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You just have to love the price cuts and special offers just before Christmas. I know I do. If it wasn't for those low prices I probably never would have bought Resident Evil 4 for the Wii, seeing as I already own the GameCube version. However, prices got low and I couldn't pass on this title for the money they were asking.


Resident Evil 4 is not a new title but it can still compete, even against the titles released for the more powerful platforms like the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Yes, the Wii version is not much more than a GameCube port, but the gameplay is still as solid as it was back in January of 2005, and thanks to Wii's nunchuk plus wiimote combo, the controls got even tighter.


Capcom likes to make money by re-releasing their titles over and over again. Just look at Street Fighter series and you'll know what I'm talking about. Resident Evil 4 first came out for Nintendo's GameCube, and was a time exclusive for almost a year. After that it was ported to PlayStation 2 with some additional content added and finally, the game made its way to Windows PCs in 2007, again, adding some extras here and there.


What makes Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition special is the fact that it contains all the extras from both the PlayStation 2 and Windows versions, plus the game can be played using Wii's own controllers. This means we get a ton of extras and a massive upgrade of the controls. While the Wii controls do take a moment of getting used to, once you've mastered them, there's no stopping you.


The most important feature here is the aiming. While in previous home platform versions you had to tilt the analogue sticks to guide Leon's hand holding a gun, on the Wii you simply point at the zombie head you want to pop and you pull the wiimote trigger. It's as simple as that and it's more accurate, especially during crazy fights against hordes of enemies. Simply put, the aiming now resembles a lightgun game and it works.


So should you or should you not buy the Wii Edition? That all depends. If you already own the GameCube version, I would think twice before buying essentialy the same game once again. Like I said before, I wouldn't normally get it if it wasn't for the insanely low price. That aside, the extras are steal appealing. Add to that widescreen support and who knows, maybe that's exactly what some people are looking for.


Hardcore fans should own it, if only for the extras. So if you have to get it, buy it cheap or buy it used [which often equals cheap]. If you don't own Resident Evil 4 and you do own a Wii, buy it. You're missing out on one of the best games of the last decade. Besides, if you're planning on playing Resident Evil 5, it's best to prepare and play any previous games in the series.


For those who for one reason or another are uncomfortable with Wii controls, there's always the option to use a GameCube controller and you can play the game just like you would on a GameCube, tedious analogue stick aiming included. Now that I bought the game twice, I hope Capcom won't release a yet another version for the 360 or PS3, because I'm not buying it for the third time.

PR

Ever since I completed each and every title in Metal Slug Anthology at least fifty times over, I've been neglecting my Wii. I've been playing Metal Slug [or Slugs] using the GameCube controller, so it didn't even feel like a Wii game and I gues at its core it really isn't. The time of me not playing proper Wii games has come to an end however, with a little help from Zack & Wiki.


I'm a sucker for all kinds of point and click adventure games and I've been meaning to buy this title for a long, long time. It always was a bit pricey, but last week I found a brand new copy for which I paid a bit under $20, and that's including shipping. Deals don't get any sweeter than this, so naturally, I grabbed it.


The game takes us on an adventure filled with puzzles, pointing, clicking, twisting, turning, pushing and pulling. We'll use the Wii controller to help Zack [who not unlike Guybrush Threepwood of Monkey Island fame, is trying his hardest to become the greatest pirate roaming the seas] and his magical monkey friend Wiki to collect body parts of Captain Barbaros. Yes, that's right. You have to collect body parts to revive Barbaros, who will reward your efforts with a big fat treasure and a legendary pirate ship.


It's not the greatest story in the world and it brings a dozen similar tales to mind, One Piece being one of them, but that's really nothing to complain about as long as the game is well made and Zack & Wiki is a top shelf production. If you're into solving puzzles, you'll love this title. Everything is well thought through and the controls could not be better. The game can challange you but unlike many PC point and click games, it's not likely to become a chore.


We all know that Wii is a bit behind in the processing power department when compared to PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, but Zack & Wiki is one of those games where high polygon count doesn't really matter. Cartoonish and semi cel-shaded graphics are perfect for this game and I wouldn't even think of changing anything as far as the looks go. In fact, I wouldn't change anything at all. The game is a ton of fun and if you spot a cheap copy, buy it. Maybe thanks to your support Capcom will decide to make a sequel because this game deserves one.


Aside from Zack & Wiki, I also bought the Cloverfield movie. I haven't really read or heard that much about it so it might turn out to be crap, but who knows. It was only $4.50 and that much I can give for a movie I know almost nothing about.


It's official. Nintendo DSi does NOT support any presently sold flash devices. Not that anyone thought otherwise, but there always is that small spark off hope. Well, that spark of hope just got pissed on by Nintendo and their new firmware.

I guess this means back to the drawing board for flash cart manufacturers. They have a new challange ahead of them now. Make a flash device that will allow to run Nintendo DS games, but hopefully also feature support for dedicated Nintendo DSi apps and games.


Piracy is of course the driving force behind the flash cart market, but with backup devices comes the ability to run homebrew software that I'm very fond of. I wasn't planning on getting a DSi for at least a year, and I hope that something developes until then.

Backup devices of all sorts and kinds have been a serious concern for handheld console manufacturers. Let's not kid ourselves and admit that the main reason behind these devices is software piracy. It's only natural that someone will try to make a profit by developing a quality device that will allow anyone to play pirated games without any problems. I'm not a pirate but I do buy these devices because they open a door for homebrew software and naturally, when there's a working backup solution, there's plenty of homebrew to choose from.


