Out This Week

Dracula 4 Shadow Of A Dragon

Flower Power Grab

In this week’s new releases, Luigi takes command of a floundering platform, and an old arcade favorite comes to Xbox.

By Drew Toal • June 18, 2013

Out This Week is a look at a few new games that are out this week.

New Super Luigi U
Wii U (New Super Mario Bros. U required)—June 20

I’m not sure this is the answer Nintendo fans are looking for. The Wii U was released back in November, and since then, it has been plagued with an appalling game shortage. Early adopters are left standing around with their Wii remotes in their hands, wondering why they even bothered to get Nintendo’s new machine if the only available games are Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U. It’s not that these games are unamusing, but with the launch of a whole new-ish console, perhaps people were hoping for a larger menu. In response to this public outcry, Nintendo gives loyal adherents essentially the same game, but in green. And that’s exactly the kind of fan-aware corporate responsiveness that the rest of the industry could learn from.

Dracula 4: Shadow Of The Dragon
Mac, PC—June 19

This point-and-click puzzle adventure game is adapted from Bram Stoker’s never-published 1915 novel of the same name (written posthumously). Jonathan Harker, whose wife and son were murdered by a rival clan, returns to Transylvania and the now-vacant Castle Dracula to escape his enemies and grieve alone. He’s a broken man, bereft of hope, until one day he awakens to find a strange note. The missive has only a few words, written in a strange crimson ink: “Meet me in the dojo at sundown,” it reads. Intrigued, Harker puts on his evening ninja robe and arrives at the appointed hour. He sees a familiar lone figure. “Aha. Count Dracula, my old nemesis. We meet again. I see you’re not as dead as I thought. I assume your kung fu is strong as ever. Let’s find out! HI-YA!” But the snowy-bearded Dracula raises a hand and, instead of launching an attack, informs Harker that he wants to help him avenge his family. Yes, he, Count Dracula—the original Transylvanian Dragon—will train Harker to become the ultimate karate vampire. Harker sees the wisdom of this alliance, even if he distrusts his former enemy’s motivations: “All right, Dracula. We will join forces. For now.” I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes, anyway.

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles Of Mystara
Xbox 360—June 18

Back when I was a youth, there was a summer where I got deep into the TSR Dragonlance novels. It was a brief but torrid love affair, a time when anything that involved dwarves or elves or goblin genocide had my complete attention. One of these objects of fascination was an arcade cabinet at the Hamilton Mall called Dungeons & Dragons: Tower Of Doom. It wasn’t a typical role-playing game, in any real sense—it was basically Final Fight, with magic and battle-axes—but any time we went out there, I would drag my mother into the arcade and pump in the quarters. So imagine my delight when fellow Gameologicist Anthony John Agnello sent me an unsolicited download code to Chronicles Of Mystara, a double feature comprised of Tower Of Doom and its sequel, Shadow Over Mystara. Everything is identical to the game I remember, up to and including the looks my girlfriend gives me when I’m playing it.

Binary Maze
PC—June 17

Some googly-eyed monsters steal a couple’s heart, and they must solve a series of labyrinths to bring it back. Coming soon to a theater near you, starring Jennifer Connelly and Henry Cavill and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

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53 Responses to “Flower Power Grab”

  1. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    At the end of Binary Maze, the couple realizes that the heart the monsters stole did nothing, and the real hearts were inside them all along, pumping oxygen-rich blood to their vital organs.

    The monsters? Man’s inhumanity to man.

  2. Citric says:

    Is Binary Maze related to everyone’s favorite penguin-love-versus-spiders game Binary Land, a title I once called “The only perfect game”? Because I still don’t think it could possibly top the original.

  3. aklab says:

    Is this a good place to mention the insane gog.com sale going on? All of the games ever for $20 (http://www.gog.com/promo/definitive_dungeons_and_dragons) and the first Torchlight for free! 

    • Fluka says:

      Why you tell me this. :(

      • aklab says:

        Just paying it forward. Literally, I suppose.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Oh, did you need money?

        • mizerock says:

          It’s not the money, it’s the time! Baldur’s Gate alone could take over your life for 3 months, easy, if you were to let it.

          At least I know that I would have plenty to do if I were ever became bedridden for a year or three.

        • Sarapen says:

          @mizerock:disqus It’s been 3 years and I still haven’t finished my first playthrough of the Baldur’s Gate games. I really should just re-install Throne of Bhaal and get it over with.

        • carinsurance1 says:

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      • aklab says:

        …and since the GOG sale goes into July, there will probably at least a week when it overlaps with the Steam summer sale. We’re all doomed! 

