Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Worst Things About SuperPhillip Central's Favorite Games II

The easiest thing to do when reviewing bad games is ripping them to shreds, taking all of their faults and going through each, one by one, eviscerating them. However, it's much harder to look at games that you have a great love for, perhaps irrationally so due to them being an important part of one's childhood, and picking out the things that just don't work so well in them. That's what this series of articles from SuperPhillip Central is all about: figuring out what didn't work-- no matter how small-- in the games that I love so much.

If you'd like to see five of my favorites from the first installment of this article series, click this link.

Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

We begin with a game that has the gaming world excited for its upcoming remake, though with Square Enix's history, we might be sitting here five years from now still waiting for it (okay, okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration). Of course, I'm talking about Final Fantasy VII, one of the most popular entries in the storied Final Fantasy series and many players' first foray into the franchise.

The game has a lot of variety to it, an excellent story, and one of the best casts of characters in the entire series. Everything from the memorable locales, then-impressive visuals in both gameplay and CG cinematic form, the stellar Nobuo Uematsu-composed soundtrack, and rewarding Materia system makes for a wonderful and lengthy RPG that seldom outwears its welcome.

Certainly, it was an arduous proposition to come up with something truly bad about Final Fantasy VII, but then I remembered something that stops me from regularly replaying the game. After the intense and excellent introduction of VII inside Midgar, many players found themselves bewildered by the fact that Midgar was just the tip of Final Fantasy VII's iceberg. They were thrust into a world map that meant that Midgar was but a small part of a much grander and ambitious game.

However, soon after arriving on the world map, the part of Final Fantasy VII that brings me pause upon starting up a new play-through so easily rears its head into the picture. I'm talking about the approximately 40-minute flashback sequence that occurs upon arriving in Kalm. There are good things about this moment in the game, such as showing off Sephiroth's amazing power in battle by killing a giant dragon with one attack while the soldiers joining him can hardly put a dent into its HP, as well as establishing character relationships and some back story (as well as making a later revelation in the game have a much larger impact).

However, upon repeated play-throughs, it's a section of the game I wish I could skip sometimes. Even then, that's big praise that a quick fraction of a gigantic game is the thing that bothers me the most about Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1, PSP, iOS, Android)

While Final Fantasy VII's Kalm flashback sequence can stop me from doing a run of the game, Final Fantasy Tactics has something that can stop beginning players from successfully continuing their first run of the game.

Final Fantasy Tactics' various missions generally take place isolated from one another. However, occasionally within the game, there are missions occur one after the other without the option to return to the world map. That isn't a problem so far. The problem here is that you're given the option to save in between these missions. What's wrong with that? You can find protagonist Ramza's party too underleveled or not strong enough to tackle a mission in these successive battles. With no option to return to the world map upon losing (you get a game over instead), you can find yourself stuck with no possible means to progress in the campaign.

The first set of battles that this can become a problem is Riovannes Castle, a setting housing three successive fights. The second, against a transformed Wiegraf, is quite possibly one of the toughest encounters in the game, much more a massive jump in difficulty early in the game. Without proper knowledge of this, beginning players can find themselves having to start a new save data from the very beginning of the game if they weren't aware to make a second save ahead of time. I know my early struggle with this problem caused me to drop Final Fantasy Tactics for months. Thankfully, I went back to it and found myself thinking Tactics is one of the greater games in the franchise, mainline, spin-off, or whatever.

Metroid Prime (GCN)

Retro Studios and Nintendo seemingly did the impossible-- not only take the then-previously all 2D Metroid franchise into 3D with fantastically epic results, but it was done with a team that was inexperienced at best. Really, Metroid Prime is one of my favorite games of all time, but it's not without an issue that many players might find frustrating.

This particular segment of Metroid Prime occurs late in the game. Samus Aran is tasked to venturing to the Impact Crater of Tallon IV after exploring all other areas within the game. There she finds a series of nine pillars that require you as the player to venture (see: backtrack) through the areas of Tallon IV to find the Chozo Artifact designated to each pillar. You get a clue for each artifact's location from each pillar.

Personally, I found this little end game scavenger hunt enjoyable, but just imagine other players' perspectives, thinking they were at the end of the game, ready to take on the final bosses, only to be stopped by this late game collect-a-thon. Many found themselves turning to places like GameFAQs and the like to rush through this section of the game to finally get the chance to take down Meta-Ridley for good (at least in the original Metroid Prime "for good") and then go on to face Metroid Prime itself.

