As I mentioned earlier, I got a package from Musashi yesterday. In addition to the cards, it contained a rare copy of the PS2 mecha game Robot Alchemic Drive.
Although I've been resolute about putting the stuff I've bought for my birthday away until the day itself, since I'll be out of town with no PS2 access until at least Tuesday, I decided to give it a spin. Well...
Sweet merciful crap!!! I love it! It's mecha-rific! The idea that you play a person controlling the robot with a PS2 controller is just hilarious. The perspective of watching the mech in third person from a distance (hopefully -- get too close and you can get hit by the robots' attacks, bruised by falling debris, or even stepped on!) really brings home the idea of scale. You can even perch on the robot's shoulder!
Controlling the robot is unusual but easy. One uses the gamepad's shoulder buttons to control the feet; to walk, one alternates L1 and R1 in a rhythmic pattern. (Try not to step on too many of the Japanese civilians fleeing in terror...) The joysticks control the robot's arms; rotating them throws a variety of punches, and pushing them in reveals an arm-mounted super weapon! The various buttons unleash laser or missile attacks.
The variety of movies -- Ultraman-style judo chops, uppercuts, missiles, lasers, and super charge attacks -- are sweet and yet fairly easy to pull off. The first couple of missions are easy even if you just flail away at the enemy.
On the downside, the game features some of the worst voice acting this side of Resident Evil. This is one game I wish had a Japanese language track. I also don't care much for the story mode. There are missions where you don't pilot the robot at all, which is the complete *opposite* of what I want to be doing. I wish there were some sort of "instant action" mode (like the PSX Mechwarrior game had), but I'll have to see what the replay system is like. Still, I can hardly wait to play it again. Look for a more thorough review at Destroy All Monsters once I've given the game a thorough workout.
I also picked up a used DVD of The Road to Perdition for a mere eight bucks yesterday; last night my lovely wife and I watched it. We both enjoyed it. It's based on the Max Allan Collins comic, which is itself based on the manga and movie series Lone Wolf and Cub. We especially enjoyed Tom Hanks being cast against type as the grim hit man. Again, I plan to review the film, but in the meantime, here's an article Musashi wrote on the movie's manga influences.
Update: Byzantium's Shores notes that it beat me to the punch with a review.