Japanese game update

Additional details on Kunoichi, Katamari Damashii, and Atsumare! Made in Wario are revealed in Japan.

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TOKYO--Three upcoming games were previewed in the Japanese media recently. Here is a short update on titles you may be interested in following.

Kunoichi

In the latest issue of Famitsu magazine, Sega has released additional details on its PlayStation 2 action game Kunoichi.

Kuniochi has now been revealed to be a sequel to Shinobi and will directly follow its storyline. The storyline is as follows: Although Shinobi's main character, Hotsuma, had saved Tokyo from doom in the 21st century, peace lasted for just one year before the Shikigami monsters once again began appearing in the city. Ordered to find the cause of their return and to save the city, a female ninja named Hibana has been sent to Tokyo.

In Kunoichi, the player character Hibana fundamentally has the same abilities as Shinobi's Hotsuma. Hibana attacks with a sword and has the ability to perform a stealth dash, to run on walls, to double jump, and to shoot eight-way directional shuriken daggers. The "tate" combo slash is present in the game as well (and a 100 tate is hinted to be in the game also). A number of new actions such as kicking rockets out of their trajectory and using swords in both hands also appear in the game.

Kunoichi is currently 65 percent complete and will be in playable form at the Tokyo Game Show.

Katamari Damashii

Namco has released additional details on its snowball simulator game Katamari Damashii, which interestingly translates into English as "Soul of a Clump."

In Katamari Damashii, the player assumes the role of an alien prince that has been sent to Earth by his father. The father destroyed the stars in space after drinking heavily and turned the sky into a dark void. The prince's objective on Earth is to take advantage of all the objects on the planet and then replace the stars that his father destroyed.

Katamari Damashii is a stage-based game. Players must create a clustered ball of earthly objects within a specific and limited time. Initially, the ball can attract only small objects, such as sushi, but by continually "rolling in" a number of small objects and making the cluster larger, the cluster ball will eventually be able to attract larger objects such as trees and buildings.

Katamari Damashii is currently 60 percent complete and is scheduled for release in the spring of 2004.

Atsumare! Made in Wario

Additional information on the Nintendo GameCube version of Made in Wario has surfaced.

Similar to the Game Boy Advance version, the Game Cube iteration of Made in Wario will consist of more than 200 minigames. While the GameCube version offers a single-player mode, its main focus has been shifted toward multiplayer gameplay. Also, reflecting a difference from the GBA version, the game's title has been changed to "Atsumare! Made in Wario," which translates into English as "Gather Around! Made in Wario."

A number of party-style rules have been implemented in the game for playing in multiplayer versus mode. For example, during a minigame called Popping Balloon, players take turns playing minigames on a screen imitating a TV set while a balloon lying on top of the gameworld TV slowly inflates. Players waiting for their turn can tap on the controller button to increase the speed of its inflation, but whoever is playing the game at the time the balloon pops is the loser.

Atsumare! Made in Wario is scheduled for release in Japan on October 17, but the price has not yet been determined.

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