Archive for January, 2012

Important Importables: GP2X handhelds

January 29, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: GP2X handhelds

Gamepark Holdings had an idea. It wanted to create a handheld device that could be used for gaming and other means, but also had no restrictions. The company was made up of workers from GamePark who had originally developed a handheld device of that nature called the GP32, and GamePark Holdings wanted to continue that legacy. So, it decided to create a whole new product line, the GP2X. While I’m sure many of you may have never heard of it, it was an admirable series of open source devices that managed to survive for 10 years before finally going out of business.

Since the three models released, the GP2X, Wiz and Caanoo, all relied on user-created software and games rather than commercially developed apps, all three devices can still be quite useful and viable today. So let’s learn about the devices and see if any are something you’d be interested in acquiring.

What’s a GP2X?

Simply put, the GP2X series are the Korean take on a portable game console. Except it does a lot more than one would expect for a handheld, as it contained a Linux-based operating system, was open-source to allow homebrew apps and supported a number of different media types, including Flash. So while most GP2X units looked like a cross between a Game Boy Advance and a Neo Geo Pocket, it was far more advanced and was capable of things even the DS couldn’t do.

The first unit in the series was the GP2X, which came out in 2005. It played games, apps and media off of an SD card, had a TV output and later models even had a touch screen. It was mainly a homebrew and indie device, with very few commercial games sold for it. Instead, users were encouraged to develop their own software and share it. As you can guess, there are tons of emulators available to allow it to play other, older console and handheld games. It also could play AVI, DixX, MPG, WMA and Xvid video files, as well as MP3 and OGG audio files.

The next system was the GP2X Wiz, which was first released in 2009. It improved upon the prior hardware by adding in a OLED screen, a microphone and built-in flash memory, as well as being smaller than the original device. It lost the TV output ability in the process though. However, it also had 1gb flash memory compared to the GP2X’s 64mb, which helped make up for it. Also, it had a Flash Player 8 functionality included, as well as support for AVI, flv, DivX, mkv, mp4, MPEG4 and Xvid videos, MP3, OGG and WAV audio files and BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG images. The Wiz’s price dropped down to $100 after the next model was released.

That model would be the GP2X Caanoo, which had a relatively short lifespan. It was released in 2010 and production ended in September 2011. The company folded soon after, leaving not even a trace online as its website disappeared from the internet. It’s a shame, because the $149.99 Caanoo was an impressive little device. It could handle 3D visuals, had a microphone built into it, had an OLED resistive touchscreen, has WiFi capabilities if you have the external piece, can have an addtional controller attached, had an accelerometer and vibration effects and, of course, ran a Linux OS. Like the GP2X Wiz, it could play AVI, DivX, MPEG4 and XviD media files, MP3, OGG and WAV audio files and display BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG images. In addition, it had some rudimentary eReader functions and could open TXT and PDF files. It also had AV output. It had no onboard memory for apps though, relying on SD cards to save data and isn’t out-of-the-box compatible with GP2X and GP2X Wiz apps, requiring upgrading users to find a work around or get a new version of the old app.

The GP2X Caanoo can still be found quite easily online for around $150. Play-Asia is even still selling new units. You can probably even find it for less than that, if you’re willing to do some searching. The GP2X and GP2X Wiz will be a bit harder to find. If you’re willing to take to eBay, you should be fine and should easily find a Wiz or Caanoo.

So what can you play on your GP2X handheld?

While there is an online game store called FunGP, which is still online despite the demise of the GP2X Wiz and Caanoo, the beauty of the GP2X line is that they’re open source. This means there are tons of free games available to download and enjoy. FunGP allows users access to both paid and free apps, so it’s a good place to start before searching the rest of the internet. You do have to buy FunGP G-Money cards in order to actually shop at the FunGP store. Play-Asia does sell 20,000G cards.