The funny (perhaps I should have put that in quotes) part about this late game scavenger hunt is that it would be used in the Metroid Prime games succeeding this one. I found them fun, but then again, I found the Triforce Quest of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker somewhat tolerable, so I have my own issues!

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Mario Kart 8 is the latest in the long-running and most successful arcade kart racing series on the market. With every iteration, Nintendo delivers fun and fast racing that is accessible to all skill levels while possessing enough depth to remain engaging for gaming veterans.

This is a rather humorous inclusion to this list of my favorite games with problems because the problem I am going to talk about is getting fixed with the Nintendo Switch's Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, coming out at the end of April. That problem is one many players of the Wii U original know all too well-- the omission of Bowser Jr. Okay, no, while that was an issue I had with the Wii U original, the real problem is the Battle Mode.

What made previous entries of Mario Kart so engaging with their Battle Modes were dedicated arenas to pursue, hunt down, and attack opponents on. In Mario Kart 8's Wii U incarnation, the Battle Mode consisted of tracks from the Grand Prix mode of the game with no real alterations that could be traveled on in both forwards and backwards fashion (i.e. no major glider sections that could only be traveled one-way). While the varied geography of the battlefields weren't inherently awful, the size of them meant opponents took much longer to find one another and confrontations weren't as thrilling as they would otherwise be in an arena setting.

Thankfully, a big part of the appeal of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch is the return of the classic arena-style Battle Mode. Sure, for many who owned the Wii U original, it might not be worth a second purchase. However, at the same token, most gamers and consumers didn't own a Wii U, so the package will be an entirely new game to them regardless.

[Poochy &] Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS, Wii U)

I recently reviewed the Nintendo 3DS port of the Wii U's tremendously creative and charming Yoshi's Woolly World. To me, both versions of the game are modern classics that rival even the original Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo. One of the major things I like over the SNES classic is that getting 100% in a level doesn't need to be performed by doing every task in one run (getting all five flowers, collecting all 20 red coins, or badges in Woolly World's case, or having full health by the end of a level), making for a much less stressful experience.

However. Yoshi's Woolly World isn't without its faults. Let me focus on the main one that can drive many completionists crazy. A good deal of collectibles within the game are found in hidden cloud bubbles. I'm talking literally hidden in that they're invisible to the eye until Yoshi brushes up against them. This means that in many levels and in order to find everything, you need to obsessively jump in any suspicious space to have the bubbles appear.

Inside the bubbles are usually things that are required to fully complete a level, such as a flower, a collection of colorful beads where one or two of them are badges you need to nab, or a yarn spool. While there are items you can spend beads on to reveal their locations, it feels disappointing that the collectibles almost require you to do that for so many levels. It's like the developers knew how much they overdid hiding secrets in the game and gave themselves a way out. Nonetheless, even with this problem, I find Yoshi's Woolly World on Wii U and its Nintendo 3DS port amazing platformers worthy of any fans of the genre's time and money.

Monday, February 20, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Gaming's Mount Rushmore" Edition

With today being President's Day here in the States, it seemed like the perfect occasion for a special themed edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. Just like how Mount Rushmore showcases four important presidents of United States history, this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs focuses on five video game characters that are more than worthy of being on the gaming equivalent of Mount Rushmore.

We begin with none other than Mario (but of course!) with Super Mario Sunshine. Then, we travel to the jungle with Donkey Kong's DK: King of Swing. Following the great gorilla is the Blue Bomber's ninth entry, Mega Man 9. Sonic the Hedgehog blazes onto the scene soon after with Sonic Riders, and Pac-Man invites us to wrap things up with a theme from the original Pac-Man World.

