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PSP Fanart Fridays: Death Jr.

Do you want to share your PSP-related fan art? Send an e-mail to andrew @ with the subject line "Fanart Fridays." A new piece of fanart will be shared every Friday.

I'm a huge fan of all sorts of art including obviously video games. The Internet has really helped artists of all types show off their work. What I thought would be cool (and hopefully you agree) is to showcase a different artist (with their permission) every week that has PSP related fan art.

This week's fan art features DJ and Pandora from Death Jr. in the opening pivotal scene from the first game. I know it got mixed reviews, but I enjoyed the Death Jr. for the most part and I absolutely loved the art style and characters. The above work was done by Gil and I think he perfectly captured the style and I especially love the way the colors are used. If I didn't know he did it, I would believe this was official art from the developer. If you enjoy the work as well you can check out Gil's deviantArt account.

Gallery: Fan Art Fridays

Metareview: Death Jr 2

Death Jr. gets a bit more attention than it may deserve, simply because it was the first PSP game ever to be shown. We were wowed by its impressive non-GBA quality graphics, but when we got our hands on the original, we were a little underwhelmed by its gameplay. The sequel was supposed to fix the problems of the original game, but it appears that the critics are still a little negative on this franchise. Maybe they focused too much on the tech? Let's find out:
  • IGN (71/100) wants to believe in the franchise, but they end up disappointed: "The game is still sloppy in execution despite its best qualities -- it's time for DJ to grow up and scythe straight. The story again makes little sense, despite some funny sequences, and it feels short with only three bosses and little to revisit stages for on your second play."
  • Games Radar (60/100) fails to find any originality in the gameplay: "You know that game where you run around and hit things repeatedly? It's the same one with floating platforms, simple combos and a camera that almost gets it - ringing any bells yet? Oh wait, that's practically every third-person run-and-jump game made in the last eight or nine years, and even though it's a marked improvement over the original, Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil still falls squarely in the "pretty OK" department."
  • GamePro (80/100) loves the game, more than GTA: "Death Jr. 2 is definitely a game that works for those of you who just love hacking at things. Levels spawn swarms of enemies with complex AI that keep coming at you unless you attack their regeneration area. The creative randomness of the enemies is delightful. After all, not too many games have llamas, chickens, hamsters, gorillas, possessed trees, gigantic centipedes, and mechanical spiders going for you all at once.."

There's a pretty wide range of opinions on this game so far, but one thing's clear: this game is much better than the original. But does that say much? The game is now available.

Be a Death Jr. grim reaper for Halloween

Sure, Death Jr. 2 has impressive graphics, but you know what looks even better? Real life. Yeah. Real life has amazing graphics that run higher than even PLAYSTATION 3's highly touted 1080p. In addition, real life features some stunning physics and lighting systems that just can't be beat (although the AI sucks most of the time).

But one of the big disadvantages of real life was that it never let you play as one of the characters from Death Jr. Well, that is... until now. Smiffy's has just released their new line of Death Jr. costumes, just in time for Halloween. You can pick up just a mask, or you can go for the gold and dress up from head to toe as the grim reaper.

You can also dress up as Pandora, or as the priciest, but easily the most awesome looking, Smith and Weston. The game comes out appropriately on Halloween.

[Via GameDaily]

The tech behind Death Jr. 2

IGN's Death Jr. 2 blog has been revealing some real gems of info. The latest entry goes into the technical aspects of creating the game. Read the lengthy, but genuinely informative, blog to find out more on what kind of evil magic programming the team had to do to get HDR lighting running in the game. It gets pretty complicated, showing off scary XML code. I was personally fascinated by the images from the developer's tools (PB Viewer and Maya Viewpoint)-- this is the kind of behinds-the-scenes stuff that we don't get enough of. The blog also explains more complicated-sounding things like vertex lighting and light seams. Finally, they reveal some of the special visual effects the game will employ: softening, eggcrate, fisheye, ripple, and vortex.

All this technical mumbo-jumbo's being thrown around to razzle dazzle us, and I have to say it's sort of working. Although the game is going to pretty, the real test will come the game ships this Halloween, when we'll be able to test all of its gameplay.