Here are a handful of games to initially consider:

  • Deicide

  • Frozen Bubble: It’s a Bust-a-Move clone where you launch colored bubbles up at matching bubbles to make them disappear. There’s no language barrier. It costs 3,000G.
  • Herknights: It’s a side-scrolling action game where you choose a character and beat up enemies. It’s in Korean, but it’s also free so it wouldn’t hurt to test it out.
  • Jelly Mahjong: It’s a puzzle game that requires you to match little jelly characters. It also appears to be in English. It costs 5,000G
  • Jump to the Moon: It’s a Doodle Jump style game where you help an astronaut jump to the moon. There are no language barriers and it is free.
  • Patissier: It’s a puzzle game where you help a young woman navigate a labyrinth, collecting ingredients for deserts, by rotating the area. While it is in Korean, it seems like you can play it without understanding the language. It costs 5,000G
  • Puszion: It’s a matching puzzle game where you pair up similar figures. It’s free and in English.
  • Redemption: It’s an action RPG. It’s also completely in Korean, which may cause trouble if you have to make any decisions. It costs 5,000G.
  • Rhythmos: It’s a basic music game where you hit onscreen indicators to get a high score. It’s in both English and Korean, so you should have no problem playing and enjoying it. It costs 7,000G, but free demo versions are also available.
  • Just keep in mind that some of these games may not be in English, as these are Korean devices.

    Another fantastic resource for games and apps is It offers a wide assortment of games and apps for not only the GP2X, Wiz and Caanoo, but also for its competitors. All you do is click the icon for the handheld you own, and you’re taken to directory filled with free apps, games, emulators, magazines, firmware and also different programs to use your device with your computer. Screenshots are available for almost all apps and games as well, so you’ll know what you’re getting before you download it.

    There’s one more thing to mention. Most people who purchase one of these particular open-source handhelds is to use it to emulate old consoles or computers. There are plenty of emulators available, covering arcade emulators, classic consoles like the NES and also more obscure emulator programs like ones for the TI-92 and Pokemon Mini. While piracy is wrong, these kinds of programs are out there.

    COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Marvelous Entertainment.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Katawa Shoujo.

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Japan Import: Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box covers DS and 3DS games

January 29, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box covers DS and 3DS games

The Kingdom Hearts cash-in continues. Did you know it’s almost been 10 years since Kingdom Hearts was released on the PS2 on March 28, 2002? Square Enix did, and Square Enix isn’t a company that’s about to let an opportunity like that pass it by. Especially since Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance for the 3DS has the rather auspicious release date of March 29, 2012. It’s time for a Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box!

The Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box is a means of celebrating the series’ 10th birthday with portable games. If you grab it, you get the newest game, Kingdom Hearts 3D. You also get the two recent DS releases, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts re:Coded. I guess Square Enix figured only 3DS and DS owners will want to celebrate.

But alas, the Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box isn’t as shiny and happy as it seems. It means the 10th Anniversary of Kingdom Hearts is going to be celebrated and honored with two of the weakest games in the series. Kingdom Hearts re:Coded was just a pointless adventure and rehash with few redeeming qualities and, while I did like Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it also didn’t add anything worthwhile to the overall storyline. Both came across as ways for Square Enix to keep the series in the public eye while it prepared Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and, hopefully, started getting something done about Kingdom Hearts 3.

A more fitting Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box would have included the games that actually mattered: Kingdom Hearts (PS2), Kingdom Hearts 2 (PS2) and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (PSP). Square Enix could have done the HD remaster thing and put all three on the PS3. People would have gone nuts for it.

Anyways, if you’re really interested in this latest cash-in, you probably should just oogle it from the internet. The 3DS is region-locked so you wouldn’t be able to play the included copy of Kingdom Hearts 3D and the other two games are already available in English. You’d be paying a premium ¥15,000 (~$195) price for a game you can’t play, two games you either have played or wouldn’t want to play, a 3DS case and 12 post cards.

Read [4Gamer (Japanese)]

Popularity: 4% [?]

JTT 3DS battery may be worth importing

January 25, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

JTT 3DS battery may be worth importing

There’s one consistent problem that plagues 3DS owners. No, it isn’t lack of worthwhile games, as that was remedied in the second half of 2011. It’s the battery life. If you’re still playing with the stock battery, you’re probably feeling lucky if you’re able to play for four hours without recharging. It’s disgraceful. Thankfully, third party peripheral developers have stepped up to help, and Japan Trust Technology’s latest battery is the best of the bunch, and has a crazy price tag to prove it.

The JTT 3DS battery is pretty much just referred to as a large capacity internal battery, extended life battery or even just big battery. All three monikers don’t do it justice. After you’ve unscrewed the button battery cover and removed the stock battery, the JTT battery does more for you than the original ever could. It’s a 5,800mAh battery that’s almost four and a half times more powerful than the existing 3DS battery.