    • NakedSnake says:

      Holy Crap – System Shock 2 for $5? I may have to gear up for a fifth playthrough! It’s hilarious to me that I originally pirated this game, but at this point it’s looking like I will purchase it in 3 different iterations.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Though I stopped pirating games about a decade ago, there were several games that I got by less than legal means that were so good, I went out and bought a copy to make sure they got some money from me.  (Master of Orion 2, for example.  I’ve bought that one about three times since.)

    • Bakken Hood says:

      Ugh, I just HAD to find out my computer is narrowly capable of running Torchlight…

    • Enkidum says:

      You bastard. You horrible, horrible bastard.

      I was pleased to see that most of the D&D games in your second link aren’t available for mac, so I couldn’t throw money at them. But then I looked at all games, filtered by mac-only and discounted-only, and… oh dear me.

    • Sarapen says:

      Can you mod GOG games? And I don’t need to download them right away, right? I can just buy and obtain them at my leisure?

      Because FTL is on sale right now for $5 and I bought Walking Dead for the same price. Between those games and Marvel Brothel I don’t think I’ll have time soon for new old games.

      And yes, Marvel Brothel is exactly what you think it is – namely, a fan-made simulation game where Professor X runs a cathouse that employs superheroes. The pictures look hilarious and reviews mention that it’s actually not pornographic or misogynistic which would make it even better.

      • aklab says:

        Yeah, GOG games can be modded — they even publish modding guides for some games. And you can download them from your library anytime. 

        • Sarapen says:

          Awesome, I’ve been waffling about opening a Steam account for a while now but I guess GOG can cover me for the foreseeable future. Just got an account right this second.

  4. His_Space_Holiness says:

    Well, the best part of today’s lineup is the bizarre, just-this-side-of-nonsense promo lines in that Dracual trailer. Travel around the world! London! Budapest! Whitby? Meet ambiguous characters! You’ve never seen characters less definite!

  5. HobbesMkii says:

    Don’t forget Pro Cycling Manager 2013! Remember when you saw Lance Armstrong compete in the grueling Tour de France and went “I want to be that guy some day (but secretly not really because it’s a lot of biking uphill)” and then, slowly over the next few years, it was revealed that Lance Armstrong wasn’t even that guy. That guy was Lance Armstrong on steroids and all those pseudoscience documentaries by the Discovery Channel about how his heart pumped 4x stronger than the average human heart, and that his blood had a higher oxygen content were all bull. 

    Pro Cycling Manager 2013!! (out June 20th)

    • George_Liquor says:

      There are a whole lot of spandex asses in that picture. I dare say too many spandex asses.

    • Roswulf says:

      There is something that appeals to me about melding a Football Manager-style sports sim, with a dark noir-y plotline about endemic corruption in the heart of the cycling world.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Well, stick in it the Steam group’s idea proposal thread. It won’t make it into the survey, but it can go on our massive “if we want to try this again” list.

    • Citric says:

      Does Pro Cycling Manager 2013 have a blood doping minigame where you have to not only dope the blood, but pay off officials and lie to the public in order to distract them from all the blood doping you’re doing?

  6. Chalkdust says:

    Also out this week is this weird-as-hell-lookin’ pastiche of Cthulhu mythos, Portal-style gameplay and super-saturated inFamous-meets-Ratchet & Clank art direction: Magrunner: Dark Pulse.

    I’m… interested.

  7. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    What a hilariously overwrought promo image from the Dracula game.  I guess subtlety must be the lord’s domain, since it seems to be the first banished when you make a pact with the devil.     

    “I would not gaze upon that canvas, poor child.  To see the creation of our master is to see the very face of Madness!

  8. stakkalee says:

    Forgotten Realms > Dragonlance.  That’s right, I said it.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Oh yeah?  How about Spelljammer > Forgotten Realms?!?!

         …I don’t actually believe that.

      • stakkalee says:

        Spelljammers!?!  That’s worse than Ravenloft!

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I only have one friend who ever had the Spelljammers rule set and he tried with no success to get the rest of us to play.  I like the idea, but I’m not a tactical space… nautical… ship gamer.
             I actually really like the idea behind Ravenloft. And how each domain can have it’s own little micro-ecology and unique rules.  
             It just provides a fairly narrow style of campaign.

        • stakkalee says:

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus I always felt Ravenloft was a little unnecessary – if I want a horror RPG I’m gonna go with Call of Cthulhu.  But I share your appreciation for the idea of interconnecting mini-realms.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        Space hamsters. The gnome spaceships were powered by giant space hamsters running on wheels.
         I will not abide any hate for a game where that’s actually canon.

