This Week in Gaming – 7th March 20219 minute read

This Week in Gaming showcases some of the major gaming release date anniversaries from the last seven days. In this article we see a zombie apocalypse in Africa, a war with elves and mystical jewelry, an over-the-top “bromance”, a possible Final Fantasy ripoff and Pepsiman the official mascot of Pepsi. Yes you read that correctly.

1st March

Yoshi’s Story (image credit: Nintendo)

23 years ago the western market saw Yoshi’s Story arrive on the Nintendo 64 console – one year after the launch within Japan known as Yoshi Story (Japanese: ヨッシーストーリー, Hepburn: Yosshī Sutōrī). The game was the first Yoshi platform game that was not produced or directed by Shigeru Miyamoto even though he did contribute some of the design ideas. The music was composed by Kazumi Totaka who also provided the voice of Yoshi himself! The game is a sequel to the SNES game Yoshi’s Island but it received heavily mixed reviews. In America is is estimated to have sold 679,000 copies, whilst Japan saw 618,000 units sold.

  • 23 Years
    • Yoshi’s Story – Nintendo 64
  • 22 Years
    • Need for Speed: High Stakes – PlayStation
  • 20 Years
    • Bloody Roar 3 – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • Fire ProWrestling D – Dreamcast (Japan)
    • Zone of the Enders – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
  • 17 Years
    • Final Fantasy – Mobile (Japan)
  • 16 Years
    • Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening – PlayStation 2
    • Star Wars: Republic Commando – PC
  • 14 Years
    • Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection – PlayStation 3
  • 13 Years
    • Mabinogi – PC
  • 11 Years
    • Dante’s Inferno – PSP
    • Mega Man 10 – Nintendo Wii
    • Supreme Commander 2 – PC
  • 10 Years
    • Fable III: Traitor’s Keep Quest Pack – Xbox 360
    • Fight Night Champion – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

2nd March

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II (image credit: Electronic Arts)

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II is of course based on the J. R. R. Tolkien novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Some of the imagery and imaginations are also inspired by the live-action film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books. The game allows players to choose either the good side, with the story revolving around Glorfindel or the evil side where Sauron is mustering his army to destroy the forces of good in The North. The game received great reviews and also received an expansion called The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II: The Rise of the Witch-King which has the longest title in expansion packs ever according to the Guinness Book of World Records Gamers’ Edition.

  • 22 Years
    • Snowboard Kids 2 – Nintendo 64
  • 21 Years
    • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere – PlayStation
    • WWF SmackDown! – PlayStation
  • 17 Years
    • Drakengard – PlayStation 2
    • Lifeline – PlayStation 2
    • Ninja Gaiden – Xbox
  • 15 Years
    • .hack//Vol. 1 x Vol. 2 – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • Avernum 4 – PC
    • Blade Dancer: Lineage of Light – PSP (Japan)
    • Children of Mana – Nintendo DS (Japan)
    • Mega Man Powered Up – PSP (Japan)
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner – Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II – PC
    • Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth – PSP (Japan)
  • 11 Years
    • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
    • Lunar: Silver Star Harmony – PSP
    • MLB 10: The Show – PlayStation 3
    • Sonic Classic Collection – Nintendo DS
    • Star Wolves 3: Civil War – PC
  • 10 Years
    • Beyond Good & Evil HD – Xbox 360

3rd March

Halo Wars (image credit: Ensemble Studios)

Set in the Halo universe in the year 2531, Halo Wars was developed by Ensemble Studios and released in 2009. The North America release of March 3rd was only days behind the Australian and European releases. The game was specifically designed for the Xbox 360 controller in an attempt to change the manner in which real-time-strategy games played on consoles. The issue had always been underpinned by the migration of RTS games from mouse to controller previously. The game received some small criticism as the player could not take control of the Covenant faction, which is unusual for standard RTS games to not have the ability to control the opposing team. The reviews were generally positive however, but Microsoft still closed Ensemble Studios just before the official launch. Robot Entertainment was then founded by some past Ensemble employees and they continued to support the game with DLC and updates.

  • 18 Years
    • Freelancer – PC
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance – PlayStation 2
    • Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven – PlayStation 2
  • 16 Years
    • Tales of Eternia – PSP (Japan)
  • 12 Years
    • Empire: Total War – PC
    • Halo Wars – Xbox 360
    • Phantasy Star Portable – PSP
    • The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match – PlayStation 2
  • 10 Years
    • Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy – PSP (Japan)
    • Way of the Samurai 4 – PlayStation 3 (Japan)

4th March

Pepsiman (image credit: KID)

If you had not already heard of Pepsiman then welcome to the wonderful world of Japanese marketing. Pepsiman was published in 1999 as a Japan-exclusive game for the PlayStation. The game is based on the official Japanese mascot from the American Pepsi brand. Within the game you must avoid obstacles as you run through each of the games stages. The game was incredibly cheap on launch and utilised the ability to pop video advertisements between stages to advertise the fizzy drink. The rights were solely Japanese and, even though an American publisher tried to obtain rights for the North American audience, it remained a Japanese exclusive game. In regards to the game it received rather good reviews, considering its obscurity. Some reviewers compared it to retro games of yesteryear like Paperboy whilst others said it was a more simplistic Crash Bandicoot but quite fun to play and a great price.