Click on the VGM volume name to hear the song represented, and as always, check out the VGM Database for every VGM ever showcased on this weekly SuperPhillip Central mainstay.

v1336. Super Mario Sunshine (GCN) - Vs. Boss

With word of the 3D Super Mario series returning to the Super Mario 64 sandbox style structure with Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, why not take a look (and listen) back with a game of that style with Super Mario Sunshine? This theme played during many of the boss encounters in the game, such as Gelato Beach's battle with an increasingly angrier Wiggler.

v1337. DK: King of Swing (GBA) - Banana Bungalow

While not a game that many would think of when asked to name a great game starring Donkey Kong, the Game Boy Advance's DK: King of Swing may not be a typical platformer in the vein of Donkey Kong Country, but it's really good regardless. It has players using the GBA's shoulder buttons to serve as DK's hands, grabbing onto various pegs to navigate through the game's levels. The soundtrack is no masterful David Wise effort, but it's pretty catchy, as evident through this level theme.

v1338. Mega Man 9 (Multi) - Splash Woman

How could we not have a Mount Rushmore of gaming without Mega Man! Better yet, how could the Mega Man series go eight previous entries without a female robot master! Mega Man 9 finally introduced a robot master of the opposite sex with Splash Woman, and her stage music is one of my favorites from Mega Man 9, a game that I feel sort of overdid it with the spike traps. That's why it's not one of my most loved entries in the classic Mega Man series.

v1339. Sonic Riders (PS2, GCN, XBX) - Babylon Garden

Sonic the Hedgehog is known for his blazing speed, and sometimes he didn't even use his red and white sneakers to go fast. In the unique racer Sonic Riders, he used a board just like every other character-- perhaps to even the odds by imposing a handicap on himself? The soundtrack of the Sonic Riders games (all three of them-- though it's best to forget the Xbox 360 Kinect exclusive installment) are more electronic synth than anything else, quite atypical for the more rock-influenced soundtracks of the main 3D games.

v1340. Pac-Man World (PS1) - Buccaneer Beach

Pac-Man World for the original PlayStation was the 20th anniversary game for Namco's leading mascot, one of the most famous faces in video games, Pac-Man. The game saw Pac take a 3D platforming star role with a soundtrack composed entirely by Tommy Tallarico, a composer who has been in the business for quite some time, also starring on Reviews on the Run.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red's Kingdom (iOS, Android, PC) Review

Before we close out this week's activity here at SuperPhillip Central, we have a review of a game that released last month on iOS and Android devices as well as PC. It's Red's Kingdom, a unique take on the sliding puzzle mechanic found in other games. Is it fun, or will it drive you nutty? Let's find out with the SuperPhillip Central review.

Backtracking again? Aw, nuts.

Sometimes developers need not come up with a wholly brand-new gameplay mechanic to create a novel experience. Sometimes it's just taking one mechanic and introducing it with some new dressing or with a completely different structure than the norm to create a fresh experience. That's what Cobra Mobile's Red's Kingdom does, and while it isn't totally successful with their approach, the overall game is worthy of checking out, especially for its low price.

The main gameplay mechanic of Red's Kingdom isn't that new of an idea. You control Red by swiping in one of four directions, and Red rolls continuously in that direction until he hits a solid object. As I said, the idea isn't really novel, but the structure of the game is. Instead of being a linear level-based affair, Red's Kingdom takes place in a wholly interconnected world. While this quite cool, it also becomes one of the main issues with the game, which I'll cover later.

Red's Kingdom has players moving from room to room, whether indoor or outdoor, by finding the correct path through them. This means to clear each room you'll have to do the correct combination of rolls to reach the exit. Sometimes there are multiple exits to take, which offers some exploration into the fold. Often, going off the beaten path can have you come across hidden goodies like a heart in a jar, where collecting three of these increases Red's health by one heart.

The beginning of Red's journey sees him rolling his way to this castle.
Starting off, you simply roll around rooms until you find the right means to reach its exit. As you go through the game, you'll find that the developers add multiple new hazards and obstacles into the game to keep things interesting and engaging. These range from buttons that open doors, levers that alternate between raising and lower red and blue blocks, puddles of sticky tar that stop Red right in his tracks no matter if there's a solid object nearby or not, and ramps that send Red flying over chasms.

There is a Metroid-style influence also found in Red's Kingdom. In the game, Red will come across certain items that allow him to access previously unreachable areas. For instance, early in the game Red will meet up with a fellow squirrel who will give him a medallion. With this medallion Red is able to deal damage to enemies that were once invincible to his rolls. Attacking enemies is as easy as rolling into them, but if you're only doing this, you also take damage. Thus, there is a cool technique the game teaches you, and that is to tap the screen right before Red rolls into a given enemy to deal a critical hit and take zero damage from rolling into the foe. Another item grants Red the power to roll into pink plants that spit him out to reach otherwise inaccessible locations.