That’s a very good thing, trust me. JTT’s guarantee is that it’s 3DS battery will boost the battery life up to at least 10 hours. So it’ll be about on par with the original DS lite battery life.

Now, while the JTT 3DS big battery will make your 3DS 9mm thicker, the company still wants to keep it fashionable. There are two packs to choose from and each comes with battery colors that match the stock 3DS colors. Just be aware that these batteries are quite expensive, so you’re paying for that extra power and fashion statement. The ¥9,480 (~$122) set comes with black and blue covers and the ¥9,980 ($129) set comes with pink, red and white covers.

Read [Andriasang] Product Page [JTT Online Shop]

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Japan Import: Kingdom Hearts 3D gets a custom 3DS bundle

January 21, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Kingdom Hearts 3D gets a custom 3DS bundle

Prepare yourself, as the march of limited edition 3DS units is about to begin. The DS was known for all of its assorted incarnations in Japan, since many major game releases also had custom, limited edition bundles released alongside them. It seems the 3DS will see a similar situation. The first custom 3DS units included limited edition Club Nintendo models with Mario, Toad and Peach designs. Then, there was the Monster Hunter 3G 3DS. Now, it seems the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3DS won’t be the only special release of March 2012. The Kingdom Hearts 3D 3DS shown above will be joining it.

As you can see from the image above, the Kingdom Hearts 3D 3DS has a rather subtle design. It’s a Cosmo Black 3DS, with a subtle pattern etched into the lid of various Disney and Kingdom Hearts logos. A general Kingdom Hearts logo, complete with pink crown, appears in the bottom left corner. There could very well be some kind of design inside as well, but Square Enix and Nintendo didn’t release any pictures of it. It will only be available in a bundle that will include a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and a limited edition Dream Eater AR card for an exclusive Dream Eater character. If you can’t afford a whole bundle or already own a Japanese 3DS, that AR card will also be included with first-run copies of KH 3D.

As usual, know what you’re getting into before importing any 3DS or 3DS game. This handheld is region-locked. So if you import the Kingdom Hearts 3D 3DS bundle from Japan, you’ll only be able to play Japanese games on the system. The price for it hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be out on March 29, 2012. I’d say expect to pay $350 or more for it.

Read [4Gamer (Japanese)]

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Important Importables: Finding nifty Japanese drinks

January 15, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Finding nifty Japanese drinks

January’s a great month to sit at home and relax, enjoying the various presents you received back in December and staying in out of the cold. Granted, winter this year has been pretty mild, but the sentiment is still the same. It’s a month to kick back and start planning what you want to do over the next year or recover after gathering with family and friends last month. It also would be a great time to try something new while enjoying your new games. You know, have a little adventure without leaving the house.

Japanese snacks are always a good way to experiment and try something new without worrying about the whole endeavor going too badly. Since we looked back at some Japanese candy back around Halloween, today we’ll go through some assorted Japanese, non-alcoholic drinks. All of them are relatively easy to find here, either in a local store or online, so you won’t have to

The novelty of Japanese drinks

It’s easy to develop a fascination with Japanese snacks, or even with the way said snacks are provided. Vending machine culture and unusual flavor combinations are typical in the country. It’s unique. People get to experience another culture and feel a little adventurous at the same time, without doing anything too unorthodox.

Vending machines are everywhere in Japan and you can get all kinds of drinks in a hurry, be they hot or cold. Of course there are standard soda machines and hot coffee dispensers with coffee, tea or other hot drinks. Beer machines can also be found in some areas though. Also, the hot drink dispensers are different in that some provide a warm can of coffee or perhaps even a drink like Calpis rather than just giving the buyer a paper cup filled with liquid.

The unexpected flavors are even more common though. Milk flavored drinks and usual tea combinations are everywhere. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are great examples, as both companies have special kinds sold only in Japan. Sometimes they’re even limited editions. Some of the most notable varieties include Coca-Cola Citra (Citrus flavored), Green Tea Coca-Cola Plus, Pepsi Pink (strawberry milk flavored), Pepsi Baobab and Pepsi White (yogurt flavored). Right now, Green Tea Coca-Cola Plus, Pepsi White Sapote (fruit and ginger-flavored) and Pepsi Pink are available in Japan.

