Friday, July 27, 2012

Game Review: Liberation Army

Liberation Army is the Gundam game for gamers on a budget. While, it's a bit dated, I don't think this game gets the attention that it deserves compared to other freeware titles like Warning Forever. It's a real-time-strategy/shooting game hybrid that plays like a 2D Dynasty Warriors clone. This game also reminds me of an old dos shareware game called Gladiator. You control a single unit while leading an entire army of humanoid mechs that look distinctly like mobile suits and engage an opposing army on a 2D battle map.
The gameplay is divided into the preparation and combat phase. During the preparation phase, you are shown the map of the next battle showing your formation as opposed to the enemies. You can buy upgrades for your allies, technology, new units, ships and choose the mobile suit pilot who will participate in battle. You can also customize your pilot's mobile suit by changing/adding/upgrading his/her equipment. In the combat phase, you control your own unit while having the ability to issue commands to your allies. Going rambo straight into a swarm of enemy fighters is the fastest way to get killed, thus, if you're thinking of showing off your Seed Mode or Newtype shooting skills, the game punishes you severely. Zooming straight into enemy territory makes it easier for enemy fighters to land critical hits by shooting you from behind. While your own unit is considerably tougher than normal units (with stronger upgrades), and is equipped with one sub weapon of your choice(even includes the beam saber... though it's kinda hard to use without taking damage), it does not have the ability to take down the entire opposing army all by itself. If you find yourself in a corner of the screen surrounded by enemy units with no allies in range, you'd best retreat to save your pilot from suffering too heavy damage to fight in the next battle.
Your territory grows in percentage as indicated in the preparation phase every time you win a battle by either making the enemy retreat or destroying all enemy units onscreen. The focus of the game is on slowly gaining ground and destroying enemy ships that deploy more enemy units while keeping your own ships protected. As your territory increases, the difficulty level also increases, with elite enemy mobile suits equal to your own joining the battle, each equipped with their own special subweapons. Luckily, you also earn powerful allies called escorts with their own special weaponry depending on the number of battles you've participated in. That aside, the AI for your escorts is not very good at dodging enemy bullets nor as powerful as the special enemy units, so you'd best not rely on them too much.

The battles seem to go on forever as I've yet to reach anything that indicates that there's an ending to this game. This gives Liberation Army a high replay value but unfortunately, after the novelty has worn off, it can get a bit repetitive.
The graphics are nothing special but work well enough for this type of game. Up to 600 units can fight onscreen at once, which effectively gives you the feeling of being inside a great gundam or macross type war. There's also a variety of midi tracks included in the game and you can manually replace them with your favorite mech-anime theme if you want. Surprisingly, the character art is a bit subpar for a japanese anime-type game as I've noticed that some of the facial proportions on the character portraits are a bit off. Luckily, it's not too noticeable and is not something that will distract you from having fun with this game.

Unfortunately, the developer's page isn't online anymore. I uploaded the pre-patched version of this game to mediafire.

Sigh... just google the game if you want to download it. It's not that hard to find. I'm tired of having mediafire take down the link every time I try to upload it. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure this version of the game is free.

The game has been completely translated into English by Aeon Genesis

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Game Review: Magical Boutique

This is a repost of an old review from my previous blog which now redirects to this page.

Magical Boutique looks and feels like a mini-game spin-off of the Mana series. (Legend of Mana, Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Sword of Mana, Dawn of Mana etc.) The colorful interface, Framboise' character design, the layout of the in-game interface, and the colorful backgrounds just remind me so much of Legend of Mana, especially.

Is this a good thing? Definitely! It doesn't feel like the creator just blatantly ripped off Square/Squenix just to somehow ride-on to their success - it just feels very close to that cozy, children's story-like atmosphere of the mana titles.

Of course, there are a few complaints I have. While the character art for Framboise is not very professional-looking, she's passable enough and I'd say it could have benefited quite a bit from dark outlines outside her body making her look more cartoony (Think simple cartoon network titles like Powerpuff and Dexter). Another thing is the text used in the main window. It just doesn't suit the game over-all. It looks too plain and well...default when compared to the pretty fonts used for the item descriptions and pretty much the rest of the game. I'd also liked to have seen a smaller text box rather than the fullscreen one the game is using. It just doesn't feel aesthetically correct to me... or they could have made the window look something like a piece of parchment paper while retaining the transparency.