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      Lord Soth would like a word with you…

    • aklab says:

      You may be right, but damn if I didn’t read as many of those Dragonlance books as I could possibly find. In those pre-internet days I used to make my parents drive me to all the used bookstores in the tri-county area in hopes of finding a pile of Dragonlance paperbacks. I must’ve read at least a few dozen of them, but all I can remember now are the …of the Twins series and the Dragons of So and So series. 

      • stakkalee says:

        One of my fondest Christmas memories is of getting the Avatar series and reading them all in one sitting that same day.  I remember curling into a corner of the couch at about 10am and the next thing I remember it was dark out.

      • Sarapen says:

        Homey, I trawled the public library searching out each Dragonlance novel they had.

        The Dragons of Such and Such were the main series, I believe. I think the best was The Legend of Huma, mostly because of the Song of Roland ending which I was too young to catch.

        The funny thing is that what I know of D&D comes from computer games and tie-in novels, I’ve never played the actual tabletop game. It’s the same with Shadowrun.

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        I read all of the Weis/Hickman books (including the Tales) up until “Dragons of Summer Flame” which I absolutely hated. (Mainly for the way it contradicted so much of the supplementary lore in the Dragonlance D&D campaign materials, thus completely derailing the campaign I was DMing.)

    • Dark Sun > Forgotten Realms.

      Now I’ve gone and done it.

      • Chalkdust says:

        Al-Qadim ≤ Planescape > Birthright ≈ Jakandor

        Wait, what?

        *disclaimer: I have no actual strong opinions about the relative quality of mid-90’s D&D campaign settings.

        Except Planescape, that one’s awesome.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Birthright was downright amazing. Wish it had taken off, would love something like that with better systems.

           And yeah, Planescape.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Planescape remains my favorite simply by virtue of Tony Diterlizzi’s phenomenal illustration and visual direction.
             He’s the first illustrator that made me realize D&D illustration could be something so much greater than it was.

      • stakkalee says:

        Now you’re just lashing out…

  9. KidvanDanzig says:

    There was supposed to be a second title update to actually-pretty-amazing Dead Rising / GTA3 mashup State of Decay but the first didn’t take, so who knows what’s happening with that.

    If you’ve a 360 and liked those games and wished they had STALKER’s general vibe, you should really check it out. There are some bugs but they take awhile to kick in and in the meantime, you get to play a free-roam zombie apocalypse game that wasn’t made by a huge douchebag ARMA dev

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Really, really want to get it, but I’ll wait for the PC version…

       Also, why the hate towards the DayZ guy? I honestly don’t know much about him, but in the couple of interviews I’ve read with him he sounded all right.

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        Basically the story goes that DayZ, as a mod, was coded in a marvelously haphazard way, at least initially. What Rocket failed to realize was that it left the game open to some really novel hacking – savvy client-side users could routinely delve into server-side code and alter it.

        As you might imagine, this was one of the richest veins of gold that MMO trolls had ever come upon. In short order somebody figured out a way to make servers spawn players with live bombs on them that put them in an endless loop of spawning and instant death. This happened on a pretty crazy scale, basically crippling DayZ for a little while.

        So from what I recall, Rocket’s response was to IP ban anyone who had ever messed with the game’s code. This would make sense except (1) people mess with code for a lot of reasons and (2) DayZ was a mod for ARMAII, not a standalone game and so anyone who had tweaked ARMAII without having touched DayZ found themselves permanently shut out of their game for no reason. The bans numbered in the thousands. Few of those people were part of the problem being “solved”.

        So Rocket basically handed griefers what is probably their single greatest coup, on a silver platter. When it was pointed out to him that this was a ham-fisted maneuver that punished innocent people he dug in his heels and refused to address the mess he’d purposefully made. 

        So basically, Rocket is one of those modders who is prodigiously talented enough to single-handedly create game overhauls but also tied to their work so completely that they take things personally and become belligerent when people slight them. You see it all the time in communities like the BG2 modding groups or, most notably, the Elder Scrolls / Fallout mod nexuses. The number of people who disappeared their (good) mods from the internet because some other modder cribbed a single texture from their work or just said they didn’t like it are too numerous to count. The difference is that none of those people were official BG2/ES/Fallout programmers with awesome powers of player exclusion. He essentially abused his power, but even by that point ARMAII had become a huge success based entirely on his mod so there weren’t any repercussions.

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