Contra 4 coming to the DS

From a press release issued by Konami earlier this morning:

KONAMI ANNOUNCES CONTRA 4 FOR NINTENDO DS

Explosive Action Series Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Unique Dual Screen Presentation, New Gameplay Elements and Cooperative Multiplayer Mayhem

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – June 20, 2007 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced Contra 4 (working title) for the Nintendo DS™. Marking the 20th anniversary of the quintessential action franchise, the game pushes 2D side-scrolling action in an all-new direction with gunplay that spans two full screens, original gameplay mechanics that grant players deadlier abilities than ever before, and frantic multiplayer functionality.

Contra 4 takes place two years after the events of Contra III: The Alien Wars. After saving earth from invasion by Red Falcon, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are confronted with a new extraterrestrial menace: the terrifying Black Viper. Joined by hard-boiled mercenaries Mad Dog and Scorpion, the warriors must once again wage war against an entire army of invaders.

Refining the 2D side-scrolling genre the series established 20 years ago, Contra 4 delivers pure action at a fever pitch as players jump, shoot, and dodge oncoming hazards. Utilizing a new dual screen presentation, the action spans both screens of the Nintendo DS, giving players the opportunity to battle across expansive environments in which death can come from any direction. The use of both screens for the game’s core action also allows for massive boss battles as players try to seek and destroy the weak points of sky-high enemies. A first for the series, Contra 4 introduces a grappling hook accessory that lets players grab onto elements of the environment directly above them. Whether using it to avoid oncoming dangers or attack from a strategic vantage point, the grappling hook allows for new combat situations and dramatic set pieces that underscore the game’s adrenaline-soaked pedigree.

Continuing the multiplayer tradition of previous games in the series, Contra 4 lets two players battle together against Black Viper’s army of vile alien forces and reclaim Earth for mankind.

Developed by WayForward Technologies, Contra 4 is planned for release on the Nintendo DS in 2007. For more information on the game and the Contra franchise, please visit: www.konami.com . 

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m extremely happy to see the Contra series being continued. Shattered Soldier on the PS2 was pretty great, so I know the series can still bring it. Contra III on the SNES remains my favorite in the series; hopefully Contra 4 is up to that level of quality.

Metroid Prime 3 Release Date

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, for the Nintendo Wii has finally been given a release date in the US. The game is scheduled to release on August 20th; making it the perfect holdover until Halo 3 hits the following month.

Other titles from Nintendo to receive release dates include:

  • Super Mario Strikers – July 30
  • Batallion Wars 2 – September
  • Sim City DS – July
  • Brain Age 2 – August 20

Several 3rd parties have also released their schedules, including EA’s Madden coming in August, Heroes of Mana from Square Enix coming in August 14, and EA’s Boogie this Fall.

Dragon Quest IX looks gorgeous

The latest images of Dragon Quest IX, which will be Nintendo DS exclusive, are showing that the little handheld is capable of pushing some impressive graphics. Square-Enix has always been famous for pushing hardware to its limits, and Dragon Quest IX is no exception. Check out the rather smallish pics below.

DQIX.jpg

The cel-shaded style is a great fit for the series as we saw with Dragon Quest VIII. Thankfully the DS has just enough power to allow Square-Enix to stick with the style. Being one of the most popular franchises in Japan (if not the most popular), and with the DS being the number one platform by a large margin, the release of DQIX should be pure madness when the game hits Japan.

DS ROM Cartridges

When publishers send out advanced copies of games for either review or preview, they will sometimes arrive in the form of ROM cartridges. For those of you that might be interested in what they look like, here’s a couple of pictures of the Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll cartridge. If you’ll notice, that the ROM cart reads “Property of Sega of America.” When I finished reviewing this title, I had to send the cartridge back to Sega. I’ve never been allowed to keep a ROM cartridge. For a size comparison the second pic shows a standard DS cartridge next to the ROM cartridge.

It seems like Sega and Atlus are the companies that are most likely to send out these ROM cartridges. It’s not very common to receive a ROM cartridge from a publisher unless you are dealing with a pretty early review or preview. Normally the review copy of the game just comes on the standard retail version of the DS cartridge.