VN purists (of the eltist variety) will cringe at the artwork used for this game. Actually, it's not that bad. It works well enough for this type of game and really, it's not that distracting to the eyes that you have to overreact to it.

A few looping tracks that sound magical enough. They do get repetitive after you've made your hundredth or so potion, but the music does its job well enough.

This is the meat and potatoes of the game. Honestly, I don't really like game VNs, but that's just me. Magbou is best described as a potion shop management sim rather than a visual novel. Your main task is to create potions for customers while being assisted by Framboise (shown in the video trailer) who can also make potions or go on quests to find more items for ingredients. You can also visit local merchants during special days to buy furniture that upgrades your shop's capacity or adds some special features.

The days advance automatically and you'll get an option to assign tasks to your current staff for the day or view your status screen and see what items/ingredients you've got in your inventory and what potions you can currently brew. Attempting to brew a potion that you don't have the ingredients to will end up with you wasting a turn. (naturally)

Your characters gain experience with each potion they brew unlocking higher level potions that you can sell to your clients. I should note that there is really no way to manually sell the potions you create to your clients and it seems to be controlled automatically by the game.

Bits and pieces of the story get unlocked automatically as the game progresses. I'm not quite sure, but I think some special events can only be viewed by completing certain tasks for story-based customers.

Just like any other management sim, Magbou suffers from repetitive gameplay, though it does offer some rewards for players diligent enough to attempt to unlock everything in this game (I'm not :P). Over-all, it's a solid title and a nice little time-waster for slow days. It's a game that you can just pick-up, play and leave at any time without feeling any vague moral obligation to keep on playing till kingdom come. It has a nice cozy ambience that just seems welcoming for all types of players.

So, to conclude, should I give you a numerical assessment of this game? Tsk. Why bother? Just try it out. I forgot to mention the best part. It's free!

Download Page

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Crimson Ranger Episode 1: Enter The Crimson Ranger

Pete Robinson was pretty much your average Joe. He had a thin build, average height and he was neither particularly attractive nor unattractive. Pete was quite simply just another face in the crowd – particularly that skinny, nerdy looking kid hanging out in front of Wal Mart. At 25, Pete led a rather lackadaisical lifestyle – pretty much just getting by with his day job working a 6-hour shift five days a week as an employee at Games R' Go, which was a single-branch game shop whose name is a cheap rip-off of a nationwide chain of video game retail stores. That aside, Pete was quite content living off of his monthly wages as long as he could pay the rent on time for his modest but comfortable rent-to-own condo unit and have enough money left over to keep himself from starving as well as import questionable anime/manga paraphernalia from Japan including dakimakura, sexy anime figurines and the latest doujin games from Comiket among others.
"Take care now, Dah-ling." Said Ms. Primela Rosenkreuz, Games R' Go's fabulous secretary.

Primela was a very attractive woman in her early twenties who had glisteningly gorgeous wavy brunette hair and a very natural-sounding trans-atlantic accent. One could easily mistake her for a commercial model or an actress. In fact, it's a mystery to some people why she chooses to stay with such a commonplace day job as being a secretary at a no-name video game store.

"Thanks, Primela. I'll see you tomorrow."

It was 5:00 PM and Pete was just on his way home from his job working at Games R' Go. The place was actually just a short walk away from where he lived so he decided to stop by the local hobby shop as usual on his way home.

"Heya Pete! Buying anything today?"

Sheryl Harrison, the hobby shop's manager greeted Pete nonchalantly. Of course, she was being sarcastic with the extra poke at the end of the salutation. After all, Sheryl was pretty familiar with Pete having known him as one of the shop's regular customers ever since he moved in about five years ago.

Sheryl was a very plain looking girl and was just about Pete's age. Her brown hair was frizzy and sort of looked like overcooked spaghetti. She also wore very heavy-looking dark-rimmed glasses that made her look quite nerdy.

"Hiya, Sheryl. Nah, I'm just browsing around today."

