Collection Haul #4 – Mainly Mangoes (And a comic…)

Welcome back! It’s been a while, and I have built up quite the backlog of stuff to share. To be honest, I’ve built up enough for eight more haul posts. I’ve started branching into action figures as well, which we will get to in the future. This one is primarily comics, and by comics I mean manga. Which is Japanese for comic… So, still comics? Yes, comics. Comics. Let’s move on before I get caught in a loop.

This here is the remaining volumes of Berserk that I needed to get before having them all, besides the recently released volume 38. And yes, I’ve read them all now. It is still a great read and Berserk is quickly becoming one of my favorite manga series. Without going into too much detail in the interest of avoid spoilers, there is a touching flashback chapter involving Guts. I wasn’t as interested in what was going on with the other characters, particularly with Griffith’s army and the Kushan people, but it was useful to establish what is likely going to be the next stage in this current conflict. I don’t know how others feel about the current pace of the story, but I get the impression that we are reaching the climax. I’ll have to get volume 38 and read it so I can see if my feelings change.

Besides Berserk, I’ve tried to keep up with a few other manga. Firstly, at the top you’ll see a Daredevil comic that my buddy Troy got me for my birthday last March, titled “The Man Without Fear.” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it looks like an origin retelling, which will be useful for me since I’m not too familiar with Daredevil, although I had this kickass figure of him as a a kid which, besides the fact that he’s almost completely red, made me all the more interested in his character. Plus, the fact that it’s written by Frank Miller acts like a seal of quality, as he is one of the biggest comic writers out there. Thanks again, Troy!

Directly under it is volumes four and five of Citrus, the latest in “yuri” (basically girl-on-girl in manga/anime form) storytelling. It seems to be the new hotness in the genre and I enjoy it. Yuzu’s relationship with Mei is fun to watch unfold, with Mei being pretty hard to read. I both like and dislike this about her character. On one hand, it makes her more realistic and appear as if she doesn’t know what she wants romantically but on the other hand, it’s annoying as hell, haha! There is an anime adaptation in the works, so it will be interesting to see how Mei is portrayed. I will continue to read as the story progresses.

Next up is volume 10 of UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima. While Negima was a magical school life harem series with shonen elements, UQ Holder is straight up shonen (with the magic and stuff) so I kind of like it more than Negima. There is still plenty of gags and harem shipping though, so it doesn’t feel like a completely different story, which is good as a sequel. I’ve also read volume 11, but I will get to it at a later time. As far as volume 10 is concerned, it’s still a bit before the big tournament, I believe right after Tota finishes his training with Dana. Visually, the manga is very easy on the eyes and is a smooth read, at least for me. In terms of my reading speed, it’s in the middle, with Dragon Ball being my fastest and Berserk being my slowest. I’ve been told the story gets crazy later on, which I started seeing a little of in volume 11. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

This is where the “mainly” part of this post’s title comes in. As you can see, I’ve continued to make small progress in my game collection. Like I said before, I’ve taken enough pictures for future posts, and here I will also say that I’ve made enough progress to complete a couple areas, meaning I have all the games for a specific system that I want, though some a still up in the air. Anywho, the first game in this batch is Wario World for the GameCube. I rented ths game once from Blockbuster and had fun with it. My experience with the Wario games is limited, having only played this one and the GBA one (Wario World 4, I believe.) It plays like a 3D version of the typical Wario World games, so this one is a good game to pick up if you enjoy them.

Next to it is Guilty Gear 2: Overture for the Xbox 360. It’s an action game set in the Guilty Gear universe. I’ve only played it twice. The first time, I wasn’t too into it, but I gave it another chance and liked it more. It was mainly the camera that turned me off, but I got used to it. The gameplay is what you would expect, something more like Dynasty Warriors or God of War, but scaled down a bit. The game was recently released on Steam, so if you’re interested, that may be the better place to go, but I’m pleased with my copy on 360.