PSP Fanboy hands-on: Death Jr 2

Konami's booth at DigitalLife not only featured Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, it also featured Death Jr. 2. The game's producer promised to fix the problems of the first one, and it appears he's done a good job of addressing many of the original's issues. The build on hand felt pretty solid, with intuitive pick-up-and-play controls. Also, the game appeared to be quite the visual treat, with lighting effects and particles happening everywhere. I don't know if it's "HDR" or not, but the game does look quite nice. Unfortunately, I couldn't get as much time with the game as I would've liked because the production UMD that was being used was stolen by someone (Konami's looking for you-- watch out!).

I got a chance to talk to Konami product manager Matt Knoles about the game, and he goes over the many features that should get us excited. He said the game has a better camera, but it still seems like it needs a little bit of work for me. Matt points out that the game is more action-packed, and as you can see in the video above, he's probably right. Death Jr. 2 comes out in time for Halloween, so expect more details and reviews soon.

Death, Jr. 2 producer starts a blog, reveals game details

Death, Jr. 2 producer starts a blog, reveals game details
Death, Jr. 2: Root of Evil
producer James Stanley has recently created his own blog, which is hosted on IGN, and plans to start delivering regular updates on the game's progress.

In his first post, Stanley admits the camera and lighting in the original title made the game too hard and has said he's on a mission to rectify the problems.

"One of the first responsibilities I had as the producer was to make sure the feedback from critics and fans was gathered from the message boards and reviews to help us identify the major issues that needed to be addressed in the sequel," he wrote. "One of the first responsibilities I had as the producer was to make sure the feedback from critics and fans was gathered from the message boards and reviews to help us identify the major issues that needed to be addressed in the sequel."

Stanley also wrote about two other problems (not the evil llamas and chickens) he hopes to rectify and how he plans to do it. Check it out after the jump.

Continue reading Death, Jr. 2 producer starts a blog, reveals game details

Fight evil llamas and chickens in Death Jr. 2

Konami's Gamers Day has been very good to PSP owners. Gamespot (are they the only ones covering this event?) posted some new gameplay videos of Death Jr. 2 in motion. While I can't really see any HDR lighting in it, the game does look pretty sharp, and if Gamespot is to be believed, it does have advanced light blooming and shadow effects. Although my eye may not be trained to see the technical details, I do see that the quirky charm has been retained: there are crazy chickens that shoot lasers at you!!! They are far more vicious than the chickens of Zelda and clearly, they must be stopped.

Watch - Fight against chickens
Watch - Boss fight

Death Jr. 2 to feature HDR lighting?!

Death Jr. was the first PSP game to be publically shown, and it wowed a whole lot of people with its technical prowess. If a new interview at is to be believed, it appears that we'll be wowed again. Chris Carla commented:
Well, we used Renderware on our first game on PSP, and it wasn't exactly perfectly tuned for PSP. After we removed it for [Death Jr. 2], we found our framerates hit 90fps... before we knew it, thanks to our fantastic tech staff, we had light blooms, High Dynamic Range lighting, and lots of other lighting and frame buffer effects running in the game. The net result is that we've probably got some of the most technically advanced features of any title on PSP at this point, which is pretty cool. We've done a lot more than that as well; I think people will be pleased by the tech in the game, and our loading times are still extremely short.
Can this really be possible on a handheld? Death Jr. 2 seems to address the problems of the original and throws in a multiplayer co-op mode to boot. The sequel comes out this Halloween, but until then, don't forget you can check out the original for only $10.

Deal of the day: Death Jr. $10 at

Deal of the day: Death Jr. $10 at Sears.comOne of the good things about living in Guam is America's day really does start here. We're 15 hours ahead of Central Standard Time, so if you've ever wondered why I'm up at all hours of the night updating the site, you now know why. You can call me the Night Assassin, the Midnight Mangler, the Twilight Terrorist or just Chris. Any of those will do.

The purpose for that long-winded lead is to say when I update the site with this Deal of the Day, it will be because, it's a new day from the last Deal of the Day.

Anyway, on with the deal. Sears is having a great deal on Death Jr. for only $10. There's nothing special you need to do, no rebates or any coupon codes to be entered. Just click the link and check out.

[Via Cheapassgamer - Registration required]

Death Jr. Root of Evil screens and videos

3 new videos, along with a plethora of screenshots, have been posted at IGN for the follow up to Konami's Death Jr. Death Jr. Root of Evil, much in the same spirit as the previous installment, has Jr. and the gang attempting to bottle up a recently-escaped spirit. The videos and screenshots, which show the same Tim Burton-esque visual style along with frenetic action of the first game, are sure to please those who were thoroughly satisfied with the original.

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