Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stacker2 Wants You to Design a 6 Hour Power T-Shirt to Win One of Many Prizes!

Stacker2 has a product out called "6 Hour Power" which is an energy shot that you can take to keep you awake and alert at the office, so you won't snooze as your boyfriend and/or girlfriend or husband and/or wife takes you on a date to the the opera or the motorcycle convention (the hell if I know what couples consider boring), or just to keep sharp for the rest of the day. This bonus is all without that debilitating crash afterward that makes you feel worse than you did before you took that drink!

I am not being paid to present this contest or to get the word out. I thought it'd be something fun, interesting, and something to help out another person who's just trying to do their job and get the word out himself.

So what in the world is this contest for an energy drink? Well, let me show you, dear reader!

*Fake video game woman who would never be as attractive as a real life woman not included. Sorry, guys.
** What-- no Wii? I bet the contest runners couldn't find any to give away as prizes.

*My hero, SuperPhillip drank a whole carton in one day, and he was able to perform 50 times in a row for his woman. Don't believe me? Pffft.

Sponsor: Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™
Campaign Title: Design a Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ T-Shirt
Duration: August 5, 2008 12:00 AM (PST) - October 8, 2008 11:30 PM (PST)
Description: Show everyone you've got the power, the Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™, that is! Put your creative energy into a black t-shirt design using the provided Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ art or use the Entry Editor. Create a t-shirt that bursts with power, zeal and zest and we'll stay up all night making it for you! Not only will you receive your original design on a t-shirt, but we'll also load you up with an ample supply of Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ Energy Shots, your choice of a PS3™ or Xbox 360® and a copy of Codemasters®' new game Rise of the Argonauts™!
Rewards:
  • Grand Prize: One winner, selected by Stacker 2® from the top 250 highest scoring entries, will win a Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ Prize Pack which includes a Stacker 2® hat, sunglasses and a one-year supply of 6 Hour Power™ Extreme Energy Shots. The one year supply of 6 Hour Power™ Extreme Energy Shots consists of six cartons (12 bottles per carton) of each of the five flavors for a total of 360 bottles - plus we'll toss in one single bottle of each flavor Very Berry, Lemon Lime, Orange, Grape and Punch to make it a square 365 bottles of 6 Hour Power™ Extreme Energy Shots. You'll also receive 10 t-shirts with your original design, your choice of a PS3™ or Xbox 360® game console, plus a copy of Codemasters®' Rise of the Argonauts™ on your preferred platform.
  • Most Viral: One winner, selected by Stacker 2® from the top 250 entries that receives the most attention across the Internet, will win a one-year supply of 6 Hour Power™ Extreme Energy Shots and a copy of Codemasters®' Rise of the Argonauts™ on their preferred platform. Learn about Most Viral.
  • Weekly Sweepstakes: Each week, one winner who participates by voting or reviewing, will be chosen randomly to win one carton (12 bottles per carton) of Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ Extreme Energy Shot as well as a copy of Codemasters®' new game Rise of the Argonauts™. Ten winners in all!
How to Submit:
  1. Create an original Stacker 2® 6 Hour Power™ t-shirt using the the Entry Editor or download the provided Art Assets and create your own. Your design must include the Stacker 2® and 6 Hour Power™ Feel it Fast, Energy that Lasts, No Crash logos.
  2. Click the Submit Entry tab and follow the steps provided.
  3. Tell your friends to come to Brickfish and vote for your entry!
Requirements: All entries must be original work of the participant. All entries must be of a black t-shirt and the Stacker 2® and 6 Hour Power™ logos must be included. Legal Notice: No purchase necessary. Open to anyone who is a resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, has access to the Internet, and is 18 or older at the time of entry. Click here to view the complete campaign rules and regulations. Click here to view the complete sweepstakes rules.
As of right now, I was told that are just over 300 entries as of now. Pretty good odds to win something if you're lacking an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or a supply of energy drinks but you're loaded with creativity. Designing a shirt is quite easy. You can use the site's program to create a shirt, or you can stick with MS Paint or Photoshop. The choice is all yours, and it's quite fun, quite easy, and quite simple to do in a timely fashion. I was going to enter, but I own all three consoles and all I could only think of drawing on a shirt was an energized penis... Don't ask. My mind was totally in the gutter where it is at most home.