"Typical. Please put everything back where you found them, though. I need 
to do a triple-check on the inventory today."

"Any particular reason for that?"

"I'm thorough."

"Fair enough."

Of course, Pete knew that Sheryl's organization skills were top-class. She 
could even tell if a single keychain was missing from a messy stack of 200 similar, nondescript looking keychains – which Pete found out first-hand when he once tried to take an Ilyasviel Von Einsbern keychain when he was flat broke with the intent of coming back and paying for it next payday. Pete will never forget the embarrassment he felt on that day when Sheryl suddenly cried out.

"KIDNAPPER! Hand Ilya over right now, you loli-loving otaku!"

For such a petite-looking girl, Sheryl could give even an ex-war veteran a scare with the sheer volume of her voice if she put her mind to it. Not that there were any ex-war veterans in the vicinity during that incident.
Fortunately, she did give Pete, who had been frozen on the spot in a mix of shock and humiliation, a chance to explain. Eventually, she actually agreed to let him take home the F/SN keychain provided he didn't try anything like that again in the future. Ever since then, Pete always made sure to be very transparent with Sheryl in his transactions with the hobby shop. That aside, the two still maintained good relations afterwards since none of them were the type to carry on a grudge over such a trivial matter.

"By the way, chapter 6 of 'The Great Adventure of Black Trojan' just arrived 
yesterday. Interested?"

"Nah, I'm just browsing around today, really."

"Okay. I could put it on your tab as usual if you really want to."

"You've been reading that series yourself, haven't you?"

"Sure! And I want someone to read it with me and I'm actually just trying to give you some subtle hints so that you'll pick up on the series too and then perhaps we could have a discussion on the merits and demerits of the comic as a literary piece."

"Err… you kind failed at subtlety right there, Sheryl."

"I did?" Sheryl blinked her eyes twice.

She seemed genuinely surprised. Then, she took out a large, yellow book with the title "Subtlety for Dummies" printed in bold black letters at the front and startled mumbling to herself as she read.

When Sheryl started zoning out like this, it was almost as if she was possessed. Pete checked the time on his mp3 player/wristwatch. 5:36 PM, just enough time to leisurely walk home and still make it for the latest episode of Tomodachi Wa Mahou, an anime series that he'd picked up on recently thanks to a scathing review from a magazine critic Pete started watching the show and it turned out to be quite the opposite of what the review made it out to be.

Pete tiptoed out of the hobby shop making sure not to disturb Sheryl. He didn't bother saying goodbye to her since she probably wouldn't awaken from her trance for the next 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, in the city's outskirts, a great battle of unimaginably epic proportions was taking place.

"Give it up, minions of Wrath. For I am the red haze, the paragon of justice, the all-around busybody who destroys evil! The Crimson Ranger!"

The warrior, who was clad in red spandex while wearing what looked like a rose-tinted motorcycle helmet with a matching oversized crimson scarf, took an unorthodox fighting stance with one hand over his head and curled in a fist and the other hand in an open palm position and stretched out to the full length of his arm in front of his body as if he was making a stop sign. His feet were positioned far apart from each other and his legs were crouched like that of a professional tennis player reaching for a passing shot after playing the net on a weak serve in the quarter finals match of a grand slam tournament.

"Hah! Did you really think that we'd come here and fight against a man like you unprepared, Crimson Ranger? We're not your average one-hit kill henchmen, you know… we have INSURANCE!"

The henchmen, who numbered five in total and who were all wearing gray over-alls with matching "Scream" party masks on their faces, showed the Crimson Ranger what they meant by insurance.

"You fiends! How dare you take a child hostage?"

"Please help me! Oh paragon of justice and all-around busybody, Crimson Ranger!" Cried the little girl who was apparently struggling in vain at the clutches of the minions of Wrath… or at least it looked that way from the Crimson Ranger's perspective given the poor visibility he got from underneath his motorcycle helmet.

The hero of justice slapped his palm in front of his helmet in a move that is 
known as "the facepalm."

"You know… you could just drop the 'all-around busybody' part, kid. 
 Nevertheless! Prepare yourselves for my ultimate move…"
The Crimson Ranger dashed at the evil henchmen at a speed that was approximately just 20% slower than the speed of light.