Enemies can be rolled into, but if you don't tap the screen
before barreling into them, Red will take damage.
For some of the secret goodies to be found in Red's Kingdom, you'll have to travel back to previous areas to use your new acquired item or ability to get them. Here comes a host of the game's problems. For one, backtracking in Red's Kingdom isn't as simple as say, The Legend of Zelda, where you can just run through a room. Instead, Red's Kingdom requires you to essentially solve a puzzle by navigating through each room by rolling from solid object to solid object until you finally reach the exit. The requirement to resolve rooms gets very tedious very quickly.

Another problem with Red's Kingdom is that many of the areas of the game look similar to one another, especially dungeon areas. It can mighty difficult recalling which dungeon or even outdoor section of the game's overworld contains the destination you wish to go to. "Now, where was that section of the world where that one spitting plant leading to that hidden chest I'm missing?" Questions like that will occur often, and since the world of Red's Kingdom is such a maze full of annoying backtracking, this becomes a serious problem.

What there is of the story is lighthearted fare that doesn't interrupt the gameplay too terribly much.
All this would be fine if the save system was adequate. In its state, however, it's really not. Red's Kingdom automatically saves when you cross save icons in specific rooms. It also saves when you reach various transporters strewn throughout the world that allow you to travel to any other transporter you've already discovered. The problem with the former is that you find yourself in the wrong area of the game (again, easily done as a lot of areas are indistinguishable from one another), you can't just quit to a point from where you were transported because the game automatically saved when you rolled over a save icon-- usually one deep in an area. This means you have to backtrack all the way through an area just to reach the transporter to hopefully warp to the correct area.

Red's Kingdom sports an isometric view that generally works well. However, sometimes parts of the scenery can be obscured by other objects, making it hard to get a full grip on the room you're currently in. There were more than a couple of occasions where I aimlessly rolled around not knowing what to do until I finally saw a lever that could be barely be seen due to being obscured by another object.

An issue with the isometric view that I'm glad the developers got right is the ability to hold the touch screen to show dotted lines that represent all the paths Red can roll. This is crucial to use when there are multiple elevations to take in account as well as damaging hazards like enemies, pools of dangerous liquid, or spiked barrels. Having the dotted lines show what Red will be stopped by or will run into makes the isometric view much less of a bother than it could have been.

For rooms with different elevations, it's good to get a grip on where Red will roll.
Red's Kingdom delivers a delightful visual package with 3D rendered graphics and detailed environments, whether outdoor with its lush vegetation or inside with its well done lighting effects, offering radiant auras that illuminate corners of the otherwise dank dungeons. The handful of animated scenes in Red's Kingdom are also pleasant to look at and cute to boot. What isn't so pleasant is the soundtrack. The song you'll hear the most in the game that features the bagpipe really grates on the ears after a few play-throughs. Now, imagine hearing it repeatedly as you frequent the area it plays in.

Overall, Red's Kingdom has its fair share of problems from the tedium of backtracking, the need to resolve rooms during said backtracking, areas that look too similar to one another, the maze that is the interconnected world, and an imperfect save system. However, even with all of those faults, Red's Kingdom offers an adorable adventure that will test your brain and sometimes even your reflexes. While the overworld structure of Red's Kingdom doesn't really work for a sliding puzzle game of this type, it's far from a bad game. It's just not a particularly great one.

[SPC Says: C+]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Best Levels in Gaming History - Volume Eighteen

Last week we took a look at some more fantastic boss battles. Now, it's time to look at some more fantastic levels! Nearly 100 levels have been featured on SuperPhillip Central's long-running Best Levels in Gaming History series. We continue our look at magnificent, memorable, fun, and exciting levels with Volume Eighteen. Such games represented this time around include Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Titanfall 2, and Super Mario 3D World.

For those who would like to look back at past prized levels featured on Best Levels in Gaming History, look no further than these links:

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six
Volume Seven
Volume Eight
Volume Nine
Volume Ten
Volume Eleven
Volume Twelve
Volume Thirteen
Volume Fourteen
Volume Fifteen
Volume Sixteen
Volume Seventeen

The Convoy Chase - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

The chapters in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End can range from relatively short affairs to much more lengthier ones. Chapter 11 is one of the latter, and it's also one of the most memorable in the Uncharted series' history. While the entire chapter is quite enjoyable with the opening saunter through the busy marketplace streets leading up to the clock tower, the actual clock tower climb and subsequent unintentional destruction of said tower, Chapter 11 is not short of memorable moments.

