A Look Back at Top Gear (SNES)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing Top Gear and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Remember back in the early 1990s how impressive the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES or Super NES) was when it comes to fulfilling your early expectations of the enhanced gaming experience aided by new technology?

Super Mario World was astounding the first time I got to play it on our Super NES. The same experience too I had with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

And then there was our first Super NES racing game titled Top Gear (not to be confused with the popular motoring media franchise) developed by Gremlin Graphics and published by Kemco.

The game cover.

Concept and Game Design

Top Gear is a car-focused racing game that had over thirty tracks and creatively emphasized the global locations in it. The very meat of the game is its global tournament in which you need to finish at least in 5th place in order to qualify to join the next race.

Creatively, each race has courses that vary in distance, the sharpness of turns (as far as 2D graphics allowed), number of laps and, strangely enough, have certain obstacles that can distract or even surprise such as stones, iron plates and even trees.

Before choosing a car, you must pay attention to the maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption.

On the player’s side, there are cars offered and they vary in terms of maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption. Cars also have nitro which come in limited amounts and can be used to give you a boost

For its visual presentation, Top Gear is strictly a split-screen game even during times you play only single-player. In my experience, split-screen is more lively to watch when playing against a fellow human player.

Quality

I can say clearly that Top Gear was highly enjoyable to play, and it was more fun 2-player sessions. On the very gameplay itself, I enjoyed the high-speed challenges that include overtaking other cars on the road while trying to climb up the rankings enroute to the finish line. Speaking of challenges, the aspect of managing your fuel supply while dealing with speeding and overtaking others is memorable and there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped because I was not able to make a pit stop during the race.

The pit stop itself can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on situations. If you are low on fuel and you still have a long way to go, you need to refuel at the pit stop. However, the more time you spend on the pit stop, the more your opponents traveled catching up with you or increasing their lead over you. There were also memorable times when I had sufficient fuel and my opponent had to refuel at the pit stop. While opponent was refueling, I just kept driving and used the nitro to increase my speed and keep on moving forward.

Split-screen all the time, even when you play single.

Going back to the fuel management aspect, there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped. Suddenly, an AI-controlled car from behind hit my car and gave me some forward movement. There were a few, unexpected times that my gas-empty car got pushed enough to cross the finish line.

Visually, race courses are limited in the sense that the game only shows split-screen views. You always have a road to travel on which can suddenly turn left or right depending on the race course. What adds visual variety are the surroundings specifically the elements on the sides of the road (examples: the desert environment Las Vegas, the snow of Sweden, the rain forest trees of Brazil) and background art (example: the metropolitan view of Tokyo). Sprite scaling is limited but that is understandable given the limits of the Super NES. Even so, the feeling and look of 3D is sufficient.

Night driving in 2D.

While the sound effects of cars bumping, tires screeching and engines are satisfying, what really stood out is the soundtrack which, for the most part, is energetic and even encouraging enough to keep me and my friends playing. Barry Leitch produced the music and due to the lack of time provided to him, he had to literally recycle and arrange his other musical works from Lotus games.

Conclusion

One car still racing on the road with low fuel, the other car is in the pit stop refueling.

Top Gear was truly a well-made game and it succeeded not only in delivering a true console generation upgrade over our NES for console racing but also created lots of bouts of fun for me and my friends. In my experience, this Kemco-published game was the first true gem of multiplayer on the Super NES. Even by today’s standards, Top Gear remains unique and still is very enjoyable for anyone who loves 16-bit, 2-dimensional console racing.

Overall, Top Gear is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang calls Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz the trailblazer of the Philippines

As Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz received the promised P10 million reward from business tycoon Ramon S. Ang, she was referred to as the nation’s trailblazer in relation to the pioneering achievement she made for the Philippines during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang with Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. (photo from Ramon S. Ang Facebook page)

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang sees Hidilyn Diaz as a game-changer after she ended the Philippines’ 97-year hunt for its first Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Hidilyn is the country’s trailblazer in our successful Olympic gold medal quest. After years of heartbreaks, she came through for us and we are very thankful as a nation,” Ang said on Tuesday.

Diaz, together with fiancé and coach Julius Naranja, personally received the PHP10 million reward Ang pledged for anyone who would capture the then elusive gold.

Diaz won the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics on July 26, making the Philippines a part of the Olympic gold medal countries’ list.

It also served as the biggest good news the Filipinos have ever received amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Her victory comes at a very crucial point in our country’s history when we are grappling with a pandemic and a lot of Filipinos are looking for hope as we fight this virus and cope with the difficulties it has brought,” Ang said.

Upon meeting at the SMC office in Pasig City, however, he gave Diaz a surprise gift.

Ang rewarded Diaz with two Magnolia Chick ‘N Juicy franchises that she could put up at her new condominium in Quezon City and at her hometown in Zamboanga City.

“With the franchise outlets, we will assist Hidilyn every step of the way in her journey as an entrepreneur so that she can also help other people in need of jobs. In addition to the physical stores, equipment, and training, we will also provide the initial stocks for free to get her started,” he added.

The generosity of Ramon S. Ang is truly amazing and genuine. Not only was the promised cash reward released to Hidilyn Diaz, he gifted her with commercial franchises which can add to our nation’s economy by creating opportunities for the unemployed to bounce back from poverty while providing choices to consumers looking for good products. I really like this because I truly believe that capitalism the way to prosperity and the most effective way to lift people up from poverty. Capitalism does socio-economic wonders while socialism only drags people down and ruins societies. As it is a fact that cash rewards/incentives from both the government and private sector cannot last forever as the cost of living only keeps going up, having a business that succeeds will keep prevent people from falling into poverty. To see Hidilyn Diaz gifted with business franchises is great!

For those who are not aware, Chick ‘N Juicy is a chicken rotisseries retail business that has many branches and it is being expanded. Chick ‘N Juicy sells chicken supplied by sister company Magnolia. Customers can order from them online with products like sweet roast chicken, garlic roast chicken, fried chicken drumsticks, chicken rice meals and more at https://www.chicknjuicyofficial.com/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you happy about our nation’s Olympic gold medalist getting rewarded and gifted by tycoon Ramon S. Ang?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

What caught my attention during the Xbox Gamescom 2021 showcase

The Xbox Gamescom 2021 digital event has passed and it turned out to be different from the acclaimed Xbox-Bethesda event. Just before it happened, Team Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg posted on Twitter stating: Running about 90 min & focused on game updates coming this year. So to set expectations, no new reveals or major surprises, but fun stream with our amazing hosts @vicious696 @kateyeager !