Third is Samurai Warriors 2: Empires for the PS2. This was the first Warriors game I ever played, so I wanted to add it to my collection, having only rented the game from Hollywood Video, the one that was right across the “better” Blockbuster (where I lived, there were four nearby, plus an extra two if I wanted to venture further.) The character customization is very dated by today’s standards, but the gameplay holds up well and doesn’t feel clunky at all, surprisingly. It was nice to go back and play it after all these years.

Starting the second row is Spider-Man for the PS1. This is currently my favorite Spider-Man game, mainly due to nostalgia. It was always very fun to play and I felt like I learned more about the characters, having only caught the animated series from the 90’s on the rare occasion that I would watch Fox Kids. Though, it must have aired on another channel too, because I remember watching it a fair amount of the time… Or maybe I watched Fox Kids more than I remember? I dunno, but regardless this game was fun. The N64 had this game as well as a red cart, which I hope to get, as I played both the N64 and PS1 versions. Fun times.

Next to it, in the bottom middle, is Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, giving me a complete Soul Calibur series collection, besides the arcade version of my favorite, Soulcalibur III. Anywho, if you follow this series as well, you’ll know that the arcade version of Soul Calibur was released on Xbox Live several years ago in HD. The main difference with the Dreamcast version, besides the fact that it’s a physical game and not a download, is that there is an extra mode in which you pick a character and do missions and stuff. It’s a nice way to give the game more of a life spin, since you won’t just be playing the arcade mode or doing multiplayer. Unfortunately, not all the characters are unlocked, but it’s still nice to play every now and then. And of course I made sure to unlock Hwang as soon as I could!

Right next to it is Custom Robo Arena for the DS. I am a HUGE fan of the GameCube game, it being one of my top three GameCube games. With that in mind, I’ve been itching for another Custom Robo game, this one being my only option, due to the rest of the series being exclusive to Japan. I’ve only played a little bit of the game and it works well even on the DS. My only complaint so far is that the script is a bit cheesy, which is something I don’t recall from the GameCube game (not saying it was always super serious, but I remember it being less cheesy than this one.) Regardless, I think I’ll enjoy it.

Finally, we have Yoshi’s Story for the N64. Growing up, this game was always a rental. I never finished it, nor was I very good at it as a kid, but it was a fun game to play. I remember not wanting to play as any Yoshi besides the red one, since red is my favorite color. I’ll probably still do everything in my power to keep me from playing as any other color Yoshi besides the red one, and with my skills as a gamer having gone up with my age, I’d like to think I can do it. We’ll see.

And that’s it! As you can see, I’ve started dipping into other collections I’ve been wanting to expand, and I have plenty more to show, as stated earlier. Next post will more than likely be video game related. We’ll see how things go. I have a few ideas for future posts that I hope to get to as we continue, it’ll just be a matter of which ones I want to do first.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!!

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The Plug – Brutalmoose (YouTuber)

Figured it was a good time to introduce a new kind of post. This is what I call “The Plug,” where I will basically write about something or someone who makes stuff I like and talk them up. For this first one, I thought I should talk about Brutalmoose, a YouTuber that I follow, who is a pretty cool cat.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored thing. Brutalmoose did not pay me to write this post, and as far as I know, he doesn’t follow my blog. I am simply writing this because I want to share his content.

Brutalmoose, or Ian, for those who prefer IRL names over usernames, is a YouTuber who makes video game reviews. While he does do some newer stuff, it’s mostly old PC games, such as Pajama Sam. He also streams on Twitch, the archives or which are also available on his second channel. You can find more information about him on his website.

I first discovered his content when I heard his narration in DidYouKnowGaming’s Nintendo 64 episode (I’m aware that they made another one, with Brutalmoose narrating again. The one I’m referring to, as well as linking to, is the original.) What caught my attention was a like to his video about the PC game Oregon Trail II, a game my family used to play when I was a kid.

As soon as I saw the link, I was intrigued. I had memories of playing the game myself, but could never remember which Oregon Trail game it was. The one time I remember from the game is the intense tune that plays when something bad happens. To be honest, the tune wasn’t exactly as I remember it, but I’m pretty sure Oregon Trail II is the one I played as a kid. I still have the CD case, but I wasn’t sure if another company tried making a cheap version of it or something. I still don’t know if it truly is the same game I played back then, but it seems more likely than not.

