Dreaming of Dancing Burritos


Ken Ishii vs FLR – SPACE INVADERS 2003
March 1, 2009, 2:17 pm
Filed under: gaems, space invaders

I think I died a little inside.

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Play-Asia shipment review (Part One): Dissidia soda, Castlevania "7 Alucard Figure, Gundam 00 wafers, Space Invaders headset (black), Lion Ramune Candy

Receiving a parcel notice from the local post is a moment for having mixed emotions. There is elation, of course, coming from the knowledge that YES MY LONG-AWAITED PACKAGE FROM PLAY-ASIA IS THERE AND IS WAITING TO BE PICKED UP IN THE POST. I apologize for my use of caps, but attempting to express my joy otherwise is an exercise in futility.

On the other hand, picking up the package means that I’m forced to go through one of the worst public transportation routes I have ever undertaken ever since I started commuting between my first (crap) job in Quezon City and my Las Pinas home, and that’s saying a lot.

The commute to the post office involves two uncomfortable tricycle rides where somehow 5 people magically fit in a single tricyle. Yes, that includes one of said people almost sitting on the lap of another. In addition to that, my trek to the post office somehow always take place on a scorching hot day; certainly not helping ease the fact that I have to walk on hot concrete for several minutes somewhere in between rides. It’s a modern-day Penitensya before the Easter Egg Hunt.

In any case, here’s what I claimed from the post a few days before my birthday:

Clockwise from top-left: Dissidia Final Fantasy Potion (Chaos), NECA Castlevania Action Figure “7 Alucard, Lion Ramune Candy and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 2nd Phase Character Card with Chocolate Wafer, Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset Black

I got sorely burned with this particular shipment. I guess I got too complacent with not getting taxed to hell and back with my local customs office (as it should be; I never order anything extravagant online and I make it a point not to let one package exceed $US 50) that I never thought they’d consider a pair of headphones as an electronics item. What happened? my US$ 34.80 package got taxed with “duties” worth 1,000. That’s an additional US$ 20. Burn.

On to the actual contents:

The Dissidia potion I got is decorated with Final Fantasy IV’s Cecil Harvey and the bad guy Golbez(a). I have no idea how it tastes, though I read somewhere that the soda is Muscat Grape-flavored. Having consumed a couple of other Final Fantasy-branded sodas before, I think I can forgo the taste test and safely say that this Dissidia drink is no different; most probably tasting like carbonated piss with a handful of ascorbic acid tabs thrown in.

Next up is the “7 Alucard by US manufacturer NECA. Figmafags will most likely scoff at me getting a US-manufactured figure, but the awesome detail lovingly applied onto this awesome piece of plastic (from the flowing hair, manly cravat, carefully detail coat buckles, and the maddeningly intricate embroidery in the underside of his coat) is nothing short of [insert synonym to “awesome” here, I’m out of words].

While I wouldn’t give too much props to a manufacturer for doing something that they ought to have done in the first place, seeing such loving attention paid to a part that wouldn’t see light of day impressed me immensely. Seriously, I wouldn’t have noticed the beautiful patterns if it weren’t for me trying to see if I could disrobe the figure (and maybe fulfill that ten-year-long fangirl urge ebbing within).

I’d take more pictures, but I’m stuck with a crappy celphone camera and thus images will just get fuzzy whenever I attempt to take close-up shots.

Then we go now to Morinaga’s Gundam 00 wafers (or as Ryan would call them, the trap wafers). I thought of ordering one solely for the novelty of it; as much as I loved what I managed to watch of Gundam 00, I’m now really lukewarm towards anything pertaining to the series with the exception of the beautiful Miss Sumeragi.

For each pack you get a big piece of hazelnut-flavored wafer, a transparent plastic card and cardboard backing. I made the big mistake of disregarding the wafer as something that’s just chucked into the package so the item can be classified as a consumable item…until I took a bite out of it. No mistake about it, the wafer practically tastes like something made by Loacker: densely packed with delicious filling and not too flaky at all.

The cards that come inside each pack are not too shoddily made either: each are made of transparent plastic, making them good, sturdy bookmarkers. I’m not too keen on the card I got from my first pack, though:

I never liked Nena Trinity.

Since Ryan managed to get a taste of the heavenly wafers earlier, here’s his own review:

The Gundam 00 wafer is a strange, strange product. You’d think that something about giant robots with androgynous, mentally-ill pilots would have nothing to do with foodstuffs, but as always, we are reminded that Japan does not roll that way – hence we have this piece of surprisingly palatable wafery goodness emblazoned with the Gundam name. A name long sullied by Gundam seed, but a name nonetheless.