And don't worry, guys, I'm not going to advertise for every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes through here. Just ones that I think show some promise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon (Wii) Review

Here we are. Took a little longer since I actually imported the pictures through Blogger itself (so you can click on any picture to expand it). Sorry about that. Yesterday I posted the DS Final Fantasy Fables game to lead into this review for the Wii Fables game.

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Elephants and Chocobos never forget.

The Chocobo Dungeon series originated on the Sony Playstation in 1997. Now more than a decade later and after a bit of a hiatus, everyone's favorite cuddly and cute yellow bird is back to explore dungeons big and small with Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon-- not to confused with Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales for the Nintendo DS which features the same characters but in a different genre. Chocobo's Dungeon is a "roguelike" drenched and dripping with Final Fantasy fan-service, but is fan-service enough to help the game see the light of success or will it stay trapped in the dungeon of mediocrity?

Treasure Hunter Cid and his pal, Chocobo, in search of Timeless Power

On a treasure hunt inside a desert tower, Chocobo and partner Cid search for one of the grandest treasures of all-- Timeless Power. However, when they approach the prized possession, a group of brigands led by a sultry red-headed girl named Irma steal the jewel. Suddenly, all parties involved are mysterious swirled into a magical tornado sending them up into the sky eventually transporting Cid and Chocobo to the curious city of Lostime where each moment the fabled Bell of Oblivion rings from the town's clock tower, everyone in the city loses their memory and what they were doing before the tower bell tolled. Not long after Chocobo and Cid settle in a little bit and meet a young white mage named Shirma, a meteor falls from the sky. However, it's not just some ordinary meteor. It's actually an egg which houses a strange baby boy named Rafaello possessing the wondrous ability to enter the minds of the forgetful townsfolk. Now armed with a mission, Chocobo and friends set out to regain the lost and fragmented memories buried deep within the confines of each Lostime citizen (serving as the actual dungeons of the game). What follows are various retrievals of forgotten memories split up through five chapters all leading up to a more sinister and dangerous underlying cause.

This is the gloomy-looking city of Lostime.

Lostime as well Stella Ranch serve as the hub of the game. Chocobo can freely explore these areas, enter homes without a phone call or search warrant, gain clues from the various townspeople, and purchase new equipment (talons, saddles, and collars) and items (potions, ether, and status healers) all at its very leisure. New dungeons open up during conversations with a given citizen. All of a sudden they'll be talking about something, the bell conveniently rings, they lose their train of thought, and Chocobo sees it as its duty to enter their mind, vanquish the boss guarding their memories, and retrieve them. You'll allow shopkeepers to remember that they have goods to sell, help two different middle-aged folks recall that they're married, and other helpful thoughts.

A map in the lower-right corner helps Chocobo find its bearings.

When entering a dungeon, the gameplay shifts from total freedom to a more free-roaming turn-based affair. I'm certain that last sentence confused the majority of those who've never touched a "rogue-like", so let me explain. Every action that Chocobo takes is considered a turn by dungeon-standards. Take a step? That's a turn. Use an item? That's also a turn. Attack? You see where I'm going with this. Enemies are also regulated by these rules meaning that every action from you results in an action from them. Careful planning is sometimes the difference between living to fight another day and collapsing in battle, losing all of your gil and items in your inventory save for equipped goods.

You don't want to get surrounded, so take the fight into the hall.

Chocobo needs to worry about a lot while its shuffling around inside the many memories of Lostime's denizens. It'll not only have health points and magic points to worry about, but also it'll have to keep an eye out on its status and hunger level. Now Chocobo can run in place or move about the dungeon which will slowly heal its HP, SP, and eventually whatever status ailment its currently inflicted with such as confusion, slow, and poison to name a few, but moving about will gradually make it work up quite an appetite. If its hunger level goes below 10%, it'll start walking in a famished daze, and if its hunger level reaches zero, Chocobo's HP will start diminishing steadily after each turn. Hunger isn't too much of an enemy early on, but as the dungeons become more lengthy, you'll want to bring with you some form of greens to feed Chocobo to keep its hunger in check.