What appeals to me about Brutalmoose’s videos is his style and tone of his reviews. His smooth narration sounds like he’s explaining with specific detail rather than flatly telling, at least it does to me. It’s not characterized by any means, but I find that to be a good thing. These days, it seems like most YouTube game reviewers try to play some kind of character, even if loosely. Brutalmoose, however, is simply himself reviewing a game. Nothing more, nothing less. Because of this, his humor is never forced and the overall “rating” of the game isn’t exaggerated. The choice of games he reviews also helps him stand out to me. The old PC games he picks remind me of my youth either playing or watching a friend play them. Watching his videos make me feel like I’m hanging out with a friend who is pretty knowledgeable about older PC games.  His content is very relaxing to watch and I tend to make sure I have nothing else going on before watching his new stuff, so I can just chill and enjoy whatever kind of video he puts out.

Here are three of my favorites Brutalmoose videos! They are in no particular order.

This one is both nostalgic and not for me. It’s not nostalgic because I never played RuneScape, but I can definitely identify with the idea of the classic online game that you would play as a kid. I’d imagine most people my age had a similar experience. While I grew up with other browser games like NeoPets and AdventureQuest, I knew a fair amount of people who played RuneScape. Brutalmoose’s video reminds me of a simpler time when I would come home after school and play a browser game, usually while simultaneously browsing the internet. Very fun watch.

This one is probably my favorite of the “trail” games Brutalmoose has reviewed, besides Oregon Trail II. For me, what made this video hilarious was his partner in the game, who always sounded so sassy whenever he fell and broke his leg. It’s like he expected Brutalmoose’s character in the game to drop everything and just stop. Though, it would proably be a smart idea, since he was a businessman. Meaning he’s got that cash money.

This one I have a lot of connection to, for I grew up watching this OVA when I was a kid. It’s what made Metal Sonic my favorite Sonic villain. It brought back memories of the older days of my youth when I saw that white VHS tape, which I also happen to have a copy of. I hope to get it on DVD at some point, though I think it’s out of print. I also heard that it was getting another release, but I don’t remember. I might have misheard. Either way, a very nostalgic and entertaining review.

And there you have it! I hope I explained why I like Brutalmoose’s content well enough. As of the writing of this post, his new video is out, which I plan to watch as soon as I finish typing this bad boy. It always feels like I’m eating a sweet piece of candy or slurping hot soup, that is, a feeling of relaxation and content. And yes, I would compare his videos to the feeling of hot soup traveling down my throat and into my tummy. Or maybe laying in bed after a tough day? Regardless, I think you get the picture. Brutalmoose’s videos are like a sweet trip down memory lane.

Thanks for reading! Next post will be another collection haul post. See ya!!

Collection Haul #2 – I think I got too much…

Er, wow! It’s been a fair amount of time since the last haul post and I have many more pieces to talk about. To put it simply, I bought a lot of stuff. Most of it was planned, though there was a small section that I bought due to an impulse trip to Barnes & Noble, as well as a couple trips to the Walmart near my Alma mater. As I took all the pictures for this post, I realized that it’s probably better to focus on medium size chunks of my collection progress instead of doing everything and anything at once, haha! I’ve already gotten more stuff that won’t be shown in this haul post, though they will be in the next. For this batch, it’s a mix of video games, books, comics, and anime. But enough build up, let’s get to the good stuff!

This batch of games was the first for this section. Starting at the top is The Sims 2, a game I am more involved with than I’d like to admit. You might be wondering why I got the PS2 version over the PC version, which is understandable. The benefit to the PS2 version, and I believe the PSP verison as well, of this game is that you can directly control your character instead of pointing and clicking to make them move. I first played the PS2 version in a demo that came with the latest version of Official US PlayStation Magazine. I loved how I could control my character directly as if it was a different game, which I liked. It’s a shame the console ports of later Sims games, besides the Wii version of Sims 3, don’t use this control scheme anymore.