It was different in terms of tone, upcoming games, and announcements but ultimately it was still fun. In case you missed the Xbox Gamescom 2021 live stream, it is posted below for your viewing pleasure…

What caught my attention

Remember when I first wrote about The Gunk which was originally slated for a September 2021 release exclusively on Xbox? After such a long period of no updates from developer Thunderful, a brand-new trailer of the game was shown during the Gamescom showcase of Microsoft and what is notable was that it turned out to be the first look on its gameplay! Watch and look closely at the new The Gunk trailer below…

According to the Xbox.com article written by Thunderful’s game director Ulf Hartelius, The Gunk will finally be released this coming December (previously targeted for September 2021 release). Read the excerpt below. Some parts in boldface…

We’re extremely happy to have finally revealed our first gameplay trailer during the gamescom 2021 – Xbox Stream.

Early on, we decided to use Unreal Engine 4 to bring this story to life. It not only allows us to rapidly prototype and iterate, but it also offers us incredible flexibility and powerful graphics tools that have made the jump from 2D to 3D extremely smooth for the team. On top of that, we added some of our own super cool tech to do things like give the gunk a life of its own. From the outset, our goal was for the gunk to have this mesmerising quality, something you can just sit and watch bubble away for ages, like a lava lamp.

Partnering with Xbox has been incredible, and we wanted to leverage the power of the Xbox ecosystem to its fullest potential. We’ve made a massive effort to ensure that whatever platform you play on, you will experience our full vision of The Gunk.

As is to be expected, we’re using Smart Delivery to best support all Xbox platforms. On Xbox One, you can expect a stable 30fps experience that offers the beautiful art design and graphical flourishes that you have seen in our trailer. If you’re playing on Xbox Series X|S or a high-end PC, everything is dialled up and we aim to provide you with a smooth 60fps gameplay experience at up to 4K resolution.

Considering the high expectations that Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite are the premier Xbox-exclusive games set for the 4th quarter this year, The Gunk is a welcome Xbox-exclusive addition that gamers can look forward to especially if they are searching for science fiction adventuring laced with exploration. Personally, I am looking forward to The Gunk!

State of Decay 2 was surprising. While I never got to play any State of Decay game, this update for the game (which was first released in 2018) looks like a serious attempt to resonate with dedicated franchise fans as it will deliver the original map of the first game (launched on Xbox 360) which will be presented with an open-world aesthetic. The said update is coming out on September 1, 2021. Watch the trailer below…

More on State of Decay 2, here is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by Will Tuttle. Some parts in boldface…

In this new version of the iconic map, players will learn about the latest developments in this area, discovering new characters and storylines and resolving long-running plot threads.

Players can also look forward to six new bases, as well as unique weapons and outfits that can only be found in Trumbull Valley. New missions and new achievements await those who choose to settle on this new map.

In addition, we are proud to announce that State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition has surpassed 10 million players since its launch, a major milestone reflecting the success and popularity of the ultimate survival-sim game.

I never played the original Dying Light game and am not a fan of zombie-related gaming, but Dying Light 2: Stay Human was intriguing and entertaining to watch during the Xbox Gamescom 2021 event with lead game designer Tymon Smektala and animation director Dawid Lubryka of Techland doing the presentation. To see more of the game, watch the video below…

Here’s an excerpt from the Xbox.com article. Some parts in boldface…

The designers at Techland put a lot of attention to parkour animations. There are thousands of them, making navigation feel incredibly smooth. We wanted to make it as close as possible to the real world, while keeping all the moves fun and easy to pull off. But what takes exploration to the next level is your new set of skills—and gear! Oh yes, you don’t have to rely on your body alone. From the new paraglider to the ever-useful grappling hook, you’ll be able to make the most epic runs. They’ll often take place hundreds of meters above the street level. There are also ropes to swing on, rope bridges, trampolines, elevators—you name it. Of course, you’re going to need some practice before you master the navigation.

Survival is not just about moving around, however. Parkour is like yin to creative combat’s yang. Combine the two, and you’ll truly have a chance to see another sunrise! In Dying Light 2: Stay Human, the way you approach enemies can — and should — differ after you consider some factors. First of all, the faction you’ve sided with can impose (or prefer) a certain style of playing. Some like to steamroll through the enemy, others prefer to be more subtle about it. But ultimately, you choose how you play, so another thing to watch out for is who you’re facing. Between the Infected and the various factions surviving in the city, everyone will try to take you down in a different way. Some enemies will act alone. Some will work in a group. It’s good to learn the different behavior patterns and recognize what kind of weapons your enemies are carrying.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human was first announced during the Xbox event of the E3 in 2018 and in January 2020, it was announced that the game would be delayed. The game is set for a December 7, 2021 release for multiple platforms.

Crusader Kings III, which was released on personal computers in 2020, is coming to Xbox Series consoles as well as Xbox Game Pass (XGP) although a clear and specific release date has yet to be announced as of this writing.

I find this one interesting as I enjoyed simulation, strategy and role-playing games on PC before. I also enjoy playing games that allow gamers to make decisions out of the choices offered and show what happened next. Already an assurance has been made that Crusader Kings III has been optimized for Xbox Series consoles. Check out the excerpt from the Xbox.com article below. Some parts in boldface…

The Xbox Series X|S adaptation of Crusader Kings III will take advantage of the many strengths of the system, bringing special benefits. For example, the Xbox Series X|S internal SSD will allow for ultrafast loading times will enable you to easily switch between the game and a playthrough or tutorial you are checking out on YouTube.

The UI has been customized to work with the Xbox Wireless Controller, including the addition of radial menus, ensuring that none of the depth and detail of the Crusader Kings III experience has been lost in translation.

The release date for Crusader Kings III for Xbox Series X|S will be announced soon, but we can already commit to having this title available on Xbox Game Pass on day one. We hope that the Xbox community will grasp the opportunity to play one of the most popular strategy titles in the world.

Last but not least is Forza Horizon 5 which is set for a November 9, 2021 release and it is only looking even better and more promising. Check out the two newest videos below…

Playground Games are really experts in their craft with regards to open-world racing games as you can see in the above videos. The Mexico setting is just waiting to be explored and I am confident there will not only be a lot of locations to visit but also surprises and very exciting races to compete in. Check out the excerpt from the Xbox.com article below. Some parts in boldface…

As you play through Forza Horizon 5 and explore our expansive version of Mexico, you can expect cargo planes, an active volcano, a race to the festival under beautiful Mexican skies, and more. You’ll see exciting sights like the Ford Bronco Badlands atop the active, snow-capped Gran Caldera volcano, the 2020 Corvette Stingray tearing up the asphalt towards a dust storm in the Mexican farmland, and the Porsche 911 Desert Flyer crashing through the dense jungle tree canopy.