Each dungeon is made up of a number of floors both small and large. The majority of these are randomly-generated which makes it sound like you'll get a totally new experience every time. However, each dungeon has a finite amount of floor parts to it meaning that each dungeon is constructed of generic grand square room, wide rectangle room, etc. all connected by narrow hallways. This may be repetitive to some people, but it really isn't too bad-- especially since the important elemental dungeons (fire, water, light, and dark) all have different backgrounds and ambiance to spice things up a bit. Starting dungeons are basic and reach anywhere from in-between 3-10 floors. As the game progresses, Chocobo will be faced with the daunting task of conquering dungeons from anywhere between 10-100 floors! Thankfully, you're able to escape from a dungeon with all of your items intact at any stairway to the next floor as well as temporarily save your progress until the next time you load your data.

Watch out for those bats. Those things suck. No, literally. No, not in a dirty way.

Dungeons are full of familiar monsters from the Final Fantasy universe including Bombs, Cactuars, Coerls, Goblins, Lamias, Marlboros, Sahagins, Tonberries, and much more. They're not the only dangers inside the many labyrinths of Chocobo's Dungeon. Traps hidden and not-so hidden rest on the countless floors of dungeons. These can range from inflicting Chocobo with a temporary status ailment to sapping Chocobo's energy so its hunger is increased. There's also duel traps which are shining gold circles placed on certain floors. You have a 50/50 chance of either heading to Merchant Hero X's shop or facing off against a powerful boss-- either a larger version of a current enemy or an entirely new baddie altogether. Though for experience, gil, and item whores, you'll usually want to take that bad boy on-- the boss-- not the moogle... though you can take on either actually.

For instance, this duel room has Chocobo feeling the heat of Ifrit.

There's the mandatory dungeons to sift through, but there's also special, optional dungeons-- two of which won't be able until the game's intriguing story is completed. The majority of these dungeons have unique rules to them, and they all have level caps so grinding to level 99 isn't going to save Chocobo here. One dungeon has Chocobo as well as every enemy in the dungeon with only 1 HP to work with. One hit and you're finished. Did I mention that Chocobo's also blind during this? That bird has to be far from ordinary.

Well, Chocobo isn't your ordinary bird, so why must it be relegated to the ordinary "I'm going to be naked" fashion statement? Well, it won't as this bird's got style! Chocobo can equip three different items at a time-- talons for attacking, saddles for armor, and collars for various benefits such as extra strength, ailment prevention, and so on. Once Freya's memories have been restored, you can swing by her blacksmith shop to hone and fuse talons or saddles for more powerful equipment. All talons and saddles can only have their abilities increased to such a level before they can no longer be empowered any further. Some equipment boasts bonuses such as a chance to inflict an enemy with poison or boosting your chance to unleash a critical hit. The best thing to do is to combine talons or saddles that have two different bonuses into one equip-able talon or saddle of maximum kick-assery. Yep. I'm sure Chocobo would call it that, too.

To further add depth to the formula are jobs. Now why is it that Chocobo can have up to ten of these things, yet myself and my older brother can't even get one right now? Go figure! Regardless, Chocobo can unlock new jobs from doing various tasks. Most of the jobs are available by simply playing the better half of the main story, but others will have you delve into the aforementioned "special" dungeons. All of the classes are ripped straight out from Final Fantasy canon including the knight and dark knight, the black and white mage (no, not like Michael Jackson black and white mage-- the black mage and the white mage-- two different mages), the dragoon, the ninja, the thief, the scholar, the dancer, and Chocobo's natural job class. Each can be leveled up separately from Chocobo's experience level by picking up job points which are occasionally dropped from fallen foes. Each job can be crafted to up to level 8, and each gives Chocobo a new ability when using a said class. These abilities are specific to each class and cost a certain number of SP crystals to use which regenerate over time. For instance, a black mage will use black magic like Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Meteor whereas a dragoon will use skills that allow Chocobo to jump on an enemy two squares in front of it for massive damage.

