Saturday, June 14, 2008

SuperPhillip's Brawl Snapshot Video

It's Saturday, so let's show something creative. Something less business-like, shall we? Those in the know on the forum have seen my snapshot thread for the great Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In keeping with my favorite VGM Youtube series of videos, I've combined the two into one entity-- volume 80 of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs.



Direct Link Here

If you would rather view all of my snapshots at your own leisure, check out this forum thread:
http://z3.invisionfree.com/SuperPhillip_Central/index.php?showtopic=350

We now have a new hit counter.

The new counter measures a hit per page view.
This will be a gauge as to how much traffic the blog is receiving.
Hope to see a lot of traffic coming our way now and in the coming months.

Friday, June 13, 2008

SuperPhillip's Top 100 Favorite Games of All Time

For those who have frequented the forum in the past half year, you've seen me list games that I deem to be the most fun and my favorites. Some selections you'll agree on, some you'll laugh your heinie off at my foolishness. It's all right. We're here to have fun after all, right?

The first ninety games are in NO particular order. For someone with OCD, compiling a list of 100 games in order would drive me absolutely crazy. There's a good mix of titles from multiple consoles, developers, and genres. Hope you leave this list with some fuzzy memories and good times.

~Top 100 - The First Ten~

- Pokemon Blue/Red (GB)

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Gotta catch 'em all!

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As a seventh grader, I cannot tell you how much I was into the Pokemon craze. It swept the nation like crazy, offering addictive collecting, battling, and trading with friends during lunch hour. The game took what was good about RPGs, added the ability to catch your own monsters to battle others, and made exploring for new Pokemon a treat. Of course, not everyone had Pokemon at my school, so trading was a pain in the ass, but once I got all 150 Pokemon, I was extremely pleased. There was no Action Replay originally to hack your own Pokemon, lazy bastar--kids, so you had to do all the work yourself which made it all the more fulfilling. The first pair of Pokemon titles are my favorite entries of the entire series. Playing with the Super Game Boy = win.

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- Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

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Karts, crafts, and planes, oh my!

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If you were a kid growing up with the Nintendo 64, most often than not you at least tried Diddy Kong Racing in 1997. I was one of those kids who got a preview video from Nintendo Power in the mail back when they had cool subscriber bonuses. I sat down, watched the video, felt it'd be like a racing version of Super Mario 64, and guess what? I was blown away.

With more tracks, more racers, and more vehicles than Mario Kart 64, Rare dominated the racing genre with Diddy Kong Racing. It had everything you'd want, awesome multiplayer races, an addictive adventure mode, and much more.

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Sure, a remake was done of DKR onto the DS, but it just didn't feel the same (7.5). There were gimmicks added, racers removed, music that sounded worse than it did on the N64, and many other gripes. But going back to DKR on the 64? Now that's just right....

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- Perfect Dark Zero (X360)

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A gun for every occasion.

Perfect Dark Zero is just far and away one of my two favorite 360 titles. Yes, this FPS even surpasses what I feel to be an overrated series in Halo. While Perfect Dark Zero stumbled a bit in single-player, the experience was still quite solid. However, multiplayer was where it shined the most. I wasn't playing to get achievements-- I was playing because the game was fun, balanced, and cheater-free. There were a wide variety of maps to choose from, and man, they were expansive. Reread my review at the bottom of this paragraph for more on this awesome game from Rare.



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- Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)

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Mega Man Chibi-Style

Mega Man Powered Up is an incredibly underrated title in both reviews and sales. This is one of my favorite Mega Man titles not only because of the great visuals, crisp colors, bonus content, and difficulty, but just because it's a fantastic package. You get the ability to play as all eight Robot Masters (two new in Oil Man and Time Man), there's a Challenge mode, and by far the coolest portion of Powered Up-- Construction mode, where players can craft their own levels filled with obstacles, enemies, and hazards. If you own a PSP (which you should by now since there's so much going for it), you HAVE to pick up Mega Man Powered Up selling for only 19.99 as of now.

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- Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (PSP)

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X marks the spot.

The original Mega Man X premiered on the Super Nintendo in late 1993. With it brought new powers to obtain, weapons to copy, enemies to defeat, and bosses to battle all in 16-bit glory. Mega Man X is one of the penultimate Mega Man titles, and remaking it on the PSP serves as a new way to play through X's first campaign.

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- Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

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Clean is Better Than Dirty.

Ahhh... it was like a fresh tonic in the warm summer doldrums as Adam Sessler put it. Super Mario Sunshine was platforming bliss. Some hated F.L.U.D.D., I loved it. The tropical locales were varied as much as they could be on a tropical isle. You had your ghost house, your volcano, your village, your amusement park, and others. It's a shame searching for blue coins was a pain, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed SMS. It was a great Mario platformer in my eyes.