I’m debating whether or not I’ve used the word cartridge enough in this post…

Nintendo Event Predictions

Everybody loves predictions, especially when they prove to be wrong and you get to serve up some crow to the would-be Nostradamus. Well, despite the high chance of failure, I’m going to throw my expectations for the even into the pool of predictions.

What I think we’ll see:
Nintendo will capitalize on the opportunity to parade the DS. The conference will start out showing the current and upcoming releases on the DS and forums will go nuts with people eager to hear Wii info. You’ll have people freaking out stating that they only have X amount of time to get in their Wii announcements and that they’re wasting it on the DS. What these people fail to realize, however, is that the DS can use the exposure while the whole world will be watching since Nintendo will be sitting TGS (Tokyo Games Show) out. Nintendo will probably push DS sales stats, announcements, and information right up until the point that people can’t take it anymore. At that point, they’ll move on…

Wii price date and launch date will be announced. I think that despite rumors of the Wii coming out at $150 that the system will launch at $199. I don’t expect any games to be bundled with the system, but it’s possible that a free Virtual Console download will be included. The system will launch on November 2nd in the North America and the launch numbers will be at or above 1 million systems available. The system will officially be available for preorders starting on Thursday.

The system won’t be bundled with any additional accessories. I think that the Nintendo Wii package will inlcude the following:

  • Nintendo Wii console (black or white)
  • Wii freehand remote and nunchuck attachment
  • WiiConnect 24 information card
  • User manual
  • One free VC download voucher
  • Composite cables
  • Registration card
  • Power cord
  • Wii console stand
  • Game and accessory information packet (info on SD cards, retro style controller, Zapper attachment, upcoming releases)

Miyamoto’s new IP will be announced, but it won’t be playable. Other announcements will include new information regarding Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a possible release date, how WiiConnect 24 will work, when we can expect the next iterations of Pokemon, Donkey Kong, and some notable 3rd party titles.

Despite the launch info, pricing, and a few new game announcements, this will not to be another Spaceworld type of event. Most likely this event is to get some announcements out and get media attention to focus on the DS and Wii before the TGS storm hits. Nintendo doesn’t have tons of announcements ready; it’s probably silly to think that they do. This is just Nintendo’s way of having their day in the sun apart from what will be going on at TGS. Overall it won’t be disappointing, but it won’t be much more than launch info and a few cool announcements. Don’t go into this expecting a massive blowout of media!

I think that the conference is going to be tons of fun. Forums will crash, fanboys will cry from all camps, and Nintendo will initiate a hype wave that they’ll be hoping to ride all the way through the holidays. Check back later for my reactions on the event; you know you’ll want to.

Nintendo MP3 Accessory Coming to Europe

Flick user fiedldi snapped some photos of Nintendo related exhibits at this year’s Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. In one of those photos there seems to be a Play-Yan type of accessory that’s being called the Nintendo MP3 Player. The accessory, according to the photo, connects to the DS, DS Lite, and all GBA models. The product itself looks to be capable only of playing music (stored on SD cards), but no other details have emerged from Nintendo as of yet. Also, no word on a North American release has been announced at this time.

(Drag and drop the image to your address bar for a full size picture)

Source: Flickr images

Pink, Black, and 1,000,000 Marios

In a recent press release Nintendo stated that New Super Mario Bros. has surpassed 1 million copies sold within the North American region in just 12 weeks. In addition to the NSMB sales data, Nintendo has also announced that 2 new DS Light colors will be released in North America this September. Coral (pink) and Onyx (black) will be the two new colors and should help to propel already booming DS Light sales.

Sexy.

Other tidbits included in the release mentioned that Animal Crossing: Wild World has surpassed 800,000 sales in North American with Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day passing 4 million worldwide and Big Brain Academy at nearly 2 million.

The sales of DS Software and the DS Light hardware have been nothing but impressive. If Nintendo can ride the success of the DS into the next generation of consoles, the Wii could be off to a big launch. Japan definitely has Nintendo DS fever right now, but it will be interesting to see if that translates into console sales this Fall. Strong GBA sales never seemed to spur GameCube sales along in any region, but the DS/Wii philosophy is definitely more similar than the GBA/GCN has been.