However, I'd like to cherry pick from the chapter and mention the best set piece in the game by far. It's the convoy chase that starts with Nathan Drake and Sully racing downhill through city streets, alleyways, and on makeshift shortcuts in their jeep as a Stormfront truck with a mounted machine gun pursues and hunts them down. They make their escape from the truck by speeding down across the tops of roofs until they reach an overhang where they can see the Stormfront convoy that is chasing after Nate's brother Sam.

It's up to the player to make haste down the hill, following through the trench below the roadway that the convoy is taking. Unfortunately, soon the amount of available road ends, requiring Sully to take over control of the jeep's steering and brakes to successfully stop it from careening into the ocean. Simultaneously, Nate lassos onto the hook of one of the trucks driving alongside the convoy, as he hangs on for all he's worth, Nate has to swing around beams and other obstacles or else he'll slam right into them, costing him his life. Once the convoy has crossed over the bridge, Nate holds on tight as he's pulled through the mud. He must pull himself towards the truck and enter inside its carrier to have a fighting chance against the motorcyclists and jeeps shooting at him.

The entire experience is so fast paced and frenetic that you can't help but feel the adrenaline pumping throughout your body, even after playing through this action-packed sequence multiple times. From jumping from truck to truck until finally commandeering a jeep to rescue Sam, the whole sequence is one of the Uncharted series's best and Naughty Dog should be commended for successfully accomplishing it.

Effect and Cause - Titanfall 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)

As stated in this week's Titanfall 2 review, the game's solo campaign is one of the finest first-person shooter campaigns in modern gaming history alongside DOOM's. It consistently throws at the player fresh concepts and challenges. One of the main pieces to Titanfall 2's gameplay comes from the varied amount of mobility players can use to their advantage not only through the forced platforming segments but in every encounter in the game. The notion of Titanfall 2 introducing a constant feed of fresh concepts is perhaps no better displayed than in mission five's three chapters. The overarching mission is known as Effect and Cause.

The mission starts out quietly enough, but soon Pilot Jack Cooper finds something strange occurring as he explores a dilapidated city. Right before his (and the player's) eyes he sees on multiple occasions the ruins of the lab he's in turn into a clean and productive facility with human beings roaming about, casually going along with their business. This phenomenon is revealed to be a time distortion. Starting out, Jack can't use this to his advantage just yet, but by the second chapter of the mission's beginning, he pries a device of the arm of a fallen soldier who was tasked with investigating the area. Obviously he didn't come back from his assignment.

With this special device placed on his wrist, Jack gains the ability to switch between past and present as quickly as the player presses the front left shoulder button. This is used to great effect in not only creating clever environmental puzzles (like being able to enter a vent in the past that was covered up by a panel in the present) but also impressive platforming opportunities. Multiple times Jack will need to switch between past and present in midair, as in the past there's a wall to run along on the left-hand side of the chasm while in the present there's a wall to run along on the right-hand side of the chasm. Switching between the two time periods as he makes each of his jumps enables Jack to make it across the abyss with success. Then, there are enemies that appear in the past, human soldiers, that don't appear in the present, where vicious and hungry beasts lurk, ready to slash and strike Jack Cooper down in no time flat.

Effect and Cause isn't the first mission in the game that requires the player to have proficiency when it comes to running off wall to wall over an abyss, but it is the first and only mission to use instantaneous switching between times in such a clever way that it makes for one heck of an interesting and entertaining level.

Snowball Park - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

Shifting gears to more lighthearted fare, Super Mario 3D World may not be the sandbox-styled Super Mario game that gamers experienced with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but it is an amazing platformer all the same, especially with friends. The levels of the game are much more linear than what was found in earlier 3D Mario games, so the design is more akin to a 2D Mario. However, all the levels have plenty of opportunities to explore off the beaten path, usually to find one of a level's three invaluable Green Stars or even a well-hidden Stamp.

With us North Americans deep within the winter months, it seemed like a pleasant time to delve into one of the most glorious levels in Super Mario 3D World, which conveniently enough, happens to occur in a winter wonderland. The start of the third world of Super Mario 3D World, Snowball Park, isn't a particularly lengthy level, but what it does possess is plenty of winter fun for all.