"Crimson PWNAGE Speed Blitz!"

"What the eff!" Cried out one of the henchmen.

"How do you even pronounce the PWNAGE part!" Said another henchman.

"Gi! Gi! Gi! … what? Somebody had to say it." Added another henchman.
Meanwhile, as the Crimson Ranger rained down his trademark PWNAGE move upon the hapless henchmen while totally unmindful of the dangers of traveling at near light speeds with an innocent hostage in the vicinity, Pete, who was quite blissfully unaware of the epic battle that was taking place in order to save the world at that very moment, was happily strolling home while humming along to some Hatsune Miku tunes, which he was listening to via his mp3 player/wristwatch.

Suddenly, from out of the sky, a red comet plummeted down to Earth and crash-landed near the roadside right in front of Pete.

Pete was startled at first, but his curiosity was aroused when he saw something moving within the pile of smoke and rubble caused by the comet's impact. He poked around inside the rubble and to his horror, he saw a human hand reaching up from underneath the debris.

"Aggh! It's the alien zombie apocalypse! Run for your lives!"

But just before Pete could bolt to safety, the hand reached out and grabbed his left foot causing him to stumble and fall face first on the hard pavement.
A burnt, black figure emerged from the rubble and started coughing weakly.

"Ugh… they got me good. The old bomb in a decoy doll hostage trick… I should've known when I saw those ball joints… don't think I can make it."
At this point, Pete was almost ready to pee his pants in terror, so he just remained still and tried to play dead.

"Look, kid. Stop playing dead. I'm not a zombie." Said the burnt figure while still sprawled on the ground.

"Well, that's a relief. I guess I'll put this away then."
Apparently, Pete had managed to grab a broken piece of a lamppost which he intended to use as a melee weapon on the zombie, who wasn't really a zombie after all.

"What's your name, brave warrior?"

"Pete, but I don't believe I qualify as a brave warrior by anyone's standards."

"Thank you, Pete. Now take this badge of mine and listen up."

"Uh… are you even listening to me?"
The burnt figure handed Pete what looked a red sherrif's badge made out of plastic with three oversized protrusions that stuck out on its sides.

"Listen, Kid. That's not just some cheap Tokusatsu knock-off badge, I'll have you know. That thing you're holding happens to be the Red One Changer. It's a powerful ancient device created with Alien Technology that allows you to transform into the super-powered paragon of justice and all-around busybody, Crimson Ranger! Uh… you can skip the all-around busybody part, actually. Now look, I'm the original Crimson Ranger but as you can see, I'm too weak to be fighting evil right now."

"I'll say."

"Now that you have the badge, it's up to you to save the world from the minions of Wrath. An interstellar army bent on malevolence, destruction and mayhem who are currently targeting Earth. But… I cannot force this responsibility upon you…"

"Asperger's much? Didn't you hear me when I said I wasn't this 'brave warrior' that you're trying to pawn this piece of plastic off to?"

"… my time is short… just remember that if you don't use that badge and transform into the Crimson Ranger to fight the minions of Wrath, you will have to live out the rest of your existence knowing that you just sentenced billions of people to a 1984-like doublethink existence at the hands of an alien dictatorship that you could have destroyed using the pwnage powers of the Crimson Ranger. What is more… they are all animal-haters, LGBT discriminators and racists."


At that moment, Pete realized that the weight of the world rested squarely on his shoulders. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.
Also at that moment, the former Crimson Ranger's eyes, or what was left of them, narrowed down into slits and he smiled a most wicked smile… this move would later be known as the "epic troll face."

"I'll take your three seconds of silence as consent. The rest is up to you… Crimson Ranger!"

And with that, the former Crimson Ranger whose name was never revealed and never will be breathed his last.

"Good! I thought he would never kick the bucket – in a manner of speaking. I'll be taking that badge now, dah-link." Said a mysterious female voice in a snooty accent.

Pete turned around to see that it had come from an attractive-looking woman wearing a purple wig in a hime cut and clad in a tight, one piece white Speedo wetsuit cut hastily with zigzag design scissors at the midsection with a small purple cape and matching purple and white boots.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, police sirens rang out and in a blur, six police cars had surrounded the mysterious woman in wonky cosplay attire.