The foil pack contains two things: the wafer itself, a thin cardboard backing to make the package less prone to snapping in half/crumbling into pieces, and the collectible card. Okay, that’s three things, but I doubt you’d be buying this little baby for the second item. Unless you’re like me and like cardboard a tad bit too much.

The wafer is edible, the cardboard backing and the collectible card itself unfortunately is not.

In any case, the wafer, despite its rather dubious branding and packaging, is actually one of the best-tasting wafers out there. It’s dispensed in a pretty big size, the same size as a trading card – and it’s solid. You’ll be biting through solid layers of wafer and filling – none of the feathery, airy stuff you get at local stores – and you’ll be relishing every bite. It’s crispy, it’s tasty, and you better bet that it’s awesome with ice cream. You do not want to order just one or two of these babies. Order an entire box. It’s worth the money and the wait.

You heard the man.

The last two items in the shipment are the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary headset (black) and a couple of sticks of Lion Ramune candy. The headset is noteworthy solely because it’s the main reason why I got taxed heavily for the shipment. But that aside, it functions just as well as its pink cousin.

..and the Lion Ramune candy? The lemony hard candy fizzes in the mouth. Careful not to consume too many at once, or in a row, though: you don’t want to desensitize your tongue.

That’s part one of this shipment review – I received a couple of boxes from Play-Asia earlier today, and I’m going to blog it when I’m finally able.



Not-so-secret-project sketchpad #1
December 29, 2008, 7:36 am
Filed under: fangirl, gaems, space invaders

“Behold, unintelligent earthlings! I am Commander KIJUJU of the Space Invaders Forces, and I come bearing gifts of doom! You may be surprised, even flabbergasted by my three-dimensional form instead of the usual sublime 2D plane that we Invaders come from. After much research and trawling of your information superfeed, we have decided upon this form, as according to your datastream it is the most eye-catching and attention-grabbing of all! And it says a lot about you, you perverts!”

Joint project with Ryan. X3



Gadget review: Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset (Pink) and Raglan Shirt (Pink)
December 17, 2008, 6:09 am
Filed under: appeals to the capitalist in you, gaems, review, space invaders, toys

(Author’s Note: This review, also written for Gamerblag , is actually way overdue; I’ve received the items the other week but was too caught up with work and other stuff until recently. Also, many, many thanks to Zuri-chan for letting us place this Play-Asia purchase on his credit card. You so rock, dude.)

It’s already apparent by now that I’m a big Space Invaders fan, but despite the glut of sweet, sweet Invader merchandise created to commemorate the franchise’s 30th Anniversary, its still hard to procure many of these items – Space Invaders alarm clock, pillow, Kitkat , etc – solely because I don’t live in Japan.

But we make do.

In any case, I was able to sniff out and pre-order the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary commemorative headset and Raglan shirt months ago in Play-Asia, and after a long wait (thanks to pushed back release dates), the Space Invaders care package was finally delivered to my doorstep by a Fedex guy wannabe.

Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset (pink):
QualityPros: The Space Invaders headset is solidly built and is made of lightweight plastic and faux leather for the padding. The pink paint on the actual ear pieces are thankfully not prone to scratching thanks to its top coat, which also seems to protect the black lettering and Space Invaders design from chipping off. The padding on the headband and the underside of the earpieces are extremely comfy; unlike my old Hesh Skullcandy headset, the Space Invader pair didn’t give me any sore ears after a considerable length of usage.

Another plus is that the headset can be folded to let you stow it without taking up too much space. However, the hinges are too loose, giving a floppy feel to the earpieces.
Cons: The white adjustable stems are made of plastic commonly used in cheap toys, and may not appeal to those prefer only high-quality material on their stuff. While the whole thing is sturdy and doesn’t look like it’ll break under moderate usage, the choice of material for the stems look somewhat flimsy. Also, what doesn’t appeal to me is the white-colored cord, which is dirt-prone and will never fail to turn grayish after weeks of usage despite proper handling and care.
Sound Quality: The sound quality that the Space Invaders deliver is nothing fancy, but nothing crappy either. Having owned a Skullcandy Hesh, I can safely say that they both have more or less similar sound output, and audio doesn’t crack as long as one does not crank the bass too much. A good benchmark that I use is Kajmaster Kajet’s Ninja Info Cards – if the sound doesn’t crackle in the middle of the track and has ample bass, then it’s good.

Packaging: The packaging for this item, while not in the least elaborate, is pretty cool-looking in its black-colored glossy carton printed with multi-colored happy little Invaders. The box window doesn’t show much of the merchandise, however, and the headset’s color (pink or black) is poorly indicated by a color dot on the box’s top flap. The cords placed smack in the middle of the box is conveniently hidden from plain sight by a circular piece of carton with a pink Invader printed on it (which I used as a deco sticker of sorts for my HP Mini).

