Sometime last year, an epic battled ravaged gamers everywhere as they heavily debated whether Sony’s PSP or the Nintendo DS would be the handheld to have. Some people got both, some people didn’t get either, but I eventually caved to the PSP’s delicious screen and sumptuous audio aspirations. At this point neither handheld boasted a very large nor exciting repertoire of games to play, and the DS certainly seemed the greater simply based upon the insanely different price tags between the two. Nonetheless, I went out for a PSP and came back with the rhythmic sounds of Lumines and Wipeout Pure in my ears. Both of these games proved simply astounding, in every category, but alas even games such as World of Warcraft can only hold someone’s attention for a fixed amount of time before the real world rears its ugly head back into life.
As the year of 2005 progressed, it became more and more apparent that the DS was the dominant handheld, boasting such games as Super Mario World, Mario Kart DS that is most often referred to as the perfect Mario Kart experience, Wario Ware and Kirby both of which offer supreme use of the touch screen as integral features. Meanwhile the PSP managed to fall almost completely limp in game variety and availability, until recently that is!
Just recently one of my favorite game series ever released a revamp on the PSP, which to my giddy childish glee was Megaman: Maverick Hunter X, a wonderful port of the SNES game Megaman X, arguably the best game in all of Megaman-dom. The game looks exceptional on the PSP and plays equally as well, emulating the old game with luster that induces rampant fan-boy spasms. Capcom took care to fully reproduce the game in 3d graphics, despite the 2d nature of the game play, which shows an excessive amount of care for the product which shines through in the end. Also added are various anime cut scenes, the option to play through the game as Vile upon completion, and even two difficulty settings for grizzled veterans who have mastered the bafflingly simple “jumping and shooting” mechanics.
Hot on the juicy heels of Maverick Hunter X comes news of many new games for the PSP that should begin the system’s steady rise from mediocrity. Ult. Ghost and Goblins will hopefully continue what seems to be a trend of older, addictive 2d games being reproduced for the handheld. In addition, announcements have been made about porting the Power Stones games that were so beloved on Dreamcast to the PSP, as well as a Viewtiful Joe game that should bring even more 2d action to the scene. All of this is music to my ears, as it seems that the Playstation Portable is finally getting the kind of software that the impressive hardware deserves, nay, demands.