"Oh my stars, gentlemen! Whatever could you want from little old me?"

"Don't move a muscle miss," said one of the policemen, "you're under arrest for… indecent exposure!"

The policemen moved in to capture the mysterious cosplayer, but she whipped out a double-edged broadsword from out of nowhere, since as you can imagine, there's nowhere to hid such a huge sword inside a tight-fitting wetsuit, and disappeared in the blink of an eye… only to reappear moments later just a few meters in front of the stunned policemen – who fell over simultaneously in the next instant.

"Don't worry, Dah-links. I used the back of my sword."

"T'would've been nice if you were using a single-edged sword… blarrgh." Muttered one of the policemen before losing consciousness and coughing up blood in a very disgusting manner.

"Eww…Ahaha! Well, at any rate. I don't think I hit anything vital… you'll survive!"

The woman then turned to Pete who did not know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculous and somewhat awesome spectacle that was happening right in front him at that very moment.

"Now then, Dah-link. Where were we before we were ever so rudely interrupted? Ah yes, the badge please. I do so hate to keep my clients waiting."

"And if I refuse."

"Why, Dah-link. Then you'll have to face the wrath of Vanity – Miss Vanity!"

At that moment, Pete Robinson's life flashed before his eyes and it was utterly boring. He knew that his death was at hand and he would only be prolonging the inevitable, but something stronger than fear and even stronger than determination welled up within Pete's skinny frame.
Pete Robinson had made his decision.

"Transform! Paragon of Justice… Crimson Ranger!"

To be continued… See you in the next episode!

Next Episode Preview: Pete finds out that cup ramen is cancerous… from the internet! Will Sheryl finally convince Pete to read "The Adventures of Black Trojan?" Does Primela have eyelash extensions? All this and more in the next exciting episode of Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger

Note: The original version of this fic was posted in my fictionpress account here

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Game Review: Mystic Arts

Mystic Arts is a blend of 2D fighting and platformer by COMPILE. You control a female character who can punch, kick, execute combos and even has a short-range chi blast. The stages are on a fixed screen with multiple levels that you can jump onto, which is where the platformer part comes in. Each stage is littered with enemies which you have to finish off in order to proceed.
The enemies also behave differently depending on their appearance. Some of them use a sword, knife, projectiles etc. while others will just bite or lunge at you. In the later stages, some enemies even use magic against you. Some of the more agressive enemies are just palette swapped versions of their weaker versions. That aside, there's a good assortment of enemy sprites to fight. There are bosses every few stages, which means that the background for the next stage will change once you defeat them.

The controls are slightly unorthodox. There's a jump button, and two attack buttons which perform the same function. Pressing fighting game staples like qcf+attack makes her pull off some fighting game moves, while pressing down makes her block. She also has a fighting game style lifebar that depletes every time you take damage. Underneath the lifebar is the special bar which builds up by hitting enemies and depletes every time you use that one chi blast move. There's also a combo counter that counts the number of consecutive hits you've made and a time limit for each stage.

The graphics are ok and very colorful for a 2D game made in 1998, and the sprites move smoothly throughout the stages. The collision detection is excellent, and it's good to see that you don't take damage when you bump into an enemy. I've always found that feature of platformers kinda stupid, especially when the character can use melee attacks; why would they take damage just from bumping into an enemy? There's not much in the way of special effects, except for the screen shakes when you deal or receive some heavy damage.

The downside is that there's only one character to control and this game is kinda short even with the challenge of being given only 6 continues. There are a total of 16 short stages, so it shouldn't take the average gamer more than one afternoon to complete. It also has a stage-select option.

Over-all, Mystic Arts is fun little time-waster that combines 2D fighting with platforming action. It would be nice to see a combination rpg-platformer like the Castlevania games for the Playstation and GBA utilize the Mystic Arts fighting system.

I'm not sure if this game is a commercial title or freeware, but I'll assume in good faith that it's been abandoned by its creators since it was released way back in 1998 and I really can't find any other info for it online except on my blog. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong and I'll take down the link right away. You'll most likely experience screen corruption if you try to run the game directly on Windows 7 and higher, so read the instructions on how to run it after the download links.