And finally, you’ll get to experience the stunning Mercedes-AMG ONE at full speed along Mexico’s sunbaked rocky coast.

Conclusion

The Xbox Gamescom 2021 digital event served its purpose with regards to games coming to the Xbox ecosystem this year (note: Psychonauts 2 got another pre-launch boost) as well as delivering updates for Xbox Game Pass subscribers as well as new stuff for Xbox gamers who rely on cloud services for their gaming needs. The Xbox-exclusives presented (led by Forza Horizon 5) are not as high-caliber as those showcased in the Xbox-Bethesda event of months ago, but still there is something exciting for the Xbox ecosystem and its gamers to look forward to.

In my honest view, Team Xbox and 343 Industries missed an opportunity to give gamers a much-needed update about Halo Infinite which, as of this writing, still has no solid release date and lacks serious updates about the single-player campaign! By now, the positive vibes from the multiplayer previews have faded and the recent reports about Halo Infinite are discouraging. While Japan is having very serious COVID-19 problems, the 2021 edition of the Tokyo Game Show is still on as of this writing. Will we see Team Xbox organize a Tokyo Game Show-related digital event to emphasize Halo Infinite and provide the much-needed updates? We will find out soon. Really, the pressure is now on 343 Industries to ensure Halo Infinite will be great to play.

In ending this piece, here are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: Super Dimension Century Orguss complete series coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021

Welcome back to this latest edition of the Better than Streaming series! If you are fond of 1980s anime, especially with productions by Studio Nue (the same studio behind Super Dimension Fortress Macross), then you should be delighted to know that the entire Super Dimension Century Orguss series is coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021 and you can order it online right now!

The Blu-ray cover.

Handled by DiscoTek Media, all 35 episodes will be compiled and presented in high-definition complete with Japanese dialogue (with English subtitles). There will also be 17 episodes dubbed in English which I believe were produced at a time when U.S. Renditions still existed. As of this writing, the price is around $70.

To put things in perspective, posted below are details from the Blu-ray.com page of Super Dimension Century Orguss. Some parts in boldface…

Video

Codec: TBA

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio

Japanese: LPCM 2.0

English: LPCM 2.0

Subtitles

English

Discs

Blu-ray Disc

Three-disc set (3 BD-50)

Packaging

Slipcover in original pressing

Playback

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Description

Today, Kei Katsuragi‘s only concern is the love of his life. It doesn’t really matter to him that he has more than one love – after all, as a pilot for the Freedom Space Corps, he might be dead tomorrow! In the future, war has changed, and Kei is all too familiar with the horrors it can bring. Atomic, biological, and chemical weapons are all in use, but even worse than those are the dimensional weapons, ordnance capable of tearing apart even time and space!

As it happens, his next mission involves one of these terrifying weapons, the latest risky gambit in the war over the space elevator on Earth. Fleeing from the warmth of his lover (and her father’s gun) to the coldness of space, Kei fights to protect a team of engineers as they arm the dimensional weapon on-site. But when they get orders to pull out without detonating the bomb, Kei disobeys, unwilling to make the sacrifices of the day meaningless. His brash actions have dire consequences beyond just a big kaboom, as that explosion flings him into the future!

There, Kei finds himself caught in an entirely different struggle between the militaristic Chiram and the mercantile Emaan – with himself as the prize! Will this womanizing hot shot pilot make it back to his own time, or is there something more to Kei being the “singularity”?

Here is something for long-time Orguss fans as well as for those who are about to discover Super Dimension Century Orguss for the first time.

I personally am interested in this upcoming multiple-disc Blu-ray set of Orguss. For one thing, I actually saw its sequel Super Dimension Century Orguss 02 first way back in the mid-1990s and learned that there is a storyline gap of two hundred years between them. It was only a few years ago I got to watch some English-dubbed episodes (done by U.S. Renditions) of Super Dimension Century Orguss and found its sci-fi concept really intriguing. It was also a fresh change of pace as well as a different type of immersion after I indulged myself with Studio Nue’s most famous works related to the Super Dimension Fortress Macross franchise (read my retro review of Macross: Do You Remember Love?).

Anyone who saw Macross first will realize certain common visual elements between it and the Orguss TV series (1983-1984) which should be no surprise since they are both Studio Nue productions. Even notable Macross female characters had cameo appearances in the early Orguss episodes. It is also a fact that prolific anime director Noboru Ishiguro worked on the Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series, the Super Dimension Century Orguss TV seriesand the feature film Macross: Do You Remember Love?

Going back to the future Blu-ray release of Orguss, I am hoping that the image quality will be good apart from being presented in high-definition. As it is decades-old anime series, its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 will still be retained and that means you will see thick, black borders on the left and right sides of the screen. As for the colors, I hope the technical crew will enhance the colors a bit to be presentable in HD.

The signature robot in the Orguss series.

Once Super Dimension Century Orguss comes out finally on Blu-ray disc format on September 28, 2021, only then we will find out how good the visuals and audio will be. Stay tuned for more right here!

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-ray and The Suicide Squad.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang will give P22 million in incentives to Olympic medalists

There is no doubt that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was historic for the Philippines thanks to Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial who won four medals combined, including the Olympic gold (in women’s weightlifting).

In addition to the established law that guaranteed that the Olympic medalists will receive millions of pesos worth of incentives from the national government, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give over P20 million more in incentives to them according to a recent report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang will give Tokyo Olympics medalists, led by the country’s very first gold medal winner Hidilyn Diaz, a total of PHP22 million in incentives for accomplishing the Philippines’ best Olympic performance to date, in 97 years of competing in the foremost international competition.

Ang’s “personal gift” or incentive to the winning athletes, as earlier announced by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) prior to the Summer Games, will consist of PHP10 million for weightlifter Diaz, PHP5 million each for boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio for winning silver medals, and PHP2 million for boxer Eumir Marcial’s bronze finish.

“As a longtime partner and supporter of Philippine sports, I’m so happy for our athletes. All their hard work paid off. They’ve opened the eyes of so many Filipinos sports patrons, fans, and aspiring athletes that indeed, we Filipinos can compete and win against the best in the world in the Olympics. This is just the beginning. We have the momentum. We can only get stronger in the succeeding Olympics,” Ang said in a news release on Monday.

“I’m especially grateful to Hidilyn, whom we’ve supported for several years now, for giving honor to the country by winning our very first Olympic gold medal. We can build on these successes to develop stronger sports programs and produce more Olympic winners like Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir,” he added.