Pricing: The headset is pretty affordable compared to most other headsets of similar build – and with this I mean those with huge earpieces – costing only US$ 20 or about 900 pesos. With the free shipping option in Play-Asia (available in selected countries), getting the Space Invaders headset is actually a cheaper and more awesome-looking alternative than getting…say, Sennheisers. If you’re into the Skullcandy brand, then this sweet headset would be right up your alley in terms of pricing and style.

Verdict: Space Invaders fan? Get this. Looking for a good yet affordable headset? Get this. Want only the best materials for your stuff? You may have second thoughts before buying this baby. Want to scalp something other than Hannah Montana tickets on eBay? Oh yes, yes, get this.

Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Raglan Shirt (Pink):


Quality: I may be a fan of the series, but that doesn’t mean I won’t call a spade a spade. Let me get this straight: the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Shirts are poorly made. From the initial advertising months ago to the final product, the shirt I got is surprisingly disappointing.

Pros: It’s Space Invaders, and the design is love.

Cons: I pre-ordered the pink shirt months ago, but for some reason the one I got is…well, red. Sure, pink and red belong to the same family of color but what the heck, if I were in the US I’d sue Play-Asia or Taito for false advertising (as my item was put on pre-order and shipped to me immediately after they were stocked, not informing me of the color variation nor giving me a chance to change my order). Dammit, Taito.

The cotton fabric used for the shirt is also low-quality. One look at it and I knew that the fabric fibers will get frayed after a few washes, and that the design will easily fade after a short while *sad face*. I was advised to hand wash it instead of throwing it into the washing machine, though I’m not sure if it will help in making this shirt look good as new for several months.

Packaging: The packaging is similar to the one used for the headphones, and you can see the bottom half of the shirt design through the box window.

Pricing: Considering that my DJ Max Syriana shirt is cheaper by a couple of dollars and is of a much, much higher quality, I’m not so sure if this Space Invaders shirt is worth your US$ 20. If you’re a rabid fan of the franchise like I am, you’ll probably brainwash yourself into thinking that the price is justified, but since I’ve bought shirts of better quality for a fraction of a price, it’s mostly a guilty purchase.

Verdict: Rabid Space Invaders fan? Get this. For the others…it’s a nice novelty item, but not worth the money. Even those who buy this off eBay may feel cheated after getting the item, despite it being an official merchandise.



Space Invaders Get Even: This time they mean business
December 3, 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: fangirl, gaems, review, space invaders
 

(originally written for Gamerblag)

Most of us know about the attempted invasion thirty years ago, and how the Core Cannon – humanity’s greatest hope back then – successfully fended off the threat of UFOs and pixellated aliens. Victory against the Space Invaders means peace for humanity right? Wrong.

Three decades have passed, and humans being humans, started to fight amongst themselves over the Core Cannon, the weapon that was supposed to bring peace to the world. Seeing that the Earthlings are too busy bombing each other to notice any alien threat, the embittered Space Invaders have started plotting their revenge. Now with better planning and attack formations, Taito’s Space Invaders are back…and this time no bunker will save anything who gets in their way.

Invade You

Thirty years ago, the only thing that came between the Space Invaders and the conquest of humanity is a lone Core Cannon, and a handful of bunkers. Now, Earth technology has vastly improved, and humans now have a lot of high-tech and agile weaponry to shoot you down with, such as helicopters, tanks, laser turrets, even destroyer ships and huge robots. Well, nobody said anything about invading being an easy job.

For every mission, you are given only a limited amount of time to fulfill mission objectives and carve up a path of destruction as you go along. Swift, decisive attacks naturally are keys to a successful invasion, and fortunately for you, leading the invasion isn’t all that complicated. Any form of micromanagement is absent in the game – all it takes to take over the world is just the UFO, a massive invader army, and some well-coordinated attacks.

Time to get even

You take command of the UFO, as well as the hundred-strong Invader army standing by at your disposal. In lieu of weapons or firearms, your Invader army itself serves as a shape-shifting weapon whose form depends on any of the five attack formations they assume: Shot, Homing, Burst, Drill, and Hopping.

The attacks are pretty much self-explanatory: Shot launches Invaders units straight towards the enemy, Burst drops massive Invader-bombs at a specified target, Drill lets Invaders arrange themselves into a drill to inflict continuous damage, etc.

