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Microsoft gives Vista boost with birth of SP1

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346w ago - SP1 might only be three characters, but it's make or break time for Microsoft. The corporation clearly remains hopeful that the Vista stragglers will want to make the transition once it has ironed out all the creases in an operating system riddled with tiny bugs.

Microsoft is making the Release Candidate (RC) of Service Pack 1 - the post-beta, pre-release version - available next week to the public via Microsoft's Download Center here.

If you're lucky enough to have an account, you can get it today via Microsoft Connect or tomorrow via TechNet and MSDN. According to Microsoft blogger Nick White, the release indicates "that the code has attained a significant level of performance and stability".

The full RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of SP1 is still slated for early next year. Although SP1 contains some fixes that have already been released, the key is that the release guarantees a certain level of stability and reliability that will be required by some software. And then there are users such as businesses, which need an OS to be a stable property before rolling it out across their networks.

We already know that as well as the performance enhancements and bug fixes, SP1 will bring further anti-piracy measures.

You...
 

Ten new Stranglehold maps and new character skins

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346w ago - Midway has today announced the first downloadable content for its hit Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 action title Stranglehold.

The pack will contain 10 additional multiplayer maps - locations including Kowloon Market, Wong's Estate Grounds and the Rooftops of Chicago - plus 21 all-new multiplayer character skins.

The Xbox 360 version will also feature 10 new Achievements totalling 250 gamerscore points.

No release date or pricing has been announced, with Midway stating the content will be released on Xbox LIVE Marketplace and the PSN soon.
 

Shadow Hearts behind Lost Odyssey: They kept this quiet, why?

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346w ago - An Internet Matlock at NeoGaf has uncovered some very interesting information regarding the newly released (in Japan) Xbox 360 RPG Lost Odyssey. The Feelplus development team that worked on the game seem to be mostly made up of ex-Nautilus employees -- if you don't know Nautilus, get outta town -- it's the now-defunct company responsible for Legend of Dragoon, Phantom Dust and, most importantly, the awesome Shadow Hearts franchise.

Originally called Sacnoth, the company was acquired by Azure Entertainment and changed its name to Nautilus from the development of Shadow Hearts: Covenant onward. In early 2007, however, Azure dissolved Nautilus and the current Azure Global Trading has nothing to do with videogames.

So, what of the talented RPG developers who were left behind? It seems a vast majority of them are now with Feelplus and working on Lost Odyssey. Sadly, the Shadow Hearts creator himself, Matsuzo Machida, is not involved along with realtime cutscene director Toshiyuki Terada. A number of designers and planners are also MIA, but otherwise over forty members of Nautilus have found a new home with Feelplus.

I've already had some tentative interest in this latest current-gen RPG offering, but having been a big fan of Shadow Hearts for years, my anticipation has shot right up. Hit the jump...
 

Unofficial God of War III Teaser

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346w ago - Here's an updated version of my God of War III teaser. I got a lot of helpful feedback on the original and decided to improve it.

I tweaked a lot of the graphics/effects as well added some. You'll also notice the addition of voice overs. Enjoy!



 

Street Fighter IV Unveiled

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346w ago - Numbers are supposed to be impressive, right? Well, it's been 10 years, two hardware generations, and about seventeen thousand rumors since the last pure number Street Fighter came around. And today we have the first ever official details on Street Fighter IV.

We don't blame you if your eyes have already skipped down to the screenshot lower on the page (yes, that's from the game engine). Take your time. But we've got some information as well, so the rest of this is probably worth reading when you get a chance.

Though the screenshot doesn't answer this question outright, we can confirm that the game's graphics are polygonal but the gameplay is strictly 2D. There will be new moves, locations, and gameplay features, while the standard six button control scheme remains. Ryu and Ken return along with Chun-Li and Dhalsim, but beyond that the character roster is a mystery. And then there's the issue of what platform(s) the game will end up on, which at this point Capcom is keeping close to its chest (if you search 1UP's database, you'll find listings for arcade, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, but those are just guesses based on the graphical quality).

For the full reveal of the game -- including hands-on impressions, a rundown of the new gameplay system, and loads of details on new features --...
 
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