Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
31 Websites of Christmas
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 08, 2004   |   Episode 15 (Show Archive)  

Although Tecmo does not release a whole lot of games each year, 2004 has been an especially good year. Not only did they raise the bar for online fighters with Dead or Alive Ultimate, but they released what could be the single best action/adventure game of this generation, Ninja Gaiden. Oh yeah, and they released a horse racing game and a sequel to Fatal Frame, but really, those were upstaged by Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Ultimate.

So what does that leave for 2005? Besides a Dead or Alive sequel and spin-off, not much. Still, Tecmo doesn't let that get them down with this homey little website. Hmm, did I say homey or homely? I guess we're just going to have to take a closer look.

"You're actually going to make me take my sunglasses off, aren't you?"
Look and Design: Tecmo has just released two of the best games of 2004 (Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Ultimate) . so what are they going to do now?? Hopefully fix up their website because it's one of the ugliest pages I have ever seen! The first thing you will notice is the bright, thick red border going all along the page. Whenever there's a blank spot or two columns don't even out the red border rears its ugly head and overpowers your senses. Unfortunately the red border stays for the entire tour of the site, but don't worry, they don't have much to promote so this won't take too long.

Accessibility: It's easy to find what you're looking for when you're surfing Tecmo's home page, but not because it's a well developed site. All of the 2004 releases are linked on the front page, some more than once. You can also search by system, but since there are only a handful of games, chances are you won't have to look too hard to find whatever it is you seek. This design would be bad if you were a company with a larger library of games . but for now Tecmo can get away with it, kind of.

I could whine and complain like I always do about how Tecmo doesn't allow you to look up their classic games, or how they seem to be completely ditching their history . but there's something else about Tecmo's site that doesn't sit right with me; their store. I don't think anybody would argue that selling your games online is a good idea, but if you're going to do that, you might want to have somebody monitoring the prices. There is absolutely no reason you should pay $49.99 for a copy of Dead or Alive Hardcore, the PlayStation 2 launch title.

With all those news stories about E3, you'd think that there would be more pictures of Tecmo Booth Babes!
Insider Information: Ever have a friend who was already really behind when it came to the news? You would be talking about celebrity trials and they would ramble on about O.J. Simpson or the Menendez brothers. Well, Tecmo's news site is not that bad (it won't bring up news that's a decade old), but it's pretty darn close. In Tecmo's five most recent news stories the fifth one is about E3 . that's right, the very same E3 that happened in May!! I always talk about how boring these sections are, but this one is literally pointless because by the time you get the news it's barely relevant. I suppose it's hard to have gripping game announcements when you only release four games a year, but this is ridiculous.

Parting Thoughts: We've spent a lot of time talking about Tecmo's bad website, yet I feel it should be mentioned that they have produced two of the best games of 2004. Both Dead or Alive Ultimate and Ninja Gaiden have raised the bar on their genres (online fighting and action/adventure respectively) and should, under no circumstance, be ignored or forgotten this holiday.

Ninja Gaiden is an amazing game that features a character that has almost as many moves and combos as you would expect from a one-on-one fighter. The level designs, weapons, and game play are all perfect, and I won't look at another action/adventure/ninja game the same way ever again. And if you're a fan of fighters, there's no excuse for you not to pick up Dead or Alive Ultimate . it features what can only be described as the single best online component to any fighting game ever. If fighters don't adopt this "virtual arcade" in the future, then something has gone terribly wrong!


(Important Note: This review was written in 2004. As is the case with websites things tend to change and get moved around. We've decided to cover major companies who should have a presence on the web for many years to come, but the actual reviews of the layout may not be relevant for more than a month to a year. Having said that, we're hoping this article was still interesting, and if not, at least you go this extra little paragraph of explanation that you wouldn't normally get on the other websites.)


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