Ang also said the Olympic athletes, as well as their coaches and teams, gave the Philippines more than just medals.

“The message of this Olympic campaign for us Filipinos is clear. We are resilient in the face of challenges and we do not back down from adversity. This pandemic is perhaps one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime. Thank you Hidilyn, Carlo, Nesthy, and Eumir for giving us hope and inspiration during this critical time. You showed us that nothing is impossible,” Ang said.

Ang added that as the Olympics showcased the outstanding athletic feats that fully-trained athletes are capable of, it also serves as a reminder that people are not limited, and that Filipinos should endeavor to keep fit and healthy in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Aside from following health protocols to stop the transmission of the virus and getting vaccinated, we should also do our best to make sure we are mentally and physically fit and healthy during this crisis. I believe that will help us a lot in coping with the stresses of this time,” Ang said.

Before the pandemic, SMC consistently supported the country’s participation and hosting of international competitions, including the staging of 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Wow! The deep generosity of Ramon S. Ang is undeniable and he is absolutely right that great achievers who competed in very tough competitions should be rewarded handsomely. While Republic Act Number 10699 (RA10699) guarantees that the national government will release incentives for national athletes who won medals in specific competitions, private sector-provided incentives are undeniably helpful and very welcome. Thank our Heavenly Father for all the success achieved and the blessings that manifested! Thank the Lord also for the tremendous Olympic success the Philippines achieved!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you very happy for everything that our nation’s four Olympic medalists achieved for the Filipino people at the Tokyo Olympics? Are you delighted to learn that the Olympic medalists as well as all the other Philippine Team members who did not win medals at the Tokyo Olympics will be rewarded accordingly?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Philippine athletes who did not win medals at the Tokyo Olympics will still be rewarded

With so much focus on the respective Olympic victories of Hidilyn Diaz (gold in women’s weightlifting) and Nesthy Petecio (silver in women’s boxing) as well as the remaining chances of the Philippines to win more medals at the Tokyo Olympics, it is natural to forget all the other national athletes who failed to win any medals.

There is however a breakthrough for the non-medalists among the Philippine team members at the Olympics as it was announced yesterday that such athletes will actually be rewarded half-a-million Philippine pesos each thanks to the generosity of the MVP Sports Foundation. In short, the Olympic non-medalists will not go home empty handed (praise and thank the Lord).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. Some parts in boldface…

For being part of the Philippines’ most successful Olympic campaign ever, even those who failed to land a podium finish in this year’s Tokyo Olympics will still receive a monetary reward.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) announced on Thursday that the MVP Sports Foundation will be giving away PHP500,000 each to the Olympic non-medalists.

Everyone on Team Philippines in these ‘Golden Olympics’ deserve all the praises, and in this case, incentives, they need,” POC president Bambol Tolentino said. “Qualifying for the Olympics is already that difficult, what more competing in the Games themselves.”

Benefiting from this development are rowing’s Cris Nievarez, taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa, skateboarding’s Margielyn Didal, shooting’s Jayson Valdez, gymnastics’ Carlos Yulo, boxing’s Irish Magno, judo’s Kiyomi Watanabe, weightlifting’s Elreen Ando, golf’s Juvic Pagunsan, athletics’ EJ Obiena (pole vault), Kristina Knott (200m run), and swimming’s Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie.

The place in the history of the Philippines’ 2020 Tokyo Olympics team has been secured when Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first-ever gold in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting event.

Nesthy Petecio added a silver in the women’s featherweight boxing event.

Still in the running for a medal are golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan.

Pagdanganan finished the first round of the women’s golf event within striking distance of a Top 3 finish after going two-under-par 69 on Wednesday, good for a share of seventh place with Round 2 ongoing as of posting.

On the other hand, boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam are already assured of medals as well but can still upgrade them to silver or even gold.

As you can see in the details above, the Philippine team of athletes at the Olympics is pretty small and yet it is the most successful in terms of medals achieved (including the nation’s first-ever Olympic gold medal). At the same time, it is only right for the athletes to be provided something not only because everyone is struggling during this COVID-19 pandemic but also because training for important sports events representing the country requires a lot of money for the years to come.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think that the P500,000 incentive for each non-medalist is good enough? Do you think that more private enterprises should donate more to the non-medalists?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

It’s a silver medal won by Nesthy Petecio for the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics!

Like the late Philippine boxer Anthony Villanueva, Nesthy Petecio will bring back home an Olympic silver medal (thank the Lord for another medal for the nation) now that the finals of the women’s featherweight (54-57kg) division is over. Yesterday, Petecio did her best in the quest for another Olympic gold medal as she fought with Japan’s Sena Irie resulting a loss by means of a unanimous decision.

Regardless, Petecio has been congratulated by many in the Philippines and her silver medal finish is still highly significant as it boosted the nation in the Olympic medal rankings (now 1 gold and 1 silver). Her also achievement brings back memories of Anthony Villanueva who, like her, settled for the silver medal in the same sport (specifically men’s featherweight division) in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Villanueva lost to the Soviet Union’s Stanislav Stepashkin in the final match.

To put things in perspective about the Petecio-Irie fight, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network sports news report. Some parts in boldface…

A gallant Nesthy Petecio fell short as she settled for a silver medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after bowing to hometown bet Sena Irie of Japan in the final round of the women’s featherweight division Tuesday at the Kokugikan Arena.

The 29-year-old pug struggled to connect in the first round as Irie, who is nine years younger than the FIlipina fighter, utilized an effective clinch game to slow Petecio’s offense. The Japanese boxer got the nod of all five judges, 10-9.

But Petecio battled back in the second round as she broke free to landed some strong punches to secure a 4-1 scorecard and brought the bout to a decision in the last round.

In the crucial third round, Irie was able continued to be effective in grabbing and holding Petecio, though the Filipina was able to launch some power shots.

All five judges saw the round in favor of the Japanese fighter, though, as she won 5-0 to clinch the gold medal.

Irie is a very familiar face to Petecio.

She denied the Filipino boxer an outright Olympic berth when they met in the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers last March 2020.

Petecio needed to wait for a few more months before formalizing her Tokyo entry after a decision to give her the slot was made by the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force (IOC-BTF) early this year.

The feat also allowed Petecio to match what the last Filipino Olympic boxing medalist, Onyok Velasco, accomplished in the 1996 Atlanta Games, where he won a silver medal.

Despite the loss, it was still an inspiring campaign for the gritty Petecio.

She has opened up about her battle with mental health issues before bouncing back strong in her recent outings.

In a heartfelt interview on Stand For Truth, Petecio revealed she had to overcome depression after a discouraging loss in the 2018 Asian Games, which had her questioning her place in the sport.