Now, finding these Japanese drinks is surprisingly easy in most cases. If there’s an Asian or ethnic grocery store in your neighborhood, odds are you’ll find one or two varieties of Japanese colas, coffees or drinks there. Amazon also carries quite a few as well, or has other vendors selling them there. Or, you can always turn to specialized websites like Asian Snack Time or JBox, which focus on importing snacks from Japan. If you want an unusual Pepsi or Coke variety, you’ll probably have to import, as they rarely appear in stores outside of the country. napaJapan is a good store for picking up the assorted Pepsi and Coca-Cola drinks, and even occasionally carries old varieties for those rare people who collect Pepsi and Coke products.

Drink up!

So, after reading all about how it’s cool to get some foreign drink, possibly in an awesome can featuring iconic characters or unusual designs, you probably want to get one for yourself. Don’t worry, they really aren’t that hard to find. This is especially true if you have an Asian grocery store near your home. Keep an eye out for the following drinks.

Calpis (Calpico)
Price: ~$2 per can, ~5 per bottle
Flavor: Avoid this if you can’t handle dairy, as Calpis, known as Calpico outside Japan, is a drink made of water, dry milk and lactic acid. Depending on the variety you can get Calpis Water or Calpis Soda, with the water version being the standard variety and the soda version being carbonated. There are fruit flavor varieties and people have been known to mix it with liquor to make cocktails. It’s considered a health drink.
Best Served: Cold. Only cold. I can’t imagine drinking it warm. Though, surprisingly, some Japanese vending machines sell Hot Calpis. I shudder at the thought.

Mitsuya Cider
Price: ~$2 per bottle
Flavor: Pretend the “cider” part of Mitsuya Cider isn’t even there. It doesn’t matter. This is just a plain old soft drink, with the original flavor being similar to 7Up or Sprite. It’s supposed to be fizzy and refreshing, and it is. There are also varieties that add in hints of fruit flavor, like lemon or orange. Actually, as good as the drink is, the Mitsuya Cider hard candies are actually better because they not only have the same flavor, they also have the same fizzy feeling when you eat them.
Best Served: Cold

Pocari Sweat
Price: ~$3 per bottle
Flavor: Think of Pocari Sweat as being similar to Gatorade. It’s a non-carbonated sports drink designed to rehydrate people and boost energy with sugar and electrolytes. As far as taste, it’s rather bland and mildly fruity. Unlike health drinks we’re familiar with, Pocari Sweat is only available in a grapefruit variety.
Best Served: Cold

Price: ~$2 per bottle
Flavor: Ramune is just a carbonated soft drink. The taste isn’t all that phenomenal, no matter which variety you get. (The standard flavor is lemon-lime, but there are various fruit and cola flavored Ramune as well.) It’s good, but the real appeal comes from the bottle. It’s a Codd-neck bottle with a marble keeping the drink fresh and sealed. It’s held in place with pressure and you have to use a little piece of plastic, included on the top of the bottle, to push the marble into the bottle so you can drink. You even have to drink it in just the right way so the marble doesn’t slip back into place. It’s more about novelty than taste.
Best Served: Cold

UCC Milk Coffee
Price: ~$2 per can, $18 if you get the can and Evangelion figure set.
Flavor: The product description actually does a pretty good job of describing the UCC Milk Coffee taste. It’s coffee that’s flavored with milk and sugar. It’s reminiscent of the kind of coffee you’d get from a vending machine or gas station, actually. Which figures, because it’s sold in vending machines in Japan. It’s particularly notable for anime fans as there have been multiple promotions with UCC and Evangelion, with either the cans featuring characters on them or coming in a pack that includes a figurine.
Best Served: Warm or cold. Remember to pour it into a glass or mug before heading it up in a microwave.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at the GP2X and GP2X Wiz.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports talked about Doctor Who games.

Site [AmiAmi] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

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Japan Import: Stores cutting Vita 3G’s price

January 5, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Japan Import: Stores cutting Vita 3G’s price

We already know that the Vita isn’t doing as well in Japan as Sony would have liked. Not to mention hackers have already found exploits in the device that allow emulation. Not to mention the 3G Vita has a 20mb download cap and rather disappointing download and upload speeds. So the sight of some stores discounting the 3G Vita model by about 20% isn’t surprising.

