READ! READ! Or something like that.
"Imports Are Fun!"

-By Stephen Kelley-
-Presented by DMG
-The way it is....-
-Presented 04/25/2006-

Until recently I had never imported a game from Japan, mainly because of my choice in consoles being the ps2, and the fact that modding a ps2 to play imports is very hard (for me at least) and costly.  Along came the DS, and it opened a huge golden door for me, one full of games that I had no idea I could obtain, even if they are full of a language I cannot read, I still can play them and that is all that matters.

So far I have imported 2 games “Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!” and “Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei” and I am loving both of them.  My recommendation if you would like to import any game is to comparative shop, I looked everywhere for Ouendan, and discovered that most eBay seller were hocking it for around sixty dollars.  That was a bit too expensive for my tastes, and I eventually found a website called that offered free shipping, and placed my order.

“Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!” is a rhythm based game similar in style to “Parappa the Rapper” except you tap colored circles in order on the touch screen in sequence with music.  The story revolves around a local group of guys called the “cheer squad”.  Your goal in the game is to help out people who are having trouble, whether it is taking placement tests to get into a good school, to helping a pharaoh build a pyramid.  All these sequences are guided along with the soundtrack comprised of sound-alike popular J-pop, J-Rock, and even J-Rap songs.  The game is also accented with manga style cut scenes that move the story around. 

Ouendan  also features some great multiplayer games, but in order to play them you need friends with the game as well.  Fortunately I know two other people that have the game, so I have played a few of the modes and they are pretty fun.

For music fans, here is a list of the songs in the game:
  1. Tomoyasu Hotei - "Thrill"
  2. Morning Musume - "Koi no Dance Site"
  3. The Blue Hearts - "Linda Linda"
  4. Asian Kung-Fu Generation - "Loop & Loop"
  5. nobodyknows+ - "Kokoro odoru"
  6. The Yellow Monkey - "Taiyou ga Moeteiru"
  7. Linda Yamamoto - "Neraiuchi"
  8. Ulfuls - "Gatz daze!!"
  9. Kishidan - "One Night Carnival"
  10. L'Arc-en-Ciel - "Ready Steady Go"
  11. Yaida Hitomi - "Over the Distance"
  12. Road of Major - "Taisetsuna mono"
  13. Orange Range - "Shanghai Honey"
The only problems that I see with Ouendan are that in order to completely understand the story you need to know Japanese, because if not, the storylines are hilarious.  This is because you have no idea what is going on.  The second problem is that on higher levels I am kind of scared that I will destroy my DS with its own stylus.  The reason for this is that when you make it up to hard or very hard modes you are tapping your DS so fast it is hard not to “machine gun” the crap out of it.  I actually started carrying a Q-Tip with my DS just in case I want to play a harder level in the game.

Later on I picked up “Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei” which is a fighting game much in the vein of guilty gear.  The game is from the development company Treasure**, which released a cult classic Yu Yu Hakusho game for the Sega master System that is still seen as one of the best fighting games made.

Bleach is based on a manga and anime series by author Tite Kubo.* The Story centers on a character named Ichigo Kurosaki.  Ichigo looks just like any average 15 year old teenager with only one big difference; he can see and interact with ghosts/spirits.  He has a run in with Rukia Kuchiki, a Shinigami (Soul Reaper, Death God) who is out on a mission to find an evil spirit called a Hollow (which means it has no soul). The Hollow’s target is none other than Ichigo. Ichigo’s family gets endangered by the Hollow and the only way to stop it was for Rukia, who was injured, to transfer her Shinigami powers to Ichigo who had a strong spiritual force.

The game itself takes place in the second season of the show, where Rukia has been put to death for interacting with a human, and transferring her powers.  Ichigo now leads a team of powerful humans to the land of the dead, called Soul Society, in order to save her.  At this point much fighting ensues.

The anime itself will be premiering in September on Adult Swim, for those interested. 

Now back to the game….

The game contains a solid combat system with an emphasis on stringing moves together.  To me it played like guilty gear, except at a slower pace, and with a smaller emphasis on countering. The enormous cast of 30 characters is all balanced (except for 4 joke characters).  The game also contains no clones that I could see unless you count the last character you get which is one of the joke characters.  So, no more games like old-school Mortal Kombat, where there are 100 different ninjas with the same moves and swapped color palettes.  The game also employs a card based power-up system that allows you to construct a deck to help in battle.  There are an insanely huge amount of cards (purchased within the game) and you can tailor your fighting style with them all.   

The game itself does have a language barrier to overcome, but a trip to Gamefaqs solves that pretty easily.  This only comes into play in the main character, Ichigo’s Story arc, because people tell you what to do, and if you do not do it you fail.  Another problem is that unless you have American friends with the game the online multiplayer is hard to play.  I have played it three times now, and all three were jammed with so much lag, I decided to wait until I knew someone that had the game. 

One thing that really surprises me about the game is that it is far superior to all of the other Bleach videogames while using less power. The PSP bleach games, for instance, were Tekken clones with only 8 characters that all had similar moves.  This shows that 2-D is still pretty much the best bet for a deep fighting game.

That is all for this time, and it those games sounded cool, you may want to check them out!



*Other manga by this author includes: Zombie Powder.. which is strangely about death as well. o_O
**They own your soul.
-Editorial by Stephen Kelley-
-Property of