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- F-Zero GX (GCN)

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The Fast and the Furious

Nintendo gave control of the Gamecube F-Zero installment to Sega's Amusement Vision, and my word, was that a brilliant decision. It not only gave players an incredibly speedy racer, but a difficult one, too. If you persevered like I did (boyo, I was nuts back then), you'd be rewarded with fast times and new racers. This isn't a great F-Zero game. This is the BEST F-Zero game.

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- God of War (PS2)

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Visceral in every sense of the word.

The man behind Twisted Metal, David Jaffe, paved the way for this action-packed take on Greek mythology. Think of it as a blood-soaked, ultraviolent Zelda-- and even then, there's so many other differences that make that analogy moot. Regardless, God of War grabbed you by the balls and pulled you into one adrenaline-raising action game. What made God of War most engaging is the timed button sequences where victory or defeat came from pressing the correct button in the middle of battle. God of War II is one I'm in the middle of, so we'll see how that one stacks in comparison to the original.

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- Hot Shots Golf Fore!! (PS2)

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Under par and under-appreciated.

So much charm, so many characters (two of which being Ratchet and Jak), so many courses (14 in all), and many modes to play from, and what you have is one of the best golfing games I've ever played. The courses are designed masterfully, and Clap Handz really did a fantastic job creating an engaging game. Online is dead, but the single-player campaign is so large that you won't even mind.

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- Animal Crossing (GCN)

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The minutes turn to hours.

Animal Crossing was NA's first opportunity to be drawn into the world of Animal Crossing. Catch all the fish, catch all the insects, dig up all the fossils, and expand your bank account. Of course, do pay off that debt to Mr. Tom Nook. You would like him when he's angry, would you? No. No, you wouldn't.

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Stay tuned for next Friday where another ten of my favorites will be posted.
See you tomorrow, everyone!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Boom Blox Review

The Wii's first "blockbuster"

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When famed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and video game mega-giant EA were teaming up to produce games, many assumed that all of these titles were going to be epic, the equivalents of Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park. Fast forward to a bit later, and it's revealed that the first Spielberg/EA production would be a cutesy game involving blocks in the form of Boom Blox. Many pegged the title as just another kiddy game for the Wii. Were critics right in their dismissal of this game, or is this a game that will rock their blocks?

Most folks when they come across this title, from my experience, simply call this title a block simulator or an alternate form of the popular parlor game, Jenga. Well, that's just a small portion of Spielberg's smorgasbord known as Boom Blox. When you start up a game, you can choose from one of six different profiles-- a sensational addition for your friends and family to create their own save files to play at their own leisure. You begin with a simple series of tutorial levels teaching you the very bare-bones basics of Boom Blox. After completing the tutorial mode, there's three single-player modes to select from: explore, adventure, and create. Explore mode gives you the chance to mess around with various tools and solve puzzles involving specific types of blox (I'm going to spell blocks in this form from now on, so be sharp). For instance, bomb blox, when clobbered with a ball, will explode causing all the blox around it to get launched away, whereas chemical blox only work when two different blox of the same persuasion touch one another, thus exploding.

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Not even fowl are safe from the destruction.

Adventure mode takes you through four different miniature tales either a mama gorilla who wants to reunite with her children or little kittens trying to survive a trick-or-treat expedition. Each tale is presented in short still-frame cutscenes with rhyming text accompanying them. These tales are each three chapters long. Each chapter has about six puzzles each and poses a new type of puzzle challenge for players to get accustomed to. One chapter will have you chucking baseballs at bear soldiers (Grrrs) who are trying to steal the lamb soldiers' (Baas) gems. Another will have you throwing a bouncy ball into a mineshaft (series of blox) in order to mine as much gold as possible. There's a surprising amount of variety in the goals-- far more than most probably imagine.

And most of the challenges are simple enough to beat the first time through (except for the final two adventure missions and the expert levels). However, the longevity lies in your score. At the end of each puzzle you're awarded a medal for how you did. You have to complete a mode with a Bronze in order to pass it. Each challenge has a different catch into how you complete it. One series of tasks has you trying to knock down all the gem blox in as few throws as possible. Sure, Bronze permits you some trial and error with three throws, but Gold will require you to topple all the gems in only one throw. Or there's some challenges where you need to escort a trio of kiddies to safety without letting the ghouls and undead touch them. Bronze is to let one kitty stay free, but Gold requires all kitties to survive. All that to just give you an idea on the added challenge that Boom Blox offers. By getting Golds and Silvers in various chapters you're rewarded with new content for create mode such as new tools like the bowling ball to throw or bonus challenges that will require multiple tries before you even come close to getting your brain wrapped around it.