Directly under it is Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube, a game that I wanted to get back then but didn’t, for whatever reason. I got the GameCube version because I had Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube as well, so I wanted to follow suit with Gems. I think all of the games included in it, at least the main three, are available digitally now, but I still wanted to get this version for my collection, plus I have a physical version of all the games included, even if they aren’t the direct original.

On the right side of the top, there’s Digimon Battle Spirits 2 for the Game Boy Advance. I wanted this game because I enjoyed the first one and “Frontier” is, unapologetically and unironically, my favorite season of Digimon, which is the focus of this game. The game play seems to be more or less the same as the first one, so I look forward to playing more in the future. Unfortunately, because it’s a cartridge game, there is a save file built into the game, but it’s not too big of a deal, as I probably won’t play the game to completion anyway, at least not for the time being.

Next you will see Mystical Ninja for the N64. I played this game back when I was a kid so I’m pretty nostalgic for it. The Japanese setting and style of the story and world intrigued me and I loved the opening theme, it being the first Hironobu Kageyama song I ever heard. The gameplay is different from what most Mystical Ninja fans will expect, it’s a 3D platformer instead of a 2D sidescroller. It doesn’t bother me, due to this one being the first in the series that I played. It’s probably my favorite, out of the few that I’ve played. I’m aware that there are some games in the series that never came out in English as well. I may try to get some of them in the future.

Under it is Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage for the Dreamcast. This one is the second Dreamcast game I’ve gotten so far, the first being Shenmue. I had heard that this game was not very popular, and I can certainly see why. The controls are clunky and the voice cast isn’t the same as the anime ones, so it does feel different. I don’t think it’s a bad game necessarily, though, especially since Guts can jump in this one. I like jumping in games. Not much else to say, as I’m not far in the game at all, but this was the start of what is part of a larger Berserk haul. You’ve been warned.

Finally, there’s Rampage World Tour for the PS1. I personally have more memories playing it on the N64, but I got the PS1 version for the sake of having the original, as I believe the N64 version is a port, though I do plan on getting that version too for my collection. I always played as Lizzie, due to my affinity for Godzilla. Other times, I picked Ralph. It’s pretty fun going around and destroying cities, in a very arcade-action way. It’s definitely a time-wasting action game, though I’ve heard that the bat character you can play as in mini-games is also a secret, fully playable character. That small secret alone makes me want to play through the game, as well as the fact that I never finished it, as the game was always a rental for me back in the day.

Should I just get all the Berserk stuff out of the way, since I’ve already mentioned it? Yeah, I think I should, and so I will.

Part of my goal for this entire batch was to catch up with my other, non-gaming collection, including comics. With each section, I added on 1-2 volumes of the Berserk manga. As of the writing and publishing of this post, I have all the volumes, except for the upcoming volume 38. I’m currently reading volume 32. Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that Guts and the gang are trying to get on a boat. To where? I’m not telling, this is all you get. I always enjoy going back to a series I enjoy after an extended break. I imagine I’m caught up in terms of what the second season of the new anime will cover. Normally, one Berserk volume takes me a while to read but lately I’ve been going through them within, like, a couple days per volume. Currently, I’ve been taking on volume 32 at what feels like a typical duration. There’s a fair amount of dialogue, but there is also plenty of action as well. I recommend the series, if you’re looking for a good dark fantasy story.

The only other non-manga piece of Berserk that I got is the latest game, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. It’s a Dynasty Warriors spin-off set in the world of Berserk. I’m not very far, but I enjoy it, unlike the Dreamcast game, Guts can’t jump, so that’s a bit disheartening, but the gameplay is fun. As for the blue pouch in the corner, that’s my wallet. It holds my money and such.

Like I said before, by the time this goes up, I’ll have up through volume 37. Volume 38 is supposed to come out in July (for North America anyway, I’m not sure who releases the series in Europe) so I’ll try to get it as soon as it comes out. That’s it for this haul’s Berserk section. Now we can go back to a more colorful (literally, because the Berserk manga is printed in black and white. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA get it?) batch.