This **** is too violent for me, man.

Square-Enix has put some effort into Chocobo's Dungeon's presentation package. However, it could use some work. The graphics, character and enemy models, buildings, and environments are pleasing to look at, but they're nothing a late-gen Playstation 2 game couldn't accomplish. The voice acting is tolerable at best, but some characters just come off as grating. It doesn't help with the lip-syncing is totally off as well. I felt I was watching one of those old Kung-Fu movie dubs with Bruce Lee or something. With that being said, the story is told rather well, and the voices do not wholly detract from the experience. One point of the package that I absolutely love is the fantastic soundtrack which features wonderfully remixed songs from Final Fantasies 1-11. I'd say it's like a best of Final Fantasy music, but that would be a disparagement to the entire series' soundtracks. There's so many great tunes throughout Final Fantasy's history that Chocobo's Dungeon's collection is but the tip of Shiva's iceberg. Overall, I very much like the look and feel of the game even though it could be improved starting with a bigger budget.

Thank goodness I can't see her mouth as she talks.

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon is a very interesting and entertaining take from a gaming relic-- the "roguelike". It explodes with charm, comedic moments, fast-paced battles, lovable characters, countless hours to invest into (I finished off the game at around 35 hours), and many optional events and challenges to partake in. For those with a Wi-Fi connection, you can take on faraway friends and strangers via the multiplayer card-battle game with cards that 133 cards that can be collected throughout the game (though however shallow the card game might actually be. Give me Triple Triad, or give me death!). For everyone else, there's enough content to justify a purchase as the game launched at $39.99, and if you're a Final Fantasy fan of any kind, you should already be playing or have played this game. Chocobo's Dungeon is the type of dungeon that you'll want to get lost in.

[SuperPhillip Says]

Story: Chocobo and friends decide to restore the city of Lostime's memories. Ultimately, almost everything is full of intrigue, charm, and interesting characters.

Graphics: Great CG work, somewhat dated presentation, but overall it's rather nice.

Gameplay: Fast-paced, turn-based battles whereas exploring dungeons may get tedious to some people.

Sound: Just an incredible compilation of music from past Final Fantasy games remixed and sounding fantastic. The voice acting is passable for most characters, but some just come off as grating.

Replay Value: 20-30 hours to complete the main story, and then there's jobs to master, cards to collect, and extra dungeons to explore. There's a lot to do.

Overall: 8.75/10 - Kweh-kweh!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (DS) Review

My Chocobo's Dungeon Wii review should be posted tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I thought it would be an ample opportunity to look back on the original Final Fantasy Fables known as Chocobo Tales for the Nintendo DS. This review was probably one of the first twenty I ever wrote, so you can hopefully see the difference in quality from then up to now. It's so old that the usual "SuperPhillip Says" section was simply called the boring name of "The Recap". I've taken the liberty of changing that as I posted this review today on SuperPhillip Central.

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You really CAN'T judge a book by its cover.

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Deep into the world of Final Fantasy of yore and legend does Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales delve into. From the colorful cast of characters ranging from chocobos of all colors and varieties to humans such as the airship captain, the Final Fantasy universe is all accounted for. You'll meet Chocobos (of course), a black mage, a white mage, Bombs, Cactaurs, Adamantoises, summons such as Shiva and Ifrit, Iron Giants, Behemoths, and more in your journey.

The game begins with a picturesque view of Shirma, a white mage, sitting on a stump reading a fairy tale to a group of listening Chocobo. Suddenly, a black mage, Croma, enters with a mysterious book and shows it off to the watching crowd. Then the novel becomes a powerful entity known as Bebuzzu, an evil talking book. With his power, he swallows numerous Chocobo straight from the town, turning them into pages of various picture books. Now your Chocobo (which you name) must set out on an adventure to free its friends from the various books and stop the tyrant Bebuzzu.

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Right away you'll notice how beautiful this game is.

