It's an explosion of Konami goodness! The Japanese company that's been a favorite of gamers since the release of classics like Gyruss and Frogger are working on games for every system under the sun. They're even starting a series of plug and play consoles that connect to your computer instead of your television set!
The company's two most popular franchises will be getting the most attention this year. There are no less than four installments of Dance Dance Revolution planned for 2006, including a kids' version called My First Dance Dance Revolution. Rather than being developed for a currently supported game system, My First DDR is a stand-alone unit that plugs into your television set and teaches youngsters how to tear up the dance floor just like their hip older brothers and sisters. Other Dance Dance Revolution titles will be released for the Xbox, Playstation 2, and perhaps most intriguingly, the next-generation Xbox 360.
Metal Gear Solid will also be making waves this year. Solid Snake will infiltrate the Playstation Portable in Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel, a semi-interactive comic book starring key characters from the long-running stealth action series. Snake will also star in the first traditional Metal Gear Solid game for the PSP, titled Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Portable Ops is set just after Metal Gear Solid 3, and gives players the chance to command a small army of mercenaries along with the battle-hardened hero Solid Snake. Finally, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will make its debut on the advanced Playstation 3 console sometime next year.
Dance Dance Revolution and Metal Gear Solid are Konami's top priorities this year, but their other franchises have not been forgotten. Former Hudson Soft mascot Bomberman will be given a 21st century makeover when the plucky android makes his debut on the Playstation Portable and the Xbox 360. Bomberman: Act Zero is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with the plump, brightly colored heroes of the original game replaced with more threatening demolitions experts. Not much is known about Bomberman on the PSP, but it's assumed that it will be based on the Japanese version, starring a team of "sentai" heroes (think Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) in spandex Bomberman costumes.
Classic video game star Frogger will return to the Nintendo DS in My Frogger Toy Trials. The ambitious amphibian is competing in a contest along with his friend Hero (that's his name? Really?) to invent the most entertaining toy. Yep, it's a kids' game, all right! When you're not hopping around stages, picking up the spare parts you'll need to build your contest entry, you'll use the unique features of the Nintendo DS to scribble and shout your way to victory in a handful of mini-games. Frogger will also make his debut on the Xbox 360, when his very first game is made available in the Xbox Live Arcade later this year.
Rengoku, Coded Arms, and Death Jr. didn't set the world on fire when those games debuted on the Playstation Portable last year, but Konami is determined to make them work. Rengoku 2 is the sequel to the futuristic dungeon-crawler, and will hopefully fix the clunky control, frustrating gameplay, and lackluster graphics in the original. Coded Arms, the visually stunning but woefully simplistic first-person shooter, will get a sequel on both the PSP and the Playstation 3. Finally, Backbone Entetainment's Death Jr. will pack up his scythe and head for the Nintendo DS in Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom. A Death Jr. sequel is also planned for the creepy kid's first haunting ground, the PSP.
Then there's Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Eagerly anticipated by fans of the long-running series, Portrait of Ruin will be available exclusively on the Nintendo DS. The game takes place after the events in the underappreciated Genesis game Castlevania: Bloodlines, and is rumored to be the first Castlevania title in years to return the series to its arcade roots. If the rumor is true, the game will likely be a lot shorter than Dawn of Sorrow, but won't have all the tedious backtracking and level grinding either. You take a little, you give a little, folks.
Speaking of classic video game series, Gradius will make its long-awaited return in Gradius Collection for the PSP. This release is a compilation of every Gradius game, except the most recent release on the Playstation 2. By the way, if you don't have Gradius V, what the heck are you waiting for, man? It's incredible! All right, enough fannish gushing. Lunar will also return to the Nintendo DS. After the disasterous Lunar: Dragon Song, it will take a tremendous effort to bring the cult classic RPG back to its former glory. That's why Kojima Productions is designing this one!
The introduction of next-generation game systems like the Wii and Playstation 3 ensures that this will be a great year for gaming... and Konami is working hard to make it a phenomenal one!
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