Like Casting Pearls Before Artificial Intelligence

If you’ll allow me a moment, I am going to rant about them there video games.

I’ve been playing Jump Ultimate Stars recently, trying to finally unlock all the characters and such, and in order to do so you need to collect these gems that appear when you break open containers or you defeat enemies. A simple, if tedious process, gem collection is made five times worse when you find out that your computer opponents collect the gems as well.

Now keep in mind that unlike other items which might cause status effects or buffs/de-buffs, the gems serve no function other than as currency, and so serve no use to the computer opponents who will occasionally go out of their way to collect them. It just slows down the grinding process unnecessarily and can make you want to punch Yugi in the face when he grabs your damn knowledge gem for the umpteenth time. Fortunately with this game you can do exactly that.

If you’ve played Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then you probably know what I’m talking about. In Brawl, you get additional background music by collecting CDs which will randomly pop up in the middle of a fight. Again, if a computer-controlled opponent picks that CD up it means that you’re going to have to wait another day for that disc to reappear.

Why, Nintendo? Why, Ganbarion? Why put this into your games? It just leads to annoyance and frustration, and not the good kind either.

Oh yeah, if you do reply, please don’t turn this into an argument about tripping or whatever.

Hokuto Hyakuryuusei Ora Ora Ora Ora: Playing Jump Ultimate Stars

A friend of mine kindly obtained for me a copy of the game Jump Ultimate Stars. I imagine a lot of you already know what the game is and have probably played it far more than I have. For those of you who don’t, Jump Ultimate Stars is a Shounen Jump crossover fighting game for the Nintendo DS spanning Shounen Jump’s approximately 30-year history. Think of it as Smash Bros, but with Naruto, One Piece, Otokojuku, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hokuto no Ken, Dragon Ball, and so on.

This review isn’t really a “game review” as I’m not planning on telling anyone to buy it or not. The controls are similar to Smash Bros in many ways, though it doesn’t feel quite as fluid and the lack of the “third jump” can be annoying at times. That’s just nitpicking though.

Jump uses the dual-screen in a rather unique way. On the upper screen is the action, while on the lower screen is what resembles a comic panel. You the player must construct your own “comic page” out of various characters’ famous panels, and these characters are the ones who will be available for you to use in battle. There are Battle Koma (usable characters), Support Koma (Marvel vs Capcom 2-style assists), and Help Koma (stat boosts).

I love seeing the many references, and while a bit tedious I like the logic in many of the unlocks. For example, at one point you get Kenshiro, and through points you can upgrade Kenshiro to more and more powerful versions. It’s only when you unlock the Yuria’s Help Koma that you can bring Kenshiro to full power, giving him access to Musou Tensei, the ultimate technique of Hokuto Shinken. Similarly, you need Yuria to fully power Raoh, but Raoh only has two battle koma types total: six and eight. Or, to put it more simply, strong and VERY strong. Very fitting for Raoh.

The only really sad thing is that while Jump Ultimate Star has some of my favorite Jump characters, such as Kuchiki Rukia (Bleach) and Kobayakawa Sena (Eyeshield 21), it doesn’t have my absolute favorites, particularly Hyuuga Hinata (Naruto) and Souther (Hokuto no Ken). Maybe next game.

PS: The Emperor has no need for PSPs.

PPS: Not really, as Super Robot Wars A Portable looks sweet.