Gameplay is set up by having your Chocobo explore various environments around the town hub, entering picture books strewn across the land. These picture books tell numerous Final Fantasy takes on classic fairy tales such as The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. You then play microgames to fulfill requirements which either give you playing cards for card battles (more on that later) or unlock different endings of the stories to progress in the game. For example in one book the ending will say that Leviathan came after a little boy in a tornado, but when the little boy turned around the tornado was gone. Then in the game world a water vortex that was impeding your path will vanish without a trace. Microgames stem from dragging your Chocobo around with your stylus to avoid Ifrit's flames and Shiva's ice to guiding an Adamantoise along a raging rapid river. Your first go of these games will most likely not cause you too many problems, but later stages such as beating Chocobo rivals may have you pulling your hair out.

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One of the various microgames featured in Chocobo Tales.

I mentioned card battles earlier. These battles occur multiple times throughout the game. You'll collect cards through microgames and simply by discovering them on the overworld map. Collecting the cards is quite fun. It's very addicting at least to me. Battling is another story. You never see your opponents hand or card until after you've both selected your cards, and you never have more than three cards in hand at a time. This game is mostly luck, and there's very little strategy that you can muster. This mode is what the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is all for which is odd since it's all luck basically.

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It's time to D-D-D-D-Duel!

Aesthetically Chocobo Tales is very pleasing. The graphics will remind you of Final Fantasy III-- very nice. Musically there is a variety of Final Fantasy themes present including the Mako Reactor from FFVII to the original battle theme from the original Final Fantasy. There's a lot to call back upon, and it's a welcome addition to this game.

Overall, even though this game is decidedly geared towards the younger crowd, it's apparent that no child would have the patience to play the microgames. They can be damn difficult indeed. Those with a high level of patience, and don't mind the cutesy presentation will definitely find this game to be a novel idea.

[SuperPhillip Says]

Story: Bebuzzu has been awakened and trapped all your Chocobo friends inside various picture books. Time to hunker down and save them.

Graphics: Very nice for the DS. The worlds are colorful and crisp. It reminds me of Final Fantasy III.

Gameplay: Sometimes frustrating microgames, luck-driven card battles, while adventuring across a town, volcano, forest, ocean, and tower to discover picture books, microgames, and cards.

Sound: Remixed Final Fantasy tunes from I-VIII is always a nice touch.

Replay Value: You can beat the game in less than 8 hours if you wanted, but collecting all the cards is an added challenge.

Overall: 7/10 - Fun for the older crowd, but it is still appealing for the young'ns.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii) and Bomberman Blast (Wiiware) Vids

Some new videos have popped up from Japan's Nintendo Channel showing at long last more clips of gameplay from Disaster: Day of Crisis. Additionally, there's a trailer for the upcoming retail and Wiiware game, Bomberman Blast.

Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)



Bomberman Blast (Wii and Wiiware)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Viva Piñata Review

Viva Piñata has been Rare's newest IP. This past week, two more entries into the series have been released: Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise for the Xbox 360 and Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise for the Nintendo DS. I'm going to take this moment to look back at the original VP with this classic review.

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Hot pinata on pinata action!

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Among the endless array of shooters and the testosterone-filled men that occupy them rests a hidden gem in the Xbox 360's lineup. It comes from none other than Rare, the team behind the excellent Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo, and several fantastic Nintendo 64 titles including Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye, and Donkey Kong 64. Why, it's Viva Pinata, of course. We'll see why this game fell under many Xbox owners' radar and why you should dig in into this game.

Pinata Island is where all happy pinatas are born, raised, and then sent off to parties to spread good cheer and joy to children all around the world. Jardiniero is Pinata Island's greatest pinata gardener, and since he's retired, your job is essentially to fill this man's shoes. The story then essentially centers around you, and how you shape your garden by growing grass, attracting wild pinatas, and making your run-down garden into a pinata paradise.

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These Cocoadiles were purified from Sour Cocoadiles.

Your beginning garden is filled with rocks, junk, and other debris. It's also quite claustrophobic-- there's not a lot of room to work with. However, by gaining levels from attracting and making new pinata residents, growing new plants, and breeding pinatas, your cramped garden will expand eventually to greener and much larger pastures.