  • 27 Years
    • King of Dragons – Super Nintendo (Japan)
    • NBA Jam – Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
  • 22 Years
    • Pepsiman – PlayStation
  • 21 Years
    • Eternal Ring – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • Street Fighter EX3 – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
  • 20 Years
    • Conker’s Bad Fur Day – Nintendo 64
  • 19 Years
    • Fatal Frame – PlayStation 2
  • 17 Years
    • Custom Robo – GameCube (Japan)
  • 13 Years
    • Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery – Nintendo DS
    • Bully: Scholarship Edition – Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360
    • God of War: Chains of Olympus – PSP
    • MLB 08: The Show – PlayStation 3
    • Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer – Nintendo DS
    • Silent Hill: Origins – PlayStation 2
    • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm – PC

5th March

Resident Evil 5 (image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 5 is the seventh major installment to the Resident Evil series of games. Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar are investigating a terrorist threat in Kijuju – a fictional area of Africa. As members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance they are attempting to stop a bio-organic weapons being sold in the African black market. Upon arriving it is evident that the locals have become infected with parasites called Las Plagas. The game was the first video game to use a virtual camera system, and also the first of the Resident Evil games that was considered to be more of an action game than a horror title. The game received mixed reviews but an overall positive reception.

  • 28 Years
    • Albert Odyssey – Super Nintendo (Japan)
    • Fatal Fury 2 – Neo Geo
  • 20 Years
    • Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story Racer – PlayStation
    • The Bouncer – PlayStation 2
  • 17 Years
    • River City Ransom EX – Game Boy Advance (Japan)
    • Taiketsu! Ultra Hero – Game Boy Advance (Japan)
  • 14 Years
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories – PlayStation 2
    • Titan Quest: Immortal Throne – PC
  • 12 Years
    • 7th Dragon – Nintendo DS (Japan)
    • Resident Evil 5 – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Japan)

6th March

Army of Two (image credit: EA Montreal, Electronic Arts)

Army of Two is a game that was released on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2008. Using the Unreal Engine it heavily relies on the coordination of teamwork to accomplish the goals within. The game is generally designed to be played with two human players but the AI is also able to pick up the second controller to allow single-player mode. It was one of the first games for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 that had region-locked online play. the reason was that Electronic Arts did not want any lag caused by people playing across international borders. The locking mechanism also meant that Asian players could not play the western versions of the game. This was due to the Asian version being censored for their particular market. The game saw a sequel, Army of Two: The 40th Day, released on January 12, 2010.

  • 19 Years
    • Gauntlet: Dark Legacy – GameCube
  • 18 Years
    • Chaos Legion – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
    • Mega Man Network Transmission – GameCube (Japan)
  • 15 Years
    • SpongeBob Squarepants: The Yellow Avenger – PSP
    • Tales of Phantasia – Game Boy Advance
  • 14 Years
    • Burnout Dominator – PSP
    • Spectrobes – Nintendo DS
  • 13 Years
    • Army of Two – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
    • Flower, Sun, and Rain – Nintendo DS (Japan)
    • Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! – PlayStation 3 (Japan)
  • 11 Years
    • Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs – Nintendo DS (Japan)
  • 10 Years
    • Pokemon Black Version – Nintendo DS
    • Pokemon White Version – Nintendo DS

7th March

Shadow Hearts: From the New World (image credit: Nautilus)

I was joking when I said that Shadow Hearts: From the New World was a Final Fantasy ripoff. The game is a great addition to the Shadow Hearts franchise of games, despite it’s debut to low sales. The game was the third and final game of the series but acted as both a continuation of the original games as well as a spin-off game as it contained new characters. The game is set within an alternative America during the Prohibition era and follows Johnny Garland, a private investigator, as he travels with Shania, a Native American. They are in pursuit of a malevolent being called Lady and along the way meet several new characters in various locations. The game, which was produced on a heavily tight schedule, combines alternate history with Lovecraftian horror.

  • 21 Years
    • Hot Shots Golf 2 – PlayStation
  • 19 Years
    • Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny – PlayStation 2 (Japan)
  • 18 Years
    • Boku no Mehisho wa Doukyuusei – PC (Japan)
  • 15 Years
    • Burnout Revenge – Xbox 360
    • Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai – PSP
    • Naruto: Clash of Ninha – GameCube
    • Naruto: Ninja Council – Game Boy Advance
    • Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams – PlayStation 2
    • Pursuit Force – PSP
    • Samurai Warriors: State of War – PSP
    • Shadow Hearts: From the New World – PlayStation 2