When it comes to Nintendo DS, there are several flash devices to choose from. I personally think the Slot 1 solutions are the most convenient ones, that's why I went with the R4, which plugs into the NDS cart slot and acts as an adapter for a MicroSD card that's plugget into it. Mine is the stansard type that supports up to 2GB of flash memory, but now you can buy R4's with support for high capacity MicroSDs.


The most common and widespread kind of homebrew are emulators and Nintendo DS allows you to emulate several platforms. One among these is Sega MegaDrive / Genesis. Emulators are fun, but even here you have to remember that emulating titles you don't actually own is illegal. On the photo above you can see JEnesis running Gunstar Heroes. The emulation is really good both when it comes to visuals and sound. Z80, YM2612 and SN76496, it's all there. Compatibility is high but unfortunately I wasn't able to run the Pier Solar demo on it, which is a bit dissapointing since even PicoDrive can do it on N-Gage and other S60 Symbian phones.


When I first heard about NeoDS, I assumed it was a fake. After all, Neo Geo is a 2D monster and even now games like Metal Slug 7, which runs natively on the DS, can't be compared with original Neo Geo quality [Metal Slug 7 is a DS and XBLA exclusive, but looking back at Metal Slug 5, the graphics were sharper and sprites considerably larger]. NeoDS can take advantage of additional RAM, so if you happend to own the Opera browser, just plug in the memory expansion into Slot 2 and the emulator will make use of that. However, even without the additional memory, NeoDS will handle basically 95% of the Neo Geo games you throw at it. This is one emulator I'm really impressed with.


Every platform capable of running decent homebrew must have its own Famicom / NES emulator, and Nintendo DS is not an exception. NesDS is far from being a perfect emulator and from what I can gather, the support is rather poor, but games are playable, even if the sound emulation is extremely limited. Let's just put it this way: Don't expect to hear FME-7, VRC7 ... in fact, even forget about the drums in Super Mario Bros. The emulator is enough to play Contra but it can't handle Ninja Gaiden III [which is my absolute favorite run 'n slash of the NES era] nor Famicom Disk System games.


GameBoy Advance generation, excluding GameBoy Micro which got stripped of the Z80 coprocessor, was the last to feature original GameBoy mono and color game support. This means that the only way to play your favorite oldies is through the means of emulation. The emulator I'm using is called LameBOY and it comes with some nice extras, one of which is the support for Super GameBoy features. In case you didn't know this, some GameBoy mono games had special features programmed into them that the Super Famicom / Super Nintendo add-on called Super GameBoy took advantage of. Via this add-on you could play your GameBoy games on the TV screen using a SF / SNES controller, but to make the mono games look better, Super GameBoy added some color to them, plus displayed a colorful frame so that the square game picture wouldn't stick out so much on a TV screen. LameBOY displays this special if one is programmed into a game.


ScummVM has been ported to most of the platforms that could handle the emulation of SCUMM engine based games. ScummVM features regular updates for over twenty different platforms ranging from Atari FreeMiNT to Wii. While PCs seem to be perfectly fit for point and click games, Nintendo DS is even better.


If you dreamt about actually clicking on the objects or characters, ScummVM is your dream that came true. The emulator has really good support, with the list of games enclosed with the distribution. It even supports mp3 files if the game originally used CD audio.


Fun with flash carts doesn't end with homebrew software and emulators. There are, of course, game ROMs to download. These are illegal and by using them, you're ripping game developers off and your recklessness results in higher software prices. Plus, you're a tool. Back on the topic though, not all officially developed content is illegal in ROM form. I'm talking about game demos. These can be downloaded via a Download Station in your area or via Wii Nintendo Channel. In both cases you can download only one game at a time and it's stored in your console's temporary memory. Once you turn your DS off, the demo is gone. However, just like regular games, kiosk and wifi demos can be dumped and run from your flash cart. There are over a hundred demos released in total and many of these have ben made into ROMs. As far as I'm concerned, these are legal and I intend to use them.


In conclusion, not all emulation is bad, not all ROMs are bad and flash carts can be used to enjoy non pirated productions. Thanks to a flash device you can listen to music, look through photos, read comic books, magazines, watch movies, watch scene demos, play homemade games and enjoy many applications like cooking timers, organizers and web browsers. The list goes on, and while you're enjoying the homebrew scene, nothing is stopping you from buying legitimate Nintendo DS games. If you like the console, buy the games.

Happy day. The eight year long wait is over and Treasure has finally come out with an announcement of the eagerly anticipated Sin & Punishment sequel. For those who are not up to speed with the subject, here's a brief history lesson.


Back in the year 2000, Treasure has released an amazing rail shooter called Sin and Punishment for the Nintendo 64 platform. Despite being one of the best titles for the console, the game never made it out of Japan, becoming an expensive import only treat. The game eventually made it onto Wii's Virtual Console where it can be bought for a mere 1200 Wii Points.


Treasure didn't end it there and they were secretly working on a sequel which is to appear on the Nintendo Wii in the near future. We got a short mouth watering teaser and three screenshots to keep our apetite up for the final release, and I have to say, it's shaping up nicely.


Many websites express their concern for the choice of platform and character design, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm not worried. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far.


Nice touch to make the weapon of the main character look similar to the Wii controller setup. And I absolutely love the stages I've seen so far, destroyed city being the hands down winner. I hope the game will come out soon, because I really can't wait to get my hands on this little treasure.
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