Download Mystic Arts 2.7 MB

Link removed (apparently, some french person owns the rights to the game now?) I don't believe it one bit, so leave me a message here or email me at lordcloudx_at_gmail_dot_com if you want a copy of the game.)

How to run it
  1. Download D3DWindower here.
  2. Unzip both Mystic Arts and D3DWindower into separate folders
  3. Go to your D3DWindower folder and run D3DWindower-English.exe
  4. Click on the blue "+" sign in Directx Windower.
  5. Use the dialog box that pops up to navigate to your Mystic Arts folder and go to mystic.exe and click "open" in the dialog box.
  6. Double-click the "Mystic" icon in Directx Windower and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Game Review: Eternal Fighter Zero

Eternal Fighter Zero was a fairly popular all-female doujin fighter featuring characters from One, Kanon, AIR, and every other Japanese visual novel you've never heard of.

In fact, I'd never have heard of this game if it wasn't for my obsession with the first Kanon anime which turned my attention to visual novels in general and somehow led me to this game. You can find more info on it from the wikipedia article.

Now on to the review. For the average gamer, Eternal Fighter Zero is seriously the best 2D fighting game you've never heard of. It has an easy learning curve which conceals an incredible depth that you can only experience by actually playing the game.

Anyone familiar with 2D fighters can easily pick up and play it right away. The specials and supers are simple and easy to pull off with only some variations for each unique character. The combo system is extremely flexible, but it takes a lot of skill to pull off more than 8 hits without using a super move. The beginner can get away with using two light poking attacks plus one medium, plus one heavy and adding in a special at the end, but don't think this will work with advanced players. This is where the game truly shines, thanks to the recoil guard system. If you time your block just right, you'll be able to counter with your own attack, however, unlike most other fighters, the enemy can actually recoil guard you back and initiate his own counter.

The AI is also fairly competent on the hardest difficulty level (though nowhere near the level of an advanced human player) and doesn't usually use cheap uber-reflex counters that most fighting game AI have. (think getting kicked out of terra firma by Guile every time you jump in SVC:
Chaos) Thanks to the somewhat unpredictable but fair AI, this game is
infinitely replayable even without any human competition and doesn't get tiring even after hours of play.

The graphics, while slightly pixelly are nothing to complain about with 3D effects and the level of animation you'd expect to see from commercial arcade fighters. The 2D sprites are also really cute especially if you're somewhat familiar with the characters.

Another bonus is the image gallery that comes with the game, which is used for the "now loading" screens featuring professional to amateur quality fanart of the characters and the games that they came from. Speaking of characters, EFZ also features a good selection of characters with 23 unique playable characters in the latest version. Ayu is a bit of an all-arounder, Shiori is more adept at hurling projectiles, Misuzu is for technical players, Kanna is a super-cheap character (nuff said), Mayu is basically balrog/vega in one character, etc.

While lacking a story-mode like Melty Blood, I prefer EFZ because of the simple controls and less combo-friendly system that allows for a variety of different playing styles, such as counter-punching, poking, or even missile spamming thus, allowing even players like myself who don't like stringing long-combos together to mix-it-up with the repeated-pattern-attack combo spammers.

One thing though: Don't even think of playing this game on hard without a gamepad. (although, I've tried it myself. It's possible but difficult)

Playing this game on a Windows 7 PC (and possibly VISTA) sometimes causes screen corruption. Try using a program such as DXWND or D3Dwindower to run it in a window. This fixes the problem on my part.

Official Website:
*This is an old review reposted from my previous blog 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

BTW: The EVN Community Webzine


How it came to be
BTW or Baka-Trio webzine was an online ezine that was established by the active chatters of #baka-trio on Freenode. All of our members were regulars of the Lemmasoft Forums with quite a few whose experiences in the EVN community dated back to the initial launch of Lemmasoft.