But displaying true fighting spirit, the Davao-born boxer returned and captured gold in both the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

As you can see in the above report, Petecio went through lots of challenges behind the scenes and fortunately for the Philippines, she made it to the Olympics in Japan and defeated all the opponents which led her (and the nation) in the finals of her weight division.

Considering all what she went through, the Olympic silver medal finish is still highly significant for the Philippines and it proves that the nation is indeed improving globally in sports while also making its place in 21st century Olympic history look even better. Adding more good news here is the fact that the Philippine hunt for gold in the Olympics is not yet over.

Unsurprisingly, Petecio will be rewarded deservingly. According to a Manila Bulletin news report, the silver medalist is entitled to a P5 million incentive from the national government in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699 (RA10699) and more from the private sector. Even before her final match took place, the private company Ovialand announced it is committed to granting Petecio one house-and-lot unit located in Caliya, Candelaria. The property is worth P2.5 million.

For those of you based in the Philippines reading this, do your part congratulating and thanking Petecio for winning Olympic honors for the Philippines. Also be sure to thank our Heavenly Father for this blessing for the country.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are based in the Philippines, what is your reaction to Petecio taking home the Olympic silver medal? If you saw the fight on TV, do you think the judges were correct in scoring the boxing match?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Glorify only our Lord, definitively and eternally!

Glory is truly meant only for our Lord. Not people, not carved figures, not images and not man-made creations. We only glorify the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit.

In recent times, South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker glorified God and used her successful achievements at the Tokyo Olympic Games to lead others to Him. The said achievements include establishing new records in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke and also in the 200-meter breaststroke. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the CBN News report. Some parts in boldface…

Tatjana Schoenmaker — an Olympic swimmer from South Africa — has shattered records this week in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, and she’s using her success to point others to God.

The swimmer set a new Olympic record Wednesday in the preliminary round with a time of 2:19.16. Then on Friday, she went on to win the gold in the event, setting a new world record with a time of 2:18.95.

The 24-year-old Olympian broke another record in the preliminary rounds for the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.82. She ended up claiming the silver medal in the Monday event, Sportsnet reported.

In all her competitions in Tokyo, Schoenmaker has worn — under her green South Africa swim cap — another cap proclaiming her faith.

The white Speedo cap the athlete is wearing features a blue Jesus fish under the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria,” which means “Glory to God alone,” printed on the side of it.

Schoenmaker has used her platform to discuss her Christian faith before.

In an Instagram post last week, she posted a prayer as she traveled to Tokyo for the summer Olympic Games.

On the mentioned Instagram post, Schoenmaker wrote: Father God may your will be done, may your peace fill us up, may we praise you no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by your strength to give it our all and may we forever be in the awe of your goodness! Thank you for bringing us to this very moment 🙏🏻

It is essential to be mindful that inhabitants of this deeply divided world struggle with the temptations of honoring and even worshiping their fellow people who achieved greatness or are simply charming. Think about all the people who idolized movie stars, sports champions, fashion models, dancers, politicians and even fictional characters! Idolatry towards individual persons begins when people get overwhelmed by the would-be-idol’s success or charisma, and this leads them to prioritizing those individuals and forget the Lord as a result. Idolatry is unholy, foolish and will separate people from the Lord! Nobody should ever give in to the temptation of idolizing because that is precisely what Satan wants. Learn from the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Passion Translation (TPT) of 1 Corinthians 6:9:-10 below…

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)

Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TPT)

It is also important to remember that God is our Creator and our Source. Blessings in the forms of heavenly income and tremendous human achievements only come from Him. By comparison, idols will never bless their idolaters no matter how much they idolize! As such, it was right and proper for South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker to glorify God because what she achieved was made possible by Him. Only God can make the impossible become possible. In using her success to honor God, Schoenmaker is also doing her part in helping Him save the countless lost and unsaved souls of this world, and help Him build His Kingdom here on Earth.

Of course, I am not saying that fellow people who achieve greatness should be ignored. They can still be congratulated, rewarded and be celebrated to a certain limit. To worship or prioritize the human achiever over our Lord is very wrong. Glorify God, not people. Follow His Word, not those man-made doctrines or pieces of fiction. Be led by faith in the Lord, not religion, not unbelief, and not by this divided world. Learn from the following holy scriptures below…

Now to God, the only source of wisdom, be glorious praises for endless ages through Jesus, the Anointed One! Amen!

Romans 16:27 (TPT)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (NKJV)

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless His name;

Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,

His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;

He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

But the Lord made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

Give to the Lord glory and strength.

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-9 (NKJV)

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (NKJV)

Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace.

1 Peter 4:10 (TPT)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Mark 12:30 (NKJV)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.

For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One!

Colossians 3:23-24 (TPT)

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Are you frustrated with religion? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the atheists, the humanists and the secularists fool and abused you? Were you victimized by a religious zealot? Have you been living as a homosexual or as a transgendered person? Are you still addicted to sex, drugs and other inappropriate elements? Did you spend an entire life worshiping statues, statuettes, images, people and relics? Are you a toxic person or one of those modern-day Leftist activists (Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, the abortionists and others) who got fed up fighting for worthless causes? Did you kill someone and have been living so long with the guilt? All of that darkness can finally end and you can decide to do it! How? You can save yourselves by submitting yourselves to the Lord Jesus willingly and realize He is the Light! No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now and gain salvation, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from a pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Father God,

I thank You. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and redeemed me from all of my sins. He took my sins and, Father, thank You for loving me and You demonstrated Your love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I open my heart to You. I welcome You to enter into my heart. I confess today that You are now my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiveness. I receive forgiveness. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me from all of my sins. I will follow You, Jesus. Thank You for Your plan. I receive the Holy Spirit. And Holy Spirit, help me to follow the will of God in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church that God has chosen for you (note: ask Him for a local church!) and find your place in the spiritual family (God’s family!).  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there. Remember the truth that God rewards the faithful abundantly  and continue to be people of the WordDeclare your love for Him as well!

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it for it is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. We can do our part in building up God’s kingdom here on Earth by preaching His Word, blessing the Jewish people and saving the countless lost and unsaved souls around us by leading them to Lord Jesus. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion. Never let the idolaters, the idol makers and other sinister forces fool you into becoming unholy.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Sega Saturn, PlayStation)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? video game and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

If you have been reading my Macross-related articles over the past few years, you should know already that I deeply love watching Macross: Do You Remember Love?, the classic anime feature film co-directed by Noboru Ishiguro and the legendary Shoji Kawamori.