A Wi-Fi model Vita goes for ¥24,980, or around $326. A 3G and Wi-Fi model, which requires people to get a data plan contract, is supposed to be ¥29,980, or about $390. As you can probably guess, the 3G/Wi-Fi model isn’t selling as well. Which is leading some stores to reduce it in an attempt to get shoppers to buy it. The ad from the store taken above, which appeared originally at , says the 3G/Wi-Fi model is only ¥24,999 (~$326). You know things can’t be good when a store is willing to take a loss and make a model with more features almost the exact same price as the base model.

The Vita hasn’t even been out a month yet, which makes all this panicking a bit premature. You’d think stores would at least want to give the handheld a few weeks before chopping almost ¥5,000 (~$65) off a device’s price. Perhaps this will benefit Sony. Right now, the company is learning what people think about the Wi-Fi and 3G/Wi-Fi Vita models, and perhaps there’s enough time to make adjustments to the North American and European launches to give both models a better chance of survival overseas. Perhaps the 3G/Wi-Fi model will receive a bit of a price cut or Sony will work with AT&T, the company providing data plans for the Vita in the United States, to create some kind of incentive to buy the more expensive model.

Personally, if I bought a Vita I’d go with the cheaper Wi-Fi model. There are so many free, Wi-Fi hotspots available now that it seems silly to pay for a data plan. Plus, I’ve had unpleasant experiences with AT&T’s service in the past. Most importantly, I found I usually only played my PSP at home due to the system’s battery life, size and the fact that it always seemed more delicate than my DS. I’d imagine the same thing would happen with a Vita.

Read [ (German)] Via [GamesRadar]

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Shenmue is gone again

January 3, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Shenmue is gone again

Another blow has been struck against the Sega series Shenmue. Back in 2010, Ysnet created an online, social networking adventure game inspired by the series for Mobage. People rejoiced even though Shenmue World, also known as Shenmue City, wasn’t exactly the game they wanted. They took to their cell phones to play it through Mobage. Now, Shenmue World has gone dark.

On December 26, 2011, Ysnet said Shenmue World was over. There was no explanation for why it was ending, just that it was over. The developer also thanked everyone who did participate for their support and time. Of course, people could have inferred something was awry since the planned Windows and Mac port for Yahoo! Mobage never surfaced.

In Shenmue World, players chose one of six male or female characters as an avatar and then pretty much lived an ordinary life in the Shenmue world. You could take missions from people, which mainly consisted of pressing a button to complete. There were also quests to take, part-time jobs, gachas to play, fights against enemies alone or with friends, events to participate in and an overall storyline.

This is yet another blow to the small, yet devoted, group of Shenmue fans. Since Mobage is just starting to be introduced in North America, many speculated that Shenmue World could eventually be released in English and cause a resurgence in popularity for the series. Alas, it seems that is not to be. Plus, I’m sure seeing the SNS game die within a year isn’t going to convince Sega the series is ready for a revival.

Read [Andriasang] Site [Shenmue World]

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Important Importables: Classic Phantasy Star

January 1, 2012 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Classic Phantasy Star

The Phantasy Star series weren’t always MMO games, or even action RPGs with lite MMO elements. There was a time when it was akin to the Final Fantasy series and the name was brought up when referring to challenging and intriguing turn-based RPGs about heroes facing off against evil and insurmountable odds.

So before we head into a whole new year, Hot Japanese Imports is going to salute the past, and one of the best early RPG experiences people could get.

So what’s this Phantasy Star series all about?

Despite the similar names, Phantasy Star actually existed before the Final Fantasy series, with Phantasy Star appearing on the Sega Master System in 1988, two years before Final Fantasy showed up on the NES. The first four games managed to help set the pace for turn-based RPGs and was a pioneer, and showed people how a challenging, story-driven adventure could work.

Actually, the early Phantasy Star games had more in common with the Star Ocean series in terms of plot, despite being grounded in turn-based RPG roots like the Final Fantasy series. Each entry has a group of heroes facing off against a common enemy, on either a foreign planet in space or, in one case, a space ship. Each entry also blends some futuristic elements with more traditional fantasy ones. So you’ll see characters wielding swords, using magic and fighting monsters, while also having access to guns, space ships and androids/cyborgs/robots. This blend is both most and least evident in the third entry, which is typically considered the black sheep of the original Phantasy Star quartet. These ties between all four games is enforced by the main villain, the Dark Force. It is a sort of ephemural being that has the power to influence those around it and seeks only to cause pain and misery.