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The only thing that stands in Gorilda's way from reuniting with her ilk are all these Tikis.

Speaking of Create, this mode grants players the ability to design their own levels: placing various types of blox, experimenting with the game's physics, setting goals (i.e. the amount of points it takes to win, how many throws the player is allowed, etc) and just goofing around. In fact, you can even edit any of the preexisting levels in the game to tinker to your delight. I personally made a simple 8-bit sprite of Mario lined with bomb blox and chemical blox and watched it explode with sheer delight-- using the play feature to slow down and rewind the carnage! And if you think your work will impress your friends, you can send your created masterpieces to folks on your Wii friends list. Unfortunately, there's no online play between friends across the globe, but truthfully local multiplayer is where it's really at.

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There's many different locales to blast blox in.

Local Multiplayer puts you and up to three other friends on the same Wii remote or different remotes to play a variety of games. There's the less exciting shooting gallery mini-game, but for that dud there's countless other amusing games. You can either play competitively or cooperatively, either trying to complete a goal together or against one another. One game has you throwing baseballs at point blox to try to get the highest score, but watch out because your friend could finish the work for you and topple the tower his or herself. As mentioned before, there's a Jenga-inspired game where you're trying to slide out the most blox without upsetting the giant game over block on the top. Multiplayer has personally lasted me hours and hours of fun with friends. It's almost worth the price alone.

If you haven't come to the conclusion yet, let me build it for you: this game is packed with fun and content-- but how does it play? Well, most levels allow you to spin the camera around the level. Unfortunately, there's no zoom function which would help in levels where you can't see everything from the current perspective. Regardless, with a hit of the B trigger, you can use the remote to move the camera around to your liking.

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Save the kittens inside this fort from the undead that desire them!

The main fun of Boom Blox comes from the incredible physics engine the game uses. It's immensely gratifying to see a large totem of blox blow apart from one another and all around the level's arena. It might seem a bit random, however, because one attempt on a puzzle using the exact same throw and method as the last might achieve different results. It's just how the engine works. Nonetheless, this doesn't become frustrating with throwing challenges since they can be repeated in a span on 10-20 seconds. The many tools offer different playing styles. With the hose or the six-shooter you just point to anywhere on the screen and fire while with a ball, you hold A to set your position on the screen and throw and release the button to chuck. The game measures the speed of your throw to calculate its power, and where you hit a block factors into either setting off a complex chain reaction of blox or just knocking down one block off its perch.

Boom Blox has an obvious children aesthetic to it with it's bouncy music, child cheers, and miscellaneous animal noises. The graphics are charming and don't stutter, but we've all seen better on the Wii. Alas, perhaps the simple nature of game would not benefit from fur-shading or orgasmic levels of bloom.

Boom Blox stands tall with the likes of Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the ultimate party games for the Wii. It's many challenges offer enough content for the solo player to attempt to unlock all the hidden tools and content the game has to offer, while for folks with friends there's a wide amount of fun and diversions to complement the seemingly hefty $50 price tag. If you're looking for a creative new game for your Wii, and you're sick of poor third party games, is Boom Blox the gem for you! Ironically, Boom Blox is the blockbuster Wii owners were waiting for from Mr. Spielberg.

[SuperPhillip Says]


Graphics: Simple and there's no framerate problems. The physics are convincing as well.

Gameplay: Get your throwing arm ready, there's tons of blox to topple and puzzles to solve!

Sound: Upbeat music and cutesy sounds. Nothing award-winning here.

Replay Value: The Create mode alone offers so much already, but earning Golds in challenges give you more to work with.

Overall: 9.0/10 - Marvelous. The best third-party title on the Wii.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

SuperPhillip's Top Ten Games of the Summer

Summertime hasn't officially arrived, but for the game industry it has. It's a time quality gaming droughts when compared to the hectic holiday season. Regardless, Summer 2008 doesn't feel like it's going to be too horrible this time around. The following is a list browsing over my picks for the top ten most interesting, creative, and just fun-looking games to be released on the Wii, 360, PS3, PC, DS, and PSP.

These are my titles that I'm most interested in this summer. Don't see a game that you think should be there? Well, unless you know my opinion, then I guess you don't. Of course, feel free to post your games for this summer in the comments section. Thanks much.

10. Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
(PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PSP, PC)

Release Date: Out Now

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We start off with a film icon in Lego form. The addicting and fun-for-all gameplay of the Lego series enters uncharted territory with the Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. Set during the original Indiana Jones trilogy, there's plenty of whip-cracking and puzzle-solving to make any Indy fan feel right at home.

9. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (PS3, 360)
Release Date: Out Now

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Dragon Ball Z is not a show I consider to be good or entertaining. The latest bunch of games, the Budokai series, however, have been very fun, and I've enjoyed them. Now the insane and over-the-top action of Dragon Ball Z hits HD with some very impressive and colorful cel-shaded action. Catch the demo up on Xbox Live and PSN now.

8. Secret Agent Clank (PSP)
Release Date: 6-17-2008

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I'm just going to use my description from the PSP topic:
"Developed by High Impact Games who handled the stellar but short Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, follows Clank, and his alter-ego Secret Agent Clank, trying to clear the name of his best bud, Ratchet, who's facing a purposefully skewed trial. It's up to him to investigate exactly who set Ratchet up and why. It's your standard platforming fun-- which is a good thing. The Ratchet series has always been a benchmark for stellar platforming action, and Secret Agent Clank appears to be no different."


7. We Love Golf! (Wii)
Release Date: 7-15-2008

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We Love Golf is Capcom's newest property. Designed and developed by Camelot, known for their past efforts of Mario Golf, Hot Shots Golf, and Golden Sun, We Love Golf adds more depth to the foundation that Wii Golf laid down with power shots, trick shots, and an impressive cast of colorful courses and characters. There's even online play and new Capcom-themed outfits for characters for the Western release.

6. Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon (Wii)
Release Date: 7-8-2008

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Ever since the DS Chocobo Tales, Final Fantasy Fables has become Square-Enix's new franchise using the fabled Final Fantasy name. This title is a dungeon crawler at its heart with recognizable enemies, characters, and music from Final Fantasy I to Final Fantasy X. The change to the formula is the ability to use costumes to give your Chocobo new powers. This July, Wii owners have two quality third party titles to look forward to.

5. Saints Row 2 (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 8-26-2008

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The original Saints Row was an obvious copycat of the Grand Theft Auto series. The only difference between Saints Row and the many mimics that tried to fill GTA's big shoes is that it was actually really good and even did some things better than even GTA IV did. New features include the ability to hold people hostage and full co-op for the story mode. Very cool.

4. Final Fantasy IV (DS)
Release Date: 7-22-2008

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Square-Enix continues their desire to recreate every past Final Fantasy several times over with this DS remake. 3-D graphics, voice work, CG cutscenes, remixed music, new story elements, and an increased difficulty makes this one fantasy that players will want to have over and over again.

3. Soulcalibur IV (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 7-29-2008

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Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur, SoulCalibur... Which is it? I'm getting too confused on this issue. It's Mega Man, Megaman, and MegaMan all over again! Regardless, SC IV promises a new fighting system and a more balanced experience from past entries. New characters such as Darth Vader (for the PS3) and Yoda (for the 360) do battle with the big-boobed cast of SC IV. Note: PS3 owners can download Yoda, and 360 owners can download Vader for a price.

2. Ninja Gaiden II (360)
Release Date: Out Now

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Microsoft is banking a lot of money of Team Ninja's sequel to excellence that was Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black. This sequel offers much more visceral combat, fast action, and enough replay value to get your inner ninja on. I must say, I haven't read many previews as I want it all to be a surprise to me for when I first play it.

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
Release Date: Out Now

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Number one on the list is an exclusive that PS3 owners have been clamoring for for the longest time. It's less than a month away, and it Hideo Kojima promises to tie up all loose ends. Hopefully the game doesn't create even more in the process. You can even take the game into first-person for the duration of the game to put the title into a whole new perspective. Absolutely cannot wait to pick this up this June.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SuperPhillip RPG Update Day - Dorter

Today's Tuesday which will now be known as SuperPhillip RPG Update Day! Let's check out what we have today...

[Dorter]

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The industrial capital of the continent of Garaland, Dorter is a very busy and prosperous trade town. Ships come from all over from the Sunstar Sea making Dorter the trading destination of all goods under the sun.

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The pub's quite busy with folks from and out of Dorter.


The jewel in the Dorter crown is the Dorter Factory. However, recently the production from inside the factory has fallen to a virtual standstill. The townsfolk say that the workers are on paid vacation, yet the factory is still producing voluminous clouds of smoke. Could something be amiss?

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Lord Odin owns the town's factory. He resides in this mansion.


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The Dorter Factory.

And here's the theme of Dorter, Lahan from the Xenogears Creid album originally composed by the great Yasunori Mitsuda.




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