E3 2005: The Konami Report
First up is when will be the fourth volume of the popular Karaoke Revolution series. The game is due in the fall and will contain 50 songs, which is the most so far in a game in the series. Perhaps the biggest addition to this volume will be that Konami is adding dance pad support and promises a “Sing & Dance” mode that will please music gaming fans everywhere. There will also be Eye Toy support, for those of you who can’t get enough of looking at yourselves on your TV. New songs this time out will include tracks from Gavin McGraw, Beyonce Knowles, Culture Club, and the ageless Neil Diamond.
DDR Extreme 2 marks the fourth Dance Dance Revolution game for the PS2. The big draw this time out is that PS2 gamers will finally be able to compete online against other dancers and top scorers will be recognized via a ranking system. New licensed music this time will have include “Genie In A Bottle” and “Oops!... I Did It Again”, plus, for all you video game music fans out there, there’s an extra treat. Yuzo Koshiro—the mastermind behind video game music from great games like Streets of Rage, ActRaiser, Shenmue, and others—has signed on to compose and perform tracks exclusively for this game.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is also being showcased, although it’s now no longer a PS2 exclusive (it’s also coming for the XBOX). This chapter in the Castlevania franchise again brings players back to Lord Dracula’s twisted castle, although Dracula isn’t the center of this storyline. Players will assume the role of one of Dracula’s former lieutenants, Hector. Hector returns to Dracula’s stead three years after the vampire’s defeat, seeking retribution for his dead girlfriend who fell victim to a curse that was unleashed after Dracula’s death. RPG elements will return to the gameplay here, as well as the introduction of “Innocent Devils”, allies who can be summoned to Hector’s side to fight along with him. Michiru Yamane returns with an all-new soundtrack and Koji Igarashi, the game’s producer, promises much more unlockable content this time around.
Aside from pulling off the biggest psyche-out job in recent memory by confirming that he was indeed helming the next Metal Gear Solid game (which will be on the PS3), Hideo Kojima also unveiled Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for the PS2. Subsistence adds the long-awaited online element to the traditional stealth/action gameplay that gamers have come to expect from Kojima, while also adding other niceties like more “Snake Versus Monkey” stages and a demo theater for players to relive their favorite cutscenes at will. Also added will be the original MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Completists will want this version of MGS3 for their collections.
The last game on our mini-tour of Konami’s PS2 offerings is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare. Konami promises that this will be the “most in-depth TMNT game to date” and says that one of the arcade games would be unlockable, although they would not comment on which one it would be. New additions to the gameplay this time include a Target Attack system, which lets players lock onto a specific enemy instead of attacking randomly. This game will focus on teamwork, and no matter how many players are playing, all four heroes-in-a-half-shell will be fighting on-screen together, with AI directing the turtles who aren’t human-controlled. Let’s hope that this game finally lives up to the potential that these games have had all along.
These are the main highlights from Konami’s PS2 lineup, although there are other games being shown, including Winx Club, Frogger: Ancient Shadow, Crime Life: Gang Wars (which will feature Eminem’s side project, D12), and the better-late-than-never appearance of Beatmania. Stay tuned for impressions of many of these games as our E3 coverage marches on, because Aaron says so.
5/19/2005 Peter J. Skerritt, Jr.