Like many other entertainment franchises in Japan, Macross also has video games based on its stories and concepts. During the fifth generation of video game consoles, Bandai released in Japan the video game adaptation of the 1984 anime movie on the Sega Saturn in 1997 and the Sony PlayStation in 1999. That game was titled The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? and I played that 2D side-scrolling shoot-them-up game a lot during the time when 3D polygons was already the standard.

Considering its age, it is easy to wonder if the game is still fun to play by today’s standards and if the game is something that Macross fans can enjoy a lot. We can all find out in this look back at The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?

Sega Saturn version in 1997.
Sony PlayStation version in 1999.

Early story

The story begins at sea. A Valkyrie piloted by Hikaru Ichijyo (the late Arihiro Hase) launches from the aircraft carrier Prometheus to join his teammates Max and Kakizaki led by Roy Fokker (Akira Kamiya). Suddenly a powerful beam of energy from above hits the aircraft carrier clearly showing that their world is under attack by the Zentradi.

They proceed to South Attaria Island where they immediately engaged the Zentradi forces that ravaged the city and causing trouble for the SDF-1 (Macross). After defeating several Zentradi elements, the remaining Skull Squadron forces flew to the Macross (which just launched into the air) which executes a space fold just moments before even more laser blasts from the Zentradi destroyed the entire island.

Sometime later deep in space, thousands of civilians managed to adjust to living inside the Macross. As Lynn Minmay’s (Mari Iijima) first concert happens inside the fortress, Hikaru, his teammates and many other fighters engage in a mission against the Zentradi…

Quality

Just like in the movie!

To comment on the quality of this old video game, I’ll focus on gameplay and presentation.

As far as gameplay goes, Macross: DYRL is essentially a 2D side-scrolling shooter literally designed to be grand not only for Macross fans but also for gamers who enjoy its design and its type of gameplay. You play as the hero Hikaru who pilots an advanced fighter plane that can also transform into an armed fighter with legs (GERWALK mode) and also into a full-sized, human-like robot (Battroid). In fighter mode, you move fast and are able to fire rockets or use your default gun. In GERWALK mode, your speed is slower but you have improved mobility that can be crucial for combat. In Battroid mode, your speed is reduced further but you are somewhat stronger and more precise when it comes to shooting enemies.

Still on gameplay, the game developers really pushed the envelope in terms if immersion as there are lots of moments in which the enemies will not only face you on your 2D plane but also move around you from the foreground to the background. Without having to do anything further, your character will be able to auto-aim and shoot at your enemy whether in the background or the foreground. Essentially, this makes the game a 2.5D shooter.

This is a fine example of you (in your 2D plane) firing at your enemy in the background.
In key parts of some levels in the game, the UN Spacy will send a shuttle to release supplies to help you replenish your shield meter.

The controls are relatively easy to learn and get adjusted to. More importantly, the controls are very responsive and they are ideal when it comes to precision on moving your character around as well as trying to shoot at specific targets.

This game was designed with several levels for you to complete essentially moving from left to right. As evidence of the game developers taking liberties during its adaptation of elements from the 1984 animated movie, several levels have boss fights for you to participate in and win in order to progress. These boss-type enemies are noticeably absent from the movie and yet they were designed to integrate into the film’s concept and also expand the concept about how elaborate the Zentradi are when it comes to their war machines against Earth. The boss-type enemies (note: they are clearly polygonal and yet they fit in well with the 2D sprite elements) are huge machines designed for space battles and there were boss fights in which some of them move into the background (which sparks moments for your character to fighter towards the background). When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), the boss-type enemies are not really that sophisticated with their movements although a few of them have attack patterns that will push you to be more evasive and more strategic.

Before starting a level, you can select your weapons that can function depending on your personal preference on taking on the enemies.
Lots of great visual effects and 3D movement add to the challenge.

With regards to challenge, some parts of this game took me a few repeats before finally improving myself enough to make it to the next levels. The visual elements of the game also added to the overall challenge as seeing 2D sprites move around you 3-dimensionally.

Speaking of 2D sprites, it is clear that this game was designed to be heavy with 2D visual elements while 3D polygons are used sparingly (note: the boss battles mentioned above). As this is a side-scrolling game, the game makers clearly made lots of sprites of machines, space ships, Zentradi battle pods and other figures that Macross fans would easily recognize. The good news is that each 2D sprite was made with multiple frames of animation (complete with frames meant for 3D movement) and were made to really resemble the cinematic artworks which ultimately results making them really look lively to watch on-screen!

As for the presentation, I can see that the game developers Scarab paid great attention to the details of the animated movie to make The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? fun and engaging for gamers in general while also becoming strongly relevant and delightful with the people who love Macross. For example, the game starts with a cinematic prologue composed of brand-new animation cels mixed with elements of 3D polygons and in my view, it fits in nicely leading to the actual cinematic opening of the movie from 1984. The cinematic prologue was meant to expand the film’s overall concept and other story expansions happened in subsequent parts of the game (such as the all-new mission told in two levels).

Observe the Zentradi surrounding Roy Fokker on his 2D plane, the foreground and background. This is a 2D sprite-heavy showcase!
The game developers paid close attention to the details of the movie and presented the visuals using video game graphics, 2D sprites and really nice in-game background artworks!
Surprise! You as Hikaru get to fight Milia temporarily before her memorable fight with Max happens!

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? came with selected animated sequences and still images from the 1984 movie’s very own footage meant for in-game storytelling (note: you still have to watch the movie for the best immersion). As there were some original scenes made for the game with expanding the film’s concept in mind, there are a few computer-generated animation sequences and even brand-new animated cels (note: very clearly they were drawn by people different from the ones who drew the film’s footage) showing some character moments.

When it comes to the audio, this game is clearly a labor of love with Macross fans in mind. Much of the music, songs and sound effects from the movie (as well as from the 1982-1983 anime TV series) were integrated into the game which made it very immersive for Macross fans. As for the voice actors, fans will hear the voices of their favorite Macross characters performed by the late Hase, Iijima, Kamiya, Mika Doi (Misa Hayase), Michio Hazama (Captain Global) and more. While some of their recorded lines from the movie were reused (especially Hase who died in 1996), others recorded new lines for their respective characters for the new cinematic footage as well as key parts in the game.

The art of Lynn Minmay for the new anime footage was clearly not drawn by the people behind the 1984 anime movie.

What I love best about the presentation is that the game developers replicated selected scenes from the 1984 movie using in-game graphics and art along with music, sound effects and the lines of dialogue! As a Macross fan myself, the immersion was pretty deep as I played the game and witnessed those special moments from the movie played within the in-game presentation.