Here’s something different. All of these I bought at a local Barnes & Noble, one of my favorite stores in our known universe. Starting at the top, that’s the “Shodo” Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta figure. I think it was marketed as a Resurrection ‘f’ toy, rather than for Super. It’s pretty small, but decently articulated. I currently have him standing next to my Obi-wan figure, shooting a Big Bang Attack.

Speaking of which, the next item to the bottom left is a novel, simply titled Kenobi, written by John Jackson Miller. I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, as Obi-wan is my favorite Star Wars character. I think this copy in particular is a reprint, though I’m not sure and I don’t think it matters. According to the review text on the back of the book, the story is like a mix of Star Wars and a typical cowboy Western. I haven’t read it yet, but I hope to soon.

Right next to it, in the center, is the latest Future Trunks figure by Bandai’s “S. H. Figuarts” line. It’s an awesome figure, very pose-able and nicely detailed. It’s a bit different from the previous Dragon Ball “S. H. Figuarts” and, in my opinion, is the best one I’ve gotten so far. The sculpt of the legs in particular are much better than the previous ones on my other figures in this line, specifically both regular and Super Saiyan Goku. The figure also comes with a snazzy “crossed arms” accessory, in which you can take off both his arms and put it on to have an action figure cross his arms  and have it look real for once in our lives. The only issue I have with this figure is that it’s standard face has Trunks looking off to the side, as you see in the picture. This makes posing him with a neutral face and looking forward difficult, and by “difficult” I mean “impossible.”

Next to Trunks is the first “S. H. Figuarts” Dragon Ball figure, Piccolo. Because of this fact, you can assume that it’s not perfect unlike Cell. The shirt sleeves on the figure are prone to come off at every movement on his shoulders. This is minor, but I also don’t like how his leg articulation causes his legs to pop out from his hips, making him look weird. Both Gokus and my other Future Trunks figure (the one with the sword and jacket) have this problem as well. His cape and hat were also a pain to get on him and pose with his “crossed arms” thing. I eventually went for a “hand in fist” kind of pose. Other than that, it’s an okay figure. I’m still nostalgic for my old Irwin Toys Piccolo figure, though.

This next batch is a mix of Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon. Firstly, I bought the Super Mario Adventures graphic novel from B&A. I heard that this was originally published in Nintendo Power back in the day. I’ve never read it before, but I enjoy the world of Mario so I think this will be a fun read. The color pages will be a nice change from typical manga, I think.

Right under it to the left is the classic Warcraft novel, Lord of the Clans, written by Christie Gold, the same novel that was based on that unfinished adventure game. It’s a recent reprint that I believe has been resized. As you can see, I’ve already said a little of it, but just the prologue. The text is pretty easy to read, size wise, though the writing style feels a bit dated; a few sentences and phrases didn’t read very well to me. I’ve been enjoying it so far, though. I might pick it up again soon.

Next to it is Inuyasha The Final Act on DVD, the complete series. I was a fan  of the original series and wanted to have the final chapter on DVD like I do the rest of the series. I haven’t watched it yet, but I plan to in the future.

This batch is the last big chunk for this post. The first game is Onimusha 3: Demon Siege for the PS2. This game’s big claim to fame is that it stars Jean Reno as the French guy, Jacques, though I’m pretty sure this is only when he speaks French and also only his likeness. I had a magazine that included a strategy guide, so I once played through a fair amount of the game. I say once, because I’ve since lost the file so I have to start over. I think I might have deleted it because I got stuck at a certain point (I wasn’t entirely a smart kid.) I’m pretty sure I had a save data carry-over thing as well from Onimusha Blade Warriors. I think I got it again when I made a new file, but I haven’t made the same amount of progress. It’s a fun game, though I don’t know if I’d call it my favorite. I don’t really have a favorite Onimusha game. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the first two games, due to the controls, but Onimusha 3: Demon Siege and Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams are more fun to me.

