' CD-i unit. Already available in parts of Europe, it has been indicated to us that when this add-on is released in the US, it will likely be priced in the area of $200(US). Look for more news on this item in May at the E3 show. In other news, Philips has scheduled over 30 new CD-ROM titles for release through 1996 across both Mac and PC platforms. Two of the more notable releases coming soon are their latest projects Gearhead (an action/strategy game based in a world of wind-up toys) and Down in the Dumps (a 3-D puzzle/adventure game featuring a family of tiny aliens who have crash landed on the Earth).
Shining Sword Announced
American Laser Games announced this week a new title scheduled for release this October on the Sony PlayStation. Titled Shining Sword, this fighting/exploration game marks a new direction for ALG (previously known for their live-action shooting titles). Gameplay takes place in a medieval fantasy world featuring: 3-D characters interacting in a 3-D environment, object spawning/animation (this allows effects such as real time collapsing buildings), particle animation (allowing 3-D manipulation of waterfalls, flames and more), as well as other effects. This game will also support two-player game play on either one console, or via two linked consoles -- either cooperatively or competitively.
* * * (originally posted 02/17/96)
In addition to the lay-offs mentioned below, and in past news items... On February 13th, Atari announced a corporate merger with JTS, a manufacturer of computer disk drives. The terms of the agreement merge the two companies together under the name of JTS Corporation, with the officers of JTS remaining officers over the merged company. Atari will be maintained as a seperate business division. Following the merger, current Atari stockholders will hold approximately 60 percent of the shares of the new company.
Is It One or Two?
Apparently there has been a good bit of confusion these days over Ascii's new U.S. release, Kingsfield for the Sony PlayStation. This title is actually the Japanese game Kingsfield 2. When approached, sources at Ascii indicated to us that there will be no release of the Japanese Kingsfield 1 in the U.S. because of concerns about the quality of the title.
Namco In '96
Well, PlayStation owners are a little happier these days since it looks like the North American market will finally be getting the gems of the Namco classics. Namco Museum Vol.1 will be available in April. The contents will be the same as the Japanese release, which consisted of Pole Position, Galaga, Rally X, and others. Future volumes will be made available as well, with vol. 2 and 3 out in the later part of '96, and vol. 4 and 5 to be released in '97. As for other North American releases, we've been told that both Ridge Racer Revolution and Tekken 2 will not be available until the third quarter of this year.
Square Does PlayStation
In an announcement made on February 9th in Japan, Square Co. Ltd., remarked that it will now begin developing software for Sony's PlayStation platform. Their first title for the PlayStation will be the next chapter in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VII, available in Japan in December of 1996. Unfortunately, there have been no clear indications as to wether or not this game will also be released in North America. Additionally, a spokesman from Square of Japan commented that they will concentrate more on developing PlayStation software after the remaining Super Nintendo titles in Japan are finished.
Sony Announces RPGs
Sony of America announced last week that they will now begin releasing Role Playing Games (RPGs) for their PlayStation console. The first title to be released will be a Japanese conversion of the game Beyond the Beyond, slated for release in June of 1996. Following that will be Arc the Lad, although no official release date has been set at this time the game. For extended news on this story, you can read Sony's press release about it.
Capcom's D&D Title Cut
Capcom announced recently that their home conversion of the arcade title Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom has been cut from their release line-up. Internal sources at Capcom noted that the reason for the cut was due to continued technical problems involved in the conversion. Also, it was pointed out to us that while the game has been cut for now, it may not be gone forever so keep your fingers crossed. On another note, when asked about any plans for a conversion of the Japanese Street Fighter title based on the animated movie, we were told that the game would not be brought to the U.S. due to the excessive amount of translation required for both the text and vocals.
More Atari News
Atari laid-off more staff last Friday (2/9), including Marketing and Production staff. But, on the software front, they have confirmed that following this months release of Defender 2000, their next two releases will be Attack of the Mutant Penguins in March, and Fight for Life in April. Although, beyond that everything is still up in the air.
* * * (originally posted 02/08/96)
First off, everyone wants to know when Mortal Kombat 3 will be available for play on XBAND for Genesis. Well, word from Catapult is that this game should be available by the end of March... hang in there guys... as it stands, at least you can play Ballz! now.
As for other XBAND news: XBAND PC is drawing near, and will initially support play with the popular title Doom. Following the launch other games will be added to the list of playable titles, including: Super Street Fighter II, Hardball V, Hexen, Locus, and others.