Conclusion

Enjoy looking at this.

I can declare out loud that The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? is indeed the best Macross video game I have ever played as well as the best adaptation (note: other than film) of the classic movie from 1984. This game, which excellently used 2D sprites and 3D polygons all throughout, was very clearly made to delight Macross fans while giving gamers something very enjoyable and memorable to experience. For the best immersion, it is highly recommended to watch the movie before playing this video game. Truly this video game has aged well!

Overall, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Sega Saturn, PlayStation) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Suikoden II (1999)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing Suikoden II (English version, released in 1999) and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Even though I have not played that many Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) on consoles over the past several years, I am really excited about the upcoming RPGs that will be released on Xbox Series X and the future JRPGs I am looking forward to are Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising developed by Rabbit & Bear Studios (led by Yoshitaka Murayama).

Who is Yoshitaka Murayama? He created the memorable Suikoden (AKA Genso Suikoden) RPG franchise during his time with Konami, specifically the first three games. I myself played and finished Suikoden on the original PlayStation in 1996 and it was a lot of fun thanks to the combined efforts of Murayama (who did the scenarios and game direction) and his teammates such as Junko Kawano (who did the design), Miki Higashino (who did the music along with four other teammates) and some others.

Then in 1999, the sequel to Suikoden was released and I can never forget the day I bought it at a local game store and rushed home with a lot of excitement to start playing it on our then aging PlayStation console.

So you must be wondering…how did I find the sequel? Was it an improvement over its predecessor? Did Murayama and the key creators do better than what they did in the first game? You can all find out in this look back at Suikoden II, published by Konami for the PlayStation (PS1).

The cover of the North American version of Suikoden II.

Early story

The story begins with two youngsters – Riou (your character whose name can be modified) and Jowy – who are close friends since childhood now serving the Highland Army as members of their youth brigade. They spend time in a military camp in the forest as a peace treaty between two great forces is pending (note: Highland has been in conflict with the City-State of Jowston).

As some soldiers expressed desires to go home once the peace has been finalized, Riou and Jowy are ordered by their commanding officer Rowd to go back to their tent and sleep. However, a surprise attack happened which alerted them. As soon as the two close friends left their tent, they are shocked to see parts of the camp burning. Their officer Rowd informed them that their enemy is responsible for the attack and deliberately broke the peace agreement. Riou and Jowy are told to take the mountain path to the east and save themselves before it is too late.

Fearing that they might get ambushed in the woods, Jowy tells Riou that they should return to camp. Upon returning, they quietly witness the unexpected presence of Highland prince Luca Blight who gets briefed by Rowd. As it turns out, the attack on their camp was not committed by the opposing forces but rather it was all a self-inflicted operation by Highland. Rowd’s instruction to some of their selected soldiers to head east was a set-up. What happened was all part of a plan by Highland to escalate the conflict by blaming their losses on Jowston. Luca Blight expressed clearly that a peace treaty with Jowston and its states was not needed, and he strongly believes in the power of Highland to conquer them all.

Jowy and Riou (upper-right corner) quietly witness the conversation between prince Luca Bright and the captain.

After learning the shocking details, Riou and Jowy decide to leave for the cliff to the north as a way of escape. At the cliff, Rowd catches up to the two. Fortunately, Riou and Jowy were successful in defeating Rowd’s soldiers and pave the way for their escape. Before fleeing, they marked a rock and promised to return to that same place if ever they get separated.

Riou and Jowy jumped off the cliff and get separated. Some time later, Riou wakes up and finds himself in the presence of three men. One of them identifies himself as Viktor, the leader of an army of mercenaries and an ally of Jowston. Another member of the mercenary army in blue arrives and he is Flik.

Being powerless, Riou marches with them to the headquarters of the mercenary army…

Quality

Luca Blight (with sword) is a lot more than just being evil as the game’s main antagonist.

Having played Suikoden a lot in 1996, I got familiar with the game design, the varied battle systems and other features that made it a solid RPG on its own. As for Suikoden II, I can clearly say that Murayama and his creative team built up on their foundation (in the first game), expanded the fantasy concept dramatically and ultimately made an extensive series of improvements and additions over each and every aspect of the sequel!

I’ll start first with the storytelling and writing. Compared to its predecessor, I found Suikoden II to be deeper and it took great advantage of the fact that the plot took place just years after first game and by this time the established world, the cities, tribes and geopolitical concept have been developed so much – backed with solid writing – they all become a lot more believable. In the middle of the great conflict are the three main characters Riou, Jowy and Nanami whose exploits and portrayals are pretty rich and lively to follow. It’s kinda like following the love triangle of Hikaru, Misa and Minmay through the war in the classic Super Dimension Fortress Macross anime TV series, except that you – the player – get heavily involved as Rious by making decisions that affect yourself and others, leading missions, building up a community (and force) of over 100 members, and overcoming challenges related to the conflict between Highland and Jowston.

The great news here is that the Riou-Jowy-Nanami emotional arc was written to be dramatic, engaging, intriguing and sentimental which ultimately will make you feel for them just as you make your way through the many events and twists of the war story. Beyond these three key characters, it should be noted that the scenarios are excellently executed and really showed how lively the fantasy world of Suikoden II really is. I’m talking about the portrayal of the many, many supporting characters and the interactions you have with them as the plot moves forward. Remember how lively your troops were in welcoming you back after winning your first army battle? Such a scenario was well directed and scripted, and the supporting characters you recruited really had their moments of participation which make sense within the narrative. I also should mention that the opposition figure of the game – Luca Blight – is still a powerful and complex villain in JRPGs even by today’s standards. Luca Blight is not evil for the sake of being evil, but if you pay close attention to the details about his background as the game’s story goes on, you will realize he is quite a complex character whose evil made sense within the narrative. Very clearly, the writing and storytelling done by Yoshitaka Muraya is not only greater than in the first game, but also very inspired.

Viktor, who also appeared in the first game, continues to be an important supporting character in this sequel! He is one of several characters from Suikoden who returned.

On the gameplay and design, Suikoden II’s exploration of the world, towns and locations uses good old 2D graphics. The big difference here is that the 2D visual elements are more varied in terms of detailed sprites for non-playable characters (NPCs) and interactive characters, and visually the sprites as well as the art used for the in-game environments looked more polished (clearer, smoother and less pixelated). The controls are responsive enough for my taste, and it is also nice that my character moves faster while exploring. More on exploring, I do confirm that there are indeed more locations to visit (including those that are part of the quests related to finding the 100+ characters) and the art made for the locations are more varied as well.