In each game, players had access to a fairly large party of characters. They would be tasked with some seemingly small quest in the beginning, as is common with RPGs, and would then somehow get involved in saving the entire world. In the process, they would have to travel not only around their planet, but also to a neighboring planet. While the difficulty could get quite challenging at times, especially in Phantasy Star 2 and 3, there were plenty of towns to stop at and lots of equipment to collect. All battles are turn-based, with a first person view as in the Dragon Quest series.

As for finding these first few entries, you’ll have the best luck if you look to the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. In 2002, Digital Eclipse and THQ released the Phantasy Star Collection for the GBA and it includes the first three games. The Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3, Xbox 360) includes all four games.

Let’s look at the first four games

Now, let’s get into specifics. While each game did share the commonalities mentioned above, they were individual adventures and you sometimes couldn’t even see the connections among them unless you really searched for them. Of course, the exception to that is Phantasy Star 4, which was filled with all kinds of easter eggs and references that anyone who played a previous game could pick out. This does main that players can jump in without any background information, even though the games all take place in the Algo Star System.

Phantasy Star is the first game in the series and chronologically. It begins on the planet Palma, where Alis is living with her brother Nero. Nero is part of an underground rebel force that is standing against king Lassic, who used to be a good ruler but turned into a tyrant overnight after converting to a new religion. Lassic’s robotic police force ends up finding and killing Nero, and he passes his cause on to Alice. Her quest means she has to travel around Palma, Motavia and Dezolis, recruiting the human Odin, the Musk Cat Myau and the Esper Noah to her party.

Phantasy Star 2 is the second game and the second chronologically, occuring about 1,000 years after the original game. Shortly before the game begins, the planet Palma was destroyed after the Gaila satellite crashed. So Rolf, our hero, is living on the planet Motavia, which has been made hospitable due to a climate control system installed by Mother Brain. He’s an agent working for the Commander of Motavia, and as the game begins he’s tasked with investigating why Mother Brain is allowing Motavian systems to fail and letting loose biomonsters. He heads out with Nei, a Numan girl he rescued, and eventually other companions.

Phantasy Star 3: Generations of Doom is the third game and even now people aren’t exactly sure where it fits in. The Japanese translation says that it happened 1,000 years after Phantasy Star 4, while the English translation means it happens at the same time as Phantasy Star 4. I’d go with the Japanese timeline, since translation errors in RPGs were common in the Genesis and SNES years. It’s actually considered the strangest entry in the series as well, since it initially seems to have no ties to the previous games, almost all futuristic elements are absent for most of the first generation and it covers three generations of heroes.

Phantasy Star 3 begins with a young man named Rhys, who is an Orakian prince from Landen. He found a mysterious woman named Maia washed up on the shores of his land, fell in love with her and is gong to marry her when the game begins. However, she’s abducted by a dragon on their wedding day. Rhys sets out to save her, but along the way starts to find out more about the Layan people the Orakians have been at war with for years. As time goes by, his descendents find out more about their world, the war between Orakio and Laya and their peoples’ true enemy. Now, in case you’re wondering how all this ties in without having to play the game, Phantasy Star 3 takes place entirely on one of the Alisa III evacuation worldships that set out after Palma was destroyed prior to Phantasy Star 2.

Phantasy Star 4 is the fourth game in the series and takes place after another 1,000 year time jump. That’s 1,000 years after Phantasy Star 2, by the way. It is also set on Motavia, except this is a Motavia after Mother Brain was shut down. So no more climate control – people are living in a desert. Alys and Chaz are two Hunters, mercenaries who take missions to help people in the game. As the adventure begins, Alys and Chaz are sent to the Piata Academy to investigate a biomonster outbreak. There, they are joined by a researcher named Hahn and learn that this isn’t an isolated incident. Strange things are happening all around Motavia, and a priest named Zio and his followers seem to be connected to all of them.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports looks at the Doctor Who video games.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports reviewed Bleach: Heat the Soul 7.

Site [AmiAmi] Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [Strapya World]

Popularity: 3% [?]

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