Right from the get-go you're introduced to a wonderfully winter landscape, fresh with heavy snow as well as huge snowballs that can be picked up and launched into enemies to eliminate them immediately. Large patches of ice are planted throughout the level to lower the traction on any would-be runners. However, the second half of the level helps players out with an insanely cool mode of transportation.

Perhaps making a callback to World 5-3 in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Goombas slide around the ice as if they were skaters at Rockefeller Plaza in giant ice skates of various colors. Just like with Super Mario Bros. 3's Kuribo Shoe, jumping on a Goomba's head will defeat it, relinquishing its control of the super-sized ice skate to you if you so desire to commandeer it. With it, you can skate and zoom around the ice without fear of slipping or sliding into one of many bottomless pits. Having a full crowd of four friends zipping along the ice together in four different full-sized skates is a truly remarkable and unique part of Super Mario 3D World, and it and the level design in general make Snowball Park one of the most unforgettable levels in the game.

World 3-S: Woollet Bill's Last Ride - [Poochy &] Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS, Wii U)

A 2D platforming mainstay since the early days of the genre is the auto-scrolling stage. That is the exact type of level that the secret level of Yoshi's Woolly World's World 3 is. Not only that but there is nary a batch of solid ground to work with at all! Most of the time Yoshi needs to ride the exhaust clouds of the titular Woollet Bills, making sure not to defeat the actual enemy itself, or else there will be no trail of exhaust to run along.

In Woollet Bill's Last Ride, you're in a constant state of rushing, especially if you plan to go for 100% completion for the level. From Monty Moles that occasionally fall into play from popped bubbles that float in the air to donut lifts that require enough time and weight for them to fall, Yoshi is seemingly always needing to hurry up or he'll either get crushed or fall into the great abyss below.

The platforming challenges only get more insane as Yoshi needs to avoid the paths of other Woollet Bills, whose exhaust trails conveniently carry bothersome Monty Moles to cause nothing but the ruination of a promising run, or have giant clouds pop their heads in on the level, causing damage to Yoshi if he doesn't launch a yarn ball to them before it's too late.

Even with the frustrations that can come for first-timers on this level, Woollet Bill's Last Ride from Yoshi's Woolly World and most recently its Nintendo 3DS port, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World, is never an unfair challenge. It does take quick thinking and fast feet, but it's an enjoyable platforming trial in a game that can really be relaxing sometimes and crazy challenging other times.

Eagle's Tower - The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB, GBC)

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest in the Legend of Zelda franchise hitting the Switch and the Wii U two weeks from today, it's a good time as any to talk about a truly special dungeon from the early days of the series. Link's Awakening was the first portable entry in the series, and since then, we've seen a multitude of handheld-only adventures starring the hero in the green tunic.

A lot of dungeons in the 2D games have an aura of memorability to them, and Link's Awakening abides by that opinion. Nonetheless, what stands out for me as the most memorable dungeon in the game is Eagle's Tower, the seventh dungeon in Link's Awakening.

This multi-tiered tower is special for two main reasons for me. The first is that it has an overarching puzzle to it. Nearly every other dungeon in the game has puzzles limited to just one room, while in Eagle's Tower, the main puzzle takes place in multiple rooms. This concept of an overarching puzzle in a dungeon would be a major one in the coming 3D Zelda games. The puzzle requires players to pick up an iron ball and throw it against the tower's four pillars. It's not just about figuring out to throw the various iron balls into the pillars (which is something that the player needs to come up with on their own), but it's also about figuring out to transport an iron ball from its starting location to the pillar it needs to destroy. Through damaging all four pillars, the previously inaccessible floor on top will fall down, revealing the way to the boss.

The boss of Eagle's Tower is the second reason the dungeon is special to me. The boss, a giant eagle (what a surprise, right?), has its battle taking place on the top of the tower in a 2D plane, similar to the basement sections of Link's Awakening's various dungeons. The fight is one that requires timing with the Roc's Feather to leap over the eagle as it zooms by, intending to collide with Link. The whole setting of being on top of the tower and the fun of facing off against the boss make the conclusion to Eagle's Tower magnificent. Thus, the whole dungeon is quite special.

Mario Sports Superstars (3DS) At the Races Trailer

Another week brings another trailer of Mario Sports Superstars. This week it's the horse racing sport's turn in the spotlight, showing off the racing gameplay as well as how to take care of your horse. Mario Sports Superstars releases next month only for Nintendo 3DS.


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