And the game next to it… Dream Carnival. Friggin’ Dream Carnival. I only bought it because my friends wanted me to for a video project and it was so cheap on eBay that I felt like not buying it would be pointless. We recorded my first time playing it, for those who want to know what I think and why I jokingly hate it so. Don’t let the title of the video fool you, it MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 3!

Ahem, anyway, next is Ys I & II Chronicles for the PSP. It’s a remake of the first two Ys games, that was originally on the PC, ported to the PSP. The gameplay reminds me of those old RPGs where you run into enemies to kill them, like Hydlide, that game the AVGN reviewed that one time. But don’t let that AVGN hyperlink give you a bad impression, the gameplay is pretty good. I’m not very far into it, but I spend a fair amount of my time grinding levels and money. My only complaint is that, like many old J-RPGs, there is little to no direction so you just have to wander to figure out where you have to go. Other than that, I enjoy it.

The first game on the bottom section may look weird because it’s open, but the reason why is because the thing I bought is not the game itself, but the case. When my original PS3 died on me, I replaced it with the red special edition that came with the God of War Saga collection and God of War Ascension as loose discs. Being a picky collector, also my lack of understanding what came in the package, I sought out and found a seller on eBay who was selling the case itself, without the game. There used to be a website that sold game cases and stuff, but they discontinued the listings, so I had to search elsewhere. I’d like to get the original cases for all my loose disc games, but it will be hard to find them all (especially my imported copy of Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 from Japan.)

In the middle is Donkey Kong Country 3 for the SNES, a game I wanted but never got. Growing up, I had the first two games but never played the third. I don’t think I ever rented it either, nor did I ever think to save up money and bought it or ask for it for Christmas or something. I played a little of it and enjoyed it. The game plays like the other Donkey Kong Country games. Not much else to say about it, though I still can’t tell if it’s a reproduction or not. Do people even make repros for this game?

Lastly, there is Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for the PS3. It was an early PS3 game, so the loading times may be a bit long, depending on what model PS3 you play on. With my old PS3, it took a long time, though my newer PS3 didn’t take as long. Truth be told, I don’t like this game very much. I only bought it for the sake of collecting. I also hadn’t played it in years, in all fairness. The Untold Legends games were Sony Online Entertainment’s attempt at rekindling the magic of Champions of Norrath, though this particular one feel more like Gauntlet. There is little to no character customization, besides having a unique weapon and a specific, player-chosen color. The gameplay feels more like a typical third person hack-and-slash rather than anything like Champions of Norrath or Gauntlet. The playable classes are limited to just three, all gender and physique locked, basically meaning you can’t edit anything. It’s a shame that this series had to end with such a mediocre game. I enjoyed the first one and the second one, as shown in my previous collection haul post, is decent as well. Dark Kingdom is where the series dropped the ball, in my opinion.

When I first heard about these figures from MissDBZBabe’s video, I knew I had to get a couple figures. I bought them both at the Walmart near my university. As you can see… Both of them were Frieza… Damn.

I did get a Goku, though! I’m officially satisfied now.

This was an impulse buy for sure. I was shopping at a local Publix with my mom and saw the comic in the stand. After we got home, I drove back and bought it, haha! I haven’t kept up with the Sonic the Hedgehog comics in a long time. I used to have a subscription, but stopped it after issue 142. I don’t remember why, I enjoyed the story line well enough. I don’t know if I will subscribe again or if I even can. I’ve been trying to collect all the Knuckles the Echidna comics as well, specifically the Sonic Archives version. I haven’t read this issue yet, but I plan to soon. Maybe after I finish all that Berserk I bought? It would be a nice change of pace!

And that’s all! Like I said before, I’ve already gotten more stuff, but I’ll save that for another haul post. Going forward, I’m going to try to post these with less stuff so that they aren’t a mountain to read. If you read this far, thanks a lot! You’ll also be happy to know that my next post will be an anime episode review, though it’s an older episode of a current show. I’ll likely need to watch it a third time (once as a regular viewer, second to get screenshots.) I hope you stick around for it! Either way, thanks for reading!

See you next time!