And no good gardener can garden with their hands alone. Viva Pinata understands this, and you're given various tools to work with. The shovel can pat down rough soil and beat down unwanted visitors or plants, and it can eventually dig holes for seeds and create homemade ponds, lakes, whatever. You'll later receive tools like the watering can used to keep plants feeling fresh, and the grass seed packet used to grow grass.

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Horstachio's the main mascot of the Viva Pinata series.

But no pinata garden is good without pinatas to occupy it. You need to attract the more than sixty species of pinata available, and that's really the main draw of the game-- to see how many of these pinatas you can attract to each of your gardens. You'll come across many pinata during your playtime including Doenuts, Buzzlegums, Fizzlybears, Whirlms, and Flutterscotches. Each pinata species has a different requirement to show up, visit your garden, and finally reside there. The Lickatoad, for instance, will only visit your garden if you have enough pond area in your garden, and it'll only stay in your garden if it devours a fellow pinata, the Taffly. Many later level pinatas have multiple requirements in attracting them, so seasoned gardeners will have to pull out all the stops (and weeds) in luring them into their gardens.

However, you can't simply keep every pinata inside your garden. Many species have other species that they don't get along with, and they show it. Keep on your toes or you'll have a fight on your hands. Then again, the pinata world isn't just a killed or be killed affair either. No, if you butter up a pinata by fulfilling their romance requirement(s) as well as constructing a love shack for them, two pinatas of the same species can breed with one another. Romancing initiates a minigame where you play in an overhead maze, guiding your pinata through an obstacle course to reach its desired mate, all while avoiding enemies that line the walls. The minigame is a cute way to change the flow of the game, but repeated playthroughs just becomes monotonous later on. Successfully mate and you'll get an egg delivered to your pinata couple's home which will soon hatch into a pinata. So that's where pinatas come from!

Not every pinata is good though. Occasionally a sour pinata can wreak havoc on your garden, poisoning friendly pinatas, making them fight one another, or just making life miserable for you. Thankfully, a few whacks of the shovel will take of most pests. Then there's Dastardos-- the grim reaper of pinatas. He'll slowly float towards a sick pinata before knocking them out, spilling their internal organs (or candy) to the ground in one heinous and macabre showing. Make sure you heal those sick pinatas via a call from the doctor!

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Let's get it on.

Along with the doctor, there's others to help to make you feel that you're not alone on Pinata Island though. There's many helpful and colorful characters to assist you. Leafos will be one of the first folks you meet, and one of the folks you'll speak to the most. She'll give you helpful advice, notify you of new pinatas lurking about, and give you tips on acquiring new pinatas. Then there's Seedos, one of the oddest (as if all of the characters weren't odd enough) of the bunch. He has an incredible fixation and love for seeds, and if you speak to him, and he'll drop off a seed for you to plant in the ready. Then there's the gardener helpers. Hire some for a price, and they can help out by watering plants, watching for night visitors, digging for treasure, and many other offerings. Chocolate coins make the Pinata Island world go round-- they're the currency of Pinata Island-- good at all the shops and stores in the village. And you'll be visiting these aforementioned outlets repeatedly. Whether you're searching for apple seeds or wanting to purchase a pinata you've already made resident, there's plenty of shops to make even the biggest penny-pincher blow their savings on.

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Grow a pumpkin to lure new residents.

From the zany cast of characters to the bountiful feast of cute confectionery critters, the game is one of the prettiest around. The pinatas each boast magnificent detail, the backgrounds are rich and vibrant, and the water effects are gorgeous. Grant Kirkhope (Banjo series) composes the music for this game, and the soothing orchestrated songs as well as the cheery and whimsical tunes are all well done and sound terrific.

Viva Pinata is a double-edged sword. On one part, it tries something different, but on the other it's trying something different to an audience that only cares about violence and gore. Some mature 360 audience, huh? If you can get beyond the cute exterior, you'll once again find a Rare title that is more than meets the eye. You'll log in countless hours before you even know it-- that's how addicting it is. It isn't without its problems, however (like occasionally being without anything to do for long periods of time), but those who can look past its shortcomings will find a very enjoyable game. For only $20, what do you have to lose?