Aside from the five attack formations, there are no other weapons up your arsenal with the exception of the Special Move, a massive laser beam. This particular lack of weapon variety is actually a good thing, since it grants an intuitive control scheme that lets you switch between attack types without much thought. This is a very important thing considering that a lot of your attention will be concentrated on dodging a plethora of projectiles in any given second.

There are practically two things to watch out for when carrying out an invasion aside from the enemies: time and number of units available.

While its tempting to just dawdle along destroying buildings and delivering 8-bit pixel justice to just about any enemy unit you see in-game, you must keep in mind that your time is limited, and you need to accomplish your mission chop-chop. However, invaders are given a certain number of seconds for each building and enemy unit destroyed, so you can also opt to delay your mission and destroy anything in sight provided that you’re fast enough.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your alloted time will be diminished if you take hits. The stronger the enemy weapon that manages to hit the UFO, the more seconds that will be taken out of your counter. You will also lose some of your Invader units for every hit taken, so be careful. You can always replenish your army by waving your Wiimote and Nunchuk up and down, but doing so will leave the UFO open to further attacks.



Cute Invaders are cute indeed

One of the first few things that players will notice upon booting the game is that Space Invaders Get Even doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the campy Star Wars-like intro to the cheesy victory shouts of “Victory for humanity!” whenever the Invaders are shot down, it’s pretty obvious that the game is a self-parody of the entire Space Invaders franchise, albeit a well-made one.

Those familiar with the Katamari series of games will undoubtedly experience a bout of nostalgia while playing Space Invaders Get Even. Aside from the obvious similarities, such as alloting only a limited length time for every mission (as well as the timer itself) and the cute protagonists, the game exudes the same aura of bizarre, yet brutal cuteness. This eerie semblance is especially noticeable when you hear screams while your obedient Invaders cheerfully level buildings and destroy your enemies.

Another Katamari-ish touch to the game is the beaming up of cows for research purposes. We’re not sure what goes on in the alien research facility, but 15 seconds are added whenever the UFO acquires a cow. For some reason, cows in Space Invaders Get Even find themselves wandering in the unlikeliest of places possible, such as in the middle of a weapons facility, or floating in the middle of the ocean wearing inflatable rings.

Adding a layer of campiness are the comic book-style text sound effects (like “DOOOOOM”) whenever the Invaders bomb down buildings, as well as the brilliant voiceovers that can be heard as Invaders intercept the human’s radio transmissions.

Eavesdropping on your enemies’ messages to each other reveals a rainbow of personalities behind every bunker, helicopter, or pretty much any structure that you destroy. There are the annoying, cocky pilots, hopeful and naive operators, stalwart commanders, and civilians who tend to be vocal about having their cows stolen.



WHAT DO THEY WANT WITH MY COWS

Space Invaders Get Even is actually one of the better WiiWare purchases available in the current selection. However, the entire package is offered piecemeal: one can get the starter pack for 500 Wii Points, while additional stages can be attained by buying the three other stage packs also worth 500 Wii Points each.

Compared to the add-on packs, which contain two levels (each level has two areas and a boss fight each), the starter pack only contains one, giving off the impression that paying for the starter pack is akin to paying for a demo. While this may be true to some extent, one must consider that the game’s overall price – 2000 Wii Points for the starter pack and all add-on packs combined – as a steal. As it stands, Space Invaders Get Even offers a lot of bang for the buck compared to…say, My Horse and Me.

How can I invade you?

After beating all the stages, accomplishing all missions, collecting all hidden items as well as beaming up all the cows, what then?

Taito came up with a scheme that assures its replay factor for at least a few weeks to a couple of months: global rankings. Players can upload their scores and compare them with the best players from around the world, and those who want to beat the highest score would have to resort to playing the game again and again, similar to its sister flash game Space Invaders World War.

Global rankings are good, but its better if the game offered a hard mode instead to those who’ve finished it. In any case, there’s always a possibility that Taito and Square Enix would offer additional stage packs or more unlockable items for Space Invaders Get Even, so who knows.

All things considered, Taito and Square Enix managed to come up with a solidly built title that more than gives justice to a time-honored IP. However, the general opinion towards Space Invaders Get Even is marred by its microtransaction business model (thank you, Square Enix), but it shouldn’t deter most people from getting the entire deal.




;-;
October 28, 2008, 3:12 pm
Filed under: fangirl, gaems, rage, space invaders
My invadurrs, in my Kit Kats.

Why am I not in Japan while Taito is going full force with the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary?
*sob*


June 24, 2008, 4:27 am
Filed under: gaems, space invaders, toys

Why does the wait have to take so long. T_T

I wants my pink pew pews.

*cue gnashing of teeth*