BTW was initially my idea, which I brainstormed together with Kikered in order to create a project that would unify the members of #baka-trio in a productive but relatively stress-free endeavor that did not actually entail creating visual novels, but which was at least tangentially-related. In the end, the project turned out to be a relative success with the announcement of the new Teacup Forums along with the release of Volume #9 of the Ezine.
In essence, BTW was a project that we made for ourselves. It was not meant to provide any sort of service to the community, but was merely a creative outlet whose main purpose was to unite the limited members of #baka-trio who were beginning to drift away from each other at the time of the project’s initial conception.

The zine
BTW ran for 9 consecutive volumes released on a monthly basis from May 2009 to January 2010. Volume 10 came out in April 2011 and put an exclamation point on the project, putting it to rest forever. The zine used a predominantly 2-columns style of layout heavily inspired by Reader’s Digest Magazine and was filled mostly with human-interest essays with occasional interviews from EVN creators as well as those engaged in working with similar media such as Katy Towell of Childrin R Skary fame. As early as the January 2010 volume, we actually felt that BTW had served its purpose with the launch of the current Teacup Community.

Baka-Trio Webzine saw heavy criticism all throughout its short lifespan from the same community that it tried to promote. Despite the mixed reactions after its initial release however, we continued producing the zine regularly for 9 consecutive volumes and actually saw subscribers come in from outside as well as within the Lemmasoft Forums

Significance of the zine in EVN history
One reason that the Zine saw heavy criticism may be because the writers behind the articles were mostly veterans of an older LSF who felt no small degree of dissatisfaction with the somewhat rapid changes which were taking place in the LSF of 2009. It was a time when some of the more vocal members of 4LS were heavily criticizing the community and where troll posting and thinly-veiled personal attacks were the norm with only one active administrator in PyTom trying to keep it all together.  Speaking in behalf of the people behind BTW, many of us felt that the smaller LSF from the past wherein due respect was given to each creator and even a visual novel with a fatal flaw could be lauded for an innovative feature or for using a unique approach to storytelling using limited resources, was quite preferable to the LSF of 2009 which laid the groundwork for the LSF of 2012 and beyond. At that time, we had no idea that 2009 would be a pivotal year for the LSF – a “changing of the guard” would happen soon afterwards.

Having said that, the zine may be considered as a piece of reactionary literature as well as a relic of the past – a doorway to how the creators of the LSF of the past thought and operated before everyone started wanting to emulate Type Moon, Katawa Shoujo and currently, Sakevisual,  Winterwolves and Hanako Games. The zine cannot serve as a historically accurate document save for the release dates of some choice EVN, which are mirrored in the current Ren’ release list, for the simple reason that its writers were heavily-opinionated individuals who mostly wrote opinion pieces. Due to this non-journalistic approach to the ezine, we can proudly proclaim that the articles contained within BTW are timeless.

All the volumes of the Baka-Trio Webzine are freely available for your perusal here:

Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger

From The Author
 Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger is a superhero/tokusatsu parody original fiction story that I'm currently writing on a semi-weekly basis. The story is heavily inspired by Zettai Hero Project for the PSP as well as Moonlight Bomber's Super Network Wars fanfic. The story is written in a traditional, 3rd-person past tense perspective and parodies the generic perceptions of otaku lifestyle and has characters that break the 4th wall on occasion as well as perform superhuman feats which are generally well-justified in the context of the story. 

My intention with this piece was to create a fun outlet for my excess creative energies that I could easily mold into any type of story that fits my mood at the time of writing. Thus, each episode of Crimson Ranger may vary greatly as far as mood, amount of comedy and emotional intensity are concerned. I do however, endeavor to make the characters and the world that I have created consistent and there is a general overarching plot being developed in the background as I continue to write this.

As far as "critique" goes. Although I do welcome reviews, as well as people pointing out any significant typographical errors or more serious continuity errors in the story, please keep in mind that I am not actively "seeking to improve my writing" with this piece and at the end of the day, I'm really just writing this for the fun of it. If you find that so unacceptable since I have made this piece "public," then please be pragmatic enough not to waste both of our times and spare me your undoubtedly valuable pearls of wisdom.

All the current "episodes" (chapters) of Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger are currently hosted over at my FictionPress account.  Here are the links:

In the next few days, I will be mirroring the fic over at this blog.

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