And in Japan... On January 31st, 1996, Catapult officially launched their XBAND game network for the Super Famicom in Japan with the support of several major Japanese firms including the likes of Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) among others. Current numbers on subscribers to this still "beta" service are in the range of 7,500... with a potential starting test market of around 10,000 subscribers. Games available for play at launch consist of Puyo Puyo, Super Fire Pro Wrestling, Super Mario Kart, and Super Street Fighter II. In a seperate item, the Japanese market will also be getting a taste of "next generation" XBAND gaming via the Sega Saturn. Currently in early development stages, the Saturn version of XBAND will initially support play with the title Sega Rally, and should be available in late '96.
* * * (originally posted 02/05/96)
Nintendo 64 Delayed
Well, just in case you didn't happen to see last Friday's "USA Today", or somehow managed to be out of contact with any other gamers... Nintendo went and did exactly what everyone had been predicting. The North American release of the now named "Nintendo 64" has been bumped back to September 30th, while the European release date has been pushed back to an unspecified "late Fall" time frame. The Japanese market will still receive the console on the original April 21st release date though. Pricing is still being indicated as $250.00(US) for the console. Nintendo issued a full length letter on the subject from their Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Peter Main, which you can read here.
NOTICE, for Assualt Rigs Owners
If you happened to read the box on this title, you may have noticed that it states the game supports "a network 8 player option". Well, no, Sony hasn't released some new multi-player adapter for the PlayStation, yet. That information is in reality a type-o. Only the PC version of this game supports 8 players via a network connection. The PlayStation version of Assault Rigs supports two-players (via link cable).
Capcom Release News
Street Fighter Alpha for both the PlayStation and Saturn are shipping today. Capcom expects copies to hit stores by Friday at the latest. As for Resident Evil (Bio-Hazard in Japan), work on this title is wrapping up and current plans have the game shipping to stores on March 15 for the US market, and a week or two before that for Japan (apparently both copies will be finished at the same time, but Sony of Japan is apparently a bit more efficient on getting final product out the door). As for Marvel Super Heroes, being released for the console market, all Capcom will say at this time is that they will probably make an announcement durring E3 in May.
Konami Projects Update
Project: Overkill is still on course for a Second Quarter '96 release. Expect to see this game hit the stores before the E3 show. As for Konami's next, well anticipated, release in the famous Castlevania series, we've been told that gamers will probably have to wait till E3 for an announcement.
Captain Quasar is a wrap, and should ship from 3DO today or some time tommorow. You should start seeing this highly anticipated title show up in stores by the end of this week. As for the next product out of 3DO, their 3DO Game Guru, you can expect to see it hit stores just past the middle of February. ...and now you're asking "Just what is a 3DO Game Guru?" right? Well, not only does this little number allow you to modify games (akin to Game Genie), but it also feautures an option for you to compress the save memory inside of your console, thus allowing you more room for game saves (much like Stacker or RamDouble performs on a home computer).
* * * (originally posted 02/02/96)
Psygnosis on Saturn
Psygnosis, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sony Corporation of American, and the largest development house in Europe has formally announced that they well now be developing software for the Sega Saturn platform. Initial titles to be released will be Wipeout, Destruction Derby, 3-D Lemmings and DiscWorld, and these will be available during the first half of 1996. For extended news on this story, you can read Psygnosis' press release about it.
There Goes the Lunch Hour
LucasArts has announced the release of their new adventure title Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures. With this Windows based title, LucasArts introduces the first ever desktop-based story game. "Traditionally, desktop games for Windows have been along the lines of word, board, card or very very abstract games," said Hal Barwood, project leader for Indy Desktop. "Indian Jones and his Desktop Adventures is for people who like adventure games, but don't always have 40 hours free to finish one. Each game can be won in under an hour and then a new game, with new characters, puzzles and treasures, can be started." Considering that there are 15 overall quests, consisting of totally random elements each game, 30 to 50 "zones" to move around in durring each game, and each new world contains between 10 and 15 puzzles, as well as a game engine that double checks to insure that each new quest is unique from the last... the replay value on this game is extremely high. This title is slated for release in the first quarter of 1996, and will ship on a single high-density floppy disk.So much for Mine Sweeper.
New from Nintendo
Nintendo has announced two new releases for the Nintendo Virtual Boy. Announced for release in February is Nester's Funky Bowling, video game bowling as you've never seen it before. Then in March, Nintendo will release 3-D Tetris, the all time grandaddy of classic puzzlers.
Well, just in case you weren't aware, or have been locked in solitary confinement for the last few weeks... Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie has finally hit the US. Completely in English, this movie features soundtrack music from KMFDM, Alice In Chains, and more. The running time on this unrated feature is 96 minutes, and is being distributed by Renegade Home Video. You should be able to find the movie at most major video retail chains for $9 to $19 (US) new.