More on the gameplay, two types of battle systems from the first game are back but with refinements. First to talk about is the party battle system in which players get to control a group of up to six members who face off with enemies by group, or a single powerful boss-type enemy. During the party battle, you get to pick options as to what type of action each member of your party will do – Attack, Magic (note: this involve Runes), Item or Flee (note: if your party is much stronger than the opposition, Bribe or Let Go options will appear).

The party battle system is a lot of fun and not too stressful.

The way the battles are designed, as in the first game, is smooth, very visually appealing (thanks to the dynamic camera and fine level of detail of the sprites and animation) and fun to watch. Adding further depth to the party battles are the combined attacks involving at least two characters. Take for example Flik and Viktor doing the cross-attack, or Riou and Nanami performing a series of combo attack moves in strong coordination with each other. These combined attacks are not only fun to perform and see, but also encourages you to experiment by mixing up characters (specifically combatants) and paying attention as to which characters they can do combined attacks with. This alone will encourage you to complete the 108 characters of your force.

The use of Runes has been improved a lot in this game as the combatants now have three slots to equip Runes (note: these slots gradually open up as characters’ levels go up). Runes are essential to use magic spells in battles and the improvement of the Runes – plus the Run Affinity system – add more variety in the battles.

The 2D sprites are very visually appealing, especially when you watch the characters perform varied forms of action during the party battle.

Compared to other Japanese RPGs, the party battles here are much less stressful even though a random encounter system is used. There is also the option for automated attacks, which spares you from having to choose options for each member of your party to perform when fighting the enemies. Granted, I went through lots of random encounter battles and some challenges, but ultimately the stress level and tedium were very low. Doing party battles is fun overall.

The 2nd battle system inherited from the first game is the duel. Duels happen the least throughout the game but each time they happen, they can be quite engaging to do. As the one-on-one battle between your character and an opponent begins, you will see them in a 3D realm with the dynamic camera capturing the action. Your options are mainly Attack, Wild Attack and Defend, and before you can pick an option, you must pay attention first to the clues (note: taunts) from your opponent which can help you anticipate his/her/its next move. While the visuals are clearly improved, the duel is pretty much the same as in the first game.

Duels happen in a 3D environment with the characters still presented as 2D sprites that are not only highly detailed but also are smoothly animated.
Like in the party battles, duel sequences also have a dynamic camera system complete with zoom during the action.

The 3rd battle system – army battles – is clearly the most revised part of the game as it is radically different from the army battles of the previous game. This time the army battles involves the heavy use of a tactical map (where you move units in a grid-like system). Your units – composed of mainly characters you recruited, including the non-combatants – can be moved on the map to counter an enemy unit. Then a short, animated battle sequence will commence and based on the statistics of each unit, the winner and loser of the sequence will be determined. Take note that in events of defeat, recruits can die permanently. As such, it is important to pay attention to not only the statistics but also the types of troops you have such as archers, healers, knights, and foot troops. When controlling units on the map, your options are Attack, Wait and Rune. It is also very entertaining to see how the characters react (with dialogue, no less) to the battles. Overall, the army battle system here is clearly much deeper and more strategic than what was used in the first Suikoden.

The army battles in this game are more tactical than what was presented in the first Suikoden. This is also the main map used for such battles.

Battles aside, there are also lots of things to do related to exploration. For one thing, there are these fun-filled mini-games the game creators set up such as fishing (note: not as boring as it may sound), the whack-a-mole game, rope climbing, Chinchirorin (dice game in a bowl) and, the most exciting and deepest of them all, the cooking contest game. When you fully invest your time into each of these mini-games, you will not feel relieved from the stress of battles and exploration, but also have a lot of fun free of stress. I enjoyed these a lot myself.

If you enjoyed building up your fortress in the first game, you will experience that here also! Building up your stronghold is related to your recruiting of people and some of them have certain talents that will establish key parts of your place like a store, a Rune shop, aa tavern, a restaurant, an armor shop and even a detective agency to name some! It may take an effort to have all possible establishments get realized in the game but I promise you, they are all worth it and you will feel thankful that you got to recruit lots of people. The other reward of building up your fortress is the establishment of a thriving community of people!

Your party members can take a bath and even use the collected artifacts as decorations. This is one of the many side activities you can do at your stronghold.
The cooking contest mini-game is easily the best in the game! This alone will encourage you to keep searching for recipes during your adventures!

With regards to continuity with the first Suikoden game, the game developers implemented certain content (locations, dialogue, story and characters) that get unlocked by having your preserved Suikoden saved game content successfully loaded with Suikoden II running on PS1. I’m talking about being able to meet and even recruit Suikoden hero Tir McDohl, plus meeting even more characters from the first game. Very clearly, this is a clever presentation of fan service done by Murayama and his creative team who paid attention to the feedback of the first Suikoden.

The music done by Miki Higashino and Keiko Fukami are very varied and many of them reflect the places you get to visit, the emotional scenes you witness and the epic moments that happen. The great news here is that each and every tune in the game was made and performed with special care. This game’s soundtrack really stands out high among Japanese RPGs of the 1990s and even by today’s standards, it still is a great soundtrack to listen to.

If there are any flaws in this great game, it is the English translation itself as there were typographical errors, mistranslations and even NPCs with lines of dialogue that made absolutely no sense. Clearly there was a rushed job with the translation.

Conclusion

The political aspect of the game’s story is simple and never overwhelming.

I really love Suikoden II and very clearly, it is a major improvement over its predecessor (which itself was a solidly good RPG). Suikoden II is a labor of love done by Murayama and his creative team and the result is a true epic RPG that has so much enjoyable stuff and high replay value for gamers. Its quality is still great and by today’s standards, Suikoden II is indeed a classic RPG that gamers should play even though Konami itself does not care to make it more accessible in this modern age of gaming.

Given the legacy of Suikoden II and the fact that Konami showed no signs of reviving the Suikoden RPG franchise, now is the time to look forward to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes which Murayama and his team are developing for release in 2023 for Xbox consoles, Xbox Game Pass and other platforms. Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes clearly has strong Suikoden vibes and the distinct combination of 2D sprites with 3D polygonal environments, plus its party battle system strong resembles that of Suikoden and Suikoden II!

Overall, Suikoden II is highly recommended!

Now if only Konami would change its ways to make Suikoden II more accessible (go way beyond the PlayStation online store and ecosystem) to gamers by releasing it digitally through Xbox LIVE, Steam, Xbox Game Pass and other online stores or ecosystems. Paying hundreds of dollars for a legitimate hard copy of the game is simply too much.

There is nothing like building up your stronghold and seeing your recruits become part of its development as well as your campaigns.

+++++

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