[SuperPhillip Says]

Story: You're in the shadow of a sage gardener, and your task is to bring life to your barren garden. Are you up to the task?

Graphics: Incredibly nice to look at. Plays well in motion also. Very bright, very colorful, very nice.

Gameplay: If you're into The Sims or Animal Crossing, you'll want to give this game a look. Even if you aren't, try it out, give it three hours, and see how you like it.

Sound: A cheery soundtrack from Banjo-Kazooie's Grant Kirkhope. Voice work is done by 4-Kids, and really isn't all too bad.

Replay Value: There's many secrets to discover in the world of Viva Pinata including variants, new species, and much more. How high of a level can your garden get?

Overall: 8.5/10 - Pinata-licious. The game's better than that word, for sure.

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And to commemorate the release of two new VP games, here is the ending theme of the original VP!


Monday, September 8, 2008

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Early Bird Gets the Worm Edition

Welcome to this early Monday morning edition of my favorite VGMs. Coming off the 150th VGM event, we're kicking off the next 150 videos on our way to 300! I hope you'll be along for the ride and enjoy the majority of the tracks.

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The next 150 starts off with the music of my favorite composer in any media period, the great, the unmatched, the best, Yoko Kanno. She's more of an anime composer, but she's done work on the Romance of the Kingdoms series as well as the soundtrack that this piece is from, Cowboy Bebop: Tsuioku no Yakyoku (カウボーイビバップ 追憶の夜曲, Kaubōi Bibappu Tsuioku no Yakyoku, Cowboy Bebop: Nocturne of Reminiscence) for the Playstation 2. Unfortunately, the game never made it anywhere outside of Japan.

Regardless, Diamonds is one of the three new tracks Yoko Kanno composed for the video game. It's a very smooth and romantic jazz piece sung by Ilaria Graziano who has worked with Kanno on several soundtracks. Please enjoy.



What better way to ring in the last weeks of summer than with a song that reminds one of perpetual summer? "Dance in the Sunshine" is the theme of the tourist town of Altamira in Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube and Playstation 2 (JPN-only).



This track comes from the Playstation One RPG, Chrono Cross. It's the another world version of Galdorb. It's a soothing and peaceful melody. I very much like it.



I'm going to be clear here. I do not like Dragonball Z at all. I hate GT, and I can tolerate the original Dragon Ball. I played this game when the Saiyan Saga of DBZ first aired with the old (better) voice acting team from Ocean Group. This was before the show dragged on 200 more episodes and the fanboys ate it up.

I, at the tender age of 11, played Dragon Ball: Final Bout for the PS1. I didn't know any better. I thought it was fun. Now? Uh...... eh...... ah.....



"Decide in the Eyes" is the F-Zero X theme of Big Blue, a course that has appeared in almost every F-Zero game to date. I personally dig the F-Zero X Guitar Arrange album over the original soundtrack musically, but for nostalgic purposes, the original N64 soundtrack can't be beat.



Direct Linkage:

Direct Link - Diamonds
Direct Link - Dance in the Sunshine
Direct Link - Galdorb ~ Another
Direct Link - Mon Hikaru Potara!
Direct Link - Decide in the Eyes

You know the drill. Next week, five more VGMs. If you want to skip ahead and see future editions, feel free to check out my Youtube channel seen here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September's New Reviews

My crystal ball is in the shop, so I don't know if I'll get around to all of these. I'm searching for a second job to bring some more cash in for college. Enough about that though. These are the games I'm hoping to review for this month. There may be an unexpected surprise or two other than the games listed. I'm still thinking of the "big" game to review for this month. Do you have any ideas?

September Reviews
Mario Super Sluggers (Wii) - Completed
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 All-Play (Wii) - 100th Review
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon (Wii) - Completed
Soul Bubbles (DS) - Next month
Nanostray 2 (DS) - Maybe not.
Madden NFL 09 All-Play (Wii) - Completed
Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii) - Maybe, depends on if I have enough time with it as it comes out near the end of the month. EDIT: Not this month.

That's what I personally have planned. A lot of Wii and DS stuff, but that's what I'm currently into. What do you guys think? Is this a decent enough list?

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